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 23 – The Crown of Knowledge

In which a door asks She-Ra how long her legs should be.

Adora, Bow and Kowl have come to the annual Harvest Festival, where Bow meets a couple of children who beg him to tell them a story. In my opinion, Bow is an incredibly bad storyteller, but the children seem to think he’s rather good. He relates the tale of King Jared, a ruler who established much that was good and wholesome on Etheria, and finishes by telling the children the legend of the Crown of Knowledge, which King Jared hid within a maze of traps, and which will bestow great wisdom on whoever finds it. Kowl then adds that he has done considerable research on the subject and believes the Crown can be found in Darkedge.

Marcus, the dorkiest looking boy I’ve ever seen (and that includes me, before you ask), takes this tale to heart, and decides to seek the Crown in order to become someone important. I swear, if Loo-Kee tells us later that we’re all already important, I’m going to reach through the laptop screen and wring his stupid little neck. Marcus trots off to find the Crown, and for some reason seems to think that the first step of this process is to release a horned buffalo to run riot at the Festival.

Crown 1
Kowl: “So, Marcus … is your hair modelled after the Monkees or Mr Spock?”

In the ensuing commotion, Marcus grabs Kowl and sticks him in a bag, wanting to use Kowl’s research to lead him to the Crown. She-Ra and Bow – being geniuses – take less than 30 seconds to work out what has happened, and – along with Marcus’ father, the local baker – they head off to Darkedge to intercept Marcus and Kowl.

Hordak’s pet, Imp, has been spying on the whole proceedings, and now flies off to make his report. Hordak seems pretty pleased, and decides to help Marcus get through the traps in the maze, with the intention of stealing the Crown once Marcus gets it. To this end, he arranges for Shadow Weaver to furnish Marcus with a magic cloak, which will help him to get past the traps.

Crown 2
Hordak: “I have nothing to do today except look awesome.”

Marcus and Kowl locate King Jared’s castle, and answer a quite good riddle to get inside: “What can you hold but never touch?” The answer is “your breath”. Arriving a few minutes later, She-Ra’s party get a far stupider riddle: “How long should your legs be?” Luckily, She-Ra appears to have heard this one before, and answers correctly, “Long enough to reach the Crown.” I cannot believe that the writer of this episode was only capable of thinking up one sane riddle, but that’s how it seems.

The rest of the castle proves to be full of the usual sort of stupid traps, including trapdoors, pits of water, and the like. Because the baker is along for the ride, Bow gets a day off from being the completely useless member of the party, and actually manages to do a few heroic things, so I expect he’ll be putting this little adventure on his CV.

Crown 3
Bow: “Hmm, look, a baker drowning. Shall I help him or just stand here like a lemon?”

Our heroes all eventually find their way to the Crown room, where the Crown tells Marcus off for not wanting the Crown for pure reasons. Shadow Weaver’s magic cloak then kicks into effect, forcing Marcus to levitate over a chasm towards the Crown. The Crown takes exception to this, and magically removes the cloak from Marcus – at which point Marcus falls onto a rocky outcrop, requiring rescue by She-Ra. This is Marcus’ cue to decide that he doesn’t want the Crown anymore, and would prefer to dedicate himself to a life of baking.

 

In today’s adventure…

No sign of Loo-Kee for me today, and that’s because he was in a blue tree, perfectly camouflaged. There’s no way you could have seen him. He witters on about the Crown of Knowledge being an exciting adventure (could have fooled me) and suggests that we seek some knowledge ourselves, by choosing some books to read. Sounds reasonable to me, and it wasn’t the dreadful moral about us all being important that I had feared.

 

Character checklist

Today’s little excursion to Etheria brings to our attention Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Marcus, the baker, Loo-Kee, Bow’s horse Arrow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, and the Crown itself, which I suppose you could say is the episode’s crowning glory. Oh please yourselves then.

Crown 4
Crown: “That was a good pun, Owen. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, I’ll crown ’em.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I think Bow may need some help,” says Adora, and goes to transform. She doesn’t specify whether she means psychiatric help, but that’s how I choose to view it.

 

Insults

I may not have been paying as much attention as I should have been, but I’m pretty sure that Shadow Weaver called Hordak a “penis”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

“I could smell a Hordesman a mile away!” pronounces Bow, proudly. Needless to say, he is at that very moment standing right next to Imp, without noticing him.

Crown 5
Imp: “Let me think. Can Bow really be this much of a numpty?”

 

Does it have the Power?

