This episode could not have come at a better time as the previous few were barely anything more than a whimper.
But with "Into The Astral Plane," the Thundercats -- as seen in the debut episode and a couple Mumm-ra related shows -- return with a roar!
Also seen in those prior episodes, some form or another of a lesson was given -- and in this one, the lesson learned was not to mess with the Thundercats!
Our story opens with the Thundercats riding in the Thundertank heading back to Elephant Village to look for the stone in the hut. As Lion-O has not only learned to properly wield the Sword of Thundera, the young King has also learned a lot along the way about himself. The stone is not exactly in the hut -- it is both in and both out -- as the stone lies in the great beyond, the Astral Plane!
However, as one Lion cub has grown to be a leader amongst the animals, another who has bared witness to this destiny has evolved a deep resentment and animosity toward his brother. In addition to being in the shadow of his younger brother for his entire life, now the love of Cheetara is added to the fray. And it appears to be a battle that Tygra will not win!
A flashback is shown with a young Tygra, an over anxious guardsman, encountering a just as young Cheetara asking for directions to the Clerics' hall. Tygra is immediately caught up with her beauty and mystique, but eventually shows her the way.
There, Jaga answers the door as she wishes to join the ranks of the Clerics. The fastest Thundercat alive is given a test, which she fails, and is rejected. However, the test was one about patience, and Cheetara sleeps day and night outside the doors to the Hall not taking no for an answer. Meanwhile, the young tiger cub has been monitoring his new found adoration, leaves her a flower. As Cheetara is finally accepted into Clerics Hall, the flower is left crushed behind.
Cutting back to the Thundercats in the Thundertank, they come upon a smoldering Elephant Village! "Sword Of Omens! Give me sight behind sight!" Lion-O sees that while in pursuit of the ston, Grune and the Lizard Army have captured the Elephants. However, as Grune is blind to the stone's actual whereabouts in the hut, the traitorous general has given the order to kill the forgetful creatures by the time the third moon rises if they don't give him what he wants!
Lion-O gives the order to wait until dark as to go in stealthily, but immediately Tygra says to do the opposite: to go in with the Thundertank guns-a-blazin'! Cheetara disagrees and feels stealth mode to be the better option. As the Cats make their way, WilyKit and Cat are the first on scene and are witness to Grune interrogating the Elephants. Grune gives the order to kill WilyKit's friend from last episode, which causes Kit to react! She jumps up and immediately orders Grune to stop!
The Elephants recognize their friends, the Thundercats, who are now exposed; Lion-O's plan has failed. Grune orders his Lizard's to continue, which causes Lion-O to tell Grune the truth where the stone lies and to give up the Sword Of Thundera.
Tygra remarks now it is time to do things his way.
Now, Grune and Lion-O are in the hut, with the Lord Of The Thundercats given back the sword, as it is no use to an evil former Thundercat. Lion-O opens the portal -- and Grune gives the order to kill anyway! The weapons on the Mechs charge as they prepare to slaughter the defenseless mammoths. KABOOM! It's Tygra and the Thundertank! Tygra unleashes the full might of the Thundertank upon the reptilian brigade! Grune is forced to fight another day.
With the portal open, Lion-O prepares himself to enter the Astral Plane, a place where dreams become reality! However, he is not going to go alone as a bitter Tygra insists he shall accompany his brother to make sure things are not screwed up again. As Tygra enters the Plane, the leader of the Elephants tells Lion-O about a vision: Lion-O will know a betrayal from his brother like he has never known! Lion-O can't believe those words, but he is told by the other Elephants the visions are always true! Lion-O then steps into the Astral Plane.
Looking on from above, nestled in a tree high above is a lonely crow. A crow with beady red eyes who has his sights set on the Astral Plane. It is Mumm-Ra, the Ever Living, and he flies right into the Astral Plane remarking how inside he is the most powerful!
TO BE CONTINUED!
Fantastic episode! Per the norm, had that great animation and music score, but this one also had -- story! Action, adventure, mystery and betrayal! Hopefully the Thundercats are on the loose for good!