Episode 92 – The Bibbet Story

In which Bow hangs out with a gang of half-naked children.

This unpromisingly titled episode begins with one of those stupid, long and irrelevant scenes in which She-Ra smashes up a vast quantity of Horde tanks. She-Ra episodes used to start this way very frequently, but seem to have dropped the practice recently, so it’s not particularly welcome to see it started up again here. It goes on for about five minutes, and the only reason for it is to establish that after this defeat, Hordak is running out of robots.

Mantenna: “I wish I hadn’t agreed to appear this week.”

Consequently, Hordak decides to build a new factory for the production of new Troopers. Shadow Weaver suggests building the factory in Bibbetland, and using the Bibbets as slaves. I don’t know who the Bibbets are, but that sounds fine to me, because I have a suspicion that they’ll be really annoying.

By sheer coincidence, Adora and Bow decide to pay a visit to Bibbetland, where they discover the Horde building their new factory. Instead of doing anything about it, however, they opt to build a campfire and go to sleep. While they sleep, they are discovered by a pair of Bibbets called Dee and Coo, and as predicted above, they are really annoying. They are also completely terrifying. They look like half-naked child clowns, with Afros. They are going to haunt me until the day I die.

Dee and Coo: “Fear us.”

Dee and Coo steal Adora’s sword and Bow’s, er, bow, then when Adora and Bow give chase, they lure them straight into a trap. The Bibbets believe our heroes to be Horde soldiers, and it takes all of Adora’s powers of debate to persuade them otherwise. I say powers of debate. In actuality, Adora says, “We’re not Horde soldiers” about 15 times, with Bow occasionally chiming in to say the same thing, until the Bibbets get fed up.

The Bibbets are ruled over by an Elder, who is not dressed as a clown, but as some kind of cross between a Red Indian chief and Papa Smurf. There’s also another Bibbet inexplicably dressed in a red cloak, some blue underpants, and a strawberry hat. I am well aware that you’d be arrested pretty pronto if you went out in pretty much any of the costumes worn in this cartoon, but there’s something about the blue-underpants-red-cloak Bibbet that looks really wrong.

Elder Bibbet: “Christ, IICSA’s going to want another word with me, isn’t it?”

Anyway, the Elder Bibbet tells Dee and Coo to give the sword and the bow back to Adora and Bow, but the Bibbets refuse, instead running off with the weapons to fight the Horde. This troubles the Elder, as the Bibbets are a peaceful people, who have never known fighting before. He agrees to send two Bibbets with Adora and Bow to recover the weapons, but specifies that they will not fight against the Horde.

Inevitably, Dee and Coo get captured by Horde Troopers, meaning Adora and Bow have to break into the factory to rescue them. They also recover their weapons, which means that She-Ra is able to put in an appearance – and only just in time, too, because there’s a load more Horde tanks which need smashing up.

She-Ra: “Some might think I’m running off to deal with the Horde tanks. I’m actually trying to run out of this episode entirely.”

In the meantime, Bow has popped back to see the Elder, and persuaded him that sometimes it is necessary to fight to protect your home, etc. We’ve heard a lot on this theme lately (last episode, in Assault on the Hive, for example) and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the writers room had been taken over by neoconservative Reaganist hawks. I certainly can’t imagine He-Man, in the earlier days of his series, preaching to militarise an entire society in the name of freedom.

But let’s hear less about politics, and more about Bibbets. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Bow and his new Bibbet army march off to lend She-Ra their assistance, not that she needs it, since she’s perfectly adept at smashing up tanks all by herself, thank you very much. She also destroys the factory, in case you cared. I certainly didn’t.

Bow: “Look! I got these freaky child clowns to build a pumpkin catapult! How clever am I! God, I have a mental age of three and a half.”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is skulking around in a tree in Whispering Wood, to my distinct lack of surprise. What’s slightly more surprising is his choice of moral: after the entire episode preached to us that we have to fight to protect our freedom, Loo-Kee now does a complete about-face and says that fighting doesn’t prove how brave we are; instead, it’s braver to choose not to fight. This is more in tune with the usual message promoted by this cartoon, but it’s also damnably confusing given this episode’s subject matter. Maybe Loo-Kee dozed off and didn’t watch properly. I certainly wouldn’t blame him.

Character checklist

This tripe is populated by Adora, She-Ra, Bow, Loo-Kee, the Elder Bibbet, Dee, Coo, the red-cloak-blue-pants Bibbet, various other Bibbets, Hordak, Mantenna, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, and the usual scores of Horde Troopers.

She-Ra: “Don’t touch him, Elder, you might catch something.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I’ll stay here and see what I can do,” Adora says, which is not a bad excuse, except for the fact that at this stage there’s nothing left that particularly needs doing, and Bow should realise this. But he doesn’t, obviously.

Insults

“Muscle-maiden” is a popular choice this week, being employed for She-Ra by both Hordak and a Horde Trooper. The Bibbet Elder refers to Dee and Coo as “foolish young people”, and a Horde Trooper addresses either Dee or Coo as a “mean little thing”. In response, Dee or Coo tells the Trooper that it is a “rotten robot”. I didn’t know which was Dee and which was Coo, just for clarity.

Oh No, Bow!

Bow’s in full perv mode today, picking flowers and placing them in Adora’s hair, with creepy chat-up lines like, “a pretty flower for a pretty lady”. Later on, Bow tries to charm his way into She-Ra’s pants by smiling at her a little too widely and schmoozing, “I’m always glad to see you, She-Ra.” Astonishingly, neither Adora nor She-Ra tells him to piss off.

She-Ra: “Bow, if you don’t take that seedy smirk off your face right now, I’m going to strangle you with my tiara.”

Does it have the Power?

No, of course it doesn’t. From the lengthy and unnecessary opening scene, through the horrifying and irritating Bibbets, all the way up to the totally contradictory messages about fighting or not fighting, this episode is a waste of my time. It’s not hilariously bad either; it’s just bad. It gets a big thumbs-down. Thank you for your attention.

Episode 90 – Shades of Orko

In which Man-at-Arms tries to steal Bow’s thunder.

My enthusiasm for this episode is slightly muted before I’ve even hit play, simply because of the title. I can’t think of a single episode with the word Orko in the title that hasn’t been below average at best. Orko’s Missing Magic was the best of the bunch, but only in that it wasn’t a complete atrocity. On the other hand, Orko’s Favourite Uncle was an atrocity, and so was its sequel, The Return of Orko’s Uncle. Orko’s Return was tedious, and Orko’s New Friend was terrible. The only episode I’ve vaguely enjoyed with Orko in the title was the hard-to-find “lost” episode, He-Man Loses Patience And Rips Orko’s Head Off. Though I may have dreamed that one.

Still, let’s see if Shades of Orko can buck the trend. I mean, we all know it can’t, but let’s at least try, shall we? It starts promisingly enough, with Shadow Weaver summoning some shadowbeasties to attack the village of Thaymor. Bow brings this news to She-Ra and Glimmer, but before they can get on with defending Thaymor, one of those beastly portals opens, and Orko pops through. He is accompanied by Man-at-Arms, which is surprising, not to mention irritating, since I bid Man-at-Arms a fond farewell three episodes ago and now I’m going to have to do it again.

