Episode 028 – The Defection

In which no one does anything for ages, and even when they do something, it’s boring.

In the Palace courtyard, we find Orko demonstrating some magic tricks which actually go correctly, thus depriving me of the opportunity to include anything in the Egg in your face category. Adam and Man-at-Arms patronisingly tell Orko how he’s got much better, which leads Orko to go off on a completely irrelevant rant about how good people always remain good and evil ones remain evil. In Orko’s mind, no one ever changes. He has perhaps forgotten how – to take two recent examples – Dragoon and Jeremy both, you know, changed.

Defection 1

Meanwhile, in a new and exciting location called the Isle of Tears, a sorceress called Sibylline is yammering away about how she used to be a good sorceress, but now a little troll called Gorgon has made her into a bad one, and she wishes she was good again. Gorgon doesn’t take kindly to this and throws Sibylline in the dungeon, where she joins King Danton, who she had previously helped Gorgon to imprison. Sibylline has enough magic to teleport herself to freedom, and tells Danton she will seek help from King Randor and He-Man.

Once Sibylline arrives at the Palace, King Randor agrees to help free Danton, but then apparently doesn’t order anyone to do anything about it, leading to a series of disjointed scenes where Sibylline hangs round the Palace sniffing flowers and rescuing Randor and Marlena from an escaped dragon, while Orko huffs around claiming not to trust her.

Defection 2

Adam and Man-at-Arms decide that this situation warrants a visit to Castle Grayskull, though I have no idea why. The Sorceress suggests that Sibylline must be given a chance to demonstrate that she genuinely has changed her ways from evil to good, which Adam and Man-at-Arms muse on thoughtfully. Well, here’s a suggestion, you clowns – why don’t you just go and rescue King Danton like you normally would, assuming that Sibylline’s true intentions will become clear en route? Why have they started treading so carefully? It’s as if He-Man is normally Captain Kirk, but this week has been replaced with Picard.

King Randor finally gets to the point and orders our heroes to go to the Isle of Tears and rescue Danton, which quickly results in their being landed in the dungeon with him. Evil-Lyn, who has been recruited by Gorgon as a replacement evil sorceress, is pleased to point out that even He-Man can’t break through two feet of solid steel. He-Man quickly proves them wrong on this point, knocking down the door and then bowing with a slight frisson of sarcasm.

Defection 4

And so to the inevitable confrontation. He-Man knocks down about a million walls and then traps Gorgon in a submarine, while Sibylline defeats Evil-Lyn in a magical duel. Evil-Lyn makes the not unexpected move of saving herself and leaving Gorgon to He-Man’s tender mercies, after which King Danton is restored to his throne. All join me in a whoop-whoop.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, here come He-Man and Teela to tell us that people can change – and that includes you. If you have a bad habit you want to change, you no longer have the luxury of claiming you can’t. I, for example, have the bad habit of watching He-Man. Thanks to this episode, I now know that I can stop if I want to. The thing is, like so many bad habits, watching He-Man feels so good.

 

Characters appearing

As far as regular characters go, we have Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Sorceress and Evil-Lyn. Less common among today’s stars are Sibylline, Gorgon and King Danton.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam turns into He-Man when he sees Orko drowning, which is just plain bizarre since Orko could have simply levitated out of the water. Moreover, I’d have left Orko to it. Anyway, my point is that it’s another of those occasions where there’s only those in the know around, so no one bothers with an excuse.

Defection 5

 

Insults

I thought we were going to go the whole episode without an unkind word, but Evil-Lyn spoils it in the last two minutes by calling Gorgon a “fool!” Which, admittedly, he is.

Defection 3

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t think it does really, no. The overall plot is okay, I suppose, but it’s so ridiculously slow. The episode doesn’t seem to think it can sustain a long assault on the Isle of Tears, so sees fit to have Sibylline hanging round the Palace for ages in the middle of the story, for no reason. We also have an utterly pointless visit to Castle Grayskull where the Sorceress reveals no useful information whatsoever. It only gets going once Randor finally makes the mental link that hey, perhaps they’d better stop this evil Gorgon dude, and sends his crowd to the Isle of Tears. And even when they get there, it’s not enormously diverting. Probably best to avoid this one.

