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.

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