Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Let's review the new Thundercats! Hooooo!


02 - Ancient Spirits of Evil

We return to Lion-O working on his "Technology" drawing schematics and trying to understand it. Again Tygra explains how his childish fascination makes it look crazy. Lion-O says he does not care, but Tygra explains that the population is not seeing the wisdom of pardoning the two Lizards, and think he's just being flippant with his role as prince again. Lion-O restates his reasoning behind that, but Tygra rebuffs him and asks when he will grow up. Lion-O replies "When I do I hope I am nothing like you." Oh, harsh.

A watchtower on the wall of Thundara sees a large army of lizards approaching. One of the watchmen is the splitting image of Lynx-O, down to the blindness (He smells armies).

Claudus prepared for battle, grumbling about how pointless following Lion-O's idea of showing mercy was. He's pissed at him, feeling like this somehow caused the attack by undermining their power. Tygra, Grune and Claudus go to prepare for battle, Jaga prepares the clerics, while Lion-O is told to stay at the palace. When Lion-O complains to Jaga on how his father's lost all faith in him, Jaga gives him some hollow advice on keeping faith in himself. Thanks, that will surely help.

Follows a bit off Helm's Deep re-enactment. Civilians are being sent to underground shelters. The Thunderkittens run out of the shelter, not wanting to be cooped down there, and their strangely suicidal move is rewarded when the shelter is struck by a catapult and burst into flames. Wilykat remarks "That could've been us!"

Claudus takes the claw shield and the Sword of Omens, before riding to the head of his army. They fire a volley of arrows at the lizards, who almost immediately rout.

Back in the courtyard, the gem opens, spilling forth groups of lizard, including one general Slythe. These lizards pack guns, and proceed to plant "technology" all over the palace. The lizard commandos also free the lizard prisoners from the jails.

Is CG the "technology" the book warned about?
More fighting outside. Another volley of arrows and the lizards fully rout... to be replaced by Humongous Mechas. These fire missiles that home on the "technology" the lizards planted, razing huge parts of the city. And this is where the so far sublime animation takes a hit: the mechas are Conspicuous CG. It looks REALLY bad. Still, the robots keep firing their missiles, with Claudus, Tygra and their army staring vacantly, not even bothering to try and fire an arrow at them.

In the palace, Lion-O sees the devastation. He laments how "Technology" was his dream, and now is a nightmare. We also see the robots inside the walls, destroying the city proper with lasers. Hrrrm, WTF. Next scene they are still outside, having yet to reach the army. Were they hidden in the giant rock too? Lion-O sees lizard people placing disks like the one he found. Turns out they are bombs with a touchscreen. Lion-O goes to take his bomb, along with many more he acquired over the years.

Claudius army attempts to retreat behind the walls as more lizards with guns this time approach, but Slythe and his commandoes wait for them. They blow the bridge under Claudus' troops, and Grune reveals that he is evil. Grune's "reveal" is hilarious, as he fires a flare gun, then changes out of his armor to a golden armor. Somehow this shows he's evil.

No shit.

He also has a giant mace that acts as a laser gun. He asks Claudus to surrender, threatening to kill Panthro (who, it turns out, is alive, hanging from a giant tank). Claudus doesn't buy the deal, and reveals that Grune forgot about the clerics.

Cut the Clerics, led by Jaga, all running like Cheetara, who proceed to decimate the lizards army. Jaga uses some magical lightning to effortlessly vaporize one of the mechs. Daaaamn old dude is like a mix between The Flash and Emperor Palpatine.

How did Grune, when plotting his betrayal, NOT KNOW about the Clerics? He was their head general! Buddy to the King! How did he not plan for the onslaught of super-speed felines? Dude is the worst general ever.

Claudus goes after Panthro, against Tygra's advice. Yeah, not like your whole country is in danger. Clearly no one matters more at the moment than your old buddy. You are a terrible king.

