“I think we went back in time.” – Donatello
While the turtles and their friends mourn the loss of their home world, the Fugitoid wastes no time in setting a new plan in motion. With no explanation as to how, the robot sends the entire ship six months into the past, when Earth and all its inhabitants were still alive. However, unless the heroes travel the universe and prevent the Triceratons from assembling the pieces of the black hole generator, then the destruction will happen all over again.
As Professor Honeycutt blasts off to their first location, the ship suffers some damage, and so the robot scientist arms his new traveling companions with spacesuits and weapons that will allow them to use all their ninja skills in the void of the universe. The friends jump out into space and most (save Raphael) enjoy the zero gravity experience. However, the fun and games soon come to an end, as hundreds of asteroids come hurtling toward the ship. Professor Honeycutt manages to avoid the planetoids, but he still needs to repair the ship.
Setting down on an alien world, the turtles, April, and Casey head off to explore. Of course, each and every one of them gets into a different – yet equally unpleasant – kind of trouble. As they all run away from their pursuers, the group accidentally runs into Lord Dregg, ruler of all insect life in the universe. Breaking a precious vial of spice belonging to the insect lord, the turtles find themselves face-to-face with a powerful new enemy. They manage to escape back to the ship, but Dregg gives chase, and sends his insect minions to destroy the Fugitoid’s craft. Fortunately, the professor manages to jump into hyperspace just in time – only to find a new problem waiting: The Triceraton armada.
The new season has finally begun … and it’s already undoing everything that the season three finale accomplished. The Earth is back in one piece, there’s a new quest to complete, and, ultimately, the heroes will be successful, which means that, as predicted, everything and everyone will be alive and well by season’s end. That is truly unfortunate; as had been said several times over the course of season three, the show had become quite stale. Destroying the Earth, moving the adventures into space, and saying that Splinter was, in fact, dead finally shook things up in a way that could inject new energy and life into the series. But, it looks like that energy will only be given a season, and then it’ll be back to Earth to pick up right where they left off before the Triceratons arrived. Hopefully, that’s an incorrect assumption, and the destruction of Earth can’t be prevented. However, hope for that idea has already been cut a little bit.
Overall, it was a good premiere, though. It was probably one of the stronger ones, since it actually did something new and different. Both of the last two season premieres did more of the same: Mutagen problems combined with stereotypical Halloween B-Movie tropes. So seeing something new and getting a sense of this TMNT universe expanding beyond the scope of Earth is exciting. (It was also pretty cool to see April’s spacesuit take on the form of the infamous yellow jumpsuit, and her blaster looks quite similar to a video camera.) The only real problem with this episode as a stand-alone adventure, though, was that plot fell into the usual space adventure problem of having the “heroes” be complete and utter jerks to those they meet (seriously, there’s no real blaming those other alien species for being upset when their things were being destroyed, seemingly without care or consideration), and making anything that’s not the heroes “bad” or “evil.” It was kind of a shame to see that the show took that route, instead of letting Lord Dregg be introduced as a truly evil being.
Hopefully as the season develops the energy and twists started in the season three finale will remain with the show. However, the likelihood of that has already dwindled, and there doesn’t seem like too much reason to be hoping for anything to change in the way the story already seems to be unfolding.