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ThunderCats (2011) "Between Brothers" Recap

After going into the Astral Plane in order to find the next stone, Lion-O and Tygra both end up walking down memory lane and eventually begin to clash out of their hidden anger towards one another. Meanwhile, Panthro and Grune meet on the battlefield and have what could be their final battle..


Panthro scopes out the lizard army and begins to worry that the Thundercats are outnumbered and won’t be able to defeat them. Meanwhile, Lion-O and Tygra are searching for the next stone in the Astral Plane while being followed by Mumma-Ra, who has taken the form of a black demonic bird.  Tygra begins to threaten Lion-O, saying that he will keep the stone if he finds it, since the Sword of Omens is probably just confused and will eventually pick him. Meanwhile Panthro explains to Wilykit and WilyKat how Grune lost one of his teeth when he ripped out his sabertooth while fighting Spidera, a mythical giant spider. Back in the astral plane, Lion-O and Tygra begin to fall into Mumm-Ra’s trap; he uses magic to show scenes of the past when Tygra dared Lion-O to cross a log over a deep pit in the Forbidden Ruins that Lion-O fell into. It’s revealed that this wasn’t an accident, it happened because Tygra broke the log. Lion-O begins to become enraged at his brother and Tygra decides to make himself a fake Sword of Omens with the power of the illusion going on around them. The brothers clash over who should be king once and for all.  Tygra ends up being the winner of the duel and knocks Lion-O into a pit, recreating the exact scene from when they were children. However Tygra explains to Lion-O that he went to find help and he told their father it was all his fault to begin with, revealing that he had complete regret over what he did to Lion-O. Tygra gets Lion-O out of the pit and tells him he will never betray him, no matter what.

Back at the battle in the village, Cheetara holds the lizards off from entering the Astral Plane while Panthro and Grune battle in a one on one fist fight. After meditating, the Elephants finally decide to help fight off the lizards and easily take them out. Back in the Astral Plane, Mumm-Ra reveals himself after the two brothers realize he was the cause for their fighting in this dimension. During the battle, Lion-O realizes that the stone was under them the entire time. He uses the stone to unlock new powers that help him take out Mumm-Ra’s revived form without much trouble. After Mumm-Ra’s defeat, the Astral Plane begins to deteriorate since the stone was what held it together. After the brothers escape Panthro forces Grune into the Astral Plane’s doorway as it seals, trapping Grune inside at the cost of Panthro losing his arms.

A big celebration happens at the village, where Panthro is recovering without his arms with Snarf’s help. Lion-O tells Panthro everything will be alright and that he should just relax for a bit. Lion-O then proceeds to tell Anet that he was completely wrong about Tygra betraying him, though Anet says the evening bell hasn’t rung yet. On the other side of the village, Cheetara finds out why Tygra was so angry when it came to her and she reveals that she was actually in love with him the entire time. She remembered what kept her going back when she was a kid wanting to be a cleric, and that was the flower he left her when she was struggling to be patient. Cheetara reveals she always kept that flower in the memory of his kindness, and soon they both end up sharing a passionate kiss. But Lion-O sees this in the distance and becomes devastated right when the evening bell begins to ring…

“Between Brothers” sums up what this series does on its positive and negative points. Starting with all the good: the animation, fights, and flashbacks were spot on. The animation here was particularly beautiful, well-drawn and at its best in all the fights going on, with Panthro vs Grune and the Elephants vs the lizard army being the most memorable. I personally thought Panthro vs Grune was one of the episode’s biggest highlights because we got so much development in the past between these two and they finally get a chance to settle their score. I got the biggest laugh and respect for Panthro when he forced Grune into the broken down Astral Plane and sacrificed his arms to do it, showing what a great character he is overall and what it means to him to settle things with his rival once and for all. Finally, I really liked the flashback with Lion-O and Tygra as kids. What makes this really good is that we finally learn that while Tygra does hold all of his jealously and hate, he ultimately admits to Lion-O that he would never betray him no matter what bad things happen between them.

Even though Tygra was the reason why Lion-O got thrown into the large massive pit in the ruins when they were kids, he instantly wanted to help his brother right after.  Tygra’s development here makes him stand out from the basic rival characters who would easily betray the main character for glory, power, and achievements. Still, you never know what will happen to him in upcoming episodes. Tygra’s character is starting to reveal itself as one who doesn’t think before he acts, and ends up realizing the weight of his mistakes after something bad happens that he didn’t imagine. It kind of amazed me how similar Tygra is to his childhood self, holding such resentment at this age. It can be easily speculated that Tygra may go down the wrong path if things get way out of hand between them. On another note Lion-O finally beating Mumm-Ra with the new stone’s power was very quick, yet very satisfying to finally see. I couldn’t help but feel the emotion and power going on when Lion-O got to activate the stone. I was actually expecting Mumm-Ra or Tygra to take the stone in some predictable manner, but luckily the writing didn’t go down that path.

This episode is impressive without a doubt, but it holds one huge flaw sticking out like a sore thumb and it doesn’t do justice. We find out here that Cheetara picks Tygra and admits her feelings for him…completely out of nowhere. The problem with this is that while we did get plenty of hints from Tygra about his own feelings, we barely got anything out of Cheetara. We learned of their flashback that gave them some sort of connection, but that helped us understand Tygra’s feelings more than anything about how Cheetara felt about him. She has rarely interacted with Tygra throughout these past twelve episodes and it really seemed like she could care less about him. She has also been randomly kissing Lion-O and being there for him with so much more support. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m happy for Tygra because the poor guy finally gets a break for once after all that complaining about how he works the hardest. But I can’t help but think the writers are slacking in how to write a decent love plot. The worst thing a writer can do is barely give substance to one of the characters who are they trying to pair up. I think it would have been better if they had just given hints about Cheetara’s feelings throughout the previous episodes and had her interact with Tygra more to show some mystery and raise the possibility that she did hold those feelings. Without that exploration of Cheetara’s character, the moment is killed and made less powerful than it could have been. All in all, “Between Brothers” is a great episode with a giant weight holding it down.

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