Monday, September 12, 2011

Lion-O Loses the Sword of Omens

by Christopher Scott

ThunderCats “The Drifter and The Duelist” (S01E07)

The team has finally left the Tower of Omens, but they haven’t gotten far. Two situations have kept them in the area; a lack of supplies, and incorporating the Book of Omens into the Thundertank. While Panthro and Tygra figure out the logistics of fusing paper with metal, Lion-O and Snarf are sent off to gather the supplies they’ll need. Cheetara must be doing something too, but it’s a secret.

Lion-O arrives at a nearby village for and is greeted by a rabbit-humanoid character who is hanging by his clothing on the front gate, like a scarecrow. Referred to as “Drifter,” his name suits him well. The wind seems to blow him from place to place as he rides it. He warns Lion-O to stay away from the village because it is notorious for sword duels. Men seem to come from everywhere to gain/lose their once-famous blades. Lion-O disregards the information, frees the Drifter from the gate, and bids him farewell as he enters the city.

His supplies are easy enough to find in the bazaar district, but payment is a bit more … complicated. Lion-O, being an heir to the throne of Thundara, has never been short on funds. But now that the city has fallen, the money is worthless. He must enter a local competition in sword mastery to gain the funds for the supplies. Luckily, it is already under way, so Lion-O runs to make an entry.

The point of the contest is to cut a swath into a large obelisk in the center of town. Each contestant boasts about the origin of his blade and then takes a strike at it. Lion-O has only one note, “You’re all battling for second place.” With that confidence, the Sword of Omens extends and cuts deep into the stone, splitting it in two! The crowd goes ballistic, the reward is paid, and the supplies are bought.

Enter the villain of the episode. Known only as The Duelist, he challenges Lion-O for the Sword of Omens, and the winner would collect both blades. Lion-O shoots him down, but it goaded into the fight when the Duelist disrespects his father. Smooth move. Lion-O takes a few moments to practice his moves and the Drifter reappears to show him he is clearly not ready. After many successive tries, Lion-O fails at the Drifter’s challenge, as the Drifter rides on the air to dodge his attacks. Panic is fierce in Lion-O’s eyes as he realizes that his skills might not be up to the task of facing off against a master at duels. Noon comes, the battle is short, and the legendary Sword of Omens is lost in mere moments.

The Drifter floats back into the story here with a tale of his own. Apparently, he was once a master blacksmith. Spending his entire life making swords, he crafted one in particular in his downtime for himself. Over a year in the making, the Sword of Hatanzo was his crown jewel. An incredible sword, he relied on his blade for victory until the day he met The Duelist. The Duelist beat the Drifter, took his blade, and left him a shell of his former glory.

Lion-O begs him to make a new blade after coming out of retirement. The two argue, but after Lion-O proves his skills in smithing are very, VERY weak, the Drifter jumps in and takes over. One afternoon later a new sword is born and Lion-O wastes no time in taking it into battle. The stakes are higher this time around… Lion-O would win all of the blades in the collection upon winning. However, the Duelist would win the honor of taking the life of his challenger should he win.

The challenge draws a large audience. Everyone loves bloodshed I suppose. The two begin, but it is clear that Lion-O has learned nothing thus far. His strikes are still very strong as he attacks head-on. The problem is that even though his new sword is made by the same blacksmith who crafted the Sword of Hatanzo, it was made in a single afternoon. Not over the course of a year. As quality as the blade might be, it cannot handle such punishment in battle. (I’m glad they mentioned that, because I honestly thought they would just let Lion-O win with this blade he just happened to come across.) The blade snaps in two, leaving Lion-O defenseless. The Duelist goes to make his final lunge, but the Drifter reminds Lion-O of his secret to battle from their earlier conflict. Lion-O loosens his body and dodges the strike, still clinging to his broken blade. He begins to dodge like the wind, eventually taking an opening to disarm his opponent and defeat him.

The Drifter and Lion-O celebrate victory as they collect their swords from the ground where they lay. The Duelist reveals a knife he had hidden and goes to exact revenge on them both, but is stopped by the Drifter and his vine from his mouth. He uses it to take the blade from the Duelist and leaves him in shame. The Drifter collects the remaining blades and vows to return them to their original masters, and Lion-O takes the Sword of Omens and his supplies back to the Thundercats to continue on his own journey. The two part ways and thus ends the episode.

I am so happy about the track this series is now on. What did you think of this one on a scale of 1 to 10? I’m going with a 9! Comment below!
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