Not a classic, but not total rubbish either. I’m a little fed up of episodes involving people having to get past silly traps to reach their goal, but I suppose this was a decent enough entry into that category. It’s been a while since we had a bratty child deciding to Become Someone Important (TM), so if I’m being generous, I’ll let the writers off returning to that particular well. My only real issue is with Hordak’s confidence that he would be able to help Marcus get past the traps successfully: if he was this sure of himself, why didn’t he just go and try to get the Crown himself? On balance, this episode is fine, but won’t rock your world.

Episode 17 – A Loss for Words

In which Hordak turns himself into an egg.

Hordak is pretty livid this week, because rebels have been going from village to village, talking to the inhabitants, and encouraging them to rebel. To cheer Hordak up, Shadow Weaver demonstrates her new spell on Mantenna, which allows her to steal the voice of her target. When Hordak sees that Mantenna has been struck dumb, he is very pleased and starts plotting to take Adora’s voice.

Words 1
Mantenna: “Hey wait, I have loads to say!”

Adora, Bow, and two Twiggets are on their way to Gailbraith village, where Adora will go to the pub to give some inspirational speeches. Unfortunately, Shadow Weaver decides to meet them there, and steals the voices of Adora and three villagers. When Adora attempts to become She-Ra, therefore, she cannot say the magical words, and is unable to make her transformation.

Shadow Weaver prepares to spirit Adora back to the Fright Zone, but Bow and the Twiggets burst into the pub, providing a distraction which allows Adora and the villagers to escape. Adora and Bow engage in an elaborate game of charades, until Bow finally works out that Adora wants to go to the Fright Zone to recover her voice. The villagers want to come too, but Bow tells them that they’re useless and that he and Adora will be better off without.

Words 2
Bow: “It’s a nice enough house, though it does look a bit like it has a pair of pointy ears.”

Adora and Bow quickly make their way to Hordak’s throne room, where they watch for a good long while as Hordak is randomly unpleasant to Shadow Weaver and Mantenna. Finally, they get down to another game of charades, which lasts some time before Bow works out what Adora wants, which is for him to fulfil his usual role of creating a diversion. Adora then manages to nick the box containing her voice, opens it, and merrily transforms into She-Ra.

Hordak, exhibiting once again his complete lack of judgement, turns himself into a stupid egg-shaped machine with four arms. God knows what he was hoping to achieve with this, but I don’t expect he wanted She-Ra to simply bury him up to his egg-shaped neck, which is what happens. Hordak then cycles through a few more ill-advised transformations, but unexpectedly comes a cropper when Mantenna presses a button to open a trapdoor underneath him.

Words 3
Hordak: “All quail before me! Oh, fine, you think of a better egg pun then.”

In the meanwhile, Adora and Bow return the voices to the villagers of Gailbraith, and receive in return their undying gratitude and allegiance to the Rebellion. I think I should point out that one of the villagers looks exactly like Man-at-Arms would, if Man-at-Arms would just for one day wear some normal clothes and forget about that idiotic helmet.

 

In today’s adventure…

Thanks to my coincidentally pressing pause at precisely the right moment, I actually caught sight of Loo-Kee today! He was in the forest at the start, and you could literally only see his nose. It’s ridiculous, expecting five year olds to find him. I genuinely felt incredibly pleased with myself, and I’m 35 years old.

Words 4
Loo-Kee: “Congratulations to Owen! No prizes, though.”

Anyway, Loo-Kee is here today to tell us about freedom of speech. Actually, he’s not. He’s here to tell us to ask our parents or teachers about freedom of speech, since he evidently can’t be bothered to tell us himself. There’s literally no useful information that you could take away from Loo-Kee’s little monologue, which is a shame. Still, it’s a relevant topic, so points for effort, I suppose.

 

Character checklist

Today is a chance for Adora, She-Ra, Bow, the Twiggets, the villagers of Gailbraith, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Imp, Scorpia, and the Horde Troopers to strut their funky stuff.

Words 5
Scorpia: “Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to pull animals’ tails?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“She’s safe,” says She-Ra, which is exactly what she always says. The second transformation gives She-Ra the opportunity to explain, “She’s fine,” which is not a lot better. I wish she’d say something like, “She’s gone to the Co-Op to take advantage of their amazing 2 for 1 deals,” or something, and then wink at the camera and pocket some advertising revenue.

 

Insults

Aside from Hordak calling Mantenna a “worm”, we only have the usual recitals of “fool” today. Shadow Weaver refers to the villagers as “fools of Gailbraith” and Bow and the Twiggets as “rebel fools”. This is counterbalanced when Imp calls Shadow Weaver a “fool” as well, just so she knows how it feels.

