Bonus Update: He-Man Goes to Armenia

Time for something a bit different today. In mid-June, I went to Armenia, and I took my new Mega-Construx He-Man figure with me. His exploits were detailed on Instagram, but if you missed them, the full story is now revealed here…

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He-Man arrives in Yerevan, and stands in front of a very faint Mount Ararat.
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And now He-Man is checking out the 2800 fountains, one for each year of Yerevan’s existence.
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He-Man learns about the complex relationship between sculpture and architecture in post-Soviet Armenia.
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He-Man, when you’re in Armenia, you should eat Armenian food, not Mexican…
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And now you’re on the cocktails. For God’s sake, He-Man.
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Here’s He-Man at the Holy See of Echmiadzin, the holiest place in Armenia.
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And now he’s checking out the ruins of Zvartnots cathedral, destroyed in an earthquake over 1000 years ago.
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He-Man’s been busy today. He’s now at Khor Virap, where Armenia became the world’s first Christian country, in 301 AD. He-Man is fun and educational.
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He-Man is now at Noravank monastery, which is very hot even at 6.30pm.
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He-Man has climbed (driven) to the top of the Selim Pass. He’s facing the wrong way to enjoy the view though.
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He-Man is now at the spa town of Jermuk, where he considered a shower in the warm salty water coming from this tap, but decided against it in case it washed his paintwork off.
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He-Man defying death on a narrow bridge at Jermuk waterfall. He is now well behind schedule and has a long drive ahead of him.
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This is He-Man at Karahunj, Armenia’s Stonehenge. Unfortunately, He-Man was being a right dick this evening and wouldn’t stand up, so here he is just after he fell over for the 170 billionth time.
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What’s that you say, He-Man? You’d like a go on the world’s longest non-stop reversible aerial tramway? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
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He-Man is feeling very pleased with his visit to Tatev monastery.
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He-Man, get your greedy hands off my chips!
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He-Man has come to see 7000 year old petroglyphs in the mountains above Sisian.
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He-Man loves posing on the numberplate of his Soviet jeep.
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He-Man is not at all keen to get out of the car in the thunderstorm at Varodnovank monastery.
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He-Man’s tour of Armenia continues with a visit to Noratus cemetery.
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He-Man feels he deserves a bit of chillax time at Lake Sevan.
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He-Man is still living it up, now at the rather tacky resort of Sevanavank.
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He-Man, I think you’re getting a bit overfamiliar with me now.
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Amazing breakfast for He-Man in Dilijan.
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He-Man feels that Dilijan’s Soviet monument to the unity of the Caucasian peoples would not look out of place on Eternia.
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He-Man is quite affronted that I was too ashamed to ask that he be included in this selfie at Ijevan Wine Factory.
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He-Man is rather sulkily hiking the Transcaucasian Trail.
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He-Man’s day begins with a quick trip to the enticingly named Chemical Factory Workers’ Park.
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He-Man reconnects with the type of TV on which he enjoyed his heyday.
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He-Man’s trip ends rather abruptly with some bad news. He appears to have slipped out of my pocket somewhere along the way. I went back to check if he was in the abandoned Soviet industrial cable car behind me (not a place I’d planned to visit once, let alone twice), but no luck. I suppose I should count myself lucky I didn’t lose my wallet or car keys or something, but I feel bereft.

He-Man is clearly unreliable. On my next trip, I’m bringing Skeletor instead.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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 35 – Gateway to Trouble

In which Modulok defects from Snake Mountain.

I genuinely had no idea that He-Man was going to be such a regular presence on She-Ra. I thought he’d only pop up for very special episodes, not every other week like he has done lately. This time, Adam and Cringer visit Etheria simply for the dubious pleasure of seeing Adora, though of course they are quickly called upon to intervene when an evil mastermind sets a cunning plot in motion.

That evil mastermind, unexpectedly, is Skeletor, and his cunning plot is to create an enormous interdimensional rift, and to send the entire Eternian Palace through it to Etheria. His motivation is, apparently, so that he can rid himself of his Eternian nemeses and annoy Hordak at the same time. Assisting him in this noble venture are Modulok, introduced in a few rubbish He-Man episodes, and Tung Lashor, who we last encountered in Book Burning. I have no idea why Tung Lashor would now be working for Skeletor, but let’s not question it.

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Tung Lashor: “It’s a great honour to work for you, Skeletor. Better than my previous boss, anyway.”

Modulok is the brains behind the interdimensional rift, having invented a device called a Gate Maker. For whatever reason, he suddenly takes it into his head to betray Skeletor and to head to Etheria himself, where he offers the Gate Maker to Hordak. Skeletor enters into hot pursuit, arriving on Etheria just before the gateway closes behind him.