She-Ra: “Get off my planet.”

These two have come to deliver some electric forceshields, but get roped in to help against the shadowbeasties. The forceshields prove to be quite useful in the battle at Thaymor, and it’s amusing how surprised She-Ra sounds when she exclaims, “It works! Man-at-Arms’ forceshield works!” It definitely seems that she has prior experience of Man-at-Arms’ rubbish inventions.

Once the battle is won and the shadowbeasties repelled, Shadow Weaver herself teleports in, and performs an unexpected spell to remove Orko’s shadow. I can hear the She-Ra voice actress fighting not to snigger at the sheer ludicrousness as she says sternly, “Give it back”. Needless to say, Shadow Weaver does not comply, and teleports out again to Horror Hall.

Orko: “Stop right there before I pelt you with eggs or something equally hilarious.”

Just to give this slightly stupid premise a bit of mild peril, Man-at-Arms reveals that by nicking Orko’s shadow, Shadow Weaver has also stolen his magic. I don’t want to be accused of victim-blaming here, but Orko’s lost his magic on at least two previous occasions that I can recall: the afore-mentioned Orko’s Missing Magic, and also in The Magic Falls. It seems to me that he doesn’t really look after it all that well, and shouldn’t expect He-Man and She-Ra to gallivant about recovering it for him all the time.

Anyway, we now cut to Horror Hall, where Orko’s shadow has done a runner and is flying all around the place, leading Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor and some weirdo Horde robot on a merry chase. This bit of the episode goes on and on for literally five minutes without anything of note happening.

Grizzlor: “Sorry to waste your time like this.”

Back in Thaymor, our heroes are still standing exactly where we last saw them, having made apparently zero effort to get Orko’s shadow back. They all seem to think it’s absolutely impossible to get to Horror Hall, despite them having walked or flown there on several previous occasions. Instead, She-Ra indulges herself in a needless conversation with Light Hope, who reveals that though She-Ra can get the team into Horror Hall, it will be up to Orko to get them all out. This seems like a stupid arbitrary rule drawn up to give the episode some tension, but okay.

Using some why-the-hell-not magic, She-Ra opens a portal to Horror Hall, and the assembled crowd of dimwits pile through. Once inside, it doesn’t take long for them to locate Orko’s shadow, which reattaches itself to Orko with very little fanfare. Instead, the episode focuses at this stage on She-Ra having a long and unnecessary fight with various Horde baddies, until Orko uses his reacquired magic to separate Shadow Weaver from her own shadow. After this, our heroes stand around in Horror Hall laughing their idiot heads off at this hilarious reversal in Shadow Weaver’s fortunes. Then the episode just ends there, without Orko having to fulfil Light Hope’s stupid prophecy about getting everyone out of Horror Hall.

She-Ra: “Man-at-Arms, why are you hunching like that?”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in Whispering Wood near the start of the episode. He’s lying on his back and looks like he might be dead, but no such luck. He informs us that when Shadow Weaver took Orko’s shadow, that was stealing, and stealing is always wrong. I am reminded of a moral dilemma that was presented to me in my Psychology A-level class: Jack has a wife who is ill, and a drug can save her. However, Jack and his wife cannot afford the drug, so Jack breaks into the pharmacy, steals the drug, and uses it to save his wife’s life. Is this act of stealing wrong? Admittedly, this is rather deep, and not a topic into which I would expect Loo-Kee to delve, but still.

Character checklist

On Etheria today, we have Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, some villagers, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, Leech, Rattlor, Mantenna, and the weird Horde robot.

Mantenna: “Bet you’d forgotten I can do this.”

Insults

There’s some fairly vicious stuff flying around today. Orko kicks off by referring to the entire Horde as “meanies”, and gets more specific by informing Shadow Weaver that she’s only “got half a mind”. Shadow Weaver retaliates by calling Orko a “miserable excuse for a wizard”, a “little bozo” and a “little pest”, and she goes on to refer to Grizzlor and the weirdo Horde robot as “fools”, “buffoons” and “worthless bumblers”. Finally, Mantenna gets in on the act by telling Grizzlor, Rattlor, Leech and the weirdo Horde robot that they are “dullards”.

Oh No, Bow!

When She-Ra opens the portal to Horror Hall, Bow instantly chirps up to say, “Hurry up, that portal won’t stay open for long!” What the hell do you know about it, Bow? Have you been taking evening classes in magicportalology? Thought not. For all you know, that portal might stay open until half past three this afternoon, until this time next April, or until some nebulous time in the future like when the UK exits the European Union. There’s just no way to know. Now shut up.

Special mention must also go to Man-at-Arms, who in the final fight scene observes Bow being shot with a freeze ray and shouts, “Oh Bow, no!” He then blunders into the freeze ray and gets frozen himself. In many ways, Man-at-Arms is just as useless as Bow, though admittedly he isn’t such an arrogant cock.

Man-at-Arms: “It’s difficult to say exactly how I thought this might help.”

Does it have the Power?

I’m going to have to be completely honest: this one does buck the Orko trend rather well. It’s relatively imaginative for Shadow Weaver to steal a shadow, even if that does ultimately mean the repetition of the missing magic plotline seen a few times previously. It’s also good to see Man-at-Arms again; this one feels like a much better send-off for him than his brief cameo appearance in The Inspector. I’m not going to do my teary-eyed farewell for him again though.

On the production side of things, this episode treats us to some unusual and effective animation work; Shadow Weaver is often depicted from ground-level, looking up at her, which is a great way of making her seem imposing and intimidating. There’s also a fantastic panning shot from Grizzlor, through the weirdo Horde robot and Rattlor to Leech, which is used when She-Ra is cornered by these four, and it’s pretty scary. We also get some new music; I particularly liked the dramatic drum-roll which greets the fade-in after the commercial break.

Leech: “Pretty sure this is going to be my last appearance, so I’d like to thank all my fans for their support over the years. I do have fans, right?”

There are annoying things about this episode, such as Orko, though he’s not as bad as he could be. She-Ra too is her usual irritating self, Light Hope is a moron, and Glimmer is as useless as ever. For some reason, Bow really got on my nerves this week, and I can’t help thinking it’s not healthy to get as annoyed with a cartoon character as I sometimes do with him. Still, I shan’t be seeing him much more, and I may well miss him once we move into the uncharted territory that awaits us after the end of She-Ra…

Episode 88 – Portrait of Doom

In which She-Ra has a near brush with disaster.

Oh, Christ, Bow’s playing his harp again. Luckily, he’s not singing today, but nonetheless it’s an atrocious racket. The assembled Twiggets, however, seem to think he’s great, and shower him with unwarranted praise, leading him to yammer on about how he’s going to be a big hit at the forthcoming Summer Moon Festival. This in turn leads the Twigget Spritina to wander off sadly, bemoaning the fact that she is rubbish at everything so won’t be performing at the festival.

Well, you know what happens whenever anyone gets sad because they’re rubbish, don’t you? That’s right, they run into a baddy, who will be in disguise and will embroil our unlucky protagonist in some stupid scheme. This time is no different. In this case, the baddy in question is Catra, and the stupid scheme revolves around a magic painting kit which Catra lends to Spritina, and tells her to paint portraits of all her friends with it.

