When the new ThunderCats series is completed, there’s likely to be one episode that fans look back on and regard as the one that set the course for the series’ remainder. “Legacy” is likely to be that episode.

This is the episode where ThunderCats in 2011 breaks decisively away from the mythology of its predecessor and begins to form its own identity. For better or worse, the events of this episode represent a radical divergence from the original series, with many interesting concepts being introduced and explored.

One such concept is Mumm-Ra being portrayed as a master of technology, in the new series’ attempt to brand technology as Third Earth’s version of magic. It’s easy to see from this episode why technology is thought of with such reverence in the early episodes of this series, as technology represents a different time and place, the very beginnings of the planet of Third Earth as its inhabiting species know it. The writers of the series have done a commendable job presenting a rich backstory, thanks in no small part to the events of this episode, which answers many questions and asks many more.

This episode is also notable for setting up two goals for the ThunderCats which are set to span throughout the series – Lion-O’s quest to find the stones of power that Mumm-Ra also seeks, and also his quest to unite the animals of Third Earth, providing opportunities for Lion-O’s character to develop and grow at the same time.

No review of this episode would be complete without acknowledging some of the moments that have been included for the benefit of “old-school” fans, the most notable of those being the inclusion of the TigerSharks and the character of Mon*Star, the main villain from SilverHawks, both of these shows having been created by Rankin-Bass, creators of the original ThunderCats animated series. However, another more subtle nod to fans is the scene that shows the Sword of Omens being forged – surely this is something that followers of the original series would have often wondered about and longed to see, so it’s good that the writers chose to show this.

If this episode has a flaw, it’s that the backstory comes thick and fast and would perhaps have benefitted from a slower reveal – at times it becomes hard to take everything in, with the audience being presented with a whole raft of unfamiliar characters and places. However, it’s entirely understandable why so much is included in this episode, and why it appears where it does – it does what it sets out to do, which is to provide the series with a sense of future direction, setting up a multitude of story concepts for future episodes.

“Legacy” is perhaps the most appropriate title for this episode, for it deals not only with the legacy of the characters who appear in it, but is also an episode liable to leave a legacy of its own behind it. This is the episode where this new incarnation of ThunderCats stepped onto its own path – we can but wait to see what the future holds.

Written by Chris (He-Fan)