Observing Skeletor’s arrival, Adam and Adora transform into He-Man and She-Ra. I know I harp on about this every time it happens, but the way the stock transformation footage is edited together is so incredibly awkward that I think it needs constant mentioning to try to encourage the creators to stop doing it. Admittedly, this would be more effective if I were writing this in 1986 when the cartoon was still in production, but I was barely capable of lucid thought at that time.

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Cringer: “Just hanging out in a bush.”

Anyway, He-Man and She-Ra waste no time in capturing Skeletor and asking him why he’s on Etheria. Skeletor merrily spills the beans, and offers to work with He-Man and She-Ra to prevent Hordak getting his hands on the Gate Maker. This proposal is met with a less than enthusiastic response, but our heroes agree to it and set off.

Weirdly, Skeletor’s first move is to head to Whispering Wood, where he fashions himself a new throne out of rock. He then randomly insults a Twigget before deciding he’s had enough of the truce and clearing off. He reaches the Fright Zone easily, but discovers that Modulok has already passed his Horde entrance exam, and handed over the Gate Maker to Hordak. Skeletor and Hordak have a brief battle, in which Skeletor prevails, and he heads off to find Modulok.

Gateway 3
Modulok: “People say I’m clever, but it’s simply in comparison to Mantenna.”

Unfortunately for him, Modulok has departed the Fright Zone and headed back to Whispering Wood, where he demonstrates the Gate Maker’s power for Hordak and Shadow Weaver. Hordak is about to send a fleet of spaceships through the gateway to invade Eternia, but He-Man and She-Ra re-enter the episode at this point and blow up the Gate Maker. The Sorceress then opens her own gateway back to Eternia for He-Man’s use, and Skeletor seizes the opportunity to head home as well.

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee was quite nicely visible in the rebels’ camp, just before He-Man and She-Ra learn that Skeletor has done a runner. It’s a possibility that Loo-Kee’s visibility is in direct inverse proportionality to the sanity of his moral lesson, however; this week, he cautions us not to go through any gateways to trouble that we might encounter. I’m not even going to dignify that with a discussion.

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Loo-Kee: “Have you ever stopped to consider why I’m always hiding? It’s because the police want to interview me under caution.”

 

Character checklist

This one has a fairly outre cast list: Adora, She-Ra, Kowl, some Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna, Shadow Weaver, sure, but also Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Modulok and Tung Lashor. Oh, and obviously a load of Horde Troopers, but they go without saying really.

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s transformation

Adora transforms into She-Ra twice, and Adam into He-Man once. None of these occasions comes with an excuse, though in fairness, there’s only Cringer and Kowl around at the time.

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Skeletor: “Say, guys, you haven’t seen Adam and Adora around, have you?”

 

Insults

Kowl gets surprisingly aggressive in the early stages of the episode, calling one Horde Trooper a “swamp slug” and addressing another as “rivet head” and “coward”. We are also witness to Modulok calling Tung Lashor the possibly misheard “long lips”. The real delights in store here are, of course, between Skeletor and Hordak; the latter addresses the former as “bonehead” and “bone-faced bog wobbler”, to which Skeletor retaliates with a wonderfully sneering “oversized rust bucket”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I can’t deny I’m pretty happy with this one. As noted above, He-Man’s appearances on Etheria are two-a-penny, but Skeletor showing up is a much rarer treat. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brilliantly written in this episode, with some excellent lines given great life by the voice actor. On the downside, I’d have liked his truce with He-Man and She-Ra to last more than 30 seconds, as it would have been very entertaining to watch him try to work together with them, but at least we did get his very amusing battle with Hordak.

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Skeletor: “This is my favourite moment in the entire series.”

The other elements of the story were good as well; Modulok seemed to fit here better than he did in either of his appearances in He-Man, and he seems to have made the permanent transfer from Skeletor’s crew to the Horde, so I expect we’ll see him again. Tung Lashor’s appearance in Snake Mountain was just random, though; there was no reason for him to be there. I suspect it was a bit of product placement.

Anyway, while this isn’t quite as good as Horde Prime Takes a Holiday – another episode in the same vein – it’s definitely a highlight. Enjoy!

Episode 33 – A Talent for Trouble

In which Madame Razz inadvertently refers to Orko’s sexual activities.

Orko is helping the Sorceress to spring clean Castle Grayskull, but of course he cocks up and accidentally transports himself to Etheria. He immediately meets Madame Razz, so we are faced with a character pairing that I’m sure won’t prove annoying. They are both then captured by Mantenna, who encases them in what look like giant ice cubes. Broom, luckily, escapes and flies off to warn the other rebels.

Talent 1
Broom: “Why do I have to be paired with these divs?”

Once She-Ra learns that Orko is on Etheria, she contacts the Sorceress, presumably hoping that she’ll have a clever trick to get Orko off the planet without delay. It turns out, however, that the Sorceress considers Orko should be kept off Eternia for as long as possible, so simply sends He-Man to Etheria to help out. When He-Man arrives, he wears a pained expression, as if he literally can’t believe he’s having to waste his time here again.

