Episode 54 – The Light of the Crystal

In which Bow is taken in by a stupid trick involving someone pretending to be a tree.

This week opens with Catra, Scorpia and Imp taking control of some stupid kingdom or other, called Elfwood. They capture the King, but make the elementary mistake of letting his son Storm escape, which I think guarantees their failure before anything can even get going. Sure enough, Storm runs all the way to find the rebels, and quickly teams up with a female member of the Rock People, who has the unlikely and possibly misheard name of Flaccid.

Crystal 1
Catra: “This is one of those pictures that ends up as a caption competition in Evil Horde Monthly.”

In Whispering Wood, Adora, Bow, Glimmer and Kowl are conducting a meeting with a complete nutbar called Prince Arkeon, who is also an elf. Arkeon comes from a local elf kingdom, but does not agree with his father’s policies, because his father is too serious. Arkeon just wants to have adventure and fun, but based on his behaviour in this scene, I can understand why his father might not want him around.

This less-than-enthralling, and in fact downright odd, scene comes to a close when Storm comes along, having evidently abandoned Flaccid somewhere along the way. He begs for help, which the rebels – unfortunately including Arkeon – happily agree to provide. They all pop along to Elfwood, where they find the Horde using large mining machinery to extract crystal from the neighbouring mountains.

Catra very quickly captures She-Ra inside a crystal dome from which she cannot escape, and you cannot believe how satisfying it is to see the smug smirk wiped from She-Ra’s face when she realises she’s actually been bested. It doesn’t last long beyond the commercial break, unfortunately, but it was still possibly the highlight of my day. If you want to know, She-Ra gets out thanks to Flaccid, who re-enters the episode at this point and smashes the crystal. She also reveals that she’s called Granita, not Flaccid, and I must admit it’s quite demented that I managed to mishear her name that badly.

Crystal 3
She-Ra: “I’ve been living in a bubble too long.”

While this excitement has been going on, Scorpia has successfully managed to defeat Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Storm and Arkeon, and put them to work in the crystal mines. Another Rock Person, Stone-Dar, appears at this juncture to rescue them, which is nice, and then the episode dribbles its way to some kind of conclusion by way of Arkeon and Storm both being really scared, but getting over their fears. By this stage, I was way past caring.

 

In today’s adventure…

No sign of Loo-Kee for me today, but that’s because it turns out that he was hiding in the Whispering Wood with only his nose poking out from behind a rock. For reasons only marginally connected to the episode, he recommends that we thank our parents or tell them that we love them. In complete fairness, I’m not sure what moral lesson this mess of an episode was trying to dispense was, but I’m relatively convinced that it was nothing to do with parents.

 

Character checklist

In case you desperately need to know who was in this rubbish, then I can here reveal that it was Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Kowl, Arkeon, Storm, Granita (or Flaccid, if you prefer), Stone-Dar, Loo-Kee, the King of Elfwood, Catra, Scorpia, Mantenna and Imp. As in another episode relatively recently, I didn’t notice Spirit but I assume he was around because Swift Wind definitely is.

Crystal 2
Storm: “So, wait, what’s your name actually?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“You go on ahead. I’ll see if I can find She-Ra. We’re going to need her help,” Adora says. It’s so simple, but outstandingly effective.

 

Insults

Catra achieves a personal best by ensuring that the fourth word of the episode is an insult, though unfortunately it’s only the generic “fools”, directed at some Horde Troopers. She also finds time to call Imp a “headache” and complain that she is surrounded by “empty-headed, know-nothing, worthless fools”, in reference to Imp and Scorpia. There was also a scene in which she was definitely insulting Mantenna, but I couldn’t hear a word she said because the music was way too loud.

Crystal 4
Catra: “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m not happy about it.”

Elsewhere, there’s Storm calling some Horde Troopers the ubiquitous “rotten robots”, Imp describing Bow, Glimmer and Kowl as “rebel fools”, and Scorpia describing the same party as “rebel rats”. I should also probably mention that there’s a strange scene in which Arkeon pretends to be a tree and tells Bow that he’s “not too bright”. Bow retaliates aggressively, calling the tree an “overgrown splinter”.

 

Egg on your face?

Bet you’d forgotten this section existed. Bow begins his appearance this week by leaping into a tree and shaking it until all the fruit falls out. Naturally, some of it lands on his head and explodes. I debated long and hard whether to put this here in Egg on your face? or in Oh No, Bow!, before deciding that I’d put it in both, for maximum piss-taking.

