ThunderCats (2011) - "What Lies Above - Part 2" Episode 26 Recap
After Pumyra’s rash attempt to get the tech stone, the ThunderCats are forced into the Avista’s trash disposal area to meet their demise. Soon after Mumm-Ra’s army arrives on the battlefield, having followed the cats, and attempts to intimidate the Vultaire into giving up their magical stone. At that, Lion-O and the cats soon convince the Vultaire to let them go so they can defeat Mumm-Ra for them. The battle rages on with Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, and even Snarf entering the front lines against Mumm-Ra’s generals. As the ThunderCats and birds fight for the fate of the city, Lion-O and Pumyra rush back into the Tech Stone chamber with Mumm-Ra right on their tail. Lion-O clashes against the demon once again and is able to evolve his gauntlet into armor. Eventually Mumm-Ra desperately forces the tech stone out of its containment, causing the city to slowly plummet to the ground. The tech stone bounces around the chamber as both fighters continue to clash…until it falls right into Pumyra’s possession. Relieved, Lion-O requests Pumyra to toss it over to him, but becomes utterly horrified when she happily hands it over to Mumm-Ra and says coldly, “Lion-O you are my king, but Mumm-Ra is my master”. Pumyra walks over to Mumm-Ra’s side and kisses his gauntlet as proof that…they are lovers.
Mumm-Ra explains to a shocked Lion-O that Pumyra was one of the many victims who died during the Fall of Thundera. Pumyra could remember waiting to be saved, only to witness Lion-O, Tygra and Cheetara walk out of the city without ever realizing that she was dying under the rubble behind them. Upon death, Pumyra’s soul wished so strongly for revenge against Lion-O that Mumm-Ra caught wind of it and decided to revive her as a loyal follower. Disgusted with these events, Lion-O swings the Sword of Omens against Mumm-Ra’s new form but easily falls to its power. However, Wilykit and Wilykat then arrive on the scene and surprise everybody by using the Forever Bag to bring all of the previous animals the cats had met for the battle against Mumm-Ra: The Elephants, Dogs, Berbils, and Fishmen. Mumm-Ra is shocked to find himself overpowered by the teamwork of the species, even with his new strength. Satisfied with his victory over the stone, Mumm-Ra flies off with Pumyra, both promising they will kill Lion-O the next time their paths cross again. The ThunderCats reunite and the city of Avita softly crashes on the ground thanks to Panthro’s quick thinking.
Seeing that Lion-O is hurting from Pumyra’s betrayal, Wilykit takes on Cheetara’s previous role of support by telling him that everybody is with him in fighting for the final stone. The season concludes with the young lord of the ThunderCats picking up the Sword of Omens once again, holding the blade towards the sky with hope.
What Lies Above- Part 2 is a fitting finale that provides a decent feeling of closure. I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of this final episode, since it was never meant to be the last one and there was a clear expectation further episodes would centralize on finding the last stone and seemingly the final battle against Mumm-Ra. In this episode, viewers are given a large display of action with the ThunderCats going at Mumm-Ra’s forces on the city of Avista. The real meat of the plot comes when Lion-O is pushed to the edge by Pumyra’s betrayal (something I put together right after the twist – they have “RA” at the end of both their names).
For me Pumyra’s betrayal is a relief, since it explains how she “lost” the Sword of Plun-Darr to Mumm-Ra in Birth of the Blades; she most likely handed it over. This twist is a giant punch in the face for poor Lion-O considering he already lost Cheetara to Tygra, and now he has to deal with Pumyra running off with Mumm-Ra. It’s to safe to assume that the writers chose this course of direction in order for Lion-O to stand on his own as a leader and not fall after getting his hopes up with love. If Leo’s backstory was any indication (Legacy and Birth of the Blades), the final idea was perhaps for Lion-O to end up together with Panthera’s descendant.
The new ThunderCats is a purely fun series for those who can appreciate its adventure and not get caught up with disappointment in its slow pace in storytelling. As discussed in the prior recap, I don’t mind this being the finale since the series has carried its theme of hope well. We are left with Mumm-Ra still defeated despite gaining the tech stone, Lion-O gaining more resolve and most of the animals now united. Though don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe this series deserves more episodes based on its ratings, which were good even on Toonami. Cartoon Network sadly remains at fault for not renewing the series due to its apparent harsh direction away from action shows. It’s scary to know that great shows like ThunderCats and Sym-Bionic Titan can only get more episodes from the network if they deliver both great ratings and and merchandise sales in tandem. Those who desire to see more of either series should check out Cartoon Network’s feedback section and let them know about it.
For now, Lion-O and the rest of the ThunderCats will continue to battle Mumm-Ra through more reruns on the Toonami block. May the Sword of Omens continue to shine on.