Overgard: the name sends shivers up the spine, doesn't it? My morbid sense of humor and curiosity always get the better of me. Heh heh heh heh. Let's see what William "You can never be too silly" Overgard has planned for us this evening.
First, an appetizer consisting of close-ups of Mandora as she "pulls over" an old spaceship. The main problem I have is this: there's this little-known fact that space is a vacuum, and that irritates me slightly because Mandora's flying through space without a suit and helmet! It also doesn't help that her hair is whipping in the wind!
Okay, I'm fine now. I guess I could have drawn that conclusion from the hints in the first Over-episode. Breathing in space, I can accept that, especially since they had a discussion about breathable atmospheres in Exodus!
Aummmm… Aummmm… Pardon me, just meditating. My mind is a clear lake with Cheetara frolicking about. Okay, I'm relaxed again.
Mandora boards the ship and meets her captain: a strange robot named Captain Cracker with an annoying robotic parrot and an even more annoying tendency to say "eeee" in almost every sentence—it's almost as bad as "snarf snarf." He claims he has no crew, even though Mandora flew past a whole bunch of robots when she landed in the bay. She pulled him over for "Broken running lights, unreadable galaxy numbers, visible radioactive exhaust." Mandora says they're going to land for inspection on the Gray Prison Planet. Cracker asks, "What about the defense shield?" That to me would be a red flag to any self-respecting law enforcement officer. Mandora shows a certain lack of brightness when she replies with, "I've got my decoder, I'll beam you right into the security compound." Meanwhile, a rather large crew of robots start coming to life behind her.
Back at Cat's Lair, Lion-O and Snarf have nothing better to do, so they're listening (and watching) the police band. Snarf turns out to be rather knowledgeable when it comes to space ships. "That's an old X-4 Neutron Drive. Wait a minute, look at that transom—see how it's shaped like an ancient galleon? That's the Jolly Rogers!"
"The famous pirate ship. Years ago it plundered the planets. The captain was a renegade robot named 'Cracker,' he was exiled into a fixed orbit and left to space rot."
"But he can't still be around."
"No? Warn Mandora now, before it's too late!"
Lion-O does a fine job of not only warning Mandora, but Cracker too. Oddly, Mandora takes the call on Cracker's radio, and Lion-O shouts, "Warning! Warning!" Danger, Will Overgard! The interesting thing here is that Mandora didn't recognize the Jolly Rogers in the first place. Since it's a "famous pirate ship," it should have been part of her training.
Cracker rips out the microphone from the control panel and orders his crew of robots to attack Mandora. She pulls out her boomerang and hits a robot with it. The robot walks into a wall and collapses. Mandora says, "Cease and desist Cracker, before anyone else is deactivated." Cracker closes the door to the bridge and locks her inside.
It's plunderin' time! Cracker and his crew disembark and apparently fry two prison guards off-screen. We have implied death!
Meanwhile—thanks to a major production oversight—Mandora contacts Cat's Lair using the microphone that was ripped out by Cracker a couple minutes earlier. She tells Lion-O about the situation and tells him to get his furry butt over there to help. The cats have no interstellar vehicles, so she's sending the Electrocharger by remote control.
As the Electrocharger is escaping, search lights and alarms start going off. Mandora says, "Oh no! They've opened the cells! For thousands of years the worst, the unimaginable evil things from a hundred planets have been locked away here. Now they're all loose!" Sounds like a party to me, heh heh. We see a huge rhinocerous-guy, a weird golden robot in a transparent body, and our old robotic grasshopper pal: Quick Pick.
The Electrocharger arrives, and Snarf says, "That police-person is always in trouble." Lion-O replies with, "Of course—that's the business she's in." Don't you just love brilliant dialog like that? Anyway, it's Lion-O's turn to fly unprotected in space. *groan*
Now Cracker calls Mandora inside the bridge of his ship and tells her to come out, or they'll blast her out. Wait a minute here… she was locked inside the bridge earlier, and now Cracker acts like it's the other way around? To further add to the blatant inconsistencies, the microphone's gone again (replaced by a black panel instead of the ripped-out wires) and Mandora'a talking through what seems to be a wireless version of a hand-held microphone that seems to belong to the ship and not to her. Will this madness ever end?
Mandora wisely says he won't damage his own ship, so Cracker has Rhino and the transparent robot haul Quick Pick to the front. He threatens to start taking Quick Pick apart if she doesn't come out. "Cracker, you idiot, you locked me in here!" "Oh right, eeee hee hee, I've got the keys." Well, no such luck.
The transparent robot starts unscrewing a bolt on Quick Pick's arm, and Mandora acts like she cares. Hmm. I would have expected something more like, "Go ahead, take him apart. He's just a robot, just like you, and you'll all end up as scrap in the end." No such luck again: Mandora decides to surrender. Hmm, it turns out the transparent robot is called "See Through." Now, why didn't I see that coming? The names they come up with.
Cracker has some good ideas (or rather his parrot does.) "Boil 'em in oil! Boil 'em in oil!" Quick Pick is an escape artist, so he does just that: escapes. Cracker sends Rhino to look for him and says he'll boil him in oil along with Mandora. That sounds like fun.
Lion-O finally arrives on the scene and runs Rhino over with the Electrocharger. He gets too close to the prone Rhino and gets caught in a deadly bear-hug. Good move, Lion-O! Quick Pick saves him by acting the Matador and tricking Rhino into a cell. Quick Pick wants to get on Mandora's bike and leave, but Lion-O refuses and goes after Mandora with Quick Pick close behind.
Meanwhile, Mandora is suspended over a large cauldron filled with hot oil. Heh heh heh.
I must give Overgard credit here: Quick Pick mentions the sword, and Lion-O says he can't activate the Eye of Thundera because of the magnetic field. Quickie says, "You mean we have to tackle this on our own?" Yay! Lion-O will have to work for a living now.
Lion-O gets Quick Pick to break into the interior of the prison planet and they find their way to the "Prison Dining Room." Quick Pick's trying to open the door leading to the kitchen, but he manages to hit a switch that activates the "Orbit Break" that will cause the planet to stop spinning and make everything float off into space—sort of like Arthur C. Clarke's idea of artificial gravity with reverse-Overgard-logic. I'm having a difficult time understanding this: if there was such a switch, wouldn't it be located in a central control room and take at least two operators with passwords to activate? Oh well.
The orbit break proves to be quite the distraction and makes Cracker and crew run for their ship. Here we have another fun mistake on the part of the closed captioning crew: the robotic parrot says, "Abandon ship ye lubbers! Head for the lifeboats, boys!" and the caption says, "Head for the light post, boys!" I don't know if anyone really cares, but that was just plain terrible transcripting! Anyway, whether you read or listen to this episode, it makes the same amount of sense.
Lion-O throws his sword to cut the chain holding Mandora and catches her when she falls. Cracker sees them on a monitor and goes back to capture Lion-O. Lion-O gives Mandora to Quick Pick and tells him to take off with her and close the door behind. Lion-O is now facing the robotic crew single-handedly and without his sword. At first I couldn't figure out why he didn't just run away with the others, but then I realized he must have stayed to find his sword. It seems to make sense to me. Anyway, that doesn't happen, and he's taken aboard the Jolly Rogers, minus the sword. Awww…
"Well, my boy. Maybe you'd like to know our next port of call, aye? Third Earth! That's right, your home port. Tonight, the skull and crossbones will be flying over your cat's lair!" Here's another interesting closed-caption moment: when he says "Third Earth," the caption says, "Thundera!" That's beyond bad transcripting.
Lion-O now gets to walk the plank, and we're treated to some of the most blatant breathing-in-space that I've ever seen since the Super Friends. Anyway, back to the fun. "If you don't jump before I count three, we're going to blast ye." Lion-O walks off the end before Cracker hits three, and gets caught by Mandora and Quick Pick on the Electrocharger. Yep, plenty of air in space for everyone.
Lion-O says they're going to attack Cat's Lair, and has no way of warning them. Quick Pick produces the sword and says, "I certainly wasn't going to let a valuable piece of property lay around with all those crooks loose." Heh heh.
Lion-O sends the signal from space, and we're treated to the whole Overgard Thundercats routine. I call it that because it only happens in his episodes (so far, anyway.) The signal roars in the sky, everyone shouts "Thundercats, ho!" Everyone jumps in the ThunderTank and takes turns: "Tygra ready, ho!" "Cheetara ready, ho!" "WilyKit…" "And Kat, ready, ho!" "Snarf ready, ho!" and Panthro winds it all up by starting the ThunderTank and saying, "Reactor engaged, traction locked, all go!" Did I mention before that this is torture?
Somehow, the other cats were able to interpret the signal coming from space as a warning instead of: "Lion-O's in trouble!" "Yeah, but we have no space vehicles." "Bummer!"
Anyway, the pirates are all captured at once with a net fired from the tank—a quick and convenient ending just in time for the final commercial.
Mandora marches the pirates back into their ship, and they have a discussion about the prisoners on the planet. "When Quick Pick hit the orbit break, they couldn't get into their cells fast enough." Quick Pick adds, "It was planned." Yeah, sure it was.
Mandora plans to ask the "Galaxy Governor" to parole Quick Pick in her custody as an assistant. "Hear that? You'll going to get to ride around on the back of the Electrocharger with Mandora." Quick Pick says, "Marvelous." Heh heh.
"What's going to be Captain Cracker's fate, Mandora?" the annoying robotic parrot shouts, "Boil 'em in oil! Boil 'em in oil!" Cracker is on an upper deck and shouts, "Traitor!!" A cute ending to a strange episode.
Now, I noticed that much screen time was spent without the Thundercats, so here are the stats:
Total episode time (not including opening scenes and closing credits): 20:04
Time spent with Thundercats in a scene (including moments when they're off-camera but in the same area, like cutting between people talking, action inserts, etc. I'm being generous here): 13:12
Total time of non-Tcat action: 6:52
Percentage of non-Tcat action: 33% (actually, 33.002%. Really!)
So, one third of the actual episode doesn't involve any regular characters. Maybe this isn't a bad thing, but it's interesting. I was going to make this the first episode to receive the "Mister Yuk Logo" for being bad, but making Lion-O perform a rescue without the sword's magical abilities, implied guard deaths, and nearly getting Mandora french-fried, I decided this episode is good enough to hang onto. Heh heh heh.
With apologies to ABBA…
You are the Crystal Queen, with a shriek, that can split the screen
Crystal Queen, fear her squeak that will make you weak, oh yeah
You can dance, try to hide, but you won't get away from the whine
See that girl, watch that scene, 'cause you lost your hearing
So much for my MAD Magazine impression. On with the show!
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the evil queen from Snow White in a flying sled! Nope, it's The Crystal Queen, and even if she got rid of Cheetara, she would still be at the bottom of the mirror's list. The Crystal Queen bears more than a passing resemblence to the Disney creation, except she has pastel colors and is more well-endowed. Well, who on this show isn't dressed in pastels? As for the "endowed" part, … sorry, I didn't really have anything to add to that. *rewinds the tape a bit* Nah, her face is ruining my mood. Moving along…
It's night time, the ThunderTank is on the prowl with Lion-O and Panthro at the controls, and the weird glowing sled zips by overhead. The cats try to follow it, but the tank quits. Panthro finds out that the thundrillium module wasn't recharged, and that Snarf must have forgotten to do it. I tell you folks, Snarf is dangerous to have around! Lion-O says, "He's getting a bit absent-minded."
Panthro says, "Well he's not getting any younger."
"Snarf getting old—I never thought of that."
"We'll just have to cut down on his responsibilities." Yep, poor old Snarf will be reduced to cook/maid/dishwasher before he knows it. Panthro decides to hike back to the lair and leaves Lion-O to guard the tank.
Back at the lair, Snarf is treating everyone to some soup, but it's too spicy to eat. Better make that "maid/dishwasher."
Panthro arrives and avoids telling everyone that Snarf forgot to recharge the thundrillium module. He asks if the spare is recharged, and Snarf says, "Of course, I know my duties." He can't find the spare until he goes to the broom closet and gets beaned by it. Panthro barely catches it and keeps it from breaking. Snarf wants to come along, but Panthro says, "No need."
Now the slow, sad version of the Snarf Theme starts playing, and Snarf talks to himself while washing the dishes. "There's no need, don't bother, Snarf. No good for anything anymore, that's what they think." Well, it goes without saying. Heh heh.
Snarf suddenly looks up from his work and says, "Whoo, hey, suddenly I got like, a feeling, a bad feeling!" Is it Snarf Intuition telling him Lion-O's in danger? Or is it just the soup doing its work?
Snarf throws off his apron (with the kitty-cat design on it) and high-tails it out of the Cat's Lair.
Lion-O sees another UFO going by and hears strange midi-ish music playing. He leaves the tank behind and goes to the Berbil Village to find them standing in the field with lanterns. Lion-O joins them and watches a glowing bird that looks like a cross between an Egret and a Peacock. It's called an Arrietta Bird, and the Berbils take it as a sign of a good harvest to come. They're extremely rare, and Rober Bill says they may be listening to the last one. Once again the question of what alien robotic teddy bears need with a harvest comes up, and hmm… maybe they trade Candyfruit for batteries?
Suddenly, the queen zips by in her sled and her guards at the front try to grab the bird. Rober Bill says it's Queen Tartara again—she's always trying to steal the bird for herself. Lion-O and Rober Bill start spouting morals like "She never learned that the greatest pleasure comes from sharing." Well, I'm not too sure about that. Heh heh. As Garfield the Cat once said: it's not the having, it's the getting!
The Queen makes another pass. One of her guards' swords (actually a schimitar) hits Lion-O's, and the other guard bags the bird. They come around once again, and Lion-O hitches a ride by grabbing a rail. These guards of the Crystal Kingdom look Russian in the clothing and "Grinch" in the face. Another strange creation of the Thundercats crew that borders on plagarism. Maybe no one will notice because these guys are flesh-colored instead of green? Anyway, the queen gleefully shouts that the bird is all hers, and I suddenly don't like her. Why? I just heard a voice from a humanoid that rivals Snarf's in sheer annoyance.
Hmm… Crystal Queen… sounds like someone who supplies meth dealers.
Back at the tank, Panthro notices that Lion-O is gone and goes to the village. While Rober Bill is explaining what happened to Lion-O, Snarf does the Chim Chim thing and climbs into the trunk of the tank. It seems that Panthro is about to make a trip to the Gradazian Mountains and beyond.
Meanwhile, Lion-O is losing his grip on the sled—his fingers are freezing. One of the servants spots him and he's dumped with a simple dip of the sled. Lion-O takes a long fall down the side of the mountain and runs into a Yak. The Yak is naturally upset and wants to butt him back. He runs away from the Yak only to find a guard on the ridge. With a little timing, he uses the Yak against the guard and slides down to the next ridge to escape.
There are two more guards below. Lion-O does a forward flip, jumps on a large chunk of snow, and rides it down the slope like he's surfing. The guards are surprised by this maneuver and one of them loses his hat and falls off the ridge into a gulley below. The other one comes up behind Lion-O and takes several swings at him with his schimitar. The guard loses his balance and falls over the edge. Lion-O grabs him by the collar of his jacket and tries to help, but the guard falls out of his coat to join his friend at the bottom.
Lion-O watches the guards trying to climb up the ice, but with no luck. He says, "Jaga says that there is always a benefit to be found in misfortune. Hard to see what benefit that poor devil got out of this, but at least I won't freeze. Hmm, a hat too." So, Lion-O makes off with one guard's clothing and leaves him to freeze to death. Not that I would have thrown them their coat and hat if they had just tried to kill me, but Lion-O's supposed to be a "good guy."
The sword lights up as if someone's in danger, but there's no danger. It was like the sword was hinting to Lion-O to use it to see the way to the kingdom. Somehow, Lion-O knows this.
Meanwhile, Panthro stops the tank to check two paths out on foot before deciding which way to drive. Snarf discovers that the trunk of the tank doesn't open from the inside, so he starts hammering on the door and whining. Panthro lets him out and gives him hell for stowing away. Panthro tells him to stay put as he goes off to check the paths, and Snarf finds Lion-O's boot prints in the snow. Instead of calling Panthro and generally making life easier for everyone, Snarf runs away after Lion-O.
Lion-O sneaks into the kingdom alongside an incoming sled and makes his way past a guard who doesn't notice that he's too tall and red-headed. Lion-O leaves the coat and hat behind—something I wouldn't do in that situation. He comes upon two guards with headsets that also serve as blindfolds. They know there's an intruder, but don't know exactly where. It's a small miracle they don't hack each other up with their schimitars. Lion-O goes through the door they were guarding and locks it behind him. One note here: one of the guards said, "Intruder," so they do seem to know English. They revert to their gutteral caveman-talk though.
Looking around, it's obvious that Lion-O found Queen Tartara's treasure room. After a few seconds, that annoying voice comes forth. "Sing! Sing I say! I, Queen Tartara command you! So, you'll sing for those wretched Robear Berbils but not for me? Very well. Hah ha. Your feathers will enhance my own beauty as a headdress. Guard! destroy it!"
You gotta love that Cruella DeVille kind of fashion sense.
Lion-O interferes and the queen tells the blindfolded guard, "Stay back, he has seen my treasures. It is for me to punish him!" How? Is she going to start singing? That would be too cruel. She talks about how her treasures are for her alone, and that's why the guards are blindfolded. Rather fanciful, I say. She says that all who see her treasures are doomed to remain there forever, sending a hint that the three knights in crystals are victims of hers.
Lion-O starts to call up the cat signal, but the queen freezes him solid in a matching crystal of ice. So much for Lion-O.
Snarf comes up to the side of the castle and shows that he can burrow through frozen ground as fast as he can walk, as well as munching his way through wooden and stone floors. Okay, Snarf is starting to frighten me now—if you think termites are a bad problem to have, how about feral Snarfs living in your walls? Snarf comes up in the treasure room and finds Lion-O and the bird. Lion-O can still move slowly, so he's not frozen solid—just imprisoned. *sigh* After an unsucessful attempt at smashing the crystal, Snarf gets the bird to sing the really high notes (no, he politely asked, you naughty people!) Snarf also reveals that he's tone-deaf, so hopefully he doesn't try to sing.
Queen Tartara hears the bird and gets out of bed. Damn, she's uglier without her headgear! If she wasn't in the setting of Third Earth, I'd expect to see her downtown pushing a shopping cart along. She enters the treasure room a moment after Lion-O is freed from the crystal and tries to freeze him again, but the sword prevents it. Panthro sees the signal and runs the tank through the front gate. He picks up the others and goes through a different wall to escape the kingdom. The bird flies free, and the spires of the castle shatter and collapse in the background. It certainly doesn't seem to take much to conquer this kingdom.
The bird is back, singing for the Berbils. The weird fruits they grow seem to be stimulated by the singing in a magical, cartoony way. Lion-O and Panthro talk about Snarf saving the day and so forth, and Snarf says he just gets better with age. Yeah, but he'll only be doing the dishes and cleaning the litterbox when he gets home.
Yo Joe! No wait, wrong cartoon. Heh heh. It seems the catch phrase for this episode is "Safari Joe does it again!" First shot is of an odd spaceship landing in the woods, and Safari Joe coming out. He seems to be a British version of Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes at first glance—or is it just the monocle he's wearing?. He indulges in a little self-affirmation and says, "Can I hit a target or what? With spaceships, with weapons, my aim's always perfect." Meanwhile, there's probably a janitor in some bar in a faraway galaxy that disagrees.
Perhaps I shouldn't be rough on this guy because he's "the best big game hunter in the galaxy," but I must question his choice of robotic assistant. Um… it's a train—a four foot tall train with arms. No, not guns… arms. It's called "Mule," and I'm guessing that its function is to haul dead animals around or something like that. Maybe its also used to haul contraband as the name suggests? Anyway, it adds to the affirmation session with, "you're a living legend, Safari Joe."
Joe says, "These big cats you found for me better be a decent challenge … big cats, Aqua Cats, Sky Cats, I've hunted them all!"
Mule assures him that Thundercats are different: they haven't encountered life force readings like theirs before. Joe tells Mule to set up the Holojector so they can see "prey specifications." Heh heh.
Meanwhile, WilyKit is showing WilyKat how much better she is a riding a spaceboard. Safari Joe is waiting in the bushes with a large rifle. This rifle has a revolver section that takes up most of the length of the barrel. What is he packing? Missiles? He fires at the kids and hits their spaceboards with explosive arrowheads that shatter their boards. No doubt Panthro's going to be upset about this. "You 'wiped out' both of your spaceboards this time? How many times do you expect me to rebuild them for you? You're on litterbox duty for two weeks!" The kids land on two pieces of canvas that are quickly drawn up into bags. Two cats caught, five more to go. "Safari Joe does it again!"
Panthro is confounded by the spaceship: it's blocking the scanners in the cat's head. Tygra says, "An entire acre of jungle turned invisible." Cheety runs off to fetch Lion-O, and we see him getting beaten by Snarf in a match of "kick the bucket." Panthro says nothing works—no way to see what landed. Panthro doesn't think it's the Mutants: the technology's too advanced. Lion-O tries the sword, and it's blocked too. Ha haaa! If there's anything I know about cats, they hate it when something's out of their field of vision. Cheetara and Tygra volunteer to check out the disturbance first.
Inside the blind, Mule built a nice set of matching thundranium cages with each cat's name on the top (and curiously, the "G" in Tygra is upside-down.) Kit and Kat get to share a cage, and are thrown in. Joe goes to the Holojector to see who the next targets are.
I hope all you evil folk out there are taking notes…
Thundercat prey: Tygra, the Architect.
Defense systems: paranormal strength, agility, an energized bolo-whip, and invisibility.
Weakness: except when he's invisible, Tygra cannot swim.
Tygra can't swim when he's not invisible? Now why is that? Besides, I remember him swimming quite well underwater after he lost his whip in the Fireballs of Plun-Darr episode. Apparently Joey's computer missed his other weakness: drug-laced fruit!
Thundercat prey: Cheetara, the Swift One.
Defense systems: super speed, paranormal senses including undeveloped sixth sense, and a power staff.
Weakness: Cheetara can maintain top speed only short distances. She is vulnerable to fire, lightning, and energy bolts.
Hmm, anyone up for a game of "Fry the Cheetah?"
"These full-grown ones are dangerous! Any recommendations, Mule?"
Mule comes up with the obvious: "Neutralize defense systems."
"Pity the beasts. Pity 'em when Safari Joe goes hunting!" Hmm, works for me.
Cheetara and Tygra are walking along, and Joe is waiting for them in the trees. He fires a rocket-powered cuff towards them. Cheety sees it and shoves Tygra out of the way, but the cuff hits her ankle and lifts her into the air. Joe jumps down and fires three more at her, hitting all four limbs and pinning her in midair. Not a bad idea at all!
Tygra tries to go after Joe, but his rifle is also a flame thrower. He works a circle of fire around Tygra, and apparently he had set up a trap beneath him. Tygra falls into a pit, and Joe fires a shot into the ground which releases water into the hole. Tygra is defeated in less than five seconds, and Joe pulls him up to the edge of the hole. Tygra never looked so bad. "Ha! Safari Joe does it again!"
Back at the Lair, it's night, and Snarf whines that he can't find the kids anywhere. Panthro tells Lion-O to keep an eye on the scanners while he looks around with the tank. Now, what could Lion-O possibly see in the scanners? They're still showing nothing but static.
Meanwhile, Cheetara and Tygra are getting uncomfortable in their cages. The kids are so weak, they're sleeping. Thundranium is good stuff to have around. We get a little dialog between Joe and Cheetara here. Cheetara says, "Somehow we've got to warn Lion-O. If only I had my staff!" Heh, it probably wouldn't work because of Joe's energy blind.
"Looking for this? Nice kitty, be nice, or I'll make your tiger friend into a rug!"
"At least tell us why you're doing this, Safari Joe!"
"Why? For sport! Why else? I'm a sportsman!"
"No you're not. You're just a bully!"
"Take that back! Brave words, Thundercat. But let's see how brave you'll be with your friends Panthro and Lion-O safely behind Thundranium bars with you!" Geez, a bully? Did Mumm-Ra and the Mutants ever get that title? "Give me your lunch money! Right, off with you now."
Okay, it's time for more Thundercat analysis:
Thundercat prey: the deadly Panthro.
Defense systems: paranormal strength, master of all fighting arts, his shoulder spikes are endowed with remarkable properties. Panthro is a master mechanic, but Panthro is most deadly when he uses his fighting sticks and the dangerous substances he might conceal within them.
Weaknesses: Panthro fears bats.
Joe says, "Bats? That's all? Ha ha ha! Good! I love a challenge!"
Well, it's challenge time. Panthro says, "Moonlight's too bright. Even though I'm rigged for silent running, I might be seen. Well, since there's nothing I can do about it, I might as well go in with teeth bared and fur flying!" Panthro is quite the diplomat, eh? He opens all the paws and jaws and exposes all four of the tank's cannons, but stops short of the yellowish orb of the blind. He gets out to investigate it, unaware that Joe is just inside waiting for him. After getting a mild zap from touching it, he says, "Okay, let's see if this thing can hold up against the ThunderTank." Joe doesn't give him the chance: he fires several missiles from his gun, and turns the tank over on its back.
Joe walks out from inside the blind and faces off against Panthro. Panthro brings out his nunchakus, and Joe fires something that turns into a bat made of red fire. Panthro takes a swipe or two at it, ends up on his back, and passes out from fear. Damn! That went pretty easy. Joe calmly walks up to Panthro and uses his boot to turn him over on his stomach. Can you see this coming? Yep: "Ha! Safari Joe does it again!"
Back home, Lion-O and Snarf are puzzling over what they're up against. Unfortunately, Jaga pops up and lets the cat out of the bag (pun intended.) "Your opponent's name is Safari Joe. An intergalactic big game hunter." He tells Lion-O that he knows their weaknesses and vanishes.
Now, it's time for the big game!
Thundercat prey: Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats.
Defense systems: paranormal abilities rivaling those of other Thundercat prey. Claw Shield with array of defensive properties. Lion-O wields the mystic Sword of Omens, in which is embedded the Eye of Thundera.
At this point, the holojector explodes. Mule says, "Eye of Thundera object defies analysis." Now, I have a problem here. When this scene started, Joe said, "Alright Mule, run it again!" So what did the last run show? I see a big plot hole myself.