Crystal 5
Bow: “I hate my life.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

In what appears to be a misguided effort to impress Adora and Glimmer, Bow leaps into a tree and shakes all the fruit out of it, only stopping when a big ripe red fruit lands on his head. There you go – told you I’d put it in both sections. Bow then embarks on a strange trip into mental ineptitude by falling for an all-too-obvious trick in which Prince Arkeon pretends to be the tree and talks to Bow. This whole section of the episode is, it has to be said, really quite odd.

 

Does it have the Power?

No, it doesn’t. Most of the time it feels like it’s just going through the motions, without bothering to have much in the way of a plot, and yet at the same time it feels like it’s got loads of ingredients thrown into it without any kind of idea what they should be doing. The appearance of the Rock People seems pretty gratuitous, and the plotlines about Arkeon and Storm being scared are suddenly tacked on, and don’t do much when they do emerge. On the other hand, Catra is at her scheming and malicious best; it feels like a long time since we’ve seen her take centre-stage, and her capture of She-Ra is, just about, worth the price of admission. Especially if you’re watching on You Tube, where there is no price of admission.

And that’s your lot for a couple of weeks; there’ll be no more updates here until the second week of May.

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Episode 53 – Unexpected Ally

In which we meet a decent man who works for the Horde.

A young lady called Mally comes to Rebel HQ, asking for help. Her father and mother have been arrested for assaulting some Horde Troopers, and Mally herself was taken prisoner by the Horde commander, General Sunder. Unfortunately, Sunder forgot to lock the door of Mally’s cage, and she was able to escape.

Adora is suspicious of this story, as she remembers Sunder from her days in the Horde, and apparently he wouldn’t make such a mistake. She waddles off to become She-Ra, and then joins Bow, Glimmer and Mally as they prepare to attack Sunder’s camp and rescue Mally’s parents. During this attack, Mally manages to free her parents, but Bow manages to get himself captured, so it’s a bit of a win-some-lose-some situation for the rebels. Or a win-win situation, depending on your opinion of Bow.

Unexpected 1
General Sunder: “Right. You’re nicked.”

Sunder then demands that She-Ra surrender, the alternative being that Bow remains a prisoner for ever. She-Ra instantly gives herself up, and Sunder keeps his word, letting Bow go free. She-Ra, on the other hand, is dragged before Hordak, and in the ensuing scene, we learn that Sunder is a man of honour, even willing to go up against Hordak when he perceives something as unfair. Christ alone knows why this guy is working for the Horde in the first place, but I suspect he won’t be by the end of the episode.

Of course, Bow, Glimmer and Mally show up in the Fright Zone pretty quickly, and are so monumentally inept at carrying out their moronically simple plan that it’s lucky Sunder chooses this moment for his inevitable switching of sides. He releases She-Ra, and even agrees to join the Rebellion. Even more surprisingly, there isn’t one of those sudden last-minute revelations that means Sunder has to go off somewhere, for fear of changing the status quo.

Unexpected 2
Sunder: “So, wait, now I have to hang out with you buffoons?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is just outside the Fright Zone today, and his take-home from this little adventure is that it’s never too late to change your ways, just like General Sunder did. Good point, Loo-Kee. I might change my ways and stop watching this beastly cartoon.

 

Character checklist

If you’re a fan of General Sunder, then this is the episode for you. It’s also not bad if you’re keen on Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Loo-Kee, Mally, Mally’s parents, Hordak, Catra, Mantenna, Grizzlor and a whole boatload of Horde Troopers. Being honest, I’m not particularly keen on any of these people.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

It’s typical that the moment I decide to retire this section, Adora starts giving excuses all the bloody time. This week’s isn’t a particularly good one – “I’m going to find the one person who can make sense of all this: She-Ra” – but it still counts.

Unexpected 3
Glimmer: “Why are you wearing a blanket, you interloper?”

 

Insults

Once again, the Horde Troopers come off pretty badly; Mally’s father refers to them as “metal monsters” and Bow later calls one a “bucket of bolts”. Unusually, the Horde Troopers do get their own back a bit: one of them calls Bow a “fool” and another refers to She-Ra as “stupid”. Mally’s mother calls General Sunder a “monster”, and Bow refers to him as a “fiend” and “Horde scum”. Finally, Mantenna makes the mistake of referring to Hordak as “unreasonable”, and gets dropped down the trapdoor as a consequence.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow and Glimmer come into the Fright Zone hidden inside a cart full of hay. For no purpose whatsoever, Bow sticks his head out of the hay, allowing General Sunder to see him. If it weren’t for the fact that Sunder was having misgivings about renewing his Horde membership subscription, the game would have been up there.

Unexpected 4
Bow: “Hey, stop picking on me! Glimmer’s stuck her head up too!”

 

Does it have the Power?

