Episode 009 – The Dragon Invasion

In which Skeletor actually manages to get inside Castle Grayskull.

Somewhere in the wilds of Eternia, we find Skeletor and Beast-Man nicking some dragon eggs. Skeletor is also in possession of the Dragon Pearl, a little bauble which no doubt has some inexplicable and illogical power, though what that might be remains thus far mysterious. The plan this time appears to be to dose the eggs with growth serum, then drop them all over Eternia to cause a spot of bother.

Over at the Palace, dinner is being served. Orko eats an entire chicken leg and then states he’s full, at which point King Randor takes leave of his senses and says it’s a shame there aren’t two Orkos, so then they could eat more. This is insane on so many levels, primarily that it’s a shame there’s even one Orko, let alone two. Naturally, Orko casts a spell to create billions more versions of himself, who eat the entire dinner and start arguing.

Dragon Invasion 1

This dreadful scene comes to a merciful end when a dragon egg hatches outside the Palace, and thanks to the growth serum, the dragon grows to full size in 2.7 seconds. Havoc ensues, prompting a very speedy entrance from Guess Who. The inevitable fight is over pretty quickly, though He-Man doesn’t actually do much; to my distinct surprise, Man-at-Arms is the one actually responsible for shooting and freezing the dragon with what appears to be a hairdryer, but is of course his new stasis ray.

Dragon Invasion 2

A good portion of the rest of the episode is taken up with our heroes – who include Stratos and Ram-Man again, God only knows why – fighting dragons and winning in non-violent ways. In the meantime, Skeletor and his posse head to Castle Grayskull, which Skeletor grandly proclaims to be their new home. The Dragon Pearl is put to use strengthening Evil-Lyn’s magic, and the Sorceress eventually ends up trapped inside the Pearl – but not, of course, before she has contacted He-Man for help.

And now, the unexpected: Skeletor and his clowns open the drawbridge (or jawbridge, as it’s either actually called or I thought it was called when I was three) and enters Castle Grayskull! It gets worse: Skeletor uses the Dragon Pearl to create a forcefield to stop He-Man getting in. When Man-at-Arms returns to his usual levels of incompetence and is unable to lower the forcefield, He-Man decides to use the dragons instead.

Dragon Invasion 3

He-Man and Teela corner Beast-Man at Snake Mountain, and use the hairdryer on him. This breaks his control on the dragons, who all become friendly, and convene at Castle Grayskull to burn down the forcefield. Our heroes all troll in and start a brawl with Skeletor and his crew, in the course of which Skeletor teleports back to Snake Mountain. Rather oddly, He-Man is still there, evidently having decided he had better things to do than help at Castle Grayskull.

So now we get an epic confrontation between He-Man and Skeletor. Skeletor uses the power of the Sorceress, still in the Dragon Pearl, to grow to about three times his normal size. This doesn’t help, since he immediately falls off the edge of Snake Mountain and requires rescue from He-Man. After this, he runs away, perhaps smarting from the embarrassment.

Dragon Invasion 4

 

In today’s adventure …

Orko tells us that we should treat animals with kindness and respect, and definitely shouldn’t use them to try to conquer Eternia. It’s the second episode in a row where the moral has actually had some relevance to the story, so a round of applause is deserved, I think.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Teela tells Adam to go and get the guards, which provides him with all the excuse he needs. Though I suppose, since no guards actually show up, Teela’s going to have a go at Adam for not managing this simple task.

 

Characters appearing

This week we have a large cast, including Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Stratos, Ram-Man, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw. Oh, and Jitsu, a one-time villain on Skeletor’s team. He doesn’t ever appear again, either because he’s faintly racist, or because the voice actor was incapable of a suitable voice. He sounds like a French chef.

Dragon Invasion 5

 

Insults

Within the very first scene, Skeletor calls Beast-Man a “Beast-brain”, when Beast-Man fails to stop an attacking dragon. Skeletor also dishes out a vicious “Fool” to He-Man, after He-Man rescues him, thus giving He-Man the chance to get all uppity about the value of life, even Skeletor’s. There’s also a few comments addressed to dragons which could be construed as insulting, though it’s debatable – Battle-Cat calls one a “dragon-face”, and I’m pretty sure Teela calls one a “flame thrower”.

Dragon Invasion 6

 

Does it have the Power?

This one’s a real winner. It’s action-packed and jolly good fun. It’s one of the only times in the series that Skeletor and the baddies come across as a viable threat; indeed, Beast-Man seems completely out of character – in a good way – as a competent scheming villain with hopes of eventually ousting Skeletor one day. Skeletor himself gets some great lines – particularly after he departs Castle Grayskull without attempting to save his colleagues, he comments gleefully to himself, “Too bad about the others, but at least I escaped!”

It’s not 100% perfect; the scene with Orko at dinner is gratingly irritating, and it’s also odd how the villains are in possession of Castle Grayskull for quite some time but appear to do nothing except stand in a room waiting to be evicted, rather than trying to get those secrets they’re always on about. But these are very minor quibbles. It’s definitely the best episode so far.

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