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.

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