Episode 021 – The Royal Cousin

In which we all try not to snigger at the name of Man-at-Arms’ new invention.

If you enjoyed the issues explored with Adam’s cousin Edwina a few episodes ago, but prefer for your sullen and selfish people to be young boys dressed in a leotard and a waistcoat, then this is the episode for you. (Of course, if you do have these preferences, please don’t get in touch. I scare easily.) The spoiled brat this week is Adam’s cousin Jeremy, who instantly starts being unpleasant to Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko.

Jeremy starts playing with Man-at-Arms’ new Rock Softener (I assure you, this is not a euphemism) and destroys a table full of worthless-looking items. Adam and Man-at-Arms take this badly, leading Jeremy to start whinging to Orko about how he’s sick of grown-ups spoiling all his fun. As if to prove the point, Adam offloads Jeremy onto Ram-Man, of all people, and heads off to the Eternian plains to help Man-at-Arms test the Rock Softener.

Cousin 1

Ram-Man’s idea of entertainment for Jeremy is leaping repeatedly into a pool of water, and so it’s perhaps no surprise that Jeremy takes the first opportunity to nick off with a Sky Sled. Ram-Man seizes the back of it as Jeremy flies off, but Jeremy refuses to land, instead taking the Sky Sled and Ram-Man for a joyride out to the Eternian plains. By the time Jeremy relents and agrees to land, the Sky Sled is broken and he is unable to bring it down safely.

Luckily, Adam and Man-at-Arms are in this vicinity testing the Rock Softener, and once He-Man arrives on the scene, the situation is resolved. Jeremy is really excited to see He-Man, but He-Man just tells Jeremy off, and rightly so. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops are also hanging out in the Eternian plains, and decide to use Jeremy’s dissatisfaction to get their grubby mitts on the Rock Softener.

Cousin 2

Once back at the Palace, Jeremy is sent to his room, but he instantly sneaks out and goes to the street market, where believe it or not, he meets Evil-Lyn in disguise. She buys him a Magneto Boomerang, and in return asks Jeremy to steal the Rock Softener. This deal goes down without a hitch, and when Man-at-Arms realises the Rock Softener is gone, he explains that it could be used to soften the walls of Castle Grayskull. Once he learns that this could lead to Eternia falling to the forces of evil, Jeremy confesses all.

Cousin 3

Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops are already at Grayskull, rather inexplicably using the Rock Softener on the jawbridge, the only part of Grayskull that isn’t made of rock. This lapse in logic notwithstanding, it seems to be working. When Man-at-Arms and He-Man arrive, He-Man immediately blunders into the beam of the Rock Softener and starts getting softened, while Man-at-Arms contrives to get his foot stuck in a plant. Luckily, Jeremy is also on hand to use his Magneto Boomerang to retrieve the Rock Softener.

From here, it all goes down as expected: Man-at-Arms traps Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops in his Porta-Prison, while He-Man pops inside Castle Grayskull to sort out some stupid growing glowing globe that was causing some bother. And finally, Jeremy apologises to everyone for being such a dick.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko and He-Man tell us that all Jeremy really wanted was to be noticed, but they’re convinced that there’s no point in being noticed if no one likes what you’re doing. The best thing to do is to be polite and helpful, and then people will like you. This moral is almost on target, but the episode seemed more concerned with the benefits of listening to people when they tell you not to do things, as it might prove dangerous. Still, it makes relative sense.

 

Characters appearing

Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Ram-Man, the Sorceress, Orko, Skeletor, King Randor, Evil-Lyn, Tri-Klops, Jeremy and the man who sells the Magneto Boomerang to Evil-Lyn. This last character is one of the most complex characters to ever appear in this cartoon, and possibly in all of fiction. What are his motivations? His inner demons? How did his life take such strange turns, leading him to Eternia’s marketplace? I suspect we’ll never know.

Cousin 4

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam changes into He-Man twice on screen this week, but in neither case is an excuse offered. However, as the episode begins, our heroes are discussing a very recent incident, in which Adam “was out on some royal business.”

