Episode 26 – Book Burning

In which Adora and Bow put bags over their own heads.

Today’s episode opens in a school, where Serena the teacher tells the children they have some important guests. The guests turn out to be Adora and Bow, who are standing at the front of the classroom with bags over their heads. I’m assuming these bags are an attempt at a disguise, but this isn’t specified in the episode, and it’s always possible that the animators had one of their semi-regular holidays from reality. Anyway, Adora begins lecturing the children on how the Horde are evil.

Book 1
Serena: “Children, today we’re going to learn about how putting a bag over your head is at best a really rubbish disguise and at worst makes you look like a Klansman.”

She is interrupted by a child called Cory, who takes the Horde’s side, and thus a stimulating debate is sparked concerning the rights and wrongs of the Rebellion and the Horde. Well, I say ‘stimulating’. What I mean is that Cory says Adora’s lying, and Adora says the Horde are liars. This scintillating discussion goes round a few times before Bow gets bored and announces the Horde have arrived. He and Adora nip out the back quickly.

Leech and Mantenna enter the classroom, announcing that from now on, only official Horde books will be used as teaching material in the school. They start burning all Serena’s books, until Cory pipes up with the information that Adora and Bow have just departed. Leech and Mantenna give chase, but Adora and Bow put pay to them with some tedious antics involving a see-saw.

Book 2
Leech: “This is so not going to end well.”

This is all well and good, but it doesn’t change the fact that Hordak shortly arrives in town, demanding the people give up all their books to the snakelike Rattlor. He also appoints a new school teacher, the equally snakelike Tung Lashor. Tung Lashor is at least capable of speech, a skill which seems to evade Rattlor, so of the two, I suppose he’s a better choice for teacher. Still, the situation leaves much to be desired, as the townsfolk realise – except Cory, who cheers like a doofus. Hordak recognises that Cory is a corruptible moron, and appoints him to be a Horde spy.

The Horde confiscate all the books in town, except for some that Serena squirrels away. After hours, the children come to her house and read the now outlawed books. Cory dobs her in, of course, and Serena is arrested, but is very speedily freed by She-Ra. The two then make their way to the town square, but arrive too late to prevent Tung Lashor burning the books on a bonfire.

Book 3
Tung Lashor: “One of my few regrets in life is that I look nothing like my action figure.”

Tung Lashor then takes up his new post as teacher, but it isn’t long before the children stage a rebellion, hurl the new Horde textbooks at him, and run out of school. When Tung Lashor responds to this by threatening to send the children to school in the Fright Zone, two of them make a dash for the rebel camp, where they ask for help from Adora and Bow. Cory follows, and listens in as Adora promises to save the children.

Back at the town square, Tung Lashor and Rattlor begin loading the town’s children into a transport ship. Cory’s sister Arianne is among those taken, and when Cory tells Tung Lashor to release her, he is coldly informed the Horde has simply used him. Arianne is put on the transport with the other children, and Cory only just escapes the same fate. He finds Serena and admits that the Horde are liars after all, then confesses that he’s informed the Horde that the rebels will be coming to rescue the children.

Book 4
Cory: “Chief Moron Cory reporting for duty, sir.”

Adora and Bow sneak into town and easily board the transport ship, but are immediately captured. Adora is deprived of her sword and placed in the town jail, but Cory brings her sword to her, and she becomes She-Ra. She-Ra rescues Bow and the children, but Hordak shows up again and threatens to burn down the entire town if She-Ra and the children are not handed over. I was kind of expecting She-Ra to give herself up at this point, but instead she flies off to a lake, which she picks up and throws all the way back to the town. Yes, you did read that correctly.

By this stage, the Horde have set the entire town alight, but luckily the lake lands on the town and puts out the fire. Instead of simply lighting the fire again, Hordak accepts defeat and strops off back to the Fright Zone. She-Ra ties Tung Lashor up with his long tongue, and she and Bow have a disproportionately large laugh about the fact that the lake has rusted the Horde Troopers. Finally, Cory slinks along and apologises, and receives forgiveness from the entire town. Rejoice, rejoice.

