Episode 033 – The Starchild

In which I begin to develop homicidal tendencies.

Prince Adam and Cringer are, as usual, hanging out in the jungle. Obviously, story-wise, this is so He-Man can be where he needs to be when the action kicks off, but just once, it would be nice if someone gave an explanation for why they seem to like it there so much.

Anyway, this time, they come across a band of Tree People and a band of Cave Dwellers, led respectively by persons called Willan and Pailos. Pailos has a young girl clutched in his arms; she is the Starchild, and she is the subject of an argument between Willan and Pailos. The argument comes to a speedy close when the Starchild wriggles out of Pailos’ grip and falls down a hole in the ground.


Enter He-Man and Battle-Cat, stage left. They leap down the hole and find themselves in the Old Vine Jungle. It seems that the writers have misunderstood about jungles and believe that new jungles grow on top of old ones. Anyway, He-Man finds the Starchild and questions her, learning that she has no parents and looks after herself.

Returning to the surface, Willan and Pailos resume arguing over custody of the Starchild, so they all go to the Palace for Randor and Marlena to decide the issue. When Orko and Teela meet the Starchild and proclaim that they like her, the Starchild projects a weird yellow glow onto them, and they make vaguely orgasmic noises, which was disturbing. I wouldn’t mind betting that some He-Man/Teela shippers have used sound effects from this episode.

Starchild 2

The Starchild explains that this glow is a power that gets people to like her, and that both the Tree People and Cave Dwellers want to use the power to defeat the other. Bringing the case before the King and Queen, Pailos manages to say about two words before the Starchild shrieks, “No!” and runs off, prompting an endless sequence in which our heroes search the Palace for her while she uses a variety of irritating magic powers to stop them.

Literally half the episode later, He-Man finally manages to find the Starchild whinging behind a curtain. He pretends to sympathise with her, but you can see the hate on his face. As He-Man returns her to the throne room, they find Willan and Pailos arguing over who should be allowed to teach the Starchild how to use her powers properly. And then she runs off again, back to the Old Vine Jungle this time. For God’s sake.

Starchild 3

In the course of recovering the Starchild from the inexplicably underground Old Vine Jungle, both Willan and Pailos risk their lives to save her. And then comes the twist – both the Tree People and the Cave Dwellers actually just want to live in peace. The Starchild goes off with both Willan and Pailos, while for no reason whatsoever, He-Man smirks at the camera and winks. He’s taken to doing this lately, and I wish he’d stop. It’s off-putting.


In today’s adventure…

This week’s moral is presented by the Sorceress, and it’s just as useful as her advice is in the cartoon. She points out that the Starchild’s weird yellow glow was a power called love, which can be used to bring people together, and reminds us that we all have this power. If I have to watch many more episodes like this one, I will no longer have that power concerning this cartoon.

Starchild 4


Characters appearing

As you will have no doubt anticipated, there was Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man and Battle-Cat. There was also Teela, Orko, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Willan, Pailos and the Starchild. As noted above, the Sorceress did the moral.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

There wasn’t time in this fast-paced episode for an excuse to be offered, because the writers naturally wanted to concentrate on never ending scenes of He-Man and Teela running round the Palace bellowing “Starchild! Where are you?”



No one in the episode uttered an insult, but I’ve got one: the Starchild is a whining brat and this episode is appalling.

Starchild 5


Does it have the Power?

I think I may have covered this already, but in case you haven’t quite identified my feelings, I’ll explain one more time: this episode is a real low point, probably worse than our previous contender, A Friend in Need – which, incidentally, was written by the same person. Just as that was a thinly veiled drugs allegory, here we have a thinly veiled divorce allegory. The problem is that the Starchild herself is literally infuriating, and I couldn’t understand why the Tree People or the Cave Dwellers (or He-Man and co., for that matter) might be even vaguely inclined to let her live anywhere near them. It’s really badly paced as well, with the entire second half of the episode being pointless running around. I can’t begin to emphasise how much you don’t want to watch this.

Episode 032 – Search for the VHO

In which Prince Adam uses Orko as a kite, for no particular reason.

