Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 23: The Crystal Queen

The Thundercats become animal rights extremists and destroy a civilization in order to protect an endangered bird.

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We open with a sparkly thing streaking through the sky. We switch to a close shot of it and see that it is a woman dressed in fur riding a flying rocket-sleigh.

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We pan down to the Thundertank, which Panthro and Lion-O are driving through the forest. They want to figure out what the thing streaking through the sky is (they don’t have the benefit of the close-ups that we get) and drive off after it. Panthro suspects he’ll be able to match the speed of the thing streaking through the sky with the Thundertank, but the tank rolls to a halt instead. It turns out that the Thundrilium module on the tank ran down, even though Snarf was supposed to recharge it.

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Panthro and Lion-O observe that Snarf is getting old and absent-minded. They’re near the berbil village, which Panthro characterizes as “a fair hike from Cat’s Lair”. Panthro heads off back to the lair, and tells Lion-O to stay behind and watch the tank in case the thing they saw in the sky comes back.

We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Snarf is concerned that Panthro and Lion-O aren’t home yet, even though it’s been dark for an hour. He’s made some kind of white soup or something for dinner.

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The Thundercats don’t seem to like the taste, which Tygra characterizes as “too highly seasoned”, in a manner which is supposed to imply understatement. Snarf tries it and claims there isn’t anything wrong, although he immediately exits the room to retch. Obviously he didn’t taste it before he served it. If I’ve learned anything from watching Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares it’s that the chef always needs to taste the food. Let’s get Gordon Ramsay in here to whip Snarf into shape!

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Panthro shows up and asks Snarf if he re-energized the spare module. Snarf goes off to look for it, but can’t find it at first. He eventually deduces that he left it in a broom closet, although when he opens the closet the brooms fall out and the module nearly falls to the floor, which (judging by the reactions of the other Thundercats) would be disastrous. Panthro makes a diving catch to save it.

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Panthro heads off rejoin Lion-O, and Snarf wants to go with him, but Panthro brushes him off. Snarf, feeling dissed, heads off to wash the dishes. Before he gets started, he gets a bad feeling that Lion-O is in danger and sets off after him anyway.

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We cut to Lion-O, who sees the streaky, sparkly sky-thing again, but it’s still moving too fast for him to make it out. He notices some music and wanders off to find it, even though he’s supposed to be guarding the tank. He tracks the sound to the berbil village, where the berbils are all standing around holding lanterns waiting for something. It turns out that the berbils have been waiting for the Arietta Bird, whose arrival and singing is apparently an annual thing, and guarantees a good harvest.

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Roberbil explains that Arietta Birds are very rare, and this one may be the last one. While they’re listening, the rocket-sleigh swoops past and some guys in fur hats driving the sleigh try to snatch the Arietta Bird off its perch.

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Roberbil explains that the woman in the sleigh is Queen Tartara from the Crystal Kingdom, who is always trying to steal the Arietta Bird. She apparently wants the bird to sing only for her. Lion-O finds this to be “the most selfish thing [he] ever heard”. Roberbil agrees: “Isn’t it sad she never learned that the greatest pleasure comes from sharing?” Sure, Roberbil, and we should all live on some crazy robo-collective like you.

Anyway, Lion-O draws his sword, and one of the fur hat guys pulls out a huge scimitar and takes a swipe at Lion-O as the sleigh makes another pass. Furthermore, the fur hat guy manages to snatch the Arietta Bird right out of the air!

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As she speeds away, Queen Tartara gloats in a freaky, warbly voice, “at last it’s mine! The bird is mine!” Inexplicably, the sleigh comes by again and Lion-O grabs onto one of the runners and is carried off into the sky with it.

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We cut to Panthro, who has returned to the Thundertank but is unable to find Lion-O. Snarf, in the bushes nearby, overhears that Lion-O isn’t there. Panthro picks up on the commotion in the berbil village, so he goes to check it out. Roberbil gives Panthro the lowdown on what happened, and Snarf decides to stow away in the Thundertank’s trunk and come along, whether Panthro likes it or not. Panthro hops in the tank and speeds away.

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We switch back to Lion-O, and his hands are getting cold, which is interfering with his ability to hold onto the sleigh. The fur hat guys notice Lion-O hanging on, and swoop down and pull up sharply, which is enough to dislodge Lion-O onto the side of the mountain they’re passing. Lion-O tumbles down the side of the mountain and slams into a yak.

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This upsets the yak, who charges Lion-O several times. The yak slips on the icy footpath they’re on, which gives Lion-O enough time to run away. Unfortunately, another one of those fur hat guys is in his way.

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Trapped between the fur hat guy and the yak, Lion-O is forced to slide down the side of the mountain. Toward some more of the fur hat guys. (I wish I knew what they were called. They’re from the Crystal Kingdom, but it’s unclear what you call someone from the Crystal Kingdom. I guess I’ll need to stick with “fur hat guys”.)

