Episode 79 – Romeo and Glimmer

In which the writers don’t have the balls to stick to the ending of the story they’re adapting.

The rebels have gathered at Castle Bright Moon, where they receive intelligence suggesting that Hordak is planning an attack shortly. When huge Horde armies arrive and surround the castle, Bright Moon’s guards manage to capture a Horde soldier, called Corporal Romeo, who refuses to give up any further information on the upcoming attack. Noting that Romeo’s arm is hurt, Glimmer offers to take him to the medical room to cure it.

Romeo: “Oh no. Being captured is bad enough. Having to interact with Adora is terrible.”

At the medical room, Glimmer spends a fair bit of time staring dopily into Romeo’s face, then starts shrieking at him for his allegiance to the Horde. Romeo defends himself, apparently sincerely believing that the Horde is a force for good. You know that scene in the new She-Ra series where Bow shouts at Adora about the Horde being called THE EVIL HORDE? Romeo could benefit from that conversation. Anyway, he tries to make friends with Glimmer, but she won’t have it and stomps off to help defend the castle.

In a massive tank outside the castle, Hordak and Entrapta fire a new weapon at the protective forcefield, which rather surprisingly brings the forcefield crashing down. Of course, the first thing they find on the other side is She-Ra, poncing about with an insufferable air of self-importance. With very little effort, she picks up the tank and hurls it back to the Fright Zone.

She-Ra: “Sword to fireworks.”

We then cut back to Romeo, pacing about in the medical room. He is talking to himself, muttering, “Hordak always told us the rebels were animals.” There’s then a touch of regret in his voice as he concludes, “But Glimmer isn’t like an animal at all.” It’s clear that he has fallen for Glimmer, but decides that his duty is to escape and return to Hordak. In the course of his escape, he overhears Queen Angela saying that until Bright Moon’s forcefield is repaired, the castle will remain vulnerable, and he determines to bring this info back to the Horde.

Discovering that Romeo has done a runner, Glimmer develops a near-obsession with recapturing him. She heads off with Kowl in tow, finding Romeo just before he leaves rebel territory, and they have another impassioned debate about whether the Horde are good or evil. This ends when Romeo leaps on Glimmer, appears to grope her, and then whisks her off to meet Hordak.

Glimmer: “Hey! Personal space!”

Romeo informs Hordak of the vulnerability of the force shield, but then foolishly starts answering back when Hordak orders Glimmer to be locked up. The end result of the scene is that both Glimmer and Romeo end up being booked in for an all-expenses-paid stay in a five star dungeon. While there, they indulge in yet another discussion, after which Romeo agrees to join the Rebellion, though possibly only to shut Glimmer up.

Kowl brings word back to Bright Moon of Glimmer’s capture, and She-Ra goes barrelling along to rescue her. She releases Glimmer and Romeo from their cell, and then finds time to smash up a squadron of Horde Troopers and free a whole load more prisoners. Once they all return to Bright Moon, Glimmer makes eyes at Romeo and starts trying to act seductive, which is fairly uncomfortable viewing, if I’m honest.

Glimmer: “I’ve spent some time trying to think of a sexual innuendo involving the word ‘Horde’, but I can’t.”

In today’s adventure…

I was so engrossed in this week’s fascinating instalment that I entirely forgot to look for Loo-Kee, though I wasn’t altogether surprised when he revealed he was in a tree. He witters on about friendship and how it’s really valuable and all that. I’m getting heartily sick of Loo-Kee and his gibberish.

Character checklist

This majestic entry features Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Queen Angela, Romeo, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Entrapta, Imp, and a super selection of Horde Troopers.

Entrapta: “Em, Hordak, I’m sure you did this to Octavia too at one point. It’s a little bit inappropriate.”

Insults

Entrapta calls She-Ra a “muscle maiden” and says something that sounds very much like “little fink” to Imp, but I don’t know what that means. Otherwise, we only have Kowl slightly oddly calling a Horde Trooper a “turkey”.

Oh No, Bow!

Adora has to remind Bow at the start that the rebels don’t torture people for information, which comes as something of a disappointment to Bow, judging by his face. He’s itching to beat the living daylights out of Romeo.

Does it have the Power?

