Review: Thundercats (2011): “Ramlak Rising” Season 1 Episode 3 (Spoilers)



The third (the premiere counts as two) episode of the new Thundercats on the Cartoon Network was more of what we saw with Lion-O in the first: The story of a young naive cat growing into an adult lion. Here, Lion-O’s desire for vengeance puts not only himself, but those – as king – that are under his protection in danger. It’s your basic “learn your lesson” story with the roar of Thundera mixed in.

Episode 3, “Ramlak Rising,” sees Lion-O set forth to destroy Mumm-Ra, the being responsible for the murder of his father, instead of paying heed to the wise cleric Jaga, who advised to go after the Book of Omens – first. We are also witness to the first meeting between the Thundercats with Wiley Kit and Kat. 

The majority is spent battling a sand-cactus-squid-like-creature, Ramlak, that destroyed the home of a race of fish-like pirates. These pirates manage to capture the T-cats by luring them into a trap with promise of food and drink. I guess the pirates don’t check their captives for weapons? Anyway, the beast attacks, and the Cats are freed leading to a mutual understanding between the captain and Lion-O: As both of their homes were destroyed, their quest for vengeance is all they see.

This blind ambition leads them into a world of trouble, as the captain wishes the creature destroyed at all costs – including those of the crew and Thundercats. Not too had to put the pieces together, as Lion-O realizes his mistake, makes the save and sets himself on the right path.

From there, we are taken to the lair of Mumm-Ra – and this is where it gets really good – as he has a captured Jaga in his hold! Mumm-Ra wishes the location of the Book Of Omens, but Jaga is resisting the dark magic that is trying to probe his mind (as the beast’s tentacles attack the Cats in similar fashion). The traitorous Grune The Destroyer stands at Mumm-Ra’s side arguing The Sword is the more important. As Jaga is too strong for Mumm-Ra’s own “Ramlak,” the Ever-Living unveils an evil black magic lantern that ensnares the essence of Jaga (again, referencing Ramlak) – that illuminates the path to the Book of Omens via a “capstone” light from Mumm-Ra’s pyramid.

All in all it was a very good episode. I did find it to go by rather quickly, as I was most likely spoiled by the hour long premiere, but it does stand on its own. It is a mix of “Pirates Of The Caribbean” with sword, sorcery – and even a bit of secrecy (illuminating-capstone-pyramid-light). The action fulfills the need for the youngsters watching, and the underlying theme and plot has something for those looking for more: “Ramlak Rising” symbolizes both the Thundercats and Mumm-Ra’s discovery of the path to the Book Of Omens, albeit in two very different ways.

Before I finish, the subject of the Thundercats introduction music must be covered: The premiere saw none, and this episode’s is brief. Any fan of the original show, understands that anthem was by far the best – ever! I believe the new Thundercats creators are fans, as well (obviously). And I think there is a reason the new Thundercats intro has not graced our tympanic membranes in its entirety – because the Thundercats are not all loose! And I’ll leave you with that.