Episode 027 – The Return of Orko’s Uncle

In which I start to lose the will to live.

Oh, thanks, God. As if the EU Referendum results weren’t devastating enough, I now have to deal with Orko’s stupid uncle again. And sure enough, we open with a return to the dildo forest of Trolla, where we find Uncle Montork trying to arrest a stupid blue individual called Azrog. Azrog, not unnaturally, escapes and heads to Eternia to team up with a witch called Spydra, while Montork gives chase.

Return of Orko's Uncle 1

Something goes awry in this process, however, and Montork ends up in Spydra’s clutches, while Azrog lands up in the Palace. He attempts to paint himself as a serious threat, but this impression is somewhat diminished by the fact that Orko and Teela manage to trap him under a tablecloth while Adam is off turning into He-Man. However, due to incompetence on He-Man’s part, Azrog subsequently escapes and heads for Spydra’s castle.

Return of Orko's Uncle 2

He-Man, Teela and Orko follow, teaming up with Montork, while inside the castle, Azrog sends a pink dragon to attack our heroes. Don’t gasp in astonishment or anything, but He-Man is completely unthreatened by the dragon. During the course of the fight, Orko nips off to tackle Azrog on his own, hoping to make Montork proud of him. The inevitable result, of course, is his capture by Azrog and Spydra.

Charging to the rescue, He-Man neutralises Spydra in about 1.4 seconds, but Azrog proves to be slightly more challenging. In fact, he has turned Orko evil, thus prompting a nice long and tremendously exciting fight between Orko and Montork. In the meantime, Azrog repeatedly levitates up to the ceiling, sometimes in a red velvet chair, while He-Man and Teela take turns to stop him. This is as interesting as it sounds.

Return of Orko's Uncle 3

Once again, Montork persuades Orko that he loves him, which is the key to stopping Orko being evil. There’s a lot of dreadful dialogue in this bit, including, “Love is the greatest power in the universe. Do you feel love, Orko? If you feel it, you have it.” Then, thank Christ, Montork returns to Trolla, taking Azrog and Spydra with him. And good riddance to all of them.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko explains that playing with things you don’t understand, such as electricity, pills, and berries on a bush is likely to lead to trouble. This is tenuously linked to an irrelevant part of the episode where he had messed about with Spydra’s magic toys. I suppose as morals go, it’s reasonable enough, and I’ll let it pass simply thanks to this not being another interminable lecture about the power of love.

 

Characters appearing

I don’t know why you’d care who’s in this gibberish, but on the off chance that you do, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Orko, Montork, Azrog and Spydra. I think Battle-Cat might be in it too, but I didn’t note it down when I was watching, and I’m certainly not going to watch it again to find out.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once Azrog appears in the Palace, Adam quickly realises that this is a job for He-Man, and accordingly runs off, muttering, “I just remembered I have, er, I have an appointment. Nice meeting you, Azrog.”

 

Insults

Not a lot going on in this category today, the only contender being Teela calling the pink dragon an “Overgrown buzzard”.

Return of Orko's Uncle 4

 

Does it have the Power?

No. No it doesn’t. This episode has pretty much everything that could make He-Man a real chore to watch: a spotlight on Orko, the appearance of Montork, the substitution of Skeletor for really tedious baddies, barely any actual plot, and most irritatingly, the hippy resolution of love conquering all. Moreover, the writers seem to have forgotten that last time Montork appeared, Orko was regarded on Trolla as a powerful sorcerer, so why on this occasion does he feel he has to prove himself to Montork?

Return of Orko's Uncle 5

The only redeeming feature comes during the fight between Orko and Montork, when Teela turns to He-Man and demands, “He-Man, do something!” He-Man doesn’t move a muscle, perhaps thinking that whichever one loses, he’ll at least be rid of Orko or Montork, which has to be a bonus. This, naturally, is not enough for me to issue a recommendation for this episode. I suggest you skip it, or if you’re really talented, you could artfully scratch your DVDs so it never can be played again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a good strong drink, and then I need a break from reality while I adjust to a new and nonsensical political situation.

Episode 026 – Ordeal in the Darklands

In which Evil-Lyn does some Photoshopping.