Panthro is brought to the giant plant used for the games. Somehow, Grune is there too, having made it before Claudus. Hrrrm how? Claudus was blocking the only way through the walls... Grune taunts them, asking how they can defeat "technology" if they don't even understand it. Lion-O arrives with a Big Damn Hero moment, saying he does, and he uses his bombs to defeat the lizards and mechs surrounding his father and brother.

Claudus salutes his son, before he and Grune face off, but Grune's technology is no match for The Sword of Omens, (which doubles as a Holy Avenger +5, as well known).

A nice touch is to have Claudus (therefore Original Lion-O's voice actor) cry out THUNDERCATS! HOOOOO! before charging Grune. I love that kind of Pandering to the Base.

Grune is defeated so easily, it's not even funny. Claudus goes to free Panthro. As he turns to look at Lion-O, Claudus is stabbed in the back by Panthro, and falls off the plant into the water. Both brothers dive to get him out. Claudus dies, after telling Lion-O that no matter what happens, he's made him proud today. Suck it Tygra, no last words for you. The clawshield turns black as Claudus dies.

Panthro calls to them, taunting them that, if they had not realized "technology" was real, so were the things of their worst nightmares? He is then covered in blue flames, revealing himself to be Mumm-ra. Jaga sees the swirl of magic indicating Mumm-Ra's arrival, and recognizes it for what it is. Him and his clerics go to attack Mumm-Ra, but Mum-ra blasts them all away. One cleric manages to catch Jaga and save him. The rest presumably die, though it's not clear. Tygra and Lion-O are made prisoners by the lizards, before Mumm-ra announces to cheering lizards that Thundera has fallen.

Cut to the ruined palace. The princes are in a jail cell. Tygra laments all they have lost. Lion-O lets it slip he saw Mumm-Ra in the Sword of Omens, pissing Tygra off for not telling anyone. And the dude has a point. He berates Lion-O, how his decisions always bring disaster.

One of the two lizards Lion-O pardoned brings them food, and Lion-O realizes he snuck a key in their food, causing him to muse that this time his decision brought a key. Also, I realize that this particular lizard sounds EXACTLY like Starscream from Transformers Prime.

In the throne room, Mumm-Ra has the last cleric prisoner, and is interrogating Jaga, telling him how the Eye of Thundera in the sword was his. But a spell on sword prevents anyone evil from touching the sword (Told you it's a Holy Avenger. 2nd edition from the sounds of it). Mumm-Ra needs Jaga to lift the spell, but he refuses, despite torture. The princes sneak in, Tygra getting himself a pistol, and rescue Jaga and the cleric. Tygra making a crack about how he likes the gun he got. Lion-O makes a run for the Sword Of Omens, and after giving the classic "Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats! Hooo!" line, he uses the sword to blast Mumm-Ra cleanly through a wall to the courtyard outside. Mumm-Ra, rather unphased, recites his Transformation Mantra, but is interrupted when the sun rises, burning him. Once freed, the surviving cleric reveals herself to be Cheetara, to Lion-O's surprise.

Wait, the opening of the first episode makes it clear he knows who she is, because he tries to disguise her voice. Yet he never knew until now that she was a Guardian of the Crown? One of those people hanging around the palace? Then were does he know her from? Also, Snarf is with the princes now, yet he was not captured with them, or in their jail cell. Where did they find him? Can Lion-O store Snarf in hammerspace?

The group escapes as Grune pulls Mumm-Ra out of the sun. Jaga gets shot after standing in the middle of the doorway for no reason. The Lizards then keep shooting at the secret door the used to escape... Hrrrm, why not open it? You saw how Jaga did it?

As they make their way out, Jaga stops them, telling them that they need to find the Book of Omen, which lies "at the foot of the setting sun". He then uses some magic to make the Claw Shield turn gold again once Lion-O puts it on, thus crowning Lion-O as the lord of the Thundercats. He then has them run away, while he covers the exist, being last seen engulfed in a green explosion. Lion-O, Snarf, Cheetara and Tygra make it to the mountains surrounding the city, and Lion-O announces that "this is only the beginning".

