Episode 67 – Return of the General

In which Glimmer reveals she can fly.

I’m afraid that I thought the first scene of this episode had been dubbed into an incomprehensible language, because it consists entirely of a mother and daughter squeaking at each other in sickening voices that defy understanding. Things become marginally more intelligible, though not any less annoying, when the father arrives on the scene, and blow me down if he’s not General Sunder from the episode Unexpected Ally. He explains for the benefit of the audience that he used to be a soldier, but now his family live in the peaceful kingdom of Bright Moon, and they don’t have to worry about the Horde anymore.

General 1
Tandy: “Look at me! I’m so cute! Love me!”

Meanwhile, Hordak is putting all his forces into a serious assault on Castle Bright Moon, but with She-Ra and Bow on the scene, this doesn’t exactly go his way. She-Ra’s unique move of the week is to distract the Horde Troopers by taking her strange winged tiara off, which makes her look unsettlingly naked. Once this has had the desired effect, Hordak beats a hasty retreat, but She-Ra is well aware that this is likely to be only a temporary respite.

General 2
She-Ra: “This non-tiara look is one of those things that’s not illegal but is definitely not right.”

She-Ra decides that she needs to recruit General Sunder to fight back against Hordak, but Sunder is unwilling to help, preferring to stay with his family. It’s therefore lucky for She-Ra’s recruiting drive that when Sunder arrives at his home, he finds that the Horde have burned it down and captured his wife Mally and their atrocious daughter Tandy, or whatever the hell her name is.

Sunder accordingly puts his armour on, shoots a load of bottles off a wall, and starts gabbling about how sometimes you have to fight in order to keep the peace. Thanks, Sunder. If only Neville Chamberlain had watched this episode, history could have been very different. Once he’s finished pontificating, he comes along with She-Ra to Castle Bright Moon and then flies off to rescue the prisoners, leaving the rebels to defend Bright Moon.

General 3
General Sunder: “Don’t even ask what the hell I’m sitting on.”

The rebels’ defence of Bright Moon is nothing to write home about, except that it emerges that Glimmer can fly, an ability she’s never demonstrated before and would have come in handy in – for example – Micah of Bright Moon when she fell down a chasm. Suffice it to say that She-Ra and her mates destroy a shedload of Hordak’s flying assault ships, and even Bow manages not to cock anything up.

Sunder, on the other hand, hasn’t been as successful in his rescue mission as perhaps one would hope, and so it proves necessary for She-Ra to head to the Fright Zone and help him out. With She-Ra involved, Sunder and the prisoners manage to escape to Bright Moon with relative ease, where they occupy themselves with a somewhat unenthusiastic cheer for She-Ra. Sunder concludes his story by becoming a farmer again, and She-Ra treats the viewer to a random wink and a frankly infuriating smirk.

General 4
General Sunder: “I may be smiling, but I’m screaming inside.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh, hi there, Loo-Kee, so nice to see you lurking in the bushes, like a blue-tailed stalker. He’s obsessed with suggesting we hug our family, since this is at least the third time he’s wheeled this idea out as his moral. I have ignored him this time, as I did on the previous occasions.

 

Character checklist

Today’s trip to Etheria features Adora, Spirit (briefly), She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Queen Angela, General Sunder, Mally, Tandy, Loo-Kee, loads of random rebels, Hordak, Mantenna, and a fair number of Horde Troopers.

General 5
She-Ra: “Yeah, good one, Glimmer. Any more hitherto unmentioned abilities you want to demonstrate?”

 

Insults

She-Ra calls Hordak a “fiend” with considerable feeling. Other than that, we only have Hordak calling his captives “pitiful prisoners” and referring to She-Ra, Glimmer and Queen Angela as “dratted rebels”.

 

Does it have the Power?

While it’s great that the series picks up on and continues previous threads, Sunder’s storyline seems to have been tweaked a little for the convenience of this episode; in Unexpected Ally, I seem to recall that Mally was about 12 years old, but this week she seems to be married to Sunder with a roughly 4 year old child of their own. Sunder obviously moves fast. In addition, at the end of his previous appearance, Sunder actually joined the Rebellion, but here he’s messing about being a farmer. If it weren’t for the fact that She-Ra, Bow, Glimmer, etc haven’t aged, I’d conclude this episode takes place about 10 years after the rest of the series, which would be weird.

Needless nitpicking aside, the episode is pretty good fun, with a good, exciting battle against the Horde. It’s good to see Hordak properly taking the offensive again, trying to wipe out one of the rebel strongholds, rather than messing about like he has done so much lately. I’m still not sure what purpose taking all the prisoners was supposed to serve, other than aggravating General Sunder into attacking, but we’ll let him off with a generic “he’s evil”.

