Episode 90 – Shades of Orko

In which Man-at-Arms tries to steal Bow’s thunder.

My enthusiasm for this episode is slightly muted before I’ve even hit play, simply because of the title. I can’t think of a single episode with the word Orko in the title that hasn’t been below average at best. Orko’s Missing Magic was the best of the bunch, but only in that it wasn’t a complete atrocity. On the other hand, Orko’s Favourite Uncle was an atrocity, and so was its sequel, The Return of Orko’s Uncle. Orko’s Return was tedious, and Orko’s New Friend was terrible. The only episode I’ve vaguely enjoyed with Orko in the title was the hard-to-find “lost” episode, He-Man Loses Patience And Rips Orko’s Head Off. Though I may have dreamed that one.

Still, let’s see if Shades of Orko can buck the trend. I mean, we all know it can’t, but let’s at least try, shall we? It starts promisingly enough, with Shadow Weaver summoning some shadowbeasties to attack the village of Thaymor. Bow brings this news to She-Ra and Glimmer, but before they can get on with defending Thaymor, one of those beastly portals opens, and Orko pops through. He is accompanied by Man-at-Arms, which is surprising, not to mention irritating, since I bid Man-at-Arms a fond farewell three episodes ago and now I’m going to have to do it again.

She-Ra: “Get off my planet.”

These two have come to deliver some electric forceshields, but get roped in to help against the shadowbeasties. The forceshields prove to be quite useful in the battle at Thaymor, and it’s amusing how surprised She-Ra sounds when she exclaims, “It works! Man-at-Arms’ forceshield works!” It definitely seems that she has prior experience of Man-at-Arms’ rubbish inventions.

Once the battle is won and the shadowbeasties repelled, Shadow Weaver herself teleports in, and performs an unexpected spell to remove Orko’s shadow. I can hear the She-Ra voice actress fighting not to snigger at the sheer ludicrousness as she says sternly, “Give it back”. Needless to say, Shadow Weaver does not comply, and teleports out again to Horror Hall.

Orko: “Stop right there before I pelt you with eggs or something equally hilarious.”

Just to give this slightly stupid premise a bit of mild peril, Man-at-Arms reveals that by nicking Orko’s shadow, Shadow Weaver has also stolen his magic. I don’t want to be accused of victim-blaming here, but Orko’s lost his magic on at least two previous occasions that I can recall: the afore-mentioned Orko’s Missing Magic, and also in The Magic Falls. It seems to me that he doesn’t really look after it all that well, and shouldn’t expect He-Man and She-Ra to gallivant about recovering it for him all the time.

Anyway, we now cut to Horror Hall, where Orko’s shadow has done a runner and is flying all around the place, leading Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor and some weirdo Horde robot on a merry chase. This bit of the episode goes on and on for literally five minutes without anything of note happening.

Grizzlor: “Sorry to waste your time like this.”

Back in Thaymor, our heroes are still standing exactly where we last saw them, having made apparently zero effort to get Orko’s shadow back. They all seem to think it’s absolutely impossible to get to Horror Hall, despite them having walked or flown there on several previous occasions. Instead, She-Ra indulges herself in a needless conversation with Light Hope, who reveals that though She-Ra can get the team into Horror Hall, it will be up to Orko to get them all out. This seems like a stupid arbitrary rule drawn up to give the episode some tension, but okay.

Using some why-the-hell-not magic, She-Ra opens a portal to Horror Hall, and the assembled crowd of dimwits pile through. Once inside, it doesn’t take long for them to locate Orko’s shadow, which reattaches itself to Orko with very little fanfare. Instead, the episode focuses at this stage on She-Ra having a long and unnecessary fight with various Horde baddies, until Orko uses his reacquired magic to separate Shadow Weaver from her own shadow. After this, our heroes stand around in Horror Hall laughing their idiot heads off at this hilarious reversal in Shadow Weaver’s fortunes. Then the episode just ends there, without Orko having to fulfil Light Hope’s stupid prophecy about getting everyone out of Horror Hall.

She-Ra: “Man-at-Arms, why are you hunching like that?”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in Whispering Wood near the start of the episode. He’s lying on his back and looks like he might be dead, but no such luck. He informs us that when Shadow Weaver took Orko’s shadow, that was stealing, and stealing is always wrong. I am reminded of a moral dilemma that was presented to me in my Psychology A-level class: Jack has a wife who is ill, and a drug can save her. However, Jack and his wife cannot afford the drug, so Jack breaks into the pharmacy, steals the drug, and uses it to save his wife’s life. Is this act of stealing wrong? Admittedly, this is rather deep, and not a topic into which I would expect Loo-Kee to delve, but still.

Character checklist

On Etheria today, we have Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, some villagers, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, Leech, Rattlor, Mantenna, and the weird Horde robot.

Mantenna: “Bet you’d forgotten I can do this.”

Insults

There’s some fairly vicious stuff flying around today. Orko kicks off by referring to the entire Horde as “meanies”, and gets more specific by informing Shadow Weaver that she’s only “got half a mind”. Shadow Weaver retaliates by calling Orko a “miserable excuse for a wizard”, a “little bozo” and a “little pest”, and she goes on to refer to Grizzlor and the weirdo Horde robot as “fools”, “buffoons” and “worthless bumblers”. Finally, Mantenna gets in on the act by telling Grizzlor, Rattlor, Leech and the weirdo Horde robot that they are “dullards”.

Oh No, Bow!

