|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 TV series) episode|
|Original airdate||January 18, 2015|
|Written by||Todd Casey|
|Supervising Producer||Ant Ward|
|Directed by||Sebastian Montes|
|Voice Direction||Andrea Romano|
|Supervising Director||Ciro Nieli|
Vision Quest is the eighth episode of the third season of the 2012 TV series, and is the sixtieth episode overall. It first aired on January 18th, 2015.
Leonardo takes the Turtles to train in the woods in an advanced ninja ritual, where they must overcome their weaknesses and face their greatest enemies in order to become true ninjas.
- The Deer (debut)
- Donatello (Rob Paulsen)
- Leonardo (Seth Green)
- Michelangelo (Greg Cipes)
- Raphael (Sean Astin)
- Spiritual Foes:
- April O'Neil (Mae Whitman)
- Casey Jones (Josh Peck)
- Ice Cream Kitty (Kevin Eastman)
- Splinter (Hoon Lee)
The episode begins with Leonardo in the woods, armed with a bow and arrow, hunting after a deer. The deer runs away and Leo falls out of the tree, hurting his injured leg. As he looks up, the deer has returned, shrouded by light for a moment, then angrily attacking Leo. Leo watches the deer run away, surprised at its sudden attack.
Meanwhile, at the farmhouse, Raph and the others are training by splitting logs.April attempts to do the same, with Casey holding 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 hits Casey and he is swiftly sent to the ground. Leo then arrives, he had a realization in the woods: That 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, which he doesn't succeed in joining their expedition, although Casey is happy because he now can spend some time alone with her, much to Donnie's dislike.
Out on their expedition, The turtles meditate in the woods, cross rivers, practice ninjutsu, and meditate some more, at night suddenly the leaves levitate up to the sky which frightens Mikey. Leo finds the deer that attacked him earlier. Raph jokes that saying he probably knows that 4 losers are lost in the forest. Strangely, he disappears behind a tree and reappears in a strange humanoid form. Donnie, Mikey and Raph instantly suspects it's a mutant and attacks it only to wind up hitting each other, Leo orders his brothers to stop, and the deer disappears. The Turtles set up a campfire for the night. But as they were feeling bored, the campfire suddenly turns blue, and grows, and manifest itself into Master Splinter.
Master Splinter explains that his spirit has detached from his body, but he's still alive. He then tell the turtles that they must overcome their disabilities. Leo asks where he is, but Splinter asks them to continue to train because they have no chance to defeat Shredder for now, especially since Leonardo's knee injury. He suggested they spend a day alone in the forest, to meditate on their fears and spiritual weaknesses. Raphael is like fire, and must learn to focus and fight. Michelangelo is distracted too much, he must learn to remain calm as the forest. Donatello is relying to much on his mind, and not enough on his physical strength; he tells him to become as powerful and strong like the mountain. Leonardo must be an exemplary leader and follow the example of the wind, unstoppable. Splinter tells the boys to sleep, for the next day, they will face challenges on the spiritual plane that will be just as deadly as the ones they have faced in the real world. Then, as suddenly as he appeared, he’s gone.
The next morning, Leo says that their quest is clear, they forage new weapons and armour and journey out alone to face the fears things that hold them back. Raph creates steel claws like Shredder alongside a flamwthrower pack, Donnie attaches an axe onto his Bo staff, Mikey makes a pair of Kamas, and Leo arms himself with a bow and arrow.
Leo will travel on a bridge and sees the Deer Spirit. He sees the foot solder and ask if it was real suddenly dozens of foot solder arrive and ambush Leo. Raph travels to a cave and suspects something is keeping the torches lit and the foot solders ambush Raph also. Donnie is up on the mountains and the foot solder are trying to bring him down with hammers, and Mikey is in the forest and senses someone near. He throws a throwing star and the figure revealing it to be a swarm of foot ninjas.
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 to 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 flamethrower 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 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 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 used the arrow to defeat Shredder with his arrow. The turtle picks up his katana saying "If I could beat you in the spirit plane, I could 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.”
- Each of the four Turtles is endowed with a Sashimono, or feudal banner, throughout his quest. The banners correspond to the environment where the quest takes place. The Kanji (Chinese characters) on their banners are taken from 風林火山 (read as ふうりんかざん Fūrinkazan), which comes from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" battle tactics. These battle tactics were also used by the Daimyō Takeda Shingen during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan. "The Art of War" was originally written in Old Chinese, and its terms are spoken in Japanese using Sino-Japanese vocabulary.
- Leonardo's kanji 風 is read as ふう fū, meaning "wind". (The native Japanese reading is かぜ kaze.) The full phrase is 「疾如風」, or "Be swift as the wind."
- Michelangelo's kanji 林 is read as りん rin, meaning "Forest". (The native Japanese reading is はやし hayashi.) The full phrase is 「徐如林」, or "Be as silent as the forest."
- Raphael's kanji 火 is read as か ka, meaning "Fire". (The native Japanese reading is ひ hi.) The full phrase is 「侵掠如火」, or "Be as fierce as fire."
- Donatello's kanji 山 is read as さん san, meaning "Mountain". With a Japanese sound rule called rendaku, in some words it becomes ざん zan. (The native Japanese reading is やま yama.) The full phrase is 「不動如山」, or "Be as immovable as a mountain."
- A "Vision Quest" is an attempt to achieve a vision of a future guardian spirit, traditionally undertaken at puberty by boys of the Plains Indian peoples, typically through fasting or self-torture.
- When Raphael enters the cave, he says there's no pirate ship, this is a reference to the movie The Goonies which Sean Astin starred in, which featured a pirate ship full of treasure.
- The scene where the Turtles are in the forest at night, surrounding the camp fire with the apparition of Master Splinter's spirit coming from the campfire is reminiscent to a familiar scene from the 1990 movie, where they had the same encounter.
- Michelangelo also appears to be the one crying the hardest, similar to the first movie too.
- Leonardo's hunter outfit and the Deer he struggles to hunt with a bow and arrow are both references to Mirage V1 #11: .
- As Donatello said in the episode, deer are considered messengers to the gods in the Shinto religion. In various parts of Japan's Tōhoku region, a deer dance called Shishi-odori has been traditionally performed as an annual Shinto ritual.
- A preview of the spirit fight sequence was shown at the NYCC 2014.
- Some scenes that were shown in the animatic were cut in the final episode.