Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 24: Safari Joe

March 13, 2009

The Most Dangerous Game, Third Earth edition.

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We open on a landscape that is blackened and burned by a landing spaceship. Emerging from the craft,  Safari Joe brags about the accuracy of his landing, which he likens to his accuracy with firearms. Safari Joe, a bald guy with a huge mustache and a monocle, turns out to be the best big game hunter in the galaxy. He has come to Third Earth in search of new prey: The Thundercats! He orders his robot assistant, Mule, to set up their camp and the holojector, which he will use to analyze his prey before hunting them.

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We cut to Wilykit and Wilykat, on their spaceboards. As usual, Wilykit is making Wilykat look like a goon, this time by literally flying circles around him on her board. In the bushes nearby, Safari Joe is stalking them. He twists a giant rotating section on his gun (presumably to select the variable ammo that this weapon seems to use) and shoots some large darts into the spaceboards.

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Wilykit and Kat lose control (each blaming the other for the problem), and then the darts explode splitting the spaceboards in half (Panthro’s probably going to be pissed that he has to fix them yet again), which sends Kit and Kat plummeting to the ground. When they hit, they are ensnared into bags that Safari Joe  has laid out for this precise purpose. Safari Joe comments on his own achievement: “Safari Joe does it again.” He says this a lot. I think he’s trying to make it into his catchphrase.

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We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Panthro is distressed about his inability to see past an “electronic blind” that is set up around the ship’s landing site. Cheetara runs off to fetch Lion-O.

We cut to another part of Cat’s Lair, where Lion-O  is lurking behind some heavy equipment, sneaking up on a bucket. As he creeps towards it, Snarf dashes out from another direction and kicks the bucket.

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Apparently Lion-O and Snarf have been playing the game “Kick the Bucket”, a phrase which doesn’t seem to have the same morbid connotation on Thundera that it does in our society. Before Snarf and Lion-O can start another session, Cheetara arrives and fills Lion-O in on the whole “unscannable spaceship” thing. Lion-O joins the other Thundercats in the control room to hear the litany of things that can’t get through the electronic blind. Lion-O immediately suspects the Mutants, but Panthro explains that the technology is too advanced for them.

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Even the Sword of Omens’ sight-beyond-sight can’t get through!

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Their remote sensing capabilities exhausted, Tygra decides to check it out on foot, and Cheetara joins him. Meanwhile, back at Safari Joe’s ship, Mule has assembled personalized cages made out of Thundrainium for all of the Thundercats. Safari Joe arrives and deposits Wilykit and Kat in their cage, and asks Mule to call up the next target on the holojector. It’s Tygra!

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Mule’s rundown is that Tygra’s “defense systems” include paranormal strength, agility, an energized bolo whip, and invisibility. Weakness: except when he’s invisible, Tygra cannot swim. I’m not really sure where Mule’s getting his intel, though, since Tygra 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 swimming ability).

Mule also gives his report on Cheetara. Her “defense systems” are super-speed, paranormal senses including an undeveloped sixth sense, and a power-staff. Weaknesses: Cheetara can maintain her top speed only over short distances. Additionally, she is vulnerable to fire, lightning, and energy bolts. You’re probably not going to believe this, but I have those exact same weaknesses. Year after year, those things would show up on my performance reviews at work. Again, though, I question how well-researched Mule’s report is, since he doesn’t even mention how frequently Cheetara gets caught in nets while he’s cataloging her weaknesses.

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Safari Joe recognizes that the full-grown Thundercats represent a larger threat than Wilykit and Kat, and asks for recommendations from Mule. Mule suggests neutralizing their defense systems. Surprisingly, Safari Joe doesn’t berate him for offering this utterly obvious and worthless advice.

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We cut to Tygra and Cheetara. Safari Joe, perched in a tree, shoots something at them. Cheetara pushes Tygra out of the way, but the projectile that Safari Joe shot clamps around her ankle and then lifts her up into the air with its rocket thruster.

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Safari Joe, who doesn’t seem to believe in doing things halfway, shoots three more of the rocket-cuffs, which attach to Cheetara’s wrists and other ankle, and she is stuck suspended helplessly in midair, which Safari Joe reckons will prevent her from running at super-speed.

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Tygra demands that Safari Joe let Cheetara free, but Joe is dismissive of both Tygra and his bolo-whip. Tygra charges, but Safari Joe switches his gun to flamethrower mode, which surrounds Tygra with a ring of fire, which somehow causes him to break through the ground and fall into a pit (I’m not really clear on the physics of this, but I’ll be generous and assume it’s part of a trap that Joe rigged up earlier, since he clearly had the area staked out before Tygra and Cheetara got there).

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From the edge, Joe uses his gun to blast a hole in the side of the pit and opens a channel to a nearby underground source of water. Water starts to rush in and rapidly fill the pit. Tygra is defeated by his recently established “unable to swim while visible” weakness, even though he’s got his whip with him the whole time. Safari Joes does it again! Wow, that phrase really is catching on.

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Snarf heads into the control room and tells Panthro and Lion-O that he can’t find Wilykit or Kat. Panthro decides to take the Thundertank out to have a look around.

We cut to Safari Joe’s camp, where we see that the captured Thundercats have been dramatically weakened by their Thundrainium cages. Cheetara wishes she could warn Lion-O, and laments not having her staff. Safari Joe takes the opportunity to taunt her by holding her staff through the bars and then pulling it away when she grabs for it. Cheetara wants to know why Safari Joe is doing this. He explains that he’s doing it for sport, as he is a sportsman. Cheetara takes the position that Safari Joe is actually a bully, not a sportsman. Joe points his gun at the cat-woman locked in a three-foot-by-three-foot cage next to him and demands that she retract her slanderous accusation and admit how sporting he is, but she refuses.

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Mule gives Safari Joe a report on “the deadly Panthro”. His “defense systems” are paranormal strength, mastery of all fighting arts, and shoulder-spikes endowed with “remarkable properties”. He’s also a master mechanic, but apparently he’s at his most deadly when he uses his “fighting sticks” (AKA his nunchucks) and the dangerous substances he might conceal within them. Weaknesses? Panthro fears bats. Again, huh? Bats? That’s never come up before, and if he’s cataloging Panthro’s fears, why no mention of Panthro’s embarrassing freakout when he saw Bushie the giant treetop spider in the coda of episode 16? I think Mule is just making this stuff up as he goes.

