Episode 23 – The Crown of Knowledge

In which a door asks She-Ra how long her legs should be.

Adora, Bow and Kowl have come to the annual Harvest Festival, where Bow meets a couple of children who beg him to tell them a story. In my opinion, Bow is an incredibly bad storyteller, but the children seem to think he’s rather good. He relates the tale of King Jared, a ruler who established much that was good and wholesome on Etheria, and finishes by telling the children the legend of the Crown of Knowledge, which King Jared hid within a maze of traps, and which will bestow great wisdom on whoever finds it. Kowl then adds that he has done considerable research on the subject and believes the Crown can be found in Darkedge.

Marcus, the dorkiest looking boy I’ve ever seen (and that includes me, before you ask), takes this tale to heart, and decides to seek the Crown in order to become someone important. I swear, if Loo-Kee tells us later that we’re all already important, I’m going to reach through the laptop screen and wring his stupid little neck. Marcus trots off to find the Crown, and for some reason seems to think that the first step of this process is to release a horned buffalo to run riot at the Festival.

Crown 1
Kowl: “So, Marcus … is your hair modelled after the Monkees or Mr Spock?”

In the ensuing commotion, Marcus grabs Kowl and sticks him in a bag, wanting to use Kowl’s research to lead him to the Crown. She-Ra and Bow – being geniuses – take less than 30 seconds to work out what has happened, and – along with Marcus’ father, the local baker – they head off to Darkedge to intercept Marcus and Kowl.

Hordak’s pet, Imp, has been spying on the whole proceedings, and now flies off to make his report. Hordak seems pretty pleased, and decides to help Marcus get through the traps in the maze, with the intention of stealing the Crown once Marcus gets it. To this end, he arranges for Shadow Weaver to furnish Marcus with a magic cloak, which will help him to get past the traps.

Crown 2
Hordak: “I have nothing to do today except look awesome.”

Marcus and Kowl locate King Jared’s castle, and answer a quite good riddle to get inside: “What can you hold but never touch?” The answer is “your breath”. Arriving a few minutes later, She-Ra’s party get a far stupider riddle: “How long should your legs be?” Luckily, She-Ra appears to have heard this one before, and answers correctly, “Long enough to reach the Crown.” I cannot believe that the writer of this episode was only capable of thinking up one sane riddle, but that’s how it seems.

The rest of the castle proves to be full of the usual sort of stupid traps, including trapdoors, pits of water, and the like. Because the baker is along for the ride, Bow gets a day off from being the completely useless member of the party, and actually manages to do a few heroic things, so I expect he’ll be putting this little adventure on his CV.

Crown 3
Bow: “Hmm, look, a baker drowning. Shall I help him or just stand here like a lemon?”

Our heroes all eventually find their way to the Crown room, where the Crown tells Marcus off for not wanting the Crown for pure reasons. Shadow Weaver’s magic cloak then kicks into effect, forcing Marcus to levitate over a chasm towards the Crown. The Crown takes exception to this, and magically removes the cloak from Marcus – at which point Marcus falls onto a rocky outcrop, requiring rescue by She-Ra. This is Marcus’ cue to decide that he doesn’t want the Crown anymore, and would prefer to dedicate himself to a life of baking.

 

In today’s adventure…

No sign of Loo-Kee for me today, and that’s because he was in a blue tree, perfectly camouflaged. There’s no way you could have seen him. He witters on about the Crown of Knowledge being an exciting adventure (could have fooled me) and suggests that we seek some knowledge ourselves, by choosing some books to read. Sounds reasonable to me, and it wasn’t the dreadful moral about us all being important that I had feared.

 

Character checklist

Today’s little excursion to Etheria brings to our attention Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Marcus, the baker, Loo-Kee, Bow’s horse Arrow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, and the Crown itself, which I suppose you could say is the episode’s crowning glory. Oh please yourselves then.

Crown 4
Crown: “That was a good pun, Owen. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, I’ll crown ’em.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I think Bow may need some help,” says Adora, and goes to transform. She doesn’t specify whether she means psychiatric help, but that’s how I choose to view it.

 

Insults

I may not have been paying as much attention as I should have been, but I’m pretty sure that Shadow Weaver called Hordak a “penis”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

“I could smell a Hordesman a mile away!” pronounces Bow, proudly. Needless to say, he is at that very moment standing right next to Imp, without noticing him.

Crown 5
Imp: “Let me think. Can Bow really be this much of a numpty?”

 

Does it have the Power?

Not a classic, but not total rubbish either. I’m a little fed up of episodes involving people having to get past silly traps to reach their goal, but I suppose this was a decent enough entry into that category. It’s been a while since we had a bratty child deciding to Become Someone Important (TM), so if I’m being generous, I’ll let the writers off returning to that particular well. My only real issue is with Hordak’s confidence that he would be able to help Marcus get past the traps successfully: if he was this sure of himself, why didn’t he just go and try to get the Crown himself? On balance, this episode is fine, but won’t rock your world.

Advertisements

Episode 22 – The Crystal Castle

In which the Horde throw melons at Castle Bright Moon.

This story is told in flashback, just like Enchanted Castle a few weeks ago was, but I’m going to pretend it’s told in real time, because frankly getting my tenses right in the review of Enchanted Castle was really difficult, and it resulted in one of the most awkward bits of prose I’ve ever written. All I need to say is that the framing dialogue suggests this ought to have taken place just after Battle for Bright Moon. I should also note that it’s narrated by Madame Razz, so it might be annoying.

Adora, Madame Razz and Broom are summoned to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela and Glimmer are under attack from the Horde, who appear to be hurling large pink melons at the castle. Queen Angela explains that the magical defences of Bright Moon are derived from the light of Etheria’s moons, and that in a few nights’ time, an eclipse will render them unable to fend off the assaults. This is at least halfway logical, given the castle’s name, but it does bring to mind the phrase “fatal design flaw”, and it should perhaps have not got past the drawing board phase.

Crystal 1
Adora: “Say what you like about the Horde, at least they build roads and have vehicles, so they don’t have to travel like this.”

Queen Angela, who sounds like she’s doped up to the eyeballs, tells Adora that there’s only one hope: they must find the Crystal Castle. Adora starts to say that she found it last week, but then remembers this episode’s a flashback, so plays dumb instead while Queen Angela explains that the Crystal Castle is the most magical place on Etheria, containing the secrets of the First Ones. However, she adds that no one has ever seen it, so it may be just a myth.

Broom then has an uncommon moment of usefulness and remarks that Argo, the King of the Trolls of Spykont, knows where the Crystal Castle is. Remarking that all trolls hate humans, Glimmer gets into a right panic at this moment, but Adora tells her to chill, and offers to go with She-Ra to meet Argo. Adora then trots outside, becomes She-Ra, and flies off on Swift Wind.

Crystal 3
Glimmer: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime and actually contribute usefully to the episode.”

