Episode 45 – Huntara

In which Hordak tells some porkies.

Hordak spends the first few minutes of this episode insulting his minions, berating their regular failure to capture She-Ra. Apparently, Horde Prime is most displeased, so Hordak has gone to the trouble of contacting the planet Sylax, well-known throughout the galaxy for the skill of its hunters, and asked them to send their very best hunter to track down She-Ra. Because the Sylaxians are hunters, naturally their representative is called Huntara.

When she arrives, Huntara makes it clear that she will only hunt and capture She-Ra if she is evil, so Hordak shows her some videos. These videos depict She-Ra as evil and are consequently as divorced from reality as a Southern Rail timetable, but they do the job, and Huntara sets off to confront She-Ra. She specifies only one condition: to satisfy her Sylaxian honour, the battle must be between her and She-Ra alone, with no interference from any of the Horde.

Huntara 1
Huntara: “I’m well honourable. Like a Klingon.”

Huntara’s first move is to capture Glimmer, who she uses as bait to lure She-Ra out of Whispering Wood. The two meet in the Crimson Waste, and after She-Ra’s obligatory attempts to persuade Huntara that fighting is bad, they engage in a pretty protracted fight. Once She-Ra finally wins, Huntara surrenders herself as a slave to She-Ra, in line with the Sylaxian code. Of course, She-Ra isn’t interested in having Huntara as a slave, an action which finally persuades Huntara that she has been tricked and that it is Hordak who is the evil one.

Catra and Scorpia – concerned about what will happen to their own job prospects if Huntara wins – have been watching the battle, and now swoop in. Surprisingly, they manage to knock She-Ra, Huntara and Glimmer out, and take them all back to the Fright Zone. Unfortunately, Hordak is stupid enough to bring them all into the throne room for a good gloat, and naturally enough they simply escape and cause havoc.

She-Ra offers Huntara a position in the Rebellion, but Huntara claims she is needed back on Sylax. She then puts a binbag over her head, gets into her ship and flies away. I think the binbag was meant to look like some kind of ninja outfit, but it doesn’t quite work.

Huntara 2
Huntara: “Look how terrifying I am in this binbag.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I couldn’t find Loo-Kee today, not that I care where the little idiot was. He explains to us that Hordak got himself into some major trouble by telling Huntara lies, which is an accurate summary of this week’s events. Loo-Kee thus concludes that we should always tell the truth, though I would argue that the episode’s real lesson is that it’s much easier to hire your expert hunters and warriors from a planet that doesn’t care who’s good and who’s evil.

 

Character checklist

Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Loo-Kee, Huntara, Hordak, Catra, Scorpia, Imp, Shadow Weaver, Leech, Grizzlor, some Horde Troopers, and a variety of weird people I’ve never seen before.

Huntara 3
Adora: “Who are you? Get out.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Would it surprise you beyond measure if I reveal that there is no such excuse?

 

Insults

It’s another zinger-packed week on Etheria. Hordak begins proceedings by referring to Catra, Scorpia, Mantenna, Grizzlor and Leech as “fools” and “dolts”, sentiments which Imp gleefully repeats and adds “wimps” into the bargain. Catra is the only one with sufficient brains to retaliate, referring to Imp as a “pig-faced snoop”. The Horde are in general none too fond of Huntara, Catra dismissing her as an “outsider” and Scorpia referring to her as an “arrogant witch”.

In reference to events depicted in the mocked-up videos, Huntara calls She-Ra a “town-burner”, which apparently means so little to She-Ra that she completely ignores it. The final scene sees Hordak calling Huntara a “foolish woman”, telling a pair of Horde Trooper that they are “nincompoops” and “bunglers”, and addressing nobody in particular as “fools”.

The best insult of all, however, comes from Scorpia, who addresses Catra to say, “I don’t like you much.” Ouch, Scorpia. I bet that hurt. Catra will be crying at night for years about that one.

Huntara 4
Catra: “Is that honestly the best you can muster?”

 

Does it have the Power?

Yes, it does, rather surprisingly for an episode with a simple and incredibly signposted plot. The moment Huntara arrives and decrees she will only hunt She-Ra if she’s evil, only the stupidest viewer wouldn’t be able to see precisely how this story is going to end, but it’s a still very effective episode. The fight between Huntara and She-Ra is sufficiently varied and interesting to not seem too long, and I enjoyed Catra and Scorpia deviously watching the fight, intending to take the credit whoever wins. Needless to say, this was Catra’s idea; I don’t think Scorpia’s ever had an idea. In short, this one is worth a watch.

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Episode 44 – The Rock People

In which we are invited to buy some Rock People action figures.

Hanging out with Bow in Whispering Wood, Adora receives word that Catra has gone to the Valley of the Lost looking for some rocks from outer space. Adora considers that this is the sort of situation which requires her immediate attention. Perhaps this is why Adora’s a leader of the Great Rebellion, while I’m a bitter civil servant, but frankly my reaction to this news would be that Catra’s clearly gone mental and might as well be allowed to amuse herself with meteors as much as she likes. Even Spirit asks, “Why would the Horde want rocks?” suggesting he too thinks Catra could be left to get on with it.

Rock People 1
Bow: “Wait, wait, wait. You mean people make those weird squiggles on paper, and you can actually look at them and they mean WORDS? How does this reading and writing magic work?”

Adora sends Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz and Broom on ahead, while she transforms into She-Ra. Once they arrive at the Valley of the Lost, they encounter a big brown dinosaur, which has a friendly chat with She-Ra and reveals where Catra is. Our heroes get moving, and arrive just as Catra and her various friends unearth the rocks. Given the episode’s title, I expect it won’t come as a surprise to you to learn that the rocks now reveal themselves to be Rock People.

Catra’s immediate reaction is to try to capture the Rock People, which results in the rebels having a nice big fight with the Horde. The Rock People – introduced as Rokkon, Stonndarr and Granita – simply stand around complaining that fighting is horrible. You’re singing to the choir there, lads. Anyway, to my distinct surprise, Catra actually manages to kidnap Rokkon, and takes him away to the Fright Zone.

Rock People 2
Rokkon: “Are we scary? Please tell me we’re scary.”

She-Ra introduces herself and her companions to Stonndarr and Granita, the voice actress sounding rather as though she’s losing the capability to speak as she does so. Stonndarr explains that the Rock People are explorers, seeking a new world on which to live, since their own sun is going to explode shortly. She-Ra suggests that they work together to free Rokkon from Hordak, but Stonndarr rejects the offer, claiming that She-Ra and her friends are too violent for his liking, so he and Granita fly off to try to persuade Hordak to listen to reason.

