Episode 12 – Light Hope

In which Swift Wind unleashes his potential.

Well, we all remember last week’s quite literal cliffhanger: Adora has let go of a ledge in the First Ones ruin and is falling. After a speedy montage of jumbled images, she lands safely in a crystal chamber, with Light Hope looking over her. Light Hope is far more helpful than the computer interface last week was, readily answering Adora’s questions. This is a useful infodump for the viewers, and we learn that:

  • Light Hope is Etheria’s “facilitator”, and was designed by the First Ones. The ruin is known as the Crystal Castle.
  • The First Ones were explorers from another world, who settled Etheria thousands of years ago. They modified the entire planet with their technology.
  • The persona of She-Ra is a role, played by many different people over the years, whose purpose is to protect Etheria. Our She-Ra is the first in a thousand years.
  • One previous She-Ra – called Mara – couldn’t cope with her power, and nearly caused untold devastation.
  • Each Princess has a certain power over Etheria, given to them via a rune stone. She-Ra is supposed to bring the Princesses together to defend the planet.
  • Glimmer is glitching because her connexion to her rune stone is disrupted.
Light Hope: “In one short scene, I’ve been more useful than an entire series’ worth of Filmation Light Hope.”

Over in the Fright Zone, Catra gives Entrapta the First Ones data crystal she nicked from the ruin last week, and Entrapta begins analysing the contents, quickly learning much of the same information that Light Hope has given Adora. Catra wants to know what this means for the Horde, and Entrapta reveals that using the rune stones, she believes she can “hack the planet” – which could mean a source of unlimited power, or the creation of a very serious weapon.

Catra and Scorpia then tell Entrapta that there’s a rune stone – the Black Garnet – in the Fright Zone, and Entrapta goes batshit demanding to see it and run an experiment on it. Scorpia notes that this idea will not please Shadow Weaver, which is precisely the impetus Catra needs to allow Entrapta to carry out her plan. Informed of the plan by Imp, Hordak gives the experiment his blessing.

Entrapta: “They’ve got some banging cinema screens here in the Fright Zone.”

When Shadow Weaver finds out, however, she doesn’t take it well. The black garnet is the source of her powers, and the prospect of having it taken away makes her lash out at Catra – with the result that Catra strikes back and destroys Shadow Weaver’s mask, through which I presume the garnet’s power is channelled, given this makes her power drain away. Once Shadow Weaver is no longer a threat, the experiment proceeds, and before long, Entrapta has made the black garnet emit a dark beam into the clouds, causing a huge disruption to Etheria’s weather and atmosphere.

Meanwhile, back at Bright Moon, Glimmer and Bow are waiting irritably for Adora to return. Before she does, however, they get another unexpected visitor: Swift Wind, last seen ages ago (in Razz, I think) and who I thought the writers had forgotten about. He’s now learned the power of speech – and, indeed, the power of sass – and he informs Glimmer and Bow that he feels a connexion to Adora and that she needs help.

Swift Wind: “Don’t worry, I henceforth shall be a reassuringly mental presence in this cartoon.”

The three of them immediately set out to find their friend, finding their way through the freak weather unleashed by Entrapta’s experiment, until they reach the Crystal Castle. Once there, they find Adora on a crystal slab, experiencing some kind of simulation in which she absorbs knowledge from Light Hope. Swift Wind breaks into the simulation, persuades Adora to leave, and as the episode ends, they head back to Bright Moon to try to figure out what’s happening to Etheria.

In today’s adventure…

Light Hope advises Adora that she needs to stay in the Crystal Castle and train for years before she will be fully skilled as She-Ra. This suits Adora, who feels enormous guilt over her belief that Entrapta is dead, as well as Glimmer’s glitching. It takes Swift Wind to persuade Adora that nothing ever gets solved by hiding away from it, a useful life lesson incorporated seamlessly into the script. Still would have been better if She-Ra were to directly address the camera and spell it out for us though.

Character checklist

This episode involves Adora, She-Ra, Light Hope, Glimmer, Bow, Swift Wind, Queen Angela, Catra, Scorpia, Entrapta, Shadow Weaver, Hordak and Imp. There’s also a flashback appearance for the previous She-Ra, Mara.

Adora: “Awesome funky disco, Light Hope.”

Does it have the Power?

Oh, absolutely. There’s a risk with infodump episodes that they can be incredibly tedious, when information which will be necessary to understand future instalments can be thrown at the viewer without any effort to make it interesting. That’s not the case here: it’s a fantastic and clever conceit that both Adora and Entrapta learn the information at the same time, in alternating scenes, from different sources: Light Hope and the data crystal. While Adora’s plotline is more stationary, Entrapta’s acquisition of the information serves to unleash the Horde’s big evil plan of the season, giving the episode a great sense of urgency.

I’m not sure how much of the information is relevant now: pretty sure the Mara bit is long-term setup, and there was a slightly enigmatic reference to the dimension of Despondos, which I believe is a long-term part of the Masters of the Universe mythology, but has only previously been mentioned onscreen in the MYP series as the place to which Hordak was banished. Again, I’m uncertain how important this is right now, but I feel there’s a long-term plan for this series, and Mara and Despondos may well play into that.

Elsewhere, Catra’s overthrow of Shadow Weaver is hugely satisfying; it’s hard not to root for Catra somehow, even after she’s definitively broken with Adora. And finally, Swift Wind, Bow and Glimmer bring the laughs – Swift Wind is an excellent addition to the series – and it all adds up to a hugely successful episode, which I’d easily call one of my favourites.

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2 thoughts on “Episode 12 – Light Hope

  1. I must admit, I do miss the lessons being spelled out. Mainly because, while I know people say trust the audience to “get it”, but I remember when the lessons in MotU and Captain Planet et al, were spelled out and somehow some people still didn’t get it. Maybe I need a very special episode on trusting people and not giving into pessimism?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was always something hugely reassuring about He-Man or whoever addressing us directly. I don’t know why, because it was pretty patronising, but I did love it. I wish they’d resurrect the idea.

      Liked by 1 person

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