Lion-O is walking away from the lair and falls into a simple pit trap. It's shallow: only seven or eight feet deep, and Lion-O could jump out easily. Lion-O figures that's what Joe wants him to do, so he shows us an interesting trick. He takes the sword out, holds it by the blade, sticks it up over the top of the hole, and turns it around. He then looks into the sword to see what it saw: Joe waiting with his gun. Curiously, Joe didn't seem to notice this maneuver.
Lion-O takes off his claw shield and puts it on the edge of the hole so it takes Joe's attention. He fires the knuckle lines into a nearby tree for good measure. He suddenly leaps out from the side of the hole and Joe starts firing rocket cuffs and bullets. Lion-O defends himself quite well, then sends up the cat signal. The others can't do anything because of the thundranium cages, even though they try. Mule is guarding them and is carrying a gun of his own. Joe says, "They are as weak as kittens, and one word from me will destroy them." He tries fire and a fire bat against Lion-O, but the sword protects him.
Joe wonders what Lion-O would be without his sword, and Lion-O says, "Release my friends, and I'll fight you without it." Joe says, "You could not be that foolish." Actually, he would be. In fact, he's even more foolish! Joe gets him to throw down the sword, and he says it for the fifth time: "Ha! Safari Joe does it again!"
Joe, not being the fool, doesn't release the others and immediately starts hunting Lion-O. Lion-O leaps and runs to the front door of the lair and says, "Now we know you're a liar, Safari Joe. Let's see if you're a coward too. Come and get me!" Joe takes the invitation and follows him inside.
After firing a few shots at the elusive Lion-O, our favorite red headed step-lion makes a brilliant move and stands on top of a shelf that collapses, leaving him on the floor defenseless in front of Joe. Joe starts to say it again: "Ha! Safari Joe does it…" He doesn't get the chance to finish.
Yep, Snarf once again saves the day. He kicks the bucket towards Joe and hits him with it, making him drop his gun. The gun starts firing all its rounds into the air and falls to the floor. Lion-O isn't in view and starts making roaring noises that aren't impressive at all, but now Joe is getting scared. He crawls along and looks up to see Lion-O standing over him. "All out of ammo, Safari Joe? Looks like you ran out of courage too."
*groan* Joe starts begging Lion-O not to hurt him, and Snarf remarks that he's a big coward. Lion-O says, "Most bullies are." Okay, Safari-ho just lost my respect—even Jackalman has more dignity than that. If Joe had ran out of the lair at top speed and vowed to be back, we would all have been better off. Personally, I'd rather have seen him try to bean Lion-O with his gun. Either go down fighting or retreat. I think he would have won if he had made his pit trap a little deeper and simply fired a sleep gas canister in the hole. To wrap things up, he'd only have to follow my previous advice to Mumm-Ra for catching Snarf: lay a paper bag on the floor in the kitchen… simple as that.
At this point, I wonder what Joey's intentions were. Was he going to stuff and mount them for his home? Make exotic rugs? Or was he of the "catch and release" variety of hunters? I guess we'll never know. How about the Aqua Cats and Sky Cats he mentioned earlier? Just curious.
Now it's daybreak, and Joe is kneeling in front of the cats by his ship. "Say it again, Safari Joe!"
"Alright, alright. I promise. I promise never to hunt again." Hmm, no more "Safari Joe does it again," huh?
"And Mule, you'll make sure he keeps this promise?"
"Yes. Panthro subject kindly changed my work directive programming."
"Well then, I guess you can go."
Lion-O wraps the whole thing up by saying Snarf's the reason he beat Safari Joe, Snarf shows off and challenges anyone to a game of "kick the bucket," and falls on his butt during a kick. Everyone laughs and the show ends, ad nauseaum. Don't get me started on "Snarf kicking the bucket."
Okay, you can't tell me that a reprogrammed Mule robot is going to stop Safari Joe from going back to his old ways. If he can't shut it off and change it back, he can always open an airlock and go shopping for a new assistant. I can't see this being over so conveniently. Am I pessimistic? Optimistic? Nah, I'm just evil. Mwahahahahahahaaaaa!
Now, for a little extra fun. We didn't get to see stats on all the Thundercats, so here's my humble attempt at filling the void.
Thundercat prey: WilyKit and WilyKat, the Pesky Ones.
Defense systems: paranormal agility, exploding pellets containing any number of irritating substances, and at least one of them can surf.
Weakness: they are both extremely curious, and don't possess much strength or common sense.
Thundercat prey: Snarf, the Nursemaid.
Defense systems: able to communicate with animals and paranormally annoying voice that can curl steel.
Weakness: can be captured with a paper bag left on the floor.
Sound like a challenge?
This one starts off in the woods with Kit and Kat riding unicorns and tossing apples back and forth. We get a little bit of lame humor when Kat falls off while trying to catch an apple, and Kit makes a crack about him breaking the law of gravity. Anyway, they're collecting these apples for Snarf's applesauce. I find it curious that the cats can use the unicorns like this, and there's a statue of a unicorn on a boulder in this forest too.
Oh oh oh, it's Mumm-Ra time! The bandaged one is watching the kittens through his cauldron and saying, "How very charming—what a tranquil scene. The Thundercats romp and play unmolested on my planet! I shall soon put an end to this frivolity. Begone, foul image!"
Mumm-Ra summons Driller: "Sand Devil of the Deep Earth." Now we see more evidence that the Turner Entertainment Group is on bad drugs, because the closed caption here says: "Sand Devil a Ready Purse." In a word: HUH?
We're re-introduced to Driller, one of the stars of Howard Post's previous episode "Spitting Image." There's some recycled footage here, but it's no big deal. Driller and Mumm-Ra have a long discussion about how Driller needs diamonds, or his points will go dull and he'll be trapped underground forever. Is this really necessary? If I remember right, he had enough diamonds in payment from kidnapping Panthro before to last him for centuries. Maybe he squandered them going through some granite or something? Anyway, instead of Driller being a mercenary for hire, Mumm-Ra's offer is made with threats this time, and he gets Driller to call him "Master." Good ol' 'Ra has quite the attitude, eh?
Mumm-Ra shows Driller his mission. There's a place called Acid Lake that is (you might have guessed) full of acid. "Ultrasolvin" to be exact—the most powerful acid known according to Mumm-Ra. As I understand it, hydrogen flouride (HF) is the strongest: it's extremely toxic, boils at 67°F, and can dissolve glass. Nasty stuff! On the other hand, perchloric acid (HClO4) has a special edge of danger to it. Want to know how fun this stuff is? Check out this warning: Perchloric acid presents an additional hazard in that perchloric acid mist and vapor can condense in ventilation systems to form metallic perchlorates, which can be explosive. In pure form, it's beyond dangerous: Do not distill perchloric acid in a vacuum, because the unstable anhydride may be formed and cause a spontaneous explosion. Anhydrous perchloric acid (> 85% concentration) is very unstable and will usually explode when it comes in contact with organic materials. Certainly, Mummsies would have serious fun with that stuff, heh heh, but I digress. (I do love my evil chemistry!)
Driller's mission is to drill a tunnel from Acid Lake to the foundation of Cat's Lair to "dissolve it into soup." Heh heh heh. Sounds easy enough.
Meanwhile, Snarf is torturing the kids by cooking applesauce for their late-night snack. Tygra and Panthro are working on a "superfuel" for the ThunderTank, and they plan to have a late-night celebration when the formula is done. There seems to be quite a chemistry theme happening here.
Underground, Driller finishes his work in style, and the acid starts to flow. Heh heh.
Panthro, Tygra, Cheetara, and Lion-O are on hand to see the big test. Lion-O's concerned about the rocket motor flying off the table, and Panthro reassures him. "Trust me, it'll never leave the table." Tygra puts one drop in, and they start it up. The rocket and table fly around the room, smash several crates, and end up going through one of the doors. As Panthro said, it never left the table. So, the cats finally have the alternate fuel source they wanted back in "Trouble with Time."
Lion-O sniffs the air and says, "Can't you come up with something that doesn't smell so foul?" Tygra shows him that the fuel is odorless. Lion-O guesses it might be something Snarf is cooking. Well, no luck there.
"Snarf? Didn't we have beans and cabbage last night?"
"Yeah, but that's not the same smell. Check this out!"
"Ugh okay, it's not Snarf's cooking."
Tygra bursts in and says they should prepare to evacuate the lair. He analyzed the fumes and found out it's ultrasolvic acid. They run to the control room to see that Acid Lake isn't flooding, and they can't figure it out. Lion-O uses the sword and sees that it's coming from below. The solution? Neutralize it with something called "Sponge Fog." They take off in the ThunderTank to get a chunk of it and tow it back. According to Mumm-Ra, they only have an hour to do this.
Next scene: a valley that looks like it's foggy, but the fog is solid. I must give Howard Post credit here for being original and making it look good. They set out to cut a chunk that's twenty by twenty by three feet in size, using a couple of cutting wheels on long arms that Panthro built into the tank. The cutting wheels also contain pincers that they use to grab the stuff. Not a bad option to have on a vehicle. Heh heh.
Above the cats, Rockmen come to life and start dropping boulders on the tank as they're taking off. They decide to change course and go through the Forest of Giant Insects. During the boulder attack, Snarf and Lion-O come up with the idea of putting the Sponge Fog on the roof to make the boulders bounce off, so they make it to the forest. Now, the giant insects come into play. They say most of them feed at night, but you know there will be a few around to make life interesting.
Sure enough, they encounter a giant mantid. Hmm, Mumm-Ra calls them Mechanosects, and immediately after, Panthro calls them the same thing. Coincidence or bad writing? Anyway, it attacks the tank, Panthro gives it a shock, and it flies away, crashes, and explodes in the distance.
Next up, a giant beetle attacks. Lion-O extends the paws of the tank to a hard-to-believe length. The beetle (whom he calls "Mister Beetle,") crawls over the arms and gets flipped over the tank and lands on its back. The cats start the tank up again, but it quits. They figure it's a transmission problem, and Lion-O goes outside to look. He's immediately snatched up in the jaws of a giant caterpillar, and Mumm-Ra watches with glee as it tries to pull him underground. He manages to call for help with the sword, and the others get the caterpillar to release him.
Mumm-Ra is upset, and decides to get personally involved. It's Mumm-Ra time! The tank has to cross over the Bridge of Light, and our favorite mummy swoops down and blows out the middle of the bridge. Panthro can't stop in time and everyone takes a dive. The ThunderTank ends up being dragged upside-down along the bottom of the River of Despair, suspended by the block of Sponge Fog floating above.
They can't go into amphibian mode while the tank is upside-down, and they can't release the block because the controls are locked. Lion-O exits the tank and cuts the Sponge Fog free, and somehow gets back into the tank without flooding the compartment. They're being pulled towards the Whirlpool of Infinity, and Panthro says they'll have to go into a spin maneuver to regain control. They manage to get to the surface, but are being pulled into the whirlpool. Fortunately, Panthro has "Auxillary Jets" and fires them to escape. He catches the block in the tank's jaws, and they make it to shore.
Back at the lair, the acid breaks through to the chasm and starts filling it. Panthro says the fumes are too strong, so they'll have to stay inside the tank. Lion-O comes up with the idea of using the tank to hammer a hole in the foundation of the lair across from the hole, and packing the hole with the sponge fog. It works by some twisted logic. All I can say is that the cats have quite a cleanup job on their hands now.
Mumm-Ra says, "My time has run out, but I will never give in. I will return and wipe the Thundercats off the face of Third Earth." I wouldn't expect anything less from the great mummy-dude. Heh heh heh heh.
The title "Return of the Driller" doesn't exactly fit this episode because Driller isn't really the main character. He did his job well once again, so he must have gotten plenty of diamonds for his trouble. What would have been a good title? "Acid Lake?" Nah, that sounds like Tygra doing fruit-induced ballet. How about "101 Uses for Sponge Fog"? Nah. I know! "Something Smells Funny." Hee hee hee!
In the end, Snarf forgot to turn the stove off when they evacuated the lair: the applesauce was burned. Oh well, it looks like they'll be having beans and cabbage again tonight.
This episode starts off with all the lair's alarms going off, as well as the one in the ThunderTank. What's the threat? A strange walrus-looking guy on a plane that's built around a flying lizard. He's holding a photograph of the lair, so he must be a threat. Blow him away!
Yeah, yeah. Of course, that's not going to happen, because he isn't a threat. One of the plane's engines fails, and he crashes on the lawn.
His name is Turmagar, the Tuska (surprised?) He came to the cats for help: it seems there is a war machine critter called the Technopede that's been attacking the water supply in his kingdom: Tuskania. It never fails to amaze me when the writers come up with such silly names for things.
Anyway, Panthro tells Lion-O to take the tank while he stays to fix "this monster." He's referring to the lizard-thing with plane parts built around it. Turmagar says it's not a monster—it's a "Gumplin." They've been domesticating the things for centuries. I guess it beats trying to breed flying cows.
We see the ThunderTank going along a track that was conveniently built on the side of a hill. It launches itself into the river below, and we're treated to some underwater shots as it continues in amphibian mode. There are lots of sea anemonies on the bottom of this river, so I guess they're fresh water versions of the sea critters.
Turmagar says there are lots of dangers in the river, and Lion-O says, "Fish-eating flowers don't frighten Thundercats, Turmagar." Let's see how brave Lion-O would be after a huge anemonie paralyzes him. Anyway, Turmagar warns him not to underestimate the dangers, and sure enough, the tank gets caught in a strong current. They escape it by firing the jets.
Next hazard: the Black Widow Shark returns! From this episode so far, the evidence shows that they're not in the River of Despair this time, so maybe this is another example of the shark's species? It might be a male, because of the way it's hanging onto the tank. Sorry, but I'm laughing too hard to think coherently right now. Hee hee hee! They shake the shark, but it clamps onto them again. *snicker* Tygra finally dislodges the lovesick shark by shocking it the same way Panthro shocked the giant mechanical mantid in the last episode.
The tank reaches the end of the river, and they're travelling in the ocean now. Snarf asks if they're there yet, and Turmagar says, "We still have yet to cross the dangerous uncharted seas." Geez, exactly how far will they have to travel? Is Turmie taking them to another continent?
The tank surfaces (using a ballast like a submarine) and they hear singing coming from an island that sounds like Willa on bad drugs. Cheetara wants to investigate, and Tygra looks rather blank. I'd like to add that the animators did a pretty neat reflection effect on the water here. It's simple, but it looks good.
They land on the island and see a mermaid. Hmm, this mermaid looks quite the babe. Heh heh. I wonder if Turmagar is frustrated by this side trip—his people are being attacked after all. Anyway, after mentioning that mermaids are known for having hypnotic powers, they decide to leave. There's one problem though: Tygra is gone. Didn't you just see this coming?
Cheetara finds Tygra kneeling in front of the mermaid on the end of a cliff, and with a rather stoned look on his face. The mermaid reveals claws and fangs and seems to be preparing to disembowel the tiger dude. Cheetara throws her staff, and it lands nearby. Tygra comes to in time to dodge the mermaid's attack, but loses his balance and falls into the ocean below. Mermaid follows, and so do Lion-O and Cheetara. Snarf tries to follow, but his tail's stuck between two rocks. Oh please! All he could do is distract the mermaid by being a snack.
Lion-O is kept busy by an underwater version of a cobra. It tries to strike him, and misses. The cobra comes around again and hits him with red lightning—Mumm-Ra style. Lion-O isn't having any of that, so he uses his sword to drive it off. He thinks to himself, "Now for vampire mermaid." Hmm. Lion-O think like Captain Caveman.
Tygra is drifting along the bottom semi-conscious, and Lion-O hits the mermaid with a sword-blast. She counters with an impressive display of electricity. He finally drives the mermaid backwards into a cave and seals it.
Over half the episode is over, and they're still not there yet. Turmagar must be getting more frustrated by the minute. Meanwhile, Panthro fixed the Gumplin and flies off with him to join the others.
The tank finally surfaces on Tuskania. The landscape looks pretty good, and it's night with the last remains of sunset. They're welcomed by a bunch of arial explosions, and Lion-O says, "Looks like we might be too late!" Well, if you hadn't taken that side trip to check out the mermaid… anyway, Tygra says, "This calls for hyperdrive!" Hyperdrive? Is he still high or something?
The Tuska's city is pretty much destroyed, and one Tuska talks about leaving. Another one says they can't desert their post. Ah, here comes the Technopede. It looks more cat than anthropod at first glance, and it's pretty big and well-armed. Unnamed Tuska Soldier #2 is pinned beneath some rubble and nearly gets stepped on.
Turmagar talks about how his city is in ruins, his people are conquered, and so on. Lion-O says they'll straighten it out, and Cheetara says not to give up. Well, I can't help but wonder about that unnecessary side-trip to that island and how much time it wasted again.
They find the Technopede and Lion-O hits it with a few cannon blasts that do no damage. The Technopede returns fire with several guided missiles and damage the tank's propulsion unit. The cats have no choice but to get out and fight now. If it wasn't for that sword, I'd say they're all dead at this point. Let's see how it turns out…
Cheety faces off with the 'pede and confuses its guns by running fast. Tygra whips his whip around the 'pede's legs and uses it as a ladder of sorts. He gets on top and two of its guns face each other. Yes, Tygra uses the guns against each other. He's nearly blasted and jumps off.
Meanwhile, Lion-O is running underneath the war machine. He uses his claw line to get on top of the machine, tries to enter a control center by prying the armor plates with his sword, and nearly gets blasted for his trouble. He saves himself in mid-fall with his line. He's hanging there with no place to go, and Tygra offers to get him down. Panthro appears with the Gumplin above and wait… the twins are with him now. He was shown flying away from the lair alone earlier. Did he make a return trip to pick up the kids or something? Plot hole alert!
Lion-O says, "Reinforcements!" and does his sword call. The cat signal doesn't seem to serve much purpose, and the kids use their lariats to tie up the Technopede's legs. The others topple it over from the other side. Sorry folks, I found that a little too hard to believe.
In the end, we're treated to Snarf sitting in the spring and singing. I think he's more of a threat to the environment than the Technopede was—now they won't be able to drink the water for a week!
Turmagar and the others exchange pleasantries, and Snarf plugs up the spring with his tail to provide everyone with a cheap laugh when the kids yank him back out. Oh well, it's a decent episode, and it has a few good mermaid moments. The surprise here was that the sword didn't really defeat the machine this time, and the bigger surprise was that Turmagar didn't mention the fact his city was destroyed because of the Thundercats wasting time to play around with a mermaid. Oh well, poor help is better than none at all.
Hey kids, it's Peter Lawrence time! This is the guy who brought us Mongor, The Time Capsule, and uh… Snarf Takes Up the Challenge. While I might want to overlook the last one, let it be known that this fellow knows how to mess with the cats. Heh heh.
There's a spaceship speeding towards Third Earth, and it's damaged. It's gold colored, triangular, and bears a slight resemblance to the Imperial Star Destroyers in the Star Wars flicks. It's sending out a distress call that sounds like telemetry from a 1970's satellite, and apparently this signal isn't just being transmitted on radio frequencies—Cheetara is running along below, and suddenly gets zapped by the transmission. She can hear it, but Lion-O can't.
"I'm getting some kind of transmission. My intuition tells me it's right on the edge of our atmosphere."
She further enlightens us by saying that whatever is sending the signal is in trouble, and it's draining her strength.
Well, I guess we can't blame this on funky braces.
Meanwhile, over at Castle Plundarr, there's a new piece of equipment: a radar-style directional antenna. Slythe is asking Vultureman what the signal is. The feathered genius can't figure out the code, and can't get anything visual on the screen.
"Hawwwwk… Monkian! Do you still have those old braces that picked up the adult channel back on Plundarr?"
"No, there's no entertainment on this planet, so I threw them away."
"Just as well, awwwwk… enough people made up stories about us when they heard me listening in."
Cheety starts speaking in an alien voice, saying, "Orientation control negative, torsion balance failing… we're going to crash!"
Lion-O decides to get her back to the lair, because she's getting a bad case of the willies, and she's the only adult female around. He whips out the sword and sends the big red signal. Slythe sees the signal, says the cub is in trouble, and orders Monkian to take a Skycutter to see if there's "anything we can do to make it worse." Ahh, you gotta love great plans like that.
From the other side, Panthro is approaching with the ThunderTank. I guess this episode is going to become a battle over the alien ship, yes? It crashes by Hook Mountain, and the race is on!
Cheetara is talking with Tygra, Lion-O and Panthro, and says that the alien craft's control unit can communicate with her sixth sense. Monkian is in a tree nearby, and says, "Cheetara's sixth sense in direct contact with an intelligence from outer space. Slythe will be very interested in this!" Now, is it me, or is the swinging one using rather large words for someone who usually grunts? Oh well, I won't question it too much, because he can pilot spacecraft too. The thing I will question is this is the first time I've heard of her "sixth sense," yet everyone in that scene is reacting like it's common knowledge. The only other time I heard of any sort of "intuition" was when Lion-O was fighting Mutants on Hook Mountain, and it was a disposable line.
Uh, okay. The spacecraft didn't quite crash as I was led to believe a few seconds ago. Maybe it bounced and stopped transmitting, and is still looking for something to plow into. As it skids along the snow-covered ground, Cheety's mind is dragged along for the ride, and for a moment, she looks like she's sinking under water. She comes out of it as the ship finally comes to rest in a snow drift.
Meanwhile, the Mutants (minus Jackalman, who is either on vacation or using a Berbil as a chew toy) talk about how the alien craft takes over Cheetara's mind, and it's invisible to their scanners. What a wonderful toy, and they must have it! Vultureman reminds the others (and no doubt the viewers with an I.Q. near the single digit range) that they have to find it before the Thundercats.
Cheetara gets more transmissions, and the kids try to pinpoint the source but can't. Conclusion: it's cold, it's frightened, it needs help, and it's not doing any good for Cheetara.
Well, WilyKit figures that it's coming from somewhere by Hook Mountain, even though there's a vast plain of snow and ice there. Considering it's an alien being, who knows what it considers to be cold? Oops, didn't mean to try to apply logic there.
Tygra tells Snarf to stay and look after Cheetara, and for once, Snarf agrees. He says that he's "too close to the ground to enjoy snow." There's a bad joke there somewhere. Heh heh heh.
Guess what? Vultureman finds it first, but there's a slight problem. The craft still has defenses, and sends up three miniature versions of itself that fire on Vultureman's flying machine. Monkian and Slythe catch up to the action, and the mini-fighters start shooting at Monkian. Monkian gets a case of sky-rage and starts firing on the crashed ship, which upsets Vultureman for good reason.
Monkian isn't listening. "Nothing attacks Monkian and gets away free!" Well, now. Lots of things have attacked Monkian so far: the kids, the Warrior Maidens, the other Mutants, and probably several assorted species of lice. They're all still walking around, unless Monkian gave them a blast of his breath or something. "Hoo hoo! Give me DDT shampoo!" He continues firing, and Cheetara reacts badly.
Snarf calls the others and explains it's like something's attacking her. Tygra makes this logical conclusion: "I think I've worked it out: Cheetara's sixth sense puts her in contact with the spacecraft. If something's attacking the spacecraft, it's exactly as if that something is attacking her." Well, that's not too hard a leap in logic. They decide to save her by saving the spacecraft. *sigh* I don't suppose they could just go back home and give Cheety some "Doggie Downers" until the whole thing blows over, right? Right? Well, it's a thought.
The three Mutants walk up to the ship. It turns out it's pretty small—one of them could carry it. Monkian tries, but gets shocked for his troubles. Looks like it's time for the grunting one to get upset again. He starts pounding it with his mace, and Vultureman steps in to stop him. He points out the control unit on top, and Monkian pries it off with the handle of his mace. Cheetara suffers more, and appears to be dying. Snarf calls out to the others over the radio after trying to wake her up, and… cue commercial! Thankfully, I've got VHS. Heh heh heh.
The three cats reach the crash site and find the Mutants' footprints. Lion-O wonders aloud why they tried to destroy it, and Tygra goes into "more-moral-than-thou mode" and serves up this nugget from the show's psychological consultant (betcha didn't know there was one, heh heh. He's in the credits!): "Sometimes when people come up against something they don't understand, they feel threatened." Panthro takes a break from being the all-around tough guy and says, "And their first reaction is to destroy it." Perhaps he's speaking from experience? Anyway, Cheetara crosses their minds, and now they're wondering what shape she must be in. They head back to the lair again.
At the castle, Slythe wants results, and Vultureman says it's beyond the limits of their present knowledge, so it will take time. Jackalman is finally awake now, and says something painful to hear: "I don't like it, I don't understand it!" Umm, is this the show's consultant speaking again? I'm really starting to wonder. Monkian chimes in with, "Destroy it, before it harms us!"
Vultureman calls them idiots in so many words and says they must learn from it. Slythe, being somewhere between ignorant and devious, tells "Professor Vultureman" that he has twelve hours to figure it out, or he'll obliterate it by dawn. This seems to satisfy the others.
Cheety talks about the unit surviving, and they have to help it escape Third Earth before it's too late. Now here's something curious: Panthro recommends that Lion-O takes the kids to break into Castle Plundarr. Is this really a good idea? I suppose it frees Panthro and Tygra up to repair the rest of the craft, so the kids will get some burglarizing experience under their belts. Who knows? Maybe WilyKat will use this knowledge in interesting ways in the future, like breaking into the Warrior Maiden's sauna hut. Heh heh heh he* sorry, random evil thought.
Lion-O says, "I'll find that unit, and bring it back!" … uhh, never mind. Make up your own joke.
Vultureman is frustrated: he can't understand what the unit *snicker* is trying to say. Meanwhile, Lion-O, WilyKit, and WilyKat basically act their age and break into not just any room in the castle, but Slythe's room. It's interesting to note he sleeps on a slab. Anyway, Kit pops a pellet that's apparently chewing gum with a surprise. They break in, Slythe hops up, and Kit nails him in the mouth with her chewing gum bubble that's filled with sleep gas, or something like that. Slythe is no longer a problem, and will probably have fun horking up the gum later on.
Hmm. "One down, three to go." I was under the impression that there were many more Mutants around, you know, guards, cooks, and servants. I suppose they're not much of a challenge anyway.
