Review: Nickelodeon TMNT "Showdown" Part 1

Nickelodeon has been bringing us on a full new ride for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Season 1 being the first storyline to introduce us to their world for these characters who’ve been around so long.  Giving us lots of changes, trying to add in some deep character grips and even making it fun for people of all ages.  Each of our favorite characters having a new side to them, that people either like or do not like.  And some questions were left unanswered throughout the season.  Now we’ve seen the last two episodes of Nickelodeon's TMNT Season 1 which was titled “Showdown” parts 1 & 2.  The story arc that brings us finally brings so many topics from the season into the light.  Thankfully they were not crammed into one episode. 

For viewing the movie Miki and I got to spend the evening with some good friends in South Pasadena.  Cynlee and HamatoKameko.  We ordered pizza which showed up shortly after the show started and got to have see what we’ve been waiting for.  Here is my review of “Showdown” part 1.  Just to let everyone know, there will be season spoilers through this review. 

This episode starts off with the Kraang starting their invasion plan.  While they’re calling in the Technodrome Donatello realizes that something is up with the orb that April found in “Operation Breakout”.  He hacks into it and learns that the Kraang’s main mission is going down.  The Turtles realizes they have to get ready for war.  Splinter gives a short speech to everyone on how they are ready to be heroes.  Though when everyone else starts to clear out, Splinter stops Leonardo and tells him that the most important thing is for them to finish their mission. No matter what.

Things jumped right into action in this episode as we see the Kraang right away and then the Turtles learning.  With so much to try and squeeze into this episode we were lucky to get an episode of Space Heroes.  It says it’s the final episode of Space Heroes, though we can tell the series has been in rerun for awhile now.  I think we’ll still see Leonardo watching the reruns as he has been doing since episode one of Nick Turtles.

At this point we see Kirby O’Neil looking over and the chip that was seen on the back of his neck in the last episode is now even clearer. Each of the Turtles start getting ready as Raphael gears himself up with weapons.  Leonardo and Donatello work out the plan.  They explain it to the others and go back to getting ready.  Raphael taps Spike goodbye as the Turtles get the Shellraiser and say their goodbyes to April and Splinter.  Once the Turtles are gone April questions Splinter asking him why he is not going with the Turtles.  When she pushes on the subject snaps and starts to walk away.  He felt bad about his snap and it’s clear April was upset.

This scene is very strong.  I like how they show us the Turtles getting ready, to where they’re not just rushing out the door.  I also like seeing each of the Turtles doing the stuff they’re good at.  Don and Leo working close together.  Raphael with all the weapons and Spike.  Mikey with pizza and his T phone.  Only to end this area with Splinter snapping at April, which was not something I saw coming.  It took me by surprise.  Which got me on the edge of my seat to see how it was handled.  It makes one wonder why Splinter really was hiding below.  There has to be more than the Foot thing, since they did not know Shredder was connected to the Kraang.

The Turtles ride in the Shellraiser as we get to see what they’re going through.  Leonardo explains the plan which both Michelangelo and Raphael have questions about.  As Raph is concerned it may not work Leo is clear that it has to.

I like this because Michelangelo is not saying “can you repeat this”.  His question has more merit to it than “Let’s go over the plan again”.  It’s clear by how the Turtles are acting on this drive that they’re taking this very serious.  When the show first started off it felt very light hearted, where I know some fans were wondering if there would be deep moments where the Turtles will have to be serious.  This is one of those times and Nickelodeon handled it very well.

Back at the lair April is annoyed that Splinter is doing nothing.  Kirby comes up and asks April where everyone is and she tells them that the Turtles are going after the Kraang.  He gives her a false alarm that the Turtles are in trouble and the T-Phones have been hacked.  Convincing her to leave with him to warn the Turtles.  Splinter is surprised to see them leaving as she snaps at him.  Going with her dad she realizes that they’re going the wrong way.  Only for Karai and the Foot to show up and catch April.  Kirby is sent back to inform Splinter.  April realizes her father is brainwashed.

I have to say this is the first time in the series where I can hear Mae Whitman’s other character that I know her for coming through in the voice.  I am a big fan of Avatar the Last Airbener and through most of the series that did not really catch my attention.  I knew it was her, but the voice just did not flow into one for me while listening till this episode.  I think it’s because of the serious tones that April’s voice was in and the growth in her character.  It won’t trouble me with the series, it’s just something I noticed.  But that’s like hearing Max on “Mighty Max” with Raph’s voice. 

I like that there’s a bit of a drift here.  April is affected by what Splinter said, and does not just dismiss it.  She can tell something is up with her dad, but her anger clouds her judgement and she goes with him.  Even with a bitter line to say to Splinter when he shows concerned with her leaving.  And best of all was her reaction to Karai.  I really do think this scene was written and handled well.  I also think it’s neat that they had Mousers to go with Kirby even though Baxter is no longer with the Foot.

At the TCRI building the Kraang are in the lobby with their android, Mrs. Campbell, as the Shellraiser comes bursting through the door.  Metalhead jumps out and starts to take on the Kraang.  The Turtles are outside with jetpacks on flying happy that their plan worked.  They land on the top of the TCRI building and Raph uses a pigeon to block the camera so his brothers can go by.  They find two guards on top of the roof and handle them.  Now they can make their way into TCRI.

