"Follow the Leader" once again jumps into Leonardo's struggle over commanding his brothers, but given the amount of stress the team's under as they try to locate dozens of mutagen contains across the city, it's understandable this element would pop back up. Meanwhile, Karai utilizes robotic Foot ninjas who are basically like Taskmaster -- they can pick up new moves immediately after seeing them. As expected, these two narratives quickly cross paths and the result is a lot of fun.
Seeing as the Foot are robotic this time around, this means the Turtles don't need to hold back at all with their weapons. Yes, that means Leonardo decapitates and impales, Raphael goes all out and rips off heads, so on and so on. The action is brutal and full of energy in this episode, but what makes it particularly full of win is the fact it focuses on what makes each character unique. The differences between how the brothers act in combat goes well beyond what weapon they're holding, and this chapter does a commendable job illustrating that. It's neat seeing Donatello's vision as he calculates where to toss ninja stars and seeing Mikey flip around as Greg Cipes screams is always a joy.
Leo feeling adrift from his brothers is a familiar concept, but like stated in the review's intro, it works in this specific conflict. The writing between the Turtles remains solid, witty and, most important of all, is still heartwarming at times. The banter in general is amusing and, while there wasn't one huge laugh, it was consistently entertaining. Plus, it wouldn't be a true episode without a few gags from Mikey and thankfully there's a good one or two in here (monocle!). This is a spoiler-free review, but it's worth noting the overall story takes a big step forward and ends on a note that is sure to keep you anxious for what's to come.
The pigeon part's a bit too random and out there for my taste. It was funny, sure, but wouldn't it have been great to see them use their stealth and agility to avoid the cameras? Also, Karai's lines felt formulaic compared to the rest of the script. And, is it just me or would have Leo have been totally fine if he let go of the ledge and landed on his feet? It seemed like it was only a couple of stories at most, and considering how these dudes are always flipping up and down buildings, it didn't appear like a big deal for him. Lastly, the cliffhanger sort of feels like it ended on that specific part to appeal to brand new viewers (aka people who didn't know Karai's Splinter's daughter). Personally, it would've been a bit more gripping if we saw Leo's reaction before cutting to the credits. Yes, we're talking about an extra few seconds or so, but seeing as we already know what Splinter said, it would have been engossing to see a reaction from someone who doesn't know (Leo).
With a sharp script, strong character moments and plenty of cheerworthy and awesome action scenes, "Follow the Leader" is yet another episode which goes to show why this program is so darn lovable. Young or old, Turtles fans of any age should have a blast with this one. Now it's time to see where things will go with that cliffhanger!