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.

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Episode 56 – Of Shadows and Skulls

In which Skeletor gains the upper hand.

The episode begins with the rebels under attack, but thanks to a bit of a blunder from Shadow Weaver, they manage to escape. Hordak is properly livid with Shadow Weaver as a result, and after the ensuing discussion, Shadow Weaver decides to throw in her lot with Skeletor instead. She contacts him in Snake Mountain, and offers him anything he needs to conquer Eternia, in exchange for his help in toppling Hordak.

Skeletor agrees, but secretly plans to betray Shadow Weaver and conquer both Eternia and Etheria for himself. I say “secretly” – what I mean is that he manages to refrain from shrieking out this cunning plan for at least 20 seconds. Still Shadow Weaver remains unaware, and merrily transports Skeletor to Etheria.

Shadows 1
Skeletor: “I’m considering installing Shadow Weaver with that effect here permanently to save on light bulbs.”

Light Hope somehow gets wind of this development, and summons She-Ra to tell her all about it. She-Ra reacts with an air of weariness, barely restraining herself from saying, “For God’s sake, Skeletor again?” Instead, she flies off on Swift Wind to try to find Skeletor and Shadow Weaver, and stop them from doing whatever they want to do.

Our dynamic duo are in Snake Tongue Pass, happily occupying themselves in ambushing Hordak and a convoy of Horde tanks. Skeletor is enjoying this mightily, laughing his fool head off and waving his arms around like a complete maniac, but then has to get down to the serious business of a full-on duel with Hordak. After a pretty mental battle, Skeletor prevails, but is interrupted by the arrival of She-Ra – and then, to my surprise, he defeats her too.

Shadows 2
Skeletor: “I really have to wonder why Hordak has such ridiculously flat feet.”

With Hordak and She-Ra out of action, Skeletor cuts to the inevitable betrayal bit. He asks Shadow Weaver to put Hordak in a magic cage, and when she does so, he slams the door on her as well. He then indulges himself in a completely demented chuckle, before carting She-Ra off to the Fright Zone, where he seats himself in Hordak’s throne and introduces himself to Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor and Scorpia as their new boss.

Shadows 3
Skeletor: “Hands up anyone who’s more competent than Beast-Man.”

With only four minutes of the episode’s runtime left to sort out this whole mess, it’s worryingly up to Bow and Madame Razz to break into the Fright Zone and release She-Ra. This task is made easier since the Horde team are taking advantage of Hordak’s absence to beat Imp up, and are thus not guarding the Fright Zone as efficiently as they should.

Once Bow manages to free her, She-Ra starts putting all the Horde Troopers out of action with her traditional high kicks, and uses a convenient seesaw to catapult Skeletor out of the Fright Zone. Once he’s outside, he is met by Hordak and Shadow Weaver, who have managed to free themselves from the magic cage. Fearing that Skeletor will give the game away, Shadow Weaver quickly teleports him back to Eternia, while She-Ra and her crowd sneak off back to Whispering Wood.

Shadows 4
Shadow Weaver: “Me? Up to something? No, definitely not.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in Whispering Wood, not that that will come as a particular surprise to you. He talks to us today about revenge, explaining that trying to get revenge didn’t help Shadow Weaver and it won’t help us either. He counsels us to instead try to forgive and forget, and says “because that usually works.” It’s incredibly hard not to read a sarcastic undertone to this phrase.

 

Character checklist

This excellent episode features Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Skeletor, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor, Scorpia, Imp and Spikor.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I’m going to try and find a way out of here,” says Adora, when the rebels are pinned down at the beginning. It’s not a particularly good excuse, and it’s pretty unbelievable that the rebels wouldn’t already have tried to find a way out.

Shadows 5
Adora: “Bow, why do you look so worried about Kowl landing on your head?”

 

Insults

Perhaps inevitably for an episode that finds Skeletor in such fine form, there are vast swathes of insults flying about today. Shadow Weaver calls Imp a pretty scathing “pig-faced little worm”, and Imp retaliates with the far less effective “Shadow Wimpy”. Hordak gets in on the act too, calling Shadow Weaver a “useless trickster”. At the end of the episode, Bow refers to Hordak as a “villain”.

All the remaining insults in the episode are dispensed by or directed at Skeletor. She-Ra opts to call him a “villain”, a “bone brain” and a “bonehead”, to which Skeletor responds with the pretty mild “fool”. He reserves greater ire for Hordak, who also receives a “fool”, but is further burned with “dolt” and something that sounds like “bone breath”. Hordak responds with “bone-headed bogwobbler” (which I think we’ve heard before) and “bony buffoon” (which, oddly, I don’t think we have heard before).

