|Season 3, Episode 8|
|Airdate||January 18th, 2015|
|Prev. and Next|
Eyes of the Chimera
Return to New York
Vision Quest is the 8th episode of season 3 and 60th overall.
"Breathe in. Breathe out. It may be your last."
Leo takes the Turtles to train in the woods in an advanced ninja ritual; the Turtles must overcome their weaknesses and face their enemies to become a true ninja.
The episode begins with Leonardo, armed with a bow and arrow and up high in a tree, hunting a deer in the woods. Leo is about to shoot the deer when it detects his presence and runs away. Leo jumps down from the tree, tweaking his leg in doing so. As he looks up, he realizes that the deer is in front of him, staring him down. Leo watches as it's shrouded in light for a moment before it charges him and attacks. The deer viciously kicks Leo before running away once again, leaving Leo alone.
Meanwhile, at the farmhouse, Raph is training by splitting logs. April prepares to do the same, having Casey hold a log in place with his hands for her to do so, but when she attempts to break the log with a kick, she unintentionally strikes Casey and sends him to the ground. Leo then arrives, voicing a realization that he had in the woods: he and his brothers have been so immersed in the use of technology and attending to personal matters that they've neglected to connect with nature. Leo tells his three brothers that they will spend three days in the forest meditating, concentrating on practiced awareness, and eating only what they can forage, commenting that a true ninja must become one with nature to master himself. Casey believes that Leo's idea is not the best, but April disagrees with Casey, remarking that she's tired of hanging out at the farmhouse and that the idea of camping appeals to her. Unfortunately, Leo abruptly exempts her from the expedition, telling her that the expedition is for the ninjas only. April responds that she's almost a Kunoichi, but she still doesn't join the excursion. Casey is pleased that he now can spend some time alone with her, much to Donnie's distaste.
Out on their expedition, the Turtles meditate in the woods, cross rivers, practice Ninjustu, and meditate some more. At night, while the Turtles are seated in some trees, leaves begin to float into the sky, frightening Mikey, who falls to the ground. Leo and the others follow, and Leo spots what he believes to be the deer that he saw earlier. Raph jokes that the deer probably sees them as four losers lost in the wilderness. The deer disappears for a few seconds and somehow reappears in a different form, standing on two legs. Raph, Mikey, and Donnie immediately believe it to be a mutant and lunge at it sans Leo, who tries to stop them. The deer dodges their attacks and causes them to hit one another to their annoyance. Eventually, Leo succeeds in stopping them and the deer disappears yet again. The Turtles set up a campfire for the night and as they begin feeling bored, the campfire suddenly turns blue and grows, manifesting itself into Master Splinter.
Master Splinter explains that his spirit has become detached from his body, but he is still alive. Leo asks him where he is and wants to help him, but Splinter doesn't want their help until they have overcome their challenges. He entrusts each of them to spend a day alone in the forest to reflect on their fears and weaknesses, and to face their spiritual adversaries. Raphael is like fire and must learn to focus his anger in the form of attacks. Michelangelo is too easily distracted and must learn to stay calm like a forest. Donnie relies too much on his mind and not enough on his body; he must be strong like a mountain to overpower his foe. Leonardo must retain the qualities of an exemplary leader and be unstoppable, be swift like the wind, letting nothing weigh him down. Splinter tells the boys to sleep, as the challenges that they will face on the spiritual plane will be just as deadly as the ones they have faced in the real world. Then, as suddenly as he appeared, Splinter vanishes.
The next morning, Leo says that their quest is clear, so they forage new weapons and gear and journey off alone to face their different adversaries. Raph has steel claws like Shredder, Donnie has a staff with an axe, Mikey gets Kamas, and Leo gets a bow and arrow. Leo walks across a precarious bridge shrouded in fog and sees the Deer Spirit once more. A foot soldier then arrives followed by several others, and Leo asks if they are real or not. Unfortunately, Leo does not receive an answer and prepares to fight for his life. Meanwhile, Raph finds an underground cave and notices some lit torches in it, suspecting that someone has been here keeping them lit. Raph's suspicion is correct, and he is ambushed by foot soldiers as well. Donnie is scaling a mountain and realizes that a group of foot ninjas are trying to bring it down with sledgehammers. Finally, Mikey is in the forest and senses someone near. He throws a Shuriken in the direction of his foe's silhouette, wondering who it is. Fog between himself and his enemy clears, and Mikey realizes what he is up against: foot soldiers.
