We're now seven episodes into the new show and it hasn't let me down yet. 'Monkey Brains' is yet another entertaining episode filled with plenty of laughs -- mostly courtesy of Mikey -- and quite a few cool action sequences.
This week's episode dives into Donatello's hopeless crush on April and the Kraangs very slow moving plot surrounding the mutagen. Donny creates a hugely complex algorithm on how to overcome his awkwardness and successfully chat with April. If you're also a fan of 'The Big Bang Theory,' I imagine Sheldon's friendship algorithm will immediately come to mind. His prep time is used wisely as the chart works and he goes off with April to check out a scientist's disappearance.
Naturally, it's connected to the Kraang and before they know it, they're face-to-face with a giant psychic monkey (for reals). Donny views this as his chance to be a knight in shining armor, save April from the seemingly evil creature and look awesome doing so. Simple task for a ninja, right? Unfortunately, things don't go his way and he suffers a hilarious and relentless beating from the angered primate.
Simply viewing this as a kids show really isn't giving the program the level of praise it deserves. The humor is surprisingly sharp at times (the guinea pig comment from Mikey) and the team has done a great job recreating the familiar universe. While no major changes happen in this episode (except for the addition of T-phones), it's still a 22 minute overdose of fun.
Seeing the turtles train is always a good time, and Donny sparring with Mike was especially amusing considering their drastic differences in tactics. The sequence with the monkey was a brutal delight, but the real treat here was the final fight. Stepping into a psychic's mind during combat was handled incredibly well and was pretty stunning to watch. In my opinion, this was one of the best action sequences the show has offered to date. The solution to overcoming the scientist's advantage was obvious, but it managed to string together Splinter's lesson quite well.
While this was certainly a solid episode, I can't help but feel like it's filler when compared to the overall plot. The story with the Kraangs or Shredder hasn't moved forward and that's something I've been wanting to see more of. We know Kraangs are using human scientists and experimenting with mutagen, but we still don't know why or even where they're from. This is something we're sure to find out sooner or later, but it's taking awhile to get there.
We know Shredder wants to investigate his longtime foe's reappearance, but he hasn't done anything except for send two men to check it out. Furthermore, this is now technically the second episode revolving around the purple Turtle. Donny is my favorite, but we've now seen everyone except for Leonardo have a story focusing on their character. I'd love to see their leader get more focus before moving on to Splinter/Shredder and the Kraang. Sure, we've watched him mimic his amazingly campy cartoon and struggle to keep authority, but unlike the others, he's never had an entire plot surrounding him.
Overall, the show is moving the primary plot points at a slow pace, but that hardly matters since each chapter has been more than thoroughly entertaining. If you're enjoying the reboot so far, odds are you'll love this episode as well. And if not... well, there's always the IDW comic for you to enjoy.