In which He-Man lies around in a cave.
It’s like the good old days at the start of this episode. We begin with Prince Adam and Orko out for a spin in the Wind Raider, having one of those frequent inconsequential arguments about whether Orko has tidied his room or not. The Sorceress then contacts Adam, demanding he come to Castle Grayskull immediately. On arrival, the Sorceress informs Adam that she has picked up some kind of distress signal from She-Ra, so Adam leaps through the magic portal to Etheria. You’ll be pleased to know that he does not take Orko with him.
Adam arrives on Etheria in the middle of a devastated village, and She-Ra explains to him that the Horde have launched an all-out war on the inhabitants. Adam decides that He-Man might be a little more useful in this scenario, and metamorphoses. With Horde Troopers surrounding them, our heroes evacuate the village and take the people to hide in some mines. From there, they watch as the Horde burn down the remains of the village.
The villagers explain that, even though they are sorry to have lost their homes and possessions, they prefer to have their freedom. He-Man seems to have difficulty understanding this concept, but that’s presumably because he’s playing dumb so the villagers can explain to the audience. Once he finally gets it, he sends She-Ra off to Bright Moon to fetch some more rebels to help defeat the Horde army, while he stays behind to defend the villagers.
He-Man does a pretty poor job of the defence, though; Hordak unveils an enormous freeze cannon and shoots him with it. As well as paralysing He-Man, this demolishes the entrance to the mine and seals the villagers inside. Considering that he has successfully made an example of the villagers, Hordak concludes his work is done, and orders the army back to the Fright Zone.
Inside the mine, the villagers start complaining because the air is running out, which seems fair enough. They come perilously close to turning against She-Ra, who they note is not there to save them. Luckily, the head villager gives a rousing speech about how freedom is precious, but has to be worked for, and essentially means that they must be able to count on themselves, without always relying on help from He-Man and She-Ra. Suitably invigorated, the villagers set to work digging themselves out of the mine.
They are successful in digging to the surface, but in so doing, they cause a cave-in. He-Man fights off his paralysis and holds the roof up long enough for the villagers to escape. She-Ra finally gets back at this stage, notably without bringing any help, and helps He-Man to stabilise the mine shaft, before making some feeble jokes at which He-Man grins goofily. Afterward, She-Ra welcomes the villagers to join the Rebellion and live in Whispering Wood.
In today’s adventure…
I’d assumed I’d missed Loo-Kee, since he’s normally towards the beginning of episodes, but there he was in Whispering Wood about a minute from the end. I feel very proud of myself for finding him. Instead of giving us one of the more abstract morals about the importance of freedom, Loo-Kee opts for the more prosaic “don’t play with matches or lighters”. This is presumably because the message about freedom was repeatedly rammed down our throats during the episode, so the writers didn’t feel it needed yet another outing from Loo-Kee.
This one’s a little unusual, in that Adora doesn’t show up at all. She-Ra’s here though, as are Prince Adam, He-Man, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Orko, the Sorceress, loads of villagers, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna and the inevitable Horde Troopers.
Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances
As noted above, Adora doesn’t even feature this week, and no one sees Adam on Etheria before he becomes He-Man, so there’s definitely no need for an excuse today.
He-Man calls the Horde Troopers “tin cans”, which is a pretty common insult for them. More entertainingly, Hordak disparagingly refers to He-Man as “Eternia’s golden boy”.
Oh No, Bow!
When She-Ra arrives at Bright Moon and tells the rebels they must hurry as quickly as possible to the village, Bow instantly chirps up to offer to fly back on Swift Wind with She-Ra. Perhaps intuiting that Bow has clocked that this would mean he’d get to lay his grubby hands on her hips, She-Ra politely if forcefully declines.
Does it have the Power?
It’s definitely better than He-Man’s last visit to Etheria, though that’s not saying a lot. Rather than damn it with faint praise, I’ll come out and say that it was pretty good. It was a great message for the villagers to rely on themselves to get out of their situation, rather than sitting back and waiting for He-Man and She-Ra to do the work for them – even if the plot mechanics to get them to that point were a little creaky. He-Man being shot with the freeze cannon was fair enough, but She-Ra flying off to get help and then returning once the danger was past, without actually bringing help with her, seemed perhaps too obviously a plot device to get her out of the way. Other than that minor complaint, though, this was a fairly enjoyable episode with a decent message. Good fun.