ThunderCats (2011) - "Trials of Lion-O Part 2" Episode 16 Recap
Lion-O continues to pass his trials, but becomes bitterly stuck against the trial master who takes the form of Tygra, who taunts that he would make a better king than Lion-O. Lion-O tries to speak up against this, but the trial master is unconvinced and remarks that Lion-O himself subconsciously believes his older brother would be a better candidate for the throne. In the end, Lion-O fails his final test to recover his life. In order to save his friends, Lion-O promises to give up his soul in exchange for having a limited amount of time to go back and rescue the ThunderCats from the danger he’s responsible for.
Back in the living world, Tygra’s plan to steal back the Sword of Omens fails and the ThunderCats are locked away inside Mumm-Ra’s lair. Fortunatey, Lion-O returns from the dead and discovers a trail left by Wilykit that helps him to infiltrate Mumm-Ra’s base, afte wich he manages to lock up the devious generals and release his suprised teammates from imprisonment. Tygra smiles at his brother’s return and finally decides to call him “King”, having realized that he himself is not perfect for the job either. Lion-O leads them into battle against Mumm-Ra and ultimately ends the battle by grabbing the Sword of Omens before its stone could be removed, prompting Mumm-Ra to escape. After the victory Jaga’s spirit again returns once more, revealing to Lion-O that he is allowed to live once again since he proved what it means to be a true leader.
“Trials of Lion-O Part 2″ is a successful episode that elevates a variety of characters. Some people don’t like how Lion-O fails his final trial, as it comes off as another moment where Lion-O suffers a bitter loss to some from of his older brother. I actually approve of this, though. Lion-O losing the final trial shows that even learning great lessons doesn’t make one perfect, and it was a bonus to see the Fake Tyra comment that Lion-O really believes Tygra would make a stronger king. Sure Tygra can be a jerk, but to me it seems he presses the point to push Lion-O to prove that he can surpass him when it comes to responsibility. It all pays off in my favorite moment beyond all else, when Tygra finally calls Lion-O the king after a grand total of sixteen episodes!
As for Lion-O, for the most part I found the idea of him firmly giving up his life for the sake of rescuing his friends to be a much better direction for him than Lion-O simply beating all the trials. Sure it can seem cliche, but it shows that Lion-O did in fact learn something from his experience with death. Hopefully his confidence as a leader will progress from here, since even Wilykit took the noble position of believing in him the whole time.
There is a persistent and old problem with this remake though: I’m having a very hard time seeing Mumm-Ra as a powerful villain at all. All Lion-O had to do in this episode to get the demon off his back was simply grab the Sword of Omens and shoot ONE blast of light. At this rate, Addicus and Kaynar are becoming much more of a threat than the big bad himself.