Same As It Never Was
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode
Season Code: S03E21
Episode: 73
Original airdate March 19, 2005
Written by Michael Ryan
Supervising Producer Lloyd Goldfine
Producers: Gary Richardson
Frederick U. Fierst
Al Kahn
Norman Grossfeld
Thomas Kenney
Supervising Director  Roy Burdine
Story Editor: Michael Ryan
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Across the Universe" "The Real World, Part 1"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3
October 9, 2004 - April 23, 2005
List of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes


  1. The Christmas Aliens
  2. Space Invaders, Part I
  3. Space Invaders, Part II
  4. Space Invaders, Part III
  5. Worlds Collide, Part I
  6. Worlds Collide, Part II
  7. Worlds Collide, Part III
  8. Touch and Go
  9. Hunted
  10. H.A.T.E.
  11. Nobody's Fool
  12. New Blood
  13. The Lesson
  14. The Darkness Within
  15. Mission of Gravity
  16. The Entity Below
  17. Time Travails
  18. Hun on the Run
  19. Reality Check
  20. Across the Universe
  21. Same As It Never Was
  22. The Real World, Part 1
  23. The Real World, Part 2
  24. Bishop's Gambit
  25. Exodus, Part 1
  26. Exodus, Part 2

Season 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Ninja TribunalFast Forward - Back to the Sewer

"Same As It Never Was" is the seventy-third episode of the animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which originally aired on March 19, 2005. It had 5.17 million views on the 4kids website as of 2008.


Major Characters

Minor Characters


Voice-Over Introduction

Karai: Attention servants of the Shredder, your Lord and Master will now address you.

The Shredder: For those of you who are still living under the illusion that you will have freedom, know this: My armies have exterminated the last pockets of resistance and I now control the entire planet. The traitorous Utrom scientists I have captured are completing a colossal transmat device. With it, I will send forth my armies and enslave the stars, one world after another. There is no hope. There is only the Shredder.

Karai: Remember, the Shredder is always watching.

Don and a Future Mikey

Karai reports to the Shredder that Donatello has returned.


Don calls April and tells her about their adventure on the medieval Europe. Suddenly, Ultimate Drako appears with the Time Scepter. The Turtles and Splinter make for the scepter but they are frozen by it. Vowing revenge, Ultimate Drako promises to teach the Turtles and Splinter "the meaning of suffering beyond Time and Space."

We follow Donatello as he lands in an apparently abandoned version of the lair. Except for the Tunneler, a motorized driller the size of a bus, the lair is completely trashed. Confused, Donatello makes his way outside where the Foot Gestapo immediately try to arrest him. Donatello complies until he notices Shredder's emblem on their uniform and prepares to face them. A shadowy figure then intervenes, and the Foot turn their attention at the more aggressive figure. After he kills most of the Foot, the shadowy figure turns out to be Michelangelo, who is missing most of his left arm. He appears to be much older, and immediately asks Donatello where he's been, confusing him for the Donatello of his time, who apparently disappeared over 30 years ago making it taking place 2035.

Michelangelo then takes Donatello to see Splinter. On the way there, Michelangelo explains that Shredder had won and that the entire planet was now under his control. He further explains how Donatello was the glue that held all the other Turtles together. Once he disappeared, the other three didn't get along as well and drifted apart. When they arrive Donatello is heartbroken to see Splinter's grave. Their master had sacrificed himself trying to save his sons. He tells Michelangelo he has a plan to defeat Shredder but he would need the help of his brothers. Michelangelo considers that a tall order, but goes to someone he feels can get them all together again. They arrive at a secret Resistance base where April is the leader of a Rebel army. April is overjoyed to see him and tells Donatello that both Splinter and Casey knew he would come back. Donatello asks where Casey is. April's expression turns solemn, as she looks to a picture of Casey on the wall implying the worst. Realizing that the Shredder's tyranny must end, Donatello then asks April if she can bring back Leonardo and Raphael. She then sets up a meeting between the Turtles.

Leonardo, who's heavily scarred, and Raphael, who's missing his left eye, arrive first, each surprised to see/encounter the other. The years apart haven't cooled the bad blood between them, Raphael blaming Leonardo for abandoning Splinter and leaving him to die. Before their scuffle becomes too violent, they are stopped by Donatello. He tells his brothers he has a plan to defeat Shredder but Leonardo and Raphael are pessimistic, having been beaten several times before, even having lost Casey in battle. Donatello convinces them and they set their plan in motion. Hun arrives where is confined to a wheelchair with Baxter Stockman's brain jar attached to his shoulder (they are in this state presumably due to one of Shredder's punishments) as they plan to join them.

