Rise of the Turtles, Part 1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series) episode
Rise of the Turtles, Part 1 title.png
Season Code: 101
Episode: 1
Original airdate September 29, 2012
Written by Joshua Sternin & J.R. Ventimilia
Supervising Producer Ant Ward
Producers: Ciro Nieli
J.R. Ventimilia
Joshua Sternin
MacGregor Middleton
Peter Hastings
Directed by Michael Chang
Voice Direction Andrea Romano
Supervising Director  Ciro Nieli
Episode chronology
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"Rise of the Turtles, Part 2"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 1
September 29, 2012 - August 8, 2013
List of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes


  1. Rise of the Turtles, Part 1
  2. Rise of the Turtles, Part 2
  3. Turtle Temper
  4. New Friend, Old Enemy
  5. I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman
  6. Metalhead
  7. Monkey Brains
  8. Never Say Xever
  9. The Gauntlet
  10. Panic in the Sewers
  11. Mousers Attack!
  12. It Came From The Depths
  13. I, Monster
  14. New Girl in Town
  15. The Alien Agenda
  16. The Pulverizer
  17. TCRI
  18. Cockroach Terminator
  19. Baxter's Gambit
  20. Enemy of My Enemy
  21. Karai's Vendetta
  22. The Pulverizer Returns!
  23. Parasitica
  24. Operation: Break Out
  25. Showdown, Part 1
  26. Showdown, Part 2

Season 1Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4 - Season 5

"Rise of the Turtles, Part 1" is the first episode of the 2012 TV series, and is also part 1 of 2 of the series premiere. It first aired on September 29th, 2012.


When Splinter allows his sons, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to visit the surface for the first time, they discover that the surface world isn't as simple as it first appears.


Major characters

Minor characters



Objects and vehicles


Deep under New York City, the Turtles are sparring in their Lair; Leonardo against Michelangelo, and Raphael against Donatello. Mikey begins trying to discombobulate his older brother by using his agility to stay ahead of his attacks and trying to keep him off balance with taunts and boasts which are promptly silenced by Leo's cunning tactic of simply standing still then knocking the wind out of Mikey with the out-thrust hilt of his sword. Meanwhile Donnie suffers instant defeat when the more temperamental Raph simply steals his , breaks it half and whales on his shell until he taps out. Now it's down to just Leo and Raph. After exchanging terse but honorable pleasantries (or at least Leo attempting to) they charge each other! Raph manages to use his sai to disarm then flip Leo to the mat, making him the victor of the entire training session. Before he can gloat too much it comes to an abrupt end as their sensei, Splinter, orders them to stop. He congratulates all his adopted sons on their performance. When Raph boasts that he did better the sensei gently corrects him, explaining the purpose of the exercises isn't winning or losing but self-improvement. And when that doesn't work, uses a pinch technique on Raph's neck until he "appreciates" that the important thing is everyone did their best. His work done for the day the sensei chuckles to himself.

Later in the kitchen, Splinter and the Turtles' regular delicious meal of algae and worms is pleasantly interrupted by Mikey producing a cake (also made of algae, worms and an unidentified 'frosting') for their Mutation Day, a birthday like celebration of the day they were all mutated 15 years ago. At Mikey's pleading, and Raph's insistence it's the only way to get his brother to stop pleading, Splinter once more recounts the story of how they became the unlikeliest of families.

One day, while he was still a human, he bought four baby turtles at a pet store. As he was leaving a strange man bumped his shoulder on the street and, sensing something "off" about him, the sensei decided to follow. He found the stranger exchanging a canister full of a mysterious glowing substance with another, even identical strange man in an alley way. Unfortunately Yoshi's foot brushed against and startled a rat which screeched, alerting the two men. Yoshi found himself surrounded by even more of these strange men who attacked, leaving with no choice but to defend himself. The canister was broken open in the process, dousing the five of them with it's contents and causing them to mutate. Splinter, because he had stepped on the rat, underwent a painful transformation into a humanoid rat and the four baby turtles, because they were touched by human hands, rapidly evolved into humanoid states.

And Yoshi has kept the broken canister as a memento to this very day. Mikey has even taken to calling it "mom". Taking advantage of the topic Leonardo asks Splinter if they can finally be allowed to go up to the surface now that they are fifteen and pretty adept fighters. With a trademark moment of paradoxical wisdom Splinter admits that yes, the Turtles have grown in skill, but no, they cannot go to the surface as they lack the maturity necessary to use those skills wisely. Donatello believes he has discovered a loophole when he proposes, using Splinter's logic, that since wisdom can only come from experience and experience can only come from making mistakes the Turtles can be allowed to make the "mistake" of going top side. Splinter promptly shuts this line of reasoning down too, but after some more pleading (partly Leo stating the boys can't spend their entire lives in the sewers, partly also the Turtles literally pleading on their knees with puppy dog eyes) reluctantly agrees to let them go that night. The brothers rejoice with a High Three.

