Episode 59 – Anchors Aloft, Part 1

In which Sea Hawk finds his father, and an aggressive mouse.

Well, with a title like that, this episode’s just got to be about Sea Hawk. And so it proves. We join Adora, who’s popped aboard Sea Hawk’s ship for a dirty weekend, but all Sea Hawk wants to talk about is his father, who was an awesome pirate captain called the Falcon. Unfortunately, he disappeared 20 years ago. If this story doesn’t end with our heroes finding the Falcon, I’ll be very surprised indeed.

With this scene-setting reminiscence over, Swen spots a Horde tax vessel, and suggests robbing it. Sea Hawk agrees, but it very quickly transpires that it’s a trap, set by a Horde baddy called Admiral Scurvy, who comes equipped with a fat vicious looking ginger cat going by the name of Squall. It’s just as well that She-Ra happens to be in the area – but even with her help, the Horde manage to disable Sea Hawk’s ship.

Anchors 1
Admiral Scurvy: “Having been christened Admiral Scurvy, I couldn’t help but join the Evil Navy, could I?”

The crew evacuate the ship, all except Sea Hawk, who remains behind to distract the Horde long enough for the rest of the crew to escape. Unfortunately, the ship pretty much immediately blows up, prompting the crew to believe that Sea Hawk is dead. In actual fact, he’s somehow wound up on a desert island. His first concern is not for his crew or for his girlfriend, but instead what happened to his treasure chest. Leave him, Adora. You can do better. Well … actually, the only other eligible bachelor on Etheria is Bow. Okay, Adora. Stay with Sea Hawk.

On his island, Sea Hawk quickly makes friends with a needlessly aggressive talking mouse called Davy Jones. Davy Jones has a right attitude on him, but he does at least warn Sea Hawk that the Horde are on the island, searching for him, and he also helps Sea Hawk to hide. The hiding place is a cave which contains an old ship, which Davy Jones proclaims was once the finest ship on Etheria.

Anchors 2
Sea Hawk: “I was actually hoping to chat to Adora, not a lippy mouse.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew have been washed up on the same island, and they are very quickly captured by Admiral Scurvy and his Horde Troopers. On the old ship, Sea Hawk discovers a magic compass, which shows him that his crew are now Horde prisoners, and he resolves to rescue them. No doubt he would say more, but he is interrupted by a man in a purple cloak wearing a burglar’s mask, who challenges him to a duel.

Sea Hawk doesn’t particularly want to fight, but the burglar dude tells him that that is the only way he’ll get his crew back, so Sea Hawk accepts. It isn’t an enormously interesting battle, but it does eventually culminate in the episode’s cliffhanger ending, in which we learn that the man in the burglar outfit is, in fact, the Falcon. My oh my, what a surprise.

Anchors 3
The Falcon: “No one saw this coming.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is hiding among the wreckage of Sea Hawk’s ship on the desert island, and he tells us that we will find friendship is more valuable than gold. This is an important lesson that Sea Hawk learned today at the end of the episode, but I couldn’t be bothered to include it in the synopsis because I was rapidly losing interest.

 

Character checklist

This opening part of a hopefully-only-two-part story features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Sea Hawk, Swen, Davy Jones, the Falcon, loads of pirates, Loo-Kee, Admiral Scurvy, Squall, and the usual rank upon rank of Horde Troopers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

When it comes to time for the crew to abandon ship, Sea Hawk wants to know where Adora is. She-Ra looks worried, and responds, “I’m sure Adora’s fine,” but Sea Hawk refuses to leave without finding her. She-Ra thus has to turn back into Adora in order to be “rescued”, and even gets a kiss full on the lips for it.

Anchors 4
Spirit: “Oh, gimme a break, you two.”

Later on, Adora excuses her sneaking off by claiming she’s going to find a safe place to keep Spirit, in order to keep him out of Horde hands. Unfortunately, she never gets to the transformation stage, being interrupted in the middle of the phrase “For the honour of Grayskull.”