Tygra and Panthro finish fixing the ship, and plan to head to the castle to help the others. Cheetara drags herself out of bed and says she's going with them because her life depends on it. I guess that's good enough reason.
The others are exploring the castle and duck into Jackalman's room. We get a fabulous freeze-frame of Jackalman waking up to the sight of Lion-O peering down at him. Heh heh heh. Hmm, he sleeps on a slab too. Jackie is subdued, but not before he calls for help. Vultureman seems to hear this, but just keeps walking. Heh heh.
More choice frames: Jackalman bound and gagged. Sorry, evil friends, but it's like watching a loved one tumbling down the stairs while trying to talk—you just can't stop that laugh reflex.
Monkian finds Slythe tied up and frees him. It's time to hunt for cats!
Oh no, Jackalman is still tied up and inching his way across the floor. Excuse me for a moment. *laughs into a paper bag like a mental patient for thirty seconds* *ahem* Okay, I'm better now.
Lion-O and the kids are lost, but eventually find the control unit. Lion-O reaches for it, but gets Monkian's mace across his hand. "Oh, that's gotta hurt!" Heh heh. Slythe and Jackalman enter, and the lights go on. Yep, they're caught! Slythe threatens to destroy it, and Cheetara along with it. Slythe claims this is a stalemate, and you just know those are going to be famous last words.
Sure enough, the body of the craft flies in and attacks the Mutants. Vultureman points out that it's toying with them, and could have destroyed them if it wanted to. Who's controlling? Cheetara, of course. Looks like the cats are now surrounding the Mutants. Cheetara has a little quality revenge time and directs the alien ship to shoot the Mutants as they're fleeing their castle. We end up with a long distance shot of them getting blown out of the sky in a large explosion, and you can see their bodies falling in the distance. You just know they're going to survive, but that was one hell of a fall, yes? There was one problem with this scene—the alien ship suddenly regained it's control unit in this scene: animation oversight!
Just to make sure my powers of observation are working properly, yes—back at the lair, they put the unit back on the ship. Sure enough, it's in fine working condition again. The ship hovers, goes behind Lion-O, and nudges him in the back, pushing him into Cheetara. It looks like we have our first hint at possible romance here, or maybe even trouble? After all, Tygra and Cheetara seem to hang around each other alot.
The ship talks to her and leaves, and Kit and Kat ask Cheety what it said to her. Besides being sorry it caused so much trouble and so forth, after repeated attempts at prodding from the kittens, the spotted one says, "If you want to know any more, you'll have to learn to read my mind." The show ends on a big laugh there.
Okay, what was that alien ship anyway? An advanced robot? A crablike mutant ala the Daleks? A plot device to give Cheety a new power and convince us that everyone knew about it but didn't mention it until now? A catalyst for Lion-O to catch up with his hormones with Cheetara's help? I guess time will tell. Needless to say, Peter Lawrence did a fine job of messing with the characters, Cheety in particular.
Oh boy, here we go again. This episode start off with the kids swimming. WilyKat sees a storm approaching and tells WilyKit they should get back to shore. Kit calls him a "scaredy-cat" and swims away, and Kat goes back to the beach. Hmm, imagine that, Kat being the smart one this time. From the beach, he sees a giant mechanical frog come up behind Kit—and it swallows her up. Well, we're off to a good start here. Heh heh. They managed to get a true look of horror on WilyKat's face here.
WilyKit gets a bit of a hydrotube ride inside the frog, and ends up in a chamber. There's a weird little man peering down at her, and he tells her to not be afraid. In fact, he came to ask for the Thundercats' help. He looks like your stereotypical mad scientist type: short, white-haired, and wearing goggles. He's also wearing a tan jumpsuit with various shades of lavender and turquoise, in "poofy pastels" as seen on Tygra. Hmm. This is creepy in a Buffalo Bill sort of way.
One point of interest here: Kit and Kat are wearing bathing suits, which would mark the first significant change in costume since we saw Panthro sleeping with his belt and boots in Spitting Image. Now, if only Cheety would go for an occasional swim… *ahem* where was I? Oh yes, giant frog swallows Kit. Heh heh heh.
Giant frog comes ashore and walks after Kat, nearly stomping him. Naturally, Kat's scared out of his wits. Hmm, point of inconsistency: WilyKat somehow manages to get back into the rest of his clothes while running at full speed with Froggy in hot pursuit. I guess the animators got tired of rendering him in different clothes. Well, considering how the Thundercats got their clothes in the first place, I guess I shouldn't be trying to apply logic here. Maybe I'll just think of Cheety in a bathing suit again. Heh heh.
Kat manages to climb on the back of a Unicorn that's fleeing along with some other forest creatures, and gets back to the Cat's Lair. Lion-O and Snarf are in front, and meet up with the hysterical WilyKat. Kat briefly explains his sister being eaten alive, and Lion-O gets on the unicorn with him to find out what happened.
They get to the clearing, and Kat points out a footprint. "That giant has to be fifty feet tall."
What's Lion-O's response? "Maybe."
"Maybe? There it is!"
Lion-O says, "That giant's big, WilyKat, but not fifty feet."
"Oh yeah? That's because it's sitting down."
The giant frog stands up, and Lion-O gives us a "Great Jaga!" Now, did we really need that silly bit of dialog? This leads to WilyKat suggesting they get the ThunderTank and blast it.
Lion-O's response? "No WilyKat, we don't just go blasting things for no good reason."
"No good reason? That thing swallowed WilyKit!"
"We have to find out why"
"Why? 'cause it was hungry, that's why!"
Ahh, such brilliant leaps of logic. Anyway, Froggy opens its mouth, and the mad scientist pops up and throws a rope ladder down. He climbs down with a picnic basket, lays out a blanket, walks back to the picnic basket in a rather effeminate manner, and pulls out a bouquet of flowers. Umm, this is really starting to disturb me.
The guy smells the flowers, and is promptly taken down by Lion-O. Heh heh. He and WilyKat interrogate him, and WilyKit says, "Don't you dare touch Doctor Dometone!"
WilyKit climbs down the rope ladder (unsurprisingly back in her original clothing) and says he's one of Third Earth's great scientists, thinkers, and gentlemen. When Kat mentions seeing her get swallowed, she says, "It was my fault, I swam right into poor Herky's mouth."
Lion-O's a bit confused. (Well okay, more than usual. Heh heh.) He says Herky was pursuing WilyKat in the forest, and he had better explain himself. Okay? Here goes…
Domey says he was pursuing him—he came for help. He's director and principle guardian of the Great Oceanic Plug. I feel a really weird Overgardian concept here. He's now explaining himself to all of the cats back at the lair: "Centuries ago, a fissure developed in the surface of the seafloor … unless it was sealed, the ocean would empty into the very core of the Earth and put out its fires. In the greatest engineering feat of all time, the hole was plugged."
Uhh… okay. Before I tackle the big one here (and boy is it big!) I'd like to mention I find it interesting that Domey refers to "The Earth." Could this be the remnants of human civilization on what's now known as "Third Earth"? Why am I looking for such clues in the middle of a discussion about a giant plug at the bottom of the ocean?
Well, whatever. If I remember my geology right, the Earth is mostly a giant ball of molten rock moving through space, and only the top ten miles or so is actually solid. Any opening in the crust would just make the seawater boil, and cool down the magma to create more solid rock. At the very worst, Third Earth would get a few earthquakes, heavy rain, and a new continent in my opinion.
Okay, enough Over-analysis for now—this is just entertainment after all, and we're getting to the meat of the plot.
Domey reveals that the oceanic plug is under attack. "A thousand light-years away is a planet called Blue Plunder, it is fueled by a common rock found by the billions under the sea. They have sent a salvage expert to pull the plug, drain the sea, and harvest the rock. This salvage man is a cold-hearted brute called 'Scrape.'" The logic here fails me: there are hundreds of stars closer than a thousand light-years to Blue Plunder wherever that may be, and we're the closest one with the fuel they need? They must have really pillaged this corner of the galaxy to be interested in Third Earth, so I guess they have my respect there. After all, our heroes are dependent on their non-renewable thundryllium too.
The plug was guarded by two giant robotic frogs called Samson and Hercules, and while Domey was out gathering supplies for the crew at the plug, Scrape attacked Samson with his electric eel ship. The last shot we see is the Eel sitting on top of the dome that apparently has the plug inside it.
Hmm, I just realized how strange that last paragraph sounded.
Anyway, Domey went back to the shore to find help—because if he didn't bring back supplies, the crew down there would starve. If they tried to escape, Scrape would break in and pull the plug.
Okay, given all of that information, I have to ask the following question: what was Dometone doing wasting time in the forest setting up a picnic with WilyKit? Surely if he was seeking help with the planet's fate in the balance, he would certainly have headed straight for the lair, or tried to radio them. Looking closely, I noticed the picnic basket had flowers and nothing else. That strikes me as most unsavory for some reason.
Domey lets another clue drop when he says, "Will you help me, in the name of remaining humanity?" How interesting! I wonder if he knows about the Warrior Maidens—the only other humans I've seen so far. Oh wait, there's Mandora too. Perhaps Humans have moved to other planets? Then again, Mandora hardly seems "Human."
Domey takes the twins and Lion-O inside Herky, and they head off towards the coast.
We now see two of the other scientists back at the plug. They ran out of food a week ago, which makes me wonder what Domey's been doing all that time. Anyway, they can't see the eel, so they raise the observation tower, and one of them attempts to escape in a small sub—he's promptly swallowed by the eel, and the eel breaks in through the observation tower. So much for the security of the dome.
Scrape swims out of the mouth of his eel-ship, grabs a microphone, and announces that everyone should get to the escape pods because he's going to pull the plug. The interesting thing here is that he's talking not only through scuba-gear, but water as well! Oh well, if they can breathe in space…
The humans flee in their escape pods, or rather, subs. We see Scrape (who resembles a blue-skinned Nazi by the way,) about to enter a door with a sign over it that says "Plug Control." He stops because his eel ship is giving him an alarm. I guess the cats are about to be detected.
Meanwhile, Lion-O and WilyKat are seen dressed up in shark suits. They were meant for divers to swim along with the fish unnoticed, so I'll go along with it. The idea is for them to get to the eel ship and attach a grounding cable to neutralize its electric charge. Okay, I'll go along with that too.
Hmm. Scrape spots Herky and decides to take it out. He says something rather odd: "Well, bless my britches!" Umm… make up your own joke.
Scrape notices the "sharks" and says he doesn't remember sharks in this area. "I better put it in high gear just to be safe." Uh, since when would someone in a combination spaceship/submarine worry about sharks that are much smaller than his ship? Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Lion-O almost hooks the cable to its tail, but it speeds up before he can do the deed. Heh heh.
The eel knocks Herky around a bit, then goes for the big squeeze. Rivets are popping off inside and water is starting to come in. Things don't look good for Domey and WilyKit. Scrape looks them eye-to-eye, so to speak, and Domey notices that the neck of the eel is exposed. He instructs Herky to grab it, making Scrape say something about underestimating him. "Drat, I thought he was just a harmless dirty old man!"
While the eel is getting thrashed by Froggy, Scrape starts reaching for the "Electric Charge Switch." Meanwhile, Lion-O and WilyKat approach from the rear in their shark-suits with that cable. Yeah, yeah. I can see this is a forgone conclusion.
Hmm. I wasn't aware that one could swing and throw a cable like a lasso underwater. Can you say "convenient physics"?
Aaaanyway, Scrape hits the button, and his ship gets shorted-out. The celebration is short-lived as Scrape knocks the human he captured aside, steals his sub, and promptly heads towards the plug in it. Lion-O is out of his suit and with the others, but WilyKat is still out there. He tries to stop the sub, and Scrape shoots a net and catches him.
Okay, now it's time to do the "Thundercat Thing" and call the others. Apparently they've been waiting all this time in front of the lair instead of joining the fight from the beginning, or at least waiting on the beach for the signal. When they see the signal, they go through the whole routine—which includes my favorite line: "Cheetara ready, ho!" *laughs hysterically then clears throat* Well, I would assume that in the time it takes them to travel all the way across the forest and into the ocean, Scrape would have finished his work by then.
Back in the control room, Scrape is wasting time by telling the tied-up WilyKat that when he hits a switch, it will be the first time in seventeen centuries that the plug has been moved. So, was 1700 years the point where First or Second Earth ended? Just wondering.
Ahh, what a relief, and a break from the expected cliche: Scrape finally hits the button and all hell breaks loose! There's only one problem, though. The ocean seems to have drained too fast—Panthro set up a "compressed air bubble" around the plug station. Okay, I'm willing to accept that this is a force-field, but after Scrape challenges them to get him, Panthro has Tygra hit something called the "Vacuum Suction Button" which results in Scrape getting sucked through the control room glass, and into the front of the ThunderTank. I won't even try to figure that out, except to say that an Overgardian episode just wouldn't be complete without doing something insane like that. I wonder if William "airtight rooms won't protect you from the vacuum cleaner of death" Overgard used to write fairy tales for a living.
And now, for this week's happy ending. We start with a helping of "If we had blasted Herky like WilyKat had wanted, we would have also blasted WilyKit and Dometone. Scrape would have pulled the plug, and that would have been the end of everything." Hmm. Well, if they hadn't come along, perhaps Domey would have wasted valuable time having a pervy picnic with WilyKit while Scrape did his thing.
As for Scrape, besides having a really dumb (but at least non-obvious) name, he wasn't too bad as a villain. He was just looking out for the economy of his home planet, and gave everyone a chance to evacuate. Everyone's gotta make a living, y'know! Too bad he's going to end up on the Grey Prison Planet with Mandora.
The dome has been repaired, and they now have an "interference-free" communications hookup with the lair.
Now we get to the cute moment. All the excitement is over, and their attention turns to food. Kit says it might be awhile, they're having fish. Everyone groans at that, and Lion-O says he never wants to see another fish in his life. Heh heh.
WilyKat enters the dining room in that shark diving suit and says, "How do you want me, boiled or fried?" It's probably good that Dometone wasn't present, or we may have had an answer to that question. *shudders* Everyone laughs, groans, and starts throwing their dishes at WilyKat and Snarf. So ends another Overgardian ordeal.
Astral Prison… could that be where they keep all the astrals? Say that fast three times. Okay, don't… sorry, bad joke. I'm rusty—I had to get away for awhile to straighten my head after watching that Dometone episode. *shudder* Okay, back to the fun!
First scene: the sword wakes Lion-O up in the middle of the night. He jumps out of bed and runs to the sword chamber. Yes, once again, Lion-O was sleeping in bed with his clothes and his boots on. I once heard that was illegal in North Dakota, but I digress.
He calls up the sight-beyond-sight™ to give him the lowdown on what's happening, and we see the view go through some hazy fog, a galaxy, and a icy-looking world. With range like that, I think he would at least watch Cheetara in the shower from time to time. Hmm, that's assuming she showers—after all, Lion-O sleeps with his clothes on. Perhaps I spend too much time thinking of these things. Oh well, it is my job after all. Heh heh.
Anyway, in the middle of a big castle that looks like so many slabs of rocks or ice thrown together, we see a welcome sight: Jaga manacled to the wall, and a weird three-eyed fellow with a bad voice that resembles Panthro on helium taunting him. If anything could be "Thundercats Hell," that would be it… almost. Snarf on helium would make it a complete picture.
Upon seeing this, Lion-O freaks out and calls the names of the others while running out of the sword chamber. No sleep tonight. Hmm, I didn't know you had to cross galaxies as well as a misty barrier to get to the astral world. *ahem* I won't try to figure it out. Besides, I'm fixated on the cats sleeping in their clothes now. Heh heh heh.
Speaking of no sleep, the great mummy-dude also wakes up. He says, "Unusual activity in the Cat's Lair. What can those wretched Thundercats be planning?" He watches them talking about how to contact Jaga, and the kids reveal that the only person on Third Earth that understands the astral world is the Netherwitch. The thing that I find interesting here is that a Thundercat all-nighter can wake the mummy dude up. I wonder if he watches Cheetara showering too…
Oh, this is getting good already. Mumm-Ra says, "If only he knew that Mumm-Ra and the Netherwitch are one and the same!" Mwahahahahahaaaa! It's transformation time! And just when I was about to say, "What about Mumm-Ra? He ought to understand the astral world too. Heh heh heh." This makes me wonder, though. Is being the Netherwitch what Mummsies does on his days off? I mean, besides logging more sleep hours than my cat? Curiously, Mumm-Ra calls upon the "Sorcerors of the Netherworld" to transform him into the Netherwitch. What about the spirits of evil? Are they the same? Hmm…
The cats leave the lair to seek the witch, and on the way, Cheetara and Panthro ask Lion-O if he's sure he wants to do this, because he'll be putting himself in great danger. Lion-O says, "Jaga needs me … I have no choice." They reach the Bridge of Slime, and Lion-O insists on going alone.
"There must be something we can do."
"You can wish me luck." (And "stand by for my signal," no doubt.)
Partway up the bridge, Lion-O gets attacked by a sea serpent with two heads. He slips (apparently forgetting the name of the bridge he's crossing) and nearly becomes a chew-toy for the beast while he's trying to swing himself back onto the bridge. After seven quick attempts at snapping off his legs, the threat passes too quickly and the journey continues. It was fun while it lasted. Heh heh.
Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra made a point of telling the Mutants that Lion-O is occupied, so we see them having a light argument and Monkian getting his foot ran over by a wheel. Looks like Vultureman built a nice four-barreled Thundranium cannon for them to play with.
Lion-O goes into the cave at the end of the bridge and starts going downhill. First, voluntarily, next, sliding on his ass. Heh heh. At the bottom, he regains his composure and looks around. A giant ghostly eye descends towards him—all you can see is the open portion of the eye, which blinks itself out of existence. Damn fine effect, I do say. Next thing you know, he's being attacked by all sorts of ghostly hands and creatures. One with three eyes glowing on stalks approaches, and he stumbles backwards off a cliff for a long fall.
Lion-O comes to, lying on his back. The Netherwitch materializes in front of him, and knows him by name and what he wants to do, of course. Heh heh. Witchy tells him that if he goes into the astral world, he will never return. Hmm, correct me if I'm wrong, but if she killed him, wouldn't that accomplish the task? Just a thought. Anyway, she pressures him for a choice, and Lion-O does what we expect him to: dive headlong to rescue the dead one.
Witchy obliges and calls upon the "Ancient Spirits of the Void" to transport him to the astral world, and reveals that she's Mumm-Ra in disguise as Lion-O vanishes. Ahhh… that was refreshing.
The scene shifts into the astral world, and Lion-O wonders aloud if his powers will work there. Hmm, I didn't realize shooting a claw with a line from his shield would be considered a "power." Anyway, he attempts to scale an icy wall and gets attacked by a giant demonic toad. After leaping at him, it decides to scale the wall. Lion-O fires a bolt from his sword, and it takes a couple rounds to dislodge the critter.
Lion-O hears the three-eyed one taunting Jaga. Turns out his name is Nemex, and he wants all of Jaga's knowledge. Lion-O bursts in and tries to save the day. Nemex grows to huge proportions and starts firing energy from his eyes and hands—and he has four of those.
Do you smell a cliché coming?
Wide-eyed and pinned, Jaga calls out, "The Eye of Thundera, Lion-O… use its power!"
"Yes, of course, Jaga. It saves my yellow butt every time—why was I dodging blasts anyway? Silly me. Hoooooo!"
Naturally, Nemex is no match for the sword, so he gets knocked out. Lion-O frees Jaga, they leave, and Lion-O uses the sword to weld the door shut. They run along to escape what must be a series of dungeons, then Jaga and Lion-O stop to rescue an old man with a crutch. This old man says his name is Brodo, and his wizardry threatened Mumm-Ra in the past, so that's why he's here now. Hmm. No good can come of this—I think Lion-O just found his ticket home.
Anyway, they escape. Jaga says he thought he'd never see Lion-O again. Hmm, considering ideal conditions, he'd probably see Lion-O in fifty more years, give or take a beating. Heh heh. Lion-O says he's there forever, Jaga says his place is back on Third Earth, and Lion-O says he has no choice. Technically, he's dead, isn't he? Leave it to the sword to interrupt this banter. Lion-O sees the others under attack. Hey, if things go wrong, they'll all be together again, right? Stop me if I'm not depressing you, heh heh.
Panthro takes the tank out and tries to go toe-to-toe with Vultureman's cannon. Vultureman wins, and Panthro runs back to the lair with Monkian strafing him from above. Heh heh heh.
Lion-O is upset, naturally, and as I had expected, Brodo the wizard sends him back to save the day. *sigh* Oh well, that's how it goes. He calls upon the "Ancient Spirits of Good." Now, are there like four different sets of ancient spirits now? Or are the Void and Netherworld spirits related to the evil ones Mumm-Ra keeps in his pyramid? Well, at least I can feel confident that the good spirits aren't alternate names for the others.
Hmm, Cheetara and Tygra are using some nifty-looking semi-mech guns.
So much for Lion-O being away on business: his voice and the signal come from way up in the sky, and Snarf says, "That's my boy!" Maybe that explains the red hair… heh heh. Anyway, the redheaded one materializes as a giant ghost on the drawbridge and sends a blast from the sword that makes the cannon explode. We also learn that Vultureman wears underwear, in case anyone was wondering. (You were, admit it!)
Cheetara throws her staff and disables Jackalman's Skycutter. Vultureman becomes the target for some humiliating frames of animation as he tries to attack Lion-O. Lion-O pulls an Indiana Jones and simply blows him away. Bird and sword energy don't mix. Monkian's Skycutter gets the Tygra treatment, and Slythe gets Panthrosized before the kids finish him off. Now, other than the kids and Vultureman, I'm seeing the same pairing of enemies that I saw in The Slaves of Castle Plun-Darr. Just thought I'd mention it.
Now we have some conversation between Lion-O and Jaga:
"I owe my freedom to your bravery, Lion-O."
"I don't think I'd have been so brave if I had known what I was getting into in the astral world."
"But you did confront the unknown, Lion-O. That takes real courage. It's always easier to deal with dangers you know and understand."
"Well, I just couldn't stand by and watch, Jaga—I had to do something."
"I will always be grateful."
"It was no more than you did for us, when you saved the Thundercats and brought us here from Thundera."
(Laughing) "So now we're even, Lord of the Thundercats."
"Jaga, wait! …he's gone."
Yes, that was lovely. Now, if Jaga would just keep out of trouble, we won't have to go through this again, right? They didn't explain how the wise one got caught in the first place. Oh well, he has an old wizard to watch his back now, I guess.
As for Jaga, being on the astral world and only being visible to Lion-O has its advantages. Example: Cheetara showering.
Uh oh, another "queen" to deal with here. Hopefully they didn't take the Crystal Queen and put her on a spider's body. Knowing how cartoons love to use that annoying chittering sound for anything arachnid or insect, combining that with Crystal's voice would be torture. Then again, maybe I'm thinking of all the evil I could accomplish as a scriptwriter.
This episode starts with the grand tour of caverns with Grecian-style ruins scattered about. The centerpiece (surprise! surprise!) is a giant web. In the center of this web is a large cocoon, and as soon as we lay eyes upon it, the viewpoint shifts to Mumm-Ra's cauldron, and thus we know the fun is about to begin!
Mumm-Dude seems surprised and says, "Some sort of activity in the Kingdom of Webs?" He watches as giant spiders converge on the cocoon, and the cocoon starts breaking open. Okay, maybe it's more an egg than a cocoon. A huge spider leg covered in blond fur comes out, and Mumm-Ra calls upon "Nemesis, Force of Darkness" to explain what's going on and how to use it against the Thundercats, naturally. The last time we saw Nemesis in Doomgaze, he suggested freeing Ta-She which didn't go well, but at least I *ahem* we got an eyeful of sweet Egyptian villainess.
Nemesis (still sounding like Panthro with a little reverb) says the Kingdom of Webs has a new "Queen of Eight Legs" named… are you ready for this? Spidera! The writers have done it again. Now, this makes me wonder: what kinds of names did the citizens of Thundera have? I mean, how many variants of Lion, Tiger, Panther, and Cheetah can one come up with? I would assume many possessing similar genes would be concentrated in different geographical areas, so wouldn't it be confusing to live in a city that's mostly lions, for instance? Abbott and Costello would have a field day with that.
Mumm-Ra seems to like Spidera, after all, she's got his growl. (The things that can be accomplished with so few voice actors!) He asks Nemesis how to lure Lion-O into "Spidera's Web of Rage." Nemesis replies with, "The dark power is within you, Mumm-Ra—the evil of deception." In other words, "Why are you asking me?" Surely Mumm-Ra already knows that, but wants to hear it anyway. Hey, positive affirmations are nice, and why should they be limited to lion-boy? Okay, it's time for more warm fuzzy moments as Mumm-Ra goes into his active eight-foot form, then turns himself into "Diamondfly." What's a Diamondfly? Why, a butterfly with a big diamond on its head. Diamondfly is also female, which not only should lower Lion-O's defenses, but also provides some drag humor.
Diamondfly whines "Lion-O, help me!" in a most irritating manner, which seems to be a prerequisite for most non-regular female characters on this show. What is Lion-O doing? Napping under some trees with the sword and shield leaning against a mound. If it were me, I'd have that sword on me if I were sleeping in public like that. The sword warns of danger, bringing Lion-O back to relative consciousness, but he doesn't realize the warning was about the pixie-like diamond-headed butterfly calling for help.
Diamondfly-Ra refracts the sunlight at Lion-O, making him say, "Turn down the lights!" Next, he goes into Homer Simpson mode, says, "Pretty lights…" a few times, and promptly goes into Homer Simpson's "Beer Mode." Mmmm… beer…
The now-hypnotized Lion-O asks her what he can do to help, and Mumm-Ra in Diamondfly Drag says, "By following me…" The great mummy-dude lets part of his disguise slip and we see red eyes and fangs as he laughs in his natural voice and continues, "…to eternal captivity in Spidera's web. Eyahahahahahahaaa!" Oh yeah, Lion-O's done.
Who comes along to discover the sword and shield laying unattended, ruins the episode, and will undoubtedly ruin Mumm-Ra's plans? Yep, Snarf. He says Lion-O knows better than to leave the Eye of Thundera laying around like a toy. Well, it was about four feet away from him while he was napping, so draw your own conclusions. Snarf grunts while he carries the sword and shield, and he seems so natural doing it. Yes, we know the role Snarfs had in Thunderian society. Beasts of burden and a source of fur coats (or at least fur caps!)
