A snarky retrospective of my beloved childhood cartoon, which I have not (mostly) seen since I was five.

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Watch “The Secret of the Sword” Free

Here we are at the third and final part of the Secret of the Sword Special. I noticed that the IMDB cast list had been missing a couple characters – Leech, Grizzlor, and Kowl – and in my quest to find out who voiced them, I found out that the Secret of the Sword special is actually made up of the first three episodes of She-Ra: Princess of Power. This is incongruous with my memory though, because I remember watching the first episode of She-Ra when it aired and being upset that He-Man wasn’t in it. However, upon re-watching them here, he clearly was it in it. Oh, well. I’m not going to make any big deal about it.

000 45 Third and Final Part

Kowl tells She-Ra that she should tell Glimmer that it would be foolish to go rescue Queen Angella, Glimmer’s mother, from Hunga the Harpy. I also realize I called the wrong character Hunga the Harpy before because that’s what I called the scorpion-like villain whom wasn’t named in the credits. Instead, She-Ra tells Glimmer that her mother will be rescued, but she asks that the task be left up to her and Adam to keep Glimmer out of danger. Glimmer is just fine with that. Hunga spots He-Man and She-Ra arrive on a monitor and wonders aloud what she’s there for. As Hunga ponders the situation, she picks apart an orange, eating the fruit and throwing the skins at Queen Angella.

000 46 Fruit Peel Target Practice

They land and He-Man punches through a large metal door. On the other side, they find Queen Angella, dirty and turned away shamefully. When she turns to them she reveals that its actually Hunga the Harpy in disguise, then starts blasting at them with a crystal staff. Hunga manages to use her magic to capture Swift Wind as well as She-Ra and He-Man in a circle of spikes. He-Man and She-Ra manage to break out and deflect more magic by crossing swords. They demand to know where the real Queen Angella is. Hunga gives up her location behind the throne, so He-Man approaches and tells her to hold still while he frees her. He swiftly cuts her ropes then breaks the power-inhibiting collar around her neck.

000 47 Free At Last Gif

Back in the rebel camp, Madame Razz bawls her eyes out at the reunion of Queen Angella and her daughter Glimmer. Princess Adora looks on… well, adoringly, and then surmises that with the rebel queen back, they may have an easier time fighting the Horde. He-Man adds that it will probably afford her the opportunity to accompany him back to Eternia to meet her parents for the first time. He asks when she would like to leave. “Would immediately be too soon?” Adora asks. He-Man mounts up with Adora, but two Hordesmen track their progress as they ride along on Swift Wind, one of them easily recognizing Force Captain Adora. They call it into Hordak because he’s been looking for her.

000 48 I Spy Force Captain Adora

As they ride toward their contact point, Adora clarifies her understanding that the King and Queen do NOT know that Prince Adam is He-Man. Prince Adam makes it very clear that they do not know, and they also can’t know that Adora is She-Ra either. Welcome to the secret keeping family, Adora! Meanwhile Hordak flies around reflecting over the fact that Adora rides with the rebels now. Shadow Weaver just laments that Adora has absconded with the power sword before she could uncover its secrets. Just before Adora is supposed to go through the portal with Prince Adam, she gets nervous, asking, “Adam, do you think Mother and Father will like me?” Prince Adam says, “Oh, Adora, they’ll love you. Now, come on.”

000 49 Adoras with the Rebels Now

Instantly they’re on the other side, unaware that Hordak has invited himself along for the trip. As soon as they solidify, the Sorceress welcomes “the princess” back to Eternia. Adora is surprised at being called a Princess so Prince Adam somewhat condescendingly reminds her that she is the daughter of a King and Queen. Just as soon as The Sorceress teleports them out of there, the missile-shaped Hordak comes flying through the mystical interior door. After crash landing head first, Hordak says quite calmly, “Blast. I need to control my rocket form better.” Hordak is delighted to look around and discover he’s on Eternia near Castle Grayskull.