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We cut to Panthro cruising along in the Thundertank. He figures that he’ll be seen in the bright moonlight anyway, so there’s no sense trying to use stealth. He switches all the weapons systems on the tank into active mode. He approaches the edge of the electronic blind on foot, and decides to try driving the Thundertank through it. Safari Joe, however, fires several explosive rounds which hit the ground and cause the Thundertank to flip.

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Panthro crawls out and whips out his nunchucks, which have a much longer chain than usual. He leaps at Safari Joe with one end of the nunchucks twirling over his head, and he seems to use it like a helicopter rotor to dodge Joe’s shots in midair. Joe, however, has been using energy-bat rounds in his gun!

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The energy-bat engulfs Panthro, and he’s knocked unconscious. Safari Joe does it again! Now, I know what you’re thinking: Those energy-bat rounds are just too dangerous, and ought to be more strictly regulated. This might be appealing on the surface, but when energy-bat rounds are outlawed, only outlaws will have energy-bat rounds.

We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Lion-O is gearing up to go after the other Thundercats. Snarf wants to join him, but Lion-O tells Snarf that he has to stay behind and protect the lair. Snarf advises figuring out what he’s up against before charging out into the unknown. Lion-O agrees about the wisdom of this advice, but wonders how to implement it. This is Jaga’s cue to materialize and fill them in on the “Safari Joe is hunting you” situation. Jaga explains that Safari Joe is a formidable opponent who knows all their weaknesses.

We cut back to Joe’s camp, where Mule gives his report on Lion-O. Lion-O’s defense systems turn out to be: paranormal abilities rivaling those of the other Thundercats, the Claw Shield with its array of defensive properties, the mystic Sword of Omens, and the Eye of Thundera embedded in it. Unfortunately, attempting to analyze the Eye of Thundera like this shorts out and destroys the holojector.

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We cut to Lion-O who seems to be calmly strolling away from the Cat’s Lair. A large pit opens up under his feet.

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Lion-O is surprised that Safari Joe was able to catch him in a pit so close to the lair, but doesn’t think the pit will be especially bothersome since he’ll be able to jump out easily. However, since he was warned about how clever Safari Joe is, he realizes that Safari Joe wants him to jump out. He holds the Sword of Omens by the blade and lifts the hilt over the rim of the pit like a periscope. When he pulls it back down, he looks through the sight-beyond-sight holes and sees that Safari Joe has lined up a shot for when Lion-O exits the pit.

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Lion-O grabs the Claw Shield onto the rim of the pit, giving Safari Joe the impression that he’s climbing out in one location, but he leaps out in another direction. Safari Joe shoots the Claw Shield, since that’s where he expected Lion-O to be, and Lion-O gets away unzapped. Lion-O starts hopping around like an idiot, and Joe shoots at him and misses several more times. Safari Joe is rather upset at this, since he never misses.

Joe shoots the rocket-cuffs that he used on Cheetara, but Lion-O knocks them away with his sword. Lion-O, feeling triumphant, takes a moment to gloat about Safari Joe’s impending defeat. Then: “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” Unfortunately, all of the Thundercats that usually come running when he does that are currently locked up in Thundrainium cages, a situation which Safari Joe gleefully explains.

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Safari Joe uses the flamethrower mode on his gun, but Lion-O blocks it with the Eye of Thundera.

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Lion-O also makes short work of an energy-bat with the sword. Noting that all of his attacks have been thwarted through use of the sword, Safari Joe suggests that it’s the sword rather than Lion-O which is giving him trouble. Lion-O offers to fight Safari Joe without the sword if he promises to release the other Thundercats. Safari Joe accepts the offer, but wants Lion-O to get rid of the sword first. He offers his word as a sportsman that he’ll follow through on the deal. Lion-O buys it, but that Safari Joe is a tricky one. He had no intention of letting the other Thundercats go! He just starts shooting at Lion-O as soon as he puts the sword down. He doesn’t hit, but Lion-O is forced to retreat back to the Cat’s Lair. Lion-O taunts Joe, and Joe realizes that Lion-O is trying to lure him into hunting inside the lair, where Lion-O will be at his most dangerous. However, since Lion-O will only have his strength and wits to fight with, Joe doesn’t regard that as a very high-risk proposition and heads into the lair after Lion-O. I have to side with Safari Joe on this one, Lion-O’s wits are not especially frightening in most instances.

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Safari Joe searches through the lair while Lion-O sneakily avoids him. Eventually, Joe catches a glimpse of Lion-O in the room that he and Snarf were playing in at the top of the episode, but Lion-O sneaks away again. Lion-O appears to be close to getting the drop on Joe, but then oafishly falls into a pile of crates and equipment.

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However, before Safari Joe can take the killshot (or even finish his catchphrase), Snarf runs up behind and kicks the bucket into his back!

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This knocks Joe to the ground, and he drops his gun, which begins to discharge wildly. After it stops firing on its own, Joe grabs his gun and begins roaring, but he can’t seem to spot Lion-O. As he begins crawling forward, however, Lion-O appears and stands directly in front of him. Joe tries to shoot, but he’s out of ammo! Without his gun, he turns out to be a snivelling coward. Lion-O expresses the opinion common among cartoon characters that most bullies are cowards.

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In the coda, they have taken Safari Joe back to his spaceship and made him promise never to hunt again. Panthro has reprogrammed Mule to enforce this restriction.

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Panthro inquires about how Lion-O defeated Safari Joe, but Lion-O explains that Snarf did it, and awards him the title of Kick the Bucket champion of Third Earth. Snarf indulges in this rare moment of praise to caper and frolic like a spaz. All of the Thundercats have a good laugh, and offer up a spontaneous “Thundercats, HO!”

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Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 23: The Crystal Queen

February 28, 2009

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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Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 22: The Astral Prison

February 21, 2009

Lion-O springs Jaga from the Astral Prison.

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We open in the Sword Chamber, where the Eye of Thundera in the mystic Sword of Omens is signalling that a Thundercat is in danger! This wakes Lion-O up, and he rushes in and calls upon the power of sight-beyond-sight. First, he sees an unusual structure in a bizarre, dreamscape-esque location.

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We zoom in through one of the windows, and we see that Jaga is restrained against a wall. A three-eyed, four-armed, screechy-voiced blue guy claims responsibility for capturing Jaga, and tells Jaga that he’ll be a prisoner there for all eternity.