 

Insults

Davy Jones takes immediate and unprovoked exception to Sea Hawk today, calling him an “overgrown oaf”, a “fat head”, a “dummy”, “Mr Smarty Sea Hawk” and the “sorriest sap of a sea dog” in rapid succession.

Anchors 5
Davy Jones: “That told Sea Hawk. He’ll be crying for weeks.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Despite my comment above about losing interest, I found this episode pretty entertaining. It’s obviously a tad dependent on how it gets resolved next week, but it’s a decent setup for a hopefully fun Part 2. I sometimes wish this cartoon would be a little less obvious – mentioning Sea Hawk’s father at the start was a dead giveaway that he’d be appearing by the end – but that’s perhaps unfair, given the target audience.

Otherwise, the episode had a few highlights, especially the moment that She-Ra had to turn back into Adora in order to be rescued. The point at which Adora was prevented from turning into She-Ra again was also very pleasing. All in all, I’ll be tuning in next time with a reasonable degree of interest to see how this situation is sorted.

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Episode 58 – Black Snow

In which Frosta gets kidnapped by some giant rats.

In response to an urgent summons, She-Ra has come to Frosta’s realm, where Frosta explains that a neighbouring kingdom called Galacia has been blighted with a heavy fall of black snow, which has ruined crops and spread illness. Galacia’s inhabitants, the Selkies, blame Frosta’s people, and are threatening war. Frosta and She-Ra conclude that the black snow must be the work of the Horde, presumably to stir up discord, and so they wander off to try to find proof that will convince the Selkies.

Not surprisingly, it turns out that the Horde are indeed responsible: this week, it’s Modulok who’s calling the shots, and he’s got someone called Multibot with him. I think we’ve seen Multibot before, possibly in Horde Prime Takes a Holiday, but I’m not inclined to check. Modulok has convinced the Selkies that Frosta’s people are responsible, and he promises to deliver Frosta to the Selkies for justice. I might be able to take this more seriously if the Selkies weren’t completely ridiculous giant rats with swords and stupid outfits.

Black Snow 1
Selkies: “Please at least try to pretend we’re a credible threat.”

Modulok is as good as his word, and whips up a blizzard of black snow to temporarily blind She-Ra, while he sets a whirlwind in motion to snatch up Frosta. She-Ra occupies herself with a pointless fight with Multibot, in the course of which she realises that Multibot is far too incompetent to be responsible for the black snow and Frosta’s kidnapping. She quickly flatters Multibot into telling her that Modulok is behind the whole thing, using his new invention, the Weather Wheel.

Black Snow 3
Multibot: “I suspect this will be the only time I’m featured in a picture on this entire blog.”

In the meantime, Frosta and the Selkies have engaged in a circular argument about whether Frosta’s people have caused the black snow or not. Frosta does not convince them, and so they send word to Frosta’s second-in-command, Captain Ron, that Frosta will remain a prisoner until the black snow is removed. Unfortunately, Captain Ron is a massive idiot, and his immediate response is to go to war with the Selkies.

I’m pleased to report that Frosta is entirely capable of busting herself out of her prison cell, which is nice, because normally everyone on Etheria has to wait for She-Ra before they escape. She intervenes before Captain Ron and the Selkies can engage in battle, and the entire situation is resolved when She-Ra hijacks the Weather Wheel and puts a final stop to the black snow.

Black Snow 2
Frosta: “This feels … somehow wrong.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I didn’t see Loo-Kee today, but I don’t care. I’m sure you don’t either. His moral lesson is that being ill isn’t fun. I don’t know about you, but I already knew that, and I was well aware of the fact even when I was four years old. I’m pretty confident that kids in 1980s America didn’t go round getting ill on purpose, but that seems to be the implication here.

 

Character checklist

This week, it’s a day out for She-Ra, Swift Wind, Frosta, Captain Ron, Loo-Kee, the Selkies, Hordak, Modulok, Multibot, and Imp. There are plenty of background characters too, but why dwell on them?

 

Insults

Multibot doesn’t do very well this week. She-Ra calls him a “metalhead” and a “goofy robot”, while Modulok considers him a “nincompoop” and a “bigmouth”. Modulok also refers to Swift Wind as a “beast” and to She-Ra, rather mildly, as a “meddling woman”.

