Snarf Takes Up The Challenge

Discussion in 'ThunderCats (1985)' started by Captain Shiner, May 13, 2018.

  1. Captain Shiner

    Captain Shiner Crabman

    After digging out an episode I thought I’d counter it with a positive one, in my opinion, an episode in the top 2 of the show

    Snarf Takes Up The Challenge

    This episode was for many, many years my absolute all-time favourite episode, by far. It has since been overtaken by one single episode, but this for many reasons is a barnstorming classic, encapsulating everything I love about the show. It’s the episode that kept me a fan long after the show had finished airing in the U.K. and kept me a fan into adulthood, and what is even more amazing is that features the character I find most irritating in a lead role - Snarf. This episode not only gives us a non-annoying performance from the nursemaid, but has moments of unparalleled genius from the Mutants and some of the best visual images ever seen in the show.

    The first act is amazing, firstly Snarf arriving to an abandoned cats lair, to the Unicorn Keeper's wife coming to explain the ThunderCats strange absense. And in an immediate swerve, the unexpected occurs...Lion-O is taken first! A rarity to say the least and from here on in its new territory, watching the brilliance of the Mutants and the uncharacterisitic naivete of the ThunderCats as one by one they are snared. I especially love the gleeful Vultureman pulling the Kittens back his way via a tractor beam, and Cheetara being caught by a fake Cats signal. Also the creepiness in which Lion-O’s precidament plays out as the Nosediver he couldn’t resist having a go on (stealing) slowly rises and takes him who knows where, and the music playing is equally haunting. Panthro and Tygra are caught in a similar way and I think truly for the only time in the series, the mutants look like absolute beasts as villains - clever, competent, patient and sure of success, they are superb this episode, as is Mumm-Ra of course who orchestrated the whole thing.

    Then comes the sight that terrifed me as a child. Mumm-Ra's pyramid, with three mummified figures either side of the cauldron. And the Sword of Omens pinned to the wall as an ornament. How the hell were they going to get out of this one? The sight of the mummified cats is so stark, never before or since were they really put in a position of such apparent hopelessness, the sight of Lion-O’s eyes darting around the room looking for an escape, amazing

    Snarf uses great ideas to do this which belie usual his tendency to moan, whinge and generally do nothing. It’s great work using the bat to get to Plun-Darr, and I love the scene of Snarf eavesdropping the Mutants. 'We'll Smash The Snowmen' says the Vultureman in his rarely heard McFadden voice - I really like it

    Snarf then heads to the Pyramid and first uses great skill in gaining entrance to it, and then a stroke of genius by getting the spider to seal the casket, allowing Snarf the time to free Lion-O and get the sword to him. Lion-o again does so much with his eyes, seeing salvation in Snarf and willing him on to free them all. Isn’t it a shame that Snarf is never this good so often

    The ending is a bit rushed with the reflection crap, but this episode is so unbelievably brilliant I'm willing to forgive anything. From all the little touches, the animals who witness the Tcats capturings, to a unique display of total competence from the mutants to Snarf's bravery, it is a flawless episode and a standout moment of my childhood. I saw it twice in the 80’s, on BBC1 after school, then again one Saturday morning, either on ‘Going Live’ or ‘UP2U’ (I definitely saw ‘All that Glitters’ on UP2U as I had that on tape for many years)

    I also remember when I first joined eBay in 2001, the first thing I did was buy the VHS with this episode on.
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  2. Daremonger

    Daremonger Thunderian Legend

    Couldn't agree more. Aside from its weak ending, "Snarf Takes Up the Challenge" did a lotta justice to Snarf as a character. :snarf
    Captain Shiner likes this.
  3. Captain Shiner

    Captain Shiner Crabman

    It's funny, because Peter Lawrence loathes Snarf, and challenged himself to write a good episode...he achieved his goal, and then some.
    Daremonger likes this.

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