When She-Ra opens the portal to Horror Hall, Bow instantly chirps up to say, “Hurry up, that portal won’t stay open for long!” What the hell do you know about it, Bow? Have you been taking evening classes in magicportalology? Thought not. For all you know, that portal might stay open until half past three this afternoon, until this time next April, or until some nebulous time in the future like when the UK exits the European Union. There’s just no way to know. Now shut up.

Special mention must also go to Man-at-Arms, who in the final fight scene observes Bow being shot with a freeze ray and shouts, “Oh Bow, no!” He then blunders into the freeze ray and gets frozen himself. In many ways, Man-at-Arms is just as useless as Bow, though admittedly he isn’t such an arrogant cock.

Man-at-Arms: “It’s difficult to say exactly how I thought this might help.”

Does it have the Power?

I’m going to have to be completely honest: this one does buck the Orko trend rather well. It’s relatively imaginative for Shadow Weaver to steal a shadow, even if that does ultimately mean the repetition of the missing magic plotline seen a few times previously. It’s also good to see Man-at-Arms again; this one feels like a much better send-off for him than his brief cameo appearance in The Inspector. I’m not going to do my teary-eyed farewell for him again though.

On the production side of things, this episode treats us to some unusual and effective animation work; Shadow Weaver is often depicted from ground-level, looking up at her, which is a great way of making her seem imposing and intimidating. There’s also a fantastic panning shot from Grizzlor, through the weirdo Horde robot and Rattlor to Leech, which is used when She-Ra is cornered by these four, and it’s pretty scary. We also get some new music; I particularly liked the dramatic drum-roll which greets the fade-in after the commercial break.

Leech: “Pretty sure this is going to be my last appearance, so I’d like to thank all my fans for their support over the years. I do have fans, right?”

There are annoying things about this episode, such as Orko, though he’s not as bad as he could be. She-Ra too is her usual irritating self, Light Hope is a moron, and Glimmer is as useless as ever. For some reason, Bow really got on my nerves this week, and I can’t help thinking it’s not healthy to get as annoyed with a cartoon character as I sometimes do with him. Still, I shan’t be seeing him much more, and I may well miss him once we move into the uncharted territory that awaits us after the end of She-Ra…

Episode 86 – Glimmer Come Home

In which Glimmer falls for an incredibly stupid trick.

Today’s episode opens with some Horde Troopers confiscating food from various rebel-aligned villages, which does not sit well with Adora, Bow and Glimmer. Glimmer is all for going in guns blazing, but Adora tells her not to be reckless, and instead suggests heading back to camp to come up with a plan. Bow loves this idea, mostly because it means he can agree with Adora so she might ultimately sleep with him, but Glimmer is far less impressed, if her scowly face is anything to go by.

Once back at Rebel HQ, Adora shuts herself up in a tent and comes up with a plan, eventually conceding to meet the other rebels one by one to tell them what to do. She assigns Glimmer the low-importance-but-high-prestige job of distracting the Troopers with a light show, but Glimmer throws a wobbly and insists on being allowed to fight, despite having never shown any aptitude in this area whatsoever.

Madame Razz: “This bozz-eyed look is intended to discourage you from trying to enter this tent.”

When Adora continues to insist on the light show, Glimmer stomps out and bites Bow’s head off (sadly not literally). She then stands around in the forest whinging about how self-important Adora is – which is true, but Glimmer’s by no means any better. Glimmer then decides to come up with her own plan to recover the food, and this plan seems to involve lying around sulking at a lake.

Things take a turn for the unexpected when Glimmer’s reflection in the lake starts talking to her. Her reflection convinces her that Adora is taking all the credit that should be Glimmer’s, and suggests that Glimmer go off and start her own rebellion, and that this new rebellion should employ Horde Troopers. Glimmer doesn’t smell a rat, which is telling evidence of how mind-wrenchingly stupid she is, so she merrily trots off to find some Troopers.

Glimmer: “Hey! My eyes are shut but my reflection’s eyes are open. Should I be suspicious?”

It will, I’m sure, come as no surprise to you that this sweet-talking reflection was in fact Shadow Weaver in a cunning disguise, and she orders a pair of Horde Troopers to go along with Glimmer’s silly rebellion. Just in case the Horde Troopers aren’t up to the task, Shadow Weaver herself goes along, in another disguise which makes her look like she’s escaped from Planet of the Apes. When these three find Glimmer, they instantly sign on the dotted line to join Glimmer’s Rebellion Ltd.

Shadow Weaver: “Hello! I look excitingly insane today.”

Back at Rebel HQ, She-Ra realises that Glimmer’s been gone for longer than her usual allocated sulking time, so she starts looking for her. Once Glimmer is located, she spits venom at She-Ra (again, sadly not literally) and tells her that they’re no longer friends. She’s even gone so far as to block She-Ra on Facebook, so it’s pretty serious. Glimmer and her three fake rebels then scoot off, crowing about how good their rebellion is.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether I loathe She-Ra or Glimmer more, but at least She-Ra’s got a brain. She instantly clocks that the Planet of the Apes lookalike is bad news, and very quickly works out that it must be Shadow Weaver in disguise. Even so, she isn’t quick enough to intervene before Shadow Weaver reveals her true identity, places Glimmer under arrest, and for extra security coats Glimmer’s hands in candy floss.

Shadow Weaver: “This will work. And it isn’t mental.”

Shadow Weaver then has a very brief confrontation with She-Ra, before running away and leaving Glimmer to apologise – though I don’t think she sounds very sincere. They then work together to recapture the stolen food and deliver it back to the villages, after which we are treated to a mercifully short but nonetheless infuriating She-Ra monologue on the nature of teamwork.