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Lion-O, using some improbable acrobatics, manages to dislodge a huge hunk of snow, which sends one of the fur hat guys over a ledge, dislodging his hat in the process (thanks Lion-O, now you’ve screwed up my whole naming convention!). The other fur hat guy attacks Lion-O with a scimitar. Lion-O dodges, and that guy manages to fall over the edge, too. Lion-O tries to grab onto the guy by his coat, but he slips out of it and falls.

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Lion-O takes the coat and hat and heads off toward the Crystal Kingdom. The Eye of Thundera makes the noise that usually indicates that a Thundercat is in danger, but Lion-O only uses the sight-beyond-sight to find “The Crystal Queen’s Kingdom”.

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We cut back to the Thundertank. Panthro comes to a fork in the road, but is unsure which one to take. “Better check them out on foot!” Panthro declares. Yes, that’s often what I do when I’m out driving, too. Snarf, noticing that the tank has stopped, tries to get out of the trunk only to realize that there’s no way to open it from inside. His pathetic cries for help eventually alert Panthro, who opens the trunk.

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Panthro orders Snarf to stay with the tank while he investigates the paths. Snarf, however, notices some footprints, and recognizes some of them as being made by Lion-O’s boots. He races off following Lion-O’s trail.

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We cut to the crystal palace that Lion-O saw earlier. Lion-O is just outside and sees another rocket-sleigh arrive. Wearing the hat and coat that he stole from the fur hat guys, he sneaks in while the rocket-sleigh is passing through the gate.

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Using the hat and coat as a disguise, he mimics the unintelligible grunting of the fur hat guys to infiltrate deeper into the palace. He slips out of the disguise, and two guards with helmets that cover their eyes are somehow alerted to Lion-O’s presence via blinking, beeping lights on their helmets. With the blast shields down they can’t even see, how are they supposed to fight? Poorly, it turns out. Since the sensors on their helmets give them only the vaguest idea where Lion-O is, they can only slash about wildly while Lion-O dodges their attacks.

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Lion-O, in the process of dodging, backs into the queen’s treasure room. In among the gold, jewels, and objets d’art, Lion-O finds some curious statues encased in giant crystals.

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From the other side of the room, Lion-O hears Queen Tartara ordering the Arietta Bird to sing. The bird, locked in a cage, is being a total diva and refuses to sing for the queen.

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Since the bird won’t sing, Tartara orders her guard to kill it so she can make a headdress from its feathers. Lion-O jumps out and knocks the scimitar out of the guard’s hand. Tartara prepares to punish Lion-O, explaining that only she is allowed to look at her treasure chamber, which is why the guards wear the helmets that don’t let them see anything. Furthermore, any who have seen it are doomed to remain there forever. Lion-O doesn’t like the sound of that. “Thunder, thunder, thun…” But Tartara busts out with some magic and encases Lion-O in crystal, just like the “statues” he saw earlier!

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We cut back to Panthro driving the Thundertank, and he wonders where Snarf got to. To answer that, we cut back to the entrance of the crystal palace. Rather than go through the door like Lion-O did, Snarf decides to tunnel under the wall, Dig-Dug style.

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He tunnels up again and finds some wood, which he gnaws through. He emerges though the floor (which looks suspiciously stonelike to me). What the hell? If they wanted Snarf to have crazy mole powers maybe they should have established that in one of the previous 22 episodes.

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By amazing coincedence, Snarf has emerged inside the treasure chamber. He finds Lion-O, still trapped inside the crystal, and promises to get him out. He whacks the crystal with a stick, but that doesn’t do any good. Snarf notices the bird and lifts it out of the cage and carries it over to Lion-O, suggesting that it sing “real high”.

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The bird’s singing hits a resonant frequency and cracks the crystal that was encasing Lion-O, but it also wakes up the queen. Free now, Lion-O is able to activate the Sword of Omens. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” The queen tries to zap Lion-O with her magic again, but the magic is intercepted by the Eye of Thundera and disrupted into harmless sparks.

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Guards arrive to menace Lion-O, and the Arietta Bird starts flying for the ceiling. Lion-O and Snarf fight the guards in the treasure chamber, and Panthro answers the Thundercat signal by driving the Thundertank straight through the wall of the treasure chamber.

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Lion-O and Snarf jump into the Thundertank, which Panthro drives through another wall. This causes the entire palace to crack apart and collapse, and the Arietta Bird flies out through a hole that cracks open in the roof.

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We cut to the berbil village, where the Arietta Bird has returned to sing. The bird’s song apparently causes the berbil fruits to ripen with freakish speed. Roberbil thanks Lion-O for freeing the Arietta Bird. Lion-O suggests that Snarf is the one who deserves the real thanks, since he was the one that saved the day. And Panthro was the one who collapsed the palace, killing who knows how many of those fur hat guys, but nobody mentions that.

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One Response to Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 23: The Crystal Queen

  1. Christopher says:

    Seriously Panthro, you need to stop drving drunk! Lion-o wont sweep your transgressions under the rug forever.

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