15 - The Trials of Lion-O (Part 1)
Our episode opens on the super Thundertank. Lion-O declares they should use the book and begin looking for the next stone. Okay, reasonable move. The book however points straight up. As they are next to a looming vaguely fang shaped mountain, Lion-O assumes that this is where the stone is. Okay, fair bet. Except that both Tygra and Cheetara begin bitching and criticizing Lion-O's choice. Tygra in particular seems petty, as he pretty much seems opposed because climbing a mountain takes work. Cheetara, well she's just backing her favorite boy toy. Oh they say he may be misinterpreting the message. Okay, how? This is a HUGE stumbling point for the episode, because it all builds from this scene: NONE of the cats give any reason why Lion-O's idea might be wrong. Nor do they give alternatives. They just bitch like a bunch of whiny kids.
Okay Tygra, so what was Lion-O supposed to do? Look at the book and go "I don't feel like climbing" and then sitting down in the tank and pout? I don't see you coming up with a plan B. Heck, it's not until they are half way up the mountain that Panthro
finally comes up with a reason NOT to come here: It makes them vulnerable to attack. We are supposed to see that Lion-O is being irresponsible and not thinking clearly because, ya know, he's actually trying to DO something. You'll recall when I covered Sight Beyond Sight
I took issue with the episode's Aesop of "Don't try to fix a problem, because you might not know the consequence that can occur (especially when said consequences defy reason)" because it was promoting inaction rather than being pro-active, at the risk of maybe making mistakes? Well the show's doing this again now: We are supposed to accept that Lion-O doing something, _anything_ to find the stone, is bad. As opposed to the nonexistent alternatives offered by his teammates. That's the moral of Thundercats for you folks: It's always better to do nothing that even attempt progress. I find this message offensive. It borders on Glurge
Anyway, even as they climb the mountain, the cats don't offer any alternative. Only Panthro says anything approaching intelligence when he bothers to point out an actual reason why the path is a good idea (It could've come sooner of course, and it's not like he's also offering any other ideas).
The kittens complain that they are tired and Lion-O declares a pause by some candy fruit trees. BTW, why did you guys bring the kids, rather than make them stay in the tank with the Berbils? Anyway, every time Lion-O tries to grab a fruit for himself, some other cat takes it from him and acts all condescending. This is to showcase how they have "Sight Beyond Sight" and have learned to look for the harder to find, easier path, rather than rushing headlong like Lion-O. Which is precisely why none of them suggested any other alternative to find the next magical stone. It doesn't mean that because you are wise, you will share that wisdom
. That'd be foolish. I especially like Cheetara just picking a fallen fruit and then telling Lion-O he's doing things the hard way by trying to grab a fruit on a tree. Because it's not like fallen fruits tend to be rotten of have worms, insects or bites from wildlife taken out of them. Or Tygra saying a king should never lose his temper. Hrrm dude, have you even ever met your dad? Between that and the "Cats never retreat" thing from episode 4 I am starting to think that Tygra never actually met Claudus.
Anyway, the path gets strafed by Missiles, and as Tygra, Captain Obvious
, notes they are being attacked. Addicus is somehow standing a foot behind Tygra. How did he get there? And why would he have his people fire missiles WHERE HE WAS standing???? He grabs Tygra and Kaynar grabs Cheetara using one of the Standard Female Grab Area
. BTW, Kaynar clearly falls from above, yet there's a ceiling where they are. So where is Kaynar falling from? Who knows! It's a kid's show. Not like the fight scenes need to make sense. Slythe arrives and rifle butts Lion-O. Panthro I am guessing is on break? Eitherway, Lion-O is grabbed by Kaynar and Addicus after being hit by Slythe, who takes the sword of Omens and the gauntlet. Since they've been released (what with the two generals now holding Lion-O) Cheetara and Tygra proceed
to kick their asses, claim one of the approaching flying platform and use it to find the stone without having to climb the rest of the way up
do absolutely nothing just like Panthro.
Lion-O, realizing his people suffer from a terminal case of the stupids takes the gauntlet from Slythe as the later is asking where the Book of Omens is (good to see he's back to being an incompetent) and attempts to escape but ends up pushed off a breaking ledge by Kaynar, falling down the cliff.
Of course he uses the gauntlet's ability to shoot out it's fingers with lines to catch the side of the cliff and save himself
Forgets he can do that and instead falls in the river below, with rocks falling on top of him and drowning him.
Yes, Lion-O actually died because he Forgot About His Powers
. Worst. Death. Ever.
