Episode 70 – Something Old, Something New

In which Etheria falls out of its orbit.

This week we meet a wannabe magician called Eli, who has stolen a glowing red rock from Shadow Weaver and as a result is being chased down by some Horde Troopers. Eli casts a spell to turn the Troopers into trees, which to his surprise actually works. As the audience, we are aware that the spell worked only because of the red rock, and not because of Eli’s powers.

Adora and Bow charge in at this point, and congratulate Eli on his magic, prompting Eli to claim to be the best magician. He also reveals that his teacher Candor has sent him for further tuition with Madame Razz, so he accompanies Adora and Bow back to Whispering Wood. Once there, he does some tricks and ponces about arrogantly, failing to endear himself to anyone (except Bow, of course, who has a natural affinity with arrogant morons).

Something Old 1
Adora: “Eli, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously with that ridiculous quiff.”

Eli continues to spend his time at the camp irritating people, including a moment in which he suggests altering a river’s course to help the rebels do their washing, but Adora immediately vetoes this idea on the pompous basis that “There’s always a danger when you change Mother Nature.” Quite right, Adora. Now why don’t you pop back in time by all of two episodes and tell She-Ra not to piss about with that river in Out of the Cocoon?

Of course, Eli doesn’t listen and rather pleasingly floods the entire rebel camp, which – to my deep dismay – means She-Ra has to get involved. After dealing with the flood, She-Ra and Madame Razz discover that Eli has disappeared, and they fly off to look for him, correctly intuiting that Shadow Weaver must be involved.

It turns out that Shadow Weaver is interested in recovering her glowing red rock, now introduced as the Stone of Serenity, which amplifies the magical ability of anyone using it. She has tricked Eli into coming to her by pretending to be his teacher Candor, and instructing him to come to a cave in the mountains. Once he’s there, Shadow Weaver nicks the Stone of Serenity back from him.

Something Old 2
Eli: “Hmm, a floating face telling me to come to an isolated location with an artefact of great value? Sounds legit.”

Meanwhile, as She-Ra and Madame Razz fly along, they are suddenly enveloped by a big red glowing ball, and carried into a pyramid, which Madame Razz identifies as the Balance Centre of Etheria. The Serenity Stone should be in the Balance Centre, but Madame Razz notes that it is absent, which might result in Etheria tipping to one side. This is the sort of plot development that ought to feel absolutely bloody ridiculous, but by this stage I’ve just started accepting this kind of thing as completely normal.

She-Ra and Madame Razz exit the Balance Centre and quickly find their way to the cave, where they confront Shadow Weaver. Allegedly, Shadow Weaver’s powers are greatly amplified by the Serenity Stone, but she doesn’t seem much more powerful than usual. Anyway, during the battle, Etheria starts to fall out of orbit, but She-Ra manages to get her grubby paws on the Stone and return it to the Balance Centre before it’s too late.

Something Old 3
Madame Razz: “I thought the Balance Centre was an inner ear hospital department.”

I don’t expect you’ll believe it, but the episode ends with Eli admitting that he’s been a bit of a div, and promising not to be one in the future. There’s also some random yammering about never being too old to learn things, and then a stupid joke from Madame Razz at which everyone laughs, except the audience.

In today’s adventure…

This Loo-Kee business is getting pretty tedious now. I really don’t care where he is, and I can’t imagine you do either. Still, if you must know, I found him today, standing behind a big rock. He suggests that we shouldn’t brag about our achievements, because if we do, no one will like us. No one likes me anyway, so I might as well carry on bragging. God, I’m awesome.

Character checklist

Well, would you look at that? It’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Bow, Eli, Candor, Loo-Kee, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. Glimmer, Perfuma, Peekablue and Flutterina also appear in the background, but they don’t add much.

Something Old 4
Bow: “Can’t even be arsed to stand up while this third-rate magician performs to these credulous buffoons.”

Insults

Eli begins the episode by calling a Horde Trooper a “big metal lummox”, and Shadow Weaver soon follows this up by referring to the Horde Trooper in question, and two of his colleagues, as “fools”. Shadow Weaver also refers to Eli as a “little thief” and to She-Ra as a “meddler”. Finally, Eli manages a new low by calling himself a “fool”.

Oh No, Bow!

The only person who doesn’t seem to think Eli is a first-class tool is Bow, and this seems to be primarily motivated by the fact that Eli conjures up a massive feast, at which Bow’s eyes light up with delight.

Something Old 5
Bow: “Give me a chicken drumstick and I’m anybody’s.”

Egg on your face?

As a cartoon, She-Ra doesn’t generally go in for the hilarious concept of pelting people with food, but this week, we do at least get to see Madame Razz being soaked with water when one of her spells goes awry. Maybe I’m in a bad mood today, but it isn’t very funny.

Does it have the Power?

Yeah, I suppose why not? The Eli storyline is pretty predictable, but with the added lunacy of the Balance Centre of Etheria, the episode just about elevates itself to an interesting if mildly demented outing. Shadow Weaver is as convincingly evil as always, and She-Ra didn’t wind me up, or at least she didn’t wind me up as much as she normally does. No classic, but solid.

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Episode 69 – A Lesson in Love

In which everybody gets the chance to throw things at Bow.

I’m wary of this one. It’s not long since we had an episode all about the power of love, and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. This episode doesn’t help itself by starting with a scene featuring a Typical Annoying Filmation Child called Kevin, who is soon to become king of some rubbish realm or other, but he doesn’t want to spend his time studying and would prefer to play. He compounds this dickish behaviour by deciding to run away. I hope Hordak shoots him in the head the moment he leaves the castle, and the rest of the episode is all about She-Ra having a nervous breakdown because she failed to save him.

Lesson in Love 2
Kevin: “Look on my irritating sneer, ye mighty, and despair.”

Over at Rebel HQ, the rebels (this week featuring Adora, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, and Flutterina) are preparing to go to the Twiggets’ Spring Carnival, which will be held outside Whispering Wood. Hordak gets wind of this silly notion, and decides to send a spy to the carnival to capture the rebels. He determines that the perfect spy, for God knows what reason, is Kevin, who has now been captured and brainwashed by Shadow Weaver.

