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.

Unchained 3
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.

Unchained 4
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”.

Unchained 7
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.

16 thoughts on “Episode 03 – She-Ra Unchained

  1. //. 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. //

    Actually, it was pretty good demonstration of Murphy’s Law role in any military operation. It is basically stated, that Adam disguise WOULD work, if not for such small, unforeseen details as some hairs stuck in helmet seam. Oh, how many secret operations in history were absolutely ruined because of such small details…

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  2. No Madame Razz spells in this episode, so the last count (from the Episode 02 – Beast Island) still stand:

    A) Flawless spells – 1 (one)

    B) Spells, that worked – 2 (two)

    C) Failed spells – 1 (one)

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  3. I agree with you Owen, this episode has an into the abyss or problem with power feel to it it’s much deeper, this is the first episode of she ra where I thought wow!! One of the chosen few of the 93 episodes that is a match for the top he man episodes which isn’t very many this however is one of them, absolutely superb! And agreed hordaks voice although doesn’t personally bother me too much definetly sounds like a snorting pig!! This episode had to tie up many things but it’s adoras very first transformation too into she ra when she adora says “no my brother” you can feel the emotional depth and this for me is where this episode really triumphs without question one of the very best she ra episodes..

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    1. //And agreed hordaks voice although doesn’t personally bother me too much definetly sounds like a snorting pig!! //

      Well, considering the shape of his head – especially his nose – this is actually pretty… realistic behavior.

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  4. Yeah hordaks an okay baddie but just seems cheap next to skeletor ! Although I havnt seen every she ra episode the 3 episodes I found to be far above all the others (even this one she ra unchained) and it’s no coincidence there all she ra crossover episodes ie ones with he man in and they are the price of freedom, into the dark dimension and the hilarious horde prime takes a holiday it just shows how good he man was his appearance in any she ra episode even an average one gives it an immediate lift! No doubt tho of the 5 she ra episodes from the secret of the sword film this was for me the strongest! As you say dilandu in regards to Madame razz it’s pretty clear she’s the orko of she ra ie the spells and tricks that sometimes go right or wrong so I guess just like orko Madame razz in the same way is going to divide the audience..

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  5. If that episode were an He-man episode, I would say that “She-ra unchained” is a average He-man episode.

    For me, this episode was somewhat entairtaining. I mean: There was not enough action, because He-man and She-ra fought the Horde only 3 minutes in the end, which was not enough. Also, there was some suspense and I liked Adam/He-man sneaking into the fright zone. Also the the Magna Beam subplot was interesting.

    Also, there was some character development. The buildup to the Shera revelation was well done. The She-Ra transformation was great and it was exciting to find that He-man had a twin sister. She-ra looked liked a Walkyrie Warrior. Also, the interactions between Adora and the Sorceress were interesting and dramatic.
    Also, I liked the revelation about Swift wind.
    Also, Shadow Weaver is the most competent magician we’ve seen so far (For me, she’s a more competent magician than Skeletor and Evelyn, since Shadow Weaver is not an impetuous person.). It seems to me that Shadow Weaver is a a student of magic.
    Also, Hordak was frightening for the first time (Because of the magan beam.), which was an improvement. I didn’t like Imp, to me, he is cartoon character.
    Also, there was nothing really new about the rebels. Bow was somewhat impetuous and Glimmer seemed a bit insecure, thus the rebels seemed to need a leader.

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  6. @ Owenmorton
    “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.”
    Agreed.
    Concerning the Sorceress, what she said to Adora was clear and dramatic, wasn’t it?
    I mean: I agree with you that what The Sorceress told to Adam in episode 1 was too mysterious. But this time the Sorceress wasn’t mysterious and was really correct to Adora, wasn’t she?

    “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.”
    You forgot to mention that just before that Bow said “You should not go alone”.
    It seems to me that Bow only proposed to follow Adam into the Fright zone. Yeah, Bow was somewhat poncey, but except that, what is the problem?
    You also forgot to mention that later Bow politely said: ” You are a brave man Adam, I salute you. Good fortune speed you on your mission.” Then Adam bizarrely said “Yeah,..Well,thanks.” It seems to me that Adam was somewhat childish, wasn’t he?

    To finish, you compared Hordak to Skeletor in episode 1, but you never compared Shadow Weaver to Skeletor. I mean: Shadow Weaver and Skeletor are both magicians, even if Shadow Weaver is not a leader while Skeletor is. Also, I personally think that Shadow Weaver is a better magician than Skeletor (Because she is less impetuous than Skeletor.), but maybe I’m wrong. What’s your opinion about it?

