After ignoring the wishes of his team members, Lion-O is killed in battle and now must go through a series of trials to prove that he is worthy of living once again. Meanwhile, Mumm-Ra’s Generals have the ThunderCats and the Sword of Omens held captive…
Lion-O and the rest of the ThunderCats continue their journey by following the Book of Omen’s clue to go “up”. Against advice from his friends, Lion-O stubbornly believes that going up means climbing the mountain in their sight. The group is ambushed by Mumm-Ra’s forces, who push Lion-O off the mountain with only his gauntlet in his possession. Addicus and Kaynar are able to overpower the group yet again and finally take possession of the Sword of Omens.
Lion-O’s soul awakens inside the “Spirit Realm” where he is greeted by the spirit of Jaga, who informs Lion-O that the stone inside the Gauntlet has given him a chance of regaining his life. To do so, he must take a series of trials in order to prove his worth of being the King of Thundera. Lion-O accepts, and finds himself learning a variety of lessons after each trial on what it means to truly be a good leader. Meanwhile the ThunderCats finally escape the grip of Mumm-Ra’s generals, but without the Sword of Omens.
Trials of Lion-O Part 1 is one of the best episodes for driving forward the development of Lion-O’s character. There is no denying that throughout the series, he has had a very bad habit of running into bad situations after not following the advice of his own comrades. I personally found Lion-O’s character worse than Tygra’s at this point, considering that last time in “New Alliances” he suggested leaving his brother to possibly die in order to take another strike at Addicus and Kaynar. Tygra himself is selfish, but he already admitted back in “Between Brothers” that he would never abandon Lion-O.
Lion-O confronts various trials in order to prove his life is worth continuing as the “King of Thundera’. I liked the trails a lot because they emphasized following easier routes and solutions that become apparent when the situation is thought through, as opposed to Lion-O’s past approach of taking a hard and direct path that makes everything worse. According to fans of the classic series the trials that Lion-O encounters are similar to the ones from its “Anointment Trials”, so those who have watched the original ThunderCats series will probably find some plenty of nostalgic moments at every turn.
The episode concludes with Tygra taking leadership and directing the ThunderCats to retrieve the Sword of Omens before Mumm-Ra can properly remove the stone it contains. The only person right now who believes in Lion-O rising again is in fact…Wilykit! Whether or not she will take Cheetara’s role of having more faith in him than everybody else shall be brought into light during the next episode.