Episode 043 – The Mystery of Man-e-Faces

In which a man with loads of faces justifiably tries to kill the Widgets.

At the preparations for Queen Marlena’s birthday party, Prince Adam decides to scare the living bejesus out of Orko and Cringer by introducing them to a gentleman dressed in a blue and orange robotic kind of suit who can change his face, demonstrating a green scary monster, a robot, Skeletor, Beast-Man and a “normal” face, which consists of orange skin and red diagonal sunglasses. His name is Man-e-Faces, and with a name like that, what ability did you expect him to have?

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As Man-e-Faces trundles off to prepare himself to entertain the guests at the party, Adam indulges in a flashback, which comprises the rest of the episode. Some time ago, the Widgets (last seen in Evil-Lyn’s Plot) were being terrorised by Man-e-Faces, whose motivation for this behaviour remains unclear.

His actions catch the attention of Skeletor, who notes that with most of his allies in jail, Man-e-Faces would be a welcome addition to his ranks. Luckily, the Sorceress has also spotted the appearance of Man-e-Faces, and asks Adam to become He-Man and head to the Widgets’ aid. Teela and Orko pop along for the expedition too, because the episode wasn’t annoying enough with just the Widgets.

Meanwhile, Man-e-Faces has installed himself on a chair at the Widgets’ castle and is demanding his dinner. This guy is hardly an evil mastermind, if the best plot he can come up with is asking some midgets for food. But still, everyone seems to take him seriously, so I suppose I should at least try to do the same. Luckily, before Man-e-Faces can have more than a mouthful of some miserable soup, He-Man shows up to ruin his fun.

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Man-e-Faces decides to switch from his sunglasses face to his green monster face, in the vain hope that this will help him to defeat He-Man. It doesn’t. He-Man knocks him over easily, and all seems to be concluded when suddenly Skeletor intervenes, teleporting Man-e-Faces aboard his ship. Man-e-Faces responds to this change in his fortunes by squatting in an uncomfortable and inexplicable position, but otherwise does nothing except gape foolishly.

The Sorceress shows up at the Widgets’ fortress to inform He-Man that Man-e-Faces isn’t really evil, but is just alone and afraid. She also reveals that Skeletor is on his way to Castle Grayskull to attack it, so He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela and Orko barrel off to stop him. The Widgets offer to come too, but He-Man declines, barely repressing a shudder as he does so.

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Skeletor tries to persuade Man-e-Faces to work with him in the conquest of Eternia, but Man-e-Faces refuses, so Skeletor stops playing nice and orders Beast-Man to use his animal-controlling powers. Presumably because Man-e-Faces is currently in his green monster format, this works, and Skeletor and Beast-Man indulge in about 20 seconds of evil laughter.

While Skeletor flies around shooting at Castle Grayskull, Beast-Man and Man-e-Faces are set to work with the age-old trick of pulling the jawbridge down with a grappling hook. As usual, this tactic is interrupted by He-Man, who gets into a brief barney with Man-e-Faces until the Sorceress releases him from Beast-Man’s control, whereupon Man-e-Faces and He-Man join forces to defeat Beast-Man and Skeletor.

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At the debriefing session, Man-e-Faces explains that people used to think he was a monster, so he started acting like one, but now he knows what it’s like to be pushed around and bullied, and promises not to do it again. He-Man asks what his name is – since he’s been referred to as “the stranger” up to this point – and Man-e-Faces responds that he’s never had one. He-Man offers to give him a name, at which point Orko comes up with Man-e-Faces, as if it’s a clever pun.

As the episode ends, we return to the birthday party, where we learn that Man-e-Faces has now learned to put his face-changing talent to good use, and has become Eternia’s foremost freak show centrepiece. Sorry, I mean Eternia’s foremost actor. Obviously.

 

In today’s adventure …

Man-e-Faces explains to Orko that the best way to remember something is to say it over and over again. This is extremely tenuously linked into the episode by way of Man-e-Faces being an actor who has to remember his lines. It’s not exactly a moral lesson, frankly, and there were a couple of more obvious messages from this episode to learn: don’t judge people by their appearance might have been appropriate, as might don’t bully people.