We open at Selkie Island, where Hovar the Royal Historian and his son Justin are in a research lab under siege by a Pick ‘n’ Mix of stock monsters that we’ve seen before on He-Man. They are attempting to reach Man-at-Arms via radio to request help, but though the Palace can receive their request, they are unable to send a response back.

Instead of sending He-Man along to deal with the monsters in the interim, Man-at-Arms and Teela waste time trying to create a high-tech dog whistle called a VHO which – when complete – will repel all the monsters from Selkie Island. Teela tests the VHO on Cringer and when he runs off, pronounces it a success. Since Cringer runs away from absolutely everything, I wouldn’t be so confident.


Hovar gets on Skype again to point out that the force field is failing and the monsters are getting in, so some help at some point in the not too distant future would be appreciated. Still Man-at-Arms doesn’t seem to consider the situation that urgent, eventually getting around to suggesting that Teela and Adam could go on the newest ship in the Eternian navy to take the VHO to Selkie Island.

For some reason, Adam decides to mess about putting on a sailor’s cap and pretending to work on the ship. He also sees fit to indulge in a goofy grin and wink directly at the camera, as if he’s sharing some hilarious joke, which he isn’t.


But of course, it’s not all fun and games and dressing up as sailors today. Mer-Man has hatched a cunning plot to get hold of the VHO, so that he can control every animal on Eternia. You know, like Beast-Man already does, and look at all the good it does him. This isn’t really a talent that Skeletor’s crew need to add to their skill set.

Mer-Man sends a Kraken and a couple of robotic Razorfin fish to sink the newest ship in the Eternian navy, which they actually accomplish. I think you should know that the Razorfins are capable of roaring underwater, which certainly adds drama, if not realism, to this scene. On noticing that in the course of the wreck, Teela and the VHO have gone missing, He-Man turns down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in a lifeboat with four miserable sailors and swims off to look for her.


He-Man destroys one of the robot fish and finds a convenient homing beacon inside one of them, which he uses to find the way to a cave in which Mer-Man has trapped Teela in a glass case. He-Man proposes to Mer-Man that they engage in a bout of single combat, the prize being Teela. Mer-Man takes leave of his senses and replies that he accepts, since he cannot possibly lose. He’s clearly been at Skeletor’s stash of mind-altering drugs again, because he’s got literally nothing up his sleeve here, except the stolen VHO, which only works on animals. Sure enough, it takes He-Man less than 4 seconds to claim the victory.

Once released, Teela and He-Man recover the VHO and then swim for the surface, where they encounter Mer-Man again, riding the Kraken. He-Man uses the VHO to scare the Kraken away, then swims off after it and gratuitously picks it up and throws it. While he’s been doing this, Teela reveals that she’s been doing nothing but treading water and moronically dropping the VHO into the depths of the ocean. He-Man is obliged to swim down and get it back, after which he and Teela deliver and install the VHO at Hovar’s lab.



In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms completely misses the point of a moral segment this week, by telling us all about how throughout history, explorers have always been willing to face danger to find new things. He utterly fails to link this in any way to a viewer’s life, not even suggesting that maybe the viewer could go and find out about these explorers. He also bizarrely claims that explorers are unsung heroes, though I’d argue that names like Columbus, Cook, Magellan, etc are all very well known. So that’s brilliant, Man-at-Arms. Keep it to yourself next time, please.


Characters appearing

As usual, there’s Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Teela, Orko and Man-at-Arms. Mer-Man is a less common participant, and unless I’m very much mistaken, we’ll never see Hovar, Justin, or the four sailors ever again.



Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam doesn’t offer an excuse, and when he disappears and presumably drowns in the sinking ship, Teela doesn’t even ask He-Man about it. She does, on the other hand, get noticeably upset when He-Man vanishes and Adam reappears, which I think tells us all we need to know about Teela’s opinion of Adam as opposed to He-Man.



For the first time in a while, we have an episode devoid of the usual cutting remarks. No one can even muster up the traditional half-hearted “fool” this week.


Does it have the Power?

