TMNT – “The Ever-Burning Fire”
“The Ever-Burning Fire” looks like the penultimate episode of the Turtles space adventure, and as such has set us up for next weeks episode “Earth’s Last Stand.” Like most time travel stories, we’ve finally come full circle: The Triceratons have reassembled the black hole generator and scout Zog has notified them about the Kraang invasion of Earth. The end of the episode hinted at one major change however; Mozar seems to know that the Turtles we’ve been watching this season are time travelers. Not that the Triceratons have shown empathy at any step of the way, but Mozar now has even more motivation to destroy the Earth. He gets to kill the thorns in his side twice. “The Ever-Burning Fire” did a great job setting us up for the season finale, with ship to ship battles, a giant monster, and the return (and possible final appearance) of Lord Dregg.
The episode starts off with Mikey watching some “real Earth-style entertainment” and lamenting to Raph how much he misses home. It’s fun looking for the parallels in the cartoons the guys watch -as even the show itself has commented on how each episode they watch reflects their current situation- but it wasn’t clear what this one was saying. Maybe it was hinting at the giant monster they would face later? Or maybe it was meant to show the frustration that Mozar was feeling as he searched for “the formula,” or in this case, the final piece of the black hole generator? Either way, it’s interesting to see our heroes exhausted by the trip. While Donnie and Leo didn’t talk about their desire for home, their exasperation at the distance they had to travel to get to Magdomar speaks volumes. By the way, did anyone else catch those Andy Warhol style Fugitoid paintings in the TV room? Have they been there the whole season? Or how about Cudley the Cowlick as one of the Cosmic Monsters of the Universe? That’s two nice little references tucked away in the background.
The trip to Magdomar was wild though. The planet is a giant volcanic ocean, with craggy spires jutting out of it. This episode saw the fight for the black hole generator become a triple threat match, as the Turtles had not only the Triceratons to contend with, but the return of Lord Dregg as well. Seemingly nothing can keep him down, except maybe the cold vastness of space, but we’ll get there in due time. The generator piece was discovered on one of the largest islands, but it was lodged in place. Each of the groups would have to fight to get there first, and fight they did.
Except this triple threat would soon become a fatal fourway match, as the island itself turned out to be Tokka, one of the Six Great Cosmic Monsters of the Universe. This Tokka, unlike the original version in TMNT 2, was a massive monster, and a mother to boot. So while it was protecting the black hole generator piece, it was also protecting it’s child, a tiny little space turtle that Raph named Chompy Picasso. There was some good action, as stated before. The creators do take a lot of risks with this show. “Kaiju fight” doesn’t really spring to mind when you say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and yet it works really well. Raph’s connection to Chompy, and by proxy Tokka, help the audience care about the big girl, and Dregg and Mozar are well supported as the villains they are. They even correct one of my biggest gripes of two episodes ago by making Mozar really threatening again. Not only does he cap the episode off by tricking Dregg and releasing him into the vacuum of space (a threat I’m happy he finally made good on), but he also commanded the Triceraton army to blow up a dwarf star! That’s brutal! Now with the black hole generator put together, it finally feels like it’s in the hands of the power hungry villain who would use it.
One weird thing to bring up; It sort of feels like the writers are bringing the show back a little too full circle. A little too Raph, if you will. I’m excited to see the Turtles return to Earth and NYC, but with the space arc wrapping up, Dregg seemingly taken care of (although who really knows), and the Triceratons presumably taken care of next episode, it sure does feel like they’re returning to the status quo of season 1. Hell, Raph even has a pet turtle again! I’m not sure if this is necessarily bad, it just feels weird. I love the Turtles in the city (I’m a native New Yorker, so I’ve always related), and I want to see the story with Shredder progress, especially since the Turtles know the lengths he’ll go for revenge. But I am worried that the progress each of these characters have made over four seasons might get taken back. Right now, that worry is unfounded, and the writers have done a great job so far, but we’ve written about how each Turtle series has started to slow down after its fourth season, and I’d hate to see that happen to this one.
“The Ever-Burning Fire” was an action packed episode, filled with space battles, last second rescues, and the series first appearance of Tokka! It also brought the season full circle, preparing us for the final stand on Earth. It is going to be interesting to see how it turns out, but this penultimate episode was strong, with the heart this series has become well known for.
What did you think of “The Ever-Burning Fire?” Do you think the friends and allies the Turtles have made throughout this season will come to help Earth this second time around? Will Dregg return to seek vengeance once again? Or will he momentarily help the Turtles to get revenge on Mozar? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section!