Episode 07 – The Sea Hawk

In which She-Ra recruits some pirates.

She-Ra is messing about, flying on Swift Wind over the ocean, with no evident purpose. Naturally, she soon comes across a sinking ship crewed by Sea Elves, and is obliged to rescue them and take them to the nearby port of Seaworthy. Once at Seaworthy, She-Ra meets Mayor Gumby, who solemnly informs her that a monster has been terrorising the village for some time. She-Ra doesn’t seem to believe the Elves, though I can’t see why not. On Etheria, the presence of a monster isn’t inherently implausible. Still, she kindly and patronisingly offers to go and find the monster.

Sea Hawk 1
She-Ra: “I’m rather sick of this hole business.”

She-Ra quickly finds a large vessel hidden in a nearby bay, and she decides that this must be the monster. Good thinking, She-Ra! Boats do look like monsters – if you’re mental. Investigating further, She-Ra notes that the ship has some weird sails and flies a pirate flag. Spotting the pirates robbing a warehouse, she opts to turn back into Adora before confronting them. I don’t know why.

Adora manages to move about 20 feet before she is intercepted by a big tall ginger pirate, who turns out to be the captain and is called Sea Hawk. Managing to persuade the crew that she is lost and looking for Seaworthy, they offer to give her a lift – though they’re going via Horde Harbour. One of the pirates, Swen, recognises Adora and asks her to try to persuade Sea Hawk to join the Rebellion.

Sea Hawk 2
Sea Hawk: “I wonder if you could explain this stupid black band round my head.”

Adora puts in a halfway decent effort to recruit Sea Hawk, but before there are any tangible results, the ship arrives at Horde Harbour. Catra and Grizzlor greet Sea Hawk, pay him for some goods, and send their Horde Troopers onto the ship to collect the merchandise. Because Adora is an idiot, she stands around on deck and is immediately recognised by the Troopers. Catra places her under arrest, with Sea Hawk’s reluctant help.

Sea Hawk thinks about what he has done, and finally decides to throw his lot in with the rebels. His first act of rebellion will be to rescue Adora, and with this in mind, he activates his ship’s weird sails, which enables it to fly. Sea Hawk easily boards Catra and Grizzlor’s ship, nicks the keys to the cells, and releases Adora. Adora thanks him by saying, “I knew there was good in you,” in such a sickly voice that I would have locked her up again if I were Sea Hawk.

Sea Hawk 3
Catra: “In the Big Evil Purple Cat stakes, I’m definitely better than Panthor.”

Adora then ducks into a cupboard, turns into She-Ra, and gratuitously kicks the cupboard door off its hinges before emerging. She then comes to the rescue of Sea Hawk, who has been cornered by Catra, before disappearing and turning back into Adora. This is to the great disappointment of Sea Hawk, who has clearly got the hots for She-Ra. He agrees to join the Rebellion, quite possibly only as part of a long-term strategy to get off with She-Ra.

 

Character checklist

This swashbuckling tale features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Loo-Kee, Sea Hawk, Swen, the other pirates, the Sea Elves, Mayor Gumby, Hordak, Catra, Grizzlor and some Horde Troopers.

Sea Hawk 4
Adora: “Guys, you can’t both dance with me.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Today, I didn’t see Loo-Kee during the episode, because he was ridiculously well-hidden in an establishing shot of Seaworthy. I was still spluttering about how difficult it was to see him, so I wasn’t really concentrating on the moral, but I think it was about looking for the good in people, even if they seem evil, like Sea Hawk.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Sea Hawk asks She-Ra if Adora got away. She-Ra knows a good opportunity when she sees it, and replies, “Yes.”

 

Insults

Lots and lots of insults this week. We get off to a mild start when Sea Hawk calls Swen a “sympathetic fool” for offering to give Adora a lift to Seaworthy. Things hot up a bit more with Hordak referring to Adora as a “rebel traitor”, and then all hell lets loose when Sea Hawk starts fighting Catra and Grizzlor. He refers to Grizzlor as “piggy” (more appropriate for Hordak, I’d have thought), and Catra as “whiskers” and “cat lady”, and then – a bit oddly – to the pair of them as “squids”. Finally, he calls Hordak “old bony”.