Spritina: “Say cheese.”

Spritina starts by painting Netossa, who immediately complains of feeling tired, and then disappears from view altogether. Spritina has already run off to the festival by this stage, and happily occupies herself painting pictures of Kowl, Broom, and Bow, who all disappear as well. As far as I’m concerned, this episode is going really well; hopefully Spritina will move on to paint Adora, Madame Razz and Glimmer. And Loo-Kee, if she can find him.

The missing rebels are transferred onto portraits hanging in the Fright Zone, where they only exist in two-dimensional form, and are unable to move. If I were Hordak, I’d burn these portraits right now, especially the one of Bow. Instead, Hordak satisfies himself with telling Shadow Weaver how excellent her magic paints are, while Catra pouts in the background. Failing to capitalise on an advantage is the principal and fundamental mistake exhibited by every baddy in this series ever.

Hordak: “Well, I can see why it’s free to get into the National Portrait Gallery. I wouldn’t pay to look at this nonsense.”

Spritina is just about to start painting Adora when Madame Razz bounces up, bearing the news that all their stupid rebelly friends have vanished and Catra’s Horde Troopers are attacking Bright Moon. While the remaining rebels start a fruitless search for their missing colleagues, Adora transforms into She-Ra and ponces off to Bright Moon, though not before clocking that there’s something odd with Spritina’s paintings.

Madame Razz begins an investigation into the magic painting kit, and unfortunately an investigation for Madame Razz means sitting in a circle with the Twiggets, shrieking, “Razzle dazzle, mazzle azzle, uzzle buzzle” and other nonsensical variants on that theme. This descent into total madness somehow gets the results required, and Madame Razz learns that Bow and co. are trapped on canvas in the Fright Zone.

Madame Razz heads to Bright Moon to alert She-Ra to this pretty damn disturbing turn of events, while Spritina achieves the difficult goal of making the situation even worse by going to the Fright Zone and getting herself captured. Luckily, She-Ra arrives in the Fright Zone in the nick of time, rescues Spritina, and also grabs the portraits.

She-Ra: “Do I look weirdly exhausted?”

They all merrily return to Whispering Wood, where Madame Razz recites more “wizzle wuzzle” gibberish and restores the two-dimensional rebels to life. I’d love to say that Bow has always been two-dimensional so it’s difficult to tell the difference, but that’s a far too obvious joke, so I wouldn’t dream of making it.

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee evaded my eager gaze today, but blow me down if he didn’t turn out to have been in a tree in Whispering Wood. He offers a disjointed little moral about how we shouldn’t wish we could play musical instruments, but instead concentrate on being ourselves rather than trying to be like other people. Taken to its logical conclusion, this approach would result in no one being able to play musical instruments. Good one, Loo-Kee.

Character checklist

Here we have Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Netossa, Queen Angela, Madame Razz, Broom, the Twiggets (including Spritina), Loo-Kee, loads of rebels, Hordak, Catra, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers.

Catra: “Yeah, well done, Shadow Weaver. Well done. So clever of you.”

Insults

Everything’s ticking along beautifully, without an angry word being exchanged, right up to around the 17th minute, when it all goes to pot with Hordak bellowing “bumbling purr-brain” at Catra. This was surprising, largely because I thought he was going to say “bumbling pervert”. Catra evidently decides to let off some steam at this unfair treatment by telling Spritina and another Twigget called Sprint that they are “rebel scum”.

Oh No, Bow!

I think this episode must have been a massive ego boost for Bow. In stark comparison to the levels of distress exhibited about Netossa, Kowl and Broom, loads of people seem really concerned about Bow’s whereabouts, and Queen Angela seems to reckon that the Rebellion will be unable to defend Bright Moon without him. This is, of course, entirely untrue, since Bow has very rarely proven himself to have any abilities whatsoever, and notably She-Ra does not appear to think there’s any urgency to rescuing him.

She-Ra: “Worst Christmas present ever.”

Does it have the Power?

This episode has an imaginative concept, which I imagine would have been quite scary for a child; to be trapped on a canvas, unable to move, would not be a great way to end your days. Even though it’s Shadow Weaver’s plan, for some reason Hordak entrusts it to Catra to carry it out, and that’s a good move, because Catra is at her most deliciously evil this week. It’s a pleasure to see her back on form. Aside from the irritating Madame Razz “razzle dazzle” nonsense, and the slightly irrelevant Horde attack on Bright Moon, this episode is a strong entry, and worth a watch.

Episode 86 – Glimmer Come Home

In which Glimmer falls for an incredibly stupid trick.

Today’s episode opens with some Horde Troopers confiscating food from various rebel-aligned villages, which does not sit well with Adora, Bow and Glimmer. Glimmer is all for going in guns blazing, but Adora tells her not to be reckless, and instead suggests heading back to camp to come up with a plan. Bow loves this idea, mostly because it means he can agree with Adora so she might ultimately sleep with him, but Glimmer is far less impressed, if her scowly face is anything to go by.

Once back at Rebel HQ, Adora shuts herself up in a tent and comes up with a plan, eventually conceding to meet the other rebels one by one to tell them what to do. She assigns Glimmer the low-importance-but-high-prestige job of distracting the Troopers with a light show, but Glimmer throws a wobbly and insists on being allowed to fight, despite having never shown any aptitude in this area whatsoever.

Madame Razz: “This bozz-eyed look is intended to discourage you from trying to enter this tent.”

When Adora continues to insist on the light show, Glimmer stomps out and bites Bow’s head off (sadly not literally). She then stands around in the forest whinging about how self-important Adora is – which is true, but Glimmer’s by no means any better. Glimmer then decides to come up with her own plan to recover the food, and this plan seems to involve lying around sulking at a lake.

Things take a turn for the unexpected when Glimmer’s reflection in the lake starts talking to her. Her reflection convinces her that Adora is taking all the credit that should be Glimmer’s, and suggests that Glimmer go off and start her own rebellion, and that this new rebellion should employ Horde Troopers. Glimmer doesn’t smell a rat, which is telling evidence of how mind-wrenchingly stupid she is, so she merrily trots off to find some Troopers.

Glimmer: “Hey! My eyes are shut but my reflection’s eyes are open. Should I be suspicious?”

It will, I’m sure, come as no surprise to you that this sweet-talking reflection was in fact Shadow Weaver in a cunning disguise, and she orders a pair of Horde Troopers to go along with Glimmer’s silly rebellion. Just in case the Horde Troopers aren’t up to the task, Shadow Weaver herself goes along, in another disguise which makes her look like she’s escaped from Planet of the Apes. When these three find Glimmer, they instantly sign on the dotted line to join Glimmer’s Rebellion Ltd.

Shadow Weaver: “Hello! I look excitingly insane today.”