She-Ra arrives in Spykont, meets some trolls, and then falls down a trapdoor, which is incredibly pleasing, given the insufferable air of smugness she was exuding throughout this scene. Naturally, this reversal in her fortunes doesn’t delay her long, but it was still super. She-Ra finds Argo, who tells her the sad story of the mistrust and hate that humans have had for the trolls over the years, and refuses to help her find the Crystal Castle. It takes She-Ra’s usual degree of persuasiveness before Argo relents, and informs her that the Crystal Castle is always where the seeker most wants it to be; in plain sight, yet never seen.

Crystal 4
Argo: “Date night.”

She-Ra restrains herself from rude remarks about useless information, and instead thanks Argo for his wisdom. There is possibly a hint of sarcasm in her tone. Anyway, she and Swift Wind return to Bright Moon, just in time for the eclipse and Shadow Weaver’s most powerful spell. Finding Bright Moon nearly fallen, She-Ra suddenly realises the Crystal Castle must be at the top of Skydancer Mountain, so she flies up to the summit.

Finding that she is entirely correct, She-Ra calls on the castle’s keeper to allow her entry. Once inside, she meets Light Hope for the first time, which might have been dramatic if we hadn’t met him last week. She-Ra asks Light Hope for help in saving Bright Moon, and Light Hope offers the most ludicrous solution I’ve ever heard: She-Ra must journey to the centre of Etheria, where she will find a clock. If she speeds the clock up, time will move faster, and so the eclipse will be over quicker.

Crystal 5
Light Hope: “Hello, I’m Light Hope, and I love making up bollocks about clocks. Bolclocks, if you will.”

There’s a close up shot of She-Ra’s face at this point, and I swear it looks like her eyes are saying, “Are you taking the piss or what?” Nonetheless, she accepts this advice, and luckily for her, Light Hope turns out to not be a lying lunatic. We cut back to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela is rejuvenated by the power of the moons, and repels Shadow Weaver’s attack. Light Hope then asks She-Ra to treat the Crystal Castle as her personal haven, and to visit often – though she must keep the castle’s location secret, presumably for the same less than clear reason that she must keep her identity secret.

 

In today’s adventure…

If you happen to be looking in precisely the right direction – which, as luck would have it, I was – you will see Loo-Kee in the very first shot of the episode, in Whispering Woods. I’m getting good at this. Or maybe the producers realised it was insanely difficult and told the animators that Loo-Kee wasn’t supposed to be as hard to find as the Masquerade Hare.

Crystal 6
Loo-Kee: “The reward for finding me is not as exciting as the Masquerade Hare either.”

Anyway, I was unsurprised to learn that Loo-Kee’s moral lesson was on the subject of not saying bad things about people because they look or talk different. Both Glimmer and Swift Wind had exhibited distrust of the trolls for no good reason earlier, so it was pretty clear we were heading for another such moral. It’s a fine sentiment, but I feel like Loo-Kee never quite finishes what he’s saying: he just seems to stop, without drawing his little monologue to a natural halt, and it seems a little jarring.

 

Character checklist

Quite a decent turnout today: Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Queen Angela, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Argo, some other trolls, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. There’s also a fair few random background characters in Bright Moon, among whom Bow and Kowl are numbered. And, of course, the children in the framing device.

Crystal 2
Adora: “Do your weird role-play games on your own time, guys.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora doesn’t give an excuse this week, but it’s interesting to note that the story is being told in flashback by Madame Razz to some children. We see what really happened, but what did Madame Razz tell the children? Well, I thought it was interesting anyway.

 

Insults

She-Ra gets in a minor tussle with a fire demon at one point, which calls her a “puny mortal woman”. She-Ra responds with “hothead”. That’s all we’re given this week.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Though Bow doesn’t do anything stupid this week, he equally doesn’t do anything at all to contribute to the defence of Bright Moon. It’s thus rather surprising to see him posing dramatically when the battle is won, while all the villagers cheer his victory.

Crystal 7
Bow: “I will savour this moment as long as I live.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s another episode that I think could have benefitted from a different position in the running order. If it had actually aired as the episode after our opening 5-parter, it would have helped to establish the mythology of the series. As it is, it comes across almost as an afterthought, like the writers realised suddenly that they had planned for this to happen but had forgotten about it. It’s also unfortunate that it comes immediately after last week’s visit to the Crystal Castle, where it’s presented as an established part of the series. And yes, I know that this week was told in flashback, but it still seems silly to show them in this order.

On the positive side, ignoring its position, this is a good entry to the series, featuring an almost epic battle at Bright Moon and a desperate mission for She-Ra. The clock situation was perhaps the most demented solution to a problem that I’ve seen since He-Man pushed the moon out of orbit for the sake of the Widgets, so extra points there too. I’d just recommend that you watch this in between Battle for Bright Moon and Duel at Devlan, and then it’ll be just perfect.

Episode 21 – The Stone in the Sword

In which She-Ra breaks her sword.

Let’s start here by saying that I like the episode’s title. It’s very pleasing, somehow. The same cannot be said of the opening scene, which features Hordak, Grizzlor and Shadow Weaver messing about in the Fright Zone and preparing to use Hordak’s new weapon, the Doom Balloon, on the rebels. For whatever reason, the Doom Balloon can only be used when there’s a lightning storm, and as luck would have it, there’s one due that very evening.

That first scene was merely boring, but the second scene tips the balance into irritating. Bow, Adora and Glimmer have learned of the forthcoming Doom Balloon attack, and are preparing for it, when one of the Twiggets bursts in and accidentally drops a great big handful of laughing powder. Our three moronic heroes start chuckling their heads off, and it was at this precise point that I realised that I hate them all.

Stone 1
Adora: “I may be laughing, but I’m seeing red.”

Evidently, the laughing powder left our heroes no time to plan, since by the next scene, it’s evening, and Hordak is already attacking. His Doom Balloon is able to capture lightning and redirect it to specific spots, so he’s using it to burn down the trees of Whispering Wood. This sort of behaviour naturally leads to the appearance of She-Ra, who destroys the Doom Balloon by using her sword as a lightning rod to overload the Balloon’s circuits – but in the process, the gemstone in her sword is cracked and she is transformed back into Adora.

Stone 2
She-Ra: “I think I’ll use this for the cover of my 2019 calendar.”

With the gemstone damaged, Adora cannot become She-Ra. Her solution is to go to visit Light Hope, who lives in the Crystal Castle at the top of Skydancer Mountain. Light Hope is mentioned in the credits every week as knowing She-Ra’s secret identity, but we’ve never met him before in the actual cartoon, so hot damn, this should be exciting. Unfortunately, it isn’t particularly. Light Hope is an amorphous mass of glowing light, and all he does is recommend that Adora visit some people called the First Ones in the Etherian Underworld, who may be able to restore her powers.

The First Ones are naturally given to setting up a wide variety of half-witted traps on the route to their kingdom, but Adora is skilled enough to navigate them all with ease, which I expect comes as quite a surprise to you. Once she reaches her goal, she discovers that the First Ones are composed of living flames, and they embark on a lengthy and unnecessary recap of the episode’s events to this point, before fixing the sword. Hurrah!