Words 6
Imp: “I’m sure I could stretch to calling you a fool too, Adora.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow and Adora came to Gailbraith to try to recruit rebels. Therefore, when the villagers volunteer to come to the Fright Zone to help recover the voices, it’s pretty stupid of Bow to tell them that they’re not needed.

It’s also worth noting that Bow is incredibly bad at charades, though I think anyone would struggle with these particular charades, because Adora isn’t much good at it either. To be honest, I’m surprised no one thinks of writing things down, though that rather assumes Bow can read.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s an episode with a very interesting idea behind it; it’s always fun when our hero can’t become She-Ra or He-Man for one reason or another. Unfortunately, once it’s got this good idea, the episode doesn’t seem to really know what to do with it, and a lot of it comes across as padding. We waste a good five minutes at the start with a completely irrelevant fight between She-Ra and Scorpia, and the rest of the story just seems to meander around comfortably and competently without doing anything remotely exciting.

Words 7
Adora: “I wish Bow had lost his voice.”

Still, I’m going to recommend it, partly because at least it has an interesting idea, and also because of the characterisation of the villains. We get some back story on Shadow Weaver: Hordak found her as a second-rate sorceress in Mysticor and granted her magical powers, and he reminds her ominously that he could take them away again if he pleases. Mantenna’s use of the trapdoor on Hordak is hilarious, especially his crafty facial expression as he does so. It made me chuckle, which I don’t think She-Ra has managed before.

Episode 12 – The Laughing Dragon

In which we learn that Bow looks rather fetching in a dress.

We open in a town called Elboron, which the Rebellion has just liberated from Horde oppression. As the Mayor gives a super-long speech thanking the rebels, Bow gets bored and wanders off. In no time at all, he manages to cause a massive crisis by igniting a fuel tank left behind by the Horde. Luckily, She-Ra is on hand to create a whirlwind, which picks up the jet of flame and drops it in a lake. This is as plausible as it sounds.

Dragon 1
Kowl: “Bow, don’t you realise by now that literally every decision you make is incorrect?”

She-Ra barely has time to return to Elboron, turn back into Adora, and dispense some harsh words to Bow, before a dragon pops up from underground. Luckily, the dragon in question is Sorrowful, but unluckily, this would appear to be Sorrowful’s first appearance, so no one knows he’s a nice dragon. Would it really be so hard for these episodes to be shown in the order they were clearly intended?

Even without the fact that technically they ought to know this already from two weeks ago, it doesn’t take Bow and Adora long to realise that Sorrowful isn’t a threat. They promise to be his friend, on condition that he doesn’t go round destroying towns, and they all decide to go to visit a lady called Castaspella, who may be able to magic up some courage for Sorrowful.

Castaspella turns out to be that nameless lady rebel from The Prisoners of Beast Island, so thank Christ we solved that little mystery. Despite initial misgivings, Castaspella is persuaded to carry out a ritual to enhance Sorrowful’s courage. She tries twice, but in both cases fails entirely. I’m sure even Madame Razz could do better than this.

Dragon 2
Castaspella: “Adora, stop blocking the bloody camera. This is my moment to shine.”

Unbeknownst to our heroes, right at this moment, Leech and Mantenna are engaged in a nefarious plot to build a road through Castaspella’s territory. I’m not entirely sure why this is such an evil thing to do, but Hordak certainly seems to think it’s pretty damn dastardly, so we’ll go along with it for now. Anyway, eventually Castaspella gets wind of the new road, and hurtles off to prevent this dreadful outbreak of infrastructure. She-Ra, Bow and Sorrowful come too, the latter reluctantly.

Bow is pretty confident that the Horde will run away as soon as they see Sorrowful, but he doesn’t known that Hordak’s pet Imp has been spying on them all afternoon, and knows exactly how cowardly Sorrowful is. When confronted by the rebels, therefore, Leech and Mantenna don’t really care, and it takes a nonsensical pep talk from She-Ra for Sorrowful to summon up the courage to breathe fire all over the Horde Road Building Team.

The episode concludes with She-Ra, Bow and Castaspella congratulating Sorrowful on his amazing performance, just like the other episode with Sorrowful did. This one’s slightly different, however, since for no readily apparent reason an army of blue-faced bipedal rabbits have turned up to offer their congratulations as well. That’s not the most unexpected thing though, believe it or not – what really caught me by surprise was She-Ra telling Bow he was terrific, and kissing him full on the lips.

Dragon 3
Rabbits: “No, we don’t really know why we’re here either.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I found Loo-Kee today! Just joking. I couldn’t see the little bastard anywhere. I don’t even care where he was, and I don’t care about what he’s got to say for himself either. On the off chance that you do, though, he said that you can always find courage in your heart. Ra ra ra.

