In this week’s latest episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (2012), “The Alien Agenda”, the idea of trust and how chains of events could alter that trust was expressed through the interaction of Leonardo and a new villian Karai. In the previous episode, it is obvious to the fans that Leonardo was attracted to Karai and saw good in her. His trust in her only grew when she helped him defeat Snakeweed, and it is easy to notice how quickly he brushes aside the fact that Karai is part of the Foot Clan. The Alien Agenda took Leo’s sense of trust and used it to express how easily trust could be destroyed.
The whole episode starts off with Leonardo wanting to impress Karai and with Raphael confronting Leonardo about his interactions with the Foot Clan. It is doing this confrontation that oldest of the four turtles strengthens his trust in the kunoichi.
“Look, I know what I’m doing!”
Later, when Leonardo confronted Karai, he finally expressed that he saw good in her and how he felt that she secretly desired to escape the Foot Clan. Of course Karai brushes the turtle’s confrontation aside but it is in this moment that the fans are able to note that Leonardo was a believer in the idea of the greater good. He truly believed that Karai was an exception to the evil influences of the Shredder and could have a change of heart.
“Eventually I am going to destroy you.”
“I don’t think you are.”
“Really? What do you think this is?”
“I think it’s a cry for help. I think you’re looking for a way out of the Foot Clan and I can help you.”
Before parting, Leonardo warns Karai to stay away from harming his brothers and when she leaves with the parting words “Loud and clear”, he took that as a yes even though the kunoichi had not directly said it. Later that night when Raphael asked about Leonardo’s decision regarding Karai, he was stunned that his older brother had trusted an enemy’s word and replied back sarcastically.
“No need. We had a little chat and ah…she’s going to leave us alone.”
“Oh right. Because villains always back off when you ask them too. Maybe I’ll text the Kraang and ask them to stop mutating stuff.”
Throughout the episode, the fans can see how stubborn Leo is about the matter of Karai. This just simply shows how STRONG his beliefs in her were. However, even Leonardo’s strong sense of trust was broken down. When the turtles infiltrated the Worldwide Genome Project (one of the Kraang’s base), Karai was shown to have secretly followed the gang, only to have been caught by Raphael when the turtles had made their way to the heart of the base. As the turtles battle the Kraang (who made their entrance when Leonardo accidentally pressed a button), Karai creates a huge mutant from all the DNA the Kraang had collected and leaves the turtles to face it off. Leonardo was astounded by her actions.
“I trusted you!”
“I know! That’s messed up, right?”
This showed the blue-clad turtle that all this time, his trust had been meaningless to her. Leonardo is even shown to admit that all this time Raphael had been right about the kunoichi before having a last face-off with the mutant “Justin”. Towards the last few minutes of the episode, Leonardo directly admits that he had learnt his lesson and tells Raphael and he was over with Karai. (However, the fans can note his last sad look before the episode came to an end.)
Similarly to how Leo’s view of Karai changed with time and new events, one’s view on something can change drastically with the flow of new information. One of the well-known examples of this can be found in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. In this novel, the young men who took part in the war is faced with this change in beliefs. Like the oldest of the turtles, the character Paul expresses how he and many others had believed in the adult’s saying of the “Iron Youth” and thought the war would be everything the adults had said it would be. But when they are forced into the battlefield, Paul notes how the war had completely destroyed the previous trust the young men had in the words of the adults back at home. Experience on the battlefield and the deaths the war brought showed the men that the idea of the “greater good” was useless. The war had separated the soldiers from regular people whom had not seen the rages of the battlefield. This is the same for Leonardo since the he became separated in his opinions of Karai from the rest of his brothers just because he was the turtle who had experienced really talking and meeting her.
One’s views can easily undergo a major change as new events bring new information regarding the subject to one’s belief. Like many characters out there in the world, Leonardo and Paul (and his friends) had to face change of beliefs because what they thought they knew had been proven wrong.
-The Diamonds ♦