TMNT – “Tale of Tiger Claw” Review
I’ve been looking forward to this episode ever since I saw the teaser at New York Comic Con, and “Tale of Tiger Claw” did not disappoint. As a fan of Alopex in the IDW series, it was great to see this cartoon iteration. The episode tapped into the mystical side of the TMNT, giving us a fun adventure centered around Tiger Claws origin, the introduction of a new character, and Casey Jones trying to evade a fatal curse put on him.
“Tale of Tiger Claw” goes a long way into fleshing out his character. It’s great to get this treatment on villains, since it gives the audience insight. Was he always a bad guy? Well no, he and Alopex were abducted by the Kraang and experimented on. After not being able to return home, due to their transformations, they tried to live honest lives in the circus. It’s interesting to see how their two stores differ though. When Tiger Claw explains his past to Bebop and Rocksteady, he claims the circus was a waste of their considerable talents, so they joined the criminal underground as assassins. Alopex, however sees it differently. She blames Tiger Claw, not only for their transformation, but for succumbing to a life of crime. The writers did a good job of building empathy for Tiger Claw, sympathy for Alopex, and then hitting it all home with the revelation that they are brother and sister. The real home run was showing that Alopex still cares for her brother, even after all he’s done. Showing Tiger Claw attempt to take advantage of that mercy shows how much of his humanity he’s really lost.
And boy, what a price he paid! I can’t believe they got away with cutting his arm off! Sure, they didn’t show it on camera and it wasn’t gory, but still. I am continually surprised by how far the production team can push this show. And then Raph made a joke about it! Damn!
In all, Alopex comes across as an extremely dangerous, yet honorable foe. Who knows when we’ll see her again, but I hope we do soon.
But that’s not all the episode gave us this week. There was some real humor in this episode. Watching Casey have to deal with his curse, and all of the near deaths that brought with it was hilarious. You can tell the animators had a fun time coming up with each unlikely situation that almost got Casey, and the slow motion spot where everyone successfully saves Casey so he can break the Twin Blades of Vengeance was great.
Of course, how could I leave out Drunken Master Splinter? Another great spot and one I again can’t believe got on TV. The look on the Turtles faces when Splinter starts swigging on the bottle is priceless. He even grosses out Mikey, and who else can say that? What a fun segment.
Finally, we got some updates on Shredder and April. Shredder is still not in a good way, the after effects of his mutation still ravaging his body. His desire for vengeance still hasn’t subsided though, so the eventual rematch between him and Splinter should be epic. April, on the other hand, has finally recovered from her fight with the Aeon Crystal. She’s not as powerful as she was with the crystal, but it looks like she’s more focused and in a much better head-space. Splinter even points out she is the most “at one” with herself.
I also want to call out Tiger Claw quoting Darth Vader in the beginning. His “I sense something…Something I have not felt in many years,” is straight out of A New Hope. With that reference, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he got his hand cut off!
“Tale of Tiger Claw” hit many points this week, but was able to stay focused and tell a fun, cohesive story. The updates on Shredder and April were necessary to keep us in tune with the over arching plot of the season, but didn’t take away from the big adventure of the week. The introduction of Alopex was very well done. Her speed makes her unlike any other character on the show and her vendetta against Tiger Claw is captivating. I hope we get to see a rematch between them soon.