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Lion-O runs off to consult with the other Thundercats. We cut to Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, where Mumm-Ra emerges from his sarcophagus to investigate unusual activity he has detected at Cat’s Lair. He uses his cauldron to spy on the Thundercats as they meet in their council chamber to talk about the whole “Jaga imprisoned for all eternity” thing.

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The Thundercats figure that in order to save Jaga, they’ll need to find somebody who knows a lot about the “Astral World”. Wilykat explains that there’s only one person like that on Third Earth, and Wilykit provides us with her name: The Nether-Witch. Where did they learn that? Maybe they swiped Roberbil’s rolodex or something. Regardless, Mumm-Ra is pretty stoked about this turn of events, since there’s a little fact about the Nether-Witch that Wilykit and Kat don’t know: the Nether-Witch and Mumm-Ra are one and the same!

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“Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra the Ever-living!” Once’s he’s been suitably transformed, he busts out with, “and now, Sorcerors of the Netherwold, make Mumm-Ra the Nether-Witch!”

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Back at Cat’s Lair, the Thundercats set out in the Thundertank. Panthro nearly drives the tank into a chasm, which alarms Lion-O, but Panthro merely extends the front paws to grab the other side of the chasm to pull them across (I guess Panthro made some chasm-crossing enhancements to the tank since he very nearly botched the same maneuver back in episode 19).

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The tank pulls up at what Panthro helpfully identifies as the Bridge of Slime. The Pit of the Nether-Witch is on the other side. Can you imagine how hard the realtor must have been working to sell that property to her? “Well, it’s a pit, and it’s only accessible via a bridge of slime, but the schools in this neighborhood are terrific!”

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Tygra offers to come with Lion-O, but Lion-O inexplicably decides that he has to do it alone. The other Thundercats zoom away. Using the Claw Shield to stabilize himself, Lion-O begins to climb over the slimy bridge. When he’s at the midway point, a two-headed monster with very long necks pops out of the water under the bridge to menace him. He tries to pull his sword to deal with the heads, but loses his footing on the slippery bridge and slides off the side. He manages to jam the Sword of Omens into the bridge to create a handhold, and the monster menaces him some more.

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He jumps back up on top of the bridge, the monster gets bored and sinks back into the river underneath, and Lion-O finishes crossing the bridge without further incident.

We cut to Castle Plun-Darr, where Slythe, Jackalman, Monkian, and Vultureman are putting the finishing touches on a Thundrainium Cannon. Mumm-Ra has apparently told them that Lion-O will be out of the way, so they think this will be the perfect time to get rid of the rest of the Thundercats.

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We cut back to the Pit of the Nether-Witch. Lion-O heads inside, and is accosted by a spooky translucent eyeball. And a spooky translucent hand. And some spooky translucent faces.

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Eventually, he is attacked by a dinosaur with a spiky nose and three glowing eyestalks.

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He tries to back away from the dinosaur, but falls down into a chasm in the process, getting knocked unconscious at the bottom. When he wakes up, he meets the Nether-Witch. She makes a big deal out of already knowing who he is and what he wants, kind of like a website that tries to personalize its content for you.

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Lion-O asks to be transported to the Astral World. The Nether-Witch warns him that once he’s there, he’ll never return. Lion-O says “but”, and she screams at him, “NO, YOU WILL LEAVE THIRD-EARTH FOREVER!!!!!” Then she calms down again and tells him that it’s up to him. Don’t you just hate those high-pressure salespeople? Lion-O says he’ll do anything to free Jaga, so the Nether-Witch begins her spell. “Ancient Spirits of the Void, transport Lion-O to your Astral World!”. In the process, she reverse-transforms into Mumm-Ra.

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Lion-O materializes in the Astral World, near the prison building we saw earlier. “Time to find out if my powers work in this Astral World.” Apparently he’s talking about his awesome power of “swinging on a rope.” He shoots one of the claws of the Claw Shield, trailing a line, up to the roof of the Astral Prison and swings across to it.

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He begins to climb up, but the Eye of Thundera alerts him to some danger. He looks down, and sees that a big monster is jumping at him out of the water that surrounds the prison.

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He tries to climb away from it, but as he’s jumping around to dodge the thing he knocks the claw loose from where it had been secured on the roof and begins to fall. The claw snags itself on another ledge, and he’s able to dodge the creature again. The monster, fed up with Lion-O dodging whenever it leaps, decides to just climb up the wall after Lion-O. Lion-O draws his sword. “HO!” He zaps the monster with a sword-beam. The monster shrugs off the first attack, so he has to zap it again before it falls off the wall back into the water.

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We cut to Castle Plun-Darr where the Mutants are ready to head out. Slythe asks Vultureman if the Thundrainium Cannon is ready. Vultureman answers in the affirmative. He then also adds that it’s loaded with Thundrainium shells, the only material on Third-Earth that’s known to weaken the Thundercats. I would have thought that was sort of implied by its very nature as a Thundrainium Cannon. They head off towards Cat’s Lair, Slythe on the nose-diver, Jackalman and Monkian on skycutters, and Vultureman driving the Thundrainium Cannon.

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We cut back to the Astral Prison, where the three-eyed guy is explaining that he’ll consider freeing Jaga if Jaga surrenders all his knowledge to the three-eyed guy. Jaga thinks that will happen… never!

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“Brave words, feeble fool, but I, Nevex, have all eternity to change your mind. And, Jaga, you can be sure I will change your mind!” Lion-O chooses this dramatic moment to burst in through the door. Nevex does something magical and becomes taller and more muscular. He also starts trying to zap Lion-O with beams from his eyes and hands.

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Jaga tells Lion-O to use the Eye of Thundera. Lion-O whips out the sword and intercepts Nevex’s beams on the Eye, and then beams from the Eye push back and zap Nevex.

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Nevex is returned to his scrawny form and collapses. Lion-O rips Jaga’s metal restraints from the walls, freeing him. He notices that Nevex is waking up, so he hustles Jaga out of the room, shuts the door behind him, and welds it shut with more beams from the sword.

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As they run through the prison, they hear someone in one of the cells calling for help. Jaga tries to open the door, but Lion-O makes him stand aside so he can do it. Inside they meet a little old man with a long white beard. He claims to be Brodo. Many centuries ago, Brodo was the most powerful magician on Third Earth, but his wizardry threatened Mumm-Ra’s evil dominion, so Mumm-Ra tricked him, and he’s been locked in the Astral Prison ever since.

