Episode 011 – Masks of Power

In which Skeletor finally spends some time behind bars.

We join Prince Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko as they discover the City of the Ancient Ones, which is deep in a mysterious jungle. Adam provides a little backstory: though the last rulers of the City – the Wizard Deinos and his Witch Queen Tarella – were evil, Adam hopes to rediscover their power and use it for the good of Eternia.

Not unexpectedly, Skeletor also has his eye on said power, and blow me down if he doesn’t want to use it for evil. In the middle of complaining about the absence of Beast-Man and Evil-Lyn, Skeletor is interrupted by two morons called Aaron and Una teleporting into Snake Mountain. They offer to do whatever Skeletor asks so they can become Evil Warriors. Skeletor opts to put them through a few tests, which they pass with A*s, after which they are packed off to the City of the Ancients to recover the Power Masks of King Deinos.

Masks of Power 1

On arrival at the City, Aaron and Una immediately figure out that the Masks are kept in the cellar, and find them in fairly short order. Aaron announces that as soon as they put the Masks on, the power will be theirs, but this doesn’t seem to be how it works out – in actuality, once they put the Masks on, they are possessed with the spirits of Deinos and Tarella. Well, the episode says they’re possessed, but they seem to have been out-and-out replaced with the evil Ancients.

Masks of Power 2

Adam sprints out of the room and returns seconds later as He-Man, who swiftly corners Deinos and Tarella. Instead of surrendering, they opt to levitate out of a convenient hole in the ceiling, and stump off to look for the Sword of the Ancients. After a fight with a giant rhino, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko climb out of the pit, then head for Castle Grayskull to ask the Sorceress what to do next.

The Sorceress reveals that the Sword of the Ancients is embedded King Arthur-style in a block of solid quartz, deep beneath Snake Mountain, and that that is where Deinos and Tarella will be found. Apparently, the Sword is second only to He-Man’s own sword in terms of power, but luckily, Skeletor doesn’t even know it’s there.

Over at Snake Mountain, Deinos and Tarella have a lively discussion with Skeletor concerning who’s the boss in this situation. Skeletor gets the worst of it, winding up trapped behind a load of stalagmites, and is thus rather pleased to see He-Man when he shows up a few minutes later. In return for his release, Skeletor tells He-Man which way his unwelcome visitors went. After He-Man trolls off, Skeletor reflects that he wants to be in on the action too, and follows.

Masks of Power 3

In the final denouement, Deinos and Tarella take a back seat as He-Man grabs the Sword of the Ancients and Skeletor manages to nick He-Man’s sword. Then the Sword of the Ancients starts talking about how awesome it is, which is nice, and combines itself with He-Man’s sword. I wish I was making this up, but this is insane beyond even He-Man’s usual claptrap. The end result is that Deinos and Tarella disappear and are replaced with Aaron and Una again, while Skeletor shakes his fists in impotent rage. Aaron and Una repent of their desire to serve evil, and He-Man threatens to take Skeletor to prison, which just sounds a bit pathetic. Not surprisingly, Skeletor is unconcerned, and teleports away. The end.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela shows up to tell us that the important take-home from this little jaunt is how to react when you make a mistake. Her perspective is that if you admit your mistake rather than covering it up or lying about it, you’ve taken the first step towards resolving it. Orko thinks he is justified in claiming he has never made a mistake. The sheer nerve of it.

Masks of Power 4

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Given Man-at-Arms and Orko both know the secret and are the only heroes present, it’s reasonable enough that no screen time is devoted to this.

 

Characters appearing

Nothing too exciting to report this week, of course: Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Aaron, Una, Deinos and Tarella feature in the main story, and Teela shows up in the moral segment.

 

Insults

He-Man can’t resist quipping that Skeletor looks at home behind bars when they find him trapped by the stalagmites, but otherwise everyone gets along rather splendidly this time.

 

Egg on your face?

Man-at-Arms gets a pot of water emptied over him thanks to Orko’s magic, though in fairness to Orko his magic was working perfectly well until he was distracted by the unexpected appearance of a giant floating head. Man-at-Arms is not amused nonetheless, though he finds it funnier a moment later when Orko contrives to drop three large urns on top of himself.

Masks of Power 5

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a bit of a weird episode which doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do with itself. The first half is all set up for He-Man to confront Deinos and Tarella in the City of the Ancients, but then it diverts to a Snake Mountain setting. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the Sword of the Ancients couldn’t be in the City of the Ancients (and frankly it would make more sense if it were), making this change of heart even more baffling. It’s also odd that when “possessed by spirits”, Aaron and Una were actually completely replaced by people who looked nothing like them; it might have been easier to accept their apology if we’d actually seen them being evil. On the plus side, it’s quite entertaining watching Skeletor get his comeuppance in a battle with a more powerful evil force, but ultimately, it hasn’t really got much going for it.

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