Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 16: The Fireballs of Plun-Darr

Double-O-Tygra foils the deadly scheme of M.U.T.A.N.T.

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We open on a close-up of Tygra running. He’s headed toward a raging forest fire.

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The fire is in the forest that contains the Treetop Kingdom, home of the Warrior Maidens. And the fires appear to be caused by giant blue fireballs that fall from the sky. Suddenly, Willa swings in on a vine and tries a flying tackle on Tygra, but he rolls with it and throws her off.

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Tygra wants to know why Willa attacked him. She apologizes, and says she’s been chasing shadows all day since the bombardment started. She’s annoyed that her people keep getting caught in the middle of the war between the Mutants and the Thundercats. She explains that the bombardment began before dawn, and we get a nice flashback of hot fireball action.

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As they talk, Monkian flies in on a skycutter. He extends some buzzsaws from the wings, which chop down trees as he flies past them.

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Monkian tries to get Tygra and Willa with the blades, but Tygra knocks Willa out of the way just in time. Monkian comes around for another pass, but Tygra leaps into the air over the skycutter, wraps the end of his whip around Monkian, and pulls him off.

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They let Monkian run away, and the skycutter uses a remote guidance system to fly off on its own. Willa notices that the bombardments have stopped, and Tygra hypothesizes that Monkian was acting as the spotter. Tygra enlists Willa into helping him find the source of the fireballs. Willa: “All right, but where do we look?” Tygra: “Straight into the very soul of evil, Castle Plun-Darr”.

We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Lion-O is unable to concentrate because he senses that something is wrong. Panthro explains that Tygra went out on a scouting mission regarding the Mutants, and Lion-O feels that Tygra shouldn’t have gone alone.

We cut to Castle Plun-Darr. Willa doesn’t like the look of things in general, but Tygra alerts her to something even more alarming.

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The wings of the castle unfold, and the big mouth opens, revealing the fireball launcher!

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“It’s a great ball of liquid fire!” Willa exclaims. Tygra doesn’t think they were being shot at specifically, but suspects the fireball was part of a programmed defense system. Since the normal approach is too dangerous, Tygra suggests an alternative. He uses his whip to create a tight-rope style line across the outer moat of the castle. He crawls along the whip, calling for Willa to follow behind him.

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A fireball shoots out of the launcher again, and Tygra narrowly avoids it. Willa is using a more conventional tight-rope walking technique.

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She gets almost all the way to the end before she loses her balance, but Tygra catches her and pulls her up. They still need to cross the inner moat (I’m not really clear on the layout of this place, and if there are really supposed to be two moats, but that’s the way it seems). Tygra tells Willa that he’ll go the rest of the way himself. She wants to go, too, but he tells her he needs her to be his backup on the outside. Plus, he can turn invisible.

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Tygra’s plan is to swim the moat and find an underwater intake pipe that leads into the castle. We pan up and zoom into the red eyes of Castle Plun-Darr and see that they are windows into the Mutants’ control room.

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Slythe spotted a blue flash (apparently that was Tygra turning invisible, although he doesn’t usually flash blue when he does that in other episodes) near the moat. Monkian is quick to dismiss it, but Slythe is not so easily deterred. He explains that the water in the moat is infused with Phosphor-R (apparently they found some new slaves to complete that project, since the brutemen that built Castle Plun-Darr back in episode 4 hadn’t finished that feature before they were freed by the Thundercats). Slythe is able to use a viewscreen to spot Tygra swimming in the moat, despite his invisibility power, thanks to the Phosphor-R.

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Monkian wants to throw a charge in and blow him to a pulp. Good plan! Slythe, however, wants to use the nose-diver. He wants to chew Tygra up with the roto-grinder.

We see Tygra swimming in the moat, and he thinks he’s close to the intake pipe he’s been looking for. He sees the nose-diver coming, though, and starts to swim away from it. Slythe attacks, and narrowly misses grinding up Tygra with the spinning blades on the nose of the nose-diver.

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Slythe comes around for another pass, but Tygra pulls a large rock from the wall behind him and throws it at the nose-diver. The rock is ground up, but the rock chunks clog up the output of the grinding apparatus at the back of the nose-diver, which then explodes.