It’s a pretty entertaining episode, this one. It’s nice to have a change of setting, and as most of the action here takes place underwater, it’s a very different location. Mer-Man’s desire for the VHO seemed a touch strange, though he did claim at one point – optimistically, I think – that he might be able to use it to control Beast-Man and Skeletor, so I suppose that’s enough of a motive. I also rather enjoyed the opening scene in which Adam is lounging about, using Orko as a kite, but perhaps that’s because I’ve always thought Orko needed to be strung up. So yes, I’m happy to issue a recommendation for this one.

Episode 031 – A Tale of Two Cities

In which He-Man cheats on Teela with some floozy of a princess.

Adam and Cringer are relaxing in the jungle, when they see a redheaded lady being pursued by three soldiers in blue armour. Without stopping to question who’s right or wrong in this situation, Adam transforms into He-Man and rescues the girl, who turns out to be Princess Reya of the city of Oparan. He-Man and Battle-Cat offer to walk her home. As they go, Reya explains that another city, Targa, pays the blue soldiers – Gargons – to capture people in the forest.

But within sight of Oparan, disaster strikes. For no discernible reason, He-Man insists that Battle-Cat carry Reya across a river while He-Man follows, rather Battle-Cat simply carrying them both like he normally would. This is so that lightning can strike a tree, which knocks He-Man out, resulting in him being carried off downriver and straight into the clutches of a band of Gargons.

Two Cities 2

He-Man wakes up in a cell in Targa with his memory gone. His cellmate is an individual called Garn, who introduces himself as the strongest man in the kingdom and possibly the universe. I fear Garn may be in for a disappointment at some stage. Garn tells He-Man that he competes in the Arena, and after a short interview with the King and Queen of Targa, He-Man finds himself destined for the Arena as well.

He-Man defeats Garn in the Arena, in the course of which battle he receives another blow to the head and finds his memory restored. On his victory, he demands that Garn be set free, after which he has a second interview with the Queen, in which she offers him the position of Captain of the Guard. He-Man refuses, probably because it’s the same title Teela has and he considers this a demotion. The Queen therefore informs him that he and Garn may leave in the morning.

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Meanwhile, outside the city, Battle-Cat has again distinguished himself by leaping head-first into a pit, leaving Reya to be captured by some Gargons. When He-Man and Garn leave Targa, they quickly come across Battle-Cat still lurking in the pit. Once rescued, Battle-Cat informs He-Man and Garn of Reya’s capture, prompting a speedy return to Targa, where they learn that Reya’s father, the King of Oparan, has also been captured.

He-Man claims he has a plan to rescue Reya and her father, but this plan merely consists of him putting on a cloak, and then taking it off again when he gets into the throne room. Targa’s King goes completely mental and attempts to defeat He-Man by causing an earthquake, forgetting that his city is sensibly built below a dam holding back a massive lake.

Garn is pleased that Targa will be destroyed, which gives He-Man a chance to pontificate on the sanctity of life and how even his enemies are worthy of saving. Once Targa is saved, Garn happily recites, “With great power comes great responsibility,” but I doubt he understands it. Reya gives He-Man a kiss and makes bedroom eyes at him, but He-Man isn’t interested, preferring to ride away on Battle-Cat.

Two Cities 4


In today’s adventure…

He-Man begins the moral lesson by saying, “I hope you enjoyed today’s adventure,” perhaps in the secure knowledge that we didn’t. He then goes on to suggest that since we were so disappointed by this week’s rubbish story, perhaps we should stop watching television and read a book about an astronaut or Sherlock Holmes. Right, fine, thanks, He-Man.


Characters appearing

An unusual cast today – our only regulars are Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer and Battle-Cat. Plenty of one-shot characters to go round though: there’s Princess Reya, Garn, the King and Queen of Targa, and the King of Oparan.

Two Cities 5


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam and Cringer are hanging out in the jungle on their own as the episode starts, and adopt their secret identities before anyone else even sees them, so they don’t bother making excuses today.



No one’s got much of interest in this area today. Early on, one of the Gargons calls another a “fool”, and right at the end, the Queen of Targa also calls the King a “fool”. This latter is particularly justified, since it’s right after he idiotically destroys the dam above his city.

Two Cities 1


Does it have the Power?

