Episode 32 – Friends Are Where You Find Them

In which She-Ra meets another irritating child.

I’m sorry to start with a vulgarity, but really, what the absolute fuck? This time, we open with She-Ra and Swift Wind flying through outer space for no purpose whatsoever, just for the sheer demented delight of it. And are they wearing space suits? Are they buggery. Are they merrily talking to each other as if sound carries in a vacuum? Yes they are. I’ve just about accepted She-Ra’s previous forays into space – implausible as they are – as being at least slightly justified by the plot. But this? It’s lunacy.

I think that to get over this insane beginning, I’m going to have to suppose that She-Ra has gone mental and this episode takes place entirely in her head. With that ground rule established, anything in this episode that’s completely nuts can be accepted. This is just as well, because She-Ra next comes across a platoon of Horde space robots, so she turns her sword into a tennis racquet and belts them halfway across the cosmos.

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She-Ra: “45 love.”

It turns out the Horde space robots were attacking a spaceship, which now explodes, leaving behind only an escape pod which begins to plummet down to Etheria. She-Ra returns to the planet’s surface herself and is on hand to meet the inhabitant when he emerges. The inhabitant introduces himself as Prince Joel of Antares and he appears to have Filmation Irritating Child Syndrome. She-Ra takes him to see Queen Angela at Bright Moon to contact his parents and get him off Etheria asap.

In the meantime, Bow takes charge of Joel, and takes him to meet a bunch of Bright Moon’s local children, who are happily occupied in cleaning the castle. They offer Joel the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help them, but he explains that he has a RoboFriend who normally does that sort of thing for him. When the children ask Joel to lend them his RoboFriend to do the cleaning, Joel has a massive strop because this is a breach of etiquette. It seems that on Antares, borrowing a RoboFriend is akin to borrowing a dildo or something. In any case, his RoboFriend was damaged when his ship was destroyed, so the whole point is moot.

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Bow: “I love hanging around ominously behind groups of children.”

After Adora and Bow retrieve and fix the RoboFriend, the rest of the episode divides its time between Joel learning how to share and Hordak trying to steal the RoboFriend. These plots come together when Adora and Bow take Joel and five other Etherian children on a hike to Big Ditch Canyon. Catra, Grizzlor and Leech cause a distraction, and Imp plants a remote control receiver on the RoboFriend, bringing it under Hordak’s command.

The RoboFriend starts off by grabbing Bow to take him prisoner, a development which pleases Catra immensely but doesn’t please She-Ra at all. She forces the RoboFriend to release Bow, but before she can smash it to smithereens, Joel comes running up to it and it immediately takes him prisoner instead. To the accompaniment of a funky She-Ra theme tune remix, She-Ra gives chase to the RoboFriend and rescues Joel.

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Leech: “I regret to inform you, Catra, that you have failed your driving test.”

Back at Bright Moon, Joel gets on a ship to return to Antares, but not before he utters a pearl of complete bollocks disguised as wisdom: “robots are only friendly because they’re programmed to be.” This has the air of a writer desperately trying to make the episode’s events somehow relevant to the real life of 1980s American children, but forgetting that in the real world, the closest equivalent to a RoboFriend in the 1980s was a microwave. Though I’ll be the first to admit the 1980s were a bit weird, I have my doubts that there was a particular problem with children trying to programme their microwaves to be their friends.

 

In today’s adventure…

Got him again! There ain’t a place in this universe Loo-Kee can hide from me now. He’s in a tree outside Bright Moon. (Hint, for those of you who haven’t grasped the pattern yet: he’s pretty much always in a tree.) Anyway, Loo-Kee wants to let us know that people need friends. He stops short of saying that if you haven’t got any friends, you’re a complete failure of a person, but you can see it in his eyes.

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Loo-Kee: “Get some friends, you losers.”

 

Character checklist

This excursion into lunacy features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Queen Angela, Loo-Kee, Prince Joel, some other children, Hordak, Imp, Catra, Grizzlor, Leech and – no surprises here – some Horde Troopers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora develops a stupid habit of directly addressing the camera for no reason whatsoever today. For her first transformation, she states, “I’ve got a strong feeling She-Ra’s going to be needed here,” and for her second she offers, “We’re going to need reinforcements.”

 

Insults

Hordak addresses a Horde Trooper as a “fool”, and seconds later, as a “worthless fool”. These are obviously pretty standard insults, but Hordak does put an impressive degree of vehemence into them, so points for effort, I suppose. Otherwise, it’s Grizzlor who gets a tough time of it, being called a “fuzzface” by Bow and a “furbrain” by Leech.

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Catra: “Just gearing up for our big appearance on Jools Holland tonight.”

 

Oh Yes, Bow!

It’s only fair to point out that, far from being useless, Bow actually fixes the RoboFriend twice this week. Well done, Bow! Keep it up, and you’ll be as multi-skilled as Man-at-Arms in no time!

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, it’s completely crazed for its opening few minutes. What particularly got my goat about those minutes is that there was no reason at all for She-Ra to be in space. She could have simply seen the escape pod landing and had the episode proceed from there – but no, she had to be joyriding in space on her unicorn, and had to do that stupid thing with the tennis racquet.

Joel is your usual spoiled Filmation brat, and I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it before, but Imp is incredibly annoying. His voice actor seems to play him as an irritating young child; Kevin from Home Alone springs to mind, and I simply want to punch his stupid blue head off. Other than that, it’s a pretty middling offering, which hits every usual standard episode beat exactly when you expect it to. It does it all fairly competently, so it can’t be termed a failure, but I wouldn’t imagine it makes anyone’s list of favourites.