Episode 67 – Return of the General

In which Glimmer reveals she can fly.

I’m afraid that I thought the first scene of this episode had been dubbed into an incomprehensible language, because it consists entirely of a mother and daughter squeaking at each other in sickening voices that defy understanding. Things become marginally more intelligible, though not any less annoying, when the father arrives on the scene, and blow me down if he’s not General Sunder from the episode Unexpected Ally. He explains for the benefit of the audience that he used to be a soldier, but now his family live in the peaceful kingdom of Bright Moon, and they don’t have to worry about the Horde anymore.

General 1
Tandy: “Look at me! I’m so cute! Love me!”

Meanwhile, Hordak is putting all his forces into a serious assault on Castle Bright Moon, but with She-Ra and Bow on the scene, this doesn’t exactly go his way. She-Ra’s unique move of the week is to distract the Horde Troopers by taking her strange winged tiara off, which makes her look unsettlingly naked. Once this has had the desired effect, Hordak beats a hasty retreat, but She-Ra is well aware that this is likely to be only a temporary respite.

General 2
She-Ra: “This non-tiara look is one of those things that’s not illegal but is definitely not right.”

She-Ra decides that she needs to recruit General Sunder to fight back against Hordak, but Sunder is unwilling to help, preferring to stay with his family. It’s therefore lucky for She-Ra’s recruiting drive that when Sunder arrives at his home, he finds that the Horde have burned it down and captured his wife Mally and their atrocious daughter Tandy, or whatever the hell her name is.

Sunder accordingly puts his armour on, shoots a load of bottles off a wall, and starts gabbling about how sometimes you have to fight in order to keep the peace. Thanks, Sunder. If only Neville Chamberlain had watched this episode, history could have been very different. Once he’s finished pontificating, he comes along with She-Ra to Castle Bright Moon and then flies off to rescue the prisoners, leaving the rebels to defend Bright Moon.

General 3
General Sunder: “Don’t even ask what the hell I’m sitting on.”

The rebels’ defence of Bright Moon is nothing to write home about, except that it emerges that Glimmer can fly, an ability she’s never demonstrated before and would have come in handy in – for example – Micah of Bright Moon when she fell down a chasm. Suffice it to say that She-Ra and her mates destroy a shedload of Hordak’s flying assault ships, and even Bow manages not to cock anything up.

Sunder, on the other hand, hasn’t been as successful in his rescue mission as perhaps one would hope, and so it proves necessary for She-Ra to head to the Fright Zone and help him out. With She-Ra involved, Sunder and the prisoners manage to escape to Bright Moon with relative ease, where they occupy themselves with a somewhat unenthusiastic cheer for She-Ra. Sunder concludes his story by becoming a farmer again, and She-Ra treats the viewer to a random wink and a frankly infuriating smirk.

General 4
General Sunder: “I may be smiling, but I’m screaming inside.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Oh, hi there, Loo-Kee, so nice to see you lurking in the bushes, like a blue-tailed stalker. He’s obsessed with suggesting we hug our family, since this is at least the third time he’s wheeled this idea out as his moral. I have ignored him this time, as I did on the previous occasions.

 

Character checklist

Today’s trip to Etheria features Adora, Spirit (briefly), She-Ra, Swift Wind, Bow, Glimmer, Queen Angela, General Sunder, Mally, Tandy, Loo-Kee, loads of random rebels, Hordak, Mantenna, and a fair number of Horde Troopers.

General 5
She-Ra: “Yeah, good one, Glimmer. Any more hitherto unmentioned abilities you want to demonstrate?”

 

Insults

She-Ra calls Hordak a “fiend” with considerable feeling. Other than that, we only have Hordak calling his captives “pitiful prisoners” and referring to She-Ra, Glimmer and Queen Angela as “dratted rebels”.

 

Does it have the Power?

While it’s great that the series picks up on and continues previous threads, Sunder’s storyline seems to have been tweaked a little for the convenience of this episode; in Unexpected Ally, I seem to recall that Mally was about 12 years old, but this week she seems to be married to Sunder with a roughly 4 year old child of their own. Sunder obviously moves fast. In addition, at the end of his previous appearance, Sunder actually joined the Rebellion, but here he’s messing about being a farmer. If it weren’t for the fact that She-Ra, Bow, Glimmer, etc haven’t aged, I’d conclude this episode takes place about 10 years after the rest of the series, which would be weird.

Needless nitpicking aside, the episode is pretty good fun, with a good, exciting battle against the Horde. It’s good to see Hordak properly taking the offensive again, trying to wipe out one of the rebel strongholds, rather than messing about like he has done so much lately. I’m still not sure what purpose taking all the prisoners was supposed to serve, other than aggravating General Sunder into attacking, but we’ll let him off with a generic “he’s evil”.

General 6
Mantenna: “Hope Hordak doesn’t catch me watching this video.”

