Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 4, Episode 1 Recap And Review: Beyond The Known Universe


As bummers go, it’s hard to top the last few minutes of the Season 3 finale of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Faced with a Triceraton invasion of Earth, the Turtles were forced to team with the Shredder and his mutant henchmen, only to find that Oroku Saki’s hatred of Hamato Yoshi was, in fact, worth it to him to throw away a chance to save the world.

What happened to Splinter was tragic enough, but it was quickly compounded by the Earth getting smashed into pieces while getting sucked into a black hole. Like I said, kind of a downer.

And yet here we are for Season 4, courtesy of the kindly robot Professor Zayton Honeycutt, also known as Fugitoid and voiced by the amazing David Tennant. He swooped in to save the Turtles, April O’Neil and Casey Jones in his spaceship, so we still have a show to write about. Can they somehow restore all our heroes hold dear? We’re going to get a chance to find out together in “Beyond the Known Universe.”

Turtle-Powered Recap: A voiceover by Leonardo explains exactly what’s what with the Turtles, including the death of Splinter, the destruction of the Earth and the last second save by Fugitoid. But what exactly does the robot want? He says all questions will be answered in time — and he suggests everyone hold on to something.

This season has a new opening sequence, with Leo (Seth Green) discussing the status quo and the Turtles and friends out in space. The upshot is that they’re trying to stop the Triceratons any way they can.

Turns out Fugitoid’s ship has a time drive, sending them back exactly six months. Alas, Fugitoid says they must beat the Triceratons to the the three pieces of the black hole generator, which were hidden in different locations by the Utrom, or else Earth will suffer the safe fate again in six months. When Michelangelo suggests they can just leap back in time again if they fail, Fugitoid says that the black hole prevents repeated time travel.

Why does Fugitoid care? Because he’s actually a cyborg, not a robot, with a human brain. That makes sense!

While they chat, the ship is hit by something, and Fugitoid suggests everyone suit up to help with damage assessment. He’s got plenty of spacesuits for everyone, including one for April that looks exactly like her classic yellow bodysuit from the old cartoons. Nice.

Everyone enjoys floating around in outer space except Raphael, who feels like he might get sick. Fugitoid and Donatello discover that the ship was damaged by an asteroid, and there are even larger ones on the way. Everyone makes it safely back to the ship (Casey needs some help from April), and despite some questionable flying by Fugitoid, they narrowly avoid being crushed.

The ship still needs repairs, so Fugitoid sets it down on a nearby planet with a spaceport, though it’s one that he cautions “is not part of the Federation.” There are, however, lots of aliens, and Leo suggests they split up and meet back at the ship in 20 minutes. Mikey hunts for food, Casey and Raph find a weapons display, April and Donnie discover some cool gadgets and crystals, and Leo tries to pull a Captain Kirk by hitting on a female alien … with a very, very large boyfriend.

As you might expect, things go badly for everyone due to misunderstandings of alien culture, and they all end up owing money and running. Leo’s pursuer is too big to fight, but Donnie is able to trick all of the angered parties with a hologram projector. Unfortunately, they end up running over a large insectoid named Lord Dregg, who claims to be the ruler of all insect life in the galaxy. They also break his rare spice which is worth 5 million space bucks (not the real currency, I just couldn’t tell you how it’s actually spelled).

Though the Turtles and friends are able to defeat Dregg’s insect/robot guards, Dregg himself is a rough customer. He beats up everyone but April, who informs Dregg that they squash bugs on Earth. That just makes him angrier, but April frees herself and Donnie knocks him down from behind as they all flee to the ship. Fugitoid says he can’t believe they’ve already ticked off half the intelligent races in the known universe, but they get off the planet just in time.

Or do they? Dregg pursues in his insect-shaped ship, launching robots that attempt to board. Fugitoid’s “minor defenses” take care of some of them thanks to Mikey already having figured out the alien tech, and the Turtles take out the others that make it aboard. Fugitoid warps his ship out of there, and we see Dregg vow to hunt them down and feed them to his children, piece by piece. Dude, that’s kind of harsh!

Everyone celebrates the escape, but Fugitoid rains on their parade by pointing out that they are completely surrounded by Triceraton ships. Hmm …

Favorite Moment: When the Turtles point out that they almost bought it in the asteroid field, Fugitoid replies that “almost” is a glorious thing in this case. Remind you of a certain Doctor also played by Tennant?

Runner-up moments were the classic April outfit for pure nostalgia value, and the introduction of the Federation, even if Fugitoid didn’t have a chance to explain exactly what that means yet.

Final Thought: Though the solution to last season’s tremendous cliffhanger almost was presented a little too easily, the Season 4 premiere laid out the new status quo very effectively and essentially repositioned the show as a sci-fi romp for the time being. The writers also worked in an old school villain in a new form, doing so in a way where he’ll be an ongoing concern. Add in Tennant as Fugitoid and this is shaping up to be a lot of fun.

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