Well, it isn’t the best, but it isn’t terrible either. I must say I do have a few reservations about this being the first – and possibly only – time we see black people in He-Man, and they’re all savage uncivilised people who engage in gladiatorial blood sports and talk with exaggerated accents. Ever heard of positive role models?

The He-Man losing his memory plot wasn’t put to much use, but it’s always fun to see He-Man actually defeated by something – this time by being knocked out by a tree. There’s a few lapses in logic – most notably that the King and Queen of Targa think He-Man is a spy, and their method of interrogation is to make him compete in a gladiatorial contest? I’m not in the intelligence-gathering line of work, but I can’t help but feel this method is unlikely to yield results. In addition, the episode ends rather abruptly without showing us the fate of the King and Queen of Targa, which implies a fairly crucial scene was cut.

In short, it’s a pretty middle of the road episode. But I’ll award it a pass, because I’m in a good mood today. And why am I in a good mood? Because I’ve just found out that the 131st episode of He-Man has been produced. It’s called The Curse of the Three Terrors, and it’s available for viewing at San Diego Comic Con, then apparently out to buy from 1st August. Even though the title makes it sound like a Scooby-Doo episode, this is the best news I’ve heard all year.

Episode 030 – The Taking of Grayskull

In which Skeletor surreptitiously steals Castle Grayskull.

Oh God. It’s Orko’s birthday. After the recent rubbish with Uncle Montork, I didn’t think this cartoon could sink to greater Orko-related depths, but the initial few scenes where all our heroes pretend to have forgotten the birthday really are hugely irritating. Luckily, Man-at-Arms interrupts the birthday plotline with news of problems in a province called Visilia. Adam and Cringer happily trot off to become He-Man and Battle-Cat, while Man-at-Arms summons Ram-Man, who he expects will be useful in some unspecified capacity. I don’t need to tell you this does not prove to be the case.

Taking 1

Our heroes arrive in Visilia to find a whirlwind causing havoc. He-Man opts to spin round really fast and create a second whirlwind, which he uses to throw the first whirlwind into space. I try to report on this sort of thing dispassionately, because if I got in any way animated about it, I’d turn into a gibbering wreck trying to explain the many, many reasons why this would and could not happen.

Anyway, in the course of this demented violation of the laws of physics, He-Man’s sword disappears into thin air. He returns to the Palace, where Orko pollutes my television screen again to report that Castle Grayskull has also gone missing. Our heroes pop along to check the truth of this statement; He-Man is happy to settle for “it’s gone”, while Man-at-Arms tries to sound all deep and interesting by intoning ominously, “At least, it’s not here in our dimension,” which basically equates to the same thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Taking 2

Man-at-Arms explains that he thinks Castle Grayskull has been sucked into a white hole, which is like a black hole but not as dense. I wish he’d said it’s like Ram-Man, but not as dense. He-Man spouts some scientific mumbo-jumbo to make it sound like he understands what Man-at-Arms is talking about, then endeavours to solve the problem the only way he can think of – by leaping into the white hole. Teela, being a bit of a specialton, slips off the cliff and falls in too.

If you thought that Plundor’s world in Quest for He-Man was the result of a bad LSD trip, then just wait till you see what’s on the other side of the white hole. It’s a completely crazed dimension of random colours and waving tentacles where our characters stand on conveyor belts being whisked about and occasionally falling off in order to be saved. He-Man follows telepathic signals from the Sorceress until he locates where Castle Grayskull has landed.

Taking 3

Upon entering, He-Man and Teela find Skeletor resplendent on the Sorceress’ throne, though he doesn’t appear to have actually put any effort into learning those secrets he’s always on about. Just as Skeletor appears to have the upper hand, He-Man’s sword falls out of nowhere into his hands and he starts wittering about the power of good.

Taking 4

Skeletor remains unconvinced by He-Man’s erudite argument, so He-Man pops outside again, crawls under Castle Grayskull, picks it up, and hurls it back through the white hole, where it lands back on Eternia, foundations evidently secure. You know how I mentioned earlier I try to keep quiet about little things like throwing whirlwinds into space? Well, genuinely, I fear total mental collapse if I try to talk about throwing an entire castle through a white hole to land precisely where it was.