 

Character checklist

Today, we are treated to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Man-e-Faces, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, and the billions of Widgets, the names of whom I don’t know and don’t want to know. There are also non-speaking roles for King Randor, Queen Marlena, Stratos and Ram-Man.

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Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no excuse because Adam becomes He-Man in his bedroom, when there’s no one else there. I’d have liked to see the scene where He-Man came sneaking out of Adam’s bedroom in the middle of the night, hoping to avoid being spotted, but for some reason they didn’t show us that bit.

 

Insults

Fittingly for Skeletor’s first appearance in God knows how long, abuse abounds between our characters this week. Man-e-Faces comes in for a fair proportion of the insults, being called a “creepy creature” and a “creep” by Squinch the Widget, while Laura the Widget considers him a “funny-faced weirdo”. He also is called a “fool” twice and a “dolt” once by Skeletor.

Meanwhile, no one seems to have much love for the Widgets either, an attitude I certainly share. Man-e-Faces calls them “little worms”, while Orko considers them to be “little squirts”. You can leave it to Skeletor to really spell things out though, and he obliges with “miserable Widgets”.

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And finally, where would we be without He-Man dishing out some tongue lashing? It’s fairly standard stuff though – just a “fuzz-face” for Beast-Man and an “old bonehead” for Skeletor.

 

Egg on your face?

It’s been so long since we had an entry for this category that I’d almost forgotten it existed. So it is with great pleasure that I can report that in the opening scene, Orko manages to arrange for a massive birthday cake to be upended on Cringer’s head.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is one of those episodes that is blatantly contrived in order to sell an action figure, specifically an action figure that no one in their right mind would buy otherwise. The problem with Man-e-Faces is that he’s obviously intended to be a master of disguise, and I can imagine that at an early stage of character design, he was supposed to be able to change his entire appearance. But then some bright spark will have pointed out, “But if his appearance changes all the time, what will his action figure look like?”

The solution to this problem is to make his face change, but his body always remains the same, which I think you’ll agree gives rise to a new problem: his disguises cease to be effective, even among Eternia’s customary dimwits. “Hmm,” says Skeletor, “there’s Beast-Man over there. Oh, hang on, Beast-Man’s wearing the same outfit that Man-e-Faces normally does. Could it be that this is actually Man-e-Faces in disguise? No, can’t be!”

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Leaving this aside, the episode is quite fun, and it’s nice to see someone being a baddy but then changing sides to join the heroes; it’s a refreshing reminder that sometimes good and evil aren’t as black and white as all that, and might have helped children to realise that bullies at school aren’t necessarily evil.

On the other hand, I can’t issue a complete recommendation for this episode, largely because there are two scenes depicting the Widgets laughing, but they sound more like a troupe of discordant monkeys screeching. No wonder people keep trying to kill them.

And that’s that for a few weeks, as I’m going on holiday. Check back towards the end of October for the next exciting instalment!

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Episode 042 – Double-Edged Sword

In which He-Man deliberately tries to ruin a young boy’s day by implying that his pet is dead.

As the episode begins, Man-at-Arms is admiring himself in front of a full-length mirror in the Palace. Once he’s finished preening, he takes King Randor and Prince Adam on a date down to the Energiser Chamber, where he informs them that the Palace’s supply of Eternium is nearly depleted. Without more Eternium, everything on the planet will come to a standstill. This is clearly the result of poor forward planning. In my experience, it helps to buy petrol considerably before the tank is empty.

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We now cut to the desert, where a young boy called Chad is messing with a gun, hoping to become a soldier and join the Royal Guard, while his disabled grandfather tries to discourage him. This conversation comes to a halt when Chad finds a hunk of Eternium. The Palace is alerted, and Adam, Teela, Cringer and Orko are despatched to pick the Eternium up.

Over at Snake Mountain, Mer-Man and Trapjaw are bemoaning being left behind while Skeletor goes off on a trip to Centre Parcs. They become aware of the Eternium, and resolve to take it for themselves. They intercept Chad and his grandfather, and send a monster after them. Chad’s grandfather refuses to use a weapon on a living creature, which is a nice lesson for the audience, but Teela shows up at this point and shoots the monster right in the face, which I feel may lead to mixed messages.

