'Meerkat Manor 3': Flower power

Meerkatmanor_flower As we return to our Meerkat Manor friends in the Kalahari in winter, it's been three months since the Commandos attacked their territory and took it over, causing Flower and the rest of the Whiskers mob to abandon their manor. It's also been at least that long since wayward daughter Mozart was summarily evicted for getting knocked up without permission.

[Spoilers to follow. Also, since the show is airing after the fact, please keep any spoilers about the fate of certain meerkats on the quiet in case some fans haven't heard the news. Thanks.]

As the sun rises up over the grassy land, our ever-helpful narrator Sean Astin makes sure to point out that while all meerkats are happy to lend a paw for burrow-keeping duties, dominant male Zaphod has been chillaxing in the absence of his brother Youssarian, who's been on an extended roving trip (read: he's checking out the honeys in other territories). Hmmm, with Zaphod being so lazy, could this mean that Flower is open to romance from a different quarter? After all, a girl's got to have standards.

But for right now, Flower has other problems, indicated by the episode's title, "On Dangerous Ground." The open plains haven't been good to the Whiskers. Not only has foraging been difficult, but the grasses hide predators such as the Caped Cobra, who can kill a meerkat with one bite. With the snake so close to the babysitting burrow, the meerkats surround it and start doing their intimidating bobbing thing: "Oh yeah, well, take that. Yeah, we're bobbing. Don't know what to do, do you? That's how we roll." In the face of such intimidation, the snake departs.

Flower is feeling like Old Mother Hubbard right now because she can't provide for her pups. After three hours of foraging, the adult meerkats return empty handed, but that's not good enough for our heroine. In a bold move, she decides to take the entire mob, untried pups included, on another foraging trip much further afield. Unfortunately, this decision leads to some risky consequences.

Pup First is when heroic son Mitch spots the dreaded eagle owl up in the treetops. Luckily, it hasn't spotted them, allowing the Whiskers to scurry under the cover of the camouflaging high grasses. Except for poor pup Izzie. She can't quite keep up, and her pitiful little cries for help run the risk of attracting the bird's attention. Good ol' Sophie, Flower's best babysitter and daughter, however, risks her own furry neck and returns to snatch the pup up into safety. Huzzah!

And double huzzah since Flower's scheme to find a more bountiful land has paid off. Just over the hill is a veritable smorgasbord of wriggling delicacies. Izzie gorges on a gecko, while Flower replenishes her reserves with a tasty millipede. Even pup Sugs, who hasn't quite gotten the hang of digging yet, gets a scorpion from Uncle Jogu.

Oh, but life isn't all geckos and scorpions in the Kalahari. You guessed it. This plentiful pantry belongs to a rival meerkat gang, the Zappas, led by dominant male Frank (hey, I didn't name them). For Flower, this bounty is not to be given up after she worked so hard to feed her people. As Mitch, Sophie and Jogu take the pups into the safety of the grasses, the Whiskers mob gears up and ...

... unleashes hell on the Zappas. As the lithe Whiskers bodies, about 30 strong, leap over the ground toward the Zappas, the latter group reevaluates its chances, shakes in their little meerkat Ugg boots and then runs away. It is the second time today that the Whiskers' numbers has overwhelmed the enemy, and they set about partying like it's 1999 by rubbing their scent everywhere and foraging.

But this may turn out to be a bittersweet victory since the three teens have yet to return with the pups. Where are they? A return to the burrow doesn't yield any pups, and it's getting too dark to start looking for them without risking the entire mob to nighttime predators. Survival once again rears its smirking head since the whole point of taking risks and winning territory today was to give the next generation a chance to carry on the Whiskers bloodline.

Mozart_2 At this cliffhanger ending, Astin once again chimes in, questioning the pups' fate and hinting at the return of Mozart. That's music to my ears.

Are you glad Flower and the gang are back? What do you think Mozart's been up to? What happened to the pups?

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