Episode 43 – Welcome Back, Kowl

In which Bow notably doesn’t leap to his friend’s defence.

Welcome Back, Kowl, indeed? While I don’t have anything against Kowl (he’s actually probably the best rebel character in this series, as far as I’m concerned), I don’t think anyone could say that he’s underrepresented in this programme. Surely, if he wants a welcome back, he’s got to go somewhere first? With that in mind, I am approaching this episode cautiously, because it’s the sort of title that leads me to suspect it’s an episode where Kowl quits in a temper and has to be coaxed back.

As it happens, however, it’s nothing of the kind. Kowl is having a nice peaceful nap, when Hordak, Imp and Tung Lashor show up. After they fail to capture Kowl, they voice their intention to test their new tanks on a neighbouring village, so Kowl flaps off to warn the rebels. Adora, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom and a pair of Twiggets promptly arrive and waste time messing about with Madame Razz’s inept spells. They then loudly discuss their own plans for combating the tanks, which for some convoluted but no doubt logical reason involves leaving Kowl to sleep in a barn overnight.

Welcome 1
Twigget: “Let’s draw a mustache on him while he’s asleep.”

Imp overhears these plans, waits until the other rebels leave, and then plants a bag of Horde gold in Kowl’s bed. In the morning, there’s a nice big battle between the rebels and the Horde tanks, which lasts for absolutely bloody ages and results in the tanks disappearing, having kidnapped Madame Razz. The rebels go back to Kowl’s barn, start randomly shrieking about the possibility of there being a spy in the Rebellion, and then they find the bag of Horde gold.

Broom and the Twiggets are quick to accuse Kowl of treachery, while Adora is quick to leap to Kowl’s defence. Bow, who is allegedly Kowl’s best friend, is quick to keep his mouth shut and not say anything at all. Angered by his friends’ lack of faith in him, Kowl does a runner and goes to the Fright Zone by himself to try to rescue Madame Razz. Luckily, he is followed by She-Ra, and the two of them break into the Fright Zone together.

Welcome 2
Bow: “If I admit that Kowl isn’t a traitor, will you sleep with me?”

During the course of the rescue mission, Kowl proves about fifty billion times that he isn’t a traitor, which seems a trifle pointless, since the only other person there is She-Ra, who already believes he isn’t. They quickly find Madame Razz, rescue her, and have a really exciting fight with Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Hordak. Kowl also gets the chance to exact vengeance on Imp by throwing him into the middle of a squashy orange fruit.

There’s just time at the end for Broom and the Twiggets to apologise for their suspicions of Kowl, which is nice, though it would have been nicer if Bow had chimed in to apologise for not defending his friend. Instead, he says, “Welcome back, Kowl!” as if Kowl had been gone for 18 years, rather than about 20 minutes.

Welcome 3
Bow: “I wish I had sufficient brains to enable me to apologise.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh look, there’s Loo-Kee, just outside the Fright Zone, sitting in a stupid blue tree. He explains to us that nobody gets everything right all of the time, and that it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all. I’m not sure this principle is always applicable, to be honest: surely, for example, it’s better not to try to accomplish Brexit, rather than wallowing in the inevitable failure that will ensue. Feel free to come up with similar examples in the comments section below.

 

Character checklist

This little visit to Etheria is punctuated by appearances from Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, some Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Tung Lashor, and those omnipresent Horde Troopers.

Welcome 4
Imp: “Here, look at my lovely close-up face. Bet that won’t spoil your evening.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Oh, for goodness’ sake, Adora. Yet again, not only does Adora not offer an excuse, she also transforms in the middle of a battlefield. The animators seem to think that so long as there’s no one in the background of the shot while Adora transforms, there’s no way anyone could see her. In this case, Bow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Imp are all present, as well as any number of Horde Troopers. I just don’t think Adora takes this secret identity business seriously.

 

Insults

The Horde are clearly in an angry mood today, since Tung Lashor refers to Madame Razz as a “rebel hag”, which is pretty harsh, and Hordak sounds incredibly peeved when he calls Tung Lashor an “idiot”. Kowl calls Imp a “little drip”, but Imp has some nasty words to say about Kowl, including “clumsy old bird” and “scrawny flying dustmop”. Shortly after these insults are dispensed, Kowl snorts, “Nervous stuffed featherbag, indeed”. He seems to think he has been called this, but I didn’t hear it. Perhaps it was a line cut from the script, without any attention to whether this line of Kowl’s would subsequently make any sense.

Welcome 5
Kowl: “Christ! Look, Madame, it’s the paps again!”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow tries to pull a Horde tank over by looping a rope round it and then pulling. Admittedly, this normally works in the He-Man and She-Ra universe, but on this occasion it doesn’t, and he pulls ineffectually for about three minutes before a tank cuts the rope and makes Bow fall over. She-Ra then runs up, grabs the rope and instantly pulls the tank over, bringing Bow’s self-esteem down with it.

 

Does it have the Power?

Maybe I wasn’t listening carefully enough, or maybe I’ve been outwitted by a 30-year-old children’s cartoon, but I didn’t even begin to understand the rebels’ plan for dealing with the tanks. I certainly couldn’t see any reason for Kowl having to hang out in the barn overnight, other than so his mates could think he was a traitor, of course.

