Slick’s Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 104 – Song of The Petalars
Lion-O has learned to control his rage and is back on the hunt for the Book of Omens. He learned the hard way that revenge will not bring back his loved ones and that it usually leads to even greater loss. . Life is precious and unfortunately death is constantly reminding him of this fact. With that, the young lord keeps in mind that there are now five lives both depending upon and supporting him. How will he be able to keep them safe when there is nowhere to hide and they must constantly keep running?
The episode opens showing that the lizards are on the hunt. They have the trail of the ThunderCats and they are closing in fast. Our heroes, currently unaware, enjoy a rest period. As usual, the ThunderKittens enjoy any chance to have some fun. Lion-O talks with Cheetara about how desperate their situation is. She attempts to lift his spirits and it looks like they might share a moment of intimacy when Snarf jumps on Lion-O’s face. Feeling somewhat “blocked,” Lion-O wants to know what is wrong with Snarf, who has noticed that the lizards are not far off. Both Tygra and Cheetara are ready and willing to fight but Lion-O orders a retreat. Six against the entire lizard army are not good odds, especially when they have giant mechs. Once again, Tygra disagrees with Lion'-O’s leadership but follows nonetheless. The group move into a huge overgrowth of brambles and thorns where the lizards would not be able to quickly follow.
The sound of synchronous singing brings them to a clearing where a ceremony of life is taking place. An elder of a group of plant people called the Petalars is welcoming a newborn into the world just as his own life is ending. Lion-O’s cutting through the branches scares the Petalars with the exception of a youngster named Emmerich, who cannot contain his curiosity. Emmerich befriends Lion-O and the he vows to help both the Petalars find their real home and get his people out of the briar maze. Emmerich idolizes Lion-O and fashions a sword of his own, asking Lion-O for lessons. During the lesson, Emmerich is captured by a bird creature that flies off with him but he fights against the bird’s grip and falls into the branches. Lion-O searches for him for about a minute and then finds another Petalar. He asks Lion-O why he does not recognize him and then it is realized that this is Emmerich, now a teenager. Cheetarah realizes that the Petalars life span is only about one day. Emmerich made his way to the clearing but it was years for him. Slythe sends in his advance scouts to flush out the ThunderCats. Using their tracking abilities, they notice that the group is walking around in circles and that they are not alone. Using the element of surprise, the lizards quickly and easily capture the ThunderCats.
Just as quickly as the group is captured, they are freed by the efforts of the Petalars. The lizards completely underestimate them due to their size.The Petalars use pollen against the lizards’ delicate senses which gives Tygra, Cheetara and the twins time to retaliate. Lion-O kills one of the lizards with the sword and both the ThunderCats and the Petalars run toward what they believe is salvation for the Petalars, the cliff of wind. Outside, Slythe orders his men to burn down the forest. Once again, Lion-O despairs as the there seems to be no escape from the forest. Emmerich refuses to give up hope and he tells everyone to head toward the fire, which is creating an updraft. The Petalars are able to escape the bramble forest with the newly formed “cliff of wind,” but time has run out for Lion-O’s friend Emmerich. As he lay dying in Lion-O’s hands, he tells him how important it is to live life to the fullest. The Petalars thank the ThunderCats for everything as they float away on the wind.
Lion-O’s sadness quickly turns to courage as his friend’s words echo in his ears. Tygra and Cheetara ponder what to do next as they are still stuck in the forest. Lion-O finally listens to Tygra’s earlier words stating that ThunderCats never retreat. He orders a charge against the lizards like Emmerich did earlier and says they will hope for the best. He does the classic “ThunderCats Ho!” chant and for the first time in this series we see the ThunderCat symbol light up the sky. Seems slightly silly considering his team is standing right in front of him, but it sure looked pretty cool. As the attack commences, it seems like they might actually survive, until the mechs surround them and the lizards close in. The kittens hold on to each other tight and everybody basically starts saying goodbyes. Looks like this might be the final episode.
Just as one of the lizard mechs is about to fire, a blast of energy hits it from the side and destroys it. All anyone can see is something coming fast with glowing red eyes and a lot of weaponry. It seems that Lion-O shining the ThunderCat symbol was not so pointless because the moment fans were hoping and waiting for is here – enter the ThunderTank. The shadowy vehicle makes short work of all the mechs and Slythe and his forces are forced to retreat. The tank comes to a halt right in front of the shocked ThunderCats and a figure emerges. One brave lizard attempts to take him down, but a pair of nunchucks put an end to that. Lion-O asks who the pilot of the tank is and episode ends with his answer: “name’s Panthro.”
You might ask why the creators would introduce new characters that will probably never be seen again. Well, first, there is no reason that the Petalars but we obviously will not see Emmerich again. Plot wise, Emmerich’s only purpose was to get Lion-O’s head straight and he served that purpose, but he was a good character that I wish was at least semi-recurring. At least we now have all of the original ThunderCats on screen together and the “strays” at least have some form of shelter. We shall have to see if characters like Lynxo (who was in the premiere), Bengali and Pumyra will be joining the team at any point. I expect also that with the original team together that Mumm-Ra will have a more active role, probably starting with the next episode. I had my doubts after the Ramlak episode, but if the writers continue with stories like this, the show has a bright future.