With Skeletor away for a few days on his annual trip to Butlins, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops have been left in charge. Evil-Lyn swiftly reveals that she plans to use Skeletor’s absence as an opportunity to conquer Eternia for herself, which she will do with the aid of the wizard Quor, Keeper of the Crimson Scourge. Tri-Klops points out that Quor is a peaceful man, but Evil-Lyn suggests that may change if he believes He-Man has kidnapped his daughter Meera.

Darklands 1

Accordingly, Tri-Klops heads to the Darklands, where he surprisingly efficiently kidnaps Meera, and takes her back to Snake Mountain. Subsequently, Evil-Lyn goes to see Quor and shows him some Photoshopped footage alleging to show He-Man and Man-at-Arms kidnapping Meera. Quor takes very little persuasion to determine that he must hunt He-Man down.

Over at the Palace, Teela tells Orko that she’s thinking of going to the Darklands for a few days, just to see if she’ll survive. Man-at-Arms, listening in on this conversation, tells Teela that it’s too dangerous, though he doesn’t point out that there seems to be no reason whatsoever for her proposed trip. Teela’s insane trip to the Darklands is comparable to Britain leaving the EU: pointless and dangerous.

Well, guess what, kiddoes? For the fifty millionth time, Teela decides that she doesn’t like people telling her what to do and sets off for the Darklands anyway. Orko follows her with the intention of keeping her safe, and I’m sure she’ll be very grateful. Naturally, it takes all of 10 seconds in the Darklands for Teela to be kidnapped by some odd blue people with shark fins on their heads, and Orko whizzes off to fetch the inevitable He-Man.

Darklands 2

Teela is taken before Quor, for whom the walking sharks appear to work. He is prepared to let her go, until he learns of her association with He-Man, after which she becomes He-Man bait. In the meantime, Man-at-Arms provides some exposition, explaining that years ago, the Red Scourge ran rampant across Eternia, but into every generation a Slayer is born. No, wait. Into every generation, a wizard is born, and currently it’s Quor who must contain the Scourge.

Once in the Darklands, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko allow themselves to be captured and taken to Quor’s headquarters. Quor accuses our heroes of kidnapping Meera, but they quickly deduce that Evil-Lyn is to blame. Naturally enough, Quor won’t listen, so He-Man beats up some shark people, while Teela and Orko escape. They head straight to Snake Mountain, where they rescue Meera. I would be impressed at their achieving this without He-Man, if it weren’t for the fact that the only resistance they encounter is Tri-Klops saying, “Stop,” very unenthusiastically.

Darklands 3

In the meantime, Quor has teleported He-Man into a dungeon containing a massive red fire-breathing cat, which turns out to be the Crimson Scourge. He-Man spends the remainder of the episode carefully demolishing the wall of the dungeon brick by brick, which is odd given he’d normally just knock it down with a single punch. By the time he finally gets out, Teela and Orko have brought Meera home.

There’s just time for He-Man to have a quick barney with the Scourge, which he defeats by diverting a river at it. He uses his bare hands to divert the river. I’ll let you consider whether you think that would work, but my money’s on not. Then there’s apologies all round, from Teela for disobeying her father, and from Quor for being a tosser. The episode ends with Orko opening his hat, shaking a mechanical hand inside it, and then laughing like a complete maniac.

Darklands 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Man-at-Arms have a touching little dialogue in which Man-at-Arms reveals that parents usually have a good reason for refusing their little darlings anything. Teela claims that she should have listened to him in the first place, though we all know that we’ll see this moronic plot line again, probably next week. In addition, it’s not as if Teela being in the Darklands would have particularly affected anything in this story – Quor would still have thought He-Man was a kidnapper even if Teela hadn’t been prancing around. The real moral is that you shouldn’t listen to blatantly evil women when they show you doctored CCTV footage.

 

Characters appearing

This week treats us to the delights of Quor, Meera and the Red/Crimson Scourge, as well as the more regular appearances of Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops. And the shark-finned weirdos, who don’t get or deserve names.

Darklands 5

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

No excuse today. Adam barely appears before turning into He-Man, and there’s only Man-at-Arms and Orko around when he transforms.

