Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The Good, The Bad, and Casey Jones (2012 animated series vol. 5)

5 out of 5

Developed by: Joshua Sternin, J. R. Ventimilia

While this set of episodes still lacks the cohesive plot momentum of the two halves of season 1, it’s ironically sharper than where season 2 started by going more for bottle episodes.  Some of these are still springing off of the setup of the spilled mutagen and Foot Clan / Kraang partnership – two new mutants are featured, a couple of episodes tap directly into battling Kraang – but the writing feels much more focused on what’s happening intra-ep, giving us some fun new characters and sharp takes on returning ones.

Slash and Destroy, introducing 2012’s Slash, for example, is another wholly inspired take on a classic TMNT character, and offers an excellent emotional counterpoint for Raph.  The Good, The Bad, and Casey Jones features some of the most intense and excellent choreography yet, and folds Casey fully in to the core group.  And Metalhead Rewired repeats what’s becoming a good habit for the show: making good on nostalgia (Metalhead) by owning a character or concept in a way unique to the series.

But this set also gets an easy perfect rating from me thanks to it having two of my favorite episodes from the entire series: Fungus Humungous, which had a sequence so imaginative and well-animated that I had to send it on to my completely uncaring friends to have them experience the excellence, and Of Rats and Men, which not only badasses Rat King even more, but brings in one of the most consistently hilarious inclusions in the Nick show: Ice Cream Kitty.  ICK’s last scene here never fails to make me laugh out loud.

As the set also includes a short Casey Jones bonus feature, it meets the mark of trying to have extras.