Episode 39 – Into the Dark Dimension

In which we learn that drugs are turn-offs.

As the episode begins, the Rebellion have run into a spot of trouble. Adora, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Madame Razz and Frosta are in the Fright Zone, with Horde Troopers firing at them from every side. As the situation becomes ever more dire, Adora turns herself into She-Ra – but unfortunately, She-Ra’s appearance is the moment Hordak has been waiting for.

Dark 1
Bow: “Not loving this game of Extreme Hide and Seek.”

Once She-Ra and Hordak come face to face, Hordak cries, “surprise!” This is a prearranged signal for Catra to fire a massive gun, and for Shadow Weaver to unleash a new spell. Unfortunately, Hordak seems to have failed to discuss the specifics of the plan with Catra and Shadow Weaver, since it emerges he didn’t actually want both of them to carry out their actions at the same time. The end result is that both She-Ra and Hordak disappear.

The two of them go on an acid-trip inspired voyage through an interdimensional rift, eventually landing on a rocky planet. Hordak just wants to carry on his fight with She-Ra, but is rapidly distracted by an attack from a stupid green caterpillar. Once that’s attended to, a door opens to reveal a big pink dinosaur who spouts some existentialist bollocks before welcoming them to the Dark Dimension, and informing them that they can go home if they find the door and the key.

Dark 2
Hordak: “Sure, sure, we’re dealing with a massive dinosaur, but can we all just stop to consider the fact that my feet are so flat they might as well belong to a duck?”

She-Ra and Hordak form a truce and determine to work together to find their way home. The Dark Dimension consists of the usual array of tests, traps, puzzles and monsters, all of which are solved by She-Ra while Hordak pointlessly grizzles around in the background. We are also witness to a fair amount of philosophical debate about the nature of right and wrong, in which She-Ra achieves the astonishing feat of being even more patronising than usual.

Once She-Ra and Hordak find the door and the key, Hordak pulls his inevitable betrayal. Frankly, I don’t blame him. If I had the chance to ditch She-Ra in the Dark Dimension, I’d take it too. Unfortunately for Hordak, his attempts to strand She-Ra only result in the intervention of the pink dinosaur, who decrees that She-Ra may go home, but Hordak must remain as a slave.

Dark 3
She-Ra: “It is tempting to leave Hordak here, and frankly, if I wasn’t being filmed, I probably would.”

It will not, I’m sure, come as a surprise to you that She-Ra refuses to go home without Hordak. The pink dinosaur doesn’t take kindly to this, and there’s an almighty rumble between him and She-Ra, which She-Ra naturally wins. She and Hordak enter the door and fly back to Etheria, where they find that in their absence, the Horde have failed to do anything other than shout mindlessly at the rebels. Rather surprisingly, Hordak allows all the rebels to leave freely, as a thank-you to She-Ra for not leaving the Dark Dimension without him. No wonder Skeletor thinks Hordak’s an idiot. If Skeletor had the upper hand, he’d never just let He-Man go.

 

In today’s adventure…

What’s Loo-Kee doing in the Dark Dimension? He certainly wasn’t shot by Catra and Shadow Weaver, and yet there he is, lurking in the cave as we fade in from the commercial break. He hasn’t got a hope of hiding this week, since the Dark Dimension is predominantly grey, whereas Loo-Kee has a huge variety of bright colours. I spotted him quicker than I’d spot a bacon sandwich, and believe you me, I spot those pretty quick.

Dark 4
Loo-Kee: “Bet you can’t see me.”

That’s all very well, but when it comes to the closing segment, Loo-Kee claims we weren’t playing hide-and-seek this week. Just because you couldn’t find a decent hiding place, Loo-Kee. Instead, Loo-Kee very seriously says, “I want to talk to you about a very big problem: drugs.” He then goes on to witter that friends and adults may try to “turn you on to drugs, but drugs are not a turn-on. Drugs are a turn-off.” He then solemnly concludes, “Say no to drugs. Say yes to a life free from drugs.”

Let’s put aside this trite and irritating conclusion. Let’s even gloss over the fact that using the phrase “turn-on” when addressing five year olds is ill-advised at best. Let’s stick to the real point here: what the Jesusing Christ do drugs have to do with this episode? Apart from the fact that it looked like She-Ra and Hordak had taken some when they went flying through space into the Dark Dimension, I suppose. Okay, fair enough.

 

Character checklist

It’s primarily the She-Ra and Hordak Show, but we also see Adora, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Glimmer, Frosta, Loo-Kee, Catra, Shadow Weaver, Scorpia, some Horde Troopers, the pink dinosaur, and the various other denizens of the Dark Dimension.

Dark 5
Dinosaur: “Hello. I’d like to talk to you about drugs too. Drugs are a massive turn-on. I love drugs. Don’t be like me, kids.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora doesn’t give an excuse, but since she transforms into She-Ra in the middle of a battlefield, where both rebels and Hordesmen must be able to see her, I think an excuse would have been an exercise in futility.

 

Insults

Surprisingly for an episode that mostly focuses on a She-Ra/Hordak double-act, the episode is not well-equipped with zingers. In the early stages, Bow calls some Horde Troopers “tin-heads”, and that’s it for about 15 minutes, until She-Ra goes a little overboard and addresses Hordak as a “power-mad, narrow-minded fool”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

While Bow is casting around for someone to blame for the disastrous attack on the Fright Zone, Kowl takes the opportunity to remind him that it was his idea in the first place. Bow gets a goofy look on his face, and notably doesn’t apologise. Seconds later, he emerges from hiding for no apparent reason and instantly gets shot. He’s such a moron.

Dark 6
Kowl: “Don’t even try to deny it, Bow. You’ve cocked up again.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s somewhere above the average, floating towards the good end of the scale. The all-out assault on the Fright Zone at the start was exciting, and the sort of thing I’d expect the rebels to do more often. It gave us a little bit more characterisation for Shadow Weaver and Catra, who had an amusing rivalry, though it has to be said that after nearly 40 episodes, the personality of some of the rebels –notably Glimmer – remain almost entirely blank.

Once She-Ra and Hordak enter the Dark Dimension, we get a pretty entertaining story of these two enemies having to work together. It’s been seen before, of course – pretty much everything by this stage has – but it’s still good fun to watch, except when She-Ra goes into her “I’m so awesome” speeches. Some of the puzzles were fun to watch, and reminiscent of the style of 1990s computer games. The pink dinosaur, however, wasn’t enormously convincing as a baddy, but since he hopefully won’t show up again, we’ll let him off.

But really? Drugs and turn-ons? Really?

4 thoughts on “Episode 39 – Into the Dark Dimension

  1. ” as a thank-you to She-Ra for not leaving the Dark Dimension without him. ”

    Evil Overlord Rule No. 68 (Peter Anspach redaction): “I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they’d better save my life again.”

    Like

    1. I had completely forgotten about the Evil Overlord rules! Came across them about 20 years ago when my family first got the internet… happy memories. Going to have to go and find them again now…

      Like

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