Episode 88 – Portrait of Doom

In which She-Ra has a near brush with disaster.

Oh, Christ, Bow’s playing his harp again. Luckily, he’s not singing today, but nonetheless it’s an atrocious racket. The assembled Twiggets, however, seem to think he’s great, and shower him with unwarranted praise, leading him to yammer on about how he’s going to be a big hit at the forthcoming Summer Moon Festival. This in turn leads the Twigget Spritina to wander off sadly, bemoaning the fact that she is rubbish at everything so won’t be performing at the festival.

Well, you know what happens whenever anyone gets sad because they’re rubbish, don’t you? That’s right, they run into a baddy, who will be in disguise and will embroil our unlucky protagonist in some stupid scheme. This time is no different. In this case, the baddy in question is Catra, and the stupid scheme revolves around a magic painting kit which Catra lends to Spritina, and tells her to paint portraits of all her friends with it.

Spritina: “Say cheese.”

Spritina starts by painting Netossa, who immediately complains of feeling tired, and then disappears from view altogether. Spritina has already run off to the festival by this stage, and happily occupies herself painting pictures of Kowl, Broom, and Bow, who all disappear as well. As far as I’m concerned, this episode is going really well; hopefully Spritina will move on to paint Adora, Madame Razz and Glimmer. And Loo-Kee, if she can find him.

The missing rebels are transferred onto portraits hanging in the Fright Zone, where they only exist in two-dimensional form, and are unable to move. If I were Hordak, I’d burn these portraits right now, especially the one of Bow. Instead, Hordak satisfies himself with telling Shadow Weaver how excellent her magic paints are, while Catra pouts in the background. Failing to capitalise on an advantage is the principal and fundamental mistake exhibited by every baddy in this series ever.

Hordak: “Well, I can see why it’s free to get into the National Portrait Gallery. I wouldn’t pay to look at this nonsense.”

Spritina is just about to start painting Adora when Madame Razz bounces up, bearing the news that all their stupid rebelly friends have vanished and Catra’s Horde Troopers are attacking Bright Moon. While the remaining rebels start a fruitless search for their missing colleagues, Adora transforms into She-Ra and ponces off to Bright Moon, though not before clocking that there’s something odd with Spritina’s paintings.

Madame Razz begins an investigation into the magic painting kit, and unfortunately an investigation for Madame Razz means sitting in a circle with the Twiggets, shrieking, “Razzle dazzle, mazzle azzle, uzzle buzzle” and other nonsensical variants on that theme. This descent into total madness somehow gets the results required, and Madame Razz learns that Bow and co. are trapped on canvas in the Fright Zone.

Madame Razz heads to Bright Moon to alert She-Ra to this pretty damn disturbing turn of events, while Spritina achieves the difficult goal of making the situation even worse by going to the Fright Zone and getting herself captured. Luckily, She-Ra arrives in the Fright Zone in the nick of time, rescues Spritina, and also grabs the portraits.

She-Ra: “Do I look weirdly exhausted?”

They all merrily return to Whispering Wood, where Madame Razz recites more “wizzle wuzzle” gibberish and restores the two-dimensional rebels to life. I’d love to say that Bow has always been two-dimensional so it’s difficult to tell the difference, but that’s a far too obvious joke, so I wouldn’t dream of making it.

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee evaded my eager gaze today, but blow me down if he didn’t turn out to have been in a tree in Whispering Wood. He offers a disjointed little moral about how we shouldn’t wish we could play musical instruments, but instead concentrate on being ourselves rather than trying to be like other people. Taken to its logical conclusion, this approach would result in no one being able to play musical instruments. Good one, Loo-Kee.

Character checklist

Here we have Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Netossa, Queen Angela, Madame Razz, Broom, the Twiggets (including Spritina), Loo-Kee, loads of rebels, Hordak, Catra, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers.

Catra: “Yeah, well done, Shadow Weaver. Well done. So clever of you.”

