TMNT – “Riddle of the Ancient Aeons” Review
After last weeks episode where we watched Fugitoid fight to hold onto his humanity, this week we got to see the Turtles struggle to hold onto theirs.
Having escaped Armaggon, our adventurers continue their search for the pieces of the black hole generator. Tracking Mozar and the Triceraton ship to the planet Xaava-Dal, April’s psychic abilities immediately trigger. Fugitoid reassures her that it’s a beautiful and peaceful planet, but landing there quickly proves him wrong.
In it’s current state, Xaava-Dal answers the question of what Dagobah would look like if it was all dark side cave, complete with demon bats, and an atmosphere that disrupts scanners and induces rage. Basically fumbling blind to find the generator piece, frustration builds as the demon bats attack, but with the atmosphere affecting the boys, the biggest danger seems to be themselves.
We get some really great characterization moments out of this, highlighting not only Donnie and Casey’s rivalry, but also Mikey expressing his frustration at Raph always picking on him. It’s cool to see this side, even shadowed in anger, showing that while Mikey often lets criticism roll of his back, deep down it can really get to him. The rage culminates with the classic Raph/Leo rivalry, including shades of the fourth TMNT movie. Leo calls Raph jealous. Raph responds by drawing his weapons, and accuses Leo of being Splinters favorite. The nice twist to this formula is that Leo responds not by fighting, but by embracing his brother, giving Raph what he always needs reminding of: he is loved. It’s a Kodak moment.
Our heroes find a marker that leads them to the temple where the generator piece is being held. Meanwhile the Triceratons’ instruments clear up enough to lock onto the Fugitoid, putting them on the Turtles trail.
After a brief, funny, run in with some booby traps, the Turtles find the piece and the Triceratons find them. The Turtles and friends try to hold off the Triceratons (Honeycutt straight up annihilates one!) but they prove too much. Mozar grabs the first generator piece, traps our heroes in the temple, and leaves.
Here’s where the episode pays off its title. Throughout the episode Fugitoid explains the background of the Aeons, the native race of Xaava-Dal. They find ruins of their society, which talk of a Soul Star that used to sit at the top of the temple. While looking for an exit from the temple, April finds not only exit, but also the Soul Star. This leads the crew to fight against the demon bats up the outside of the temple to replace the Soul Star.
After playing keep away with the Soul Star from the demon bats, April finally gets to the top and replaces it, which in turn cleanses the planet of the darkness that took it over. It is also revealed that the demon bats are not an invasive species, but are in fact the Aeons, corrupted by the removal of the Soul Star. They moved it to protect the black hole generator piece that was given to them by none other than the Utrom. As thanks for their help, the Aeons give the crew a piece of the Soul Star, claiming it will bring them “luck and power.”
This episode gave us adventure and some great character moments. It also gave us some food for thought as the Turtles contemplate the corruptive force of power. One final thing to point out. The episode started off with Leo in the hologram room, standing in a simulated NYC. While there, he encounters Splinter, which turns out to be a hologram when Leo reaches out to him. It’s hard to believe one of the Turtles would program Splinter into the room, given the circumstances that got them into their current situation. Could this be Splinter reaching out through the astral plane, back at home on Earth? Time will tell.