000 50 Let One Slip Gif

Back at the Royal Palace, Prince Adam has everyone covering their eyes. King Randor is continually bitching about how long they must be kept form the surprise Prince Adam has promised. Prince Adam lets them look. Teela has no idea who she’s looking at, but Man-At-Arms looks mightily surprised. I can’t wait to hear the King and Queen reveal that all these years they have been lying by no revealing they had a daughter too. King Randor is speechless, but Queen Marlena manages to squeak out “Adora!” Quickly, they reveal to Teela, that Adora is Prince Adam’s twin sister that they always pretended didn’t exist, but that they can’t ignore anymore because she’s right in front of them now.

000 51 Rocket Man

And now we come to the whole reason Prince Adam did this. King Randor looks at Prince Adam and tells him how proud he’s made him this day and gives his son a big old hug. King Randor remarks that, “By the ancients,” the Royal Family is whole again after all these years, and now that they are, he won’t let anything come between them again. King Randor’s promise may be a little tough to keep, now that Hordak has found his way to Snake Mountain, right to his former thrown room, even. They get into a half-hearted tussle which sufficiently allows them each to show how they’ve improved then come to terms – Hordak will let Skeletor lay claim to Eternia, as long as Hordak is allowed to leave with Adorda. Skeletor agrees to the deal.

000 52 Sobbing Good Time

000 53 Im So Proud Right Now

Skeletor, Webstor, Kobra Khan, and Beast Man sneak in, then Skeletor disguises them all as chefs. He wheels in a large cake and tries to push it on the “special occasion”, but then he immediately uses his magic to turn the special cake into Hordak anyway. Once Hordak has Adora in his paws, Tri-Klops blasts a hole in one of the palace buildings, then swoops the Collector down to the hole to pick up all the bad guys. Skeletor and Hordak escape, leaving a message to tell King Randor – that he’ll be calling. All Queen Marlena can do is cry and ask He-Man to help get Adora back.

000 55 Captured

Suddenly, Skeletor double crosses Hordak and has Trap Jaw and Webstor push Hordak back through the portal back into Etheria. Skeletor turns his attention on Adora and reasons out loud what he should do with her when she faints. Beast Man carries her into a prison cell, but as he stands there gawking at her, barely concealing his boner, she darts between his legs, locking him in the cell. Elsewhere, Tri-Klops is taking the power sword Adora was found with to have it tested. Adora hides up in the ceiling and snatches it from him as he passes by. Once he’s gone, she says her magic words and turns into She-Ra.

000 54 Hordak Surprise

She-Ra catches up to him and Skeletor is surprised to see her because he’s never heard of this She-Ra person before. He sics Kobra Khan and Webstor on her, so She-Ra obliges them for one dance and twirls them all around the room, resulting in them getting the villains’ heads getting lodged in a grate. Skeletor fires a shot at She-Ra but she deflects it. Just as Skeletor is remarking that she missed, the shot finally ricochets and causes a stone steer skull to fall on his head. Just before He-Man and friends can head into the fray, Skeletor, Tri-Klops, and Trap Jaw go flying from the room. She-Ra stands there coyly as Teela says, “Who in the world is that?” He-Man introduces her as his “friend” She-Ra, and says that Adora is safe, somewhere else. Skeletor whines and moans about a female He-Man here to plague him.

000 56 Stone Steer Skull

After a brief time lapse, Adora has turned back in to the Princes and is announcing her intention to go back to Etheria. Queen Marlena is a bit incredulous, but Adora insists that Etheria is her world, even if she was abducted to the world against her will. She says to the King, “If it was a toy before the boot of the horde, would you leave before the fight was finished?” She promises that now she knows of them, she can come visit when ever she wants, but first she has to go back and put a stop to the horde, once and for all. King Randor and Queen Marlena hug Adora and wish her luck in stopping Hordak.

000 57 Best of Luck

Prince Adam and Adora tell each other how much they’ll miss each other. Cringer cries and asks if anybody is going to miss him. Indeed, Swift Wind nuzzles Cringer in response. The Sorceress tells Adora that if she ever wishes to return, she just needs to hold up her sword and say the Sorceress’ name. She walks through the gate only to hear Prince Adam behind her on the other side. She’s delighted to see him and perfectly happy to have him along with her help launch the rebellion. They must quickly take cover and do their respective animation recycling.

