The last time we visited the Black Panther series, Juggernaut had disposed of 3 of the X-Men and walked off with new money-provider, Klaw; “a Black Panther” was killed; and Super Soldier made an episode-ending appearance. In Episode #3, Juggernaut thins the herd, we get some backstory with Klaw, and the different forces began to set up for a fight.
That picture is how we start Episode 3. The next shot is a rhino, staring at Juggernaut. Alternating shots of the 2. Then they charge. We are about to have a Meeting of the Minds, folks!
Juggs and rhino meet with a frame-shaking THUUUDDD!! Only Juggernaut is left standing. “I always wanted to do that!” Juggernaut is a simple man with simple tastes. Klaw, in the background, reminds him that he might have started an International Incident, since that was an endangered species.
The French Assassin from Episode 2 – who I think is Batroc – chides him. We then have a ‘classic’ exchange that happens when France is involved:
“Hey Frenchie, we saved you from the Nazis in World War II!” – Juggernaut
“Call it ‘repayment’ for us financing your Revolution!” – Batroc
“…..” – Juggernaut
We then go to Klaw’s camp, where Klaw and the rest of the team are preparing for…. something. While Juggernaut is being a mix of ‘caveman’ and ‘idiot’, Batroc compliments Klaw on his set up. “What are our chances of killing the Black Panther?” “Pretty good”, says Klaw, “considering that I already killed one.”
We then switch to a flashback. The location is Switzerland and Klaw is spying on a fortress, where as meeting of 3rd World country leaders is taking place.
Klaw had been there for a week, contracted to kill a man, but “it was personal”. The meeting was what to do about Wakanda’s resources: they had loads of petroleum, medical advancements not seen in the rest of the world, and the biggest resource: Vibranium. Wakanda’s leader, T’Chaka, won’t sell any of their resources “until the spiritual advancements of the West reaches the technological levels of Wakanda”, then leaves the meeting, after chiding the rest of the leaders. “This is where my job began”, said Klaw.
Klaw stated that security for this meeting started one month before. This didn’t persuade him and his team for taking a shot at T’Chaka and his family:
T’Chaka, feeling like something’s wrong, orders his family home, to the protestations of his 2 sons. As they argue, a high-powered shot rings out! Something hits the window… but is stopped. The windows were bullet-proof; the bullet was armor-piercing… but wasn’t Vibranium-piercing. The window had a film of Vibranium covering it, stopping the assassin’s bullet. “Time for Plan B”, said Klaw.
See, Klaw wasn’t the one who took the shot: he was actually hiding under the floor boards of the room, for a week, just in case. He bursts out of the floor, double-gunning everything in the room. “I got paid $10 million to do it!” The shots hit the non-bullet-proof glass in the room; the debris hits T’Chaka’s 2nd youngest son in the neck, killing him. The glass also hits T’Chaka, causing even more chaos and, more importantly, distracting T’Chaka. T’Chaka pops claws from a wrist bracer (I didn’t know he could that!) and tries to slash Klaw to ribbons. He gets hit in the face, plus has one of his guns knocked away. His 2nd gun, however, is perfectly fine….. and perfectly aimed at T’Chaka’s stomach. T’Chaka is dead.
All is not peaches ‘n cream for Klaw, however. As he continues his rampage, Klaw is shot. With his own gun. By T’Challa. Bleeding heavily, Klaw rather jump out of a 7-story window, than stay and try to “wipe out the entire bloodline”.
We briefly visit present-day, where Batroc is confused: he thought that Klaw went back to South Africa, so why go after Wakanda? Klaw explains….
… we enter a another flashback, this time to South Africa. To summarize, Klaw got his grandfather’s remains – “little more than a boot with a foot still in it” – then returned to Belgium. On his deathbed, the Belgium government nursed him back to health but experimented on him, including removing his left eye. Once recovered, and enhanced, he reclaimed the “World’s Top Assassin” label.
We visit Wakanda for the first time, as we are at the Queen’s Palace. T’Challa and the Queen are having a chat.
They argue about T’Challa’s plans: he wants to catch his Father’s killers, she wants him to “stop chasing the past… the most important job for a King is to produce heirs!” I don’t think that’s in the King and Queen’s Handbook but I’m not a King (or Queen), so what do I know?
Nvertheless, the Queen wants T’Challa to make one woman his Queen:
Ororo, the “Mutant Goddess, Storm”.
We have our 4th flashback: the streets of Cairo. The Queen explains to Shuri (I think): once a Wakandan boy reaches his teenage years, he must on a “Walkabout”: a walk from one end of Africa to the other, not giving away his station in life. During this Walk, T’Challa walked the slums of Cairo, stunned by seeing poverty for the first time. He is promptly pickpocketed by a “street slave”; chasing them down, it is a young Ororo. She tells him her tale of slavery, prompting him to confront the Street Slave Master. The master is bested, T’Challa is heralded as a hero by the former slaves, and becomes romantically involved with Ororo, albeit briefly. They travel Africa for a while, then return to Cairo. T’Challa suddenly sees a young man behind a stall: Klaw. T’Challa decides to return home, to prepare to hunt down Klaw again, leaving Ororo behind. “T’Challa became ‘Black Panther’, while Ororo embraced her destiny as ‘Storm, The Mutant Goddess in control of thunder and lightning”.
We now head to a new location: The Vatican. The woman that was in the background of Klaw’s group at the beginning of the episode is now here, sent to seduce “someone” (no identity given). She laments to Klaw, via phone, that “[I] need to be showing more skin if I’m going to seduce someone”.. She has a point.
She eventually meets with a Priest (who I don’t think she was trying to seduce). They talk about a possible “Holy War” against Wakanda but settle on trying to convert the Wakandans to Christianity. While this conversation is wrapping up, the woman notices two figures on horseback, sparring on the ground and in the air (!!).
The figure in black has an Ebony Sword, “capable of cutting through almost any substance”. Sounds like this is who she was sent to seduce… but who is he?
We end the episode back in Wakanda. T’Challa wakes up from a nightmare about his father’s death. In some kind of control room, with a couple of advisers, T’Challa orders the reopening of T’Chaka’s death investigation. One of his advisers asks T’Challa why he is wasting resources on searching for the killer(s): “they will come looking for you to finish the job.”
Intense T’Challa stare at the camera.
I liked this episode. It gave a lot of backstory and info, revealing why Klaw and Black Panther are after each other. You get to see some of the interplay between members of Klaw’s team, which is looking pretty formidable: Juggernaut, Batroc (who I know very little about, other than he looks like a capable assassin), the mystery woman, and a super-enhanced Klaw. Meanwhile, Storm has been mentioned in 2 of the first 3 episodes; I’m assuming that she will play a part in the upcoming, imminent battle. And Black Panther looks like he’s itching for some payback.
The animation is still alright but there was one weird thing that I noticed. During the Queen’s Chamber segment, the Queen, when she talked, was looking at the camera (so to speak) more than she looked at Shuri. I don’t know if that was an intentional effect.
The set up for the final battle was nice. Now let’s see if the final 3 episodes give a satisfactory payoff.