Stone 3
Adora: “And I will walk through the fire… ’cause where else can I turn? … Oh wait, I’m not Buffy.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Finding Loo-Kee this week was a lot easier than the norm; I saw him with no problems as the camera panned through an establishing shot of the Etherian Underworld. I had a lot more trouble understanding what the hell he was saying though: I’m pretty sure he was making up words rather than conversing in a real language. The best I can do is to say that I think it was about persevering with tasks when they seem difficult, which is what Adora did when navigating the stupid traps.

 

Character checklist

Here we have Adora, She-Ra, Kowl, Bow, Glimmer, Light Hope, the Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, and the First Ones. Possibly some other people too. I can’t remember now.

Stone 4
Hordak: “Hello. We’re from the Pupil-Less Eyes Toy Collectors Club. Can we interest you in this Horde Trooper figure?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Despite two transformations, we aren’t graced with any excuses this week.

 

Insults

Grizzlor is the target of four blistering verbal assaults from Hordak, including “clumsy clot”, “peabrain”, “twit” and “bumbling boob”. Bow calls Hordak a “tin man”, which doesn’t really fit Hordak’s characteristics. She-Ra also gets in on the act, telling Hordak he’s a “happy loser”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

In a subplot that I couldn’t be bothered to mention in the episode summary, Bow manages to get himself captured by the Horde, even after She-Ra has defeated them.

Stone 5
Bow: “If I had a brain, I’d escape by squeezing through one of these massive holes in the bars. But I don’t.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Despite a few annoying moments, I think that we could conclude this one’s all right. It’s good to finally meet Light Hope, though some explanation of why he knows about She-Ra might have been nice. Equally, the Crystal Castle where Light Hope lives is obviously somehow important to Etheria, given it appears in the background when Adora is transforming into She-Ra, but we don’t yet know why. Maybe at some point in the future we’ll learn these things. I do note that the next episode is called The Crystal Castle, so there’s potential there.

The main case against this episode is the use of the laughing powder, or giggleberry powder as the episode refers to it. It’s annoying enough at the start when Adora, Bow and Glimmer take a great big inhalation of it, but it goes that extra step into infuriating at the end of the episode, when Hordak is subjected to it and starts snorting his demented head off. All four of these characters doing massive fake belly laughs is incredibly irritating, and calling the stuff giggleberry powder is so cute it hurts. I hate it.

Episode 20 – Three Courageous Hearts

In which She-Ra goes on a dinner date.

This episode might as well start right where last week’s left off; all the rebels are still in Mysticor, being entertained by Castaspella. It appears to be an entirely different occasion though, this time being Mysticor’s annual Trickster competition. This gives all the rebels the opportunity to show off their skills, but since none of them have any skills, it’s going to be a pretty short competition.

Outside, Madame Razz, Broom and Kowl have met a young lady who is, let’s be honest, blatantly someone evil in disguise. My money’s on Catra, because her voice is most similar, though it could be Shadow Weaver. I’m ruling Scorpia out, because she’s far too dense to come up with anything this intelligent.

Courageous 1
Broom: “How is Kowl asleep when he’s flying?”

Anyway, whoever this disguised bad person may be, they take the time to remind Madame Razz and co. that they’re completely useless. Adora doesn’t really help matters by telling them, “Don’t be discouraged. All that matters is that you do your best.” She might as well have said, “Yes. Yes, you are.” She then engages in further tactlessness by inviting them to come inside and watch She-Ra perform some feats of awesomeness. To her surprise, if not mine, they decline this kind offer and slink off back to the rebel camp.

She-Ra’s feat of awesomeness is genuinely rubbish; she jumps from a high window into the middle of the room. Nonetheless, the assembled masses applaud as if she’s just demonstrated the proof to Fermat’s Last Theorem. At this point, the disguised bad person appears and requests permission to enter the competition. Once this is granted, she casts a sleeping spell on all the rebels, and reveals herself to be Shadow Weaver. I suppose that makes more sense than if she’d been Catra, really, given Shadow Weaver is a sorceress, and Catra isn’t. Catra’s better, though.

Courageous 2
Shadow Weaver: “Finally! For once, I’m winning.”

Once the rebels are asleep, Shadow Weaver opens a portal to the sixth dimension, and sends She-Ra through it. It’s thus down to Madame Razz, Kowl and Broom to save them, which I’m sure will coincidentally boost their confidence and make them realise that they’re not useless after all. In case you’re interested, Madame Razz already seems pretty cocky, but Kowl requires extra pep talking. Broom doesn’t appear to have much of a personality at all.

The remainder of the episode flits between our three unlikely heroes attempting to save the day, and the increasingly weird adventures of She-Ra in the sixth dimension. Initially, She-Ra has to contend with a group of three ghostly pink sperm who shout incoherent nonsense at her. This is bad enough, but shortly thereafter she comes up against a small grey dude who appears to be dressed in a skin-coloured onesie. His master plan appears to be to have dinner with She-Ra, and as such, he can’t be regarded as the greatest evil mastermind in the history of television.

Courageous 3
Dinner dude: “More Ribena, She-Ra?”

Once she’s had dinner, She-Ra moves into an area that was plainly intended to be remade into a platformer game, in which she has to jump over voids onto moving rocks, while stupid vomit-coloured octopus creatures pursue her making revolting slopping noises. After that, She-Ra reaches an iron door, and the grey dude appears to shout pointless threats.

In the meantime, Madame Razz, Broom and Kowl have made their way over some icy mountains to an ancient library, where they eventually come across the book needed to reopen the portal to the sixth dimension. They cast the relevant spell, pop through the portal, and give She-Ra a lift out. They finish up by waking the other rebels from Shadow Weaver’s enchanted sleep, and Castaspella awards them the top prize in the annual Trickster competition, an outcome with which I bet they’re just thrilled.

Courageous 4
Madame Razz: “Kowl, you may look like you’re doing research, but I know you’re just reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I’m getting good at accidentally pausing the episode in precisely the right place! I saw Loo-Kee, lurking in a tree right at the edge of an establishing shot of Whispering Woods. Loo-Kee’s random gibber this week concerns courage, such as when we learn to swim or ride a bike. Since we’ve heard this sort of thing about 8 billion times before, I would like to propose an alternative moral. I used to work in a library, and frankly, the state of the library featured in this episode was an absolute disgrace. I think the moral should have been that you should always keep libraries tidy and put the books in the right place, and then you’ll be able to find the information you need quickly, and thus perhaps negate the need for She-Ra to have dinner with mental grey dwarves.

 

Character checklist

Today brings us the chance to take a good look at Adora, She-Ra, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Castaspella, Frosta, the librarian, Loo-Kee, Shadow Weaver, the pink sperm, the dinner dude, and some Horde Troopers. And Queen Angela (thanks for noting, Jean-Paul!)

Courageous 5
She-Ra: “I vaguely wonder if there were any drugs available in the animators’ office while they were doing this episode.”

 

Insults

She-Ra calls the horrible octopus creatures “uglies”, and while I don’t think much of She-Ra’s opinions in general, I’m pretty much in tune with her here. Otherwise, all we’ve got is Broom making an ageist comment concerning Madame Razz, whispering to Kowl to say that she’s “pretty ancient”.

 

Does it have the Power?