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  7. Jean Paul there’s many good points that I agree with your thoughts and thinking but also plenty I personally don’t that I wanted to reply myself with my own thoughts so I’ll try to answer the most of it firstly to answer your question he man does not appear in into the dark dimension episode virtually the entire episode is between just hordak and she ra maybe the cross over episode your thinking if is horde prime takes a holiday this has he man and she ra working together skeletor and hordak having a fight over horde princes ship and a great story both are fantastic episodes tho that I’d personally recommend anyway if that’s any help, but no he man is not in dark dimension episode! Back on to she ra unchained the things I didn’t agree on I can’t believe anyone can find this episodes just average, when you correctly say the action is only 3 minutes yes your factually correct but thus is by no means a bad thing, this particular episode isn’t about action at all it’s about adora’s journey and how she finally shakes off ties with the evil horde it us although it isn’t my absolute favourite and it doesn’t quite make my top 10 this is still one of the very best episodes and it probably is the most important episode in the entire series adoras first transformation into she ra, this episode could certainly stand with the best he man episodes in my humble opinion! When bow said to quote “your a brave man adam I salute you” that bit was fine I think it was the next bit when he said “good fortune speed you on your way” it sounded like to me someone out of downton abbey or something an that’s why I think adam replied in the way he did with “yeah… well thanks” ! How was he childish in saying this?? Regarding the sorceress I completely agree with you Jean Paul she certainly wasn’t talking in riddles then infact I think she was pretty direct and to the point as you said!! I think the sorceress became a lot more helpful later on in the series I would have to say this us one character that did improve in the season 2 series of he man going into she ra I’d gave tontake your point in season one she definetly started off alittle uncorropotive giving unhelpful advice she got more capable as the series grew I think! Finally on shadow weaver I agree partly, yes she’s a very capable sorceress and she looks frightening but she’s also capable of being extremely evil (watch the crystal castle eps if you like shadow weaver) I don’t personally see her being more capable than skeletor I personally couldn’t go that far but I agree she’s very competent inded and certainly could “go it alone” if you get my meaning! Skeletor and shadow weaver are both sorceress if you like these characters the episode shadows and skulls is a must see for you they combine there powers to defeat she ra and hordak, hope this helps!!

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    1. @ John Thompson
      “but no he man is not in dark dimension episode! ”
      Agreed.
      I misunderstood what you wrote before.

      ” I didn’t agree on I can’t believe anyone can find this episodes just average”
      Yeah, I was a bit rude with this episode. I think now that this episode is slighty above average. Also, I would have liked more about Glimmer and Bow in this episode and less about He-man. I mean: After all, there are going to be Adora’s supporting characters later in the series, aren’t they? Thus, they needed a good start in the Shera series and I would have liked more characterization about them in this episode, but it’s just my personal opinion.

      “when you correctly say the action is only 3 minutes yes your factually correct but thus is by no means a bad thing, this particular episode isn’t about action at all it’s about adora’s journey and how she finally shakes off ties with the evil horde”
      Well, this episode is about Adam’s journey too, how he sneaks into the Fright Zone and finally how he has a near-death experience. I agree that this episode isn’t about action, yet I would have liked more action with Shera kicking The horde’ asses. I mean: It seems to me that Adora had serious reasons to avenge on the Horde, didn’t she?
      Also, I think that He-man was too easily caught by Adora in the first part of the episode and that he was too naive with her. I personally would have like a bit more fighting in that part too.

      “When bow said to quote “your a brave man adam I salute you” that bit was fine I think it was the next bit when he said “good fortune speed you on your way” it sounded like to me someone out of downton abbey or something an that’s why I think adam replied in the way he did with “yeah… well thanks” ! How was he childish in saying this??”
      Well, it was the way Adam said “yeah … well thanks”. It sounded to me like Bow’s solidarity and encouragements had no real importance for Adam. Also, it seemed to me that Adam slightly laughed after his sentence. But I’m not sure. Maybe I’m wrong and you’re right.

      “Finally on shadow weaver I agree partly, yes she’s a very capable sorceress and she looks frightening but she’s also capable of being extremely evil (watch the crystal castle eps if you like shadow weaver) I don’t personally see her being more capable than skeletor I personally couldn’t go that far but I agree she’s very competent inded and certainly could “go it alone” if you get my meaning! Skeletor and shadow weaver are both sorceress if you like these characters the episode shadows and skulls is a must see for you they combine there powers to defeat she ra and hordak, hope this helps!!”
      I don’t like Shadow Weaver and I agree she’s evil. It’s just that she is more competent than Hordak and that she’s a magician, thus it makes more sense to me to compare her with Skeletor than to compare Hordak with Skeletor. I mean: I personally think that in the Shera series Hordak is dumber than Skeletor in the He-man series. Thus, why comparing Skeletor with a character like Hordak?
      Also, of course, I liked the episode “shadows and skulls”.