Frankly, anything would have had the Power after last week’s appalling showcase, but even bearing that in mind, this episode is a good solid entry. I’d perhaps have liked it a bit better if it weren’t called Unexpected Ally, since between this and the fact that Sunder quickly demonstrates himself to be honourable, the twist when he changes sides was not in the least a surprise. Still, it was very pleasing that he actually joined the Rebellion at the end and was going to stay with them; I recall that it annoyed me in Micah of Bright Moon when Micah decided at the end of the episode that he had to go wandering pointlessly round Etheria. I don’t imagine we’ll see Sunder ever again, but if we do, it’ll be a nice little detail that will help to show the set-up of the cartoon doesn’t have to be static. Anyway, enough rambling on that: in summary, this episode is well above the average, but not a stone-cold classic.

Episode 52 – The Wizard

In which we meet the worst character in all of fiction, ever.

Quite a lot of She-Ra episodes begin with an irrelevant scene in which She-Ra gets into a fight with the Horde, but it’s usually over within two or three minutes. This episode, by contrast, opens with a stunningly pointless six-minute drivel fest featuring She-Ra kicking Leech and some Horde Troopers about, for no purpose other than to kill a third of the episode’s runtime.

The only remotely relevant bit of this section is that Kowl was supposed to be on guard, but he was too frightened to do his job properly. Adora forgives him, of course, but his alleged best friend Bow properly lays into him, until Kowl flaps off miserably. Broom soon finds Kowl sobbing his eyes out, and suggests that he ask Madame Razz for a courage spell.

The Wizard 5
Bow: “Once again, Kowl, I’m in the position of shouting at my only friend because I’m an idiot bully boy.”

Unexpectedly, Madame Razz tells Broom and Kowl to piss off, thus leading Broom to conclude that he isn’t appreciated either, and so the appropriate reaction is for him and Kowl to – altogether now – RUN AWAY! Because this is a storyline which is fresh and hitherto unexplored on this cartoon. At least, for once, they have an objective in mind: they will go to see a wizard in Silverglade, who will make Kowl brave and give Broom a new life doing something that remains unspecified, possibly sweeping the floor.

On their way, they are spotted by the freakiest looking man I’ve ever seen. I try not to judge people on appearance, but by Christ, if I saw this dude waiting to get on my train, I’d wait for the next one. He’s like a cross between an unholy ventriloquist’s dummy and a medieval sex pest. He is called Acrobad, probably because he jumps about everywhere like he’s got springs in his feet, and he never says a word without prefacing it with “Yes sirree serroo.” It took me less than five seconds of his being on screen for me to conclude that I despise him more than I have ever despised anyone before.

The Wizard 1
Acrobad: “Do you hate me yet?”

Acrobad is accompanied by Doctor Drome, a leprechaun-type man in a van, who is trying his best to be just as irritating as Acrobad, but not quite getting there. These two introduce themselves to Kowl and Broom, and invite them to lunch. Broom is suspicious, but Kowl is hungry, and so they accept the invitation. Over lunch, Doctor Drome learns that our heroes are headed for Silverglade, and offers to give them a lift. The evil but mysterious person theme music plays in the background at this point, in case we were unsure.

The remainder of this atrocity of an episode is given over to Doctor Drome and Acrobad handing Kowl and Broom over to a Horde commander called Colonel Blast. Colonel Blast starts formulating some demented plans to sell them to a circus, but She-Ra, Bow and Madame Razz come to rescue them. Acrobad and Doctor Drome run away, and Bow somehow contrives to shoot all of Colonel Blast’s clothes off, Christ alone knows why.

Back in Whispering Wood, there’s ever such a nice touching scene in which Madame Razz apologises to Broom, and Bow doesn’t apologise to Kowl. Then Adora makes some kind of stupid comment and winks at the camera. I used to hate it when Prince Adam did this, but let me tell you, he’s got nothing on Adora’s winking technique. It’s actively terrifying.

The Wizard 3
Adora: “Sleep well, little kiddies. Sleep well.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I couldn’t find Loo-Kee this week, in part because watching this episode was pretty painful so I was trying not to look at the screen. He was messing about near some barrels, if you want to know. He takes the opportunity to tell us about stranger danger, which is sensible and relevant to the episode’s plot. It’s really saying something when Loo-Kee’s moral is the best thing about an episode.

 

Character checklist

This utter nonsense gives us the opportunity to see Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, some Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Leech, Acrobad, Doctor Drome, Colonel Blast, some Horde Troopers, and some rebels. Given Swift Wind was present, I expect Spirit was too, but I didn’t note it down and I’m not going to watch it again to check.