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Lion-O picks the guy up, bride-and-groom style, and takes him outside. He wants them all to get away before Nevex rallies his forces. He shoots a line from his Claw Shield across the moat, and they all swing to safety.

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Jaga is happy to see Lion-O, and Lion-O explains that since going to the Astral World is a one-way trip they’ll be together forever. Just then, the Eye of Thundera alerts them to Thundercats in danger, so Lion-O uses sight-beyond-sight to see that the Mutants are attacking Cat’s Lair!

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Inside the lair, the Thundercats realize the Mutants are using Thundrainium. The Thundrainium level is at 129, and rising! Panthro identifies the cannon as the big problem, and takes the Thundertank out to deal with it. Vultureman, however, nails the Thundertank with his cannon and flips it. Panthro is forced to flee, with Jackalman strafing him in a skycutter.

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We cut back to Lion-O, who is starting to regret his decision to make a one-way trip to an alternate dimension. Brodo, by the most amazing coincidence, has the power to send Lion-O back. “Ancient Spirits of Good, transport this young Lion-O back to his own world!”

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We cut back to Cat’s Lair, where Panthro is still dodging fire from a skycutter as he runs back toward the relative safety of the lair. Inside, Cheetara and Tygra are trying to use some laser-cannons to take out the skycutters, but they can’t hit him. Then, everyone hears a disembodied voice: “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” Lion-O materializes, in gigantic translucent form, in front of the lair.

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He zaps the Thundrainium Cannon with beams from his giant sword, blasting Vultureman clear and destroying the cannon.

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He shrinks down to his normal size and becomes solid, and the Thundercats that were inside charge out of the main entrance of the lair behind him, and Panthro runs up to join them.

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The Mutants start to flee. Cheetara chases after Jackalman and throws her stick at his skycutter, damaging it (keep in mind this was the same skycutter she wasn’t able to hit with a laser cannon). Lion-O chases down Vultureman and zaps him with his sword. Vultureman cartoonishly runs away, dodging more blasts from Lion-O.

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Tygra extends his flaming bolo whip out to hit Monkian’s skycutter, even though Monkian seems to have some pretty good altitude. Monkian loses control and crashes in some woods. Panthro chases after Slythe in the nose-diver on foot (remember that the nose-diver was appreciably faster than the Thundertank back in episode 14, so Panthro must really be booking). He tosses his nunchucks and damages the nose-diver, sending it off-course and right into the line of fire of Wilykit and Wilykat, who throw exploding pellets at it.

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Slythe crashes the damaged nose-diver into a hill, and then drives away. The Thundercats all gather in front of the lair for a resounding “Thundercats HO!”, and then all have a good laugh about it.

In the coda, Jaga’s ghost shows up to thank Lion-O for rescuing him. Lion-O says it wasn’t any more than Jaga did for them when he saved the Thundercats and sent them to Third Earth. Jaga has a good laugh and acknowledges that this makes them even. Jaga doesn’t mention that he’s grateful that he doesn’t have to spend eternity hanging out with Lion-O 24/7, but I think you can see it in his eyes.

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Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 21: Dr. Dometone

February 14, 2009

Under the sea, under the sea! Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me.

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We open in the ocean, where Wilykit and Wilykat are swimming. Wilykit is once again using peer pressure on Wilykat, trying to get him to keep swimming even though he’s concerned about an approaching storm.

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Wilykat heads for shore while Wilykit swims further out. But a giant metal frog surfaces behind her!

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The frog opens its mouth and water rushes in, pulling Wilykit with it. She’s swallowed whole. We cut inside, though, and learn that Wilykit isn’t hurt. In fact, she meets a short, bald man with funky goggles who claims that he came here to ask the Thundercats for help.

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Back outside, we see that the frog is actually a bipedal robot, and it emerges from the water, chasing Wilykat.

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Wilykat flees, nearly getting stomped several times. Also, he apparently stopped to put his boots on when we switched camera angles, since he was barefoot before when he was running on the beach.

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The giant frog robot has also scared some unicorns, and Wilykat jumps on one of their backs in order to escape more quickly. He rides the unicorn back to Cat’s Lair (which seems to have been repaired remarkably quickly from the damage it suffered last episode), where Lion-O and Snarf are outside. Wilykat is freaking out about the “water-giant” that swallowed Wilykit, and eventually gives Lion-O enough of the story that he wants to see what’s going on for himself. Lion-O jumps on the unicorn with Wilykat and they gallop off back toward the frog.

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They dismount and sneak up on the giant frog. Wilykat wants to get the Thundertank and blast it, but Lion-O doesn’t want to blast it “for no good reason”. Wilykit thinks the “it ate Wilykit!” reason is pretty good.

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As they sit and watch, the frog opens its mouth and the bald guy climbs out on a rope ladder.

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The bald guy has a big picnic-style basket. He pulls a blanket out of it and lays it on the ground. He then pulls a big bouquet of flowers out of the basket. It he trying to put the moves on Wilykit? Ragardless, Lion-O and Wilykat knock him down and interrogate him.

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As they rough him up, Wilykit calls down from above and warns them not to hurt Dr. Dometone. It turns out that he is “one of Third Earth’s great scientists, thinkers, and gentlemen”. She also explains that the whole “swallowing” thing was her fault, since she swam right into Herky’s mouth (Herky is the frog robot). We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Dr. Dometone is explaining the premise of the episode.

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Dr. Dometone is the guardian of the Great Oceanic Plug. “Centuries ago a fissure developed in the surface of the sea floor. … Unless it was sealed the ocean would empty into the very core of the earth, and put out its fires. In the greatest engineering feat of all time the hole was plugged.” The Plug is being attacked, and there’s a good chance it will be pulled out. Why would anyone do that? Well, that’s quite simple, really. A thousand light years away, the planet Blue Plunder uses for fuel a common mineral found under the sea on Third Earth. They’ve sent a salvage expert named Scrape to drain the sea and just grab the rocks. And Scrape flies around in a badass eel-themed spaceship.

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Dometone explains that since the Plug was built, two robots, Hercules and Samson, have defended it.

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Dometone took Hercules (Herky, for short) to get some supplies, and Scrape took that opportunity to attack Samson with his eel ship. And it turns out it’s an electric eel themed spaceship.