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He-Man: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

In the meantime, Mantenna has taken Madame Razz and Orko to the Fright Zone, where Hordak and Shadow Weaver try to work out what Orko is. For some reason, Orko is resistant to all of Shadow Weaver’s magic, so Hordak employs a scientific tool called the mind sweeper instead. If I wanted to be unkind, I might interject at this juncture that Hordak is also a scientific tool. It goes without saying, of course, that the mind sweeper has serious problems with Orko, because he doesn’t have a mind, and the end result is that the mind sweeper explodes.

Realising that they cannot determine what Orko is, Hordak and Shadow Weaver decide to send him as a present to Horde Prime. This gives us a dramatic moment to cut for the advert break, and when we return the story progresses to He-Man and She-Ra busting into the Fright Zone and causing all manner of havoc. They dispose of Grizzlor and Leech with the usual ease, and Catra proves even less challenging. Once they find Madame Razz, she informs them of the plan to send Orko to Horde Prime, so He-Man and She-Ra head straight to the space port.

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She-Ra: “To quote Buffy, synchronised slayage!”

On arrival, they find that the rocket containing Orko has already been launched, and that Hordak is gallivanting about on a really strange green insect creature. She-Ra attends to Hordak and the other Horde representatives with another of her trademark pant-displaying kicks, while He-Man leaps onto the rocket. It should be noted that He-Man is clearly less powerful than She-Ra, since he is incredibly concerned about going into outer space without a spacesuit, whereas She-Ra does it regularly just for kicks. Anyway, He-Man successfully redirects the rocket and rescues Orko.

The episode ends with an unwelcome moment in which Orko decides that She-Ra is gorgeous, and tells her so. She-Ra rewards him with a kiss, which prompts He-Man to join in and tell She-Ra she’s beautiful. If he was expecting a kiss, he’s disappointed, at least until after the episode fades out.

 

In today’s adventure…

I found that beastly Loo-Kee again! I can feel my heart bursting with pride. If you must know, he’s in a bush by the path just after Orko arrives on Etheria. His moral is once again pretty stupid, being all about helping people when they need a hand and thus proving that you’re their friend. He tries to link this in to the episode by claiming that Orko was giving the Sorceress a hand with her cleaning, but frankly Orko’s contribution to that task was minimal. It might have worked better if it had been He-Man and She-Ra lending Orko and Madame Razz a hand with being rescued, but even so, it would still have been largely irrelevant to the episode’s story.

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The Sorceress: “Let’s see … Orko, mops, and buckets of water. What could possibly go wrong?”

 

Character checklist

What blimey and what a treat this is. There’s Adora, sure, and She-Ra, of course, but what’s this? He-Man too. And Orko and the Sorceress. It’s like a high school reunion. Less excitingly, we see Spirit, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Leech, Grizzlor and some Horde Troopers. Is that an Evil Horde full house? In case you really want to know, there’s also some weird skull thing with which Orko strikes up a conversation in Castle Grayskull.

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

Prince Adam doesn’t feature this time, and Adora’s only contribution is a muttered, “I smell trouble,” to the camera before her transformation.

 

Insults

A wide range of insults this week, and a special prize to the episode for not resorting to using the word ‘fool’. We have Mantenna calling a pair of Horde Troopers “useless tin cans” and Grizzlor calling He-Man a “muscle man”. Orko and Hordak have a brief exchange of sharp words, with Orko telling Hordak he’s a “bonebrain”, and Hordak retaliating with “insect”. Finally, Orko manages to break the mind sweeper in such a way that it begins chanting, “Hordak is a meanie”, prompting Hordak to blow it up, thus rather proving the point.

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Madame Razz: “Orko, stop lounging around in your stupid chair! Do something!”

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, Orko and Madame Razz ganging up didn’t prove as irritating as I’d feared, largely because Madame Razz took a back seat throughout most of the episode. It was also almost pleasant to see Orko again; perhaps in small doses, he’s not so bad. Or perhaps it’s simply in comparison to the idiots who populate Etheria. As for He-Man, it’s always pleasing to see him, though I think it’s time for Skeletor to put in another appearance, please.

The storyline was nothing special; it does seem like the Horde waste most of their time capturing solitary rebels, rather than just dropping atom bombs or something equally devastating on Whispering Wood. This week’s effort did have a few nicely sinister overtones, especially the decision to send Orko to Horde Prime, where it is hinted that he will be dissected.

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Mantenna: “Yes, this was the best plan I could come up with, but in my defense, I am very stupid.”

Overall, I think I’d describe it as a pretty decent episode, except for one thing. I know it doesn’t have the same meaning in the USA as it does here, but when Madame Razz refers to Orko and says, “I like that little guy’s spunk,” I can’t help but shudder.

