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Old 03-02-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
Pterobat
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Classic Ep Talkback: Son of Return of the Fly II


Episode #79"Son of Return of the Fly II"
Written by David Wise
Directed by Bill Wolf
Original Air Date: September 8th, 1990

(I like rambling about stuff, so t his is probably longer than most talkbacks.)

First of the CBS episodes, according to Wikipedia, but I've got no idea either way, since I never kept track of the change from syndication to network status when I was a tyke.

I can't say I notice any radical changes in tone or presentation from the earlier episodes, but I tend to be slow on the uptake when it comes to things like that.

But this is officially my favourite Baxterfly episode. I know that some wish he were a stronger villain, or remained a regular minion of the Shredder, but I like him as an idiot and a wild card: a silly character who nonetheless is trouble for both sides of the main cast.

Also, changing Baxter's form and personality would be kind of pointless if he just played the same role in the story as before.

(Except for, you know, the whole "marketing an action figure" thing. That's understandable.)

I can't look at the title "Son of Return of the Fly II" without thinking of the joke that "The Venture Brothers" made with "Return to the House of Mummies: Part 2".

Of course, it's never explained how the ship's computer transformed into a desktop PC, or how Baxter got out of the inter-dimensional spider's web. But it doesn't matter that much, really.

(I really wish I knew where the name "Zee" for the computer came from, since it's easier than trying to write about a character with no name)

I enjoyed the previous episodes where Baxterfly acts on his own, but the whole thing with the computer is just some wonderful inspired weirdness: Seth Brundle and HAL 9000 hanging out.

I also like that we never know if the computer is using Baxter or genuinely likes him. The constant compliment-feeding comes off as incredibly smarmy, especially since he obviously can see how dumb Baxter is, but that smarminess might not have been meant to say anything.

Baxter's side of it seems to be genuine, though, as he seems to chase the main villains back to Channel 6 because he knows they're going after the computer, and joins in the tug-of-war over the computer man.

Which is always funny to me because I remember the human Baxter hating artificial intelligence in "The Mean Machines", back-sassing OMNISS. The writers probably don't remember the difference, but it's fun anyway.

The computer is also clearly the one running the show, but that's fine: Baxter still gets his good moments of villainy, and he might just naturally be a follower. Besides, that computer is a surprisingly effective villain.

Oh god, I just love how idiotic and childlike Baxter is in this episode. He's asked to kidnap April, and instead kidnaps Vernon, *twice*, can't remember her name for more than a second, keeps walking through walls, and is distracted by sugar.

At the same time, it's a tiny bit sad that a former scientist, even one as nebbish and evil as Baxter was, keeps losing his faculties and acts like he's regressed in age.

The fuss made over Baxter's footprint has always struck me as weird, if for no reason other that Baxter's feet look almost the same as the Turtles' and nobody seems to notice.

But naturally, Splinter is the first one to figure stuff out.

As I said above, I'm convinced that Baxter's computer was meant to be a parody of Hal 9000, and his taking over the station could be another homage to it. Especially since "Invasion of the Turtle Snatchers" already had a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"Because I'm a big fly!" Impeccable logic, there, Baxter.

I love the clock tower trap: very Adam West Batman. Though I also can't help but think of the Edgar Allan Poe story, "A Predicament", when a woman gets her head cut off by the hand of a clock.

Raphael seems to be quoting Joan Rivers when he asks, "Baxter, can we talk?"

"By Ninja Law…." Dammit, Shredder, you just made that up, didn't you?

I love Baxter smacking Shredder and Rocksteady's heads together using both sets of arms. It's just really funny to me that such an ineffectual character is, at least in this episode, shown to be physically very strong.

"Only the most highly-skilled ninja master could get out of these ropes." *Leo cuts Donnie free* "Hi, Leonardo." Love that exchange.

Is this considered to be one of the episodes that has the more cartoony animation style? Actually, it works here, and it usually works for me, anyway. This is a comedic show, after all.

I love the computer's facial expressions, too. He looks very smug and evil.

Oh, hey, you can see Bebop's eyes near the end for a few seconds.

The "Destruction of other people's property...." running joke is great here. Raphael being annoyed with Donatello over it also cracks me up every time.

The twist that Mr. Mellish is a mercenary, money-hungry bastard and could have blown up that chip at any time is also great. It's a little sharper than the show's normal humour, but that's also the style of cartoon humour that I grew upon.

And there goes Baxter, stuck between dimensions. This is why I can't get so broken up over "Revenge of the Fly", when several Baxterfly episodes had already ended like that. It's just that his episodes stopped, not that there was real finality.

Why the heck is Vernon shaving in the office, and just after a major incident? It's a really bad set-up for that final joke this show always makes, when it looks like the enemy of the episode might be back, but it turns out to be something harmless.

