Slick’s Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 115 – “Trials of Lion-O, Part One”
As of late, Lion-O has displayed less than leader-quality traits. His jealousy of Tygra and Cheetara is both an annoyance and a danger to his comrades as his decision making skills have greatly diminished. Combine that with the appearance of Mumm-Ra’s new generals Addicus and Kaynar and you have a recipe for disaster. Slithe is bloodthirsty, but these two are downright murderous. Lion-O must get his act together in time to protect his people. If he does not, someone will certainly end up dead very soon.
RIGHT TO LIFEThe Book of Omens leads the group to the top of a steep cliff. Cheetara suggests that the Book is not always clear in its directions. Unfortunately, Lion-O is too busy being a baby about Tygra and Cheetara getting together to listen. He refuses to acknowledge their advice because he thinks they are against him for some reason. He gets even more defensive when the other ThunderCats start to question him. Panthro’s warning becomes reality when they are ambushed and captured by Slithe, Addicus and Kaynar. For the second time in the series, Lion-O gets the 300 treatment but this time he actually falls to his death. The Spirit Stone takes his body to another dimension where he is given a chance to earn his life back. Jaga tells him that he will undergo a series of trials and he will return to life only if he passes them all.
NOTHING IS FREE The original series had Lion-O face five trials in order to earn the right to be the Lord of the ThunderCats by developing his strengths against the others. He had to be stronger than Panthro, faster than Cheetara, trickier than Kit and Kat and more cunning than Tygra. After all of that, he had to take those skills and defeat his greatest enemy, Mumm-Ra. He did all of this without his sword and shield. This time, he must earn the right to regain his life by facing his greatest weaknesses. So far, he had to learn to use all of his senses to outwit Kit and Kat and to use the road less traveled to be faster than Cheetara. Of course, since he is dead and they are alive, the people he faces are just creations of the Spirit Stone, but they are just as talented as the real things. He will likely have to best Tygra in a fight this time; he can do it if he remembers what he learned from Hattanzo the Drifter. That will probably be his last trial unless he has to face Mumm-Ra as well. He will also have to find a way to beat Panthro in a test of strength. The original Lion-O was just a hair stronger than Panthro, who was thought to be strongest of the ThunderCats. That is not going to be as easy for a smaller Lion-O who is a good foot shorter and narrower than this Panthro. The bionic arms will not make things any easier either. Regardless, if he is to save his friends and honor his father’s memory, it has to be done.
EYE OF THE TIGER The saying “be careful what you wish for” always seems to sting those who wish too hard. Tygra, regardless of their differences, loves his brother. He proved that when Mumm-Ra tried to set them against each other. Regardless of this, he has always felt that he deserved to be king more than Lion-O and for a brief moment, even King Claudus believed it. However, Tygra wanted to do the one thing he felt Lion-O never had, he wanted to earn the crown. Now with Lion-O’s death, it falls in his lap just as easily as it did for his brother. Learning from past mistakes, he keeps his cool and waits for the right moment to strike in order to protect his people. In some ways he is already a better king than Lion-O but I think he would give up the crown to see his brother again. Let’s hope that wish comes true with less of a price than the first one.
SEVEN WORDSLion-O is literally fighting for his life. He is trying to make it back to his people because even if they are out of immediate danger, he is the only one that can stop Mumm-Ra once and for all. He has learned two valuable lessons that would have kept him from losing his life in the first place. We can only hope the next set will return him from the dead with knowledge needed to keep him alive. And with the Sword of Omens in Slithe’s hand (and possibly Mumm-Ra’s soon), what I really hope he learns is a chant the original Lion-O knew that made sure the source of the ThunderCats’ power was always where it belonged. Look it up, people.
KAYNAR THE COMEDIAN Seriously I have a feeling that Kaynar is going to be a series favorite. He’s a lunatic and despite his utter creepiness, he makes me laugh all the time. He gets line of the episode for grabbing Cheetara and telling her “You run like a girl.”
Another shining gem in the dull collection of episodes season one has presented to us. And once again, it only seems to be when the show digs into the archives for material that a great episode is created. I hope this trend continues for at least the next episode since this is a two-part story. I want this show to succeed and hopefully when Lion-O does come back to life (we all know he will) this stupid love triangle thing will be over because it is killing the story. They also need to take Kit, Kat and Panthro out of the background and have some storylines that focus on them. It is OK to have side stories if they are interesting and develop our main characters, but the previous ones have all been about Lion-O. That gets boring really quickly. Grune is gone (for now) so let Panthro be a little bit more easy going and give us more info on the ‘Kittens. What is this place they keep looking for and if they find it, will they leave the ThunderCats? All I am saying is that Lion-O has been developed enough that someone else could take center stage for an episode or two.
Lion-O’s Anointment Second Day: The Trial of Speed
Here’s the last stretch of the original race between Lion-O and Cheetara (which lasted a full day), one of the greatest scenes in cartoon history.