Sea Hawk 5
Sea Hawk: “Now may not be the time to mention this, Grizzlor, but you look like you’re wearing a stupid balaclava.”

Catra manages to fire off one insult to Sea Hawk, calling him a “treacherous pirate dog”. Grizzlor only achieves insulting Catra, whom he calls a “cheater”. There’s a possibility that this was supposed to be a pun on “cheetah”, but I can’t say for certain without acquiring a copy of the script, which is a level of dedication to which I’m not willing to go.

 

Does it have the Power?

Yes, I suppose so. It’s still quite difficult to tell which the good episodes of She-Ra are, so with my current low expectations, I think we could call this one a decent offering. It’s perhaps a little soon for another baddy-turns-into-a-goody episode, since we had this with Adora not all that long ago, but Sea Hawk is a likeable character, and certainly comes across as more competent than Bow, the only other male lead.

We’re still not seeing the other members of the Rebellion much; She-Ra seems to be a bit of a lone wolf. That doesn’t concern me too much, given how irritating I find some of those characters. Catra is definitely an interesting baddy; the writers have managed to make her character rather catty, in both senses. Grizzlor, on the other hand, remains a complete nonentity, and despite being on screen for no more than 60 seconds this week, Hordak still manages to emit six pig snorts, so he’s still not in my good books.

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Episode 06 – Duel at Devlan

In which someone actually gets egg on their face.

This is exciting! I don’t have any idea what to expect from a standard episode of She-Ra. Who knows what faces us? Well, we start with a long scene showing a load of Horde Troopers being unpleasant in a pub, after which we cut to Whispering Woods, where a new member of the Rebellion, Frosta, is introduced. Frosta is capable of making it snow on demand, to the great delight of some green dwarves called Spriggets.

Devlan 1
Frosta: “I have better things to do than this.”

After a long and pointless scene which does little except reintroduce us to all the rebels, Adora turns into She-Ra for no reason whatsoever, and flies off on Swift Wind. It’s just as well she does, though, as she very quickly finds a child called Cristolla about to get sucked into a combine harvester. Once saved, Cristolla reveals that she is looking for the Rebellion to ask for help, so She-Ra flies her straight to HQ.

Cristolla is from that pub at the start of the episode, and she’d like the Rebellion to stop the Horde Troopers from bullying the inhabitants of her village, Devlan. She-Ra decides that she will teach the villagers to stand up for themselves, instead of having to call on the Rebellion, and flies off with Cristolla. They arrive at Devlan to find the Horde have frozen Cristolla’s father in a block of ice, but She-Ra solves this issue with a rather smug high kick.

Devlan 2.jpg
She-Ra: “This’ll break the ice. God, I’m funny.”

In the town square, they find that the Horde Troopers have given orders for the villagers to surrender all their valuables. The villagers are ready to give in, but She-Ra gives some vaguely motivational speeches. Hilariously, she’s rubbish at it; He-Man would have had these guys on side within 20 seconds, but She-Ra manages to persuade two people out of a crowd of about 70.

Of course, those two are all she needs. Well, actually, she seems to think she doesn’t even need them, since her plan is to make them watch from inside the pub while she defeats the Horde soldiers single-handedly. Surely this rather goes against her earlier stated principles of encouraging the villagers to stand up for themselves rather than relying on the Rebellion? As it happens though, She-Ra gets shot in the back, and needs to be rescued by the villagers. In the course of the ensuing battle, the villagers learn that they can defeat the Horde if they all work together.

Devlan 3
Villager: “Let’s hide here! I’m sure the Horde Troopers won’t see us behind these chest-high doors.”

 

In today’s adventure…

There must have been some serious head-scratching going on in the Filmation offices while they were developing She-Ra. The producers evidently felt the moral segment bit on He-Man was getting a bit stale and needed spicing up. Consequently, they came up with an individual called Loo-Kee. Loo-Kee is a small pixie creature of indeterminate gender (though I shall refer to it as a “he”, because that’s my best guess) who is hidden in the background of one shot of an episode. At the end, Loo-Kee will show us where he was hiding, and then dispense a moral.