In today’s adventure…

It’s easy enough to spot Loo-Kee today, standing innocently under a bush, as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. I bet it was him who really convinced Glimmer to go off to the Horde. Anyway, he reinforces the message about teamwork, which was clearly being aimed at children on sports teams who have been placed in the area of least responsibility on the field.

Character checklist

Today’s little excursion into lunacy features Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, the Twiggets, Loo-Kee, a bunch of random rebels, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and the inevitable load of Horde Troopers.

She-Ra: “You’ve been an utter moron this time, Glimmer, I don’t mind telling you.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora graces us with an excuse for once. It’s not a very good one, but it’ll do. She simply says, “Bow, you take the other rebels to the Horde food warehouse. I’ll meet you there later.”

Insults

Bow calls some Horde Troopers “robot goons”, and then it’s all quiet on the insults for a very long time. Right at the end of the episode, Shadow Weaver suddenly gets all excited and calls Glimmer a “foolish girl” and resurrects the mildly popular “muscle maiden” for She-Ra.

Oh No, Bow!

Bow is remarkably unconcerned when he learns that Glimmer has teamed up with a pair of Horde Troopers and a weird monkey thing. His attitude is that they should just leave her to it and let her get captured. Actually, on reflection, this is a perfectly sensible attitude. Oh Yes, Bow!

Bow: “Maybe I won’t be the stupidest person on screen today.”

Does it have the Power?

It’s certainly not as much of an atrocity as it could have been. Glimmer is incredibly stupid to fall for Shadow Weaver’s trick in the first place, and it’s not particularly clear what Shadow Weaver was really trying to achieve by going through these convoluted shenanigans, but it has to be said that when Shadow Weaver is on form – as she is today – she’s a really quite intimidating and scary presence, and that makes up for quite a few of the episode’s shortcomings. Simply taking the story into account, this one’s pretty poor, but the execution is snappy enough that it’s a decent offering. You could do worse.

Episode 84 – Bow’s Magical Gift

In which Bow waves his wand around.

Hmm, yes. I’m sure Bow tells all the ladies he’s got a “magical gift” for them, but I’m not certain it’s a good idea to write an episode focussing on it. Still, here goes. We begin with Glimmer out for a walk in the forest, where she is immediately kidnapped by Shadow Weaver and Grizzlor. Shadow Weaver brandishes a wand and comments, “This wizard wand will handle Glimmer easily.” Frankly, Shadow Weaver, a dead badger could handle Glimmer easily. She’s utterly useless.

Luckily, She-Ra and Bow are on the scene, and to his credit, Bow is the mastermind behind Glimmer’s rescue. He even manages to steal the wand, and this is where the whole thing starts to go wrong. Bow begins to experiment with the wand, performing stupid magic tricks in pathetic attempts to impress the various ladies of the Rebellion.

She-Ra: “I swear to God, Bow, if you make any even VAGUELY sexual innuendoes involving that stupid wand, I will not be responsible for my actions.”

In the meantime, Horde Prime arrives in orbit around Etheria, and orders Hordak to round up the entire village of Glenmar to work in a new factory on Hordeworld. By the time the next scene rolls around, the Horde seem to have forgotten about this instruction, and are instead stealing a vast quantity of food for Horde Prime. Still, the end result is the same: Bow intervenes, using his newly acquired wand to stop the Horde Troopers.

She-Ra arrives on the scene and throws a hissy fit. She claims this is because Bow was not using his wand with due care and attention, but I have a suspicion that her real motive is because he stole her thunder. I say “her real motive” as if she’s a real person. Christ, I’ve been watching this cartoon so much I’m beginning to think it’s a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Bow: “But, She-Ra, it’s…”
She-Ra: “Bow, think VERY carefully before you complete that sentence.”

Anyway, Horde Prime has another quick word with Hordak and tells him off for being a bit rubbish. He then comes up with a brilliant plan: if Hordak captures Bow, then the rest of the rebels will come and try to rescue him, and then Hordak can capture all of them. This is so simple, it’s genius. I don’t know why Hordak’s never thought of this for himself, except for all the billions of times he has. Someone needed to tell the She-Ra writers that kidnapping is not the only plausible plotline.

Worried about Bow’s growing obsession with the wand, She-Ra pops along to see Castaspella, a character who hasn’t appeared for ages, and even when she was around she was so vapid that I’d forgotten by now she even exists. Castaspella reveals that the wand is a powerful device, but it was made by Apple, so you have to plug it in every half an hour to make sure it stays charged. Bow hasn’t been doing this, which means the wand’s batteries must by now be nearly drained.

Villagers: “Would anyone really mind if we indulged in a spot of mob violence against Bow?”

Hordak finally remembers about the Glenmar village business, and rounds up the villagers. Of course, he’s now only doing this in order to lure Bow into a trap, and since the wand’s batteries die right at a crucial moment, things look pretty grim. Luckily, and inevitably, She-Ra appears, and from this point on, we are witness to yet another humiliating defeat for Hordak. Bow concludes that he’s been an idiot, and no one disagrees with him.

In today’s adventure…

I’ve got really rubbish at spotting Loo-Kee lately, although I’m sorry to say that I don’t really care. If you want to know, he was behind a tree in the village, and his pearl of wisdom for the day is that power is best when it’s used to help others. I could have sworn he says that power is like string in this respect, which is so completely nuts that I can’t help but conclude I’ve misheard somehow.

Loo-Kee: “Hello! String! Power! I’m mental.”

Character checklist

On today’s trip to Etheria, I spotted Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Castaspella, Loo-Kee, three randomers who I think were called the Star Sisters, some villagers, some Twiggets, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, Horde Prime, and some Horde Troopers. As Swift Wind was in it I expect Spirit was too, but I don’t remember seeing him.