Black Snow 4
Modulok: “I will now play a short composition on my synthesiser.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a refreshing change to get away from our usual environs of the Fright Zone and Whispering Wood, into the frozen kingdoms of Frosta and the Selkies. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all it’s got going for it. The problems presented by the black snow were glossed over far too quickly, and it never seemed to be a pressing concern. I’ve also never found Modulok to be a particularly compelling character, and Multibot was a very tiresome attempt at comic relief. Far more comical, though not intentionally, was the animation of the Selkies. I’d call this episode a lacklustre effort, and only really to be recommended if you’re a massive Frosta fan. I’m sure at least one person in the world must be.

Episode 57 – Jungle Fever

In which Adora loses her memory.

With stunning competence, the Horde capture Adora in the first three minutes of the episode, and take her to a prison cell on Beast Island. Unfortunately, they put her in a cell that contains an inbuilt escape route, and Adora is loose within 30 seconds. Still, it’s not all good news: during her escape, she falls and hits her head, with the result that she forgets who and where she is.

Jungle 1
Adora: “Oh man. I shouldn’t have had that ninth Jaegerbomb.”

With a sixth sense telling her that she is in danger, Adora delves into the undergrowth of the jungle to find a hiding place. She quickly comes across a young boy called Tandy who is attempting to fight a furry dinosaur in order to become a Beast Warrior. Tandy is nearly defeated by the dinosaur, so Adora intervenes, which ruins his test. Adora is subsequently captured by lots and lots of jungle people, and taken to their village.

The villagers decide that Adora must be punished for interfering with the test, and that she must be given to the Great Beast. I didn’t know my wife was in this cartoon, but there we go. Adora quickly defeats the Great Beast, at which point all the villagers inexplicably cheer, but they change their tune when Adora refuses to kill it.

Jungle 2
Great Beast: “I’m a little too generic to be interesting, I’m afraid.”

One of the villagers, called Jamilla, is a progressive, and agrees with Adora’s beliefs – but another, called Kord, is much less so. Jamilla invites Adora to join the tribe as an honoured Beast Warrior, and explains that the villagers only fight the animals of the jungle because there isn’t enough water to go round, and Adora begins musing that there must be some other way.

While Adora explains to various villagers about the need for cooperation and not fighting animals, Kord nips off to see Hordak to inform him that there is a mysterious woman in the village. Hordak puts two and two together mighty quickly, and sends Grizzlor, Rattlor and Imp out to recapture Adora. They rile up the Great Beast again, and send it to attack the village as a distraction, and start a massive fire for good measure.

All this kerfuffle has one good effect – Adora smacks her head again and remembers who she is. Actually, that’s not a particularly good thing, because it clears the way for She-Ra to get involved, and I think we all know how irritating she can be when she gets on her high horse. She-Ra calms the Great Beast down, and then puts out the fire, solves the jungle’s water shortage and teaches the villagers to accept that they can live together in harmony with the animals. All in a day’s work for the Most Annoying Woman in the Universe.

Jungle 3
She-Ra: “Look at my smug face. Just look at it.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I spotted Loo-Kee lurking about in the jungle towards the beginning of the episode. He chooses the not unexpected theme of suggesting that we should protect animals, rather than being mean to them, which is entirely in tune with the episode’s theme, so well done there, Loo-Kee.

 

Character checklist

It’s a little similar to He-Man’s A Tale of Two Cities, in that the regular characters are rather limited. Here, it’s Adora, She-Ra, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Grizzlor, Catra, Rattlor, Imp, some Horde Troopers, Tandy, Jamilla, Kord, and various other villagers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Early on in the episode, Adora is surrounded by Horde Troopers, and comments, “I can’t change to She-Ra in front of them.” That’s never stopped her before, but at least she’s demonstrating she does understand the concept of secret identity. Unfortunately, when it comes to time to actually change into She-Ra, she seems to forget about this, and does it in full view of Grizzlor and Rattlor.

Jungle 4
Grizzlor: “Just getting in some quality lurking time.”