Meanwhile, Lion-O's walking along in a daze, Snarf manages to catch up, and tries to make him snap out of it. He tries to give him the sword and tells him to call the others, but Lion-O's too far gone to hear him. "I must help the Diamondfly…"
Snarf sees the Diamondfly asking him for help, but Snarf backs off. Mumm-Ra's voice comes through and says, "Meddlesome nursemaid! Nothing can save the Lord of Thundercats now." Curiously, that's not "Lord of the Thundercats," but I'm not complaining. Usually everything gets repeated to death.
Mumm-Ra tells Snarf that Lion-O will walk into captivity, and that Snarf will precede him. Snarf continues to back up as a spider three times his size comes from a tree trunk and shoots a web around him like Spiderman from the sixties. Snarf finally manages to whine Lion-O back to life as he's being dragged towards the tree trunk, and tells him Diamondfly is Mumm-Ra. How does Lion-O respond? By saying, "Mumm-Ra!" Yeah, I saw that coming. He takes his sword and uses it to dispel the illusion, so a miniature Mumm-Ra is floating in front of him.
Lion-O says, "Your fiendish deceptions have failed!" but Mumm-Ra has the upper hand. "Perhaps, Thundercat. But let's see if you can rescue your nursemaid…" yep, slow on the draw was he as Snarf is pulled underground. That's the cue to finally visit the Kingdom of Webs to see if it's as impressive as it sounds, and Mumm-Ra flies off because his job is done, and it's time to watch it on cauldron-vision from the comfort of tomb.
Act II starts with Lion-O diving headfirst down a hole, and promptly battles a giant spider. Unfortunately, all it takes is a swing from the sword to cut the lines wrapped around him and send the spider onto its back. That was too simple. He spends a little too much time looking at the web on his sword, then finally comes back to reality and starts running. Meanwhile, heh heh heh, Snarf looks rather cute stuck in the middle of a giant web. Spidera comes along and Snarf threatens her with the fact he's a Thundercat. Well, talk about that little recent pyramid adventure going to his head! Spidera pokes him a couple times, holds her claw up to her nose, sniffs, and says, "Thunderfood!" It seems Spidera likes her food live and kicking since she didn't bite, paralyze, and wrap him for later. Wishful thinking, no? Maybe she likes to hear him whine.
Meanwhile, Lion-O battles more spiders. One wraps him in webs of steel and he promptly loses his sword. This big spider talks with Vultureman's voice, by the way. Another spider comes along and works its mouth like it's chewing gum, spits a pink glob on the sword that looks like chewing gum, and starts dragging it away. Lion-O gets desperate now and strains against the steel webs, completely forgetting he can call the sword to his hand. To his credit, he breaks the web, grabs his sword, and the force of pulling away from the smaller spider sends him flying through a trap door. (You had to be there.)
Now Lion-O searches through the "kingdom" and finds Snarfy bundled in green stuff and suspended, much like the cocoon/egg from the beginning. He climbs to the top of the stone structure the web is attached to, and is visited by Spidera herself. He does the "sword call," and how this is supposed to bring help quickly enough is… eh, no sense straining my brain.
The cat signal bursts through the ground, proving again it's more than a simple spotlight, and the three adult Thundercats respond. (Perhaps the kids are at school?)
Lion-O battles Spidera, cutting her flying webs and whacking at her claws with the sword. It seems her claws are stronger than steel, and she finally grabs him King-Kong style, then throws him across the room. The sword tumbles down to the ground and Lion-O lands in a web. Snarf tries to do something, but only his head and one arm are free.
The ThunderTank drills its way into the cavern a mere one minute and twenty seconds after the others see the signal. Not bad by fireman standards. Snarf tells them to get the sword to Lion-O, but Spidera comes down and stands in the way. Spidera traps the tank in one web, Cheetara dodges lots of webs and breaks one apart with her staff in some borrowed animation from the show's opening, but she finally gets caught. Tygra does his invisibility trick and gets the sword.
Snarf breaks his tail and legs out of the cocoon and says, "Lion-O's not the only one with muscles around here!" Uh huh, yeah, right. Maybe he can use his voice to shatter it the rest of the way?
Spidera sees the sword and wraps Tygra, Tygra throws the sword at Snarf, Snarf catches it with his tail, and throws it to Lion-O. The sword lands a foot away from him on the web, and he strains to grab it. "I've got to reach it. Stretch! Stretch! I know I can do it!"
Am I the only one who sees something wrong here? What happened to "come to my hand"? I guess that would have made it too easy and three minutes shorter. Lion-O cuts himself free and sends up the signal for a second time, making everyone's eyes and insignias glow and suddenly able to break their bonds. Can you say, "Thundercrack?" Feel the magic, feel the buzz…
Rocks fall from the ceiling as the signal goes above ground again, and one of them nails Snarf, so his freedom is earned with a thud and an evil chuckle. Heh heh heh heh.
Predictably, Spidera is driven back with some ho-power and random weapons fire, and Panthro tells Snarf to fire the cannon, which probably is about as safe as letting him drive. He can't even reach it, and when he does, he's hanging from the handles and fires upward. Soon they're all firing upward, and apparently bring down enough debris to seal the cavern from Spidera. Maybe Panthro planned that? Good thing Snarf didn't jump on top of the cannon or he would have fired into the ground. Either way, Spidera won't be back for now.
Afterward, Lion-O asks Snarf how he broke out of the cocoon. Snarf says, "When you think you've got nothing left, you just have to dig deep." Yeah, the rock hitting him on the head helped too.
For today's cruel/cute humor, Snarf has one last web on his tail which keeps him from getting into the tank, Cheetara tells him to dig deep, and Lion-O picks him up like a kitten by the nape of his neck. The tank's doors close around the web, and we see it snap as they drive off. Snarf provided enough entertainment so he won't be turned into a set of leg warmers this year at least.
I wouldn't say this was the greatest episode, but Mumm-Ra exiting during the first act to plot for another day, a little cheety quality time, and the rock hitting Snarf to the ground was enough to make this enjoyable.
This episode begins with… disappointment. Cheetara is in bed. Cheetara is awakened by a spirit. Cheetara sits up. Cheetara is fully clothed. Wouldn't you know it?
The spirit that wakes the spotted one is… excuse me for a moment. *goes backstage and laughs like a mental patient for a whole minute* Wizz-Ra the Sorceror. Or rather, Whizzz-Ra. Heh heh heh. He appears only for a few seconds, says, "I will return," and vanishes—sort of like a prank phone call from the astral plane: the sort of thing Jaga gets up to, only without saying, "Use the sword, Lion-O!" Cheetara thinks to herself that it's the second time he's appeared, but decides not to tell the others because they may think she's crazy. I'd think at this point Cheetara would say, "Hey, wait a minute. Our leader is an overgrown cub who sees and talks to his dead mentor, so how could I be any worse?" Well, you know there's going to be a moral lesson of some kind attached to this.
Now we see Cheetara is being watched in bed by Mumm-Ra and Slythe back at the pyramid. Are they as disappointed as I that she wears her clothes to bed? Anyway, Mumms remarks this is Whizzz-Ra's second appearance. Clothing or no, this proves Mumm-Ra makes good regular use of his cauldron.
Mumm-Ra says it's time for Whizzz-Ra to return from the Seventh Dimension. Slythe asks who he is, and Mumms explains he's a powerful wizard from the olden days who "foolishly fought for the good." Well, that's good. I'd hate to have a bad guy with a name like that. Heh heh heh. Whizzz-Ra possessed the one thing Mumm-Ra "wanted above all": The Enchanted Golden Helmet of Pharnoor.
In flashback mode, we see the Sphinx in undamaged form with wings on its back. I'm willing to buy that. Above, Mumm-Ra and Whizzzy fight it out in flying boats. Mumms uses his magic to make the snake at the bow come to life, separate, and fly to attack Whizzz-Ra. It wraps itself around his sail and bursts into flame, making Whizzzy go down. As he falls to the ground, Mumm-Ra fires his patented red lightning at the Sphinx, blowing her nose off. The Sphinx's eyes open, and to quote the Great One: "The anger of the injured Sphinx fell on the first one she saw: Whizzz-Ra. He was sent forever into the Seventh Dimension." The mummy-dude had quite a victory that day, but he wants that helmet—it has what Mumm-Ra considers the greatest power in the universe: the power to control minds. With Cheety around, I'll go along with that. It seems Wizzy appears in our dimension for one day every seven thousand years, which may date Third Earth as seen in the show somewhere between 4480 and 4506 A.D. and also shows Mumm-Ra is much older than "a thousand years" as he's said before. See? I research these things for all of you. Heh heh heh.
Whizzzy's only going to come back for one day, and Mumms is irritated the Thundercats built their fortress on the spot where "the Seventh Dimension touches Third Earth." Not that walls have ever stopped him from appearing where he wants to. Heh heh. Of course, that spot would be Cheetara's bedroom, giving Mumm-Ra (and the writers) an excuse to monitor it. Cheetara's bedroom mirror is the actual doorway, but ~that's not where the cauldron was looking before!~
Mumm-Ra's plan is to bring a large cat called Fatatah Teetah back to life (my spelling—no captions were present here, making me think the captioners were smacking their heads at that name too) and hunt Whizzzy down.
The next night, Mumms and Slythe are busy watching Cheetahvision again, and it's my turn to provide the dialog.
[Slythe] "That cat woman is taking forever in the shower."
[Mumm-Ra] "You have to be warm-blooded to appreciate this, so shut up and watch."
When Cheety closes her eyes after wondering if she'll have that dream again, Mumm-Ra calls upon the Ancient Spirits of Evil to turn stone into flesh, blood, sinew, and claw—bringing kitty back to life. That cat looks like a panther with a cheetah's coloring. See? He's a cat person too. Heh heh.
The big cat scales the wall of the lair and gets in through Cheetara's bedroom window with no trouble. It dives into Cheety's bed but vanishes like a spirit. This should be interesting.
Whizzz-Ra makes his big entrance, saying, "After seven thousand years the hour has struck. The beautiful Cheetara and her feline cohorts will help me defeat the evil Mumm-Ra once and for all." Does this mean he has Cheetahvision too? Hey, a guy needs some hobbies if he's stuck in the Seventh Dimension for seven thousand years.
Whizzz-Ra finally comes through the mirror, tells Cheety to "arise," which she does, but instead of opening her eyes, the big cat jumps out from her and attacks Whizzzy, stealing his helmet. He runs down the corridor and comes face-to-face with Snarf who lunges for him. Whizzzy uses a little magic to catch him in midair, and he screams for help. This brings out Lion-O, whom we also know sleeps fully clothed.
Despite having attacked Snarf, Lion-O questions the Egyptian intruder instead of attacking. Then again, Snarf humiliation may be a cat hobby like batting a half-dead mouse around for hours, so it's no big deal. Whizzzy says he's no enemy, and every moment of delay brings the ultimate power closer to Mumm-Ra. How does Lion-O respond to this? You guessed it: "Mumm-Ra!"
It's time for Mumms to have fun! He retires the oddly-named cat, puts on the helmet, and says the power is surging through his brain. Slythe says Whizzz-Ra may take back the helmet, and Mumm-Ra says he has only a single day to even try. This would be a good time to take a vacation, no? Or can Mumm-Ra leave his pyramid for that long? Eh, no need. Surely he can control Whizzzy's mind, eh? "This is not the helmet we're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along."
Hmm. Mumm-Ra refers to Slythe as "Your Lizardness." Heh heh. He has an interesting form of sundial—The Vulture King. Now we know the name of one of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, yesss? In the morning, the sunlight strikes his left eye. When it strikes his right eye, the day will be over. So… one day for Whizzzy isn't even twenty-four hours. That shouldn't be a problem, eh? Time to turn on Cheetahvision and watch Lion-O and Whizzz-Ra standing over the still-unconscious Cheety.
Whizzzy says Lion-O will be powerless against the helmet, but Lion-O thinks his sword can protect him from any magic. We'll see.
Lion-O and company are now at the pyramid, and the fun starts when a ball of golden light is formed by the spires and hurled their way. It explodes on the ground, but they manage to dodge it. Naturally, Lion-O isn't the type to heed warning shots, so Mumm-Ra comes out to face him, riding with Slythe on a floating skiff with a snake's head. He fires a red beam from the helmet which the sword indeed blocks. The beam attacks again, and Lion-O swings wildly, somehow managing to keep it at bay. Whizzzy butts in and whips up a blue protective pyramid around Lion-O which stops the beam.
Mumms is amused and fires two matching beams from his hands that meet the one from the helmet, creating a badass bolt that shatters the pyramid, knocks Lion-O back about thirty feet, and comes around again to go into his head. Lion-O thinks, "My mind—being overwhelmed by terrible feelings! Can't resist weakening!" He tries to call for help by activating the sword, and manages to send the cat signal, but it goes out along with Lion-O. Count to ten, he's knocked out!
Despite the fact Cheetara has been unconscious all day and the threat of Mumm-Ra gaining the ultimate power hung over them, Panthro was moving rocks with his tank, Tygra was scouting a cave, and the kids were horsing around at the Berbil village. Wilykat says, "WilyKit—the signal! We're wanted!" Maybe Lion-O told them to run along and play, he'll handle everything? Just a thought.
Snarf tells Lion-O to get up, but he says while he's getting up, "Only Mumm-Ra commands me!" Eyahahahahahaaaa! Snarf begs Whizzzy to do something, but he just stands there. Heh heh heh. Mumm-Ra tells Lion-O to discard his sword, and he does it. No problem. It sinks into the sand, which goes with the name of Mumm-Ra's plot of real estate: you know, the Desert of Sinking Sands. Heh heh heh.
Mumm-Ra sends a telepathic message to Lion-O. His eyes glow red, and he circles Whizzz-Ra for a fight. He leaps, but Whizzzy shoots blue bolts from his eyes and stops him. Slythe remarks he's no match for Whizzzy, but Mumms points out the idea is to weaken him and play for time. So far, it's working.
Panthro arrives on the scene, but despite Snarf's warning, the beams find their way into his head. Curiously, the spikes on his outfit tried to block them by extending like tusks over his head, so that's a neat physics-defying trick. Too bad it didn't work. "Only Mumm-Ra commands me!" He has a go at Whizzz-Ra, and gives him the nunchaku treatment. Whizzzy turns it against him, but at the price of more power.
Now Tygra comes on the scene and is subdued in no time. "Only Mumm-Ra commands me!" Yep, it's whip versus wizard, and wizard wins, only to lose more strength to the point where he's staggering.
Next up, the kids. For some odd reason, Whizzzy turns their ropes into chains and breaks them. Uh, chains? Surely there was an easier way.
Now Mumm-Ra says Whizzz-Ra's powers are exhausted, and Cheetara's still in a trance. Curiously, he hasn't transformed for this battle. I guess he can conserve his own strength when he has such a nice helmet, and it does look like it's made for him. Heh heh heh. He says victory is his, and Whizzzy and Snarf apparently give up and walk back to the lair, only to be met by Cheety on the drawbridge. Whizzzy says Mumm-Ra is overconfident, and of course you know where this is going, right folks? Still, there is quality time to be had.
Back at the pyramid, Mumms has lined up his collection of Thunderian servants. "Who commands you?" "Only Mumm-Ra commands us!" Darn tootin'! Curiously, he didn't try to use it on Whizzzy, implying he knows it wouldn't work on him.
Cheetara and company find an opening into the pyramid, and she finds a hole just big enough for a snarf. Yep, she shoves Snarf through the opening in a most amusing fashion, and let's just say she'll need to wash her hand now. Heh heh heh.
Snarf finds the mechanism inside and opens the door for them. Once inside, Cheetara runs behind Slythe and Mumm-Ra, then uses her staff to move the Vulture King's statue so the light is all the way to the right. Now, I don't know how she got that knowledge, especially since she was out, and Whizzzy hasn't been inside the pyramid. Hmm. Maybe it's something he remembered from the olden days? Eh, could be. It seems to me if she could dash behind them without being detected, she could have simply swiped the helmet off his head. That's Thundercat logic for you.
Mumms notices the beam and says there's no need to wear "this heavy helmet any longer." *shakes head sadly* So many evil plans are ruined this way. Snarf makes like a thief, grabs the helmet, and seems to toss it the right way while tripping backwards. Snarf logic?
Whizzz-Ra gets his helmet back and releases the spell on the others. In the confusion, I heard Snarf saying "I must have been asleep," but… he wasn't… unless Panthro sounds like Snarf when he wakes up. Wouldn't that be nightmarish?
Mumm-Ra threatens to destroy Whizzzy, but he summons up a vortex and blows Mumms into his sarcophagus and Slythe out of the pyramid's apex exit (what would you call it?) He says his power is returning, but he needs to go back to Cheetara's mirror before he dies in this dimension. Yeah, that's a typical excuse. See? He staggers again and gives Cheety her cue to help him get to her bedroom quickly. Cue bad seventies music!
After an unknown number of missing minutes, we see them in a partial embrace and Whizzz-Ra thanking Cheety for all she's done, missing minutes and all. [Insert your own speed joke here.] She asks if she'll see him again to which he replies, "Only in your dreams, beautiful Cheetara. Only in your dreams." Poor girl.
Curiously, this is one time Slythe isn't at odds with the mummy-dude, and he doesn't do anything in the way of helping him. He's just there to provide dialog and exposition. Maybe when the other Mutants aren't around, Slythe kicks back with Mumm-Ra at the pyramid to toss back a few beers? Could be.
Back in the desert, Lion-O gets his sword back by calling to it. Works every time, unless there are a few minutes left to kill. Cheety then confesses to not telling them about Whizzz-Ra, "all this wouldn't have happened." I don't get that logic, because she had no clue what was going to happen anyway. Unless it may have been an excuse for the guys to hang out in her bedroom all night? Eh, you figure it out.
Lion-O says that's in the past, "but in the future, we must hold nothing back from each other if we are going to remain a team." "Besides, I talk to a dead guy from time to time."
And on that note, I'm going to bed to see Cheety in my dreams. Meow!
"Thunder, lightning, storm, and fire? Something evil stirs deep in Third Earth. Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form, to Mumm-Ra: The Ever-Living!"
Now that's the way to start an episode!
Mumm-Ra teleports to the rim of a large volcano during this violent storm and summons the "Rock Giant of the Ancient World" to awaken and do his bidding. He is surrounded by a blue glow, looks vaguely like The Thing with glowing red eyes, and is about the size of Cat's Lair. I believe I can see where this (and he) are going. Heh heh heh heh.
At the lair, the adults are gathered at the table, and Snarf's sitting in the window. A lightning bolt hits nearby, causing Snarf to freak out and land face-first on the floor. Also a fine way to start an episode. Heh heh.
With the power knocked out and Panthro getting to work on the standby generator, Lion-O observes this is no normal storm. Nah, it's just a bad one, it's not like it's raining stones, eh? Lion-O asks where the kittens are, and Snarf says he doesn't know: "Don't I have enough trouble looking after you?" Yeah, who's the overgrown kitten here? Lion-O shrugs and moves off.
Naturally, the kittens are out playing in the storm on their spaceboards. A bluish light matching the glow around the Rock Giant comes from the ground accompanied by Mumm-Ra's evil laughter, and the spaceboards get possessed by it and accelerate uncontrollably. Somehow WilyKit manages to hang on to the bow of the board by her feet while being stuck on her back, giving the term "Hang Ten" a whole new meaning. WilyKat says those famous last words, "I'll help you!" which causes him to immediately wipe out. WilyKit goes feet-first into a tree with her board at high velocity and somehow survives the resulting explosion. I think she lost one of her nine lives on that one.
WilyKat runs to help her, and the tree (at a fairly safe distance—she bounced far) gets hit and split by lightning, making them jump. After seeing that tree become the victim of nature's fireworks, what do the kittens do? They run under a larger tree for shelter while trying to call the lair on their radios. I guess they're a little dense upstairs. They get through to Lion-O, and say they're stuck in the forest. Lion-O in a rare flash of brilliance and foresight says, "Under the trees? Get out in the open! Under a tree is the worst place…" we can only hope he learned that the hard way and we didn't get to see it. Heh heh.
The kittens make it out of the forest, and we see a flaming, shattered tree fall behind them. Wheeee!
We see Mumm-Dude and his Rock Giant for a moment before cutting to the lair. The paw comes up and the tank comes out. Yes, it's time to play fireman and rescue the kittens. Lion-O and Panthro talk about the tremors getting worse and getting closer to Cat's Lair. Tremors? Try footsteps. Mwahahahahaaa!
Hmm. It appears the tank can go through the side of a mountain by opening its jaws. Cartoon magic or Thunderian technology, you decide!
Back to the kittens in the clearing. It turns out that's not a good place to be either—Jackalman happened to be passing by on his Skycutter, and now it's time for some live target practice. After missing Imperial Stormtrooper style, WilyKit tosses a pellet into a puddle as he makes his next run. It creates a large yellow flare which freaks the orange one out, making him pull up. The flare follows him upward and briefly tries to "chomp" his Skycutter like a cat before fizzing out. This looks an awful lot like the effect of tossing a chunk of sodium metal into water which I don't recommend, unless you're prepared to clean up one nasty mess that includes pure lye, not to mention the danger of having a highly reactive metal on you in the first place. The Warrior Maidens would hang them out to dry for that! Those cats aren't good for the environment.
Jackalman nearly slips off and winds up hanging by the undercarriage of his Skycutter while the kittens laugh. He ends up crash-landing in a most ungraceful manner before getting up again and charging at them. WilyKit throws a pellet that turns into a glowing golden band, snaring the Jackal Guy and pulling him back as he tries to run towards them. I think I saw Curly do that move before with a couch spring.
Again, Jackalman gets up and threatens them, to which he receives two more bands that tie him up for his trouble. The kittens, ever the pesky ones, get on his Skycutter and try to steal it. Where have the morals of this show gone? Poor Jackalman, relieved of his ride, tries to run after them without the use of his arms. As they take off, a lightning bolt inexplicably hits the ground one foot in front of his face, making him fly backwards. Hey! He was nowhere near a tree! Life just isn't fair when you're a canine in a cat's world.
Panthro spots the cutter and thinks it's the Mutants. Heh heh. The kittens see the tank and try to land it. Panthro shoots and hits the cutter, and WilyKat radios them to stop firing. Awwww! That was turning out to be such fun. The kittens bail and use their lariats to snag a tree limb and swing safely to the ground. Well, almost. WilyKat lands on his back.
Okay, the kids and adults are together (minus Tygra and Cheetara—are they "exploring caves" again?) Now it's time for the real fun. Rock Giant sighted over the treetops and coming closer! Lion-O stares and blinks a few times—sort of his standard pose. The shot ends with Rocky breathing a stream of fire over the empty and open ThunderTank, threatening to melt it.
Act Two begins with Rocky standing there, no flame or anything. Apparently the tank cooled down during the commercial since the four Thundercats hop in with no Cat on a Hot Tin Roof action. Talk about a cliffhanger that went nowhere! Panthro pulls the tank away in time to prevent being stomped on. With Rocky now in pursuit, the tank is swerving to avoid getting hit by fire. Lion-O says, "I don't like to run from anything." WilyKat says, "That's not anything, that's, that's awesome!" I agree.
Lion-O tries to radio back to the lair, and coincidentally, Tygra and Cheetara are taking a break in the control room. Cheety says, "Those volcanic eruptions are creating a magnetic field and destroying our communications." Meanwhile, they are looking at the volcano, but apparently can't see a hundred-plus-foot rock giant coming their way.
As if on cue, Lion-O says, "I can't get through to them—something's blocking us." Don't you just love dialog like that?
After more dodging (Rocky moves deceptively fast!) the ground gives way enough to make the tank do a backslide down an embankment. The kittens make weird rodentlike sounds as they fall into the back seats of the tank. I'm not sure what drugs the voice actors and the editor were on at that point. After collecting what wits he has, Lion-O hits a button causing the tank's "claws" to climb the wall of rock leading back to, well, Rocky. Again they dodge not only feet, but hands trying to crush them as well.
Lion-O tells the kittens to hold on tight, and well, nothing. The tank speeds off, Rocky pauses and looks at the lair, and another attempt at communication is made. Inside, Tygra and Cheetara have a blank screen and can't see anything, but Tygra's sensors pick up seismic activity heading their way. Oh yeah.
Only one thing left to do now: cue the music that begins the sword swinging and cat signal. Rocky stops again to stare, and the lair's monitors are on again so Tygra and Cheetara can see the signal. Wasn't that convenient? Now they can see Rocky and Tygra sends Snarf to operate the drawbridge. Normally I wouldn't think that is a good idea, but Tygra and Cheetara are manning the lasers.
WilyKit says they're not going to make it, but Lion-O says otherwise. He tells Panthro to use the smoke screen and put the tank on auto. Apparently the tank's autopilot goes in circles which I don't understand, but it created a black noxious haze that hides the tank from Rocky's view.
Tygra fires the lair's lasers, but they have no effect on the Rock Giant. He returns fire, frying the computer consoles Star Trek-style. Now Rocky peers at the smoke-covered ground beneath him, and almost steps on the tank again. Cheetara says they have to do something, Tygra joins her, and Snarf tells them to wait and look. Rocky is now stomping on the tank, and the four Thundercats are running for the drawbridge. All make it except Panthro—he ends up clinging to the end of the retreating drawbridge, and narrowly misses getting swiped by a giant rocky hand as Lion-O helps him up.
What's a frustrated Rock Giant to do? Break loose a large boulder and go Larry Bird on the lair! (For those of you who don't know, Mr. Bird was known for being quite good at nailing three-point shots in the NBA. He also looks a lot like the Scorpions' former drummer Herman Rarebell, but I digress.)
We get a nice shot of everyone freezing in surprise as Rocky prepares to shoot, and he shoots, but doesn't score. The lair's eye-laser cannons shatter it within a few feet, then fire at Rocky again. The Rock Giant starts glowing blue again, and we cut to Mumm-Dude watching everything from the comfort of home. "Your puny technology is no match for the forces of nature, Thundercats!"
