In which Adora makes her choice.
Ooh, hello! A catchy theme tune! That’s going to be in my head for the rest of the year. Once the song is over, though, we’re straight back into the action where we left off last time. Having just transformed into She-Ra, our heroine understandably freaks out, a reaction that turns her back into Adora. She, Glimmer and Bow all then run away from the big spider monster, and in so doing they fall off a cliff and find themselves in front of a glowing pyramid.
With the spider still chasing them, they rush up to the door. Bow and Glimmer can’t read the inscriptions on it, but Adora can, and when she reads the word ‘Eternia’, the door slides open, then closes behind them, so I suspect that’s the last we’ll see of the spider. Once they’re safe, Glimmer points out that they are now inside a ruin from the time of the First Ones, and adds that no one has been able to read the First Ones language for a thousand years, all of which makes her even more suspicious of Adora than she was already.
The three of them wander through the ruin, in the course of which time Adora begins to realise that she likes Glimmer and Bow, and starts to reconsider her opinion of the Horde. Eventually, they come to a central room, in which they find a large stained-glass window depicting She-Ra, and also run up against a hologram of Light Hope, which instigates the pyramid’s defence protocols. With the temple crumbling around them, Glimmer blindly teleports all three of them outside – which works, except they appear high in the air, and if it weren’t for Bow’s quick thinking, that would probably have been that for them all.
Once they’re safe, Adora decides to come with Glimmer and Bow back to Bright Moon, thanks to Bow’s suggestion that Queen Angela can probably help Adora to understand the whole transformation into She-Ra thing, as well as hopefully shed some light on her mysterious origins. En route, they pass through Thaymor, which Adora is astounded to learn isn’t a hotbed of insurgency, but just a pleasant village holding a summer festival.
Again, she questions the true nature of the Horde, especially when a task force led by Catra arrives, attacking and destroying the village. Adora tries to persuade Catra to stop, but that goes about as well as you might expect, and soon enough it’s time for a big barney, which involves Adora transforming into She-Ra and carrying out all the ridiculous overpowered stunts you could possibly hope for. Once it’s over, the Horde retreat, and Adora heads off to Bright Moon, now fully accepted by Bow and Glimmer.
In today’s adventure…
Today we learned that if you make some new friends but they don’t fully trust you, you can win their approval by beating up all your old friends. This is precisely the sort of behaviour that will stand you in good stead throughout your life.
The main players are Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Catra and Shadow Weaver. There’s also the hologram of Light Hope, numerous inhabitants of Thaymor, and a whole host of Horde Troopers. Finally, we also meet a horse, currently identified as Horsey, but who might well become Swift Wind at some point in the future.
Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance
It appears that one of the most radical changes from the old to the new series is that the Adora/She-Ra thing is not a secret identity, given that now Bow, Glimmer, Catra and a sizeable portion of the Horde army know about it. Consequently, there’s not going to be any point in keeping this section going, so you can consider it retired from now, unless it somehow becomes relevant again.
Glimmer calls Adora a “monster” at an early stage, and Catra refers to Shadow Weaver as a “terrible person”. Nothing else for you on this score, reinforcing my suspicion that this series is going to be less free with the insults.
Oh No, Bow!
Well done, Bow. You got through an episode without doing anything stupid, apart from the very mildly suspect use of the phrase “best friend squad”, which is borderline irritating. Still, we’ll let you off this once.
Does it have the Power?
Again, yes it does. The first half is some decent character- and world-building material, with Adora, Bow and Glimmer all escaping the monster and exploring the ruin together, which brings Adora and Bow closer together and establishes Glimmer as a bit prickly and impulsive. The First Ones ruin, meanwhile, with its mysterious connection to She-Ra and hints of an ancient past, gives us a view of Etheria as a magical and sometimes unsafe place. It was interesting that ‘Eternia’ was the password to get into the ruin: what does Eternia have to do with Etheria and the First Ones? Maybe we’ll find out one day, or maybe it’s just an Easter egg for us fans.
The second half, after further character-building for Adora, Bow and Glimmer, takes some heavy inspiration from the Filmation episode Beast Island, in which Adora goes out into the world and learns the truth about the Horde. This episode, however, is handled far better than that one, since we can really see how Adora has been kept sheltered and manipulated by Shadow Weaver, and it’s apparent that once her eyes are opened, she’s definitely a good person. It’s also cool how Catra was fully aware all along of Shadow Weaver’s manipulations, but just didn’t care, so long as she could stay with her Adora. It paints Catra as not evil, but certainly lacking a certain moral compass.
The final few minutes were the big fight scene that the two-parter has been building up to, and it didn’t disappoint to see the new incarnation of She-Ra in full action-mode. She’s just as powerful as the old one, and I’m not even sure she’s unleashed her full potential yet. The battle was also great from a human perspective; we really cared about the participants on both sides, and feel for Catra when she loses and has to scamper off back to the Fright Zone having lost her best friend.
So yep, again, this is excellent. This reboot is turning out far better than I’d even have hoped for. I was expecting a decent children’s cartoon and no more, but this works on that level and also offers plenty of meaty character drama for adults to get their teeth into. Thumbs up.