Book 5
She-Ra: “Rusty robots really make me laugh.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Very late in the episode’s proceedings – so late that I assumed I’d missed him – I noticed Loo-Kee hiding in a bucket of pineapples, which must have been nice for him. His moral concerns freedoms and how we may not notice them until they are taken away, and of course he singles out books and the right to read whatever we wish. It’s a sensible moral, though my only criticism is what he particularly expected his audience to do about it. Perhaps he thought he was addressing North Korea or somewhere, and was recommending an easing of censorship.

 

Character checklist

Very few of our regular rebels appear this time: we’re limited to just Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow and Loo-Kee. We also see the many villagers, of course, not least Serena, Cory and his sister. The villains are Hordak, Tung Lashor, Rattlor, Mantenna, Leech, and the usual fine selection of Horde Troopers.

Book 6
Bow: “Hmm, a massive fire. Maybe I should do something with this bucket of water.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

We are treated to two transformations, but not to any excuses.

 

Insults

For such an action-packed episode, there was a surprising lack of insults.

 

Does it have the Power?

I really liked this one; in fact, it’s probably my favourite so far. It’s the first episode that’s really explored what life is like on Etheria for those under Horde oppression, and it really is astonishingly dark. The Horde can impose their own doctrine as truth in schools, take children to re-education centres in the Fright Zone, and burn down towns as punishment for non-compliance – all incredibly frightening stuff. Tung Lashor is an appropriately menacing presence; there’s no humour to him, and he’s disturbingly eager to set the town on fire and take away the children. Hordak also comes across well this week, seedily addressing the townsfolk as “friends”, pretending he’s there for their own good, and recognising Cory’s weakness and seducing him to betray his family and friends for power.

The message concerning the freedom to read books, to learn and decide matters for oneself is a great theme for the cartoon to tackle. Off the top of my head, I think the only move towards it we’ve previously had was He-Man’s The Great Books Mystery, which wasn’t nearly so much of a success. I suspect some people might consider She-Ra’s stupid lake trick at the end undermines the message, but I was happy with it. This episode is truly excellent.

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Episode 25 – Small Problems

In which She-Ra picks a fight with a weasel.

The episode begins with Glimmer rescuing Bow and Kowl from certain capture at the hands of Mantenna, and it’s very nice to see someone other than She-Ra achieving something. The success goes to Glimmer’s head, however, and on returning to the rebel camp, she starts boasting her ridiculous pink-haired head off about it. Adora, Bow and Kowl all agree that Glimmer needs putting back in her place. Unfortunately, the writers seem to have forgotten that before Adora came along, Glimmer was the leader of the Rebellion, so perhaps she’s just trying to recover her position.

Small 1
Glimmer: “Get lost, Adora, you usurper.”

Adora takes Glimmer off and tries to subtly persuade her to stop bragging, but since Adora has no conception of how to do subtle, it quickly degenerates into a raging row. This only comes to a halt when Bow reports that the Horde have set up a research base in Smalloak, and are working on a chemical weapon. Adora and Glimmer, barely on speaking terms, head to check it out.

When Adora and Glimmer reach the research facility, Glimmer tries to outperform Adora and instantly gets captured by some robots. Adora sighs heavily, transforms into She-Ra, and comes to the rescue. Glimmer then wastes time relating her boastful story to She-Ra, allowing Catra time to show up and spray them with the Horde’s new chemical weapon, a miniaturisation powder, which – given the title of the episode – I really should have seen coming.

Small 2
Catra: “Hey, She-Ra, what do you think of our new party trick guns?”

The miniaturisation powder is still at an experimental phase, which means She-Ra, Glimmer and Swift Wind have time to fly to a lake where a half-man, half-elephant individual called Hose Nose awaits them. I’ll defer to what the episode said, but I had this guy’s action figure when I was younger, and the figure was called Snout Spout, which is a much better name. Either way, I must say I’m surprised that he ever made it into the cartoon, because he’s just really odd.

Small 3
Hose Nose: “I won’t say anything, which will save the voice actors the hassle of trying to figure out what a humanoid elephant would sound like.”

