TMNT – “Wormquake” Review
“So the earthquakes were caused by giant worms that live under the sewers?”
"Woah dudes! A giant freaky worm! Totally Mondo Bizarro!
– '87 Michelangelo
Karai, Rahzar, and the Foot bots are laying in wait for the turtles, and ambush the brothers while they’re on patrol. As the battle intensifies, Leonardo tries to tell Karai about her father, but she refuses to listen. His attempts are cut short, though, when an earthquake rocks NYC, sending a smokestack crashing down on top of him. The others dig him out, and then regroup at the lair to figure out what exactly is causing the problems. While Donatello works, Leo tells Master Splinter about his attempt, and Splinter decides to finally tell the others the whole story of Miwa.
Meanwhile, Shredder has returned to NYC, and has brought a new assassin with him: Tiger Claw. Tiger Claw is now second in command, much to Karai’s chagrin. Shredder dispatches his new weapon to capture Splinter and the turtles, and Karai has no choice but to help. As Shredder’s plot comes together, April and Casey find a group of Kraang using a portable portal, and capture the device. They take it back to Donnie, but before he can analyze it, Raphael and Casey barge through, leading them to an interdimensional way station that the Kraang use to travel between realities. Unfortunately, the doorway to the lair closes, forcing the heroes to find another way home. (They even come across one door that leads to the 1987 TMNT universe.)
Their presence doesn’t go unnoticed, and the Kraang launch an attack. Leo, Mikey, and Raph are forced back to their own reality, while Casey, April, and Donnie remain trapped. But before the free turtles can help their friends, Tiger Claw and Karai make an appearance. Proving no match for the assassin, the boys call Splinter to their aid. Meanwhile, Donatello and the others allow themselves to be captured, and once back in the city they make a break for it, and come across an underground Kraang facility, where space worms are being milked for mutagen.
Splinter arrives to help his boys. With Tiger Claw on the ropes, the trap is sprung, and Karai knocks him out. Leonardo pleads for her help, but she refuses to listen to his “lies”. The rat master manages to free his sons, and the turtles escape while Splinter is captured. They regroup at the lair, and ready an attack on Shredder’s stronghold. Meanwhile, the earthquakes intensify as Donatello, April, and Casey run for their lives from the giant space worm. Unfortunately, they can’t escape its slimy grasp entirely, and Casey is eaten. But they’re not giving up on him just yet, and go to Kurtzman, who tells them everything they could possibly need to know about the worms.
Back at his stronghold, Shredder confronts his nemesis, but Karai stops him before he can finish Splinter off, instead offering one last battle. However, before the fight can begin, Leonardo arrives to help. He only ends up being captured, though, and Shredder tries to finish off Splinter again. Fortune is in the rat’s favor, as an earthquake tips Shredder off-balance, allowing just enough time for Raphael and Michelangelo to distract everyone so the heroes can escape. It doesn’t take long for Tiger Claw to find them, though, and the turtles are forced to battle Shredder’s mutant horde.
While the brothers do battle on the surface, Donatello and April find the worms’ weakness, and use a little salt to free Casey from his prison. The three of them backtrack to the Kraang’s facility just as a giant worm is coming through, and rush to stop it. Casey and April distract the Kraang while Donnie sabotages the portal. They even ride a worm back to the surface, where Splinter has recovered and joined his sons in battle. Working quickly underground, Donatello manages to suck all the worms through a portal, saving the city. Victory is bittersweet, though, as Karai must still accept the truth about who she really is, and the worms now threaten the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In so many ways, this is the episode that fans have been waiting for. It had action,suspense, additions to the main storylines, and featured the long-rumored crossover with the 1987 turtles. At the outset, the story seemed like it was going to be a bit weak. Being an hour-long special and only having the worm aspect highlighted didn’t exactly give the impression that this would be particularly special. However, there was plenty of unexpected adventure that actually made this a fairly strong mid-season episode.
First, Tiger Claw is going to be an excellent villain to have around, and certainly force the turtles to increase their training. Right now, only Splinter can best him, but the rat master can’t be present for every battle. The most intriguing part, though, is who his nemesis is. Logic suggests that it’s a character fans are familiar with, but that’s about it (possibly the Newtralizer?). Hopefully the reveal will happen in the season finale, and leave the mutant’s continued presence in jeopardy.
Second, Karai knows the truth, and something about the story seems right, although that doesn’t really make sense. There’s been no evidence to suggest that she should have any doubts about her lineage. Even if she doesn’t agree with Shredder anymore, that doesn’t automatically mean she’s not his daughter. This whole situation with her has been handled sparingly, but the one thing that’s definitely been missing is any real reason why she would have these doubts. Something just doesn’t add up.
Then, there’s the developing love triangle between April, Donatello, and Casey Jones. For all intents and purposes, it seems April has made her choice (including the casual use of the word “date” to describe what she and Casey were up to). So why let things continue? Obviously, it’s building toward something, but that milestone may end up being more of a nuisance than the driving plot device the writers seem to be hoping for. Maybe season two will end with Donnie giving April the same kind of ultimatum that she gave the turtles to start the season.
Finally, there’s the very lackluster inclusion of the 1987 turtles. There was a lot of hype surrounding this crossover, including an outpouring of support when it was revealed that the original voice cast would be reprising their roles. However, the way it was billed made it seem like the ultimate crossover episode more along the lines of Turtles Forever. Maybe there will be another episode in all this, and that will actually happen, but since their inclusion wasn’t in the promos, it’s likely that no one wants to raise expectations more. It would be great to see the old turtle team show up again, because if this was it, then maybe it should have just been left out entirely.
Overall, it was great to see another two-part episode that showcased real development in the TMNT world. Between the Kraang, Karai, Shredder’s army, and the budding romance, this episode was jam-packed with excitement. Of course, the fights with Tiger Claw helped with that. This season may be halfway over, but the real action is just beginning.