Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 6: The Terror of Hammerhand

In this disturbingly random and trippy tale, the Thundercats protect unicorns from vikings.

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We open on some unicorns frolicking in the surf, when out of the fog a ship emerges! It has kind of a viking motif, but isn’t a traditional viking longship, having a much greater displacement, decks, and landing boats. But what the ship lacks in authenticity it makes up for in eye-beams.

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The figurehead of the ship tries to zap the unicorns with its eye-beams, but only manages to scare them off. The clumsiest of the unicorns, however, gets stuck in some vines and trips.

We cut to the deck of the ship, where we meet Hammerhand, leader of the Berserkers. The Berserkers all say things three times, the way Jimmy Two-Times says things two times. “We’re beached, we’re beached, we’re beached!” one of the berserkers informs us.

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Hammerhand, a glass-half-full sort of guy, figures that they’ll have enough water to get free at high tide, and in the mean time they can chow down on a tasty unicorn. Meanwhile, Snarf has stumbled upon the trapped unicorn. Since Lion-O isn’t around, he goes off to help the unicorn by himself. He gets the unicorn free just as the Berserkers are getting close, and tells the unicorn to run while he creates a distraction.

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A Berserker throws a net, but misses the unicorn. Hammerhand isn’t too happy that it got away, but figures they can catch Snarf and eat him for a snack. Snarf objects to being called a snack, but it doesn’t matter because he gets caught in a net. He was caught in a net back in episode 1, too. Are they trying to make getting caught in nets, like, a character thing for Snarf?

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The Berserkers take Snarf back to their ship, and decide to make him into a pack animal, since he looks too unnatural to eat. Well that makes sense, when I look at an animal the size of a large housecat my first thought is always “how much can he haul?”. Snarf gives them some backtalk, and tries to surreptitiously pick up a mace from the deck, but hammerhand smashes the mace with his giant metal hand. Hammerhand, it turns out, still has a hankering for unicorn meat, so he orders Snarf loaded up with supplies, and they set out to find some dinner.

Meanwhile, Lion-O is wandering through the forest. Hearing the panicked cries of an animal, Lion-O finds a unicorn in the clutches of an evil tree (a black bird is also watching, which will become important later). With the unicorn that was trapped by vines earlier, and now this one in the clutches of an evil tree, it has become apparent that plant life is like kryptonite for unicorns. Who knew?

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Lion-O attacks the tree, which seems rather jolly, if its big smile and constant laughter are anything to go by. Lion-O cuts the unicorn free with his sword, but is grabbed himself. Lion-O leaps into the air to better attack the tree, but while he’s up there that black bird swoops in and snatches the Sword of Omens right out of Lion-O’s hand. Also, the bird is gigantic, which was not clear earlier.

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Lion-O uses the Claw Shield to cut himself free from the tree, and then goes over to talk to the unicorn. He tells the unicorn that it will be fine, but laments his swordless condition. The unicorn magically materializes a ring on its horn, and Lion-O puts it on his finger.

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The unicorn (I think) then teleports Lion-O onto the bird’s back. They wrestle for the sword for a while, but Lion-O gets it eventually, and the bird drops him from treetop height, and Lion-O casually lands with a little flip. As Lion-O is sarcastically bidding the bird farewell, the Eye of Thundera alerts him to a Thundercat in danger. He uses the sight-beyond-sight feature of the sword and sees that another unicorn wasn’t captured by the Berserkers, but that Snarf was. Uh, interesting choice of images there, Sword, and nice timing, too. Lion-O has had enough time to fight both an evil tree and a giant bird since that happened. He runs off to find the beach.

We cut to some unicorn keepers, who are concerned that two of their charges are missing.

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They have one of those “as you know, Bob”-style exposition conversations:

Female Unicorn Keeper: It is our job to guard them
Male Unicorn Keeper: And keep them from harm
Female Unicorn Keeper: And so we shall

It’s lucky for us that they had this conversation, though, since otherwise we’d be completely in the dark about who these characters are. Or what purpose they serve in the story (which, as far as I can tell, is very little).

Meanwhile, the Berserkers are tracking the unicorn footprints in the sand, and true to their word they have packed Snarf up with all of their gear.