I’m sure the writers thought they were paying respectful tribute to Shakespeare by attempting to rework his play into this episode, but all they did was craft a really boring story. The only good thing about it was that it gave me momentary hope that they’d stick to the original and make Glimmer stab herself to death at the end. Perhaps inevitably, this doesn’t happen, and I now realise I was foolish to expect it. With that hope dashed, though, there’s no reason whatsoever to watch this.

Episode 46 – Micah of Bright Moon

In which Glimmer’s absentee father returns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In today’s adventure…

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

 

Character checklist

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

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

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

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

 

Insults

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

 

Does it have the Power?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 41 – Glimmer’s Story

In which Glimmer gives herself a new and demented haircut.

This week, Glimmer has got herself all hot and bothered over the impending arrival of Prince Highcliff from Blue Mountain. None of the rebels have ever met Prince Highcliff before, but word has it that he’s very handsome. Glimmer has dyed her hair purple for the occasion, and given herself a splendidly insane haircut, which serves very little purpose story-wise and must have given the animators a right headache.

Glimmer 1
Angela: “This is my daughter, Bellatrix Lestrange… er, sorry, Glimmer.”

Unbeknownst to the rebels, however, Highcliff has been captured by Hordak and introduced to a gentleman called Falseface. Falseface is essentially a better version of Man-e-Faces, in that he can mimic a person’s entire appearance, not just their face. This makes him far more useful as a master of disguise than Man-e-Faces ever was. Assuming Prince Highcliff’s appearance, Falseface trolls off to Bright Moon to do something nefarious, though he isn’t given any specific aim.

When Falseface arrives, he is welcomed by the perpetually thick-sounding Queen Angela, who assigns Glimmer to guide him round. The first thing Glimmer shows him are the floodgates, which are currently closed to defend Castle Bright Moon from a watery deluge. Naturally, Falseface opens the floodgates, necessitating She-Ra’s intervention. She-Ra saves the castle, though she nearly drowns a child in the process, so I don’t think this one can be called an unmitigated success.

Glimmer 2
Bow: “That’s fine, I’ll just clear up She-Ra’s mess, like usual.”

Falseface pretends to cheer along with all the other happy idiots in Bright Moon, but he is already hatching his next plan: to turn off Bright Moon’s defensive shields in order to allow a full-scale Horde assault. He sleazes up to Glimmer and asks how the shields work, and learns that they are powered by a magical device called the Moonstone, so he kidnaps Glimmer by putting her in a big red blanket, and steals the Moonstone.

Once this treachery is discovered, She-Ra attends to defending the castle from Hordak’s army, first getting Bow out of the way by telling him to go and rescue Glimmer. As it turns out, Bow only provides minimal help: Glimmer proves entirely capable of rescuing herself, and retrieves the Moonstone and the real Prince Highcliff into the bargain. She brings the Moonstone back to Bright Moon, where it is recharged and used to put the castle’s defences up again.

Glimmer 3
Prince Highcliff: “Glimmer, it’s lovely to meet you, but did you have to bring that loony in the paper aeroplane?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee’s in the very first shot of the story today, perhaps thinking that we wouldn’t be ready for him at that early stage. Too bad for him, because I was. He rabbits on about how appearance isn’t everything. It’s a while since we’ve heard this one, and since it makes sense in the context of this episode’s story, I think we’ll accept it this time.

 

Character checklist

Lots of familiar faces today, and a few less so. There’s Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Glimmer, Bow, Queen Angela, Kowl, Madame Razz, Prince Highcliff, Hordak, Catra, Grizzlor, Falseface, Imp, and the various inhabitants of Bright Moon.

Glimmer 4
Prince Highcliff: “Why is this guy making a gesture implying he’s got a hefty pair of tits?”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

I think I’m going to have to start giving an excuse for the disappearance of this section if she doesn’t start making excuses soon.

 

Insults

All we get this week is Imp calling Catra “ugly”, which seems unnecessarily harsh, not to mention untrue.

 

Oh No, Bow!

The episode opens with Bow testing his new invention, a hang glider. Secure in his genius, Bow launches himself off a cliff, only to find that his hang glider doesn’t work, and he plummets into a lake. This qualifies for inclusion here for two reasons: firstly because it doesn’t work, though I think we could have all seen that coming, and secondly because his choice of location for his first test was ridiculously dangerous. If there was any sanity in this world, Loo-Kee’s moral would have been “don’t jump off cliffs in stupid machines you’ve just invented”.

