Friday, September 30, 2011

Blast from the Past #416: July 17, 2004 notes on a variety of things (a busy day!)

Subj: note on 86 premise
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2004 3:20 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here is my note on Ep. 86 premise.

1.) This should be an interesting episode. One possible change -- what if, instead of the perimeter alarms going off and the sewers flooding in through the doors, we do something a little more subtle (at first) and possibly creepier? My suggestion would be that the pond in the center of the lair begins to rise, nearly imperceptibly at first, then noticed by one of the Turtles as he walks across the floor and realizes that he is walking over a wet floor covered by a quarter inch depth of water. Then the pond could erupt into a torrent which flushes the Turtles and Splinter out of the lair (and maybe even lets in lets in Leatherhead, who inexplicably -- or at least until we realize it's all a mystic vision and not "real" -- EATS Klunk the cat... or if not Leatherhead, maybe a shark could come in through that torrent and do the same).
The reason I suggest having the flood coming from WITHIN rather than WITHOUT is that I think it would be scarier for the Turtles (and the viewer) to have something (the pond) that is perceived as docile and safe suddenly and unexpectedly turn into a source of terrible peril.

-- Pete


Subj: notes on Ep. 85 outline
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2004 3:18:12 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on Ep. 85 outline

1.) Re: the following:

" Against his peoples’ custom, Raptarr left the flying city to go down to surface; his main purpose was to keep an eye on Mephos.  But, Raptarr found that he could not but help the humans; it was in his heart to be of service to those in need. "

I think it might be cool to establish that Raptarr takes on a kind of superhero identity in part as a way to disguise his origin and deflect curious minds from pursuing any connection from him back to his people. With this in mind he could in fact wear a superhero-type costume, perhaps something similar to what he wears in the TMNT comics.

2.) I know it's probably a budgetary/time thing, but I find the idea that Mephos and FIVE guards are enough to lay waste to the flying city in the manner described here. Perhaps it might be better to have them attack in a slightly more circumspect manner, perhaps using some amount of stealth.
Perhaps even more problematic is the reason for Mephos' attack -- what does he gain from destroying the flying city -- and even more to the point, what do those guards (who join him so quickly and conveniently -- perhaps TOO conveniently) stand to gain? Where do THEY go once the flying city is destroyed? It seems to me that perhaps something a bit more logical is in order -- maybe Mephos' plan is not to destroy the city, but to take it over and remake it under his direction.
I am somewhat concerned about how quickly and easily the guards fall in with Mephos and his plan -- are we to believe that for all this time these guards have been so bitter and disaffected while serving the flying city? And all it takes is for Mephos to show up again and they're on his side in an instant? Something doesn't quite parse there. Perhaps we could establish that Mephos has some kind of mind-controlling gizmo or power that helps him to force the guards to fight for him.

3.) The final fight aboard the flying city and its resolution -- Mephos' metal wings being melted by the Turtles somehow "refracting crystal energy" --- is way too cheesy for my tastes. I think either it needs to be reworked, or we need to rework Mephos' plan, or both.

4.) Re: the following:

"The turtles vow to help Raptarr stop Mephos.  Donatello builds turtle wings and rigs a small Y’Lantian crystal (from the lair) to hone in of the flying city."

The way this is written, it seems like Don just -- on the spot -- whips up these "turtle wings". I hope that is just writer's shorthand, and in reality, these "turtle wings" are something he had been working on previously. Also, it seems a bit much that Don can use a crystal from the lair and duplicate the special qualities of Raptarr's "crystal diadem" which was stolen by Mephos -- I think it would be better if whatever he rigs up doesn't work perfectly and they almost crash into the flying city while using it (or something like that).

-- Pete


Subj: notes on Ep. 87 premise
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2004 3:22:25 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on Ep. 87 premise.

1.) I'm unclear about the nature of the "strange organic manipulations that are mostly cosmetic, with no practical “super soldier” applications" that Stockman is working on for Bishop. Are these actual "aliens" he is making, or are they like "alien" prosthetics which will be worn by Bishop's men to SIMULATE aliens? I think the latter is more logical -- the former implies perhaps a bit too much capability for Stockman and/or Bishop.