Don’t choke in astonishment or anything, but this doesn’t work out. Stonndarr and Granita are forced into fighting the Horde to release Rokkon, and very shortly She-Ra, Bow and Madame Razz arrive and join in. With the Rock People free again, our heroes take them to Whispering Wood where they discuss the possibility of the Rock People settling on Etheria. Eventually, She-Ra suggests that they live in Spykont, with the trolls. Everyone applauds this as an absolutely brilliant idea, though as far as I can tell, it’s average at best.

Rock People 3
Rokkon: “Trolls? Well, they’re better than Madame Razz, I suppose.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is skulking about in a bush listening in on the Rebellion’s plans, towards the start of the episode. It would be awesome if at some point in the future, he is unmasked as a Horde spy and shot. I think, unfortunately, that that’s just a pipe dream. Anyway, he tells us today about how fighting isn’t the way to solve things, which would be great, if it weren’t for the fact that fighting is pretty much the only way things are ever solved on Etheria, including in this very episode, so it’s very much a case of “do as I say, not as I do” here.

 

Character checklist

This toy advert is an outing for Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Rokkon, Granita, Stonndarr, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Scorpia, Grizzlor, Mantenna, Leech, Imp, some Horde Troopers, some dude in a space helmet, and I suppose we should mention the troll at the end too.

Rock People 4
She-Ra: “Everybody look to the left, everybody look to the right.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

To be honest, I don’t even recall the transformation sequence at all. It’s possible, therefore, that this week featured the excuse to top all excuses, but I just don’t know.

 

Insults

Wow, rocks clearly get people all worked up, given the vast quantity of insults featured this week. We start with Hordak calling Catra an “imbecile”, which Imp follows up by calling her the possibly misheard “old cat puss”. Catra is also the victim of Scorpia, who exhibits her rapier wit by calling her “rotten”.

Rock People 5
Catra: “We’re playing the O2 Academy tonight. Tickets £3.50 on the door.”

Scorpia also dishes out an accurate but unkindly meant “blondie” to She-Ra, and Hordak addresses an entire squadron of Horde Troopers as “fool robots”. Both Catra and Mantenna call the Rock People “rockheads”, which isn’t particularly insulting, but they clearly think it is. Kowl doesn’t have much time for the Rock People either, referring to them as “cowards”.

Elsewhere, we have Catra calling Mantenna a “fool”, as per usual, and Broom and Madame Razz have a pointed exchange in which Broom calls Madame Razz “old”, and Madame Razz retaliates with “Mr Bigmouth”. Finally, Granita offers the pretty mild “most unreasonable” to describe Hordak.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow is massively annoyed at Kowl, Madame Razz and Broom being present, since he had it in mind that he might be able to seduce She-Ra on this little jaunt. I don’t know what gave him that idea, unless he were planning on making some tasteless pun about being a representative of the Rock Hard People.

I should also probably point out that Bow is incapacitated by Leech, of all people, during this episode, and to make it even more embarrassing, he’s rescued by the dream team of Madame Razz, Broom, and Kowl. It amazes me that Bow still manages to have an ego as big as he does.

Rock People 6
Kowl: “Shall I come back when you’ve finished whatever it is you’re doing, Bow?”

 

Does it have the Power?

This one’s a 20 minute long advert for the action figures of Rokkon and Stonndarr, which – as far as I can gather – were incredibly unpopular figures. Whether that’s because this episode depicts them as pretty rubbish, or whether this episode was made as a desperate attempt to boost unsatisfactory sales, I don’t know. At any rate, the episode didn’t fulfil its evident objective since I have not been seized with a desire to buy Rokkon or Stonndarr, even though I’m a sucker for buying pretty much anything He-Man related.

On the other hand, I’d say it’s actually a surprisingly good episode. It’s got some fight scenes which are pretty entertaining, and it moves along nicely without ever getting boring. It might have been nice if the writer had managed to tie in the moral by having the Rock People win by not fighting, but other than that, I have no complaints. Definitely above the average.

Episode 43 – Welcome Back, Kowl

In which Bow notably doesn’t leap to his friend’s defence.

Welcome Back, Kowl, indeed? While I don’t have anything against Kowl (he’s actually probably the best rebel character in this series, as far as I’m concerned), I don’t think anyone could say that he’s underrepresented in this programme. Surely, if he wants a welcome back, he’s got to go somewhere first? With that in mind, I am approaching this episode cautiously, because it’s the sort of title that leads me to suspect it’s an episode where Kowl quits in a temper and has to be coaxed back.

As it happens, however, it’s nothing of the kind. Kowl is having a nice peaceful nap, when Hordak, Imp and Tung Lashor show up. After they fail to capture Kowl, they voice their intention to test their new tanks on a neighbouring village, so Kowl flaps off to warn the rebels. Adora, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom and a pair of Twiggets promptly arrive and waste time messing about with Madame Razz’s inept spells. They then loudly discuss their own plans for combating the tanks, which for some convoluted but no doubt logical reason involves leaving Kowl to sleep in a barn overnight.

Welcome 1
Twigget: “Let’s draw a mustache on him while he’s asleep.”

Imp overhears these plans, waits until the other rebels leave, and then plants a bag of Horde gold in Kowl’s bed. In the morning, there’s a nice big battle between the rebels and the Horde tanks, which lasts for absolutely bloody ages and results in the tanks disappearing, having kidnapped Madame Razz. The rebels go back to Kowl’s barn, start randomly shrieking about the possibility of there being a spy in the Rebellion, and then they find the bag of Horde gold.

Broom and the Twiggets are quick to accuse Kowl of treachery, while Adora is quick to leap to Kowl’s defence. Bow, who is allegedly Kowl’s best friend, is quick to keep his mouth shut and not say anything at all. Angered by his friends’ lack of faith in him, Kowl does a runner and goes to the Fright Zone by himself to try to rescue Madame Razz. Luckily, he is followed by She-Ra, and the two of them break into the Fright Zone together.

Welcome 2
Bow: “If I admit that Kowl isn’t a traitor, will you sleep with me?”

During the course of the rescue mission, Kowl proves about fifty billion times that he isn’t a traitor, which seems a trifle pointless, since the only other person there is She-Ra, who already believes he isn’t. They quickly find Madame Razz, rescue her, and have a really exciting fight with Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Hordak. Kowl also gets the chance to exact vengeance on Imp by throwing him into the middle of a squashy orange fruit.

There’s just time at the end for Broom and the Twiggets to apologise for their suspicions of Kowl, which is nice, though it would have been nicer if Bow had chimed in to apologise for not defending his friend. Instead, he says, “Welcome back, Kowl!” as if Kowl had been gone for 18 years, rather than about 20 minutes.

