Episode 23 – Once Upon a Time in the Waste

In which Tung Lashor proudly enters and unceremoniously exits.

Catra and Scorpia, exploring the Crimson Waste in search of First Ones tech, come across the pub that Adora and co. visited last week. Naturally, Catra proves rather better in this sort of establishment than Adora did (I wish I’d had Catra with me in the Beeswing), and before long she’s intimidated the clientele and ‘persuaded’ the barmaid (who she rather cruelly christens ‘Kyle’) to take her on the trail of Adora.

Unfortunately, Kyle the barmaid accidentally leads Catra and Scorpia into a ravine which is inhabited by a gang of outlaws, lead by a snakey fellow called Tung Lashor. Tung Lashor is considerably cooler than his Filmation counterpart – though perhaps not as scary as the MYP version – but that doesn’t stop Catra from mercilessly taking the piss out of his name before defeating him in a scrap, stealing his whip, and taking his place as leader of the Crimson Waste’s outlaws.

Tung Lashor: “Well, at least she didn’t take the mick out of my outfit.”

Meanwhile, Adora, Glimmer, Bow and Huntara enter the crashed spaceship, only to find it mostly empty – doubtless because the inhabitants of the Crimson Waste have stripped it of everything of value. Luckily, Adora is able to use her super She-Ra powers to open up a door to a locked chamber, where the team find a computer which, when powered up, displays a holographic message from Mara.

The message is rather distorted, so Adora can’t get all the answers she’s seeking, but she does at least learn that Mara – in an effort to keep Etheria and the entire universe safe – opened a portal to a completely empty dimension called Despondos and pulled the planet in. Mara further reveals that She-Ra’s sword is the ‘administrator key’ to Etheria, and that with it, a portal back to the universe can be opened – but it really, really shouldn’t be. Gosh, I wonder if this ties in somehow with Hordak’s portal machine? You know what – I’m not going to be at all surprised if a portal is opened in the near future.

Glimmer: “Hey, Adora, you make an excellent door, but not a very good window.”

Once our heroes have finished listening to the message, Catra and her new gang show up. Using Tung Lashor’s whip, Catra manages to steal the power sword before Adora even becomes She-Ra, and then captures Adora herself. Huntara, Glimmer and Bow escape, but Catra is relatively unconcerned: she’s more interested in taking the power sword back to the Fright Zone and regaining Hordak’s favour.

Scorpia suggests that there’s no need to return to Hordak, observing that Catra seems to be happy as the boss of the Crimson Waste, and for a moment Catra is tempted. Unfortunately, she then has a quick chat with Adora, who lets slip that Shadow Weaver is now in Bright Moon – which sends Catra down a spiral of fury, and leads her to decide to return to the Fright Zone with the power sword, where she will open a portal purely out of spite.

Catra: “Absolutely couldn’t be more pleased with myself.”

In today’s adventure…

I’m not sure exactly what lesson we learned this week: perhaps that if you’ve been captured by your ex-best-friend who you abandoned and now seems to be barely tiptoeing around the brink of sanity, it’s not the best idea to imply that other people have also abandoned said ex-best-friend in favour of you. I mean, yes, this is a pretty convoluted and specific situation, but at least now if it’s one you find yourself in, you’ll know what to do.

Character checklist

Another pretty sparsely populated episode this week, with just Adora, Glimmer, Bow, Huntara, Catra, Scorpia, Tung Lashor, Kyle the barmaid, and various other Crimson Waste inhabitants.

Catra: “Okay, NOW I couldn’t be more pleased with myself.”

Insults

I think the Crimson Waste brings the nasty; in the two episodes we’ve spent here, we’ve had far more insults than ever before. We start with Kyle the barmaid addressing Catra as “kitty kitty”, which prompts Catra to respond by calling Kyle the barmaid “dumb”, an “idiot” and – sarcastically – a ““genius”. She follows up by suggesting that the rest of the pub’s patrons are “washed-up hacks”. Elsewhere, Tung Lashor tells Catra that she’s a “dumb outsider” and a “kitty”, while Scorpia refers to Huntara as a “crazy desert lady”.

Does it have the Power?

There’s some nice MOTU history in this one, firstly with Tung Lashor and secondly with Mara. I’m pretty sure it’s just a cool Easter Egg, rather than of long-term plot importance, but Mara looks almost exactly the same as Mara did in The New Adventures of He-Man, which is pretty fun; it’s nice to see that series get a little bit of acknowledgement. As for Tung Lashor, it’s great to have another old character back – even if it is just for a one-off, which I suspect it is – especially since Catra’s confrontation with him is both dramatic and some of the best comedy this series has yet offered, with some genuinely hilarious lines amid the life-and-death struggle.

Adora: “Oh God, you can get the New Adventures in 3D now?”

Elsewhere, the mystery of Mara and Etheria continues to be unpicked, with a little more information offered to us here. I think that’s probably all we’ll get now for a while – it feels like we’re going to build to a big season finale involving the opening of the portal – and then we’ll be back to whatever mystery remains after that. It’s a reasonably interesting story, though I can’t say I’m massively invested in where it goes: I’m more concerned with the relationships of the characters here on Etheria – and on that score, this episode marks another step in the massive deterioration in the former friendship of Adora and Catra.

All in all, for action, character development, Easter Eggs, and a very healthy dose of humour, this episode is a real winner. The series seems to be in very safe hands.

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One thought on “Episode 23 – Once Upon a Time in the Waste

  1. I’m not sure exactly what lesson we learned this week:

    If the smoking hot scorpion-babe with the powerlifter physique wants to set up home in the desert with you, you should do that instead of literally anything else!

    That is the message I got from this episode, anyway. I would.

    Liked by 1 person

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