Unexpectedly, I think it’s actually above the average. You would think that an episode centring around Madame Razz would be a pretty annoying affair, but surprisingly it’s not. Of course, we’ve all seen this story before: people thinking they’re rubbish and then proving their worth is not exactly new to Filmation, but there’s very little time spent moping here; the characters just knuckle down and get on with it, which is a degree of maturity that I appreciated.

Courageous 6
Madame Razz: “When I got up this morning, I didn’t exactly anticipate this.”

The recurring joke of Madame Razz’s spells going wrong is not at all funny, but in complete fairness, I would probably have thought it was when I was five. She-Ra’s adventures in the sixth dimension, however, are completely deranged and have the air of time-wasting. I’d have cut that part of the story down and concentrated more on Madame Razz, Kowl and Broom, if I were in charge. But nonetheless, I’d say this is a good episode, and worth your time.

Episode 19 – Enchanted Castle

In which we learn about Castaspella’s history, which is of course something we all wanted to know.

The rebels have all come to a party in Mysticor, which is ruled by Castaspella. The party is in honour of the day Mysticor was freed from evil, and since we’re all champing at the bit to know about that, Adora sees fit to tell Kowl the entire story. The ensuing flashback comprises the remainder of the episode.

Enchanted 1
Glimmer: “Adora, why do you look quite so irritated with Kowl?”

Apparently, there was a time when Bow was standing around in a village square, playing a harp. The villagers were surprisingly appreciative of this, clapping delightedly as Bow finishes his performance. Perhaps they know from experience that this is the best way to make him go away. Anyway, Adora came across Bow at this point, and the two decided to travel back to Whispering Woods together, on a route that led through the Dark Forest.

Shortly before reaching the Dark Forest, the two of them came across an old woman, who had fallen down a gully. On being rescued, the woman warned Adora and Bow that the Dark Forest was dangerous, and then turned to smile mysteriously at the camera.

Enchanted 2
Old woman: “Bye! And please don’t come back.”

Once in the Dark Forest, Adora and Bow were captured pretty quickly by knights in armour, and taken to a castle full of evil magic. There they met Mortella, an evil sorceress who informed them that they were now her slaves, tasked with ensuring that a blue fire never burned down. Adora’s sword was confiscated, and the two taken to a 5-star dungeon for the night.

The old woman from earlier, however, learned that Adora and Bow were locked up in the castle, and came to rescue them – revealing in the process that she possessed magical powers. After recovering her sword, Adora asked the old woman what was so important about the blue fire, and learned that it was the source of all Mortella’s power.

Enchanted 3
Mortella: “Interestingly, Blue Fire is a rollercoaster at Europa-Park, the largest theme park in Germany. I am not a very good advert for it, I must admit.”

Adora ducked behind a wall, became She-Ra, and started causing all manner of fuss in the castle, eventually putting out the blue fire. This resulted in Mortella disappearing in a puff of green smoke, and – to my distinct lack of surprise – the old woman actually turned out to be Castaspella, who had been held prisoner in old woman form by Mortella.

We return to the party, as Adora finishes the story with an explanation that Castaspella returned her realm to the more pleasant form it had held before Mortella’s evil reign. Kowl claims he enjoyed the story, which is more than can be said for me – though I did enjoy the sudden surprise moment in which Bow was drenched with a torrent of water, seemingly for absolutely no reason other than the need to end the episode with a really amusing joke.

Enchanted 4
Bow: “I enjoy a joke just as much as the next lunatic, but this isn’t even a joke, frankly.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, Loo-Kee was back today, not that I saw him as he skulked about in a tree. He explains to us that doing kind deeds is good, apparently largely because later on you’ll get something back for it. This was demonstrated when Adora and Bow rescued Castaspella when she was stuck in the gully, since Castaspella later rescued them from prison. I can’t muster up any enthusiasm for this.

 

Character checklist

This little extravaganza sees quite a lot of characters emerging from the woodwork, though only a few of them play a major part in the episode – namely Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Bow, Castaspella and Mortella. Lots of other rebels are at the Mysticor party that forms the episode’s framing device, specifically Kowl, Glimmer, Madame Razz, Broom, Queen Angella, Frosta, the Twiggets, and a pair of individuals that I believe are called Peekablue and Flutterina. Then, of course, there’s Loo-Kee, the villagers that Bow was playing a harp for, and a surprise appearance for some baddies called Rattlor and Tung Lashor.

Enchanted 5.jpg
Peekablue: “Don’t mind us, we’re just here to advertise our action figures.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora is on her own when the first transformation comes, so there’s no one who needs an explanation. The second time, she simply comments to Bow, “Let’s split up,” and runs off. When she returns as She-Ra, Bow seems to have completely forgotten about Adora.

 

Insults

Mortella tells her knights that they are “fools” twice, and addresses the same unexciting insult to She-Ra and Bow. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report, except for a random comment made by Bow, who says that shooting an arrow is “easy as bibbo pie”. This might possibly be a reference to the loose morals of somebody called Bibbo Pie. It might also not be, but I have no idea what it does mean, so I’m choosing to interpret it thus.

Enchanted 6
Castaspella: “Honestly, that Bibbo Pie will sleep with anybody.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow offers to travel with Adora, because, as he puts it, “You’ll be better off to have a man with you.” Wow. The writers do acknowledge that this is incredibly sexist, of course, giving Adora a hugely sarcastic reply, and making Spirit laugh his head off at Bow’s immense self-importance. Naturally, it becomes even funnier later, when Bow puts in a pitiful showing against the Castle’s knights.

 

Does it have the Power?

Unfortunately, not really. It’s fine to give us the origin story for Castaspella (though equally it wasn’t something I was particularly clamouring for), but it’s just really a rather boring story. The Dark Forest wasn’t very scary – or particularly dark – and Mortella never managed to come across as an interesting baddy. I’m trying to come up with something good to say about it, but the best I can do is that it isn’t a complete clunker. On balance, though, I’d advise skipping it.

Episode 18 – Horde Prime Takes a Holiday

In which She-Ra’s arse nearly catches fire.

Hordak’s boss, Horde Prime, has summoned Hordak and Mantenna aboard his flagship, where we learn that they are to be left in charge of the Horde’s most powerful warship while Horde Prime goes on holiday to a planet called Tropica. Since Horde Prime appears to be an amorphous cloud of gas with robotic arms, it seems unlikely that he would particularly enjoy a fortnight on the Costa del Sol, but that’s what’s presented to us.

Horde Prime 1
Hordak: “No, I don’t think I will try a bout of fisticuffs with you, thanks, Horde Prime.”

Horde Prime boards his transport ship to Tropica, pausing only to inform Hordak that under no circumstances whatsoever should he actually use the warship for anything. Of course, once Horde Prime has gone, Hordak – being a complete tool – immediately voices an intention to use it to conquer both Etheria and Eternia. Luckily, the Sorceress has got wind of this dastardly notion, and sends He-Man to Etheria to resolve the situation.

