Episode 61 – Darksmoke and Fire

In which Granamyr pops up again, although I wish he hadn’t bothered.

Today’s little intrigue centres around Modulok, who has been busy creating a massive missile. It is intended for use next time She-Ra opens a gateway to Eternia and will apparently make said gateway unstable, with the result that She-Ra could be deposited absolutely anywhere. To be honest, this is unlikely to be successful, but Hordak seems impressed.

Luckily, they don’t have long to wait before they can test the missile. For no readily discernible reason, Adora and Light Hope open a gateway to Eternia, so Modulok deploys the missile. Adora ends up on Eternia anyway, which is surprising given the claim she could be deposited in a random location anywhere throughout the universe. To give Modulok a tiny bit of credit, Adora is somewhere in the Eternian wilderness, not in the Palace as she expected.

Darksmoke 1
Hordak: “Modulok, is it possible that you didn’t have time to test the missile because you wasted ages painstakingly painting the Horde logo on it?”

Or is she? Adora suddenly recognises the landscape, and realises that the Palace is gone. Before she has time to muse on this surprising situation, some people run past, chasing someone else. Without giving any thought to who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong, Adora changes into She-Ra and takes the side of the person being chased.

After she chases off the chasers, She-Ra doesn’t have time to discuss the situation before being attacked by a dragon. Luckily, the guy who was being chased intervenes, and fortunately he gets a name at this point, so I can now refer to him as Tarben. The dragon is introduced as Brightstar, and it seems he and Tarben are friends. Tarben thanks She-Ra for her help, and takes her to a place called Dragon Valley.

Darksmoke 2
Tarben: “I’m sensing a distinct disparity in the amount of screen She-Ra and I have been allocated.”

In Dragon Valley, She-Ra meets Granamyr, our old mate of a dragon from some of He-Man’s best episodes. She-Ra seems to know who Granamyr is, having been told about him by He-Man, King Randor, Man-at-Arms and Orko – but these names are unfamiliar to Granamyr. Luckily, before this can get any more confusing, Granamyr casts a spell on She-Ra, and works out that she has arrived on Eternia 1000 years in the past.

The episode then embarks on a convoluted plotline about some idiot dressed in purple who wants to start a war between the local villagers and the dragons. I don’t know what the middle stage of this plan is, but the anticipated endgame is that the purple-clothed idiot will become ruler of Eternia. He burns down a tower full of food and blames it on the dragons, whipping the dim-witted villagers up into a warlike frenzy.

Darksmoke 4
Granamyr: “Nice to see that even 1000 years in the past, I still had a really goofy helmet.”

Tarben now reveals that he is the king, which doesn’t quite ring true given that earlier in the episode the villagers were chasing him around shouting insults at him. Surely they’d have greater respect for their king? Anyway, he pops off to stop the villagers and the dragons fighting, and She-Ra, disregarding the Temporal Prime Directive, goes to help. The rest of the episode showcases She-Ra’s efforts to stop the war, and it’s dull as ditchwater.

I hardly need to tell you that the war is averted, and I certainly don’t need to tell you how she does it, because it’s equal parts boring and stupid. The dragons and the humans make friends, the purple-clothed idiot disappears in a puff of purple smoke, and Granamyr comes up with a way to send She-Ra home so she can stop polluting Ancient Eternia with her self-righteous smuggery.

Darksmoke 5
Tarben: “This bit of Poundland bling will prove I’m king, no question.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee, who was hiding in a tree right at the end of the episode, pops up to tell us that Granamyr was absolutely awesome in He-Man, especially in The Dragon’s Gift, and that it’s a real shame he was subsequently relegated to appear in tripe like this. Oh, all right, no he doesn’t. Instead, he tells us that we shouldn’t try to blame others for our misdeeds, like the purple-clothed idiot tried to blame the dragons. I wonder if the writer of this episode tried to blame it on anyone else. I would have, if I’d written it.

 

Character checklist

I can barely be bothered to recount who turned up this week, but in the interests of completeness, I suppose I’d better tell you it was Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Tarben, Brightstar, Granamyr, various dragons and villagers, Hordak, Modulok, Imp, the purple-clothed idiot, and a surprise reappearance for Lokus from Wizard of Stone Mountain. Though it’s possibly just a re-use of his animation. I don’t care either way.

Darksmoke 3
Purple-clothed idiot: “Maybe this serves as an origin story for Lokus, not that anyone wanted one.”

 

Insults

One of the villagers calls Tarben a “rotten dragon-lover”, and another says that dragons are “overgrown lizards”. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report here, except that the purple-clothed idiot repeatedly refers to the Lokus Animation Reuse as “slutty”. I’m not sure if this is a surprisingly extreme insult, a monumentally badly chosen name, or my notoriously unreliable ears playing tricks on me again.

 

Does it have the Power?

I found this episode deeply unsatisfying, and I’m not totally sure why. I think it’s largely that it seemed so pointless somehow; I don’t know why I should care about some extremely minor conflict between dragons and humans way back in Eternia’s past. If it had shown us something new about Granamyr’s character, perhaps demonstrating how he came to be so wise and powerful, then that would be a different story, but here he’s exactly the same as he was in He-Man, evidently not having changed at all in a thousand years.

Darksmoke 6
Adora: “There’s a perfectly rational explanation for this.”

The idea of stranding She-Ra in the past was a good one, but the episode didn’t really seem to go anywhere with it. She-Ra just behaves like she usually does, getting involved in silly situations and not putting any apparent effort into getting home. Tarben is a curiously poorly-drawn character (is he a king or a villager, and why does he like dragons when no one else does?) and the less said about the purple-clothed idiot, the better. I’d whole-heartedly recommend skipping this bilge.

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