Friday, August 12, 2011

Thundera Falls, Lion-O Takes Over the Crown

ThunderCats "Omens" (S01E01)
by Christopher Scott

The series begins with this hour-long special episode, “Omens.” A hooded figure is walking about the slums of Agrabah, I mean Thundera, followed by a cat/dragon hybrid pet. He comes to a stop noting the lawlessness of these streets as he watches some thugs beating up someone. The figure decides to intervene in the fight and makes quick work out of them. One of the adversaries attempts to sneak up on the figure and is intercepted by Cheetara, who outs the identity of the figure as Lion-O, heir to the throne of Thundera. The thugs cut and run at this point leaving Lion-O to continue on his trip to pick up a package. Cheetara decides to follow him, and the two are off. 

The next scene brings us to the capital building of the city, where we meet Clawdus (current king of Thundera), Tygra (adopted brother of Lion-O), and Jaga (leader of the Order of Clerics and council to the throne). There is a conversation of the general theme of the episode: that Lion-O doesn’t live up to the expectations of his father. It is a very typical storyline that doesn’t pull any punches. 

Lion-O, in the meantime, has arrived at his destination to pick up a piece of technology. He seems to have a fascination of it as I guess it doesn’t exist in their world. He treats it almost like magic, stating that such objects are foretold in the Book of Omens and told to children for bedtime stories. He realizes he is late for his meeting at the palace, and runs off hastily. 

Upon arriving at the capital, he meets with his father and there is a ceremony of sorts (though apparently no one was invited). Some clerics bring in the Sword of Omens, presenting it to Clawdus. There is a short history lesson that the sword has been passed down for generations, the Eye of Thundera is in the hilt, the sword brought order to the lands and united the Thundercats (which is the name of the entire race), and so on. Clawdus wields the blade for a while, striking at Lion-O who parries the blows with an average sword, and then Lion-O gets to try it. As he holds the blade he gets a vision of something menacing for a moment, but tells no one of it (I’m sure it was nothing anyway). 

Photo: Cartoon Network

The next scene opens with Clawdus leading his sons on some horse-like animals to the gates of the city. A general of the army by the name of Grune has returned from a quest to seek the Book of Omens. Though the book remains undiscovered, Grune has brought a Trojan Horse, I mean large statue encrusted with gems (and not full of enemies), as a gift. We are also told that Panthro, another distinguished general, did not survive the quest. The group returns to the city to begin a celebration for Grune’s return. 

The celebration begins with our first glimpse of Wilykit and Wilykat. They are clever children who are street rats. They steal some coins from a man with some trickery, and are off to buy a feast for themselves. Lion-O is also at the celebration, and breaks up some heckling of a few lizard prisoners that Grune returned with. They plead their case with the future king, stating their innocence. Lion-O takes it into consideration, but leaves them to their fate for the time being.
Marking the end of the celebration, a day of games begins to commemorate their lost general, Panthro. The game consists of climbing a tree and ringing a large bell at the top before the opponent can. Besides that, there seems to be no rules. After some conversation about Lion-O being lame, he challenges his brother to this tree-climbing contest. The game is pretty one-sided and Tygra wins easily, having knocked Lion-O from the tree to claim his prize. Lion-O goes away to question if he will ever be able to lead the Thundercats and is met by Jaga, who reassures his confidence. 

Lion-O finds himself in the city, passing by the lizards in chains again. This time, there is a full-blown riot going on. Lion-O, Cheetara, and Tygra end up involved in the brawl, which lasts only until Clawdus arrives to break it up. After some convincing by Lion-O, Clawdus pardons the lizards and sets them free as a gesture of peace. 

This peace is extremely short-lived as the following night the lizards return en masse for an attack on Thundera. Lion-O is blamed for the attack and is made to stay out of the fight. Grune, Tygra, and Clawdus make for the front gates to battle alongside the army. While the attention is drawn away, lizards emerge from the crystal that has been relocated to the heart of the city. General Slithe of the lizards also makes his first appearance here. They begin to place technological bombs throughout the square that are remarkably similar to the technology Lion-O managed to find at the beginning of the episode.

The focus returns to the front of the city, where huge robotic suits have come from behind some trees in the distance. They begin to pummel the city with missiles that explode simultaneously with the bombs that had already been placed. We also find out that Grune sold out his entire race for more power. He offers a trade: the Sword of Omens for Panthro, whom he presents to be alive. Clawdus chooses the sword (Really!?) and then the Order of Clerics appear to turn the tide of battle in favor of the Thundercats again.

All of the major players fall back to the tree from the earlier game, where Panthro is chained at the top. As Tygra and Clawdus arrive, they are trapped by all manner of lizards and giant robots. That is, until Lion-O (in a very Batman-esque move) shouts from the shadows and eliminates the robots with the bombs he has been hoarding. Clawdus takes the opportunity to cut a swath directly to Panthro, cleaving 5 or 6 lizards per strike. He finally reaches Panthro and frees him, only to find another plot twist. Panthro is actually Mumm-Ra, and he murders Clawdus by stabbing him with a dagger in the back! The clerics show up again to take on Mumm-Ra, but they are no match. Only Jaga and one cleric survive the onslaught. The Thundercats are gathered and jailed.

The final scene takes place in the capital once more, though it is much darker now. Lion-O is freed from jail by one of the lizards he pardoned earlier. He takes the opportunity to launch an attack on Mumm-Ra to reclaim the Sword of Omens with his brother’s help. While Mumm-Ra is distracted (torturing Jaga into revealing the location of the Book of Omens), Lion-O makes for the sword. He uses the Eye of Thundera to inflict some major damage on Mumm-Ra, knocking him through a wall and outdoors. As he tries to counter-attack, we find he is hurt by sunlight, and thus retreats. The remaining cleric is freed and revealed to be Cheetara. She, Tygra, and Lion-O aid Jaga to his feet and they escape together down a secret passage. Jaga then chooses to sacrifice himself to help them all escape so that they may search for the Book of Omens. The three remaining Thundercats continue down the path while Jaga unleashes furious attacks on those who continue to chase them. The episode ends with Lion-O overlooking the dilapidated kingdom of Thundera and vowing that this is only the beginning.

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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