I’m pleased to say that in this episode I did spot Loo-Kee – he was lurking nearby when Frosta was showing off her snow tricks. At the time, I thought, “What the hell is that?”, not knowing I was supposed to be looking for him. Anyway, today Loo-Kee explains that being bullied isn’t any fun, which is a staggering insight. He then advises us to tell our parents if we’re being bullied. Obviously, the writers didn’t want to go anywhere near the moral of cooperation, which has already been done to death in He-Man, but which is probably more relevant to this episode.

Devlan 4.jpg
Loo-Kee: “Hi, I’m Loo-Kee. And I’m rather irritating.”

 

Character checklist

This outing reminds us of the existence of Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Frosta, the Spriggets, Loo-Kee, Cristolla, Cristolla’s dad, the other villagers, and the Horde Troopers, including some very odd robots.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

About 10 minutes after the transformation, Madame Razz finally gets around to explaining to Glimmer and Bow that Adora is “off somewhere. You know how that girl likes to wander.” Glimmer and Bow are happy with this explanation, even though they know the Horde must be dead keen to recapture Adora.

Devlan 5
Madame Razz: “Welcome to Etheria’s version of Caesar’s Palace.”

 

Insults

The Horde come in for some abuse behind their backs today, being described as “horrid Hordesmen” by a Sprigget, “mean people” by Cristolla, and “bullies” by a random villager, all when they’re not within earshot. A really weird Horde robot gets his own back by describing the villagers of Devlan as “cowards”.

 

Egg on your face?

I suppose this category ought to be resurrected, if only to record that Madame Razz manages to arrange for eggs to land on the heads of herself, Broom, a Sprigget, Kowl and Bow. Kowl even makes the “you’ve got egg on your face” joke. This is followed up with an enormous pancake falling on top of the whole sorry bunch of them. Madame Razz is going to be very tiresome indeed if she keeps this second-rate-Orko malarkey up.

Devlan 6
Bow: “Actually, this isn’t a bad hat.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Once Bow discovers that She-Ra is fighting Hordesmen in Devlan, he exclaims, “She might need us!” and charges off, obviously hoping that he can rescue She-Ra from mortal peril and perhaps get to sleep with her. This is wildly optimistic thinking on his part, since he doesn’t even get to Devlan before the battle is over.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a hugely simplistic story, which spends its first eight minutes (eight whole minutes out of twenty!) reintroducing the premise of the series, and demonstrating the characters again. Perhaps, of course, that’s what we need at this stage; it certainly wouldn’t have hurt for the viewers to see an easy story to remind them of the series premise. On the other hand, it’s not really very exciting, especially given it’s the exact same story as that stupid space pirates episode we saw in He-Man not awfully long ago. On the third hand, it is better than that He-Man episode. Let’s call this one a reasonable offering, and leave it there.

Episode 05 – Battle for Bright Moon

In which Skeletor comes up with one last hurrah.

The Eternian royal family are having dinner, telling Adora all about Orko, who I pray to God isn’t in this episode. The one good thing about having Madame Razz around is that presumably we need never see Orko again. Anyway, during the dinner, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Webstor and Kobra Khan bust into the Palace, disguising themselves as chefs. They bring Hordak with them, disguised as a cake. There seems to be no particular reason for these disguises, since they return to their normal appearances as soon as possible. Perhaps Hordak has a weird chef fetish. Nothing would surprise me about him at this point.

Bright Moon 1
Skeletor: “This may be my stupidest disguise yet.”

Anyway, the baddies kidnap Adora and escape, thanks to a singularly poor effort from Man-at-Arms and Teela. Skeletor then betrays Hordak, and sends him back to Etheria without Adora. Skeletor claims that this is because he has better use for the Princess of Eternia than Hordak, but shortly thereafter he reveals that he has absolutely no idea what to do with her, so clearly he’s just backstabbed Hordak for the sheer malevolent hell of it.

