In which Shadow Weaver tells us all we ever wanted to know about her past.
It’s been a while since we saw or heard from her, but Shadow Weaver’s back in the front seat today. She’s been locked up in the Fright Zone ever since Catra overthrew her back in the episode Light Hope, and now Hordak wants her banished to the more secure prison of Beast Island to ensure that her knowledge of the Fright Zone doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Catra, however, objects, insisting that Shadow Weaver also has considerable knowledge of Etheria, which could be of use. They compromise, with Hordak granting Catra two days to extract all possible information from Shadow Weaver before she’s sent to Beast Island.
Much of that’s irrelevant for now, though: the bulk of this episode comprises a flashback to Shadow Weaver’s early days, explaining how she came to be what she is. She was once known as Light Spinner and was an instructor with the Guild of Sorcerers, based at Mystacor, where she trained Glimmer’s father Micah in the ways of magic and learned that he was blessed with enormous magical prowess.
During the period of Micah’s tuition, the Horde arrived on Etheria and began their invasion, making immense progress in a short space of time. The Guild of Sorcerers met to discuss possible avenues of resistance, and Light Spinner proposed casting the Spell of Obtainment, a forbidden ritual that would allow the Guild to seize power for itself – though at terrible cost. Master Norwin, the head of the Guild, rejected this approach, so Light Spinner roped in Micah to help her cast the spell without authorisation.
Well, I think we can all see where this is going – once the spell was cast, it proved to be dreadfully evil and unleashed a dark spirit into the room, which took possession of Light Spinner and turned her into Shadow Weaver. In the ensuing conflict, Shadow Weaver banished Norwin and the rest of the Guild into a dark dimension, though out of some degree of loyalty she let Micah escape. She then headed to the Fright Zone and enthusiastically signed up for Horde membership.
So now we’re all caught up. Catra’s efforts to extract information from Shadow Weaver provide no useful intel – and worse, Shadow Weaver uses the opportunity to manipulate Catra into accidentally helping her escape. So that’s bad news. Slightly better news is a short coda involving Bow picking up a First Ones message saying “Serenia portal Mara”, which I’m sure means something dreadfully important but we won’t be finding out till next week, apparently.
In today’s adventure…
Er… not sure what the message this time was. Don’t cast powerful rituals that will unleash evil shadow demons and turn you into a power-crazed dark sorceress? I mean, I kind of knew that already.
The majority of this episode takes place in flashback, where we meet Light Spinner, Micah, Master Norwin, and various other members of the Guild of Sorcerers, as well as Hordak, Grizzlor, a blue Horde dude who bears no resemblance to anyone I can think of, and a load of Horde Troopers. In the present, there’s Shadow Weaver, Catra, Hordak, Entrapta and Scorpia, and right at the end, there’s a short scene for Adora, Glimmer and Bow.
The Guild of Sorcerers get a fair bit of abuse, being labelled “out-of-touch geezers” by Micah and “fools” by Light Spinner. Light Spinner also describes Norwin specifically as a “fool”. Catra, frustrated with Shadow Weaver’s behaviour, calls her “old and bitter and weak”.
Does it have the Power?
Actually, it does, which is really quite surprising given I don’t tend to like ‘origin’ episodes (Origin of the Sorceress and Fisto’s Forest, for example) and also that I have found Shadow Weaver thus far to be probably the weakest character of this revamped series. The episode overcomes these two hurdles easily, giving us an interesting look back at the world of Etheria before the arrival of the Horde, including meeting Glimmer’s father Micah, as well as providing an interesting and sympathetic explanation of Shadow Weaver’s past. I’m almost positive that Norwin appeared in a Filmation episode too, but I can’t remember which one – if so, points for continuity there. Whether all this back story proves relevant or not is up for debate, but even if not, the episode was fun and pleasantly diverting, so let’s give it a thumbs-up.