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.



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.

One thought on “Episode 016 – Reign of the Monster

  1. Reign of the monster is an enjoyable first season episode with a huge monster in mulcrum, he is real scary too and very menacing! There’s a lot of magic in this one with the sorceress which I like very much, on the negative side it isn’t the most imaginative plot and there’s hardly any character development but I don’t think it really matters a great deal on this particular occasion as it’s an action based episode and the actions superb one of the best for its type, reign of the monster is what I describe as a capture the castle he man episodes ie skeletor trying to get inside grayskull then (supposedly) learn its secrets so he can control and rule eternia! I’d say of its kind you can’t really beat the dragon invasion it’s probably the best capture the castle episode of the series and in that one skeletor actually gets into grayskull! What I would say I like about reign of the monster in comparisons is in the dragon invasion there trying yo get skeletor out of grayskull, in reign of the monster the action is based on trying to stop skeletor getting into castle grayskull! This I felt was done really well. Overall reign of the monster is a very entertaining episode way above your average but just a notch short of a classic out of all the 130 episodes I would call describe it as a top 30 ep, mulcrum is also one of the best monsters of the entire series Imo overall I’d rate this a comfortable 8/10!!


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