With the finale providing mountains of excitement, and the new space adventures set to begin in late October, TMNT Season 3 is finally in the books. So how was it? How did it stack up? Where does the show go from here? If you’ve stuck with these reviews and kept up with the season, then the answers to those questions won’t be surprising. But let’s just see what was accomplished in season three, and where the show can go moving forward.
In comparison to the first two seasons, three was not great. There was a lot of hype left over from the battle of New York, with Splinter missing and having amnesia, the Kraang taking over the city, and the turtles being banished to a remote area upstate. All of that could have led to some amazing developmental plotlines and stories that really made the gravity of the situation hit home. Then, it was all wrapped up and nearly forgotten within a couple of episodes. By the halfway point in the season the Kraang were gone, everyone seemed to forget that they were mutant slaves, and things were right back to normal. There was no real lasting effect from the invasion, which made it seem like it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Even when the turtles gained their special stealth clothes, the outfits were all but forgotten during the back half of the season, save for maybe two individual appearances.
The show then shifted to the search for mutant Karai, and how to save her. There’s been no secret towards the reviews’ overall feeling about that plotline, and that hasn’t changed. Every episode for the back half of the season was about Karai in some way. Yet nothing was really done with it – there was no payoff, there was no development, and there was no climactic showdown between fathers for her ultimate salvation. Instead, the world was sucked through a black hole as if to say, “Eh, we don’t really know where this is going either, so let’s do a hard reset and start fresh.” If the space adventures last for only one season, and the Earth is restored somehow (which it seems like a show whose main demographic is kids would find a way to restore the status quo), then perhaps the old story lines will get picked up again in season five, but for the time being let’s just assume that the Earth is gone and that everything got a hard reset.
Overall, season three was kind of disappointing. There were a lot of fan-favorite characters added to the mix: the Mighty Mutanimals, Bebop and Rocksteady, Mondo Gecko, the Punk Frogs, and even Renet the time magician. But it still felt like the whole season was being used to transition into something else. If that’s true, then fantastic; it’ll be a great payoff to see all of these little elements show up again, either as the turtles dash around space or if the Earth is restored somehow. But just because there were great elements does not mean the season itself was anything special. As mentioned, the story wasn’t cohesive, the new characters didn’t feel like they had any real purpose other than to draw fans in, and by the end of it all nothing was accomplished.
Season four will hopefully remedy that situation, but there are still a few weeks before fans will know what the driving motivation is for these new adventures. The turtles, April, and Casey will have to have some purpose to their actions this season, and with a much shorter pickup of episodes (20 instead of 26), they’ll have to do it fast. Maybe that’s what the show has been missing, though – trimming some of the fat, as it were, to provide a much faster paced story. Hopefully it all comes together well, and hopefully it brings the show back to what it was doing with audiences in the early days of season one, because with success this season then hopefully a season six and beyond will be right around the corner.