Hordak takes the flagship on a very casual fly-by over the heads of some rebels, provoking Adora into turning into She-Ra. He then fires the flagship’s freeze ray at the Whispering Woods, and it’s so powerful that even He-Man and She-Ra combined cannot stop it. It’s fortunate, therefore, that Skeletor shows up at this juncture, and not wanting to be left out of the fun, decides to steal the Horde flagship himself, which rather distracts Hordak from firing the freeze ray.

Horde Prime 2
Skeletor: “I do appreciate the effort gone into drawing me from beneath to make me look imposing… but it does seem to have had the unintended side effect of making my head look really small.”

Skeletor and Hordak engage in a lengthy duel, in which they do a fair amount of cosmetic damage to the flagship whilst shrieking alliterative insults at one another. Skeletor eventually gets the better of Hordak, but in the meantime, He-Man has thrown a grappling hook onto the ship, allowing She-Ra to climb all the way up through the atmosphere, into outer space, and on board. She makes a slight concession to realism by putting on a space helmet to allow herself to breathe, but this just somehow makes the whole thing more ludicrous because she doesn’t consider putting a spacesuit on over her skimpy dress.

She-Ra finds Skeletor merrily chuckling away and crowing “Hail Skeletor!” to himself as he starts the ship’s engines. Down on the surface of Etheria, He-Man is dragged along by the end of the grappling line, until he eventually brings the ship to a halt. Skeletor pumps even more power into the ship’s engine, hoping to drag He-Man up into space, but this proves his undoing; when the moment is right, She-Ra cuts the grappling line, sending the ship flying at full speed into an asteroid.

Horde Prime 3
He-Man: “This will make a lovely shot for my 2019 calendar.”

Horde Prime’s flagship is reduced to rubble, which upsets Skeletor mightily. He’s wise enough to know when he’s beaten though, and when he spots that what remains of the ship is about to explode, he teleports back to Snake Mountain and out of our lives. Notably, he doesn’t attempt to save Hordak, but She-Ra – being completely mental – does.

There’s then an unexpected moment where She-Ra’s arse nearly catches fire as she and Hordak plummet through the atmosphere. This being a cartoon for children, she manages to resist all the obvious puns about having a hot ass, so I’ll let you substitute your own. Even without such jokes, the episode ends on a reasonably funny note as Hordak attempts to explain the destruction of the flagship to Horde Prime.

Horde Prime 4
She-Ra: “Yeah, this is one of those pictures that defies description.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I feel completely cheated this week. Despite me looking really hard for Loo-Kee – especially after I actually found him last time – at the end of the episode, it turns out he wasn’t in it at all! Instead, we get He-Man and She-Ra delivering the moral. If Loo-Kee isn’t going to be there, they need to warn us of that at the start! Otherwise it’s completely unfair! I am literally shaking with rage.

He-Man and She-Ra’s moral is that our bodies are our own, and no one should touch them without our permission. There’s also an unwelcome cameo from Orko, who threatens to punch anyone who touches us. She-Ra recognises that Orko’s contribution is less than helpful, and tells him to shut up, while He-Man points unnervingly at the camera and says that we shouldn’t feel ashamed if someone touches us in a bad way, but should tell someone we trust. He lists some bizarre suggestions of people we might trust: our parents, teachers, doctors, counsellors, ministers or rabbis. These latter two seem to be something of an afterthought, and have the air of an ad-lib, if it were possible for cartoon characters to ad-lib.

Horde Prime 5
She-Ra: “Er, He-Man, you’re coming across a bit strong, what with the finger pointing and all.”

Anyway – great message, and one we haven’t heard before from He-Man, but with zero relevance to the story, unless we’re supposed to consider Horde Prime’s flagship is his body, and Skeletor and Hordak were touching him inappropriately? And also – where the Jesus Christ was Loo-Kee?

 

Character checklist

This fantastic crossover episode features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, He-Man, Bow, Kowl, the Sorceress, Horde Prime, Hordak, Skeletor, Mantenna and a new boy called Multibot. As noted above, there’s also a brief appearance from Orko, though it would have been better had it been even briefer.

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

Adam doesn’t give an excuse, being only in the presence of the Sorceress. Adora, on the other hand, gives the plausible explanation that she is going “to find She-Ra”.

Horde Prime 6
Bow: “Jesus, I’m stoned again.”

 

Insults

It’s another of those episodes with a real wealth of stingers. Hordak addresses Horde Prime as “slime”, allegedly accidentally, and Horde Prime surprisingly lets him get away with it. Mantenna is called a “bug-eyed buffoon” by Horde Prime and a “bug-eyed boob” by Hordak, but the real joy is to be found when Hordak and Skeletor start slagging each other off. Hordak tells Skeletor he’s a “treacherous turncoat two-faced traitor”, a “boneface” and a “blasted blue bungler”, while Skeletor counters with “bat-ears”, “blasted Horde bully boy” and the possibly misheard “conniving claim-jumper”.

He-Man refers to Skeletor and Hordak as “evil monsters” and also might call them “a gaggle of evils”, though the sound seemed a bit funny at this point, so it’s quite likely that’s not what he said. Finally, what He-Man/Skeletor showcase would be complete without Skeletor calling He-Man a “pitiful fool”?

Horde Prime 7
Skeletor: “Loving my new wheels.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow has a very minimal contribution to this episode, and that’s observing that the flagship “looks like some sort of spaceship”. Yes, of course it does, Captain Obvious. That’s because it IS a spaceship.

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is essentially an episode of He-Man and his battle with Skeletor, with She-Ra and Hordak along for the ride – so of course it gets a hearty thumbs-up from me. We’ve seen He-Man often enough in recent episodes that it’s actually not all that special for him to show up, but to see Skeletor again, especially with him being at his most maliciously evil, is an absolute treat. The whole thing is just an excuse for everyone to have a massive barney with each other while hollering insults, and it’s a total romp.

Horde Prime 8
She-Ra: “This helmet will definitely stop me from freezing to death.”

I was particularly fond of the return to the bizarre and insane feats of strength that featured so often in the He-Man cartoon – He-Man throwing a grappling hook into outer space is mental, as is She-Ra climbing through the atmosphere and through the vacuum of space to reach the ship. The concessions to reality (including She-Ra putting on a space helmet, and her starting to burn up on re-entering the atmosphere) just made the mental bits seem even crazier.

In short, I very much enjoyed this episode, and I’m sure you will too.

Episode 17 – A Loss for Words

In which Hordak turns himself into an egg.

Hordak is pretty livid this week, because rebels have been going from village to village, talking to the inhabitants, and encouraging them to rebel. To cheer Hordak up, Shadow Weaver demonstrates her new spell on Mantenna, which allows her to steal the voice of her target. When Hordak sees that Mantenna has been struck dumb, he is very pleased and starts plotting to take Adora’s voice.

Words 1
Mantenna: “Hey wait, I have loads to say!”

Adora, Bow, and two Twiggets are on their way to Gailbraith village, where Adora will go to the pub to give some inspirational speeches. Unfortunately, Shadow Weaver decides to meet them there, and steals the voices of Adora and three villagers. When Adora attempts to become She-Ra, therefore, she cannot say the magical words, and is unable to make her transformation.