Skeletor orders Beast-Man to put Adora in the dungeon, a task which naturally he is incapable of carrying out. Adora quickly evades him and turns into She-Ra, then has an amusing battle with pretty much every single one of Skeletor’s warriors. He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela arrive just after She-Ra has finished fighting, and find her draped casually over a pillar. Teela demands to know who the hell this bimbo is, and He-Man introduces her as his “friend, She-Ra.” You can see cold fury in Teela’s eyes as she thinks she’s been jilted.

Bright Moon 2
Teela: “Don’t you know it’s not cool to bring your new girlfriend to meet the ex, He-Man?”

This irrelevant little interlude over, Adora returns to the Palace, where she explains to Randor and Marlena that she feels honour-bound to go back to Etheria and help to free it from the Horde’s oppression. With the help of the Sorceress, she and Spirit are transported back into the Whispering Woods. Adam and Cringer come too, because they know that really, all the viewers want to see is He-Man. Seeing a vast quantity of Horde flyers, they both adopt their alter-egos, in a really awkwardly cut-together sequence of their stock transformation animation.

He-Man and She-Ra find Glimmer, Bow, Queen Angela and Kowl planning to attack Castle Bright Moon, and drive the Horde out. She-Ra demonstrates that she has the power to talk to animals, and so she recruits a bear and some oversized rats to help them. He-Man seems quietly unconvinced about how useful these animals will be, but he stands back and lets Glimmer make an inspirational speech, after which all the rebels throw food in the air, as if they’re politely heckling.

Bright Moon 3
She-Ra: “Ah, he’s cute, guys! Can I keep him?”

The rebels approach Castle Bright Moon and demand its surrender, but naturally Hordak isn’t interested, and unleashes a vast array of robots and machines. These are destroyed by all the members of the Rebellion, in scenes designed to show us what they can do. The only notable talent demonstrated is from She-Ra, who finds that she is capable of healing wounds just by touching them. She’s quite useful to have around, even if she is incredibly patronising.

That evening, the rebels celebrate their successful re-capture of Castle Bright Moon, and reinstall Angela as Queen. He-Man departs for Eternia, but She-Ra is aware that Etheria is still in danger from the Horde, so she determines to stay. She leaps onto Swift Wind, and flies off dramatically. He-Man watches her go, and thinks, “Christ, what a poser.”

Bright Moon 4
She-Ra: “Look at me! EVERYBODY. LOOK AT ME.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Again, we aren’t blessed with any pearls of wisdom, so I’ll substitute my own. It’s a piece of advice aimed at She-Ra’s voice actor: if you go around talking really slowly and deliberately, as if you think children are moronically stupid, then they will hate you. And so will I.

 

Excuse given for Adam and Adora’s disappearances

Adam doesn’t bother with an excuse. On the other hand, He-Man gives She-Ra a lesson in being super-evasive; when Teela asks where Adora is, She-Ra stumbles for an answer. He-Man leaps in with, “Oh, she’s safe,” a statement that She-Ra repeats like an idiot. Bizarrely, Teela accepts this as gospel truth, despite the fact that she’s got absolutely no idea who She-Ra is, and He-Man couldn’t possibly know where Adora is at this stage. Teela is a complete moron.

Bright Moon 6
He-Man: “Now, this is really important, She-Ra. Don’t tell Teela about your secret identity. Just don’t. No reason why not, obviously. But don’t.”

 

Character checklist

I might as well copy out the entire character list from He-Man.org for this one. Let’s see: there’s Adora, She-Ra, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Spirit, Swift Wind, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Queen Angella, Madame Razz, Broom, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Kobra Khan, Webstor, some Horde Troopers, some Palace Guards, some random rebels, and the bear and the giant rats. No Orko though, much to my relief.