 

Insults

This one got off to a good start, with Evil-Lyn calling Tri-Klops a “coward” within the first minute or so, but there the insults stopped. Without Skeletor about, this perhaps isn’t surprising.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a pretty average outing this time. I can’t specifically remember, but I’m almost entirely certain we’ve seen Teela disobeying Man-at-Arms before, with tragic consequences, and as noted above, I’m sure it’ll happen again. It’s thus rather difficult to be invested in what is basically a cut-out-and-reuse plot line. Quor was all right, in that the episode went to great length to show that he was not evil, just deceived, and as such he’s a much better executed version of Malik from that Stone Mountain debacle a few weeks back. A tighter script might have benefitted things – everything was very slow to unfold, for one thing, and for another, no one seemed quite sure whether the Scourge was Red or Crimson, leading me to suspect there were a few careless rewrites. In short, I wouldn’t really recommend it, but if you like He-Man, you probably won’t be infuriated by it either.

Episode 025 – Evilseed

In which He-Man and Skeletor team up to defeat a vegetable.

In the Palace laboratory, a computer alerts Man-at-Arms to a burst dam and crops being ruined, which prompts the re-use of animation from last week’s Wizard of Stone Mountain, when exactly the same thing happened. Man-at-Arms attempts to get to the dam to sort things out, but he can’t start the Wind Raider because there’s plants growing in the engine. How mysterious.

Once He-Man and Man-at-Arms get to the dam by other means, they successfully repair it. Talking with the farmers subsequently, they learn that a strange man sold them some seeds the previous day, which when planted caused vines to grow up the dam extremely quickly. Man-at-Arms remains with the farmers to “help”, though God knows what he thinks he’s going to do, or even what he thinks needs doing.

Evilseed 1

He-Man returns to the Palace, where he finds it covered in vines and weeds. The vines advance, forcing He-Man to waste time holding the Palace together, and in the meantime King Randor, Queen Marlena and Teela disappear. The Sorceress then teleports He-Man and Orko to Castle Grayskull, where He-Man voices the opinion that Skeletor is responsible for this little diversion.

He-Man contacts Skeletor via Skype, thus beginning an entertaining conversation where they each accuse each other of causing the vine invasion. This comes to a halt when a third party named Evilseed joins the discussion to claim responsibility. Evilseed looks like a walking stalk of broccoli, and he reveals that he has captured Randor, Marlena, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat. His aims at this point remain unclear, beyond the usual vague conquest of Eternia, and I suspect that’s all we’ll get.

Evilseed 2

He-Man, the Sorceress and Orko take a vine to the laboratory for analysis, where they quickly determine that to destroy the plants, they must make them cold. He-Man enthusiastically suggests getting a big ice ball from the Ice Mountains and smashing it in the sky, to which the Sorceress agrees, on condition that it is done above Castle Grayskull. The catch, however, is that for this to work, it will require the power of He-Man, the Sorceress – and Skeletor.

He-Man goes and gets the ice ball, as Skeletor arrives in Castle Grayskull. Ever unable to see past a quick win, Skeletor engages in a spot of betrayal, but ultimately the three most powerful forces on Eternia unite to destroy the ice ball, which makes it snow. Instantly, Evilseed’s vines retreat, and Evilseed himself withers and presumably dies. Harsh times.

Evilseed 4

In Grayskull, He-Man attempts to convince Skeletor to work together with him on future projects, but Skeletor knows that the series will end and he’ll be out of a job if he agrees, so he isn’t having any of it. Whoever said Skeletor isn’t smart?

 

In today’s adventure…

Not surprisingly, today it’s all about co-operation. We saw He-Man and Skeletor actually working together, which is something out of the ordinary. Teela explains that it’s sometimes easier to get the job done by working with other people, even if you don’t agree with them. I am perfectly happy with this moral, which is sane and relevant.

Evilseed 3

 

Characters appearing

It’s a pretty hefty cast list this week, with the ever-present Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man and Battle-Cat leading the way. Then of course there’s Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, Ram-Man, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Orko, Skeletor, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, and Evilseed. And some farmers, who are gnomes of some kind, for no particular reason.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

“I just remembered something I have to do,” says Adam. Does he honestly think that anyone is buying these vague offerings?