Anyway, Hose Nose washes the miniaturisation powder off our heroes, then buggers off without saying a word. For some reason, the powder only now takes effect, and She-Ra, Glimmer and Swift Wind shrink to a tiny size. The episode now runs through some less-than-necessary sequences in which She-Ra does battle with a creature vaguely resembling a frog, some kind of weasel thing, and a crow, before they finally get picked up – literally – by Bow.

Bow puts on a disguise and manages to gain entry to the base, with She-Ra and Glimmer in his pockets. Luckily for them, it’s his shirt pocket, not his trousers. Bow then successfully finds the science lab, flatters the scientist, acquires some growth serum and uses it on She-Ra, Glimmer and Swift Wind to return them to normal. It’s at this point that Catra, Scorpia and two Horde Troopers corner them, and She-Ra makes a bizarre comment: “They can’t fire in four directions at once.” Well, yes they can actually, She-Ra, because there’s four of them, and they all have a gun.

Small 4
She-Ra: “My, my, what a massive helmet.”

Catra and Scorpia waste time arguing, which gives our heroes the opportunity to escape – though not before they blow the entire research base up. Back at Whispering Wood, Glimmer promises not to boast anymore, and then Bow says, “For the first time, I had She-Ra right in the palm of my hand.” I thought that was pretty funny, actually, but Glimmer and Adora don’t. They stalk off, but not before giving Bow a disgusted look, as if he’d just admitted to having had a threesome with Orko and Hordak.

 

In today’s adventure…

Today I saw Loo-Kee, again because I pressed the pause button at a fortuitous moment. He’s in a tree, just before Adora and Glimmer reach Smalloak. Not unexpectedly, his theme for the day is not getting a big head when you do well at something, such as the spelling contest.

 

Character checklist

This enjoyable little trip to Etheria involves quite a few characters, including a new face or two: Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, a Twigget, Hose Nose, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Catra, Scorpia, the Horde scientist, and some Horde Troopers.

Small 5
Scorpia: “Oh Christ, it’s all going wrong again.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I’m sure she’s all right. I think she can take care of herself,” says She-Ra, when Glimmer finally remembers that Adora was around.

 

Insults

She-Ra calls some Horde robots “tin cans”, and some Horde Troopers are referred to as “fools” by both Bow and Catra. Other than that, we are treated to Catra and Scorpia slinging barbs at each other. Scorpia, being irritatingly stupid, can only manage the unimaginative “fool”, to which Catra responds with “miserable insect” and “bugface”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow attempts to break into the Horde research base by dressing up as a Horde Inspector. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know what a Horde Inspector looks like, so he just makes a costume up. Needless to say, it fails to convince the guards, though luckily for him, Scorpia is idiotic enough to fall for it.

Small 6
Horde Trooper: “Bow, we know it’s you.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’ve always enjoyed stories about people being made smaller than they should be. I used to love Honey, I Shrunk the Kids when I was little, except for the bit where – spoilers – the ant dies. I used to hate that bit and used to actually leave the room when I knew it was coming. My sister, who I’ve never quite forgiven, used to simply pause the video and then make me watch the ant dying bit when I came back. Despite me being two years older than her, I never failed to fall for this trick. God, I was dense.

Irrelevant reminiscing aside, I was always going to like this episode because of its gimmick. Unless you count the two or three minutes in the middle where She-Ra has fights with various normally non-threatening animals, it doesn’t actually do a lot with its premise, but it’s still good. Catra is entertaining as always, and it was fun to see how much she dislikes Scorpia. My only quibble is the entirely pointless appearance of Hose Nose, which was a return to the “here’s an action figure you need to buy” type of scene that occasionally blighted He-Man.

And, as stated above, it was nice for Glimmer to actually get a moment in the spotlight and achieve something. Bow also got a victory, in that he was the one to blow up the base, not She-Ra. On thinking about it, all She-Ra actually did this week was show up, which was a nice change.

Episode 24 – The Mines of Mondor

In which She-Ra and co attempt a remake of The Great Escape.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me today, but I found it incredibly difficult to understand what anyone was saying for the first few minutes of this episode. This was partly down to Catra, who was rather overdoing it on her cat voice this time, but otherwise there was nothing obvious to blame. Still, the story was easy enough to pick up: Prince Azar, the son of King Duplis, is captured by the Horde. This is a bad thing, though we’ve never met Azar or Duplis before.