Shadow Weaver prepares to spirit Adora back to the Fright Zone, but Bow and the Twiggets burst into the pub, providing a distraction which allows Adora and the villagers to escape. Adora and Bow engage in an elaborate game of charades, until Bow finally works out that Adora wants to go to the Fright Zone to recover her voice. The villagers want to come too, but Bow tells them that they’re useless and that he and Adora will be better off without.

Words 2
Bow: “It’s a nice enough house, though it does look a bit like it has a pair of pointy ears.”

Adora and Bow quickly make their way to Hordak’s throne room, where they watch for a good long while as Hordak is randomly unpleasant to Shadow Weaver and Mantenna. Finally, they get down to another game of charades, which lasts some time before Bow works out what Adora wants, which is for him to fulfil his usual role of creating a diversion. Adora then manages to nick the box containing her voice, opens it, and merrily transforms into She-Ra.

Hordak, exhibiting once again his complete lack of judgement, turns himself into a stupid egg-shaped machine with four arms. God knows what he was hoping to achieve with this, but I don’t expect he wanted She-Ra to simply bury him up to his egg-shaped neck, which is what happens. Hordak then cycles through a few more ill-advised transformations, but unexpectedly comes a cropper when Mantenna presses a button to open a trapdoor underneath him.

Words 3
Hordak: “All quail before me! Oh, fine, you think of a better egg pun then.”

In the meanwhile, Adora and Bow return the voices to the villagers of Gailbraith, and receive in return their undying gratitude and allegiance to the Rebellion. I think I should point out that one of the villagers looks exactly like Man-at-Arms would, if Man-at-Arms would just for one day wear some normal clothes and forget about that idiotic helmet.

 

In today’s adventure…

Thanks to my coincidentally pressing pause at precisely the right moment, I actually caught sight of Loo-Kee today! He was in the forest at the start, and you could literally only see his nose. It’s ridiculous, expecting five year olds to find him. I genuinely felt incredibly pleased with myself, and I’m 35 years old.

Words 4
Loo-Kee: “Congratulations to Owen! No prizes, though.”

Anyway, Loo-Kee is here today to tell us about freedom of speech. Actually, he’s not. He’s here to tell us to ask our parents or teachers about freedom of speech, since he evidently can’t be bothered to tell us himself. There’s literally no useful information that you could take away from Loo-Kee’s little monologue, which is a shame. Still, it’s a relevant topic, so points for effort, I suppose.

 

Character checklist

Today is a chance for Adora, She-Ra, Bow, the Twiggets, the villagers of Gailbraith, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Imp, Scorpia, and the Horde Troopers to strut their funky stuff.

Words 5
Scorpia: “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to pull animals’ tails?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“She’s safe,” says She-Ra, which is exactly what she always says. The second transformation gives She-Ra the opportunity to explain, “She’s fine,” which is not a lot better. I wish she’d say something like, “She’s gone to the Co-Op to take advantage of their amazing 2 for 1 deals,” or something, and then wink at the camera and pocket some advertising revenue.

 

Insults

Aside from Hordak calling Mantenna a “worm”, we only have the usual recitals of “fool” today. Shadow Weaver refers to the villagers as “fools of Gailbraith” and Bow and the Twiggets as “rebel fools”. This is counterbalanced when Imp calls Shadow Weaver a “fool” as well, just so she knows how it feels.

Words 6
Imp: “I’m sure I could stretch to calling you a fool too, Adora.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow and Adora came to Gailbraith to try to recruit rebels. Therefore, when the villagers volunteer to come to the Fright Zone to help recover the voices, it’s pretty stupid of Bow to tell them that they’re not needed.

It’s also worth noting that Bow is incredibly bad at charades, though I think anyone would struggle with these particular charades, because Adora isn’t much good at it either. To be honest, I’m surprised no one thinks of writing things down, though that rather assumes Bow can read.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s an episode with a very interesting idea behind it; it’s always fun when our hero can’t become She-Ra or He-Man for one reason or another. Unfortunately, once it’s got this good idea, the episode doesn’t seem to really know what to do with it, and a lot of it comes across as padding. We waste a good five minutes at the start with a completely irrelevant fight between She-Ra and Scorpia, and the rest of the story just seems to meander around comfortably and competently without doing anything remotely exciting.

Words 7
Adora: “I wish Bow had lost his voice.”

Still, I’m going to recommend it, partly because at least it has an interesting idea, and also because of the characterisation of the villains. We get some back story on Shadow Weaver: Hordak found her as a second-rate sorceress in Mysticor and granted her magical powers, and he reminds her ominously that he could take them away again if he pleases. Mantenna’s use of the trapdoor on Hordak is hilarious, especially his crafty facial expression as he does so. It made me chuckle, which I don’t think She-Ra has managed before.

Episode 16 – Return of the Sea Hawk

In which Adora and Sea Hawk establish some relationship ground rules.

Do you remember the Elves of Seaworthy, from Sea Hawk’s first episode? And did you dislike them quite intensely? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you’ll probably be quite pleased with the opening scene this week, which features Catra and Grizzlor sailing a Horde prison ship into Seaworthy Harbour, and loading all the Elves aboard as prisoners. This is the first stage of Catra’s latest and probably not greatest scheme – to lure Adora and Sea Hawk into attempting a rescue.

Return 1
Catra: “Tough crowd.”

In Whispering Woods, Adora is revealing to Madame Razz that she fancies the pants off Sea Hawk, but Sea Hawk is only interested in She-Ra. Not unexpectedly, Madame Razz has little in the way of useful advice, so perhaps it’s just as well that they are distracted by the arrival of the news of Catra’s little ploy. Madame Razz heads off to find Sea Hawk, while Adora becomes She-Ra and flies off to Seaworthy.

Once She-Ra locates the prison ship, Catra gets slightly over-enthusiastic and shoots a pair of nuclear warheads at her. Although She-Ra successfully dodges these, she is subsequently captured when Catra contrives to give her a severe electric shock. Catra chains Swift Wind up, and imprisons She-Ra in a forcefield, but doesn’t have much time to gloat before Sea Hawk arrives in his flying ship.

Return 2
Catra: “Looks like She-Ra and Swift Wind have been living it up in Wetherspoons again.”

Despite having every opportunity, Catra doesn’t repeat her electric shock trick on Sea Hawk, and it’s entirely due to this incomprehensible error of judgement that her entire plan starts going tits up. Sea Hawk finds She-Ra in her forcefield, attempting to break through. Well, I assume that’s what she’s doing, but the animation quality suffers one of its rare lapses here and simply makes She-Ra look like she’s rubbing her breasts against the forcefield for thrills. Sea Hawk puts a stop to this, releasing She-Ra just in time for her to have a bit of a barney with Catra.

Sea Hawk trots off to release the Elves, but gets seized from behind by Grizzlor, and needs to be rescued by She-Ra, who sees fit to stand seductively by the doorway and flirt a little bit before doing so. Once that sickening sequence is over with, Sea Hawk loads the Elves aboard his ship, and She-Ra knocks a hole in the bottom of the prison ship, in a blatant attempt to murder Catra and Grizzlor. She-Ra and Sea Hawk then take the Elves back to Seaworthy, ignoring the fact that there’s nothing to stop Catra from just trying the same thing again next week.

