This week’s installment begins on a mountaintop, with Lion-O and Tygra hiking through the snow to find a shortcut. They’re hunting for a pass through the mountains, which Tygra is confident he can find. Lion-O playfully throws a pair of snowballs at his brother, but Tygra’s resulting shout of annoyance causes an avalanche. The avalanche, incidentally, revealed a tunnel high up in the mountain. So of course what do the cats do but go inside?
They’re soon confronted by a group of hooded figures who begin mumbling among themselves when Lion-O calls Tygra by name. And then the big reveal–they’re all tigers! So Caspan, the leader of the small group takes Lion-O and Tygra into the audience chamber to meet Tygra’s father, Javon.
Javon tells of how the tigers remained faithful to Mumm-Ra during the great rebellion, and for that reason they were shunned by the other cat clans. Caspan stops the story, and instead asks about Tygra.
So the cat explains how he showed up at Thundera in a basket under a floating balloon with just a name attached. There’s a heart-rending scene right when it’s announced their mom is pregnant with Lion-O, where the queen starts to call Tygra her little prince … but stops herself and calls him her little darling instead.
Tygra finishes his story and asks why he was abandoned as a cub. Javon explains he didn’t abandon his son, rather he sent him away to protect him from unspeakable evil. As darkness falls, Javon tells Tygra and Lion-O to flee the village if they value their lives. Apparently the tiger clan has long been haunted by a terrible force that comes out at night. Tygra naturally refuses, and he and Lion-O witness creatures of darkness in the hallway behind them. Ruh-ro, Raggy.
Lion-O and Tygra battle the demon-like creatures, but even as the beasts fall they get right back up again. Their progress is stopped only when Lion-O knocks down a bunch of icicles. They come upon Caspan, Javon and the others … who’ve just been discussing some sort of pact that they made a long time ago. Caspan leaves when Tygra and Lion-O show up, which allows Javon to have a private chat with Tygra.
Outside, Lion-O inspects the path to the village. When Tygra joins him, Lion-O explains there’s something not right about the village. No one leaves, heck no one even eats. Tygra doesn’t want to hear it though–he’s spent his whole life looking for a place to belong and now Lion-O can’t even be happy for him. So of course he storms off. Crybaby.
Lion-O uses the Sword of Omens to see that the shadow creatures are actually former members of the tiger clan! Javon is suddenly behind him, saying that Tygra must never know the truth. Lion-O whirls on the tiger; despite their differences, Tygra is still Lion-O’s brother after all.
So Javon explains that sickness was spreading through the tiger clan around the time of Tygra’s birth. He wanted to ask Thundera for help, but Caspan and the rest of the council refused. After all, the lions had shunned the tigers before … and their tiger pride is all they have left now. Instead, Caspan suggests asking the ancient spirits who protected their ancestors. Why do I get the sense this is a bad idea?
Javon summons the ancient spirits to ask for aid. The creatures appear–four red-eyed figures in purple smoke–and they agree to help on one condition. That Tygra must be killed at the top of the highest peak that very night. He will grow to be an enemy to the ancient spirits, and they want to put the kibosh on that. Yup, bad idea.
Javon agrees to kill Tygra, and takes the knife offered by the spirits. But instead of killing the boy, he cuts the rope holding the balloon down and sends him floating away. In retaliation for his betrayal, the tigers were cursed with becoming those creatures every night. Javon then asks Lion-O to make sure Tygra leaves the village; only then can he be safe. Because the real curse of the tigers is pride. Not the one Javon brought down on them.
Tygra suggests staying there with his father, but Javon goes off on him about living with the lions. Classic method of getting the one you love to stay away for their own safety–be a giant jerk and they’ll soon leave. Tygra stomps off and picks up Lion-O on his way. But then Caspan appears behind them, claiming to have a message from Javon. And then the other tigers attack!
Tygra and Lion-O fight them off, until Javon appears and joins the battle against his own men. There’s a brief conversation, after Javon stabs Caspan, where Lion-O orders Javon to tell Tygra the truth or he will. And then darkness falls and all the other tigers turn into those creatures, while the ancient spirits appear in their midst and order Tygra’s death.
The beasts overrun them, and Tygra is soon pinned against the wall by the creature his father became; in the midst of being choked out, Tygra forgives his dad. Which then lifts the curse! Hurray! This also destroys the ancient spirits in a flash of purple smoke and fire.
When Javon comes to himself, he explains that Tygra lifted a curse born of pride with an act of humility. Go Tygra … now you’ve got a home of your own.
Except he doesn’t. When the ancient spirits cursed the village, they allowed the disease to come back. There were no survivors. So for all this time, the tigers have existed in a mid-range between life and death. With Tygra’s forgiveness, they’re able to move onto the afterlife. The village disappears, leaving behind the whip Javon tried to give Tygra earlier.
As Tygra picks it up, he asks if it’s his destiny to always lose the things he cares about. To which Lion-O answers that Tygra’s never going to lose him. And then they go off to find the shortcut. Awww.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘ThunderCats: The Trials of Lion-O, Part Two’ recap to catch up.