Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Episode 1.09 'The Gauntlet' Review

Posted by k4tzm4n (35208 posts) - - Show Bio

Remember how last week I praised 'Never Say Xever' as my favorite TMNT episode yet? Well, 'The Gauntlet' has now taken that title. Not only did this week's episode deliver some firm laughs from Mikey, but it also had some great action, dove deep into the plot, and the Shredder makes an incredibly formidable appearance.

It's quite impressive how this week's episode managed to juggle numerous topics and not get them clustered with only 22 minutes at its disposal. We have a new mutant which provides intel on April's dad -- and I must confess, I was very relieved that Pigeon Pete played a small role and wasn't mutated villain #5,034. This transfers into a plot surrounding the Kraang and their plan to detonate a mutagen bomb in the city. Yet this wasn't merely another "we need to stop the Kraang!" story. This time we were treated to the who, what and why about the aliens. Seeing the Turtles slice and dice the Kraang has been good fun, but it was so refreshing to finally hear more about them.

Not only did we have a fairly deep story surrounding the Kraang, but 'The Gauntlet' also focused on Chris Bradford and Xever's desire for revenge. As if that's not enough, the episode concluded with a jaw-droppingly good rooftop fight with Splinter's nemesis. Speaking of Shredder, there was a pan shot of the bruised and battered Turtles and it felt like a moment stripped right out of Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. Moments like that really showcase how much the creative team loves the source material.

Smoke bombs! It's always a treat seeing Donatello creating new gadgets for the team, but an even bigger treat is seeing Mikey foolishly use the new technology. As expected, he had a field day with the smoke bombs and the segment almost had me in tears. Want a tissue? Smoke bomb to find one! It was an excellent dose of lighthearted humor and just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to good laughs in the episode.

As usual, the fight sequences were solid and the Shredder battle gave me goosebumps. Once again we see a split screen focus on eyes as combatants prepare for their next move and slow motion is used in all of the right spots. It's a style frequently used but never overstays its welcome or feels redundant. As if an energetic rooftop fight with Shredder's minions and then himself wasn't enough, we also had a healthy dose of the Turtles viciously disposing of some Kraang. A sai to a robotic head will never get old. The explosive bow and arrows was a very unique and a welcomed touch as well.

This modern take on the Turtles is consistently impressing me. Don't let the kid friendly look fool you. While the humor is lighthearted, it's sharp and can easily be appreciated by fans of all ages. Furthermore, virtually every episode is packed with more than enough solid action and flat-out cool shots of the Turtles. I watched this episode 3 times before writing this review... not because I wanted to refresh my memory, but because I simply loved it that much.

Viners, what did you think about the latest episode and the show as a whole? Don't be shy, speak up!

Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. Donatello is his favorite, but Mikey is becoming a very close second.

Staff
#1 Posted by The Stegman (20786 posts) - - Show Bio

I literally loved everything about this episodes 
 
1. The comedy with Mikey and Don with the smoke bombs 
2. Bradford and Xever's revenge 
3. Shredder's fight  
4. April's dad had more time to shine 
 
However, the thing about this series that stands out to me are the fights, they're so fluid, so fun to watch, the Turtles each have their own fighting style, and the way they work together is close to perfection. However, the ONE thing that irks me is how they just let the Kraang brains just scamper away after their robot bodies are destroyed, I know it's a kid's show, thus they can't kill them, but still, just squish the buggers.

#2 Posted by Ms. Omega (4205 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved this episode its the best one so far.

#3 Posted by RoTheKid (225 posts) - - Show Bio

Great review, Gregg! And yes, I must agree with you, this is by far my favorite episode of the season so far! And just like you, I thought last week's episode was my favorite! I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season! I don't know about you, Gregg, but I feel as though this show is still holding back some goodies for the fans (Karai, Casey Jones, etc.) and it will be sweet to see how Nick handles these characters! :)

#4 Posted by McKlayn (1008 posts) - - Show Bio

yea i didn't start watching this series until i read your review last week, since then i have watched all the issues so far and it's just that damn good, i cant wait till the next episode

#5 Posted by Aeroman (483 posts) - - Show Bio

I want to see master splinter fight in an episode

#6 Posted by JamesKM716 (1992 posts) - - Show Bio

What channel is this on?