But overall, this was the kind of hilarious, insane episode that makes the OT memorable.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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This was the first episode with the second theme song animation, so it was a, "new start" for the series.

The episode itself is indeed excellent, it was written by head writer David Wise and it shows, he usually wrote all the best or most important eps of the original toon. You already mentioned all the good points and lines so I don't want to repeat it.

I just wish the entire original toon had episodes on consistent quality like this one, it really feels like eps like this is what the entire show actually should have been like. I am actually very forgiving when it comes to the old show episodes, even the bad ones are still watchable because of how silly they are and they still have a good joke or two.

But yeah, if the old toon was written as a short 13-26 episode themed season like shows of today, you could literally whittle it down to all the best episodes like this one and get a short condensed version of the original toon at its best.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:14 AM   #3
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Man, Pterobat REALLY had a lot of thoughts about this episode!

I liked how Baxter finally got a buddy in his living computer. I always figured the CPU would betray him too over time. Poor guy...
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:29 AM   #4
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I thought it was pretty cool how they started to make Raphael more of a badass like his film counterpart, wanting to bust his way into Channel 6. In older episodes he was a little more level-headed.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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I'm guessing different writers and the fact that the show was supposed to end with "The Big Blowout" so they had to hurry and get stories done, with the inconsistencies in this episode among others with Baxter's shrinking intelligence, Z being a computer and having a name. If this aired first it would be confusing since it mentions a volcano erupting which would happen later in The Dimension X story.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cammy85 View Post
and the fact that the show was supposed to end with "The Big Blowout"
Do you have a source for that? They still made a few more episodes for syndication after Big Blow Out before they moved to CBS Saturday mornings.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanwinters View Post
Do you have a source for that? They still made a few more episodes for syndication after Big Blow Out before they moved to CBS Saturday mornings.
I know that this is the first one with the second of the three openings and the removal of the title card. While I assumed Plan Six From Dimension X was the first one aired on CBS this is the one that changed the intro.


I liked having Z with Baxter. There is continuity here because Z was the alien computer of the long abandoned alien ship from "Bye, Bye Fly!". The character had potential and I missed him in "Landlord of The Flies". His mind seems to have become more dimwitted and more fly-like causing the need to have Z do the thinknig for him. Its shame because Baxter was a mad scientist after all.Too bad there was not a follow up from revenge of the fly. I always wanted to see Baxter restored to human form and prehaps after Z helped Baxter become human again go against him. A plotline of missed opportunities!


The title of this episode more than any other got my attention. Son Of Return of The Fly II ? As a kid it left me scracthing my head. I do know believe its title is making fun of the b-movies constant sequels and thus typical titles. Son of The Fly works better if not a wierd way of referring to Z.

While he has never been one of my favorite characters all of Baxter's apperances especially as a fly as memorable. Due to that I like the fly possibility to return some day.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:01 PM   #8
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I don't think PLan Six aired on CBS. It aired after the CBS first season was done, as a way to bridge the gap between seasons, plus add extra episodes of their own. But anyways, while this was Baxter at his dumbest it was a pretty great episode.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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Oldmanwinters: Yeah, I talk a lot when I want to. It's the English Major in me.

I'm going to space my stuff out, but I'll probably go back and look at some of my other favourite episodes in this sort of way eventually.

I haven't exactly gone looking for any source as to whether or not "The Big Blowout" was meant to be a series finale, so I'm not going to say it *was*...but I can see others making the assumption, because it feels like a finale.

It's the long, drawn-out attack on the villains' major fortress that they've tried to get running since forever, and the Turtles are hailed as heroes in the end. So...I can see it being intended as a finale.

Everything else: Honestly, I'm reluctant to want more Baxterfly episodes, because I don't want him to have been overused. I'm from the school of thought that a little bit of a beloved minor character goes a long way, and asking for more is asking for trouble.

But if he had more episodes, I don't think Baxter would have become human again. This show was firmly settled in its status quo, and furthermore, it's not the kind of show where villains get what they want. I dunno, I just can't think outside that box, and this is coming from someone who likes FW Baxter more as a human.

I'm not that interested in a modernized Baxterfly either. I love the other versions of Baxter Stockman, but being a fly isn't important to the character, and I can't see it fitting into any current plots because it would grind Baxter's role to a halt.

I like Baxterfly *because* he could only exist with the OT tone: stupid, crazy, and silly.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:16 PM   #10
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cammy85 you are right. The syndicated episodes aired (and may have been made?) after season 4 ended. The Dimension X Story aired first for the CBS episodes (besides the primetime premiere of "The Cufflink Caper"), so it did make sense when airing (the DVDs just screwed up the order). This episode aired the second week along with the Mona Lisa episode. Every week was usually a "Shredder" episode aired with a "turtle-centric/villain of the week" episode. This is how it was where I lived. Perhaps it was different elsewhere?

