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.

13 thoughts on “Episode 06 – Duel at Devlan

  1. Well, rather nice one for opening the “regular one” of the series. Interesting to notice, that Dylamug (the “walking head” robot with a bunch of vacuum tubes on the top – really, seems that Horde’s tech stuck in pre-transistor age!) of all demonstrated the most common sense; after receiving pie in his face from child, he just simply left. I really liked how the author clearly demonstrated, that while he obviously a big jerkass, he does NOT want to actually harm a child. Refreshing view on evil robots, must admit!

    The situation with haverster was actually just a huge embarrassment. First two undisciplined Horde Troopers left potentially dangerous machinery without observation. Then She-Ra, instead of just holding harvester until Cristolla is safe, angrily wrecked the completely innocent mechanism, which just worked according to program! As a men, related to agriculture (plant selection, to be exact), I found this demeanor rather insulting!

    Horde Troopers badly trained & undisciplined, as usual. While Dylamug demonstrated SOME understanding of tactics, it’s obviously pretty poor. His attempt to outflank She-Ra while pinning her under the fire might work, but the poorly coordinated attacks of his subordinates messed the whole thing.

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    1. I also like Dylamug a bit. I think that he was somewhat funny and scarry, while he had somme common sense too.

      Concerning the Horde Troopers, they were not only badly trained and undisciplined,
      they were cowards. I mean: They flew and refused to seriously fight against the villagers in the end. What kind of army is the Horde? It seems to me those Hordsmen were amateurs.

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      1. Looks like they are third-rate Horde troopers on occupation duty on relatively peaceful planet. Like German troops in Denmark during World War 2, where the resistance actions were rather limited, and the probability of rebellion was low.

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  2. P.S. And, of course, Madame Razz spell count. Today she attempted two spells, both for creating breakfast:

    * The egg spell – while I could argue, that technically this was the spell to create eggs, and eggs actually appeared, the intended goal was to create eggs for breakfast. In that, it’s an obvious failure. So, failure.

    * The pancake spell – the effect was not completely intended, but as Bow demonstrated, the pancake itself was perfectly edible & actually quite good. So the goal – to provide a breakfast – was achieved. So, I call this spell as “spell, that worked”.

    Now to count the total number so far:

    A) Flawless spells – 1 (one)

    B) Spells, that worked – 3 (three)

    C) Failed spells – 2 (two)

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  3. A pretty reasonable effort this one I thought, as dilandu said altho were 6 episodes in this is technically the first full she ra stand alone episode, yeah without being outstanding a pretty good start just like he mans diamond ray of disappearance I’m always willing to cut a bit of slack as it’s the she ra pilot, a story of a theme that is going to be quite common throughout the series she ra trying to install some confidence in to the villages while at the same time getting them to stand up to the horde and there bullying tactics it’s certainly not on the he man level for me but for the first she ra episode I’d also give it a thumbs up and worth a watch, it’s interesting to hear all the villagers and you can see how scared they are of the horde at first, the story it wanted to put across was a triumph and didn’t dissapoint, I feel there will be many better she ra episodes than this and also many worse but overall tho I’d also recommend it being worth a look..

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  4. If that episode were an He-man episode, I would say that “Duel at Devlan” is a far under average He-man episode. I also think that this episode is one of the worst episode of the Shera series. Also, this episode was a classical rebellion story and seemed to me like a reset of what had been done before.

    For me, this episode was clearly not enough entairtaining. There was not enough action and the action was bad. I mean: Shera saved a girl in distress, but it didn’t interest me because this is something very common in the He-man series. He-man indeed had saved some children in distress (for example the starchild.). The fight with the haverster was far too short. And Shera fought against the Horde only one minute in the end, which was clearly not long enough. Also the fight between the villagers and the Horde was far too short. Plus the villagers managed to beat the Hordesmen while they were armed with only batons, pies and floor bags? Thus, for me the fight villagers VS the Hordesmen wasn’t a serious fight. Also, there was not enough suspense. (Except Shera being stunned in the end.). However, I liked Dylamug a bit. I think that he was somewhat funny and scarry.