#7 Posted by Master_Thief (598 posts) - - Show Bio
@JamesKM716: nick
#8 Posted by k4tzm4n (35208 posts) - - Show Bio

@JamesKM716 said:

What channel is this on?

Nickelodeon.

@The Stegman: Perfect points! And like you said, it's a kids show, so they can't go ahead and kill the Kraang. However, Leo did knock one out this time! I always wonder where they slither off to, though.

@Ms. Omega: Agreed!

@RoTheKid: Thank you very much, Ro! This season will be 20+ episodes and they're already working on season 2... so, I'm sure we'll see plenty of characters along the way ;)

@McKlayn: I'm very happy to hear that. Thanks for reading the reviews and giving the show a chance!

@Aeroman: I'm sure he'll get a moment in the spotlight sooner or later.

Staff
#9 Posted by Jarred706 (4 posts) - - Show Bio

Also the mutation of Xever and Chris, welcome addition. Looks like Mutant henchmen have returned...honestly seeing Xever as the mutant fish...was incredibly creepy...

#10 Posted by k4tzm4n (35208 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jarred706 said:

Also the mutation of Xever and Chris, welcome addition. Looks like Mutant henchmen have returned...honestly seeing Xever as the mutant fish...was incredibly creepy...

Yeah, it's nice to see Shredder's modern equivalent of Bebop and Rocksteady! I just hope they're more competent than B&R. Based on their history so far, I imagine they will be.

Staff
#11 Posted by Crom-Cruach (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

*still refusing to watch this show because it hurts his eyes*

#12 Posted by Nicodemus (65 posts) - - Show Bio

I notice in the episode that if you watch Raph's fighting style, he goes for more "kill wounds" than the others. It's the little things you pick up as you watch is really what's getting me, being a Turtle fan FOREVER. I often describe the fight scene animation as "a smooth flowing river of violence." I love this show. It's really done the Turtle's justice. I call they actually kill the Shredder in this series. Cartoon or not.

#13 Posted by McKlayn (1008 posts) - - Show Bio

@k4tzm4n: Thanks for the reviews man i would never have watched it without them lol

@Crom-Cruach: its really not that bad and well your missing a great show by refusing to watch it.

#14 Posted by Crom-Cruach (8637 posts) - - Show Bio

@McKlayn: Sorry animation like this makes my eyes bleed regardless of what the quality of the show. Even as a total turtles fanboy I will always refuse to watch that. Especially after that was the art quality of the show that came before:

#15 Posted by BoyWander (318 posts) - - Show Bio

Totally called them mutating at the end. And now we finally know who the hell that was in the Lego set. "DogPound" I wonder if they're going to give him that name, or if that was a way to hide the fact that he was Chris.

#16 Posted by DM (15 posts) - - Show Bio

Man this show is pure awesome.I love that they built up the first fight with Shredder. It would have been easy to do in the first 2 episodes.But they waited and made the fight the focal point of the first set of episodes. Kudo's for doing it right.

#17 Edited by k4tzm4n (35208 posts) - - Show Bio

@DM: Definitely. I'm happy they delayed the confrontation as well.

Staff
#18 Posted by Trodorne (2569 posts) - - Show Bio

The current comics are still better than this.

#19 Posted by Mr_Athrilla (79 posts) - - Show Bio

best episode yet. Minor grips

-I know it was played for comedic purposes, but Mickey really screwed the team in this episode. first setting off the alarms then wasting the smoke bombs that would of saved them from a savage shredder beating.

-I felt that mutating Chris and Xever was a bit unnecessary. There already accomplished fighters capable of holding there own against the turtles. Xever had a great a great fighting style, and how sweet was Bradford's beard? Comon I know im not the only one who will miss it.

- and this is from last weeks episode. I'm I the only one who found it weird that the turtles were morally against killing Bradford, yet in the next fight scene they sent a bunch of ninjas plummeting to there death?

#20 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (19489 posts) - - Show Bio

Very nice review k4tz! Mikey is my favorite in this TMNT series

#21 Edited by TheHeat (441 posts) - - Show Bio

Mikey has me laughing hysterically in every episode. I love this show!

#22 Posted by modunhanul (379 posts) - - Show Bio

Shredder was awesome. I wonder how TMNT will beat him.

