Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lion-O Finds Purpose in his Life

ThunderCats “Song of the Petalars” (S01E03)
by Christopher Scott

We can breathe a sigh of relief this week as this episode reminds us all of how to tell a story. The tale begins with a team of lizards tracking the Thundercats through the woods. By finding previous campsites and food remains, they are having no trouble catching up with Lion-O and his team. General Slithe, the leader of the lizard armies, is assisted by several of the mechs used to take down Thundera. They seem to be closing the gap with their prey quickly.

Cut to our heroes who have taken refuge for the night. Wilykit and Wilykat are daring each other and acting like children while the others sit around a campfire and continue to mourn their losses. It is hard to believe that their lives have been so greatly changed in the blink of an eye. The brooding is broken when Snarf is spooked. The cats climb the nearest tree to get a better view of the dangers approaching. It seems like the lizard army is barreling down on top of them. Lion-O decides they need to run from this threat, which does not sit well with Tygra.

Tygra seems to have taken Lion-O’s role from the last episode a bit (though not so intrusively). He says that they must stand and fight as their father would have. His brother is quick to remind him that their father’s pride and actions cost him his life, and Lion-O is not ready for them to see the same fate. The group retreats until they arrive at a large bramble. Lion-O decides they will take refuge there, much to the chagrin of Tygra.

The scene changes to what seems to be a clearing in the thorny briar. Tiny plant-like humanoid creatures (later named Petalars) are singing a melody as a ceremony takes place. A Petalar is about to be born as another, much older, Petalar gives a short message to the newborn about the importance of the gift of life. The older creature passes away, becoming a collection of leaves blowing in the wind. The melody continues to play until it is interrupted by the destruction of the thorny vines. The Thundercats emerge and instantly feel awkward for having ruined the ceremony. A young Petalar runs up to meet the newcomers, introducing himself as Emerick. Some laughter breaks the tension and introduces the two species.

One of the Petalars gives a brief history of their race. They once lived in a land called The Garden, but a terrible storm blew the entire race to the thicket. They have a crude map drawn on a leaf that they hope will lead them to their previous homeland. Lion-O decides to help the Petalars return home safely while they are making their own way through the thorns.

Emerick quickly takes a shine to Lion-O. The two bond over sword fighting techniques and it seems that Lion-O has almost become a father figure to the boy. The peaceful scene is broken when a large bird swoops in and snatches Emerick. Emerick begins to stab the bird’s talons and is dropped from the sky into the shrubbery below. As Lion-O searches for him, Emerick emerges from the brush, having aged to what seems to be a teenager. The lifespan of the Petalars lasts only a single day.

The scene changes back to the lizards who have arrived at the edge of the briar. The machines are slowly cutting away at its perimeter, but it is a slow grind. General Slithe sends some of his forces inside the thicket to hunt down the Thundercats and bring them out.

Back inside the thorny mass, the Petalars and Thundercats continue on their quest to find the way back to The Garden. The bird who had attacked Emerick returns, and Emerick rushes into battle with his old foe. Emerick has learned quite a bit of swordplay now and holds his own until his weapon is knocked away. Lion-O steps in and swipes at the bird, which scares it off. Emerick is infuriated with Lion-O for interrupting the battle. As most teenagers, he wanted to prove himself as independent and feels ashamed for needing help.

The two races continue on their journey as Lion-O begins to question himself again. He sees the Patalar people passing away at a rapid pace, making him wonder what the point of fighting is. Kingdoms come and go, as do races and people. So why keep fighting for the Thundercats when they’ll just be a spec of time in all of history? Now Emerick has aged to adulthood, and spots the entrance to the Cliff of Wings, the fabled jumping point where they can ride the air back to The Garden. Just as they all begin to enter the passage, Lion-O is hit with a blast from behind that takes him off of his feet.

The lizards have found their quarry and are quick to dismantle them all. Before the Thundercats knew what was attacking them, they had all been bound and gagged. Emerick and his people safely made it to the passage before the assault, but stop short of their goal. From their perspective, the team of cats have been helping their race for a lifetime, and in their time of need the Petalars would not turn their backs. Using a magical pollen, they take to the skies and confuse the lizards while freeing their friends. They all manage to escape and travel through the passageway.

The group emerges from the passage to find the Cliff of Wings to be nonexistent. Their hopes dashed, Lion-O returns again to brooding. It also holds similarities to his own life. Will the Book of Omens be a lie? Will their quest ever be completed? As they contemplate what to do next, it seems General Slithe has set the bramble on fire. This further ruins their chances of survival, but Emerick realizes that the heat from the flames is causing an updraft that can carry the Petalars out and back to their home!

Just as the race of leaf people start to escape, Emerick is passing away. He gives some sage advice to Lion-O about life being about the journey and then turns to leaves and blows away. The Thundercats regroup and Lion-O commands that they take on the lizards and fight their way out with honor. There is an epic battle scene, but in the end the group is surrounded and outmatched. They prepare to meet their end when suddenly, a cat/tank machine appears and begins to decimate the forces of the lizards. They go into a full-scale retreat. Everyone is questioning who their savior might be and we are treated to the return of Panthro!

This show has been a wild rollercoaster ride so far. Like it or hate it, leave your comments below!

Christopher Scott is a contributor for the television blog TheTalkingBox. He spends much of his time watching TV intended for 8 year olds when not spending it with his family in Huntsville, AL.
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