Episode 91 – Assault on the Hive

In which Skeletor shows up for one last hurrah.

This episode opens with She-Ra chatting on Skype to Sweet Bee, who is still flying around the galaxy in the Hive looking for a new home, and we are treated to a brief recap of the relevant bits of the episode Sweet Bee’s Home. You may recall in that episode, She-Ra was dead set against Sweet Bee’s people settling on Etheria; today, she seems to have done a complete u-turn and is trying to persuade Sweet Bee and the rest of her bee friends to come and join the Rebellion. Sweet Bee is not at all keen on this notion, however, and ends the chat rather hurriedly.

It now emerges that the Hive is being observed by a malevolent power, and that power is Skeletor, who’s been absent from the She-Ra series for so long that I thought he’d settled into graceful retirement, perhaps in a little villa on the Costa del Sol. Far from it. He’s barely on screen for 10 seconds before he’s up to his old tricks, shrieking out his latest moronic plan in between gratuitously insulting his henchmen.

Skeletor: “Just like old times, eh, guys?”

This time, Skeletor’s plot is to enslave the entire race of Bee People and use them to defeat Horde Prime. I don’t want to pour cold water on your scheme, Skeletor, but if every single Bee Person can be defeated by you, Beast-Man and Trapjaw, what the flying fuck makes you think they’ll be any use whatsoever against Horde Prime?

Anyway, Skeletor successfully captures the bee people and hijacks the Hive, but he is foolish enough to let Sweet Bee escape. She leaps into a scout ship and flies off to ask for She-Ra’s help, which is all too eagerly granted. She-Ra is also considerate enough to call He-Man and let him know that he’s got a second chance with Sweet Bee, so He-Man comes bouncing over to Etheria with all due enthusiasm.

She-Ra: “Loving my new Apple iSword.”

Sweet Bee points out that the Hive is deep in space, and her scout ship is a one-person craft only. This conundrum is our cue for things to go completely mental. Swift Wind pipes up to state that he “can’t fly that fast in space”, a statement which I at first thought was as close as the writers would ever come to admitting that he shouldn’t be able to fly in space at all. Instead, Swift Wind flies our heroes out into space anyway (no helmets or space suits, obviously, and plenty of talking in a vacuum) and contacts his friend, Crystal Sundancer, who is a red winged horse. For whatever bonkers reason, Crystal Sundancer CAN fly really fast through space, so He-Man and She-Ra board him instead.

En route to the Hive, our heroes run into two big purple balls chasing a big red ball. These balls all have extendable necks and heads which look vaguely lizard-like. With no idea what’s going on or why this chase is occurring, He-Man leaps off Crystal Sundancer and drifts off into space, hoping to help the big red ball. Why he does this is completely beyond me. It feels like the writer of this episode was having some sort of literary spasm.

Crystal Sundancer: “This … is odd.”

In the meantime, She-Ra and Sweet Bee reach the Hive, where Skeletor has hypnotised all the Bee People, and is using them to fire force rays at our heroes. Pleasingly, he manages to defeat both She-Ra and Sweet Bee, but it all starts to unravel for him when He-Man re-enters the episode, riding the big red ball. Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw are easily defeated, and He-Man delivers a little lecture to the Bee People informing them that sometimes, it is necessary to fight to ensure peace.

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is on Eternia today, outside Castle Grayskull! How the hell did he get there? He doesn’t explain, instead simply leaping into his latest crazy monologue, which this time concerns the fact that if you really want something, it’s worth working to get it. I don’t think I’d have ever worked that out on my own, so thanks, Loo-Kee. You can’t begin to understand just how helpful you are.

Loo-Kee: “I can be infuriating on Eternia as well as Etheria, you know.”