2.) Re: the following:

"When the President comes to town, the Turtles are out and about, following the motorcade from the rooftops, playing “Avoid the Secret Service,” and hoping to catch a glimpse of the guy."

I think it might be fun for one of the Turtles -- maybe Mikey -- to say something (perhaps a little bit wistfully) about how cool it would be if THEY could be on the Secret Service, protecting the President with their special ninja skills.

3.) Re: the following:

"But as the motorcade reaches the U.N., Bishop’s “Alien Invasion” begins!  A huge alien ship (similar in appearance to the one from the desert, but much bigger and more elaborate) appears over the U.N.

Similar ships appear popping up over the rest of the city.

Alien shock troops disembark.

The Turtles leap in to fight these new invaders, throwing a wrench into Bishop’s well laid plans."

A whole bunch of questions here. Although it is soon revealed that the other ships are holographic fakes and the one over the UN is the only "real" one, where did Bishop get this "real" one?
Do the "alien" shock troops only disembark from this "real" ship, or also from the others -- and if so, how do they do that if those others are just projections?
Do the Turtles reveal themselves to the public when they "leap in" to fight the "aliens"?

4.) Re: the following:

"The Turtles eventually figure out that this entire invasion is a sham, perpetrated by Bishop.

They manage to shut him down, causing Bishop to end his “invasion” in one day. "

I'm still not clear on how the Turtles manage to "shut him down", but I'm getting the idea that everyone BESIDES the Turtles (and Bishop and Stockman) in this story are all idiots. Does no one else see the pretty lame fakery here? Is the President that gullible? What happens to the ship above the UN? Is it destroyed? Does it just fly away?

5.) Re: the following:

"And the Turtles are left to wonder about Bishop .  If he’d destroy NYC just to secure funding for his experiments… just how dangerous is this guy?"

"Destroy NYC"...? Why would they assume THAT? I see nothing in this story to indicate that NYC is in any serious danger of being "destroyed". And didn't the Turtles just figure out that whatever danger Bishop's "aliens" posed (mostly to the President), it was all FAKE anyway? What a ridiculous conclusion for them to make. Anyway, given their past experiences with Bishop, they don't need anything else to demonstrate to them that he is a serious threat.

-- Pete


Subj: notes on Ep. 88 premise
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2004 3:23:37 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on Ep. 88 premise.

1.) Re: the following:

"Don’s scanning can only go so far with the equipment he has - - but he’s recently had April order him some new, more advanced equipment.  It’s been on back order for a while, but they’ve assured Don it should be arriving any day now, and once it does - - "

I think we should lose this whole bit, as it only seems to be in here to help get the Turtles and Casey involved in the Purple Dragons' heist, and raises some problematic issues. One of these is -- where did Don get the MONEY to "order" through April this "new, more advanced equipment"?

2.) Boy, somebody must REALLY like this "sky heist" idea! (It seems to be virtually identical to the one proposed for another, earlier Hun/Purple Dragons episode.) It is now SLIGHTLY more palatable and credible (given that the PD have had some time to train themselves), but it still skirts the edges of credulity. And things like Casey stuffing a parachute in his golf bag and then deploying it to save not only himself but Leo AND Raph (!!!) are just silly -- why isn't the chute just torn from the golf bag (did Casey have time to solidly attach it?) or for that matter, the golf bag from Casey's shoulder (remember, we're talking about the full weight of one big guy and two mutant turtles all dangling from ONE little strap)? And I don't think your average single parachute is rated to safely land THREE people.

2.) Re: the following:

"After the ceremony, Karai walks through the crowd to the dapperly dressed Hun.  They leave the party to a private room and have a little chat.  Karai is happy and surprised that Hun made it to the dedication.  She’s seen the news lately and realizes he’s been busy.

Hun tells her that the city is big enough for the both of them.  He’ll stay out of her way as long as she grants him the same courtesy.  The conversation quickly turns to Oroku Saki.  Hun cannot believe that Karai still reveres the Shredder.  He was an alien slug.  He can’t understand how she could have known that all this time and still served him.  Even now she still serves him!