 

Insults

It’s a pretty vicious script this week. Webstor kicks things off by calling the Eternian Palace Guards “suckers”, and Skeletor follows this up by calling Webstor and Kobra Khan “clods”, “nincompoops” and “beebrains”. The first of these seems particularly unfair, since it comes at a moment they’ve actually done something right. Skeletor also finds time for an old favourite, referring to Beast-Man as “furface”. It’s nice to see that some things never change.

Bright Moon 7
Palace Guard: “I am contractually obliged to order you to stop, even though I know I’m completely useless.”

Adora’s insult for Beast-Man is less effective: “fangs”. While I admit he does have fangs, it’s hardly insulting. She’s going to have to work harder at this, and indeed in her She-Ra guise she manages to summon up the more apposite “bonebrain” for Skeletor. Other characters similarly have harsh words for Skeletor, including “villain” from Man-at-Arms and “traitor” from Hordak.

Hordak opts for the tired old “fool” when insulting Queen Angela, and He-Man achieves the surprising “jarhead” for Hordak. The award for oddest insult, though, has to go to Skeletor, who spends some time trying to get through to King Randor on the wireless radio, seemingly only in order to call him a “royal boob”.

Bright Moon 8

 

Oh No, Bow!

Towards the end of the episode, Bow rescues Madame Razz and a weird green thing from a Horde Trooper. This in itself is a sufficiently stupid action to warrant an inclusion in this category, but after he does so, he stands on a very tall pillar and leaps off. We never see him again in the episode after that. I know that he landed safely, as all Filmation characters who leap from tall objects do, but I prefer to imagine that he landed in a mangled heap and had to be carted off to A & E.

 

Does it have the Power?

Because I’m feeling generous today, and also because Hordak didn’t make any snorting noises, then I’ll say that yes it does. It’s really nice to see a good send-off for Skeletor and co., something which you’ll recall we were largely robbed of in the He-Man series. The bit with the chef disguises was a suitable reminder of all the demented schemes Skeletor has come up with over the years, and I loved the wonderfully in-character moment when Skeletor betrayed Hordak.

Bright Moon 5
Skeletor: “Am I really being retired in favour of that idiot Hordak?”

Taken as a whole, these five episodes have been an effective introduction to She-Ra, especially the character of its eponymous heroine. We’ve seen her go from evil Horde member to hero of the Rebellion, which is quite a character arc. She is voiced by an incredibly irritating woman though, so I hope some improvements are made there.

So we understand the series set-up and its villains quite well. Hordak and Shadow Weaver get a showing today, though neither distinguishes themselves particularly. At least they aren’t annoying. We have also had a short introduction to the series heroes, but I feel there’s room to grow here. For a film essentially acting as a series pilot, what we’ve seen has focussed far more on the heroic characters we already know, rather than the new ones we’ll be spending time with for the next 88 episodes.

Bright Moon 9
Glimmer: “Do you think we’ll get any development in this series?”

But perhaps I’m crazy for wanting to spend more time with Bow, Glimmer and Madame Razz. I expect this time next week I’ll be pining to see Man-at-Arms and Teela again.

Episode 04 – Reunions

In which Glimmer, Madame Razz and Broom unleash the full extent of their infuriating natures.

Hurrah! We finally get the full introduction sequence. Adora approaches the camera, introduces herself, and explains how she becomes She-Ra (by drawing her sword and crying, “For the Honour of Grayskull!”, in case you’ve forgotten). She also reminds us that Spirit becomes Swift Wind, and informs us that her secret is shared by Kowl, a glowing mass of energy called Light Hope, and that bloody Madame Razz. Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna and Leech are shown to us to represent the Horde, and we are reminded that they are evil. All of this information is dispensed in an enormously patronising tone, and thus I much preferred it when there was no introduction.

After a lengthy recap of last week’s events, we open with He-Man and She-Ra hanging out in a clearing in Whispering Woods. Evidently not being quite sure whether he believes She-Ra’s claim that she is his twin sister, He-Man uses She-Ra’s sword to contact the Sorceress, who confirms that it is true, and moreover embarks on a flashback to fill He-Man in on the story.

Reunions 1
She-Ra: “Listen, He-Man, have you ever seen Blood Brothers? It’s basically like that.”