Back at Rebel HQ, She-Ra realises that Glimmer’s been gone for longer than her usual allocated sulking time, so she starts looking for her. Once Glimmer is located, she spits venom at She-Ra (again, sadly not literally) and tells her that they’re no longer friends. She’s even gone so far as to block She-Ra on Facebook, so it’s pretty serious. Glimmer and her three fake rebels then scoot off, crowing about how good their rebellion is.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether I loathe She-Ra or Glimmer more, but at least She-Ra’s got a brain. She instantly clocks that the Planet of the Apes lookalike is bad news, and very quickly works out that it must be Shadow Weaver in disguise. Even so, she isn’t quick enough to intervene before Shadow Weaver reveals her true identity, places Glimmer under arrest, and for extra security coats Glimmer’s hands in candy floss.

Shadow Weaver: “This will work. And it isn’t mental.”

Shadow Weaver then has a very brief confrontation with She-Ra, before running away and leaving Glimmer to apologise – though I don’t think she sounds very sincere. They then work together to recapture the stolen food and deliver it back to the villages, after which we are treated to a mercifully short but nonetheless infuriating She-Ra monologue on the nature of teamwork.

In today’s adventure…

It’s easy enough to spot Loo-Kee today, standing innocently under a bush, as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. I bet it was him who really convinced Glimmer to go off to the Horde. Anyway, he reinforces the message about teamwork, which was clearly being aimed at children on sports teams who have been placed in the area of least responsibility on the field.

Character checklist

Today’s little excursion into lunacy features Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, the Twiggets, Loo-Kee, a bunch of random rebels, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and the inevitable load of Horde Troopers.

She-Ra: “You’ve been an utter moron this time, Glimmer, I don’t mind telling you.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Adora graces us with an excuse for once. It’s not a very good one, but it’ll do. She simply says, “Bow, you take the other rebels to the Horde food warehouse. I’ll meet you there later.”

Insults

Bow calls some Horde Troopers “robot goons”, and then it’s all quiet on the insults for a very long time. Right at the end of the episode, Shadow Weaver suddenly gets all excited and calls Glimmer a “foolish girl” and resurrects the mildly popular “muscle maiden” for She-Ra.

Oh No, Bow!

Bow is remarkably unconcerned when he learns that Glimmer has teamed up with a pair of Horde Troopers and a weird monkey thing. His attitude is that they should just leave her to it and let her get captured. Actually, on reflection, this is a perfectly sensible attitude. Oh Yes, Bow!

Bow: “Maybe I won’t be the stupidest person on screen today.”

Does it have the Power?

It’s certainly not as much of an atrocity as it could have been. Glimmer is incredibly stupid to fall for Shadow Weaver’s trick in the first place, and it’s not particularly clear what Shadow Weaver was really trying to achieve by going through these convoluted shenanigans, but it has to be said that when Shadow Weaver is on form – as she is today – she’s a really quite intimidating and scary presence, and that makes up for quite a few of the episode’s shortcomings. Simply taking the story into account, this one’s pretty poor, but the execution is snappy enough that it’s a decent offering. You could do worse.

Episode 84 – Bow’s Magical Gift

In which Bow waves his wand around.

Hmm, yes. I’m sure Bow tells all the ladies he’s got a “magical gift” for them, but I’m not certain it’s a good idea to write an episode focussing on it. Still, here goes. We begin with Glimmer out for a walk in the forest, where she is immediately kidnapped by Shadow Weaver and Grizzlor. Shadow Weaver brandishes a wand and comments, “This wizard wand will handle Glimmer easily.” Frankly, Shadow Weaver, a dead badger could handle Glimmer easily. She’s utterly useless.

Luckily, She-Ra and Bow are on the scene, and to his credit, Bow is the mastermind behind Glimmer’s rescue. He even manages to steal the wand, and this is where the whole thing starts to go wrong. Bow begins to experiment with the wand, performing stupid magic tricks in pathetic attempts to impress the various ladies of the Rebellion.

She-Ra: “I swear to God, Bow, if you make any even VAGUELY sexual innuendoes involving that stupid wand, I will not be responsible for my actions.”

In the meantime, Horde Prime arrives in orbit around Etheria, and orders Hordak to round up the entire village of Glenmar to work in a new factory on Hordeworld. By the time the next scene rolls around, the Horde seem to have forgotten about this instruction, and are instead stealing a vast quantity of food for Horde Prime. Still, the end result is the same: Bow intervenes, using his newly acquired wand to stop the Horde Troopers.

She-Ra arrives on the scene and throws a hissy fit. She claims this is because Bow was not using his wand with due care and attention, but I have a suspicion that her real motive is because he stole her thunder. I say “her real motive” as if she’s a real person. Christ, I’ve been watching this cartoon so much I’m beginning to think it’s a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Bow: “But, She-Ra, it’s…”
She-Ra: “Bow, think VERY carefully before you complete that sentence.”

Anyway, Horde Prime has another quick word with Hordak and tells him off for being a bit rubbish. He then comes up with a brilliant plan: if Hordak captures Bow, then the rest of the rebels will come and try to rescue him, and then Hordak can capture all of them. This is so simple, it’s genius. I don’t know why Hordak’s never thought of this for himself, except for all the billions of times he has. Someone needed to tell the She-Ra writers that kidnapping is not the only plausible plotline.

Worried about Bow’s growing obsession with the wand, She-Ra pops along to see Castaspella, a character who hasn’t appeared for ages, and even when she was around she was so vapid that I’d forgotten by now she even exists. Castaspella reveals that the wand is a powerful device, but it was made by Apple, so you have to plug it in every half an hour to make sure it stays charged. Bow hasn’t been doing this, which means the wand’s batteries must by now be nearly drained.

Villagers: “Would anyone really mind if we indulged in a spot of mob violence against Bow?”

Hordak finally remembers about the Glenmar village business, and rounds up the villagers. Of course, he’s now only doing this in order to lure Bow into a trap, and since the wand’s batteries die right at a crucial moment, things look pretty grim. Luckily, and inevitably, She-Ra appears, and from this point on, we are witness to yet another humiliating defeat for Hordak. Bow concludes that he’s been an idiot, and no one disagrees with him.

In today’s adventure…

I’ve got really rubbish at spotting Loo-Kee lately, although I’m sorry to say that I don’t really care. If you want to know, he was behind a tree in the village, and his pearl of wisdom for the day is that power is best when it’s used to help others. I could have sworn he says that power is like string in this respect, which is so completely nuts that I can’t help but conclude I’ve misheard somehow.

Loo-Kee: “Hello! String! Power! I’m mental.”

Character checklist

On today’s trip to Etheria, I spotted Adora, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Castaspella, Loo-Kee, three randomers who I think were called the Star Sisters, some villagers, some Twiggets, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Grizzlor, Horde Prime, and some Horde Troopers. As Swift Wind was in it I expect Spirit was too, but I don’t remember seeing him.

Insults

Hordak starts the ball rolling by calling Grizzlor and Shadow Weaver “idiots”, but thereafter the whole thing degenerates into an endless stream of shrieks of “fool!” We get one from Hordak to Bow, another from Hordak to Grizzlor, and one from Horde Prime to Hordak. A Horde Trooper at least attempts to mix it up a bit by calling a villager a “selfish fool”.

Horde Trooper: “Why are you insulting the villagers when you could be insulting Bow?”

