The train kept rolling this week, as we got answers to many of the questions from last week’s episode. “Heart of Evil” showed us where Shredder’s heart has been all this time, who has it, and what it means to the larger crime channels of New York. We also received a larger show of the cracks forming between Kavaxas and Tiger Claw. There is definitely more to the Shredder’s resurrection than meets the eye.
We were also treated to a very different side of Donatello. Overall, there has been consistently good character studies in this show, and it’s really interesting to take a look at what Donnie becomes when he’s angry. Obsessed even. Pulling this out of the trauma he received from Don Vizioso the last time we saw him was a perfect opportunity. Turns out, Donnie can be a real badass when he has a really good reason. It had the extra effect of showing more cracks in Leo’s role as sensei, and we had a nice touching moment between them at the end of the episode.
Don Vizioso and his mafia continue to be interesting additions to the show. It’s a great foil to see how the normal criminal elements of the city react to ninjas and mutants and demon dragons. Still, Vizioso isn’t quite normal, which makes him a fun character. The constant eating, the M.O.D.O.K. like flying chair, and his exaggerated gangster speech all add up to a humorous send up of movie mafia culture.
The family also gave the creative team the opportunity(?) to show just how evil Kavaxas is. He was killing people left and right in the ambush scene! I’m definitely going to miss The Hammer. What a ridiculous character.
The whole episode was a triple threat battle for the heart of Shredder. Don Vizioso took it after Shredder’s death, as a show of power in the city. I enjoyed how his enforcers all thought it was gross that he just kept it on the table while he ate (which is all the time). Vizioso’s line about gaining the power of your enemy by consuming their heart, really made it sound like he was going to eat it, but apparently even he’s not that gross. The episode even joked about this later on with Bebop riffing on him.
It was also interesting to see just how the Turtles are trying to deal with Tiger Claw and Kavaxas. Normally, any reconnaissance mission the group does is just a way for the writers to get the heroes in a place for a battle. This time, however, Raph and Mikey (of all people) were actually successfully spying on the bad guys. They never gave away their position! It’s hard not to feel proud of both of them.
No, this time the conflict came squarely from Leo and Donnie, and Donnie’s desire for revenge. I spoke to this a little before, but it really is fun watching these two bang heads. Donnie is angry, but his analytical mind is still there. He’s got a grudge, but he wants to get rid of the anti-mutant weapons. When Leo tries to get him to focus, he just looks at it as multi-tasking. It’s a different kind of anger than Raph, and it’s just another example of how well this show really gets each turtle. Plus, did you see that grin on Raph when Leo was scolding Donnie? That’s some comedy gold, right there.
There was also the subplot of figuring out how to stop Kavaxas. The fight over the seal was really well done. Kavaxas wanted the seal for his freedom. April, Karai, Raph, and Mikey, wanted it to try to control Kavaxas. Tiger Claw needs it to maintain control. It was a visually interesting fight, with clear stakes. Mikey’s injuries at the end only highlighted those stakes, and reminded us how formidable Tiger Claw is. Plus, it’s setting up April for a big moment down the line, when she finally figures out how to harness her abilities and the seal in tandem.
“Heart of Evil” was another solid episode in the Kavaxas arc. With Shredder’s revival at the end of the episode, the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s obvious now that Kavaxas’ own plan relies on Shredder’s resurrection as well, and it will be interesting to see what actually steps out of that coffin. Will it be Super Shredder? The original Shredder pre-mutation? Maybe it’s a vessel for Kavaxas himself? Obviously there is power in Shredder, and Kavaxas has a great interest in it. “Heart of Evil” did a great job of boiling that interest, and setting us up for what will hopefully be an explosive episode next week!