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ThunderCats (2011) – “Into the Astral Plane” Recap

by on November 20, 2011

“The Thundercats return to the Elephant Village to retrieve the next stone; only to find it surrounded by Mumma-Ra’s army. To make matters worse, Lion-O and Tygra’s conflict with one another begins to grow bigger..”

Now that Lion-O has grasped the sight beyond sight ability, the Thundercats travel back to the Elephant’s village to retrieve the next stone. Cheetara congratulates him and says saying there was a reason the Sword of Omens chose him. After Cheetara heads inside the Thundertank, Lion-O says to himself that the reason why the Sword of Omens chose him is probably the same reason why Cheetara will choose him. Tygra begins to get jealous of Lion-O and feels like life is just handing his brother everything. Tygra then starts to flashback to when he was a young guard and how he tried helping a young Cheetara find where the clerics resided. Cheetara wants to join the Clerics, but after she fails an initiation test Jaga tells her that she lacks patience and kicks her out.

Tygra’s flashback is interrupted when the Thundercats approach the village, only to find it taken over by Grune’s forces. Lion-O and Cheetara plan to wait until nightfall to perform a surprise attack on Grune in order to grab the advantage. Tygra completely disagrees and thinks they should use the Thundertank instead, but the group decides to attempt the surprise attack. Tygra flashes back again to when he was watching Cheetara waiting outside the Cleric’s building and how she smiled at him after he secretly left a flower for her. Later Jaga finally rewards her long wait by allowing her to join the Clerics after all, saying that she can in fact show patience.

The flashbacks end and Lion-O tries
talking to Cheetara about his brother, who says Tygra may act the way he does because he lives in Lion-O’s shadow. During the attack operation, Wilykit and Wilykat mess it up out of rage due to Grune almost killing one of the Elephants, who he is frustrated with for not telling him anything about the stone. The Thundercats end up surrounded and Lion-O makes a deal with Grune; he’ll show them where the stone is as long as they don’t hurt the Elephants. Lion-O reveals that the stone is not actually inside the Elephant hut. Instead it is really a doorway to “The Astral Plane”, which is where the stone is truly hidden. After the portal to the Astral Plane is created with the Sword of Omens, Grune orders his men to kill The Thundercats and the Elephants anyway. Just then Tygra busts in with the Thundertank, knocking out most of the lizard forces and forcing Grune to retreat. Lion-O decides to go into the Astral Plane to get the stone, and Cheetara kisses Lion-O on the cheek for good luck. This increases the jealously of Tygra, who immediately suggests that he should go with Lion-O. Lion-O says that he doesn’t need help, but he grudgingly allows it when Tygra mockingly remarks that he just saved Lion-O. Tygra goes inside the portal first, and Lion-O is suddenly warned by one of the Elephants that he saw a vision that Tygra will betray him very soon. Lion-O enters the portal without realizing that he is being followed by Mumm-Ra, who has transformed himself into a crow.

It took the series a little while, but we finally got ourselves a Tygra development episode which only continues to foreshadow the events to come. This episode is about the Thundercats trying to get Grune and his forces out of the Elephant village, but Lion-O and Tygra are both sharing mixed feelings on one another. Lion-O actually begins to show a somewhat selfish attitude, which completely surprised me. After Cheetara congratulates him about learning his sword better, he literally says to himself that she will easily choose him just like how the Sword of Omens picked him, as if she was a simple prize in destiny’s game. I knew Lion-O was a bit young and naive, but it’s surprising to see a main character like himself easily say that he’s going to get the girl and that’s that.  Tygra meanwhile is questioning to himself if Lion-O even deserves what he’s been given.

What makes this episode interesting is not the battle with Grune at the Elephant village, but rather the entire flashback sequence we get to see about Tygra and Cheetara as kids. What surprised me the most about this is that Tygra didn’t just fall for Cheetara during the first few episodes, he always liked her ever since he was a child. This was an unexpected and well written development that redeemed Tygra’s character, in my opinion. It always bothered me how Tygra would just randomly put down Lion-O out of nowhere in some episodes, but this puts the pieces together to explain why he acts the way he does. One brother has his destiny already set, while the other has had to work in order to get where he is now.

The battle with Grune was nothing special and just general Thundercats action that this series has been giving, except for the entire part when Tygra crashes in with the Thundertank as an attempt to prove himself more, which adds to his jealous character. This episode ends on a very strong note with Lion-O, Tygra, and Mumm-Ra entering the Astral Plane which contains the next stone. Considering that one of the Elephants tells Lion-O that Tygra will turn on him, this series may be going into some deep changes for its characters very, very soon. And so, Thundercats continues to impress. Unlike it’s classic series counterpart that was more like a early Saturday morning cartoon, this show now feels more like a movie to me that just keeps getting my attention by the well executed substance of its plot.

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