I believe it was Michelangelo quoting Master Splinter in a previous episode when he said, “The enemy of my enemy is my bro!” While that may have been an approximation, the words are no less true in the case of this week’s episode that makes sure the quote is front and center at all times. The turtles are fairly busy for fifteen-year-old ninjas what with an alien invasion to thwart on the one end and a blood feud to see through on the other. Trying to keep their priorities straight definitely becomes a problem when one intrudes on their plans to stop the other. Luckily, Karai is capable of seeing the forest through the trees. She understands, probably more than anyone that the most immediate threat is the Kraang since there will be no reason for Shredder’s feud if the Kraang succeed in their plans for invading Earth. Shredder’s obsession with finding Splinter, however, makes his view of the situation fairly myopic, so it’s no surprise that Karai seeks out the turtles and offers a tentative truce so they can take down the Kraang’s latest weapon- an energy spewing scout ship. Using the convenient timing of a shipment of weapons arriving at the docks for Shredder, Karai promises to get the turtles a rocket launcher so they can take down the ship.
The truce is unfortunately hampered by Leo’s wavering trust of Karai. Though he sees her offer of a team-up as a sign that she doesn’t want to be involved with Shredder and the Foot (and the misunderstanding of why Shredder is “driving her crazy”), when Raph points out that they’d finally be in a position to catch Shredder off guard, the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone is too good to pass up. Trying to heed Master Splinter’s advice of trusting his instincts, even when he can’t trust his instincts, Leo decides to go for broke and double cross Karai. Though they ultimately accomplish their goal, any trust Leo might have garnered with Karai is broken with his decision to attack her father, thus solidifying the blood feud between the children of Shredder and Splinter.
It’s a hard lesson in leadership for Leo to learn, but it doesn’t mean he was necessarily in the wrong. As his brothers point out, knowing that Karai is Shredder’s daughter probably meant she’d never truly side with them. It still begs the question of whether or not they could have built a platform of trust with Karai – possibly curbing the feud – had they stuck to the plan. A long shot? Probably, but by making the decision to attack Shredder, Leo prevented the discovery of Karai’s plans to undermine Shredder, made a true enemy out of her, and unwittingly made the Kraang a concern of Shredder’s more than his daughter ever could. But it was a risk he had to take since there was no way of knowing if Karai would make good on her word. Though the phrase, “the enemy of my enemy” is often thrown around as a means of justifying a forced team-up, that doesn’t change the fact that you’re still working with an enemy. By presenting the possibility that Karai could betray them, based on her previous encounters with the turtles, it forces Leo to think strategically. The Leonardo of 2013 isn’t entirely a boy scout or Splinter’s prized pupil. His decisions as a leader have consequences and this episode definitely shows that Leo isn’t an idiot, nor is he entirely certain of anyone’s true intentions. While he’d like to believe there’s a chance for Karai to reject Shredder, protecting his family and stopping the Kraang matter more. That doesn’t mean satisfaction comes with victory.
Nitpicker’s Corner: While the Kraang scout ship was a cool concept, it just seemed to be floating around for no apparent reason in the third act like it was waiting to get shot down.
- Kelly Hu as Karai – she does a great job of capturing a teenage girl’s voice even if she is a ruthless ninja
- “Gosh darn aliens…every time…”
- “Mikey!” “Loosen you knee pads, Leo!”
- Leo’s pic for Donnie on his phone is Dr. Mindstrong from Space Heroes
- “Don’t fight it, you’ll thank me later.” – Raph saves his brothers in more ways than one
- Donnie finally gets to make fun of someone for having a “girlfriend”
- The fight in the shipping yard between Shredder, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey is a really fantastic use of the space and gives us a new environment to see the turtles use their skills
- I don’t think the Kraang was the pet Karai had in mind, Shredder