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Lion-O's Anointment Third Day: Trial of Cunning
Trial of Cunning Title Card.jpg
Episode 1.46
Original Airdate November 25, 1985
Writer(s) Leonard Starr
Previous Episode Turmagar the Tuska
Next Episode The Mumm-Ra Berbil
All Episodes Episode Guide

Anointment Trials
First Day: Trial of Strength
Second Day: Trial of Speed
Third Day: Trial of Cunning
Fourth Day: Trial of Mind Power
Final Day:Trial of Evil

Lion-O's Anointment Third Day: The Trial of Cunning is an episode from the original series of ThunderCats. Written by Leonard Starr, it originally aired on November 25, 1985.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Official Summary[]

Lion-O undergoes the third of his Anointment Trials, which each Lord of the ThunderCats must pass to prove he is worthy of his inherited title. The Trial of Cunning pits Lion-O against the ThunderKittens a race through the Maze of Infinity. The ThunderKittens have the advantage of having reconnoitered the maze and plan a number of diversions to confuse and delay Lion-O. The Mutants take advantage of the fact that Lion-O must pass the trials unarmed and cannot accept help from anyone, so the trial includes a number of skirmishes with them.

In the maze, Lion-O is captured by half-blind Cave Dwellers who believe he is an Overlord - an over-earthman whose ancestors feared the Cave Dwellers' books and forced the gentle creatures to live below ground. To punish Lion-O, they try to force him to read until his eyesight fails. Lion-O escapes the Cave Dwellers and prevents the Mutants from destroying their books. Meanwhile, the ThunderKittens are trapped above a fiery chasm and call for help. Even though he is sure this is just another ThunderKitten trick, Lion-O investigates. The Cave Dwellers help him rescue the ThunderKittens, who were indeed in real danger. Lion-O finally wins the race through the maze, tricking the ThunderKittens by roping them to a rock.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Official Moral[]

In the Third Anointment Trial, Lion-O is forced to match wits with WilyKat and WilyKit, whose traits are tricks and cunning. They are masters of mischief and of using stratagem and devious means rather than direct confrontation to a ' attain their ends. Lion-O displays astuteness and calls upon his own craftiness to shrewdly match their trickery and win the trial. Sometimes when we are stuck trying to reach a goal by direct means, we should consider the alternative of a skillful plan or device that is indirect. In any event, we should never be so caught up with our own goals that we ignore others in need. Lion-O takes time to rescue the Thunderkittens and, because he had aided the Cave Dwellers, they in turn help him. We must never be too busy or too lazy to respond to persons who need help.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Story[]

Having learned about the Anointment Trials from Monkian, the Mutants make a beeline for the Maze of Infinity, the venue of Lion-O’s third trial in which he has to outwit WilyKit and WilyKat. Arriving at the scene, the Mutants attack what turns out to be a decoy of Lion-O. By pelting Slithe with flaming rocks, Lion-O succeeds in sending the reptilian fleeing. The ThunderKittens also enter the maze just a few moments after Lion-O.

Once inside, Lion-O is fooled into chasing cardboard cut-outs of the wily twins before he slips onto Diamond Dust and falls deep into the maze. Piloting the SkyCutter, Monkian locates Lion-O inside the maze and a scuffle between the two causes them both to crash into a stream below. While Monkian manages to fly out of the water, Lion-O is carried by strong currents to another part of the labyrinth.

After getting knocked out cold by the ThunderKittens’ giant inflated dinosaurs, Lion-O finds himself captured by strange humanoid creatures with incredibly large eyes, known as the Under-Earthmen. The beings reveal that many years ago, their ancestors were forced underground by the Over-Earthmen who feared the knowledge contained in the Under-Earthmen’s books. As their eyesight has grown weak from generations of living underground, the Under-Earthmen are unable to read their books and thus force Lion-O to remain their prisoner and read to them for all his life.

Lion-O and his captors come under fire from Monkian on his SkyCutter. The blasts ignite some of the Under-Earthmen’s books, distressing them greatly. Not wanting any harm to come to the Under-Earthmen or their books, Lion-O leads Monkian away from them and tricks him into crashing into a massive stalactite.

As the Kittens are making their way towards the exit, they run into a giant snake, and while fighting it, end up falling over a cliff. Lion-O arrives but he too fails to rescue them. Grateful that Lion-O saved their books, the Under-Earthmen come to the aid of the three dangling ThunderCats and pull them up to safety. Using one last trick up his sleeve, Lion-O ties the twins’ belts to a rock so that he reaches the finish line and wins the third trial.

