06 - Journey to the Tower of Omens
"I can't believe I finally found it! I guess all it took was the right partners."
The show opens with a voice-over by Cheetara, saying that Jaga's "clues" (I am pretty sure he just gave you one) have led them this far, and Lion-O trying to get the Holy Avenger to give him a vision, only to be given squat. Tygra and Panthro banter on how hopeless this seems - waiting for a sword to give them direction - while Cheetara replies that Lion-O needs to believe in himself, and it would help him achieve that if the other two did too.
Waitwaitwait. Was that a character moment for Cheetara? It's not much, but it's so new, I am shocked!
Cut to someone who has better sight: Mumm-Ra, who is spying on Lion-O, lamenting how Lion-O sucks with the Eye of Thundera (Didn't seem to suck when he blasted you through a wall with it). He also explains he's taken the stone from tighter grips than Lion-O's.
Cut to a flashback! Mumm-Ra (in his powered up form. Way to kill off any awesomeness for its reveal) is standing in some High Tech place, looking a holographic globe. He's contacted by a Tygra look-alike who gives him a status report. We see next to Mumm-Ra is a Lion-O doppelganger. Mumm-Ra orders captain Tygus to "Destroy any forces that keeps him from the warstone". And we see that Mumm-Ra is in fact commanding a fleet of spaceships.
Mumm-Ra's fleet is attacking a planet. A Wave Motion Gun
is defending the planet, and so powerful it vaporizes ships with mere grazing hits or even entire close miss! Tygra
Tygus lands in a cat-themed fighter, using the same kind of pistol Tygra favors, dispatches.... Quintessons?
and grabs the gun's power source, a large red gem that in his hands shrinks to a small square with a familiar black marking through the middle. He returns to his fighter and flees as the canon explodes.
He reports to Mumm-Ra, and back in the present, we see Mumm-ra shuffle to his sarcophagus. Turns out it and the whole head is mounted on can turn into a tank eerily similar to the Thundertank (I guess we know where Panthro got his). And off he goes.
Back to Lion-O, who is giving up. Cheetara walks up to him, giving him some Ice-Cream Koan
while cranking up the UST
to 11. Telling him to relax while she's practically rubbing herself all over him. Yes Lion-O, a king must be able to stay focused through ANY Distraction. Then the kids interrupt, Wilykit teasing them about the obvious romance between the two. Lion-O reacts like he's a 5th grader, saying she was "just helping him with his sword". (So many jokes possible here, especially with a sword that changes size, I leave you the joy of making up your own and putting them in the comments!} The kids ask why is the book so hard to find, and Cheetara offers us some back story:
The book used to be kept in Thundera. But the other animals kept attacking to try and seize it, as it was rumored to contain information about the future and the past. A Jaga-looking fellow led a bunch of clerics to smuggle it out of the city while a Claudus-looking king bought them time. They went far away, and built the Tower of Omens as a temple, using magic to seal the book inside, sealing themselves with it.
So, if they never returned... How does Jaga know where the book is? Eitherway, this somewhat explains why Jaga never told Grune, Panthro or Claudus where to look: The book was meant never to be found.
Panthro and Tygra lament that, without the sword, they will have to hope they simply stumble on the temple. So Snarf does just that. I am not joking. They even lampshade how they missed the temple they were RIGHT NEXT TO. But then again, blindness is by far the most consistent character trait our cast has shared so far, so.... hurray for consistency?
The group enters the temple, walking across a bridge over a room full of spikes. On the other side is a locked door. There's hundreds of keys hanging from the ceiling, and rather than think about this, Cheetara just tries one a random. To no one's surprise, the bridge begins retracting (for some reason, this retraction does not cause everyone who is standing atop of it to be pulled along...). Soon everyone is holding on to Panthro who is holding to the door, hanging above the spikes. Wilykat shows competence by climbing atop Panthro and picking the lock, which is faster than just trying keys out. Everyone is saved and one of the kids finally gets to actually do SOMETHING useful! Hurray!
Next is a hallway. Panthro picks up the Idiot Ball
from Cheetara and moves ahead of the group, stepping on a pressure plate and this causes spinning blades to come out of the walls. Cheetara uses her super speed to pass the blades, and her extending stick to press both switches at the end, opening the door and stopping the blades.
We cut to Slythe, some mechs and lizard and the Jaga lantern. Jaga's been leading them in circles, and begin rather non-helpful. As Slythe is about to smash the lamp, the Batmobile
Mumm-ra tank arrives. Mumm-ra repeats he is sure Jaga knows where the temple is, takes the lantern from Slythe, tells his army to f*** off and heads on alone to go find the temple using the Jag'o'lantern which he tortured a bit. I have to say though, I like the Mumm-Ra mobile and how it opens. There's no practical reason for this, but damn if it does not give Mumm-ra a classy entrance.
