Saturday Morning Cartoons #65: ‘ThunderCats’

  1. S1 E11: “The Ghost Warrior”

Written by: Leonard Starr

 

We return to Third Earth and the ThunderCats for this episode of Saturday Morning Cartoons. Our last visit showed the first 2 Trials that Lion-O had to undertake to become the new leader of the ThunderCats. We are saving the last 3 Trials for another time – next month? – and skipping ahead to what was considered one of the better episodes of the original series.

“The Ghost Warrior” deals with a figure from the past who turned evil. Even worse, he was a pretty formidable General…. but he’s now a ghost. How do you defeat a powerful, evil ghost? Stay tuned!

It was a dark and stormy night…

No, seriously. It was a dark and stormy night.

TC_Storm

During said stormy night, 2 Berbos(?) – short humanoids with woolly hair – are struggling to find shelter. They eventually find a large tree, with plenty of branches. Before the pair can really settle in, the tree is felled by a tremendous lightning blast! However, under the tree, there is a stairway leading to parts unknown. One of the Berbos wants to explore and see if there’s treasure, something that they, as a people, normally don’t do; the other just wants to get out of the storm. In the end, the former wins out.

At the bottom of the stairs is a long, earthen path, with torches.

Lit torches.

The path ends at a wooden door, with symbols of evil warding attached to it.

TC_Wards.PNG

At this point, most ‘normal’ Ham ‘n Eggers have 3 options:

  1. Leave the door alone
  2. Try to open it, including looking for a key (if the door is locked
  3. Just wait the storm out, then gather friends and other villagers and return to inspect the door

The duo chose Option 4: run through the door. Not the best choice they made, that night.

This got them into a large, nearly empty chamber, but it also broke the wards. Uh oh.

The chamber has a large stone slab in the corner, covering a hole. The duo uncover the hole… and the growls begin. A purple-shaded ghost emerges from the hole

It is Grund the Destroyer!

Grund, according to the now-panicked duo, ravaged Thunderra in the ancient past… and he looks like he’s going to ravage the duo. They flee, Grund laughs.

Back on the surface, for the first time in forever, Grund-ghost is feeling a little weak. Searching for an energy source, he comes across the ThunderCats’ lair. This won’t end well.


The ThunderCats are preoccupied with the storm. Suddenly, A DOOR OPENS!! IT’S SPOOKY! IT’S WEIRD! IT’S SPOOKY-WEIRD!!! A chill enters the room; not as spooky as the DOOR!!, but still a strange occurrence. Equipment on the ceiling starts shaking.

Panthro is yanked out of his seat. NOW things are getting unnatural. Before Panthro can whoop someone for that, the main power modules starting going haywire, losing all of their energy. When Panthro tries to intervene, a piece of equipment pins him to the wall. Tygro doesn’t have much better luck: he tries to grab the controls but “hands” are already there. Cheetara and Lion-O free Panthro; he goes to try and help Tygro but both nearly get electrocuted.

Suddenly, the lights go dim, and Grund shows himself to the ThunderCats for the first time.

He knows that they are ThunderCats!

TC_Grund
“Spooky Door-Opener!!!”

Even worse, none of the ThunderCats seem able to harm him, as everyone but Panthro mounts an attack. Grund grows to a giant size, laughs (which he will do a LOT), looks forward to meeting the ThunderCats again, and vanishes.

The same complaints and praises that I had for the previous ThunderCats episodes apply here: great mood music, horrible voice acting. It’s even worse in this episode because everyone is talking v  e  r  y    s  l  o  w  l  y, especially those 2 at the beginning.


Grund is next seen in giant form, and apparently flesh and blood, Rick James stomping entire villages for no real reason other than “I can!”. 

TC_Giant.PNG
“F your house!”

A group of villagers run to the ThunderCats for help. They report that Grund wants “Fire Rocks” (known on Thundera as “Thundranium”). The problem is that they (the villagers) are forbidden by law to mine any kind of Fire Rock. Lion-O and Tygra have no idea how to help them.

