Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Target April O’Neil, Review

As a cartoon aimed at kids, TMNT usually has some sort of lesson in each episode. They mostly work (Follow the Leader was particularly strong) and this episode’s message about the importance of friendship seemed to be working until it completely and utterly fell apart.

“Target: April O’Neil” starts with April still separated from the Turtles, or at least trying to be, as Donnie keeps stalking her and ignoring her wishes to be left alone. Frustrated, she visits Casey, practicing hockey on his own, for company. She tells him about her friendship with the Turtles and Casey opens up to her about losing his best friend after a hockey accident. This leads to April wondering if she’s been too hard on the Turtles when Foot Bots attack. Casey helps her fight them off (and comes up with the greatest string of hockey/ice wordplay since Mr. Freeze), but April runs in to Karai and more roboninjas. Realizing that she can’t fight everything on her own, April calls Donnie for help. Everyone needs friends like Casey and the Turtles to have their back sometimes. So far, so good.

At the end of the episode, April returns to the sewers and apologizes to the turtles for being angry. She says she was solely in the wrong (which is not true; if the Turtles had done their job in the season premier and worked together, none of the mutagen problems would have happened), but whatever, she learned to forgive her friends and not hold grudges. The scene chugs along well with sweet moments where April reconnects with her sensei and Mikey offering her bug-covered pizza. But then at the very end it goes off the rails when she thanks Donnie for being there even when she didn’t want him to be.

Donnie should NOT be thanked for being a stalker. He should be called out for it. “Mutagen Man Unleashed” ended with him learning that sometimes people need space. What should have happened was Donnie respected April, gave her the space, and she came back on her own (because she was attacked by a horde of ninja robots). Instead we get the lesson that it’s okay to stalk people and make them dependent on you to the point where they apologize for not being nicer to you. Not cool TMNT, not cool.

Karai’s story “paradoxes” (Mikey’s attempt at saying parallel) April’s story as she realizes that she can’t trust her allies. While continuing to betray Shredder, she turns to the Krang to create Chrome Dome, a new robot designed to hurt April and the Turtles. It seems that she isn’t jockeying for control of the Foot Clan, but is instead using every option she has to get revenge against Splinter. However, the Krang end up double-crossing Karai. They installed a failsafe in Chrome Dome so that instead of terminating April, it tries to bring her back to the Krang. It’s a clever way to save April and show that the Krang still need April for… something.

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I LOVE THE ’80s: Donnie shouts “I love being a turtle,” which is a line used in the films and 2003 cartoon theme song. Casey played hockey against Troma Town, possibly a reference to Tromaville, home of the Toxic Avenger.

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3 out of 5