Review Nickelodeon TMNT "The Gauntlet"

Ever think a title for a tv show episode gave too much away with the episode itself?  Well in this case Nickelodeon must of felt that way, as the original released title for this episode was changed from “Enter Shredder” to “The Gauntlet”.  Enter Shredder, a title that would have everyone excited, though would also be a plot spoiler.  One could see why the title was chosen just from the thrill that comes along with it.  Here is my thoughts on this really amazing episode.

We start off with April on the streets of New York, what was really nice here was you saw other people for a few seconds till she turns into an alley way.  Where something flying sends her running in fear, as she gets into a bank and watches this pigeon Mutant crash into the glass.  April leaves, finding that her life is really getting weird.

While I like that there’s other humans being seen in New York now, their lack of reaction to this Mutant going after April in daylight is a little disappointing.  Others should've seen it crash into the glass of a open bank with people inside.  Not just that, she runs down a normal street with no problem and no cars.  I’m a big fan of realistic touches to a show, and with the amazing backgrounds they’ve been giving us of New York City, it would be nice if the city held the life as well.  The honking cars, the yellow cabs, the seas of people going around town.  When I walk New York, it’s very rare to find a street without someone else on it.  So this is a feature I hope we see more and more of, as they get more CGI models for New York Citizens.

In the lair Raph and Leo are training as Donatello comes in excited to tell them about his new Ninja Smoke bombs, the cool thing with this is that he tells his brothers how he makes the bombs.  He also gets to tell how it takes a long time, though Michelangelo finds the smoke bombs and learns how much he loves them without getting to hear how hard they are to make.  At this moment April comes in and warns the Turtles of the new mutant.  Splinter is concerned that the boys are not trying to learn before going into fights, but Leonardo’s remark is that they are “just that good”.

This scene here is funny, plot moving, and character building!  We have April informing the guys of important information, Mike goofing off with the smoke bombs, and Leonardo showing a bit of an ego.  Which is totally understandable.  The Turtles are being played off much younger here, they are winning against some really dangerous odds and starting to feel like they can not loose.  So it’s interesting to see a version that gets that into their skulls, to where they even would say it to Splinter.   Best Smoke Bomb Moment:  “This is serious, I better get Splinter”

Shredder’s HQ, Chris Bradford and Xever are there and there’s a dog that Chris is trying to pet which does not seem happy.  Chris get bite by the dog, as Shredder comes in saying that it is not happy with him.  Shredder insults the two of them, saying how he will take out the Turtles himself.
With Chris being bitten by Hachiko, I think we got a bit of a reason for his mutation coming up later.  As he’ll have some of Hachiko’s DNA stuck in him, even if he does touch someone else.  What an interesting way of doing that.  It is a shame that the mutations of Chris and Xever was spoiled by an early toy release.  So as soon as I saw Hachiko, I had a feeling that Chris was going to mutate in this episode.

About Shredder having a dog, I love this touch.  Shows that there is a human side to the Shredder.  I’m hoping at some point we’ll see it.  Hachiko is also the name of a famous dog from the 1920’s in Japan.  The dog is famous for his loyalties to his master.  This is something I could see Shredder liking, the idea of someone who would be so loyal to only him.  If Shredder grew up with this story in his life the full time, then it could inspire him to get the same type of dog and give it the name of one that he admired in his youth.   I could be putting too much thought into this, but I’d like to think that I’m not.

So April is set up as the bait for their new Pigeon Mutant.  She’s not happy about it at all,  The Mutant does as the Turtles are hoping and comes down towards April, with each Turtle ready to take it down.  Though to their surprise this is a messenger for April, with a message from her father.  They listen to the message only to find that the city is in danger and her dad wants April to leave.  Though she refuses and insists that they save her father.  Using their new friend for information they go off to fight the Kraang, hoping to save April’s father and the city.

One of the best things with this scene was Pete the Pigeon.  Not sure how many people realized that Pete is a character from the original cartoon series, but he was no mutant.  In the episode “What’s Michaelangelo Good for?”.  Mike had a pet pigeon he was taking to the Zoo’s vet, to be cared for.  He could even talk with Pete.  So by naming this new mutant, Pete it’s a nod to the original cartoon.  I loved the interactions during this scene, the stuff between Don and April was great!  And Pete’s reaction to bread crumbs was funny.  And most of all, I love that we get to see how the Turtle’s find the Kraang’s base.  Just... wondering what happened to Pete when he lead them there, and will we see this pigeon again?

