Turtles vs. Triceratons, take two.
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
Well. That. Was. Epic.
As fun, funny and action-packed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can be, it only strikes an emotional chord every once in awhile, but when it does, it’s often the standout moment of the episode. (Suffice to say, Master Splinter has gotten his fair share of these over the years.) But in “Earth’s Last Stand,” the truly affecting arc this week was Fugitoid’s, and for me it stood out as one of this season’s best. Because at its core this episode was about second chances — not just for the Turtles, but for Fugitoid as well, who, until now, we knew relatively little about.
Obviously one of the driving forces this week was the discovery that Fugitoid created and sold the black hole generator to the Kraang many years ago, which divided the team. For Leonardo, this culminated in a reckless (but visually awesome) attack on the Triceraton mothership. Meanwhile, back on Earth, we found out that, yes, there were in fact two sets of Turtles now: our time-traveling Turtles from the “present” and the Turtles of six months ago. And while many of the scenes were retreads from the Season 3 finale, they had the added twist of being seen from our Turtles’ perspective, along with Mozar learning the truth about the past.
For awhile there, I wasn’t sure what Fugitoid’s second secret could be when he ejected the Turtles from his ship. (Alas, I wasn’t as clever as Donnie putting two and two together about fusion and dark matter.) But it was a nice pinch, and a good excuse for the Turtles to meet their past counterparts. While I assume Splinter knew Shredder was going to kill him from his conversation with Leo in “Trans-Dimensional Turtles,” it would have been nice to have a line about that since, as is, his block kind of came out of nowhere. But that was just a minor quibble and could easily be explained away as a result of the butterfly effect.
Beyond that, this action sequence was just as rad, if not radder than last time. Mozar taking on double the Turtles offered some very impressive moments. The long take of Mozar deflecting various attacks, for example, was particularly cool, followed by Leonardo firing on him, Wild West-style.
I also dug how this sequence was intercut with a proper fight between Splinter and Shredder, which brought about some great shots, while also reminding us about Karai. And Tiger Claw’s final line to Splinter seemed to hint that the Foot would be making a comeback later this season, which would definitely be a welcome sight.
Of course, the scene that brought everything full circle was Fugitoid sacrificing himself to destroy the Heart of Darkness and the Triceratons in one fell swoop. Not only did the animators crush this scene in terms of sheer spectacle, but David Tennant’s delivery here was spot-on and very touching (not to mention that swelling music). Plus, just on a technical/nerdy level, I was glad they finally explained why the team had to wait until all three fragments were in their possession before they could destroy them: because Fugitoid only had one shot at it. All around, this sequence was an excellent send-off for Fugitoid.
Granted, it was a little cheeky how they sent the past doubles out into space with past Fugitoid. Presumably they too would travel back six months and live out the whole thing over again, thus creating a paradox — but no telling how our Turtles had affected the past Turtles’ timeline. Still, it felt in-keeping with the show’s Whovian approach to time travel, and I got a chuckle out of Slash’s line, “I’ve seen a lot of weird days, but this has got to be one of the weirdest.”
I also thought the final shot of Fugitoid’s head coming back to life in the middle of space undercut the character’s big moment somewhat. I kind of would have rather his “death” be the last time we saw him, even if the show decided to bring him back at some point. (Again, anything is possible with time travel.) That said, it didn’t take away from the underlying message that everyone deserves a chance to make up for their past mistakes, and in Fugitoid’s case, it was powerfully executed.