Shadow Weaver arranges for Flutterina to get into a spot of bother with a giant spider, and allows Kevin to rescue her, thus winning Flutterina’s trust. Flutterina takes Kevin along to the carnival, which is fortunate, because up to this point the carnival was being very annoying, involving an extended and irrelevant bit of slapstick featuring Madame Razz being chased by a buffalo.

Once Kevin gets to the carnival, he discovers that Bow has set himself up as one of the targets in a coconut shy, but he passes up this cast-iron opportunity to hurl things at Bow’s head. Adora realises that this is very strange, and concludes there must be something wrong with Kevin, but she doesn’t have enough time to do anything about it before Kevin summons the Horde, who begin attacking.

Lesson in Love 3
Madame Razz: “Note the massive queue of people behind me all eager to throw things at Bow.”

The Horde have just as much success as always, being routed easily by She-Ra and her mates, but they do manage to capture Flutterina and whisk her off to Horror Hall. In the aftermath, Kowl tells She-Ra and Bow that he saw Kevin summoning the Horde; Kevin doesn’t remember doing this, and She-Ra realises he must be under a spell.

Heading to Horror Hall, She-Ra takes Kevin with her and discusses his reasoning for running away in the first place. Luckily, before she can get too patronising, Hordak interrupts her with a well-deserved freeze ray, which sadly she manages to dodge. It’s then a matter of relative simplicity for She-Ra and Kevin to rescue Flutterina, though it does involve an irritating sequence in which Kevin overcomes Shadow Weaver’s spell thanks to the power of good.

Once that’s all sorted, Flutterina hops onto the front of Kevin’s flying machine, allowing him to gaze longingly at her breasts. Returning to the carnival, She-Ra contacts Kevin’s father to come and take him home. Kevin departs with the words, “I’ll be back, someday!”, a statement which I chose to interpret as a threat.

Lesson in Love 1
Flutterina: “I’ve only been in two episodes and I’ve already been ogled by two people. And to make things worse, one of them was Bow.”

In today’s adventure…

It’s a far cry from the early days of She-Ra, when I couldn’t find Loo-Kee to save my life. Now it’s easy. He’s underneath a plant in Whispering Wood, and he wants to tell us about the difference between responsibility and irresponsibility. Essentially, the difference is that responsibility is good and irresponsibility is bad. Well, great.

Character checklist

There are times I can’t really be bothered to record this, and I’ll admit it shows in my terse lists of people. This week, it’s Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Flutterina, the Twiggets, Kevin, Kevin’s dad, a talking mirror, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Leech, and the ever-reliable Horde Troopers.

Lesson in Love 4
Leech: “It’s just a step to the left, and then a jump to the right…”

Insults

Hordak’s not in a great mood this week, especially not with Mantenna, who gets called an “incompetent fool”, a “bumbling fool” and just plain “fool”. Hordak also considers Kevin to be a “fool”, as well as a “young whelp”. Shadow Weaver thinks the rebels in general are “fools”, and that She-Ra in particular is a “muscle brain”.

Elsewhere, Madame Razz’s magic mirror suggests that she is the “ugliest” of them all, a suggestion to which Madame Razz does not take kindly and responds by calling the mirror an “impudent thing”. Madame Razz also calls Bow an “animal”, perhaps offering an unwelcome glimpse into what he’s like in the bedroom.

Lesson in Love 5
Madame Razz: “If you don’t start being nice, I’ll make sure you never appear in any other episodes.”

Does it have the Power?

Despite an incredibly unpromising opening scene, it’s actually far better than I had feared. We’ve been through it before, so you’ll know I don’t like the children in Filmation, and I certainly don’t like plotlines about people running away – but that Kevin is far less annoying than most, so I’ll let him off, especially since he triggers a pretty exciting story involving an entertaining battle and a rescue mission to Horror Hall, where we get to see Shadow Weaver at her malicious best. The carnival is annoying, and so is the bit about the power of goodness, but it doesn’t ruin an otherwise pleasurable 20 minutes, which also contains a rather amusing bit of the ever-reliable Hordak-Mantenna double-act. Recommended.

Episode 64 – Wild Child

In which we get numerous vaguely linked plotlines, none of which work.

When white dog-like ghosts begin running at night through the rebel camp, plant life starts to wither and die. The rebels discover a gold locket, imprinted with the crest of the Green Island Kingdom, and so Adora sends Madame Razz and Broom off to the Green Islands to seek answers. Once Madame Razz has gone, however, Adora encounters the ghosts herself, and discovers them to be simply white dogs, accompanied by a ghostly white female.

Wild Child 1
White Dog: “Got her pinned down! Let’s eat her!”

This is apparently sufficient provocation to warrant a transformation into She-Ra, and there follows a weird sequence in which She-Ra doesn’t seem to know what to do about the dogs, so she waits until they nearly fall off a cliff and then leaps in to save them. She then meets a collection of woodcutters, who blame the white dogs for the dying trees. This entire scene tells us nothing we didn’t already know, and I’m tempted to delete this paragraph, but I’ve put quite a bit of effort into writing it, so I won’t.

Madame Razz returns and makes her report to Adora and Bow. The locket belongs to Princess Allegra of the Green Islands, who disappeared five years ago when her sailboat was washed away in a storm. Her father, King Arbor, is very keen to find Allegra, who was only seven years old when she vanished, and so he’s on his way to Whispering Wood to find out more.

Wild Child 2
Madame Razz: “Broom, I’ve just realised how bloody useless you are.”

Ever aware of the need to advertise the latest action figures, Adora suggests that they go and ask Mermista about Princess Allegra, not that they have any reason to imagine she’ll know anything. As it happens, though, Mermista has the power to access the memory of any sea creature, and thus it is that she is able to reveal that Princess Allegra’s sailboat did indeed capsize, but Allegra herself was saved by a pack of white dogs.

