In which King Randor nearly figures out the Prince Adam/He-Man link.
Sorry for the long wait between The Defection and this. I’ve had a busy week. Anyway, this one’s worth waiting for. We open with a scene that actually manages to bring some depth to our villains: Skeletor, frustrated at too many defeats at He-Man’s hands, is taking it out on Beast-Man, who he exiles from Snake Mountain. Skeletor takes an unpleasant delight in this process, and I actually felt sorry for Beast-Man, something I would never have thought possible.
As if to counter the good work done in the establishing villains scene, we are then treated to an extended sequence in which Orko accidentally locks himself in an Attack Trak and drives it all round the Palace courtyard, shooting walls down and attempting to murder King Randor. Once this problem is resolved, we learn that Randor is shortly to undertake a tour of Eternia, and Prince Adam is hoping to be chosen to be the King’s honour guard for the trip.
But when Randor makes his decision, it’s He-Man he wants, not Adam. Adam is hurt by this decision, and pops off to see the Sorceress, where he explains that he has had to pretend to be careless and irresponsible in order to safeguard his secret identity, and says that he just wants his father to be proud of him. The Sorceress, as usual, offers really helpful advice, limiting herself to “Do what you think is right, but be careful.”
When we next see Adam, we find him in the Attack Trak on the royal tour with Randor and Man-at-Arms, having evidently convinced his father to let him come along. Randor is clearly not happy about it though, bitching that He-Man would have been a better choice. Naturally enough, the tour’s route takes them past the spot where Beast-Man is bemoaning his fate.
Deciding that he will capture the King to win back Skeletor’s favour, Beast-Man unleashes a platoon of shadowbeasts on the Attack Trak. His plan goes remarkably smoothly, and ends with Randor being hauled away to Snake Mountain’s dungeons. Beast-Man tells Adam and Man-at-Arms to bring all the Palace gold to Snake Mountain by nightfall, or Randor will never be released.
Man-at-Arms berates Adam for not transforming into He-Man, to which Adam responds that he wanted to show Randor he could be a hero too. Man-at-Arms responds by telling him the Power is to keep others safe, not to make himself happy. This for some reason reassures Adam, who transforms into He-Man and zooms off to Snake Mountain.
He-Man sneaks down to the dungeons and releases Randor, setting off the burglar alarm in the process and alerting Beast-Man and Mer-Man, who have been celebrating Beast-Man’s victory in the throne room. They make the mistake of sending a load of robots to recapture the King, which are quickly turned into scrap metal by He-Man and, surprisingly, Randor.
Randor then decides it’s time for a quick discussion about how much he loves Adam, despite how hard he is on him sometimes. He-Man tries to answer without giving away his identity, and is fortunately distracted by Beast-Man and Mer-Man showing up for a final defeat. Once He-Man and Randor successfully depart, Skeletor shows up and welcomes Beast-Man back to the fold by ordering him to clear up the destroyed robots.
And finally, the royal tour continues, with Adam repeating things that Randor told He-Man, prompting Randor to nearly put two and two together. But at the last moment, he dismisses the notion from his mind, so don’t worry – next week he’ll be back to disapproving of Adam again.
In today’s adventure…
Orko tells us that today, we learned all about the love parents have for their children. I’m dead certain we’ve learned about this about fifteen times already, and we’re only on Episode 29 here. Perhaps we could have had an elaboration on Man-at-Arms’ theme of using power to do good, not make yourself happy? As it stands, there’s nothing to really take home from this episode.
Prince Adam and He-Man, obviously. Also Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Mer-Man and Evil-Lyn.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
There’s two transformations into He-Man during this episode, but on neither occasion is an excuse warranted.
Not unexpectedly for an episode featuring Beast-Man so heavily, we have perhaps the greatest number of insults in an episode yet. Unfortunately, they’re nearly all in the “fool” category. Skeletor calls Beast-Man a “Furry fool” and a “Furry flea-bitten fool”; Beast-Man and Mer-Man each call each other a “fool”, and Beast-Man also calls He-Man a “fool”.
Otherwise, Beast-Man refers to Skeletor as “Old bonehead” and a “Skull-faced creep”, the latter of which he is obviously pretty proud, since he later recycles it as “Bone-faced creep”. We also find Randor calling Beast-Man a “Furry devil”, which seems rather strong, and Tri-Klops refers to Beast-Man as “Fuzz-face”, though this may not be an insult, as he is expressing sympathy for Beast-Man at the time.
And finally, Beast-Man says “Come on, you beasts” to his collection of, well, beasts. This one’s only really an insult because of the tone Beast-Man uses.
Does it have the Power?
This one has to be a classic. It’s unusual for a He-Man episode to actually make us feel sad for one of the baddies, but when Beast-Man is kicked out of his home, it really tugs on the heartstrings. It’s rather touching at the end of the episode too, as Skeletor seems to have actually missed having Beast-Man around, though he obviously doesn’t say so. Why else would he allow Beast-Man to return to Snake Mountain, despite him having made a mess and destroyed a load of robots?
The Randor and Adam storyline is also interesting. Randor does come across as a tad unreasonable in demanding that He-Man be the honour guard instead of Adam; as Adam points out, it’ll be him, not He-Man, running the kingdom one day, so it makes sense for him to learn royal business. Randor’s admission to He-Man that he does love Adam is perhaps unnecessary but also touching, and it’s rather fun at the end to see him nearly figure out that He-Man and Adam are one and the same.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room – why on Eternia does Adam have to keep his identity secret? The Sorceress attempts to explain in this episode, claiming that if his identity was known, Skeletor wouldn’t hesitate to try to destroy Adam and the ones he loves. It’s a valiant attempt, but let’s be honest, Skeletor doesn’t hesitate to try to do that anyway. But still, it’s nice that the writers for once acknowledged that the whole secret identity thing doesn’t really make sense.
In short, this is a great episode, featuring both character development and exciting action sequences. Don’t miss it!