Insults

Hordak starts the ball rolling by calling Grizzlor and Shadow Weaver “idiots”, but thereafter the whole thing degenerates into an endless stream of shrieks of “fool!” We get one from Hordak to Bow, another from Hordak to Grizzlor, and one from Horde Prime to Hordak. A Horde Trooper at least attempts to mix it up a bit by calling a villager a “selfish fool”.

Horde Trooper: “Why are you insulting the villagers when you could be insulting Bow?”

Oh No, Bow!

Well, yes. This episode might as well be called “Oh No, Bow!” given the subject matter. He’s a complete tool in each and every scene, but special note has to go to the time he attempts to impress the Star Sisters by using the wand to pick up a rock with two Twiggets on it. Why he thinks they’d be impressed by this is less than clear. His only reward for this behaviour is a stern lecture from Adora: “Showing off to have fun is one thing, but showing off in a way that might hurt others … ooh, that’s not so good.”

Even with this less-than-ringing endorsement, he carries on messing about with the wand until its batteries die. Unfortunately, the batteries die while he’s waving a boulder about, resulting in the destruction of a man’s house. At the end of the episode, Bow, Glimmer and She-Ra all volunteer to rebuild the house. Don’t think I’m ungrateful or anything, but if these three offered to build me a house, I’d politely decline in favour of someone with a good rating on Checkatrade, or at the very least in favour of someone who didn’t live in a forest.

Glimmer: “Yep, I may be useless at everything else, but I’m surprisingly good at architecture.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Horde Prime claims that the wand has made Bow into “an over-confident show-off”. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Bow has always been an over-confident show-off, ever since he first minced onto the screen back in Into Etheria. It’s so nice to know that I only have 9 more episodes left, and after that, this idiot version of Bow will be out of my life forever.

Does it have the Power?

Actually, this one’s pretty good fun. It’s always entertaining to see Hordak having to answer to his boss, so the Horde Prime scenes are worth the price of admission alone. Shadow Weaver is also relatively on form, and even Grizzlor is actually mildly amusing. Adora and She-Ra are rather tedious this week, it has to be admitted, being in full humourless harridan mode. Bow is the star of the show, though, and just about manages to carry it without being terribly annoying. In addition, after some of the lacklustre efforts lately, this one feels a bit more energetic. Just for not being dreadful, I’m going to award this episode a pass.

Episode 81 – Just the Way You Are

In which Prince Adam gives himself a new and rubbish nickname.

Prince Adam is putting in one of his semi-regular visits to Etheria, this time so he can enjoy the opening of the circus. Not so he can do any rebelling, or anything useful like that. Anyway, the opening scene finds Glimmer making gooey eyes at Adam, having evidently forgotten the love of her life, Romeo, from two episodes ago. Fortunately, a dude called King Darkspur of the Hinterlands arrives at Bright Moon, prompting Glimmer to stomp her stupid feet and storm out.

Prince Adam: “I don’t know who you are, but thanks for getting Glimmer off my back.”

Queen Angela explains to Adora and Adam that Darkspur wants to marry Glimmer, but she’s not interested. Given Darkspur looks like an ogre, wears a strange sailor-like outfit, is about the size of a bus, and has no manners whatsoever, I can’t really blame Glimmer for this. Darkspur’s visit is very brief; he asks Angela for Glimmer’s hand in marriage, is given an emphatic “no” in response, and stumps off after making some vague threats. Despite this having the makings of a kidnapping plot written all over it, no one sees the inevitable coming.

Adora, Adam and Glimmer pop down to watch the circus setting up, where they meet Adora’s friend Drew. Drew is a child who can juggle, but he’s feeling miserable because his father can’t give him all his attention all the time, instead preferring to divide his time equally between his two sons. Drew’s father is very unreasonable. Adora tries to comfort Drew, but he’s far too needy to have any of it, and runs off into the forest to try to prove … well, to try to prove something. I’m not sure what he’s trying to prove, other than that he’s a first-class chump.

Of course, he gets into trouble immediately by trying to cross a rickety old bridge, which collapses under him. Adam and Adora are on the scene within seconds, and Adora comes up with the worst plan ever: “I’ll leap over the ravine and slide down to where Drew is, then you think of a way to get us both up.” This essentially lumbers Adam with having to rescue both of them, which he does with ease; then he gives Adora a stare which conveys both incredulity and passionate loathing.

Prince Adam: “Well, Adora, I can’t say I’m impressed.”

Drew throws a demented tantrum at this stage and storms off into the woods again, where he comes across King Darkspur’s men kidnapping Glimmer. To his credit, he does attempt to stop them, but only ends up getting kidnapped as well for his troubles. Once Adora and Adam hear the news, they determine to rescue Glimmer, but make out that it’ll be far too dangerous to go to Darkspur’s castle without some form of disguise.

Continuing her trend of insane plans, Adora decides that she and Adam had better join the circus and take the circus into the Hinterlands, so they can get a little bit closer to Darkspur’s castle unnoticed. Once there, Adam takes leave of his senses, adopts the name Adam of the Elephants, and uses an elephant to rescue Glimmer, while Adora becomes She-Ra and rescues Drew in a more normal way.

Prince Adam: “Visiting Etheria allows me to shake free of the shackles of sanity.”

When the whole sorry business with King Darkspur is over, there’s a touching final scene in which Drew realises how much his father really does love him. Adora stands there delivering patronising speeches, leaving Adam to fool around with the elephants again. I’m genuinely unsure whether the writers wanted us to think that Adam had gone mad.