The Kowl’s treachery storyline was pretty unbelievable, since the evidence against him was circumstantial at best, and even saying it was circumstantial is being incredibly generous. If this sort of story must be done, I’m sure the writers could have come up with more damning evidence that might have actually made people have doubts about Kowl. This story, when coupled with a pointless subplot about Madame Razz feeling worthless and considering running away, didn’t do much to interest me, and I think I could be forgiven for advising you to skip it.

10 thoughts on “Episode 43 – Welcome Back, Kowl

  1. Seriously, Horde hardware is hopeless. Not only their walking tanks have obvious vulnerable spots underneath (ball turret? Never heard about them), but their engines are so weak, that Bow was able to stop one by tying it with rope to a rather flimsy tree.

    And Hordak again demonstrated laziness and incompetence, deciding to “question the prisoner later” without any practical reason. I really doubt that he caught high-ranking Rebellion members often enough for it being a mundane thing…

    The madame Razz spell count, of course:

    * Ground to glue spell – frankly, I couldn’t understood why madame Razz was so upset about this spell. Sure, initially it worked not exactly right, but it was stated to be a demonstration, and the mistake was only in targeting. As soon as madame Razz (with Broom help) realized what gone wrong, she preformed the spell flawlessly. Ok, let’s get this B – spell, that worked.

    * Chain spell – quick and flawless. Actually, this episode clearly demonstrated the difference between Shadow Weaver and Madame Razz; while Shadow Weaver have greater magic power, her knowledge of spells are rather limited – and madame Razz, being not as powerful, is much more adept in spells.

    * Ice tongue spell – rather… nasty trick, but Tung Lashor should know better. And flawless, as usual.

    So:

    A) Flawless spells – 13 (thirteen)

    B) Spells, that worked – 7 (seven)

    C) Failed spells – 2 (two)

    D) Unclear – 1 (one).

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      1. I seriously suspect that Etheria just didn’t count much in Horde efforts. It’s a low-tech world with small population and limited value.

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      2. You’re probably right. Would have been interesting if She-Ra had ever taken the fight to Horde World. Maybe in later seasons of the new series?

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      3. It’s unclear, does any Horde World even exist in a new series… They seems to be mostly local-based power, almost all their staff are recruited/conscripted locals. Only their top brass seems to have ooutworld origin.

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    1. …Just realized, that I miscalculated in a spell count. I did not include Ice tongue spell. The correct is:

      A) Flawless spells – 13 (fourteen)

      B) Spells, that worked – 7 (seven)

      C) Failed spells – 2 (two)

      D) Unclear – 1 (one).

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  2. Regarding your part of your review owen on madame razz (subplot as you say) running away it was also ridiculous I mean the first time I watched this which was last year I was like wow that seemed totally out of the blue!! my reason for mentioning this is like madame razz isn’t usually like this it was very out of character for me, an it was over virtually nothing! pluses well again this was a good episode for both kowl and imp it was fun to watch them play tricks on eachother but I agree this episode is nothing to write home about id rate it as just average at best. the horde as you say owen doesn’t want to win it seems and as dilandu pointed out when bow was able to stop one of there engines by tying it up it made a mockery of the hordes army when in other episodes like book burning for example thev been so much more competent, ill be generous and rate this episode 5/10 as I say average at best but on another day I could easily score it a 4! it was nice to see tounge lasher get his just deserts from radame razzs spell so ill give it 5/10 for that!! Great and a fair review owen takecare…

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    1. Yep, I’d call it a 4 as well. It is at least better than the upcoming “Kowl runs away” episode The Wizard, which doesn’t even merit a 0.

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      1. Yep id agree the wizard episode is no doubt the worst of the “kowl” episodes, tho id give it more than a zero lol probably around a 3! as iv mentioned before to you my feelings on the weakest she-ra eps imo arnt as bad as the weak he man ones, for example the wizard episode is in my bottom 10 of the she ra series but I personally don’t think its as bad as some of the lowest from he man like the star child and the greatest show which imo are stinkers but yes the wizard is still a bad episode! for me theres only 3 she-ra episodes that id say are real stinkers and there the time transformer, day of the flowers and the missing ax, I watched the missing ax again the other day to see if it was just me or my mood at the time…. it wasn’t that one is without a doubt the blandest episode of the series! regarding the kowl episodes owen I think its fair to say it breaks into 4 for me zoo story and birds of a feather are the strongest two and welcome back, kowl and the wizard are the weakest two! I must admit iv had a slightly change of heart with birds of a feather in that its still entertaining to watch I think the character red eye is one of the best in the series where the ep is frustrating is the story didn’t quite fulfil it`s potential cos it definetly had the potential to be one of the classics but still I enjoyed it a lot more on its second look!! My final comment regarding horde world yes I agree its a shame for me there never did an episode showing the horde world I mean lets be honest they mentioned it enough times!! takecare…

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      2. It’s difficult to decide exactly what the lowest of the low is… I’m pretty sure – though not certain – that I dislike The Wizard even more than I dislike The Starchild, though it is a close call.

        As to other stinkers in the She-Ra series besides The Wizard, The Time Transformer and The Missing Axe, I point you in the direction of Day of the Flowers, Above It All, and indeed most of the second season….

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