Welcome 3
Bow: “I wish I had sufficient brains to enable me to apologise.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh look, there’s Loo-Kee, just outside the Fright Zone, sitting in a stupid blue tree. He explains to us that nobody gets everything right all of the time, and that it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all. I’m not sure this principle is always applicable, to be honest: surely, for example, it’s better not to try to accomplish Brexit, rather than wallowing in the inevitable failure that will ensue. Feel free to come up with similar examples in the comments section below.

 

Character checklist

This little visit to Etheria is punctuated by appearances from Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, some Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Tung Lashor, and those omnipresent Horde Troopers.

Welcome 4
Imp: “Here, look at my lovely close-up face. Bet that won’t spoil your evening.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Oh, for goodness’ sake, Adora. Yet again, not only does Adora not offer an excuse, she also transforms in the middle of a battlefield. The animators seem to think that so long as there’s no one in the background of the shot while Adora transforms, there’s no way anyone could see her. In this case, Bow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Imp are all present, as well as any number of Horde Troopers. I just don’t think Adora takes this secret identity business seriously.

 

Insults

The Horde are clearly in an angry mood today, since Tung Lashor refers to Madame Razz as a “rebel hag”, which is pretty harsh, and Hordak sounds incredibly peeved when he calls Tung Lashor an “idiot”. Kowl calls Imp a “little drip”, but Imp has some nasty words to say about Kowl, including “clumsy old bird” and “scrawny flying dustmop”. Shortly after these insults are dispensed, Kowl snorts, “Nervous stuffed featherbag, indeed”. He seems to think he has been called this, but I didn’t hear it. Perhaps it was a line cut from the script, without any attention to whether this line of Kowl’s would subsequently make any sense.

Welcome 5
Kowl: “Christ! Look, Madame, it’s the paps again!”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow tries to pull a Horde tank over by looping a rope round it and then pulling. Admittedly, this normally works in the He-Man and She-Ra universe, but on this occasion it doesn’t, and he pulls ineffectually for about three minutes before a tank cuts the rope and makes Bow fall over. She-Ra then runs up, grabs the rope and instantly pulls the tank over, bringing Bow’s self-esteem down with it.

 

Does it have the Power?

Maybe I wasn’t listening carefully enough, or maybe I’ve been outwitted by a 30-year-old children’s cartoon, but I didn’t even begin to understand the rebels’ plan for dealing with the tanks. I certainly couldn’t see any reason for Kowl having to hang out in the barn overnight, other than so his mates could think he was a traitor, of course.

The Kowl’s treachery storyline was pretty unbelievable, since the evidence against him was circumstantial at best, and even saying it was circumstantial is being incredibly generous. If this sort of story must be done, I’m sure the writers could have come up with more damning evidence that might have actually made people have doubts about Kowl. This story, when coupled with a pointless subplot about Madame Razz feeling worthless and considering running away, didn’t do much to interest me, and I think I could be forgiven for advising you to skip it.

Episode 42 – Enemy With My Face

In which there is no enemy with anyone’s face.

You might think that Enemy With My Face would be a more appropriate title for last week’s episode, what with its plotline concerning Falseface stealing Prince Highcliff’s identity. That minor quibble aside, we leap straight into the action this week, with Scorpia and Catra driving along in some Horde tanks, crowing about a new weapon that Scorpia has invented. Within 15 seconds of the episode’s start, She-Ra has defeated them and sent them packing back to the Fright Zone.

Enemy 1
Scorpia: “Might as well have not bothered.”

It would be nice for all of us if that were the end of the episode. I’d have described it as a little simplistic but no worse than episodes like The Red Knight or Friends Are Where You Find Them. But no: there’s another 19 minutes or so to endure, so I suppose I’d better get on with it. Royally pissed off at She-Ra’s defeat of Scorpia and Catra, Hordak sets Shadow Weaver to work on a plan for the destruction of the Rebellion. Shadow Weaver pops off to a swamp, where she summons a Malog.

A Malog, if you must know, is a creature composed of mud and clay, with the ability to duplicate the strength of anyone it touches. Shadow Weaver gives the Malog a lift to Whispering Wood, where it wrestles She-Ra, absorbs her power, and takes on a slightly less mud-monstery form. It still doesn’t have She-Ra’s face, but perhaps that comes later. Once the Malog has She-Ra’s strength, it and Shadow Weaver disappear, presumably off to do some mischief elsewhere. I’m holding out hopes that such mischief will be interesting, but I’m not counting on it.

Enemy 3
She-Ra: “This experience is making me even less interested in mud wrestling than I was before.”

She-Ra, irritated beyond reckoning, goes to the Crystal Castle, where Light Hope reiterates the plot for anyone who hadn’t been paying attention. He then starts jabbering about the strength of She-Ra coming from the heart, and asks She-Ra some pointless riddles about the nature of the Malog. Only once she solves them will she be able to conquer the Malog. It would be so much easier, Light Hope, if you could just tell She-Ra what she needs to know. You obviously know how to do it. Why waste time?

Enemy 4
Light Hope: “As a non-corporeal amorphous energy creature, I don’t get many chances for fun. And being pointlessly evasive is the most fun I can think of.”

In the meantime, Hordak and Shadow Weaver are hatching a cunning plan to use the Malog to send She-Ra to the Mines of Mondor, from which Hordak claims no one has ever escaped. Who are you kidding, Hordak? We’ve all seen the episode entitled The Mines of Mondor, in which about fifty billion prisoners escaped that very establishment. The plan involves She-Ra and the Malog having another fight, in which the Malog tries to drive She-Ra inside a forcefield generator.

I’d love to say it’s an exciting fight, but it really isn’t, and to make matters worse, there’s an idiot child hiding in an urn and offering a less than enthralling commentary throughout. Even Shadow Weaver starts complaining that the fight is going on forever, so she intervenes and creates a wind storm which results in She-Ra flying into the forcefield generator. With She-Ra trapped, everything looks hopeless, until it emerges that the Malog not only has She-Ra’s strength, it also has her awesomeness.

Enemy 2
Child: “Could I be any more smug?”

The Malog thus sets She-Ra free, and Shadow Weaver vanishes in a hissy fit. As a reward, She-Ra uses the honour of Grayskull to transform the Malog into a real woman, and sends her off into the world to “see people, learn things” and “find out what it is to be alive”. Hope that works out.

 

In today’s adventure…

I didn’t spot Loo-Kee today, which is surprising because he was in the swamp, where the colours were mostly brown, unlike his bright blue, yellow and red colouring. He suggests that we should think twice before we call people names and put them down. He tries to suggest that Shadow Weaver did this to the Malog in the episode, but to be honest, I didn’t notice that happening. Perhaps I was asleep at the time.

 

Character checklist

All our favourites today – Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Scorpia, Mantenna and Modulok. There’s also the Malog and the afore-mentioned irritating child.

