Episode 031 – A Tale of Two Cities

In which He-Man cheats on Teela with some floozy of a princess.

Adam and Cringer are relaxing in the jungle, when they see a redheaded lady being pursued by three soldiers in blue armour. Without stopping to question who’s right or wrong in this situation, Adam transforms into He-Man and rescues the girl, who turns out to be Princess Reya of the city of Oparan. He-Man and Battle-Cat offer to walk her home. As they go, Reya explains that another city, Targa, pays the blue soldiers – Gargons – to capture people in the forest.

But within sight of Oparan, disaster strikes. For no discernible reason, He-Man insists that Battle-Cat carry Reya across a river while He-Man follows, rather Battle-Cat simply carrying them both like he normally would. This is so that lightning can strike a tree, which knocks He-Man out, resulting in him being carried off downriver and straight into the clutches of a band of Gargons.

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He-Man wakes up in a cell in Targa with his memory gone. His cellmate is an individual called Garn, who introduces himself as the strongest man in the kingdom and possibly the universe. I fear Garn may be in for a disappointment at some stage. Garn tells He-Man that he competes in the Arena, and after a short interview with the King and Queen of Targa, He-Man finds himself destined for the Arena as well.

He-Man defeats Garn in the Arena, in the course of which battle he receives another blow to the head and finds his memory restored. On his victory, he demands that Garn be set free, after which he has a second interview with the Queen, in which she offers him the position of Captain of the Guard. He-Man refuses, probably because it’s the same title Teela has and he considers this a demotion. The Queen therefore informs him that he and Garn may leave in the morning.

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Meanwhile, outside the city, Battle-Cat has again distinguished himself by leaping head-first into a pit, leaving Reya to be captured by some Gargons. When He-Man and Garn leave Targa, they quickly come across Battle-Cat still lurking in the pit. Once rescued, Battle-Cat informs He-Man and Garn of Reya’s capture, prompting a speedy return to Targa, where they learn that Reya’s father, the King of Oparan, has also been captured.

He-Man claims he has a plan to rescue Reya and her father, but this plan merely consists of him putting on a cloak, and then taking it off again when he gets into the throne room. Targa’s King goes completely mental and attempts to defeat He-Man by causing an earthquake, forgetting that his city is sensibly built below a dam holding back a massive lake.

Garn is pleased that Targa will be destroyed, which gives He-Man a chance to pontificate on the sanctity of life and how even his enemies are worthy of saving. Once Targa is saved, Garn happily recites, “With great power comes great responsibility,” but I doubt he understands it. Reya gives He-Man a kiss and makes bedroom eyes at him, but He-Man isn’t interested, preferring to ride away on Battle-Cat.

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In today’s adventure…

He-Man begins the moral lesson by saying, “I hope you enjoyed today’s adventure,” perhaps in the secure knowledge that we didn’t. He then goes on to suggest that since we were so disappointed by this week’s rubbish story, perhaps we should stop watching television and read a book about an astronaut or Sherlock Holmes. Right, fine, thanks, He-Man.

 

Characters appearing

An unusual cast today – our only regulars are Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer and Battle-Cat. Plenty of one-shot characters to go round though: there’s Princess Reya, Garn, the King and Queen of Targa, and the King of Oparan.

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Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Adam and Cringer are hanging out in the jungle on their own as the episode starts, and adopt their secret identities before anyone else even sees them, so they don’t bother making excuses today.

 

Insults

No one’s got much of interest in this area today. Early on, one of the Gargons calls another a “fool”, and right at the end, the Queen of Targa also calls the King a “fool”. This latter is particularly justified, since it’s right after he idiotically destroys the dam above his city.

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Does it have the Power?

Well, it isn’t the best, but it isn’t terrible either. I must say I do have a few reservations about this being the first – and possibly only – time we see black people in He-Man, and they’re all savage uncivilised people who engage in gladiatorial blood sports and talk with exaggerated accents. Ever heard of positive role models?

The He-Man losing his memory plot wasn’t put to much use, but it’s always fun to see He-Man actually defeated by something – this time by being knocked out by a tree. There’s a few lapses in logic – most notably that the King and Queen of Targa think He-Man is a spy, and their method of interrogation is to make him compete in a gladiatorial contest? I’m not in the intelligence-gathering line of work, but I can’t help but feel this method is unlikely to yield results. In addition, the episode ends rather abruptly without showing us the fate of the King and Queen of Targa, which implies a fairly crucial scene was cut.

In short, it’s a pretty middle of the road episode. But I’ll award it a pass, because I’m in a good mood today. And why am I in a good mood? Because I’ve just found out that the 131st episode of He-Man has been produced. It’s called The Curse of the Three Terrors, and it’s available for viewing at San Diego Comic Con, then apparently out to buy from 1st August. Even though the title makes it sound like a Scooby-Doo episode, this is the best news I’ve heard all year.

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4 thoughts on “Episode 031 – A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Yes I’ve heard that too can’t wait to see that eye catching title as well the curse of the three terrors!!! Just a short review but I personally think this is an excellent episode but it goes without saying I completely see why some either don’t like it or find it just average, the reasons are it is very different from many of the other eps I agree the ending felt very rushed but I loved the fact there were no main characters good or evil as a one off just adam/cringer he man/battlecat, I loved the fight in the arena and I thought it was great seeing he man and tarn working together teaming up at the end to save the city, but as a few others have said in review thread of this episode I like the feel of it you really feel far far away from the eternia as we know it making you feel as cut off as he man this I felt was done really well, it wouldn’t quite make my top ten as I wouldn’t quite say it’s a classic but it is an excellent non skeletor episode that although I can see why it doesn’t grab some I personally really enjoyed 8/10!

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  2. Just one quick important thing I forgot to touch on this episode reading James ettocks review of this ep as he said what was also used very cleverly is I loved the fact they all thought of he man as a myth and only a legend this was done really well also as I said before cos of the unique atmosphere this episode brings you feel just as alone as he man!

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  3. He-Man A Tale of Two Cities, aka Tarzan and The City of Gold! When I first watched this He-Man episode, it felt familiar, almost as if.. I had seen it somewhere before and yes, I had indeed seen it before, as mentioned, as Tarzan and the City of Gold. Aside from a few differences, the episodes are near the same, even the dialogue hasn’t been changed much.

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