Glimmer 5
Bow: “I honestly thought this would work.”

Not to be deterred, however, Bow unleashes his hang glider again at the end of the episode, in the big battle against the Horde. This time, he fares a little better, but frankly he still ends up falling out of it and needing to be rescued by Guess Who. I think he needs to give up on this idea, though it seems all the inhabitants of Bright Moon disagree with me, since they spend the final scene making out they’re really impressed by the hang glider.

 

Does it have the Power?

It may be called Glimmer’s Story, but she doesn’t really get a starring role. On the other hand, I think it is the first time we see her being competent: her escape from Falseface and her rescue of Prince Highcliff in the Fright Zone was achieved all by herself, without any backup from She-Ra, and that was rather refreshing.

Falseface was pretty irritating in his original form, and it didn’t help that he looked uncomfortably close to cruel caricatures my classmates used to draw of me. Once he was disguised as Prince Highcliff, though, he proved himself a pretty useful member of the Horde, so I’m not sure which way to jump with him. Let’s be generous and say he’s a worthwhile addition to the series, not that I expect we’ll be seeing him again.

In summary, this episode isn’t as good as some recent outings, but it’s still fairly entertaining, and I’d recommend you give it a watch.

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.

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.

Episode 04 – Reunions

In which Glimmer, Madame Razz and Broom unleash the full extent of their infuriating natures.

Hurrah! We finally get the full introduction sequence. Adora approaches the camera, introduces herself, and explains how she becomes She-Ra (by drawing her sword and crying, “For the Honour of Grayskull!”, in case you’ve forgotten). She also reminds us that Spirit becomes Swift Wind, and informs us that her secret is shared by Kowl, a glowing mass of energy called Light Hope, and that bloody Madame Razz. Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna and Leech are shown to us to represent the Horde, and we are reminded that they are evil. All of this information is dispensed in an enormously patronising tone, and thus I much preferred it when there was no introduction.

After a lengthy recap of last week’s events, we open with He-Man and She-Ra hanging out in a clearing in Whispering Woods. Evidently not being quite sure whether he believes She-Ra’s claim that she is his twin sister, He-Man uses She-Ra’s sword to contact the Sorceress, who confirms that it is true, and moreover embarks on a flashback to fill He-Man in on the story.

Reunions 1
She-Ra: “Listen, He-Man, have you ever seen Blood Brothers? It’s basically like that.”

Adam and Adora were born to Queen Marlena and King Randor, but soon after their births, the Palace of Eternia came under attack from an evil force from another dimension – the Horde. Hordak was their leader even then, and Skeletor was his subordinate and favourite pupil. Knowing Adam and Adora were destined for greatness, Hordak and Skeletor crept into the Palace to kidnap them. Interrupted mid-kidnap, Hordak escaped with Adora, abandoning Skeletor to the tender mercies of the royal family and Man-at-Arms. Despite a lengthy search, Hordak and Adora could not be found.

Reunions 3
Hordak: “It’s always embarrassing looking back at old photos and seeing the dorky fashions you used to think were cool.”

Once all this backstory has been related, He-Man asks She-Ra for a big hug. I’ve often found He-Man a little creepy, and never more so than now. Once that’s over with, they turn back into Adam and Adora and return to the rebel camp. With Adam vouching for her, the rebels are easily persuaded that Adora is now on their side.

With this resolved, we move on to a short subplot: Queen Angela of Bright Moon, where Glimmer comes from, disappeared during a major battle with the Horde, and it has been determined that she is now a slave to an individual called Hunger, the queen of the Harpies of Talon Mountain, or some such. Glimmer, who is Angela’s daughter, wants to rescue her, and Adora and Adam offer to do so. They turn back into their alter egos, and fly off on Swift Wind.

Despite a great deal of footage featuring Hunger and the other Harpies screeching their idiot heads off, He-Man and She-Ra have very little difficulty in carrying out their rescue mission. Returning to Whispering Woods, Angela and Glimmer have as touching a reunion as is possible when you’re both voiced by massively irritating actresses. Despite the high level of fury Glimmer and Angela inspired in me at this point, they are still upstaged by Madame Razz, who weeps buckets for no reason.