Enemy 5
Hordak: “Hey DJs, could you play Brown Eyed Girl?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Two transformations and no excuses. This really is getting tedious.

 

Insults

Bow calls a pair of Horde Troopers “villains”, and Shadow Weaver tells one of those Troopers that he’s a “fool”. She also shrieks out “cowards” at one point, though frankly I’m not totally sure who she was referring to.

 

Does it have the Power?

I think this one’s a bit of a shame, because I can definitely see what they were going for, but I just don’t think it quite got there. The idea of an evil duplicate of our hero, possessing all their strength, goes right back to Faker in The Shaping Staff, and I’ll admit it’s quite a fun twist to have the evil duplicate actually copy She-Ra’s moral fibre as well. Or at least, it should be fun. Instead, it’s infuriating, as She-Ra encourages the Malog to live, breathe, etc, in her most over-acted tones.

Enemy 6
Malog: “I’m just about ready to deck you, She-Ra, and I will if you don’t stop rabbiting.”

It’s also a trifle odd that the writer seemed to think the Malog should look just like She-Ra (for one thing, Swift Wind says, “She has your features”, and the episode’s title is another hint), but this wasn’t communicated to the animators, since at no point does the Malog come even close to looking like She-Ra.

I still like Shadow Weaver, who comes across as a not completely straightforward villain, and it’s good to see a brief cameo from Modulok, who’s been demoted to Horde Cook as a result of the debacle in Gateway to Trouble. They’re not enough, though, to save this episode from being what I’d call a near miss.

Episode 41 – Glimmer’s Story

In which Glimmer gives herself a new and demented haircut.

This week, Glimmer has got herself all hot and bothered over the impending arrival of Prince Highcliff from Blue Mountain. None of the rebels have ever met Prince Highcliff before, but word has it that he’s very handsome. Glimmer has dyed her hair purple for the occasion, and given herself a splendidly insane haircut, which serves very little purpose story-wise and must have given the animators a right headache.

Glimmer 1
Angela: “This is my daughter, Bellatrix Lestrange… er, sorry, Glimmer.”

Unbeknownst to the rebels, however, Highcliff has been captured by Hordak and introduced to a gentleman called Falseface. Falseface is essentially a better version of Man-e-Faces, in that he can mimic a person’s entire appearance, not just their face. This makes him far more useful as a master of disguise than Man-e-Faces ever was. Assuming Prince Highcliff’s appearance, Falseface trolls off to Bright Moon to do something nefarious, though he isn’t given any specific aim.

When Falseface arrives, he is welcomed by the perpetually thick-sounding Queen Angela, who assigns Glimmer to guide him round. The first thing Glimmer shows him are the floodgates, which are currently closed to defend Castle Bright Moon from a watery deluge. Naturally, Falseface opens the floodgates, necessitating She-Ra’s intervention. She-Ra saves the castle, though she nearly drowns a child in the process, so I don’t think this one can be called an unmitigated success.

Glimmer 2
Bow: “That’s fine, I’ll just clear up She-Ra’s mess, like usual.”

Falseface pretends to cheer along with all the other happy idiots in Bright Moon, but he is already hatching his next plan: to turn off Bright Moon’s defensive shields in order to allow a full-scale Horde assault. He sleazes up to Glimmer and asks how the shields work, and learns that they are powered by a magical device called the Moonstone, so he kidnaps Glimmer by putting her in a big red blanket, and steals the Moonstone.

Once this treachery is discovered, She-Ra attends to defending the castle from Hordak’s army, first getting Bow out of the way by telling him to go and rescue Glimmer. As it turns out, Bow only provides minimal help: Glimmer proves entirely capable of rescuing herself, and retrieves the Moonstone and the real Prince Highcliff into the bargain. She brings the Moonstone back to Bright Moon, where it is recharged and used to put the castle’s defences up again.

Glimmer 3
Prince Highcliff: “Glimmer, it’s lovely to meet you, but did you have to bring that loony in the paper aeroplane?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee’s in the very first shot of the story today, perhaps thinking that we wouldn’t be ready for him at that early stage. Too bad for him, because I was. He rabbits on about how appearance isn’t everything. It’s a while since we’ve heard this one, and since it makes sense in the context of this episode’s story, I think we’ll accept it this time.

 

Character checklist

Lots of familiar faces today, and a few less so. There’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Queen Angela, Kowl, Madame Razz, Prince Highcliff, Hordak, Catra, Grizzlor, Falseface, Imp, and the various inhabitants of Bright Moon.

Glimmer 4
Prince Highcliff: “Why is this guy making a gesture implying he’s got a hefty pair of tits?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

I think I’m going to have to start giving an excuse for the disappearance of this section if she doesn’t start making excuses soon.

 

Insults

All we get this week is Imp calling Catra “ugly”, which seems unnecessarily harsh, not to mention untrue.

 

Oh No, Bow!

The episode opens with Bow testing his new invention, a hang glider. Secure in his genius, Bow launches himself off a cliff, only to find that his hang glider doesn’t work, and he plummets into a lake. This qualifies for inclusion here for two reasons: firstly because it doesn’t work, though I think we could have all seen that coming, and secondly because his choice of location for his first test was ridiculously dangerous. If there was any sanity in this world, Loo-Kee’s moral would have been “don’t jump off cliffs in stupid machines you’ve just invented”.

Glimmer 5
Bow: “I honestly thought this would work.”

Not to be deterred, however, Bow unleashes his hang glider again at the end of the episode, in the big battle against the Horde. This time, he fares a little better, but frankly he still ends up falling out of it and needing to be rescued by Guess Who. I think he needs to give up on this idea, though it seems all the inhabitants of Bright Moon disagree with me, since they spend the final scene making out they’re really impressed by the hang glider.

 

Does it have the Power?

It may be called Glimmer’s Story, but she doesn’t really get a starring role. On the other hand, I think it is the first time we see her being competent: her escape from Falseface and her rescue of Prince Highcliff in the Fright Zone was achieved all by herself, without any backup from She-Ra, and that was rather refreshing.

Falseface was pretty irritating in his original form, and it didn’t help that he looked uncomfortably close to cruel caricatures my classmates used to draw of me. Once he was disguised as Prince Highcliff, though, he proved himself a pretty useful member of the Horde, so I’m not sure which way to jump with him. Let’s be generous and say he’s a worthwhile addition to the series, not that I expect we’ll be seeing him again.

In summary, this episode isn’t as good as some recent outings, but it’s still fairly entertaining, and I’d recommend you give it a watch.

Episode 40 – Treasures of the First Ones

In which She-Ra and Sea Hawk go treasure-hunting.