Skeletor also finds time to describe his new army of Catra, Mantenna, Leech, Grizzlor and Scorpia as “slugs”, and early on in the episode we are treated to an unexpected and unwelcome cameo appearance from Spikor, who unceremoniously departs the story after being called a “nail-head”.

Shadows 6
Spikor: “To be honest, I’m only here to try to shift my peg-warming action figures.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

The episode opens with the rebels hiding from some Horde Troopers in a quarry. Kowl thinks that the Troopers don’t know where the rebels are, so Bow immediately sticks his head up so the Troopers can see him. Sure enough, he nearly gets shot. I’m genuinely bewildered that someone this incompetent is still alive.

 

Does it have the Power?

Hell, yes. Compared to his pretty lacklustre showings in Loo-Kee Lends a Hand and My Friend, My Enemy, Skeletor is at his lunatic best in this episode. The scene in which he battles Hordak is particularly good, and it’s very satisfying that he always beats Hordak whenever they have a duel. It’s almost as if, deep down, the writers knew Skeletor was infinitely better. It’s also very pleasing that he managed to capture She-Ra. He’s portrayed as thoroughly evil, entirely competent and completely hilarious – a winning combination.

The rest of the characters have their moments. I loved Shadow Weaver’s duplicity, and her cunning move at the end to prevent her betrayal being uncovered. Catra and Scorpia leading the charge to beat Imp up is hilarious as well, and She-Ra and her cronies aren’t annoying. This one’s a definite winner.

Episode 51 – My Friend, My Enemy

In which She-Ra demonstrates her inherent goodness, and makes sure we all know about it.

Unexpectedly, this episode opens with Catra purring her head off and presenting Hordak with a nice tasty berry pie. Hordak is very pleased and gobbles up the pie, pausing only briefly to ask Catra where it came from. Catra evades this question by claiming that it was sent by a secret admirer, but it soon emerges that the pie was baked by Skeletor himself, who has popped over to Etheria.

Friend 1
Hordak: “This is definitely a trap, isn’t it.”

Naturally, Skeletor hasn’t been baking pies out of the goodness of his heart. This particular pie contains an ingredient that will make Hordak disappear, after which Skeletor intends to take his place as leader of the Horde. I’m not quite sure what’s in it for Catra; their discussion doesn’t suggest she’ll be getting a promotion, but perhaps she’s just as fed up as I am with Hordak.

While Skeletor and Catra are having a convivial chat, Hordak takes a crowd of Horde Troopers to Whispering Wood for a little set-to with the Rebellion. While there, they manage to capture Glimmer and whisk her off to the Fright Zone – but Hordak then starts to feel sick and disappear. Madame Razz successfully diagnoses Hordak as having eaten some doom berries, and gleefully pronounces that he will fade into another dimension and probably never come back.

Friend 2
Glimmer: “Gosh, wouldn’t it be convenient if I could, you know, teleport?”

She-Ra – whose mental state is as always precarious – decides to try to cure Hordak, and flies off to the Crystal Castle to consult Light Hope. Light Hope starts off by talking in his usual incomprehensible riddles, but then evidently concludes that She-Ra is too stupid to work it out, and simply tells her that Hordak can only be cured if someone cries over him. I shouldn’t imagine there are too many people queuing up to do that, but She-Ra confidently toddles off to find someone.

Hordak tells She-Ra that a wizard called Noah might be willing to cry for him, so She-Ra loads Hordak onto Swift Wind’s back and they fly off to look for Noah. Skeletor and Catra, however, get wind of this plan, and Skeletor manages to arrive at Noah’s cave in time to prepare a little welcome party. After a brief and typically unsuccessful attempt to trap She-Ra in a tunnel, Skeletor opts to try negotiation, informing She-Ra that unless she stops trying to help Hordak, she will never see Glimmer again.

Friend 3
Noah: “Let me out! I’ve got an ark to catch!”

She-Ra says, “That’s cool, I can live with that,” and asks Noah to cry for Hordak, but Noah refuses on the basis that he doesn’t like Hordak. Skeletor sniggers his head off at this turn of events, but She-Ra is moved to pity and begins to cry over Hordak herself. With Hordak cured, Skeletor doesn’t see the need to stick around, so he disappears, leaving Catra in the lurch.