000 58 Recycling She-Ra

He-Man and She-Ra make their way over to the rebel camp and but into the plans that Bow, Glimmer, and Queen Angella are making. A bunch of wild animals approach menacingly, and things are tense, but then She-Ra proclaims it’s all right, the animals want to help in the rebellion. So now, it’s on and the woodland creatures are helping to rebel and the mechanical defenses are taking a pounding. The rebels just start blowing up ships left and right. After the fray, Swift Wind lays injured.

000 59 Injured Swift Wind

He-Man freaks out when he realizes that She-Ra’s hands have begun to glow. She says, “For the honor of Grayskull let thy wounds be healed,” She-Ra says, healing her fallen friend. The rebels take care of many of their street level guards, clearing the way for the rest of the rebellion. Hordak panics when the sensors report they’ve been breeched on the interior. Indeed when He-Man and She-Ra show up, She-Ra tells He-Man she’s got some bad news for him. She’s not coming back with him again but they make each other promise that they will call each other for help sometimes though. And then He-Man sheds a tear as She-Ra rides off. And that’s it, no moral, just the empty reverberation of this story with out the substance.

000 60 He-Man Shed a Tear

He-Man murder count:
Season 1:   19
Season 2: 104

Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 26

IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: Prince Adam, He-Man, Beast Man
Melendy Britt: Princess Adora, She-Ra, Catra, Hunga the Harpy
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Battle Cat, Bald Rebel, Chef Alan
Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena, Sorceress, Shadow Weaver, Glimmer, Madame Razz
George DiCenzo: Bow, Hordak
Erika Scheimer: Queen Angella, Imp
Lou Scheimer: King Randor, Swift-Wind, Kowl, Mantenna, Horde Trooper, Kobra Khan, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Broom, Sprag, Sprocker, Garv the Innkeeper, Bard, Messenger, Horde Computer, Leech, Grizzlor

Watch “The Secret of the Sword” Free

We left off last week with Captain Adora pulling the wool from her eyes and realizing that Hordak is one bad dude. Meanwhile, Glimmer and the other rebels were sneaking into the mines to free the enslaved villagers. As the rebels infiltrate the mining facility further. An as-yet-unnamed villain, emblazoned with the horde symbol is sitting at a security monitor chuckling as he watches the rebels enter. I remember this guy from the toys as well. Though, as usual, I don’t remember his name. He was covered with a fur that got pretty nasty, pretty quickly. He triggers various traps and defenses as the rebel heroes advance.

000 23 Hairy Bad Guy

They manage to defeat the defenses, then Battle Cat busts through the sealed door on the end of the hall. Our furry villain reveals his name as he pounds on the defense system console then radios his master, “Grizzlor to Hordak, Grizzlor to Hordak”. Nearby, Captain Adora is still wandering around discovering the atrocities done in Hordak’s command. Presumably on his way to respond to Grizzlor’s call for help, Hordak’s ship comes buy. Captain Adora spots it and asks a couple villagers why it’s doing here. Apparently one of the guards heard the guy that lives in a nearby home complain about the horde’s taxes being too high, so they’re here to destroy his house. Indeed, a laser blast comes out of the ship and fwoosh, no more house. Adora is saddened.

000 34 Backstabber Gif

In the mine, Bow, Glimmer, Cringer, Kowl, Madam Razz and her Broom come upon another door. They open it and on the other side, they find He-Man. Battle Cat makes a run for him, but a door on the opposite side opens, revealing Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and Grizzlor. He-Man spots him and warns Battle Cat, but it’s too late. Hordak uses his arm blaster to hit Battle Cat, freezing him. Bow draws an arrow, but Shadow Weaver uses a green gas that she has conjured to temporarily paralyze the rebels. Hordak orders them all to be removed to an uncomfortable cell. He tells He-Man that he wants to know why he’s come to Etheria, and leaves him to consider this against the consequences of something unspeakable happening to his friends if he does not reveal his purpose.