This week’s hilarious Etherian japes concern Mystic Isle, a storehouse of the greatest treasures from Etheria’s ancient inhabitants, the First Ones. Mystic Isle only rises from the sea once every billion years or something, and Shadow Weaver has calculated that the big day is tomorrow. Hordak is naturally very interested in this, and plots to steal all the treasures and use them to rid himself of the Rebellion. I’m kind of rooting for Hordak here. She-Ra’s been getting on my tits lately.

Treasure 2
Shadow Weaver: “Alexa, show me a funky light show.”

Light Hope gets wind of the plan, and summons She-Ra and Swift Wind to the Crystal Castle. Once there, Light Hope dishes the dirt on Mystic Isle, and reveals that Hordak has equipped himself with a Horde Dreadnought ship. This doesn’t sound beyond She-Ra’s abilities, to be honest, but for whatever reason she decides she’s going to need help.

Help, in this case, comes from her old pirate mate, Sea Hawk, who was last seen about 25 episodes ago heading off to a night of passion with Adora. He’s only too willing to help out once the situation is explained, though he does express some degree of disappointment that Adora isn’t present again. Sea Hawk and Swen cloak their flying ship in an artificial cloud, and thinking themselves unobserved, they follow Hordak’s dreadnought across the ocean.

Hordak’s new friend, Octavia, a green lady with super-long tentacles, quickly detects the ship, and shoots a plasma missile at it. She-Ra’s response to this is, oddly, simply to walk up behind Sea Hawk and grab his hips. It doesn’t help, but perhaps it made her feel better. With a huge hole blasted in the side of the ship, it plummets to an island and is only saved by She-Ra, who manages to get there first and catch it.

Treasure 3
She-Ra: “I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore.”

Leaving Swen and the rest of the crew to repair the ship, She-Ra and Sea Hawk mount Swift Wind and continue their pursuit of Hordak, who has by now watched Mystic Isle rise from the sea and has begun to explore. She-Ra and Sea Hawk confront him, but quickly get embroiled in a fight with Octavia and some Horde Troopers, while Hordak heads off looking for treasures.

Once Octavia is defeated – a process which takes considerably longer than I’d have expected – She-Ra and Sea Hawk catch up with Hordak. As it happens, there was no need to worry anyway: the treasure of the First Ones turns out to be cultural artefacts, such as paintings and statues, all of which doesn’t interest Hordak one bit. I’m not surprised, to be honest; I’m not sure I’d be that interested in a load of paintings that had been under the sea for millions of years.

Treasure 4
Hordak: “Play that funky music white boy.”

On cue, She-Ra launches into her lecture about the value of items that show love, beauty, freedom and truth. Before she can really get going, though, Hordak interrupts her to say he’s going to destroy all the treasures, just to shut her up. In the end, of course, She-Ra saves the treasures, and then loads them all onto Sea Hawk’s newly repaired ship to take them back to Whispering Wood, so that halfwits like Bow can gawp over them.

 

In today’s adventure…

No sign of Loo-Kee today, though at the end he reveals he was in a tree in Whispering Wood. Surprise, surprise. After last time’s random and meandering rant about drugs, Loo-Kee is far more on-target this week, with a short discussion of the value of art and a recommendation that we all go to our local art museum to see what art is all about. I’d be surprised if anyone took him up on it, since he doesn’t make much effort to sell this notion, but points for trying, I suppose.

 

Character checklist

There’s a reasonably interesting cast list this week, featuring Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Sea Hawk, Swen, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Octavia, and some Horde Troopers. I didn’t notice any other pirates on Sea Hawk’s ship, so it would appear that he and Swen now form just a two-man operation.

Treasure 5
Sea Hawk: “Seeing as we’re the only three people on this ship, couldn’t you two make yourselves useful?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Sea Hawk asks whether Adora might be coming along, but She-Ra simply says, “I’m afraid not,” without offering any explanation. This is a shame, since it might have been funny if She-Ra had tried to bait Sea Hawk by saying, “Sorry, no, she’s too busy with Bow. Now there’s a guy who really knows how to shoot his arrows,” or some other appalling innuendo. On the other hand, I’ve now got a mental image that I don’t want, so perhaps it’s best this wasn’t elaborated on after all.

 

Insults

Octavia kicks things off by calling Swift Wind a “foul beast” and Sea Hawk a “braggart”. Sea Hawk retaliates by referring to Octavia as “our gruesome friend”, while She-Ra opts for the more descriptive but less insulting “octopus lady”. Hordak doesn’t think much of Octavia either, calling her a “fool”. His insult to She-Ra is along the same lines: “sentimental fool”, to which Sea Hawk retorts that Hordak is a “tin can”. Finally, She-Ra addresses Hordak as a “cheap villain”, which is the sort of comment on Hordak that is probably best left unmentioned, lest the viewers realise it’s true and desert the show in droves.

Treasure 6
Octavia: “I may have stupid green tendrils, but at least I don’t look cheap.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Let’s get one complaint out of the way first: Swen’s constant use of phrases like “Stuff me with seaweed” and “Fry me as a fritter” gets irritating mighty quickly. I was incredibly pleased when he got written out about halfway through the episode. I’m sure Swen wasn’t this annoying on his previous two appearances.

Otherwise, it was good to see Sea Hawk again; Etheria seems a more realistic place with lots of recurring characters, all fighting the Horde in their own way, popping up every now and again. It’s nice that the plotline concerning Sea Hawk’s attraction to Adora is being continued, as it helps to give depth to these characters, and makes the series not seem completely episodic.

The plot was quite fun as well, seeming like a far more competent version of the He-Man episode The Ancient Mirror of Avathar. Hordak’s dismay when he discovers the treasures are worthless paintings and statues is worth the price of admission alone. There’s a decent degree of realism depicted too – at one point, Octavia freezes Swift Wind in a giant ice cube, and when he’s freed, he complains of being cold, rather than just leaping straight into action again like he normally would. It’s a very simple but effective touch.

And speaking of Octavia, I’m in two minds. Her design is quite cool and she comes across as a worthy opponent, what with her ability to hold four swords at once. Unfortunately, her voice acting is somewhat below par, and she laughs like a complete maniac all too frequently. Plus, given she’s based on an octopus, surely it would have made more sense for her to have eight tentacles? A final indignity for Octavia is the inclusion of a strange scene in which it looks like Hordak’s giving her a sound spanking. On the strength of her performance this week, therefore, I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again.

Treasure 1
Hordak: “There is no way to caption this classily.”

I’ll conclude with a thumbs up for this week’s episode, which makes three good ones in a row. Who’d have thought it possible?

Episode 39 – Into the Dark Dimension

In which we learn that drugs are turn-offs.

