|“Within the Woods”|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series) episode|
|Original airdate||October 3, 2014|
|Written by||Brandon Auman|
|Supervising Producer||Ant Ward|
|Directed by||Sebastian Montes|
|Voice Direction||Andrea Romano|
|Supervising Director||Ciro Nieli|
"Within The Woods" is the first episode of the third season of the 2012 TV series, and the fifty-third episode overall in the series. It first aired on October 3rd, 2014.
After Leonardo awakes three months after escaping New York, the others come to grips with the possibility that Leonardo won't get better. However, things only get worse when a new mutant captures Raphael.
- April O'Neil (Mae Whitman)
- Creep (debut)
- Casey Jones (Josh Peck)
- Donatello (Rob Paulsen)
- Leonardo (Seth Green)
- Michelangelo (Greg Cipes)
- Raphael (Sean Astin)
- Crognard The Barbarian (debut)
- Dr. Cluckingsworth (cameo)
- Foot-Bots (flashback only)
- The Kraang (flashback only)
- Kraang Prime (flashback only)
- Oroku Saki/Shredder (flashback only)
- Hamato Yoshi/Splinter (flashback only)
The episode opens with April recounting what happened at the end of season 2, with how the Kraang conquered all of Manhattan, how they lost Master Splinter and Leo got badly injured during his fight with the Shredder. Three months have passed since this disastrous event. The group takes refuge at April's old family (grandparent's) home in the countryside at a farmhouse in the woods. When they arrive, they unload the unconscious Leo, strip him of his ninja gear and mask, and place him in a bathtub in the bathroom filled with warm water for him to stay hydrated and recover. Raph watches over him constantly while Mikey mostly goofs around and does some chores around the house, Donnie sets up a makeshift lab in the old barn and works on making a medicine to help Leo get better, Casey gets to work repairing an old truck, and April spends most of her time training with the turtles and trying to keep everyone together, though she misses New York, her dad, and Master Splinter.
During one of their daily training sessions outside, the turtles admit that they're frustrated with the fact that they're meant for the sewers and not for a farmhouse in the woods and countryside life, not to mention that Leo may never wake up and that Master Splinter is gone. While Raph keeps vigil over Leo again, the rest of the gang chill downstairs and watch Mikey's new favorite show: Crognard the Barbarian, which features the protagonists battling creepy alien slugs. While they're watching TV several minutes later, Raph suddenly calls out for them to come upstairs, where they find Leo conscious again. Ecstatic, Mikey tightly hugs his injured older brother. When they get Leo back downstairs, Donnie examines him as the others fill Leo in on what's happened since he was knocked out. As Leo continues talking, the characters realize that his voice becomes much deeper. Donnie reveals that the reason Leo's voice sounds different is that he has sustained damage to his throat and that he has overall received many injuries throughout his body. Fortunately, he should make a full recovery, but needs a long rest and must take it easy for a while. Donnie then gives Leo some of the medicine he's created using mutagen, which Leo discovers tastes really bad. Raph reassures Leo that he'll be back on his feet in no time with training.
The next day, Raph and Leo go out together to work up Leo's weakened muscles. Even walking with a crutch proves difficult for Leo and he says that he thinks he'll never be the same again. Raph won't hear of it and encourages him to cross a creek over the rocks. Leo struggles back to his feet and takes another swig of Donnie's mutagen medicine from a glass flask, but within moments he becomes dizzy and nauseous, and he drops the flask onto the ground and vomits onto the dirt. Raph comes to find out what's wrong, and Leo says that the mutagen medicine might be the cause and that he doesn't feel well. Raph helps him back to the farmhouse to rest, but the mutagen from Leo's vomit trickles down into the ground where a pair of glowing green eyes appears.
Later that evening while Leo recovers at the farmhouse, he brings up Master Splinter and everyone debates as to whether or not he's actually gone or not. While Mikey prepares to watch TV, the power suddenly goes out. Donnie goes to fix what he supposes is a blown fuse, but the fireplace dies out too as does a flashlight. Raph goes out into the forest to chop up some more wood for the fireplace, but while he's out he hears something creeping about the trees. He tries to tell himself that he's just working himself up, but suddenly a huge, swampy, tree-like creature with glowing green eyes comes up behind him and engulfs him with its tendrils.
The others begin calling out for Raph who hasn't returned. Leo delegates that they should split up, with Mikey and Donnie going in one direction, and April and Casey in another, much to Donnie's disappointment. Leo opts to wait at the farmhouse since he doesn't think he'll be of any use out there. While they're out on their search, April gets the sense that they're being watched. Donnie and Mikey come across an old shack where they discover the glass flask of mutagen medicine surrounded by candles...and a large leafy, plant-like creature with a red bandana who they figure out is Raph. Donnie suspects that he's been infected by something. Suddenly Mikey gets caught by a vine-like trap as does Donnie. April hears Donnie's screams but suddenly finds that Casey has disappeared. She sees the swampy creature, carrying a pitchfork, attacking Casey and she attacks it. It then attacks her and Casey fights it too. The creature gives Casey a solid blow, smacking his mask off. It turns on April and chases her through the forest.