The use of the Shellraiser reminds me of “Return to New York” in the 4Kids series when the Turtles sent the Battleshell into Shredder’s building.  Hun did a lot of damage to the Battleshell before finding the Turtles were not in there.  It’s cool to see something that reflects back to the 4Kids series as most of the show has not did to many nods to that part of TMNT history.  I like it that instead of having the Shellraiser empty Metalhead was used.  I also enjoy the nod to the Mirage and 4Kids use of the a pigeon, though instead of a puppet they use a living pigeon.  These homages to previous TMNT only made me more excited as the show progressed.

Splinter is meditating his thoughts are on April and the words that she said to him.  As he’s thinking it through he feels danger and gets up to find Kirby coming into the room.  He realizes right away that April is not there.  Kirby informs him that Master Shredder has a message for him, as a mouser shows a hologram message from Shredder challenging Splinter to come and face him to save April.  After the message is given Kirby walks away, as Splinter goes down to his knees knowing he has to face the Shredder.

I like seeing that April’s words are getting to Splinter.  As we know Splinter has been staying hidden away even when his sons are in danger.  We only see him fight when he’s thrown into it.  Not once has he left to be there by their side.  The challenge is great.  I do take notice too how often Shredder says “All those years ago” in this series.  The 4Kids Shredder said it when getting his sword back in Season 1.  So it’s a line that I remember strongly from that series.  Now Splinter is going to have to go out and fight Shredder.  A moment a lot of fans have been waiting for.

The Turtles break into the TCRI building.  They go to use the plan that Donatello and Leonardo came up with, though to their surprise a forcefield is placed around the portal.  Now the Turtles find themselves being attacked by General Tragg.

Fun scene and one of my favorite lines here as Donatello says “I planned for us to fail” his smile is great.  A nice start to the big Kraang and Turtle battle.  As it’s true to Turtle form for the plans to never work easy.

While at the Foot base April is chained up with Dogpound and Fishface guarding her.  Fishface asks Dogpound about Splinter.  As Dogpound is describing what he knows about Splinter we see Splinter taking down Foot warriors outside.  Clearly a big fight is about to come.  Splinter handles the Foot with ease as he takes all of them out. 

I like this as we hear the story that Shredder painted to Dogpound about who Splinter is.  It’s clear that Dogpound only knows what he’s told here.  Though it also makes me wonder how close Dogpound was as a student for Shredder to talk so much with him.  From what we’ve seen, Shredder is quiet and quick temper.  I would love to see some flashbacks to young Chris Bradford training under Oroku Saki.

At the TCRI lab Leonardo is facing off against General Tragg.  Getting the point where he needs to use the weapon they brought for the portal to try and defend himself.  He tells Donatello to come up with a plan.  As Don thinks about it he decides to hack into the Kraang computer if he’s given time.  Leonardo takes out Don’s problem and Don goes after the computer.

It’s a shame Donatello and Leonardo did not work out a plan B before getting there.  Plan B is always important never forget that.  I do love how Don is using a Kraang android body to protect himself from the blasts of the other Kraang while thinking.

Dogpound and Fishface see the door open and a Foot falls in the door only to be dragged out.  Splinter is there and the fight begins.  He takes out both Dogpound and Fishface by letting them take each other down in the fight.  Once the two of them are gone he goes to check on April only to see she is not there.  Shredder makes himself known as he laughs informing Splinter that the Kraang now have April.  Shredder hits Splinter back as he comes out of hiding.  Taunting Splinter on how he took the family away, when Splinter stands up he removes his hood revealing to Shredder that he is a rat.  Shredder is surprised but mocks him being a rat that fell into a trap.  Splinter informs Shredder that this will be the last face he will ever see.

Okay I am excited with this fight.  I’m always more curious about this Shredder.  Who he is, his fight and so much more.  I know there’s going to be more as the series goes on.  Though the build up this season was truly to see the Shredder in a real battle.  Which we are about to get.  And Splinter, to see him this angry and ready to take the Shredder down.  What an emotional build up.  The writing here had me on the edge of my seat to see where they went with these two powerful fighters.

Even though I’ll be reviewing part two soon.  I am ending this here, there is still a huge battle scene at TCRI that gives everyone some of those OMG moments.  To see what happens and find out if they can stop the Technodrome from getting to Earth, watch this episode!  It’s a great episode from the writing to animation.  The characters are now much more grown and in tune.  The voice acting is down to perfect as the cast knows their characters and have grown into their parts.  And the storyline has built us up to this moment in time.  A fun series worth the watch.

I highly recommend this episode ONLY to those who’ve watched most of Season 1.  There are some episodes you can get away without watching, though this is a big part of the undergoing story which all fits together.   If you have not been watching the series the first two DVDs are in stores now.  I highly recommend picking them up.  If you want to hear my feedback on the end of this episode check out the review topics on the TMNT-L forums.  When I get the chance I wouldn’t mind discussing it there.

Did you watch Nickelodeon TMNT “Showdown” part 1?  Please let us know your thoughts on this episode.  All reviews, comments and questions are welcomed below.

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