Mondor 1
Catra: “Azar didn’t keep up repayments on his mortgage, and now Horde Troopers are repossessing his house. Don’t be like Azar. Set up a mortgage protection plan today.”

Duplis comes to visit Queen Angela, Glimmer and Adora at Bright Moon, and explains that Azar has been set to work in the Mines of Mondor on the planet Krytus, acquiring precious but dangerous minerals for the Horde. Angela offers the Rebellion’s help, and Adora obligingly pops off to find She-Ra. Once the funky music has finished playing, She-Ra, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom and Glimmer all make a trip through a dimensional gate to Krytus, having first been warned that they must return within three days, or not at all.

Once on Krytus, our heroes find themselves by a vast sea, so – without consulting the others – She-Ra buys a ship in order to travel to the Mines. Notwithstanding the fact that the ship is a complete hunk of junk, Glimmer reasonably points out that none of the assembled rebels knows anything about sailing. She-Ra dismisses their concerns, and tells them that they will all learn how to sail. Yes, She-Ra, I realise the point is that you can do anything if you try, but perhaps learning the art of seamanship when you’ve only got three days is a tad overambitious, no?

Mondor 2
She-Ra: “Come on lads, look lively. Learn how to sail.”

As it turns out, seamanship is really easy. I don’t know why we need naval colleges; these clowns master it within 20 seconds. Unfortunately, a storm whipped up by Shadow Weaver sinks the ship, and the rebels all huddle together on a tiny raft until they reach the island of Mondor. Once there, a giant dragon bird thing attacks, but She-Ra defeats it and heals its injured wing. I bet that won’t prove important later.

Once that’s dealt with, She-Ra and her merry band wait until night before pulling off a heist on the mines. They successfully release all the slaves, including Prince Azar, and have time for a less than enthralling fight with Hordak, Catra, Scorpia and Shadow Weaver, as well as scores of Horde Troopers. This comes to an all-too-predictable end when the dragon bird thing reappears and carries our heroes back to the dimension gate, with only a few minutes to spare.

Back in Bright Moon, King Duplis briefly claims that he and his son will not help the Rebellion, despite all that the rebels have done for him. Queen Angela starts off on a stupid and borderline irrelevant lecture about parenthood, and Duplis immediately backtracks and promises to assist the Rebellion after all, presumably mostly to get Angela to shut up. Bow then glances at Adora and appears to make the hand signal for ‘wanker’, though I suspect that’s not what was meant.

Mondor 3
Adora: “Bow, stop making insulting gestures, and while you’re at it, put your freaky teeth back behind your lips.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee couldn’t be more obvious this week; he’s right in the middle of the frame when the camera fades in on Whispering Wood, and he remains at the centre of the shot for a long time before the camera starts moving, infinitesimally slowly, to the left. His moral is pretty much a word-for-word repeat of the one from Enchanted Castle, when he gibbers on about helping people in order to make yourself feel good.

 

Character checklist

This little trip through an interdimensional portal provides an outing for Adora, She-Ra, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Queen Angela, King Duplis, Prince Azar, Hordak, Catra, Scorpia, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Horde Troopers, and loads of background weirdos.

Mondor 4
She-Ra: “Bow, standing up doesn’t make you look any manlier. Sit down like the rest of us.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I will find her,” says Adora, referring to She-Ra. And what do you know, she does!

 

Insults

Unless there were some hidden away in the unintelligible dialogue at the start of the episode, there weren’t any insults today.

 

Oh No, Bow!

On meeting some miserable locals on Krytus, Bow goes out of his tiny mind and decides to play them the worst song I’ve ever heard. It’s even worse than Agadoo. Naturally, the locals are less than impressed, and gather round with expressions suggesting they are all too willing to club Bow to death. Bow doesn’t take the hint, and actually seems to expect some applause, continuing to witter on about it even into the next scene. He even gets his harp out again later, in a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to seduce She-Ra.