In today’s adventure…

Ah, Loo-Kee. A pleasure to see you in that tree. Why can’t you hide underwater, or in an electricity sub-station, or at a nuclear waste disposal site, or somewhere similar? Then you might never bother me again, with your incessant rambling on about how much our parents love us. We understand, thank you, Loo-Kee. We don’t need you to tell us this every single week. Go away.

Character checklist

This little excursion to Etheria is an outing for Adora, Adam, She-Ra, He-Man, Glimmer, Loo-Kee, Drew, Drew’s dad, King Darkspur, King Darkspur’s knights, and loads of people at the circus.

She-Ra: “Go on, Drew. Jump down that hole. I dare you.”

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

After rescuing Glimmer, Adam decides he’d like to turn into He-Man and cause a bit of unnecessary havoc. He tells Glimmer to “wait over by the wagons. I’ll meet you there later.” If I were Glimmer, I’d be saying, “No, Adam. Let’s go home now. There’s absolutely no reason to stay here, except for the fact that He-Man is contractually obliged to appear.”

Speaking of Glimmer, it’s possibly worth noting that she has another of her semi-regular moments where she forgets to put her trousers on. Or maybe she’s only pretending to forget, and is instead attempting to seduce Prince Adam. And while we’re on the subject of Adam, is it just me or are his arms far too long in the below picture?

Adora: “There’s nothing wrong with not wearing trousers, Glimmer. I never do.”

Insults

It’s not a good week for King Darkspur’s guards, who are addressed as “fools” by King Darkspur  and as “bozos” by She-Ra. Darkspur also finds time to direct a more vicious “fool” at a specific one of his guards, a chap who seems to be called Dark.

Does it have the Power?

The above summary makes this episode sound truly dreadful, which it isn’t. It’s actually only quite bad. It feels like Glimmer is literally only in this series so she can get captured every week, and Darkspur is hardly the most interesting baddy in the world. Drew’s story is similarly familiar, although I did appreciate that he never actually ran away; he just threw a few tantrums and hung out in the forest being upset. The circus business was just slightly weird, and Adam’s attempt at rebranding himself as Adam of the Elephants was mildly odd. I think we could safely say this one’s a miss.

Episode 80 – The Perils of Peekablue

In which Loo-Kee gets on about drugs again.

Good God, this episode starts with a slow pan through the Fright Zone that lasts so long I thought the entire episode was going to comprise a weird, experimental mood piece. Once the creepy music stops playing and something actually happens, after what seems like 5 minutes, we are treated to a scene in which a prisoner called Peck escapes from the dungeons, and makes a bid for freedom.

Little does this unfortunate dude know that Hordak has let him escape on purpose, simply so that he can test his new weapon, a device called the Grabber. The Grabber is good for one thing, and that’s grabbing people who are running about on the ground. Peck is grabbed, and returned to the dungeons, while Hordak declares the test a success.

Peck: “I feel like I should somehow have seen this coming.”

Shadow Weaver points out that the Grabber is only any use if the Horde can see what it is trying to grab, and notes that if Hordak wants to grab anyone in Whispering Wood, he won’t be able to because Horde magic cannot penetrate the trees. All of this rubbish is an unnecessarily long preamble to Hordak’s decision to capture Peekablue, a rebel whose ability is to see anywhere.

When the Horde Troopers show up to kidnap Peekablue, She-Ra is on the scene, and if there’s one thing She-Ra loves, it’s beating the merry hell out of Horde Troopers. On this occasion, however, the merry hell beating is counter-productive: while She-Ra is so occupied, some other Horde Troopers successfully make off with Peekablue. Once Peekablue is at the Fright Zone, Shadow Weaver casts a spell on her, enslaving her into complete obedience to the Horde.

Peekablue: “Hordak, you need a new toaster.”

With Peekablue guiding the Grabbers, Hordak starts snatching up rebels left right and centre. The first one he captures is the ever useful Glimmer, followed by the even less useful Bow, both of whom are conveyed to the Fright Zone for a scene of pointless gloating, after which they are despatched to the dungeon. Shortly thereafter, Adora allows herself to be captured by the Grabber, and joins her friends in the finest cell the Fright Zone has to offer.

 I’m not really sure what Adora was hoping to achieve by deliberately getting herself locked up, but luckily the rebels have been placed in a cell with Peck. You remember Peck, that irrelevant dude from the start of the episode? Anyway, it turns out that Peck has spent the last six years of his imprisonment digging a tunnel, but gave up when it only led deeper into the dungeons. Well, Peck, perhaps you should have angled your tunnel upwards rather than down. That’s the thing about digging tunnels that maybe Peck doesn’t know: you can actually choose what direction you dig them.

Peck: “Yes yes, this is definitely an escape tunnel and definitely not my sex dungeon.”

Well, there’s no need to dwell on Peck any longer. Now he’s revealed the existence of his tunnel, he can go back to being irrelevant. Adora nips down the tunnel and turns into She-Ra, after which she comes back to rescue Bow, Glimmer and Peck. In the course of this rescue, Glimmer reveals that she has the power to turn herself and other people invisible, which is a new one. Glimmer’s powers are so weirdly variable. Remember when she was randomly able to fly that one time?

She-Ra then goes off to rescue Peekablue, and helpfully manages to break the mind control spell as well. The whole crowd of rebels then return happily to Whispering Wood, where they discover that Peck is the father of another rebel called Keeber, though I should add there is no particular reason why the viewer should give a monkey’s about this revelation. Then there’s a very bad joke, and a lot of hearty laughter, in which I did not partake.

