TMNT – “Karai’s Vendetta” Review
“So this ‘April O’Neil’ is at the center of everything.”
The Shredder has a Kraang soldier in his grasp, and wants answers about the turtles. The alien quickly reveals that it’s actually April they’re interested in, so Shredder sends Karai out to capture the girl. Unaware of the plot against her, April continues training with Master Splinter and the boys. After a lesson for Michelangelo in manipulating an opponent’s strength, Donatello and April show the others that the Kraang are changing the Earth’s water into a toxic liquid from Dimension X.
In his haste to check out the substance, Michelangelo splashes some on April – and everyone is surprised when nothing happens to her. Donatello’s scans show the Kraang working off shore, at the bottom of the harbor, so the boys head out to investigate. Armed with a new submarine, the ninjas locate the facility, but a Dimension X sea monster protects it. The turtles distract the creature long enough to sneak aboard the station for their mission.
Back on the surface, April is stalked by Karai, who strikes up a conversation, trying to gather intel. However, Karai soon reveals her true identity, forcing April to run. April calls Donatello, but the turtles won’t be able to help until they are done under water. April tries to shake off pursuit, but Karai stays right on her tail. Donatello is too worried about April now, so he quickly devises a plan to blow up the entire facility. However the sea monster returns, forcing the turtles to waste time fighting it off.
Karai has April cornered, and the fledgling kunoichi must stand and fight. Karai beats April handily, but after revealing that she too lost her mother, April uses Splinter’s training to get the upper hand and escape. Everyone regroups back at the lair, and April recounts her harrowing tale. The boys and Splinter are proud of her, but the ninja master says she must no longer travel to the surface. Until Shredder is defeated, April must remain where she is sure to be safe.
This episode had a lot of potential. Very rarely in television shows is an episode that’s crucial to the overall plot driven by secondary characters. Allowing April to be the total focus was an excellent idea, but the episode failed to really deliver. Yes, her role in the Kraang plan was built on, and the notion that she only thinks of the turtles as brothers was mentioned, but a kunoichi showdown between April and Karai would have been a true testament to just how much better than its predecessors this show wants to be. It’s also disappointing that the turtles were involved at all. Their part was a repeat of other episodes, and simply boring boring(find the Kraang, destroy the Kraang, go home). What would have been wrong with an all April episode?
With the many story points foreshadowed this season, the “big reveal” was hardly worth the time. Is it necessary that April and Karai share this bond of lost mothers? There has been rampant speculation by fans that Karai is Hamato Yoshi’s daughter, and the elements to back it up seem present in previous episodes. Assuming that’s true, this would have been the perfect time. A 22-minute battle between April and Karai at the lair, culminating in the latter seeing Splinter’s family portrait would have been a phenomenal twist to ramp up the tension for the coming season finale. The fact that the show has been renewed for two more seasons means there isn’t the need to force any big reveals anytime soon, but if it was put forth now, it would be yet another story that the writers could draw on during the next two years. (Again, Karai’s relation to Splinter is JUST SPECULATION.)
This episode was just simply disappointing. Despite its potential, everything fell flat, and the gravity that it should have had was nonexistent. At this point in the season, there should be glimpses of payoff for all events, so for this chance to be so thoroughly missed is disheartening. Hopefully things turn around soon, and everything comes together with a bang.