The Shifter
The Shifter - Title Card.png
Episode 1.64
Original Airdate 19 December, 1985
Writer(s) Matthew Malach
Previous Episode Mumm-Rana
Next Episode Fond Memories
All Episodes Episode Guide

The Shifter is an episode from the original series of ThunderCats. Written by Matthew Malach, it originally aired on December 19, 1985.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Official Summary[edit | edit source]

Vultureman invents the Shifter, a device that switches one person's personality into another's body. He uses it on Panthro's personality in Snarf's body. The reverse Panthro and Snarf drive the ThunderTank together and locate the other ThunderCats. When S-S-Slithe questions the value of Vultureman's Shifter, an angry Vultureman switches S-S-Slithe's and Jackalman's personalities and bodies. Thus transformed, the Mutants set out to attack the Lair. They meet the ThunderTank en route and topple it into a crevasse. Snarf in Panthro's body is trapped beneath it. The Sword of Omens alerts Lion-O to the Mutant attack. He and WilyKat rescue Snarf in Panthro's body and set off for the Cats' Lair. Vultureman uses the Shifter on Lion-O and WilyKat, but together they use the Sword to scramble the Shifter's rays and return each ThunderCat to his rightful body. Then they bounce the Shifter ray toward the Mutants to switch their bodies and personalities. The Mutants retreat in confusion. Summoned by the Sword, Cheetara, Tygra, and WilyKit appear belatedly to find everything back to normal.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Official Moral[edit | edit source]

Vultureman invents a Shifter, a weapon that shifts the personalities and bodies of two individuals. He uses it somewhat indiscriminately to enact a series of switches in the ThunderCats and Mutants. The Mutants seize upon the confusion created to attack the Cats' Lair. In the battle the transformed Mutants and ThunderCats find it hard to adapt to their new bodies. And Vultureman affects another switch by shifting Lion-O and WilyKat. Lion-O in his new body tries to call upon the powers of the Sword of Omens, but finds in his transformed state that it will only respond to both him and WilyKat together. Once in action, however, the Sword rescues the ThunderCats by turning the switching laser gun back on Vultureman and the Mutants. And it reverses the transformations in the ThunderCats, returning them to their normal selves.

Persons are made up of both physical attributes, including their body, and of mental, social, and emotional attributes, including their personality. It is the attributes together that make up the person as a whole, and not just one kind of attribute. This episode portrays this fact by showing characters experiencing their personality being switched into another's body. And when Lion-O and WilyKat get switched, it takes both parts of Lion-O, his body and personality, to call on the Sword's powers.

We should consider this whenever we are tempted to envy someone else for a particular characteristic, whether a physical, mental, social, or emotional quality. Each of us has particular characteristics of our own and taken together make us unique. We do not gain anything by concentrating on what we don't have and trying to be like others. Rather, we do better if we learn more about all of our own unique talents and skills and cultivate them. Then we can be a total person in our own right.

Moreover, there is a way in which it is important to be aware of others. That is in being able to take their perspective and feel what it is like to be them. Empathy is that quality. In this episode, the characters who were switched learned a new appreciation for the others' unique abilities. Panthro, for example, learned how Snarf copes with his body and how he is resourceful in using his tail. When we empathize with others, we don't do so because we dislike ourselves and want to be like them necessarily. Rather, we are sensitive to them so that we can appreciate and understand others. In that way we can both learn from them and respond to them when they are in need.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Summary[edit | edit source]

Vultureman's newest invention, a device that can swap people's consciousness, causes chaos not only among the ThunderCats, but in the Mutant camp as well.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Story[edit | edit source]

Inside Castle Plun-Darr, Vultureman has just finished creating a device which can shift people into each other's bodies and uses it to swap Panthro and Snarf's bodies who are alone at Cats Lair. When Slithe and Jackalman refuse to believe Vultureman, he uses the Shifter on them out of spite even though he hasn't yet found a way to reverse the process. After squabbling with each other over their current predicament, the Mutants realize that it is more important to use the opportunity to attack the ThunderCats and so they head for Cats Lair in the Flying Machine.