 

Insults

Tri-Klops comes off worst this week, being called a “Fool” by both Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, and also being referred to as “Three eyes” by Evil-Lyn, which is undeniably accurate but probably not meant as a compliment. Evil-Lyn also receives a “Fool” from Skeletor. Jeremy also implicitly slags off Man-at-Arms by hinting that Duncan is a rubbish name.

Cousin 5

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, it’s not completely rubbish, but it’s not really a highlight either. We already went through this spoiled brat storyline with Edwina, and I’m pretty confident we’ll see it again at various points in the future. The main highlight is the immature laughs you can get from dialogue about the Rock Softener. My particular favourite was He-Man’s comment, “No more Mr Soft Guy,” after he had been released from the Softener’s beam. He should get some voice-over work for Viagra.

And with that, I’m going on holiday, so there’ll be no more reviews for 10 days or so!

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Episode 020 – Dawn of Dragoon

In which we learn that Orko comes from a planet where the trees have a very unusual shape.

We find Adam, Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko in the laboratory of the Palace, where Orko is reminiscing about how back on Trolla, he was a powerful sorcerer known as Orko the Great. He then starts messing about with a magic pyramid and some meteorites, and somehow this contrives to bring a female Trollan called Dree Elle to Eternia. Dree Elle recognises Orko as Orko the Great, much to Man-at-Arms’ chagrin, and then asks for help in defeating Dragoon, an evil monster.

Dragoon 1

Orko and Dree Elle nip back to Trolla immediately, and we learn that all the trees on Trolla look like dildos. Before either of them has time to comment on this, Dragoon shows up. He’s described as half-man, half-dragon, but he doesn’t appear to have much of the man about him: he’s just a dragon that walks on its hind legs and talks. Despite Orko being a powerful sorcerer here, they opt to run away and hide.

Dragoon 6

In the meantime, Adam has decided that Orko may need help, so he turns into He-Man and headed to Castle Grayskull to ask the Sorceress to transport him to Trolla. The Sorceress conjures up a portal to Trolla, but it’s really small. Rather than correcting this error, she tries to make out she meant to make it small, and gives He-Man the Sphere of Size, which allows him to get smaller as well. Going through the portal transforms He-Man and Battle-Cat back into Adam and Cringer, and they are unable to become He-Man and Battle-Cat again.

Dragoon 2

In a tenuous attempt to tie this story into our more usual outings, Dree Elle tells Orko that Dragoon was sent to Trolla by Skeletor. At this point, Dragoon shows up again and captures Dree Elle, while Orko meets up with Adam and Cringer. At Dragoon’s fortress, he reveals his evil plan to Dree Elle: he is draining the magical energy from the Trollans, and will transfer it to Skeletor when complete.

Dragoon 3

Outside, Adam finally figures out that everything on Trolla is backwards: his fire ray shoots water, Orko’s magic works, and the trees are upside-down with their roots in the air. I’m pretty sure that an upside-down tree wouldn’t look like a dildo, but there we have it. Anyway, he cries, “Grayskull of Power the by!” and successfully transforms into He-Man.

He-Man tackles Dragoon in a short fight, at the end of which Dragoon manages to tie himself up and throw himself into the Bottomless Hole of Trolla. You’d think that would be the end of that, but it transpires that the Bottomless Hole of Trolla is only about 15 foot deep, and thus He-Man and Battle-Cat are able to rescue Dragoon. This act of mercy prompts Dragoon to change his ways and work in the future for good.

Dragoon 4

In the meantime, Orko heads into the fortress and finds Dragoon’s laboratory. His magic is unable to revive Dree Elle and the other Trollans imprisoned here, until He-Man shows up and tells Orko he has to believe in himself. This is of course the key to this particular conundrum, and Dree Elle wakes up.

While Orko is off screen, he shows Dree Elle his face – something Trollans only do to those they love. “It’s kind of like -” begins He-Man, about to explain to Battle-Cat about the birds and the bees, then he changes his mind and settles for “- like getting engaged.” He-Man, Battle-Cat and Cringer return to Eternia, with Orko promising to return for Dree Elle one day.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man pops up to claim that this week, Orko had a difficult decision to make. I must have missed that, because I don’t recall any decisions at all, difficult or otherwise. But anyway, when you have a decision to make, perhaps you’d care to talk it through with your parents or best friend. Sound advice, He-Man. Thanks for sharing.