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Since the eel defeated Samson so easily, Dometone and Herky hightailed it out of there and came to the Thundercats for help. Without the supplies that Dometone was bringing, the crew in the Plug will soon starve. And if the crew tries to get out, they’ll provide the opportunity for Scrape to get in and pull the Plug. Lion-O, Wilykit, and Wilykat get into Herky to go to the Plug immediately, while the other Thundercats stay behind to work on an emergency rig in case they need one.

We cut to the Plug dome, where two of the technicians are discussing the situation. They haven’t seen the eel for a while, and are out of food. They don’t think Dometone will return, so they figure they may as well try to go for help now, before they starve.

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They elevate the dome’s observation tower, and still don’t see the eel. One of them volunteers to suit up and head for the propulsion sub. Unbeknownst to them, though, the camera pans over to show that the eel has been lying in wait! The technician is launched in his little purple submarine, but the eel pops up and swallows it.

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Furthermore, the eel bursts through the observation tower and is able to stick its head into the dome. Herky arrives, and they see the eel sticking halfway out of the dome.

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Inside the dome, Scrape swims out of the eel’s mouth in some diving gear. He gets on the intercom and warns the crew of the Plug dome to abandon ship before he pulls the Plug. That’s nice of him.

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The crew complies immediately, and a swarm of the little purple submarine escape pods blast out of the place. Dr. Dometone is ready to throw in the towel, but Lion-O tells him there’s still time. He wants to know what Dometone’s plan was to defeat Scrape, to see if they can still put it into action. The plan involves Lion-O and Wilykat dressing up like sharks.

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Dometone gives Lion-O a “grounding cable” which will be able to neutralize the charge of the electric eel ship. Scrape, meanwhile, has detected Herky and pulls the eel ship out of the dome in order to go and fight him.

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Lion-O and Wilykat swim out in their shark suits, with Lion-O letting the cable play out behind him. Lion-O plans to try to loop the ground cable around the eel’s tail when it passes. Scrape notices the “sharks”, which he finds odd since he didn’t expect  any in the area. He puts his eel into high gear, just to be safe.

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The eel speeds away, and Lion-O misses his chance. The eel ship and the robot frog fight!

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Dr. Dometone calls out advice to Herky from inside, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. The eel wraps itself around Herky and starts constricting.

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The eye-windows of the frog and the eel line up, and Scrape is able to see through them to talk to Dometone and Wilykit, so he uses the opportunity to gloat with bad puns. Dometone advises Herky that Scrape has “exposed the eel’s neck.” Aren’t eels mostly neck? Anyway, Herky takes his corner-man’s advice and grabs the eel behind the head and starts shaking. Scrape is thrown away from his controls so he can’t activate the electrifier.

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Lion-O swims up and, using the grounding cable like a lasso, attaches it to the eel just in time.

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Scrape hits the switch, but the electric charge is diverted into the cable and Herky is unharmed.

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Scrape isn’t ready to give up yet, though. He goes down to the little purple submarine he had the eel swallow earlier and gets in.

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Lion-O returns to Herky, but Wilykat is dawdling outside. He sees Scrape’s submarine exit the eel. Wilykat, still in the shark suit, tries to shove the sub off-course to give Lion-O time to come help. Scrape, however, deploys a net from the sub to capture Wilykat.

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Lion-O decides he needs some more help. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, and Snarf hop into the Thundertank and start heading for the Plug dome. Inside the dome, Scrape has sealed the windows and pumped the room dry (although he gives no indication about how he stops water from pouring in the giant eel-shaped hole in the roof). He has Wilykat tied up, and explains that when he pushes a button it will be the first time in seventeen centuries that the Great Oceanic Plug has moved.

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With the Plug open, water starts to flow into the Plug dome and down the fissure. However, the water level outside the window falls far too quickly for Scrape to believe the entire ocean has emptied. Panthro gets on the communicator and explains that they’ve enclosed the dome in a compressed air bubble. “You’re an engineer, you can understand that,” Panthro says. Well I’m an engineer and I certainly don’t.

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Scrape realizes his plan has been foiled, but doesn’t plan to go down easily. Panthro orders Tygra to “hit the vacuum suction button.” Somehow, this causes Scrape to be lifted off his feet inside the airtight dome, be thrown through the glass window that’s presumably strong enough to handle the pressures of the ocean floor, and get sucked into the mouth of the Thundertank.

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In the coda, back at Cat’s Lair, Wilykat is reminding everyone that he wanted to use the “shoot first, ask questions later” technique on Herky at the beginning of the episode, which would have killed Wilykit and Dometone and doomed the planet. Lion-O explains that Scrape was turned over to Mandora for transportation to the Gray Prison Planet. Panthro explains that Dometone has fixed the Plug dome, and put in a hotline to Cat’s Lair. Tygra, however, is only concerned about dinner. This gives Wilykit and Wilykat an opportunity for a “joke” about having fish for dinner, which involves Wilykat getting back into his shark suit. The other Thundercats start throwing tableware at him, and Snarf (carrying the real dinner) gets caught in the crossfire.

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Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 20: Return to Thundera

February 12, 2009

Lion-O travels back in time to Thundera before it exploded, and the Mutants unleash a huge robot to attack Cat’s Lair.

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We open at Castle Plun-Darr. Inside, the Mutants are leading Mumm-Ra through the place while Mumm-Ra is complaining like a crotchety old man about being woken up so late at night. The Mutants have called Mumm-Ra in to show off their brand new Warbot.

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Slythe and Jackalman explain that the Warbot is the pinnacle of Plun-Darrian science, but there was no time to build it back on Plun-Darr. Since they’ve had nothing but time on Third Earth, they’ve been able to finish it. Mumm-Ra wants to know what the Warbot can do that he can’t. Slythe offers to demonstrate. He uses a remote control to activate the Warbot and a tube pops up out of its chest.

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The tube squirts out a gray liquid at a reptilian creature that resembles a dog. When the liquid hits, the creature is almost instantly petrified!

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Mumm-Ra is dismissive of the ability to turn “Frog-Dog” into a statue. Slythe assures Mumm-Ra that the robot can do other stuff, too. Slythe activates it, and it starts walking.

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We cut outside the castle, with the Warbot bound for Cat’s Lair. (It was probably wise of them to cut around the thing exiting the castle, since there is no way it would have been able to fit through the door…)

We cut to Cat’s Lair, where Lion-O, Tygra, and Panthro are inspecting the time capsule from Thundera that they recovered back in episode 15. Panthro explains that the Time Capsule projects a hologram, a perfect model of Thundera. He switches it on, and the “hologram” projector looks and sounds an awful lot like a movie projector.