Oh No, Bow!

Well, yes. This episode might as well be called “Oh No, Bow!” given the subject matter. He’s a complete tool in each and every scene, but special note has to go to the time he attempts to impress the Star Sisters by using the wand to pick up a rock with two Twiggets on it. Why he thinks they’d be impressed by this is less than clear. His only reward for this behaviour is a stern lecture from Adora: “Showing off to have fun is one thing, but showing off in a way that might hurt others … ooh, that’s not so good.”

Even with this less-than-ringing endorsement, he carries on messing about with the wand until its batteries die. Unfortunately, the batteries die while he’s waving a boulder about, resulting in the destruction of a man’s house. At the end of the episode, Bow, Glimmer and She-Ra all volunteer to rebuild the house. Don’t think I’m ungrateful or anything, but if these three offered to build me a house, I’d politely decline in favour of someone with a good rating on Checkatrade, or at the very least in favour of someone who didn’t live in a forest.

Glimmer: “Yep, I may be useless at everything else, but I’m surprisingly good at architecture.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Horde Prime claims that the wand has made Bow into “an over-confident show-off”. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Bow has always been an over-confident show-off, ever since he first minced onto the screen back in Into Etheria. It’s so nice to know that I only have 9 more episodes left, and after that, this idiot version of Bow will be out of my life forever.

Does it have the Power?

Actually, this one’s pretty good fun. It’s always entertaining to see Hordak having to answer to his boss, so the Horde Prime scenes are worth the price of admission alone. Shadow Weaver is also relatively on form, and even Grizzlor is actually mildly amusing. Adora and She-Ra are rather tedious this week, it has to be admitted, being in full humourless harridan mode. Bow is the star of the show, though, and just about manages to carry it without being terribly annoying. In addition, after some of the lacklustre efforts lately, this one feels a bit more energetic. Just for not being dreadful, I’m going to award this episode a pass.

Episode 80 – The Perils of Peekablue

In which Loo-Kee gets on about drugs again.

Good God, this episode starts with a slow pan through the Fright Zone that lasts so long I thought the entire episode was going to comprise a weird, experimental mood piece. Once the creepy music stops playing and something actually happens, after what seems like 5 minutes, we are treated to a scene in which a prisoner called Peck escapes from the dungeons, and makes a bid for freedom.

Little does this unfortunate dude know that Hordak has let him escape on purpose, simply so that he can test his new weapon, a device called the Grabber. The Grabber is good for one thing, and that’s grabbing people who are running about on the ground. Peck is grabbed, and returned to the dungeons, while Hordak declares the test a success.

Peck: “I feel like I should somehow have seen this coming.”

Shadow Weaver points out that the Grabber is only any use if the Horde can see what it is trying to grab, and notes that if Hordak wants to grab anyone in Whispering Wood, he won’t be able to because Horde magic cannot penetrate the trees. All of this rubbish is an unnecessarily long preamble to Hordak’s decision to capture Peekablue, a rebel whose ability is to see anywhere.

When the Horde Troopers show up to kidnap Peekablue, She-Ra is on the scene, and if there’s one thing She-Ra loves, it’s beating the merry hell out of Horde Troopers. On this occasion, however, the merry hell beating is counter-productive: while She-Ra is so occupied, some other Horde Troopers successfully make off with Peekablue. Once Peekablue is at the Fright Zone, Shadow Weaver casts a spell on her, enslaving her into complete obedience to the Horde.

Peekablue: “Hordak, you need a new toaster.”

With Peekablue guiding the Grabbers, Hordak starts snatching up rebels left right and centre. The first one he captures is the ever useful Glimmer, followed by the even less useful Bow, both of whom are conveyed to the Fright Zone for a scene of pointless gloating, after which they are despatched to the dungeon. Shortly thereafter, Adora allows herself to be captured by the Grabber, and joins her friends in the finest cell the Fright Zone has to offer.

 I’m not really sure what Adora was hoping to achieve by deliberately getting herself locked up, but luckily the rebels have been placed in a cell with Peck. You remember Peck, that irrelevant dude from the start of the episode? Anyway, it turns out that Peck has spent the last six years of his imprisonment digging a tunnel, but gave up when it only led deeper into the dungeons. Well, Peck, perhaps you should have angled your tunnel upwards rather than down. That’s the thing about digging tunnels that maybe Peck doesn’t know: you can actually choose what direction you dig them.

Peck: “Yes yes, this is definitely an escape tunnel and definitely not my sex dungeon.”

Well, there’s no need to dwell on Peck any longer. Now he’s revealed the existence of his tunnel, he can go back to being irrelevant. Adora nips down the tunnel and turns into She-Ra, after which she comes back to rescue Bow, Glimmer and Peck. In the course of this rescue, Glimmer reveals that she has the power to turn herself and other people invisible, which is a new one. Glimmer’s powers are so weirdly variable. Remember when she was randomly able to fly that one time?

She-Ra then goes off to rescue Peekablue, and helpfully manages to break the mind control spell as well. The whole crowd of rebels then return happily to Whispering Wood, where they discover that Peck is the father of another rebel called Keeber, though I should add there is no particular reason why the viewer should give a monkey’s about this revelation. Then there’s a very bad joke, and a lot of hearty laughter, in which I did not partake.

Peekablue: “Yeah, it’s great to be here with you lot and your tedious ‘jokes’.”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee eluded me today, so I expect he’s feeling pretty pleased with himself. He’s off on one about drugs again, claiming that Shadow Weaver’s mind control spell is pretty much the same thing as drugs, and so presumably if we take drugs we might find ourselves working for the Horde. I wonder what happened to Loo-Kee in the past with drugs, since he seems very keen to involve them in pretty much any conversation, no matter how tangential they are to the subject in hand.

Character checklist

Today we are lucky enough to see Adora, She-Ra, Glimmer, Peekablue, Flutterina, Peck, Keeber, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. Surprisingly, there’s cameo appearances for Prince Adam, Cringer and Orko. And let’s not forget Bow, who manages to look very special indeed at the end of the episode.

Bow: “There’s a fair chance I’ve been on some of those drugs Loo-Kee was wittering about.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“Adora’s safe, don’t worry,” says She-Ra, when she comes to rescue Bow, Glimmer and Peck. I think it would have been better if She-Ra had said, “Adora went back to the Whispering Woods, and left you clowns to rot in here. She hates your stupid faces.”

Insults

There’s a fair few imaginative insults this week, though Hordak sets a low starting bar by referring to Peck as a “pitiful fool” and then just a “fool”. He’s similarly dull with Shadow Weaver, who also gets a “fool”, but he then outdoes himself by calling Glimmer a “sparklehead”.

Hordak: “Just popping on Twitter to tell She-Ra she’s a fool.”

The rebels are clearly in a bad mood too; Bow addresses the Grabber as a “tin trespasser”, and then goes nuts at Hordak, calling him a “beast”, an “evil vicious monster” and “bat-ears”. Glimmer gets in on the act with “cruel creature” and “monster”, while Peekablue rounds up with “cruel, evil, heartless tyrant”. Hordak seems pretty pleased with this last description, so it’s up to you whether you’d choose to define it as an insult or not.

