Episode 03 – She-Ra Unchained

In which Hordak creates a weapon with an oddly specific fuel requirement.

In the Fright Zone, Hordak introduces Shadow Weaver, Mantenna and the newly re-brainwashed Adora to his new weapon, the Magna Beam Transporter. This is a device which can teleport anything or anyone into the Valley of the Lost, a location from which no one has ever returned. Once the Magna Beam reaches full power, Hordak intends to use it to transport the entirety of Whispering Woods into the Valley, taking Rebel HQ with it.

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Mantenna: “I have the feeling I’m going to be called ‘bug-eyes’ about a million times over the course of this series.”

Despite knowing that Adora’s loyalties are somewhat in question at the moment, Hordak takes the time to explain to her exactly how the Magna Beam works, and shows her the control room. This is presumably so that later she knows what to destroy. Stupidly, Hordak has designed the Magna Beam to be powered by the willpower of rebels, a finite resource that is difficult to obtain. Surely he could have arranged for it to charge via a USB port? Anyway, in order to bring the Magna Beam to full power, it is necessary for the Horde to go out and capture lots of rebels.

In Whispering Woods, Adam announces that he’s going back to the Fright Zone to complete his mission, not that the rest of the Rebellion know what his mission is. Turning into He-Man, he nicks a Horde Trooper’s armour and dons it as a disguise. Unfortunately, he doesn’t pay sufficient attention and leaves his hair sticking out of his helmet, which makes it easy to Shadow Weaver to identify him. She and Hordak conclude that he will be the ideal source of willpower for the Magna Beam.

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Shadow Weaver: “It wasn’t just the hair that identified He-Man. It was also the swagger.”

Once inside the Fright Zone, He-Man locates Adora, and tries to give her another pep talk. Adora, however, simply arrests him, leading to his capture by Hordak and Shadow Weaver. He-Man is placed in the Magna Beam Charger (which is – in the interests of cheap animation – a glass box), where his willpower is set to work on the Magna Beam. Hordak, however, makes the mistake of leaving him in the Charger overnight, with no guards.

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He-Man: “I know some people like to keep me ‘mint in box’, but this is ridiculous.”

In her bed, Adora is troubled by dreams, eventually waking as her power sword magically summons her. She pops down to the Magna Beam Charger Room, where she finds her sword, and through the gemstone embedded in its hilt, she converses with the Sorceress, who chooses this moment to make a shock revelation. Adora and Adam are twins; the Horde stole Adora as a baby, and brainwashed her. The Sorceress fades away, with the enigmatic phrase, “For the Honour of Grayskull.”

Adora holds her power sword above her head and repeats the phrase, resulting in some awesome funky 80s beats, and a light show far in excess of anything He-Man gets. She transforms into She-Ra, and rescues He-Man from the Magna Beam Charger. It’s too late though, because the Magna Beam has already reached full capacity. Things get worse when Hordak shows up, and he’s evidently very cross, because today he’s transformed both his arms into cannons.

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She-Ra: “Has anyone done a Health & Safety assessment for all these fireworks?”

He-Man easily stops Hordak activating the Magna Beam, and destroys it for good measure, while She-Ra heads off to get help from the other rebels. En route, she leaps onto her horse Spirit, who magically transforms into a flying unicorn called Swift Wind. She-Ra then circles back to rescue He-Man, who has been surrounded by some Horde Troopers. Hordak watches them go, and cries, “Oh, they’re getting away!” in a voice that sounds slightly orgasmic and eerily reminiscent of Matt Berry’s Mr Reynholm.


In today’s adventure…

There’s still no moral lessons being dispensed, but once again, we can learn from the mistakes of the characters. This week, we learned that if you have captured the Most Powerful Man in the Universe and put him in a glass box, you should guard him in case his brainwashed twin sister shows up and ruins your day.

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She-Ra: “Who’s this hunk of manly goodness? Oh, it’s my brother. Bollocks.”


Character checklist

Big day today – we meet She-Ra! Nice to see that, three episodes into her series, she’s actually bothered to turn up. There’s also Adora, Spirit, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Madame Razz, the green people, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, the Sorceress, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Imp, Mantenna, some Horde Troopers and some rebel prisoners.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam turns into He-Man while lurking about in the forest, with no one to even realise he’s gone. Thus he doesn’t need to give an excuse.

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Prince Adam: “To be honest, Glimmer, by this stage I’m just keen to get back to Eternia, which I’ll admit isn’t exactly a normal place but at least the trees don’t look like candy floss.”


Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Hurrah! A new section! Not a very exciting one, though: Adora doesn’t give an excuse. But since she didn’t know what was going to happen, I think it’s fair enough.



Hordak refers to the entire Rebellion as “pests” and “worthless”, and also considers a bunch of his Horde Troopers to be “incompetent fools”. He relatively mildly addresses a nameless rebel as “foolishly misguided,” to which the rebel responds by calling him an “evil tyrant” and refers to the entire Horde as a “criminal crew”.

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Hordak: “Yeah, sure, having cannons for arms is quite handy in some circumstances, but people do tend to laugh at me in the Fright Zone canteen when I have trouble eating my sandwiches.”


Oh No, Bow!

When Adam heads off to the Fright Zone, Bow starts making a poncey speech about standing together in the Rebel Brotherhood. Adam immediately interrupts him and tells him to shut up. Gutted, Bow.


Does it have the Power?

It’s the first episode of She-Ra to which I can give an unequivocal thumbs-up, and possibly not coincidentally, it’s an episode which doesn’t have much Madame Razz or Glimmer in it. This one doesn’t seem to matter that it’s part of a larger story; it’s got a self-contained plot all to itself, concerning the Magna Beam, against which the bigger picture of Adora becoming She-Ra unfolds.

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She-Ra: “Christ, Swift Wind, I didn’t realise you’d have such a terrifying voice.”

The She-Ra transformation is suitably dramatic, and it’s great to finally see Adora shake off the Horde’s control and realise her destiny. It also must have been hugely exciting when this first aired to find that He-Man has a twin sister. All in all, I’m happy to say that this one’s very good, except for Hordak, who is still a snorting pig and thus rather detracts from the whole thing.