Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 Finale Recap And Review: Annihilation Earth!


As we head for the home stretch of Season 3, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are having some close encounters of the non-mutant kind. Last episode, they met one of the Triceratons, but he was just an advance scout for his race, one willing to destroy the Earth if it’s the best way to take out the Kraang.

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Now the chickens are coming home to roost, except in this case we’re talking about slimy aliens with tentacles and others that look like dinosaurs. The Turtles and their allies will have to come together like never before to prevent an extraterrestrial war from waging right in their backyard in “Annihilation: Earth!”

Sounds like fun, no? Let’s see what awaits us in the hour-long Season 3 finale.

Turtle-Powered Recap: Casy Jones is jealous of the Turtles’ encounter with the Triceraton, but April is more weirded out by the idea that there’s more than one alien race out there. Perhaps more worryingly, Donatello finds they are being followed in the Shellraiser … and it looks like a Kraang.

The Kraang lures them into an alley, where a message awaits. It’s an invitation to a meeting, along with a picture of a bishop from a chess set.

It turns out that the meeting place is the meat warehouse where the Turtles once fought Tiger Claw,  and Michelangelo knows a back way in. As he’s wont to do, Casey charges right in, and both he and Leonardo are defeated by the Kraang, who strangely says he doesn’t want to fight.

And his story is an interesting one. Introducing himself as Bishop, the alien says he is a member of the Utrom race, and that the Kraang are simply a splinter group. Though the Utrom have taken a vow of non-interference, Bishop is breaking it because of the severe threat to the Earth. Not only are the Kraang preparing to invade again with a revived Technodrome, but the Triceratons are also on the way.

April asks the obvious question, which is why the two races hate each other so much. Bishop explains that they have long fought over Dimension X, but just when it appeared that the Kraang would lose, they used a black hole generator to wipe out the Triceraton home world, leaving only one fleet alive.

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The Turtles bring Bishop back to the lair, where Splinter is still caring for the injured Mutanimals. Leatherhead is enraged by the sight of a Kraang, but Mikey is able to calm him down. Leo lays out the plan, and while Splinter says he will continue healing Slash and Rockwell, he’ll remain close to the cheese phone. Ha, ha!

Kraang Sub-Prime says the Technodrome is almost ready, but Raphael is already leading Mikey, Donnie and Leatherhead to take it out. They only have minutes to pull it off as the vehicle begins to rise from the ocean floor, but the Kraang defenses prove too formidable, and they have to surrender after Leatherhead is KOed.

The explosive-laden Turtle Blimp blows a hole in the Technodrome so Leo, Bishop, Casey and April can glide in. Even the Kraang take pause when they see the Tricertaon fleet is in place. The Tricertaon captain announces that they are going to destroy the Kraang, a process which will unfortunately annihilate the Earth as well. I hate it when that happens.

Raph’s team is freed, and Leo tells everyone to pair up and grab one of the smaller Kraang ships. We get Raph/Leo, Mikey/Casey and Donnie/April combos. A big dogfight commences, during which Donnie and April are shot down, though Bishop and Leatherhead are able to ensure they are okay.

While the battle rages below, the Tricertaton captain orders the Heart of Darkness to be dropped on the city. The flagship uses a huge blast to shoot down the Technodrome, but the other Turtles all get shot down as well. Leo asks for someone to call Splinter and tell him they need all the help they can muster. As they regroup, Bishop explains that the Triceraton scientists landed first to ready the black hole generator. The Turtles, Casey and Bishop engage the Triceratons, but the battle goes badly …

… Until Splinter arrives with reinforcements in the form of the Mutanimals, Mondo Gecko and more. They turn the tide of the battle, but only briefly, and a second wave of Triceratons is able to capture Mikey, who they take back to the fleet, and several of their allies, who are held in energy bubbles near the black hole generator. Hopelessly outgunned, Splinter orders everyone left to retreat, but not before Leo grabs a device off the belt of a Triceraton on his way out.