Mondor 5
Locals: “If it’s not an Elvis tribute act, we don’t want to hear it.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Unfortunately, no it doesn’t. It’s one of those episodes that feels very much like it’s been put together by cutting and pasting bits of other stories, most of which weren’t that good in the first place. The rescuing a Horde prisoner storyline is very familiar by this point, and the bit about the injured dragon bird’s wing is taken pretty much verbatim from Friendship. The editing of the episode is really odd as well, with scenes seeming to finish at random. All in all, I’d class this episode as both dull and mildly incompetent, rather like me.

Episode 23 – The Crown of Knowledge

In which a door asks She-Ra how long her legs should be.

Adora, Bow and Kowl have come to the annual Harvest Festival, where Bow meets a couple of children who beg him to tell them a story. In my opinion, Bow is an incredibly bad storyteller, but the children seem to think he’s rather good. He relates the tale of King Jared, a ruler who established much that was good and wholesome on Etheria, and finishes by telling the children the legend of the Crown of Knowledge, which King Jared hid within a maze of traps, and which will bestow great wisdom on whoever finds it. Kowl then adds that he has done considerable research on the subject and believes the Crown can be found in Darkedge.

Marcus, the dorkiest looking boy I’ve ever seen (and that includes me, before you ask), takes this tale to heart, and decides to seek the Crown in order to become someone important. I swear, if Loo-Kee tells us later that we’re all already important, I’m going to reach through the laptop screen and wring his stupid little neck. Marcus trots off to find the Crown, and for some reason seems to think that the first step of this process is to release a horned buffalo to run riot at the Festival.

Crown 1
Kowl: “So, Marcus … is your hair modelled after the Monkees or Mr Spock?”

In the ensuing commotion, Marcus grabs Kowl and sticks him in a bag, wanting to use Kowl’s research to lead him to the Crown. She-Ra and Bow – being geniuses – take less than 30 seconds to work out what has happened, and – along with Marcus’ father, the local baker – they head off to Darkedge to intercept Marcus and Kowl.

Hordak’s pet, Imp, has been spying on the whole proceedings, and now flies off to make his report. Hordak seems pretty pleased, and decides to help Marcus get through the traps in the maze, with the intention of stealing the Crown once Marcus gets it. To this end, he arranges for Shadow Weaver to furnish Marcus with a magic cloak, which will help him to get past the traps.

Crown 2
Hordak: “I have nothing to do today except look awesome.”

Marcus and Kowl locate King Jared’s castle, and answer a quite good riddle to get inside: “What can you hold but never touch?” The answer is “your breath”. Arriving a few minutes later, She-Ra’s party get a far stupider riddle: “How long should your legs be?” Luckily, She-Ra appears to have heard this one before, and answers correctly, “Long enough to reach the Crown.” I cannot believe that the writer of this episode was only capable of thinking up one sane riddle, but that’s how it seems.

The rest of the castle proves to be full of the usual sort of stupid traps, including trapdoors, pits of water, and the like. Because the baker is along for the ride, Bow gets a day off from being the completely useless member of the party, and actually manages to do a few heroic things, so I expect he’ll be putting this little adventure on his CV.

Crown 3
Bow: “Hmm, look, a baker drowning. Shall I help him or just stand here like a lemon?”

Our heroes all eventually find their way to the Crown room, where the Crown tells Marcus off for not wanting the Crown for pure reasons. Shadow Weaver’s magic cloak then kicks into effect, forcing Marcus to levitate over a chasm towards the Crown. The Crown takes exception to this, and magically removes the cloak from Marcus – at which point Marcus falls onto a rocky outcrop, requiring rescue by She-Ra. This is Marcus’ cue to decide that he doesn’t want the Crown anymore, and would prefer to dedicate himself to a life of baking.

 

In today’s adventure…

No sign of Loo-Kee for me today, and that’s because he was in a blue tree, perfectly camouflaged. There’s no way you could have seen him. He witters on about the Crown of Knowledge being an exciting adventure (could have fooled me) and suggests that we seek some knowledge ourselves, by choosing some books to read. Sounds reasonable to me, and it wasn’t the dreadful moral about us all being important that I had feared.

