Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blast from the Past #415: July 11, 2004: First draft Ep. 84 ("Grudge Match")

Subj: Re: TMNT - Ep 84 first draft
Date: Sunday, July 11, 2004 12:57:09 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


The profiles for 80 and 81 are fine. The first draft for Ep. 84 has some problems. Here are my comments.

1.) Re: the following:

"In a ghostlike fashion, THREE GYOJIS rise out of the pedestals, passing through the warfans until their hands reach them – at which point they take the warfans with them as they rise.  NOTE:  The FOURTH pedestal remains empty. "

I'm still baffled as to why there are THREE Gyogi's. And why it is significant enough to mention that the fourth pedestal is empty. What's up with that? These are very specific details that seem to add up to nothing -- they appear to have NO effect on what happens in this episode. What's the point?

2.) Re: the following:

"CLOSE ON AMMAG – he sees Michelangelo.

No!  Not again!  Destroy the Turtles!"

Not only does this line of Ammag's sound like a tired cliche from the mouth of the (old) Shredder, I don't understand why -- given the setup here -- he's saying "Not again!"

3.) Re: the following:

"Daimyo smiles as Splinter continues watching his sons below.

While nothing can stop the match, ten thousand years of rules certainly lets me handle with the likes of Ammag."

I think there is an unnecessary "with" in that last line.

4.) Right around here this story degenerates into a bunch of silly brawling and really becomes boring and pointless. And what happens to the concept of this match being fought under the rules of "Agemo"? Such a big deal is made of that idea -- and now it's apparently forgotten, as MIke beats Kluh in the end by tapping him with one finger. I'm not expecting that Mike is going to KILL him, but SOMETHING needs to be mentioned or done to address this "Agemo" issue.

5.) Re: the following:

"ANGLE – Dieskrad slowly struggles to get up, the unconscious Levram still on top of him.  He looks up, only to have AMMAG KICK HIM, knocking him against the back wall of the stands."

Why is Dieskrad "struggling" to get up? I thought when the Levrams were knocked unconscious they reverted to their "puny" forms... surely that can't be holding Dieskrad back too much.

6.) Re: the following:

Ammag!  You are in violation of BattleNexus law!  Surrender!

Ammag turns to see Gyoji hovering over him, with TWENTY of DAIMYO’s SOLDIERS behind him."

And what law is it, exactly, that Ammag is in violation of? Brawling in the stands? If so, it would seem that the Turtles would be equally in violation.

7.) This episode begins promisingly, but really falls apart in the last quarter. There is just too much motiveless jumping around and fighting, and Ammag as a character just makes little sense -- if he's such a stickler for BattleNexus rules and traditions (using them to make sure his son gets his rematch), why is he continually flouting them and starting brawls?

I think the ending to this story really needs to be rethought, and I will copy here a suggestion I made at the outline stage which was apparently ignored, but I think it might offer some possibilities:

"Another option is to use the Levrams' sneaky approach against them -- as I suggested in my last email, Don could spend some time researching the rules of the BattleNexus, and at the last minute find some obscure and little-invoked counter to the "Agemo" challenge. Perhaps something that allows the challenged to choose the location of the fight, or the types of weapons used, or something else that would give Mikey a strategic advantage. "

The "Don reads the scrolls and finds something in them" bit is referenced ONCE in this script, in the following line:

"Donatello turns to Gyoji, looking up at the scroll.

I want to see that scroll… maybe there’s a loophole in BattleNexus law…"

... which is then promptly forgotten. If so, why even have it in there?

8.) There is also a big problem with the concept of this "Agemo" thing, i.e. the battle to the death. I understand that this is the writer's attempt to inject more drama and conflict into the story, but, given the nature of the BattleNexus as we have set it up, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The Daimyo has gone to a lot of trouble and effort to create a competition which specifically AVOIDS mortal combat. And it further makes even LESS sense that even if the Agemo challenge was legal, that the Daimyo would allow a contestant to agree to it without knowing what it means.

9.) There is also a problem with the main "villains" of this piece, the Levrams, specifically Kluh and his dad Ammag. If you think about it, they actually DO have a legitimate gripe in the sense that there was enough grey area around Mike's BattleNexus win, what with all the stuff that went on that interfered with the tournament. And the Daimyo recognizes the legitimacy of their complaint, and grants Kluh the rematch.

  So how do we get from there to the point where they are all psychos who will do anything so that Kluh wins the rematch, including "destroying the Turtles"? Even their initial attack on the Turtles on Earth makes no sense, if what Kluh and Ammag want is for Kluh to legitimately win the BattleNexus championship.

  And why are they so pissed at Mike, anyway? I mean, it wasn't HIS fault that all that stuff happened during the BattleNexus tournament.

I think this episode would benefit greatly from some serious rethinking of who the Levrams are and WHY they are doing what they are doing.

-- Pete

1 comment:

  1. Dieskrad? Agemo? Somebody's having fun with the Kirby references. Not sure I like the idea of mixing the Fourth World references with Hulk ones, though, and the writers apparently agreed, since two don't make it to the final episode, as I remember.