Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Good, the Bad, and Casey Jones review

There’s no standoff here as Casey and Raphael go straight to fighting.

After a few months off the air, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles returns with a strong episode featuring the start of Casey Jones’ crime fighting career. In his previous appearances he’s helped April escape from a mutant and the Foot Clan, but now he plans to play offense (a hockey joke they surprisingly didn’t use) and find trouble first.

Casey’s transformation is shown in a sequence featuring purple-prosed narration from his journal, creating an interesting comparison between him and Watchmen’s Rorschach. He even has a bit of Rorschach’s look; his mask and face paint are both black and white and the paint design is a cross between a Rorschach test and the Misfits’ logo (the Danzig band, not the one from Jem and the Holograms). Like Rorschach, Casey’s out for vigilante justice; he’s looking for a fight and wants to hurt anyone that might cause trouble. His gear is a mix of low-tech (pop-out inline roller skates and an electric prod hidden up his sleeve) or no-tech (an Eastman hockey stick and a Laird goalie glove).

Casey wants to live the life of a comic book superhero; he wants to fight crime at night and show up to school the next day with bruises and no awareness that he was supposed to study for a math test. And in order to live the life of a comic book superhero, sometimes he’ll have to mistakenly think another hero is a villain. Casey’s rise as a crime fighter crosses paths with Raphael, causing contention between the two. In the previous episode, Raph was betrayed by Slash, his confidant and closest friend. Although he’s usually angry, he’s been even shorter tempered, lashing out and hurting Leo over losing a training exercise. When Raph catches Casey beating up thieves after stopping a robbery, he fights Casey to get him to stop; his reasoning is that Casey is too angry and needs to calm down.

Raph and Casey continue to hold a grudge after their stalemate and Casey tracks down Raphael to the turtle’s lair. There’s some nice humor and character work done here. The show uses the sentai parody to lampshade how easy it is to break in to their home and plays with Casey’s fear of rats and Splinter (which is nicely compared to Raph’s fear of cockroaches). The scene is also used to introduce Casey to the turtles and explain where their names came from (not every kid is familiar with Renaissance artists). When the Foot Clan eventually attack, Raph blames Casey for it. The two try to chase down separately a Footbot that has recorded where the hideout is, but they end up getting in each other’s way. After they both save each other and have a subway car fight reminiscent of the bullet train scene in The Wolverine, they realize that they enjoy fighting with each other more than against and stop the robot together. The episode works as an interesting companion piece to the previous episode. “Slash and Destroy” has Raph making a new friend that turns in to an enemy, while this episode shows Raph making a new enemy that turns in to a friend.

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I Love the ’80s: After her name/photo appeared on April’s cell phone in “Mousers Attack,” Irma (voiced by Kate Micucci) makes her first appearance. She’s been redesigned in to a studious goth girl, which works, but the way she’s introduced is jarring. Even though she’s been friends with April since at least season one, she hasn’t appeared on screen before, so seeing her talking with Casey and April like old friends is unusual (especially since this show loves origin stories). Hopefully she’ll return though; Miccuci’s a wonderful actor and the show needs another named female character.

Den of Geek and Nickelodeon are giving away a limited edition, autographed Casey Jones poster! Click here to learn how you can enter to win!

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4 out of 5