A complaint about the I Tunes version.  Now I first saw this on TV, which has breaks for ads.  I’m not a big fan of the break for ads but that’s one of the things everyone learns to put up with.  So I love it that I can get this on I Tunes the following day and have no breaks through the show.  You can always tell where the break was meant to be, as the show will fade to black.  Not really a problem normally, but in this episode I Tunes cut a few seconds from before the break.  Where you see April going on about acting Natural, as soon as she’s done talking Pete lands on the building behind her, following that up with flying at her as she thinks she’s about to be attacked and we go to break.   That is cut.  A bit of a disappointment with I Tunes there.  I may go back and watch the others more careful comparing them to our DVR version to see if they have small changes as well.

In Chinatown Chris and Xever are out talking about their problems with the Turtles.  Chris is really upset about this, and gets Xever to admit to that as well.  Though thanks to the Foot seeing the Turtles in the alley with Pete, Chris gets a call to help find the Turtles.  Giving Chris and Xever a chance for revenge.

A short scene, but the important part about this is we get to see the fish that will be used for Xever’s mutation.  Though these both happen with other things touching them later, so I’m looking for a reason that the genes of the creature could still be with them.  For this fish, I think it may be from the water that would have soaked into Xever’s glove when he held it.

Once the Turtles get to the Kraang’s newest hide out, the Turtles go in and take out the Kraang around them.  Finding a computer room, Leonardo decides to break them into teams.  Though Donatello gets annoyed that he’s stuck with Michelangelo.  Mike’s feelings are hurt by watching all of his brothers say they don’t want him.  Though the teams still split up, as Don works to find out what the Kraang are up too, and Leo’s team works to save Kirby.  Both teams make it some where with their attempts, as Don learns what he needs to and the others find Kirby and gets him out running with them to try and get away.  Though Mikey did set off an alarm which brought in a bunch of Kraang to chase them.    Kirby sees the odds of the Turtles getting out fast not good and throws himself into danger while taking out some Kraang, telling them to save April and the City.  The Turtles have to leave Kirby, as April watches him get caught once again by the Kraang.

This was an interesting scene all around.  We see that Mike is getting annoyed by the treatment of his brothers.  He wants to help, but is feeling shut out.  And even though Don doesn’t know what each button does, Don’s allowed to touch it while he’s not.  So Mike gets a bit rebellious here.  It works for them.  Raph and Leo in the meantime are doing what Master Splinter did wish of them, but for a different enemy.  They are asking Kirby about the Kraang and what they want.  Trying to learn information about their enemy to know more on what they’re fighting against. Of course this is also another great fight scene for the guys.  So far Nickelodeon has not disappointed us at all with the fights and skills in this show.

The Turtles head to Wolf Hotel, where a Mutagen bomb is sitting on the roof.  The Turtles take out the Kraang fast, though Donatello realizes he does not know how to stop this bomb.  While he’s trying to figure this out, they are under attack by Chris and Xever bringing forth another fight.  With Mike’s help, Don is able to stop the bomb and join his brothers in the fight.  As a team they get Chris and Xever cornered near the bomb.  Not knowing what the bomb is though seeing the Turtle’s reaction to it, Chris threatens to take them out as well breaking the bomb which washes both Xever and Chris down into a pool of mutagen.  The Turtles are thrilled with themselves and how good they are.  Only for the most epic battle of the show to start, as Shredder makes his entrance.

I can watch this fight over and over, from defusing the bomb till when the Turtles finally find a way to make their retreat.  The graphics, characters, skills, teamwork, and desperate moves from the Turtles  all are felt and enjoyed.  I know the Nickelodeon team had to put a lot of work and effort into this fight and can’t believe how well they are at bringing us a show that keeps us on the edges of our seats.  One I can watch over and over, finding new things to like.

Of course any fan of the original cartoon series had to be sitting there with their jaw drops to the name of the hotel.  Wolf Hotel... just another huge nod from Nickelodeon to MWS.  In last week’s episode we got Murakami, this week’s episode we get Wolf.  I am really curious if next week they will make Swenson a part of the show.  If they fit these three words in, three episodes in a row... that would be so amazing.  Truly it is amazing just getting the two back to back like this.

Overall I love this episode.  So much epic things all packed into one show.  I highly recommend this episode to anyone who has not seen it.  Though at this point, I say start from the beginning and make your way here so you can see what we saw.  And just how great the Nickelodeon crew is doing.  True I do have issues with how dumb they make Mike at time, or the lack of people on the street, and even the over crowded starry night that New York seems to have in this show.  But those are minor details, Ciro and his crew are bringing us an outstanding series to just sit back and enjoy!

Did you see “The Gauntlet”?  If so please share your thoughts on the series!  All reviews, comments and questions are welcomed below!

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