Does it have the Power?

No, but neither is it stupefyingly bad. It’s just a pretty average day on Etheria, really, with nothing to elevate it to the heavens or bring it crashing down into the depths. Watch it, don’t watch it, I don’t care.

Episode 78 – When Whispering Woods Last Bloomed

In which we meet two new recruits to Team She-Ra.

Adora and Madame Razz are out in the forest, feeding a variety of interestingly deformed animals, but have to put a stop to this when they hear the unmistakeable sound of Catra capturing Bow and a load of other rebels. That means it’s leotards off and tiaras and red capes on for Adora, who in her She-Ra guise puts Catra and the Horde to flight pretty speedily. The whole thing is watched from a vantage point by two ladies, called Spinnerella and Netossa, who decide the most appropriate follow-up to all the excitement is to go to the pub.

Netossa: “Lovely little boozer, eh, Spinnerella?”

They are met there by Shadow Weaver, who has heard of Spinnerella’s amazing power. In case you’re having difficulty with this one, I can here reveal that Spinnerella’s power is to spin round really fast, creating a hurricane. Shadow Weaver hopes to persuade Spinnerella to use this power to knock down the trees of Whispering Wood, and to this end she captures Netossa in a magical forcefield, then tells Spinnerella that Netossa has been kidnapped by the rebels.

Spinnerella offers to use her powers to shift the trees out of the way, so that Hordak can send in his Troopers to rescue Netossa. I think it’s fair to say that Spinnerella is an idiot. I reckon I could have seen through this plot, even if I hadn’t had the benefit of watching 77 previous episodes of Hordak’s silly schemes. Still, we mustn’t dwell on that. Let’s move on to the good bit.

The good bit is where Spinnerella hitches a lift in a Horde truck down to the trees of Whispering Wood. She then starts spinning, and the hare-brained plan actually works; for the first time I can remember, the Horde manage to enter Whispering Wood. Unfortunately, it all begins unravelling a few seconds later, when Spinnerella addresses Adora and Bow to demand Netossa’s release. Naturally, Adora and Bow don’t have a clue what she’s talking about, and say as much.

Spinnerella: “I’ll huff and puff and I’ll blow your tower down. Okay, I’ll spin and blow it down, but nothing sensible rhymes with spin.”

Spinnerella doesn’t believe them, so carries on spinning. Adora trots off to become She-Ra, then contacts Light Hope to find out who and where Netossa is. Light Hope supplies this information in a pretty sane manner – comparative to his last appearance, Out of the Cocoon, in which he was as loony as loony can be.

Armed with Light Hope’s information, She-Ra beetles off to the Fright Zone and rescues Netossa. After the situation is explained to her, Netossa comes with She-Ra and tells Spinnerella that she’s a complete moron, so Spinnerella obligingly changes sides and spins Hordak out of the forest. With Hordak gone, She-Ra tells Spinnerella that she’s damaged all the trees, and asks her to spin in the opposite direction to put them back to rights. Yes, She-Ra. I’m sure that’ll work. Oh. It does. But you’ve got to admit, in any world governed by sanity, it wouldn’t work.

Netossa: “Well, I hope you feel ashamed of yourself, you idiot.”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in a tree in Whispering Wood, but sadly not one of the ones that got blown down. He tells us that we really should enjoy trees, as well as protecting them. If only Bolsonaro were watching.

Character checklist

Well, there are of course the newbies, Spinnerella and Netossa, and a decent selection of the regulars: Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Madame Razz, Broom, Kowl, Light Hope, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Grizzlor, Mantenna, Imp, and all those Horde Troopers, obviously.

Adora: “Feeding time at the zoo. You too, Madame Razz.”

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“I’ll go for help,” Adora offers, generously. Once she’s gone, She-Ra miraculously shows up! Who’d have thought it?

Insults

Hordak addresses Catra, Mantenna and Grizzlor as “fools”, after which Catra and Imp trade barbs: Catra calls Imp a “little creep”, and Imp retaliates with “little feline failure”, which is a rather satisfying turn of phrase which I might use while addressing my cat. Elsewhere, the only contribution Netossa makes to the episode is standing in her jail cell shouting “big chunks of scrap metal”, “walking junk piles” and “walking vacuum cleaners” at the Horde Troopers.

Oh No, Bow!

Adora tells Bow to “do your best” while she goes to get help. When she returns after having turned into She-Ra, gone to the Fright Zone, rescued Netossa and come back again, Bow has achieved absolutely nothing. He hasn’t even moved. If this is his best effort, I dread to think what his worst is.

Adora: “Bow, did you leave your hairdryer on again?”

Does it have the Power?

It’s a decent enough introduction to Spinnerella and Netossa, though the emphasis is very much on the former; we learn that she’s capable of generating a whirlwind and is incredibly gullible. I’m not really sure how much use Spinnerella will be: I’m pretty sure that She-Ra is more than capable of spinning and generating a whirlwind by herself. I can’t think of a specific episode to prove it, but She-Ra can do everything else, so the whirlwind trick seems likely.

Anyway, all we learn about Netossa is that she’s got a net (hence her name, presumably) and she’s good at getting captured. Admittedly, that’s pretty much all she needs to be one of She-Ra’s sidekicks, but since there’s plenty of other clowns who fulfil this role, I don’t expect we’ll be seeing Netossa again. I’m going to be honest here: I don’t actually care if we see Netossa or Spinnerella again or not, so either way is a win for me.

The story is not very exciting, really. For one thing, Hordak tricking people into helping him is not a new idea, and for another, it’s not long since we had an episode about Shadow Weaver using the wind to defeat the rebels, and while this episode is much better than Above It All, it’s still not good by any objective standards. Unless you really want to know where Spinnerella and Netarsa came from, I’d conclude there’s no need to watch this episode.

As noted last review, I haven’t got loads of time at the moment; we’re still on a very much as-and-when basis. I’m hoping to have another review up next week, but no promises.

Episode 77 – The Caregiver

In which Adora’s nanny suddenly clocks that Hordak’s a bit weird.

Well, you’ve got to hand it to this cartoon sometimes. The opening scene of this episode certainly caught me by surprise, if nothing else. Hordak and Shadow Weaver have thrown a small retirement party for an old woman called Shakra, who appears to have reached her pension age. Hordak even gives her a shiny pendant in recognition of her services. Of course, all is not as it seems: Hordak knows that Shakra is intending to join the Rebellion as a part-time job to boost her Fright Zone pension, and the shiny pendant is a spy device which will transmit data back to Hordak.

Shadow Weaver: “It’s far too late to be trying to win Employer of the Year, Hordak.”

Shakra arrives in Whispering Wood, and has a touching reunion with Adora. It turns out that Shakra was responsible for raising Adora through childhood – and considering how evil Adora was in the early episodes of She-Ra, I’m not convinced she did a great job. Anyway, despite misgivings from Bow (and possibly Glimmer, who’s pictured in the background looking concerned but as usual not saying a bloody word), Adora allows Shakra to join the Rebellion and lets her know about a forthcoming plan to attack some Horde robots.