As the episode begins, the Rebellion have run into a spot of trouble. Adora, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Madame Razz and Frosta are in the Fright Zone, with Horde Troopers firing at them from every side. As the situation becomes ever more dire, Adora turns herself into She-Ra – but unfortunately, She-Ra’s appearance is the moment Hordak has been waiting for.

Dark 1
Bow: “Not loving this game of Extreme Hide and Seek.”

Once She-Ra and Hordak come face to face, Hordak cries, “surprise!” This is a prearranged signal for Catra to fire a massive gun, and for Shadow Weaver to unleash a new spell. Unfortunately, Hordak seems to have failed to discuss the specifics of the plan with Catra and Shadow Weaver, since it emerges he didn’t actually want both of them to carry out their actions at the same time. The end result is that both She-Ra and Hordak disappear.

The two of them go on an acid-trip inspired voyage through an interdimensional rift, eventually landing on a rocky planet. Hordak just wants to carry on his fight with She-Ra, but is rapidly distracted by an attack from a stupid green caterpillar. Once that’s attended to, a door opens to reveal a big pink dinosaur who spouts some existentialist bollocks before welcoming them to the Dark Dimension, and informing them that they can go home if they find the door and the key.

Dark 2
Hordak: “Sure, sure, we’re dealing with a massive dinosaur, but can we all just stop to consider the fact that my feet are so flat they might as well belong to a duck?”

She-Ra and Hordak form a truce and determine to work together to find their way home. The Dark Dimension consists of the usual array of tests, traps, puzzles and monsters, all of which are solved by She-Ra while Hordak pointlessly grizzles around in the background. We are also witness to a fair amount of philosophical debate about the nature of right and wrong, in which She-Ra achieves the astonishing feat of being even more patronising than usual.

Once She-Ra and Hordak find the door and the key, Hordak pulls his inevitable betrayal. Frankly, I don’t blame him. If I had the chance to ditch She-Ra in the Dark Dimension, I’d take it too. Unfortunately for Hordak, his attempts to strand She-Ra only result in the intervention of the pink dinosaur, who decrees that She-Ra may go home, but Hordak must remain as a slave.

Dark 3
She-Ra: “It is tempting to leave Hordak here, and frankly, if I wasn’t being filmed, I probably would.”

It will not, I’m sure, come as a surprise to you that She-Ra refuses to go home without Hordak. The pink dinosaur doesn’t take kindly to this, and there’s an almighty rumble between him and She-Ra, which She-Ra naturally wins. She and Hordak enter the door and fly back to Etheria, where they find that in their absence, the Horde have failed to do anything other than shout mindlessly at the rebels. Rather surprisingly, Hordak allows all the rebels to leave freely, as a thank-you to She-Ra for not leaving the Dark Dimension without him. No wonder Skeletor thinks Hordak’s an idiot. If Skeletor had the upper hand, he’d never just let He-Man go.

 

In today’s adventure…

What’s Loo-Kee doing in the Dark Dimension? He certainly wasn’t shot by Catra and Shadow Weaver, and yet there he is, lurking in the cave as we fade in from the commercial break. He hasn’t got a hope of hiding this week, since the Dark Dimension is predominantly grey, whereas Loo-Kee has a huge variety of bright colours. I spotted him quicker than I’d spot a bacon sandwich, and believe you me, I spot those pretty quick.

Dark 4
Loo-Kee: “Bet you can’t see me.”

That’s all very well, but when it comes to the closing segment, Loo-Kee claims we weren’t playing hide-and-seek this week. Just because you couldn’t find a decent hiding place, Loo-Kee. Instead, Loo-Kee very seriously says, “I want to talk to you about a very big problem: drugs.” He then goes on to witter that friends and adults may try to “turn you on to drugs, but drugs are not a turn-on. Drugs are a turn-off.” He then solemnly concludes, “Say no to drugs. Say yes to a life free from drugs.”

Let’s put aside this trite and irritating conclusion. Let’s even gloss over the fact that using the phrase “turn-on” when addressing five year olds is ill-advised at best. Let’s stick to the real point here: what the Jesusing Christ do drugs have to do with this episode? Apart from the fact that it looked like She-Ra and Hordak had taken some when they went flying through space into the Dark Dimension, I suppose. Okay, fair enough.

 

Character checklist

It’s primarily the She-Ra and Hordak Show, but we also see Adora, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Glimmer, Frosta, Loo-Kee, Catra, Shadow Weaver, Scorpia, some Horde Troopers, the pink dinosaur, and the various other denizens of the Dark Dimension.

Dark 5
Dinosaur: “Hello. I’d like to talk to you about drugs too. Drugs are a massive turn-on. I love drugs. Don’t be like me, kids.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora doesn’t give an excuse, but since she transforms into She-Ra in the middle of a battlefield, where both rebels and Hordesmen must be able to see her, I think an excuse would have been an exercise in futility.

 

Insults

Surprisingly for an episode that mostly focuses on a She-Ra/Hordak double-act, the episode is not well-equipped with zingers. In the early stages, Bow calls some Horde Troopers “tin-heads”, and that’s it for about 15 minutes, until She-Ra goes a little overboard and addresses Hordak as a “power-mad, narrow-minded fool”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

While Bow is casting around for someone to blame for the disastrous attack on the Fright Zone, Kowl takes the opportunity to remind him that it was his idea in the first place. Bow gets a goofy look on his face, and notably doesn’t apologise. Seconds later, he emerges from hiding for no apparent reason and instantly gets shot. He’s such a moron.

Dark 6
Kowl: “Don’t even try to deny it, Bow. You’ve cocked up again.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s somewhere above the average, floating towards the good end of the scale. The all-out assault on the Fright Zone at the start was exciting, and the sort of thing I’d expect the rebels to do more often. It gave us a little bit more characterisation for Shadow Weaver and Catra, who had an amusing rivalry, though it has to be said that after nearly 40 episodes, the personality of some of the rebels –notably Glimmer – remain almost entirely blank.

Once She-Ra and Hordak enter the Dark Dimension, we get a pretty entertaining story of these two enemies having to work together. It’s been seen before, of course – pretty much everything by this stage has – but it’s still good fun to watch, except when She-Ra goes into her “I’m so awesome” speeches. Some of the puzzles were fun to watch, and reminiscent of the style of 1990s computer games. The pink dinosaur, however, wasn’t enormously convincing as a baddy, but since he hopefully won’t show up again, we’ll let him off.

But really? Drugs and turn-ons? Really?

Episode 38 – Zoo Story

In which we discover that Hordak has a sideline in zoo administration.

She-Ra, Bow and Kowl are out in the Forest of Freedom, hoping to discover why all the animals of the forest have begun to disappear. They quickly spot a rare bird, and just as quickly see a dark shadow fly by and envelope the bird. Once the shadow disappears, the bird has gone as well. Bow suggests climbing a hill to try to further the investigation.