Character checklist

This one’s got She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Sweet Bee, Netossa, Loo-Kee, the Bee People, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Hordak, Catra, and how could we forget Crystal Sundancer and the purple and red balls? On the other hand, I don’t think Adora was in it, but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

Insults

Yes, well, with Skeletor about, it’s inevitable that there’d be a lot of insults. Disappointingly, though, we aren’t treated to anything particularly imaginative. Skeletor calls Trapjaw a “tin-head” twice, and then calls a Bee Person called Drone 7 a “bug-brain” and a “bee-man”, before turning his attention to Sweet Bee to tell her she’s a “bee-lady”. Drone 7 retorts that Skeletor is a “bone-faced monster”, and Sweet Bee refers to Trapjaw as a “can opener with a bad temper”. Last but not least, Skeletor tells the big red ball that it is a “miserable cat”, which seems a little odd. If anything, it looks like a lizard and acts like a dog, so I’m not quite sure what he’s on about there.

Trapjaw: “Honestly couldn’t explain why I’ve waited till my final appearance to reveal that I’m basically Superman.”

Does it have the Power?

It starts well and ends well, but the ten minutes in the middle of the episode are slow and a lot of it is just weird. I can’t shake the feeling that all the nonsense with the purple and red balls (introduced as Dinosaubs), and with Crystal Sundancer, was inserted purely as toy advertisements, though I don’t know if these were ever actually produced as toys. I know I’m on the internet, so I could look it up, but in the spirit of petulant stubbornness, I’m not going to. All I will say in addition to this subject is that Crystal Sundancer’s voice is really creepy, like an older person trying to sound young in order to trick a child. It quite disturbed me.

Otherwise, as mentioned above, the beginning of the episode was great; it’s always a pleasure to see Skeletor, and for Beast-Man and Trapjaw to reappear after all this time was a delight as well. Skeletor was entertainingly evil, and it’s been an enormously long time since we saw him and He-Man face off as we do at the end of this episode. The He-Man/Sweet Bee romance angle has been dropped, which is just as well, because without Frosta around to keep things tart, I’m sure it would have been sickening.

In short, this is an entertaining but flawed offering, which is worth watching, but with the caveat that you may as well skip from the moment Swift Wind flies into space until She-Ra and Sweet Bee arrive at the Hive. Still, purely for having Skeletor in it, this one gets a pass.

Episode 85 – Sweet Bee's Home

In which He-Man is subject to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Prince Adam is back on Etheria yet again, but his holiday comes to an end when he and Adora witness the Horde shooting down an unarmed spaceship. They adopt their alter egos and go running off to lend whatever assistance they can, accompanied by Mermista and Frosta, the latter of whom takes an immediate shine to He-Man.

He-Man: “Christ.”

The spaceship has crashed in the Polar Sea, so Hordak takes a bunch of Horde Troopers on a team away day to the Sea to recover it. Of course, our heroes arrive just in the nick of time, and divide their company. He-Man and Frosta occupy themselves with some flirting while they attend to the Horde Troopers, leaving She-Ra and Mermista to dive into the water to rescue the spaceship’s pilot.

Once He-Man has defeated all the Troopers, Frosta leaps on him, with the intention of taking a starring role in Filmation’s first 18-rated cartoon. Unfortunately for her, She-Ra and Mermista reappear with the pilot, and accuse He-Man of molesting Frosta. Once that’s sorted out, He-Man pulls the pilot’s helmet off, revealing a sexy ginger-haired woman. Well, judging by He-Man’s reaction, he thinks she’s sexy. Anyone in their right mind would disagree, but we’ve established on many occasions that He-Man is not in his right mind.

Frosta: “He-Man, eyes forward.”

The rebels take the pilot to Whispering Wood, where she introduces herself as Sweet Bee. It’s clear that we’re heading for a love triangle situation, since He-Man clearly can’t do enough for Sweet Bee, while Frosta is prancing about in the background pouting because she can’t get He-Man’s attention. I can’t help but wonder what Teela would say about all this.

