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18 - Survival of the Fittest

Sorry for the delay. To make up for it, double update!

Our episode takes place at the same time as the last episode. Wilykat is looking for his secret stack of candy fruit, only to realize Snarf ate it. Oh crap, Snarf. I had almost seriously forgotten he was in the show at all. Seriously, it shocked me to see Snarf A) be mentioned by name B) actually do something relevant to the plot. Really, part of me genuinely went "Who, oooh, right, Snarf is in the show" because it's been so long since he's done anything.

Ya know how Avatar: The Last Airbender would have Momo regularly perched on Aang's shoulder, or doing funny thing, being the focus of a quick funny scene once in a while? That ensured you'd never forget Momo was there, even if he had almost never any relevance to the plot. Well Thundercats pretty much stopped doing that with Snarf since, well, around 10 episodes ago. The end result is that one can almost forget he's even IN the show to begin with.

Anyway, the kittens complain there's no food and whine and moan till Panthro has enough and suggests they go out and get food, before deciding him and Cheetara will teach the kids to hunt. Boys Vs Girl, whoever doesn't catch the first prey has to cook. I like that, this is the kind of interaction the show's been sorely missing.

Panthro teanches Kat to track, but this kinda fails when Kat homes in on Panthro's own tracks, and the adult cat decides to instead move to teaching about snares. He explains that Kat needs those skills because someday he may be alone and unarmed with nothing to survive but his wits. Kat sees a pair of glowing eyes, but Panthro sees nothing. He notes he should not be surprised that an orphan had no one to teach him to survive. This causes Kat to flashback, saying there used to be someone.

We see the twins' dad (who goes unnamed, so lets call him Wilydad) who was a farmer of giant turnips. I do mean Giant, the things are bigger than him, and he's a rotund cat. We learn that Wilydad had superstrength, since he could effortlessly rip the giant turnips out of the ground and carry them effortlessly. He's approached by the twins, their (equally nameless) mom and two younger siblings. The twins want to help but are too small to get their dad's kryptonian-like strength. A picnic is set up and the kids have their dad read about El Dara the city of treasures. The whole thing is of course filled with that Tastes Like Diabetes tone that lets you know something bsd is about to happen and someone's about to die. And yes, a tornado happens and the kids + Wilymom make it to a tornado shelter, but a fallen tree stops Wilydad (amazed he didn't just lift or toss it aside) enough that he's sucked into the tornado (along with most of the giant turnips) in front of his kids' eyes.

Back to the present, when Panthro and Kat see their prey appear. The creature is some sort of deer with a beak, a long neck and Pastel Blue color (ideal camouflage for a creature living in a dark green and brown forest). The lack of camouflage is compensated by the relatively short legs the creature has, ensuring it is neither stealthy nor particularly agile or fast. This creature looks completely stupid and puts the platypus to shame. To paraphrase SFDebris, it seems to exist solely to prove god exists and likes messing with Atheists. The sound it makes doesn't help make this creature sound any less stupid. Wilykat doesn't want to harm it coz he finds it cute, and I must say I love Panthro's answer "Cute? That is a meal. Cute ones taste the best!" Kat decides to scare the creature away, and Panthro gives chase, stepping into his own snare when Kat kicks him in the back to let the creature escape, making Kat note that he's in trouble now.

Cheetara ops for stealth, she finds fruit filled with a disgusting smelling gunk and puts some on Kit and her, so to mask their smells. She tells her to not put too much because the scent never comes out. Cheetara notes that sometimes, survival means doing something you don't want to, and Kit notes she knows all about that, prompting another flashback.

Wilymom is giving food to her kids. There's not much with 4 mouths to feed, so she doesn't take any for herself, insisting she's fine. We get how she's clearly overworked, having to raise 4 kittens and working the farm alone. She puts the kids to sleep after, but Kit and Kat decide to leave, to find El Dara. This will also lessen the demands on their mom, who can focus on the two nameless younger sibblings, and when they find the riches, they can return to her and save the family. So the kids head out into the night, to reach Thundera where they hope they'll find their first clue about El Dara's location.

The girls sneak up onto a pink version of the same animal the boys saw, without antlers (So evidently female), but Kit refuses to kill it, so she jumps up and down on the branch they are on and makes Cheetara fall into the stinking fruits below.

The boys and girls meet up, and Panthro declars the kids will have to find food on their own when Cheetara notes they have the skills, but seem to not want to do the hard choices. They either find food or sleep outside. The kittens go off to hunt, and see both creatures meet up, with a pair of canary yellow babies (Truly this species exist solely to make themselves extremely easy to hunt). The babies also chirp really lout (not that their parents are any less vocal) to ensure that any predator within a mile radius knows where diner is. Truly this species must reproduce astoundingly fast to make up for their complete lack of any defenses. Seeing them as a family reminds the kittens of another flashback, where we see them steal for the first time in the slums of Thundera to feed themselves. A loaf of bread, which they justify by saying they'll pay the merchant back when they find El Dara.

Vikaralamon's even more stupid-looking counterpart.
A Predator arrives, attracted by the highly visible, noisy preys (whom I bet leave the scent of bacon behind to further attract predators). This new creature looks like Vikaralamon from Digimon Tamers mixed with a skunk. The look on its face at the reveal is hilarious, it looks like the creature is saying "My existence is pain! Please end it!" Is this forest where every incredibly silly, stupid looking animal on third earth goes to make its home? That "monster" was so dumb looking, I had to pause the episode because I broke out laughing! The twins neutralize the giant creature and realize it's at least a month's worth of food leave it behind. The stupid-looking preys return, and in cliche fashion, reward the twins by guiding them to a tree full of large fruits.

The twins return to the Tank with their haul, surprising Panthro and Cheetara, and keeping Snarf away from the food.
The episode is alright. A good character centered filler. There's no large flaws about it, and it gives Kit and Kat some more than overdue character development. Even Cheetara and Panthro get some spotlight too.

And while I admit there's nothing objectively wrong with the episode, I somehow still find myself finding it... lacking. It's completely suggestive I admit, and again the episode had no big flaw, but to me, personally, the flashbacks do nothing. They feel... Unnecessary. Did the writers feel two street urchins looking for a city of treasure just wasn't exciting enough? They needed to tack on some "extra" tragedy to it? Part of me wishes the flashbacks could have been left out to make more room for Panthro/Kat and Cheetara/Kit scenes. It's so rare we see the cats interact with one another, without it involving Lion-O or Both twins together. It'd have been nice to get more scenes of the Twins being mentored. I admit this is just my own wishful thinking, and even the way it currently is, this is still a very strong episode.