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Later that night, Lion-O is still obsessing over the time capsule when the incredibly high-tech equipment of the Cat’s Lair detects the approaching Warbot.

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Lion-O, oblivious, decides to try out the time capsule. However, when he switches it on he’s standing right in the path of the projected image, and is somehow sucked into it.

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He plummets through some kind of trans-dimensional space…

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…and appears in a desert, near a city that looks like the one he saw projected by the time casule’s opti-crystal. The ghost of Jaga appears, and informs Lion-O that he has travelled through space and time back to Thundera. “Jaga! You? Here? How?” Jaga explains that his spirit-form can be anywhere, and he is always close to Lion-O.

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Jaga warns Lion-O that Thundera might not be as great as he thinks it will be, and disappears. Just then, the ground cracks open under Lion-O’s feet and a giant yellow-haired double-tailed scorpion jumps out of the crack and attacks Lion-O.

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Lion-O fights the creature with his sword for a while, but the ground shakes and the creature disappears down another giant crack. Lion-O wants to know what’s going on on Thundera, so Jaga reappers and tells him that Lion-O has travelled back to the day before the destruction of the planet. Does that really explain the giant double-tailed scorpion?

We cut back to the standard time-line, where Panthro has been unable to sleep because his “cat-sense” is telling him that something is wrong (I guess it’s similar to spider-sense in that respect. I wonder if it tingles). Panthro is surprised that Lion-O isn’t on watch. He’s even more surprised when he sees the Warbot on his computer screen!

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He activates the Lair Alarm, and the rest of the Thundercats join him in the control room. As it gets closer, they use their more conventional viewscreen to get a better look at it, and identify it as a giant robot. Wilykat adds that it’s “a nightmare version of that Reptilian rascal Slythe”. Uh, no it’s not. It doesn’t even remotely resemble Slythe. Is he looking at the right viewscreen? Panthro shoots at it with some lasers from the eyes of Cat’s Lair.

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The lasers don’t seem to hurt the Warbot, and it starts some sort of feedback which causes the eyes of the lair to shatter, and a huge Star Trek-like power surge courses through the control consoles, knocking all of the Thundercats to the floor. Tygra, as usual, goes straight to the blame-game, and starts trashing Lion-O for not being at his post. Cheetara, as always, makes excuses for Lion-O. Panthro, however, is still focusing on the Warbot. “We’ve got to act fast! Let’s give that big buster a taste of the ballista!” The “ballista” turns out to be a cat-themed catapult in the shoulder of Cat’s Lair. Panthro presses the controls for a fire attack, followed by an ice attack.

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The Warbot shrugs off both the fire and ice. Panthro fires a missle, but it’s completely ineffective. He hits another button and a giant chain whips out of the neck of Cat’s Lair, entangling the Warbot, but it uses one of its giant claws to cut through the chain with ease.

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The Warbot continues its inexorable march toward Cat’s Lair, and we cut back to the action on Thundera. At the gate to the city, Lion-O is confronted by some annoying guards. Lion-O introduces himself, and claims to be the Lord of the Thundercats. The guards point out that old Claudus is the lord of the Thundercats. Lion-O explains that he is Claudus’s son (so I guess that clears up that whole “are Jaga and Lion-O related” business I’ve been wondering about for a few episodes). One of the guards points out that Claudus’s son is only a boy, so Lion-O clearly can’t be him.

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Lion-O threatens to use his sword, but the guards have ray-pistols. They assume that threatening to attack with such an inferior weapon means he’s insane, so they try to shoot him. Lion-O blocks the shot with the Sword of Omens, and one of the guards recognizes it as Jaga’s sword. Somehow this convinces the guards to let Lion-O into the city. Isn’t that kind of like the Secret Service saying “hey, isn’t that dangerous lunatic holding the Vice President’s shotgun? Let’s let him into the Oval Office!”? Anyway, Lion-O walks into the crumbling city.

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As he walks, he’s stalked by a big, growling saber-toothed cat-wolf. It attacks Lion-O, but Lion-O recognizes the creature as Cano, and orders him to stop attacking. Cano eventually recognizes Lion-O as well, and becomes friendly.

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Cano uses the Lassie technique of barking until Lion-O guesses what he’s thinking, and gets Lion-O to follow him. We see inside the room where Lion-O is headed, and Slythe and Vultureman are there, talking to Claudus. They want some plans that they believe Claudus has. Claudus expositions that he lost his sight fighting the Mutants’ evil empire, so he doesn’t fear them.

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Slythe moves to attack, but Lion-O and Cano burst through a window to defend Claudus. The Mutants quickly flee. Claudus is happy for the assistance.

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Lion-O explains that he is Claudus’s son, but Claudus doesn’t believe him. Lion-O warns Claudus that Thundera is doomed, and that Claudus must leave. Claudus knows that, but he needs to stay behind to boost the guidance system on Jaga’s ship, since the gyro-stabilizer is faulty. Claudus hopes to escape in a nearby gravity capsule, if there’s time. He gets a white cylinder from a hiding place in a statue and gives it to Lion-O. It contains the plans that the Mutants were looking for, plans for a Plun-Darrian war robot!

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Claudus explains that one of his spies stole the plans. He’s giving them to Lion-O since he thinks they might be useful on another world, at another time. The tremors are getting worse, so Claudus tells Lion-O to get out while he still can.

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Back at Cat’s Lair in the normal timeline, the Warbot shoots some flying discs that zoom through the broken eyes of the lair to attack the Thundercats inside.

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Back on Thundera, Lion-O watches his younger self and the rest of the Thundercat nobles escaping on the spaceship. He dodges explosions as he runs back toward where he first arrived.

Back on Third Earth again, the Warbot shoots some magnet-tipped chains from its torso onto the Cat’s Lair head. Panthro explains: “Magnettoes that hold on stone! Another Plun-Darrian brainstorm!”

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He tries to use his nunchucks to pry one off, but the Warbot sends an electric charge through the chain, zapping him. Cheetara tries to whack a chain with her extendo-stick, but another electric charge zaps her. Tygra, presumably working under the “third’s times the charm” theory, tries to use his whip to dislodge the chain, and also gets zapped. The Warbot starts pulling on the chains.