Skeletor does a runner, pausing long enough to embark on a little rant about how this was his big chance. He sounds genuinely upset. Sometimes I wonder, would it really kill He-Man to let Skeletor have just one of the secrets of Castle Grayskull? Just a little one, one that couldn’t hurt anyone?


In today’s adventure…

Orko draws inspiration from the irritating subplot about his birthday to explain that it’s really not a great idea to eat too many sweets between meals. Well, fine, but given the inclusion of an early scene where Orko’s trying to tell our heroes that Grayskull was missing and none of them would listen to him, how about a moral on the importance of listening to others who might have something to contribute?

Taking 5


Characters appearing

A pretty small core cast for us today, consisting only of Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Ram-Man, King Randor and Skeletor. Minor characters include the Palace chef Alan, some people in the province of Visilia, and loads of Man-at-Arms clones, otherwise known as Palace guards.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

He doesn’t offer an excuse, but Adam at least pays lip-service to the notion of secrecy by going and hiding in a bush to transform, rather than his usual technique of doing it in the Palace courtyard where any Tom, Dick or Ram-Man could see him.

Taking 6



Skeletor offers a couple of tentative insults, specifically “You’re a fool if you think you can stop me,” and “You’re all fools if you think you can stop me,” which suggests that he doesn’t really want to be insulting anybody today but feels it’s only fair to warn his adversaries that insults will come thick and fast if they happen to oppose him. He-Man, on the other hand, seems needlessly aggressive when he comes right out and says, “You’re a loser, Skeletor.”


Does it have the Power?

I feel like my review came across as though I didn’t like this episode, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Once it dodged the bullet of concentrating overmuch on Orko’s birthday, it developed into an entertaining and inventive episode of the series. The animation of the evil dimension was very well done, and the animators did some quite impressive work with a panning shot of Battle-Cat leaping a chasm – all the more impressive given it’s not really something they could expect to re-use. The whirlwinds and white hole business, well, yes, that was stupid, but I suppose I have to admit I don’t watch this cartoon in the expectation of realism. I’m not that far gone yet. And you have to give Skeletor credit for the audacious plan of actually stealing Castle Grayskull. So I’m happy to issue a hearty recommendation for this completely demented outing.

Episode 029 – Prince Adam No More

In which King Randor nearly figures out the Prince Adam/He-Man link.

Sorry for the long wait between The Defection and this. I’ve had a busy week. Anyway, this one’s worth waiting for. We open with a scene that actually manages to bring some depth to our villains: Skeletor, frustrated at too many defeats at He-Man’s hands, is taking it out on Beast-Man, who he exiles from Snake Mountain. Skeletor takes an unpleasant delight in this process, and I actually felt sorry for Beast-Man, something I would never have thought possible.

No More 1

As if to counter the good work done in the establishing villains scene, we are then treated to an extended sequence in which Orko accidentally locks himself in an Attack Trak and drives it all round the Palace courtyard, shooting walls down and attempting to murder King Randor. Once this problem is resolved, we learn that Randor is shortly to undertake a tour of Eternia, and Prince Adam is hoping to be chosen to be the King’s honour guard for the trip.

But when Randor makes his decision, it’s He-Man he wants, not Adam. Adam is hurt by this decision, and pops off to see the Sorceress, where he explains that he has had to pretend to be careless and irresponsible in order to safeguard his secret identity, and says that he just wants his father to be proud of him. The Sorceress, as usual, offers really helpful advice, limiting herself to “Do what you think is right, but be careful.”

No More 2

When we next see Adam, we find him in the Attack Trak on the royal tour with Randor and Man-at-Arms, having evidently convinced his father to let him come along. Randor is clearly not happy about it though, bitching that He-Man would have been a better choice. Naturally enough, the tour’s route takes them past the spot where Beast-Man is bemoaning his fate.

Deciding that he will capture the King to win back Skeletor’s favour, Beast-Man unleashes a platoon of shadowbeasts on the Attack Trak. His plan goes remarkably smoothly, and ends with Randor being hauled away to Snake Mountain’s dungeons. Beast-Man tells Adam and Man-at-Arms to bring all the Palace gold to Snake Mountain by nightfall, or Randor will never be released.