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  8. Don’t forget as well skeletor had at least three fights I can think if with hordak and skeletor won all of them!! Skeletor was a clown but when he had to be evil he could, I’d personally compare shadow weaver more with evil Lynn this was one character I would love to of seen on etheria she should if got An episode really surprised she didn’t, but for me hypothetically as in cartoons most of it is if skeletor and shadow weaver were to fight and skeletor was in a real bad ass mood (season one skeletor for instance) I don’t personally think there’d be a contest as I said he never lost to hordak and fought him on more than one occasion but as with everything it is just my opinion..

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  9. @ JohnThompson
    “Don’t forget as well skeletor had at least three fights I can think if with hordak and skeletor won all of them!!”
    Yeah, Skeletor won some fights against Hordak. But Skeletor didn’t win against Hordak in “Gateway to Trouble”, didn’t he?

    ” Skeletor was a clown but when he had to be evil he could, I’d personally compare shadow weaver more with evil Lynn this was one character I would love to of seen on etheria she should if got An episode really surprised she didn’t, but for me hypothetically as in cartoons most of it is if skeletor and shadow weaver were to fight and skeletor was in a real bad ass mood (season one skeletor for instance) I don’t personally think there’d be a contest as I said he never lost to hordak and fought him on more than one occasion but as with everything it is just my opinion..”
    Well, I only said that “she’s a more competent magician than Skeletor and Evelyn”, I never said that Shadow Weaver was tougher than Skeletor. Of course, Skeletor has his minions and his inventions (The Collector, his robots,…) which makes him thougher than Shadow Weaver.
    Concerning Skeletor’s competency and magic, MOUC season 2 Skeletor was often incompetent, wasn’t he? But I cannot remember Shadow Weaver being incompetent like that. Also, in season 1, Skeletor often needed Evelyn’s help, didn’t he?
    Also, Skeletor don’t always use his magic in the best way, doesn’t he? For example, in the “Shaping staff”, Skeletor used Faker against He-man while he should have used the shaping staff, wasn’t he? And Skeletor wanted to avenge on the Sorceress while she was defenseless, thus He-man took advantage of it, he unchained himself, he caught the staff and he broke it, didn’t he?
    Concerning Shadow Weaver and Evelyn, they have many things in common. But they have differences too. I mean: Evelyn is an impetuous person but Shadow Weaver is not. For example, in the “shaping staff”, Evelyn impetuously took the broken staff and thus transformed herself into a monster. Also, in “No Job Too Smal”, Evelyn thought she had won and she went to a party while she left her prisoners unguarded? On the other hand, I cannot remember Shadow Weaver behaving impetuously and making mistakes like Evelyn’s. Also, Evelyn wants to personally rule Ethernia, but I don’t think that Shadow Weaver wants to rule Etheria.
    To finish, to be fair, I would also compare Evelyn with Skeletor, I think that those two characters have many things in common too.

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  10. @ JohnThompson
    Last thing:
    I honnestly don’t know if Shadow Weaver’s magic is stronger than Skeletor’s magic or not and I don’t care about it.
    When I said “she’s a more competent magician than Skeletor and Evelyn”, I only meant that Shadow Weaver uses more efficiently her magic than Skeletor and Evelyn uses their magics. Did you understand what I said?

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  11. It’s cool an yes understood clearly, shadow weaver I would say is probably more intelligent than skeletor and a better thinker true! fair points that’s what it’s about, it’s all good..

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  12. Lots of good points going on here guys! I’m not going to respond to all of it but I would like to thank you both for all the thought and interest you’re taking here!

    With regard to the Bow/Adam thing, I think that Adam thought Bow was being a bit pompous, which is why he responded in this way. But it is actually a bit rude of Adam, and not what I’d really expect of him!

    And I agree that Shadow Weaver is probably better at magic than Evil-Lyn, though I would say Evil-Lyn is better at coming up with clever scheming plans. I also think that Shadow Weaver is loyal to Hordak, whereas it’s plain that Evil-Lyn would stab Skeletor in the back without a thought!

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    1. I agree owen on the evil lyn skeletor relationship completely and the shadow weaver hordak relationship too, I think shadow weaver I wouldn’t say complete loyalty but yes she has certainly some loyalty towards hordak, but evil lyn has absolutely no loyalty to skeletor whatsoever as shes mentioned on many many occasions (deimar the demon, coloossor awakes and the classic the witch and the warrior to name a few) your spot on owen I fell exactly the same way! slightly retracting on bow an adams exchange yeah I would say it probably was a bit of both looking back, as you say bow was alittle pompus which as you said I think prompted that response from adam but I would agree on adams end looking back on it now he was a bit rude an it was alittle unnecessary! I would loved to of seen evil lyn get an episode in she ra owen I wonder why she didn’t?? An evil lyn shadow weaver duel would of been something I think shades of evil lynn!!

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