Lion-O is now lord of the ThunderCats and ruler of Thundera, but with Thundera destroyed and less than a handful of ThunderCats remaining, what is there to rule? Had he only told his father about the vision he had of Mumm-Ra, Claudus (and countless other Thunderians) might still live today. A feeling like that will eat a person to the core until there is nothing left but revenge. The question remains: what kind of man, what kind of leader will Lion-O be if he abandons the ThunderCat ways of justice, truth, honor and loyalty? Today, his journey begins and we get to find out if he is worthy of the pride his father had in him when he died.
One of the opening images we see are the head of Cats’ Lair laying at the feet of the castle, indicating just how ravaged the kingdom is. Lion-O and Tygra watch as Cheetara performs a funeral ceremony for their father Claudus. Lion-O heats the sword and carves the ThunderCat symbol into the column where Claudus’ body is cremated. As Tygra and Cheetara try to convince Lion-O to follow Jaga’s last words and seek out the Book of Omens, he shows them his rage and commands them to aid in avenging the loss of their former king. They follow him more out of concern than respect for his wishes. As they leave the walls of Thundera, they encounter young WilyKit and WilyKat, who are doing what they do best – surviving. They beg Lion-O in true kitten fashion to join him and he refuses but they follow him anyway, knowing that he is their best chance at seeing another day. After several days travel, they find the sandsea, beyond which is Mumm-Ra’s Black Pyramid. Having exhausted their supplies, they marvel at a pile of food floating on the sea and quickly devour it. Cheetara ponders just a little too late why there would be such a bounty just floating about.
No sooner than Cheetara has her startling revelation, the ‘Cats find themselves caught in a fishing net cast by the crew of Captain Koinelius Tunar. Ironically, a group of fish plan to have a cat dinner, that is, until the monster known as the Ramlak attacks the ship. Lion-O finds a kindred spirit in the captain as they both are consumed by hate and revenge. The Ramlak is a plant monster that lives in the sandsea and it drank the oasis home of the fish people. The captain also lost his leg to the monster (Moby Dick anyone?) and he will not stop until the Ramlak is destroyed. The chase leads to a final showdown with the Ramlak. Just like the conclusion of the Jules Verne story, the ship is destroyed and the captain falls victim to his prey, but so does Lion-O. After saving the crew and his fellow ThunderCats, the Ramlak surfaces one more time and eats the young lord. Fortunately, the Sword of Omens doubles as a weed-whacker and he easily tears his way out of the monster. This daring escape also releases all of the water stored inside of the Ramlak and the fish people get their home back. Having made new friends, the team, now two ThunderKittens stronger, sets off on their original quest to find the Book of Omens. Things appear to be looking up….
….Or things were looking up until we see that inside the Black Pyramid, Jaga is alive and being tortured by Mumm-Ra for the location of the Book of Omens. Grune remarks to his master that if Jaga knew where the book was that Claudus would never have sent he and Panthro on the mission to search for it. Mumm-Ra however, knows better. He knows that Jaga would not fight so hard against his magic if he truly did not possess knowledge of the book’s location. Jaga swears that he will die before revealing that information to Mumm-Ra. Unfortunately, the ever-living source of evil proves to be too much for the cleric and Jaga is used as a beacon. Lighting the way and marking the location of the book so that Mumm-Ra can find it first. Indeed, things are not looking up for our heroes.
“Ramlak Rising” is the first regular episode after the two-part premiere. Unlike the opening episodes, it did not feel as inspired. For the most part, it was a reworking of Moby Dick and in that sense I did not enjoy the episode. However, it did show that Lion-O is not without his flaws and that he is man enough both to realize and acknowledge said flaws to his peers. The old Lion-O usually had to get some kind of lecture and still did not listen until something bad happened. I am finding the slightly more mature character in this series to be refreshing. Still, I am having an issue with some continuity errors. I am wondering how in one scene Lion-O and Tygra had regular clothes and in the next they have on armor. Also sort of wondering where the kittens got ThunderCat gear from. That part is a little more believable because they were scrounging all throughout the city so finding the gear makes more sense. Mumm-Ra’s voice is growing on me. I miss the raspy, billowing voice of Earl Hammond (original Mumm-Ra), but Robin Atkin Downes is no stranger to voicing and/or playing evil characters. His Mumm-Ra is downright demonic and is definitely going to be one of the more memorable parts of this series. I cannot wait to see what he does with the character and I hope for more ambitious storylines on the show. I am really wondering if Jaga is still alive or not after seeing what Mumm-Ra has done to him. It looks like we are going to get a much closer look at the ancient spirits of evil than in the original show and I say bring it on.