Return 3
Sea Hawk: “Sorry about having my mouth gaping open like this. I’m well aware that I look like the village idiot.”

The episode ends with Sea Hawk revealing to Adora that he doesn’t think of She-Ra as a potential lover, but he’d be very interested in taking a walk with Adora. Adora correctly interprets this as, “I’d like to jump your bones,” and they head off screen with a spring in their steps.

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee – the location of whom was once again impossible to spot in the episode – informs us that if you like someone, you should tell them, and there’s every possibility that they’ll respond in kind. The word ‘like’ is clearly quite loaded with a deeper meaning here, and I’m damned if I’m taking dating advice from a blue-tailed pixie like Loo-Kee.

Return 4
Loo-Kee: “Listen to me, and you’ll be set up with your life partner in no time.”

 

Character checklist

It’s a pretty well-populated episode, this one, involving Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Sea Hawk, Swen, some Twiggets, the Sea Elves, Loo-Kee, Catra, Grizzlor, and the omnipresent Horde Troopers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

The transformation takes place off screen today, which is a relief, because this is the second episode I’ve watched today, and the incessant She-Ra music is beginning to get permanently embedded in my head. So, anyway, there’s no excuse on this occasion.

 

Insults

Well, this is probably a new record. Grizzlor takes a fair number of fur-related insults, including “furface” and “furball” from Catra, and the rather stronger “fur-faced nightmare” from Sea Hawk. The nameless Horde Troopers get a touch of abuse, with Sea Hawk calling a pair of them “metalheads”, and another being on the sharp receiving end of “fool” from Catra.

Return 5
Grizzlor: “Catra, please, pretty please, can I get a personality soon?”

Early on, one of the Twiggets calls another one a “twigbrain”, and Catra calls She-Ra a “muscle-bound meddler”, though not to her face. She-Ra also calls Catra a “cat lady”, and threatens to trim her whiskers. Sea Hawk addresses Madame Razz to tell her, “You are a little heavy,” which I don’t think is the way to a lady’s heart.

And finally, Catra has it in for Sea Hawk, whom she calls a “fool”, a “rebel-loving slug”, and a “worm”. Sea Hawk bizarrely responds to this latter with, “Flattery will get you nowhere.” I understand his desire to engage in witty banter, but that one needed a bit of work.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s got Catra in it, so of course it does. She really livens up the Horde by actually having a discernible personality. It may help, of course, that I like cats, but the writers have really captured a cat’s spiteful nature. I like the fact that Catra seems to be acting as a jilted lover around Sea Hawk; she seems personally betrayed by him, with interesting consequences. I also enjoyed the shot of her drinking milk out of a saucer.

Return 6
Grizzlor: “Catra, could you please stop slurping that milk??”

Otherwise, I can take or leave the plot about Adora and Sea Hawk getting it on, and I certainly didn’t need the bit where Madame Razz got together with Swen the pirate. The main plot featuring the imprisonment of the Sea Elves was simple but effective, and the whole thing was pretty enjoyable. This one gets a thumbs-up.

Episode 15 – He Ain’t Heavy

In which Shadow Weaver unleashes a powerful hoover.

Shadow Weaver and Grizzlor break into a retired wizard’s house, and – despite his warnings of danger – steal an artefact called the Moon Mirror. In the Fright Zone, Hordak congratulates Shadow Weaver on her unexpected competence and reveals his plan: when the moons are aligned, the Moon Mirror can create a bridge between universes, so Hordak is going to use it to kidnap Prince Adam. He will then capture Adora when she comes charging to the rescue.

Heavy 1
Shadow Weaver: “Pretty sure the background in here is where Granamyr used to live.”

Hordak achieves the first of these objectives, successfully kidnapping Adam, and even managing to steal his sword. He then sends a letter to Adora, informing her of Adam’s capture and demanding her surrender. Also included with the letter is a bomb, which might have made her surrender difficult if it had worked.

Adora, of course, heads off to the Fright Zone, after telling Bow and Glimmer that they mustn’t come with her. Once out of sight, she turns into She-Ra and flies off, managing to reach the Fright Zone’s dungeons with very little effort. Adam has been spending his time trying to reach his sword through the bars of his cage, without success, but this becomes unnecessary when She-Ra arrives and rips the door off. Adam then turns into He-Man with a faint air of irritation.

Heavy 2
Prince Adam: “I’m literally fuming.”

Bow and Glimmer remain in the Whispering Woods, studying a map to try to work out where they can get some food. They are interrupted by the retired wizard from the first scene, who introduces himself as Cattelus. He asks for help in retrieving his Moon Mirror, informing them that if used incorrectly, the Mirror could destroy Etheria. Bow leaps at the chance and hurtles off to the Fright Zone with Cattelus, hoping to recover the Mirror and help Adora at the same time.

Learning of Adam’s escape, Hordak orders Shadow Weaver to reactivate the Mirror and kidnap King Randor. Shadow Weaver warns Hordak that the moons are no longer aligned, and so the Mirror will be uncontrollable, but being a first class nitwit, Hordak tells her to do it anyway. Naturally, Shadow Weaver can’t control the Mirror, and opens a bridge to somewhere less than pleasant identified as the Doom Dimension.

Heavy 3
Shadow Weaver: “Properly love a good night down the Hacienda.”

It would seem that the Doom Dimension would be more appropriately named the Vacuum Cleaner Dimension, since its chief characteristic is to suck everything into it. Bow and Cattelus don’t do anything except cling desperately to pillars, while He-Man and She-Ra solve the situation by throwing an enormous statue of Hordak at the Mirror, which makes the Mirror explode.

The episode doesn’t see fit to explain what happens to Cattelus, or how He-Man gets back to Eternia, instead choosing to end with Adora back in Whispering Woods, making stupid jokes which only work if the rebels are familiar with the musical output of the Hollies, which logic would suggest they aren’t.

Heavy 4.jpg
Glimmer: “You’re talking as if you think you’re being funny, Adora, but these jokes make literally no sense.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Today, Loo-Kee was in a shot of Whispering Woods that I don’t even recall being in the episode. Obviously, I didn’t see him. He yammers on to us about safety, specifically mentioning knives, tools and matches as examples of things in the house that might hurt us. I assume this was supposed to be vaguely linked to the baddies not using the Moon Mirror safely, but in that case, surely Loo-Kee should have mentioned magical artefacts in his list of unsafe household objects.

 

Character checklist

Well, as you’ll have surely deduced by now, we have another guest appearance by Prince Adam and He-Man today. Teela also puts in a showing. The regulars are Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, and some Horde Troopers. Cattelus is the one hit wonder.

Heavy 5
Bow: “I don’t know, Glimmer. It’s a nice enough table, but I’m sure we could get a cheaper one at Ikea.”

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

Bow asks He-Man and She-Ra where Adam and Adora are; He-Man seems only capable of smirking in a stupid way, while She-Ra gives the most minimal reply possible: “Safe.”

I know I’ve been down this road before, but I really do have to wonder about this secret identity business. Okay, maybe it’s plausible for Adora and She-Ra to be different people, in the eyes of the rebels, but surely they can put two and two together that He-Man only seems to come to Etheria when Prince Adam does?