We see Karai, Shredder's daughter, updating her father on their plans (they have almost completed the transmat that the Utrom slaves are building) and revealing that Donatello has returned: Shredder orders him to be brought in, 'with or without his head'. Shredder doesn't have to wait long, as immediately after he speaks the Tunneler erupts from the ground floor and the Turtles jump into battle. Most notable is Donatello, wearing an exo-suit to challenge Shredder himself.

Shredder smiles after slaying Hun and Baxter.

The Shredder, having appeared in shadows until now, reveals himself to be ensconced in a far larger battle suit then his present version, with his Utrom self located in the proper head spot in a Shredder helmet, while Karai unleashes an army of robots, called Legions, to destroy them all. Shortly into the battle, Hun jumps out of the Tunneler (to Stockman's panicked, furious objections) and pleads with the Shredder to rejoin him, which gets him crushed by the Shredder's giant foot. While Donatello battles the Shredder, the other Turtles fight the Legions. Michelangelo buys Donatello time and takes down several Karai Legions, but ends up surrounded by several mechs and is the first killed. Leonardo faces Karai, who beats her but just as he's to deliver the finishing blow, a Karai Legion distracts him and Karai cuts him with her sword, killing him. Raphael, in a fit of rage, attacks Karai and although he is able to land a couple strong blows, she kills him too. April appears and shoots a missile at Karai, killing her in turn.

Shredder gloats in Don's face.

With all his brothers dead, Donatello is nearly defeated as well, with Shredder appearing to just be toying with him. He pins Donatello in front of the Tunneler and prepares for a final blow, when Donatello explains the whole attack was strategized for Shredder to be at that precise position. He then pushes a button and chains come flying out of the Tunneler, wrapping around Donatello's exo-suit and the Shredder's. Donatello slips out of the exo-suit just as the Tunneler's energy drill appears, the chains pulling Shredder's Utrom body into it and tearing him to pieces.

Reflecting on this alternate future, Donatello sees their victory as Pyrrhic and the whole experience as a nightmare; April tells him that it was a nightmare but he and his brothers gave them back their future. Just as Donatello begins to collect his thoughts, he begins to shift through time once more, leaving April behind to rebuild her world and reminding him that there is always hope. Outside, the sun rises for a new day on New York City.


Donatello: Mikey! Your... your arm! What happened to your arm?
Michelangelo: You're the one that's got some questions to answer! Where the shell have you been all these years?!
Donatello: All these years?
Michelangelo: You've been gone over thirty years, Donatello.
Donatello: Thirty years?! It can't be!
Michelangelo: Can be, and is! We thought you were dead... How the shell could you just abandon us like that?!
Donatello: I didn't. I'd NEVER abandon you guys. One minute we were all in the lair together, the next minute I woke up here. I don't know how.
Michelangelo: So, the Turtle with the big brain doesn't have all the answers. Who would have thunk it?

Donatello: Where are all the people?
Michelangelo:You mean the ones that survived? They're forced to work 18-hour days in the Shredder's labor camps. No one's allowed at night.
Donatello: What happened to Leo and Raph?
Michelangelo:: Let's just say they got in a big fight a long time ago. [...] When you never came back, Donny...well, everything just...fell apart. We were a team. Without you, it just didn't work. I guess we really needed that level-head of yours.

Raphael: What the shell are you doing here?
Leonardo: Raph? April's guys didn't say anything about you being here.
  Oh, what's the matter, Leo? I remind you how you made us abandon Master Splinter when he needed us most?!
Leonardo: It's what he wanted, Raph--to save us! If we had gone back there, we would've all been destroyed!
Raphael: We could've saved him!
Leonardo: You know we couldn't! He was gone!
Raphael: Grrr...NO!
Leonardo:  Alright, Raph, I'm through talking! Let's settle this once and for all!
(Before they can fight, Donatello hits both of them with his Bo staff)
Leonardo: (grunts)
Raphael: What?
Donatello: Leo, Raph. We need to talk (holds out his hands to help them up)
Raphael: Donnie? No way! (Raph hugs Donnie)
Leonardo: Donatello! You're back! I don't believe it!
Michelangelo: 'Believe it. Brainiac here wants to go up against the Shredder.
Leonardo: We've already tried it, Donny. How do you think we lost Casey?
Raphael: The Shredder's palace is surrounded by an army of Foot police
Leonardo: And Utroninators—
Raphael: And Karai Legions.
Leonardo: You can't even get inside to fight him.
Baxter Stockman: And if you could you couldn't beat him. The Shredder's new exo-suit is stronger than ever. I should know; I designed it.
Leonardo:  It's impossible.
Raphael: Can't be done, Donny. It's hopeless.
Donatello: I don't know what happened to you guys, but the Turtles I knew believed that nothing was ever hopeless. Please. We can do this.
Leonardo: Alright, Donny, we'll do it one more time. But please, tell me we have a fighting chance.