The first two episodes are pretty good, giving us a firm setting. There's ALOT of info in those two episodes, and no scene feels like padding or superfluous. We get alot of nods to the original series, but the show does not feel the need to stay in its shadow, taking whatever creative liberties to tell its own story. Still, while good, the story is neither very complex, or very original, but it delivers itself very well and leaves you hooked wanting more.

Grune is a major stumbling point. He's a TERRIBLE villain. Obvious to the viewer so his reveal comes as no surprise. Also, his reasons for switching sides make no sense. He says he's doing this because serving Claudus has given him nothing (despite making him the top general and one of most powerful men in the kingdom). So instead he serves Mumm-ra. And this will give him more because ... ? The fact that he can't even prepare for the cleric only adds to making him seem incompetent. The only fight we see him in, he loses, badly. All he gets for badassness comes as an Informed Ability when Claudus is singing his praises. It seems pretty clear that he's also meant to be the villain that the heroes will be facing the most, so Mumm-Ra can be seen less, and therefore face less defeats and not suffer Villain Decay. Rest to be seen if that is true.

Lion-O comes off decent, though his refusal to tell anyone about his vision is odd. At least Tygra calls him out on it. He does come across as flawed, lacking the growth to be a good leader, but having the potential to be one.

Tygra is one smug snake and his status as the favored son does make him somewhat irritable. But he shows a deep loyalty to his brother, and a desire to stand by him. It will be interesting how the reveal of Lion-O having withheld his vision will affect their relationship. Lion-O shows and understandable jealousy for this brother who is more loved, more skilled than him, and who often belittles him. It will also be interesting to see how Tygra feels towards his brother, who has a manifest destiny before him, despite being apparantly less good a prince than Tygra is.

Cheetara is set up as mystery. She evidently has some past with Lion-O, and has some interest in him (perhaps at Jaga's orders). We know however little of her.

The Thunderkittens barely appear in this episode. We do see that Wilykit seems dependent on Wilykat. In the few scenes they have, Wilykat is always shown to be the leader of the pair, almost looking like Wilykit's self-appointed caretaker. It will be interesting to see if that changes when they team up with the adults.

One other thing I love: The Lizards are not shown as Always Chaotic Evil. There's a reason for them to side with Mumm-Ra. This is an interesting plot point that I hope will figure a lot in the future.


And this is where the so far sublime animation takes a hit: the mechas are Conspicuous CG. It looks REALLY bad.

Actually, the CG is very good. It looks really conspicuous, but outside of that, the mechs move quite reasonably. Their animation is very good.

If one were to be charitable, I'd say that making them Conspicuous CG helps establish that they're an alien, foreign element. That they're something truly new and different. Granted, the fact that they're mechs does that too...

Wait, the opening of the first episode makes it clear he knows who she is, because he tries to disguise her voice.

I thought he was just deepening his voice to make himself sound older. Because she's hot.
Korval 4th Aug 11
I didn't mean the CG looks bad on its own, but integration of the CG on the otherwise normal animation IS bad. They don't feel like they belong in the scene.

I thought he was just deepening his voice to make himself sound older. Because she's hot.
Hrrm. Maybe. Could be either. Valid interpretation. Makes more sense too.

Ghilz 4th Aug 11
Yeah, the 'disguised voice' was just Lion-O's hormones kicking in. Note the hilarious way his voice ended up cracking.
Iaculus 5th Aug 11
"All he gets for badassness comes as an Informed Ability when Claudus is singing his praises."

Perhaps Claudus is more deeply flawed than you thought? People tend to have blind spots for their friends. Or maybe he was always teemed up with Panthro, and Panthro was the smart guy?

I'm also of the opinion that Lion-O was going the hormone route.
Deboss 6th Aug 11
Oh, I am not saying Claudus has not reasons to be blind. In fact, I say the opposite. I am saying that Grune is obvious _to the viewer_. Claudus seeing Grune as all sorts of awesome is fine and dandy, but my point is, it does not carry to the viewer.
Ghilz 7th Aug 11