|“Lone Rat and Cubs”|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series) episode|
|Original airdate||August 13, 2017|
|Written by||Kevin Eastman|
|Supervising Producer||Ant Ward & Patrick Krebs|
|Directed by||Alan Wan|
|Voice Direction||Andrea Romano|
|Supervising Director||Ben Jones & Ciro Nieli|
Production-wise, it is the fifth episode of Season 5, as well as the one-hundred and ninth episode overall. It first aired on August 13th, 2017.
When Splinter is first mutated, he must learn to survive the life of a mutant on the run, all while protecting four baby mutant turtles.
- The Kraang (Nolan North)
- Splinter (Hoon Lee)
- Young Donatello (Rob Paulsen)
- Young Leonardo (Seth Green)
- Young Michelangelo (Greg Cipes)
- Young Raphael (Sean Astin)
Back in New York City in the 21st century, the episode opens as a flashback taking place during the Turtles' boyhood when Master Splinter was still alive, shortly following their mutation and eluding the Kraang, having founded their underground lair and just finished their first stage of their ninjutsu education. It's a prologue/prequel set before the series premiere (Rise of the Turtles).
One evening, Splinter's past self calls his young darling adoptive Turtle sons (who are young boys) to gather around in the dojo and tell them a story - but this time not the one that tells their origins as mutants, but one about the time that took place immediately afterward. After Hamato Yoshi along with the turtle babies, which he had just bought, had stumbled upon the Kraang's meeting, and had been mutated into a rat-man, as a result of the controversy, had not yet found a safe home, and because of their unnatural appearance they were forced to lead a shadowy existence in the heart of a human metropolis.
During a nightly search for food, however, Splinter again encountered the Kraang, who wanted to capture him and the Turtles for studying and therefore constantly searched for them. It is only through his ninjutsu knowledge that Splinter, with his accumulated supplies, returns to the hiding place of his sons, an unused water tower, where he begins to struggle with his fate and only the care for his proteges still gives him strength.
But very soon after his arrival, they find a crate of a probe droid. Splinter can quickly turn off the robot, but since their refuge is now compromised, he makes his way in the desperate attempt to find a new home with the turtle babies. But on the road, he is tracked down by another group of Kraang and forced first to fight and then to flee. After he can shake off his pursuers, he finds refuge in an abandoned storehouse, where he, stirred by the attachment of his little protégés, decides to baptize them according to his favorite artists from the time of the Renaissance Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Donatello. The five spend some time there in safety, and during these days Splinter noticed the intelligence and scholarship of his drawling sons and decided to train them in the ninjutsu. Additionally, Splinter names the Turtles after his favorite Italian artists of the Renaissance.
Unfortunately, they are again tracked by the Kraang and forced to flee. Splinter escaped with the turtle babies to the New York subway tunnels, where he discovered that the Kraang's detectors are no longer able capture them there. This fact and the numerous hiding places that this new environment offers to him, allow him to cheat his alien rivals and lurk in the shadows, but his attempt to make rapid progress from the tunnels to the surface again, is being reversed be a Kraangdroid and Sai, which blocked the carriage for his proteges. When one of the babies (Raph) is injured slightly, Splinter sees red and disassembles the machine in a berserk attack, but drew the rest of his oppressors back to his attention. He escapes from the subway tunnels into the sewers, where he leads the Kraang into a distribution chamber to the last battle. During the fight, however, the babies are pushed into a subterranean, flooded chamber, where the small turtles, trapped in the tipped car, threaten to drown.
Splinter frees them from their deaths, but then they are carried away from the flowing waters into the depths of the New York sewers. As he comes back to consciousness, he finds himself in a remote part of the urban metro system, where his proteges have brought him to safety - a place that finally becomes their home. Now at the end of his story, Splinter offers his sons their signature weapons they have personally come into contact with during their baby adventure, gives a philosophical reason as to why he gave them what, and announces that they are ready to start their training at the next level. The episode ends with young Leonardo, young Raphael, young Donatello and young Michelangelo continuing their training with their signature weapons at a more advanced stage.
- In contrast to earlier episodes, the family photo of Hamato Yoshi, Tang Shen and Miwa is mirror-oriented in this episode.
- This is a flashback/prequel that takes place before the events of the series premiere (Rise of the Turtles), set in NYC during the Turtles' boyhood shortly following their (and Master Splinter's) mutation by the Kraang. It shows how Splinter and the four Turtles, as babies, found their underground lair while being pursued by the Kraang.
- The title of this episode is based on the manga Lone Wolf and Cub (子連れ狼, Kozure Ōkami). Likewise, the shopping cart, in which Splinter carries the Turtles around for the bulk of the episode, refers to this series.
- The Kraang quote the Daleks from Doctor Who by saying "Exterminate!" & the Borg from Star Trek by saying "Resistance is futile".
- This episode is written by Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the voice of Ice Cream Kitty.
- The first part of the story shows some similarities to the chapter "Enemies Old, Enemies New" #1 of the IDW comics.
- It's revealed that Raph got the lightning bolt-shaped crack in his plastron shell on his chest after being run over by a shopping cart as an infant.
- It's revealed that Splinter and the Turtles first discovered their sewer lair by narrowly escaping a watery grave in the sewers.
- As children, Splinter gave Leonardo, Raphael and Donatello special reasons why they received their weapons, but for Michelangelo, Splinter claims "they're perfect for [him]."
- Splinter's line "Within in the tunnels, I could choose the battle ground. Where I could strike hard, and fade away in the shadows", is a reference to Leonardo's line from the TMNT issue #1 "We strike hard, and fade away into the night".
- During his last fight with the Kraang, Splinter speaks of the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC).
- This is the last episode (besides "Carmageddon!") to feature Master Splinter.
- This is also the last episode to include the Kraang.
- When Splinter first returns to the abandoned water tower with food for the baby turtles, an action figure of the Mighty Super Robo Mecha from Super Robo Mecha Force Five! can be seen.
- The water tower where Splinter and the Turtles are staying in the beginning of the episode is a reference to the water tower the Turtles were staying at during the City at War arc from the Mirage comics.