Peekablue: “Yeah, it’s great to be here with you lot and your tedious ‘jokes’.”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee eluded me today, so I expect he’s feeling pretty pleased with himself. He’s off on one about drugs again, claiming that Shadow Weaver’s mind control spell is pretty much the same thing as drugs, and so presumably if we take drugs we might find ourselves working for the Horde. I wonder what happened to Loo-Kee in the past with drugs, since he seems very keen to involve them in pretty much any conversation, no matter how tangential they are to the subject in hand.

Character checklist

Today we are lucky enough to see Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Peekablue, Flutterina, Peck, Keeber, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. Surprisingly, there’s cameo appearances for Prince Adam, Cringer and Orko. And let’s not forget Bow, who manages to look very special indeed at the end of the episode.

Bow: “There’s a fair chance I’ve been on some of those drugs Loo-Kee was wittering about.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“Adora’s safe, don’t worry,” says She-Ra, when she comes to rescue Bow, Glimmer and Peck. I think it would have been better if She-Ra had said, “Adora went back to the Whispering Woods, and left you clowns to rot in here. She hates your stupid faces.”

Insults

There’s a fair few imaginative insults this week, though Hordak sets a low starting bar by referring to Peck as a “pitiful fool” and then just a “fool”. He’s similarly dull with Shadow Weaver, who also gets a “fool”, but he then outdoes himself by calling Glimmer a “sparklehead”.

Hordak: “Just popping on Twitter to tell She-Ra she’s a fool.”

The rebels are clearly in a bad mood too; Bow addresses the Grabber as a “tin trespasser”, and then goes nuts at Hordak, calling him a “beast”, an “evil vicious monster” and “bat-ears”. Glimmer gets in on the act with “cruel creature” and “monster”, while Peekablue rounds up with “cruel, evil, heartless tyrant”. Hordak seems pretty pleased with this last description, so it’s up to you whether you’d choose to define it as an insult or not.

Does it have the Power?

No, but neither is it stupefyingly bad. It’s just a pretty average day on Etheria, really, with nothing to elevate it to the heavens or bring it crashing down into the depths. Watch it, don’t watch it, I don’t care.

Episode 79 – Romeo and Glimmer

In which the writers don’t have the balls to stick to the ending of the story they’re adapting.

The rebels have gathered at Castle Bright Moon, where they receive intelligence suggesting that Hordak is planning an attack shortly. When huge Horde armies arrive and surround the castle, Bright Moon’s guards manage to capture a Horde soldier, called Corporal Romeo, who refuses to give up any further information on the upcoming attack. Noting that Romeo’s arm is hurt, Glimmer offers to take him to the medical room to cure it.

Romeo: “Oh no. Being captured is bad enough. Having to interact with Adora is terrible.”

At the medical room, Glimmer spends a fair bit of time staring dopily into Romeo’s face, then starts shrieking at him for his allegiance to the Horde. Romeo defends himself, apparently sincerely believing that the Horde is a force for good. You know that scene in the new She-Ra series where Bow shouts at Adora about the Horde being called THE EVIL HORDE? Romeo could benefit from that conversation. Anyway, he tries to make friends with Glimmer, but she won’t have it and stomps off to help defend the castle.

In a massive tank outside the castle, Hordak and Entrapta fire a new weapon at the protective forcefield, which rather surprisingly brings the forcefield crashing down. Of course, the first thing they find on the other side is She-Ra, poncing about with an insufferable air of self-importance. With very little effort, she picks up the tank and hurls it back to the Fright Zone.

She-Ra: “Sword to fireworks.”

We then cut back to Romeo, pacing about in the medical room. He is talking to himself, muttering, “Hordak always told us the rebels were animals.” There’s then a touch of regret in his voice as he concludes, “But Glimmer isn’t like an animal at all.” It’s clear that he has fallen for Glimmer, but decides that his duty is to escape and return to Hordak. In the course of his escape, he overhears Queen Angela saying that until Bright Moon’s forcefield is repaired, the castle will remain vulnerable, and he determines to bring this info back to the Horde.

Discovering that Romeo has done a runner, Glimmer develops a near-obsession with recapturing him. She heads off with Kowl in tow, finding Romeo just before he leaves rebel territory, and they have another impassioned debate about whether the Horde are good or evil. This ends when Romeo leaps on Glimmer, appears to grope her, and then whisks her off to meet Hordak.

Glimmer: “Hey! Personal space!”

Romeo informs Hordak of the vulnerability of the force shield, but then foolishly starts answering back when Hordak orders Glimmer to be locked up. The end result of the scene is that both Glimmer and Romeo end up being booked in for an all-expenses-paid stay in a five star dungeon. While there, they indulge in yet another discussion, after which Romeo agrees to join the Rebellion, though possibly only to shut Glimmer up.

Kowl brings word back to Bright Moon of Glimmer’s capture, and She-Ra goes barrelling along to rescue her. She releases Glimmer and Romeo from their cell, and then finds time to smash up a squadron of Horde Troopers and free a whole load more prisoners. Once they all return to Bright Moon, Glimmer makes eyes at Romeo and starts trying to act seductive, which is fairly uncomfortable viewing, if I’m honest.

Glimmer: “I’ve spent some time trying to think of a sexual innuendo involving the word ‘Horde’, but I can’t.”

In today’s adventure…

I was so engrossed in this week’s fascinating instalment that I entirely forgot to look for Loo-Kee, though I wasn’t altogether surprised when he revealed he was in a tree. He witters on about friendship and how it’s really valuable and all that. I’m getting heartily sick of Loo-Kee and his gibberish.