000 35 From Another World

Hordak leaves him to think about what he’s done. Kowl floats down from above, apparently having escaped notice, and therefore being paralyzed. He offers He-Man his assistance, confirming that he can free He-Man from his bonds. Kowl flies over to a panel and basically picks a button at random. Luckily, it’s the right one and He-Man is free. In the by designation uncomfortable cell, the rebels are all looking very dejected. That is, until He-Man’s face shows up behind the strange spike-sphincter door, then smashes through it and politely suggests it’s time to go. They all run off together as the alarm sounds.

000 36 Something Strange Is Going On

Grizzlor, working the computer system, figures out they’ve all escaped. On Hordak’s orders, Grizzor gets after He-Man, sending a bunch of Horde Troopers after him. He-Man simply slams his fists on the floar, rippling the patchy metal sheets. As the ripple snaps through them, it flings all the approaching guards this way and that. Kowl takes a moment to appreciate all the cloak and dagger high jinks and everything. The rebels commandeer one of Hordak’s jets and escape. Hordak decides he better regroup in the Fright Zone and try to make a play for their next opportunity. Meanwhile, He-Man literally pushes their prison down. I don’t even know where to start counting all the prisoners in there he probably killed… I’m just going to call it an even 100. Is that fair?

000 37 Newly Minted She-Ra

Glimmer, for one, was crazy impressed. She steps off the ship and says to He-Man, “I’ve never seen anything like that! Oooooh, you’re incredible.” He-Man replies, nearly uninterestedly, “All in a day’s work.” Then he invites her back to the whispering woods with him, so they can “find someone”. He wants to know if Glimmer is with him or not. Likely mistaking this for He-Man asking her to come with him on a quest for a threesome, Glimmer announces that she’s in. Poor girl. She’s obviously on the road to disappointment.

000 38 Go Spirit 2

Back on his throne in the Fright Zone, Hordak recognizes just what a threat He-Man is to him. Hordak discusses this with Shadow Weaver when Captain Adora rises up through the floor, her new power sword drawn. Hordak and Shadow Weaver greet her like they have something tricky planned for her. She just comes right out with her sword pointed at him and lays it out. She’s seen how Hordak rules, and he’s a lying liar that lies. As she blathers on about the things she’s seen, Shadow Weaver appears behind her. As she approaches, Adora raises her sword to her. “Certainly you wouldn’t harm me, haven’t I been like a mother to you?” Shadow Weaver says, manipulatively. Yeah, just like Holly Hunter would have been in Raising Arizona.

000 39 Hey What Happened

Shadow Weaver uses some knock out gas on her. Then she takes the sword, which she believes has something to do with Adora’s sudden personal rebellion. Hordak, clearly smarter than Skeletor, starts connecting the dots. First this He-Man guy shows up, then Adora has this weird sword, then she’s snooping around the territory and accusing her master of being an evil fucking fascist. Shadow Weaver reminds Hordak of who Adora really is. Hordak strokes his chin as he considers it. Shadow Weaver reassures him that when Adora she will be under her spell again, forever. She’s also going to go fuck with the sword and discover its secrets.

000 40 The Rainbow Pony Express

Back in the whispering woods, Glimmer is begging Prince Adam not to go to the Fright Zone and to stay with her. Damn, I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s Prince Adam or He-Man, this chick is hungry for either/or; perhaps and/or, even. He-Man insists that he must go because even the Whispering Woods aren’t safe anymore. Bow gives him a long-winded, obviously smitten send off, saying, “You are a brave man, Adam. I salute you. Good fortune speed you on your mission.” Prince Adam responds, laughing awkwardly, “Uh, yeah, well, thanks. Aha ha. Good-bye every one!” before he runs off.

000 41 Cradle Robbin

In the Fright Zone, Hordak is showing Adora, Shadow Weaver and some snotty little pig-faced imp the most powerful weapon in Etheria, the Magna Beam Transporter. Hordak gives a demonstration. He directs the beam at a destroyed battlewagon, and promptly teleports it away. The regular sized Imp is baffled, asking where it went. Hordak brings it up on a monitor and shows it disappearing into the valley of the lost, from which no thing and no one has ever returned! Have they ever stopped to consider that maybe it leads to paradise and that’s why no one has ever returned? Anyway, he’s going to get this transporter fully charged, he’s just going to transport the whole fucking Whispering Woods along with all the rebels in it.