Dragoon 5

 

Characters appearing

Couple of newbies today; we meet Dree Elle and Dragoon, as well as the more usual suspects of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms and Teela.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam strikes off on his own to head to Trolla, so there’s no need to offer implausible reasons to anyone today.

 

Insults

He-Man doesn’t actually say it, but I can see him thinking, “Christ, you’re useless” when the Sorceress conjures up a ridiculously small portal to Trolla.

Otherwise, the only insult here is He-Man calling Dragoon a “frog-face”. Really, He-Man? Really? This is the best you can muster? Dragoon does not have a frog’s face. If you’re hoping to prick him to the quick, this is really not going to get you there.

 

Egg on your face?

Within 10 seconds of the episode starting, Man-at-Arms has been sprayed with mud and water from one of Orko’s magic tricks. He definitely had it coming though: he was fiddling about with the magic pyramid, even after Orko told him not to.

Dragoon 7

 

Does it have the Power?

Surprisingly for an Orko-centric episode, it actually does. It’s quite entertaining to get off Eternia to another world where the animators have free rein – and yes, I know we did that last week with Quest for He-Man, but that was completely nuts. Dawn of Dragoon, on the other hand, just about stays on the right side of sanity. It was a lot of fun to see Adam unable to become He-Man, and watching the cogs turn in Adam’s head as everyone repeatedly mentioned how Trolla was backwards was entertaining. In addition, Dragoon made a plausible baddy, though to be honest there was no real need to mention Skeletor. And to top it off, Orko and Dree Elle were written and acted without being infuriating. This episode is worth watching.

Episode 019 – Quest for He-Man

In which He-Man goes head-to-head with a big purple rabbit.

There’s no time for messing about this week, not with a story this mental to tell. The episode drops us straight in the action, with Trapjaw and Tri-Klops attacking the Palace. Their aim is to draw He-Man outside and get beaten up by him, in which objective they succeed admirably. They also have an ulterior motive: to lure He-Man into a bright pink bubble of energy set up by Skeletor. Once He-Man is trapped, Skeletor manages to erase his memory and banish him to another world, by way of animation that looks like a very bad LSD trip.

Quest 1

Luckily, Orko has witnessed He-Man’s unceremonious departure from Eternia, and reports the events to Man-at-Arms, Teela, Ram-Man and Cringer. They all head off to Grayskull to ask the Sorceress for advice, though as usual she has little helpful to say. She instead calls for help from Zodac, “rider of the cosmic spacewaves”. Zodac claims he’s unable to intervene, but then gives Orko a wand which will help. I would count this as intervention, but maybe Starfleet Command will overlook this violation of the Prime Directive.

Since the writers correctly guessed we wouldn’t be able to contain our excitement, we now cut to find out where He-Man is. He’s on an alien world called Trainis, unable to remember his identity, and surrounded by four creatures that look uncannily like overinflated pink condoms with legs. He then comes under attack from a half-woman, half-chicken called Gleedle, who accuses him of being one of Plundor’s henchthugs. Luckily, He-Man manages to make friends with Gleedle and her condoms.

Quest 2

But it’s not all sweetness and light on Trainis. We now meet Plundor, and if you thought Skeletor was scary, you’d better switch off right now or have a fresh change of underwear ready. Plundor is an exceptionally camp purple man-sized rabbit, and he seems to think that He-Man could prove useful to him. Gleedle relates that once Trainis was a beautiful world, but then Plundor took over, building evil machinery and cutting down the forests, polluting the water and causing extinctions of various animal species.

Quest 3

Plundor sends two egg-shaped robots with rabbit ears to capture He-Man, Gleedle and the condoms, which they achieve with sleeping gas. He-Man and Gleedle are taken to Plundor’s rabbit-shaped factory, where Plundor offers He-Man the opportunity to work with him and thus become rich. You see, Plundor has distilled the life force of the planet Trainis into a liquid, which he can sell for millions or billions. He finishes detailing this ‘plan’ with an evil and camp chuckle.

