It’s top gun action when Razor and T-Bone tangle with the elite fighter squadron of Turmoil, Empress of the Air.
Turmoil (Kath Soucie), a harshly beautiful villainess in a Nazi-like uniform, attempts to conquer the skies of Megakat City with a powerful airship, a squadron of female fighter pilots and disorienting “vertigo beam.”
When T-Bone withstands these obstacles, Turmoil is so impressed (and smitten) that she offers him a job as her flight commander , but first he must prove his loyalty by killing Razor. The first SWAT Kats short (and the only one originally planned as a half-hour episode) has a familiar plot, but compensates with the unusual relationship between T-Bone and Turmoil: he’s genuinely attracted to her (“She’s kind of cool, in a nasty sort of way”), but his duty to stop her is clear. (So much for T-Bone’s crush on Callie Briggs, a running gag during the first season.) B+
In-Jokes: When Lance Falk pitched “Cry Turmoil” to the Tremblays, they had already conceived “The UFO Story,” which eventually became “When Strikes Mutilor.” Falk saw that the ideas were similar: “They’re [both] about a big, giant aircraft that has a lot of little fighter aircraft in it, and there’s a main bad guy on the big aircraft, so they’re structurally the same. [The SWAT Kats] fight their way through the defenses, go inside, beat the villain, and that’s the end.” Falk was chosen to write both episodes in order to make them as different as possible. As a reference to the situation, he named his villain “Turmoil” , which is an anagram of “Mutilor.” Lance Falk: “I created [Turmoil] because outside of Molly [Mange]. we didn’t have any female villains, and even Molly, as good a villain as she is, is half of a team.”
Falk originally conceived “Cry Turmoil” as a “bookend” to “Metal Urgency,” in which he depicted Commander Feral as a character with integrity: “I wanted to show that he could be a really bad guy under the right circumstances. At the very beginning of the episode, Feral is made a bigger fool than ever by the SWAT Kats. He loses his cool and gets fired. Turmoil is impressed with him in spite of all that. She sees that 1. He knows all the city’s weak points, 2. He’s as mad at the SWAT Kats as she is, 3. She finds him virile and manly, and 4. He’s got nothing to lose by joining her, because he just got drummed out.”
Feral joins with Turmoil, just as T-Bone does in the finished episode. But unlike T-Bone, Feral really does become a villain: “He’s not just pretending, not just waiting for the right moment to turn the tables on her.” When Feral realizes that the SWAT Kats are going to beat Turmoil, “He turns on her out of self-interest and says ‘I was planning to do this all along’”, and at the end only Feral and the audience know the truth. Falk’s idea was changed by an H-B executive who said, “The show’s about Razor and T-Bone, so make her fall in love with T-Bone instead.” Falk says this changed the tone of the episode: “It’s possible that Feral would be bad, but it’s never possible that T-Bone would ever betray his partner, so there’s nothing suspenseful about it.” As for Commander Feral, he doesn’t even appear in the final version of “Cry Turmoil.”
Animato summary written by Mark Lungo
Provided by Television's Lance Falk, this is the official script for Cry Turmoil