Back in the temple, the cats find a pool full of water. The kids snatch the Idiot Ball
from Panthro and run, reaching of it. Touching the water disturbs beams of light reflecting off it, causing water to begin filling the room. We learn that Panthro can't swim... WTF! You went on this huge journey and were incapable of swimming across ANY river you might have needed to cross??? Anyway, there's a grate at the top of the room, but the cats can't open it. Lion-O tries to dive for Panthro, but it seems he can't hold his breath for more than 2 seconds and needs to surface. Panthro, on the other hand, is capable of holding his breath for several minutes as finds a tunnel underwater that leads him to the top above the grate, which he opens, rescuing the other cats. He then jokes about how "not knowing how to swim has its advantages". Hrrrm, yay for achievement through failure.
The next tunnel leads to... an empty cliff. Lion-O gets angry at this leading to nothing, but Cheetara suggests using the eye of Thundera, saying she believes in him. This pep talk from someone he really wants to do the horizontal tango with is all Lion-O needs to be able to successfully use the eye, which shows him a switch beneath the ledge they are on. Tygra uses his whip (yup, he still has it!) to press the switch, causing a waterfall to part and reveal the Tower of Omens.
The group cheers at finding the tower, Panthro unable to believe he finally found it "Guess all it took was the right partners". Yes Panthro, your odds improve when you team up with someone who doesn't spout how treacherous they are at every opportunity. Inside is a big pillar, and they guess the book is at the top. But sadly, through Offscreen Teleportation
, Mumm-Ra is here too now, with his Jag'O'Lantern. He says he does not need it anymore, and tosses it away. Cheetara uses her super speed to catch it before it hits the ground and save her teacher, but she gets blasted by Mumm-Ra for her heroics. Panthro says he will hold off Mumm-Ra, buying Tygra and Lion-O time to climb the pillar. Panthro and Mumm-Ra trade blows, the later being... surprisingly nimble. But...
Panthro: This bag of bones is no match for Panthro.
Thus Mumm-ra begins his classic incantation, changing into his powered-up form. Mumm-ra The Ever-Living easily trounces Panthro, before taking flight up the pillar to go get the book. A nice little touch is that the kids come out to "defend" Panthro, and though Mumm-Ra ignores all three, it does show the kids as having quite the courage to stand in front of something that so effortlessly beat a seasoned, almost legendary warrior. Tygra sees him coming and turns invisible, while Panthro recovers and begins climbing up with the kids and Snarf clinging to him. Mumm-ra closes in on Lion-O when something grabs his legs and an unseen force holds him back. Mumm-ra blasts at it, causing Tygra to reappear before falling. He uses his whip to again catch Mumm-Ra, but a second blast sends him falling down. Thankfully Panthro catches him. Lion-O reaches the top, and finds the book hovering in a cage suspended from the dome. Mumm-Ra arrives, and Lion-O draws his Holy Avenger. Shouting his war cry causes Cheetara's eyes to glow, and she uses her super speed to run on the walls, climbing to the top of the pillar by running along the tower's interior walls (including running the holes in said walls). I would have really liked an explanation as to why her eyes glowed. I mean, yes, the sword did this in the original, but it would have nice for what just happened to be established.
As Lion-O and Mumm-Ra trade blows, Cheetara attacks Mumm-ra, but that merely staggers him as he blasts her, sending her tumbling off the edge of the pillar. She drops the Jag'o'lantern to hold on and Lion-O goes to rescue her, getting shot in the back by Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra then goes Palpatine on his ass, blasting him with lightning while he's helpless.
Jaga realizes Lion-O is not ready and kind of bone, so the Lantern begins emitting blinding light. Mumm-Ra's burned by the light, turning into a black bird and fleeing while promising he will get the book in the end. As the light dims, the other cats arrive and Cheetara and Lion-O realize the lantern is broken - Jaga has given his life to save them. A single small spark rises from the lantern, dancing around the cats before reaching the book, and causing it come down to them. Lion-O opens the book only to realize it's empty...
This is probably the best episode so far, despite a few minor nitpicks. Finally EVERYONE (Except Wilykit) gets to do something, thanks to the temple being an Eigen Plot
. It feels like a real ensemble show, not just Lion-O's story. Sure, the little kitten may have been forgotten, but she did help her brother, and really, I've been asking for other characters to get the spotlight for so long, I really can't complain if only one got skipped.
Mumm-Ra's first outting in his powered up form is the stumbling point of the episode. It's rather underwhelming. There's no dramatic reveal and the battle against him is rather unimpressive. Still, he's not easily defeated, so he remains a credible threat (and with Slythe and Grune begin complete idiots, thank god for that!).
We get tantalizing glimpse of the past, but this only raises questions for us. Questions which, we can only hope, the show will answer in time. So far the show's overall weakness has been pacing. Changing the status quo at a whim, and having a chaotic feel, but if they can keep to the level of quality this episode has shown us, there is hope yet for this series.