Review: Nickelodeon TMNT "Never Say Xever"

Since the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has started up a lot people have felt some of the lessons in the show has been a bit harsh.  With Splinter talking about “causing lots of harm” and “fight to win not fairness”.  So when this weeks episode aired, “Never say Xever”, one had to wonder what Splinter’s thoughts was going to be when Leonardo let’s the Purple Dragon’s run away from a fight?  Is Splinter going to agree with Raphael or confirm Leonardo’s actions?  That’s just one of the subjects that I will cover in this week’s review of the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series.

This episode starts off with the Shredder, he’s not happy at all with both Chris and Xever, they failed against Hamato Yoshi’s Turtles.  Though he gives Xever the chance to lead the next mission, as Xever assures him that he will deliver the Turtles to him.  Chris is against working for Xever, though Shredder does convince him otherwise.

This opening reminded me a lot of the 4Kids Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  The episode “The way of invisibility” started out much the same as Baxter Stockman has failed the Shredder.  Hun steps up with the Purple Dragons, as the one in charge of catching the Turtles.  For the most part Chris and Xever remind me a lot of Baxter and Hun.  Not in jobs and personality, but in the relation they hold towards each other.  At least both Chris and Xever, seem to respect the Shredder, unlike Baxter Stockman did in the 4Kids series.  So it’s still a new situation, just a great nod to the last series.

The Turtles are out on the street with April, as she’s taking them out to eat.  She’s excited to get them out of the sewer, and takes this time to share about the place she is taking them for food and how the owner of the place, Murakami, is blind.  Once they get to Murakami’s they see a fight going on inside as April tells them that it’s the Purple Dragon.

In this one scene we get to see the Turtles up and around, April relaxed outside with them, and going out for a good time.  Though it’s surprising that she’s got them, relaxing when she knows her dad is out there.  “I know my dad is in danger and has been for weeks now, but I’m taking you to Murakami’s for some tasting food and no butt kicking”.  Sorry, but her mood seems to swing in episodes.  So far most relax April’s about her father is in “New Friend, Old Enemy” and this episode.  While in episodes like “Metalhead” and “Monkey Brains” she is working to find her father or at least leads to the Kraang.  This mixing up her personality between relax and determined his not working for me.  I’ll like to see April really grow into a character, not just a tool.

Inside Murakami is being harassed by the Purple Dragon, though he is not winning he has some fight to him.  The Turtles come in and take on the Purple Dragon members, who are no match for them.  Even Donatello is relaxed as he helps in taking these punks down.  Though Leonardo takes notice to how wrong all of this is, and lets the Purple Dragon’s leave.  They were no threat, since they were a lot weaker than the Turtles themselves were.  April got Murakami to a safe place during the fight, and brings him back out once the fight is over.  He offers the Turtles food for coming in to the rescue.

Now first I have to say how AWESOME the name Murakami is!  For those who do not know the company behind the original Ninja Turtles Cartoon was MWS which stood for Murakami Wolf Swenson.  MWS was founded by Jimmy Murakami and Fred Wolf, most often for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles we hear Fred Wolf’s name, so not everyone connects Murakami  to the series.  Not only does Nickelodeon give a huge nod to Jimmy here, they make it so he is befriending the Turtles and making them a meal!  Talk about a wonderful touch to this series and just one of the things that makes the show as totally bodacious as it is.

The fight scene here is well down as these Purple Dragons do not stand a chance against the Turtles.  It’s clear from the start they’ve heard of the Turtles, which connects us back to the first scene where Xever says he’s got the word out.  This also relates back to “The way of invisibility” as it was the Purple Dragons that had the first fight in that episode.  While the storyline is really different, the under line layout is still there.  The biggest difference for me is how few Purple Dragons we’ve seen now, and how much weaker they are than the Turtles.  I like how Mike is able to take time to try some food during the fight.  And Raphael just looks like he’s having the time of his life till Leo breaks up the fight.  I really like the image of Raph leaning up against the counter as the Purple Dragons are leaving.

Once the Turtles return home, Raphael confronts Leonardo about letting the Purple Dragon’s go.  Saying that now they are going to look weak.  Though Splinter stands up for Leonardo’s actions. This only upsets Raph more.  So Leo says they’ll hunt down the Purple Dragons and if they’re doing bad stuff, they’ll show the Purple Dragons that they are not weak.  This gets it so April is sent out to get information from the streets, as she pretends to be an undercover officer.

