Season 2, Episode 2
The Incredible Shrinking Turtles
Air Date: October 8th, 1988
So first of all, this series gets a lot of flak for the Turtles not really ninja-ing correctly, but you know what…
Take a look at this…
Here’s the Turtles operating in broad daylight, and nobody gives a damn. So there, stop trying to make fun of a kids cartoon.
Anyway, our story begins with the Turtles training in Central Park when (seriously) an alien spaceship plummets from the sky and lands in a lake not far from the Turtles. They are able to recover the pilot, but find that he is dying rather rapidly. Before he goes, the alien warns that Turtles that they must find the three shards of the Eye of Zarnov and keep it safe from others, for it will grant the wielder unimaginable and incredibly vague sounding powers.
Of course, the Turtles make it their mission to find the shards and keep them out of the wrong hands. Also of course, the Shredder overhears this conversation and follows the Turtles as they lead him to the first shard of the Eye. A brief fight breaks out as the Turtles find the first shard in a waste disposal yard that sees the Shredder easily take the Turtles out. As a result, the Shredder uses the first shard to shrink the Turtles to barely six inches tall.
This is just hilarious as the viewer just knows that the Shredder has no idea what he is doing but he just goes for it and starts using a weapon he has no knowledge of to take out his most hated enemies. And all of this is done, not just because Shredder hates the Turtles, but he’s desperately trying to get back in Krang’s good graces so he can have his stuff back. Krang of course does not believe in the power that Shredder wields because even though the Turtles are not even half a foot tall, they still eluded him. So Shredder goes on a rampage and starts shrinking buildings with the first piece of the Eye of Zarnov. Buildings that still have people inside them.
That’s messed up.
While we can assume (probably safely) that these buildings are emptied because this is a kids cartoon and none of the buildings are suddenly colored red, I can’t help but wonder if the people that didn’t make it out are shrunk as well, or did the building shrink while they didn’t…probably best if we just assume the buildings are empty for now. Anyway, as Shredder starts to basically build a scale model of the island of Manhattan, Splinter and April are frantically looking for the Eye to return the Turtles to the normal form. If you’re a fan of movies Honey I Shrunk the Kids and…Honey I Shrunk the Kids 2(?), you’ll love seeing the shenanigans the Turtles get into. Plus it really makes you realize how much of a hazard living in the sewers would be. Most people just focus on the obvious smell that you could only hope to become accustomed to, but there is also sudden flood, random snakes and apparently piranha attacks just happening all the time. Really makes you appreciate our current for of housing when you think about it.
With the help of Baxter Stockman, the Shredder is eventually able to find the Turtles and make preparations to destroy them, but fortunately, Splinter is able to wrench the Eye from Shredder and with April’s help, the Turtles are returned to their normal stature.
However, in the fight that ensues, Shredder is able to recover the Eye of Zarnov and make haste, the Turtles, for whatever reason, don’t follow, accepting their losses and returning home with their tails between their legs. With two shards of the Eye still out there, it is now a race between the Shredder and the Turtles to recover the final two shards and make a power play against the other.
This episode is a lot fun, not just because of the “we’re small now” stakes, but also because we get to see our heroes in a half-shell deal with an actual loss at the hands of their greatest enemy. You can almost guarantee that the hero is going to win eventually, but it’s fun to see the heroes have a major if temporary setback. It is kind of frustrating to have questions unanswered though. Who was the Alien at the start of the show? Where did he come from? Who is Zarnov and what’s with his Eye?
Will we ever have any of these questions answered? There’s only one way to find out…