Zoo 1
Bow: “I wonder, if I suggest that Adora is a rare bird, would she slap me?”

At the top of the hill, Adora, Bow and Kowl spot a pair of Horde transports, bearing Grizzlor and Mantenna to some presumably nefarious deed. Bow temporarily absents himself for a short outbreak of imbecility (see Oh No, Bow! below), so Adora transforms herself into She-Ra. She and Bow then have a brief word with Mantenna, learning that he and Grizzlor were on their way to deliver some cages to Outpost Six.

While She-Ra and Bow have been thus occupied, Kowl and a female koala-owl creature have been captured by the mysterious black shadow, which soon reveals itself to house a scary Horde vulture-like individual who introduces himself as Vultak. Vultak is a surprisingly chatty fellow, and explains the plot for the benefit of slower viewers: he flies around capturing animals and putting them in Hordak’s zoo. Kowl and his lady friend are to be the star attractions in the zoo, apparently.

Zoo 2
Vultak: “Christ alone knows why Hordak would want you in his zoo.”

She-Ra and Bow head straight to Outpost Six to try to get a better handle on the situation. After banging a few Horde Trooper heads together, they quickly learn of the existence and the location of the zoo, so they begin to make their way there. And not a moment too soon: Kowl and Female Kowl are being thrown in cages and bossed around by the zoo’s staff, which consists solely of Vultak and a crowd of hovering dustbins. Vultak seems to like his job, but with employees like this, I can’t imagine he gets much in the way of office banter.

Zoo 3
Vultak: “My employees are rubbish. Chortle!”

After a discussion on the nature of freedom, as well as a comparison of zoos and prisons, Kowl and Kowla manage to bust out of their cell. They don’t get very far, of course, since the main entrance to the zoo is locked. Just as Vultak corners them, however, She-Ra and Bow burst in, release all the animals, and put Vultak in a cage instead, to see how he likes it. Believe it or not, he doesn’t like it.

 

In today’s adventure…

Sheer luck led me to be glancing directly at Loo-Kee today, as he skulked at the very edge of the screen in Outpost Six. The lesson today is that we often don’t appreciate the things we have. Examples of things we have include sunsets, flowers and family, presumably in that order of importance. While it’s a reasonable moral, I can’t help but think this episode would have been a good opportunity to talk about zoos, endangered species, or treating animals with care.

 

Character checklist

This time, it’s an outing for Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Kowla, Loo-Kee, Vultak, Mantenna, Grizzlor, some Horde Troopers, and the flying bins. I also can’t remember if I normally include Bow’s horse Arrow in this list, but if so, then he’s here today.

Zoo 5
Mantenna: “Why does this sort of thing happen to me with tedious regularity?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Bow asks why She-Ra has shown up, to which She-Ra simply replies that she has “heard animals were disappearing from Freedom Forest”. This doesn’t seem to satisfy Bow, who persists in asking what happened to Adora. She-Ra isn’t interested in this discussion, replying only with a terse, “She left.”

 

Insults

Grizzlor starts the ball rolling by calling Mantenna “bug-eyes”, leading to an entirely disproportionate response from Mantenna, who retaliates with “hairball”, “fur-brain”, “fur breath” and “fur ball”. Mantenna also refers to Bow as “stupid” and “crazy”, and even Kowl concedes that Bow is “foolish”. Vultak is a fan of the ever-popular “little fool” describing Kowl, to which Kowl responds with the far more imaginative “feathered freak”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Despite being well aware that he’s massively outnumbered, and despite not having any ostensibly clever tricks up his sleeve, Bow decides to take on Grizzlor, Mantenna, a vast but unspecified number of Horde Troopers, and a pair of tanks. Even Mantenna, one of the stupidest people on Etheria, thinks this is a demented thing to do. Naturally, Bow is very speedily defeated, and only saved from the Fright Zone’s dungeons by the inevitable arrival of She-Ra.

Zoo 4
Bow: “Oh, balls.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the only She-Ra episode I had on video when I was little – recorded from ITV in those heady days of the late 1980s. Therefore, it’s the only one which is even vaguely familiar to me. I certainly recall deriving my definitions of “disappearance” and “vanish” from a random speech Bow makes during the episode; he states that things that vanish are gone for ever, whereas things that disappear must appear somewhere else. To this day, I’m not sure if this definition is actually true, but I do genuinely try to choose my words carefully with regard to disappearing and vanishing.

That random remembrance aside, it was a pleasure to see this episode. I didn’t know it off by heart, like I did with A Trip to Morainia and Disappearing Dragons, but as the story unfolded, I did find it familiar in a nostalgic way. Vultak instantly rang a bell – his design is quite striking – and the appearance of the female Kowl also brought memories flooding back.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that it happens to be a good episode. The dialogue is snappy, it moves along at a sensible pace, and there’s some good stuff in there about the importance of freedom. It does find the time to criticise zoos that are only interested in displaying animals, rather than preserving them, but I’d have liked that to be made more explicit in Loo-Kee’s moral; I can imagine it going over a child’s head otherwise. Even so, this is a good episode, which I expect you’ll enjoy.

Episode 37 – The Anxious Apprentice

In which we retread very familiar ground.

In Mysticor, we are introduced to Castaspella’s apprentice, Arianne. Arianne is a good student, and after demonstrating her skills to Castaspella and Adora, she asks to have a chance to use the Book of Spells, one of Mysticor’s greatest treasures. Castaspella, however, considers that Arianne is not yet ready for the power and responsibility that goes with using the book, so refuses. Naturally, of course, Arianne now makes the sensible decision to nick the book and do a runner.

Apprentice 1
Arianne: “Maybe I’d get more respect if I didn’t forget to put my trousers on so often.”

Castaspella quickly discovers the absence of Arianne and the book, and manages to put two and two together to conclude the disappearances must be connected. Adora heads into Mysticor Forest to look for Arianne, forcefully telling Castaspella that her help will not be needed. She quickly discovers that Arianne has accidentally started a fire with a less than judicious use of the Book of Spells, so it’s time for She-Ra. All join me in a whoop-whoop please.

While She-Ra is happily occupied putting out the fire, Arianne has wandered off into an area called the Forbidden Zone. Unfortunately, the Forbidden Zone doesn’t seem to be forbidden to Scorpia, who quickly shows up and makes a reasonably good go at capturing Arianne. Of course, She-Ra appears on the scene pretty speedily, and rescues Arianne. However, since the two of them combined have fewer brains than the collective Tory party, they leave the Book of Spells behind.

Apprentice 2
Arianne: “At least it’s No Trousers Day in the Horde too.”