Donatello: its done.
(Once the fighting has stopped, April drops the missile launcher she had used to finish off Karai. Donatello steps away from the carnage that was the Shredder and looks distractedly at a wall. The full impact of what just happened hits him)
Donatello:  My brothers. My poor brothers. This world. This future. It's a nightmare.
April: It was a nightmare, Don. But you, Leo, Raph, and Mikey, you gave us back our future.
Donatello:  (begins to phase in and out of focus) April! It's happening again! Something's pulling me away! It's stronger this time!
April: Donny! Remember! There's always hope! No matter what! (once he disappears, she speaks softly) ...And thank you.


  • This episode is known amongst fans as the darkest and saddest episode of the 2003 series.
  • At the beginning of this episode, we see Donatello's point of view seconds before the events of "Reality Check" when Ultimate Drako appears and separates the Turtles and Splinter across time and space.
  • There are several references in the episode to plot points from the Archie and Image TMNT comics: Raphael wears an eyepatch (like his future counterpart in the Archie Future Turtle trilogy and the version of Raph from the Image Comics run), Michelangelo lost an arm (which is what happened to Leo in the Image Comics run), and Donatello's exo-suit is a reference to the cyborg Donatello from the Image Comics run as well. Even the 1987 show had a similar episode, "Shredderville", where Shredder ruled New York City with no Turtles to oppose him, which turned out to be just a bad dream the Turtles had.
  • Angel is mentioned leading a resistance army like April, fighting the Shredder's forces someplace else.
  • The opening scene is similar to the set up in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell with large telescreen like structures with the Shredder's face and the quote "The Shredder is always watching".
  • Deaths in this episode:
    • Splinter (died protecting his sons from the Foot many years before) (Offscreen)
    • Casey Jones (died fighting the Foot) (Offscreen)
    • Hun and Baxter Stockman (stepped on by the Shredder, literally)
    • Michelangelo (killed by the Karai Legion)
    • Leonardo (slashed in the back by Karai)
    • Raphael (slashed across the stomach by Karai)
    • Karai (blasted by April's Missile Launcher)
    • Shredder (shredded by the Turtle Tunneler)
  • In the scene following Karai's attack on Leo, the side of the eye holes on Raph's mask, which is sewn shut, switches from left to right. Moments later the error is fixed.
  • This episode is ranked #7 on the TMNT Top Ten.
  • After Raph falls on Leo's dead body, Karai stares at them with a sad look. This shows that she still cares for Leonardo and she was regretful of not only killing Leo but his brother Raph too, despite them being enemies over many years.
  • During the final attack on the Shredder, April's suit and Mini Missile Launcher she had, resembles Rambo (Sylvester Stallone).
  • The Utrominator would again appear in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Smash-Up as a playable character. Though it features a similar backstory, mainly that it's an Utrom controlled by the Shredder, there are notable differences, such as the video-game version not having wings, having it's arm functions mirror-swapped, and starkly different head coloring.
  • In Turtles Forever, one of the screens Shredder displays to the classic and Modern versions of the TMNT shows that the world of Same As It Never Was has somehow survived despite Don's time travel. This makes it no longer an alternate timeline, but a parallel universe and thus, a part of the TMNT multiverse.
  • This episode has its own fanmade intro here using the original Japanese song, Danzai No Hana, or Guilty Sky as it is called in English.
  • This episode is very similar to the Teen Titans episode, How Long Is Forever?, where Starfire is sent twenty years into the future by a villain named Warp, and during those twenty long years, the Titans slowly drifted apart.
  • This episode also makes Donatello the only turtle to travel through time, rather than a different dimension (all four turtles will experience time-travel beginning with Fast Forward).
  • Raphael almost looks like Thor from Marvel Cinematic Universe who has lost an eye.
    • Although Thor lost his left eye but gets a prosthetic eye as a replacement, while Raphael lost his right eye.
    • This is the first episode when the title of the episode is in a thicker font instead of the thin font in the past episodes.


External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.