The Wizard 2
She-Ra: “Jesus, man. Even Bow is less creepy than you.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I think She-Ra can help. I’d better find her,” says Adora, and runs off at full tilt. While she’s gone, Madame Razz and the Twiggets (or Spriggets or whatever the hell they are) arrange themselves into a circle and start shrieking, “Razzle dazzle, mazzle muzzle” or some such gibberish. Bow is thus incredibly grateful when She-Ra appears to rescue him from these loonies, and says, “She-Ra! Glad you’re here!” in the most heartfelt tones I’ve ever heard him use.

 

Insults

Lots of insults today, many of them directed at Kowl. Leech starts the ball rolling by calling Kowl a “feathered pest”, and Colonel Blast continues with “mangy bird”. Bow offers “rotten bird”, and Kowl later describes himself as a “useless coward”, to which Bow helpfully responds, “You sure are.” Doctor Drome refers to both Kowl and Broom as “little twits”, and Colonel Blast opts for “rotting broom” to describe Broom. We also have a farmer calling some Horde Troopers “devils”, Doctor Drome calling Acrobad a “bouncing boob”, and finally She-Ra comes up with “sorriest slime in the Horde” for Leech. At no point does anyone think to come up with an insult for the episode’s writer, but they definitely should have.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow gets frozen into a giant ice cube by Leech’s weapons early on. When She-Ra breaks him out, she cuddles him for a moment to warm him up. Bow takes creepiness to a whole new level by pretending to need more warming up than necessary, and making ridiculous comments while putting on the kind of expression that gets you added to registers.

The Wizard 4
Bow: “Touch me, She-Ra. We’ll deal with the #MeToo business later.”

He is also ridiculously unpleasant to Kowl in the debriefing after the stupid long fight, and is in fact so nasty that Kowl runs away, thus forcing us to watch this tedious plot for the nine billionth time. Bow has a lot to answer for, in my book.

 

Does it have the Power?

Oh, God, where do I even start? It’s got a six minute long irrelevant section at the start. It’s got a story involving people feeling underappreciated and running away. It’s got weird baddies who are simultaneously utterly unthreatening and yet will haunt my nightmares for ever. It’s got Bow being a complete cock. It’s got Madame Razz and the Twiggets burbling nonsensical doggerel for what feels like forever. It’s got Adora winking at the camera like she’s possessed. One thing it’s not got is a wizard, so why the bloody hell it’s called The Wizard is totally beyond me. It’s also not got the Power, in case you weren’t sure. I’m genuinely amazed that an episode this bad could ever get made. Truly, truly dreadful.

Bonus Update: The Lost Episodes of She-Ra

It’s a stunning coincidence that yet again, on this day of the year, my meticulous research into all things He-Man and She-Ra has unearthed yet another clutch of episodes that were planned and yet never made. For your reading pleasure, I am making these episode summaries available now, for the first time ever.

 

Razzle Dazzle

Madame Razz discovers that her name is similar to that of a song from the Chicago musical, and engages on a surprisingly successful quest to become a Broadway star. However, when she discovers that Hordak is her co-star, she finds it hard to put aside her personal differences with him in the interests of “the show must go on”…

She Ra Lost 1

 

Princess of Power

Glimmer demands to know on what basis She-Ra calls herself Princess of Power, pointing out that Adora is the princess, not She-Ra. She-Ra must persuade Glimmer that we are all princesses, in our own special way. Glimmer is pretty easily persuaded on this one.

 

A Tenner for Mantenna

Bow bumps into Mantenna down at Wetherspoons on a Friday night, and the two of them bond over a shared liking for cheap drinks in atmosphereless pubs. But when Bow wakes up with a raging hangover on Saturday morning, he discovers that he has somehow got himself into a situation where he owes Mantenna £10. Can he pay back the loan before Mantenna’s notoriously steep interest rates kick in?

She Ra Lost 2

 

Body Swap

Modulok invents a body swap device, intending to use it to swap bodies with Glimmer and learn the secrets of the Rebellion. Unfortunately, he accidentally uses it to swap Bow into She-Ra’s body, with the result that “She-Ra” disappears into her tent for several days with a video camera, a full length mirror and a can of whipped cream. Meanwhile, no one believes “Bow” when he claims to be She-Ra, until he proves his identity by not doing anything stupid or seedy for nearly 20 minutes.

 

The Greatest Show on Etheria

In the sequel that literally no one wanted, Krackers the Clown and his infernal team arrive on Etheria to set up their beastly circus, but are whisked away into the Fright Zone dungeons immediately on arrival. No one does anything about it, and the episode ends with a disturbing “40 years later…” segment in which a bowed and broken Krackers staggers out of his lengthy imprisonment only to collapse under an indifferent grey Etherian sky.

 

Once again, I feel obliged to point out that this is all an April Fools’ Day joke. A very funny joke. I should also comment that I’m sorry about the appalling photoshopping. There’s only so much time I’m willing to put into this.