 

Insults

Hordak addresses his letter to “the traitorous outlaw rebel Adora”. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report here, unless we really want to stretch a point and allow He-Man’s description of the Hordak statue as an “ugly monument”.

Heavy 6
He-Man: “Ugly it may be, but a genuine collector’s item too.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow claims he’ll cause a distraction so he and Cattelus can break into the Fright Zone. What he actually does is cause a rock fall that nearly kills him and Cattelus. Remarkably, Bow seems to consider this a success.

 

Does it have the Power?

I felt like I was watching a vastly improved version of the previous episode, Friendship. It’s exactly the same plot, even following several of the same story points: for example, the Horde sending Adora a letter, and Bow being told to wait behind and then coming anyway. Still, it somehow had a lot more pizzazz to it, possibly because the person being rescued was Prince Adam and not some random “friend” who we’d never seen before and doubtless will never see again. The final crisis with the Doom Dimension was also much more interesting than the grand finale to Friendship, whatever that was. I can’t even remember now.

Heavy 7
She-Ra: “Putting my hairdryer on full strength was possibly a mistake.”

This is probably as good a place to mention as any, but I’m still waiting for most of the Rebellion to play anything other than a supporting role. Bow, of course, is getting a fair amount of screen time, but it does seem like the writers don’t know what to do with Glimmer, Madame Razz or any of the others. Additionally, the opening credits say that someone called Light Hope knows Adora’s secret identity; why have we not even met this Light Hope individual yet?

Episode 14 – Friendship

In which She-Ra falls for a dead obvious trap.

Kowl is flapping about in Whispering Woods, trying to get Bow and Adora to join in with him as he mercilessly takes the piss out of Madame Razz. Bow seems up for this, but Adora is busier reading a letter while standing in a really weird pose that seems designed specifically to stick her arse in Bow’s direction, though God knows why she’d want to do that. The letter is from Lani, one of Adora’s old friends from when she was in the Horde, and I’ve got to say, it seems a little odd that there’s a regular postal service running between the Rebellion and the Horde.

Friendship 1
Bow: “Yeah, Adora, I don’t normally stand like that while reading letters.”

It turns out that Hordak blames Lani for Adora’s treachery, and is thus going to send her to the slave mines on Hordeworld. Adora – who can’t see an obvious trap even when it’s right in front of her nose – decides to rescue Lani, and turns into She-Ra. She mounts Swift Wind and off they fly to the Fright Zone. Naturally, despite being told to wait in Whispering Woods, Bow follows along behind, with the intention, if not the ability, to help.

She-Ra and Swift Wind reach the Fright Zone, only pausing to heal the wing of an injured tyrosaur on the way. Once inside, She-Ra turns back into Adora and wanders around until she finds Lani, who immediately betrays her and summons Hordak. Didn’t see that coming. Shadow Weaver knocks Adora’s sword from her hand, and she is taken into custody, amid much idiotic snorting from everyone’s least favourite pig imitator.

Friendship 2
Hordak: “This is an A1 awesome plan, lads.”

So it’s Bow to the rescue, which means that the entire series comes to an ignominious end right now. To his credit, he does manage to reach the room where Adora is being held captive, but then gets knocked out by a blast of sleeping gas from Hordak’s stupid arm cannon. Luckily, Kowl manages to snatch the power sword and fly away, while Hordak crows that he will be sending Adora and Bow to Beast Island. Given Beast Island is a less than secure prison that featured two jailbreaks in the space of 6 episodes, I don’t imagine anyone’s too worried about this threat.

Once they reach Beast Island, Hordak starts up on that old chestnut of brainwashing Adora to serve the Horde again. I’m genuinely surprised he still considers this a good idea. Before he can get to that stage, though, Kowl brings Adora her sword, and it’s time for She-Ra to start stomping her way through the prison again. After She-Ra rescues Bow, Lani reappears in the episode. She only betrayed Adora in the first place so that Hordak would release her father from prison, so She-Ra naturally forgives her, especially once she learns that Hordak has gone back on the deal.

The next step, of course, is to find and free Lani’s father. There’s a brief diversion for a ludicrous fight in which Hordak is only defeated because he’s sufficiently idiotic to turn his arm into an electric fan, which leads to his downfall. Once that’s attended to, we are treated to some stupid antics in which She-Ra surfs on light beams, or something. I wasn’t invested in this scene to pay enough attention, really. Suffice it to say, Lani’s father is rescued, and Hordak is cross.

Friendship 3
Hordak: “This will work to defeat She-Ra, provided she’s terrified of air-conditioning.”

Our heroes manage to escape the prison, but quickly come under attack from all the eponymous beasts of Beast Island. Luckily, that tyrosaur from earlier shows up, in a twist ending that I definitely didn’t see coming, no sir. As a thank you for She-Ra healing its wing, the tyrosaur carries them all off the island and to safety.

 

In today’s adventure…

I think part of my problem with Loo-Kee is that I forget to look for him until it’s halfway through the episode, and he’s usually hiding in the opening scene or shortly thereafter. In today’s case, he was messing about in the Fright Zone early on, not long before She-Ra had a gratuitous fight with some kind of squid thing.

Friendship 4
Loo-Kee: “I’m not sure why I’m always hiding, to be honest.”

Anyway, Loo-Kee informs us that teachers, doctors, policemen and our parents are all our special friends, but he doesn’t go any further in attempting to turn this into a life lesson. I don’t know what to take away from this, and I certainly don’t know why doctors and policemen have been lumped in with our special friends, whereas – for example – farmers, builders, or officials from the Department for Work and Pensions haven’t.

 

Character checklist

Always a pleasure to spend some time in the company of Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor and some Horde Troopers. It’s also a pleasure to meet Lani and her dad.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

She-Ra is rude enough to ignore Grizzlor when he directly asks where Adora is, which isn’t very good role model behaviour. On the other hand, when Lani starts talking about Adora a minute later, She-Ra responds, “She’s safe.”

Friendship 5
Kowl: “She-Ra, the interior decorator around here did a really bad job.”

 

Insults

It’s all Hordak again this week, though nothing earth-shattering. The best is probably “stupid bird” directed at Kowl, though he also offers “fool” for a Horde Trooper and “traitor” for Adora.

 

Oh No, Bow!

I don’t know what he could have done to avoid it, but Bow does get knocked out by the sleeping gas. He’s also less than effective at busting himself out of his jail cell, but in complete fairness, he hadn’t actually started trying yet before She-Ra came barrelling in, thus sparing him the effort.

Friendship 6
Bow: “Look how manly I am.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s one of those decidedly average affairs, which doesn’t really warrant a good kicking, but equally doesn’t deserve much in the way of praise. The problem, I think, was that everything was crushingly predictable. I knew Lani’s letter would be a trap, and I knew that the tyrosaur would help to save the day in the end. I also knew Hordak would be stupid enough to go back on his deal with Lani – seriously, I know this helps the audience to spot that he’s evil, but it’s really no way to build loyalty among his troops. Essentially, I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s not worryingly bad.