Episode 13 – The Battle of Bright Moon

In which Swift Wind wants to use a mace.

In the Fright Zone, Entrapta helpfully summarises what’s going on, for any of us who might be a little confused: she has upped the power flow to the Black Garnet, thus sapping power from the other rune stones and upsetting the balance of Etheria’s ecosystem, causing massive upheavals in the weather. Lightning storms are breaking out across the planet, and Whispering Woods is freezing over. Catra considers this to be an ideal time to assemble an army and head to Bright Moon, in order to take out its weakened rune stone.

Catra: “Can you try to not look so bored? I’m about to win.”

Queen Angela lights Bright Moon’s distress beacon, and She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer and Bow arrive in double quick time. The other Princesses, however, remain at home, unwilling to risk themselves and their kingdoms after the events of No Princess Left Behind. The only Princesses who do show up are Spinnerella and Netossa, and Bow doesn’t seem to think they’re a particular asset. Adora concludes that without any allies, She-Ra will have to defeat the entire Horde army alone.

Bow and Glimmer think this is a particularly mutton-headed decision, and they immediately sign up to help defend the castle too. Queen Angela gives Glimmer her father’s magic staff, while Bow stocks up on arrows and Swift Wind unsuccessfully attempts to persuade Adora to let him use a mace. God knows how he was planning to wield that. I love Swift Wind. He’s mental.

Adora: “Can you just stop and think for one moment, you stupid horse?”

When the Horde arrives, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow and Swift Wind are the only line of defence the castle has. Queen Angela is up on the roof, trying to protect the rune stone. Spinnerella and Netossa are doubtless doing something very useful somewhere, and I have absolutely no idea where all the palace guards are. They’ve been shown to be pretty numerous in previous episodes, but here they’re all entirely absent without leave. Maybe the series is going to unexpectedly morph into a legal drama, and the entire second season will be about the Bright Moon guards being on trial for desertion. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch that.

The battle begins, and while our small team manage to hold their own for a while, they are hopelessly outnumbered – even once Spinnerella and Netossa join in – and it doesn’t help that She-Ra manages to get sidetracked into a long one-on-one fight with Catra. Horde robots make it to the top of the tower, incapacitate Queen Angela, and begin to drain the rune stone.

Everything’s looking pretty grim, when suddenly Perfuma, Mermista, Sea Hawk and even Frosta show up to save the day. This somehow empowers She-Ra to perform some deus ex machina magic from her sword, which cures Glimmer, restores Bright Moon’s rune stone, and undoes the damage caused by Entrapta and the Black Garnet. With the Princesses united, they are able to defeat the Horde and send them running back to the Fright Zone.

Frosta: “Hey, Swift Wind, stop blocking me!”

The Princesses finally see the benefits of cooperation, and there’s a whole load of self-congratulation in Bright Moon. Things aren’t nearly so rosy in the Fright Zone; Hordak is not at all impressed by Catra’s performance. Catra, however, is able to sweet-talk her way out of trouble, noting that she has come closer to conquering Bright Moon than any previous attempt, and this even gets her a promotion to Hordak’s second-in-command.

In today’s adventure…

I suspect the lesson is supposed to be that it’s easier to do things together rather than alone: She-Ra wasn’t doing that great against the Horde until the other Princesses came along. The more immediate lesson for me, though, was Hordak and Catra’s demonstration that even if you dramatically screw things up, you might somehow wangle a promotion out of it. This goes a fair way towards explaining a pretty strong contingent of the Tory party.

Character checklist

This final episode of the first season features Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Swift Wind, Queen Angela, Spinnerella, Netossa, Perfuma, Mermista, Sea Hawk, Frosta, some random woman standing around in Bright Moon’s council chamber, Catra, Scorpia, Entrapta, Hordak, and the ever reliable millions of Horde Troopers.

She-Ra: “Gather round, everyone, it’s time for our calendar cover shoot.”

Insults

It’s really weird watching a MOTU-based series that doesn’t have any zingers in it. These people are all far too polite.

Oh No, Bow!

Bow manages to put his foot in it when Spinnerella and Netossa arrive, implying that he thinks they’re useless. He doesn’t even bother to try and wheedle his way out of the situation either, instead simply commenting that he doesn’t know what they can do. Netossa gets annoyed, but luckily Spinnerella stops her from decking him.

Does it have the Power?

Mostly, but it’s not an unqualified success. I’ve made my feelings clear before on this website about deus ex machinas and unearned victories, and I’m afraid I can’t really see why She-Ra won this time. Her friends show up, which suddenly allows her to channel some rainbow magic through her sword? This just kind of happens, because the episode needs to end with our heroes winning, and it doesn’t seem like an organic conclusion to the plot.

That’s my only gripe though: the rest of it is very good. The episode is mostly just a long fight scene, but it’s an exciting one, with enough twists, turns and setbacks to make it interesting. The conflict between Adora and Catra remains personal and nasty, and the relationship between these two former friends is fantastically bitter. You really get a visceral feeling of hatred, tempered with genuine regret, from both characters, giving them a great deal of depth.

Catra: “Drop your fists, She-Ra, you’re not impressing anybody.”

The other characters don’t get much of a showing today; they’re all there, but few of them do very much. On the Horde side of things, I’m finding Scorpia really interesting in that she’s almost a Jekyll-and-Hyde character: very friendly and loyal to her Horde colleagues, but surprisingly vicious in battle. It’s also possibly worth noting that Entrapta now appears entirely integrated into the Horde.

With regard to the heroes, it’s good to see Spinnerella and Netossa getting more of a role, and it was great when the other Princesses appeared on the scene. I’d have perhaps liked an explanation why Frosta changed her mind, but maybe that’s coming. Glimmer’s cure gets glossed over really, which is a bit of a shame since it’s been an ongoing plotline for quite a while now, but on the other hand it was hardly my favourite plotline, so on balance I suppose I’m happy they didn’t spend more time on its resolution. And as noted above, Swift Wind is quickly becoming one of my favourites, with his attitude and behaviour reminding me strangely of BraveStarr’s Thirty/Thirty.

So, onward to the second season! As with the MYP series, there aren’t enough episodes in the first series for me to run my series summary; we’ll probably do a look-back over the whole series once it ends. So see you soon for the beginning of Series 2!

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One thought on “Episode 13 – The Battle of Bright Moon

  1. Hordak and Catra’s demonstration that even if you dramatically screw things up, you might somehow wangle a promotion out of it. This goes a fair way towards explaining a pretty strong contingent of the Tory party.

    Ouch, too real. I really hope someone has a deus ex machina sword to get us out of that one.

    Like

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