000 42 Could ave Killed Someone

But they can’t do it yet, because the laser has to be fully charged. Hordak teleports everyone below deck and shows them how it works. It runs on sheer will power. So, what Hordak likes to do is take pissed of villagers that he’s captured and hook them up in little cages so that the machine is fueled by their rage and injustice and fury. Adora looks on numbly, clearly under Shadow Weaver’s spell. Alas, this scrappy little guy that Hordak has captured only fills the energy meter by one bar. Hordak jumps up and down and mandates that they must capture more rebels! More! Adora doesn’t even bat an eye.

000 43 Big Hug Sis

As Hordak continues to bitch about needing more rebels to fuel his Magna Carta Beam Transporer, Shadow Weaver suggests that the patrol will be back shortly and may have captured more rebels. She conjures up a pink ball and uses it to check on the arrival of the guards. She definitely spots the guards, but Hordak is upset to see that, not only have they not captured any more rebels, but also one of them is missing. Just then, the missing guard comes running up from behind and joins the squad. But, there’s something off about him, like the blonde hair spilling out from under the helmet. Hordak figures out that it’s He-Man and plans to stop him, until Shadow Weaver points out that He-Man could probably single-handedly power the transporter ray.

000 44 Wellcome Ally

Once inside the fortress, He-Man sidles up by Adora and pops his helment off. She’s startled and demands to know why he got in. She starts to draw her laser pistol, but He-Man pushes it back into her holster with just one finger, saying, “Oh, you don’t need that.” She’s still under Shadow Weaver’s spell, so she’s resistant. He-Man asks that she just listen to him for a minute. She claims to remember what their las conversation was like – did she go out and see what the Horde is really like? She says she did, and what she learned is that He-Man is liar and has to be stopped. Hordak reveals himself and congratulates his Force Captain, then orders his guards to stop He-Man. He blocks all of their shots, but then Adora just shoots him in the back, rendering him unconscious.

000 24 Sad Adora

However, when Adora realizes that Hordak intends to put He-Man in into the energy collector down in the “plunder room”, she protests. Hordak waves his hand and Shadow Weaver casts a spell. Now Adora no longer has any objection. Down in the plunder room, Hordak is marveling at how powerful He-Man is. The energy bar is already halfway full. In fact, Hordak says if he’s not careful, he’ll overload the Magna Beam. Nearby by, Shadow Weaver has both the power swords stuck into a stone as she inspects them. However, when she tries to touch them, they shock her. She observes that the swords are not of this world and have a strange power that she cannot control. She’s going to need to study her books, but Hordak is not concerned, because by the morning He-Man will be drained and the rebellion will be lost.

000 25 Sphincter Door Gif

Upstairs somewhere, Adora is tossing and turning in bed, muttering about how “it’s evil” in her sleep. She’s awoken when she hears the Sorceress’ voice calling her name. Adora crawls over to the window, making a stink face as she remarks that something strange is going on. She gets dressed and heads downstairs. She finds the energy meter He-Man is hooked up to is only a quarter shy of full. Adora determines it’s for the best because then the rebels will be no more, and that’s good for Etheria. As she turns to leave, the Sorceress appears in the crystal of the lady-power sword and implores Adora to seek her destiny, to do what she knows in her heart to be right, and to use the sword to guide her to it.

000 26 A Picture is Worth 100 Murders

The Sorceress reveals that she has a twin brother she was stolen from as an infant, and that she should take her sword and pledge her allegiance to some mysterious society, or thing that she really knows nothing about. Right about then, the machine is fully charged and He-Man has dropped to the ground, drained. Adora draws her sword, she knows what she needs to do. She raises her sword and says, “For the honor of Grayskull!” and she flashes her first recycled animation clip at us. It all comes very naturally to her. Then, her first act as She-Ra is to rip the energy chamber from He-Man, freeing him.