    Also, there was very little character development and characterization in this episode.
    I liked a bit Shera but her idea to use untrained villagers against Dylamug and his hordsmen doesn’t really make sense to me. I mean: Even if the villagers had won, they couldn’t withstand a counterattack of the Horde’s reenforcements and Shera and the rebellion couldn’t always protect Devlan.
    Also, Bow and Glimmer had almost no screentime. They did nothing. There was no cooperation between Glimmer, Bow and Shera. Thus, the rebels didn’t look like a real rebellion.
    Also, there was too much of Madame Razz, which I disliked.
    The villagers’ political POV was somewhat interesting, but since those characters were never reused in the Shera series, I felt it was a waste of time for character development.
    To conlude this paragraph, “Duel at Devlan” had clearly not enough character development for me.

    Also, this episode seemed to me in conflict with itself: The writer seemed to want a fantasy cartoon while he also seemed to want cuty stuff for little girls (Frosta, the Twigetts, Madame Razz and her tricks.)

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    1. I agree with you, Jean-Paul – this episode is not very good. It’s basically like the series in on autopilot, running through all the standard story beats without doing anything original or, as you say, developing the characters.

      In its defence, as the first regular episode, it does reestablish the premise reasonably well, but that’s all it’s got going for it really.

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  5. Also, I have another issue about the Shera series and this episode:

    In the Shera series, the Horde are rather always the bad guys. Except Skeletor, I cannot remember of a bad guy living outside the Horde. Thus, I personnaly think that it makes the story too monotonous.

    On the contrary, in the He-man series, Skeletor and his minions
    are not the only bad ones. For example, there are: Count Marzo, Kothos, Negator, Shagora, Shokoti, Lady Edwina and many others, and they had nothing to do with Skeletor. Thus, I think that it is good thing and it makes the He-man series more entairtaining than in the Shera series. I personally think that it is indeed important to have some bad guys diversity in an adventure cartoon (For example like in the japanese animes “The mysterious cities of gold.” or “La Seine no hoshi”.).

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  6. @Owenmorton

    “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. ”

    Yeah perhaps Bow wants to sleep with Shera but it’s not only that.
    The point is that Bow is a brave person and is a loyal person, thus he does want to help his comrade.

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      1. I don’t know. Maybe…

        Also, Bow is not the only one to have possible sleazy motives.
        Don’t forget the girls too:
        You have Frosta in “Sweet Bee’s Home” who had sleazy motives on He-man. Castapella seemed to have possible sleazy motives on Adam in the “The Eldritch Mist”. And Glimmer (and Queen Angela?) also seemed to have possible sleazy motives on Adam in “Just the Way You Are”.

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      2. There’s certainly a lot more implied romance on the She-Ra series than in the He-Man one, and you’re right on all the quoted examples. I just find Bow a little creepier than any of them. I think it’s because it’s such a recurrent theme, whereas Frosta, Castaspella and Glimmer all seem to have a brief crush that fades after the episode’s end. Bow, by contrast, seems to not be able to take no for an answer! (Though I admit, I don’t recall She-Ra or Adora ever specifically telling him she’s categorically not interested.)

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  7. @Owenmorton

    “I just find Bow a little creepier than any of them.”
    Understood.

    “whereas Frosta, Castaspella and Glimmer all seem to have a brief crush that fades after the episode’s end. ”
    Concerning Glimmer, in episode 1, it seemed to me that she did like Adam when she first met him. Also, in “Just the Way You Are”, her crush on Adam seemed to me serious.
    Concerning Frosta and Castapella, anyway they are minor characters, so yeah, the situation is different from Bow’s situation.

    Yeah, I also don’t remember that She-ra or Adora ever specifically telling Bow that she was not interested. In fact, she did the contrary like in “The Laughing Dragon”, where she kissed Bow for no reason. Also, in “The Bibbet Story”, it was clear that Adora was attracted by Bow.

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