 

Insults

Imp and Catra have a little spat at the beginning of the episode, with Imp sarcastically addressing Catra as “Madame Cat”, to which Catra retorts with “little beast”. Hordak calls Grizzlor and Rattlor “fools”, and She-Ra describes Rattlor as “Hordak’s slimy friend”. Otherwise, we have Tandy calling his pet pookah a “little rascal”, and referring to the furry dinosaur as an “ugly furbrain”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t really know what to say about this one. It’s commendable for trying something different; having Adora lose her memory and fall in with a tribe of jungle people is certainly a plotline we haven’t seen before, and I’m impressed with the message the episode conveys about protecting wildlife, a subject close to my own heart.

Jungle 5
Adora: “This is the sort of picture that’s going to be hard to explain to Operation Yewtree.”

On the other hand, I’m not sure if I’m just being an easily concerned 21st century liberal, but the portrayal of the tribe as face-painted warriors seemed a little culturally insensitive. I could have also done without Kord being in league with the Horde; surely it would have been enough for him to have been rooted in traditions and not be progressive, rather than having to actually team up with the baddies? In fairness, he does realise his mistakes at the end, so he’s not evil, just misguided.

The deciding factor, I think, is that She-Ra (and Adora, to a lesser extent) are pretty irritating today, so I can’t give it a ringing endorsement. It’s still worth watching, though, just for the fact that it’s not your run-of-the-mill episode.

 

Episode 56 – Of Shadows and Skulls

In which Skeletor gains the upper hand.

The episode begins with the rebels under attack, but thanks to a bit of a blunder from Shadow Weaver, they manage to escape. Hordak is properly livid with Shadow Weaver as a result, and after the ensuing discussion, Shadow Weaver decides to throw in her lot with Skeletor instead. She contacts him in Snake Mountain, and offers him anything he needs to conquer Eternia, in exchange for his help in toppling Hordak.

Skeletor agrees, but secretly plans to betray Shadow Weaver and conquer both Eternia and Etheria for himself. I say “secretly” – what I mean is that he manages to refrain from shrieking out this cunning plan for at least 20 seconds. Still Shadow Weaver remains unaware, and merrily transports Skeletor to Etheria.

Shadows 1
Skeletor: “I’m considering installing Shadow Weaver with that effect here permanently to save on light bulbs.”

Light Hope somehow gets wind of this development, and summons She-Ra to tell her all about it. She-Ra reacts with an air of weariness, barely restraining herself from saying, “For God’s sake, Skeletor again?” Instead, she flies off on Swift Wind to try to find Skeletor and Shadow Weaver, and stop them from doing whatever they want to do.

Our dynamic duo are in Snake Tongue Pass, happily occupying themselves in ambushing Hordak and a convoy of Horde tanks. Skeletor is enjoying this mightily, laughing his fool head off and waving his arms around like a complete maniac, but then has to get down to the serious business of a full-on duel with Hordak. After a pretty mental battle, Skeletor prevails, but is interrupted by the arrival of She-Ra – and then, to my surprise, he defeats her too.

Shadows 2
Skeletor: “I really have to wonder why Hordak has such ridiculously flat feet.”

With Hordak and She-Ra out of action, Skeletor cuts to the inevitable betrayal bit. He asks Shadow Weaver to put Hordak in a magic cage, and when she does so, he slams the door on her as well. He then indulges himself in a completely demented chuckle, before carting She-Ra off to the Fright Zone, where he seats himself in Hordak’s throne and introduces himself to Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor and Scorpia as their new boss.

Shadows 3
Skeletor: “Hands up anyone who’s more competent than Beast-Man.”

With only four minutes of the episode’s runtime left to sort out this whole mess, it’s worryingly up to Bow and Madame Razz to break into the Fright Zone and release She-Ra. This task is made easier since the Horde team are taking advantage of Hordak’s absence to beat Imp up, and are thus not guarding the Fright Zone as efficiently as they should.