Now, if a 20-foot-tall ghost-not-ghost is stomping your villages to dust, and is demanding something, are you really gonna tell him “our laws forbid us from getting what you want”?

Meanwhile, Grund stumbles upon a molten rock pool: Thundranium! What does any ‘good’ bad guy do when they find what they are seeking? Make a spiked club out of it, of course.


Back at the ThunderCats’ lair, a strange conversation is about to take. They are repairing the damage from Grund when Lion-O decides to use the Eye of Omens in his Sword to See who or what Grund is: “Sight Beyond Sight”. However, the Eye reveals nothing. 

The only other option is to use Cheetara’s Psychic Vision. Using it drains her, taking weeks or even months to recover. Lion-O starts to ask her to use it but she backs away and refuses…. only to then state that she’ll use her Vision… only for Lion-O (and Panthro) to ask her not to. Make up your minds!!! She ultimately uses it: she spins around rapidly, then goes into a Trance.

Her Vision reveals some startling information: 

Grund was a ThunderCat! 

He was a very good one, too. He was great friends with the current ThunderCats’ old mentor, Jaga. They fought evil all across old Thundera, until Grund’s greed and lust for power took over him. He turned on Jaga and the ThunderCats, formed his own army, and started laying waste to everything, earning the name “The Destroyer”. Jaga confronted him and in an epic duel, defeated Grund, exiling him t space, in a crystal-like cocoon. Cheetara faints from the exertion. Moments later, Giant Grund, with new Club, attacks the ThunderCats’ lair!

Lion-O first attacks with the Eye of Omens, but to no avail. He then calls upon the power of the Sword – you know that goes! – and calls for the one being who could possibly defeat Grund: Jaga!

Jaga answers the call and one of the longest uninterrupted fight scenes I’ve seen begins!

TC_Fight
Cosmic Grudge Match

Lion-O deduces that the motivation behind Grund’s attacks were to draw out Jaga for a rematch, which Grund confirms. He also wanted a weapon made from Thundranium because Thundranium weakens ThunderCats (I guess Grund is immune to it because he no considers himself a ThunderCat?). Jaga begins to weaken from Grund’s attacks, ultimately getting disarmed. Lion-O throws him the Sword of Omens but even that only slows Grund slightly. Lion-O then decides to lend Jaga his strength, demanding that Jaga take it after he initially refuses. This completely changes the tide of the battle. Jaga disarms Grund, forcing his surrender. Realizing that he lost, Grund offers his hand in friendship.

TC_Sword

When Jaga extends his hand, Grund bypasses it and steals the Sword of Omens, instead. 

Fatal mistake.

The Sword starts glowing, the glow Grund, and Grund… simply vanishes. Jaga knew that the Sword would destroy Grund and knew that Grund would try to steal the Sword, so he let Grund take it. He gives Lion-O the Sword and his strength back.


The 2 villagers from the very beginning show up at the ThunderCats’ lair. They apologize for freeing Grund. Panthro wants more than an apology (… he’s not wrong, by the way) but Lion-O accepts the apology; he says that it took a lot for them to come apologize, so let’s leave it at that. A comment was made that Lion-O sounded like Jaga for a moment; Jaga briefly appears in the sunlit, rainbowed sky, then disappears as the episode fades to black.


The fight scene between Jaga and Grund was pretty good, especially for a mid-80’s cartoon. 

I think “one of the best episodes” was an overstatement. However, this was a pretty entertaining episode. Neither Mumm-Ra nor the Mutants made an appearance; odd, because this is the 3rd episode that I’ve reviewed and 3rd episode that neither showed up in. Nevertheless, Grund was a pretty good villain to throw at the ‘Cats.

The next time my turn comes about, I will probably go back to the Trials that Lion-O undertook to become the Lord of the ThunderCats. See you then!

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