Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 2: The Unholy Alliance

Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose! Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thundercats are loose! This episode, originally a continuation of the opening episode of the series, operates at a slower pace and lets us get to know the villains a bit better.

We open on Lion-O, Snarf, and Cheetara lounging about, discussing their new planet. Their shirking is interrupted by the shouting of Panthro, who has been scavenging the wreck of their crashed spaceship for useful parts, and not finding too much of value.

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One rapid mood swing later, Panthro declares that things look “not too bad, all in all”. He believes he’ll be able to scrounge enough metal and machinery from the wreckage to build a Thundertank.Wilykit and Wilykat, meanwhile, have discovered that none of their space rations were damaged in the crash, so their food supplies are plentiful.

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Snarf is excited at the prospect of eating, but party pooper Tygra demands that they unload the heavy gear before having any food. I can understand that. I mean, it’s not like their bodies have been in suspended animation for a long time with no access to nutrients. Oh, wait, it is. Maybe snacks should be higher on the priority list? Meanwhile, the mutants are flying their spaceship around. They are unimpressed by the planet, and Jackalman compares it unfavorably to Plun-Darr.

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Back at the Thundercats’ ship, lazy-ass Lion-O is trying to get out of unpacking duty by volunteering to “scout around”. Tygra goes into full enabler mode and claims that this plan makes sense, since Lion-O is Lord of the Thundercats, and that their safety is his top priority. He does suggest that Lion-O take the Sword of Omens and the Claw Shield with him.

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After Lion-O wanders off, the other Thundercats question the wisdom of Tygra’s decision. Tygra points out, however, that Lion-O just spent ten “galacto-years” in a suspension capsule. While inside he may have grown larger, but he hasn’t had the life experiences that would allow him to mature. It’s true that those galacto-years are some of the most important galacto-years of your life.

Back on the mutants’ ship they are unimpressed by the unindustrialized nature of the planet. Their interest is piqued however, by some Egyptian-looking ruins. Slythe is concerned that if they dilly-dally too long with the sightseeing the Thundercats will have time to build an impregnable fortress. His plan, it turns out, is to build a base of their own, Castle Plun-Darr! Why he plans to build a base when their entire mission is a simple snatch-and-grab job is beyond me. We are also at this point made intimately familiar with Slythe’s speech pattern, which is to append “yesssss?” on to the end of every sentence, yes? It can get kind of annoying, yes? But it does make him a distinctive character, yes? However, up ahead, Jackalman has spotted a desert and… something else. (Psst, Jackalman, it’s a pyramid). They’re alarmed, however, when they fly over the pyramid and are caught in some kind of energy discharge from the surrounding obelisks.

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This has the effect of blasting them out of the sky, and they crash in the nearby desert. Pissed off, they decide to head over to the pyramid to give the owner a good talking to. Jackalman is reluctant at first, but Slythe exclaims, “and you call yourself a mutant? We are the fear makers, not the ones who fear.” I believe that was in FDR’s first draft, before he switched to “nothing to fear but fear itself”. When they approach the pyramid, however, a doorway magically appears, and a voice invites them inside. Like any good host, it sends a floating, glowing green sphere to show them the way. It leads them past some egyptian-style hieroglyphics into the heart of the pyramid.

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Jackalman and Monkian are a bit put off by the spooky surroundings, but Slythe claims that, far from being fear-inducing, the surroundings are quite pleasant. Spotting some giant freaky statues, the mutants speculate that perhaps an acient race of mutants constructed the pyramid. Their eyes are also drawn to a casket inside a big skull-looking thing. But there’s still no sign of the person who invited them in.

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Suddenly, the casket slides open, and the occupant announces, “as long as evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!” It turns out that he’s a creepy mummy dude in a robe.

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Mumm-Ra explains that he is aware of who the mutants are, and what their mission is here on Third Earth. It turns out that he is also interested in getting his hands on the Eye of Thundera, and he claims to be willing to work together to get it. Slythe is skeptical that Mumm-Ra knows anything about the Eye, but Mumm-Ra claims to have known about it for a thousand years, back when the planet was still First Earth. Uh, what? First Earth, Third Earth? You might want to fill us in on the backstory there, Mumm-Ra. And he could be completely full of it on this whole “knowing about it for a thousand years” thing. I’m sure that when his friends throw him surprise parties, he’s like “I have known about this party for a thousand years!”

Jackalman and Monkian don’t seem too impressed by Mumm-Ra, even when he causes a minor earthquake to demonstrate his power. Monkian points out that they can just use the communication module in their ship to call in an air strike from the other mutants, which would destroy Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. Mumm-Ra, however, shows them via cauldron-vision that their ship just sank into the sand.

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Without their ship, the mutants are stranded on Third Earth, and dependent on Mumm-Ra. The mutants, having no other option, and perhaps charmed a little by Mumm-Ra’s rich, plummy voice, agree to work together to get the Eye. Mumm-Ra switches the cauldron to the Lion-O show, and they see that he’s alone, and vulnerable to ambush. Mumm-Ra, via voiceover, reveals that he suspects that the mutants don’t believe he’s capable of leaving his tomb. It turns out that he is capable of leaving, but there’s a price he pays for doing so, and he isn’t eager for anyone to learn about that part of it. Rather than giving the mutants directions, Mumm-Ra decides to use his magic to telport the mutants to Lion-O directly.

