And there we have it. She-Ra is finished. I don’t know why the second season only consisted of 28 episodes, rather than the usual 65, but I must say I’m relatively grateful. Despite a few high points, the second season was no more entertaining than the first, and – although it never quite hit the all-time low of The Wizard – there were some serious misfires in this batch of episodes. We’ll come on to the high and low points shortly.
I complained in my Season 1 Summary that She-Ra herself was infuriating, and nothing has happened to change that opinion. In fact, it’s only been cemented. I read somewhere once (I can’t remember where, but if you know, tell me, and I’ll assign credit) that the difference between He-Man and She-Ra was that He-Man spoke to you, whereas She-Ra spoke at you. Whoever said that hit the nail on the head.
I’ll admit that I warmed to Hordak a little over the course of the series, largely once I stopped noticing his pig noises. It feels like at some stage the writers stopped trying to write him the same way they wrote Skeletor, and gave him his own character. It wasn’t a great character, admittedly, but it was an improvement.
Still, for baddies, the best remain Catra and Shadow Weaver. Catra had a lot less to do in this season, but when she did show up, she was good fun. Shadow Weaver had many more starring roles, and managed to elevate quite a few of the more lacklustre episodes with her scary presence. Mantenna was also prominent, but he’s a complete nonentity, as are Grizzlor and Leech. I don’t think Scorpia even bothered to appear, not that I’m upset about that.
And as for She-Ra’s supporting cast, well … Bow remains my favourite, due to his complete lack of self-awareness. I will miss him, if only because it’s so much fun hating him. Despite a few efforts, the writers never managed to give Glimmer anything interesting to do, except in Glimmer Come Home, where she went mental and teamed up with the Horde. Even that was a mistake. Frosta had at least one fantastic episode, and I didn’t object to Mermista.
Madame Razz didn’t appear very often, but when she did, it was often to shriek “razzle dazzle mizzle muzzle”, which I did not enjoy. One rebel notable by his absence was Kowl. He was present in a lot of the first season, offering genuinely amusing sarcastic commentary and taking the piss out of Bow, which was nice, because it saved me having to do it. It was a shame that he didn’t appear much this time round, and even when he did, he was usually relegated to a non-speaking role.
Well, at the end of a season, it’s traditional that I explore the best and worst of that season’s offerings. So, here are those episodes I consider the best – though do bear in mind that with only 28 episodes to work with, there are a few here that probably wouldn’t have made the cut in a full 65 episode season.
5. Bow’s Magical Gift. This is included largely so I can sneer at Bow, who behaves like a first class moron this week. Yes, even more so than usual. Despite the plot focussing on one of our characters being a complete div, it’s pretty entertaining.
4. The Inspector. Adam visits Etheria, and pretends to be an inspector to check Hordak’s doing his job properly. It’s not a total classic, but it does have some great fun moments.
3. Assault on the Hive. Let’s be honest: this is only here because it’s Skeletor’s sole appearance this season. The majority of the episode isn’t brilliant, but it’s the last time we see Filmation’s Skeletor in action, so it can’t be missed.
2. Loo-Kee’s Sweety. This is, I suspect, a divisive entry. It’s a very silly episode, notable largely for featuring a scuba-diving pig in the slime pit. Mental, but purely for the what-the-hell factor, it gets a pass.
1. Sweet Bee’s Home. This is far and away the high point of She-Ra’s second season, and is one of the best of the entire series. Who’d have thought the one person capable of defeating He-Man would be a besotted Frosta?
5. The Time Transformer. There were plenty of candidates for the list of failures, but The Time Transformer just managed to beat out other competitors. On paper, it doesn’t sound any worse than She-Ra’s usual mental outings, but it rubbed me up the wrong way purely because of the sheer number of gaping holes in logic that it exhibited. It wasn’t amusingly illogical; it was just annoying.
4. The Bibbet Story. Anything willingly titling itself ‘The Bibbet Story’ is asking for trouble, and lo and behold, this tedious jingoistic little parable duly revealed itself to be infuriating. Bonus points deducted for the introduction of some entirely inappropriately clothed child clowns.
3. The Locket. This instalment was a completely disjointed mess. In theory, an episode bringing together various minor characters such as Sea Hawk and Sorrowful the S&M dragon might have helped make Etheria seem like a more cohesive world; in practice, however, it felt like the writers had just hurled every possible ingredient into the episode in a desperate attempt to make something stick.
2. Day of the Flowers. Orko comes to Etheria and uses his stupid magic to disappear Adam and Adora’s magical swords, while in the background some tedious robots stomp around to destroy some flowers. Sounds achingly boring, doesn’t it? And it was.
1. Above It All. And here’s another episode that just didn’t know what to do with itself. Is it about the rebels nearly being defeated by a windy day? Or is it about She-Ra meeting some trees on a flying island? Is Vultak’s random appearance relevant? Why does it feature what feels like hours of Bow talking to children? Most of all, what is the point of this episode’s existence? These are all unanswerable questions.
Onward and upward
Well, surely things can only improve from here. In the spirit of tackling all of He-Man’s onscreen adventures in something approaching production order, it’s now time to examine the franchise’s only live-action offering, the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, starring Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Tom Paris, and Monica from Friends. What a treat this is going to be.