Well, of course, Hordak learns of the plan through the shiny pendant spy device, and comes along to Whispering Wood to set a trap. Bow, Glimmer and Shakra are captured, but Adora and Madame Razz escape, and so it’s not long before the inevitable arrival of She-Ra. She-Ra manages to free Shakra, but Hordak gets away with Bow and Glimmer. If I’m honest, the phrase “good riddance” flitted through my mind.

Glimmer: “Always pleased to fulfil my sole function of being captured.”

After Madame Razz goes through the usual plot point of calling Shakra a traitor, and She-Ra responds with the other usual plot point of defending Shakra, they all bomb off to the Fright Zone to undertake a daring rescue. Shakra takes them to a secret entrance, though I’m not certain how secret it can possibly be, given it’s a huge door with the Horde symbol prominently placed in the middle. Still, in they go, and it does seem to be going well, until Hordak learns of their location through the pendant.

In the course of the subsequent debacle, Shakra suddenly realises that it was really fucking weird of Hordak to give her a retirement present, and voices this concern. I genuinely can’t believe it took her this long to wonder whether Hordak might not have been just being nice. Anyway, She-Ra smashes the pendant, prompting Hordak to come along with a squadron of Horde Troopers.

Naturally, the Horde Troopers prove less than effective, and Hordak himself doesn’t put in a good showing, since he chooses to transform himself into a spinning top with four arms, which is of limited use, to put it mildly. Once that’s dealt with, She-Ra and Shakra come bounding into Shadow Weaver’s lab, where Shadow Weaver is trying to dissect Glimmer. She claims this is so she can extract Glimmer’s magic, but I suspect it might be just because Glimmer is a bloody nightmare.

Bow: “I actively quite like being in Shadow Weaver’s bondage dungeon. Hope She-Ra doesn’t rescue us too quickly.”

To the soundtrack of She-Ra’s funkiest 80s beats, Bow and Glimmer are rescued, and our heroes make their escape. Back in Whispering Wood, Glimmer gushes to Adora about how exciting the whole thing was (could have fooled me), and Madame Razz apologises to Shakra for calling her a traitor. Finally, Adora welcomes Shakra to Whispering Wood, at which point the camera focuses on Shakra’s face while all the other rebels say various mental things like, “We’re glad you’re here!” and “We really like you!” I was particularly taken with Bow, whose voice booms out loud and clear above the others to make the enigmatic statement of “Hey, Shakra! Glad to see you again!” which for some reason came across as outstandingly demented.

In today’s adventure…

Oh, God almighty, I don’t know how to make this entertaining anymore. Loo-Kee is under a bush in Whispering Wood, and I swear that if I have to type “Loo-Kee is under a bush in Whispering Wood” one more time, I’m going to … I’m going to … I don’t know what I’m going to do. There’s not really a lot I can do, short of stop watching, and that seems a trifle perverse, having got so far. Maybe I should just watch and quietly accept it, rather than unnecessarily raising my blood pressure by raging against a 30 year old cartoon. Anyway, his pearl of wisdom is all about not judging people because they look different, which I think is a notion we can all recite in our sleep by now.

Loo-Kee: “Bet you’re pleased to see me, as usual.”

Character checklist

Other than Shakra, there’s no one particularly out of the ordinary here: Adora, She-Ra, Spirit, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver and some Horde Troopers.

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“Adora is safe,” says She-Ra. It’s a pretty boring excuse, but since we rarely get anything these days, I’ll let it slide.

Insults

Madame Razz leads the way this week, randomly addressing a Horde tank as an “overgrown swamp turtle”, and getting pretty personal by telling Hordak that he is “dirt”. Hordak’s response seems fair enough to me, calling Madame Razz a “ridiculous witch”. Finally, Shakra describes Hordak as a “strange man”, which is probably the understatement of the century.

Shakra: “You know, I think there is something a bit weird about this guy who literally has a hood made of bones.”

Oh No, Bow!

When Shakra first arrives in Whispering Wood, she asks to see Adora. Bow’s instant response is, “How do you know Adora’s name?” Well, Bow, given Adora is Public Enemy Number One on Etheria, I would suspect that the entire population knows her name. Added to that, Shakra has clearly come from the Horde, where Adora used to work, and where her notoriety is at its peak. I’d be more suspicious if Shakra didn’t know who Adora was.

Does it have the Power?

It’s not a classic, but it’s by no means a bad way to spend 20 minutes. Well, actually, it is a pretty bad way to spend 20 minutes, but if you’re committed to spending 20 minutes watching She-Ra, it’s not bad by those standards. I enjoyed the bizarre retirement party scene, and Shadow Weaver’s lab experiments on Glimmer gave hints of a darker tone, which I’d have liked to see more of. I can do without storylines of the “this random character is a traitor” variety, as they’ve been done to death, but all in all, this one’s a fairly entertaining episode, which is worth a watch.

Apologies if this review comes out in a weird format: WordPress has changed so I now have to use something called ‘Blocks’, which isn’t very user-friendly as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully I’ve managed to get my head around it, but I won’t know for sure till I press the ‘publish’ button.

Also please note that reviews from hereon may not keep to the ‘every 6 days’ timetable that I’ve been trying to keep to. I have a lot to do at the moment and the upkeep of this blog may have to take a backseat for a few months – but I will be attempting to keep it going as best I can!

Episode 76 – Brigis

In which Mantenna gets something right for a change.

It’s time for another hare-brained scheme from Shadow Weaver, which on this occasion revolves around the magical village of Brigis. According to legend, a good witch once hid her power source in Brigis, granting the villagers health and long life, as well as security. The security comes in the form of making the village vanish entirely except for one day every 500 years, but if any villager ever leaves Brigis, this spell will be broken. Hordak plans to capture a villager, thus breaking the spell and leaving him able to steal the witch’s power source.

For some demented reason, Hordak entrusts the capturing-a-villager task to Mantenna and Grizzlor, who do not have the best track record in getting things right. Still, Mantenna surprisingly manages to lure away a little girl called Jarine, in a rather well done scene which demonstrates stranger danger effectively. Of course, Grizzlor ruins it, allowing the girl to escape.

Brigis 1
Mantenna: “Come with me, little girl. At least I’m less creepy than Bow.”

As she runs away, Jarine shrieks, “Help! Help!” which brings Adora and Bow charging to the scene. Once he sees them, Mantenna decides to disregard his instructions and makes an ill-advised attempt to capture Adora instead. This does not end well for Mantenna and Grizzlor, but while Bow and Adora are busy, Shadow Weaver nips in, kidnaps Jarine, and takes her back to the Fright Zone.

Finding that Jarine is missing, Adora, Bow and Madame Razz go galloping off to Brigis, where the villagers explain once again, for the benefit of the slower viewers, that if Jarine doesn’t return by the end of the day, the spell will be broken and Brigis will be unable to disappear. Seemingly oblivious to this, Adora decides to move all the villagers into Whispering Wood to keep them safe from the Horde.

Brigis 2
Villager: “How can I best get these idiots out of Brigis?”

There follows one of those tedious fights in which She-Ra makes mincemeat of some Horde Troopers, while Hordak stamps about impotently and intermittently turns himself into a tank. After this, the episode indulges in some more blatant time-wasting, until She-Ra decides to go to the Fright Zone to rescue Jarine. She does this so easily that it was barely worth even showing.

