Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 18: Spitting Image

Mumm-Ra makes a pirated copy of Panthro.

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We open at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. Mumm-Ra is trying to summon someone. “Driller! Sand-devil of the deep earth! Mumm-Ra summons you!” A small tornado forms in the desert, but seems hesitant to approach the pyramid. Mumm-Ra assures Driller that he will be well rewarded for obeying Mumm-Ra. The tornado approaches the pyramid, and then Driller materializes in Mumm-Ra’s chamber. He is a giant drill from the waist down, and has a pointy diamond sticking out of the top of his conical head.

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Driller agrees that he’s willing to enter a business arrangement with Mumm-Ra: Driller’s services in exchange for Mumm-Ra’s diamonds. Mumm-Ra escorts Driller to the treasure room. And Mumm-Ra is loaded. Seriously, he’s up there with Robber Baron Karnor.

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Mumm-Ra proposes a half up-front, half on completion pay schedule for Driller. Driller explains that his love of diamonds comes from their drilling applications. We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Cheetara and Lion-O are prepared to shut things down for the night. Back at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, Mumm-Ra uses his cauldron to show images of the sleeping Thundercats to Driller. Mumm-Ra explains the job: “This one. Bring me the one they call Panthro. He is the one I want.” Driller tries to weasel some more diamonds out of Mumm-Ra, but Mumm-Ra shoots him down.

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At Cat’s Lair, we hear a drilling sound. We shift underground, and see that Driller is drilling up through the earth, using the diamond on his head as his primary drill.

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Driller tunnels up into Panthro’s bedroom (he sleeps in the basement?), and opens a bottle labeled “The Sands of Sleep” and starts pouring it out on the sleeping Panthro. Panthro, however, wakes up!

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Wearing only his belt, Panthro fights Driller. He does a judo throw and tosses him across the room into a wall, but Driller lands drill-first and tunnels part way into it.

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Driller chucks his bottle across the room, and it smashes against the wall right next to Panthro’s head. Panthro is rendered unconscious, and Driller pulls him into the hole he dug into the room, which inexplicably seals behind him as he pulls Panthro underground.

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In a high-tech area of Mumm-Ra’s pyramid that we haven’t seen before, the fully-clothed Panthro lies partially submerged in a transparent slab. Where did his pants, boots, and spiky suspenders come from? When Driller pulled him out of his bedroom he was only wearing a little belt…

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Mumm-Ra pays Driller, and Driller dematerializes. Mumm-Ra pulls a lever, which lowers another transparent slab on top of Panthro, completely encasing him. “The mold is closed. Now I shall be able to duplicate this Thundercat in every exact detail.”

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Mumm-Ra pulls some levers to open the mold back up, and then levitates Panthro out of the way. He closes the mold again, and begins pumping some red gas into the Panthro-shaped cavity inside. It fills up and solidifies into a Panthro-clone!

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“Now, to bring this Panthro-clone alive! Hammerhand, mighty leader of the Berserkers, agent of war and chaos, come to Mumm-Ra! Rise from your watery grave and enter the body of my Thundercat clone!” So apparently the Thundercats really did kill him back in episode 6! A big waterspout forms over the ocean (this episode seems very tornado-heavy) and Hammerhand’s spirit does rise. The spirit appears in Mumm-Ra’s cloning chamber, and Mumm-Ra zaps it into the Panthro-clone.

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Mumm-Ra orders the Panthro-clone to spread fear and destruction all over Third Earth. This will cause the residents of Third Earth to blame the Thundercats, which will be a serious PR hit for them. Somehow, Mumm-Ra figures this will result in his rule being unchallenged forever. I think he’s probably leaving out a step 2 there, or something. Anyway, Mumm-Ra uses his magic to teleport the Panthro-clone away, and then he tells the still unconscious levitating Panthro that he’s no longer necessary, since he can make as many duplicates as he wants now that he has his mold. I bet the RIAA really hates Mumm-Ra.

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“Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever-living!” Mumm-Ra flies out of his pyramid, carrying Panthro by his suspenders. Panthro wakes up and says “What? Where?”. Dude, are you working on a newspaper article, or what? Panthro concludes that he’s having a nightmare, but Mumm-Ra informs him that he’s awake, and will be able to witness his own destruction in the Bottomless Chasm! Now wait a minute. How many frickin’ bottomless chasms does Third Earth have? There was one near Hook Mountain in episode 13 and then one that Panthro dumped the gold into in episode 17 (which seemed to be the one right next to Cat’s Lair), and now another one here in the desert. And how would a bottomless chasm work on a spherical planet, anyway? Does it go all the way through, or what?

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We cut to the Cat’s Lair control room, where everyone is concerned about their inability to locate Panthro. The Eye of Thundera makes the noise that indicates that a Thundercat is in danger, and Cheetara points it out to Lion-O like he’s some kind of idiot who wouldn’t be able to figure that out for himself. Smart thinking, Cheetara. “Sword of Omens, give me sight-beyond-sight!” Lion-O sees that Mumm-Ra has Panthro, but then the image is cut short by a burst of static. We cut to the chasm, which emits some kind of bright burst from inside.