Cheety says the laser cannon is jammed, and Tygra and Panthro point out it isn't jammed, but the giant's magnetic field is interfering with the equipment. Lion-O says, "There must be something!" Which is Obi-Jaga's cue to make an appearance. He says the ancients had no technology: no laser guns, no explosives, yet they created massive stone structures. "All they had was fire and water, Lion-O. Fire and water. Heat and cold." Aside from being a thinly-veiled attempt at giving the redheaded one a clue, it would seem the ancients had a little something extra to animate a freakin' one-hundred foot pile of rock, no?
Lion-O gets a clue, tells Panthro to extend the drawbridge, and runs straight at the Rock Giant. Rocky tosses another boulder, and Lion-O splits it in half with his sword. He didn't even call ho. The drawbridge gets stuck before it can fully extend, so Lion-O leaps to the other side, right in front of Rocky. He dodges a couple of stomps as he hits Rocky with a steady stream of blue energy from the sword, heating the giant to a toasty bright orange (or "white hot" as Cheety calls it.) He dodges a fist to the ground and stands at the edge of the moat. Lion-O says, "Heat and cold. Fire and water!" He jumps backwards and uses a claw-line to get back to the drawbridge. It looks like it got stuck very conveniently after all. Rocky falls into the moat and shatters to pieces from the sudden cooling of the water.
For the epilogue, there is a quick explanation of the effect, much like pouring vodka from the freezer into a warm glass that just came out of the dishwasher. No, they didn't explain it that way, heh heh heh. Lion-O says he just used a little ancient history he remembered, after all, it wouldn't look good if he always got his answers from the dead one. Snarf ends it by saying, "Come in before you catch your death of cold, snarf snarf. You look like something the cat dragged in." Everyone but the audience is laughing at that one, I'd say. As ending punchlines go, that wasn't one.
Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra says, "Another temporary setback. Well, I'll just have to try again. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Heh heh heh." I couldn't have said it better myself.
The Thunder Cutter. As in "cutting cheese with great sound?" This is, after all, an Overgard episode.
In the tradition of better episodes, this one starts with a nice panoramic shot of black and red clouds, descending to the tops of familiar-looking black stone spires, to the badass bandaged one's pyramid. Clearly, the harbinger of great things to come.
Inside, Slythe and Monkian are getting a lecture, starting with the words: "Once again you have failed."
Slythe blames the sword, and Monkian shows a flash of brilliance as he utters the words: "Each day it seems to take on more power." Yep, our favorite flinger of feces nailed the concept of the show on the head.
So, is it a subtle hint of great storywriting to come? Or is it an excuse for future episodes to have quick, lazy endings as the sword "pulls another new ability out of its pommel"? The future and my twitching nerves will tell.
Hmm. Here's a good sound bite waiting to be taken out of context: Mumm-Ra says, "Sword? Sword? I'll show you a sword."
Mumm-Ra conjures up a floating katana which slashes the air and a samurai appears in a display of mummy-powered flames.
Mumm-Ra continues. "This is Hachiman, ultimate warrior bound to the Bushido Code of Honor."
That's good. At first glance, he looked like a flesh-colored Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Come to think of it, he looks like that on second glance too. He sounds like he could be Lion-O's match in the arena of smarm-throwing. It's not encouraging that the first thing we hear him say is, "Hi-yaaa!" It looks like we're in for a long evening of "White guy trying to sound Japanese."
Hachiman in full defensive mode (as being teleported to a strange place normally does) says, "What is this place? Who are these foreigners?" That's an interesting way to refer to the Mutants. I guess Japan in the far future here has its share of strange animal people like Balkans, so seeing Slythe and company wouldn't be too shocking. Still, I'd think being presented with a living mummy would raise some sort of suspicion.
Now for an interesting title: "I, Mumm-Ra, Ever-Living Shogun of Third Earth, brought you here to my service. Your reward will be an empire of your own."
Of course, Hachi calls him Mumm-Ra-san. Well, it is a measure of respect, and he did call himself a shogun which is essentially an army general. So, Hachiman says his sword and skills aren't for sale—he's just in it for fighting evil. It would seem Hachi is a double-edged sword, so to speak. I smell an eventual backfire here, and it ain't the thunderous cutting of cheese.
Mumm-Ra shows the opening scenes of the cartoon in his Cauldron while explaining how his empire is threatened by evil invaders who attack his peace-loving servants. I think any self-respecting samurai would be quick to question the peace-loving Mutants and their master, but Mumm-Ra-san seals the deal by telling him they are led by a warrior whose skill with a sword is unbeatable. Suspicions or not, Hachi isn't about to let "unbeatable" go untested. He cuts the smoke above the cauldron and says he's the only unbeatable one. So, let the beating begin!
In the blue corner, the great sword "Kaen-Kaeri: The Thunder Cutter!"
In the red corner, Lion-O, cutter of cheesy lines.
Meanwhile, back at the lair, Lion-O is talking to the younger sister of Willa the Warrior Babe. "Queen Willa asked us to build a Mutant attack warning system."
Now wait a minute. Did I hear "Queen Willa"? As in, "Willa, Queen Willa. Queen of Third Earth, of the galaxy, of the universe!"? Wasn't that Mumm-Ra's idea back in the Garden of Delights? He said, "You could be a queen." What happened to "I have no interest in ruling anything!"?
Perhaps she decided to declare herself ruler of the Tree Top Kingdom? We really haven't seen much of her since Tygra was strapped to catapults and nearly bought it, and I, for one, have missed her and her little sister. Excuse me while I get a napkin for the drool. Where was I? Oh yes, we haven't seen her for some time, so maybe the queen thing went to her head.
Panthro explains the device will pick up the vibrations of "any creature that intrudes on your Tree Top Kingdom." Hmm, I think we missed a conversation somewhere.
[Lion-O] "Hey, how's Willa and the village?"
[Warrior Girl] "That's Queen Willa and the Tree Top Kingdom to you."
[Lion-O] "Oh, okay! Hey, are you over eighteen?"
[Warrior Girl] "Stay away from me."
Lion-O says the device will detect when "anybody, anything crosses into the Warrior Maidens' kingdom." I don't think this will be practical after all the wildlife we've seen so far.
[Warrior Girl] "Willa! Something's coming!"
[Willa] "It's just another deer, and that's Queen Willa."
[Warrior Girl] "Oh, right. Hey, that Thundercat siren-thing is really annoying."
It has a flat platform on top and is powered by sunlight, and it also looks like a great spot for a bird to build a nest. That should keep it quiet.
We get a nice Snarf-jump as Panthro demonstrates the klaxon that sounds and the red light that flashes when something walks by. Panthro starts some dialog that puzzles me: "If you leave now, you could have the warning system in place within three days."
The Warrior Girl says, "I can get you to the Tree Top Kingdom quicker than that—follow me."
As I understand it, the Tree Top Kingdom is between Castle Plundarr and the Cat's Lair. That's the impression I get from the Fireballs episode. Panthro drove the tank from the lair to the castle in less than a minute while the Mutants were trying to break into their cannon's fuel room.
Or… maybe that was Warrior Princess' clever way of talking them into giving her a ride home? After all, Panthro hinted if she left now, it would be a three-day walk with a satellite dish strapped to her back.
Ugh, pressure building in my head, must stop analyzing.
Cut to some ruins, and Hachi slicing through a concrete column that's at least three feet in diameter with no effort. Monkian says, "Did you see that? He chopped through solid stone!" One word: badass!
Slythe offers Hachi a ride to Cat's Lair, but the samurai refuses, citing the Bushido Code. "A simple, basic life. I have no use for machines." Slythe says, "Whatever you say, sword swinger, but it's a long walk." Yeah, probably six days—I assume the Desert of the Sinking Sands must be further away than Castle Plundarr. Strangely, Slythe and Monkian give each other frightened glances, like they're picturing Lion-O getting diced into little pieces after Hachiman ends up walking for two weeks because there are no horses around.
Lion-O and Warrior Chick are walking along, and she reassures him this is a shortcut. Okay, so much for the ride theory. Perhaps Warrior Women don't have much use for machines too. I see Lion-O has the warning device strapped to his back. The girl says they can save a day by going across the "Four Day Drop." As they're walking, a howling windy sound gets louder and louder.
Now we see Hachiman walking along. He asks his sword to show him the way, and balances it on his finger above his head. The Thunder Cutter glows a light blue and works like a compass, or would that be dowsing for Thundercats? Hachiman says, "Ah, so!" Ah, further does the stereotype compass approach north.
Lion and Warrior Princess are at the edge of a pit, and she explains the howling sound is wind blowing across the top of it. Lion-o remarks the log across it looks rotten, and she says if they don't cross here, they'll have to backtrack a full day. I still can't get that quick drive in the ThunderTank out of my mind.
The girl starts to explain the name Four Day Drop: "If you fall in," Lion-O correctly finishes her line, "It takes four days to hit the bottom!" Okay, there is definitely bad math going on here. Ignoring acceleration because of the time scale, terminal velocity of a skydiver in free-fall is around 120 MPH, and that's controlled falling with belly-to-earth orientation. Four days of that would be 11520 miles, and the Earth is less than 8000 miles in diameter. Of course, it's all magma just a few miles down so… I'm getting off this subject now. The pain!
Lion-O starts across the pit and says if he doesn't make it, she can backtrack and still deliver the device. As predictable storytelling would have it, Hachiman appears on the other side and starts to cross. Lion-O asks the samurai to please back off since he started across first. Hachi says, "A samurai never backs off." Meanwhile, the log is starting to flex.
Lion-O, in a display of bravery says, "Does that mean a samurai has no manners?"
Hachiman replies with, "Manners? It is good manners if a boy gets out of the way for a man."
Okay, here we go! Samurai Jerk draws his sword and starts hacking across the log. "I will continue to cut this log until you back off. What do you think of that, youth?"
Hmm, they could have done one simple dance move to get past each other, but that would have meant an uncomfortable moment. "I am no homo—you will back off!"
Lion-O, in a display of stupidity says, "This is what I think of that, samurai!" He proceeds to hack on his side of the log, which gets a brief look of surprise from Hachi's eyes.
Naturally, the one person with sense (the young Warrior girl) calls them both fools, and says they'll both end up in the pit. After a few more words, they're ready to come to blows with their swords. The girl draws an arrow with a line, and shoots it into the far wall of the pit. In a great example of cartoon physics, it provides samurai and Lion with a line to grab onto as the log splits and falls into the pit.
The Warrior girl says, "What a perfect example of mindless combat." Yeah, well, it's all in good machismo yes? Hachi says, "You stood up to me, my young friend, and we both kept our honor." Uh huh. I can see them both arguing for four days in another scenario…………
Hachiman takes off his helmet, and reveals that he is indeed a man and not a turtle. He says he must go, he must seek Lord Lion-O. Lionboy says, "Why are you looking for this Lord Lion-O?"
"My master, the shogun Mumm-Ra has commanded me to destroy him and his sword."
Well, ain't that a female dog?
"Then go no further. I am Lion-O."
Hachiman's eyes go wide. "This cannot be! How can I fight a man I respect whose little sister has just saved my life?"
Now wait just one minute. Hatchet-man didn't know who Lion-O was? Wasn't he paying attention when Mumm-Ra showed him the Thundercats in his cauldron?
"Little Sister" says, "You have already tested each other's bravery. Isn't that enough?"
Of course not! "Honor demands that I obey my lord Mumm-Ra."
She comes back with, "That's not honor, that's rigid, futile, and stupid!"
His response? "It is my belief, my code. And just because you do not understand it, that does not mean it is wrong!" Well, it isn't exactly bright, but if they talked less and hacked more, it would at least be entertaining!
Monkian and Slythe appear on a Skycutter flying over the trees—just in time to see the beating begin!
Now Hachi and Lion are circling each other. Lion-O charges but he can't draw his sword. "My sword refuses to fight you, samurai. It cannot be used for an evil cause, and this duel is evil!"
Uh oh, can you see this coming?
"My honor demands that we fight to the finish!"
Yes, it's coming…
"Hi yaaa! The Thunder Cutter will not draw. Then you are right, young lord. This duel is wrong. Mumm-Ra lied. We are friends."
I feel my gag reflex kicking in. If I hear one more "Hi yaaa!"…
On a funny note, Lion-O extends his hand to shake at the same time Hachiman bows. Lion-O experiences an awkward moment and puts his hand back down. Lion-O didn't return his bow, so maybe it's on again? Hmm, guess not. Hachi wants to join Lion-O to fight Mumm-Ra, and the Warrior girl says, "Fine. Now if you two gentlemen are through, how do we get across the pit?" Well, she was the sanest of the three until this point. There are large trees all around, and these two guys have swords… sure enough, Hachiman laughs and cuts down what looks like a very old growth tree in one stroke.
Meanwhile, our watching Mutants aren't happy about the state of affairs (particulary the new love affair between Hachiman and Lion-O) and attack while they're crossing the pit. Lion-O loses his balance and ends up hanging onto the edge of the tree. He barely makes it to the remnant of a limb on the side, then goes into a handstand and vaults up to the top of the makeshift bridge—no doubt showing off for the Warrior Princess. The Mutants come around again for another pass. Lion-O gets the idea of using a limb at the end of the tree as a catapult. Warrior girl shoots an arrow with a line, and the three of them turn the tree into a giant flyswatter. Instead of letting go, Hachiman cuts the line with his sword, which I think would endanger the other two—they are balancing on a log over a bottomless pit, after all. Eh, anyway, the Mutants get swatted.
Slythe is stuck under the wreckage of his Skycutter, asks Monkian for a hand, but Monkian runs off. The samurai approaches and wants to "finish this worthless snake." Lion-O stops him and says he might be more useful as a prisoner. I think I see a delivery of the Code of Thundera on the way here. Gag reflex time!
Or maybe not. I'm sure it'll happen at some point. They're looking for Willa now. Er, I mean "Queen Willa. Queen of Third Earth, of the galaxy, of the universe!"
Curiously, Queen Willa… mmmm… Willa… *ahem* and the others are holding Slythe hostage. That's interesting. Monkian is back at the pyramid asking how to rescue him.
Mumm-Ra says, "They will expect us to attack or negotiate." This episode has taken a turn for the weird here. I certainly didn't expect the good guys to start taking hostages. Suddenly, this episode is very interesting!
Monkian asks, "So which will we do?" Hmm. What does the bandaged badass have up his robe here?
Mumm-Ra answers with, "Neither! Never do what your enemies expect. The samurai would not fight for us because of his code of honor. We need someone without honor." Ra raises his voice. "Abshe, ancient spirits of war: Abydos, Abeshimy, Duat, Amam!" There's a flash of mummified lightning, a good freeze-frame of Monkian terrified, and …nothing.
Monkian says he doesn't see anyone, and Mumm-Ra tells him, "Look behind you. This is the ninja. If the samurai is all honor, the ninja has none." Okay, I don't know if that's true. Just because they were assassins doesn't mean they weren't nice guys when their hoods are off, eh?
This ninja looks pretty cool, and pretty dark—he's not easy to see. Mumm-Ra goes on about his weapons being stealth, dagger, disguise, et cetera, and to those he adds crystals which bring instant sleep. The crystals turn into a scarab beetle, and Ra tells him to put it on the samurai's armor, and it will cut it open as neatly as a can.
Well, all I can say is, neat!
Huh. Ninja is leaving the pyramid riding on a giant bird. Well, in a world where sheep dress as monks, anything goes!
Back in the village, the warning system is going off. Lion-O asks, "Nayda, what's happening?" Ahh, so that's her name! Good, I was getting tired of typing Warrior Chick/Girl/Little Sister all the time.
Nayda says it's just a Tabbot, and he identifies himself as Gumla the Tabbot. The well-dressed porcine one says he has come to negotiate on behalf of the mighty Mumm-Ra. Willa calls down, "bring the Tabbot to me."
One trip up an elevator (yes, the Warrior Maidens have vine/cage elevators) into Queen Willa's "office," and the Tabbot claims all will be forgiven, forgotten, and filed away if they release Slythe.
Willa answers with, "You will have your answer tomorrow, if it pleases me." Hmm, talking like a queen. "Take the negotiator to the quarters below and guard his safety." Why guard him? Well, if I were a Warrior Maiden, I'd see a Tabbot as more valuable than Slythe. I see a luau in the near future.
Queen Willa asks Lion-O's opinion, and he think's something's wrong.
As night falls, it turns out the Tabbot was just a suit with the ninja inside. So much for the luau. He runs through the darkness and spreads the sleep-dust-crystals around, knocking out the guards. He goes into Slythe's quarters and says, "A Mutant force will attack at first light. Be ready."
There are at least a dozen Monkians and Jackalmen in the forest, ready to attack. The ninja puts Nayda and Hachiman to sleep with more dust.
Ninja approaches the sleeping samurai and places the scarab on his armor. It turns out Hachi was faking sleep and grabs his hand. We now have some stereotype-laced combat! Well, almost. During some "Huaa"s and "Hi-yaaa"s, the ninja grabs Nayda, holds her over his head, and balances on a railing. "Another step, and I dive with her into the ground!"
While this is going on, Lion-O is awakened by the sword. He sees Ninja and Nayda with that convenient sight-beyond-sight. Meanwhile, Ninja is demanding Hachi release the ladders, which turns out to be the signal for the Mutants to attack. Guess what time it is? Time for the Thundercats to use their own signal. Yep, it's thunder-thunder-thunder-thundercats time.
Tygra ready, ho! Cheetara ready, ho! Well, you know the rest, ho.
Nayda (with too many repeated frames of swinging legs… okay, not exactly complaining here) says, "Hachiman, never mind me. Stop the ninja before it's too late!"
Hachiman bellows, "No, you saved my life. It would be against my code!"
Ugh. How long before he and Lion-O are comparing codes?
Ninja tosses her over the edge, and she yells, "Now you needn't worry!"
Hachiman yells, "Little sister!" while Lion-O tosses his sword into a tree trunk, giving Little Sister an instant handle to grab onto.
Seeing Nayda safe, Hachi gives another "Hi-yaaa!" and goes after ninja. He slices, but all get gets is ninja's black robe. Ninja says, "You can't fight what you can't see!"
Meanwhile, the Mutants are getting ready to mount their rescue mission. It looks like they're trying to figure out how to make the elevator work. The ThunderTank approaches, so now their goal changes to essentially running. How the mighty have fallen. Speaking of which, Slythe stops waiting for them to rescue him, and he comes sliding down the elevator's rope, lands on his backside, and runs off mumbling curses like a reptilian version of Fred Flintstone.
Panthro looks up to see everyone on the walkway above is safe (Nayda must have climbed back up when we weren't looking) and says, "Lion-O ho!"
Lion-O glances at Hachiman briefly, holds his sword up, and says, "Ho!" Hachiman follows with his own sword and "Ho!" And thus, Merry Christmas for all, and the sun is seen starting to rise.
For the conclusion, we cut to mid-morning, and Hachi is walking away. Lion-O and Nayda are standing against a fence watching him go. Lion-O says he'll miss him, and Nayda remarks about him being powerful, stubborn, but his loyalty and courage are unquestioned.
"And don't forget honor."
"How could I? It rules his life." She asks Lion-O, "If it had come to it, who do you think would have won that sword duel?"
"Why, Hachiman. He had the experience and strength."
Nayda says, "Funny, when I asked him that, he said you, because you were young and flexible."
Excuse me while I laugh myself insane at the thought of the words "young and flexible" coming from Hachiman.
Lion-O closes with, "The truth is, in a duel, nobody wins."
Well, good for us, Lion-O and Hatchet-man never got into a duel of codes as I expected. For fighting action and Warrior Babes, I rate this episode medium-highly. For stereotypical Japanese cliches and repeated "Hi-yaaa!"s, I take it down to medium. For chuckling homoerotic moments, I'll take it back up to medium-high. Still, not a bad effort from William "a simple, basic life—I have no use for toilet paper" Overgard.
Mechanical Plague. The title conjures up an image of the Mutants unleashing a swarm of mechanical crabs upon the cats, leading to lots of scratching and a quest to find a cure since kerosene and DDT no longer work… or maybe it's just me. Heh heh.
This one starts badly with Snarf in fisheye lens view, making a face and sticking his tongue out. He runs off, and it turns out he's being followed by a small flying camera. It chases him back to the lair, he eludes it using an elevator (with no floor numbers, just lights with cat insignias), and I've heard enough of Snarf's dischordant theme at this point.
The camera punches its way through one of the doors. Property damage is always a plus. It finally corners the irritating one, and everyone is laughing at him. It turns out the camera is part of a project to make a holographic record of the Thundercats so future generations can see how Third Earth was in the old days. I'd rather see the nuclear opto-crystal of Cheetara in the old days on Thundera. I'd arm-wrestle a caveman for that.
WilyKat in his usual forward-thinking manner asks about use of a time capsule. "Who cares what happened in the past?" Well, for one the women on Thundera went around with no clothing, but I digress. We naturally get a speech from Tygra about learning from the past, with WilyKit adding, "You see a mistake and try not to make it again?"
Let's leave this educational mess and swing over to the pyramid. Mumm-Ra is watching in his cauldron as the Thundercats go outside to basically show off for their cameras. They go in different directions, leaving Snarf to make a horrible joke to his camera and pace about with his head hung low, thereby making all future generations miss the Snarf species a little less. (I certainly hope he's the last one.)
Mumm-Ra says, "So, Lion-O wants a show? I'll give him a show. I'll give him the Thundercats Last Act. Ahhh hahaha!" He speaks those time-honored lines to the Ancient Spirits of Evil, and it's time to leave the pyramid in ass-kicking style!
Snarf, in the meantime, is hanging laundry on a boom sticking out of a window, or rather, he's hanging what looks like white washcloths. He hits a button, and each washcloth joins the others one at a time, which defies logic as they're on a single line. Eh, whatever. Snarf's tail gets snagged, and he joins the washcloths on the line hanging in space, not enjoying the fact his camera is getting everything. That should be great footage from the far future. "Wow, that Snarf thing sure was useless!" "No dear, Snarfs were useful slaves and nursemaids, or so the history books say."
Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra does a rather cool blue lightning-enhanced materialization in the desert and says, "Ancient Spirits of Iron and Steel, Salvage the robots and war machines of the past. Send me a mechanical plague to bring down the curtain on those wretched Thundercats once and for all!"
Mumm-Ra watches as The Technopede from Turmagar the Tuska shows up. He says, "Seek and destroy!" The Warbot from Return to Thundera appears next, and he says, "Seek and destroy!" Next, Driller appears. How did he end up in the desert like this? The last time we saw him, he was making holes to destroy Cat's Lair with an acid flood, and he left that episode in top form. In any case, he's back, and Mumm-Ra says, "Seek and destroy" again. Next up is the Praying Mantis-like Mechanosect which appeared in that same acid episode with Driller. Again, Mumm-Ra says, "Seek and destroy!" and I suddenly have the urge to play the first Metallica album, which came out a year or so before this episode. Coincidence?
"You may have got the better of these robots one at a time, Thundercats, but together they'll give you quite a different show: a tragedy!" Oh, let the fun begin!
Panthro jumps the tank, stops, jumps out, displays his prowess with his nunchakus for the camera, and does a couple martial arts moves. He spots smoke over a peak and investigates: it's the Technopede, and it defeats Panthro with a single blast to the peak he was standing on. We get a nice camera shot of the panther-dude unconscious on his stomach.
Next up, Tygra in another part of the desert showing off. For his performance, he makes the balls of his bolo-whip instantly evaporate a couple puddles. Yeah, impressive as it sounds. A little flying saucer appears at the end of the valley, and he makes himself invisible as it approaches. The saucer goes to where he was, hovers a bit, then returns to where it came from. We see footprints where the invisible tiger guy is running to follow it. Ahh, it was a part of the Mutant Warbot. Tygra (visible again) tries to hide behind some rocks, but the Warbot knows he's there, and fires a white sphere of energy that explodes, propelling him several feet away. Tygra dodges a few more blasts, and the scene shifts to Cheetara's theme music. Yeah, the others have their music too, but that particular tune raises my ears.
Driller makes a nice big hole in the floor of a canyon, then drills his way into the face of a cliff above. That doesn't look like much of a trap to me, but we'll see. Boulders along the top of the ridge start rising—it looks like Rockman territory! Cheetara shows a strange move with her staff. She throws it, and it lands sticking straight up, extends to three times her height, and becomes what looks like an upside-down cross. Cheetara then runs around on the "cross" in a way that makes it look like a platter or hoop seen edge-on. I'm having some trouble with that. As she runs, gold sparkles follow her on the "hoop." A boulder comes at her, and she ends her strange display and puts the staff away. Another boulder lands near her, and she calmly steps aside. She runs, easily avoiding the Rockmen attack, but is too distracted to see the pit Driller prepared for her. She falls down, lands safely, but then we see several boulders being tossed into the hole where she is.
Next, we see the kids. WilyKat is barely in control of his spaceboard, perhaps distracted from being on-camera. He runs into WilyKit who was flying along ahead with no trouble, nearly making her lose control. WilyKat is now on all fours, trying to stabilize. She takes her lariat, lassoes the end of WilyKat's board, and yanks it to make him spin. The Mechanosect makes its appearance, flying over the trees. It grabs WilyKat's board, and he bails before it snaps the board in half. Apparently he was spinning upward earlier, so Kit flies underneath and saves her brother from a bad fall. They take off together on the remaining board, and we get a nice shot of them looking scared while the Mechanosect looms right behind them, and the mummy music starts playing. Heh heh heh.
Slythe is in the pyramid, and Mumm-Ra tells him he'll never have a better chance to destroy Lion-O once and for all. He orders Slythe to gather the others and attack while the others are occupied by the mechanical plague.
Now we get Lion-O, in a pastiche of show introduction animation, showing off for his camera. Wow, look what my sword can do! He laughs as he makes a flashing display. The fireworks end, the sword shrinks, and gives him that ever-famous warning with the appropriate cue. Yeah, it's "Sight Beyond Sight®" time. He sees everyone in different stages of peril, including an all-too-short scene of Cheetara on all fours at the bottom of the pit hopping over boulders. Curiously, he next sees Snarf's predicament. Well, that can't be too high a priority. Next, he sees the four main Mutants approaching on their flying machines. He says, "We wanted action, looks like we got it."
Well, certainly four Mutants can take down one lion guy with no help. Then again, there is that sword… while he's deflecting shots with his shield and sword, he says to the camera, "I hope you're getting all this, because I'm not doing any retakes!" Technically, he just ruined the scene. Now he says, "I think I've had it with this show, time to change the scene." Yes, time to call up the cat signal.
