Episode 02 – Beast Island

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.

Beast Island 1
Madame Razz: “So, you thought Orko was annoying, did you?”

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.

Beast Island 2
Hordak: “Got to hand it to you, Shadow Weaver, you picked up a mighty fine bargain at DFS with this baby.”

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.

Beast Island 3
He-Man: “Battle-Cat, you’re fired. Kowl has been far more useful today.”

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.

Beast Island 4
Adora: “Hey, you guys! You’re evil!”

 

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.

 

Character checklist

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.

Beast Island 5
Glimmer: “This is such a very nice flying ship.”

 

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.

 

Insults

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.

Beast Island 6
Horde Trooper: “I’m okay with being nameless cannon fodder, but I’m not cool with being associated with Buzz.”

 

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.

Beast Island 7
Bow: “Yeah, fair play, I am as thick as bricks.”

 

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.

 

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9 thoughts on “Episode 02 – Beast Island

  1. Again I failed to see the reason for claims against Madame Razz. In this episode she acted pretty competent. To count:

    * Seeker spell – worked perfectly and flawlessly.

    * Flying ship spell – worked perfectly after initial mistake (frankly, I always considered the “frying ship” design as much better than the actual result… probably Madame should try to make the first fly instead of rebuilding) which was remedied in matter of seconds.

    * Attempt to “disappear” the monster – failure, but under battlefield stressful conditions. To put it simply – when you put old & senile peoples on the battlefield, you always forced to deal with rather higher possibility of mistakes on their side.

    * Turning Horde Troopers into sheeps – worked perfectly & quick, albeit the effect was not intended. Considering the situation, blame Madame Razz for that is just like to blame sniper that instead of doing headshot on the enemy trooper (who pinned you down) he shot him in chest.

    So, let’s count. We have four spells, of which only one acted with wrong consequences (and in perfectly excusable conditions). Another one was preformed flawlessly, another from the second attempt, and another achieved the goal albeit not in intended way.

    If you like, Owenmorton, I would try to make a count of Madame Razz spell results, to provide some statistic. Currently the situation is:

    A) Flawless spells – 1 (one)

    B) Spells, that worked – 2 (two)

    C) Failed spells – 1 (one)

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    1. That’s an interesting idea for a stat, Dilandu – it could really shed some light on Madame Razz’s competence or otherwise!

      I should say that I watched the episodes and wrote these reviews more than two years ago now, so it’s not actually being done in real-time… As such, although it’s presented on this site as though I’m only just learning about She-Ra, I have finished the entire series some time ago, and I will freely admit that with that in mind, Madame Razz isn’t all that bad. Still, for my initial impressions when I wrote this review, I stand by my opinion. I think that perhaps my problem wasn’t so much the (in)competence, but the characterisation of Madame Razz, which I unfortunately just found annoying – an opinion that did remain throughout most of the series, with some exceptions.

      I’m unlikely to go back and re-watch for the purposes of adding in the incompetence stat, but if you’re re-watching along with these reviews, I’d be very interested if you want to keep the stat here! 🙂

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      1. Well, i’ll try) Must admit, that I have a bit of sympathy to that character for some reason, and it would be fun to do some useless statistics anyway)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay okay guys and reading dilandu points there many are very valid! I think your where I am Owen with she ra!! Actually I have seen many times the earlier she ra episodes so I’m being a bit misleading when I said I know little about she ra but I’m more he man Owen similar yourself! I’ve probably seen about 30 of the 93 episodes and my favourite of them all was the price of freedom from the same writer that wrote the problem with power, bob forward.. that particular episode can definetly compete with any of the he man ones! Anyway getting back on topic with this one beast island it’s nothing special but definetly in my opinion worth a watch. I’m actually with you Owen on glimmer I find her character alittle annoying but I agree with dilandu regarding Madame razz I don’t mind her at all I think she’s pretty cool actually! I know these first 5 episodes well of she ra and I personally feel they work much better on there own as separate episodes than the five episodes as a film (the secret of the sword) the next one for me she ra nchained is by far the strongest of the 5 episodes in secret of the sword but beast island is an ok watch without being anything special. This was actually quite a good episode for Madame razz watching it again..

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    1. 30 out of 93 isn’t a bad stat! But yep, I don’t think this one’s anything to write home about. It helps to establish the series premise well enough, but there’s something a bit going-through-the-motions about it.

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  3. Who’s that beast looking character (one of hordaks henchmen) he just seems to me a cheap version of beastman! I meant I too think Scorpio is pretty dull not the word full I don’t know why it spelt that! I much prefer he man I think we both do but as I say there are still a few very good she ra episodes tho. Anyway we shall see. Yeah this one does feel a bit going through the motions. Nice to see battle cat in this one tho as don’t think he was in the she ra series very much!

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  4. Again, if that episode were an He-man episode, I would say that “Into Etheria” is a slightly above average He-man episode.

    This episode was entairtaining but a bit less than the episode “Into Etheria”.
    I liked He-man punching the tank and Grizzlor’s stupefaction to it.
    However, the vast majority of this episode featured He-Man being rescued. Thus a story about a damsel in distress (He-man) being rescued from the Horde was not an original story (Most of shera episodes are indeed about damsel in distresses being rescued from the Horde.).

    Also, there was interesting and meaningful characterization in this episode:
    Glimmer can do stuff (like magic, commanding), but but she is not quite up to the challendge of leading the rebels.
    Shadow Weaver is a competent magician and her relation with Adora seems to give them some complex emotional background.
    Also, Battlecat was very powerfull, he was competent and he was grizzled(Which seemed to be a bit out of his character.). I personally think that “Beast island” was the strongest Battlecat episode of the whole He-man and Shera series.
    Concerning Bow and Kowl, there was nothing new about them. Bow used his bow efficiently, but I already knew that from the episode “Into Etheria”.
    Madame Razz was somewhat clumsy.
    Concerning Adora, she was really pretty and somewhat clever. But I don’t get why she never realized before this episode that the Horde was evil. Seriously, brainwashing is not enough to make her think that the Horde is “good”. Thus, to me, it is a plot hole.
    Finally, there was nothing new about Hordak except that Shadow Weaver had to remind him of who Adora really was, which seemed to surprize him. I personally think that it made Hordak seem thick.

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  5. Correction:
    I wanted to say that “Again, if that episode were an He-man episode, I would say that “Beats island” is a slightly above average He-man episode.”

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  6. @ Owenmorton
    “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.”

    Agreed.
    The writer probably wanted a cliffhanger for the next episode.

    Like

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