 

Insults

Evilseed calls Skeletor a “bonehead”, and the Sorceress gets a bit vicious by calling Skeletor a “fool.” But otherwise it’s Skeletor who leads the way this week. He calls Trapjaw a “fool” and a “blundering fool” within seconds of each other, and refers derisively to Evilseed as a “cabbage”. He also has a couple of choice phrases for He-Man – “Muscle-brain” being an obvious favourite. In addition, when He-Man first accuses Skeletor of summoning the vines, Skeletor responds with “Back up, Muscle-boy,” which may possibly be the most amusing line he has ever uttered, and I don’t even know why. It made me snort, though.

Evilseed 5

 

 

Does it have the Power?

Without a doubt. It’s a convincing threat, with energy-sapping vines shooting up all over the place, even if Evilseed himself looks a bit too much like a vegetable, and doesn’t really have much of a motive (not that Skeletor does either, really). The episode is perhaps a little slow to get going, but it really kicks in when we get the wonderful twist that Skeletor is also under attack by the vines – especially when he whinges that “they’re bugging the big bones out of me!” Once he is allowed entrance to Castle Grayskull, Skeletor’s constant bitching about He-Man being too heroic for his own good is hilarious. Ultimately, I haven’t got a bad word to say about this episode, and it could even be my new favourite.

 

Episode 024 – Wizard of Stone Mountain

In which an idiot tries to seduce Teela.

This week’s episode begins with our introduction to Malik, the eponymous wizard of Stone Mountain. He engages in a short monologue to explain his background and motivations; in short, he’s a really powerful wizard but all his magic was not enough to persuade Teela to be his wife. Instead, she rejected him to join the Palace Guard.

Some crazy monkey-lion-eagle hybrid called Lokus has been listening in, and now comes forward with an offer: if Malik will do some unspecified service, Lokus will arrange for Teela to be his. Malik foolishly agrees to do anything; they shake on it and a golden bracelet appears on Malik’s wrist. Immediately, Lokus starts destroying dams and ruining crops, claiming it is all part of the bargain. Thanks to the bracelet, Malik is powerless to intervene.

Stone Mountain 1

Lokus’ next move is to go to the Palace in disguise as a farmer, and he claims to Teela that Malik has destroyed the dam out of loneliness for her. Teela heads off to Stone Mountain, with He-Man, Battle-Cat and Ram-Man in tow. In the meantime, Malik’s assistant Carine begs Malik to send Lokus away, but Lokus disposes of her by way of a giant bird. Once again, Malik cannot help.

Carine is rescued from the bird by He-Man and party, and she explains that Malik is following the demon Lokus out of love for Teela. Before this can go any further, Malik appears on a flying carpet and levitates Teela up onto the carpet with him. For whatever reason, the animators at this point chose to present Teela in a rather suggestive all-fours pose. It seems a tad inappropriate. Anyway, Malik then flies off with Teela.

Stone Mountain 2

The next scene finds Malik and Teela in the tackiest boudoir I’ve ever seen. Teela is sat on a purple cushion, with flowers, silk curtains, and a truly terrible porcelain cherub next to her. After Teela harangues Malik that he can’t force her to fall in love with him, the cherub mutates into Lokus, who demands the payment for delivering Teela: Malik’s soul!

Stone Mountain 3

As we reel from this unexpected development, Lokus summons his master. I assume his master is meant to be some sort of fire demon, but the animation is really shoddy. The voice work is also deeply appalling: the demon explains that he’s the master of fear, the destroyer of mankind throughout the universe, and Evil Itself, but it does so in such a disinterested voice that I found it somewhat hard to believe.

He-Man and Evil Itself have a quick wrestling match, but Evil Itself decides to simply take Malik’s soul and piss off. But Carine intervenes, offering her own soul instead and explaining that she loves Malik. Evil Itself is quite willing to take this bargain and releases Malik, but as it stretches out its fiery paw to take Carine, it discovers that it cannot do so because her soul is full of … yes, love. Like she just explained to you, you halfwit. Evil Itself retreats, and I hope it never shows up again.