Character checklist

This majestic entry features Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Queen Angela, Romeo, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Entrapta, Imp, and a super selection of Horde Troopers.

Entrapta: “Em, Hordak, I’m sure you did this to Octavia too at one point. It’s a little bit inappropriate.”

Insults

Entrapta calls She-Ra a “muscle maiden” and says something that sounds very much like “little fink” to Imp, but I don’t know what that means. Otherwise, we only have Kowl slightly oddly calling a Horde Trooper a “turkey”.

Oh No, Bow!

Adora has to remind Bow at the start that the rebels don’t torture people for information, which comes as something of a disappointment to Bow, judging by his face. He’s itching to beat the living daylights out of Romeo.

Does it have the Power?

I’m sure the writers thought they were paying respectful tribute to Shakespeare by attempting to rework his play into this episode, but all they did was craft a really boring story. The only good thing about it was that it gave me momentary hope that they’d stick to the original and make Glimmer stab herself to death at the end. Perhaps inevitably, this doesn’t happen, and I now realise I was foolish to expect it. With that hope dashed, though, there’s no reason whatsoever to watch this.

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 63 – Flowers for Hordak

In which the Fright Zone becomes the Flower Zone.

It’s becoming a noticeable pattern with episodes written by Bob Forward that they begin with an extended scene in which Hordak demonstrates how unpleasant he is, usually by bullying Mantenna in an amusing way. This episode is no exception, but after the laughs are over, we move onto the plot line. Shadow Weaver has found a black ruby, which will allow her to darken the air around Whispering Wood and stop the trees growing. If the trees die, the magic of Whispering Wood will no longer protect the rebels. The only problem is that one of the rebels, called Perfuma, has a magical power which will enable her to keep plants alive even if they have no light. Accordingly, Hordak decides that Stage 1 of this cunning plan will be to capture Perfuma, so he sends out a strike force of Horde Troopers to do so.

Flowers for Hordak 4
Mantenna: “I assure you, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this.”

Perfuma is hanging out at a beautiful location called the Crystal Falls, along with Adora, Bow and a mermaid called Mermista. Mermista speaks with a vague Russian accent and isn’t annoying, but Perfuma talks like she’s got no brains, and spends her time obsessively adding flowers to everything, including Adora’s head. It is perhaps a relief for the rebels, therefore, when a Horde Trooper successfully kidnaps Perfuma; they certainly don’t seem inclined to go to too much trouble to get her back.

Both Bow and Glimmer seem incredulous at this turn of events; independently, they both ask, “Why would the Horde want Perfuma?” The implication here is that Perfuma is no use to man nor beast. She-Ra is at a loss to explain the kidnap, but all becomes clear when Shadow Weaver casts her spell to block out the sun. She-Ra turns to directly address the camera, and looks distinctly cross-eyed – and even possibly a bit drunk – as she proclaims that she is going to ask Light Hope what to do.

Flowers for Hordak 1
She-Ra: “Oh Christ, I’m off my tits again.”

Light Hope is bafflingly insane this time, though; he agrees that the trees will die without Perfuma, but insists that She-Ra must do absolutely nothing to try to sort the situation out. Bemused, She-Ra leers drunkenly at the camera again, then returns to the rebel camp, where she convinces Glimmer to cast a spell to simulate sunlight. After Glimmer does this, she claims exhaustion, and retires to bed with what looks like a McDonalds takeaway on her bedside table.

Flowers for Hordak 3
Glimmer: “I said a Big Mac, not the bloody chicken nuggets.”

In the meantime, Perfuma has decorated her cell with a huge flower display, and for some bonkers reason, is leading a Horde Trooper in a waltz. Needless to say, Hordak is not amused, and becomes even less so as the episode progresses and Perfuma spreads her flowers across the entire Fright Zone. Hordak sends increasingly desperate messages to the rebels, offering to swap Perfuma for She-Ra, and eventually just offering to release Perfuma if someone would just come and get her.

She-Ra takes him up on this latter deal, and arrives in the Fright Zone to find the entire place is covered in flowers, and Hordak is not at all pleased about it. And so begins the oddest prisoner release negotiation in history, with neither side wanting to have possession of the prisoner. She-Ra drives a hard bargain, and eventually agrees to take Perfuma away in return for the black ruby, money and supplies for the Rebellion. Shadow Weaver also lifts the sun-blocking spell, and She-Ra once again drunkenly mugs at the camera.

Flowers for Hordak 2
Hordak: “I’m willing to accept that this time I’ve screwed up.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Christ alone knows what we’re supposed to have learned from this little excursion into the world of the genuinely mental. Loo-Kee (who was lurking around at the Crystal Falls) goes for the obvious, suggesting that maybe we should take the time to enjoy trees and flowers. Sadly, he stops short of suggesting we decorate our worst enemy’s house with them.

 

Character checklist

It’s a triumphant introduction for Perfuma, and not a bad intro for Mermista. Our regulars are Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Light Hope, Madame Razz, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, some random rebels, and some Horde Troopers.

Flowers for Hordak 5
Mermista: “I think I’m going to bow out of this episode early on.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

She-Ra offers only a terse, “No time to explain” when asked where she came from.

 

Insults

Mermista calls a pair of Horde Troopers “dirty tin cans”, which is pretty par for the course. Otherwise, the start of the episode features Hordak happily describing Mantenna as a “bug-eyed bungler”. Later on, there’s a lot more irritation in his voice when he calls some Horde Troopers “idiots”, but this is understandable since he’s had to put up with Perfuma calling him an “old grouch” and the enormously insulting “Hordikins”.