Karai silences Hun; yes, she served the Shredder.  The Shredder gave her a life… he was her father!  And Karai vows in his name that she will hunt down those who were responsible for destroying him and she will make them pay with their lives."

I'm sure Karai would be "surprised" that Hun made it to the dedication, but I'm not so sure about "happy". As far as I am aware, there is no love lost between the two of them. Rather than "surprised and happy", I would say "surprised and wary".
I also think this might be a good opportunity to have Karai get a little more specific about the fact that her love/loyalty to the Shredder/Oroku Saki transcends whatever physical form he had, and is more directly tied to whatever SOUL he possessed... to Karai, what he looked like was irrelevant. It might even be good to have her say something vague about hoping to someday rescue him from his imprisonment (IF that doesn't contradict anything).

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Rat King
Date: Saturday, July 17, 2004 3:25:39 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 7/16/04 10:13:43 AM, Lloyd Goldfine writes:

Hey Pete –
 I was thinking about the Rat King, and about how you used him in both City at War and the new TMNT book, and how your interpretation differs from his original appearance by Jim.  I really like the Rat King as a “death’s head” kind of figure (even a delusional one), and I’ve been trying to see if there’s a way to weave him into another episode. 
 If have a moment, could you try and articulate your take on the guy.  He’s so vaguely defined (which makes him both intriguing and problematic).  How do you think he functions as a character?  Why Does Splinter, who never really encountered him before in the comics, see him when near death in City of War? 
 If you get this early today and can respond, that would be extra helpful (but not mandatory).
 Hope all is well in Northampton… have a great weekend.


I think the "vaguely defined" nature of the Rat King is one of the main reasons why I was so resistant to giving him a clear origin (i.e. as one of Bishop's experiments) -- I think it's cool to have a really mysterious character.

At the end of his first appearance in the comics (Tales # 4), it is unclear whether or not he will survive. He's been hit with shuriken and fallen from a great height into to a pit in the old factory, where he is surrounded by rats. It's ambiguous. Later , in the City at War issues, Splinter's encounter with the Rat King (a character he would surely have HEARD about from his sons after their encounter with him) was ALSO left, very deliberately, ambiguous... you were never sure -- except perhaps when you saw the leather-wrapped skeleton near the end -- whether the Rat King was really there or was just a figment of Splinter's fevered mind in his injured body.

And when I had the Rat King appear in that one panel in Splinter's death scene in Vol. 4, I was being even MORE ambiguous (if that's even possible) -- was Rat King really there? Was it his spirit? Did Splinter even see anything, or was it just his imagination? I either don't know or can't/won't tell (you pick).

My gut feeling is that he DID die in the comics, and it was either his spirit or Splinter's fevered brain (or perhaps a combination of those two things) that "brought him back" in the City at War issues. However, I prefer to leave it a mystery.

The Rat King as we are establishing him in the show, however, is a different can of worms. We know where he came from. Where he GOES is another question... one I think is wide open. And I'm open to any number of possibilities.

-- Pete


  1. Its a shame you were unable to weae him into abnother episode aside from the observing of the wedding. It was disappointing to see Rat King like Shredder turn out not to be human. I am curious of all of the more or less one shot characters what inspired Rat King to appear in the '87 cartoon? I enjoy the mysterious nature of the cahracter the most of the character. Great addition by Jim Lawson!

  2. "mikeandraph87 said...
    I am curious of all of the more or less one shot characters what inspired Rat King to appear in the '87 cartoon? I enjoy the mysterious nature of the character the most of the character. Great addition by Jim Lawson!"

    I wish I could answer that question. I would like to say that someone at Murakami Wolf recognized the coolness of the character and thought he would make a great addition to the show, but I can't, because Kevin and I had virtually nothing to do with the crafting of that show after the first few episodes. That wasn't our choice, but it's the way it turned out. It's one of the things that made me very grateful for the experience of working with Lloyd and the 4Kids crew. -- PL