Leo is seen battling the evil ninjas and the bridge falls, fortunately the turtle managed to grab the rope and swing to a mountain. Mikey is seen battling the foot ninjas and defeats the ninjas only to be kicked across a tree then an all too familiar voice says "It's been a long time" and Rahzar appears as Mikey's foe he must fight. At the fiery cave Raph fights and defeats the foot Ninjas with his flamethrowers and in the water something jumps out the water revealing it to be Fishface, Donnie fights the foot ninjas and uses the foot's idea to bring the mountain down and instead brings them down, Donnie gloats for a second until Tiger Claw appears, Donnie denies it as him being real only to get painfully punched to the ground. At the mountain Leo was on he sees the Deer Spirit Guide and ask what his lesson is, but right behind him was the Shredder and tells him that he's failed. The Blue masked turtle draws out his swords and begin to fight but Shredder gets the upper hand using Leo's injured leg to hurt him.
Mikey is battling Rahzar and he begins to lose, Donnie, Raph, and Leo do as well. Mikey soon realized what Master Splinter was talking about and becomes silent, a raindrop falls on the dog-wolf's nose and Michelangelo sensed he is near and dodged his hits and managed to defeat his foe. Donnie is also defeated by Tiger Claw until he remembers Splinter's advice and threw Tiger Claw off the mountain. Raphael also remembers his master's advice: he fuses his flamethrowers and claws and defeats Fishface. Leonardo is also defeated by Shredder. Leo puts himself down saying his injury is holding him back., but the deer spirit (in mid-air) helps him realize the pain was in his mind. Shredder suddenly grows into a giant and Leo, now with confidence, uses the arrow to defeat Shredder with his arrow. The turtle picks up his katana saying "If I could beat you in the spirit plane, and one day, I can beat you in the real world.”
At the farmhouse, April finally is able to break a log. Casey just gawks in amazement, not at her accomplishment, but because the Turtles are emerging from the forest, each carrying a banner and in their new gear. April wonder what happen out there. Leonardo then makes a declaration: "It’s time — we’re going back to New York."
"We choose what holds us back and what moves us forward."
- A sneak preview of this episode was revealed in the 2014 NYCC, but in an incomplete story draft animatics.
- Though there are a couple of scenes cut out from it in the episode, being in between Mikey hitting a tree and when Rahzar appears, and just before Fishface shows up.
- Leo's costume is a reference to the Ghost of the Jungle outfit from the 2007 TMNT movie and the cloak the Leonardo wears during hunting in Mirage comics Vol.1 Issue 11.
- The beginning scene where Leo's hunting a deer is also a reference to the same Mirage comic issue where he tries to hunt it with a bow and arrow but fails.
- The Kanji on their banners are taken from "Fu Rin Ka Zan" which comes from Sun Tzu "Art of War" battle tactics. These battle tactics were also used by the Daimyo Takeda Shingen during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan.
- Leonardo's Kanji is Fu or "Wind". The full phrase is "Be swift as the wind"
- Michelangelo's Kanji is Rin or "Forest" The full phrase is "Be as silent as the forest"
- Raphael's Kanji is Ka or "Fire" The full phrase is "Be as fierce as fire"
- Donatello's Kanji is Zan or "Mountain" The full phrase is "Be as immovable as a mountain".
- When Splinter appeared as a vision, it was a clear throwback to the original 1990 movie, as he appeared in the campfire, the color of the fire went from red to blue, and gave the Turtles advice.
- However, in the movie the Turtles summoned Splinter, while in the show he appeared on his own without being summoned.
- When Raph entered the cave and said, "So much for finding a hidden pirate ship." This is a reference to the 1985 movie The Goonies, a film which Sean Astin starred in.
- "A true ninja must become one with nature, to master themselves." -Leonardo
- "Not as tough... as I thought." -Leonardo.
- "It's been a long time." -Rahzar
- "Oh man, Rahzar?! Good dog. Easy, maybe I have a bone for you." -Michelangelo
- "You have many bones I can feast on." -Rahzar
- "I would have been way more into this spirit quest if I knew I'd get to slap some foot around" -Raphael
- "You want to bring half the mountain down?! Fine with me!" -Donatello
- "Let's see how quickly you think, when I smash your head against the rocks!" -Tiger Claw
- "It's time we begin, ninjas." -Leonardo
- "We choose what holds us back, and what moves us forward." -Master Splinter as a Vision
- "It's time. We're going back to New York."- Leonardo
- "So much for finding a hidden pirate ship." -Raphael
- "Not now, Kitty! Need to focus!" - Michelangelo
- "No! I've got to stand my ground! Immovable, right?" - Donatello
- "Sorry April. This Trip's Ninjas Only." -Leonardo
- In the NYCC preview, Raph said, "I was just getting warmed up! Get it? Great, I've been hangin' out with Mikey way too much.", but in the episode itself he did not say it. This was most likely cut to reduce time.
- The number of arrows in Leonardo's quiver changes throughout scenes. For instance, he had 4 arrows in his quiver, then he shot 3 at The Foot-Bots, but still had 4 arrows left.