 

Character checklist

Today’s little excursion to Etheria brings to our attention Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Marcus, the baker, Loo-Kee, Bow’s horse Arrow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, and the Crown itself, which I suppose you could say is the episode’s crowning glory. Oh please yourselves then.

Crown 4
Crown: “That was a good pun, Owen. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, I’ll crown ’em.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I think Bow may need some help,” says Adora, and goes to transform. She doesn’t specify whether she means psychiatric help, but that’s how I choose to view it.

 

Insults

I may not have been paying as much attention as I should have been, but I’m pretty sure that Shadow Weaver called Hordak a “penis”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

“I could smell a Hordesman a mile away!” pronounces Bow, proudly. Needless to say, he is at that very moment standing right next to Imp, without noticing him.

Crown 5
Imp: “Let me think. Can Bow really be this much of a numpty?”

 

Does it have the Power?

Not a classic, but not total rubbish either. I’m a little fed up of episodes involving people having to get past silly traps to reach their goal, but I suppose this was a decent enough entry into that category. It’s been a while since we had a bratty child deciding to Become Someone Important (TM), so if I’m being generous, I’ll let the writers off returning to that particular well. My only real issue is with Hordak’s confidence that he would be able to help Marcus get past the traps successfully: if he was this sure of himself, why didn’t he just go and try to get the Crown himself? On balance, this episode is fine, but won’t rock your world.

Episode 22 – The Crystal Castle

In which the Horde throw melons at Castle Bright Moon.

This story is told in flashback, just like Enchanted Castle a few weeks ago was, but I’m going to pretend it’s told in real time, because frankly getting my tenses right in the review of Enchanted Castle was really difficult, and it resulted in one of the most awkward bits of prose I’ve ever written. All I need to say is that the framing dialogue suggests this ought to have taken place just after Battle for Bright Moon. I should also note that it’s narrated by Madame Razz, so it might be annoying.

Adora, Madame Razz and Broom are summoned to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela and Glimmer are under attack from the Horde, who appear to be hurling large pink melons at the castle. Queen Angela explains that the magical defences of Bright Moon are derived from the light of Etheria’s moons, and that in a few nights’ time, an eclipse will render them unable to fend off the assaults. This is at least halfway logical, given the castle’s name, but it does bring to mind the phrase “fatal design flaw”, and it should perhaps have not got past the drawing board phase.

Crystal 1
Adora: “Say what you like about the Horde, at least they build roads and have vehicles, so they don’t have to travel like this.”

Queen Angela, who sounds like she’s doped up to the eyeballs, tells Adora that there’s only one hope: they must find the Crystal Castle. Adora starts to say that she found it last week, but then remembers this episode’s a flashback, so plays dumb instead while Queen Angela explains that the Crystal Castle is the most magical place on Etheria, containing the secrets of the First Ones. However, she adds that no one has ever seen it, so it may be just a myth.

Broom then has an uncommon moment of usefulness and remarks that Argo, the King of the Trolls of Spykont, knows where the Crystal Castle is. Remarking that all trolls hate humans, Glimmer gets into a right panic at this moment, but Adora tells her to chill, and offers to go with She-Ra to meet Argo. Adora then trots outside, becomes She-Ra, and flies off on Swift Wind.

Crystal 3
Glimmer: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime and actually contribute usefully to the episode.”

She-Ra arrives in Spykont, meets some trolls, and then falls down a trapdoor, which is incredibly pleasing, given the insufferable air of smugness she was exuding throughout this scene. Naturally, this reversal in her fortunes doesn’t delay her long, but it was still super. She-Ra finds Argo, who tells her the sad story of the mistrust and hate that humans have had for the trolls over the years, and refuses to help her find the Crystal Castle. It takes She-Ra’s usual degree of persuasiveness before Argo relents, and informs her that the Crystal Castle is always where the seeker most wants it to be; in plain sight, yet never seen.

Crystal 4
Argo: “Date night.”