Adam and Adora were born to Queen Marlena and King Randor, but soon after their births, the Palace of Eternia came under attack from an evil force from another dimension – the Horde. Hordak was their leader even then, and Skeletor was his subordinate and favourite pupil. Knowing Adam and Adora were destined for greatness, Hordak and Skeletor crept into the Palace to kidnap them. Interrupted mid-kidnap, Hordak escaped with Adora, abandoning Skeletor to the tender mercies of the royal family and Man-at-Arms. Despite a lengthy search, Hordak and Adora could not be found.

Reunions 3
Hordak: “It’s always embarrassing looking back at old photos and seeing the dorky fashions you used to think were cool.”

Once all this backstory has been related, He-Man asks She-Ra for a big hug. I’ve often found He-Man a little creepy, and never more so than now. Once that’s over with, they turn back into Adam and Adora and return to the rebel camp. With Adam vouching for her, the rebels are easily persuaded that Adora is now on their side.

With this resolved, we move on to a short subplot: Queen Angela of Bright Moon, where Glimmer comes from, disappeared during a major battle with the Horde, and it has been determined that she is now a slave to an individual called Hunger, the queen of the Harpies of Talon Mountain, or some such. Glimmer, who is Angela’s daughter, wants to rescue her, and Adora and Adam offer to do so. They turn back into their alter egos, and fly off on Swift Wind.

Despite a great deal of footage featuring Hunger and the other Harpies screeching their idiot heads off, He-Man and She-Ra have very little difficulty in carrying out their rescue mission. Returning to Whispering Woods, Angela and Glimmer have as touching a reunion as is possible when you’re both voiced by massively irritating actresses. Despite the high level of fury Glimmer and Angela inspired in me at this point, they are still upstaged by Madame Razz, who weeps buckets for no reason.

Reunions 2
Queen Angela: “Why don’t you have wings like me, Glimmer?”

Touched by the mother-and-daughter reunion, Adora decides that now would be a good time to visit Eternia and meet her own parents. She, Adam, Spirit and Cringer all return to Eternia through the Sorceress’ gateway, where Adora is introduced to her parents – as well as Man-at-Arms and Teela – and they all weep so much that it looks like their eyes have been replaced with taps. Randor even tells Adam that he’s really pleased with him for bringing Adora home, which has to be a first.

Reunions 4
King Randor: “Hurrah! A child who might not be as useless as Adam.”

Unbeknownst to them, Hordak has opted to come through the gateway as well. Once on Eternia, he makes his way to Snake Mountain, where he has a slanging match with Skeletor, followed by a short battle. Finally, the two agree to work together to recapture Adora, after which Hordak promises to leave Skeletor in peace. He also snorts like a demented pig for our delight and delectation, as the words ‘To be continued’ flash across our screen.

 

In today’s adventure…

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise, but there is no moral again. I, however, did pick up a few helpful life hints from the episode, chief among them being that if I go through an interdimensional portal, I should always check behind me in case my mortal enemy has come too.

Reunions 5
Skeletor: “Check out my big stupid stick, Hordak.”

 

Character checklist

Everyone and his mother is invited to this party. We’ve got Adora, She-Ra, Spirit, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Queen Angela, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Sorceress, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Hunger the Harpy, Skeletor, and loads of Horde Troopers, rebels, etc. I may well have forgotten someone from this list, but it’s probably the largest cast in any episode so far.

 

Excuse given for Adam and Adora’s disappearances

Adora and Adam happily turn into She-Ra and He-Man and back again repeatedly in this episode, but only in each other’s company, and mostly offscreen, luckily. They therefore don’t give any excuses. Still, the subject is touched upon shortly before they go to Eternia, when Adam explains that Adora mustn’t tell Randor and Marlena about her secret identity, or that of He-Man. Instead of saying, “Well, why the bloody hell not?”, Adora simply agrees. That’s a missed opportunity for the writers to explain that one. Unless, of course, the writers can’t explain that one.

Reunions 6
The Sorceress: “No, I will not explain why your identities have to be secret. There definitely is a reason though.”

