Episode 21 – The Price of Power

In which Shadow Weaver explains what Hordak’s up to.

When Adora wakes to find Shadow Weaver in her bedroom, she – somewhat to my surprise – does the right thing and alerts Queen Angela, who instantly arranges for Shadow Weaver to be locked up. Admittedly, she’s locked up in the spare room, but points for effort, I suppose. Adora offers to assist in Shadow Weaver’s interrogation, but Queen Angela refuses, on the basis that Shadow Weaver is too dangerous; having brought Adora up, she knows how to manipulate her.

It seems Shadow Weaver agrees: when Queen Angela and Castaspella speak to her, she claims to have vital information that the Rebellion will find useful, but she will only disclose it to Adora. This condition is refused, but naturally enough the interrogation goes nowhere – the only information Queen Angela and Castaspella gain is that Shadow Weaver is seriously unwell, having been injured during her escape from the Horde.

Angela: “Put your arm down, Castaspella – that’s Shadow Weaver, not a bus.”

Adora, meanwhile, has been trying to get in to see Shadow Weaver, hoping that there is a chance of redeeming her. Glimmer and Bow argue that Shadow Weaver is evil – since she is from the Evil Horde, after all – but Adora points out that she came from the Horde too, and now sees that she was wrong. Maybe, just maybe, Shadow Weaver can make a similar change. Glimmer and Bow accept this premise, and help Adora to sneak into Shadow Weaver’s prison/spare room.

Adora’s conversation with Shadow Weaver doesn’t prove enormously edifying: she too learns that Shadow Weaver is dying, having expended all her magical energy in her escape, but the only explanation Shadow Weaver offers for having come to Bright Moon is that she wanted to see Adora. The two strike a bargain: if She-Ra heals Shadow Weaver, Shadow Weaver will reveal all her secrets. Unfortunately, She-Ra doesn’t know how to heal, so she’ll have to take magical tuition lessons from, er, Shadow Weaver herself. This sounds like a bad idea, but who am I to judge?

Shadow Weaver begins by explaining that all Princesses, including She-Ra, have a rune stone: She-Ra’s is implanted in her sword. It’s through these stones that magical energy is channelled, but it requires concentration. After a shaky start, She-Ra unleashes some impressive elemental energy and restores Shadow Weaver to health.

She-Ra: “Okay, thanks for the funky new powers.”

Slightly surprisingly, Shadow Weaver doesn’t just instantly cackle “Ha hah ha hah haaaa!” and escape like she might have done in Filmation: instead, she reveals that she’s only come to Bright Moon because she has nowhere else to turn. After her betrayal by Hordak and Catra, she wants nothing more than to take them down, and to that end, she explains that Hordak and Entrapta are building a machine that will open a portal and allow a passage for countless Horde armies to come and conquer Etheria.

Glimmer is sceptical: a portal to another world sounds implausible, especially since most Etherians appear to know nothing of stars, other solar systems, or indeed anything beyond their own planet. Remember last week how Bow’s dads had to explain what stars were, before they could even cover constellations? Shadow Weaver agrees it seems unlikely, but then goes on to drop the bombshell that Adora herself – when a baby – fell through a portal from another world and was subsequently adopted by Shadow Weaver and the Horde.

Obviously, Shadow Weaver could be lying about this, but Adora is unsure, so she heads off to the First Ones pyramid to consult Light Hope. Light Hope confirms the story: Adora did indeed come through a portal as an infant and was stolen by the Horde, where she remained until Light Hope found an opportunity to pass the sword to her and allow her to claim her destiny as She-Ra.

Light Hope: “Looking a bit snarly there, Adora.”

This opens up still further questions: primarily, why does the sword respond to Adora? The answer is that the First Ones were also not native to Etheria, and they made the sword so it could only be wielded by one of them – so, in short, Adora is a First One. Adora’s next question is whether she could open up another portal and go home to her family – but Light Hope reveals that the previous She-Ra, Mara, cut Etheria off from the rest of the universe and that opening another portal now would be disastrous. Uh oh.

Over in the Fright Zone, Catra is awaiting punishment for her having allowed Shadow Weaver to escape. Rejecting an offer of help from Scorpia – and in the process, rejecting Scorpia’s heartfelt demonstration of friendship – she finds herself sentenced to imprisonment on Beast Island. On Entrapta’s intervention, however, Hordak agrees to instead send Catra out into the Crimson Waste in search of the First Ones tech, which he intends to use in his portal machine.

Catra: “Day out in the Crimson Waste? Yeah, I’ll take that.”

In today’s adventure…

Most of this week was concerned with giving us back story, but there is one scene where Shadow Weaver helps Adora to succeed in her magic by advising her that she “is more than her fears”. So I suppose that’s a little lesson in how to conquer our fears? Though I must admit I don’t think it’s a very useful lesson.

Character checklist

The gang this week consists of Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Queen Angela, Castaspella, Light Hope, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Hordak, Entrapta and Scorpia. Swift Wind, Lonnie, Kyle and Rohalio also appear without speaking roles, as do a few Bright Moon guards and rank upon rank of Horde Troopers.

Insults

Nothing today. This series is generally pretty disappointing on the insult front.

Oh No, Bow!

You had one job, Bow: distract Queen Angela and Castaspella while Adora and Glimmer speak to Shadow Weaver. Perhaps if you’d tried something more absorbing than stupid card tricks, you might have succeeded.

Angela: “Just…. piss off, Bow.”

Does it have the Power?

I get the impression this is an immensely important episode, full of bits of information that will prove relevant over the rest of the series. Often, such episodes run the risk of being relatively dull, but this one sidesteps that trap by keeping us guessing about Shadow Weaver’s motives – and I’m still guessing there: even though she seems to have been telling the truth, I must say I remain unconvinced by her loyalties – and by focusing on Adora’s reaction to the answers about her own past. It’s not an out-and-out fun episode, but it is dramatic, entertaining, and even a little suspenseful – and I’m pretty sure it’s going to prove crucial if we want to understand what’s going on in the weeks ahead.

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