I love that they finally show them digging for information on how to find the bad guys!  In other episodes they appear there and the news of what they did might be shared.  But in episodes like “I think his name is Baxter Stockman” they don’t even give us that.  So seeing April doing the dirty work, was great!  This was over all nice pacing and really helped me feel part of this episode.  I also liked how she pulled off the undercover cop, giving me a bit of respect for her.  She handled herself well.

The Turtles follow the Purple Dragon from a Tattoo shop to a Fortune Cookie factory.  Mikey does have time to make a great comment about a tattoo of his face on his face, as Don comments about needles being used to do that.  At the Fortune Cookie Factory Chris and Xever are already there, as the Purple Dragons show up to make a deal on sharing their information about the Turtles.  Before a deal could be hatched the Turtles bust in through the window.  Realizing that Chris and Xever are there, it’s clear there’s going to be some real problems.  As the fight starts, the Turtles are holding their well ok for awhile.  Xever and Chris is the big challenge for them.  Once again Leo spares the Purple Dragon member from being to hurt, with a bit of a growl.  Only for Xever to take Leonardo down.  As a team the Turtles are making their way through this fight till a group of Foot Ninja show up.  At this point Leo realizes things are going bad for them and calls for them all to leave.  Raphael is pissed that they’re running again.

I really like this fight, the skills that they are showing in this series for the fight scenes make them exciting to watch.  This show does have the ninja part of Ninja Turtles down.  While I agree about that with the 4Kids series, the original toon was not all that Ninja like.  Making this a nice blend of the two series.  I also love the humor they’re doing, the tattoo joke was fun as they placed an old toon image of Mike over his face.

Now Raphael is super pissed at Leonardo.  Though Leo is questioning his actions but still standing firm on his choices, Splinter once again stands behind Leonardo’s choice.  Chris and Xever are also upset, they want to find the Turtles.  As they beat the information out of the Purple Dragon that Leo has been nice too, Xever finds a way to make it so the Turtles have no choice but to stay for the full fight.  As the Turtles get a call from April to come to Murakami’s, they find that Murakami has been kidnapped and a note there threatening them to come for a fight.

All of this is great at pacing.  This is one of the moments in the series where we see the villains without the Turtles coming right into the scene.  We’ve had areas where we have a short look at what the villains are doing right before the Turtles get there.  Though cutaways to show the villains, planning without the Turtles around has not happened often in this series and is mainly happening with the Foot clan.  With episode 2 showing Shredder seeing the news, the beginning and middle of of “New Friend, Old Enemy” and now this episode.  I like that, it helps gives us a little bit of a feel for the villains to know more if we hate them or feel bad for their spot.  And I love a good villain to hate.  So this is something I would like to see more of in the series.

Leonardo comes up with a plan to kidnap Chris Bradford and use him as a trade to save Murakami.  Michelangelo needs it explained to him again.  As the plan kick into action they catch Chris and lock hold him in a trash can.  Once they get to the fight, Xever holds Murakami and the Turtles have Chris.  Both with their hostage, will Leonardo’s plan work?  To find that out, you have to watch this episode!

I love seeing the Turtles trying a new trick, other than racing in for battle.  Leo’s plan is a nice touch and Chris is taken by surprise when they attack him.  Though I do not like the thought pattern of Michelangelo when he realizes they need to tell him the plan again.  I can understand having things explained to me twice, I am ADHD and if something is explained only once to me there’s a chance I may have missed something by a shiny object stealing my attention away.  Though I would not miss everything.  So while I could see Mike trying to figure things out, it would not just be of the things he enjoys.  Just hope they don’t just keep pushing at the idea that Mikey’s the dumb one, because there is so much creative and strengths to Michelangelo’s character.  Things that should not be overlooked.

Overall I loved the episode.  It is up near my top favs as I’m finding that Chris Bradford is one of my favorite villains so far.  His episodes really do stand out for me.  I also liked all the nods to the other series like the Turtles being called “Greenie” is something they use to get called in “Ninja Turtles : The Next Mutation”.  So a lot of great nods, a fun story, and growth with the bad guys.  I can not wait for the next Foot episode!

Did you see “Never say Xever”?  If so please share your thoughts here!  All Reviews, comments and questions are welcomed below!

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