Princess Allegra chooses this moment to make an appearance, and explains that she’s not a ghost, for those of us who were still invested in the ghost plot. She then continues her expository monologue with the information that she now lives in the forest with the white dogs, and claims the dogs are not responsible for the dying trees, for those of us who were still invested in the dying vegetation plot.

Wild Child 3
Allegra: “I’m going for the fashion style known as castaway-chic.”

Adora and Bow take Allegra and a white dog to the rebel camp, and the episode lurches into a storyline about how Allegra seems uncivilised to other children, because she’s grown up in the forest with only some white dogs as parents. Fortunately, that doesn’t last too long before the episode has another abrupt change of heart and starts concentrating on the woodcutters chasing one of the white dogs around.

The woodcutters temporarily manage to trap the white dog, but at that very moment, the ground starts heating up and some plants die. She-Ra makes an unwelcome re-entry to the storyline at this stage, and determines that there are a load of lava tunnels running directly underneath Whispering Wood. Her solution is to divert the ocean into the tunnels to extinguish the lava, which is achieved with stunning ease.

The episode attempts to wrap its various meandering plotlines up by having King Arbor arrive and taking Allegra home. Allegra says goodbye to her white dog friends, and Adora promises that the woodcutters will leave the dogs alone in future. Then she smirks in a really silly way.

Wild Child 5
King Arbor: “Thanks for finding my daughter, She-Ra. What’s that? I could join the Rebellion? You must be joking, ta-ta.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee’s got the worst hiding place ever today. He’s in the middle of an empty green field, with only his stupid blue tail offering him the slightest degree of concealment. I saw him immediately. His moral is that we should always eat our vegetables, rather than any one of the many things this episode might have been trying to say, such as:

  1. Don’t assume people and dogs are ghosts, because they probably aren’t.
  2. Don’t assume girls who grew up in the forest are idiots, because they probably aren’t.
  3. Don’t assume She-Ra knows what she’s doing when she’s messing about with volcanoes, because she probably doesn’t.
Wild Child 4
Loo-Kee: “Sorry to lower the tone, but this week it does rather look like I’m hiding behind my own massively engorged penis.”

 

Character checklist

This rubbish features Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Mermista, Allegra, King Arbor, Loo-Kee, some rebels and some woodcutters.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

It’s not an excuse as such, but Adora does heartily announce “Time for She-Ra!” just before transforming. Just thought you might be interested. If you’re still reading these reviews after this long, there’s a fair chance you are.

Adora’s second transformation comes with a better excuse, since she tells Bow to wait while “I head off the woodsmen.”

Wild Child 7
Woodcutters: “Yeah yeah, we cut down loads of trees with our, er, clubs.”

 

Insults

At the beginning, Bow discovers that all the prize-winning vegetables in his garden have withered and died, and considers that this means it’s okay to call Kowl a “featherbrain”. Otherwise, we only have some rubbish from the rebel children, one of whom says that Allegra “looks like an animal,” to which Allegra retorts, “You’re silly-looking.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

“I don’t get it,” announces Bow. “How could Allegra’s locket get from the Green Islands to Whispering Wood?” Well, Bow, here’s a notion: maybe someone carried it? If you can’t conceive of a method to get a small amulet from one place to another, you really are genuinely dim.

Wild Child 6
Adora: “No need to look so smug, Bow. You’re a moron of the highest order.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This one really doesn’t work. The bit about ghosts doesn’t make sense, since when we first see them, Allegra and the dogs are animated entirely in white, to make them look ghostly, but later on, they just look normal. There’s no explanation as to why they looked completely white, and it can only be chalked up to a pointless exercise in misdirection. The episode’s plotline about Allegra growing up in the forest could have been interesting, but was sacrificed almost immediately in favour of a load of utter gibberish about volcanoes. The woodcutters also did not feel like a necessary inclusion. All in all, I suggest avoiding this episode.

Episode 47 – The Price of Power

In which a familiar story is told surprisingly well.

This week’s episode follows the story of Ardin and Narwin. Narwin is an old man, learned in magic, while Ardin is his pupil. Ardin has the same beef that every wizard’s pupil has, namely, that he wants to use magic for everything, but Narwin doesn’t want him to until he can use it responsibly, and preferably not even then. This all-too-common argument results in an all-too-common storyline: Ardin tries to take the quick and easy way to power.

Price 2
Narwin: “You’re too irresponsible, Ardin. Look how happy-go-lucky you are about eating that soup.”

In this circumstance, the quick and easy way is for Ardin to approach Shadow Weaver and ask her to help. He goes to her home at Horror Hall, where he learns that a long time ago, Shadow Weaver and Narwin had some history. Unfortunately, Shadow Weaver blames Narwin for some past injustice, and now intends to use Ardin as an instrument of her vengeance. Her plan for doing so is to accept Ardin as her pupil, and turn him to the Dark Side.

Narwin, in the meantime, sends a message to the Rebellion asking them to come and meet him. She-Ra, Madame Razz and Broom go along, and Narwin fills us in on the rest of the story. Both Shadow Weaver and Castaspella were once his apprentices, but when the Horde arrived on Etheria, Shadow Weaver betrayed the planet’s defenders by handing over the Council of Kings to the Horde. In return, she received great magical power from the Horde; but would have received even more, if Narwin had not intervened at the time.

Price 3
Castaspella: “Nice hat, Shadow Weaver. You don’t look moronic at all.”

She-Ra and her posse head to Horror Hall, where Shadow Weaver quickly learns of their arrival. She sets up a test for Ardin, explaining that in order to learn great power, he must sacrifice other things such as friends. When She-Ra and Narwin confront them, Shadow Weaver offers Ardin a jewel which will give him magical power beyond imagining, and encourages him to take it. After a very short internal debate, Ardin refuses the offer, realising that at least Narwin cares for him and for others.

Shadow Weaver doesn’t take kindly to this rejection, and unleashes all sorts of hell involving flying gargoyle statues and green tentacles that grow up from the ground. She-Ra deals with this silliness with her usual aplomb, while Narwin himself vanquishes Shadow Weaver. The final scene shows Narwin congratulating Ardin for having the wisdom to reject Shadow Weaver’s quick and easy route to power.