Meanwhile, Leo is struggling to walk without his crutch, using his swords to aid him in some way. He hears April and attempts to run toward her when a vine comes out and grabs her by the heel, dragging her off into the dark. Leo stumbles and falls, realizing that he must go into the woods and rescue them himself.
Back in the shack, where everyone is tied up, the creature, who Mikey has named "the Creep" goes to Raph and begins absorbing all of the mutagen from his body, and it drops his bandanna, much to the turtles' horror. The Creep then goes for Mikey, who's shouting angrily at it for turning Raph into a plant, but is distracted when it hears cries for help outside. Donnie recognizes the cries as Leo's. The Creep searching around outside finding nothing until a ninja star is thrown at the back of its head. Leo demands that it give back his family and nervously takes his swords out. He attempts to battle the Creep with what little energy he has, only scoring a slice at it, but it grabs him and throws him a way from his sword. He struggles to crawl slowly toward his sword as the Creep approaches with his other sword, but Leo manages to stab it just in time and hurries toward the shack where he frees everyone with excruciating effort. The Creep returns and a short battle ensues. It is then that Leo realizes that the Creep is after the flask of mutagen medicine. He tosses it to his brothers who try to keep it away from the Creep but it manages to get a hold of it, but before it can do anything, with a little help from Donnie, Leo comes down with a pitchfork and stabs the Creep into a tree, where April and Casey tie it up with chains. Before they can take him back to the lab, Leo asks Donnie if he'll be able to save Raph, to which Donnie is honestly not sure.
Later in Donnie's lab, Raph wakes up and finds out what happened, and Donnie tells him that he returned all the mutagen back into his body without any infection. Raph finds out that the Creep has been turned into goop, that Donnie worked all night to save him, and that Leo never left his side. Leo tells Raph that he can heal up and that they have New York to save.
But even after all that, the jar containing the glowing goop of the Creep cracks.
- The group has just escaped from New York City in wintertime with abundant snow, ice and cold temperatures, and immediately went to the O'Neil Farm, North Hampton in a mountainous region of upstate New York where there are no signs of winter whatsoever. It is plausible for the seasons to change after spending months there, but not after such a relatively short road trip.
- An 8-minute preview of the episode was shown on September 27, 2014, at participating Wal-Mart stores.
- With this episode, the opening sequence gets its third update. It was last updated in The Manhattan Project, Part 1.
- Old: A collage of villains in the series, including Kraang Prime, a Squirrelanoid, Slash, Mutagen Man, the Newtralizer, Rahzar, Fishface, Tiger Claw and the Shredder with Karai appearing as a reflection in his Kuro Kabuto.
- Old: A scene where the turtles pass several buildings with a full moon dominating the background. Casey Jones is standing there and looks at Raphael as he passes by.
- New: The same scene, but now the Turtle Blimp is flying in the background in front of the full moon.
- The opening sequence next changes starting with Return to New York.
- The beginning of the episode is based on Mirage's True Stories as well as in the 1990 film as:
- April opens the episode by drawing the turtles, writing about how they arrived at North Hampton, and describing the situation.
- Leo is put in ice inside the tub as Raph watches him.
- Donatello and Jones appear working inside the barn, but this time only Casey is working on the old truck as Donnie is doing some experiments.
- The next scene shows the turtles training.
- The Creep is a reference to Jason Voorhees, from Friday the 13th.
- The episode's title is the same as a 1978 horror film by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell, which is considered the precursor to The Evil Dead.
- Raphael's plot in this episode is similar to the Mirage volume 1 story arc Down to the River, River Hymn and Old Man River, where Raphael had some of his mutagen sucked out of him by a river leech (later named Bloodsucker), which caused the leech to mutate and Raph's mutation to become undone. Bloodsucker succeeded in finding Raph and sucking out the rest of his mutagen, changing Raph into an ordinary turtle and Bloodsucker into a sentient creature. Eventually, the creature's mutagen is transferred back into Raph, who changes back to normal. The primary differences between that story and this episode are:
- The creature, Creep, is river scum, not a leech, like Bloodsucker. Creep was initially mutated by the mutagen-based medicine Donatello gave to Leonardo to help him heal. The medicine nauseated Leo and he vomited it onto the river bank and dropped the rest of the bottle. Bloodsucker's initial mutation was caused by drinking from Raph directly.
- When Raph had his mutagen sucked out of him, he turned into a plant, not an ordinary turtle.
- Donnie transferred the mutagen from the captive Creep back into plant-Raph to turn him back into normal. In the Mirage story, unmutated turtle Raph sucked the mutagen out of Bloodsucker directly to change both of them back to normal.
- Leonardo's new deepened voice (due to Seth Green replacing Dominic Catrambone and Jason Biggs as his voice actor) is explained in-show and in-universe as being the result of damage wounds to his larynx during the final battle against the Foot forces in The Invasion. Shortly after Leonardo wakes up, the characters notice that his voice has become much deeper and Casey remarks that he "sounds different", which is an inside joke.