ThunderCats - Episode Guide

The Trouble with ThunderKittens

Written by Kimberly B. Morris

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ThunderCats - Episode Guide - Official Rankin-Bass Synopsis header

Trouble_with_Thunderkittens12 In an effort to prove them worthy of being THUNDERCATS, the THUNDERKITTENS borrow the other THUNDERCATS’ weapons and practice with them. The MUTANTS, who gain possession of the weapons, ambush them. The THUNDERKITTENS keep the theft a secret from LION-0 and go to Castle Plun-Darr to get the weapons back. They surprise MONKIAN as he vainly poses in front of a mirror with PANTHRO’s Nun-Chuks. The MUTANTS attack and the THUNDERKITTENS escape back to the Lair using their magic pellets. The THUNDERKITTENS return later with LION-0 to engage the MUTANTS. LION-0 calls the other THUNDERCATS using the Sword–then a Mutant Heat Ball causes him to drop it. The THUNDERKITTENS are able to subdue the MUTANTS first with a magic pellet, which causes a tidal wave, then with another, which engulfs the MUTANTS in laughing gas. The THUNDERCATS reclaim their weapons.

 

ThunderCats - Episode Guide - Morals by Dr Robert Kuisis header

Wilykat and Wilykit, attempting to prove they are grownup, secretly take the weapons of the adult ThunderCats in order to learn how to use them. However, when the Mutants discover them, they lose the weapons in a skirmish. They return to the Cats’ Lair, ashamed of what they have done and fearful of punishment. In their fear, they decide to take the dangerous risk of breaking into Castle Plun-Darr alone to try and regain the weapons. But they are repelled by the Mutants and again return to the Lair. Finally, they own up to what they have done by admitting their deeds to Lion-0. After a brief expression of anger, Lion-O does not seek to punish them, but plans a way they together can retrieve the weapons. They are successful in this and, in an act of forgiveness, Lion-O protects them by not letting on to the other ThunderCats what happened.

Sometimes we get caught up in the same sequence of events Wilykat and Wilykit experienced. Trying to be grown-up, we impulsively attempt something foolish that is beyond our abilities. Often this leads to some accident. And, frightened of discovery and punishment, we either avoid owning up to what we’ve done or we do something else to try and undo the original act. There is another sequence of events possible, which we can learn from Wilykat and Wilykit. It begins by not starting with the assumption that our parents or authorities will treat our misfortune by showing us disapproval and punishment. Often, like Lion-0, they will not react with anger, but with understanding and forgiveness. Then, when that happens, we won’t feel we individually have to deny the act or secretly attempt to rectify it. Instead, our parents or authorities will help us take responsibility and work with us to make things better. We should not assume adults would act negatively. Acknowledging this can be a smart lesson, which will save us from further foolish accidents and will make it easier to be responsible for our actions.

 

ThunderCats - Episode Guide - ThunderCats Lair Official Episode Review header

In most ThunderCats episodes, Wilykit and Wilykat are relegated to playing sidekicks to the adult ThunderCats. There are some exceptions in which the ThunderKittens get to run the show. But crafting an entire episode solely around the troublesome twins isn’t child’s play. As a result, most writers adhere to a basic plot which involves the ThunderKittens’ mischievous antics resulting in mayhem and their subsequent attempts to rectify the pandemonium.

In her debut episode, writer Kimberly B. Morris chooses to play it safe. Wanting to prove that they are just as valuable as the adult ThunderCats, Wilykit and Wilykat steal their weapons and head to the woods to try and master their use.  It’s an amusing sight to see the kittens’ failed attempts at controlling the adults’ arsenal. Their practice session is cut short when the Mutants, who coincidentally also happen to be strolling through the woods, appear and snatch the ThunderCats’ weapons with as much ease as taking  candy from kittens!

Embarrassed and guilt-ridden, the ThunderKittens return to Cats’ Lair and confide in Lion-O who, despite being mighty peeved, shows considerable amount of restraint and focuses on fixing the problem rather than delivering a lengthy reprimand. It is the child inside Lion-O which makes him more empathetic towards the twins’ actions than any of the other adult ThunderCats. After all, Lion-O himself has been responsible for orchestrating a number of similar trouble-causing pranks.

As the three youngest of the ThunderCats embark on a special op to recover their weapons, the audience are presented with a rare insight into Castle Plun-Darr. The Mutants are less impulsive and more calculating here. They formulate the best way to attack Cats’ Lair using a map of the ThunderCats’ fortress instead of heading out in their SkyCutters with guns blazing. As Wilykit and Wilykat search for the weapons, we are privy to the various aspects of Castle Plun-Darr, including a cobra pit and a closet full of skulls! A horde of Jackalmen and Reptilians also make a cameo appearance.

Like “Mongor”, this episode deals with the ThunderKittens making a mistake and then trying to fix it. But while the former succeeds in creating intensity and fear, “The Trouble with ThuderKittens” falls flat on its face. The biggest problem being that the script focuses only on a handful of characters. For such a story to work, it has to keep the audience engaged at all times, which Morris’ script fails to do. The entire middle section drags on infinitely. The double excursions into Castle Plun-Darr, first made by the kittens alone, and then together with Lion-O drags so much that they leave the audience desperately craving a climactic battle scene. Unfortunately, the only thing that the viewers get is an uninteresting, almost comedic fight sequence, riddled with poor visuals and animation glitches. And the concluding resolution to the conflict is brought about by a laughing gas pellet conquering the mighty Mutants!

It was a mistake to leave the other adult ThunderCats completely out of the picture. Panthro, Cheetara and Tygra appear briefly in the beginning when they, for no apparent reason, blast off in the Feliner and are not seen again until the very end. Their contribution is so insignificant that Tygra does not have even a single line of dialogue. An action packed sub-plot involving these three ThunderCats in the Feliner would have greatly improved this episode. The numerous flaws that plague “The Trouble with ThunderKittens” make it one of the weaker offerings in the ThunderCats series.

Written by Wilycub

 

 

ThunderCats - Episode Guide - Notes of Interest header

Notes of Interest button Monkian displays quite a talent for using Panthro’s Nunchucks when he admires himself spinning the weapon in front of a mirror. Since he never had access to the Nunchucks, his mastery of them could only be attributed to “monkey see, monkey do”!
Notes of Interest button Lion-O reveals an interesting factoid that the Cats Lair’s Weapons Room is so well insulated that not even the ThunderCats signal can penetrate it.
Notes of Interest button A noticeable animation mistake is seen during the final battle inside Castle Plun-Darr when a shot of Lion-O erroneously shows a forest backdrop instead of the castle interior.

 

ThunderCats - Episode Guide - Screenshots header

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