The Baxter episodes are some of my favorite episodes. It was actually a terrible tragedy that he was losing his mind but it was pulled off in a comedic way. It was great in this episode when he couldn't remember April's name (or sex) and asked Mr. Thompson if he was September O'Neil.

The end scene in the clock tower was quite evil for Baxter. Imagine the spectacular mess if he had succeeded in killing the Turtles in that manner. He's come a long way from being an average nervous inventor who was just trying to make a living. Shredder really ****** him up.

It would've been great to see Baxter's ultimate fate, and one of my disappointments with the series was that his story never got a satisfying ending. Even though he became pretty evil, I always liked his character and would've liked to see him get a happy ending. If I remember right, "Revenge of the Fly" was pretty much this episode with a few different story points, but it ended pretty much the same, with him stuck between dimensions.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:47 PM   #11
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Useless factoid about this episode; everytime the series aired in the UK it's always been the Season 4 premiere. In fact it seemed all the CBS season 4 episodes episodes were aired before the sydicated ones here in the UK.

Anyhoo this was a pretty cool episode. Despite being very cartoony in its animation the intro of the turtles rescuing Herman J. Melish in the alley was pretty cool like it was like a scene out of one of the movies. In the Fred Wolf show it was rare we saw the turtles in that kind of setting.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:53 PM   #12
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Good memory!! All this talk makes me want to watch this episode again. I'm going through the ones with MP3 commentary right now. Though I thought Raphael Knocks 'Em Dead (with Baxter's human twin) aired with is one? It's been too long and I'm just going off the old schedule and the DVDs.

Like I said, this was the worst when it came to Baxter's post-mutation competency but Landlord and Revenge made up for it strangely. Baxter's episodes were my favorites too. You're right about his character here when he captured the Turtles: revenge was his undoing as Splinter always says (had to clean it up).
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:13 AM   #13
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You're right, it was "Raphael Knock Em Dead". I remember because both episodes featured a Stockman. Yeah, my memory is great when it comes to useless information. Funny how that works.

Is it me or does the computer seem to have a repressed anger issue? He almost lost his temper with Baxter a few times in this episode but quickly regained his composure. He didn't even seem very upset when he was reduced to a circuit board at the end. I bet he has plenty of rage boiling inside of him.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:52 AM   #14
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Why does it matter what order the episodes aired on TV? Networks are known to air new episodes of shows completely out of order. The fact is this episode was the start of the second theme song animation, and all those syndicated Season 4 eps have the first opening theme, which implies they are older episodes.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:34 AM   #15
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It really doesn't matter, hence my statement of remembering useless information.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:13 AM   #16
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You're right, it was "Raphael Knock Em Dead". I remember because both episodes featured a Stockman. Yeah, my memory is great when it comes to useless information. Funny how that works.

Is it me or does the computer seem to have a repressed anger issue? He almost lost his temper with Baxter a few times in this episode but quickly regained his composure. He didn't even seem very upset when he was reduced to a circuit board at the end. I bet he has plenty of rage boiling inside of him.
Cool. But they didn't even try to make Barney's voice sound more like Baxter the human. Maybe he has anger issues too?

Yeah, he does get impatient with Baxter a few times here. Maybe that explains Baxter's sudden intelligence increase in his next two appearances? Now that he was a computer with a body it's easy to get irritated by Baxter now.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:10 PM   #17
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I think by the time of "Raphael Knocks 'Em Dead", Pat Fraley was used to doing the Baxtefly voice, and that's what was used for Barney Stockman, minus the buzzing.

So they're supposed to sound the same, I think, just that the type of voice had changed.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:18 PM   #18
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Barney Stockman was probably only created so the writers could re-use Baxter's human design without de-mutating him. That and he filled the role of any generic mad scientist they would have used instead in that ep.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:51 PM   #19
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Barney Stockman was probably only created so the writers could re-use Baxter's human design without de-mutating him. That and he filled the role of any generic mad scientist they would have used instead in that ep.
Very dang likely, yeah.

I kind of like him, though. He's a one-joke character, but I like that he's got a different personality than Baxter's, though probably only by accident.

I can't watch "Raphael Knocks 'Em Dead" very often though, since the rest of it is sooooo terrible.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:16 AM   #20
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I don't think PLan Six aired on CBS. It aired after the CBS first season was done, as a way to bridge the gap between seasons, plus add extra episodes of their own. But anyways, while this was Baxter at his dumbest it was a pretty great episode.
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