General 6
Mantenna: “Hope Hordak doesn’t catch me watching this video.”

In summary, I liked this episode, but I didn’t love it. If it’s a decent offering you’re after, this will satisfy your appetite, but if you want a real classic, you’d better move on.

Episode 53 – Unexpected Ally

In which we meet a decent man who works for the Horde.

A young lady called Mally comes to Rebel HQ, asking for help. Her father and mother have been arrested for assaulting some Horde Troopers, and Mally herself was taken prisoner by the Horde commander, General Sunder. Unfortunately, Sunder forgot to lock the door of Mally’s cage, and she was able to escape.

Adora is suspicious of this story, as she remembers Sunder from her days in the Horde, and apparently he wouldn’t make such a mistake. She waddles off to become She-Ra, and then joins Bow, Glimmer and Mally as they prepare to attack Sunder’s camp and rescue Mally’s parents. During this attack, Mally manages to free her parents, but Bow manages to get himself captured, so it’s a bit of a win-some-lose-some situation for the rebels. Or a win-win situation, depending on your opinion of Bow.

Unexpected 1
General Sunder: “Right. You’re nicked.”

Sunder then demands that She-Ra surrender, the alternative being that Bow remains a prisoner for ever. She-Ra instantly gives herself up, and Sunder keeps his word, letting Bow go free. She-Ra, on the other hand, is dragged before Hordak, and in the ensuing scene, we learn that Sunder is a man of honour, even willing to go up against Hordak when he perceives something as unfair. Christ alone knows why this guy is working for the Horde in the first place, but I suspect he won’t be by the end of the episode.

Of course, Bow, Glimmer and Mally show up in the Fright Zone pretty quickly, and are so monumentally inept at carrying out their moronically simple plan that it’s lucky Sunder chooses this moment for his inevitable switching of sides. He releases She-Ra, and even agrees to join the Rebellion. Even more surprisingly, there isn’t one of those sudden last-minute revelations that means Sunder has to go off somewhere, for fear of changing the status quo.

Unexpected 2
Sunder: “So, wait, now I have to hang out with you buffoons?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is just outside the Fright Zone today, and his take-home from this little adventure is that it’s never too late to change your ways, just like General Sunder did. Good point, Loo-Kee. I might change my ways and stop watching this beastly cartoon.

 

Character checklist

If you’re a fan of General Sunder, then this is the episode for you. It’s also not bad if you’re keen on Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Loo-Kee, Mally, Mally’s parents, Hordak, Catra, Mantenna, Grizzlor and a whole boatload of Horde Troopers. Being honest, I’m not particularly keen on any of these people.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

It’s typical that the moment I decide to retire this section, Adora starts giving excuses all the bloody time. This week’s isn’t a particularly good one – “I’m going to find the one person who can make sense of all this: She-Ra” – but it still counts.

Unexpected 3
Glimmer: “Why are you wearing a blanket, you interloper?”

 

Insults

Once again, the Horde Troopers come off pretty badly; Mally’s father refers to them as “metal monsters” and Bow later calls one a “bucket of bolts”. Unusually, the Horde Troopers do get their own back a bit: one of them calls Bow a “fool” and another refers to She-Ra as “stupid”. Mally’s mother calls General Sunder a “monster”, and Bow refers to him as a “fiend” and “Horde scum”. Finally, Mantenna makes the mistake of referring to Hordak as “unreasonable”, and gets dropped down the trapdoor as a consequence.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow and Glimmer come into the Fright Zone hidden inside a cart full of hay. For no purpose whatsoever, Bow sticks his head out of the hay, allowing General Sunder to see him. If it weren’t for the fact that Sunder was having misgivings about renewing his Horde membership subscription, the game would have been up there.

Unexpected 4
Bow: “Hey, stop picking on me! Glimmer’s stuck her head up too!”

 

Does it have the Power?

Frankly, anything would have had the Power after last week’s appalling showcase, but even bearing that in mind, this episode is a good solid entry. I’d perhaps have liked it a bit better if it weren’t called Unexpected Ally, since between this and the fact that Sunder quickly demonstrates himself to be honourable, the twist when he changes sides was not in the least a surprise. Still, it was very pleasing that he actually joined the Rebellion at the end and was going to stay with them; I recall that it annoyed me in Micah of Bright Moon when Micah decided at the end of the episode that he had to go wandering pointlessly round Etheria. I don’t imagine we’ll see Sunder ever again, but if we do, it’ll be a nice little detail that will help to show the set-up of the cartoon doesn’t have to be static. Anyway, enough rambling on that: in summary, this episode is well above the average, but not a stone-cold classic.