Panthro sees the signal (no eye-flashes this time) and quickly dispatches the Technopede with the explosive sparklies he keeps in his nunchakus. I guess he didn't stay unconscious for long. He jumps in the ThunderTank and heads off towards the signal.
Tygra is invisible and dodging acid blasts from the Warbot's chest-mounted cannon. Panthro pulls up in the tank, Tygra gets in, and the Warbot fires its four "Magnetos" (magnets attached to chains) and they latch onto the tank. A tug-of-war ensues with the Warbot winning. It pulls the tank closer, then the center cannon opens up. Panthro brings out two arms with cutting wheels to remove the chains. The tank manages to hop away just before a volley of acid hits. Another frog-hop maneuver keeps them from frying again. Tygra fires the tank's cannon, scoring a few hits on the front, bringing the machine that once took the head off Cat's Lair crashing down way too easily. It would seem the "Ancient Spirits of Iron and Steel" aren't very good at reviving Plundarrian technology. They didn't even have to aim for the foot!
Cheetara emerges from between three boulders. Apparently the Rockmen gave up. She sees the signal above and pole-vaults her way out of the pit. No, pole-vault isn't quite right: she extends the staff to a hundred feet or so, hangs on, and rides her way out of the pit. I can only shake my head at that.
The kids see the signal, their eyes flash, and they are suddenly inspired to throw two pellets into the lake they're crossing. A large fake bat appears in a display of fireworks, scaring the mechanical mantid away.
Soon, all are travelling to the hill where Lion-O is doing a decent job of defending himself. Slythe takes a painful-looking tumble after Lion-O fires a bolt from his sword, taking out the Nosediver. The rest join in, and do you think they defeat the Mutants? Yeah, it's all predictable standard show formula from here on. Monkian is shot down by Tygra on the tank cannon, Monkian falls on Jackalman's Skycutter and produces an amusing electrocution scene as his elbow goes through the Skycutter's display screen. Vultureman drops a bomb that lands some twenty feet before the mark, apparently producing a cloud of gas that merely irritates Lion-O, or perhaps it was just a dust cloud kicked up by a failed bomb? Cheetara throws her staff which takes a wing off Vultureman's flying machine. They all watch (with accompanying cameras floating above) as the Mutants retreat.
Back at the pyramid, Mumm-Ra watches in disgust and says, "Cowards. Bunglers. Obviously, I expected too much from a cast of bit-playing Mutants. Rest assured, Thundercats, this was just a rehearsal. When it comes to the real performance, I, Mumm-Ra, The Ever-Living will star, and I will not leave the stage until I have destroyed you. Heh heh heh heh." I for one would like to see that.
Back at the lair, everyone is looking up at the hanging Snarf. I see there are only three washcloths ahead of him on the line instead of four in the previous shots. He begs them to get him down, and Lion-O says, "Well, this is the one thing the sword can do that we haven't recorded. Ho!" Yes, he shoots Snarf loose! Didn't firing from the sword get recorded earlier? Not sure of the logic to Lion-O's statement. Maybe shooting Snarfs is what he was referring to. Panthro catches the falling Snarf, the scene changes to them watching it in the control room, and Snarf talks about not playing a comedy part next time. Panthro says, "You know what they say: there's a hidden Hamlet in every comic." Snarf wanders off wondering what "A Hamlet" is. Did Shakespeare's work make it to Thundera? Never mind.
All in all, not a bad episode. It was hard to see the Warbot and Technopede destroyed by a single Thundercat when it took all of them (and a visit to Thundera) to defeat. If they really wanted to hammer the point home about learning from the past, they should have defeated each enemy (the Warbot in particular) the way they did before and make it more of a fight. Then again, it's rough to fit a battle-royale into a half-hour with commercials.
Where did Driller go? He set a trap and blew town. Looks like he's the smart one.
What do future generations of Thundercats have to learn from all of this? There are no worries if one has the Sword of Omens, and there's no need to build a washing machine if you have a Snarf. That's the message I'm getting.
What's this? Furry Fight Club? Count me in! It starts with Panthro and Lion-O cruising around in the tank when a glint of light appears in the sky. Back at the lair, Cheetara and Tygra see it too, and suddenly all communications are out. Panthro has a theory it was a meteor entering the atmosphere, or… a spaceship! Fun is bound to follow.
On the approaching ship, we see what looks like a couple of new Mutants. The big one looks a bit like a Hyena in a brown robe with ammo belts, a skull belt buckle, and a knife in a holster built into one of his boots. Regular hyenas are bizarre and dangerous creatures: not something to mess with. It would seem the anthropormorphic version here is no exception. The little one looks like an armadillo, and is obviously his servant.
The big guy says, "Forty-two straight victories, Dirge. I'm bored. I need opponents that fight!" I think a certain red-headed step-lord is about to regret waking up today.
Oooooh, Dirge says this: "They say that Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living is the most powerful being in the galaxy, Demolisher. Surely he will give you a worthwhile battle." So… elsewhere in the galaxy, Mumm-Ra is the one people talk about. Interesting, and so natural. Has anyone else heard of the Thundercats? I guess we'll find out.
Demolisher speaks Mumm-Ra's name and title, and laughs mockingly. Forty-two straight victories. I'm sure most of those former opponents had a fearsome-sounding title, so it's understandable for Demolisher not to take the great Devil Priest's name seriously. Underestimating? Maybe. The Ra dude has magic on his side, so we'll have to see what Demolisher is capable of. Dirge talks him into at least taking a look, and Demolisher says, "I suppose we've nothing more violent to do." I seriously like this guy already, and he hasn't thrown a single punch, much less stood up yet.
At the pyramid, the mummy awakes. "Who dares disturb my eternal rest?" Mumm-Ra is surprised by the ship approaching his pyramid, causing the ground to shake.
Outside, Dirge is being the carnival barker and playing a snare drum. "Hear this! Hear this! The greatest fighter in the galaxy has landed on Third Earth. He is, The Demolisher!"
The Demolisher appears with hands raised, clearly used to winning matches. I must make a correction: what looked like a knife on his boot before now looks like a two-pronged dagger that fits into two channels on the front of his boot. Truly, a wicked-looking weapon and possibly a good bottle/carcass opener to boot.
Mumm-Ra, watching the action in his cauldron, says, "The greatest fighter in the galaxy?" and starts laughing like someone else used to winning all the time, never mind the times Lion-O got lucky or had all his friends gang up on him. "We'll see about that. Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form, to Mumm-Ra, The Ever-Living!" I don't care if that scene is recycled, it never gets old!
Dirge is still playing his snare drum. "Show yourself, Mumm-Ra. Face The Demolisher! Unless, you are afraid. An ever-living coward!" Just then, Dirge turns around to see the mummy-dude in full nine-foot ass-kicking mode, and is quite startled. Mumm-Ra uses his magic (a red beam) to pick up the hapless servant and toss him at The Demolisher, who merely bounces of the big hyena's chest. The Demolisher laughs mockingly and says, "A magician? And I thought he was a warrior!" Interesting, very interesting. He pulls out a ray gun of sorts from a holster, and uses it to pick Dirge up with apparently the same kind of energy Mumm-Ra was using. He launches Dirge at Ra, and Ra dispels the energy, making Dirge land hard.
The Demolisher wants to get serious. "Enough of these games! Let us fight!" All right! Uh, not the kind of fight I was waiting for. He pulls out what looks like a crossbow and fires lots of energy bolts. Huh? Mumm-Ra sets up a red barrier of energy that stops them, then does something interesting: brown armor appears over his body CGI-style (before they had CGI.) He laughs, making The Demolisher go back to his ray pistol. This time it shoots a blue beam that cuts the mummy's armor and shatters it. Mumm-Ra is unaffected, and vanishes in a flash of light. Demolisher gets frustrated. "Show yourself, coward!"
Mumm-Ra's voice says, "Look down, Demolisher!" There, between his feet, is the mummy… a couple inches tall. Mumm-Ra taunts him: "Surely, the greatest warrior in the galaxy can deal with such a tiny creature, heh heh heh." The Demolisher tries to stomp him, and the mummy-dude does a good job dodging him. I have to say that's not only a brave move, but very original. Mumm-Ra gets that look in his eyes and says, "Or would you prefer someone larger?"
Mumm-Ra goes from mite to giant, standing at least double his height, making Demolisher land on his backside. Giant Mumm-Ra fires some red lightning, blowing Demolisher several feet onto his back. "Puny creature. You can never defeat Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!" He towers over the fallen hyena and makes an impressive red lightning display.
Unfortunately for Mumm-Ra, he doesn't finish off The Demolisher, giving him time to turn the skull on his belt buckle. It sends twin beams of yellow light into Mumm-Ra's eyes, blinding him. Demolisher uses the opportunity to take out his fork/dagger and throw it. It latches onto Mumm-Ra's shin, he hits a button on an ammo belt, which fires a beam to the dagger, making a line snake out the back of the handle, wrapping itself around the surprised mummy. Mumm-Ra is now tied up, falls on his back, and Demolisher plants a boot on his chest, crossbow at the ready. Before he can claim victory, Mumm-Ra sees his reflection in Demolisher's boot, and shrinks down to nothing. He and Dirge watch as a speck of light flies back to the pyramid. Man, I hate that weakness! It looks like Demolisher wins against the Devil Priest of Third Earth, so what else is there? Warrior Maidens? Snowman? That funky shark with spider legs? or… maybe a certain cat that needs a lesson in humility? Yeah, that must happen.
The Demolisher shouts at the pyramid. "Come back here and fight, coward!" He turns around and talks to Dirge. "For a moment, I thought we had a worthy opponent. No such luck."
The speck of light comes back out. "Follow the ball of light, Demolisher, and I will show you a fighter you will never defeat." Dirge says, "It may be a trick!" Demolisher responds with, "It may be a fight!" You have to love that kind of dedication to one's craft. He runs into the pyramid. The mummy, now in his lesser form, is standing at the edge of the cauldron. Demolisher demands to see this fighter of which he speaks: "and let us hope that he is a better match than you!"
Yes, it's cauldron movie time. "Once, you may have been feared throughout the galaxy, Demolisher, but you are nothing compared to him!" Sure enough, we see Lion-O in the cauldron, using the sword to switch off the Mutant's Warbot by its foot. Watch Return to Thundera again if that didn't make sense to you—or not. Demolisher isn't impressed. "Hah. Is that the best you can show me?" Mumm-Ra says, "Wait. Do not underestimate him, Demolisher. Look!" Next, we see Lion-O taking on the Rock Giant. There is a closeup of Lion-O staring with determination at Rocky, which is enough to get Demo's interest. Even if Lion-boy isn't good enough, that red hair is just screaming, "hold me over a toilet and FLUSH!" Hey, it's better than a long trip through space again.
Or maybe not. Demo doesn't take the title "Lord of the Thundercats" seriously either and says he's wasting his time. Mumm-Ra, being the ever-resourceful and ever-experienced, knows how to taunt. "Surely you're not afraid are you, Demolisher!" Demo laughs, says, "I do not know the meaning of fear, Mumm-Ra. Come, Dirge. We'll continue our tour of the galaxy. Somewhere, there must be someone who will give me a good fight."
Mumm-Ra does something new: he flies and somersaults over The Demolisher, all in his lesser mummy form. He's getting a little desperate. "You're frightened. The Demolisher has lost his courage. You're running away." Demolisher responds with, "From a boy? With a sword?" Mumm-Ra says, "You don't dare fight him." Demolisher finally takes the bait. For a while it looked like he was going to leave, and the show wouldn't use the old cliche… but it happened. Challenging The Demolisher's manhood did the trick, it just took some persistence. To me, it makes his character more realistic. In the end, he says, "Show me this cub. Let me see his toy sword. I will demolish him!" Dirge starts marching with his drum. "Demolish the cub… demolish the cub… demolish the cub."
The scene shifts to the desert. Lion-O and his servant are walking along, and here comes The Demolisher on a jetpack with Dirge on his shoulder. Heh heh heh. His first words? "Fight!"
Lion-O, without tremendous display of comprehension, says, "What?"
Dirge adds, "Fight cub, fight cub."
Lion-O says, "Why should I fight you? Who are you?"
"The Demolisher, and you must fight me, because I am going to fight you!" He takes out his dagger for emphasis. Lion-O puts his hand on his sword (Of Omens, that is) and Demo plunges his dagger into the ground. He says, "Perhaps the Grounder will shock him into action," while activating the skull. This time, the skull's beams go to the dagger, which buries itself and travels underground towards Lion-O, creating a curtain of spiky energy in its wake. That's the best I can describe it. Really.
Lion-O takes out his sword (Omens folks, Omens,) and immediately drops it presumably from the energy. It looked more like a total fumble to me: he just lets go and looks at Demo with a really blank expression. "A fool and his sword are soon parted." Make up your own joke. Snarf goes after the sword, and Demo shoots him, apparently on a stun setting. Dirge approaches and admonishes the furry annoyance not to interfere. Snarf gives him a tail-slap, and Dirge says, "Don't take it out on me, I'm strictly a cheerleader!"
Lion-O tries to bring reason to the table. "Why are you fighting me? What have I done to harm you?" Sorry, reason has no reservations at this table. "I fight you because you exist!" Yeah, and soon your pretty red hair will be swirled into a toilet-shaped beehive.
The Demolisher goes for his blinding skull weapon right away, but Lion-O covers his eyes. Dirge sings, "Demolisher wins, Lion-O loses," rather prematurely, and Snarf, without tremendous display of sportsmanship, grabs his drumsticks and breaks them. At least Dirge has a holster with an ample supply of sticks. Meanwhile, Lion-O has been blocking the light for an uncomfortably long amount of time. Demo could have launched several things (or better yet, himself) at Lion-O during this distraction. Lion-O calls the sword to his hand, shouts "Ho!" and the sword's blue beam travels up the skull's yellow beam, eventually destroying Demo's belt buckle. He goes for his ray pistol, but Lion-O quickly sword-fires it out of his hand.
Demolisher laughs and says, "There's nothing better than a good fight!"
Lion-O says, "But why?"
"If you don't fight, you don't conquer. And if you don't conquer, you don't exist." Hey, sounds reasonable to me. Now, let's get on with the softcore cartoon violence! Demo shoots WilyKit/Kat style exploding balls from his ammo belts, which only serves to make Snarf panic a bit. Demo says, "A harmless toy for a harmless boy, unlike the one behind you!"
Lion-O looks behind himself for a moment, but nothing was back there. Demo fires blue bolts from his belts, hitting Lion-O's head, making him land on his back with a satisfying thump. Unfortunately, he wasn't knocked out, so, no knockout icon for this episode. Still, it was a nice, embarrassing, legs-up hit. Demolisher says, "You disappoint me, boy. That was the oldest trick in the book."
Lion-O says, "Not quite the oldest, Demolisher!" and throws a handful of sand in his face. Hmm, I must give Lion-boy a little credit here. He's charging at the blinded Demolisher, but not blinded enough. He throws a "coiler" at Lion-O. It's like a hockey puck which Lion-O swats with the sword, but it uncoils above him, and wraps around the lion. The coiler glows blue, and levitates the trapped Thunderian off the ground. Demo fires up his rocket pack to meet him in the air. He says, "Surrender, and I will spare you." Sounds reasonable enough to me, but you know Lion-O. He wasn't going to back down from Brutemen on Warp Gas, and he's certainly not going to do the smart thing here.
Lion-O says, "Thundercats never surrender!"
Demolisher says, "Then you will be destroyed! Another victory for The Demolisher, the greatest fighter in the galaxy!"
The smarm will now commence! Lion-O says, "So what? Who will know?"
"I will know!"
"And after me, who next? Will you fight forever? For no cause?" Naturally, Lion-O requires an excuse to fight, or maybe it's just the way the sword works. The Curse of Ball-fuzz is a bitch. (Look it up in Pumm-Ra.)
The Demolisher responds with, "Forever!" and produces the handle of a sword which materializes a blade made of energy. He says, "Farewell, Thundercat!" and fires away. Lion-O brings his sword up, but apparently the energy adds to the coiler's own energy. Demo taunts. "It's useless to struggle. Your time has come." Dirge drums and chants, "Give up the struggle, your time has come," in his annoying fashion.
Lion-O does a Charles Atlas and muscles his way out, breaking the coiler. He lands back on the ground, and says, "I'm not finished yet, Demolisher!"
Demolisher replies with, "Neither am I, Thundercat!" and swoops on him with his jetpack. Lion-O swings the sword, but misses. Demo attacks from the other side, this time with magenta colored bolts from his belts. They create a blast that sends Lion-O, Snarf, and Dirge in different directions. Demo says, "You're tougher than I thought, but you're still no match for the greatest fighter in the galaxy!
Now Demolisher brings his ship into play by remote control—it fires upon Lion-O and Snarf. They duck for cover behind some rocks, and the ship's firing nearly shatters them. Lion-O fires his sword at the ship, damaging it. Next, he fires another steady beam and uses it to guide Demo's ship in his direction. He frantically tries to control it with a button on an ammo belt, but ends up trying to run, his own ship firing upon him. Demo dives for cover and nearly gets blown away. He gets up and says he underestimated Lion-O, but this is the end. He throws his dagger, which grows in size and flies at Lion-O like a boomerang. Lion-O tries to hit it with a sword beam, but it circles around it, and hits the ground, pinning Lion-O between the now six-foot-long tines. Don't ask me how it works. (Cheetara staff magic?)
The dagger's handle creates what looks like Neils Bohr's model of the atom, or at least the orbits of it, imprisoning the cat in energy. Lion-O uses the sword to call for his friends. That is the moment we know who won, right? Fair is fair, even if it breaks the laws of physics.
Tygra sees the signal from the next ridge over and starts running. Cheetara… she's laying on her side at the edge of a lake, swishing her hand around in the water. It's almost like fishing, and she caught me… Cheety… drat, Lion-O's in trouble again. She has to get up and run to save him. *sigh* Oh well, there was some choice animation for a moment. Next, Panthro leaves the lair in the tank.
Meanwhile, Lion-O's energy cage has taken on a more menacing appearance: brighter with an energy bubble effect. Demo says, "Too late for fancy sword tricks, youth." Dirge adds, "Say goodbye to the Thundercat, Demolisher wins again!"
Cheetara appears, brandishing her staff. Tygra follows, using his whip to create a ring of fire/energy around them. The tank pulls up next.
Naturally, Demo says, "Too frightened to fight without your friends, coward?"
Lion-O says, "I'm no coward, Demolisher. I called my friends to save you, not to save me." … "Force me to fight on, and I will surely destroy you." Okay, maybe he didn't need to call the others, but you know they would have jumped in if he was close to dying. Who does he think he's fooling?
Of course, this makes The Demolisher Laugh. Who wouldn't? "You're finished!"
Lion-O grabs the dagger and starts forcing the tines apart, distorting the energy cage. He breaks it, then fires his claw lines into Demo's ship. He hauls it to the ground, and the engines fire, blinding everyone for a moment. Now we get to the dialog again. "Fight, Demolisher, but one day you will meet your match, and your string of worthless victories will be ended with a pointless defeat." Obviously Lion-O doesn't know much about the thrill of victory.
Oh boy. Demolisher says, "It's all I know. It's all I can do. Without fighting, I am nothing."
Lion-O says, "Then fight for a cause, Demolisher, something you believe in!"
Demo shouts, "Never! I have no cause. I believe in nothing! I have nothing but strength!" He picks up Dirge and flies back to his ship, then takes off for space. So, it looks like the Demolisher fought to a draw. That was not a loss, even though he took off. He was facing four opponents and a tank by that point. He should come back, but with better lines. Here's how I would fix it:
"I believe in wine, women, and whooping ass, and I believe you're trying to talk your way out of this, boy!" (spoken in the voice of Tygra trying to imitate Beavis.)
Oh well, still a good episode. How does it end? The usual. Morals thrown around and so forth. "He was brave and formidable. I wish he'd joined us in our struggle to spread the code of Thundera. Justice, truth, honor, and loyalty." Yeah, like The Demolisher is going to debase himself like that. Really now! He might as well wash dishes at Castle Plundarr.
Snarf found Dirge's drum and goes around chanting, "Victory to Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats…" ugh. Fortunately, it's equally irritating to the rest of them. Snarf says, "You want the drum, you have to fight for it!"
Lion-O says, "Now that's what I call a cause!" and starts chasing him. Cute moment passed, cue end credits and music.
In my opinion, this was one of the best episodes, even though the "fighting" was really a contest of whose weapon was better, and naturally the magic sword trumps all. The closest thing to an actual beating came in the form of Lion-O tossing a handful of sand in The Demolisher's eyes, and Snarf tail-slapping his counterpart Dirge. Even with the afternoon cartoon limitations, it was still a fun viewing.
Hello, my name is The Fan of All that is Evil, and I have lost the will to live. I was fine at first: I was watching an episode of the Thundercats called "The Feliner" which promised to be a decent two-part story that would apparently serve to sell more toys, as I vaguely remember the Feliner being in toy commercials a long time ago. I remember thinking "Feliner" sounding like the ultimate pleasure cruise: where scantily-clad women with fur and pointy ears served cat-themed drinks and Snarf-kebabs with candyfruit sections were available from the bar. No, this nice dream was not to be. Instead, a nightmare ensued.
Not two seconds had passed before my senses were assaulted by a pink-colored landscape with pink trees and distant lavender mountains. The theme music could be described as the Snarf Picnic Theme. Then I saw it: a dot on a road that got larger, then the scene shifted to reveal an overhead view of not one, not two, not three, but four of the hideous and evil-not-in-a-good-way creatures known as Snarfs. As the blood rushed from my head and my heart threatened to stop, I sort of remember them not exactly talking, but making incomprehensible noises that reminded me of pre-schoolers imitating bees. Before I blacked out, I recall thinking of the Star Wars Holiday Special and the way Chewbacca's son Lumpy made those same sounds as he wordlessly whined about everything.
Oh divine presence of all that is evil help me! There's more than one of them! THERE'S MORE THAN ONE OF THEM! Dear lord help me! They're taking over! I'm suffocating in red and yellow swirls of cuteness!
Sorry, I'm okay now. Please, take the jacket with straps away. I'm okay now. Really, I am. SNAAAARFS! *cough* Sorry, I'll continue my story.
I regained consciousness when I heard a darker, more welcome theme as the floating car with the four… FOUR! Snarfs were attacked. Kill them! Kill them all! Make seat covers out of their worthless hides! SNARF-KEBABS! SNARF-KEBABS!
*ahem* Sorry, it's not easy reliving this… tragedy. *takes a deep breath*
Okay, there was a spaceship, and the front looked like an evil frog-eyed rat design. Inside the ship was a new Mutant: Rataro, who predictably, looks like a rat with a Samaurai-style helmet and Fu-Manchu mustache, and he's accompanied by Vultureman. The name of the ship? Are you ready? The Ratstar! I thought perhaps they were out to collect slaves, or if they were smart, food. Snarf alone is evil enough, but four of them would get into the machinery for sure. I don't know what Snarfs would sell for on the open market, but it couldn't possibly be enough to put up with all the whining. Sure, you could say I'm being unfair here, that I'm judging an entire species by one individual, but you didn't live through what I did. You haven't looked into the faces of evil: Bad Wrong Cute Evil! Where's my gun? Get my gun!
Oh wait, I don't have a gun. Sorry, I've been in and out like this all day. Where was I? Oh yes. Sn… those red things.
They turned their floating car around and tried to run. RUN! RUN! RUN! The ship produced a cannon and started to fire. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! Mwahahahahaaaa! The car was hit, and all four Snarfs bailed out right before it crashed and exploded in a lovely ink-rendered fireball. All four of them bailed out. I know this because I watched every single frame a few times. It was like a form of ballet mixed with fireworks, complete with streamers. Heh heh heh.
Looking closer, at least two of them were drawn differently from the others, so that means, horror of horrors, they will appear again, and talk. As soon as you give something a personality, it will return to annoy you. One's fat, one's small, one is a brownish shade of red, and the fourth one? I don't know. Looked a bit like Snarf. The brownish one sounded like Panthro as he called out to "Snarfer," the little one. Talk about a voice completely out of place, but perhaps that means there are more like him. Snarfs with voices that don't grate on the ears? What a concept. He said, "I'm coming for you, snarf, snarf." The "snarf, snarf" sounded unnaturally forced, so I imagined Earle Hyman (the voice actor) saying, "You want me to play WHAT?" Snarfer, on the other hand, is worse than Snarf. Much worse. It's the same voice actor (Bob McFadden,) but unnaturally constricted, like he was doing Umeboshi plums and helium. Hey, I would be too if I had to voice a character like that. I wonder if the voice actors occasionally had to borrow the writers' drugs to get into these characters. Mr. Hyman certainly—he's probably used to more dignified roles like Panthro.
Anyway, Snarfer was caught in a net and told the others to save themselves. The darker-colored one ignored him and tried to reach Snarfer, only to be blasted by the big rat's cannon, knocking him backwards in a satisfyingly involuntary double-somersault. Rataro said, "Beat it, Snarfs, or I'll finish you all," indicating he was after Snarfer only. See, Snarfer is Snarf's nephew, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Back at the lair, Panthro was putting the finishing touches on the Feliner, a new flying machine with jaws similar to the ThunderTank. You gotta admire the way Panthro designs and builds things, eh? He said they needed a Hyperspace Mega-Condenser, or the ship wouldn't run. While I'm not sure what that is, it doesn't sound like it's needed unless they want to hit light speed. That's my semi-educated guess anyway. The gold in this scene is hearing Snarf (the original Snarf, ugh) attempting to comprehend this. For those of you with evil audio editing talents, you can get Snarf saying, "Mega-Dingus" twice here. Hee hee hee!
Soon, Rataro was piloting The Ratstar back to Third Earth. He said, "If you'd called me in before, the Thundercats would be finished by now, Vultureman." Vultureman pointed out that Slythe never listens to him, which is no big surprise. See, Rataro was once the Commanding Officer and Slythe was in charge of the field kitchens, and there would probably be punishment for anyone even suggesting contact with his former commander. Rataro told Snarfer (neatly trussed up for the journey) that he was the bait which would lead the Thundercats to their doom.