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Mumm-Ra drops Panthro into the chasm.

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Back at Cat’s Lair, Tygra thinks they’ll need to search for Panthro since they can’t use the scanners or the sword to find him. Cheetara interrupts to point out the the berbils’ fruit fields are on fire. We then get kind of a montage of the Panthro-clone wreaking havoc, with a Mumm-Ra voiceover: “I shall bring the Third Earthlings to their knees. My price for their survival shall be the destruction of the Thundercats.” So, I guess that’s the step 2 I was missing earlier.

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Back at Cat’s Lair, Lion-O suspects Mumm-Ra is behind things. He is going to go out and find Panthro, but dispatches the other Thundercats to take care of the mass destruction affecting their friends and allies.

We cut to the Bottomless Chasm, where Panthro has managed to find a ledge. He figures that the radiation bursts that are emitted from the chasm are cosmic rays. Hey, maybe after being exposed to them he’ll develop some of the super-powers of the Fanstastic 4!

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He times the bursts, and determines that he has about thirty seconds between them in which he can try to climb. He shoots two of the spikes from his suspenders up into the side of the chasm, trailing lines behind them, to help him climb. He barely makes it to the next ledge up before another blast of cosmic rays emanates from the bottom of the Bottomless Chasm.

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Meanwhile, Lion-O has taken the Thundertank to hunt for Panthro. He spots the chasm, which matches the image he saw with the Sword of Omens before he lost the vision. The radiation from the chasm is messing with the Thundertank’s equipment, too. We cut back to Panthro, and he gets to the top of the chasm just before a blast of cosmic rays goes off only 28 seconds after the last one, which he finds unfair. Lion-O pulls up in the Thundertank, and helps the exhausted Panthro into it.

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Cheetara calls Lion-O with a communicator and tells him that the wolos have been attacked. Lion-O sets off to join her. We cut to Cheetara talking to the wolo leader in his wrecked village. When Lion-O and Panthro arrive, the wolo recoils in fear from Panthro. He describes all of the deeds of destruction that the Panthro-clone committed, but Panthro finds it difficult to believe that he was responsible. Lion-O suggests that maybe Panthro was under the influence of the drug that Driller used on him. Lion-O tells Panthro to take the Thundertank back to Cat’s Lair while he sorts things out.

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The wolo says he wouldn’t have believed that a Thundercat could cause such destruction, but he saw it with his own eyes. Lion-O pledges to help repair the damage, but the wolo says that none of them will ever trust the Thundercats again. Mumm-Ra, who’s been observing the destruction in his cauldron, calls up his clone. He reports that everyone is blaming the Thundercats for the clone’s work, but chews him out for not finishing the job with the wolos. The clone promises to go back to destroy the wolos and their homes.

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We cut to Lion-O, and the wolo from earlier runs up and tells him that Panthro is burning down the forest, and Lion-O should come see for himself what’s going on. Lion-O sees the Panthro-clone, but thinks it’s Panthro under some sort of evil influence. He figures that all the Thundercats working together might be able to subdue Panthro without hurting him. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” The Panthro-clone attacks!

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Lion-O, still assuming that it’s the real Panthro, tries to talk the clone out of attacking. “Don’t force me to fight you, Panthro. Jaga forbade us to fight amongst ourselves.” “Jaga is gone, cub. Now I serve a new master.” Just then, the Thundertank pulls up and original-recipe Panthro jumps out. The two Panthros fight!

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As one would expect from a show like this, Lion-O is unable to figure out which of the Panthros he should be fighting since he can’t tell them apart. Snarf suggests using the sword. Lion-O says he won’t use the sword against a Thundercat. Snarf says that the sword will only harm the fake Thundercat. (Or maybe by attacking the real Thundercat he’ll start that whole Curse of Balthaz thing again…). Snarf talks him into it, and Lion-O takes aim. “Jaga, guide my hand and free Panthro!” He shoots a beam from the sword, and it turns the Panthro-clone green.

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The Panthro-clone seems hurt, and stumbles off into the forest fire he started, seemingly destroyed. We cut back to Mumm-Ra’s cloning facility, where he’s preparing to create another Panthro-clone. Suddenly, the original (and still green) Panthro-clone shows up, claiming that Mumm-Ra deceived the spirit of Hammerhand. He claims that Mumm-Ra promised him destruction and devastation, but didn’t give him enough power to overcome the Thundercats. Mumm-Ra thinks the clone should take responsibility for his own failure. The Panthro-clone doesn’t see it that way, and destroys Mumm-Ra’s clone mold. Having had his revenge, the spirit of Hammerhand returns to tornado form and leaves.

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In the coda, the Thundercats are helping the wolos repair their village, as Lion-O promised earlier. They discuss the mass destruction the clone was able to cause, and how it gives them insight into how incredibly awesome Thundercats are.

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