Quest 4

Orko, Ram-Man and Cringer travel through the Time Corridor, using Zodac’s wand as a beacon to guide them to He-Man. They land safely on Trainis, and quickly find He-Man’s sword, which he dropped in his altercation with Gleedle. They then follow He-Man’s trail to the factory, where they interrupt just after He-Man has refused Plundor’s offer. Orko returns He-Man’s sword to him, and by shrieking about the Power of Grayskull, He-Man’s memory is restored.

All that remains to do is for He-Man to sort Plundor out and restore Trainis to its former beauty. Plundor makes this rather easy by inexplicably loading the planet’s life force into a rocket (naturally, a rocket with a pink rabbit painted on it) and then launching it. All He-Man has to do is jump on the rocket and make it explode, thus releasing the life force back into the planet’s ecosystem. As He-Man and co. return to Eternia, Plundor is dressed in a convict uniform and set to work demolishing his factory, overseen by the condoms.

Quest 5

 

In today’s adventure …

Zodac decides to intervene again to tell us how He-Man came to the aid of a world where the natural resources were being wasted. He warns us that this selfsame thing is happening on Earth, and that some plants and animals have already disappeared. It’s a very laudable environmental message, and entirely in keeping with the episode’s events. I can’t fault it at all, though I can’t help wondering if kids would have taken the message better if it hadn’t been packaged up in an episode that’s completely out of its mind.

 

Characters appearing

This week treats us to the dream team of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Ram-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, Zodac, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Gleedle, Plundor and lots of pink condoms, who remain nameless. There’s also a big cat, coloured more normally than Cringer, but I don’t think it got a name either.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam transforms into He-Man very early on, at a point in the episode where things are moving so fast no one can even register his absence. Later on, however, I do have to take issue with the fact that He-Man transforms Cringer into Battle-Cat while on Trainis, and Ram-Man doesn’t even notice the substitution. Where did he think Cringer had gone, and where did Battle-Cat come from? This is proof that either Ram-Man is utterly mindless, or that everyone knows full well about the double identity thing and have just been humouring Adam all along.

Quest 6

 

Insults

Early on, He-Man calls Trapjaw a “metal-mouth”, which interestingly enough is an insult that I’m pretty sure the Turtles also employed on Shredder. Well, I thought it was interesting anyway.

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, where do I start with this bundle of insanity? Let’s first attend to Skeletor. He basically wins, erasing He-Man’s mind and banishing him to God knows where. But as far as we can tell, he doesn’t capitalise on this unique opportunity; instead, he just runs away with Evil-Lyn, leaving Trapjaw to be placed in the Palace dungeons, and letting Orko and so forth get on with retrieving He-Man. What is he playing at?

But that’s only a minor quibble. In essence, this episode is a very well-meaning environmental fable: we’re wasting Earth’s resources in order to get rich. I can totally get behind this. But why was it necessary to make the villain the least threatening man-sized purple rabbit in fiction? And saddle the hero with a chicken-woman and a four-pack of bouncing condoms? And the endless rabbit robots and the rabbit factory and the rabbit rocket? Where did all this come from? Someone was doing some really serious drugs, that’s all I can conclude.

Bottom line: watch it, it’s amazing. Just don’t watch it with someone who’s never seen He-Man before, they wouldn’t understand.

Episode 018 – Creatures From the Tar Swamp

In which Skeletor takes some dinosaurs to lunch at the Palace.

At the Palace, Adam’s haughty cousin Edwina arrives for a visit. One of Edwina’s first lines carries more than a whiff of incest, giving the impression if the camera wasn’t on her, she’d be jumping Adam’s bones right there in the courtyard. Luckily, Adam distracts her by introducing her to Orko, who takes an unaccountable shine to her and offers her a brooch, which she rudely rejects. Adam tries to patch things up by reminiscing about how Orko saved his life many years previously. And so begins the exciting story of Orko’s arrival on Eternia.

Creatures

It seems that young Adam and Cringer were hanging out in the Tar Swamp, but got lost in a storm. This same storm opened a doorway between Eternia and Trolla, Orko’s world, through which Orko came and got stranded. At the cost of his magic medallion, Orko saved Adam and Cringer, who were knee-deep in tar, and as a reward for his bravery, he was allowed to come and be a right pain at the Palace for ever. And so ends the exciting story of Orko’s arrival on Eternia.

