In which He-Man learns how to fly.
We begin this week with an unnecessarily long pan through space, finally centring on Eternia, and then another unnecessarily long pan across a valley, which is the titular Valley of Power. The Valley is defended by a pterodactyl-like bird called the Mother Roe, and there is an unpleasant man who wants to steal the Mother Roe’s eggs. Luckily, He-Man stops him. The End.
Oh, you want more detail? Okay, fine. Well, Adam, Teela and Cringer are out on a trip to the Valley, in order to drink from the magical fountain at its centre, which only springs once every thousand years. Teela encourages Adam and Cringer to drink this water, which will make them as strong and powerful as He-Man and Battle-Cat. The irony here is not lost on Adam and Cringer, who engage in an elaborate exercise in taking the piss, Cringer in particular summoning up depths of sarcasm of which I didn’t think he was capable.
As our heroes arrive at the spring’s location, the unpleasant man manages to steal the Mother Roe’s egg, leading the Mother Roe to attack him. Teela saves the unpleasant man from the Roe’s attack by the questionable method of tripping him up, and he introduces himself as Danavus, which is a relief, since I can now use his name and not continue to refer to him as “the unpleasant man”.
While Teela and Danavus chat about the magical spring, the Roe attacks again, leading Adam and Cringer to run off and mutate into He-Man and Battle-Cat. They are too late to prevent Teela from being carried off by the Roe, so they charge off up the mountainside to the Roe’s nest, while Danavus sits in the now-flowing spring drinking the magical water.
Unfortunately, the stolen egg hatches at this point, and the Baby Roe grows to full size in a matter of seconds. This is probably due to the magical powers of the spring, but it could just be because the episode is mental. Whatever the reason, Danavus proclaims that the Baby Roe is under his complete control, and proves it by using the Baby Roe to snatch He-Man and take him for a joyride through the sky.
Then I’m afraid to say the episode pauses for breath, choosing between going for the sane but dull route or whether to completely lose its mind. Needless to say, it opts for the latter. The Baby Roe drops He-Man from the sky, so He-Man grabs a couple of its feathers and, in his own words, “quickly learn[s] how to fly”. Right. Well. We’ve seen some really special moments on this show up to now, but I think this surpasses them all. Luckily, He-Man himself acknowledges that this was a stupid moment, and addresses the audience via Battle-Cat: “I wouldn’t advise anyone to try it.”
Not to be outdone by He-Man in the implausible acts arena, Battle-Cat reveals a hitherto unsuspected talent for talking to birds in their own language, and forms a truce with the Mother Roe, who agrees to carry to Teela to the Palace, where Danavus is now headed. Once there, Orko makes an unwelcome appearance, and he and Teela sit about on the Palace roof until He-Man and Battle-Cat arrive to take charge.
He-Man despatches Orko and Teela off to Castle Grayskull to get help. The Sorceress mixes a potion made from such infuriating ingredients as “a pinch of baby love” and “some motherly understanding”, which will revert the Baby Roe to its baby form. After a despair-inducing interlude in which Orko drinks some of the potion and briefly reverts to babyhood, Teela carries the potion back to the Palace.
Meanwhile, He-Man and Battle-Cat have successfully grounded Danavus and the Baby Roe. He-Man applies the antidote, which oddly doesn’t make the Baby Roe smaller but does make it more friendly. The Roes fly off happily, and Danavus claims to have learned his lesson. This doesn’t stop He-Man clapping him in handcuffs and laughing like a lunatic.
In today’s adventure…
He-Man offers an environmental message, reminding us how Danavus upset the natural order in the Valley of Power, and advising us to enjoy the countryside, but to leave things as we find them, so the next person can enjoy them too. It would be nice if someone had told him that last week, when he spent literally 5 minutes chopping down loads of vegetation in the Vine Jungle. But in principle, very good.
As is evident from my review above, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, and Danavus who put on today’s show for us. It’s also the Mother and the Baby Roe, if you think they count.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:
To make up for previous occasions when she clearly couldn’t care less, this week Teela is incredibly concerned about Adam and Cringer’s disappearance. He-Man says, “Don’t worry, they’re all right,” which is normally more than enough to satisfy her, but she needs further reassurance about five minutes later, when He-Man reiterates the point with, “Don’t worry about Adam and Cringer, we won’t leave until we know they’re all right.”
He-Man refers to Danavus and the Baby Roe as the “Menace of the skies”, which is fair enough. More surprisingly, he starts sticking the knife into Battle-Cat on the return journey to the Palace, telling him that “An Eternian snail can move faster than this.” Battle-Cat is understandably not amused.
I also have a comment which may be considered insulting: what the Jesus Christ is wrong with Danavus’ teeth? He’s got way too many upper ones and no lower ones. While we’re at it, his eyes have no soul. He’s dead inside. He’s terrifying.
Does it have the Power?
As an environmentally friendly message it’s all very well, and it’s not boring for the most part. In fact, I quite appreciate it for being one of the first episodes yet to give some real character to both Cringer and Battle-Cat. Sometimes though, this cartoon strains credulity too far, even for the outlandish premise on which it’s based, and this week’s completely insane – and utterly unnecessary – sequence in which He-Man learns to fly is a case in point. The episode then briefly strays into a scene that literally no one would want to see when it makes Orko into a baby – though it steers itself out of this dreadful dead end pretty quickly. Other than these issues, it’s a reasonable outing, but I wouldn’t be hurrying to recommend it to anyone.