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Lion-O seems to be using a pretty generous definition of scouting, and we fade in on him playing with his sword, shouting “have at you, varlet!” and the like. He spots some delicious animals and decides to do some hunting.

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The sword has other ideas, and flies out of his hand and embeds itself in the ground. The ghost of Jaga appears, and explains that the sword objects to senseless destruction, since it only exists to combat evil.

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After Jaga leaves, the Eye seems to indicate that something is going on. Lion-O suspects that the sword is trying to warn him of some sort of danger, so he looks through the part of the hilt that he usually uses for sight beyond sight. He spots the mutants teleporting in!

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It turns out, however, that he probably could have been using just regular sight to spot the danger here.

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There’s a scuffle, and Lion-O tries to use his “thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” to summon the others, but the quick-thinking Slythe covers his mouth before he can get to the “HO!”.

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Unfortunately for the mutants, Slythe’s hand slips off in the struggle for the sword, and Lion-O is able to bust out the “Thundercats HO!” part, alerting the others.

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Tygra and Cheetara are away looking for a good place to build the Cat’s Lair, so Panthro and Wilykit and Kat will need to handle this one. However, once they do arrive Lion-O wants them to stay out of the fight since he figures he can handle the situation on his own. With the arrival of more Thundercats however, the mutants decide they are overmatched and flee yet again. Mumm-Ra teleports them out of there. The Thundercats are surprised, since the mutants generally require ships overhead to teleport. Lion-O is concerned that Tygra and Cheetara didn’t respond to the Thundercat signal, so he decides to go look for them.

Back at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, he lays into the mutants for failing in their mission, despite their previous big talk. It turns out that Mumm-Ra can dish it out but can’t take it, and totally flips out when the mutants imply that he wouldn’t be able to do any better.

“Ancient spirits of evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever Living!”

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I hear that John McCain’s image consultants wanted him to call on the ancient spirits of evil to transform his decayed form when he started slipping in the polls against Obama, but he wouldn’t go for it.

In his search for Tygra and Cheetara, Lion-O has stumbled onto a tar pit.

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Now, have you ever gotten “the giggles”, and just been unable to stop laughing, even when it’s inappropraite? I think that happened to Mumm-Ra for this next scene. The Eye alerts Lion-O to danger, and he turns to find Mumm-Ra appearing in a whirlwind, laughing like a mental patient. Lion-O’s first instinct is to summon the other Thundercats, but he thinks better of that, figuring that he needs to be more self-reliant. Lion-O charges Mumm-Ra, who laughs, and uses his bat wings/cape to knock the sword from Lion-O’s hand into the tar pit, which sets off another round of laughing. Lion-O retrieves the sword, and charges Mumm-Ra again, but Mumm-Ra easily dodges by leaping into the air.

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Still laughing, Mumm-Ra introduces himself, and declares that he can’t be destroyed. Lion-O now decides that he really needs the help, so he tries to summon the Thundercats. However, when he tries, it doesn’t work. The tar from the tar pit has covered the Eye!

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Mumm-Ra, still laughing like a loon, presses his attack. But, just as he’s about to finish Lion-O off, Lion-O interposes his Claw Shield, and Mumm-Ra catches sight of his reflection in the shiny surface!

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So, the Claw Shield is shiny and reflective? Thanks for not establishing that critical point before it was relevant, show! Now, Mumm-Ra’s reflection, in addition to being the decayed rather than ever-living form, is also distorted like a fun-house mirror and is accompanied by a goofy sound effect. Mumm-Ra, horrified, flies away.

Meanwhile, Cheetara thinks she heard the Thundercat roar earlier and is nagging Tygra to come check it out with her (she probably also thinks she left the oven on back at the ship). Attracted by the battle cries, they get to Lion-O shortly after Mumm-Ra flies off, and are quickly joined by the rest of the Thundercats as well.

Back at the pyramid, Mumm-Ra flies in, and goes through the reverse transformation back to his mummy-dude form, and silently goes back to his sarcophagus, leading the mutants to believe that he’s maybe not quite as big a badass as he had claimed.

Finally, the Thundercats are standing around contemplating the aftermath of the battle.

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Lion-O has deduced that Mumm-Ra’s reflection drove him off, but opines that Mumm-Ra feared nothing. “Except the evil in its own unspeakable face”, offers Tygra. Maybe Mumm-Ra just needs a good plastic surgeon, and then he’d be invincible.

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4 Responses to Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 2: The Unholy Alliance

  1. […] Dan Maruschak’s Blog Writing Wrongs « Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 2: The Unholy Alliance […]

  2. […] It turns out that the mutants are using these slaves to build Castle Plun-Darr, something Slythe has been wanting for a while. […]

  3. […] to mine fire rocks for a hundred mega-years (I wonder if a mega-year is longer or shorter than a galacto-year). Fire rocks were banned because their power was too difficult to control. Tygra notes the […]

  4. […] Even though the Mutants plan has been blown to hell, they decide to attack anyway. They are quickly and easily defeated, as usual. Lion-O wonders why the Mutants even bother attacking the Thundercats, since they never win. Back at Castle Plun-Darr, Jackalman is upset about how humiliating it is to be constantly defeated. They’ve apparently decided to blame this failure on the advanced Technology that the Thundercats have access to. They claim that Mutant technology is just as good as Thundercat technology, if not better. The difference is that the Thundercats were able to salvage most of their technology from their spaceship, while the Mutants’ technology is buried beneath the desert of sinking sands, where it has been since episode 2. […]

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