ThunderCats (2011) - "The Duelist and the Drifter" Episode 8 Recap
“When in a nearby town getting supplies, Lion-O gets challenged by a legendary swordsman who calls himself “The Duelist”.
When in a nearby town to get more supplies, Lion-O has an encounter with a Drifter who warns him that entering the town would be a very bad decision. Lion-O soon learns that the town doesn’t accept Thunderian money anymore, so he enters a swordsmanship competition to earn money for supplies. Lion-O easily wins the contest and is then challenged by “The Duelist”, a professional swordsman who takes the swords of the opponents that he has defeated. After making the rash decision to wager the Sword of Omens on their duel, the Drifter reappears in front of Lion-O and reveals that The Duelist stole his greatest creation, “The Sword of Hittanzo”, which he claims nobody can defeat. Lion-O ignores the warning and gets swiftly defeated by the Duelist.
Afterwards Lion-O gets assistance from the Drifter, who forges him a new sword so he can challenge The Duelist again. Lion-O asks The Duelist for a rematch and wages his life for all of the swords he has stolen from previous swordsmen. During the rematch Lion-O’s sword breaks in half, so he decides to follow the drifter’s philosophy about how “willows are weak” and manages to disarm The Duelist. The Duelist tries to kill Lion-O with a hidden dagger, but is easily stopped by the Drifter and gets sent out of town. With the battle won, The Drifter tells Lion-O that he is going to return all the captured swords to their rightful owners. Lion-O reunites with the rest of the Thundercats and gets scolded by Panthro and Tygra for taking so long to get supplies.
“The Duelist and the Drifter” is filler, but it’s filler that hits the mark on how to write a side story that strays from the main storyline. What made this particular episode great is that it gave us the understanding that Lion-O isn’t just strong because of the Sword of Omens; here he shows his inner strength by overcoming the Duelist’s legendary weapons with just a simple steel sword and his wits. The entire rematch between Lion-O and The Duelist was magnificent in animation and fighting choreography. The fighting was fierce with many great sword styles and techniques shown that made the entire fight very entertaining.
The environment on display here was interesting to observe as well. The area is designed as a old western town filled with outlaws and thieves. It was also interesting that The Duelist’s design is the closest to a human that we’ve seen so far in this series. The designs and environments in Thundercats never fail to impress and sometimes it’s just fun to watch this show just to see all the art and effort put into it.