The Ratstar's atmospheric entry was partially concealed by "Signal Scramblers," so while the event set off the alarm in the Cat's Lair, they couldn't tell who it was or where they were going. All they knew is it meant trouble, trouble with a capital S, if you catch my drift.
The Ratstar set down in front of Castle Plundarr, and they were greeted by Slythe, Monkian, and Jackalman. Rataro said, "Stand to attention when you see me, underling." The regular Mutants straightened up, as they were reminded of their past. "I'm going to say this once only. I am in command. You hear me? And when I say 'jump,' I want to see air beneath your feet. You got that?" The Mutants sort of replied, and Rataro stepped it up. "I didn't hear that, Mutants! You got that?"
"We got it!"
"You got it what?"
"We got it, sir!"
Slythe, clearly not pleased with the situation, told Vultureman he'd have his feathers if this didn't work.
Next I saw Snarfer running towards the lair with cuffs on his paws and tail (no chains between them, which would have been more entertaining.) Snarf met him and said, "Who are you? How'd you get here? You're a Snarf. How can that be?" Which is sort of what I asked myself at the time.
Snarfer (still breathing heavily from running) said, "One question at a time, Uncle Osbert."
Snarf immediately clamped his hand over Snarfer's mouth and said, "Don't say that. I hate that name!" So… he uses the name of his species instead of his real name? If I hated my name, would I insist that people call me "Human"? Boy would that sound awkward. Come to think of it, quite a few of my friends refer to me as "Man," or occasionally "The Man," but that's different. Anyway, Snarf questioned the "Uncle" part, and said it's impossible because Snarfer was a baby when they left, conveniently forgetting that Lion-O was a cub and Jaga wasn't a corpse… excuse me, "ghost" back then. It was just another opportunity for Snarf to complain about his age.
Right about that point, the two furballs embraced, danced around chanting "Snarf," and I left for the restroom as I felt my lunch getting ready to vacate my poor stomach, which had had enough of this episode. Upon returning, I cautiously backed the video up and tried to follow it again. Snarf told Snarfer to never call him Osbert. "Snarf, just Snarf," which somehow reminded me of "Bond, James Bond." After a minute of this exposition which felt like a half-hour to me, Osbert finally asked Snarfer how he got here and why he's wearing those bracelets. Snarfer said it's a long story, and Osbert said they had plenty of time, which showed me Snarfer wasn't too bright. See, those "bracelets" are obviously part of the trap Rataro was talking about, so I'd at least think they had tracking devices in them. Of course, that wouldn't do much good because they know where the lair is, but their purpose is much better. Rataro has a pair of daggers with eye designs that can call the bracelets back at any time, as he pointed out to Slythe who was incensed by Snarfer escaping. Underlings… they don't need to know everything, right?
At the lair, Snarfer explained that forty-three Snarfs… excuse me while I try not to picture this. *drops two Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water* They comandeered an old Mutant tanker and left Thundera before it exploded. He didn't mention if there was a Mutant captain and crew, and what the Snarfs did with them. Maybe they were left behind to perish quickly, because riding in a ship with forty-three Snarfs would be a fate worse than death, especially if there was no food. Those evil little red buggers are capable of anything, and they've been in my nightmares ever since! *takes a deep breath*
Where was I? Oh yes. Mutant tanker commandeered, and they somehow found a pink planet that was uninhabited. Or, maybe it was a blue planet, and they brought something like H.G. Wells' red Martian weed that spread out and ruined the ecosystem. Pink Snarf fungus everywhere!
Cheety said, "A planet of Snarfs?"
Snarfer said, "Exactly!"
Osbert said, "Imagine that, Lion-O. A planet of Snarfs!"
Ugh, I'm really trying not to! Unfortunately I have, and it kept me from sleeping last night. A planet… I'll call it "Third Hell." Anyway, Snarfer said, "It's great! Just about anything grows there, Uncle Osbert, oops!"
Panthro queried, "Uncle Osbert?"
Osbert tried to make it sound like that was a Snarf delicacy, which is the most non-sensical way to try and defuse the future ribbing that's about to start. Face it, Ozzie, your secret's out, and you're a horrible liar.
Next, Snarfer changed the subject. "We have dances!"
Dear lord, no!
Please make it stop! Osbert had a dopier than usual expression on his face, and I was forced to endure something no mortal creature should have to: a peek inside a Snarf's mind. It's… just wrong. Maybe Osbert was imagining the typical Snarf dance back on Thundera, or his mind is full of pastel-colored balls. I vote for the latter, since I had to see him dancing in space with a female Snarf, whose face looked disturbingly like WilyKit with a white beard. They danced while making high-pitched mouth sounds that had plenty of "snarfs" in them, and Snarf got on the creepy side by partially wrapping his tail around the female, causing her eyes to open wide and push him away, clearly irritated. When the show returned to reality, Osbert had this satisfied look that was also quite creepy. I can't exactly blame him since he hasn't seen a female of his species for years by that point, but I hope I don't see one. It would only mean they're reproducing, and much like rabbits with no natural predators, they would overrun their planet. They have the advantage of being intelligent enough to pilot ships, I would assume, so Snarfs would leave their planet and spread throughout the cosmos like a disease, consuming everything in their path in a plague of red and yellow fur. No planet would be safe! Something must be done! The Planet of The Snarfs needs to be sterilized! We must go there and nuke… um. *looks around* Sorry. Let me get back to this story.
Osbert asked if Snarf Oswald was up there, and said Oswald still owes him fifty Thunderdollars from their last Tail-Ball game. What the heck is Osbert going to do with Thunderdollars? Unless they're gold coins, try getting a Tabbot merchant to take those! Maybe he can make this Snarf Oswald character wash dishes for it, or bring him a lady Snarf of the Night… ugh, please forget I said that. Bad thought! Great, another mental image that will end up in my nightmares.
Enough of this Snarf fluff. Rataro brought out his daggers, crossed them, sent a bluish beam of light out, and yanked the squealing Snarfer right out of Cat's Lair in front of everyone. I have to hand it to Rataro, he has refined humiliation to an art form. Snarfer's three manacles were glowing, and he was dragged through the sky with the greatest of ease, much to the horror of the Thundercats. Mwahahahaaaa! He was yanked back to the good castle in a ball of blue light and once again trussed up for display in a way that prevents him from scratching himself. To the dungeons with ye! Rataro closed that scene with some healthy laughter and said, "Come and get him, Thundercats, if you dare!" Heh heh heh. If it weren't for moments like this, I would have been in a rubber room by now. No… put the canvas jacket away, I'm fine! I'm fine!
The battle lines were drawn. Snarfer and the block he's manacled to were put on display in front of Castle Plundarr. The Ratstar hovered nearby as they prepared to meet the approaching ThunderTank.
"Stand by, Vari-Cannon."
Slythe (in a voice irritated by having to take orders again) replied, "Cannon standing by, sir."
"Stand by, Void Charges."
It's Monkian's turn. "Hoo, standing by, sir." The "sir" was drawn out a bit.
"Stand by, Molecular Mutator."
Jackalman replied with, "Standing by, nyahahaha, sir." Punctuated by a little "ehh," which suggested he's not enjoying Rataro being in command, but he's looking forward to using the Molecular Mutator on them, and who wouldn't? I was looking forward to seeing what these oddly-named Mutant weapons would do.
WilyKit got on the radio and provided some rather useless dialog. "Lair to ThunderTank, you're looking good!" Somehow I expected Panthro to come back with, "Don't I always?" Actually, he replied with, "Keep your eyes peeled," which made the kids shrug their shoulders like they didn't know what he was talking about. Well, I didn't understand that scene either.
In the tank, Osbert said, "This is the worst day of my life!"
Tygra said, "You shouldn't feel so bad, Snarf. Some good has to come from all this."
I said, "Yeah, a nice fur hat for the Crystal Queen's guard that Lion-O left to freeze to death after stealing his coat and hat." It's only fair.
"Those blasted Mutants have my nephew and you call that 'good'?"
Tygra said, "At least we know your friends and relatives survived when Thundera exploded…"
No, not good.
Tygra continued: "And that there's a planet of Snarfs."
Definitely not good!
"If none of this had happened, we wouldn't have that information."
Yeah, and I could have slept well thinking Osbert was the last of his species, and we'd only have to hear one version of his whiny voice.
So, Panthro reassured Osbert they'll get his evil nephew back, and Cheety said, "After all, Snarf, what can the Mutants do that we haven't faced and beaten before?" Cheety with the one exposed shoulder with spots… I want to get my magic marker out and connect them… *ahem* sorry.
Arrogance, thy name is ignorance. Snarfer was so wrapped up in talking about Snarf dancing that he failed to mention how he was transported against his will by a Mutant commander the cats had most likely never seen before. One would think at least one of the cats would have asked him about his choice of jewelry, or maybe they assumed Snarfer was into bondage or something and didn't want to know. I'm not blaming them.
Back to the Ratstar: "Set Scramblers."
Vultureman was in charge of this piece of hardware. "Scramblers set." He didn't even say "sir." Who's your favorite Mutant?
Rataro ordered Vultureman to blast off, and Vultureman replied with, "Blasting off!" Still no "sir." Maybe Vultureman is an independent contractor? Well, he did show up out of nowhere, partway into the series.
The Scramblers manifested as a web of glowing energy around the ship, and they cruised into attack position. The lair lost video, and WilyKit informed Panthro. The Scramblers aren't blocking the audio. The same thing happened to the tank, so Lion-O naturally tried his unfair advantage: Sight Beyond Sight®. Luckily, the Scramblers prevented that from working too: not a minor feat!
It wasn't long before the Ratstar was hovering over (and dwarfing) the ThunderTank. The fun began: Slythe (under orders from Rataro) gleefully aimed the Vari-Cannon for the opening shot.
At the lair, WilyKat said in a moment of brilliance, "There must be some way of jamming whoever's jamming us!" Uhh, that would only add more noise to the electromagnetic spectrum. Maybe it would work, but you'd still be blind to whatever's happening, not to mention irritating more of the populace… if they had television sets. Maybe the Berbils will start walking into each other.
Somehow, WilyKit or plain luck got through the interference and gave them a brief view of the Ratstar bearing down on the ThunderTank. WilyKat called the others to warn them of the ship on their tail. It didn't do much good as the Vari-Cannon sent a blue bolt of energy that hit in front of the tank, but caused an explosion behind them. Slythe needed to lead the sights a little more.
Panthro showed his mad gaming skills by dodging several blasts that followed. Rataro was not pleased. "A sitting target, and you bungled it! Call yourself a gunner? You'd do better back as a cook!"
Vultureman stated the obvious: "They're on to us, look!" Well, one does tend to get a clue that something's amiss when someone's shooting at them. The tank charged with the top still closed, and used a different cannon than usual: a remotely operated single-barrelled one, operated by the spotted babe at a console inside.
The cannon had no effect on the Ratstar, and Rataro shouted, "Put your toys away, Thundercats, this is a grown-up's game!" I wonder if that was an attempt at humor because of the toy market that the cartoon was selling to?
Cheety said, "Our Laser Shells are just bouncing off that thing!" Laser Shells? LASER SHELLS? What? Lasers aren't solid, they're light! Energy! Uhh… okay, maybe they just carried the term forward when their technology advanced… oh never mind. Their weapon is firing a blue beam, but I want to get back to Cheety. Cheety…
The ThunderTank maneuvered around some rocks and tried to elude them. It was up to Jackalman and the Molecular Mutator! Rataro ordered him to target the rocks ahead, and a port opened between the twin Vari-Cannons to reveal a new "cannon." Jackalman had no problems hitting a pile of rocks with a red beam. The rocks glowed for a few seconds, started breaking up, and a familiar face arose: it looked just like The Rock Giant from the same-named episode, only the chest was missing a couple vertical cracks, and the red eyes weren't glowing as brightly. This "Rocky" didn't have the fire-breath and glow of the ancient giant Mumm-Ra summoned in the past, and that is as far as I want to go with this attempt at saving money by recycling old animation cels. Cheetara popped the top and used the good old three-barrelled cannon to destroy the Molecular Mutator in one shot, getting through the Ratstar's shield inexplicably. Panthro (or Cheetara) dispatched the giant with one shot from a small cannon in the tank's left "paw." It was a small-looking shot. The giant tripped, fell, and shattered too easily.
Jackalman whined, "Abandon ship!" but Rataro set him straight. This was no simple Skycutter. It was time for Monkian to use the Void Charges!
Three darts resembling six-foot tiki torches fired into the ground. The tank stopped, and the four cats (and catlike creature) looked at each other in puzzlement. The tank started to move away, but was quickly surrounded by a circle of these Void Charges. Next thing I knew, the tank was dead and wouldn't start. Nifty little devices!
Panthro said the main thruster was shot, Lion-O asked if he could fix it, Panthro said he needed some time, Lion-O said he'd get him some time, and jumped out of the tank brandishing his sword. Now, logic at this point told me all he had to do was hack up the charges and the tank would start again. This however is Thundercats: a show not known for logic. Slythe is excited, saying, "There he is! Destroy Lion-O and the Thundercats are finished!"
Lion-O lead the pursuing ship away from the tank, and showed his physical prowess at dodging blasts and jumping over more Void Charges (which I assume only dampen electricity,) and, without tremendous display of intelligence, ran across some open desert only to get stopped by a sheer rock wall. He turned, faced the approaching Ratstar, and despite Rataro's declaration of "nowhere to go," dodged blasts and jumps up a couple ledges to the top of the rock wall. While Tygra was under the hood and Panthro was getting the occasional electric shock from trying to rewire the tank in a hurry, Lion-O was using his sword against the Ratstar's side cannons. The Sword of Omens showed a new property: apparently shouting Ho three times (not quite Santa-like) can make it shoot a red beam from the eye. He used that beam to block the side cannons, and in the next animated stretch, it was blocking the Vari-Cannon. I guess taking the Molecular Mutator out didn't disable the rest of the cannon assembly. Lion-O, needing no help as he has the most powerful weapon in the cartoon universe, Ho'ed the Ratstar repeatedly, hit it with that red beam and made it crash. The familiar cat signal cue started as he said, "Now to free Snarfer!" Don't do it! Don't do it, Lion-O! You have no idea what horrors you'll unleash! Trust me! The planet will soon be covered in pink fungus!
The cat signal scene was thankfully brief that time, serving only to guide the tank to him, which is the direction it was headed anyway. I think it was used only to fulfill the part of the contract that says, "Every episode has to have a Thunder… Thunder… Thundercats, Ho! in it somewhere."
The tank stopped in front of the Mutants' castle, and Lion-O approached the slab with Snarfer stuck to it. "Oh, Snarrrrf! Somebody scratch my nose! Somebody scratch my nose! Something's crawling on my leg, scratch my leg! Snaaaaaarf!" Heh heh. "Sorry, Snarfer. I'll put you out of our misery. Hoooo!"
Of course, that's never going to happen. Only in my dreams: the good ones. Right before the one where Cheetara and a few nameless scantily-clad Thunderan women are serving me grapes and Snarf kebobs. If only… those dreams would return. I keep seeing Snarfs coming at me! Aaaaaah! *takes a deep breath* Sorry, I was fine until HE popped up on screen again. A reminder that there is more than one of those wretched creatures in existence.
Lion-O showed off his ability to slice open metal manacles without harming the Sn… red thing being held within. Snarfer… ran to the others, shouted, "Uncle Osbert," and Ozzie was mortified as the others said in unison: "Osbert?"
I had to look this up. Namestatistics.com gave their standard answer: OSBERT is a very rare male first name - Very few male first names in the US are OSBERT - Be proud of your unique first name! Hear that, Ozzie? If I had that name, I'd say it with a slight Germanic edge of pride. My friends would most likely call me "Ozzy" at any rate. Anyway, it is a real name that means "Bright God" from Middle English. Aside from the regally-named poet Sir Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell, 5th Baronet, there is not much in the way of Osberts around. I doubt many can make Osbert sound as cool as Baronet Sitwell did, so Snarfus Osbert Blondus Annoyasus might work, if he were wearing a toga. Wow, was that a bad mental image!
Back at the lair, Snarf Osbert was whining to Panthro. "There must be something you can do to get this thing to fly, Panthro!" "Snarfer's annoying me to no end with that voice of his. Now I understand you and the others. Please send him home! I promise I'll try to speak lower, or… not speak at all. Please? I'll muck out the trash cans!" Yes, I made that second part up. It's the least I can do after enduring…
Snarfer and his Uncle Osbert walked around, and Panthro said with a chuckle, "I'm working on it, Osbert, I'm working on it. Ha hah ha!"
Lion-O said, "Why are you so keen, Snarf? You said nothing would get you up in The Feliner."
Ozzie said, "I know, Lion-O, but… snarf, snarf, I'd really like to see the planet of Snarfs!"
Panthro laughed again. "You just want to collect your fifty Thunderdollars, Uncle Osbert."
"Very funny, Panthro, but we have to get Snarfer home somehow."
Panthro said, "Like I said, we need a Hyperspace Mega-Condenser." Lion-O echoed the sentiment that without it, the Feliner wouldn't be operational for a long time.
Osbert had a revelation: "I've got it!" When Panthro asked, "What?", Osbert replied with, "Oh no. First you have to promise never to call me Osbert again." Panthro came back with, "Nope, Osbert. Snarfer can bunk with you," making Snarf scream and say, "You win." …or maybe not.
Panthro actually agreed, as he had had his fun. "Okay… Snarf, but it better be good." Well, I'm certainly not beholden to such an agreement, Uncle Osbert. Heh heh. In this case, naming him "Bright God" is like nicknaming a fat guy "Slim."
Snarf's plan? Steal it from the wreck of the Ratstar! Panthro said he may turn out to be a genius. Stealing from your enemies? It took an evil furry creature to think of that one. Panthro laughed, picked him up, and started spinning him around as one would do with their kids, making Osbert tell him to put him down.
Lion-O said, "What are we waiting for? Let's get to the wreck before the Mutants repair it."
On that note of upcoming burglary, excuse me, "salvage," the show ended. It had been quite a while since I heard Snarfer's voice in this episode, and it's good news they're trying to get him home, and Snarf wants to go with him, I'm still not over the idea of a Planet of Snarfs. I need alcohol. Lots of alcohol. My name is The Fan of All that is Evil, and I need to numb the pain. I need sleep. Sound sleep. I need… no more dreams. No more dreams… not tonight. Vodka… good vodka…
(Part Two): Spinning in a sea of yellow, red, and pink. I think I'm asleep, I hope I'm asleep. Tell me this is a nightmare, tell me this is not reality. Oh no, it's starting again…
~Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade
Guys like us, we had it made
Those were the days~
No no no no no no no…
~And you knew who you weeeere then!!!
*breathing heavily* Oh man, I think I slept the night, but I kept hearing Edith's voice over and over. Ugh… the hangover… excuse me. *runs off to the restroom and returns, stopping in the kitchen for a tall glass of water*
Never mix alcohol with Snarfs. For that matter, don't mix anything with Snarfs. Ugh… *holds head*
At least nightmares can teach you things, things your conscious mind tries to avoid. What did I learn just now? I mean, besides the pathological hatred I have for cute sidekick characters? Snarfer… *shudders and drinks half the glass* Snarfer's voice sounds very much like Edith Bunker from the opening song of All in the Family when she hits that high note. I knew I'd pay for turning up the TV's volume at that point in the past to annoy my stepbrother.
Okay, let's get this over with. *pops a couple aspirins and finishes the glass*
There's a voiceover, similar to the one that begins with, "Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, Aquaman is debating with Marvin how he's not quite as useless to the Super Friends as long as there are fish around."
"When we last saw Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats, he fought off The Ratstar: the battlecruiser of the mighty Mutant Warlord, Rataro." The scene where Lion-O Ho's his way to victory is replayed. "And when he had defeated Rataro and The Ratstar, Lion-O freed Snarf's long-lost nephew: Snarfer. Kidnapped from his home on the Planet of Snarfs, and brought to Third Earth by evil Rataro." Ugh, replaying the "Uncle Osbert" scene. "Will the Thundercats be able to defeat Rataro and return Snarfer to his home? Or will Rataro rally the Mutants and drive the Thundercats from Third Earth forever?" One could only hope so. Personally, I'm for them keeping Cheetara for kitchen duty and banishing the others to the Planet of Snarfs. Then we could watch Mumm-Ra and Slythe fight over who gets Cheetara to serve them grapes that day. Hey, it's a rough life.
During the last part of the voiceover, the Mutants were running out of the wrecked Ratstar and going for cover behind some rocks. Rataro calmly walks out last while the ship suffers another explosion behind him. He looks over his shoulder and says, "Rats!" He faces forward again and says, "You can come out now."
Slythe speaks up as the four Mutants emerge from their cover. "This is all your fault, Rataro."
Monkian adds, "Yeah."
Jackalman adds, "Right."
Slythe continues. "If I was in command, the mighty Ratstar would have chewed Lion-O up and spit him out. You failed, Rataro. I'm taking over!" He goes over to Vultureman and grabs his shoulders. "And when I'm done with him, you're next!" He looks back at Rataro and pauses, showing a sign of weakness. Rataro is simply staring at him, sunlight glinting off the golden emblem of his helmet. I think someone is about to be reminded of his place. The three main Mutants back up and Vultureman cowers behind Rataro.
Rataro takes out his daggers. The eyes embedded in them start to glow. Slythe, Monkian, and Jackalman, without too much display of courage, start running away. Rataro crosses his daggers, and sends forth three flying crosses of blue energy, each one striking its Mutant target and picking them up like so many action figures in a glow of blue energy. The three Mutants float back towards him, Vultureman stares in horror, and Slythe squeaks out, "You're… crushing us!"
Vultureman tries to reason with him: "Mighty Rataro…"
Rataro says, "Don't bother me, scavenger! I must concentrate."
Vultureman tries again. "Shouldn't we let them off? I'll need help salvaging what's left of The Ratstar."
Rataro says, "And that means the Mutank, yes." Ooooh, the mighty rodent has a toy we haven't seen yet? He brings the others in front of him, some six feet off the ground, then drops them. "Now that you know who's in charge here, get to work!" Underlings: maintaining them is always a job. "I want the Mutank made operational at once!"
The scene shifts to Cat's Lair. Snarfer is about to touch the control panel, and Osbert the Snarf tells him to "leave that stuff alone." Snarfer apologizes and Osbert wants him to talk about Third Hell. (You know, the Planet of Snarfs.)
When Ozzie referred to it as "our home," Snarfer said, "Our home? No, Uncle Snarf, you've got a home right here in Cat's Lair. As for the Planet of Snarfs, let's face it, I'm never gonna see it again!" Dear lord no! Stop that voice! If there's one thing worse than Snarfer talking, it's Snarfer wailing!
Uncle Osbert reassures him. "We'll get you home, and maybe I'll come with you."
Snarfer squeals, "Oh, oh, you will, Uncle Snarf? You mean you'd leave the Thundercats?"
Osbert says, "Lion-O is grown up now. He doesn't need a nursemaid like me. Sometimes I feel as if I'm just in the way." Well, it goes without saying. Still, someone has to do the dishes and clean the windows. Wait, what am I saying? Leave, Osbert! Go! Be with your own kind! Exit stage right! I want the rest of my episode reviews to have Snarf-free icons on them! Think of all the other Snarfs! Think of dancing with Snarfettes! Think of… ugh, I think I'm going to be sick again.
Snarfer is all for this. "Ooooh, you'll love it on our planet, Uncle Snarf!"
Snarf says, "Besides, I wanna collect that fifty Thunderdollars Snarf Oswald still owes me." He ends with a sad expression suggesting to me he isn't going to make life easy for the rest of us and leave. Second thoughts are bad thoughts. Anyone evil will tell you that!
Speaking of evilkind, Vultureman is saying, "Cheer up, Slythe. The Mutank is a powerful addition to our arsenal of eeeevil!"
Slythe is carrying a rather large wrench over his shoulder in both hands, a position that could easily and swiftly do Vultureman in. Rataro approaches and says, "Back, Mutants. Get back if you value your hides!" They immediately turn around and presumably go back to work. I think Vultureman's days are numbered, and somewhere is a bar of soap with his name on it in a sock.
Vultureman shows Rataro a remote control he built to activate "The Transformation Circuit." Rataro praises him with a "Very good." He certainly knows the value of a mad scientist.
Or is that "Magician?" Rataro activates the remote control, and some pieces from the wrecked ship start flying up, some of them magically transforming. At one point, a set of wrecked treads turn into wheels. The pieces assemble high in the air, and Rataro brings the completed tank down to the ground. Slythe says, "If it's as good as it looks, I just might forgive your insolence, Vultureman." Yeah, like Rataro's going to let him drive it.
Rataro reasserts his control. "Enough talk! Attach the grapplers to the Ratstar's wreckage. We'll tow it back to Castle Plundarr for repairs." It looks like the cats aren't going to have an easy time stealing their Hyperspace Mega-Condenser. They're going to have to essentially mug the Mutants.
Back at the lair's hangar, Snarf and Snarfer are walking towards the Feliner. "There must be something you can do to get this thing to fly, Panthro!" Wait, I've heard this before. This whole scene is being repeated. This is almost a minute and a half of time that could have been better spent watching Cheetara sunbathing. I suppose this worked as an alternative to the announcer saying, "Lion-O, Panthro, Snarf, and Snarfer plan to steal the parts of Rataro's ship to complete their own ship in desperation to get Snarfer home. Meanwhile, Cheetara is sunbathing by the lake, unaware that the men are planning a heist. Unable to provide the feminine voice of reason and act as their conscience, we'll just watch her soak up the sun and stretch for forty more seconds." Yeah, I would have liked that version more.
Hello? Mumm-Ra is getting involved now! Okay, this is starting to get better. He was watching all along, and knows they're after the Mutant's Mega-Condenser. He muses that the Mutants don't know what the cats are up to, and frankly, I'm sure they'd be shocked. Oh yeah, Mumm-Ra is transforming. It's time to leave the pyramid and open up a can of red lightning! "If I can get hold of this Mega-Condenser, the Thundercats will have to come to me. Heh heh heh heh, and when they do, I will finish them, for once and for all! Hah Yahahahahaaa!"
My name is The Fan of All that is Evil, and I have found the will to live again! Eyahahahahahahaaa!
Panthro opens the fifth act: "I don't understand. This is where the Ratstar crashed."