 

Insults

The Sorceress kicks things off by referring to Hordak as a “vicious tyrant”. The next insults come with Bow and Glimmer each calling each other a “fool”, and Queen Angela calls the Harpies “vile minions”. Hunger is the most prolific insulter of the episode, given she shouts at her Harpies when they fail, calling them “blunderers” and “birdbrains”, then turns her attention to He-Man and She-Ra with “fools” and “dolts”. In his final scene, Hordak calls Skeletor a “traitor to the Horde”, and refers to Adam and Adora as “Eternian fools”. It’s good to see that this cartoon is going to continue the obsession with fools.

 

Oh No, Bow!

In his only scene, Bow doesn’t want to rescue Queen Angela because he thinks the rebels aren’t strong enough to defeat the Harpies. He’s completely wrong, of course, given He-Man and She-Ra manage it within three minutes.

Reunions 7
Bow: “Don’t undermine me, Kowl.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s nice to get the full story behind the Horde’s kidnapping of Adora, and particularly fun to see a vague origin for Skeletor – who’d have thought he was a former pupil of Hordak? It’s a great decision for Skeletor and Hordak to now hate each other; it would have been rather too neat if they’d been allies, and it’s far more in character for Skeletor to refuse to share power with anyone.

I’m not quite sure why the Queen Angela bit was here, as it didn’t feel relevant to the rest of the episode’s story. Still, as part of a complete film, it possibly makes more sense. We’ll have to find out next week. As it stands, it’s simply another demonstration of how annoying Glimmer and Madame Razz are.

And speaking of annoying, Hordak’s pig noises are really beginning to get on my tits now. His habit of transforming himself into machinery (in this episode, he becomes a rocket, a drill, and uses his stupid arm cannon again) is also not as funny as the writers evidently think it is. I feel that this cartoon could be a really long slog if Hordak doesn’t get a better voice and character soon.

Episode 03 – She-Ra Unchained

In which Hordak creates a weapon with an oddly specific fuel requirement.

In the Fright Zone, Hordak introduces Shadow Weaver, Mantenna and the newly re-brainwashed Adora to his new weapon, the Magna Beam Transporter. This is a device which can teleport anything or anyone into the Valley of the Lost, a location from which no one has ever returned. Once the Magna Beam reaches full power, Hordak intends to use it to transport the entirety of Whispering Woods into the Valley, taking Rebel HQ with it.

Unchained 1
Mantenna: “I have the feeling I’m going to be called ‘bug-eyes’ about a million times over the course of this series.”

Despite knowing that Adora’s loyalties are somewhat in question at the moment, Hordak takes the time to explain to her exactly how the Magna Beam works, and shows her the control room. This is presumably so that later she knows what to destroy. Stupidly, Hordak has designed the Magna Beam to be powered by the willpower of rebels, a finite resource that is difficult to obtain. Surely he could have arranged for it to charge via a USB port? Anyway, in order to bring the Magna Beam to full power, it is necessary for the Horde to go out and capture lots of rebels.

In Whispering Woods, Adam announces that he’s going back to the Fright Zone to complete his mission, not that the rest of the Rebellion know what his mission is. Turning into He-Man, he nicks a Horde Trooper’s armour and dons it as a disguise. Unfortunately, he doesn’t pay sufficient attention and leaves his hair sticking out of his helmet, which makes it easy to Shadow Weaver to identify him. She and Hordak conclude that he will be the ideal source of willpower for the Magna Beam.

Unchained 2
Shadow Weaver: “It wasn’t just the hair that identified He-Man. It was also the swagger.”

Once inside the Fright Zone, He-Man locates Adora, and tries to give her another pep talk. Adora, however, simply arrests him, leading to his capture by Hordak and Shadow Weaver. He-Man is placed in the Magna Beam Charger (which is – in the interests of cheap animation – a glass box), where his willpower is set to work on the Magna Beam. Hordak, however, makes the mistake of leaving him in the Charger overnight, with no guards.

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He-Man: “I know some people like to keep me ‘mint in box’, but this is ridiculous.”