Stone Mountain 4

He-Man and Malik repair the dam, and Teela advises Malik to cherish Carine as much as he thought he loved Teela. Then He-Man gets all sleazy and starts hinting that perhaps Teela would be down to draw his magic sword and indulge in a little game of The Most Powerful Man In The Bedroom later, but Teela prefers to hook up with Ram-Man. Perhaps this is a line that I shouldn’t cross, but I have to wonder if Ram-Man’s name had anything to do with this decision. Thank God Fisto hasn’t been invented yet.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela tells us that doing something wrong when you know it’s wrong really doesn’t make sense, and tries to suggest that this is what Malik did. What Malik actually did was rashly agree to something before he fully understood what he was getting into, which isn’t wrong; it’s just stupid. That being the case, they could have made the moral into “think things through before doing them, and always read the small print.” Advice which is just as useful, and far more relevant. They could also have considered doing a moral about not trying to force people to love you, maybe?

 

Characters appearing

Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Ram-Man, Malik, Carine, Lokus, and Evil Itself. Quite a promising cast list, but not good enough to make this episode any good.

Stone Mountain 5

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no excuse this time, though Teela does tell Adam to go and find He-Man. I’m sure they all know.

 

Insults

In an early scene, Teela and Adam are having some fighting lessons, in the course of which, Teela calls Adam a “black-hearted villain”. I’m going to count this as an insult, even though she obviously doesn’t mean it, because otherwise the only insult in the episode is from Evil Itself, who calls Battle-Cat a “miserable animal”. I feel this is exceptionally mild, considering this is Evil Itself talking.

 

Egg on your face?

It’s not egg, but we haven’t heard from this category in a while, so I thought I’d revive it to tell you that early on, we find that Orko has arranged for a raincloud to be above Man-at-Arms’ head. This subsequently becomes a snow cloud, though Man-at-Arms remains unamused. In fact, to tell the truth, I’ve rarely seen him looking as livid as he does here.

Stone Mountain 6

 

Does it have the Power?

I think it’s safe to say you can skip this one. If you’re interested, Christopher Marlowe told the same story a little bit better about 400 years ago, and it would be advisable to stick to that version really, especially if you’re taking an English Literature course. The episode suffers from four things really: firstly, Carine is treated as a consolation prize for Malik when he can’t get his rocks off with Teela, and it left a slightly misogynistic taste in the mouth – especially after He-Man started basically asking Teela to get her kit off. Secondly, Evil Itself was among the worst baddies I’ve ever seen. Poor animation and dreadfully dull voice acting added up to an entirely forgettable adversary. Thirdly, it’s the second episode in a row where the baddy was defeated by the power of love, which is a plot device which irritates me no end. Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s boring.

Episode 023 – Orko’s Favourite Uncle

In which Orko and his uncle make my blood boil.

Good evening. You may be interested to know that WordPress tells me which countries are reading these reviews, and I can here report that there have been readers from 26 different countries so far. The USA is in the lead by a considerable distance (227 views, as compared to the nearest rival’s 172), and thus it is that I suspect the vast majority of my readership today will have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention that the football competition Euro 2016 starts this evening. I don’t like football, and I’m going to neatly segue into this review by announcing that the one thing I like less than football is Orko.

I should also here note that anyone reading these reviews is likely to be a dedicated He-Man fan and thus may be very upset when they get to this week and find that I’ve done this one out of order. On my DVDs, the episode following Song of Celice was entitled The Return of Orko’s Uncle, and since we hadn’t met Orko’s uncle yet, I thought it might be best if we watch this one first. Because I’m sure it will matter.

Anyway, an evil wizard called Toron (no relation, presumably, to the city in Song of Celice) conjures up a storm, which is intended to bring him some allies from another world. It actually brings him a rubbish brown dinosaur thing called Gark from Orko’s world, Trolla. Also brought to Eternia is Orko’s uncle Montork, but he gets diverted into a cave where Prince Adam, Cringer and Orko are being attacked by a manticore monster.

Orko's Uncle 1

Once He-Man intervenes, the manticore is defeated, leaving our heroes to get on with the serious business of taking Uncle Montork to lunch at the Palace. Toron watches them eating on his iPad and concludes that he needs to capture Montork as a partner for Gark in the conquest of Eternia. With this in mind, he teleports Gark into the Palace, where he hypnotises Montork, who instantly assaults Orko. I think I like Montork after all.

