In which Skeletor fails to master the art of reverse psychology.
We open at Snake Mountain, where we discover that Skeletor has been indulging his weakness for buying tat on eBay. This week, he’s bought the Wheel of Infinity, which he claims is the key to destroying Castle Grayskull and ruling Eternia. He further reveals that he and his cronies (which this week include Tri-Klops and some vaguely dinosauresque fellow who’s graced with the name of Fang Man) are going back in time, to a point in Eternia’s history when there was no Castle Grayskull. He also – erroneously, as it turns out – says that He-Man won’t be able to stop them this time.
In Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress summons Prince Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko to tell them that Skeletor has returned to the past and is happily occupied building a fortress on the very spot that Castle Grayskull now stands. She also details Skeletor’s plot: if he starts the Wheel of Infinity spinning, it will get faster and faster and larger and larger until it destroys Castle Grayskull. This is a matter which requires He-Man’s immediate attention, and once he has transformed, our crowd head through a Time Corridor back to the past.
Once in Ancient Eternia, our heroes are greeted by some Ancient Eternians. He-Man speaks to them very slowly and patronisingly, but this doesn’t help, so instead he gets in a fight with the goofiest purple dragon I’ve ever seen. In the course of this fight, we discover that Man-at-Arms’ blasters don’t work and he is therefore even more useless than usual. We also discover that He-Man has a secret grudge against Battle-Cat, since he tries to order him to walk backwards into a pit, an irrational order which Battle-Cat ignores.
Once this important business is settled, He-Man and co. make their way to Skeletor’s fortress. On finding it quiet, He-Man decides to rile Skeletor by threatening to turn the castle into toothpaste. Naturally, Skeletor is unable to ignore this threat, and a pitched battle ensues, in the course of which He-Man says that a battle club would make a good toothpick. In the end, Skeletor kidnaps one of those Ancient Eternians and explains that our heroes can either save Castle Grayskull, or save the Eternian from Dragasore Isle.
Well, of course, He-Man opts to go to Dragasore Isle, which contains a variety of interesting flora and fauna, including a plant which has elements of Venus fly traps and octopuses, and an animal which appears to be a pig-crab hybrid, as well as a lot more of those stupid purple dragons. On finally finding the Ancient Eternian, they find that she is in a cage which Skeletor claims will trap her “forever between time and space”. This is a transparent deception; He-Man bends the cage’s bars and out she comes.
The Sorceress puts a stop to this pointless excursion by transporting our heroes back to Skeletor’s fortress, where it’s time for the final showdown. In the course of the battle, Skeletor sets the Wheel of Infinity spinning, which sends him into paroxysms of laughter and also leads him to utter the phrase, “At last, I’ve won!” which is so dementedly deluded that you almost feel sorry for him.
He-Man cannot stop the Wheel spinning, but he suggests that maybe he could speed it up. Skeletor, who is not a master of the art of reverse psychology, shouts, “No!!!!!!!!”, which is of course a cue for He-Man to do just that. The Wheel spins faster and faster, and is just about to explode when He-Man punches it, sending it flying to explode peacefully in the sky. Our heroes return to the present, upon which the Sorceress thanks He-Man, prompting him to smile in a very silly way.
In today’s adventure…
He-Man explains that in real life, it’s not possible to travel back in time, but it is possible to learn from your past to make yourself a better person in the present. It’s a relatively sensible comment, spoiled only by He-Man finishing up by saying, “Until next time, this is He-Man, wishing you good health, and good luck,” which seems like a very strange way to sign off.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:
There’s no excuse required today, since the only heroes involved are those who know the secret anyway.
A relatively small main cast today, with a fair number of supporting players. We have, of course, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Prince Adam, Cringer, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor and Tri-Klops. I’m going to count Fang Man as a supporting character, because he never appears again. We also have a load of ancient Eternians, possibly with names.
There’s a bumper crop of insults this week, most of which involve the word ‘face’. He-Man calls the purple dragon “Worm-face”. The Ancient Eternians refer to Skeletor as “Ghost-face”, while He-Man prefers the slightly more accurate “Skull-face”. Skeletor also gets a few vicious digs in at He-Man, calling him a fool twice – though on the first of these occasions, it is in response to He-Man’s nonsensical gibe about toothpaste, so it’s perfectly reasonable.
Egg on your face?
No eggs this week, but Orko is more than capable of working with other foodstuffs, and thus it is that Man-at-Arms is covered in chocolate cake. (Or at least that’s what I assume the badly animated brown cylinder thing is.)
Does it have the Power?
Absolutely. It’s a little bit insane – I’m still a bit uncertain about how exactly Skeletor’s plan was supposed to work – but it’s super fun. There are some elements of the script which come across rather oddly, for example He-Man’s closing message, and the inexplicable obsession with dental care he develops in the middle of the episode. But Orko isn’t too annoying, we have the pleasure of seeing Skeletor come close to victory, and He-Man is at his most brazenly confident. If you fancy a good solid He-Man episode, this one is a strong choice.