Episode 29 – The Price of Freedom

In which He-Man lies around in a cave.

It’s like the good old days at the start of this episode. We begin with Prince Adam and Orko out for a spin in the Wind Raider, having one of those frequent inconsequential arguments about whether Orko has tidied his room or not. The Sorceress then contacts Adam, demanding he come to Castle Grayskull immediately. On arrival, the Sorceress informs Adam that she has picked up some kind of distress signal from She-Ra, so Adam leaps through the magic portal to Etheria. You’ll be pleased to know that he does not take Orko with him.

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Orko: “Adam, didn’t you get the memo about our series being finished?”

Adam arrives on Etheria in the middle of a devastated village, and She-Ra explains to him that the Horde have launched an all-out war on the inhabitants. Adam decides that He-Man might be a little more useful in this scenario, and metamorphoses. With Horde Troopers surrounding them, our heroes evacuate the village and take the people to hide in some mines. From there, they watch as the Horde burn down the remains of the village.

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She-Ra: “Adam, haven’t you got someone else you should be?”

The villagers explain that, even though they are sorry to have lost their homes and possessions, they prefer to have their freedom. He-Man seems to have difficulty understanding this concept, but that’s presumably because he’s playing dumb so the villagers can explain to the audience. Once he finally gets it, he sends She-Ra off to Bright Moon to fetch some more rebels to help defeat the Horde army, while he stays behind to defend the villagers.

He-Man does a pretty poor job of the defence, though; Hordak unveils an enormous freeze cannon and shoots him with it. As well as paralysing He-Man, this demolishes the entrance to the mine and seals the villagers inside. Considering that he has successfully made an example of the villagers, Hordak concludes his work is done, and orders the army back to the Fright Zone.

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Hordak: “There’s nothing mental about putting my face on this massive cannon. No, no. Not mental at all.”

Inside the mine, the villagers start complaining because the air is running out, which seems fair enough. They come perilously close to turning against She-Ra, who they note is not there to save them. Luckily, the head villager gives a rousing speech about how freedom is precious, but has to be worked for, and essentially means that they must be able to count on themselves, without always relying on help from He-Man and She-Ra. Suitably invigorated, the villagers set to work digging themselves out of the mine.

They are successful in digging to the surface, but in so doing, they cause a cave-in. He-Man fights off his paralysis and holds the roof up long enough for the villagers to escape. She-Ra finally gets back at this stage, notably without bringing any help, and helps He-Man to stabilise the mine shaft, before making some feeble jokes at which He-Man grins goofily. Afterward, She-Ra welcomes the villagers to join the Rebellion and live in Whispering Wood.

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She-Ra: “He-Man, why are you meditating in front of these planks of wood?”

 

In today’s adventure…

I’d assumed I’d missed Loo-Kee, since he’s normally towards the beginning of episodes, but there he was in Whispering Wood about a minute from the end. I feel very proud of myself for finding him. Instead of giving us one of the more abstract morals about the importance of freedom, Loo-Kee opts for the more prosaic “don’t play with matches or lighters”. This is presumably because the message about freedom was repeatedly rammed down our throats during the episode, so the writers didn’t feel it needed yet another outing from Loo-Kee.

 

Character checklist

This one’s a little unusual, in that Adora doesn’t show up at all. She-Ra’s here though, as are Prince Adam, He-Man, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Orko, the Sorceress, loads of villagers, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna and the inevitable Horde Troopers.

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She-Ra: “Don’t even try to upstage me, villagers.”

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

As noted above, Adora doesn’t even feature this week, and no one sees Adam on Etheria before he becomes He-Man, so there’s definitely no need for an excuse today.

 

Insults

He-Man calls the Horde Troopers “tin cans”, which is a pretty common insult for them. More entertainingly, Hordak disparagingly refers to He-Man as “Eternia’s golden boy”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

When She-Ra arrives at Bright Moon and tells the rebels they must hurry as quickly as possible to the village, Bow instantly chirps up to offer to fly back on Swift Wind with She-Ra. Perhaps intuiting that Bow has clocked that this would mean he’d get to lay his grubby hands on her hips, She-Ra politely if forcefully declines.

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He-Man: “Quick word of advice, Bow: stay away from my sister.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s definitely better than He-Man’s last visit to Etheria, though that’s not saying a lot. Rather than damn it with faint praise, I’ll come out and say that it was pretty good. It was a great message for the villagers to rely on themselves to get out of their situation, rather than sitting back and waiting for He-Man and She-Ra to do the work for them – even if the plot mechanics to get them to that point were a little creaky. He-Man being shot with the freeze cannon was fair enough, but She-Ra flying off to get help and then returning once the danger was past, without actually bringing help with her, seemed perhaps too obviously a plot device to get her out of the way. Other than that minor complaint, though, this was a fairly enjoyable episode with a decent message. Good fun.