After a quick altercation between He-Man, Orko, Montork and Gark, Toron projects his face onto the Palace wall to laugh evilly and reveal that the next objective is Castle Grayskull. He teleports Montork and Gark away, leaving He-Man to follow in a flying machine that looks like a robotic chicken.

Orko's Uncle 2

Montork and Gark transform themselves into butterflies and fly into Grayskull, which is a surprisingly intelligent tactic. They quickly locate the door to the Inner Chambers, beyond which the Power of Grayskull is stored. He-Man shows up just in time to prevent them getting inside, but for no apparent reason, Montork steals the robotic chicken and quickly proves himself entirely incapable of flying it.

In the meantime, Battle-Cat and Orko head to Toron’s cave to capture Toron’s iPad, which is controlling Montork and Gark. They achieve this pretty speedily, and use the iPad to teleport themselves to Grayskull, but idiotically bring Toron with them. Orko saves the day by persuading Montork that he loves him, thus breaking the spell on both Montork and Gark.

Orko's Uncle 3

He-Man finishes up by destroying the iPad, which rather tragically causes Toron to degenerate into an aged, bent and broken old man. None of our ostensive “heroes” has any sympathy whatsoever for him. Montork and Gark then are pulled back to Trolla, Montork telling Orko that the most wonderful magic of all is just being alive. Tell it to Toron, you heartless bastard.

Orko's Uncle 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko talks to us about the various kinds of magic. These include a rainbow, a mother taking care of her young, and being alive. This made me want to reach through the screen and throttle him.

 

Characters appearing

Hmm, let’s see. There was Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, the Sorceress, and Toron. I seem to recall there were a few really, really annoying characters in it too. Who were they again? Oh yes. Orko, Gark, and the intolerable Uncle Montork.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

On He-Man’s first appearance, Orko remarkably attempts to claim to his uncle that he used his magic to summon He-Man, though Montork is not convinced. On the second occasion, He-Man explains that Adam and Cringer had a “pressing engagement”. He says “pressing” as if it’s a pun, which it decidedly is not. Or if it is, then I missed the joke entirely.

Orko's Uncle 5

Insults

Thanks to Skeletor’s absence, there’s not much in this department this week. The best anyone can muster is Toron calling Orko a “troublesome Trollan”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t think I even need to say that no it doesn’t. I despise Orko, even when he’s only a minor character hanging round the fringes of an episode. When he’s the centrepiece, and coupled with Montork, who’s basically another version of Orko where the only discernible difference is a big white beard, he becomes at best tedious and at worst enormously irritating. For the evil spell to be broken by the power of love is the sort of infuriating storytelling device that I’d have hated even when I was five years old, and it hasn’t improved on me with age. The worst thing about this episode, though, is that I have to live with the knowledge that in four episodes’ time they made a sequel.

Episode 022 – Song of Celice

In which Skeletor builds a Lego model of Castle Grayskull.

Like me last week, our heroes (Prince Adam, Cringer, Teela, Orko and Lizard-Man) are on holiday. Well, they’re actually making a state visit to Toron, where Prime Minister Pangus is waiting. After the usual pleasantries, which of course involve a demonstration of Orko’s rubbish magic, an earthquake breaks out. Adam gets halfway through the Power of Grayskull bit, but is then distracted by a sexy woman standing on top of a pillar and singing, which stops the earthquake.

Celice 1

Pangus explains that beneath Toron, a creature named Yog is attempting to rise, and if he does, Toron and Eternia will be destroyed. Only Celice the singing lady can calm him, and when she joins our party, she demonstrates other powers, such as making flowers open at will, and also not speaking at all clearly. Adam is very taken with the singer, though Teela is less impressed, seeming rather jealous.

Another person taken with the singer’s power is Skeletor, who is watching on his spy-glass. He sends Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw to Toron, where they attempt to capture Celice. In a departure from the usual, they actually manage it, even when Adam turns into He-Man. Pangus explains again that without the singer, Yog might wake up, and right on cue, the earthquakes start again. Clearly, action is required. He-Man sends Teela and Man-at-Arms to Snake Mountain to rescue Celice, while he takes Orko and Lizard-Man down into the caverns to face Yog.