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Lion-O stumbles upon the unicorn keepers, and they threaten to cast a spell on him, but he tells the story about how he freed a unicorn from a tree-monster, with some handy video assistance from the sight-beyond-sight of the Sword of Omens. He explains that he’s looking for Snarf, which gets the little unicorn’s attention (that’s the one that Snarf helped earlier). However, this doesn’t really come to anything, since the berserkers barge in. Hammerhand is rather annoyed that Snarf and Lion-O know each other: “Oh! So! You know each other! Bad, bad, bad! Your so-called Snarf will fall to the hammer hand of Hammerhand if you do not lower that sword.” Snarf takes this opportunity to dump the stuff he’s been carrying onto one of the Berserkers and run over to Lion-O. Lion-O switches the sword to long mode, and he and Hammerhand fight.

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Hammerhand gets in a good shot and disarms Lion-O, but Lion-O leaps into the air and essentially flies over to the sword. OK, now I can kind of understand why the animators on The Superfriends sometimes forgot that The Flash couldn’t fly, but why are these animators forgetting that Lion-O can’t fly? In any event, Snarf has once again been netted. Hammerhand feels that he ought to go berserk and settle things with Lion-O now, but decides that eating unicorns is the better part of valor, and settles for capturing the little one and dragging it and Snarf away. While Lion-O is swearing to find the baby unicorn, the Unicorn keepers notice the ring on his hand.

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The female unicorn keeper explains that no man has ever worn that ring. Yeah, I wasn’t going to say anything Lion-O, but it is kind of girly. Lion-O chases after the Berserkers, and catches sight of them taking their boat out to their ship. He figures he’ll have to catch up with them somehow. And he decides to take an abandoned boat that happens to be a few feet away on the beach. The boat proves leaky, however, and he promptly abandons it.

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And then swims into a giant whirlpool.

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Meanwhile, on the Berserker’s ship, Snarf and the unicorn are tied to the mast down in the hold. Snarf tries to use his prehensile tail to get a battleaxe that is sitting nearby, but he can’t quite reach it. The unicorn catches on and helps him get it, and Snarf uses the axe to break their bonds. They sneak up to the deck and contemplate jumping into the water, but the Berserkers catch sight of them before they can do it.

Back underwater, Lion-O’s ring glows, and he swims to the surface near the Berserker’s ship. Oh, I get it! It’s one of those Magic Rings of Teleportation and Whirlpool Escaping that I’ve heard so much about. I feel kind of dumb for not realizing that earlier. Lion-O boards the ship, and does a lot of dodging as the Berserkers attack him. And I feel compelled to remind the animators again that Lion-O can’t fly.

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Lion-O chops the sail away from the mast with his sword, and grabs on to the mast. Hammerhand punches the mast, which knocks Lion-O down to the deck. After dodging a few more of Hammerhand’s punches, Lion-O climbs the mast again, but this time Hammerhand decides to chase him up. Snarf urges Lion-O to summon the other Thundercats, but in his agitation Snarf falls overboard and the baby unicorn jumps in after him. Lion-O, Sword of Omens in his teeth, dives into the water from the top of the mast to rescue Snarf. Lion-O decides he does need to call the other Thundercats, since he’s not going to be able to fight the Berserkers from the water.

Panthro and Cheetara are wandering around outside Cat’s Lair near the Thundertank when they see the signal, so they hop in and head out to find Lion-O. They seem to arrive at the beach pretty quickly.

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Luckily, Panthro made a modification to the tank last week and didn’t tell anybody. The Thundertank is both amphibious and submersible now. Convenient!

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Panthro manages to get Lion-O and Snarf in the mouth of the Thundertank, and gets the baby unicorn with a second pass. The Berserkers take some potshots at the tank with the eyebeams from the ship’s figurehead, and Cheetara returns fire with the Thundertank’s cannon. Cheetara takes out the figurehead, and then Panthro starts driving in circles around the ship.

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This creates a whirlpool, or something, which causes the ship to founder, presumably killing most or all of the Berserkers. Lion-O and Snarf take the baby unicorn home, and Lion-O returns his Magic Ring of Teleportation and Whirlpool Escaping.

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The unicorn gives Lion-O a final soulful look, and we fade out to the end credits.

Afterthoughts

OK, what was with all the pointless sequential side stories? Evil tree? Sword-stealing bird? Leaky boat? Whirlpool? It’s like the writers only had ten minutes of story, and decided to beef it up with a bunch of random crap. And the story they did have was resolved with a new deus ex machina that Panthro had recently, secretly installed.

However, we did learn that vikings like to eat unicorns, so it was at least educational.

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2 Responses to Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 6: The Terror of Hammerhand

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s just slightly possible tat Thundera had lower gravity than Third Earth.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I meant that, not tat

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