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16 - The Trials of Lion-O, Part 2

This part 2 was written by Will Friedle who voices Lion-O. as far as I know this might be his first writing credit.

We get a recap of the last episode which conveniently cuts some of the most stupid bits like the cats insubordination.

The cats are near Mumm-Ra's temple. Panthro remembers how hard it was to make it out alive last time he was there, getting in won't be easy.

How so? Only Grune and Mumm-Ra were in it, and they were several floors above you. Heck, you even had the time to jack one of Mumm-Ra's tank and learn to pilot it, if the Thundertank's origins are what they seem.

Tygra declares they must take out the guards. Cheetara asks how he's doing and he says that while he always wanted to be the king, he never wanted it to happen like this. The cats go and take out the lizards guarding the entrance to Mumm-ra's temple. Wilykit draws another face, her brother asks why she keeps doing that, and she says it is so Lion-O can find them. Her brother tries to tell her Lion-O is dead, but she doesn't believe it. She says the Elephants said death is only the beginning and as long as Lion-O has his soul, there's a chance... I guess we weren't allowed to see that particular bit of info from the elephants then!

Meanwhile in.... wherever Lion-O is, he enters the throne room of Thundera to find Panthro, who tells him his next challenge is to make him get out of the circle forming the Thundercats logo. Lion-O tries to force and push the larger general until Psnthro drops a clue and Lion-O catches on, ordering Panthro to simply walk out of the circle. He gets a key and moves on.

The cats enter the pyramid,, but trigger an alarm. We get a return of the groan inducing "whiskers" line, but from Tygra now. Guards approach, and the cats ask Tygra for a plan, but he's got nothing.

See Tygra, it's easy to bitch and moan at someone else's decision. It's another thing to come up with your own plans.

It's Wilykit who saves the day, playing her magical flute (I had almost forgotten it existed) to put the lizards to sleep. The cats sneak past, the Lizards awake and dismiss the alarm as a fake alarm.

In wherever-land, Lion-O arrives at the big tree arena thing from the Pilot. Tygra is there, and tells him they'll have a rematch of the pilot. Tygra keeps taunting Lion-O who keeps losing his cool, eventually losing the trial. Tygra gives him a black key.

The cats sneak through the temple, to where Mumm-Ra, his generals and some lizard priests prepare to break the spell preventing Mumm-ra from taking the eye of Thundera. The cats attack at Tygra's order, but a spell from Mumm-Ra soon knocks them out. Of course none of the cats used their super powers. As she passes out, Kit says they bought "him" some time, but Kat says no one is coming.

Back with Jaga, Jaga tells Lion-O how he failed, and what's up with the rest of the cats. Lion-O says he can't let it hand likes this, and then offers his soul for a chance to help. Jaga tells him in exchange for his soul, the Spirit stone can return him to life, but only until sunrise. Lion-O takes it, and he's returned to his body, using the spirit stone to free himself from the rocks, swim up, and then use a bird like in Cheetara's trial to climb back to the top path, where he begins following Wilykit's drawings.

Of course the cats did much of the journey on a flying hovertank so there's on way Lion-O can make it to the temple in time, but who cares?

In their cells, the cat laments how all hopes are lost. Sure, Lion-O may not always have had the best plans, but it often worked out for them. Tygra and Cheetara learned their lessons about bitching. Wilykit maintains Lion-O is coming, and when they try to point out he's dead, she tells them they'll see.

Lion-O sneaks past the guards into the palace, as he reaches the prison block, he crosses the three generals, he shows himself to them, making them corner him in a cell before jumping over them and activating the cell's forcefield. He then frees his surprised comrades, the kittens hugging him. He thanks Wilykit for the markers, but has not time to tell them how he's alive. They set off to find the sword. Tygra gives the throne, so to speak, back to his brother. They make it to where Mumm-Ra's doing his ceremony, and Tygra asks General Stretch Armstrong to plant a demolition charge on the door. The door explodes and the cats attack, this time using their powers. Mumm-Ra transforms, and Lion-O uses the spirit stone to deflect his lightning till he can get the sword back.

We get more of that terrible battle editing though, as Lion-O circles Mumm-ra and the rest of the cats and lizards are missing from the shot. Even after Lion-O takes the sword and blasts Mumm-Ra before escaping the lizard reinforcements with the cats, we see a shot of the entire room, and the defeated lizard priests are also missing. I've said it before, the show's art is GREAT, except the fight scene direction.

The cats flee the temple, and they ask Lion-O what happened. He sees the sun rising, and tells them he has to leave, but Jaga appears, and tells him that his sacrifice and willingness to give everything to lead his people proves he deserves to lead. Hrrrm, was there ever any doubt Lion-O wasn't willing to risk everything he had as king? How is this new? Whatever. Lion-O is alive, and he begins telling the group what happened when he died.
The episode is much better than it has any right to be. And it makes good use of continuity (The Tygra/Lion-O contest of the pilot, Panthro's callback to Grune and him coming to the temple, Wilykit using her flute). The music is also better than most of what we've got so far. Panthro's trial is actually clever. It's not perfect, I find the resolution with Jaga forced and contrived, and though it's nice to finally get a reason why Lion-O is a better king than Tygra, it does become silly when both cats lead head on assaults on Mumm-Ra, and Lion-O's succeeds coz he happens to be there and Mumm-Ra just decided to not use the exact same attack that knocked them all out. It'd have been better if Lion-O had used something more strategic, like him distracting Mumm-ra by deflecting his lightning to Cheetara or Stretch Armstrong could get the sword for him. (though I do appreciate that they did give us a reason for Lion-O being king: Tygra is a poor planer when required to think on his feet). Still, one can hope the lessons learned here can stick.

Mumm-Ra again makes a very poor outing as he's made to flee almost as soon as Lion-O has the sword. We see him so rarely, I kinda wished he'd have made a bigger impression.