Celice 2

At Snake Mountain, Skeletor welcomes Celice and explains his plan: she will sing for him. If that’s all he wants, surely he could just put on his Steps CD. But it turns out that actually Skeletor wants Celice to sing Castle Grayskull’s jawbridge open. Once Celice is hypnotised to Skeletor’s will, she is allowed to practice on Skeletor’s scale model of Grayskull, and she succeeds in opening the jawbridge. The tension is definitely mounting.

Celice 3

En route to Snake Mountain, Man-at-Arms is predictably captured by one of Beast-Man’s monsters, and is taken to the rather improbable sounding “Ice Island in the middle of the Lake of Fire”. This is good for a waste of two or three minutes’ screen time, after which Man-at-Arms and Teela return to their task of rescuing Celice. Perhaps hoping that the delay with the monster will have caused the viewers to forget they were supposed to be going to Snake Mountain, Man-at-Arms and Teela show up at Castle Grayskull just as Celice breaks Skeletor’s hypnosis and refuses to open the jawbridge.

He-Man and team navigate a variety of dull hazards in the caverns, before deciding not to bother with Yog and to go to Castle Grayskull instead. They also arrive just in time to distribute a few punches in Skeletor’s direction, but then Yog starts rising through the ground. Skeletor and co. all head for home, while Celice and He-Man contrive to send Yog plummeting to the centre of the planet.

Celice 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela gives perhaps the most useless advice this cartoon has yet come up with: if you’re feeling bad, why not try singing a song, whistling, or just smiling? At best, this advice would have resulted in a horde of infuriating kids making a right racket or moping about while smiling like deranged serial killers. It’s admittedly difficult to think of a moral that is appropriate for this episode, but this decidedly isn’t it.

 

Characters appearing

Well, such a range here. Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Orko, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw make up our regular attendees. Less common and less welcome are Lizard-Man, Celice, Prime Minister Pangus, and Yog. There are also a bunch of troglodyte-style creatures in the caves, but I don’t know their names, which just proves I’m not obsessive.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Even though there was a frisson of sexual tension between Adam and Celice early on, He-Man didn’t bother to explain Adam’s absence later. Perhaps he was calculating that once Celice saw him, she’d forget all about that wussy Adam.

Celice 5

 

Insults

After a slow start on the insults front, this episode blossoms into a veritable crop. Skeletor offers the now traditional “fools” concerning Teela and Man-at-Arms, and reintroduces “beast” for Beast-Man. Man-at-Arms considers Beast-Man’s monster an “overgrown garden pest”, but it’s in the final battle at Castle Grayskull that things get a bit crazy. He-Man starts us off with “rock-face” for Beast-Man, which makes literally no sense. Then Skeletor gets in on the act with “flesh-face” for He-Man. I really was not sure about this one. Maybe Skeletor said “fresh-face”, referring to He-Man’s clean complexion? Finally, He-Man calls Skeletor a “lightweight”, after trapping him in a zero-g bubble. He then disproportionately laughs so hard I thought his jaw was going to fall off.

Celice6

 

Does it have the Power?

There were some super things about this episode; in particular, I absolutely loved Skeletor’s scale model of Castle Grayskull, which he claims to have made himself. The notion of Skeletor painstakingly building a mini-replica of Grayskull so he can practice his demented schemes is absolutely hilarious. To be honest, the idea of him practicing at all is distinctly amusing. You can imagine him keeping the villains back after school each day: “Now then, you fools! You’re staying here until you open the jawbridge! Mini-Grayskull will be mine!” Beast-Man: “But, uh, Skeletor, mini-Grayskull already is yours.” Skeletor: “Silence, Beast-Fool!”

Otherwise, the only thing I can really complain about here is that Celice’s singing was pretty irritating, and I could only understand Celice’s voice about half the time. Yog didn’t seem enormously necessary either, and I have yet to figure out why Lizard-Man is making repeated appearances but they never made an action figure of him. But in short, this episode is well worth a watch.