In her bed, Adora is troubled by dreams, eventually waking as her power sword magically summons her. She pops down to the Magna Beam Charger Room, where she finds her sword, and through the gemstone embedded in its hilt, she converses with the Sorceress, who chooses this moment to make a shock revelation. Adora and Adam are twins; the Horde stole Adora as a baby, and brainwashed her. The Sorceress fades away, with the enigmatic phrase, “For the Honour of Grayskull.”

Adora holds her power sword above her head and repeats the phrase, resulting in some awesome funky 80s beats, and a light show far in excess of anything He-Man gets. She transforms into She-Ra, and rescues He-Man from the Magna Beam Charger. It’s too late though, because the Magna Beam has already reached full capacity. Things get worse when Hordak shows up, and he’s evidently very cross, because today he’s transformed both his arms into cannons.

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She-Ra: “Has anyone done a Health & Safety assessment for all these fireworks?”

He-Man easily stops Hordak activating the Magna Beam, and destroys it for good measure, while She-Ra heads off to get help from the other rebels. En route, she leaps onto her horse Spirit, who magically transforms into a flying unicorn called Swift Wind. She-Ra then circles back to rescue He-Man, who has been surrounded by some Horde Troopers. Hordak watches them go, and cries, “Oh, they’re getting away!” in a voice that sounds slightly orgasmic and eerily reminiscent of Matt Berry’s Mr Reynholm.

 

In today’s adventure…

There’s still no moral lessons being dispensed, but once again, we can learn from the mistakes of the characters. This week, we learned that if you have captured the Most Powerful Man in the Universe and put him in a glass box, you should guard him in case his brainwashed twin sister shows up and ruins your day.

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She-Ra: “Who’s this hunk of manly goodness? Oh, it’s my brother. Bollocks.”

 

Character checklist

Big day today – we meet She-Ra! Nice to see that, three episodes into her series, she’s actually bothered to turn up. There’s also Adora, Spirit, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Madame Razz, the green people, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, the Sorceress, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Mantenna, some Horde Troopers and some rebel prisoners.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam turns into He-Man while lurking about in the forest, with no one to even realise he’s gone. Thus he doesn’t need to give an excuse.

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Prince Adam: “To be honest, Glimmer, by this stage I’m just keen to get back to Eternia, which I’ll admit isn’t exactly a normal place but at least the trees don’t look like candy floss.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Hurrah! A new section! Not a very exciting one, though: Adora doesn’t give an excuse. But since she didn’t know what was going to happen, I think it’s fair enough.

 

Insults

Hordak refers to the entire Rebellion as “pests” and “worthless”, and also considers a bunch of his Horde Troopers to be “incompetent fools”. He relatively mildly addresses a nameless rebel as “foolishly misguided,” to which the rebel responds by calling him an “evil tyrant” and refers to the entire Horde as a “criminal crew”.

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Hordak: “Yeah, sure, having cannons for arms is quite handy in some circumstances, but people do tend to laugh at me in the Fright Zone canteen when I have trouble eating my sandwiches.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

When Adam heads off to the Fright Zone, Bow starts making a poncey speech about standing together in the Rebel Brotherhood. Adam immediately interrupts him and tells him to shut up. Gutted, Bow.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s the first episode of She-Ra to which I can give an unequivocal thumbs-up, and possibly not coincidentally, it’s an episode which doesn’t have much Madame Razz or Glimmer in it. This one doesn’t seem to matter that it’s part of a larger story; it’s got a self-contained plot all to itself, concerning the Magna Beam, against which the bigger picture of Adora becoming She-Ra unfolds.

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She-Ra: “Christ, Swift Wind, I didn’t realise you’d have such a terrifying voice.”

The She-Ra transformation is suitably dramatic, and it’s great to finally see Adora shake off the Horde’s control and realise her destiny. It also must have been hugely exciting when this first aired to find that He-Man has a twin sister. All in all, I’m happy to say that this one’s very good, except for Hordak, who is still a snorting pig and thus rather detracts from the whole thing.