Friday, August 19, 2011

NN REVIEW: Thundercats: Old Friends

Another step in the right direction for Thundercats. Episode 5, titled "Old Friends" introduces us to a new team member while giving some back story on our villain.

Meet Panthro. The badass that badasses refer to as badass. A once loyal soldier of the king, Panthro turned up at the end of last week's episode and saved our heroes from certain death. In this episode we got to see a little bit of Panthro's history and his relationship with a formidable foe.

At the start of the episode we learn that Panthro's ThunderTank runs on what is called Thundrillium and he is out of it. Unfortunately the closest place to get some is a lizard infested mine where Grune is harvesting the Thundrillium for Mumm-Ra's army. Remember Grune? The cat that betrayed everyone in the battle that led to the king's death in the series premier? Ya, he and Panthro are old buddies.

And that leads us to the second story in this episode. Grune and Panthro initially met on the battlefield as soldiers and became inseparable. From the get-go we see that Grune strives to become king and somehow upset the establishment, while Panthro needs only a strong king to serve in order to feel fulfilled. Eventually the two are sent out on a special mission to find the fabled Book of Omens. Seeing the back story between Grune and Panthro was great and it did an excellent job of introducing us to Panthro while giving us the reasoning for Grune's eventual betrayal of his kingdom. Although it was a bit unfortunate that Grune was so clearly anti-establishment from the beginning. Literally almost right after we meet him in battle he is complaining about what they have to do. But it was still a great back story for the episode.

Back in present time, Lion-O quickly discovers that Panthro will not follow him blindly simply because he is the new king. Lion-O must earn his respect. I'm glad that Lion-O now has another member of the team that will challenge him and force him to mature as a character. His development has to be done slowly and it has to seem like he is being shaped by those around him and I think they have set this up perfectly with Tygra and Panthro. Eventually they break into the mine and are forced to confront Grune and his lizard crones.

I won't say much more since I don't want to put in any spoilers. But all in all I thought the episode was pretty much on par with what I've come to expect from the show. Nothing particularly earth shattering (actually that's not true) but also nothing that made this a poor episode. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing some more flashbacks from this show so as to learn more about the history of our characters and what has made them the way they are.


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