 

Character checklist

Who’s Who in Etheria this time brings to the table Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Castaspella, Sorrowful, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Leech, Mantenna, Imp, some Horde Troopers, some villagers, and some rabbits.

Dragon 4
Leech: “Come on guys, jazz hands!”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora pops behind a tree and mutters, “No one will see us here,” though that’s hardly an excuse. Still, it’s the best we get, and does at least supply lip-service to the notion of secrecy. While we’re on the subject, I expect Bow would like some more lip-service.

 

Insults

A fairly subtle insult starts us off today. When Bow tells Sorrowful, “You are now as brave and gallant as I,” Kowl immediately nips in with the smart comment, “Of course, that’s not saying that much.”

Dragon 5
Sorrowful: “Great. As brave as Bow. Forgive me for not looking more pleased.”

Otherwise, we learn that Leech is not a big fan of the circus, judging from the fact that he refers to all our heroes as “rebel clowns”, and shortly thereafter addresses Sorrowful to call him a “clown” as well. As if that weren’t enough, he also calls Sorrowful a “lily-livered reptile”. Fortunately, Sorrowful doesn’t make any oblique references to S&M in response, instead simply calling Leech a “grump”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Granted, there was no way he could have known it was going to happen, but I don’t think I can fail to mention that it’s Bow who’s responsible for igniting the fuel tank in Elboron.

It’s also worth noting that when Sorrowful first appears, Bow – in a misguided effort to save her – drags Adora into a cottage, preventing her from becoming She-Ra. He then exacerbates his failure by putting on a pair of fake breasts and a dress, and draping a towel over his head. Still wearing the dress, he exits the cottage and introduces himself to Sorrowful by saying, “I’m a man.” Bow is quite possibly the most confusingly insane character in any programme I’ve ever watched.

Dragon 6
Bow: “No further comment.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Yes, I suppose so. As mentioned above, it really could have done with being aired before The Prisoners of Beast Island, because it’s just stupid for our heroes to know who Sorrowful was two weeks ago and not know him now. It would also be better if there was a space of more than two weeks between the episodes, because they’re essentially the same storyline. Still, judging this one on its own merits, and not by its placement in the running order, it’s a pretty solid entry, despite the weird bits about the Horde building roads and the unexpected and unnecessary arrival of the rabbit army.

Episode 08 – The Red Knight

In which Bow confirms that he’s going to be a very tedious presence throughout the series.

Adora, Glimmer, Bow and Kowl are riding through a dark and mysterious forest, on their way to a rebels’ fair. A rebels’ fair sounds like an unlikely concept, and when they arrive, it proves to be ridiculous. En route, however, Mantenna, Leech and Scorpia leap out of hiding and attack, easily getting the better of all of our heroes. They are rescued by an individual in red armour, who introduces himself as the Red Knight. It would be nice if he put a little effort into his voice, which is the flattest monotone I’ve ever heard, but we’ll let that pass.

Red Knight 2
Mantenna: “I didn’t sign up for this.”

Our incompetent heroes arrive at the rebels’ fair, where various rebels – including Queen Angela of Bright Moon – have set up stalls, and are presumably selling rebellious products. What the hell is the point of a rebels’ fair? As far as I can see, it’s just an opportunity for all the rebels to get together, thus allowing the Horde the opportunity to blast them off the face of Etheria. The Horde are even aware of the fair, since Hordak’s stupid pet, Imp, is present.

Queen Angela thinks she recognises the Red Knight’s voice, but the Red Knight vows that his identity shall remain a secret until all of Hordak’s evil forces are defeated. I was pretty confident we’d find out at the end of the episode who he was, but we actually didn’t. It’s a mystery that we are left to ponder. Still, we aren’t given much opportunity to wonder about the Red Knight’s identity at this stage, since a runaway horse and wagon threatens to destroy the fair.

Bow and the Red Knight each make an effort to stop the horse, but – in keeping with his usual degree of competence – Bow fails, and the Red Knight saves the day. Once that’s dealt with, the male rebels all have a race. I can’t get over how stupid this all is. Why aren’t they out rebelling, instead of having athletics competitions? And why aren’t the girls allowed to play? Maybe this is just something to keep idiots like Bow distracted, while She-Ra and Glimmer plan the important stuff.

Red Knight 3
Bow: “Hey, Red Knight, you could probably get an even better lead on me if you weren’t carrying that lance around.”