Episode 27 – The Eldritch Mist

In which we get a vague hint that Adora and Adam enjoy an overly close sibling relationship.

Adora puts in a visit to Mysticor, where she finds Castaspella using a magical device called the Pool of Vision to ogle Prince Adam. This is essentially the Etherian equivalent of hidden-cam spyware, and Castaspella certainly seems to be getting off on it. Eventually, Castaspella’s aching loins become too much for her to take, so she magically transports Adam to Etheria, where he immediately turns on the charm in a sleazy effort to get into Castaspella’s pants.

Eldritch 1
Castaspella: “Wowsers, look at that handsome hunk of man meat.”

Luckily, before things can get too vile for words, Kowl shows up to report that there’s a Horde ship just arrived at Whispering Wood. Castaspella teleports the four of them to the appropriate location, where they observe Shadow Weaver casting a spell from the Eldritch Book of Dark Magic. The spell creates an orange mist that covers the entire forest, preventing anyone from entering or exiting. Luckily, Adora, Adam, Castaspella and Kowl are on the outside, and it’s not very long before Adora and Adam make their awkward joint transformation into their heroic alter egos.

He-Man and She-Ra waste no time in ditching Castaspella and Kowl, instead choosing to go to ask Light Hope’s advice. Light Hope doesn’t really help, simply saying that the spell can be reversed if the Eldritch Book is read by someone who can use magic. This of course means Castaspella, and since He-Man suddenly realises he wants Castaspella to have his babies anyway, he puts on a truly goofy grin and insists they hurry back.

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She-Ra: “He-Man, could you please at least try not to look so stupid?”

Castaspella teleports herself, He-Man and She-Ra into the Fright Zone to steal the book, but Hordak quickly becomes aware of their presence. Shadow Weaver pops up and teleports Castaspella away, leaving He-Man and She-Ra to find their way to the throne room. They have a brief fight with Hordak, but he’s so incompetent this week that he basically defeats himself.

Meanwhile, Castaspella and Shadow Weaver have appeared in Shadow Weaver’s private chambers, where the two of them have a magical duel and a good chat about old times. As previously hinted, Shadow Weaver originates from Mysticor, and it seems that she and Castaspella used to be friends before she was corrupted by Hordak. Once Castaspella defeats Shadow Weaver, by trapping her in the arms of a terrifying oversized teddy bear, she, He-Man and She-Ra are free to steal the Eldritch Book and head off to Whispering Wood.

Eldritch 4
Shadow Weaver: “Okay guys, fun’s fun, but can we send Bungle back to the Rainbow house now please?”

Castaspella uses the Book to remove the orange mist from the forest. I could harp on about the fact that she somehow gets inside the forest before doing this, but that would be a bit petty of me, I suppose. Instead, we get a scene featuring Prince Adam and Castaspella flirting ridiculously, until Adora interrupts to say, “All right, you two! He’s MY brother!” as if she thinks that this gives her 24-hour access to Adam’s bed. The only explanation that I can think of for this weird display of jealousy is that maybe the purity of the Eternian royal bloodline is maintained by incest. Luckily, before the cartoon can explore this further, Adam returns to Eternia.

 

In today’s adventure…

Jesus Christ, Loo-Kee, how the bloody hell was I supposed to see you there? He was literally behind a tree, with his nose poking out. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. He doesn’t have much of use to say either, simply advising us to seek help from experienced people when we need it. Yes, yes, yes. I think devotees of He-Man and She-Ra would by this stage have got this message into their thick skulls.

 

Character checklist

This episode is a lovely day out for Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, He-Man, Castaspella, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Madame Razz, Broom, Light Hope, the Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and the ever-present Horde Troopers. And Bungle.

Eldritch 2
Prince Adam: “Shall we use this shot for our album cover?”

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

I’m convinced that they don’t bother giving excuses because they’re well aware that everyone on Etheria knows the secret. I swear, they’re so obvious about it that it can only be because they don’t care.

 

Insults

No insults this time, though there’s a touch of good-natured ribbing from She-Ra to He-Man when she realises that He-Man is drooling over Castaspella.

Eldritch 5
He-Man: “She-Ra, does the term ‘third wheel’ mean anything to you?”

 

Does it have the Power?

While it’s always a treat to see He-Man livening up Etheria, I’m not generally that interested in his love life. Maybe there’s a hugely entertaining story to be told about a love triangle involving him, Castaspella and Prince Adam, but if so, this wasn’t it. It didn’t help that the voice actor seemed to have forgotten how to do He-Man’s voice, sounding pretty weedy throughout.