On, and inbetween him falling as he tries to save Wilykit from Addicus and the cats watching how he doesn't surface, everyone's somehow gained handcuffs (You can clearly see Wilykit wasn't cuffed, next shot every cat is cuffed. Man those lizards are fast. It also means Panthro was cuffed and captured offscreen. Classy).
The cats note how their leader is dead. It's sad, who will they bitch to how? The lizards take them prisoner, Wilykit drawing a face (I think it's meant to be Lion-O) on a nearby rock before being loaded into the transport, but Slythe berates Kaynar for losing them the gauntlet (Yeah, you've got no blame in that
Underwater, as Lion-O drowns, the spirit stone begins to glow. He finds himself in a pslsce like area where the Ghost of Jaga meets him. WTF is he doing here? Wasn't what was left of his spirit in the book of Omens? Anyway, he tells Lion-O that he's dead. But the Spirit stone may give him life again, but he'll have to pass a series of trials first to prove he's worthy. Lion-O steps into the glowy gate.
On the transport, Wilykit mourns Lion-O's death. Wilykat tries to tell her they'll get through this, and Cheetara and Tygra ponder how they can escape. Panthro points out Tygra's king now, so it's up to him to come up with a plan. He leaves unsaid the part where they'll bitch and moan at him constantly. Somethings are better left unsaid.
The pink portal leads Lion-O to a recreation of the slums of Thundera (where the show began), and Wilykit and Kat are there. They explain they took forms Lion-O was familiar with. Okay, so what are you? Spirits? The soul of the spirit stone? Ghosts?
We don't get an answer.
Kat tells Lion-O he has a key, and he needs that key if he is to leave. But there's multiple copies of the twins. Only one is real. Of course, if Kat is the one with the key, it makes Wilykit entirely pointless to this whole trial. Lion-O keeps trying to rush the kids, only to hit duplicates or get tripped as the fake kittens browbeat how he never looks before leaping. Coz ya know, we've never had THAT Aesop on this show before. The discussion turns to the path where they were ambushed, and we are supposed to see how shortsighted Lion-O was. But I've already beat that horse to death so lets move on. Lion-O realizes he could smell the kids, and does so, figuring out which are illusions. Of course to make this the "Right" choice, it just so happens the kids no longer try to trip him or run away when he's smelling them. Coz ya know, he's not using the obvious choice now, so the circumstances should re-write themselves to support the Aesop the writers prefer.
On the transport, Slythe complains about the loss of the gauntlet. But Kaynar says Mumm-Ra will be please to have prisoners. Addicus and Slythe agree. So they decide they'll kill the prisoners, even though they are the only one who know where the book of omen is. This isn't an exaggeration BTW, but literally how the scene goes. They note they have prisoners, agree Mumm-Ra would be pleased... and immediately decide to kill them.
He gets the key and moves on, falling down through some spiky vines to a thorny maze where a Cheetara happens. The Queen Of Cockteases again brow beats Lion-O for using the path and we get treated to more resentment from Lion-O about her being the Empress of Mixed Signals. Anyway she tells them he needs to get through the maze ahead of her and get the key if he wants to leave. Long story short: Lion-O eventually uses a giant bird to fly over the maze (The bird conveniently flew to Lion-O the moment he decided to use it) and narrowly beats Cheetara to the key.
On the Transport, Tygra goads Slythe and Addicus into beating him up (Not a hard task for the smug king) and while Addicus is doing that and Kaynar watches, the kids free the rest of the cats. Slythe decides to retreat as he still has the sword, and Cheetara tell Tygra Lion-O would be proud of him. Tygra decides they'll reclaim the sword, and they pursue the transport on foot, as Wilykit draws another face on a nearby rock.
Fake!Cheetara tells Lion-O he still has more trials, and he passes through the pink gate.
To be continued...
Well that was terrible
. For one, we've seen Lion-O starting to think about what he's doing. He was doing that last episode with the lizards! For two, well, I've already covered why the episode's entire character building exercise is stupid and insulting to the audience. What else is there more to say? This episode everyone acts like a complete moron. Heroes & Villains... I almost dread to see how this two parter concludes.
On another note, I can't help the show wasted an opportunity by having the kittens and Cheetara appear in the afterlife (or wherever Lion-O is). They make it clear they aren't the real thing, so their interactions with Lion-O are pointless. If Jaga's there, why not have other dead characters? Claudus? Emmerich? Even Koinelius? Well, maybe for part 2...
Well, at least the animation was pretty good, and the twins were visibly upset.
I agree that this episode was terrible, but I actually have that opinion on most episodes nowadays. The writing and fights just feel so lazy, as if they don't really care "cuz it's just a kids show". Riffing and reading your journals are the main reason why I still kinda enjoy that series.