“The Pulverizer” Review
“It’s time to face the wrath of the Pulverizer!”
The Kraang are still trying to find the power core stolen by Leatherhead for their “true mission”. There has been no trace of its energy because Donatello has encased it in lead, and harnessed it for his own purposes, modifying Leatherhead’s subway car into a vehicle called The Shellraiser. The Turtles take their new toy out onto the streets of NYC, and encounter some thieving Purple Dragons. Fortunately, a new ally arrives to help save the day: The Pulverizer.
The inept Pulverizer gets his butt kicked, and is accidentally taken back to the lair after the Turtles step in to save him. He then mentions that the Dragons were stealing Kraang tech. Putting two-and-two together leads Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo to Baxter Stockman’s lab. Meanwhile Donnie is left to babysit the Pulverizer. Pestering him long enough, Donatello trains the man in ninjutsu basics for protection, despite Splinter’s warning that the master is always responsible for the student.
Face to face with Stockman, the other Turtles confront the improved Xever, now Fish Face. Fish Face’s pneumatic body stomps each brother, and he bites Raphael with venomous fangs. Donatello and the Pulverizer race to the rescue in the Shellraiser, but the rough ride cracks the lead casing around the power core, leading the Kraang to its location. An army of androids arrives, chases the lost cell, but the Shellraiser fends them off.
The Ninja Turtles take the fight to the street, leaving the Pulverizer to guard the vehicle. But a Kraang breaks in and steals the power cell. Pulverizer gives chase, but his incompetence causes his capture, forcing Donatello to choose between saving the cell or his student. Heeding Splinter’s warning, Donnie rescues the Pulverizer and the Kraang escape. The Turtles finally ditch their fan, who vows to continue his training while they vow to find the Kraang and get the core back.
While there weren’t major portions of the main story present (although it did address a few of its elements), this was one of the best episodes so far. There was nothing done wrong here, from the story, to the pacing, and character development. It was a well-written episode, combining action and humor in a way that worked without one overpowering the other (like Michelangelo’s conversation with Donnie as he tries mixing up the antidote while Leo fights in the background). It didn’t linger on any particular scene for too long, and moved steadily. There was never a sense that too much was trying to be squeezed into the block.
The Pulverizer was an interesting character. He had the ability to eat up an entire episode on his own, but was fortunately a catalyst for other development and not given the spotlight. He would be an okay ally once in a while, but there was nothing redeeming about him in the episode. The bumbling idiot usually has at least one moment where he does something that helps the main characters. The Pulverizer didn’t, which is why it’s for the best that he is not seen for a while.
Instead, the Pulverizer worked as a driver for the actual character development: Donatello. Up to this point, Donatello has had bits and pieces of his personality teased out, but never the chance to fully explore what he offers. In this one episode the audience sees his intelligence (understanding enough toxicology to mix together an antidote from a few symptoms), technological prowess (turning a subway car into a fully armed mobile fortress), and kind heart (choosing to train and then save Pulverizer over self-interest). In some incarnations these aspects were glossed over, but this single episode shows every part of him in a way that works better than an entire season’s worth of episodes could have accomplished in the past.
This was an outstanding episode from every aspect. There was nothing missing; the action and comedy were perfectly timed, the main plot received some attention, the new character didn’t eat up more screen time than was necessary, and a criminally underdeveloped character had every single aspect of his self touched on in a subtle yet purposeful way.