The storyline about the orange mist was very by-the-numbers, but the hints of Shadow Weaver’s back story were more interesting; it doesn’t particularly build on what we learned in A Loss for Words, but it’s nice to get a sense that there is some history behind these characters that we don’t yet fully know. The former friendship between Shadow Weaver and Castaspella could potentially make for an interesting episode in the future; even if not, it’s good that the characters aren’t complete blank slates.

My final verdict, I suppose, is that it’s no classic, and probably very slightly above average. I doubt anyone would rush to endorse it, nor condemn it.

Episode 18 – Horde Prime Takes a Holiday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

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

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

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

 

Character checklist

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

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

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

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

 

Insults

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

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

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

 

Oh No, Bow!

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

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

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

Episode 15 – He Ain’t Heavy

In which Shadow Weaver unleashes a powerful hoover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

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

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

 

Insults

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

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

 

Oh No, Bow!

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

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

Episode 13 – King Miro’s Journey

In which we spend some time with Adora and Adam’s grandpa.

We open with a real treat this week – a panning shot of the Palace of Eternia! It brought back memories of happier days. In Eternia’s equivalent of the National Portrait Gallery, a man shows a child the portraits of past kings, and takes the opportunity to recap the plot of the He-Man episode Search for the Past, in which He-Man and King Randor rescued Randor’s father King Miro from the clutches of the Enchantress.

King Miro himself now shows up, and asks Prince Adam to take him to meet Adora, who he has not seen since she was a baby. Adam agrees, and with the off screen assistance of the Sorceress, they arrive on Etheria, only to quickly antagonise a group of Horde Troopers. Though Adam and Miro quickly win the ensuing battle, the Horde Troopers follow them into Whispering Woods. We are led to believe that this is a problem, but it’s actually not; the Twiggets arrange for the Troopers to get lost pretty smartish.

King Miro 1
Prince Adam: “Erm, Grandpa? I’m not sure that potato is going to intimidate the Horde Troopers.”

The two of them soon locate the Rebellion’s camp, where Adora and Madame Razz are making preparations to disrupt a forthcoming visit from a Horde Inspector. Miro tells Adora that there’s so much he wants to tell her, and Adora responds that there’s so much she wants to ask. They then do no telling or asking of anything, instead going back to wittering about the Inspector, whom they decide to attack at a location called Crystal Something or Other.

Meanwhile, Hordak and Shadow Weaver greet the Inspector, but he brushes off their obsequiousness and informs them that Horde Prime is not pleased with the continuing success of the Rebellion. He further explains that he has a plan for the defeat of the rebels, which involves establishing an impenetrable crystal dome around Whispering Woods, to prevent the rebels ever getting out. Hordak is not pleased at this, largely because he hates inspectors more than he does rebels, and no doubt he isn’t keen for the Inspector to take all the credit.

King Miro 2
Inspector: “You can bow all you like, Hordak, but we’re still going to need to discuss that debacle with Horde Prime’s nephew from last week.”

In the morning, preparing for their attack on the Inspector, Adam and Adora send King Miro off with Madame Razz, which just shows how much they really like him. They then transform into He-Man and She-Ra simultaneously, and the two transformation sequences are cut together just as awkwardly as they were back in Battle for Bright Moon.

The Inspector successfully activates the crystal dome generator, surrounding Whispering Woods. King Miro and Madame Razz then show up, and Miro starts criticising Hordak, possibly calculating that while he’s stuck behind a crystal dome, nothing untoward can happen to him. This proves incorrect; Hordak sets a bunch of robotic bats on him, which serves him right, as far as I’m concerned. Still, Miro manages to defeat the bats using a mirror. King Mirror, if you will.

King Miro 3
King Miro: “I’m not the best zoo exhibit, being honest.”

In the meantime, He-Man and She-Ra discover the crystal dome, and don’t opt for the usual “punch it really hard” tactic, instead choosing to try something slightly more intelligent: He-Man lifts it up, and She-Ra balances it on the tip of her sword to carry it away. The episode doesn’t show us where she put it, but I like to think she put it over the Fright Zone.

King Miro decides that it’s now time for him to return to Eternia, even though he’d really like to stay. He doesn’t give any explanation as to why he has to go back, since he’s not exactly doing anything that important there, and he’s shown himself today to be more useful than the majority of the rebels. Once he and Adam have left, Adora goes for a joyride on Spirit, spouting some remarkable gibberish about not wanting to fly in case she crashes into her heart, which is soaring. Clearly she’s been at Madame Razz’s stash of LSD again.

King Miro 4
Adora: “Definitely might crash into my heart. That’s well plausible, that is.”

 

In today’s adventure…

No, I didn’t see Loo-Kee, which I’m sure will come as a tremendous surprise to you. He was in the Eternian Palace courtyard, in case you want to know. His moral drawn from this episode is that family is the most important thing in your life. He emphasises “your” in a really weird way, implying that he has far more important things in his life, but we don’t.