No More 3

Man-at-Arms berates Adam for not transforming into He-Man, to which Adam responds that he wanted to show Randor he could be a hero too. Man-at-Arms responds by telling him the Power is to keep others safe, not to make himself happy. This for some reason reassures Adam, who transforms into He-Man and zooms off to Snake Mountain.

He-Man sneaks down to the dungeons and releases Randor, setting off the burglar alarm in the process and alerting Beast-Man and Mer-Man, who have been celebrating Beast-Man’s victory in the throne room. They make the mistake of sending a load of robots to recapture the King, which are quickly turned into scrap metal by He-Man and, surprisingly, Randor.

No More 4

Randor then decides it’s time for a quick discussion about how much he loves Adam, despite how hard he is on him sometimes. He-Man tries to answer without giving away his identity, and is fortunately distracted by Beast-Man and Mer-Man showing up for a final defeat. Once He-Man and Randor successfully depart, Skeletor shows up and welcomes Beast-Man back to the fold by ordering him to clear up the destroyed robots.

And finally, the royal tour continues, with Adam repeating things that Randor told He-Man, prompting Randor to nearly put two and two together. But at the last moment, he dismisses the notion from his mind, so don’t worry – next week he’ll be back to disapproving of Adam again.


In today’s adventure…

Orko tells us that today, we learned all about the love parents have for their children. I’m dead certain we’ve learned about this about fifteen times already, and we’re only on Episode 29 here. Perhaps we could have had an elaboration on Man-at-Arms’ theme of using power to do good, not make yourself happy? As it stands, there’s nothing to really take home from this episode.

No More 5


Characters appearing

Prince Adam and He-Man, obviously. Also Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Mer-Man and Evil-Lyn.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s two transformations into He-Man during this episode, but on neither occasion is an excuse warranted.



Not unexpectedly for an episode featuring Beast-Man so heavily, we have perhaps the greatest number of insults in an episode yet. Unfortunately, they’re nearly all in the “fool” category. Skeletor calls Beast-Man a “Furry fool” and a “Furry flea-bitten fool”; Beast-Man and Mer-Man each call each other a “fool”, and Beast-Man also calls He-Man a “fool”.

Otherwise, Beast-Man refers to Skeletor as “Old bonehead” and a “Skull-faced creep”, the latter of which he is obviously pretty proud, since he later recycles it as “Bone-faced creep”. We also find Randor calling Beast-Man a “Furry devil”, which seems rather strong, and Tri-Klops refers to Beast-Man as “Fuzz-face”, though this may not be an insult, as he is expressing sympathy for Beast-Man at the time.

No More 6

And finally, Beast-Man says “Come on, you beasts” to his collection of, well, beasts. This one’s only really an insult because of the tone Beast-Man uses.


Does it have the Power?

This one has to be a classic. It’s unusual for a He-Man episode to actually make us feel sad for one of the baddies, but when Beast-Man is kicked out of his home, it really tugs on the heartstrings. It’s rather touching at the end of the episode too, as Skeletor seems to have actually missed having Beast-Man around, though he obviously doesn’t say so. Why else would he allow Beast-Man to return to Snake Mountain, despite him having made a mess and destroyed a load of robots?

The Randor and Adam storyline is also interesting. Randor does come across as a tad unreasonable in demanding that He-Man be the honour guard instead of Adam; as Adam points out, it’ll be him, not He-Man, running the kingdom one day, so it makes sense for him to learn royal business. Randor’s admission to He-Man that he does love Adam is perhaps unnecessary but also touching, and it’s rather fun at the end to see him nearly figure out that He-Man and Adam are one and the same.

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Which brings us to the elephant in the room – why on Eternia does Adam have to keep his identity secret? The Sorceress attempts to explain in this episode, claiming that if his identity was known, Skeletor wouldn’t hesitate to try to destroy Adam and the ones he loves. It’s a valiant attempt, but let’s be honest, Skeletor doesn’t hesitate to try to do that anyway. But still, it’s nice that the writers for once acknowledged that the whole secret identity thing doesn’t really make sense.

In short, this is a great episode, featuring both character development and exciting action sequences. Don’t miss it!