TMNT – “Broken Foot” Review
“Broken Foot” continues Karai’s vendetta against the Shredder. With plans to attack and destroy Shredder’s infrastructure, this episode promised to be action packed, and it did a pretty good job at delivering. The central conflict of the episode revolved not around Karai’s ambushes, but rather her ally in the fight: Leonardo!
Karai and Shinigami hit up a Foot Clan money laundering center, and when they encounter the Purple Dragons and Hun, Leo provides back up. Bringing the Purple Dragons back was a good way to reestablish the street level crime element of the Foot Clan. They still act as comedic relief, but Hun remains dangerous, even though Leo quickly dispatched him. Plus, we got to see Shinigami use that hypnosis ability to trick one of the Dragons into seeing a giant Oni! She really is a source of visual flair for the episode, and I’m glad the writers and animators are utilizing her for this.
We find out after the ambush that Leo hasn’t told Splinter or his brothers that he has been helping Karai. It’s a little weird to see this side of him, as even the other characters all point out that this is more in Raph’s wheelhouse. They even make a callback to Raph’s Nightwatcher alter ego at one point in the episode.
Everything hits the fan when Mikey, Raph, and Donnie (after an always welcome chat with Ice Cream Kitty) track down Leo to the site of Karai’s next mission; A Foot Clan chemical factory (Shredder has a really diversified business, doesn’t he?). Her plan is to infiltrate the factory with Leo, Shinigami, and a new set of Foot Clan ninjas recruited from Japan, place explosives all around the facility, and blow it up. However, they’re quickly discovered by Bebop and Rocksteady, and an all out fight breaks out when Tiger Claw joins them! Karai and her team are quickly over run, but after placing the explosives they escape. The Foot give chase, and when Donnie, Raph, and Mikey arrive, they’re greeted only by the count down of the explosives in the empty factory. Donnie ushers the other two out, but not before getting caught in the explosion and seriously hurt!
Leo catches up with his brothers, who are obviously angry that his exploits have resulted in Donnie getting hurt. They return home to get help from Splinter, and Leo apologizes for his short sightedness. In helping Karai, trying to keep her in control, he caused the injury of his brother, and failed as a leader. Splinter reminds him that being a leader means being able to see when bad decisions will cause bad outcomes and leaves him to contemplate this new lesson.
It’s important that the show challenges Leo as a leader. I like that it’s not something that the writers take for granted, and show him failing, struggling, and learning to become better. Through this, they also showed how mature the other Turtle’s have become. This shines especially bright on Raph. As we mentioned before, the episode itself claims that this sounds more like something Raph would do. Even he says it. The fact that he isn’t however, speaks to the growth of his character through the life of this show.
While April and Splinter tend to Donatello, Leo asks Mikey and Raph for help. Together, they try to convince Karai and Shinigami to stop attacking Shredder’s assets. Their next target is a Foot Bot assembly plant, and Leo worries that they will quickly be outnumbered. Karai, too consumed with revenge, refuses to listen and they vanish, headed for the factory.
But it seems they bit off more than they could chew, since the factory wasn’t building the old Foot Bots, but rather the new Elite Foot Bots. Luckily for Karai and Shinigami, the Turtles arrive for the save again! What follows is a sprawling fight, as Karai attempts to plant explosives, Raph tries to shut down the assembly line, Shinigami and Mikey take on Bebop and Rocksteady, and Leo and the Foot Ninjas fight the Elite Foot Bots. Just as the numbers start to overwhelm our heroes, Karai blows up the central molten ore container, getting caught in her own blast, but also taking down Tiger Claw. With the factory destroyed, everyone makes an escape.
The uneasy partnership between the Turtles and Karai continues to intrigue. As much as Leo likes Karai, I wasn’t expecting him to stick his neck out so far for her. While her missions were ultimately successful, they certainly would not have been without the Turtles help. The fact that she hasn’t realized this, and states her intention to go directly after the Shredder next, shows that she hasn’t really learned anything from this outing. It will be interesting to see where Karai and Shinigami go from here. Will they continue to work with the Turtles? Will they keep risking too much until they’re in a situation they can’t get out of? We know Splinter doesn’t approve of her vendetta, but how long will it be before he interferes directly?
“Broken Foot” was action packed and full of great character beats. Having Leo be the turtle to go behind Splinter’s back was an interesting choice. It showed how far he was willing to go to help someone he cares about, yet pushed him to learn from his lapse in judgement. There’s a fine line between help and enabling, and in this case Leo was enabling Karai, and ultimately at the cost of his brother’s health. “Broken Foot” proved to be another solid step forward for this volume of TMNT, continuing to ask interesting questions about where the fight with Shredder will take us next.