Price 4
Ardin: “Gosh, I’ve been a bit of a goit, haven’t I?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is, as ever, in Whispering Wood, this time hiding under a bush. He says that it’s important to learn from our mistakes, like Ardin did in this episode. I’d argue that Loo-Kee doesn’t learn from his mistakes, since he’s always hiding in pretty much the same place.

 

Character checklist

So here we have Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Narwin, Ardin, a flashback version of Castaspella, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, some Horde Troopers, and all manner of extras, including a bunch of people who I’m going to assume were Mumford & Sons.

Price 1
Marcus Mumford: “Getting a better reception than we did at Reading, at least.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Don’t be silly. Why on earth would Adora need to give an excuse? It’s not like this She-Ra business is a secret or anything.

 

Insults

It’s all very polite in Etheria today, with no insults dispensed. This is despite a short appearance from Mantenna, who usually bears the brunt of someone’s temper.

 

Does it have the Power?

I didn’t have a good feeling about this one, given the all-too-familiar set-up with a wizard’s apprentice who wants to skip the hard work, which is a story we’ve seen so many times it’s not even funny. Therefore, it’s a pleasant surprise that this episode manages to tell the same story again extremely effectively. I think this is largely down to Shadow Weaver, who is portrayed with a perfect balance of seduction and threat. Perhaps the best example of this is when she offers Ardin the jewel and hisses, “Take it! It’s so easy…” There’s a strong undercurrent of danger, but it’s still believable as a temptation. Even Shadow Weaver’s closing monologue – “We will meet again someday, and you will regret this” – comes across as a serious threat, rather than the usual impotence such a line would convey.

Price 5
Shadow Weaver: “I enjoyed my turn as Mephistopheles at the RSC, so I’ve brought some of those skills to this episode.”

There’s also an effective scene in which Shadow Weaver shows Ardin her true face, but does so with her back to the camera. Ardin’s reaction is enough to convince us that her features are hideously twisted by evil, but we don’t actually see. This is a great example of less-is-more; I have no doubt that if the animators had actually shown us Shadow Weaver’s face, it would have been less than imposing, but without seeing it, we are left to imagine its horrific nature.

It’s not all perfect, of course; there’s a pointless scene early on in which Shadow Weaver conjures up some spirits called Dark Riders, for no reason whatsoever. They’re suitably scary, but her motivation for actually doing it is less than clear. But that’s just a very minor quibble; this is a very fine episode.

Episode 43 – Welcome Back, Kowl

In which Bow notably doesn’t leap to his friend’s defence.

Welcome Back, Kowl, indeed? While I don’t have anything against Kowl (he’s actually probably the best rebel character in this series, as far as I’m concerned), I don’t think anyone could say that he’s underrepresented in this programme. Surely, if he wants a welcome back, he’s got to go somewhere first? With that in mind, I am approaching this episode cautiously, because it’s the sort of title that leads me to suspect it’s an episode where Kowl quits in a temper and has to be coaxed back.

As it happens, however, it’s nothing of the kind. Kowl is having a nice peaceful nap, when Hordak, Imp and Tung Lashor show up. After they fail to capture Kowl, they voice their intention to test their new tanks on a neighbouring village, so Kowl flaps off to warn the rebels. Adora, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom and a pair of Twiggets promptly arrive and waste time messing about with Madame Razz’s inept spells. They then loudly discuss their own plans for combating the tanks, which for some convoluted but no doubt logical reason involves leaving Kowl to sleep in a barn overnight.

Welcome 1
Twigget: “Let’s draw a mustache on him while he’s asleep.”

Imp overhears these plans, waits until the other rebels leave, and then plants a bag of Horde gold in Kowl’s bed. In the morning, there’s a nice big battle between the rebels and the Horde tanks, which lasts for absolutely bloody ages and results in the tanks disappearing, having kidnapped Madame Razz. The rebels go back to Kowl’s barn, start randomly shrieking about the possibility of there being a spy in the Rebellion, and then they find the bag of Horde gold.

Broom and the Twiggets are quick to accuse Kowl of treachery, while Adora is quick to leap to Kowl’s defence. Bow, who is allegedly Kowl’s best friend, is quick to keep his mouth shut and not say anything at all. Angered by his friends’ lack of faith in him, Kowl does a runner and goes to the Fright Zone by himself to try to rescue Madame Razz. Luckily, he is followed by She-Ra, and the two of them break into the Fright Zone together.

Welcome 2
Bow: “If I admit that Kowl isn’t a traitor, will you sleep with me?”

During the course of the rescue mission, Kowl proves about fifty billion times that he isn’t a traitor, which seems a trifle pointless, since the only other person there is She-Ra, who already believes he isn’t. They quickly find Madame Razz, rescue her, and have a really exciting fight with Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Hordak. Kowl also gets the chance to exact vengeance on Imp by throwing him into the middle of a squashy orange fruit.

There’s just time at the end for Broom and the Twiggets to apologise for their suspicions of Kowl, which is nice, though it would have been nicer if Bow had chimed in to apologise for not defending his friend. Instead, he says, “Welcome back, Kowl!” as if Kowl had been gone for 18 years, rather than about 20 minutes.

Welcome 3
Bow: “I wish I had sufficient brains to enable me to apologise.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh look, there’s Loo-Kee, just outside the Fright Zone, sitting in a stupid blue tree. He explains to us that nobody gets everything right all of the time, and that it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all. I’m not sure this principle is always applicable, to be honest: surely, for example, it’s better not to try to accomplish Brexit, rather than wallowing in the inevitable failure that will ensue. Feel free to come up with similar examples in the comments section below.

 

Character checklist

This little visit to Etheria is punctuated by appearances from Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, some Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Tung Lashor, and those omnipresent Horde Troopers.

Welcome 4
Imp: “Here, look at my lovely close-up face. Bet that won’t spoil your evening.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Oh, for goodness’ sake, Adora. Yet again, not only does Adora not offer an excuse, she also transforms in the middle of a battlefield. The animators seem to think that so long as there’s no one in the background of the shot while Adora transforms, there’s no way anyone could see her. In this case, Bow, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Tung Lashor and Imp are all present, as well as any number of Horde Troopers. I just don’t think Adora takes this secret identity business seriously.

