|Original Airdate||October 2, 1985|
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Mumm-Ra calls upon the Driller to kidnap Panthro with the aid of sleeping potion. Mumm-Ra makes a mold of the sleeping Panthro and creates a Panthro clone, bringing it to life with the spirit ghost of Hammerhand. Mumm-Ra drops the real Panthro into the Bottomless Chasm. The Clone spreads destruction and terror on Third Earth and attacks the villages of the Wollos, Warrior Maidens, and Berbils. The villagers believe the ThunderCats have turned against them. The real Panthro escapes from the Chasm in time to save their reputation and to confront the horrendous Clone. Lion-O uses the Sword's power to aid Panthro in destroying the clone. The angry spirit of Hammerhand returns to Mumm-Ra and smashes the Panthro mold.
Trust between friends and moral judgment in general is based on a true reading of one's character, intention, and action, not on misrepresentation or false judgment based only on appearances. However, damaging appearances may seem one must be sure of the reality before making inferences about another's intentions and behavior. What evil deeds the Wollos and even the ThunderCats attributed to Panthro turn out not to have been performed by him, and it is shown he has not betrayed his character and been untrustworthy by intending evil. Concern for truth and the capacity for moral judgment often demands penetrating superficial appearances to reach the underlying character and intentions of individuals.
The ability to differentiate between events that are intended and those not intended or accidental and the ability to differentiate between types of intended actions, good or bad, develop over time in children. Younger children tend to rely on the consequences of one's actions rather than intentions in ascribing blame. "Children by approximately 6 years of age appear to be able to infer whether another person's actions are intended or accidental and to use such inferences in assigning blame or credit. This tends to be the case whether the consequences of the action are good, neutral, or negative, but not when they are extremely negative. At this same age, children use information about whether intentions are good or bad if positive consequences are negative" (Shantz, 1975, p. 295). In evaluating and teaching moral judgment in children, it is helpful to distinguish outcome and intention in the sense of intended vs. accidental actions and good, neutral, and negative consequences.
Having hatched a new scheme to destroy the ThunderCats, Mumm-Ra summons the Driller, a robotic mercenary, to the heart of his Black Pyramid. After paying him in diamonds, Mumm-Ra commands the Driller to abduct Panthro for him. Burrowing all the way to Cats Lair, the Driller emerges in Panthro's bedroom where is fast asleep. As the Driller begins to drug Panthro using the Sands of Sleep, the ThunderCat awakens and hurls the trespasser clear across the room. Driller retaliates by throwing and breaking the drug's bottle near Panthro, the fumes of which cause Panthro to pass out. The Driller leaves via the same tunnel that he came through, hauling Panthro with him.
Handing the unconscious Panthro to Mumm-Ra, the Driller takes the remainder of his diamond payment and departs. Mumm-Ra then puts his devious plan into action, using a Cloning Machine to create an exact duplicate of the ThunderCat. The malicious mummy then invokes Hammerhand to possess the clone Panthro's body. Inhabited by the spirit of the dead Berserker, the clone wakes up and heads off to terrorize Third Earth as per Mumm-Ra's orders.
Changing into his ever-living self, Mumm-Ra flies off with the unconscious Panthro. As Mumm-Ra approaches the Bottomless Chasm, Panthro comes to his senses. Before he can figure out what is going on, Mumm-Ra throws him into the ravine, hoping to have eliminated him for good. Fortunately, Panthro lands on a flat ridge inside the chasm. Using his shoulder spikes as climbing rope, Panthro begins his ascent up the steep walls of the chasm, cautiously dodging the powerful Cosmic Rays that erupt from the depths of the ravine every half a minute.
Meanwhile at Cats Lair, Lion-O learns of Panthro's predicament from the Sword of Omens' vision. At that moment, Cheetara gives him more bad news, showing him images of the Berbils' Fruit Fields being ravaged by fire on the Main Control Room's telescreen. As Tygra and Cheetara head off to assist their Berbil friends, Lion-O rushes to Panthro's aid, driving the ThunderTank. Lion-O reaches the Bottomless Chasm just as Panthro is wearily emerging from it. Cheetara calls Lion-O on the ThunderTank's communicator and informs him that the Wollos are in trouble.
