TMNT – “T.C.R.I.” Review
“They’ve been in plain sight the whole time. We just never realized it.”
The Turtles are hot on the trail of the stolen Kraang power core, but the aliens give the boys the slip and make it back to their base, now ready activate their portal device. Frustrated, Leonardo suggests (much to Donatello’s chagrin) finding Leatherhead and asking for help. Locating their friend and relaying the bad news provides only one clue: a honeycomb hexagon pattern. Donatello puts two-and-two together, leading the brothers to TCRI.
Blueprints of the building show an empty space likely to house the portal generator, but getting inside will be tricky. Luckily April has the perfect solution – a special package. April delivers the brothers and Leatherhead to TCRI, and while the croc goes nuts on the Kraang, the Turtles head to the top. They fight off the first wave of defenders, but the highest floors are flooded with poison gas, knocking out the would-be intruders.
The Turtles come to in the portal generator room and notice that the Kraang are capable of breathing the gas. Michelangelo comes up with the (correct) theory that the aliens are trying to terraform the Earth into a habitable Dimension X planet. The boys do their best to thwart the plan, but the portal opens, bringing a living rock creature named Traag to Earth. The lava-spewing behemoth cannot be defeated, so Leonardo wraps explosives around him before Leatherhead arrives and forces Traag onto the generator platform.
The explosives don’t do any damage, so Leatherhead rushes Traag and drags him back through the gateway into Dimension X. Downtrodden and defeated, the Turtles head back the lair, now missing Leatherhead on top of everything else. However, Michelangelo snagged a Kraang data chip, which Donatello decodes. It’s bad news, though, when everyone learns that the true target was never Kirby O’Neil, but April.
While not a perfect episode, this was still exciting and well-written. The season’s plot drove the whole thing, which hasn’t happened in a while. “The Pulverizer” showed that it is possible to advance this story while developing major characters and introducing new elements, but it’s still worthwhile to have an episode devoted entirely to plot. The humor was kept to a minimum, allowing everything that has been built to develop a serious tone and set the stage for the final episodes of Season One. This incarnation has been excellent at never allowing anything to be one-and-done. Whether it’s a character, an item, or a storyline, everything has gotten its just due as the season progressed. This episode was no different, and still managed to introduce a few new elements to thicken the plot. It’s a testament to the solid writing for the show.
There was some minor character development, without drawing away from the story. Leatherhead regained a bit of his sensibility (though he still finds it thoroughly enjoyable to shake Donatello’s head violently), and the Turtles showed some ingenuity when dealing with such an unusual threat. However April was the real developmental star, despite being barely featured. Not only did she show her cleverness by suggesting the route into the, but her ninja training is clearly paying off, and perhaps her yo-yo can be traded out for an actual weapon in the near future. The shocking moment of the whole episode, too, was hers. Everyone now knows that the Kraang were after April to begin with, though no one knows why just yet. While there is talk of her having psychic ability, it seems more keeping with the “scientific” nature of the plot (mutagen, extra terrestrials, inter-dimensional travel, etc.) that her biology may hide the key to the terraforming project, or at least stabilizing the mutagen. (She also first hugged Donatello on the return to the lair, suggesting that her affection for him may be growing to match his for her.)
This was a very solid episode. While not too character heavy, it did provide a few pieces for April and still entertained by giving the main plot a strong push forward. Everything is building to a climax, and what the final outcome will be no one knows.