Well, if you’ll believe it, the Red Knight wins the race, and Bow loses. As he watches She-Ra award the prize to the Red Knight, Bow goes all Orko on us and storms off in a hissy fit. After an indeterminate space of time, She-Ra goes looking for him, and finds him feeling sorry for himself by a campfire. She remarkably easily persuades him that there’s no shame in losing, and he apologises for being a tosser.

In the meantime, there’s a subplot in which Imp goes barrelling along to tell Hordak all about the fair, and Hordak comes along with his mates to ruin the fun. They succeed in capturing Glimmer, Queen Angela and the Red Knight, but meet a sticky end when She-Ra and Bow reappear. Once that’s all over, the Red Knight congratulates Bow on how awesome he was in fighting the Horde, and then they all have a chuckle over some mindless joke.

Red Knight 4
Bow: “I wish I was in the front row of this picture, even if I can’t put my arm up as straight as the others.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Again, I didn’t see Loo-Kee this week. My excuse is that he was facing away from the camera, and I didn’t know what the back of his head looks like. I do now, so I shall definitely get him next time. Anyway, he dispenses the predictable rubbish about winning or losing not mattering, so long as you do your best. He could have also casually mentioned that Bow is a moron.

 

Character checklist

After last week not bothering to show us many of the rebels, we get a fair whack of them today. There’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Queen Angela, the Red Knight, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna, Scorpia, Leech, and Imp.

Red Knight 5
Imp: “My, Hordak, you’re looking particularly evil today.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“This looks like a job for She-Ra,” says Adora, and scarpers, on the occasion of her first transformation. She does make a similar comment when it comes to the second time, but I didn’t note it down, and I’m certainly not going to go back and check.

 

Insults

Mantenna gets a few moments in the spotlight early on, calling the Red Knight an “oversized tin can” and dispensing the slightly odder insult “Glimmer girl” to Glimmer. From here, it all goes downhill for him, though, with the Red Knight referring to him as a “villain”, and Hordak calling him the much harsher “brainless boob”. Hordak also calls the rebels “fools”, Imp a “nasty little nit”, and refers to Scorpia, Mantenna and Leech as “dolts”.

 

Oh No, Bow!

As I’m sure you can imagine, this entire episode is basically one long Oh No, Bow. Still, specific points include:

  1. In the forest, Bow takes fright at a frog, and falls into a pond. Adora and Glimmer laugh at him. Instead of getting out of the pond, Bow just sits there and laughs as well. I don’t feel qualified to guess how long this sorry state of affairs would have continued, if Leech hadn’t been lurking in the pond.

    Red Knight 1
    Bow: “I’m all for cuddles, but – well – frankly, Leech, not with you.”
  2. Bow attempts to stop the runaway wagon, but completely fails. Entertainingly, at the moment he realises his plan has failed, the animators show his face lose its smug smirk and develop a confused “oh, bollocks” kind of look.
  3. After the wagon incident, Adora tries to reassure him that even though he made a massive hash of it, he’s still done very brave things in the past. Bow is arrogant enough to respond, “That’s true.” Wow. I’m all for self-confidence, but this is excessive.
  4. The entire race is peppered with minor moments where Bow cocks up.
  5. And finally, the running away bit is infuriating and – as far as I can tell, this early in the series – out of character.

 

Does it have the Power?

I’m confident that this was a really poor showing. The only thing I liked about it was that we didn’t find out who the Red Knight was by the end of the episode; I don’t remember any other occasion where we had some kind of mystery that spanned multiple episodes. I’m assuming, of course, that we will eventually find out who the Red Knight is; if we don’t, it’ll simply be incredibly frustrating.

The rest of the episode was all over the place. We’ll start with a quick discussion of the rebels’ fair, which is an incredibly poorly thought-out concept. The notion that all the rebels come to a fair, held at a location without any magical protection, is ludicrous. Hordak says it best: “the fools are so busy with their silly celebration that they’ll never know what hit them.”

Red Knight 6
Hordak: “It doesn’t say great things about me that I’m unable to defeat this lot.”

For all his incompetence, I’d never pegged Bow as likely to be the one to play at being Orko and throw a tantrum. It’s not really done his character any favours, and frankly, it’s not a plotline that needed resurrecting. In complete fairness, it’s better than the billions of times Orko ran away, but not much.

My final comment is to note that She-Ra lets Hordak go, rather than taking a golden opportunity to lock him up, and I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the whole Horde plotline seemed tacked on to add at least a minor sense of jeopardy to an episode that wasn’t really working. All in all, I think you could safely skip this one, unless at some point in the future the Red Knight becomes massively relevant, in which case I’d retrospectively recommend you do watch this one after all.