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Stress fractures start appearing around the neck of Cat’s Lair, and the Thundercats inside take cover as the Warbot tears the Cat’s Lair’s head off!

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The Warbot leaps onto the lair, and begins drilling through the walls with its giant drill-hand.

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The Warbot rips a pretty sizable chunk out of the walls, and Panthro orders the other Thundercats to abandon Cat’s Lair. The Warbot, however, deploys its petrifying goop and freezes Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, and Snarf in their tracks.

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Lion-O emerges from the time capsule, and is shocked to see the frozen Thundercats. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” The appearance of the Thundercats signal frees the Thundercats from their petrification, and they are all glad to see Lion-O. Lion-O starts zapping the Warbot with his sword. Panthro warns Lion-O that the robot feeds on energy and sends it back at you, but Lion-O tells him that won’t be a problem. “Sword of Omens, give me power-beyond-power. HO!”

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The blast drives the Warbot back off the lair, and Lion-O explains that he can defeat the Warbot if he can face it on open ground. “Ready the ballista!” Lion-O loads himself in, and is fired out of the Lair onto the Warbot.

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Lion-O lands on the Warbot and jumps down to the ground in front of it. The Warbot lifts up one of its feet to stomp Lion-O, and we see a small blinking light on the bottom of its foot.

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Lion-O holds the Sword of Omens so that the Warbot ends up bringing the red light down right on its tip. A huge energy reaction begins, and Lion-O jumps free right before the foot would crush him. Giant glowing cracks appear along the foot, and the Warbot begins exploding.

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We cut back to Castle Plun-Darr where Slythe is incredulous that the Warbot is down. Mumm-Ra, however, takes the opportunity to gloat. “But it is, Slythe, you bungler! Those Thundercats have defeated your puny efforts once again. Only I, Mumm-Ra, ever-living source of evil, will defeat the Thundercats. Because only I have real power. Magical, mystical power!”

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In the coda, the Thundercats are sitting around the heavily damaged Cat’s Lair. Lion-O explains that he got the secret of the Warbot from his father. Panthro clarifies that there was an absorber disc under one foot to recieve the cosmic rays that Slythe was energizing it with. Lion-O expresses regret over being unable to save Claudus. Panthro tells him not to worry about it, since no one can change history.

So, that was interesting, huh? I had been assuming that Jaga was the previous Lord of the Thundercats, but now it turns out that I was wrong. Also, what was up with all the non-dog dogs in this episode, like Frog-Dog and Cano?


Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 19: Mongor

February 10, 2009

Wilykit and Wilykat decide to one-up the bolkens from episode 11 and release an even bigger badass that was imprisoned in an ancient tomb.

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We open in a burning building on a goat-man with a big scythe. He hops up onto the roof and proclaims, “no creature, no structure, no Third Earthling will escape the wrath of Mongor. Mongor is fear. Fear and destruction!”

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He waves his scythe around, which spreads more flames. We zoom out, and see that Mumm-Ra has been watching the whole thing in his cauldron. Mumm-Ra explains, “Mongor terrorizes Third Earth, and wherever he finds fear he grows in power and strength. Soon he will be fit to destroy the Thundercats!” (And since it’s Mumm-Ra, you can assume there’s some laughter interspersed in there).

Speaking of the Thundercats, we cut to Cat’s Lair. Inside, we see that they are experiencing some kind of mysterious earthquakes, and their scanners are being blocked by some kind of force field. We cut outside, where Wilykit and Wilykat are riding their spaceboards, but having trouble with them, and decide to head back to Cat’s Lair.

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Out in the Thundertank, Lion-O, Panthro, and Snarf are experiencing equipment problems, too, so they also head for the lair. With all the Thundercats in the control room, Panthro declares everything back to normal. Tygra points out that each time the disturbance happens it gets worse. Wilykit and Kat try to sneak out the back while everyone is talking, but Snarf catches them and demands to know where they’re going. The try to dismiss Snarf, but all the other Thundercats crowd around them and give them the third degree.

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Eventually, they admit that they caused the mysterious problem. Panthro finds this hilarious, because he finds it impossible to believe that two kids had anything to do with something that could affect Cat’s Lair. Cheetara asks Wilykit and Kat to explain what they mean. Wilykit starts talking, leading us into a flashback: “It all started when we were at the ruined temple.”

In the flashback, Wilykit and Wilykat are flying their spaceboards. “Hey, Wilykat, let’s take a look at that ruin.” “Sure, looks like some kind of temple.” Wow, who would have expected something like that at the ruined temple?

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Inside the temple, Wilykat sees a giant stone hexagon with pictograms carved into it that are reminiscent of Mongor. Wilykit suspects that it might be a tomb. His first impulse? Open it.

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As they move the stone, we see that the skies are darkening outside, and a thunderstorm is starting. Then (still in Wilykit’s flashback, remember) we cut to Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. We hear Mongor’s voice calling out to Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra is pretty stoked to hear from Mongor, since he’s been trying to free the dude for three centuries, but hasn’t been able to find his prison. Mumm-Ra watches what Wilykit and Kat are up to in his cauldron, and we cut back to them. They move the stone far enough to see that there’s a hole underneath, but then the stone moves the rest of the way on its own and a giant column of fire bursts out of the hole.

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Mongor materializes in the flame, claiming to be the “eternal image of fear”. Mongor starts out the same size as Wilykit and Kat, but despite their protestations to the contrary, they are clearly afraid of him. Some yellow lightning goes off between Mongor’s horns as they feel the fear, and Mongor grows slightly.

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We do a wavy transition back to the Cat’s Lair control room to signify that the flashback is over (so I assume that cutaway to Mumm-Ra really was a part of it). The adult Thundercats start really chewing out Wilykit and Wilykat for their irresponsibility, and we cut to Mumm-Ra who is happy that Mongor is already sowing dissension in the Thundercats’ ranks. We cut back to the lair, where Snarf is trying to stop the criticism firing squad.

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Snarf adopts the “they’re only kids, how do you expect them to learn?” line of argument (and I am still confused about why they’re kids, because they came to Third Earth in the same kind of suspension modules that Lion-O did and he aged to maturity). Snarf thinks that being overly angry with Wilykat and Kit will just make them too frightened to come to the other Thundercats when they need help. Meanwhile, while the other Thundercats are discussing them, Wilykit and Kat slip away. Lion-O finally notices that they’re gone, and the Thundercats decide they all need to split up and search for them.

