Slick’s Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 105 – Old Friends
Lion-O must come to understand that loyalty is not a given; it must be earned and maintained. Cheetara, Tygra and Snarf are loyal to him because they grew up with him, he is family and they have seen that he is worth of it. The ThunderKittens are loyal because he keeps them alive. What he does not realize is that someone who does not know him or has not fought beside him has no reason to be loyal to him and just because he is the lord of the ThunderCats, that title alone does not guarantee loyalty. With a new member on the team who was not present during the fall of Thundera, Lion-O must prove why that sword belongs in his hands.
The ThunderCats are safe for now, thanks to Panthro and his ThunderTamk. The problem now is that Panthro’s assault on the lizards has left the ThunderTank out of its fuel source, thundrillium. The only source is The Cloud Peak Mine, where the lizards mine it to power their vehicles and weapons. Lion-O offers the teams’ help and Panthro respectfully declines stating that they would get in his way. Lion-O insists, with Panthro stating they are on their own if they get in his way. He tells them how Claudus was a real king and Cheetara tells how Grune’s betrayal was the end of Claudus. Panthro recalls his history with Grune; how they were both allies and friends. They quickly became the greatest heroes of Thundera and were highly decorated soldiers. However, when it came time for Claudus to name the general of his army, he chose Lynxo over either of them. This greatly angers Grune and Claudus tells them that he needs the two of them for a greater mission: to locate the Book of Omens. Panthro states that it is not their role to question the king while Grune looks away in silence. Back in the present, Panthro tells Lion-O that they will wait for dark to enter the mine. Lion-O wants to move now so he takes out the guards on his own. Thinking he has done what Panthro couldn’t, he does not notice the group of roughly twenty more lizards surround him until it is too late. All he can say is “Whiskers.”
Still feeling brave, Lion-O commands them to lower their weapons. When that fails, he says “please” with much less bravado. The ambush is broken up when Panthro single-handedly pummels the entire group in seconds. Panthro and Lion-O begin to argue and Cheetara interjects that he is the king now. Panthro makes it clear that his loyalty to the new lord will come when it is earned. Inside the mine they see the lizards and Panthro sets eyes on Grune which triggers another flashback. At the beginning of their search for the book, Grune is eager to find the book because he feels it will again advance his quest to rule. As time passes, Grune’s eagerness fades and he again becomes angry, feeling that Claudus sent him on a fool’s errand to get rid of him. One night, he starts to hear a voice that leads him in a new direction. Grune follows the voice to the Black Pyramid. Once again in the present, Panthro tells the group to follow his lead and Lion-O remains silent this time. Cheetara, Tygra and Lion-O take out the guards in the main tunnel as they idiotically keep walking in to see what the commotion is.
When the ThunderCats emerge from the tunnel, Grune tells them how foolish they are for bringing the sword to him and that they will not leave the mine alive. Panthro appears behind him and they have a short faceoff. Panthro recalls the last time he saw Grune and one last flashback begins. The two enter the pyramid as Grune is still following the voice. The path leads to a large stone face and the voice is clearly coming from its beard. Grune pries it open, releasing Mumm-Ra from an imprisonment of who knows how long. He tells the pair that the Sword of Omens was stolen from him and they are to help him get it back. When Panthro refuses, Grune immediately turns on him and knocks him off the platform to what is seemingly his death. Back at the mine, Panthro tries to engage Grune but is stopped by Driller, another servant of Mumm-Ra that Grune orders to destroy the ThunderCats. Panthro proves to be no match for Driller and the machine proceeds to turn the mine into Swiss Cheese.
Driller moves so quickly through the rocks that the ThunderCats have no idea where he will appear next. When the robot does surface to attack, Lion-O charges at it. He draws the sword while yelling “ThunderCats Ho!” and blade meets drill. As the two pass, Driller comes about and tries to drill directly into the Eye of Thundera. Lion-O pushes back, and with the power of the Eye at his command, he manages to unbalance Driller and cut off his head drill. The mine begins to collapse thanks to Driller and Cheetara grabs some thundrillium as they all manage to escape in time. As Panthro and Lion-O look on at the collapsed mine, Panthro tells him that the sword is in the right hands and that Lion-O can expect the same loyalty from him that he gave Claudus. As the episode ends, Lion-O asks if he can drive the ThunderTank after it is fixed. Panthro’s answer: “Not a chance, my king.”
Making Grune the main enemy of Panthro instead of Jaga fits the story a little better in my opinion. Jaga was awesome in the original and the new story, but having this hulking beast of a cat going up against an old man never really made any sense. Grune was stronger than Panthro in the original story, but that may have had to do with being a spirit. The only thing that I do not like in this new story is that Grune’s treachery seems apparent from early on. He remarked to Panthro when they first met that he does not have the patience for normal rank progression in the king’s army. Then when they were receiving medals, he says he will be king – considering the way Thunderian hierarchy works, that was a blatant statement of treason. Ironically, even when he answers Mumm-Ra’s call and leads the army against Thundera, he is still not a king, just as Panthro remarked. What I wonder now is where did Panthro get the materials to make his ThunderTank? We need to see what happened to him after he was betrayed by Grune. The appearance of Driller was a happy surprise. He was always a bit character, but this opens the door for other villains and heroes to return. Mention of Lynxo gives me hope once again that there will up to three more ThunderCats before the series is done. Once again, this is all speculation and we shall have to wait and see.