We then finish up with a grand finale in which Hordak attacks Brigis again, with a variety of improbable tactics which are countered by even less plausible responses from She-Ra. Eventually, She-Ra repels the Horde, Jarine gets a quick lecture on the perils of breaking the rules, and then Brigis fades away, leaving the villagers to continue their inbreeding for another 500 years. Hurrah.

Brigis 3
She-Ra: “At least I won’t have to deal with this lot again, unless I live to be 500.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is hiding under a bush, right at the end of the episode. He witters on and on about how we should always stick to the rules, for example by only crossing the street when the stoplight is in our favour. He doesn’t mention stranger danger, which I really think he should have, given its perfect demonstration in that early Mantenna scene.

 

Character checklist

Today’s episode is a showcase for Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Jarine, the other villagers, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, Mantenna, Grizzlor, Catra, and an endless parade of Horde Troopers.

Brigis 4
Madame Razz: “A better landing than usual, Broom.”

 

Insults

Very boring insults today. Mantenna calls Grizzlor a “fool”, and then Shadow Weaver calls both Mantenna and Grizzlor “fools”. I don’t even know why I bother to report this sometimes.

 

Oh No, Bow!

When Adora reappears at the end of the episode, Bow attempts to take the credit for She-Ra’s victory. Adora puts on a very shrill, brittle voice when she responds, “Oh, really?” Realising that he’s made a tactical error, Bow tries to make out that he was only joking. Just my opinion here, but there are times when I think Bow is more slimy and loathsome than the vast majority of the Horde.

Brigis 5
Bow: “Make sure you sign your name on any work you do in the office. Otherwise I’ll pretend I did it.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Well … it’s about seventeen thousand times better than any of the last three episodes we’ve had, but that’s still not to say it’s any good. The highlight is the stranger danger scene where Mantenna persuades Jarine to leave the village by telling her there’s some lovely flowers just over the hill; this is relatively subtle, and it’s good to see Mantenna being competent for perhaps the first time ever. Otherwise, there’s nothing really to recommend this episode, the second half of which in particular is dominated by endless scenes of She-Ra beating up Horde Troopers and destroying tanks. I’d probably miss this one, if I were you.

Episode 74 – Above It All

In which three or four badly told stories combine into one unwatchable mess.

Shadow Weaver has yet another plot to destroy the Whispering Woods; she will open the Cave of Winds, and the Winds will blow all the trees away, leaving the rebels with nowhere to hide. Of course, as soon as she opens the Cave and a hurricane is unleashed, Kowl pipes up, “It’s as if the Cave of Winds has been opened!” I’m beginning to feel sorry for the Horde. Their plans barely have time to get going before the rebels take a random but correct guess as to what’s going on.

Even so, the Winds do manage to cause a spot of bother for Bow, Glimmer and Madame Razz, but that infuriating bitch She-Ra shows up and rescues them. She then flies off again with intent to ask Queen Angela to use her magic to stop the Winds. Unfortunately, before she can get to Bright Moon, She-Ra is grabbed by the long brown tentacles of a flying island, then captured by a walking tree and put to sleep with a blast of pollen. Take the pills, Owen. Take the pills.

Above It All 1
She-Ra: “This had better not be anything to do with Bow’s sordid little fantasies.”

Bow, Glimmer and Madame Razz are by now hard-pressed to defend a village from some Horde Troopers, while She-Ra is wasting her time being dragged around by the walking trees, who don’t seem to have anything better to do than repeatedly tie her up and pull her through the air. Eventually, the trees start talking, and explain that they don’t think humans can feel love, but are only good for fighting. This prompts one of She-Ra’s unhinged monologues, but she’s only just getting going before the trees release her and claim they only wanted to borrow Swift Wind to take them to another flying island.

She-Ra then strikes a deal with the walking trees, agreeing that Swift Wind will fly them around if they help with the Cave of Winds situation. Once the trees have been transported to the new flying island, She-Ra takes possession of the old one, and plugs the hole in the Cave of Winds with it. I’d say this is only a temporary solution at best; it surely can’t be beyond Shadow Weaver’s ability to create another hole in the Cave? Still, Shadow Weaver takes it as a stunning defeat, and runs away hissing ineffectual threats, which is what I feel like doing too.

Above It All 2
Shadow Weaver: “I think my number’s up.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I didn’t see Loo-Kee today, and I’m not going to whinge about him being hidden in a ridiculously difficult spot. I’m going to move on maturely, after saying HOW THE CHRIST IS A FIVE YEAR OLD SUPPOSED TO SEE HIM THERE????? He tells us all about how people might look different, but they’re all beautiful. Apart from Bono. He’s not beautiful. He’s a dick. Loo-Kee doesn’t say all this, but I can see it in his eyes.

 

Character checklist

We’re subjected to appearances from Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Kowl, Glimmer, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, the walking trees, some random children, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and some Horde Troopers. There’s also a cameo return for Vultak, the vulture-like Horde zookeeper last seen in Zoo Story.

Above It All 3
She-Ra: “This shot is definitely going on my 2020 calendar.”

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

“Get back to the village. I’ll join you later,” says Adora to her friends, when the Winds first start to blow. They all run off without questioning this, and never ask about Adora again. For all they know, she got blown off a cliff. The rebels may spout off a lot about love and goodness, but when it comes to Adora, they’re clearly callous, cold, and dead inside.

 

Insults

As mentioned above, this week begins with a cameo return for Vultak, who was pretty good when he first appeared in Zoo Story. Far from being the quite entertaining figure he was in his previous appearance, though, Vultak manages only to shout “miserable witch” at Madame Razz before being speedily despatched, as detailed below.

Above It All 4
Vultak: “I can barely arse myself to stay awake through an episode this dull.”

 

Egg on your face?

Thanks to a conceit of Madame Razz’s dreadful magic, Vultak manages to embed himself in a very large pie, and that’s the last we see of him, rendering his appearance pointless at best, and a complete fucking waste of time at worst.

 

Oh No, Bow!

In the opening scene, Bow combines his dual talents of being creepy and not being funny, by telling some children some appalling jokes while keeping both his hands uncomfortably close to his crotch.

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Adora: “Glimmer, you keep an eye on him. I’ll alert IICSA.”

Later on, the strong Winds from the Cave blow a log right into Bow, and it knocks him down. Serves him right. By God, I haven’t got any time for any of these clowns today.

 

Does it have the Power?

No, it really doesn’t. I was pretty stumped as I was watching it as to what story it was trying to tell. We start with three minutes of Bow entertaining the kids in his uniquely disturbing way, then cut to Madame Razz’s irrelevant set-to with Vultak, and then move on to the entirely disconnected Cave of Winds plot. Even once that starts, the writers seem to forget about it quite quickly, shifting focus to Glimmer, Madame Razz and Bow being under siege from Horde Troopers in a village, while She-Ra has her LSD trip with the walking trees and the flying islands. In complete fairness, these latter plots do manage to come together at the end, but not terribly satisfactorily. This one is one to miss.