Noah teleports Hordak, She-Ra and Swift Wind to the Fright Zone, where She-Ra rescues Glimmer and flies off. Back in Whispering Wood, She-Ra tells Bow, Glimmer and Madame Razz the full story, and oddly refers to Hordak as a human being, rather than a robotic pig-skeleton. Then Glimmer makes some mindless joke or other, and they all laugh as the episode ends.

Friend 4
She-Ra: “Chicken, Bow?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee. Tree. Whispering Wood. I don’t think I have to say any more about that. He reminds us that this week, She-Ra got upset because Hordak didn’t have any friends, and he suggests that maybe we should make friends with someone who doesn’t have any. I think I’ll start by making friends with Hordak.

 

Character checklist

Today, it’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Noah, Hordak, Catra, Grizzlor, Mantenna, Imp, some Horde Troopers, and everybody’s favourite – Skeletor.

Friend 6
Skeletor: “You’re easily the best of the baddies on She-Ra, Catra. Care to join my team?”

 

Insults

Glimmer addresses a Horde Trooper as a “big tin ape”, and Bow shrieks out “metal head” to someone, either a Horde Trooper or Hordak, though I’m not sure which. This week’s obligatory “fool” is dispensed from Hordak to Catra.

 

Oh No, Bow!

During the battle, Bow decides to walk around backwards for no evident reason. This would be cause enough for inclusion in this category, but it also results in his tripping over a pillow and being shot, which makes it doubly stupid.

Friend 5
Bow: “Never forget, I’m really competent.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s good to see Skeletor, as always, but it’s hardly his best appearance. The first scene, in which his evil plot was unveiled, was really good fun, but thereafter he was barely involved, and even when he was on screen, he didn’t have much of his classic sneer about him. It was good to see Catra throwing in her lot with him, as it re-establishes her as a scheming villainess in her own right, and not just another henchman, but all in all, their pairing up seemed a bit wasted.

The rest of the story was fine; I believe this one is regarded as a bit of a classic, largely because of She-Ra’s speech about her sympathy for Hordak not having any friends. Unfortunately, I can’t say I particularly agree. It wasn’t awful or anything, but it didn’t move me in the way some episodes have. I’d say this one’s worth a watch, but not a lot more.

Episode 49 – For Want of a Horse

In which Bow puts in a truly pitiful performance.

Hordak returns to the Fright Zone in a fearful temper, having just had a conversation with Horde Prime. It transpires that it will be Horde Prime’s birthday shortly, and he wants a really good present. Hordak, of course, doesn’t know what to get him, and after fielding a monumentally silly idea from Grizzlor, who recommends getting him a tie, he accepts Shadow Weaver’s suggestion that he should kidnap Swift Wind as a birthday gift.

Horse 1
Hordak: “I’m surrounded by idiots. Myself included.”

Shadow Weaver’s plan for the kidnap involves knocking a hole in a dam, and waiting for She-Ra, Swift Wind and Bow to show up to repair it. She-Ra occupies herself fixing the dam, while Bow and Swift Wind wait in the village, giving Shadow Weaver the chance to disguise herself as a sweet blond girl and pretend to be running away from a Horde Trooper. This distracts Bow long enough for another Horde Trooper to freeze Swift Wind and drag him away.

Shadow Weaver considers taking Bow prisoner as well, but She-Ra reappears in time to prevent such an unfortunate event. Instead, Shadow Weaver contents herself with gloating that Swift Wind will make a perfect present for Horde Prime, and vanishes. She-Ra, of course, heads straight for the Fright Zone, with Bow in tow to offer help. You know, like Bow normally helps.

Horse 2
She-Ra: “No, Bow. I’m not going to ‘ride you instead of Swift Wind’.”

On arrival in the Fright Zone, She-Ra quickly abandons Bow in favour of going for a swim in a river that flows directly below Hordak’s throne room. There she meets Mantenna, who has been dropped through Hordak’s trapdoor into the river. Mantenna informs her that Swift Wind has been taken to the space port, and then realises he really ought to try to capture her. He is no more successful in this venture than you might think, and ends up running off to sound the alarm.

She-Ra finds her way to the space port and frees Swift Wind with very little trouble. On emerging from the Fright Zone, they find that Bow has come barging along trying to save them, which results in all three of them having to have a final confrontation with Shadow Weaver, not that that takes very long. They all fly off into the sunset, leaving Hordak to give Horde Prime a tie after all.

