|Original Airdate||2 December, 1985|
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The story of Excalibur, the greatest sword in history, is revealed to Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra determines to obtain Excalibur and to defeat Lion-O and the Sword of Omens. Mumm-Ra transforms himself into King Arthur and summons the Lady of the Lake. Mumm-Ra goes to the Cats' Lair and at first succeeds in persuading the ThunderCats that he is a most powerful and honorable knight. The ThunderCats become suspicious of Mumm-Ra/King Arthur because of his unknightly behavior and arrogance. Mumm-Ra/King Arthur taunts Lion-O and maneuvers him into a joust. Excalibur and the Sword of Omens rip themselves free of their combatants and fight independently. But, having defeated the Sword of Omens, Excalibur refuses to obey the evil Mumm-Ra/King Arthur. Merlin appears and entrusts Excalibur to Lion-O, who returns it to the Lady of the Lake.
Lion-O and the ThunderCats learn that the Code of Thundera that they live by is shared by others and is part of a universal moral code. They are introduced to Merlin, caretaker of Excalibur, and to the legend of King Arthur and his code of justice, truth, honor, and loyalty. And they learn, after witnessing the futile attempt of Mumm-Ra to subvert the code for evil purposes, that true morality in its highest form is an end in itself and rests on universal moral principles. Any attempt to subvert it or ignore it, as in the foolish duel of Mumm-Ra and Lion-O, is doomed to failure. One theory of moral development holds that moral judgment proceeds through levels from the avoidance of punishment, to social conformity, to an autonomous and internalized set of values (Kohlberg, 1963). An important distinction to make in considering moral behavior is between general moral principles and social conventions. Children, as early as between the ages of 4 and 6, have the ability to distinguish moral issues, based on principles like justice, fairness, and the welfare of others, from social conventions, arbitrary rules of conduct sanctioned by custom and tradition, like types of clothing or using first names or titles in addressing people (Turiel, 1983). Helping children make such distinctions is an important part of fostering their moral development.
Hoping to destroy the Sword of Omens, the Ancient Spirits of Evil instruct Mumm-Ra to seek out the legendary Excalibur, the most powerful blade ever made. The evil mummy transforms into King Arthur and retrieves the sword from the Lady of the Lake.
With Excalibur in hand and still in the guise of King Arthur, Mumm-Ra heads to Cats Lair, pretending to have been sent by Jaga. The ThunderCats invite their new guest inside but Mumm-Ra’s deliberate rude behavior irritates Lion-O so much that he lets him have a piece of his mind. Mumm-Ra then challenges the young lord to a duel at dawn the next day.
As the day dawns, Lion-O and “King Arthur” engage in a fierce joust which ends with the two swords flying out of the hands of the two fighters and dueling on their own. Excalibur eventually manages to pierce the Eye of Thundera, rendering all the ThunderCats completely powerless.
Before Mumm-Ra can deliver the final blow to the collapsed Lion-O, Merlin materializes and sends Mumm-Ra back to his Black Pyramid. The wizard then restores the Eye of Thundera, thuds resurrecting the ThunderCats. He hands Excalibur to Lion-O who decides to return it back to its original resting place.
Notes of InterestEdit
- The flashback at the start of this episode shows scenes from "Queen of 8 Legs", "Return to Thundera" and "The Astral Prison".
- In this episode, Lion-O rides a Unicorn in the jousting competition against Mumm-Ra, who is disguised as King Arthur.
- Normally the voice of the Ancient Spirits of Evil is provided by Earle Hyman but in this episode it is Earl Hammond who voices them.
- Before leaving Cats Lair, Mumm-Ra, in the guise of King Arthur, takes off his gloves and slaps Lion-O with them. He then drops them on the floor. Yet in the very next scene, he is shown to be wearing gloves. Finally when he leaves, the gloves are gone again.
Cheetara: The whole thing's ridiculous. He's fighting to save his pride.
Panthro: He had no choice, Cheetara.
Cheetara: Of course he had a choice! He could have walked away! He's just lowering himself to that... that madman's level.
Merlin: (talking to Mumm-Ra) Fool! Did you think that the greatest sword of all time would serve your evil purposes? Your brief moment of glory is over! Get back to your dark sarcophagus.
Snarf: But why didn't you keep it, Lion-O? Snarf, snarf.
Lion-O: I had to return it.
Snarf: But you won it. Merlin gave it to you!
Lion-O: No, he didn't, Snarf. He said I had to decide, and I told him to return it to the Lady of the Lake.
Lion-O: Because I didn't earn it.
Snarf: You beat Mumm-Ra!
Lion-O: I should never have fought him. Cheetara was right. I let him get to me, and until I can control that, I've got a long way to go.
This episode was released on the following media:
KOHLBERG, L. The Development of Children's Orientation Toward a Moral Order: 1. Sequence in the Development of Moral Thought. Vita Humana, 1963, 6, 11-33.
TURIEL, E. The Development of Social and Moral Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.