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ThunderCats (2011) - "What Lies Above - Part 1" Episode 25 Recap

 

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The ThunderCats finally are able to ride through the skies and arrive at the location of the next stone: The Floating City of Avista

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The ThunderCats soar into the sky with their flying craft known as the “Feliner” and encounter the floating city of Avista. The group gets a cold welcome by the Vultaire, a bird species convinced they are more perfect than the cat species and others who live on the surface world. Lion-O and the group try to explain that Third Earth is in danger and their quest to claim the stone hidden in Avista before Mumm-Ra can snatch it, but this only leads to laughter from the birds. An engraged Tygra challenges them to a flying race, with the war stone and the stone hidden in the city as the stakes.  Tygra manages to outsmart the Vultaire leader and proves to have adopted excellent piloting skills, just like his ancestors. Unfortunately, the Vultaire birds continue to be stubborn and decide to arrest the ThunderCats instead of handing over the stone.

Lion-O and the rest of the group quickly escape from their imprisonment and decide to “borrow” the stone instead of dealing with the Vultaire.  This leads to Pumyra rashly acting out on her desire for the next stone by capturing the Vultaire leader herself and forcing him to the open the main door to the “tech stone”. Lion-O and group soon learn that the stone’s power keeps the city afloat, as well as the fact that the stones were given to specific tribes with the intent of keeping them apart. Lion-O decides to back down in order to preserve the city, but Pumyra defiantly grabs it and triggers an alarm…

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Well folks, the beginning of the end begins to unravel with What Lies Above- Part 1 and..I’m shocked to say that this actually can work as a finale. Viewers are brought into a well-focused episode with plenty of story content packed into 22 minutes. The first half relates to the ThunderCats group taking to the sky with their own flying vehicle. Goodbye Thundertank, the cats are now soaring up in the skies! The introduction of the episode had interesting reflective moment, as the cats notice each of the locations they traveled to during the season. A great bit of comedy also comes with the humorous twist of Panthro being scared of heights, which leads to Tygra piloting the ship. which in return pushes Tygra into being the pilot of the ship.

It’s fair enough to say that the attitude the prideful Vultaires have is unpleasing. But to be fair, it’s also well explained why they act so stubbornly as to not even accept Tygra’s victory against them. We are given exposition that in the past, the cat species upheld a strong sense of superiority over the other species and outweighed them in power. All the Vultaires wanted in life was to escape from the other power hungry animals and live peacefully up in the skies without having to be involved with them. Of course, the Vultaries are indeed showing a flavor of hypocrisy by calling themselves the most superior species now.

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So why would I conclude already that What Lies Above is a fitting finale?  It’s true the overall story is not going to actually conclude, but the theme of the series sings something unique. When one encounters a plot they usually want a well-rounded beginning, middle, and end. What this ThunderCats series is focused on is not a preoccupation with whether Lion-O will succeed in bringing down Mumm-Ra,  but rather on how the ThunderCats get to the point of understanding what they are truly fighting for. This particular episode presents a variety of symbolism for taking place on a floating environment that oversees the very world of discrimination we have been presented for 25 episodes.

These very same prideful Vultaires offer the ThunderCats an interesting piece of knowledge: Even without Mumm-Ra, the greed for the stones can afflict anybody, whether it’s for good or evil (Pumyra’s ambition to get the tech stone being a prime example).  Without even watching the classic ThunderCats, it was already well known to me that Mumm-Ra was never defeated in that series either.This adaption follows the same light of the original classic series by depicting the never ending battle between good and evil. This may seem like a really lame excuse, and I want more episodes just like anybody else. However, I feel this series has proved itself more than enough by giving viewers a good pack of stories that relate to how these presented characters are going to keep fighting for what they believe is right.  Sometimes we need to look beyond the common ground of wanting a finished story to find the true messages hiding within the plot.

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