ThunderCats (2011) - "Native Son" Episode 17 Recap
Lion-O and Tygra discover the long-lost Tiger Clan after going through a brutal path in the snowy mountains. This surprising encounter leads Tygra to discovering the dark truth behind his birth.
Lion-O and Tygra journey forth into a mountainside to find a path for the ThunderCats to travel through. Their long hike leads to their discovery of a hidden cavern, which the Tiger Clan now calls home. Upon meeting his father for the first time, Tygra begins to have doubts about the man who seemingly gave him away to the people of Thundera. Meanwhile, Lion-O soon learns that the Tiger clan has a complicated problem: They have been heavily cursed by spirits ever since Tygra was born. Tygra’s father explains to Lion-O that the Tiger Clan faced a pernicious sickness in the past, which forced them into making a deal with evil spirits. They promised to allow the clan to live on, but in exchange they demanded a sacrifice: the newborn Tygra, who they foresaw as being a threat to them in the future. Tygra’s father agreed to the pact, but slyly put his child on a hot air balloon leading to Thundera. This deception resulted in the Tiger Clan being cursed by becoming dark immortal monsters whenever the night arises. Tygra eventually discovers the truth for himself, and comes to the understanding that his father sacrificed everything in order for him to live on. Lion-O and Tygra are able to put a stop to the curse, though this leads to the demise of the Tiger Clan due to lack of nutrition. Tygra comes to be at peace with his heritage and inherits his father’s whip.
Native Son is exactly what I could ask for in a ThunderCats episode: A beautiful flow of plot points, twists, development, and action all in 22 minutes. Previously, in Trials of Lion-O, we finally see Tygra show acceptance of Lion-O as the heir of Thundera and at last completely expressing the loyalty first hinted at in his loyalty Between Brothers. This time the show goes one step further with Tygra’s development by diving into his past and the history of his own family. It was a very bittersweet experience for his character, since he has to grow the maturity to understand his father’s sacrifice and accept that his clan is truly flat-out dead. Watching Tygra be adopted by Lion-O’s parents was icing on the cake, as this flashback showed how he loved his adoptive mother before she passed away from having Lion-O. Originally I couldn’t help but to think Tygra was a bit too rough on his brother in previous episodes, but his attitude towards his younger brother is finally fully illustrated; all of the attention he received was taken away from him in one giant swoop when Lion-O was born. In the end, you can’t help but to smile at Tygra’s development for not only leaving his past behind, but carrying on his father’s spirit through the Tiger Clan’s whip.