Leonardo passes the time until nightfall watching his favorite show, sci-fi classic "Space Heroes". This week's episode: the ship is rocked by an enemy bombardment! Ensign Crankshaw panics in the face of impending doom but Captain Ryan calmly slaps him, announcing he has a bold and daring plan! Leo is such a fanboy that at this point he's capable of mimicking the character's poses and dialogue exactly. Raphael, casually flipping through a horror comic book, makes fun of him for this but Leo is steadfast in his determination to become a great hero one day, just like his idol Captain Ryan. Donatello and Michelangelo arrive to announce it's "go time!" The Turtles' gear up with their signature weapons and prepare to leave. Splinter sends them off with many words of caution, particularly warning them to stay away from people (and filthy surface restrooms).

Once on the surface, the Turtles are fascinated by the "beauty" of the filthy alley they emerge in and the city beyond, drawn by years of being cooped up in the lair. With every corner they round and every block Michelangelo is particularly fascinated by a neon fortune tellers display, so much so that Raphael actually has to drag him back to the group by the mask tails. As they wonder what to do next they are caught in the approaching bike headlights of an unsuspecting pizza delivery boy. Both parties regard each other with uncertain surprise until Raph jokingly scares the kid away with a monster act. Leo suggests they use the rooftops to get around and avoid being exposed but Mikey notices the strange box that fell off the teen's bike, taking it with them out of sheer curiosity. He volunteers to taste the strange food first. Not only is it completely safe - it's also delicious, and the Turtles soon devour the entire thing. Thus, a life long culinary love is born.

After some fun hopping from rooftop to rooftop, Leo decides that they should pack it in for the time being and go home, but Donnie spots a father and daughter strolling along the street below them. Donatello is instantly in love, declaring her most beautiful girl that he's ever seen. Not even Raph countering that she's the ONLY girl he's ever seen can ruin the moment. Suddenly, a van pulls up in front of the two humans and a group of strange men, accompanied by a shifty looking driver, jump out and begin approaching them. Realizing they've stumbled upon a kidnapping Donnie is determined to save his new crush, but Leo is reluctant to disobey Master Splinter's orders to stay away from people. Donnie takes off anyway, Mikey and Raph leaping after him and forcing Leo to follow his stubborn brothers.

Just as the girl is about to get thrown into the van with her father, the Turtles come to her rescue...or try to. Though skilled, the ninjas find their opponents to be strangely stronger and more durable than humans should be. Even Raph can't flip them over. More pressingly the brothers have never fought as a unit before now and wind up getting in each other's way and snagging each other's weapons. At one point Leo actually impales Raph in the shell with both swords, the fortunately non-lethal accident setting the chagrined Turtle up for a punch in the face. Donnie notices one of the assailants carrying the struggling girl away, hurling his Bō into their back and catching her as she falls, putting on his most charming smile. It doesn't work and she freaks out, startling Donnie into dropping her. Though she backs away from him in fear he keeps slowly approaching her, reassuring her they're the good guys. With the menacing strangers closing in the girl makes eye contact, seeming to come around but just when Donnie offers her a hand up Mikey accidentally hits him in the head with one of his Nunchakus. Both end up getting kicked into each other by one of the weirdos. While they recover the men grab the girl and the van drives off with the two defenseless humans. Donnie chases after them with Leo and Raph, still squabbling about the sword-to-shell incident.

Mikey starts to follow, but is confronted by the one remaining bad guy. When his "hot nunchuck fury" prove useless, he flees, but ends up being cornered in a dead end alleyway. He swings blindly at his attacker with the Kusarigama blade in his remaining set of nunchucks, slashing the man's face open. Some kind of strange light pouring from the cut as the man staggers away and collapses. Curious, Mikey turns the body over and is shocked to find that the man is actually a robot with a brain-like alien in his torso which promptly screeches and springs from it's housing and onto his face. After a brief, intense struggle with the alien, Michelangelo catches up with his brothers and tells them what just happened, but they don't believe him. Leo even attempts to calm him down with a slap to the face, Captain Ryan style. It does not work. At all. He leads his brothers back to the alley, but the strange brain-like creature and its robotic body are gone.

The Turtles return home in shame, where Splinter scolds them for their failure. Due to a comment from Mikey, he decides that they are still not ready for the surface world then considers training them for another year before trying again. Donnie protests that the kidnap victims cannot wait that long. Stirred by his son's words, the sensei turns to a photograph from his previous life on the shelf behind him, the image of himself, a woman and their infant child. He remembers the sounds of flames and crashing timbers. Now determined not to allow history to repeat itself, Splinter agrees that the two must be saved, but that the Turtles must have a leader if they are to fight more effectively as a unit. Leo asks for the role first, but his brothers argue about it. Splinter retreats to his sanctum to meditate on the matter for about a second--it's Leonardo, much to Raphael's frustration. He storms off, telling his brother to stick it in his shell.