 

Insults

The Horde are clearly in an angry mood today, since Tung Lashor refers to Madame Razz as a “rebel hag”, which is pretty harsh, and Hordak sounds incredibly peeved when he calls Tung Lashor an “idiot”. Kowl calls Imp a “little drip”, but Imp has some nasty words to say about Kowl, including “clumsy old bird” and “scrawny flying dustmop”. Shortly after these insults are dispensed, Kowl snorts, “Nervous stuffed featherbag, indeed”. He seems to think he has been called this, but I didn’t hear it. Perhaps it was a line cut from the script, without any attention to whether this line of Kowl’s would subsequently make any sense.

Welcome 5
Kowl: “Christ! Look, Madame, it’s the paps again!”

 

Oh No, Bow!

Bow tries to pull a Horde tank over by looping a rope round it and then pulling. Admittedly, this normally works in the He-Man and She-Ra universe, but on this occasion it doesn’t, and he pulls ineffectually for about three minutes before a tank cuts the rope and makes Bow fall over. She-Ra then runs up, grabs the rope and instantly pulls the tank over, bringing Bow’s self-esteem down with it.

 

Does it have the Power?

Maybe I wasn’t listening carefully enough, or maybe I’ve been outwitted by a 30-year-old children’s cartoon, but I didn’t even begin to understand the rebels’ plan for dealing with the tanks. I certainly couldn’t see any reason for Kowl having to hang out in the barn overnight, other than so his mates could think he was a traitor, of course.

The Kowl’s treachery storyline was pretty unbelievable, since the evidence against him was circumstantial at best, and even saying it was circumstantial is being incredibly generous. If this sort of story must be done, I’m sure the writers could have come up with more damning evidence that might have actually made people have doubts about Kowl. This story, when coupled with a pointless subplot about Madame Razz feeling worthless and considering running away, didn’t do much to interest me, and I think I could be forgiven for advising you to skip it.

Episode 33 – A Talent for Trouble

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

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

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

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

Talent 2
He-Man: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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

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

Talent 3
She-Ra: “To quote Buffy, synchronised slayage!”

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

Talent 4
The Sorceress: “Let’s see … Orko, mops, and buckets of water. What could possibly go wrong?”

 

Character checklist

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

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

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

 

Insults

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

Talent 5
Madame Razz: “Orko, stop lounging around in your stupid chair! Do something!”

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

Talent 6
Mantenna: “Yes, this was the best plan I could come up with, but in my defense, I am very stupid.”

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

Episode 31 – The Reluctant Wizard

In which our heroes persist in bothering a dude who just wants to be left alone.

The episode opens with Madame Razz and Broom being chased through the sky by a Horde Trooper on a flying machine. They are saved when a tree fires an energy bolt at the Trooper. This strikes them as unusual, even for Etheria, so they head straight to Whispering Wood and tell Adora and Bow all about it. Madame Razz reckons that they have discovered the secret home of a wizard who, according to legend, has created his own entire world inside a tree.

Reluctant 1
Bow: “So, Madame, must have been some pretty potent mushrooms this time.”

Adora thinks this wizard sounds like a promising ally, and turns into She-Ra to go to ask Light Hope about it. Light Hope is his usual useless self, however, offering merely the advice that the wizard hates visitors, which I generally think is a given for people who retreat from the world to live inside a tree. She-Ra decides to disregard this advice, and sets off with Bow, Kowl and Madame Razz to see the wizard and his amazing tree.

En route, the party come up against a wide variety of silly visitor deterrents, such as a massive chasm, a wall of fire and a walking cactus. These distractions do not prove to be terribly diverting, however, and our heroes soon get the privilege of talking directly to the wizard’s tree. Because they start from a ridiculously adversarial position, they are quickly transported inside the tree and forced to do battle with an army of stupid mud monsters.

Reluctant 3
She-Ra: “My dates often do get overly handsy.”

She-Ra apologises for being rude, and the wizard finally shows himself. He explains that he has hidden away because people think he’s ugly. Frankly, he’s right, but on the other hand, I’ve seen uglier specimens on the Southwestern Railways London to Portsmouth service, so things could be worse. Still, our heroes have no success in their attempts to persuade the wizard to join them against the Horde, thanks in no small part to Bow’s efforts (see Oh No, Bow! below).

At this point, having heard the tree story from the unfortunate Horde Trooper at the beginning of the episode, Hordak, Shadow Weaver and Catra arrive and attack the wizard’s tree. Team She-Ra instantly leap to the wizard’s defence, and defeat the Horde in a selection of humiliating and/or implausible ways. Countering the viewer’s expectations, once the battle is won, the wizard does not agree to help the Rebellion – though, admittedly, he doesn’t rule it out either.

Reluctant 4
Wizard: “Why would I join the Rebellion? I have a lovely place to live as it is.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Ha! I’m getting wise to your sneaky ways, Loo-Kee. The animators reused an establishing shot of Whispering Wood today, and it happened to be that one which features Loo-Kee’s nose poking out from behind a tree. So basically, I found him because I recognised the background shot in which he has previously appeared. I think I may have been watching too much of this cartoon.

Anyway, Loo-Kee’s message for us this week is that if we can’t say anything nice, we shouldn’t say anything at all. Perhaps anticipating that this advice would result in children simply refusing to talk to each other, he then goes on to add that we should probably just say something nice. In other words, Loo-Kee tells us to lie.

 

Character checklist

Most of the familiar faces show up today – Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Bow, Kowl, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Catra, Shadow Weaver, the wizard, and of course those ubiquitous Horde Troopers.

Reluctant 5
Madame Razz: “Just so you know, Bow, me and Kowl loathe you.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“It seemed like a better idea for me to come instead,” says She-Ra, when Bow whinges that Adora isn’t coming with them to the wizard’s home.