Once Bow manages to free her, She-Ra starts putting all the Horde Troopers out of action with her traditional high kicks, and uses a convenient seesaw to catapult Skeletor out of the Fright Zone. Once he’s outside, he is met by Hordak and Shadow Weaver, who have managed to free themselves from the magic cage. Fearing that Skeletor will give the game away, Shadow Weaver quickly teleports him back to Eternia, while She-Ra and her crowd sneak off back to Whispering Wood.

Shadows 4
Shadow Weaver: “Me? Up to something? No, definitely not.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in Whispering Wood, not that that will come as a particular surprise to you. He talks to us today about revenge, explaining that trying to get revenge didn’t help Shadow Weaver and it won’t help us either. He counsels us to instead try to forgive and forget, and says “because that usually works.” It’s incredibly hard not to read a sarcastic undertone to this phrase.

 

Character checklist

This excellent episode features Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Skeletor, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor, Scorpia, Imp and Spikor.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I’m going to try and find a way out of here,” says Adora, when the rebels are pinned down at the beginning. It’s not a particularly good excuse, and it’s pretty unbelievable that the rebels wouldn’t already have tried to find a way out.

Shadows 5
Adora: “Bow, why do you look so worried about Kowl landing on your head?”

 

Insults

Perhaps inevitably for an episode that finds Skeletor in such fine form, there are vast swathes of insults flying about today. Shadow Weaver calls Imp a pretty scathing “pig-faced little worm”, and Imp retaliates with the far less effective “Shadow Wimpy”. Hordak gets in on the act too, calling Shadow Weaver a “useless trickster”. At the end of the episode, Bow refers to Hordak as a “villain”.

All the remaining insults in the episode are dispensed by or directed at Skeletor. She-Ra opts to call him a “villain”, a “bone brain” and a “bonehead”, to which Skeletor responds with the pretty mild “fool”. He reserves greater ire for Hordak, who also receives a “fool”, but is further burned with “dolt” and something that sounds like “bone breath”. Hordak responds with “bone-headed bogwobbler” (which I think we’ve heard before) and “bony buffoon” (which, oddly, I don’t think we have heard before).

Skeletor also finds time to describe his new army of Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor and Scorpia as “slugs”, and early on in the episode we are treated to an unexpected and unwelcome cameo appearance from Spikor, who unceremoniously departs the story after being called a “nail-head”.

Shadows 6
Spikor: “To be honest, I’m only here to try to shift my peg-warming action figures.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

The episode opens with the rebels hiding from some Horde Troopers in a quarry. Kowl thinks that the Troopers don’t know where the rebels are, so Bow immediately sticks his head up so the Troopers can see him. Sure enough, he nearly gets shot. I’m genuinely bewildered that someone this incompetent is still alive.

 

Does it have the Power?

Hell, yes. Compared to his pretty lacklustre showings in Loo-Kee Lends a Hand and My Friend, My Enemy, Skeletor is at his lunatic best in this episode. The scene in which he battles Hordak is particularly good, and it’s very satisfying that he always beats Hordak whenever they have a duel. It’s almost as if, deep down, the writers knew Skeletor was infinitely better. It’s also very pleasing that he managed to capture She-Ra. He’s portrayed as thoroughly evil, entirely competent and completely hilarious – a winning combination.

The rest of the characters have their moments. I loved Shadow Weaver’s duplicity, and her cunning move at the end to prevent her betrayal being uncovered. Catra and Scorpia leading the charge to beat Imp up is hilarious as well, and She-Ra and her cronies aren’t annoying. This one’s a definite winner.

Episode 55 – Loo-Kee Lends a Hand

In which Loo-Kee takes a trip to Eternia.

Oh, well this is going to be good. I’m sure Loo-Kee’s contribution will prove invaluable. What’s he going to do? Leap out of hiding and recite moralistic gibberish at Hordak? Maybe She-Ra will be using him as a distraction so she can sneak up on Hordak while Loo-Kee’s getting blasted to smithereens. I don’t imagine I’d be the only one happy with that.

The story begins with She-Ra and Frosta rescuing some Horde slaves and taking them into Whispering Wood, where Bow entertains them by playing a harp. Poor slaves. After all they’ve been through, making them listen to Bow is perhaps taking things a tad too far. Anyway, She-Ra realises that with so many released slaves hanging out at Rebel HQ, they’re going to need some extra food, so she despatches Glimmer off to Sainsbury’s to buy supplies.

