Slick’s Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 116 – “Trials of Lion-O, Part Two”
Lion-O has passed two of his four trials to regain his life. Based upon who he has faced and knowledge of the original series, I am guessing that he will have to face Panthro and Tygra. Cheetara said he was half done when he got her key, but the possibility exists that he shall have to face Mumm-Ra as well. Meanwhile, the ThunderCats in the living world must face the ever-living source of evil. They have fallen behind Slithe and his men, but they know where he is going. Panthro has been there once before, so they know how to get to the Black Pyramid. The journey is the easy part. The problem is that aside from Lion-O, none of the ThunderCats have ever proven effective in battle against Mumm-Ra. Now they intend to face him where his power is near limitless. At the same time, Lion-O must face the brother he has never beaten. He must also face a ThunderCat whose strength was legend when he was all flesh; his cybernetic arms have increased said strength exponentially. Living or dead, the odds are extremely not in favor of our heroes.
KING FOR A DAY Tygra, with help from Panthro, has led the ThunderCats to the foot of the Black Pyramid. Panthro once had to claw his way out of there, so he fortunately knew a way in. An alarm sounds the moment they get inside and Tygra freezes, not knowing what to do. WilyKit provides a save by lulling the lizard guards to sleep with her flute. Creeping through the ducts, the team sees Mumm-Ra performing a ceremony. He is attempting to undo the magic that sealed the war stone inside the Sword of Omens. Now Tygra knows what he must do, but he still has no real plan. He charges in knowing that Mumm-Ra must be stopped and The ThunderCats are all taken down and imprisoned. All but one of them fear that hope is lost.
A CHILD’S FAITH Despite shedding tears for her lost king, WilyKit refuses to accept that Lion-O is dead. She says that her time with the Elephants has taught her that death is a doorway and that if Lion-O has not lost his soul, he can return. From right after he fell off of the cliff, she had been leaving picture markers to show Lion-O how to find them. While in Mumm-Ra’s holding cell, she tells the others to stop worrying because Lion-O is coming. Cheetara and Tygra look on her with pity and think that she is too young to truly understand death, but they are wrong. She had the faith no one else did in him and he really did come through for his people. Funny that a child had more faith than the cleric of the team (Cheetara).
THE FINAL TRIALPanthro told Lion-O that the trial would be a test of strength, but he never said it was about physical strength. Lion-O beats him easily by ordering him to step out of the circle. His greatest weakness is self-doubt and he overcomes it with his ability to lead. This brought him to what he thought would be his last trial. Tygra waits at the same tree where he has beaten Lion-O many times before and the result was no different this time. Lion-O failed because once again, he doubted himself. He was given the key of death for his failure, not realizing that he was entering one last trial. He was willing to sacrifice his very soul to save his people and he succeeded in doing so, proving that he is truly worthy to rule. It seems that these were still anointment trials because Lion-O emerged a better Lord of the ThunderCats. He has restored the confidence lost from his teammates and Tygra has a newfound respect for his brother as king. His rule truly starts from this moment forward.
BATMAN BEYONDThis episode was written by the voice actor behind Lion-O, Will Friedle. The show does have a rotating schedule of regular writers and this was the first time that Will took the job and I have to say that I am impressed. Will is about three weeks younger than I , so he was definitely watching the original show at the same time I was, probably running home from school to see it as I did. Watching this episode shows how much he really loved the original characters and his desire to get things back on track. I can only hope the show continues the upward trend it is on now that The ThunderCats are a cohesive unit in full support of their leader. Hearing Tygra say “We’d follow you anywhere, your majesty” is an indication that Lion-O finally has the support of his brother, something he desperately needed. I doubt we will see a Lion-O jealous of Cheetara and Tygra again either. I hope Friedle gets to write more episodes if he is going to produce this level of quality.
I really liked part one of this story; it gave me high hopes for this episode. I have to say that I was blown away with how this story progressed. We finally see an episode better than “Legacy” and a dawn of a new chapter in ThunderCats where hopefully all the infighting is over. If that is the case, Mumm-Ra has much to fear and the addition of Addicus and Kaynar will mean nothing. Next week is supposed to feature the lost tiger clan so I expect we may see Tygra’s real family and possibly be introduced to Bengali. The week after that, someone or something is hunting the ThunderKittens. From what we saw in this episode it could just be Addicus or Kaynar, but we could possibly (pure speculation) be seeing this series version of Safari Joe. The only thing I know for certain is that the week after that, we will be introduced to this series version of Pumyra and I really look forward to that episode as she will be forced by a dog clan to fight in gladiatorial-style combat for their amusement. That’s three straight episodes with definite potential to keep the quality streak going. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
Slick's Nit-Picks: ThunderCats, Episode 115 – “Trials of Lion-O, Part One” (mytakeradio.com)