Flowers for Hordak 6
Hordak: “This is the lowest point of my entire life.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, wow. Sometimes the writers surpass themselves. This episode is a serious contender for the most insane thing I’ve ever seen. It makes absolutely bugger-all sense, of course, but the scenes of Perfuma leading a squadron of Horde Troopers in a conga are so hilariously demented that you can’t help but love it. Hordak is extremely funny in his OTT hatred for flowers in general and Perfuma in particular, and it somehow adds to the general hilarity that even the rebels seem less than enthused about Perfuma’s presence in their lives. Perfuma is a hugely irritating character, but since the writer clearly intended her to be that way, it’s absolutely fine, so long as she never appears again – I’m convinced the joke will wear extremely thin if she makes a return showing. This episode, though, is one of the greats. Well done.

Episode 55 – Loo-Kee Lends a Hand

In which Loo-Kee takes a trip to Eternia.

Oh, well this is going to be good. I’m sure Loo-Kee’s contribution will prove invaluable. What’s he going to do? Leap out of hiding and recite moralistic gibberish at Hordak? Maybe She-Ra will be using him as a distraction so she can sneak up on Hordak while Loo-Kee’s getting blasted to smithereens. I don’t imagine I’d be the only one happy with that.

The story begins with She-Ra and Frosta rescuing some Horde slaves and taking them into Whispering Wood, where Bow entertains them by playing a harp. Poor slaves. After all they’ve been through, making them listen to Bow is perhaps taking things a tad too far. Anyway, She-Ra realises that with so many released slaves hanging out at Rebel HQ, they’re going to need some extra food, so she despatches Glimmer off to Sainsbury’s to buy supplies.

Loo-Kee 1
Glimmer: “I thought Sainsbury’s did home delivery these days.”

In the meantime, Hordak has invented something called a Time Stop Device. I’m sure you can deduce what this does, but in case you’re having difficulty, it can be used to freeze its target in time. Shadow Weaver and Imp take the Device to the market, where they plant it in Glimmer’s shopping cart. They then engage in some pointless bickering before returning to the Fright Zone.

When Glimmer returns with her shopping, she opens the box containing the Device, and it instantly activates, freezing the entire rebel camp. Shortly thereafter, Loo-Kee ambles along, looking for somewhere to hide, and he quickly deduces that something’s not right. At this point, a portal opens for Loo-Kee and takes him to the Crystal Castle, where Light Hope blabs the Adora/She-Ra secret, and sends Loo-Kee to Eternia to fetch He-Man.

Loo-Kee 2
Loo-Kee: “No one’s happy about me taking centre-stage this week, least of all me.”

Light Hope is evidently flirting with incompetence this week, since he decides that Snake Mountain is the most appropriate Eternian location to which to send Loo-Kee. On arrival, Loo-Kee manages to teleport himself to the Palace, where he explains the situation to Prince Adam and Orko. They all pop off to Castle Grayskull, where Adam turns into He-Man, and the Sorceress opens a portal back to Etheria for the three of them.

He-Man manages to release Adora from the time freeze by way of some technobabble reason, and she becomes She-Ra. The two of them then locate the Time Stop Device and start pulling it around, which is very difficult, because – as Orko wisely points out – it’s not easy to move something that’s stuck in time. He says this so sagely that the implication is that it’s useful advice with practical value to viewers, as opposed to complete nonsense.

Loo-Kee 3
He-Man: “Thanks for inviting me to Etheria, sis, but you didn’t really have to show me this bit of your weird bondage kit.”

The Time Stop Device doesn’t react well to He-Man and She-Ra hauling it around; suddenly, She-Ra realises that it’s causing a massive storm and might make Etheria blow up. They therefore do what they ought to have done all along and just smash the Device to pieces. This sets time moving again, which has the unfortunate side effect of allowing Bow to resume his harp playing.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, I’d have to have been seven kinds of stupid to not spot Loo-Kee today, and perhaps in recognition of this, he doesn’t use his monologue to explain where he was. Instead, he discusses the fact that although he doesn’t have many powers, and is very small, he was still able to help He-Man and She-Ra. He seems to be channelling The Lord of the Rings in his conclusion that little people can do big things.

Loo-Kee 4
Orko: “Wow! Someone just as annoying as me!”

 

Character checklist

Today’s episode features pretty much everybody you could think of. For clarity’s sake, that’s Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, the Sorceress, Loo-Kee, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Frosta, Light Hope, Orko, Hordak, Catra, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Imp, Skeletor, Beast-Man, some Horde Troopers, and loads of rebels.

 

Insults

Shadow Weaver calls Imp a “squirt” and a “toad”, and Hordak calls Mantenna a “fool”. Far more entertaining, of course, is Skeletor’s brief cameo, in which he calls Beast-Man an “imbecile”.

Loo-Kee 5
Beast-Man: “Skeletor, could I draw your attention to paragraph 5 of the Bullying in the Workplace pamphlet that Unite passed out last week?”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Special points are awarded this week because Adora actually utters the phrase “Oh no, Bow!” That being said, Bow doesn’t actually do anything particularly stupid, apart from playing his harp in the deluded belief that he’s good at it.

 

Does it have the Power?

Last time Filmation attempted a storyline concerning time stopping, in He-Man’s Time Doesn’t Fly, the result was simultaneously insane and incredibly dull. This episode is definitely an improvement on that effort, but I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether it’s actually any good. It’s so easy to be blinded by joy at the appearance of He-Man and Skeletor, and thus lulled into a false impression. I think I’d say that this is certainly worth watching, but it’s not perhaps the special event it seems to think it is.

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.

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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.