Sweet Bee explains that her home sun exploded in a supernova, but her people escaped in a large ship known as the Hive. Sweet Bee was searching for a new world for her people to colonise. He-Man immediately leaps in and volunteers Etheria as a suitable planet, which is a bit rich considering he doesn’t even live there. Sure enough, She-Ra intervenes and points out that if Sweet Bee’s people come to Etheria, they are likely to be enslaved by the Horde.

He-Man: “I’ve had such a good idea.”

Once this is explained, Sweet Bee determines that she must warn her people, but Mermista tells her that her spacecraft has been stolen by the Horde. Unbeknownst to the rebels, the situation is much worse than that: Shadow Weaver has disguised herself as Sweet Bee and contacted the Hive, inviting them to come to Etheria to become Hordak’s slaves. She doesn’t mention that last bit.

He-Man, She-Ra, Frosta, Sweet Bee and Mermista all come bounding along to the Fright Zone to recapture the spaceship, and get involved in a super exciting battle, punctuated by amusing little quips and a very pleasing scene in which Frosta rescues He-Man from Shadow Weaver’s magic. It’s even more pleasing because She-Ra takes a back seat and doesn’t really do anything.

At the last moment, however, Hordak destroys the communication equipment and the launching jets of Sweet Bee’s ship, ensuring there is no way to warn the Hive against approaching Etheria. Of course, He-Man and She-Ra have a plan; Sweet Bee gets into the ship, and they throw it into space. Sweet Bee reaches the Hive and they depart, searching for a more suitable home. Once she’s established that Sweet Bee has really gone, Frosta starts draping herself all over He-Man again, much to his discomfort.

She-Ra: “Possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee is in the Fright Zone today, probably because he’s a traitor and is planning to sell all the Rebellion’s secrets to Hordak. His moral is that Frosta’s aggressive sexual overtures in today’s episode were way beyond the norms of acceptable workplace behaviour, and he suggests that He-Man should speak to his line manager or consult the union. Okay, okay, I’m lying again. Actually, he advises us that if our family ever moves house, we shouldn’t be sad about it.

Character checklist

So, today we’ve got Adora, Prince Adam, She-Ra, He-Man, Spirit, Swift Wind, Frosta, Sweet Bee, Mermista, some guys from the Hive, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and, of course, some Horde Troopers.

Insults

Hordak is the only one dishing out insults today, telling one of his Troopers that it is a “tin dolt” and referring to Sweet Bee as a “bee-brain”. I’m very surprised that we didn’t have Frosta calling Sweet Bee a bitch, but there we go.

Hordak: “I’m feeling particularly evil today.”

Oh No, Bow!

Bow’s not in this episode, for which I’m glad. With all the hormones raging between He-Man, Frosta and Sweet Bee, Bow would undoubtedly achieve Maximum Sleaze.

Does it have the Power?

There must have been something in the water at the Filmation office around about this time in the production history of She-Ra, given we’ve had three episodes involving romance recently. Romeo and Glimmer was the first attempt, while the opening scene of Just the Way You Are also suggested love was in the air between Adam and Glimmer.

Sweet Bee’s Home, though, is definitely the most successful episode concerning this theme, mostly because it’s not sugary-sweet. The only time it approaches saccharine is when Sweet Bee introduces herself and He-Man responds by saying her name is sweet. Even then, the focus of the scene is on Frosta, who is standing in the foreground wiggling her hips crossly and imitating He-Man.

She-Ra: “This is all getting silly…”

That’s not the only great animation in this episode: whenever Frosta is involved, there’s something entertaining going on. Early on, the scene where He-Man is battling the Horde Troopers at the Polar Sea, he’s essentially battling to keep Frosta off him as well. Pretty much any time Sweet Bee says anything, Frosta can be seen glaring at her. There’s even a moment when Mermista compliments He-Man, and Frosta gives her a death stare, as if to say, “don’t you get involved too”.

Frosta: “I will kill again.”

Eventually, at the end, He-Man gives up and surrenders to Frosta. There’s even a kiss sound effect after the episode fades to black. And that concludes one of the best She-Ra episodes we’ve ever seen.