 

Character checklist

Some less regular attendees today, as I’m sure you’ll have guessed. Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, the Twiggets, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna and the Horde Troopers are standard fare, but Adam, He-Man, King Miro, the Horde Inspector, and the man and the boy in Eternia’s Portrait Gallery are variety, and thus a treat for the eyes.

King Miro 5
He-Man: “Oh, do stop trying to upstage me with that bloody unicorn, She-Ra.”

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

“Only She-Ra can talk to the animals,” says Adora, as she prepares to interrogate a bird over suspected Horde activities in an early scene. Later on, when Adam and Adora transform together, they don’t give excuses, being too excited over the prospect of changing at the same time.

 

Insults

Surprisingly slim pickings today, with only Hordak making a contribution at all, referring to all his Horde Troopers as “clowns” and calling the Inspector a “coward”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I very much doubt that anyone had been wondering what had happened to King Miro after the less than enthralling events of Search for the Past, but this was a pretty decent return performance for him. Miro has a distinct air of competence about him, and is a well-drawn character who refuses to be intimidated by the Horde, even when he’s at a clear disadvantage. It strikes me that he’d be a better king than Randor, frankly, who I can only remember achieving anything once (in Prince Adam No More, if you must know).

King Miro 6
King Miro: “Come on, don’t try to tell me you don’t love skulking round portrait galleries dressed as Robin Hood.”

It’s also very pleasing to see Adam and He-Man again; I knew we would at some stage, but wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. The simple but effective plot with the Inspector was good as well, especially since it gave some much needed character to Hordak: his dislike for the Inspector was very good, and it led to an amusing recurring joke in which he repeatedly threw Mantenna down a trapdoor just to cheer himself up. All in all, this one’s recommended.

Episode 05 – Battle for Bright Moon

In which Skeletor comes up with one last hurrah.

The Eternian royal family are having dinner, telling Adora all about Orko, who I pray to God isn’t in this episode. The one good thing about having Madame Razz around is that presumably we need never see Orko again. Anyway, during the dinner, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Webstor and Kobra Khan bust into the Palace, disguising themselves as chefs. They bring Hordak with them, disguised as a cake. There seems to be no particular reason for these disguises, since they return to their normal appearances as soon as possible. Perhaps Hordak has a weird chef fetish. Nothing would surprise me about him at this point.

Bright Moon 1
Skeletor: “This may be my stupidest disguise yet.”

Anyway, the baddies kidnap Adora and escape, thanks to a singularly poor effort from Man-at-Arms and Teela. Skeletor then betrays Hordak, and sends him back to Etheria without Adora. Skeletor claims that this is because he has better use for the Princess of Eternia than Hordak, but shortly thereafter he reveals that he has absolutely no idea what to do with her, so clearly he’s just backstabbed Hordak for the sheer malevolent hell of it.

Skeletor orders Beast-Man to put Adora in the dungeon, a task which naturally he is incapable of carrying out. Adora quickly evades him and turns into She-Ra, then has an amusing battle with pretty much every single one of Skeletor’s warriors. He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela arrive just after She-Ra has finished fighting, and find her draped casually over a pillar. Teela demands to know who the hell this bimbo is, and He-Man introduces her as his “friend, She-Ra.” You can see cold fury in Teela’s eyes as she thinks she’s been jilted.

Bright Moon 2
Teela: “Don’t you know it’s not cool to bring your new girlfriend to meet the ex, He-Man?”

This irrelevant little interlude over, Adora returns to the Palace, where she explains to Randor and Marlena that she feels honour-bound to go back to Etheria and help to free it from the Horde’s oppression. With the help of the Sorceress, she and Spirit are transported back into the Whispering Woods. Adam and Cringer come too, because they know that really, all the viewers want to see is He-Man. Seeing a vast quantity of Horde flyers, they both adopt their alter-egos, in a really awkwardly cut-together sequence of their stock transformation animation.

He-Man and She-Ra find Glimmer, Bow, Queen Angela and Kowl planning to attack Castle Bright Moon, and drive the Horde out. She-Ra demonstrates that she has the power to talk to animals, and so she recruits a bear and some oversized rats to help them. He-Man seems quietly unconvinced about how useful these animals will be, but he stands back and lets Glimmer make an inspirational speech, after which all the rebels throw food in the air, as if they’re politely heckling.

Bright Moon 3
She-Ra: “Ah, he’s cute, guys! Can I keep him?”

The rebels approach Castle Bright Moon and demand its surrender, but naturally Hordak isn’t interested, and unleashes a vast array of robots and machines. These are destroyed by all the members of the Rebellion, in scenes designed to show us what they can do. The only notable talent demonstrated is from She-Ra, who finds that she is capable of healing wounds just by touching them. She’s quite useful to have around, even if she is incredibly patronising.