Creatures 2

Edwina is unimpressed, and frankly so was I. But Orko takes it rather badly, and determines that he must retrieve his magic medallion from the Tar Swamp. Once Man-at-Arms and Teela work out where Orko must be, they set off in the Wind Raider to find him, leaving Adam to “get in touch with He-Man”.

Unfortunately, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Beast-Man are also mucking about in the Swamp, with the rather unusual aim of restoring to life any prehistoric monsters that perished in the Swamp. Perhaps they’re going to open their own Jurassic Park. But no: the purpose of said monsters is for use in the conquest of Palace Eternia (not Castle Grayskull this week, presumably for the sake of variation). Orko is captured and forced to watch as two blue and purple spotted birds and a big grey dinosaur emerge from the Swamp.

Creatures 3

Once our heroes arrive in the Swamp, with Stratos showing up as well, Skeletor reveals his plan: taking the dinosaur to “lunch at the Palace”. He leaves the giant birds to attend to He-Man and co., which they manage pretty quickly. They then all head back to the Palace, where they find that King Randor has surrendered to Skeletor without a second thought, and has been slapped in jail with Marlena, Edwina and Orko.

Inside the Palace, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are lounging about on the King and Queen’s thrones, while Beast-Man stands vacantly on the floor before them. Naturally, they are congratulating themselves on a job well done, overlooking the fact that they haven’t really attended to He-Man. Of course, they are interrupted by Teela, Man-at-Arms and Stratos, who actually prove capable for once and dispose of the villains.

Creatures 4

Out in the Palace courtyard, Orko and Edwina have escaped from jail, and Orko spots his magic medallion stuck to the dinosaur’s back. He retrieves it and starts trying to use it to send the dinosaur back to the Swamp, but Edwina simply wants him to use it to teleport her to safety. Orko refuses, and casts a super spell to undo everything that’s happened, again at the cost of the medallion. Finally, Edwina is publicly shamed for being so dreadful, and banished from the Palace.

 

In today’s adventure…

A perfectly sensible moral this week: you can’t buy friends with presents. Adam demonstrates how the only thing Edwina was interested in was material possessions, and she didn’t like Orko for himself. This is true, but understandable. Nobody likes Orko for himself.

 

Characters appearing

This week features Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Stratos, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Edwina.

Creatures 5

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

No excuse per se, but Teela does comment that Adam’s bumbling wouldn’t be any help in the Tar Swamp anyway, while Man-at-Arms suggests that maybe Adam will be going off to find He-Man. And what do you know, he does.

 

Insults

Edwina is pretty insulting in the opening scene, referring to Man-at-Arms and Teela as “the help”, which pleased me very much. Stratos gets in a “flying creep” at one of the giant birds, which seems a tad hypocritical coming from him. But once again, it’s Skeletor who takes the lead. Beginning with “furry fool” and “oaf” directed at Beast-Man, he also contrives to call Man-at-Arms a “fool”. His crowning glory is perhaps calling He-Man “He-Fool”, an insult of which he sounds distinctly proud.

Creatures 6

 

Does it have the Power?

Definitely. There was a worrying moment towards the start when I thought the whole thing was going to be a flashback about Orko’s arrival on Eternia, but that was a mercifully brief scene before we got into the real business. Skeletor seemed particularly on form today, gleefully shrieking out his plan to anyone who happened to be passing by, and then completely failing to do anything except sit on a throne and have a drink once he’d actually managed to take over the Palace. Edwina was also pretty entertaining, and the moral was relevant and could actually be seen being demonstrated throughout the episode. It’s a very fun episode which I think you should all watch now.

Episode 017 – Daimar the Demon

In which Man-at-Arms uses magic to discover quantum mechanics.

This episode opens ominously, with Orko complaining that he is bored. There’s only one way I can see this going, and it definitely isn’t good. Meanwhile, Man-at-Arms is boasting that using the Book of Magic, he’s made an incredible discovery: he’s identified another universe, and is even able to bring said universe up on his videophone. This amazing breakthrough in quantum theory does not prove too interesting to the royal family, who opt to get some dinner instead of discussing it further. Naturally, the moment they’ve gone, Orko shows up and off the top of his head, invents a spell which brings Daimar the Demon from the other universe to Eternia.

