In which He-Man nearly turns evil.
At Castle Grayskull, Zodac – the “rider of the cosmic spacewaves” last seen in the demented Quest for He-Man – has popped in for a quick coffee with the Sorceress. In the course of their relaxed catch-up, Zodac reveals that although he isn’t allowed to interfere, he is going to interfere by telling the Sorceress about some dreadful danger threatening Eternia.
Meanwhile, Prince Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer are out investigating some mysterious rumblings. I think we can safely assume it’s not Cringer’s greedy belly this time, but they don’t get too far through the investigation before the Sorceress summons Adam to Grayskull. Giving Teela the slip, Adam and Cringer undergo their magical metamorphosis.
At Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress sounds completely panicked, claiming that He-Man faces the greatest challenge of his life. She also claims that Eternia is an unusual planet, which I think we’d all figured out for ourselves, thanks very much. Her reason for this statement is that Eternia is right in the centre of the universe, where the Big Bang occurred billions of years ago, and consequently in the centre of Eternia rests the Star Seed, a small piece of Big Bang energy, which is all-powerful and can do absolutely anything.
Well, no prizes for guessing who’d like to get his bony mitts on the Star Seed. The Sorceress reveals that Skeletor is tunnelling to the heart of Eternia, and that if he gets it, things will get a bit rubbish like. She despatches He-Man to stop Skeletor, warning him that the Star Seed will tempt He-Man into evil doings.
We now have the pleasure of seeing Skeletor driving a giant drill, looking like the world’s scariest forklift truck driver, and complaining to Beast-Man and Mer-Man at how slow the drill is. He quickly learns that He-Man, Battle-Cat and Orko have entered his tunnel, and causes the tunnel to collapse in their path. He crows that “Not even He-Man can pound his way through a half-mile of solid rock!” Let’s wait and see, shall we?
Oh look, he can. Such a surprise. Still, Skeletor still has quite a lead, so maybe He-Man won’t catch up in time? Oh look, he did. Another surprise. Anyway, Skeletor encases Orko in a bubble and threatens dire consequences for him if He-Man doesn’t help Skeletor dig the tunnel. No one ever said He-Man was that bright; if he were, he’d use this as a cast-iron excuse to be rid of Orko once and for all: “Sorry, mate, but it was either you or the universe.”
Instead, He-Man helps out, and soon the whole company arrive in the Star Seed’s chamber. He-Man suddenly gets an idea that’s rather late to the party: destroying Skeletor’s drill. If he’d done this before they reached the chamber, it might have been helpful, but as it is, it simply allows Skeletor to run off and find the Star Seed.
Luckily, Orko had got there first and replaced the Star Seed with a similar-looking ball, with the result that He-Man gets his overly tanned hands on the real Star Seed. And shock – He-Man starts spouting the sort of stuff that Boromir would be proud of, how the Star Seed would allow him to rid the universe of all evil, and how he’d be unstoppable. Skeletor loves this unexpected development and lounges happily against a crystal, offering He-Man the chance to join up in a super-evil coalition.
Yet another surprise – He-Man refuses. Skeletor does a runner, and He-Man returns to Castle Grayskull. He hands the Star Seed over to Zodac, who reveals that this whole palaver has been a test to see if He-Man is virtuous enough to continue wielding his power. He-Man gets a gold star in his Virtue Exercise Book, and is allowed a trip to the sweet shop as a reward.
In today’s adventure…
Zodac explains that with power comes responsibility, and that it is just as important to know when not to use force as when to use it. Perhaps he should also consider a moral about how it’s okay to arrange pointless tests on powerful people, to see if they turn evil.
Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Mer-Man and Zodac compose the entirety of today’s little jaunt.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:
No actual excuse, but Adam evades Teela’s prying eyes for the transformation by cleverly programming his Sky Sled to return to the Palace without him, in the secure knowledge that Teela will follow it. I have no idea why this should be, but it works, giving Teela the opportunity to disappear from the episode until the last scene, when she shows up again screeching about Adam’s irresponsibility.
There’s a real wealth of cutting remarks this week. We’ll start with the most common – Skeletor calls Mer-Man a “fool” twice and issues the same insult to Beast-Man three times. He also calls them both “simpletons”, which is nice for a bit of variation. He rounds off this department by calling He-Man a “flippant fool” in response to one of He-Man’s idiotic wisecracks.
In more imaginative areas, we have Beast-Man referring to He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”, Orko calling Skeletor a “bag of bones” and Skeletor’s response to Orko of “pipsqueak”. Finally, Beast-Man and Mer-Man get into a slanging match, the latter calling the former a “fuzzy-faced creature”, and Beast-Man responding by calling Mer-Man what sounds very much like a “fish-faced meathead”. I’m not quite sure I heard the meathead bit correctly, in all honesty.
Does it have the Power?
Yes, it does. It’s no classic, but it is an interesting idea to see He-Man being tempted to do evil. I wouldn’t mind betting this is the only time in the whole series he even considers it. The twist when Zodac reveals he engineered the entire scenario to test He-Man actually caught me by surprise, so points there too. And finally, I know I mentioned it above, but watching Skeletor driving a giant drill around was – for no logical reason – hilarious.