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Back at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, he’s been watching the action and thinks that Mongor now has the perfect opportunity to take out the Thundercats one at a time.

We cut to Tygra in a forest. He gets the sensation that something is following him. He whips some leaves into the air and turns invisible, but this only seems to amuse Mongor, who we hear laughing. “You cannot hide from Mongor with your Thundercat tricks!” Mongor sends in some black smoke which makes Tygra visible again. Tygra figures he’s outclassed, so he whips out a big bulky communicator (didn’t Panthro integrate the communicators into the Thundercats’ weapons in episode 15?).

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Before Tygra can get through to anybody, Mongor zaps the communicator with some lightning, knocking it from Tygra’s hand and destroying it. Mongor charges Tygra, but Tygra leaps out of the way.

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Tygra ignites the end of his bolo whip and tries to strike Mongor, but Mongor just grabs the flaming end of the whip in his hand, completely unaffected by the fire, and throws it back at Tygra. The bolo ends on the whip hit a tree, and they extend like giant lashing tentacles to form a giant web among the trees in the forest. Mongor uses his scythe to shoot some blue fire at Tygra. Tygra’s whip then wraps around him, incapacitating him.

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We cut to Wilykit and Kat on their spaceboards. Wilykit thinks that the carvings on the rock that were imprisoning Mongor might be useful, since they were made by whoever trapped Mongor in the ruined temple.

We cut to Cheetara, who is speeding past a mud pit. A crab-man like the one Panthro fought back in episode 15 rises up out of the mud to accost her. She runs in circles around him, disorienting him, and dumping him into the mud.

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Mongor appears at the top of a cliff. As he jumps down to attack her, he asks, “looking for your striped friend, Thundercat?” Mongor tries to shoot her with a column of blue fire from his fingertip, but she keeps running ahead of his aim. He switches tactics and shoots a bunch of threads from his fingertips. They weave into a net around her, trapping her (This also means that Cheetara has officially taken top honors from Snarf in the “Thundercat most frequently caught in a net” competition. There’s this episode, episode 14, and episode 12).

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Back at the ruined temple, Wilykat and Kit discover a pictogram that seems to indicate that Mongor’s power can be reflected back at him, and that a key defense against him is to not look at him directly.

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We cut to Panthro, driving in the Thundertank. The ground cracks open in front of him, opening into a large chasm. Panthro uses the front paws of the Tank to grab the other edge to try to pull himself across, but some kind of yellow lightning is shot from the chasm which causes the tank to lose its grip and start falling into the chasm. Panthro activates the rocket thrusters on the tank and starts to fly out, but is zapped by lightning again, so his landing is very rough. Mongor rises up out of the chasm, looking pretty big now, since he’s been gaining power from the fear of the Thundercats he’s defeated. Panthro decides to see how Mongor handles some “stellar rated laser power”, and zaps him with the laser cannon in the Thundertank’s nose.

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Mongor just laughs it off, and then reflects the beam back at the tank with his scythe. He then uses some eye-beams to lift the tank into the air, flip it over, and drop it.

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Panthro emerges from the tank and tries to take on Mongor with his nunchucks. He whips one end at him, and the little paw on the end opens up to reveal a hole that shoots out some gas.

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Mongor just sucks the gas up through his nose, and makes like the big bad wolf and starts blowing Panthro away. Panthro figures he needs an anchor, so he shoots the spikes from his suspenders out into the ground, with lines attached, to stabilize himself.

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Mongor stops blowing. Panthro retracts his spikes and tries to run up for another attack, but Mongor causes Panthro’s spike-lines to freak out and start flailing around. They tie Panthro up and anchor him to the ground.

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We cut to Mumm-Ra, still watching all the action in his cauldron. “Two children and the youth Lion-O, all that stands between men and my perpetual reign of evil!”

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We cut to Lion-O and Snarf. Lion-O tries to use sight-beyond-sight to find Wilykit and Kat, but can’t. He’s also troubled that none of the other Thundercats have checked in. Mongor shows himself, and Lion-O immediately decides to call for help. “Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats, HO!” With a series of quick cuts, we see that Panthro, Tygra, and Cheetara are still all trapped, unable to answer the Thundercats signal.

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Lion-O and Mongor fight, Mongor using a few of the same tricks that he’s used on the other Thundercats. Lion-O seems to be standing up pretty well, leading Mongor to realize that he may have underestimated Lion-O. Mongor switches to straight-up scythe attacks, and knocks the Sword of Omens out of Lion-O’s hand. Just then, Wilykit and Kat fly in on their spaceboards, and Wilykat uses his lariat to grab the sword.

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Wilykat throws the sword back to Lion-O, and Wilykit warns Lion-O not to look at Mongor. Mongor uses his flame breath to knock Wilykit off of her board, but Lion-O pulls her to safety with a line from the Claw Shield, and Wilykat pulls her up onto his spaceboard. Kit and Kat both chew up some capsules from their belts to unleash a giant swarm of bubbles. Mongors tries to shoot his eye-beams, but they are refelcted back at him by the bubbles.

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Lion-O uses the reflective properties of the Claw Shield to line up an over-the-shoulder shot with the Sword of Omens. Mongor gets zapped, and appears to be in a lot of pain.

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We do some quick cuts to the trapped Thundercats, and the forces that have been holding them in place seem to be weakening. Another zap with the Sword of Omens, and Mongor is rapidly shrinking. We cut to the other Thundercats, who are able to free themselves!

Back at the fight, Lion-O no longer needs to avert his eyes from Mongor, because he doesn’t fear him anymore. “I no longer fear his power. And without fear, he is nothing.” Mongor is banished back to his ruined temple.

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We cut to Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, where Mumm-Ra says that the power of the Thundercats was greater than he thought, greater than anything he has overcome before. He goes back to his sarcophagus to rest.

In the coda, the Thundercats are back at the ruined temple, where Panthro is welding Mongor’s prison shut.

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Tygra tries to cast more blame at Wilykit and Wilykat for their role in the whole thing, and they respond that it was an accident. Cheetara claims that Tygra was just teasing, but I’m not so sure. Snarf and Lion-O are of the opinion that Wilykit and Kat redeemed themselves, and it was brave of them to come back to the ruined temple. They explain that they were really brave, just more afraid of the Thundercats’ anger than they were of Mongor.


Review: Thundercats Season 1 Episode 18: Spitting Image

February 8, 2009

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.