That evening, the rebels celebrate their successful re-capture of Castle Bright Moon, and reinstall Angela as Queen. He-Man departs for Eternia, but She-Ra is aware that Etheria is still in danger from the Horde, so she determines to stay. She leaps onto Swift Wind, and flies off dramatically. He-Man watches her go, and thinks, “Christ, what a poser.”

Bright Moon 4
She-Ra: “Look at me! EVERYBODY. LOOK AT ME.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Again, we aren’t blessed with any pearls of wisdom, so I’ll substitute my own. It’s a piece of advice aimed at She-Ra’s voice actor: if you go around talking really slowly and deliberately, as if you think children are moronically stupid, then they will hate you. And so will I.

 

Excuse given for Adam and Adora’s disappearances

Adam doesn’t bother with an excuse. On the other hand, He-Man gives She-Ra a lesson in being super-evasive; when Teela asks where Adora is, She-Ra stumbles for an answer. He-Man leaps in with, “Oh, she’s safe,” a statement that She-Ra repeats like an idiot. Bizarrely, Teela accepts this as gospel truth, despite the fact that she’s got absolutely no idea who She-Ra is, and He-Man couldn’t possibly know where Adora is at this stage. Teela is a complete moron.

Bright Moon 6
He-Man: “Now, this is really important, She-Ra. Don’t tell Teela about your secret identity. Just don’t. No reason why not, obviously. But don’t.”

 

Character checklist

I might as well copy out the entire character list from He-Man.org for this one. Let’s see: there’s Adora, She-Ra, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Spirit, Swift Wind, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Queen Angella, Madame Razz, Broom, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Kobra Khan, Webstor, some Horde Troopers, some Palace Guards, some random rebels, and the bear and the giant rats. No Orko though, much to my relief.

 

Insults

It’s a pretty vicious script this week. Webstor kicks things off by calling the Eternian Palace Guards “suckers”, and Skeletor follows this up by calling Webstor and Kobra Khan “clods”, “nincompoops” and “beebrains”. The first of these seems particularly unfair, since it comes at a moment they’ve actually done something right. Skeletor also finds time for an old favourite, referring to Beast-Man as “furface”. It’s nice to see that some things never change.

Bright Moon 7
Palace Guard: “I am contractually obliged to order you to stop, even though I know I’m completely useless.”

Adora’s insult for Beast-Man is less effective: “fangs”. While I admit he does have fangs, it’s hardly insulting. She’s going to have to work harder at this, and indeed in her She-Ra guise she manages to summon up the more apposite “bonebrain” for Skeletor. Other characters similarly have harsh words for Skeletor, including “villain” from Man-at-Arms and “traitor” from Hordak.

Hordak opts for the tired old “fool” when insulting Queen Angela, and He-Man achieves the surprising “jarhead” for Hordak. The award for oddest insult, though, has to go to Skeletor, who spends some time trying to get through to King Randor on the wireless radio, seemingly only in order to call him a “royal boob”.

Bright Moon 8

 

Oh No, Bow!

Towards the end of the episode, Bow rescues Madame Razz and a weird green thing from a Horde Trooper. This in itself is a sufficiently stupid action to warrant an inclusion in this category, but after he does so, he stands on a very tall pillar and leaps off. We never see him again in the episode after that. I know that he landed safely, as all Filmation characters who leap from tall objects do, but I prefer to imagine that he landed in a mangled heap and had to be carted off to A & E.

 

Does it have the Power?

Because I’m feeling generous today, and also because Hordak didn’t make any snorting noises, then I’ll say that yes it does. It’s really nice to see a good send-off for Skeletor and co., something which you’ll recall we were largely robbed of in the He-Man series. The bit with the chef disguises was a suitable reminder of all the demented schemes Skeletor has come up with over the years, and I loved the wonderfully in-character moment when Skeletor betrayed Hordak.

Bright Moon 5
Skeletor: “Am I really being retired in favour of that idiot Hordak?”

Taken as a whole, these five episodes have been an effective introduction to She-Ra, especially the character of its eponymous heroine. We’ve seen her go from evil Horde member to hero of the Rebellion, which is quite a character arc. She is voiced by an incredibly irritating woman though, so I hope some improvements are made there.

So we understand the series set-up and its villains quite well. Hordak and Shadow Weaver get a showing today, though neither distinguishes themselves particularly. At least they aren’t annoying. We have also had a short introduction to the series heroes, but I feel there’s room to grow here. For a film essentially acting as a series pilot, what we’ve seen has focussed far more on the heroic characters we already know, rather than the new ones we’ll be spending time with for the next 88 episodes.

Bright Moon 9
Glimmer: “Do you think we’ll get any development in this series?”

But perhaps I’m crazy for wanting to spend more time with Bow, Glimmer and Madame Razz. I expect this time next week I’ll be pining to see Man-at-Arms and Teela again.