Loo-Kee 1
Glimmer: “I thought Sainsbury’s did home delivery these days.”

In the meantime, Hordak has invented something called a Time Stop Device. I’m sure you can deduce what this does, but in case you’re having difficulty, it can be used to freeze its target in time. Shadow Weaver and Imp take the Device to the market, where they plant it in Glimmer’s shopping cart. They then engage in some pointless bickering before returning to the Fright Zone.

When Glimmer returns with her shopping, she opens the box containing the Device, and it instantly activates, freezing the entire rebel camp. Shortly thereafter, Loo-Kee ambles along, looking for somewhere to hide, and he quickly deduces that something’s not right. At this point, a portal opens for Loo-Kee and takes him to the Crystal Castle, where Light Hope blabs the Adora/She-Ra secret, and sends Loo-Kee to Eternia to fetch He-Man.

Loo-Kee 2
Loo-Kee: “No one’s happy about me taking centre-stage this week, least of all me.”

Light Hope is evidently flirting with incompetence this week, since he decides that Snake Mountain is the most appropriate Eternian location to which to send Loo-Kee. On arrival, Loo-Kee manages to teleport himself to the Palace, where he explains the situation to Prince Adam and Orko. They all pop off to Castle Grayskull, where Adam turns into He-Man, and the Sorceress opens a portal back to Etheria for the three of them.

He-Man manages to release Adora from the time freeze by way of some technobabble reason, and she becomes She-Ra. The two of them then locate the Time Stop Device and start pulling it around, which is very difficult, because – as Orko wisely points out – it’s not easy to move something that’s stuck in time. He says this so sagely that the implication is that it’s useful advice with practical value to viewers, as opposed to complete nonsense.

Loo-Kee 3
He-Man: “Thanks for inviting me to Etheria, sis, but you didn’t really have to show me this bit of your weird bondage kit.”

The Time Stop Device doesn’t react well to He-Man and She-Ra hauling it around; suddenly, She-Ra realises that it’s causing a massive storm and might make Etheria blow up. They therefore do what they ought to have done all along and just smash the Device to pieces. This sets time moving again, which has the unfortunate side effect of allowing Bow to resume his harp playing.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, I’d have to have been seven kinds of stupid to not spot Loo-Kee today, and perhaps in recognition of this, he doesn’t use his monologue to explain where he was. Instead, he discusses the fact that although he doesn’t have many powers, and is very small, he was still able to help He-Man and She-Ra. He seems to be channelling The Lord of the Rings in his conclusion that little people can do big things.

Loo-Kee 4
Orko: “Wow! Someone just as annoying as me!”

 

Character checklist

Today’s episode features pretty much everybody you could think of. For clarity’s sake, that’s Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, the Sorceress, Loo-Kee, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Frosta, Light Hope, Orko, Hordak, Catra, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Imp, Skeletor, Beast-Man, some Horde Troopers, and loads of rebels.

 

Insults

Shadow Weaver calls Imp a “squirt” and a “toad”, and Hordak calls Mantenna a “fool”. Far more entertaining, of course, is Skeletor’s brief cameo, in which he calls Beast-Man an “imbecile”.

Loo-Kee 5
Beast-Man: “Skeletor, could I draw your attention to paragraph 5 of the Bullying in the Workplace pamphlet that Unite passed out last week?”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Special points are awarded this week because Adora actually utters the phrase “Oh no, Bow!” That being said, Bow doesn’t actually do anything particularly stupid, apart from playing his harp in the deluded belief that he’s good at it.

 

Does it have the Power?

Last time Filmation attempted a storyline concerning time stopping, in He-Man’s Time Doesn’t Fly, the result was simultaneously insane and incredibly dull. This episode is definitely an improvement on that effort, but I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether it’s actually any good. It’s so easy to be blinded by joy at the appearance of He-Man and Skeletor, and thus lulled into a false impression. I think I’d say that this is certainly worth watching, but it’s not perhaps the special event it seems to think it is.