When the ThunderTank arrives at the Wollo Village, it is in a state of ruin with raging fires and destroyed homes and fishing boats. The Wollo Traveller approaches the two ThunderCats and is terrified upon seeing Panthro, claiming that he is the one who wreaked havoc on their village. Baffled by the accusation, Panthro assures everyone that he could not have done such a vile thing. Lion-O tries to resolve the matter with the Wollos while suggesting to Panthro to return the ThunderTank back to the Cats Lair.
Moments later, the Wollo Traveller rushes towards Lion-O and tells him that Panthro had returned to continue the devastation that he had started earlier. When Lion-O arrives at the scene of chaos, he is horrified to witness Panthro destroying the Wollo Village. Fearing that Panthro may be acting under the influence of some evil spell, Lion-O summons his friends, hoping that they may be able to help him bring Panthro under control. All of a sudden the real Panthro bursts onto the scene and takes on his clone in combat. The two get so engrossed in their fight that they end up moving dangerously close to the surrounding flames. Upon Snarf's suggestion, Lion-O uses the Sword of Omens on them both and it severely burns the imposter, leaving the real Panthro unharmed.
The clone retreats to the Black Pyramid, blaming Mumm-Ra for not bestowing him with enough power to succeed in his mission. The mummy instead places the blame of the failure on the clone. Labelling him as obsolete, Mumm-Ra reveals that he can produce any number of clones that he desires, thanks to the mold of Panthro that he has in his possession. Enfuriated, the fake Panthro smashes the mold to smithereens, changes back to his true incarnation of Hammerhand and disappears.
- The fact that Hammerhand is depicted as ghost in this episode affirms the theory that the Berserkers drowned when their ship capsized at the end of the earlier episode The Terror of Hammerhand. Surprisingly though, Hammerhand and his Berserkers crew are shown to be living in the future episode ThunderCats Ho! - Part I albeit with a deisgn upgrade which mathces their LJN action figures.
- After the fake Panthro is burned by the Sword of Omens during the climatic battle, his skin color changes to brown. During the early stages of the development of ThunderCats, the character design sheets of Panthro showed him as having a similar brown skin.
- This episode offers the viewers a rare glimpse into Mumm-Ra's treasure room, which is filled with all kinds of precious gems. This chamber would be shown again in the future episode Return of the Driller.
- The Mutants are completely absent from this episode.
- At the end of the episode when the ThunderCats are helping to rebuild the Wollo Village, Cheetara remarks, "Imagine what would happen if one of us really did turn bad?". Apparently she had forgotten about Grune, whom the ThunderCats had encountered in the earlier episode, The Ghost Warrior. Grune was a ThunderCat who turned evil.
- Near the beginning of the episode, when Mumm-Ra is showing the Driller an image of Panthro in his cauldron, his nose and brows are erroneously colored a dark pink. This same coloring mistake is repeated in the scene shere the Driller is receiving his diamonds from Mumm-Ra.
- When Panthro is shown sleeping in his bedroom, he is wearing nothing but a belt and his boots. This is also how he appears when the Driller hauls him underground. Yet when shown inside the Black Pyramid, Panthro is fully clothed in his regular ThunderCats outfit.
This episode was released on the following media:
- ThunderCats Vol.3: Spitting Image (Big Box) - f.h.e. release
- ThunderCats Vol.3: Spitting Image - f.h.e. release
- ThunderCats Vol. 1: Pumm-Ra and Spitting Image - The Video Collection release
SHANTZ, C. U. (1975). The development of social cognition. In E. M. Hetherington (Ed.), Review of Child Development Research (Vol. 5). Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.
- Spitting Image on IMDb
- ThunderCats 1985 cartoon series on Wikipedia
- Dan Maruschak's Review of "Spitting Image"
- ThunderCats on ThunderCats.org