Slash is back! Not only does this serve as the big return of the powerful turtle (he's only had a small cameo after his debut!), but this episode also sees the reemergence of the heavily armed Newtralizer and places a nice focus on Raphael and Casey Jones' relationship.
When Raphael previously bumped into Slash at the Kraang base, I honestly had no idea where the show would go with these two. It was clear they're on "friendlier" terms, but still, their objectives are different and that's sure to create more conflict down the road. Thankfully, the creative minds behind the show decided to set Slash on a path that I can admit I never even thought about. Slash's back with a new teammate: the Newtralizer (voiced by the very awesome Danny Trejo). It's a partnership that not only looks ridiculously cool, but it's reasonable these two would join forces and a little exposition is thrown in there to explain how this alliance formed. Although, the timing of their meeting makes me wonder when it happened. I guess Slash was captured again after escaping in his previous cameo? Poor guy can't catch a break, can he?
While this episode does focus on two relationships, the strongest element here is the comedy. There's some really creative bits of humor that had me cracking up. From a brilliant use of slow motion to Michaelangelo randomly screaming and soaring across the sky in the background, there's so many clever gags to enjoy. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say Mikey has his best thought bubble yet and Ice Cream Kitty (voiced by Kevin Eastman) makes another glorious cameo. It's the same gag as before but damn it, I can't help but be filled with joy when it happens.
Much to my surprise, this episode had a really cool mystery vibe going on in the earlier scenes. The directing and visuals in these moments set the stage for a really creepy atmosphere. We know Slash is responsible, but it's clearly implied he isn't alone and a little hint is given to help tease his teammate's identity. It was a neat tonal shift for the show as we saw these crime scenes and the turtles investigating them. It's just too bad we already know who's behind this because of the previously released clips and even the title of the episode. But hey, I can't hold that against the content within the episode!
The finale is so much fun. From Raphael attempting to take on Newtralizer by himself to Leonardo deflecting blasts (it's brief but seriously rad), there's a solid amount of action-packed goodness for us to appreciate. Nothing here is a contender for one of the top fights in the series, but there's more than a few good bits of melee madness for our eyes to enjoy. Plus, Newtralizer is a total boss and has a few moments to prove it.
At this point, having several scenes of Krang talk is a pretty risky move. The unique way they communicate is either going to be hilarious or come off as feeling too familiar and, instead of making us laugh, it'll just remind us of previous lines that were sharper. Thankfully, there's some great segments of Kraang dialogue in this one! In addition to the other brilliant bits of humor, there were a few Krang lines that gave me a very good chuckle or, at the very least, kept me smiling like a goofball. I won't spoil any of them for you -- I couldn't live with that kind of guilt -- but there's absolutely one or two in here that'll get you laughing.
I love Casey Jones and honestly, I'm all for him not being as formidable as the turtles. Sure, he's a tough dude, but we're talking about mutants that have been undergoing some intense training for quite some time now. This episode brings that difference front and center. I like what it's trying to illustrate, but the problem is it takes place after we've seen Jones do some crazy things. We've watched him hold his own (for some time) with Raph, battle Footbots and more, so to see him struggling this much and this frequently feels a little inconsistent based on what we've already seen from the guy. Don't get me wrong: going toe-to-toe with the likes of Slash or Newtralizer should be a massive uphill struggle and him being humiliated by them is perfectly fine, but there felt like many other moments where Casey seemed significantly less effective than he was in other episodes. That said, his dialogue was delightfully arrogant and stubborn.
I'm having trouble getting behind the Newtralizer. His design and premise are very cool and the fact he's voiced by Trejo is beyond excellent, but the emotional connection just isn't there for me. The potential is most definitely there, but his role hasn't felt as inspired as the other mutants we've encountered in the show. And a minor gripe: I was left wondering how their teleporting works because they press a button and can appear literally anywhere they want to. I'll just have to assume there's a mental link?
I may not be the biggest fan around of Newtralizer (which is odd because I love the design and Trejo), but that hardly prevents this from being a thoroughly entertaining and fun episode. It's consistently funny, offers some really enjoyable bits of action, and sets a whole new path for Slash. At the end of the day, this doesn't really change anything for Casey, but it was still a total blast to watch.