In which Bow begins his long and illustrious career of incompetence.
Opening shortly after He-Man’s capture by Adora, the remaining members of the Great Rebellion are trying to determine where he has been taken. Thanks to some magic from Madame Razz – whose irritating spells put her firmly in the role of a wannabe-Orko – they locate him on Beast Island. Glimmer asks brainlessly why the Horde would have taken him there, to which Bow replies that Beast Island is the location of the Horde’s prison. I realise that this is for the benefit of the viewers, but it makes Glimmer seem incredibly thick. As the leader of the Rebellion, she really ought to know where the Horde’s prison is.
In the prison, He-Man is chained up. He is struggling to break his chains and making noises which make him sound constipated. Unable to stand this unpleasant racket anymore, Adora – having nicked the power sword given to He-Man by the Sorceress last week – pops along for a little chat, in the course of which she reveals that she believes the Horde are caring, just rulers, and that the rebels are the evil ones. The full name of the Horde action figures was the Evil Horde, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that that’s not their full name in the cartoon. She should, however, perhaps take a clue from the fact that Horde HQ is called the Fright Zone, which in all honesty is not the sort of name nice people give to their homes.
He-Man plants a seed in her mind that perhaps the Horde are the baddies after all, and suggests that she go out into Etheria, to speak to the people and learn the truth. Adora takes him up on the notion, gets onto her horse Spirit, and rides out of the prison. Hordak and Shadow Weaver wonder whether she may need watching, but ultimately decide that she is loyal, thanks to years of training from Hordak, and spells of control from Shadow Weaver.
Meanwhile, the rebels magic themselves up a flying ship, which they use to reach Beast Island. On arrival, they treat themselves to a stupid fight with a stupid monster before getting down to the serious business of rescuing He-Man. The Horde – including a Beast-Man rip-off called Grizzlor, who I don’t believe we met last week – put a variety of traps in their way, and to get past each and every one of them, they need Battle-Cat’s help. These no-hopers are not going to do well once He-Man and Battle-Cat return to Eternia and leave them to it.
He-Man is back to his constipation noises trick by the time the rebels find him. Of course, He-Man is only there as bait, and they all find themselves frozen in place, with a blast from Hordak’s silly arm-cannon. Grizzlor carts them all off to a cell – all except Kowl, who evades capture by some unspecified means, and then releases He-Man once all the baddies have gone.
He-Man releases all the rebels from their cell – though probably only out of a feeling of obligation, or because Battle-Cat is locked up with them – and in so doing, sets off the burglar alarm. The rebels run for it into a landing bay, where they nick a flyer and escape – though He-Man makes a point of demolishing the entire prison first. This has the unintended side effect of making Glimmer get the hots for him, which He-Man completely ignores.
In the meantime, Adora has been trotting around Etheria, witnessing a heart-rending montage of the Horde Troopers being mean to the villagers, by throwing them into rivers, nicking their horses and destroying their homes. She quickly comes to realise that the Horde are evil. How she could have missed this previously is beyond me, but I suppose that’s how brainwashing works. She returns to the Fright Zone to confront Hordak and Shadow Weaver, but is singularly ineffective in whatever she was hoping to achieve. Shadow Weaver simply puts her into a magical sleep, and takes the power sword. Then she and Hordak laugh their maniacal heads off for the purposes of a non-too-threatening cliff-hanger.
In today’s adventure…
No moral lesson again, but I think we have all learned that if you discover you have been brainwashed all your life into thinking evil is good, and vice versa, then you should probably have some kind of objective in mind when you waltz into the chief brainwasher’s house and tell him that you’re wise to his little game. If you don’t have an objective, or a plan, or any backup, then you’re liable to get knocked out and re-brainwashed.
What a treat to spend time with these new characters! We have the old familiar He-Man and Battle-Cat, but otherwise it’s all newbies. There’s Adora, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Kowl, Broom, some green people, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, some Horde Troopers and some random Etherians.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
There’s no excuse for last week’s disappearance, and oddly enough, Bow and Glimmer etc seem to have forgotten all about their new friend Prince Adam and aren’t worried about where he’s gone. This is despite the fact that – as far as they know – he was quite possibly a Horde spy and they’ve shown him where the secret rebel headquarters are.
Grizzlor seems to think that adding ‘rebel’ to any other noun makes for a super insult. To be fair, it works well enough this episode with “rebel fools” and “rebel dogs”, both of which he applies to Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom and Battle-Cat. Elsewhere, we find a Horde Trooper nicking a horse and calling it a “miserable nag”, and shortly thereafter addressing the horse’s owner as a “little fool”. He-Man still can’t seem to muster up much enthusiasm for this Etherian jaunt, since the best he can manage to call Hordak is a “villain”.
And finally, Glimmer may well have said something insulting to a pair of Horde Troopers, but her voice was too sweet for me to understand it. It sounded like “Buzz”, which is possibly a reference to Kevin’s hideous brother from Home Alone and is thus incredibly insulting. On the other hand, it’s possibly not.
Oh No, Bow!
I have a sneaking suspicion that throughout this cartoon, Bow is going to prove to be a massive failure at pretty much everything he does. Therefore, I am going to start up a little section to record every single time he does something stupid. In this episode, he adopts the traditional Man-at-Arms style by tripping up on a vine and being inexplicably unable to stand up while a monster attacks him, requiring rescue by Battle-Cat.
Bow also gets frozen by Hordak’s sleeping gas, but since everyone else does as well, it’s probably unfair to single him out for particular ridicule. Except that he deserves it.
Does it have the Power?
Again, since it’s part of a wider story, it’s not easy to tell. Frankly, I suspect the only particularly relevant part of this episode was Adora’s voyage of self-discovery; the rest of it (i.e. the vast majority) featuring He-Man being rescued did not contribute enormously to the overall story. In terms of character, nobody did anything to redeem my opinions from last week: Glimmer is still infuriating, and Shadow Weaver still has potential. Madame Razz confirmed my suspicions that she is going to be as annoying as Orko, if not possibly more so. The only new development is not a good thing: Hordak has a weird habit of snorting like a pig, which is off-putting.
Still, as part of the story, it gets Adora to where she needs to be, if nothing else. A grudging thumbs-up from me, I suppose.