 

Insults

Catra calls She-Ra a “miserable insect”, and the wizard refers to She-Ra, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom and Kowl as “weaklings”. He also takes the time to address Bow to say, “You aren’t as smart as you look.” I’m sure I can’t be the only one who doesn’t think Bow looks particularly smart in the first place, so this is pretty insulting.

Reluctant 6
Wizard: “Good God, Bow, you really are dim.”

 

Oh No, Bow!

There’s a genuinely entertaining scene in which She-Ra, Madame Razz, Broom and Kowl all make Bow dig a massive hole for himself concerning whether he likes Adora or She-Ra better. Bow proves completely incapable of dealing with this unfair exercise in comparisons, and it presumably comes as an enormous relief to him when an earthquake starts.

In addition to this, when the wizard says, “I’m really ugly, so I hid myself away,” Bow responds with, “Yes, I can understand that.” Seriously, Bow? This is the best pep talk you can manage? No wonder the wizard tells our heroes to get lost.

Reluctant 2
Bow: “Mummy! Help! I’ve tied my shoelaces together again!”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s pretty good in that it looks like it’s building to the all-too-common conclusion in which the wizard would agree to help the Rebellion after they help him defeat the Horde, and then yanks the rug out from under us by simply having him announce, “I’ll think about it!” and turn invisible. Whether we see him again in the future or not, it’s a nice and pretty rare example of Etheria not being a completely black-and-white place. In addition, I’m happy to report that the dialogue is snappy, the animation is fun, and it’s well-paced. I think we have a winner here.

Episode 30 – Play It Again, Bow

In which Bow does indeed play it again, though he definitely shouldn’t have.

Adora is playing hide and seek with a pair of ridiculously delighted Twiggets, but is mercifully distracted from this soul-sapping pastime when She-Ra’s services are needed to save an old man from a runaway wagon. The old man introduces himself as Fritt the Bottle Man, because he collects old bottles from villages. Unfortunately, the Horde have recently stolen his pack animal, True Blue, and he’s now finding it difficult to travel between the villages.

Play 1
Fritt: “I’m certainly not crazy. Don’t even suggest it.”

She-Ra leaps at the chance to escape the hide and seek more permanently, so offers the help of the Rebellion in recovering True Blue. Fritt happily comes along to the rebels’ camp, where he entertains the Twiggets with stupid stories and then asks Bow to sing a song. If Fritt did this in my house, I wouldn’t invite him back again. Bow, of course, is only too happy to oblige with one of the most unholy rackets I’ve ever had the misfortune to hear – and yes, that does include Spice Up Your Life.

Things get even worse when seconds later, Madame Razz shows up, and it emerges that Fritt is her ex-lover, conjuring up a whole world of mental imagery that I really didn’t need. I’m not entirely sure why the affair ended in the first place, but suffice it to say that the rest of the episode meanders pointlessly towards a reconciliation between Madame Razz and Fritt, via several less than amusing comedy set pieces.

Play 2
Madame Razz: “Don’t come near me, Fritt Stick.”

Fritt takes Bow and the Twiggets to see what he does with the bottles he collects; it turns out that Fritt has built a monument to freedom with them. He tries to claim that the bottles represent the people of Etheria, but frankly the whole thing looks essentially like a bottle-crazed loon has got into the glass recycling plant and indulged his passion for building demented structures. Bow pretends to be impressed, but I think he’s secretly pleased when Catra shows up proclaiming her intention to destroy the monument.

In the meantime, Adora and Kowl skulk off to a village to recover True Blue, and find him being forced to walk on a treadmill, for no particularly apparent reason. In order to rescue him, Adora becomes She-Ra and performs some unnecessary acrobatics before beating up some Horde Troopers. She then flies off on Swift Wind to attend to Catra and the potential glass bottle monument destruction, while Kowl and True Blue follow at a more sedate pace.

Play 3
Catra: “This looks like a rubbish version of the Sagrada Familia.”

On the one hand, She-Ra is too late, since Catra has started destroying the monument. On the other hand, Catra has elected to destroy it one bottle at a time, and since I estimate there’s about six billion bottles in the structure, this is going to take her a while. Needless to say, She-Ra arrives on the scene pretty smartish, but Catra threatens to shoot the rebels if She-Ra makes a move towards saving the bottles. This is an unexpectedly smart move, though it does rather rest on the notion that She-Ra wouldn’t want Bow and Madame Razz to get shot.

She-Ra doesn’t care for this ultimatum, and defeats Catra and her Troopers through a very stupid method that defies description. Unfortunately, Catra manages to get off one good shot before her ignominious exit from the episode, and nearly causes the monument to collapse. If you care even vaguely, She-Ra saves it, by propping it up with a cart, and then Madame Razz magically transforms the entire monument into crystal. This is ostensibly to make it so that the Horde can’t destroy it, but I wouldn’t mind betting it’s at least partly to make it less offensively ugly. Finally, Bow concludes the episode by singing that bloody awful song again, even less tunefully than before.

Play 4
Bow: “Just recording my audition to join Mumford & Sons.”

 

In today’s adventure…

It’s one of those weeks where Loo-Kee evidently wants to be found, since the camera lingers on him for about 15 seconds while he sits in a tree by the side of the road. He tries to suggest that the many colours of bottle in the ridiculous monument represent the many colours of people, and suggests that – just like the monument – we can become stronger when we all live and work together. He does not mention that when the monument became stronger by being turned into crystal, it also assumed a uniformity of colour, which I do not think is the message he was trying to convey.

 

Character checklist

Today’s visit to Etheria gives us a chance to spot Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Glimmer, Fritt, True Blue, the Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Catra, and – as always – a truckload of Horde Troopers.

Play 5
Kowl: “Don’t look at me so seedily, you weird horse.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Yet again, it’s two transformations and no excuses. Adora is really rubbish at this.

 

Insults

A Horde Trooper addresses True Blue as a “broken-down nag”, while Catra calls She-Ra a “fool”, and elaborates with “hopeless fools” for Fritt, Madame Razz, Broom, Bow and the Twiggets.

 

Oh No, Bow!