000 28 Back Off Kidnapping Mom

She-Ra drags him out of the building, but, after some mumbling from He-Man, understands that he needs his power sword. She-Ra props him up on a wall like a plank, then gets his power sword for him. She throws the sword to him and buys enough time for him to mutter his magic phrase to repower himself. Hordak is not feeling too threatened because he was able to charge his machine, so he continues on with his plan to teleport the Whispering Woods to the endless Pit of Despair. She-Ra accidentally creates Swift Wind by landing on a horse’s back. She takes off on her winged horse and leaves He-Man to bypass some guards by jumping through the ceiling up to where Hordak is.

000 29 The World is Mine

He-Man gets up to Hordak, but it’s too late. Hordak has activated the Magna Beam. She-Ra plays him though, she swoops down and lassos a large boulder and throws it in the way of the beam. Hordak is pretty stoked to have wasted a beam on a boulder, but he says he still as enough charge for one more shot. Before he can shoot, He-Man punches the battery tank and releases all the stored up angry-juice. It wafts over all the captive men like a yellow testosterone fog. They all open their eyes in a terribly wound up state – their own rage returned, probably amplified by being mixed in with He-Man’s juice.

000 30 Serious Man Crush

Just as Hordak has cornered He-Man with a bunch of goons, She-Ra swoops in on that fancy horse of hers and carries He-Man away. While escaping on horseback, She-Ra makes a couple of lame cracks about sisters and brothers, which go way over He-Man’s head. So, She-Ra lands this winged pony of hers so they can have a “long talk”. Down on the ground, He-Man is saying, “I still don’t understand. I never had a sister.” Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing. I just watched 130 episodes and there was never anything about a sister before.

000 31 Behold the Magna Carta Beam Ray Transporter

He-Man is still a little skeptical, but when She-Ra mentions the “woman in the sword”, He-Man asks to see her sword. He-man looks into the crystal, well, more like peeks into it, then asks if the Sorceress can hear him. She can. She tells him his task is complete, but He-Man is bitter because he doesn’t know the rest of the story. Don’t worry, now the Sorceress can tell him the story. The King and Queen had twins (duh!), and then the horde showed up on Eternia but the Royal Army and the Sorceresses magic held them at bay. Hordak tried to sneak away with Skeletor, his favorite pupil to steal the twins. Wouldn’t you know it, Skeletor failed and Hordak didn’t, thus snagging Adora.

000 32 What a Dumb Power Sorce

So to spare Prince Adam the loss, the Sorceress wiped all memories of his sister from him. The only people who knew the truth were King Randor and Queen Marlena, Man-At-Arms, and the Sorceress herself. Everyone else just pretended like she never happened. She’s invited back to Eternia but obviously can’t leave now – she has to help the rebellion. The Sorceress tells her to comeback anytime, then the now levitating swords spin tip down then falls out of the sky form a considerable height, which would be sufficient to kill someone.

000 33 He-Man in Disguise

To lead us into next week’s continuation, He-Man tells She-Ra she should take her time before making any decisions about turning into a superhero. Though, he does remind her of one thing she can do right now – give her brother a big hug. Swift Wind nods in approval. Prince Adam and Adora show up in the Whispering Woods where Adora and Prince Adam explain why Adora is good now. They’re all excided to have her on their side.

To Be Continued…

He-Man murder count:
Season 1:   19
Season 2: 104

Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 26

IMDB Cast List:

John Erwin: Prince Adam, He-Man, Beast Man

Melendy Britt: Princess Adora, She-Ra, Catra, Hunga the Harpy

Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Battle Cat, Bald Rebel, Chef Alan

Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena, Sorceress, Shadow Weaver, Glimmer, Madame Razz

George DiCenzo: Bow, Hordak

Erika Scheimer: Queen Angella, Imp

Lou Scheimer: King Randor, Swift-Wind, Kowl, Mantenna, Horde Trooper, Kobra Khan, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Broom, Sprag, Sprocker, Garv the Innkeeper, Bard, Messenger, Horde Computer, Leech, Grizzlor