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ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Notes of Interest[]

  • Tygra does not appear in this episode.
  • Even though all five of the Anointment Trial episodes take place on consecutive days and are supposed to be watched together, they were broadcast spaced apart with other episodes in-between them. However, the episodes were shown back to back when in syndication.
  • Just like the first two trial episodes, Lion-O does not perform his famous "ThunderCats Ho!" chant to summon the others.
  • In all of the Anointment Trials, none of the ThunderCats use their weapons against Lion-O. However, in this episode, the ThunderKittens utilize their Trick Pellets against him.
  • The center part of the Maze of Infinity is shaped like the ThunderCats symbol, as seen on the Cats Lair's screen.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Animation Errors[]

  • When Lion-O is taken underwater by Monkian, he says, "This stuff is like putty. Can't breathe!". However, since he's underwater, he shouldn't be able to breathe anyway irrespective of the density of the water.
  • The rock that Lion-O sets up to act as a decoy of himself initially looks very much like him, complete with his hair and clothes. But in the close-up when the Mutants approach it, it looks nothing like Lion-O.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Notable Quotes[]

Monkian: It's true! He has to fight the ThunderCats one at a time. If he defeats them, they will anoint him Lord of the ThunderCats!
Jackalman: But he's already Lord of the ThunderCats!
Monkian: Every ThunderCat Lord has to go through the Anointment Trials. Lion-O's time has come! He's already defeated Panthro and Cheetara. Now, it's the Thunder-Kittens turn!
Jackalman: Hah, they don't stand a chance against that wretched Sword of Omens!
Monkian: That's the whole point! He's not allowed to use any weapons, and he can't ask for help.If he does, he fails the trial!
Slithe: We'll never have a better chance to destroy him, once and for all, yes!

WilyKat: Who are these people  Lion-O? 
Lion-O:Friends of mine I guess.
WilyKat: You stopped to make friends.
Wilykit: And risk failing  your  Anointment trials?
Lion-O: I didn't plan it that way, but it turns out you can't have too many friends, as you two found out.

Cheetara: Lion-O's still on the wrong route.
Panthro: Yeah. Going through that part of the cave is almost impossible.
Snarf: Look!
Panthro: A vehicle of some kind.
Snarf: Must be...
Panthro: Mutants!

Snarf: Look Lion-O is back on the track.
Panthro: But look! Wily-Kat and Wily-Kit are off in one of the side caves.
Snarf: Another underhanded trick!
Cheetara: They're only doing what they're supposed to, Snarf!
Snarf: But why do they have to do it so good?

Under-Earthman: We heard the cries.
Under-Earthman: We'll help your friends.
Under-Earthman: You helped us.
Under-Earthman: You saved our books. 
Lion-O: Your eyes you've hurt them.
Under-Earthman: They'll be all right.
Under-Earthman: We kept them shut.
Lion-O: No you might damage your eyes for good.

WilyKit & WilyKat: You tricked us!
Lion-O: Yep. It's been a trick for a trick all day. But it's the last trick that wins the game.
WilyKit: And we were worried about him!


This episode was released on the following media:

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ThunderCats Bullet Point.png External links[]

ThunderCats 1980s - Episode Guide - Season 1
Exodus | The Unholy Alliance | Berbils | The Slaves of Castle Plun-Darr | Pumm-Ra | The Terror of Hammerhand | Trouble with Time | The Tower of Traps | The Garden of Delights | Mandora - The Evil Chaser | The Ghost Warrior | The Doomgaze | Lord of the Snows | The Spaceship Beneath the Sands | The Time Capsule | The Fireballs of Plun-Darr | All That Glitters | Spitting Image | Mongor | Return to Thundera | Dr. Dometone | The Astral Prison | The Crystal Queen | Safari Joe | Snarf Takes Up The Challenge | Sixth Sense | The Thunder-Cutter | The Wolfrat | Feliner - Part I | Feliner - Part II | Mandora and the Pirates | Return of the Driller | Dimension Doom | Queen of 8 Legs | Sword in a Hole | The Evil Harp of Charr-Nin | Trial of Strength | The Demolisher | Monkian's Bargain | Tight Squeeze | The Micrits | Trial of Speed | The Rock Giant | Jackalman's Rebellion | Turmagar the Tuska | The Trial of Cunning | The Mumm-Ra Berbil | Mechanical Plague | Trapped | Trial of Mind Power | Excalibur | Secret of the Ice King | Good and Ugly | The Transfer | Divide and Conquer | Dream Master | Out of Sight | The Mountain | The Superpower Potion | Eye of the Beholder | Trial of Evil | The Trouble with ThunderKittens | Mumm-Rana | The Shifter | Fond Memories Wilykat Nav2.png
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