Unsurprisingly, Scorpia finds the book. Slightly more surprising is the revelation that she is actually capable of reading it. Her attention is quickly drawn to a spell that will release all the evil in the Forbidden Zone, allowing it to attack Mysticor – but instead of actually casting this spell, she sends a message to Castaspella threatening to cast it unless She-Ra comes to meet her.

She-Ra leaps at the chance, and arrives at the Forbidden Zone to find that Scorpia has cast the spell after all, and now can’t handle the forces she has unleashed. She-Ra rescues her and undoes the spell, with absolutely no help from Castaspella and Arianne, who simply stand there gawping like village idiots until the spell is reversed. They then have the temerity to congratulate themselves on how well they have done, a reaction completely divorced from reality.

Apprentice 3
Castaspella: “We properly deserve these garlands.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I found Loo-Kee once again, this time because I happened to press pause when his demented grinning face was on screen. As always, he’s in a tree, this time in Mysticor. This week, he decides to talk to us about practice, which is apparently how to learn how to do things well. You’d think that writing 167 reviews of He-Man and She-Ra would be sufficient practice for me to learn how to do that well, but the evidence doesn’t really bear that out.

 

Character checklist

The only people we see today are Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Castaspella, Arianne, Loo-Kee, Scorpia, some Horde Troopers, and a couple of randoms.

Apprentice 4
Random dude: “I am so bored.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Thanks to Adora being a loner, as usual, she is unaccompanied when the time comes for her transformation. Once she becomes She-Ra, no one even seems to remember that Adora exists.

 

Insults

Scorpia summons up enough wit to call Arianne a “little troublemaker”, and evidently thinks it’s a great insult, because she uses it twice. Arianne’s response is not particularly sane, referring to Scorpia as a “big creeper”.

Apprentice 5
Scorpia: “I may be a ‘big creeper’, but I’ve also got a big tank, so I’d watch it if I were you.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s one of those episodes that signposts exactly what’s going to happen within the first 30 seconds; I knew full well that Arianne was going to nick the Book of Spells, which would lead to trouble of some less than compelling nature. Everything ticked along nicely if not especially interestingly, but I have to say that the evil unleashed in the Forbidden Zone was seriously underwhelming, consisting as it did solely of some fires. From the description Castaspella gave earlier in the episode, I had expected demons and monsters and all sorts of similar fun – not just a few flames.

In addition, I would like to complain that Scorpia has to be the most annoying member of the Horde; her voice makes her sound incredibly thick, and her behaviour doesn’t do much to dispel that impression. Pretty much only because it gives Scorpia a starring role, I’m going to recommend you don’t bother with this one. But if Scorpia doesn’t annoy you, or if you’re one of those mentalists who actually likes her, then it’s probably all right.

Episode 36 – The Unicorn King

In which She-Ra discovers Brexit Island.

Hordak and Mantenna are out for a pleasure cruise in the Horde’s new boat, the Sea Fright, when they discover the legendary Unicorn Island. Mantenna brainlessly suggests sinking the island, a suggestion which Hordak treats with the derision it deserves. On the other hand, his plan isn’t a lot better: build a Horde base on it, and enslave the unicorns. Less than specific though this plan is, Mantenna is sent out to make a start.

Unicorn 1
Hordak: “Mantenna, I can still see you even if you can’t see me.”

Over in Whispering Wood, Swift Wind suddenly gets some kind of telepathic hint that something is wrong. He doesn’t know what, however, so he and She-Ra fly off to see Light Hope to get more details. For once, Light Hope proves useful, and fills our heroes in on Hordak’s plan, then suggests that She-Ra find the Unicorn King and win his trust.

She-Ra starts by heading straight over to Unicorn Island and disrupting Mantenna’s unicorn capturing activities. Once that’s attended to, She-Ra and Swift Wind meet a gruff unicorn wearing a stupid helmet, who introduces himself as the Unicorn King. The King doesn’t trust humans, and demonstrates why by bringing out another unicorn called Bright Wing, who cannot fly thanks to having once been captured and enslaved by humans.

Unicorn 2
She-Ra: “Magic and unicorns! This must be Brexit Land!”

The King then goes on to say that now that the island has been discovered by the Horde, he and the unicorns must leave and find a new home. She-Ra offers to help defend the island, but the King spurns her offer. She-Ra then uses her healing powers to cure Bright Wing, after which the King – rather grudgingly – accepts her assistance in defending the island.

Mantenna intervenes to bring this tedious scene to an end, shooting a freeze ray at She-Ra. She-Ra immediately mounts Swift Wind and gives chase; once she is safely offshore, Hordak generates a force shield to surround the island. He seems pretty confident that the force shield will prevent She-Ra from returning to the island, but in this – as with so many other things – he is deluded. She-Ra simply swims underneath the force shield and emerges on the island, wiping the stupid smile off Hordak’s snorting face.

Unicorn 3
Hordak: “You’d think I’d be able to find something better to watch on my banging new HD TV.”

She-Ra and the Unicorn King then work together to destroy the force shield generator, after which the King concludes that maybe some humans are trustworthy after all. After gratuitously sinking Hordak’s shiny new ship, She-Ra accepts the King’s grateful thanks, and offers to help again if she is ever needed. I for one am very relieved. Just imagine if Hordak had captured all those unicorns. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about.

 

In today’s adventure…

There’s Loo-Kee, yes, yes, hiding behind a bush in Whispering Wood. This Loo-Kee malarkey is equally boring whether I find him or not. His moral lesson this week is also very boring: it’s cooperation, yet again. I’m certain that if viewers don’t understand about cooperation yet, they never will.

 

Character checklist

A smaller cast than usual today: it’s just Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, the Unicorn King, Bright Wing, Loo-Kee, Hordak and Mantenna. I may not have been watching carefully enough, but I don’t think I even saw one of those ubiquitous Horde Troopers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Believe it or not, she doesn’t bother.

Unicorn 4
Spirit: “What do you mean, you can’t be arsed with an excuse? People are going to question MY disappearance too. Didn’t you ever think about that?”

 

Insults

Mantenna has a particularly bad day today, all thanks to Hordak, who calls him a “fool” twice, as well as various other, more imaginative, names, such as “floppy eyes”, “nincompoop” and “bugbrain”.

 

Does it have the Power?

If it weren’t for Hordak and Mantenna, who make for a pretty entertaining double-act, this would be a really very dull She-Ra-by-numbers episode. As it is, it’s still basically a dud, but with a few redeeming moments. I don’t care about the unicorns, who seem to have the same plotline as everyone else on Etheria: not trusting She-Ra, then changing their minds once She-Ra does something for them. This episode treads incredibly familiar territory, and I’d recommend that you don’t bother treading it too.