TMNT – “The Forgotten Swordsman” Review
Well, would you look at that? I was not expecting Tatsu to get a cameo in this series, but what a pleasant surprise. And he looked just like Toshishiro Obata from the movies! “The Forgotten Swordsman” was full of little surprises and highlighted by a unique fight scene. The episode served mostly to inform the Turtles what Tiger Claw’s ultimate plan was, as well as draft Karai and Shinigami into the fight. By the end, the episode accomplished this goal, and created some tantalizing questions to think of moving forward.
The episode started off with a pair of surprises: First, Fishface didn’t die last season! Second, Rahzar most certainly did! We never had confirmation that Rahzar died, and we even saw him survive getting run over by a subway, so it made sense to assume he was alive. But no, Leatherhead totally killed him, drowing him at the bottom of the bay! What a time to be alive…for Rahzar. Tiger Claw put Kavaxas up to the task as a test of his resurrection abilities, and it totally worked! In order to revive Shredder, however, Kavaxas needs Shredder’s heart and his helmet, The Kuro Kabuto. The helmet would be the focus this week.
Side note, where is Shredder’s heart? How did Tiger Claw recover his body without the heart? Did Leo take Shredder’s heart? How weird.
Multiple parties were after the helmet, with Fishface and Rahzar looking for Tiger Claw, Raph and Casey looking to stop them, Karai and Shinigami looking to control the Foot, and Tatsu trying to do the same. Eventually, all parties converged. Tatsu tried to lure Rahzar to his side. Karai and Shinigami teamed up with the Turtles. It all culminated in a Foot hideout, with our heroes vs. Tatsu.
In this iteration, Tatsu remained Shredder’s second, but ran the Foot in Japan. He was blind at birth, and became a master swordsman, leaning on his superior hearing to defeat his foes. Shredder was the only one who saw potential in him. When Tatsu learned of the power vacuum in New York, he decided to come to America to stop his former pupil Karai, and take his place as Master of the Foot.
What a great way to introduce Tatsu into this universe! He’s suitably badass, and while he talks much more than his movie counterpart, they pay homage to the character with his importance in the Foot Clan. The “blind warrior” may be a trope in many genres, but it served Tatsu well here. We got to see another reason for how Shredder breeds such loyalty. It also gave us a visually stunning and unique fight scene, highlighting the way Tatsu hears his enemies, and what happens when that hearing gets taken away from him.
Karai and Leo make a great team! The animation in this show can be so fluid, and that white splash taking over when Tatsu lost his hearing was striking. I’m really going to miss the CGI when this show ends.
In the end, the party was crashed by Kavaxas. Rahzar stayed loyal to Tiger Claw, and Tatsu seemingly had his life energy robbed by Kavaxas. With the Kuro Kabuto in hand, Kavaxas, Tiger Claw, and company leave, one step closer to their goal.
But are they unified in their goal? Tiger Claw clearly wants to resurrect Shredder, but how long will he able to control Kavaxas with that medallion? You definitely get the sense that Kavaxas has his own plan, and it’s only a matter of time before he puts it into action, if it’s not already.
And now that the Turtles and friends know that Kavaxas can resurrect the dead, how long is it before Leo or Karai try to make a deal with him to bring back Splinter?
“The Forgotten Swordsman” shows that the creative team of TMNT got their groove back after last week’s solid, but weaker episode. Fans were treated to another Turtle homage, an arc that pushed the season forward, and unique action scenes. Finally, we continue to see how powerful Kavaxas is. Putting a stop to this being currently seems insurmountable, but watching the Turtles try to change that should be entertaining.