Review: Nickelodeon "Monkey Brain"

In the past the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been seeing monkeying around, with different monkey type villains, from the over sized chimp in the original cartoon series to a talking ape and a Gorilla in Ninja Turtles the Next Mutation.  Nickelodeon is no exception to this rule, as we go into the newest episode "Monkey Brains" where Donatello and April discover a Mutant Monkey that knows how to kick some shell.  Here's my thoughts of this episode and the progress that the series is making with it's 7th episode.

Donatello and Michelangelo are doing some solo training, as Don tries to take Mikey down he is surprised when Mike does a move that he was not excepting.  Annoyed by Mikey's choice, Don goes to Splinter asking him how to handle this type of attack.  Though to Don's surprise, Splinter recommends not thinking things through.  And does a demo of how thinking, could be the down fall in a fight.  Mikey was amused by this.

Personally I like this interaction.  One we see Mikey able to stand his own, by his own movements here.  He's going with the flow and doing things as he wants too, instead of following a rule book.  We see how come Don is behind in his training when it comes to going against his brothers, he's trying to think everything through.  Though the truth is, in a fight you don't know what people are going to throw at you.  So trying to plan it out in advance is always a 50/50 chance of getting it right.  Which is why one of the most important rules is be ready for anything, as Splinter taught Leonardo in leadership.  Though that doesn't mean make a dozen plans for each option, it means be ready if something new happens.  I love that Mikey has this down.  It is a talent that would come naturally to him.

In his alone time Donatello is not listening to the first lesson taught to him, to not try to think everything through.  Don is making a chart to be able to plan for just about any response given to him, for April to hang out with him.  His brothers find him working on the chart so he explains to them what he's up too.  The others are amused by this, though April comes in the door so Don hides his chart.  April shows them a video of a missing scientist, and wants the guys to check it out with her.  Don fastly comes up with the excuse that the others are busy, and leads April alone on the mission.  Leo is surprised to find this option on Don's chart.

I really enjoy this, you get to see some of Don's art.  A bit of how smart he is with his options of what could happen.  And just how he solves the problem.  It would be neat to have that chart printed up as a poster for sale, people would buy it.  Also seeing it as a flip board with a poster on the other side is a bright idea.  Just how well this scene went for Donatello was amusing.

Donatello and April goes to the lab of the missing scientist and break in to get clues on what happen.  As they look around they see that thing are truly a mess, including a few clues of bad stuff going down.  A cage broken up from the inside to get out, a chair for strapping things down, and they even find a canister of Mutagen.  Though as they're moving forward with this, they are surprised by the other scientist that was in the video, Dr. Falco.  Talking to Dr. Falco they learn that the missing scientist, Rockwell was testing on a Monkey, which he did not treat well.

So the plot starts to move foward, as we see here that the Kraang are connected to what happened to Dr. Rockwell.  The story fits into the over all plot of what the Turtles are working on right now.  I did like how Donny showed off with his device that pics locks.  And that this scene helped pace the show in showing things moving forward.

When Don and April leave, they plan to find Rockwell.  Though they are attacked by the Monkey.  Don is beaten down by this monkey, as he was disarmed right near the beginning of the fight.  Though when the Monkey went at April, it stopped and decided not to fight her and took off.

Now people say it didn't want to fight here, though this thing follows them.  Jumps down in front of them screaming in their faces.  This monkey has a temper that was not truly provoked to fight at first.  And once again, the thing they're looking for is either found without any way of them finding it or it finds them, without any reason to find them.   This is a minor thing that helps plots move along, but it does make New York City feel smaller than it is.

April brings Donatello home, the other Turtles show concern seeing how bad he's hurt.  Right away April says that Donatello was "beaten up by a lab monkey", Leo tells her to get an ice pack as he helps Donatello to the couch and asks Don if he'll be ok.  As soon as Don says he will the others break up laughing about him being beaten up by a Monkey with a few monkey jokes by Leonardo.  Don is totally on the defense.  Once April returns Raph gets them to stop with the monkey jokes.  April snaps at them for laughing at Don for being hurt, as Mikey corrects her that they were laughing because he was beaten by a monkey.

This scene is a bit amusing, as the brothers pick at Don after they hear he's going to be ok.  These are brothers who are use to beating each other up, they find fighting as a sport and if you get hurt it's your fault for not having your guard up.  So it may seem a bit mean that these brothers are so fast at attacking Don in such mean humor, though Don would pick on them as well.  What I did find different was that Leonardo was the one doing the monkey jokes, and it was Raph who stopped the jokes.  This Leo has more of a sense of humor than past Leo's, who are usually trying to keep things more under control.  Really, this full joke area could of been avoided if April thought her words out a little more.  Starting off by 'He was beaten up by a lab monkey' is just an opening line for bad jokes.  So Don can blame April for his brother's reactions, though he likes her too much so he won't.