Daimar 1

Almost immediately, some odd magic causes the royal family’s meal to fly off the table. Perhaps remembering his many peltings with eggs and the like, Man-at-Arms instantly deduces who’s responsible. After he discovers that Orko has summoned Daimar, Man-at-Arms is a little panic-stricken and suggests He-Man make an appearance; if unchecked, Daimar will spin a cocoon and open a pan-dimensional rift, which would be a shame.

He-Man and Teela head off to Castle Grayskull to ask for more useful advice from the Sorceress, while over at Snake Mountain, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn feel a power drain, which they deduce is caused by something near the Palace. Skeletor instructs Evil-Lyn to acquire whatever has caused the power drain, which leads to her teleporting into the Palace and stealing the Book of Magic.

Daimar 2

Daimar creates his cocoon, and Orko goes to sleep against it. When he wakes, the cocoon has doubled in size, and is empty. Meanwhile, He-Man and Teela take an inordinately long time to get to Castle Grayskull, and when they arrive, they find the Sorceress very weak and incapable of saying anything vaguely useful. Fortunately but not surprisingly, Daimar – now about 50 feet tall – has made his own way to Grayskull and is waiting outside for He-Man.

Daimar traps He-Man and Teela in an energy field, but is then distracted by the arrival of Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, who initially fare slightly better but are similarly defeated. Daimar then begins to open that pan-dimensional rift and calls a load of weird ghostly demons to Eternia. Luckily, Orko shows up to ask Daimar why he’s attacking his friends, and Daimar responds that it is his destiny. He-Man then begins a long and corny monologue about how we all make our own destinies, and Daimar can be a nice person if he wants to be.

Daimar 3

Skeletor begs to differ and starts shooting Daimar, and then changes tack again, offering Daimar the chance to rule together. Daimar correctly works out that Skeletor would be a very slippery partner in any such enterprise, and instead chooses his own destiny, which fortunately is to return to his own dimension and take his silly ghost demons with him.

 

In today’s adventure…

Our take-home from this little excursion is that sometimes problems are really big, just like Daimar. If we have a big problem, there are a lot of people who care about us and can help us to solve them. This is super news. I suppose the writers felt that the audience was incapable of grasping the subject of exercising free will, as evidenced by Daimar’s deciding to choose his own destiny rather than being evil just because he happens to have horns, glowing eyes and the phrase “the Demon” as his surname.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

There’s no excuse needed, because at the crucial moment, Teela disappears herself, leaving only Man-at-Arms around, and he already knows the secret. What’s slightly odder is that in the very next scene, He-Man is riding Battle-Cat to Grayskull and finds Teela standing around in a field waving a stick about. The only explanation is that Teela had her dinner snatched from under her by magic, so thought the most appropriate response was to go off to a random location and start practicing fencing by herself.

Daimar 4

 

Characters appearing

Today we have the pleasure of the company of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and Daimar.

 

Insults

As ever, Skeletor leads the field this week, with two distinctly unimaginative offerings: “witch” directed at Evil-Lyn and the by now traditional “fool” for He-Man.

 

Egg on your face?

No eggs, but as previously mentioned, the royal family’s entire dinner goes flying, indirectly as a result of Orko’s magic. In perhaps a first for the series, this is actually primarily a plot point and only secondarily a misguided attempt to be amusing.

Daimar 5

 

Does it have the Power?

For an episode where the entire problem was caused by Orko messing about with magic, it’s quite unexpectedly not annoying. Despite the corniness of it, it was quite refreshing to see the monster being talked down by He-Man; in that sense, it was oddly reminiscent of an original Star Trek episode. I wouldn’t say that it’s a real classic, but it’s certainly good fun, and a lot better than some of the recent drivel we’ve had.

 

Episode 016 – Reign of the Monster

In which we are treated to several million Stratos clones, none of whom are any more useful than the original.

