"The Astral Prison" is the twenty second episode of ThunderCats (original series).
Lion-O is alarmed by the Sword of Omens' warning and using "Sight beyond sight" he sees that Jaga has been imprisoned in the Astral World by Nemex, a three eyed, four armed creature, who plans on keeping Jaga there for all eternity. Lion-O quickly informs the other ThunderCats about this and they reach the conclusion that only the Nether Witch might be able to help them. Mumm-Ra, who had been watching the ThunderCats from his cauldron is very pleased as he and the Nether Witch are one and the same. He then transforms into the Nether Witch.
The ThunderCats drive out in the ThunderTank to the Nether Witch. Lion-O insists that he must embark on this mission alone so the rest of the ThunderCats drop him off at the Bridge of Slime and leave. As he crosses the bridge, the Gaw Rak Rak, a two headed monster, emerges from the water and lunges at him but Lion-O manages to subdue it and crosses the bridge to reach the Pit of the Nether Witch.
Meanwhile, inside Castle Plun-Darr, Mumm-Ra has informed the Mutants about Lion-O's absence and that they must use this opportunity to their advantage. Vultureman prepares a "Thundrainium Cannon" and the Mutants set out in their vehicles to attack Cats Lair.
Back inside the Pit of the Nether Witch, Lion-O encounters a number of strange apparitions and creatures before finally coming face to face with the Nether Witch herself. Lion-O asks her to transport him to the Astral World but she warns him that once he is there, he can never return to Third Earth. Willing to do anything to save Jaga, Lion-O agrees and the sorceress starts her incantation. As Lion-O starts de-materializing, Mumm-Ra reveals his true self and the young lord realizes that he has been tricked just before he disappears completely.
Lion-O materializes in the Astral World, near the fortress where Jaga is being held prisoner. Using the line from his Claw Shield, Lion-O begins ascending the steep walls of the tower. Suddenly, he is attacked by the Astral Moat Monster which jumps up at him from the moat surrounding the tower. The creature then starts pursuing Lion-O by using its sharp claws to climb the wall. Lion-O zaps it with a beam from the Sword of Omens and the creature falls back into the water, never to be seen again.
Once inside Jaga's prison cell, Lion-O is confronted by Jaga's captor, Nemex who shoots energy beams at the young lord. Lion-O counteracts his beams with the Sword of Omens and knocks down Nemex. Lion-O then quickly frees Jaga and as the two are running through the prison, they hear calls of help from a nearby cell. They break into it to find, Brodo, an old man who was once a powerful magician on Third Earth but was tricked by Mumm-Ra and imprisoned in the Astral World. Lion-O and Jaga take Brodo with them as they escape the prison fortress.
Outside the prison, the Sword of Omens shows Lion-O that Cats Lair is being attacked by the Mutants and the Thundrainium shells that they are using in their cannon is weakening the ThunderCats, making them unable to fight back. Lion-O feels helpless as he cannot help his friends when they need him the most. At that point, Brodo reveals that he will use his powers of good to transport Lion-O to his own world and he begins his incantation.
Lion-O materializes back outside Cats Lair and using his sword, destroys the Thundrainium Cannon. The arrival of their lord gives the rest of the ThunderCats renewed strength and they are able to defeat the Mutants
Jaga: "But you did confront the unknown, Lion-O. That takes real courage. It's always easier to deal with dangers that you know, and understand".
- Brodo (1st and only appearance)
- Nemex (1st and only appearance)
- Nether Witch (1st appearance)
- This episode features the rare instance of Castle Plun-Darr's wings being closed and then unfolding to reveal the castle in its normal pose.
- This is the only time in the series that the solid form of Jaga is seen alongside the adult Lion-O. The solid form of Jaga was first seen alongside a young Lion-O in Exodus, when Jaga was alive and for the remainder of the series, only the ghost form of Jaga is depicted with the adult Lion-O.
- A novella was released based on this episode.
Animation Mistakes and/or Technical Glitches
- When the ThunderCats are driving towards the Pit of the Nether Witch, Lion-O's forearms and hands are the same color as his upper arms instead of being lighter in color.
- In the scene in which Lion-O meets the Nether Witch, the colors on his belt insignia are inverted.
- In the scene immediately after Lion-O defeats Nemex, the black lion head is missing on Jaga's chest insignia.
- After they escape the Astral prison, the colors on Jaga's chest insignia are inverted.
- Near the end when the ThunderCats are running towards the Mutants, Panthro's mouth is dark gray instead of being light grey and Tygra's costume's right shoulder is light gray instead of being dark gray.
Inconsistencies/Continuity Errors and/or Goofs/Oddities
Mumm-Ra: And now, Sorcerers of the Netherworld, make Mumm-Ra...the Netherwitch!
Cheetara: There must be something we can do.
Lion-O: You can wish me luck.
Nemex: Only when you surrender all your knowledge to me will I consider the possibility of your freedom, Jaga!
Jaga: By Thundera, Lion-O, I never thought I'd see you again!
Lion-O: Now we'll be together forever, Jaga. I can never return to Third Earth.
Jaga: I will always be grateful.
Lion-O: It was no more than you did for us when you saved the ThunderCats and brought us here from Thundera.
Jaga: (laughs) So, now we're even, Lord of the ThunderCats.
Lion-O: I tell you, Snarf, the thought of being stuck there in the astral world really made me appreciate our life here on Third Earth.
Snarf: Mutants and all?
Lion-O: (laughs) Mutants and all.
Snarf: Well, maybe from now on you'll keep your feet on the ground. (laughs)
Astral Prison, Third Earth
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"The Crystal Queen"