Now Don is upset at himself for loosing the fight to the Monkey and is by himself mopping about it out loud, only to be surprised by Splinter.  Splinter talks to Don about learning to fight without thinking, though Don is still not understanding this lesson.  So Splinter uses Michelangelo to demostrate the lesson.  Mikey is good at this demo, though Splinter still gets in the last move tripping Mikey up.  The lesson is to use the moments between thinking.  Splinter assures Donatello that Mikey has lots to learn still too.

This was an amusing scene.  I like how Mikey took the 'not thinking' as a complement instead of an attack.  As often that is how I feel Mikey wants people to think about him, which is what makes him more dangerous in his own way.  So I enjoyed that.  I also like the fatherly moment between Don and Splinter, though I'm realizing that we're getting this in every episode.  It's becoming a pattern.  Something goes wrong and the Turtles come home to have their father talk things through with them.  While it is cool to have Splinter being the father character, giving advice, it would be nice to see them figure things out on their own too.  The only time it did not happen with Splinter, was for Mikey in the episode "New Friend, Old Enemy".

Now the Turtles are sitting around, going over what April has learned from the notes.  The Monkey has been testing on, saying the Monkey reads emotions which is how it was able to fight so well.  Leonardo wants them all to split up and search for the Mutant Monkey.  Though Raph was curious how they will keep in touch so Donatello introduces the T-Phone.  Michelangelo gets a bit upset, as he wanted to name it the T-Phone.   Raphael baps Mikey down for whining.

I liked seeing the Turtles take time to plan out how to find the Monkey, that they were working at teams and finally have away to be in touch and find each other.  Without just wandering in the right areas.  Though she says that the monkey was aggressive only after Don got that way, it was screaming and showing pure anger when it jumped down in front of them.  A threat to begin with.  A creature working off of emotions would not have done this, as Don and April were not angry when it came at them.  The biggest question is why did the Monkey show itself to them to begin with?
I also enjoyed Mikey staying in character, naming things is a pride of his.  So the temper followed with a bit of saddness matched up to how he's been in this series.  He loves naming stuff.  This is a new thing with Mike, but it's great because he has a creative out let.  So having that taken away, was a sore spot for him.  Raph following up with the bap was fun.

Donatello gives over his T Phone for April to program her number into it and gets really excited as she does so.  Raphael does not understand this as he tells Don that April's number is on the fridge.

This is a cute scene that I do enjoy as you see Don's excitement.  He got April's number given right to him.   I wanted to bring this up as a different scene, because I think it is a nice touch at showing Don's interest in April.  Though we're seeing a lot of how Don is interested in her, we're not seeing any alone time with her and any of the other Turtles to learn if she's seeing this or not.  Her mind is mainly focused on finding her Dad, but with Don's comment through Metalhead, saying his brothers are busy to be alone with her, and just reacting in front of her.  Does April notice this at all?  There's still character growth I'm looking for in her.

The Turtles take to the street, this is a great scene as the Turtles are making their way through New York City, you're getting street names and everything here.  The Turtles and April, chase the monkey to the point where they all end up together.   April was the first with news on where the monkey was, Raph got visiual first, followed by Don, then Leonardo and Mikey is the last brought into the chase.  Michelangelo was playing games on his T-Phone till he got the call, then he uses a skateboard to follow the monkey.  The five of them come to the same area and the monkey is out of sight.  While the Turtles bicker about loosing the monkey, April notices a dumpster and realizes the monkey could be hiding there.  She's right, as she goes over and helps the monkey out, only for Michelangelo to catch it.  The Turtles take the monkey back to Dr. Falco.

This chase scene was fun and I personally love the team work through the full chase scene.  The use of the T-phones was awesome.  Hearing street names I know very well, was exciting.  Seeing Mikey playing games on his T-Phone got me to laugh as I'm known for that, and then using his skateboard in helping with the search was brilliant!  This is my favorite scene in the full episode, because of just how well it all pulled together.  The only thing that I don't understand, which falls under April's personality not catching on to me yet, is why didn't April inform the guys back at the lair that her thoughts on the Monkey when it ran away instead of attacking her.  She realized stuff when the monkey is holding her, then acts on it here in the chase.  So it's something on her mind, but she does not bring it up to the others?  Is this not important?

Back at the lair Michelangelo is glued to his T-Phone playing video games, as they're hanging out in the kitchen.  Raphael walks in with pizza, as Mike now has to find how he can play his game while still eatting pizza.  Donatello comes in as he's been going over Rockwell's study and realized that there was no Monkey, only monkey DNA.  As they realize the monkey they were chasing is Dr. Rockwell, meaning Falco did this to him.  The Turtles realize they need to go save Rockwell from Falco.

Once again I like how they get this information.  It's something explained with the thumb drive.  And now they know what's coming up.  They need to go fight Dr. Falco to save the Mutant Monkey.  Though where they go after that, I recommend watching the episode yourself.

This is a fun episode, more character growth for Donatello.  A bit more of movement as we learn the Kraang is working with these scientist.  We see Don making his movement, and we see a very cool and important scene near the end of the episode for April and Splinter.  I enjoyed this episode and am having a ton of fun following this series.

Did you see "Monkey Brains"?  If so please feel free to share your thoughts on this episode of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  All Reviews, Comments and questions welcomed below.

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