I think a very special mention has to be given here for Bow’s dreadful song. I bet the voice actor was horrified when he got the script for this episode. He must have known that he can’t sing for toffee.

 

Does it have the Power?

Hmm, let’s see. Bow singing twice, in an episode all about Madame Razz’s love life, also featuring a lunatic who has wasted his entire life building a demented sculpture out of bottles. Do you think it has the Power? In case you’re unsure, allow me to explain: NO IT DOESN’T.

Episode 24 – The Mines of Mondor

In which She-Ra and co attempt a remake of The Great Escape.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me today, but I found it incredibly difficult to understand what anyone was saying for the first few minutes of this episode. This was partly down to Catra, who was rather overdoing it on her cat voice this time, but otherwise there was nothing obvious to blame. Still, the story was easy enough to pick up: Prince Azar, the son of King Duplis, is captured by the Horde. This is a bad thing, though we’ve never met Azar or Duplis before.

Mondor 1
Catra: “Azar didn’t keep up repayments on his mortgage, and now Horde Troopers are repossessing his house. Don’t be like Azar. Set up a mortgage protection plan today.”

Duplis comes to visit Queen Angela, Glimmer and Adora at Bright Moon, and explains that Azar has been set to work in the Mines of Mondor on the planet Krytus, acquiring precious but dangerous minerals for the Horde. Angela offers the Rebellion’s help, and Adora obligingly pops off to find She-Ra. Once the funky music has finished playing, She-Ra, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom and Glimmer all make a trip through a dimensional gate to Krytus, having first been warned that they must return within three days, or not at all.

Once on Krytus, our heroes find themselves by a vast sea, so – without consulting the others – She-Ra buys a ship in order to travel to the Mines. Notwithstanding the fact that the ship is a complete hunk of junk, Glimmer reasonably points out that none of the assembled rebels knows anything about sailing. She-Ra dismisses their concerns, and tells them that they will all learn how to sail. Yes, She-Ra, I realise the point is that you can do anything if you try, but perhaps learning the art of seamanship when you’ve only got three days is a tad overambitious, no?

Mondor 2
She-Ra: “Come on lads, look lively. Learn how to sail.”

As it turns out, seamanship is really easy. I don’t know why we need naval colleges; these clowns master it within 20 seconds. Unfortunately, a storm whipped up by Shadow Weaver sinks the ship, and the rebels all huddle together on a tiny raft until they reach the island of Mondor. Once there, a giant dragon bird thing attacks, but She-Ra defeats it and heals its injured wing. I bet that won’t prove important later.

Once that’s dealt with, She-Ra and her merry band wait until night before pulling off a heist on the mines. They successfully release all the slaves, including Prince Azar, and have time for a less than enthralling fight with Hordak, Catra, Scorpia and Shadow Weaver, as well as scores of Horde Troopers. This comes to an all-too-predictable end when the dragon bird thing reappears and carries our heroes back to the dimension gate, with only a few minutes to spare.

Back in Bright Moon, King Duplis briefly claims that he and his son will not help the Rebellion, despite all that the rebels have done for him. Queen Angela starts off on a stupid and borderline irrelevant lecture about parenthood, and Duplis immediately backtracks and promises to assist the Rebellion after all, presumably mostly to get Angela to shut up. Bow then glances at Adora and appears to make the hand signal for ‘wanker’, though I suspect that’s not what was meant.

Mondor 3
Adora: “Bow, stop making insulting gestures, and while you’re at it, put your freaky teeth back behind your lips.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee couldn’t be more obvious this week; he’s right in the middle of the frame when the camera fades in on Whispering Wood, and he remains at the centre of the shot for a long time before the camera starts moving, infinitesimally slowly, to the left. His moral is pretty much a word-for-word repeat of the one from Enchanted Castle, when he gibbers on about helping people in order to make yourself feel good.

 

Character checklist

This little trip through an interdimensional portal provides an outing for Adora, She-Ra, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Queen Angela, King Duplis, Prince Azar, Hordak, Catra, Scorpia, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Horde Troopers, and loads of background weirdos.

Mondor 4
She-Ra: “Bow, standing up doesn’t make you look any manlier. Sit down like the rest of us.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I will find her,” says Adora, referring to She-Ra. And what do you know, she does!

 

Insults

Unless there were some hidden away in the unintelligible dialogue at the start of the episode, there weren’t any insults today.

 

Oh No, Bow!

On meeting some miserable locals on Krytus, Bow goes out of his tiny mind and decides to play them the worst song I’ve ever heard. It’s even worse than Agadoo. Naturally, the locals are less than impressed, and gather round with expressions suggesting they are all too willing to club Bow to death. Bow doesn’t take the hint, and actually seems to expect some applause, continuing to witter on about it even into the next scene. He even gets his harp out again later, in a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to seduce She-Ra.

Mondor 5
Locals: “If it’s not an Elvis tribute act, we don’t want to hear it.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Unfortunately, no it doesn’t. It’s one of those episodes that feels very much like it’s been put together by cutting and pasting bits of other stories, most of which weren’t that good in the first place. The rescuing a Horde prisoner storyline is very familiar by this point, and the bit about the injured dragon bird’s wing is taken pretty much verbatim from Friendship. The editing of the episode is really odd as well, with scenes seeming to finish at random. All in all, I’d class this episode as both dull and mildly incompetent, rather like me.

Episode 22 – The Crystal Castle

In which the Horde throw melons at Castle Bright Moon.

This story is told in flashback, just like Enchanted Castle a few weeks ago was, but I’m going to pretend it’s told in real time, because frankly getting my tenses right in the review of Enchanted Castle was really difficult, and it resulted in one of the most awkward bits of prose I’ve ever written. All I need to say is that the framing dialogue suggests this ought to have taken place just after Battle for Bright Moon. I should also note that it’s narrated by Madame Razz, so it might be annoying.

Adora, Madame Razz and Broom are summoned to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela and Glimmer are under attack from the Horde, who appear to be hurling large pink melons at the castle. Queen Angela explains that the magical defences of Bright Moon are derived from the light of Etheria’s moons, and that in a few nights’ time, an eclipse will render them unable to fend off the assaults. This is at least halfway logical, given the castle’s name, but it does bring to mind the phrase “fatal design flaw”, and it should perhaps have not got past the drawing board phase.

