Season 1, Episode 4
Hot Rodding Teenagers From Dimension X
Air Date: December 17th, 1987
This episode shows Krang throwing down the gauntlet and telling Shredder that he is not going to get an iota of support from him until the build Krang’s new body. Shredder refuses and instead opens a portal to Dimension X (Krang’s war-torn homeworld) with the hopes of obtaining weapons and resources to take out the Turtles. Despite Krang’s warnings of not way of knowing what will crossover to Earth, Shredder opens a doorway to Dimension X, and before Krang can say “I told you so”, three war criminals called Neutrinos pop out of the portal with two massive Stone Warriors in hot pursuit.
Believe it or not, there is a lot of world building in this episode. While most of the villains that have been introduced over the last few episodes take a bit of a backseat this time, we get a few intriguing elements about Krang revealed to us. We’re told that Krang was banished to our planet for unknown reasons and untold amount of years ago. While we’re not told why Krang was banished, it’s revealed that, as punishment for his misdeeds, Krang had his body taken from him. This will come back later when Krang is incredibly embarrassed by people he knows seeing his bulbous and brainy form.
While the revelations of Krang’s backstory are seriously entertaining, the real show here is the introduction the Neutrinos, a small group of human-looking, teenage aliens from Dimension X.
Even the most die hard Turtles fan can be forgiven for thinking that the characterization of the Neutrinos is more than a little corny. What with their spiky hair, flashy clothing and penchant for 50’s-ish “street talk”, they could be viewed as kids who are trying way too hard to be cool. And the funny and endearing thing about them is that they are trying way too hard to be cool. Dimension X, their homeworld, is a land of constant war and loss. Adults fight over seemingly nothing, lose everything and force children to fight in battles they don’t believe in. The Neutrinos are a civilization within Dimension X that absolutely refuses to fight a fruitless war and devotes their whole livelihood and culture around having fun.
Krang’s army of Stone Warriors (we’ll get there) have been ordered to terminate any and all Neutrinos in their path. They are literally being hunted for not wanting to fight, that is some seriously dark subject matter for a kids cartoon trying to sell toys. The Neutrinos seen in this episode are named Zak, Kala and Dask and they make a dynamic debut by driving out of the Technodrome in flying Cadillacs.
In constant pursuit of the Neutrinos are Krang’s Stone Warriors, General Traag and Sergeant Granitor. The two soldiers will be a recurring presence on the show and offer an interesting foil to the Turtles as they are both proficient fighters and nearly indestructible. While the two show very little in terms of character development, it is interesting to see their reaction to Krang, which again gives a bit of world building as they instantly take a knee when seeing Krang, showing their allegiance to him. Krang rears back in their presence as he is still without his body, something that seems to be a symbol of status where he comes from.
After a brief scuffle with the Turtles, the Neutrinos take in both the sights and sounds of New York City. Choosing an arcade as both a hangout and hideout from the looming threat of Krang and his Stone Warriors. It’s here that we get the back story of who the Neutrinos are and what they want. Zak and Dask are both pilots and Kala has a staunch opposition to the constant war efforts in Dimension X. Interestingly enough, she instantly bonds with Michelangelo that hints at a budding relationship between the two, something that will be further explored as this series progresses.
While the rest of the episode proceeds the way you would expect, the Turtles fight more bad guys and send them back to Dimension X, the Neutrinos make the hard choice to head back to Dimension X and take the fight to Krang’s army of stone warriors. This is an interesting shift in their characters done in a small amount of time. While such a sudden turn would normally feel out of place, it feels natural here thanks to both the episode length and the shining example of heroism the Turtles show the Neutrinos. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this episode, but it is great to see our heroes inspiring others to fight the good fight, even if it’s something they might not necessarily want to do, they realize they have to to preserve their rights to enjoy life.
Although it still bothers me that Krang depends on Shredder to build him a new body when he seems more than capable to do it himself with the resources he has. On top of that, it is awesome to finally see the Turtle Van in action this episode. In the previous episode, the Turtles convert a van they stole from Baxter Stockman.
Poor Baxter, he’s not even in the episode and he’s still getting the shaft.