Back at Cats Lair, Panthro and Snarf are struggling with their switched bodies and trying to figure out what happened to them. They decide to seek the help of their friends and head out in the ThunderTank but are unable to proprely control the vehicle and end up precariously perched on top of the Bottomless Chasm. The Mutants, flying above, spot the tank and shoot at it, causing it to fall onto a ledge inside the Bottomless Chasm. Snarf, in Panthro's body, becomes trapped under the ThuderTank while Panthro, in Snarf's body, manages to free himself and heads straight for Cats Lair.

Meanwhile Lion-O and WilyKat, who are spaceboarding in the forest, are alerted by the Sword of Omens and they make straight for the Bottomless Chasm. Lion-O frees Snarf and they zoom towards the lair in the ThunderTank. By the time the ThunderCats reach the lair, the Mutants are already wreaking havoc on the fortress and when the Cats try to stop them, Vultureman uses the Shifter on Lion-O and WilyKat. With their bodies switched, neither Lion-O nor WilyKat are able to use the Sword of Omens so they decide to hold the sword together to summon the other ThunderCats.

Vultureman then turns his attention on the Sword of Omens and fires the Shifter at the Eye of Thundera but his plan backfires when the eye uses the Shifter's beam to revert the ThunderCats to their original bodies and swap Vultureman and Monkian's bodies. Unable to pilot the Flying Machine, Monkian crashes it and the rest of the Mutants beat a hasty retreat.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Characters[edit | edit source]

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Vehicles[edit | edit source]

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Locations[edit | edit source]

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Another unique thing about this episode is that it shows the ThunderKittens engaged in separate activities. WilyKat is shown joyriding with Lion-O while WilyKit is picking fruit and flowers with Cheetara. Normally the twins are inseparable and always go about any task together.
  • The characters that get their bodies switched are:
    • Panthro and Snarf
    • Slithe and Jackalman
    • Lion-O and WilyKat
    • Vultureman and Monkian.
  • The infamous "samoflange" outtake was recorded during this episode.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Goofs[edit | edit source]

  • When Slithe is fighting with Lion-O, the young lord cuts off the tip of Slithe's Battle Axe. Yet in the next scene, it is intact.

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Notable Quotes[edit | edit source]

Cheetara: You shouldn't always try to handle things by yourself, Lion-O. If I were you...
Panthro: If you were Lion-O, Cheetara, we'd all be back where we started.
(everyone laughs)

Slithe: (in Jackalman's body) This is no cowardly jackal you're dealing with, cub.
Lion-O: So your Mutant invention turned against you, Slithe.

Panthro: (trips Slithe with Snarf's tail) Hey, I'm getting to like the idea of having a tail.

Panthro: (in Snarf's body) It's no use. I'll never be able to fix anything while I'm stuck with this useless body. I can't even reach the blasted thing.
Snarf: (in Panthro's body) Watch it! That useless body has served me very well till now.

Slithe: (in Jackalman's body) This is an outrage!
Jackalman: (in Slithe's body) I feel so slimy.
Slithe: Watch it, Jackalman. This scrawny body of yours is no bargain, yesss?

Vultureman: I've put Snarf's feeble mind in Panthro's powerful body, and all Panthro's skills in Snarf's useless carcass.
Slithe: (to Jackalman) I believe he's lost his mind, yesss?

Panthro: How come every time there's a big job to do around here, (chuckles) I'm stuck with you?
Snarf: You'd see things differently if you were me, Panthro.

Slithe: Back to Castle Plun-Darr! And if Vultureman doesn't give me back my body, I'll... I'll grind his beak to birdseed, yes?

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Media[edit | edit source]

This episode was released on the following media:

DVD[edit | edit source]

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png Episode Screenshots[edit | edit source]

ThunderCats Bullet Point.png External Links[edit | edit source]

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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