Space pirate Mutilor arrives with a superior strike force and a stolen spaceship that can collect an entire world’s water supply. With the Enforcers unable to stop him and the Turbokat out of commission, will the SWAT Kats be able to save their home world?

Animato! Summary

Mutilor (Michael Dorn), the four-armed, vaguely lobster- like leader of a pack of space pirates, plans to drain all the water from the SWAT Kats’ world and sell it to a desert planet.

The SWAT Kats and the Enforcers (especially Felina Feral) defend their homeworld by engaging the aliens in an epic battle that begins over Megakat City and ends on Mutilor’s spaceship (which he stole from a kat-like race of pacifist called the Aquians). This exciting episode moves like a shot; once Mutilor starts his attack, the action barely lets up till the end.

The theatrical Mutilor is one of SWAT Kats’ most entertaining villains, and Traag (Christopher Smith), his sycophantic aide-decamp, is also a fun character. One of the best episodes of SWAT Kats’ second season. A

Trivia: “When Strikes Mutilor” is SWAT Kats’ second alien invasion episode, and both here and in “The Ci-Kat-A” the writers go out of their way to avoid mentioning the name of the SWAT Kats’ planet because they didn’t want to raise the questions that might have resulted, such as what the world outside Megakat City was like, were there any intelligent species besides kats, etc.

In-Jokes: Lance Falk derived the name “Mutilor” from an unusual source: some goldfish once owned by his friend Chris Otsuki, now a director at Warner Bros. TV Animation. “Because they were such little, harmless, stupid-looking things, I gave them ridiculous, tough names.” These included Galactus (after the Fantastic Four villain), Bruno the Orangutroid , and Mutilor. “Years later, I’m doing this show and I needed a name for this big, lobster-like villain, so I named him after Chris’ goldfish because the name worked, so there’s no point in not using it.”

Lance Falk: After the SWAT Kats free the Aquians, their leader Captain Grimalkin (Michael Bell) tells the pilots that his peaceful crew won’t help fight Mutilor. In the finished episode T-Bone replies, “Hey, I can respect that, but we have to get your ship out of Mutilor’s hands. He’s destroying our world!” Falk had intended T-Bone to criticize the Aquians: “You’ve got a responsibility to clean up after your own messes,” he says to them in an early draft. “You made this dangerous toy, and this toy is going to kill us, so you’d better help us!” An H-B executive caused the scene to be changed. Also, Falk wanted to give “Mutilor” a provocative conclusion. “I thought the twist ending made the story like the Feral scene made ‘Metal Urgency.’

The pacifist aliens were originally all wearing helmets and you couldn’t see what they looked like, because Mutilor took over their ship, and he changed the atmosphere to suit himself so it was poisonous to the actual owners of the ship, so they had to wear space suits. [The SWAT Kats] rally these aliens, they free the ship, they get the bad guy, and at the very end, the saucer’s taking off and the little computer voice says, ‘Okay, the environment’s back to normal,’ and [the aliens] look at each other and one says ‘Wow! A planet of intelligent cats! How interesting!’ and the other guy says, ‘Well, it’s a big universe. Anything is possible.’ And they pop their helmets off, and they’re human! And then you back away and see the American flag on the wall, and what you’re seeing in one fell swoop is that SWAT Kats is absolutely [set] on another planet in the future.

I thought that would have blown people out of their seats if they saw that, but one of the executives said, “Naah, I don’t get it. Just make them cat aliens.’ And that cheesed me off quite a bit.”

Additional Notes: In the closing credits for “When Strikes Mutilor,” Tress MacNeille’s name was missing from the first broadcast, but was added to reruns.

Animato summary written by Mark Lungo