She-Ra restrains herself from rude remarks about useless information, and instead thanks Argo for his wisdom. There is possibly a hint of sarcasm in her tone. Anyway, she and Swift Wind return to Bright Moon, just in time for the eclipse and Shadow Weaver’s most powerful spell. Finding Bright Moon nearly fallen, She-Ra suddenly realises the Crystal Castle must be at the top of Skydancer Mountain, so she flies up to the summit.

Finding that she is entirely correct, She-Ra calls on the castle’s keeper to allow her entry. Once inside, she meets Light Hope for the first time, which might have been dramatic if we hadn’t met him last week. She-Ra asks Light Hope for help in saving Bright Moon, and Light Hope offers the most ludicrous solution I’ve ever heard: She-Ra must journey to the centre of Etheria, where she will find a clock. If she speeds the clock up, time will move faster, and so the eclipse will be over quicker.

Crystal 5
Light Hope: “Hello, I’m Light Hope, and I love making up bollocks about clocks. Bolclocks, if you will.”

There’s a close up shot of She-Ra’s face at this point, and I swear it looks like her eyes are saying, “Are you taking the piss or what?” Nonetheless, she accepts this advice, and luckily for her, Light Hope turns out to not be a lying lunatic. We cut back to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela is rejuvenated by the power of the moons, and repels Shadow Weaver’s attack. Light Hope then asks She-Ra to treat the Crystal Castle as her personal haven, and to visit often – though she must keep the castle’s location secret, presumably for the same less than clear reason that she must keep her identity secret.

 

In today’s adventure…

If you happen to be looking in precisely the right direction – which, as luck would have it, I was – you will see Loo-Kee in the very first shot of the episode, in Whispering Woods. I’m getting good at this. Or maybe the producers realised it was insanely difficult and told the animators that Loo-Kee wasn’t supposed to be as hard to find as the Masquerade Hare.

Crystal 6
Loo-Kee: “The reward for finding me is not as exciting as the Masquerade Hare either.”

Anyway, I was unsurprised to learn that Loo-Kee’s moral lesson was on the subject of not saying bad things about people because they look or talk different. Both Glimmer and Swift Wind had exhibited distrust of the trolls for no good reason earlier, so it was pretty clear we were heading for another such moral. It’s a fine sentiment, but I feel like Loo-Kee never quite finishes what he’s saying: he just seems to stop, without drawing his little monologue to a natural halt, and it seems a little jarring.

 

Character checklist

Quite a decent turnout today: Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Queen Angela, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Argo, some other trolls, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. There’s also a fair few random background characters in Bright Moon, among whom Bow and Kowl are numbered. And, of course, the children in the framing device.

Crystal 2
Adora: “Do your weird role-play games on your own time, guys.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora doesn’t give an excuse this week, but it’s interesting to note that the story is being told in flashback by Madame Razz to some children. We see what really happened, but what did Madame Razz tell the children? Well, I thought it was interesting anyway.

 

Insults

She-Ra gets in a minor tussle with a fire demon at one point, which calls her a “puny mortal woman”. She-Ra responds with “hothead”. That’s all we’re given this week.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Though Bow doesn’t do anything stupid this week, he equally doesn’t do anything at all to contribute to the defence of Bright Moon. It’s thus rather surprising to see him posing dramatically when the battle is won, while all the villagers cheer his victory.

Crystal 7
Bow: “I will savour this moment as long as I live.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s another episode that I think could have benefitted from a different position in the running order. If it had actually aired as the episode after our opening 5-parter, it would have helped to establish the mythology of the series. As it is, it comes across almost as an afterthought, like the writers realised suddenly that they had planned for this to happen but had forgotten about it. It’s also unfortunate that it comes immediately after last week’s visit to the Crystal Castle, where it’s presented as an established part of the series. And yes, I know that this week was told in flashback, but it still seems silly to show them in this order.

On the positive side, ignoring its position, this is a good entry to the series, featuring an almost epic battle at Bright Moon and a desperate mission for She-Ra. The clock situation was perhaps the most demented solution to a problem that I’ve seen since He-Man pushed the moon out of orbit for the sake of the Widgets, so extra points there too. I’d just recommend that you watch this in between Battle for Bright Moon and Duel at Devlan, and then it’ll be just perfect.