Convict Rex Shard has an accident while using an experimental device to mine for gems that turns him into a giant monster that allows him to turn everything he touches into crystal.

Animato! Summary

An accident with an experimental diamond mining machine somehow transforms brutal convict Rex Shard (John Vernon) into a crystalline giant whose touch turns people and objects into crystal… and that’s only the beginning of his new powers.

Yes, it’s another “giant monster” episode, but at least this time the creature has a unique gimmick (not to mention a personality). “Crystal” is also the first SWAT Kats set totally outside Megakat City , most of the desperate battle between Shard and the two fighter pilots takes place in the desert. Not a classic, but a decent way to kill a half hour. B Appearances: The mining device’s inventor is one Dr. Greenbox (Terminator 2′s Robert Patrick), who returns in the second season’s “Unlikely Alloys.”

Musings: Warden Cyrus Meece (Jim Cummings), whose greedy exploitation of his prisoners causes Shard’s accident in the first place, is knocked onto his office floor and shattered after he’s “crystallized” (which Falk intended as “poetic justice”). As the episode ends, every location Shard turned to crystal is shown changing back to normal , except the warden’s office. No prizes for guessing why.

Lance Falk: Falk planned to make Rex Shard another recurring SWAT Kats villain, backed up with two concepts that had never been used before. “What makes [Shard] a villain is his mean and criminal mind, and after the crystal incident, he’s so bent on getting the heroes back that he’ll go to any length to get some kind of edge, some kind of weapon or power. What I wanted to do was to bring him back three, four or five times, and each time he came back [he’d have] a different power.

He’d escape from prison and dive into an experimental energy source and [become] and big fire demon… or a snow guy that freezes the city over. I would have done something more original than those things I mentioned; I thought the crystal guy was an original idea, and I want to come up with stuff just that cool. The other thing was, not only did [Shard] keep coming back with different powers, but every time out there’d be a price to pay the next time he came back. He’d lose an eye, so from then on when you saw the guy he had an eyepatch. And each time he comes back, he’s a little more beat up. He’s become a fanatic, and he’s lost all sight of everything but revenge, and it’s really destroying him.”

Animato summary written by Mark Lungo