#23 Posted by namtabmi (99 posts) - - Show Bio

@Aeroman said:

I want to see master splinter fight in an episode

THIS!

#24 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

I tell you, nothing will ever beat the original 80s/90s animated show, but this is quickly turning to become a close #2 for me. Sure, I may not be a fan of the CGI but the storytellin's what is drawing me in every time. Really great stuff I tell you...

#25 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

I find myself loving this show quite a lot!

Such a fun characterisation of the turtles. But I gotta say, I'm not a big fan of the villains/original characters they come up until now. The mutant vine from the pilot, the big psychic monkey, etc... kinda bad. The real adapted characters such as The Shredder or Baxter? Now those were great.

@Trodorne said:

The current comics are still better than this.

Oh, so true!

Read IDW's TMNT everyone!! Support the comic too!!

#26 Posted by Selvokaz (197 posts) - - Show Bio

Donatello: What are you doing?

April: You wanted me to be bait, so I'm being bait.

Donatello: That's not how bait talks.

April: How would you know how bait talks?

Donatello: I know bait doesn't talk back! BEST LINE YET!

#27 Posted by pingclang (192 posts) - - Show Bio

I usually try not to geek out and look at the show from a non-fanboy point of view but I just can't with this show. It is soooo awesome and so well done. Like most folks I grew up on the original cartoon and later the comics and I have to say that this is definitely up there as some of the best TMNT material. Amazing show.

#28 Posted by Mezmero (859 posts) - - Show Bio

Allow me to borrow a popular phrase from the podcast to describe this episode. So good! The smoke bombs had me laughing so hard throughout the episode. The last episode seemed more about developing the harmony between Leo and Raph, the leader and the the soldier. This one seem to focus on the harmony between Mikey and Donny, the fool and the brains. The action in the first half was sort of meh, though I swear I saw Leonardo actually stealth kill a robot right through the Kraang. The pink kind of faded away into nothingness in the wreckage and I was like "Dude! Leo just iced that alien!"

The second half is when things really kicked off action wise. The way they directed the animation on Shredder's fighting style was masterfully done. It made him feel very heavy with all the armor on yet still strong enough to move quick if he needs to. All I know is that I would let him tank for my ninja clan any day of the week. Watching him like this makes me realize the real genius behind this character design. With all those blades all over him he can strike a lethal blow at any angle while being protected at the same time. I'm not sure how I feel about Bradford and Xever's mutant forms. I'll need to see them fight like this before I can pass judgement.

The comic is awesome too but I think I prefer the version of Splinter that mutated from Hamato Yoshi in the cartoons rather than an actual rat in the comics. I can not wait to see what happens next.

#29 Posted by Lvenger (16058 posts) - - Show Bio

So much was crammed into this episode but it worked brilliantly. Though I didn't see the need to transform Bradford and Xever into mutants. They were fine as they were. I don't really want a modern day Beebop and Rocksteady honestly

#30 Posted by k4tzm4n (35208 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lvenger said:

So much was crammed into this episode but it worked brilliantly. Though I didn't see the need to transform Bradford and Xever into mutants. They were fine as they were. I don't really want a modern day Beebop and Rocksteady honestly

Understandable, although I'm cool with it. We've seen them at their prime against the Turtles and now we've seen that the team can indeed overcome the duo. Now they'll bring a new variety of abilities and challenges to the table. I imagine Bradford is going to be especially intimidating now.

Staff
#31 Posted by Lvenger (16058 posts) - - Show Bio

@k4tzm4n said:

@Lvenger said:

So much was crammed into this episode but it worked brilliantly. Though I didn't see the need to transform Bradford and Xever into mutants. They were fine as they were. I don't really want a modern day Beebop and Rocksteady honestly

Understandable, although I'm cool with it. We've seen them at their prime against the Turtles and now we've seen that the team can indeed overcome the duo. Now they'll bring a new variety of abilities and challenges to the table. I imagine Bradford is going to be especially intimidating now.

True. But since they could beat the Turtles before, giving them mutant powers seems a bit unfair for the Turtles to overcome as well. But we'll have to wait to see how that works out.

#32 Posted by Master_Thief (598 posts) - - Show Bio
@BoyWander: yeah he is going to be named dogpund and xever is going to be fishface

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