In which Bow confirms that he’s going to be a very tedious presence throughout the series.
Adora, Glimmer, Bow and Kowl are riding through a dark and mysterious forest, on their way to a rebels’ fair. A rebels’ fair sounds like an unlikely concept, and when they arrive, it proves to be ridiculous. En route, however, Mantenna, Leech and Scorpia leap out of hiding and attack, easily getting the better of all of our heroes. They are rescued by an individual in red armour, who introduces himself as the Red Knight. It would be nice if he put a little effort into his voice, which is the flattest monotone I’ve ever heard, but we’ll let that pass.
Our incompetent heroes arrive at the rebels’ fair, where various rebels – including Queen Angela of Bright Moon – have set up stalls, and are presumably selling rebellious products. What the hell is the point of a rebels’ fair? As far as I can see, it’s just an opportunity for all the rebels to get together, thus allowing the Horde the opportunity to blast them off the face of Etheria. The Horde are even aware of the fair, since Hordak’s stupid pet, Imp, is present.
Queen Angela thinks she recognises the Red Knight’s voice, but the Red Knight vows that his identity shall remain a secret until all of Hordak’s evil forces are defeated. I was pretty confident we’d find out at the end of the episode who he was, but we actually didn’t. It’s a mystery that we are left to ponder. Still, we aren’t given much opportunity to wonder about the Red Knight’s identity at this stage, since a runaway horse and wagon threatens to destroy the fair.
Bow and the Red Knight each make an effort to stop the horse, but – in keeping with his usual degree of competence – Bow fails, and the Red Knight saves the day. Once that’s dealt with, the male rebels all have a race. I can’t get over how stupid this all is. Why aren’t they out rebelling, instead of having athletics competitions? And why aren’t the girls allowed to play? Maybe this is just something to keep idiots like Bow distracted, while She-Ra and Glimmer plan the important stuff.
Well, if you’ll believe it, the Red Knight wins the race, and Bow loses. As he watches She-Ra award the prize to the Red Knight, Bow goes all Orko on us and storms off in a hissy fit. After an indeterminate space of time, She-Ra goes looking for him, and finds him feeling sorry for himself by a campfire. She remarkably easily persuades him that there’s no shame in losing, and he apologises for being a tosser.
In the meantime, there’s a subplot in which Imp goes barrelling along to tell Hordak all about the fair, and Hordak comes along with his mates to ruin the fun. They succeed in capturing Glimmer, Queen Angela and the Red Knight, but meet a sticky end when She-Ra and Bow reappear. Once that’s all over, the Red Knight congratulates Bow on how awesome he was in fighting the Horde, and then they all have a chuckle over some mindless joke.
In today’s adventure…
Again, I didn’t see Loo-Kee this week. My excuse is that he was facing away from the camera, and I didn’t know what the back of his head looks like. I do now, so I shall definitely get him next time. Anyway, he dispenses the predictable rubbish about winning or losing not mattering, so long as you do your best. He could have also casually mentioned that Bow is a moron.
After last week not bothering to show us many of the rebels, we get a fair whack of them today. There’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Queen Angela, the Red Knight, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna, Scorpia, Leech, and Imp.
Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance
“This looks like a job for She-Ra,” says Adora, and scarpers, on the occasion of her first transformation. She does make a similar comment when it comes to the second time, but I didn’t note it down, and I’m certainly not going to go back and check.
Mantenna gets a few moments in the spotlight early on, calling the Red Knight an “oversized tin can” and dispensing the slightly odder insult “Glimmer girl” to Glimmer. From here, it all goes downhill for him, though, with the Red Knight referring to him as a “villain”, and Hordak calling him the much harsher “brainless boob”. Hordak also calls the rebels “fools”, Imp a “nasty little nit”, and refers to Scorpia, Mantenna and Leech as “dolts”.
Oh No, Bow!
As I’m sure you can imagine, this entire episode is basically one long Oh No, Bow. Still, specific points include:
- In the forest, Bow takes fright at a frog, and falls into a pond. Adora and Glimmer laugh at him. Instead of getting out of the pond, Bow just sits there and laughs as well. I don’t feel qualified to guess how long this sorry state of affairs would have continued, if Leech hadn’t been lurking in the pond.
- Bow attempts to stop the runaway wagon, but completely fails. Entertainingly, at the moment he realises his plan has failed, the animators show his face lose its smug smirk and develop a confused “oh, bollocks” kind of look.
- After the wagon incident, Adora tries to reassure him that even though he made a massive hash of it, he’s still done very brave things in the past. Bow is arrogant enough to respond, “That’s true.” Wow. I’m all for self-confidence, but this is excessive.
- The entire race is peppered with minor moments where Bow cocks up.
- And finally, the running away bit is infuriating and – as far as I can tell, this early in the series – out of character.
Does it have the Power?
I’m confident that this was a really poor showing. The only thing I liked about it was that we didn’t find out who the Red Knight was by the end of the episode; I don’t remember any other occasion where we had some kind of mystery that spanned multiple episodes. I’m assuming, of course, that we will eventually find out who the Red Knight is; if we don’t, it’ll simply be incredibly frustrating.
The rest of the episode was all over the place. We’ll start with a quick discussion of the rebels’ fair, which is an incredibly poorly thought-out concept. The notion that all the rebels come to a fair, held at a location without any magical protection, is ludicrous. Hordak says it best: “the fools are so busy with their silly celebration that they’ll never know what hit them.”
For all his incompetence, I’d never pegged Bow as likely to be the one to play at being Orko and throw a tantrum. It’s not really done his character any favours, and frankly, it’s not a plotline that needed resurrecting. In complete fairness, it’s better than the billions of times Orko ran away, but not much.
My final comment is to note that She-Ra lets Hordak go, rather than taking a golden opportunity to lock him up, and I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the whole Horde plotline seemed tacked on to add at least a minor sense of jeopardy to an episode that wasn’t really working. All in all, I think you could safely skip this one, unless at some point in the future the Red Knight becomes massively relevant, in which case I’d retrospectively recommend you do watch this one after all.