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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.