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Tygra swims into the water intake pipe he found earlier, but his whip is accidentally knocked lose, which causes him to turn visible again.

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He swims on anyway, but the pipe has bars across it. He tries to head back out, but more bars fall from the ceiling, trapping him in! We cut inside Castle Plun-Darr, where they have a giant mechanical arm holding a section of pipe, as well as some huge escalators. The Mutants ride down the escalator, and Slythe is excited to see what they’ve caught in the pipe. Jackalman pulls some levers, and the pipe splits open to drop out Tygra, trapped in a cylindrical cage. Slythe orders Tygra taken up to “the four winds”, and the mechanical arm puts the cage on an escalator, and the Mutants ride upstairs with him.

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We cut back outside to Willa, who is concerned that Tygra is taking so long. She retrieves his floating whip from the moat, and knows that it means trouble, but isn’t sure what to do.

We cut back to the Mutants, in one of the upper chambers of the castle. Slythe explains the principle behind the “four winds”. It is four spring-loaded catapults that meet in the center. He calls for a sandbag to demonstrate it. No! Slythe! I know you’ve got a super-weapon now with the fireball launcher, but don’t give in to Bond Villain-itis! You don’t need an elaborate death-trap to kill Tygra! And you certainly don’t need specially designed sandbags to demonstrate just how deadly your death-traps are! Sigh.

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The sandbag is essentially drawn-and-quartered by the device. The Mutants strap Tygra in, and then Slythe affixes a device to the control lever. “When the first rays of the sun strike this solar mirror it will trigger the catapults”. Why, Slythe, why? Just pull the lever! Rather than following my eminently sensible advice, Slythe just laughs his evil laugh and leaves, confident that everything will go to plan.

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We cut to Cat’s Lair, where it’s dark outside. Snarf finds Lion-O and comments on how early he is up. Lion-O tells Snarf that he never went to sleep, he’s worried about Tygra. Suddenly, the Eye of Thundera alerts him to a Thundercat in danger. Good timing there, Eye. If the Mutants weren’t so overly dramatic, Tygra would be dead by now. Lion-O uses sight-beyond-sight to see the highlights of Tygra’s adventure so far, and hears Tygra calling to Lion-O for help. Lion-O immediately leaps out the window, anchors the Claw Shield to the window sill, and repels down the side of Cat’s Lair on a chain that extends from the shield.

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As Lion-O arrives at Castle Plun-Darr, Willa warns Lion-O to dodge the fireballs, and shows him that she found Tygra’s whip in the moat. She recounts Tygra’s attempt to get into the castle, from her perspective. Lion-O figures that he needs to get inside, but Willa is concerned that, since it’s daybreak (dun dun dun!!!) they will be highly visible. We do a quick cut to Tygra, showing that he doesn’t have long before the sun hits Slythe’s solar mirror.

Back with Lion-O and Willa, Lion-O realizes that he doesn’t have his Claw Shield (because you left it back at the lair when you jumped out the window, doofus), which will make it harder for him to scale the walls. Willa isn’t too concerned, since she has her own solution. She pulls a furry brown ball out of a pouch, and legs and a head pop out of it. Lion-O is freaked out, and wants to know what it is. “A giant treetop spider. This one’s name is Bushie.” (I wonder what its position is on civil liberties and counter-terrorism.)

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The spider objects to Lion-O calling the spider “he” or “she”, and only settles down when Lion-O calls it “it”. Willa puts the spider on the wall of the castle, and it starts climbing, trailing two threads behind it. Willa says that when Bushie gets to the top, it will pull them up. Bushie gets to the top of the castle, and crawls up on top of a sleeping reptilian Mutant, who wakes up and really freaks out.

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OK, where the heck did this guy come from? Has he been hanging out with Vultureman offscreen all this time, or what? If the Mutants have these goons available, why don’t they employ them in more of their schemes? Anyway, the reptilian runs away, and Bushie begins hoisting Lion-O and Willa up. This spider must be incredibly strong. Imagine how awesome you would be if this spider became radioactive and bit you. You’d get the proportional strengh of a super-spider!

