In which there is no enemy with anyone’s face.
You might think that Enemy With My Face would be a more appropriate title for last week’s episode, what with its plotline concerning Falseface stealing Prince Highcliff’s identity. That minor quibble aside, we leap straight into the action this week, with Scorpia and Catra driving along in some Horde tanks, crowing about a new weapon that Scorpia has invented. Within 15 seconds of the episode’s start, She-Ra has defeated them and sent them packing back to the Fright Zone.
It would be nice for all of us if that were the end of the episode. I’d have described it as a little simplistic but no worse than episodes like The Red Knight or Friends Are Where You Find Them. But no: there’s another 19 minutes or so to endure, so I suppose I’d better get on with it. Royally pissed off at She-Ra’s defeat of Scorpia and Catra, Hordak sets Shadow Weaver to work on a plan for the destruction of the Rebellion. Shadow Weaver pops off to a swamp, where she summons a Malog.
A Malog, if you must know, is a creature composed of mud and clay, with the ability to duplicate the strength of anyone it touches. Shadow Weaver gives the Malog a lift to Whispering Wood, where it wrestles She-Ra, absorbs her power, and takes on a slightly less mud-monstery form. It still doesn’t have She-Ra’s face, but perhaps that comes later. Once the Malog has She-Ra’s strength, it and Shadow Weaver disappear, presumably off to do some mischief elsewhere. I’m holding out hopes that such mischief will be interesting, but I’m not counting on it.
She-Ra, irritated beyond reckoning, goes to the Crystal Castle, where Light Hope reiterates the plot for anyone who hadn’t been paying attention. He then starts jabbering about the strength of She-Ra coming from the heart, and asks She-Ra some pointless riddles about the nature of the Malog. Only once she solves them will she be able to conquer the Malog. It would be so much easier, Light Hope, if you could just tell She-Ra what she needs to know. You obviously know how to do it. Why waste time?
In the meantime, Hordak and Shadow Weaver are hatching a cunning plan to use the Malog to send She-Ra to the Mines of Mondor, from which Hordak claims no one has ever escaped. Who are you kidding, Hordak? We’ve all seen the episode entitled The Mines of Mondor, in which about fifty billion prisoners escaped that very establishment. The plan involves She-Ra and the Malog having another fight, in which the Malog tries to drive She-Ra inside a forcefield generator.
I’d love to say it’s an exciting fight, but it really isn’t, and to make matters worse, there’s an idiot child hiding in an urn and offering a less than enthralling commentary throughout. Even Shadow Weaver starts complaining that the fight is going on forever, so she intervenes and creates a wind storm which results in She-Ra flying into the forcefield generator. With She-Ra trapped, everything looks hopeless, until it emerges that the Malog not only has She-Ra’s strength, it also has her awesomeness.
The Malog thus sets She-Ra free, and Shadow Weaver vanishes in a hissy fit. As a reward, She-Ra uses the honour of Grayskull to transform the Malog into a real woman, and sends her off into the world to “see people, learn things” and “find out what it is to be alive”. Hope that works out.
In today’s adventure…
I didn’t spot Loo-Kee today, which is surprising because he was in the swamp, where the colours were mostly brown, unlike his bright blue, yellow and red colouring. He suggests that we should think twice before we call people names and put them down. He tries to suggest that Shadow Weaver did this to the Malog in the episode, but to be honest, I didn’t notice that happening. Perhaps I was asleep at the time.
All our favourites today – Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Scorpia, Mantenna and Modulok. There’s also the Malog and the afore-mentioned irritating child.
Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance
Two transformations and no excuses. This really is getting tedious.
Bow calls a pair of Horde Troopers “villains”, and Shadow Weaver tells one of those Troopers that he’s a “fool”. She also shrieks out “cowards” at one point, though frankly I’m not totally sure who she was referring to.
Does it have the Power?
I think this one’s a bit of a shame, because I can definitely see what they were going for, but I just don’t think it quite got there. The idea of an evil duplicate of our hero, possessing all their strength, goes right back to Faker in The Shaping Staff, and I’ll admit it’s quite a fun twist to have the evil duplicate actually copy She-Ra’s moral fibre as well. Or at least, it should be fun. Instead, it’s infuriating, as She-Ra encourages the Malog to live, breathe, etc, in her most over-acted tones.
It’s also a trifle odd that the writer seemed to think the Malog should look just like She-Ra (for one thing, Swift Wind says, “She has your features”, and the episode’s title is another hint), but this wasn’t communicated to the animators, since at no point does the Malog come even close to looking like She-Ra.
I still like Shadow Weaver, who comes across as a not completely straightforward villain, and it’s good to see a brief cameo from Modulok, who’s been demoted to Horde Cook as a result of the debacle in Gateway to Trouble. They’re not enough, though, to save this episode from being what I’d call a near miss.