Horse 3
Mantenna: “Best day ever.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh Loo-Kee, you think you’re so clever, hiding next to the broken dam. But I saw you, and I’ll see you every time from now on. He explains that “there’s a very special kind of love between people and animals”, and he makes a few recommendations of specialist niche websites that cater to people who enjoy that kind of love. Just joking, of course: actually, he recommends we treat animals with patience and kindness, which may lead to them becoming our best friends.

 

Character checklist

This very enjoyable episode features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Grizzlor, Horde Prime, and – of course – some Horde Troopers.

Horse 4
Hordak: “All these characters are now available at Toys R Us.”

 

Insults

It’s a bad day for Horde Troopers, especially at Shadow Weaver’s hands; one is addressed as a “fool” and a pair of them as “tin-headed cowards”. She has a point: they’re scared of Bow, of all people. She also, rather surprisingly, calls two Horde Troopers “useless balls” towards the end of the episode. Bow gets in on the act with the less imaginative but more sane “rotten robots”.

She-Ra calls Bow a “brave, wonderful fool”, though not to his face, and after Hordak throws Mantenna in the river, he calls him a “soggy simpleton”. The best insult this week is one I can’t believe we’ve never heard before: Shadow Weaver calls She-Ra “Wing-head”, presumably in reference to her silly tiara.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow is supposed to be guarding Swift Wind when the kidnap takes place, but he is all too easily distracted by Shadow Weaver’s disguise. It’s actually a pretty sophisticated plan, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for falling for it. Anyone except Bow, of course, who’s a first-class fool.

Horse 5
Bow: “Oh Jesus. I’ve ballsed up again, haven’t I?”

Later on, of course, Bow is responsible for coming into the Fright Zone and trying to rescue She-Ra when she doesn’t need rescuing, the result being an unnecessary fight with Shadow Weaver. He’s such an idiot.

 

Does it have the Power?

Here we have our first hands-down success in ages. The storyline is, of course, nothing special, but it’s got such wit and energy that it’s impossible not to enjoy it. The opening scene is really very funny, and has a great payoff at the end when Hordak does take Grizzlor’s suggestion and gives Horde Prime a tie. There’s other moments of great humour throughout, and yet in the middle of all this clowning, we get a scene of genuine nastiness, as Hordak gloats over Swift Wind, telling him that he will never fly again, and will be left in a dungeon to never see the sky or the sunset, where his mane will turn grey and his wings will wither. It’s definitely the nastiest and most calculatedly unpleasant we’ve ever seen Hordak being, and I feel it could even give Skeletor a run for his money. To sum up: watch it, immediately.

Episode 46 – Micah of Bright Moon

In which Glimmer’s absentee father returns.

We begin with a relatively lengthy scene of space combat, which – while not exactly Star Wars – is pretty tense and exciting. A gentleman named Micah has escaped from a prison on Horde World, stolen a ship, and now is making his way to Etheria, while a squadron of Horde Troopers, directed by Horde Prime himself, is trying to recapture him. Eventually, Micah reaches Etheria, and Horde Prime delegates the recapture mission to Hordak. If Hordak were in any way competent, Micah might worry about this, but I expect he can breathe a big sigh of relief now.

Micah 1
Micah: “Pretty smug about this outfit.”

We cut to Whispering Wood, where Glimmer is coincidentally telling Bow all about her missing father. Bow doesn’t particularly care, and wanders off, leaving Glimmer to randomly start pretending to dance with her father. This goes on for longer than is entirely sane, and only comes to an end when Glimmer falls down a ravine because she wasn’t paying attention to where she was dancing. Serves her right.

Glimmer forgets for the moment that she has the power of teleportation, and instead requires rescue from She-Ra. She gets She-Ra’s attention by flashing her. No, not like that: she flashes her with a glittering crystal, of course, though in the next scene the animators get the colours wrong and consequently depict Glimmer without her trousers on, so maybe it was the other type of flashing after all. Anyway, let’s move on.

Micah 2
She-Ra: “Glimmer, I know we all walk around with just our pants on, but when you do it, it just looks … wrong.”

She-Ra gives Glimmer a lift to Bright Moon, where they find Queen Angela moping about sadly because it’s her 20th wedding anniversary, but her husband Micah has been missing for most of those years. Don’t worry though; this is Micah’s cue to crash his stolen Horde ship on Etheria, though he isn’t considerate enough to do so anywhere near Bright Moon.

Instead, he lands in the Talon Mountains, where he is quickly found by Queen Hunger of the Harpies, last seen in Reunions. In case you don’t remember, the Harpies were keeping Queen Angela prisoner in that episode, so it’s quite fun that they now manage to capture her husband Micah. Perhaps they’re playing Bright Moon Bingo. Glimmer had better watch out.