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As they pass the eyes of the castle, Lion-O stops to eavesdrop. Slythe and Monkian discuss the guard who saw the spider, but Slythe dismisses it as a dream. They discuss the fireball launcher, which is now locked in and aimed. At sundown, they’ll begin the fire bombardment of Cat’s Lair! (Guys, I hate to keep criticizing you, but why not just start now? It’s ready to go, why bother waiting all day before you start shooting?)

Talk of the sun leads them to reminisce about their awesome plan to fling Tygra to the four winds at sunrise. As they talk, Monkian spots Lion-O and Willa peeking in the window. Slythe orders that the guards should be alerted. More reptilian Mutants charge up some stairs in response, while Slythe and Monkian take the escalator. We keep cutting back between the guards, Lion-O and Willa climbing, and Tygra watching the beams of the sun getting closer and closer to the solar mirror that will trigger the Four Winds.

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Just as the solar mirror is activating, Lion-O smashes it with the Sword of Omens. He starts to free Tygra from the machine, but Willa warns him about the reptilian guards charging into the room, so he goes to fight them while Willa helps Tygra.

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They throw the guards out the window, and Tygra leads Lion-O and Willa into the castle. Running the wrong way down an escalator, they fight some jackalmen guards. At the bottom of the escalator they find the door that leads to the fireball launcher. Lion-O and Tygra burst through the door, and see that the fireball launcher is built from the propulsion unit of the Mutants’ wrecked spaceship. Lion-O wants to know how they can destroy it, but Tygra promises it will be very easy, presumably because of all the explosive fuel it uses.

Slythe and Monkian notice that the Thundercats have gotten into the launcher room and have secured the door, so Slythe orders the door to be melted down. Back inside, Lion-O and Tygra discuss how someone could destroy the firebomb launcher but also get away himself, but don’t have any good answers. The mutants are making progress with the door, and Tygra suggests getting some help from their friends. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!”

Back at Cat’s Lair, the rest of the Thundercats pile into the Thundertank, and drive off to Castle Plun-Darr. Inside the castle, the Mutants are almost through, so Tygra and Lion-O want to stand back-to-back to fight them when they burst in. Willa notices the tank arrive (wow, Castle Plun-Darr and Cat’s Lair must be closer together than I thought). Inside the tank, the Thundercats work on a firing solution for the tank’s weapons (including Snarf, who’s working with pencil and paper).

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Panthro gives up on waiting for Snarf to finish his calculation, and fires anyway. The tank shoots a giant harpoon through the window where Lion-O and the others are, right into one of the fuel lines in the fireball launcher. The harpoon’s line has three zip-line pulleys on it (convenient!). Lion-O sends Willa out first, ordering her to “slide for your life”.

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Tygra tells Lion-O to go next, since it was Tygra’s mission. We cut back to the Mutants, who have finally burned through the door. Unfortunately, Monkian gets a little overzealous with the flamethrower, and shoots it into the room with all the fuel, which causes a huge explosion. Tygra zips down the line, just ahead of the explosion (although I wonder how the line maintained tension since the thing it was connected to just exploded), and all the Mutants run for cover.

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In the coda, Tygra thanks everyone for the rescue. Lion-O expresses his regret that the Treetop Kingdom took the first attack, and thanks Willa for helping. Panthro wants to know how they got up the walls of the castle, so Willa whips out Bushie. She hands the furry ball over to Panthro, who freaks out when the legs and head pop out.

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Panthro expresses a hatred of spiders, and everybody else laughs at him.

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3 Responses to Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 16: The Fireballs of Plun-Darr

  1. Ayeshea says:

    I love your blog! Just came across it randomly… grew up watching the Thundercats and your synopsis’s are totally awesome. Have forwarded your link to a few friends who similarly love(d) the Thundercats. Also appreciate the side comments.
    Good luck with the book! Is it on the thundercats too?

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks!

    No, the book’s not about the Thundercats, it’s a pretty standard fantasy. When the novel is the only creative thing I am working on I tend to get burnt out pretty quickly. Watching and writing about the Thundercats lets me have some fun and refresh my brain. I’m glad somebody besides me is getting something out of it, too. 🙂

  3. […] didn’t seem to have any problems swimming after he lost his whip and became visible back in episode 16 (granted, he was captured by the Mutants shortly thereafter, but it wasn’t for lack of […]

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