Lion-O adds, "Then where is it?" Well, you wouldn't abandon the ThunderTank if it broke down, would you?
Okay, the entire cast of the show jumps out at this point, so I'll forget what I said about Cheetara being the conscience of the group, but not the idea of watching her sunbathe. They reason with entirely too much dialog I don't want to repeat that they must have towed the Ratstar. Lion-O looks with the sword and sees their Mutank. The Thundercats know what a Mutank is. Hmm.
Cheetara says, "You're not worried, are you, Panthro?"
Panthro E. Neuman: "Worried? Me? About a Mutank? No problem."
The Mutants are having their problems. "No, no you fools! Put the Vortex Shells inside the Mutank, and refuel the Mutank's core. Must I do everything myself?" Off in the distance, he hears the ThunderTank. "Thundercats! Thundercats are coming!"
Jackalman says, "What do they want?"
Monkian says, "I know what they'll get!"
Slythe, proving no amount of intimidation can break his authority-opposing spirit, says, "Now we shall see if the mighty Rataro is as big as he'd have us believe!"
Rataro is not amused. "Silence! Whatever they want, the Thundercats won't get it from us. Battle stations! We're going out to meet them." They all pile into the new Mutank, which is a half-track with the tracks in front, and large wheels with long spikes on the back, and two cockpits. "If they try to talk to us, blast them to bits!"
The ThunderTank approaches. Snarfer has second thoughts about this being a good idea, Snarf points out they have to if "we're going to get home." Snarfer says, "We?" Not exactly sure he wants his uncle to come back with him?
They spot the wreck of the Ratstar and the tank. Uh oh, it's moral time. Lion-O suggests bargaining with them, Panthro is skeptical, Lion-O says they should try anyway, and Tygra serves up the moral: "He's right, Panthro. If it will avoid a fight, we should try to talk."
"What if they won't listen?" "Then hit them over the head and take their stuff anyway—that's what we're here to do."
Nah, actually Panthro said yes, but be ready for anything they might do. It's obvious this is going to boil down to Rat Eyes versus Cat Eye, and the Show Ender of Omens will do its thing. Don't even try to say I spoiled it!
"So, we meet face-to-face, Lion-O."
Lion-O tries the dignified way to rip them off. What could they possibly have the Mutants would want enough to give up faster-than-light travel? "We've come to bargain with you, Mutants."
"A bargain? Do tell! But come closer, I don't hear so well." Meanwhile Monkian, Slythe, and Jackalman load one of the Vortex Shells they were carrying earlier. The shell locks into place with a loud click and Vultureman says, "Shhh, you fool."
Lion-O shouts, "Look out!"
Rataro shouts, "FIRE!"
The shell lands behind the ThunderTank, looking like a miss, but it turns into a mini-tornado that threatens the cats. Cheetara tries the cannon, but it has no effect. Panthro drives the tank forward, and locks its jaws onto the Mutank. Kit and Kat jump out and toss a couple explosive pellets into the twister, which succeeds in dispersing it. Now the two tanks are locked in combat, each moving sideways and spinning like an amusement park ride. Lion-O jumps free and makes a run for the Ratstar, Snarfs following closely behind.
Lion-O stops in front of the Ratstar. "Let's find the Mega-Condenser and get out of here before someone gets hurt." Yeah, or before Mandora comes along and arrests him for "Space Burglary." There is a snag, however. A big undead snag! "The Mega-Condenser should be right here—it's gone! Someone must have got here first." Well, wouldn't the logical assumption be the Mutants had removed the shiny valuable along with the shells? Why even guess at a third party being involved? The writers are not planning this very well, but then there are only five more minutes left before the final commercial break.
In a fit of maniacal undead laughter, Mumm-Ra appears, holding the part they want over his head. "It this what you want?"
"Give me that condenser, Mumm-Ra. It's no use to you." Right, keeping the Thundercats from flying into space is of no use to Mumm-Ra.
"You're wrong, whelp. I can use anything that will foil the Thundercats." Mumm-Ra fires his patented red lightning at Lion-O, who blocks it with his sword, reflecting it to the ceiling, and opening a hole. Mumm-Ra laughs and flies through it. Before he can leave, Lion-O fires a claw line that catches the mighty mummy's cape, and he is dragged along for the flight.
Meanwhile, Snarfer and his uncle are confronted by Rataro. "So, we meet again, wretched creature." He easily picks up Snarfer like a kitten and Osbert shouts, "Put him down!" He manages to trip Rataro with his tail and they both escape. Rataro looks up to see Mumm-Ra and Lion-O making off with his valuable part and says, "I'll deal with you two miserable slaves later." He proceeds to do the most interesting maneuver: he takes his daggers, puts them at his sides facing down, and fires beams at the ground that act like rockets, giving him the power of flight. Hey, I want a set of those!
Mumm-Ra is flying along and doesn't realize he's carrying excess baggage. Maybe that's a drawback to being undead or just too powerful. Lion-O climbs his line and tussles with Mumm-Ra, causing him to drop the condensor. I have a little problem here. Lion-O was essentially skydiving without a parachute from well over a hundred feet up. He lands as if he hopped off a curb. Lion-O gives a "Ho!," extending the sword.
Mumm-Ra isn't in the mood to fight today. "Curse you, Thundercat, and that sword of yours. Today is yours, but tomorrow shall always belong to Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living!" Lion-O watches him start to vanish in a plume of magenta lightning. He tries to run and takes a swipe with his sword, but too late, Mumm-Ra has vanished. He looks up to see Mumm-Ra reappear overhead, flying away.
Lion-O's attention returns to Third Earth and he starts looking for the condensor. Now it's time for the real fun to begin. The Eye warns him of impending danger, and sure enough, Rataro is standing over it! "If you want your precious condenser, you'll have to fight for it, youth!" Wait a moment. Shouldn't that line be: "If you want to steal my precious condensor…" lazy writers.
All right! Actual swordplay! We really don't get much of that in this show. It's a bit brief, but each blocks the moves of the other. Rataro does his energy cross maneuver, and tries to crush Lion-O like a Mutant lackey. Lion-O struggles against the bluish energy and can't hold onto his sword. Rataro laughs, "You're doomed, Lion-O!"
Lion-O calls the sword to his hand, clearly surprising Rataro who loses his concentration. Surely his daggers are capable of similar feats? Then again, I don't think the Sword of Omens can bring one a manacled Snarf.
Rataro says, "The Eye of Thundera is no match for the Rat's Eye!" Ah, so that's what they're called. Shouldn't that be plural since there's two of them? Eh, whatever. He holds them to his sides and fires two bright blue beams at the Eye of Thundera. Lion-O's sword withstands the attack, and when it's over, Lion-O sends up the signal. Surely he can take Rataro on by himself, yes? Seeing the cat signal, the others make short work of the Mutank: backing up and knocking it over. They briefly show the remaining Mutants running back to their castle.
Lion-O tries his own blue sword beam out on Rataro, and it makes him drop his Rat's Eyes. Strangely, he retreats and leaves his daggers behind. "You haven't seen the last of Rataro." I certainly hope not, he proved to be a worthy adversary. Since the cats stole his ship's part, he won't be leaving anytime soon.
Panthro and the others pull up, and Panthro says, "Guess you didn't need much help after all." The scene ends with a big "Thundercats, Ho!" featuring two Snarfs.
Back at the lair, it's time to fire up the Feliner. They ask Snarf Osbert what's wrong, and he says, "I might as well tell you all."
Cheety says, "Tell us what, Snarf?"
"I'm… I'm not coming back." HAPPY DANCE TIME!!!
The kids look shocked, and WilyKat says, "You're not coming back?"
"I'm going to stay with Snarfer on the Planet of Snarfs."
Panthro says, "You mean you're going to visit, to see your friends."
"No Panthro, I'm going to stay there, forever."
Lion-O says, "You're going to leave us?"
"Snarf! You can't mean it!"
"I do, Lion-O. I'm an old Snarf now. You don't need me anymore. Best to be with my family, snarf snarf."
Lion-O kneels and opens his arms. "But we do need you, Snarf."
"I've made up my mind."
Cheetara says, "If we're going, we have to go now. Otherwise we'll miss our orbital targets." Wow, actual science.
Osbert tearfully says, "Goodbye, Lion-O."
Lion-O likewise says, "Bye Snarf, I'll miss you." Awww, I haven't seen him like this since he was a kid.
The Feliner takes off with a leap, sort of like the ThunderTank in hopping mode. Lion-O and Tygra turn around to head back to the lair, Lion-O puts a finger up to his forehead, looking like he's ready to lose it. This, folks is the happiest moment…
Wait a minute. There's a pause, and the Feliner is landing again. Osbert hops off and says, "Lion-O, you're absolutely right. Snearf. What in Thundera would you do without me?"
"Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats!"
*sigh* Okay, for the first multi-part story since the Exodus movie, this really was a good two-part episode. I'm going to give it an exclamation point for being one of the best, reluctantly. Snarfer's presence, the revelation of a Planet of Snarfs, and making me think Snarf Osbert was being written out of the show don't outweigh the Mutant underling bashing, Rataro, the brief sword fighting, Mumm-Ra's brief but memorable involvement, and blatant thievery by the "good guys." It's a shame Mumm-Ra didn't interact with Rataro—that would have been interesting, as he wouldn't take orders from the mummy-dude. There's a good fight waiting to happen between those two.
As for the ending… my name is The Fan of All that is Evil. I still have the will to live, but I really need a stiff drink… I'm outta here!
Ever since the Welsh wrote of the blade "Caledfwlch" sometime around 1100, the magical sword went through many changes over the centuries. In one account, it blinded Arthur's enemies the first time he drew it in battle. The one who wore the sword's scabbard couldn't be injured, until Morgan le Fay stole and threw it in a lake, never to be seen again. Countless stories, poems, plays, and movies were written through the ages, as well as a certain animated television show featuring a red-haired cross between a lion and a man with a magical sword. Now, we shall see how they try to combine the ancient legend with the derived one. Here is Excalibur!
A story like this needs serious exposition, and it's delivered by none other than Mumm-Ra. He starts by going over his enemies and how overpowered their main weapon is. Really, what is an evil overlord to do when he's up against a weapon that is essentially "God Mode" as we call it in videogames? "The Eye of Thundera, the Sword of Omens… Lion-O and his wretched sword." Mumm-Ra narrates various scenes from past episodes. "He calls his mangy friends to his aid with it; he defeats my monster creations with it; he destroys the most powerful war machines on Third Earth with it; and those miserable Mutants are certainly no match for it."
"There must be something, some way of smashing the Sword of Omens forever." He growls in frustration. "Ancient Spirits of Evil, show me a way, tell me, speak to me… anything! Rrrragh!" Minor red lightning goes from his hands into the cauldron.
The spirits manifest as a fountain in the water that shifts in and out of a vaguely humanoid form. "There may be a way, Mumm-Ra. There once was a sword called Excalibur." The spirits provide a vision of a sword that comes down from the sky and impales itself in the floor of the hooded one's pyramid. It has a nice golden pommel and crossbars, and a darker handle that looks like brass with an interesting crystalline design (think modern Kryptonian.) At the center of the crossbars is a teal jewel. "It was created by the most powerful wizard the world has ever known: Merlin." We are treated to battle scenes of what appears to be medieval England. "It was a time of darkness, evil, and war."
Next, we see and hear Merlin himself. This version of Merlin looks like Bakshi's animated Gandalf the Gray with a long white beard, mustache, and wooden staff, but wearing the helmet of the Merlin we saw in that great '80s movie Excalibur. The beard, mustache, and parts of his robe are animated in a repeating loop, swaying up and down in a most annoying fashion. There are no mouth movements as he speaks. "Whoever plucks Excalibur from its stone will bring peace, justice, and happiness to this land." Merlin then disappears in a flare of golden light, and his form dissolves into the next scene where various people are trying to free the sword from the stone.
The evil spirits continue. "The most powerful warriors and knights failed to free the sword Excalibur. But then one day an unknown youth appeared, and drew the sword from the stone. So began the legend of King Arthur and Excalibur: the most powerful sword in history. He fought for justice and honor against all evil."
The next scene shows Arthur approaching a castle with the typical maiden in distress locked in an upper room. She says, "You cannot rescue me. Look! Those helmets are all that remain of anyone who has tried. Save yourself while you can." The drawbridge lowers, and an evil knight on a large dark horse charges out. Arthur dodges the charge and the knight dismounts, drops his pike, draws his own sword, and attacks quickly, wasting no time. This is a textbook example of how an evil character should behave. Curiously, as they battle, we see the knight's armor has a strange design on its front: a steel band running across the stomach area with jagged "teeth" and two triangular "eyes" colored red. Intimidating armor design or demonic creation? My money is on the latter, as the big knight starts getting the upper hand, forcing his blade downward on the defending Arthur until he's on his knees, his eyes glow red behind the helmet. As things start to look bad, Excalibur starts glowing, and produces a bright light that blinds the evil knight, forcing him back. Arthur then slices downward, cutting through the knight, and his shield. The knight is revealed to be an empty suit of armor, the castle behind him turns into a pile of rubble, and then a rock, and a rock shaped as an enormous tree trunk. Apparently the castle was an illusion of sorts, and the maiden comes out from behind the trunk. Pink flower blooms also appear where there once was barren land. Arthur gets the girl, and we go back to Mumm-Ra in the present.
"How can I gain possession of this mighty sword?"
The evil spirits continue. "When King Arthur's reign was ended, he ordered one of his knights, Sir Bedivere, to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake, where it waits through eternity." The image of the Lady of the Lake as a hand coming out of the water and grasping the sword dates back to at least 1894, but the image with the white scaly armor on her wrist seems copied from the Excalibur movie too.
Mumm-Ra asks, "Will Excalibur defeat the Sword of Omens?"
The good spirits think so. "Excalibur is the most powerful sword that ever existed, but, it will only reappear when King Arthur returns to reclaim his crown."
Mumm-Ra muses. "When King Arthur returns… when King Arthur returns? Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form, to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!" It's happy time, folks! "Give me the guise of noble King Arthur!" Mumm-Ra becomes the former king, complete with a crown and face-covering armor, and rides out from the pyramid. Approaching the lake, he steps in the water and says, "Lady of the Lake, I have returned to reclaim my kingdom and my sword, Excalibur!" The waters swirl, and fortunately for us, the Lady is rather easily fooled. "King Arthur" gets the sword, and the fun begins! "Lion-O, ha ha! Your time has come!" Excalibur creates a nice display of blue lightning, very similar to the way Mumm-Ra does his red lightning.
Now we see the Thundercats for the first time, a full nine minutes into the show. Not a trivial amount of setup for this episode. They emerge from the lair to meet the disguised one at the opposite end of the drawbridge. Lion-O shouts across the chasm, "Who are you?"
Arthur-Ra responds with, "Insolent boy. Is that a greeting to one who has journeyed through time to fight for truth, justice, honor, and loyalty?"
Lion-O looks serious. "The Code of Thundera!"
Panthro shouts, "How do you know about the Code of Thundera?"
"Your lord Jaga sent me here to aid you in ridding Third Earth of Mumm-Ra, and all of his evil."
Lion-O is skeptical. "If that's true…"
Arthur-Ra interrupts him. "You doubt my word? The word of a knight?"
Lion-O backs down. "I didn't mean to offend you. We would welcome anyone who would fight side-by-side with the Thundercats, especially someone known to Lord Jaga." They extend the bridge, Arthur dismounts, and uses Lion-O's shoulder as a step. Bwaahahahahaa! It's clear Mumm-Ra is enjoying himself here. "I'm sorry, youth. How clumsy of me." Heh heh heh.
In the meeting room, Snarf pulls out a chair and makes a mistake: putting his paw on the king's sword. He starts to say, "Let me take your sword," and is immediately backhanded, making him bounce off his head in a most satisfying way. This is an animated gif avatar waiting to be created. Heh heh.
Lion-O shouts, "Hey!"
"Oooh, I beg your pardon. Strange creature. I don't like anyone to touch my sword, I'm sure you understand."
Lion-O, staring hard, says, "Sure." but, smacking Snarf around for laughs is our job. Heh heh.
"Well, young Thundercat. I see you have a sword too. May I see it?"
Lion-O seems flustered. "Well… I…" - "He means the Sword of Omens, Lion-O." "Oh yeah. Here you go."
Arthur-Ra says, "No matter, no matter. Even from here I can see it's hardly a match for Excalibur."
Lion-O frowns, his manhood, or rather, swordhood being challenged by this bullyish knight.
Snarf says, "That's the Sword of Omens I'll have you know, snarf snarf."
Arthur laughs. "Sword of Omens? How quaint. Are you still training to be a knight?"
Lion-O has had enough. "Look, I don't know who you are or where you come from, but…"
Panthro cuts him off. "Easy, Lion-O. This stranger is our guest."
Arthur-Ra says, "Shouldn't someone be looking after my horse?"
"Snarf snarf… are you guys gonna take this?"
Lion-O says, "You certainly know how to rub people the wrong way, stranger." A true cattism if I ever heard one. "If you're going to join us in our fight to spread the Code of Thundera…"
Arthur-Ra cuts him off, laughing. "Me? Join you?"
Lion-O pounds the table. "I thought that's why you came here!"
Arthur, sounding more and more like Mumm-Ra every passing moment, says, "Insolent whelp! I am here to command you, to fight for me."
"I don't think you understand…"
"You have no choice, cub! You and your worthless friends will fight under my banner."
"Now just wait a minute!"
"You dare argue with a knight?" I think he should have said "king" here, but whatever works.
"I dare to…"
"Then let your toy sword speak for you!" He takes off his gloves, smacks Lion-O's face on both sides with them, and drops them on the floor at his feet. Arthur-Ra walks off and says, "Unless your courage fails you, we will meet at dawn." The scene makes an interesting shift as we head for the commercial break: the image of the exiting "King Arthur" with Lion-O looking on in the background is frozen and shaded to look like a painting. That would make a fine desktop wallpaper in my opinion.
Next, we have a nicely rendered scene where Arthur has set up a railing with not three lances, but three spears! That's gonna hurt. It's sort of a makeshift list field, but something tells me this won't be an ordinary joust.
In the lair, watching from the central window over the entrance, Panthro, Cheetara, and Tygra look on. Panthro says, "Where's Lion-O? He should be there by now."
Tygra says, "He'll be there."
Cheetara offers the women's sensible point of view: "The whole thing's ridiculous. He's fighting to save his pride."
Panthro says, "He had no choice, Cheetara."
"Of course he had a choice! He could have walked away. He's just lowering himself to that… that madman's level." Well yeah, what fun would it be if he walked away? I don't even see Tygra arguing against it.
Arthur-Ra calls out, "So much for your champion, Thundercats. He doesn't even have the courage to show." Cowardly lion huh? Nah.
A shiver goes up the spines of all as we hear, "Reeow, don't speak too soon, snyarf snyarf!"
"How appropriate. A mongrel servant for…"
Lion-O appears, clearly not outfitted for a proper joust. He's in his normal "protective clothing" as Jaga called it, but no armor to speak of. He's also riding a unicorn which is also unprotected. I don't think the Unicorn Keepers would appreciate this. Lion-O stares for a moment, Arthur's eyes glow red, and Lion-O on unicornback charges down the hill. Arthur-Ra grabs a spear and charges, Lion-O grabs one from his end as well, and it's game on!
There is another neat still-painting transition as the two combatants meet in the middle—another nice touch from the Japanese animation crew here. There are nice insert shots showing: Lion-O's spear knocking Arthur's shield away and the tip of Arthur's spear shattering and breaking off on Lion-O's claw shield. In an animation gaffe, we can see the tip of Arthur-Ra's spear is still intact as the scene continues.
Lion-O shouts, "Honor is satisfied!" Riiight. "The joust is finished!"
Arthur-Ra answers with, "We'll finish it, Thundercat, the moment I have a lance." Now we see him throwing away the broken lance… I mean "spear." Okay, the word "lance" can mean a spear, but I'm using "spear" to differentiate between the blunt lances that are normally used in these contests. Jousting with steel-tipped spears is far more dangerous and entertaining.
Lion-O shouts, "Here's your lance!" and throws red spear number two towards Arthur-Ra. He rides, picks it up, and the joust is on! This time, in a show of physics I don't quite understand, both spears break against each other and both combatants are thrown off their mounts. Lion-O lands gracefully with a somersault and Arthur-Ra lands hard on his back. The horse and unicorn exit the scene in different directions.
Now it gets personal. Arthur-Ra jumps on the railing and draws Excalibur, and it makes a nice bluish flaming slice through the air. Lion-O takes out his sword with a "ho," fully extending it, and tries to block the charging Arthur-Ra with the wide red beam of the eye we saw in the Feliner episode. After a brief standoff, we have some serious swordfighting, or at least the hollywood version of it as Historical European Martial Arts had yet to be rediscovered (look it up!)
As Lion-O and Arthur-Ra are hacking away at each other's swords amidst displays of electric sparks, Cheetara says, "We should stop this!"
Panthro counters with, "No. It's a matter of honor. Lion-O got into this, he has to get out by himself."
Tygra adds, "He'd never forgive us if he intervened." And neither would we, heh heheh heh.
The fight escalates, and is by far the best swordfight I've seen in this series so far. Then, it gets weird. Excalibur flies out of Arthur-Ra's hands, and the Sword of Omens flies out of Lion-O's hands. Everyone watches stunned as the swords continue to fight on their own, then start flying at each other. Excalibur fires red energy which misses, then Omens fires blue energy which also misses. It's a little like watching radio controlled airplanes fight. This silly aerial battle continues for some time until the Sword of Omens fires its red eye-beam, and Excalibur is repelled. The Sword of Omens charges and fires, but misses. Then, Excalibur swoops down and stabs the Sword of Omens right in the Eye of Thundera!
There is a large release of energy, the Sword of Omens falls to the ground, the eye opens all the way revealing the Thundercat insignia, and the insignia vanishes in stripes like a TV being switched off. The Eye of Thundera is now officially dead: a plain red circle. The same thing happens to the insignias that everyone wears, and they collapse one by one. Excalibur lands in the ground nearby like a spear, and the contest is over. Mumm-Ra has won, the Thundercats reveal themselves to be dependent on the sword for not only defeating evil, but apparently the ability to stand and function. The insignia on the front of the lair goes dark, and Lion-O, as far as I'm concerned, is officially knocked out.
Mumm-Ra never sounded so gleeful: "So much for the Eye of Thundera—the source of the Thundercats' power. Ha haa haa haa haaa! No match for mighty Excalibur! No match for mighty Mumm-Ra!"
Lion-O comes around, forces himself to look up, and says, "Mumm-Ra!"
Arthur-Ra says, "Yes, Lion-O. Mumm-Ra. Now you will feel Excalibur's blade, and Third Earth will be mine forever!"
You can all turn off your televisions and go to sleep happy at this point.
Mumm-Ra tries to pull Excalibur from the ground but can't. It glows and resists him, and Mumm-Ra tries to command it to obey him. The sword's light drives him back and shatters his disguise, leaving Mumm-Ra in his bandaged lesser form.
Merlin appears in front of the sword and walks towards the fallen Mumm-Ra. "Fool! Did you think that the greatest sword of all time would serve your evil purposes?" Well, it did the trick up until this point. Merlin picks Excalibur from the ground and says, "Your brief moment of glory is over. Get back to your dark sarcophagus!" He points the sword at Mumm-Ra and drives him away with a blast of red lightning. How humiliating!
Merlin points Excalibur at the dead Eye of Thundera and fires a bright, colorful beam into it, bringing the Sword of Omens back to life, followed by the Thundercats.
Lion-O stands, Snarf circles around him thanking Jaga, and it's time for another, "Who are you?"
"Insolent boy. Is that a greeting to one who has beaten your worst enemy just as he was about to kill you and brought your little sword back to life?"
Okay, maybe Merlin didn't exactly say that.
"I am the wizard Merlin. Excalibur is yours now, you must decide its fate."
Lion-O asks, "Where did Mumm-Ra get it?"
"From the Lady of the Lake, who has guarded Excalibur for thousands of years."
Lion-O, in a fit of smarm, doesn't even think of keeping it. "Then Merlin, you must return it." He extends and plants the Sword of Omens in the ground. "We have a sword that fights for justice, truth, honor, and loyalty: the Code of Thundera." The sword projects the signal into the sky, so while that scene is familiar, this is what could be called a "Thunder, thunder, Thundercats ho"-free episode.
Merlin simply says, "So be it." and walks off. Everyone shouts a "Thundercats ho!" and that is that.
At the lair, Lion-O watches with Sight Beyond Sight® as Merlin returns the sword to the lake.
Snarf asks the question we all have: "But why didn't you keep it, Lion-O? snarf snarf."
"Because as powerful as it is, it can't show me Cheetara in the shower. Ooops!"
Wait, that wasn't the right line.
"I had to return it."
"But you won it. Merlin gave it to you."
"No he didn't, Snarf. He said I had to decide, and I told him to return it to the Lady of the Lake." Uh, I distinctly heard Merlin say, "Excalibur is yours now."
"Because I didn't earn it." Meaning, he didn't inherit it like he did his own sword?
"You beat Mumm-Ra!" Snarf? You have a short memory. Mumm-Ra won, and only lost because of Merlin's timely (or rather, conveniently delayed) appearance.
Lion-O says, "I should never have fought him. Cheetara was right. I let him get to me, and until I can control that, I've got a long way to go." Good, he admits his weakness, and until he can control that, we'll have lots more entertainment. Apparently Cheetara tried to have a little talk with him between the place where Arthur-Ra walked out and the next morning where the challenge began. Lion-O looks in the sword again and watches Merlin toss Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake, and hopefully she will be a little more wise before letting anyone in a suit of armor claim it again, not that it does much good for good evil-minded people. Heh heh heh.
For extended swordfighting, Mumm-Ra action, storytelling, a look at what happens when the Eye of Thundera is destroyed, and Snarf getting backhanded, I gave this episode an exclamation point for being one of the best. This is the last of a nice trilogy of best-of episodes that started with The Demolisher and included The Feliner, despite the nightmarish revelations it entailed. All in all, a nice string of Snarf abuse… I mean… good episodes.
I want to point out an old favorite of mine: in 1999, the German band Grave Digger did a good metal rendition of King Arthur's story in an album also called "Excalibur." Check it out!