On the Triceraton flagship, Mikey asks the captain why he can’t just leave Earth alone. It’s because the Kraang are simply too dangerous to risk leaving alive, and the Triceraton Emperor has ordered the planet’s destruction. The Psionic Extractor, a very dangerous, painful interrogation device that pulls info straight from the victim’s mind, is ordered for Mikey.

Splinter tells the Turtles that stopping the black hole device is their top priority, but they don’t want to leave Mikey in the aliens’ clutches. He tells them to go rescue their brother, explaining to April that they will seek help in defeating the Triceratons in the city from the Shredder. Desperate times, right?

The Triceratons activate the Psionic Extractor, but since this is Mikey we’re talking about, it not only causes him no pain, he actually likes it. On top of that, they gather nothing useful from his mind except thoughts of pizza. The disgusted captain orders Mikey killed, but he successfully stalls for time by revealing that he knows the locations of the secret Kraang bases in Dimension X.

Splinter and April visit the Shredder’s lair, and after a brief scuffle with Tiger Claw, Bebop and Rocksteady, Shredder agrees to hear them out. He’s still furious about Karai, but Splinter assures him that she is still alive, and April points out that the only way to see her again is to team up to save the world.

Meanwhile, the Turtles are able to find Mikey’s downed ship and (despite some space sickness on Raph’s part) fly it toward the Triceraton fleet. Donnie activates the cloaking device but finds it’s no use on the Triceratons, and while they’re able to out-fly some fighters, it looks like they are vaporized by a plasma cannon on the flagship. Fortunately, Donnie activates a teleporter he nabbed right before the beam hits, and they end up on the flagship’s bridge.

While Splinter, Shredder and the mutants make their move on Earth, Donnie makes a plea for the Earth to be spared. The captain points out that the people of Earth don’t even take care of their own planet, and thus deserve no pity. In an incredible show of bravado, Leo warns that if they aren’t released, the Triceratons will be destroyed. The captain scoffs, but Leo is able to use the device he grabbed earlier to blow a hole in the bridge’s dome, sucking several Triceratons out into space. Mikey almost gets dragged out with the captain, but Raph is able to throw him a grappling hook, and they activate a teleporter to return to NYC.

Just in time, too. April frees Casey, but time is running out. Splinter rushes the machine before it activates, but he never makes it: Shredder chooses vengeance over all, stabbing him through the back. The black hole generator activates, and we see some of the Mutanimals, Shredder’s mutants and random people sucked into the void. The Turtles, April and Casey mourn, and Tiger Claw is incredulous, but Shredder says that as long as he got his revenge, he doesn’t care if the Earth dies.

That’s exactly what’s happening, but before the Turtles are carried off into the black hole, a shiny spaceship lands amid the chaos, and a robotic figure tells them to get aboard quickly. Raph isn’t sure if they can trust him, but April points out that they have little choice.

The ship barely escapes before the entire planet is destroyed by the black hole. Their rescuer introduces himself as Professor Zayton Honeycutt, offering some hot cocoa to help the distress they must feel from seeing everything they know destroyed. He also announces that they are in for an incredible adventure, and the ship zips off into the cosmos …

Favorite Moment: It’s certainly not a “favorite” moment in the traditional sense, as it involves the apparent death of a beloved character, but Shredder literally stabbing Splinter in the back was about as well done as it gets. Even during all the sci-fi craziness, to think that his lust for vengeance meant more to him than anything else, including the fate of the entire planet, was incredibly powerful.

Final Thought: More than one thought about this episode. It’s hard to top the action and the sheer number of developments in this season finale, and it had just the right mix of humor and drama. Longtime Turtles fans were rewarded big time over the final few episodes of Season 3 with the rapid introduction of the Triceratons, the Utrom and Fugitoid (voiced by David Tennant!), helping to make up for the fact that the season-long narrative was kind of all over the place. The ending was one that simply couldn’t be pulled off by any series that didn’t have the comfort of knowing it was returning for more, and while you obviously have the feeling that the Earth won’t stay destroyed for good, it’s also hard to imagine how it will be restored. That’s reason enough to tune back in for Season 4, I’d say.

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