Episode 010 – A Friend in Need

In which we are subjected to an astonishingly rabid anti-drugs diatribe.

The episode opens with a big grey flying saucer arriving at the Palace. It is crewed by Elena, a pasty-looking blonde girl, and Zigran, an old man with the same infuriating voice as Zagrez had in The Cosmic Comet. They have come to deliver something called the transmutator, but Elena is pleased to be able to visit her friend Teela so they can ride about on metal horses.

Friend in Need 1

Orko delivers the bad news that Jarvan the Sorcerer has escaped from prison, but Teela brushes this off, saying that Jarvan is probably in another galaxy by now. Guess what? He isn’t. He’s actually pissing about in a geyser field, plotting his revenge. By sheer coincidence, Teela and Elena are riding around in this geyser field, and when Teela is knocked unconscious by a gaseous emission, Elena contacts Prince Adam to ask for help.

Well, we all know what that means. Along comes He-Man, who instead of getting on with rescuing Elena and Teela, opts to unnecessarily throw some rocks into the geysers. Afterwards, He-Man heads back to the Palace.  Jarvan watches him go and comments, “He will lead me to the King,” as if he couldn’t have possibly guessed that the King might be at the Palace.

Friend in Need 2

Elena blames herself for Teela’s injury, and is sitting about moaning about how she’s not big or strong or brave, when Jarvan shows up disguised as an old woman. He gives Elena a test tube full of an unknown substance, which will make her feel anything she wants to feel. After Elena drinks the test tube, Teela returns to the Palace courtyard to find Elena is much more confident and far less of a whingebag.

Later, Man-at-Arms is demonstrating the transmutator, which I’d forgotten all about, engrossed as I was in this subtle drugs allegory. The transmutator can change things into other things, basically, and that’s all you need to know about that, except that Jarvan wants it. There follow a series of tedious scenes in which Elena feels tired and weak, summons Jarvan for another dose of mysterious test tubes, then goes hyper, then experiences cold turkey.

Friend in Need 3

Finally, Jarvan refuses to give Elena any more nice potion unless Elena gets the transmutator for him. With Orko’s help, Elena nicks the transmutator and gives it to Jarvan, but Jarvan reveals his true identity, refuses to give her any potion, and instead just teleports out with his prize! This guy could give Walter White a run for his money in the Machiavellian drugs game. Elena finally realises how dim she’s been, and confesses all.

He-Man gets involved again and has a brief battle with Jarvan. Fortunately, Jarvan is none too bright and uses the transmutator to turn the air around He-Man into rock, rather than the more simple expedient of turning He-Man himself into rock. Thanks to this error in judgement, Jarvan finds himself returned to captivity, and Elena gets a stern lecture about not taking drugs.

Friend in Need 4

 

In today’s adventure…

In case there were any monumentally dense viewers who didn’t grasp the subtleties of this plot, He-Man explains solemnly that drugs don’t make your problems go away, they just create more. I understand the need for responsible drug education, and I do of course acknowledge that in 1980s America kids couldn’t move three metres outside their houses without being offered crack cocaine, but to see this plot on He-Man really does seem a bit much. The bottom line is, if you were offered drugs, is it likely you wouldn’t take them because He-Man said you shouldn’t? To be honest, the most important lesson for 4 year olds to learn from this episode would be that you should always wear a seatbelt; there’s a bit where Elena and Adam go for a joyride in the flying saucer, and Adam falls out, which wouldn’t have happened if he’d been more safety-conscious.

Friend in Need 5

 

Excuse for Adam’s disappearance

Just proving that there really wasn’t enough meat to hang on the bones of this story, we are treated to Adam turning into He-Man no less than three times in this episode, which probably accounts for a good quarter of the episode’s run-time. Despite this, there’s only one excuse offered, on the second occasion, when He-Man mysteriously comments that “Adam is safe.”

 

Characters appearing

I don’t really care who was in this trainwreck of a story, but on the off chance that you do, there was Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Elena, Zigran, and Jarvan.

 

Insults

Prince Adam asks Elena to slow down a bit while they’re out in the flying saucer, which leads to her using the exceptionally mild insult “Fun-stopper”. Otherwise, no one has any Eternian burns to dole out today.

 

Does it have the Power?

Does it buggery. With all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the message is forced into our faces every three seconds throughout this drivel. We’re treated to endless repetitive scenes of Elena taking drugs but hating the comedown, and Jarvan is an extremely poor substitute for Skeletor. I must say, I enjoyed He-Man’s sarky comment to Jarvan at the end; when Jarvan rants that the goodies will hear from him again, He-Man responds, “Ahh, so you’ll write from the prison mines.” It’s not much, but it is about as evil as He-Man ever got. Still, it’s not nearly enough to redeem this tripe.

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