In summary, I liked this episode, but I didn’t love it. If it’s a decent offering you’re after, this will satisfy your appetite, but if you want a real classic, you’d better move on.

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Episode 57 – Jungle Fever

In which Adora loses her memory.

With stunning competence, the Horde capture Adora in the first three minutes of the episode, and take her to a prison cell on Beast Island. Unfortunately, they put her in a cell that contains an inbuilt escape route, and Adora is loose within 30 seconds. Still, it’s not all good news: during her escape, she falls and hits her head, with the result that she forgets who and where she is.

Jungle 1
Adora: “Oh man. I shouldn’t have had that ninth Jaegerbomb.”

With a sixth sense telling her that she is in danger, Adora delves into the undergrowth of the jungle to find a hiding place. She quickly comes across a young boy called Tandy who is attempting to fight a furry dinosaur in order to become a Beast Warrior. Tandy is nearly defeated by the dinosaur, so Adora intervenes, which ruins his test. Adora is subsequently captured by lots and lots of jungle people, and taken to their village.

The villagers decide that Adora must be punished for interfering with the test, and that she must be given to the Great Beast. I didn’t know my wife was in this cartoon, but there we go. Adora quickly defeats the Great Beast, at which point all the villagers inexplicably cheer, but they change their tune when Adora refuses to kill it.

Jungle 2
Great Beast: “I’m a little too generic to be interesting, I’m afraid.”

One of the villagers, called Jamilla, is a progressive, and agrees with Adora’s beliefs – but another, called Kord, is much less so. Jamilla invites Adora to join the tribe as an honoured Beast Warrior, and explains that the villagers only fight the animals of the jungle because there isn’t enough water to go round, and Adora begins musing that there must be some other way.

While Adora explains to various villagers about the need for cooperation and not fighting animals, Kord nips off to see Hordak to inform him that there is a mysterious woman in the village. Hordak puts two and two together mighty quickly, and sends Grizzlor, Rattlor and Imp out to recapture Adora. They rile up the Great Beast again, and send it to attack the village as a distraction, and start a massive fire for good measure.

All this kerfuffle has one good effect – Adora smacks her head again and remembers who she is. Actually, that’s not a particularly good thing, because it clears the way for She-Ra to get involved, and I think we all know how irritating she can be when she gets on her high horse. She-Ra calms the Great Beast down, and then puts out the fire, solves the jungle’s water shortage and teaches the villagers to accept that they can live together in harmony with the animals. All in a day’s work for the Most Annoying Woman in the Universe.

Jungle 3
She-Ra: “Look at my smug face. Just look at it.”

 

In today’s adventure…

I spotted Loo-Kee lurking about in the jungle towards the beginning of the episode. He chooses the not unexpected theme of suggesting that we should protect animals, rather than being mean to them, which is entirely in tune with the episode’s theme, so well done there, Loo-Kee.

 

Character checklist

It’s a little similar to He-Man’s A Tale of Two Cities, in that the regular characters are rather limited. Here, it’s Adora, She-Ra, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Grizzlor, Catra, Rattlor, Imp, some Horde Troopers, Tandy, Jamilla, Kord, and various other villagers.

 

Excuse given for Adora’s disappearance

Early on in the episode, Adora is surrounded by Horde Troopers, and comments, “I can’t change to She-Ra in front of them.” That’s never stopped her before, but at least she’s demonstrating she does understand the concept of secret identity. Unfortunately, when it comes to time to actually change into She-Ra, she seems to forget about this, and does it in full view of Grizzlor and Rattlor.

Jungle 4
Grizzlor: “Just getting in some quality lurking time.”

 

Insults

Imp and Catra have a little spat at the beginning of the episode, with Imp sarcastically addressing Catra as “Madame Cat”, to which Catra retorts with “little beast”. Hordak calls Grizzlor and Rattlor “fools”, and She-Ra describes Rattlor as “Hordak’s slimy friend”. Otherwise, we have Tandy calling his pet pookah a “little rascal”, and referring to the furry dinosaur as an “ugly furbrain”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t really know what to say about this one. It’s commendable for trying something different; having Adora lose her memory and fall in with a tribe of jungle people is certainly a plotline we haven’t seen before, and I’m impressed with the message the episode conveys about protecting wildlife, a subject close to my own heart.

Jungle 5
Adora: “This is the sort of picture that’s going to be hard to explain to Operation Yewtree.”

On the other hand, I’m not sure if I’m just being an easily concerned 21st century liberal, but the portrayal of the tribe as face-painted warriors seemed a little culturally insensitive. I could have also done without Kord being in league with the Horde; surely it would have been enough for him to have been rooted in traditions and not be progressive, rather than having to actually team up with the baddies? In fairness, he does realise his mistakes at the end, so he’s not evil, just misguided.

The deciding factor, I think, is that She-Ra (and Adora, to a lesser extent) are pretty irritating today, so I can’t give it a ringing endorsement. It’s still worth watching, though, just for the fact that it’s not your run-of-the-mill episode.