Back on the surface, Leo has the group stake out a building with the same logo as that of the kidnappers' van. He believes that the bad guys will eventually show up for them to interrogate if they wait long enough. Two hours pass and, just as Raph starts complaining that they are wasting their time, the same van from before pulls up. Leo begins to recite Captain Ryan's monologue about his "bold and daring" plan but finds his team has already taken off, leaving him to play catch-up again. As soon as the the driver steps out the Turtles surround him, but he surprises them with a handy laser gun and races off in the van. The Turtles then take to the rooftops and the chase is officially on.

Raphael tries to leap onto the van's roof but is sent crashing into a wall by a sharp swerve. The driver keeps the rest of the Turtles at bay by firing his strange weapon out the window at them. Eventually, Leonardo is able to burst one of the van's tires with a well aimed throwing star, causing it to crash and flip over. When the Turtles are able to get much closer to investigate, he uses hand gestures to order his brothers to approach from around the back...a move that would be more affective if his brother's had a clue what this gesticulating meant. As they close in, the back doors of the van open and a glowing canister unexpectedly rolls out and stops right at Michelangelo's feet. Recognizing it to look similar to the substance that transformed them 15 years ago, a shocked Mikey utters, "MOM?!?"



Donnie: "She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen."
Raph: "Isn't she the only girl you've ever seen?"
Donnie: "My point still stands."

Mikey: (While sparring with Leo) "How do you stop what you can't even see?"
Leo: (Leonardo hits him in the stomach) "Like that?"
Mikey: (On the floor) "Good one, Leo."

Raph: (To Snake) "Okay we can do this the easy way or, my vote, the hard way."
Donnie: "Yeah, look at it logically. There are four of us and one of you. What are you gonna do?"
(Snake grabs gun and starts shooting)
Raph: (to Donnie) "You HAD to ask!"

Splinter: "You all did very well."
Raph: "But I did better."
Master Splinter: "This is about self improvement, Raphael. Not about winning or losing."
Raph: "I know Sensei, but I won and they lost."
(Splinter pinches a pressure point on Raph's neck)
Raph: (In pain) "Ah, ah, ah! But, what's really important is that we all did our best! Good job, everyone!"
(Splinter lets go and chuckles)

Mikey: "I'm thinking of something green. Green. Greeeen..."
Donnie: (Bored) "Is it Raphael again?"
Mikey: "Man, you're good at this!"

Raph: (To Leo) "Give it up already! The guy is not gonna show up."
Leo: "We have to be patient."
Raph: "No! You have to come up with a better plan, 'cause us sitting here with our thumbs up our noses-"
Mikey: "I don't think they fit..."
Raph:"-Is pointless!"
Leo: (Smirks) "Are you sure about that Raph?"
Raph: "He just showed up, didn't he?" (Mutters) "I should've complained two hours ago!"

Mikey: "Guys! Guys! You're never gonna believe this. That guy he-- he... had a BRAIN!"
Leo: "We all have brains, Mikey."
Donnie: "Not all of us."
Mikey: "In our chests?!"
Leo: (Sighs) "No, Mikey. Not in our chests."
Mikey: "YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!" (Leo slaps him) "Did you just slap me?"
Leo: "I was calming you down."

(Leo makes signs with his hands that the others don't understand)
Raph: (While making signs too) "I don't know what that means!"
Leo: "Go around back!"
Mikey: "Why didn't he just say so?"


  • When the turtles first see a real pizza, they don't know what it is, and only suspect it is food. However, a scene earlier in the kitchen showed their pizza oven in the background, complete with a picture of a pizza with one slice cut out.
  • Various times, Donatello will use his staff like a pole vault and 'lose' it - however he always seems to have it in the next frame.


  • This episode originally aired as a "Series Preview" on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:00pm (ET) on Nickelodeon.
    • The episode premiered in its official time slot, Saturdays at 11:00am (ET), the following morning along with the second episode, "Rise of the Turtles, Part 2".
  • It was revealed that Hamato Yoshi mutates into Splinter, much like in the 1987 TV series.
  • When Splinter recounts the origin of the Ninja Turtles and is interrupted by Mikey, just to be told to shut up, it is a scene that develops very similarly to another one in the first 1990 live action film except for some small details:
    • On that occasion Splinter's story was for April O'Neil, not for the Ninja Turtles.
    • It was the other Ninja Turtles who protested against Mikey for interrupting Splinter's narration, instead of being Splinter himself who told him to remain silent.
  • April and her father are first introduced when walking in front of the Second Time About Antique Store, which April inherited from her father in the continuities of the live-action films & 2003 TV series.
    • The following episode will confirm that April and her father do in fact live above the store. This means the pair were only a few paces away from returning home before being abducted.
  • April screams upon first seeing Donnie, causing him to scream back, a tradition started in the first live action movie.
  • Raph's comic book has a picture of the 80's Mutagen Man on the cover.
  • When the Turtles start exploring the streets, one of the store windows they pass has the word "Ventimillia" on it. This is likely a reference to J.R. Ventimilia, one of the producers and writers for the series.
  • Leo's favorite show, Space Heroes, is reminiscent and a parody to the existing show Star Trek: The Animated Series.
  • This episode, along with the second one, were originally called "Day One, Part One" and "Day One, Part Two".