Micah 3
Hunger: “What do you think of this lovely ornament, Micah?”

Hunger contacts Bright Moon and offers to release Micah if Angela surrenders herself in his place. Unless they genuinely are playing Bingo and Micah isn’t on Hunger’s card, I can’t think why there’s any purpose to this exchange, but there we have it. Angela agrees, and Glimmer immediately starts bawling her eyes out and making snorting noises that are worryingly reminiscent of Hordak. She-Ra stands in the background, looking like she despises the pair of them.

Angela sets off to Talon Mountain, where Hunger predictably goes back on her word and detains her as well as Micah. She-Ra seems oddly reluctant to even try to rescue Micah and Angela, but eventually Glimmer persuades her to give it a go. Luckily, when She-Ra and Glimmer arrive at Talon Mountain, they find Hunger has been distracted by Tung Lashor, who is attempting to carry out Horde Prime’s orders to recapture Micah.

Micah 4
Tung Lashor: “There’s a perfectly rational explanation for this.”

With Angela and Micah successfully rescued, the whole bunch of them return to Bright Moon. Unfortunately, it isn’t allowed to change the status quo in this cartoon, so King Micah cannot remain in Bright Moon for longer than a few days. Instead, he abandons his wife and daughter again, and skulks off to fight the Horde in some non-specific location. Bye, Micah. Have a nice life.

 

In today’s adventure…

Today, Loo-Kee is in his usual position in a tree in Whispering Wood. His pathetic attempts to evade me are doomed to constant failure. His moral is all about how important family is, which I think might have had a little more impact if Micah had actually stayed in Bright Moon.

 

Character checklist

This one’s all about the Bright Moon family, so as well as the standard old Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind quartet, we also see Glimmer, Queen Angela and Micah. Filling out the ranks are Bow, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Imp, Tung Lashor, Horde Prime, Hunger, and a load of Harpies and Horde Troopers.

Micah 5
Micah: “No, I think I preferred my outfit from earlier.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

None. I ran out of witty things to say about this excuse drought about 20 episodes ago, if not longer. I’m sure I have critics who might argue I never had anything witty to say, about this or anything else. I don’t want to hear from said critics, because I have a horrible feeling they may be right.

 

Insults

This is a pretty sparse category today, featuring only a terse “fool” from Hordak to Tung Lashor.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s mostly good; I enjoyed the space combat bit at the start, and given I’ve whinged in the past about Glimmer basically having no character, it would be churlish of me to deny that this episode goes some way towards redeeming that. It was also a good bit of continuity to see Hunger and the Harpies again, not that they’re particularly enthralling, but it’s nice that the writers remember things like this.

Micah 6
Bow: “Well, hello there, little lady. Adora’s not around, so I’ll be creepy with you instead.”

The only problem, I think, is the fact that Micah disappears again at the end. How much would it really have hurt for him to have stayed in Bright Moon and joined the list of recurring guest characters? It’s not like we see Queen Angela that often anyway, thankfully, and we wouldn’t necessarily have to see Micah every time she shows up. It just seems all too convenient for him to leave once the episode’s action is over.

Two other minor points: firstly, all too predictably, Tung Lashor is now a far cry from his sinister and pretty scary first appearance in Book Burning. He’s now a moronic clown who is reduced to cleaning computer equipment with a cloth and an anti-bacterial spray. That being said, the recurring joke about him using his tongue to operate machinery, much to Hordak’s disgust, is actually fairly funny.

Micah 7
Tung Lashor: “Not sure I could possibly be more pleased with myself.”

Secondly, She-Ra’s pronunciation of “parents” in this episode is less than satisfactory. It sounds like she’s saying “parrots”, which makes for some fairly entertaining reinterpretations. There was one notable point where I thought She-Ra said, “Glimmer, let’s get your parrots,” which struck me as a completely insane notion and nearly made me laugh out loud. Given I write these reviews on a pretty busy train, I’m glad I managed to restrain myself.

Episode 45 – Huntara

In which Hordak tells some porkies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

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

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

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

Episode 44 – The Rock People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

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

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

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

 

Oh No, Bow!

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

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

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

Episode 42 – Enemy With My Face

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

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

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

Episode 40 – Treasures of the First Ones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 39 – Into the Dark Dimension

In which we learn that drugs are turn-offs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

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

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

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

 

Oh No, Bow!

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

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

But really? Drugs and turn-ons? Really?