Reunions 2
Queen Angela: “Why don’t you have wings like me, Glimmer?”

Touched by the mother-and-daughter reunion, Adora decides that now would be a good time to visit Eternia and meet her own parents. She, Adam, Spirit and Cringer all return to Eternia through the Sorceress’ gateway, where Adora is introduced to her parents – as well as Man-at-Arms and Teela – and they all weep so much that it looks like their eyes have been replaced with taps. Randor even tells Adam that he’s really pleased with him for bringing Adora home, which has to be a first.

Reunions 4
King Randor: “Hurrah! A child who might not be as useless as Adam.”

Unbeknownst to them, Hordak has opted to come through the gateway as well. Once on Eternia, he makes his way to Snake Mountain, where he has a slanging match with Skeletor, followed by a short battle. Finally, the two agree to work together to recapture Adora, after which Hordak promises to leave Skeletor in peace. He also snorts like a demented pig for our delight and delectation, as the words ‘To be continued’ flash across our screen.

 

In today’s adventure…

I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise, but there is no moral again. I, however, did pick up a few helpful life hints from the episode, chief among them being that if I go through an interdimensional portal, I should always check behind me in case my mortal enemy has come too.

Reunions 5
Skeletor: “Check out my big stupid stick, Hordak.”

 

Character checklist

Everyone and his mother is invited to this party. We’ve got Adora, She-Ra, Spirit, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Queen Angela, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Sorceress, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Hunger the Harpy, Skeletor, and loads of Horde Troopers, rebels, etc. I may well have forgotten someone from this list, but it’s probably the largest cast in any episode so far.

 

Excuse given for Adam and Adora’s disappearances

Adora and Adam happily turn into She-Ra and He-Man and back again repeatedly in this episode, but only in each other’s company, and mostly offscreen, luckily. They therefore don’t give any excuses. Still, the subject is touched upon shortly before they go to Eternia, when Adam explains that Adora mustn’t tell Randor and Marlena about her secret identity, or that of He-Man. Instead of saying, “Well, why the bloody hell not?”, Adora simply agrees. That’s a missed opportunity for the writers to explain that one. Unless, of course, the writers can’t explain that one.

Reunions 6
The Sorceress: “No, I will not explain why your identities have to be secret. There definitely is a reason though.”

 

Insults

The Sorceress kicks things off by referring to Hordak as a “vicious tyrant”. The next insults come with Bow and Glimmer each calling each other a “fool”, and Queen Angela calls the Harpies “vile minions”. Hunger is the most prolific insulter of the episode, given she shouts at her Harpies when they fail, calling them “blunderers” and “birdbrains”, then turns her attention to He-Man and She-Ra with “fools” and “dolts”. In his final scene, Hordak calls Skeletor a “traitor to the Horde”, and refers to Adam and Adora as “Eternian fools”. It’s good to see that this cartoon is going to continue the obsession with fools.

 

Oh No, Bow!

In his only scene, Bow doesn’t want to rescue Queen Angela because he thinks the rebels aren’t strong enough to defeat the Harpies. He’s completely wrong, of course, given He-Man and She-Ra manage it within three minutes.

Reunions 7
Bow: “Don’t undermine me, Kowl.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s nice to get the full story behind the Horde’s kidnapping of Adora, and particularly fun to see a vague origin for Skeletor – who’d have thought he was a former pupil of Hordak? It’s a great decision for Skeletor and Hordak to now hate each other; it would have been rather too neat if they’d been allies, and it’s far more in character for Skeletor to refuse to share power with anyone.

I’m not quite sure why the Queen Angela bit was here, as it didn’t feel relevant to the rest of the episode’s story. Still, as part of a complete film, it possibly makes more sense. We’ll have to find out next week. As it stands, it’s simply another demonstration of how annoying Glimmer and Madame Razz are.

And speaking of annoying, Hordak’s pig noises are really beginning to get on my tits now. His habit of transforming himself into machinery (in this episode, he becomes a rocket, a drill, and uses his stupid arm cannon again) is also not as funny as the writers evidently think it is. I feel that this cartoon could be a really long slog if Hordak doesn’t get a better voice and character soon.