Insults

Everything’s ticking along beautifully, without an angry word being exchanged, right up to around the 17th minute, when it all goes to pot with Hordak bellowing “bumbling purr-brain” at Catra. This was surprising, largely because I thought he was going to say “bumbling pervert”. Catra evidently decides to let off some steam at this unfair treatment by telling Spritina and another Twigget called Sprint that they are “rebel scum”.

Oh No, Bow!

I think this episode must have been a massive ego boost for Bow. In stark comparison to the levels of distress exhibited about Netossa, Kowl and Broom, loads of people seem really concerned about Bow’s whereabouts, and Queen Angela seems to reckon that the Rebellion will be unable to defend Bright Moon without him. This is, of course, entirely untrue, since Bow has very rarely proven himself to have any abilities whatsoever, and notably She-Ra does not appear to think there’s any urgency to rescuing him.

She-Ra: “Worst Christmas present ever.”

Does it have the Power?

This episode has an imaginative concept, which I imagine would have been quite scary for a child; to be trapped on a canvas, unable to move, would not be a great way to end your days. Even though it’s Shadow Weaver’s plan, for some reason Hordak entrusts it to Catra to carry it out, and that’s a good move, because Catra is at her most deliciously evil this week. It’s a pleasure to see her back on form. Aside from the irritating Madame Razz “razzle dazzle” nonsense, and the slightly irrelevant Horde attack on Bright Moon, this episode is a strong entry, and worth a watch.

11 thoughts on “Episode 88 – Portrait of Doom

  1. “If I were Hordak, I’d burn these portraits right now, especially the one of Bow. ”

    Well, considering how often Hordak was at She-Ra mercy, he may just quite sensibly did not want to make things personal. Especially considering that She-Ra wasn’t trapped, you know…

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      1. Indeed. I actually finished all these reviews about three years ago, just after the release of The Curse of the Three Terrors, and I thought that was it. Then along comes She-Ra – that’s fine, yep, lovely. Then Revelation – okay, great, more to do. And now the other new one. Someone just wants to keep me busy, I think.

        One thing’s for sure though – I’m not going to start reviewing Grumpy Skeletor. He’d have my guts for garters.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This episode I agree had an interesting concept and quite a creepy plan from the horde capturing them all through paintings, worth noting commenting on the actual episode a bit this was a very good episode for the twigget character sprittena and she shined throughout plus not once feeling annoying either, bow yes is a character that annoys many (and myself at times) but I must admit there was a lovely end scene to the close of this episode I thought when sprittena was angry and upset with herself for getting tricked by the horde and bow came to her (when we all expected it to be she-ra and it made a nice change) and he said something lied “to us sprittena youll always be special” and she replied “ahh thanks bow” it was a nice way I thought to finish off the episode and it didn’t feel sickly either a nice scene, again it isn’t going to make a top ten list of best she-ra episodes but its definetly a thumbs up for me as well good review owen and one thing to note an above average episode for a season 2 outing!! ps I hear the bow in the new she-Ra series last year hes a very different character???? o an happy Christmas owen and to everyone!!….

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  3. this is where I get off at the end of this series as iv only seen the filmation he-man and she-ra id have to watch these other series from scratch, if I get time!! enjoyed the reviews of your owen, season two was considerably weaker than season one in she-ra also tho to note not as many episodes just 28 episodes in season 2 compared with 55 episodes in season 1….

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    1. Thanks John, glad you’ve enjoyed and thanks for your dedicated reading and comments over the course of these reviews. If you do dip into the New Adventures and MYP (and indeed the newer series) I hope you enjoy my reviews of those too!

      Merry Christmas, and stay tuned tomorrow for the review of the Christmas Special…

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    1. Yes, so there is. Despite me including a picture of him, seems I managed to skip over him in the character checklist… Can’t think why I’d try to block him out of my mind.

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