TMNT – “Annihilation: Earth!” Review
“Greetings sub-lifeforms of Earth. I am Captain Mozar of the Triceraton Empire.” – Captian Mozar
After their encounter with the Triceraton, the turtles and their friends are out on patrol, discussing the adventure. However, they’re not alone – a Kraang seems to be following them, and leads them to a cryptic message about a late-night meeting. Arriving at the rendezvous spot, the heroes are confronted by the Kraang that followed them, and learn some startling news. This one alien, named Bishop, is part of the Utrom, a group of Kraang defectors. Bishop relays plenty of bad news about the coming invasions from two fronts, and then explains why the Triceratons and Kraang are at war.
The turtles take their new comrade to the lair and gather Leatherhead for support. Splitting into two teams, the heroes mount their assault on the Technodrome sitting at the bottom of the Hudson. Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leatherhead infiltrate the Technodrome, but are quickly captured. Meanwhile, Leonardo’s team uses the Turtle Blimp as a bomb, hoping to blow a hole in the machine and get in.
Both teams arrive in Kraang Prime’s chamber, but before anything can be done, the Triceratons arrive and declare Earth a dead world. With the Kraang stunned by the appearance of their enemies, both turtle teams strike and escape from the Technodrome. While the turtles manage to keep the Triceraton ships from attacking the city, the aliens unleash an even larger weapon that blows the Technodrome out of the sky. Meanwhile a small fleet of ships heads to the heart of the city with another weapon.
As the Triceratons try to activate their black hole generator, the turtles, Splinter, April, Casey, the Mighty Mutanimals, Muck-Man, and Mondo Gecko all try to stop the aliens from destroying everything. However, Earth’s defenders prove no match for the Triceratons, with half the team being captured and Michelangelo being taken aboard the aliens’ mother ship.
With the city in peril, Splinter sends the boys to save their brother, while he and April enlist the help of Shredder to stop the Triceratons. After some fancy flying and a close call with total annihilation, Donnie teleports the three remaining turtles onto the Triceraton ship and right into the aliens’ hands. With their destruction imminent, Leonardo puts his leadership skills to the test and the turtles manage to escape back to Earth.
Arriving home, the boys find Splinter, April, and Shredder’s goons engaged with the Triceraton forces, and the black hole generator’s counter creeping ever closer to zero. As Splinter and Shredder race to stop the countdown, Shredder betrays their temporary alliance, and runs Splinter through with his claws. The boys rush to their father’s side, while the black hole begins sucking up everything. Bebop, Rocksteady, and Fishface all disappear into its depths, and Splinter’s body and the Mighty Mutanimals are close behind.
As the Earth is swallowed by a black hole, a ship arrives and the turtles, April, and Casey climb on board. The heroes watch helplessly as the entire planet disappears into nothingness, and as the gravity of the situation sets in, their savior, Professor Honeycutt, informs them that a new adventure is just beginning.
For perhaps the first time in three seasons, this finale had some genuine “Holy $%!@” moments. It was filled with action from the get-go, it had plenty of familiar faces returning for this epic battle, and it even showed (however briefly) a redeeming moment for a villain. Tiger Claw seemed like he was genuinely on board with helping Splinter, April, and the others fight, and if these characters are ever seen again, then hopefully that wasn’t a misstep, but the start to a redemption story for the tiger mutant.
More importantly, though, seeing Splinter killed was shocking, but not perhaps the most shocking part of this episode. Considering the network and the overall tone of the show, there was not a single moment where it would have seemed likely that the Triceratons’ plan succeeded. If anything, it seemed that it would fail, and then season four would kick off with the turtles trying to find the Triceraton warship and stop them from coming back to Earth. So to see the entire world swallowed in a black hole was beyond amazing. It was just the kind of epic event that could completely change the tone of the show moving forward, and give the turtles, April, and Casey a new outlook on life and battles.
Of course, everything that wasn’t dealt with and the repercussions of this event have to be discussed. It was a little disappointing (though not altogether surprising) that once again Karai’s story was left unfinished. It would have been nice to finally get some payoff for all the episodes that now seemingly made this season go nowhere, because they had nothing to do with how it wrapped. More than likely, this will be where season five starts – assuming of course that the turtles ever come back to Earth.
Earth is the other big question mark right now. Careful attention to the language of the episode suggests that there’s wiggle room with whether or not the planet was actually destroyed. A more likely plot line would probably be the turtles believing for a while that the planet was destroyed, only to discover that the quantum physics theory of black holes being more akin to wormholes is correct, and Earth was just transported to a different part of space. So then there can be a big to-do about finding the planet and putting it back where it belongs. However, it would be just as cool – if not even cooler – if the Earth really were gone forever. That would be a unique way to reinvigorate the series.
Overall, this was an amazing finale. It had surprises, a great set-up for the future, and plenty of nostalgia for the season itself. While it wasn’t quite the payoff that fans should have gotten from the previous 24 episodes, it was the kind of story that needed to be told in order to put a little bit of life back into the show. Hopefully the adventures to come will be unique and engaging so that if/when the turtles and their friends make it back to Earth things will be even more exciting there.