In Stratos’ kingdom of Avion, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and Ram-Man have arrived for a celebration, which involves showing off the Staff of the Elders and using it to create some fireworks. Not surprisingly, it transpires that the Staff is the only thing capable of releasing a scary-looking beast called Molchrum from a block of crystal, and consequently Skeletor is quite keen to get his inexplicably blue hands on it. His Viking-helmeted minions (introduced later as Torgs) attack Avion, and succeed in kidnapping Stratos and stealing the Staff.

Reign of the Monster 1

The Sorceress provides a bit of exposition. Not only will Molchrum destroy Castle Grayskull if he is released, but if the Staff is used for evil and then not used to undo that evil, it will explode, taking half of the planet with it. I feel that even Skeletor would want to avoid that outcome, so here’s hoping this one can be resolved by simply talking things through.

He-Man and his crowd find Skeletor and the Torgs in fairly short order in a cave, but Skeletor unveils his most demented plan yet: he’s made about 50 clones of Stratos, all of which are under his spell. Exactly what he hopes to achieve with this is anybody’s guess. As expected, the real Stratos quickly breaks free of Skeletor’s spell, which makes all the other Stratoses vanish. Forgive me for not cheering.

Reign of the Monster 2

This pointless interlude with multiple Stratoses has at least bought Skeletor some time, which he puts to effective use by releasing Molchrum from the crystal. Molchrum traps He-Man and co. behind a wall of rock, which is precisely the sort of prison He-Man can never escape from. Skeletor then commits a second tactical error by popping off with Molchrum to Castle Grayskull, leaving the Staff of the Elders in the hands of the King of the Torgs.

Sure enough, He-Man punches the rock wall and escapes. He takes Man-at-Arms and Ram-Man to Grayskull, leaving the others to retrieve the Staff. He-Man occupies himself in tying Molchrum up, while Man-at-Arms and Ram-Man go for Skeletor. Man-at-Arms advises Skeletor to surrender because “it’s two against one”. Who are you kidding, Man-at-Arms? Even I wouldn’t surrender to you and Ram-Man. Sure enough, it takes Skeletor only two seconds to trap these two clowns in a tree.

Reign of the Monster 3

Teela’s contingent retrieves the Staff after a lengthy and not-at-all interesting fight with the Torgs, and Stratos takes it to Grayskull as fast as he can. He passes it to He-Man, who starts trying to imprison Molchrum again. Sadly, the Staff begins to explode, so He-Man instead hurls it into orbit. I’m not sure why, but the Staff’s subsequent explosion results in Molchrum being trapped in crystal again, and then the Staff returns to Eternia all in one piece, which makes no sense whatsoever.

The episode finishes with Skeletor escaping as usual, Man-at-Arms and Ram-Man being released from the tree, and all the heroes return to Avion for the festival, where Orko is molested by a bratty boy with a remote control spaceship. I don’t normally like bratty children, but this one has my sympathy and support.

Reign of the Monster 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko reminds us that it’s best not to eat anything if we don’t know what it is. Then he salutes like he’s in the US Navy, and chuckles like he’s been really funny. He hasn’t. I don’t pretend to understand how this little adventure with Molchrum is relevant to safe eating, but equally I can’t see any sensible moral lessons that can be drawn, other than if you’re writing a He-Man episode, there’s no point having Ram-Man included if he’s not going to say or do anything.

 

Characters appearing

Today it’s He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Stratos, Ram-Man, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, some Torgs, and Molchrum, though I’m not certain quite how far a weird centaur-with-tentacles can be considered a character.

Reign of the Monster 5

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The episode begins with He-Man already live and kicking, and Adam isn’t even mentioned. Perhaps He-Man’s finally realised there’s absolutely no point to this double identity lark.

 

Insults

Perhaps because Beast-Man isn’t involved, everyone is very polite. Beast-Man just brings out the worst in people.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a very meat and potatoes episode. Skeletor gets a monster, takes it to Castle Grayskull, and gets defeated. Stories with a plot like this need to have something a bit more to avoid being quickly forgettable, and Reign of the Monster doesn’t. I enjoyed the utter pointlessness of the multiple Stratoses, and I also liked He-Man rubbing his hands as if they were sore after he’d punched the rock wall – a surprisingly subtle piece of animation which is something of a rare concession to reality. But it’s not really enough. There’s nothing wrong with this episode, but neither would I ever bother to watch it again.