Crystal 1
Adora: “Say what you like about the Horde, at least they build roads and have vehicles, so they don’t have to travel like this.”

Queen Angela, who sounds like she’s doped up to the eyeballs, tells Adora that there’s only one hope: they must find the Crystal Castle. Adora starts to say that she found it last week, but then remembers this episode’s a flashback, so plays dumb instead while Queen Angela explains that the Crystal Castle is the most magical place on Etheria, containing the secrets of the First Ones. However, she adds that no one has ever seen it, so it may be just a myth.

Broom then has an uncommon moment of usefulness and remarks that Argo, the King of the Trolls of Spykont, knows where the Crystal Castle is. Remarking that all trolls hate humans, Glimmer gets into a right panic at this moment, but Adora tells her to chill, and offers to go with She-Ra to meet Argo. Adora then trots outside, becomes She-Ra, and flies off on Swift Wind.

Crystal 3
Glimmer: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime and actually contribute usefully to the episode.”

She-Ra arrives in Spykont, meets some trolls, and then falls down a trapdoor, which is incredibly pleasing, given the insufferable air of smugness she was exuding throughout this scene. Naturally, this reversal in her fortunes doesn’t delay her long, but it was still super. She-Ra finds Argo, who tells her the sad story of the mistrust and hate that humans have had for the trolls over the years, and refuses to help her find the Crystal Castle. It takes She-Ra’s usual degree of persuasiveness before Argo relents, and informs her that the Crystal Castle is always where the seeker most wants it to be; in plain sight, yet never seen.

Crystal 4
Argo: “Date night.”

She-Ra restrains herself from rude remarks about useless information, and instead thanks Argo for his wisdom. There is possibly a hint of sarcasm in her tone. Anyway, she and Swift Wind return to Bright Moon, just in time for the eclipse and Shadow Weaver’s most powerful spell. Finding Bright Moon nearly fallen, She-Ra suddenly realises the Crystal Castle must be at the top of Skydancer Mountain, so she flies up to the summit.

Finding that she is entirely correct, She-Ra calls on the castle’s keeper to allow her entry. Once inside, she meets Light Hope for the first time, which might have been dramatic if we hadn’t met him last week. She-Ra asks Light Hope for help in saving Bright Moon, and Light Hope offers the most ludicrous solution I’ve ever heard: She-Ra must journey to the centre of Etheria, where she will find a clock. If she speeds the clock up, time will move faster, and so the eclipse will be over quicker.

Crystal 5
Light Hope: “Hello, I’m Light Hope, and I love making up bollocks about clocks. Bolclocks, if you will.”

There’s a close up shot of She-Ra’s face at this point, and I swear it looks like her eyes are saying, “Are you taking the piss or what?” Nonetheless, she accepts this advice, and luckily for her, Light Hope turns out to not be a lying lunatic. We cut back to Bright Moon, where Queen Angela is rejuvenated by the power of the moons, and repels Shadow Weaver’s attack. Light Hope then asks She-Ra to treat the Crystal Castle as her personal haven, and to visit often – though she must keep the castle’s location secret, presumably for the same less than clear reason that she must keep her identity secret.

 

In today’s adventure…

If you happen to be looking in precisely the right direction – which, as luck would have it, I was – you will see Loo-Kee in the very first shot of the episode, in Whispering Woods. I’m getting good at this. Or maybe the producers realised it was insanely difficult and told the animators that Loo-Kee wasn’t supposed to be as hard to find as the Masquerade Hare.

Crystal 6
Loo-Kee: “The reward for finding me is not as exciting as the Masquerade Hare either.”

Anyway, I was unsurprised to learn that Loo-Kee’s moral lesson was on the subject of not saying bad things about people because they look or talk different. Both Glimmer and Swift Wind had exhibited distrust of the trolls for no good reason earlier, so it was pretty clear we were heading for another such moral. It’s a fine sentiment, but I feel like Loo-Kee never quite finishes what he’s saying: he just seems to stop, without drawing his little monologue to a natural halt, and it seems a little jarring.

 

Character checklist

Quite a decent turnout today: Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Glimmer, Queen Angela, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Argo, some other trolls, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. There’s also a fair few random background characters in Bright Moon, among whom Bow and Kowl are numbered. And, of course, the children in the framing device.

Crystal 2
Adora: “Do your weird role-play games on your own time, guys.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora doesn’t give an excuse this week, but it’s interesting to note that the story is being told in flashback by Madame Razz to some children. We see what really happened, but what did Madame Razz tell the children? Well, I thought it was interesting anyway.

 

Insults

She-Ra gets in a minor tussle with a fire demon at one point, which calls her a “puny mortal woman”. She-Ra responds with “hothead”. That’s all we’re given this week.

 

Oh No, Bow!

Though Bow doesn’t do anything stupid this week, he equally doesn’t do anything at all to contribute to the defence of Bright Moon. It’s thus rather surprising to see him posing dramatically when the battle is won, while all the villagers cheer his victory.

Crystal 7
Bow: “I will savour this moment as long as I live.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s another episode that I think could have benefitted from a different position in the running order. If it had actually aired as the episode after our opening 5-parter, it would have helped to establish the mythology of the series. As it is, it comes across almost as an afterthought, like the writers realised suddenly that they had planned for this to happen but had forgotten about it. It’s also unfortunate that it comes immediately after last week’s visit to the Crystal Castle, where it’s presented as an established part of the series. And yes, I know that this week was told in flashback, but it still seems silly to show them in this order.

On the positive side, ignoring its position, this is a good entry to the series, featuring an almost epic battle at Bright Moon and a desperate mission for She-Ra. The clock situation was perhaps the most demented solution to a problem that I’ve seen since He-Man pushed the moon out of orbit for the sake of the Widgets, so extra points there too. I’d just recommend that you watch this in between Battle for Bright Moon and Duel at Devlan, and then it’ll be just perfect.