In which Stratos appears, but doesn’t say a word or contribute anything.
This week, we catch up with Prince Adam and Man-at-Arms on the moon of Phantos, where they have come to visit Queen Elmora and buy some photanium, which is used for making weapons and shields. Adam notices that Elmora seems miserable, but Man-at-Arms doesn’t give a monkeys, and insists they return to Eternia. After they leave the room, a curtain pulls back to reveal Skeletor and Mer-Man, as well as some presumably evil dude with spikes on his head and a weird arm, who we later learn goes by the name of Strong Arm.
Skeletor helpfully explains that Adam’s shipment of photanium is worthless metal, and that the real photanium will be coming to Snake Mountain. Elmora demands that now she has co-operated, Skeletor should release his prisoners. Skeletor being Skeletor, of course, he doesn’t, instead choosing to cast a spell to make Elmora really old and bent to Skeletor’s will.
Back on Eternia, Man-at-Arms has made weapons out of the worthless metal, and they keep breaking. No one is cruel enough to suggest that maybe Man-at-Arms is just rubbish at making weapons, and instead wonder if maybe Elmora has cheated them. Adam, Man-at-Arms and Cringer pop off to Castle Grayskull, where the Sorceress confirms that Skeletor has forced Elmora into an alliance. This revelation prompts a speedy He-Man transformation.
At the Palace, Man-at-Arms tells Teela she can’t come to Phantos, even though there appears to be space on this jaunt for the ever-useless Stratos and some unfamiliar green lunatic who’s so non-descript he only gets two lines and a rubbish name. Cut to the quick by this insult, Teela tags along anyway, undetected.
As our heroes troll across a plain on Phantos, they are cheerily greeted by a vision of the aged Elmora. He-Man helps the situation by tactfully not recognising her, though I suppose it doesn’t help that she’s talking in Evil-Lyn’s voice. This is probably why Evil-Lyn didn’t appear in this episode. Anyway, the discussion doesn’t go well, and Elmora kidnaps Battle-Cat and Stratos, and might well have done more if Teela didn’t intervene, earning herself a telling off from Man-at-Arms and a sleazy thank you from He-Man.
It’s now time to break into Elmora’s castle. He-Man decides that this must be done through the photanium refinery, and furthermore they must go in disguise. Since the refinery workers wear grey jumpsuits, He-Man and his friends decide that half a jumpsuit each will be sufficient. And thus it proves, since they only manage to move halfway across a room before discarding the disguises in favour of having a tussle with Mer-Man and Strong Arm. It transpires in this scene that Strong Arm’s arm can be extended to quite surprising lengths, a la Inspector Gadget.
Rather surprisingly, Strong Arm’s crazy arm ability proves to be an advantage in this fight, and he actually manages to shut He-Man inside a coffin thing. This explains why we never see Strong Arm again. Skeletor must have fired him after this episode for being dangerously competent. What is slightly odder is that after capturing He-Man, Strong Arm and Mer-Man run away from Man-at-Arms, Teela and the green dude. Fortunately, He-Man breaks out of the coffin in very little time, as I think we all knew he would.
The next scene gives us an explanation of who the green fellow is – he’s called Lizard Man, and based on his characteristics, I think I could have come up with that name myself. He-Man rids himself of Lizard Man and Man-at-Arms at this juncture, telling them to go away and find Battle-Cat and Stratos, and not to disturb him while he and Teela break into Elmora’s chambers.
Meanwhile, Queen Elmora amuses herself by filling up episode run time with flashbacks about how she used to chain He-Man up and he’d break out, in happy carefree days before that brazen hussy Teela came into He-Man’s life and created so much tension. Though that may just be my interpretation. Anyway, thinking about these happy memories gives Elmora sufficient willpower to knock Mer-Man and Strong Arm out. This displeases Skeletor to such an extent that he casts another spell on Elmora, which has the effect that every time she sees He-Man, she will see him as Skeletor.
Now, this is a clever spell, and it does have the intended effect. When He-Man comes sauntering in, Elmora does indeed see him as Skeletor. The lapse in logic is only too apparent though – Skeletor told Elmora precisely what he was going to do, so at the very least Elmora ought to be thinking, “Now hang on, is this actually Skeletor?” Things only get more confusing when the real Skeletor appears, claiming He-Man is Skeletor, though he rather gives the game away by engaging in dialogue which immediately reveals that he’s the baddy. Still Elmora doesn’t grasp the obvious and opts to chain both He-Man and Skeletor up. Once He-Man breaks out, Elmora is able to conclude who the real enemy is. I feel it would have been easier if He-Man had simply punched Skeletor.
He-Man tells Skeletor to release Elmora from the spell, or he’ll stay chained up for ever. Skeletor isn’t fond of this proposal and complies, after which He-Man releases him. Skeletor promptly teleports away, leaving Strong Arm and Mer-Man to run off. The episode ends with Prince Adam telling Teela that he’s tasted her potatoes before. And yes, that is out of context.
In today’s adventure …
He-Man goes completely bat-shit this week, explaining that if viewers are driving a car, they have to consider safety. Well, yes, but since the intended viewers are 4 years old, they also have to consider other matters. If the writer had stopped to think about it for more than a nanosecond, he’d have found that the obvious moral is Teela disobeying Man-at-Arms’ orders, which could have been tied in with safety if necessary. They could also have done something about not always believing your eyes, as Elmora found out in that lengthy bit with the double Skeletors. But no, it’s driving cars. For God’s sake.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:
No one thinks it’s worth explaining on this occasion. Though to be honest, I think we need an excuse for Stratos’ appearance. He doesn’t say anything or do anything. He’s useless.
This week features Prince Adam, He-Man, Skeletor, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Cringer, Battle-Cat, the Sorceress, Mer-Man, Strong Arm, Queen Elmora, as well as some factory workers and slave drivers. It also features Stratos and Lizard Man, but as I believe I’ve alluded to before, it doesn’t really need to.
Thanks to Beast Man being absent from the episode, we also have an absence of insults.
Egg on your face?
Yup, none of this either. Orko barely features, so there’s no hilarious magic tricks.
Does it have the Power?
Well, it’s not the best, though it’s not awful. I get the feeling someone really liked the phrase “She-Demon”, and shoehorned it into a title, since it’s not enormously relevant – He-Man tries to make out that Elmora is a demon, but she blatantly isn’t. There’s an overabundance of characters – Lizard Man and Stratos are incredibly superfluous – and Skeletor unfolds his plan, such as it is, at a glacial pace. The scene at the end with Elmora not being able to tell whether He-Man is Skeletor or not got old pretty quickly. So actually, forget what I said about it not being awful. It is.