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Meanwhile, Trapjaw decides that he wants to eat the Eternium, because it’s the most powerful substance on Eternia, so this would make him the most powerful individual on Eternia. I don’t think eating things works like that, Trapjaw. I had chips for tea last night, and I wasn’t any chipper when I woke up this morning. I had an orange at lunch today, and I’ve not been noticeably orange this afternoon. And I’m planning on having pork tonight, and hopefully I won’t be porky after that. On the other hand, I have had some cheese lately, and I’m concerned these jokes are a bit cheesy.

Anyway, Adam turns into He-Man and finishes the monster defeating job, after which he begins escorting Chad and his grandfather back to the Palace. He doesn’t do an enormously good job of it though: Trapjaw gets hold of the Eternium and eats a fair-sized chunk of it. This leads to a hugely embarrassing fight for He-Man in which Trapjaw temporarily gets the upper hand. The whole sorry situation only comes to an end when the Eternium wears off and Trapjaw crushes himself under a rock.

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Trapjaw and Mer-Man are sent off to the prison mines, but unfortunately Chad’s horrible pet – a creature called Furby that resembles a cross between an elephant and a bee – has also eaten some Eternium, and gets ill. This necessitates a trip to Castle Grayskull, where Furby gets taken inside the Chamber of Life, which the Sorceress helpfully explains may or may not help.

Chad decides he doesn’t want to be a soldier, since he’d never considered that someone might get hurt. This decision is hammered further home by his grandfather relating a flashback story about how he used to be a soldier, but his legs were crushed and paralysed in the Orc Wars. At the end of this fairly dark tale, He-Man emerges from Castle Grayskull and demonstrates a rare ability to be a right bastard, by putting on a sombre expression and briefly pretending Furby didn’t make it. Not cool, He-Man.

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In today’s adventure …

Normally, He-Man’s voice makes it sound like he thinks everything’s really funny, and that he’s always on the verge of collapsing into laughter. I put this down to the actor knowing that the whole thing is ridiculous and was just amusing himself by putting a strange edge to the voice. Either that or the strange edge is the actor trying not to break down in despair.

But not this week: He-Man sounds unusually earnest when he tells us that in real life, sometimes people do get hurt when they fight and use guns. Sometimes the people who get hurt are the good guys (i.e. the US military). Sometimes, the person who gets hurt might be you. We’re then treated to another shot of Chad’s grandfather getting his legs paralysed in the war. I think that this week, the writers really didn’t want us to miss the message.

 

Character checklist

I’ve decided to rename this section to make it more alliterative and thus potentially a bit more pleasing. At any rate, in case it wasn’t apparent from the above summary, this week features Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, the Sorceress, Trapjaw, Mer-Man, Chad and Chad’s grandfather, as well as the Furby pet thing.

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Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He wasn’t himself,” says He-Man, a response which is clearly meant to mess with Teela’s mind.

 

Insults

Pretty quiet on this front today, the only possible candidate being an odd moment when Trapjaw refers to Mer-Man as a “dropper”. I don’t know what a dropper is, but I’m certain Trapjaw didn’t mean it as a compliment.

 

Does it have the Power?

Not so much, no. It clearly knows what it wanted to do – Chad wants to be a soldier, gets involved in a fight, something unpleasant happens, and he learns soldiering isn’t all fun and games – but it seems to have got rather confused in the telling. It lurches from one thing to another, with Mer-Man’s monster, Trapjaw’s Eternium-eating, and Furby’s illness all feeling like completely separate episodes.

I did enjoy the part where Trapjaw momentarily became as powerful as He-Man, but since the effect of the Eternium quickly wore off, it was hardly a recipe for Trapjaw’s long-term success. It’s also faintly ridiculous the number of times the baddies get carted off to the prison mines, only to be at large again a few episodes later.

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The moral was obviously well-meant though, and the story of why Chad’s grandfather is disabled does help to make the point, though it is rather tonally jarring for He-Man. In brief, I’d say this episode is well-intentioned but ultimately a bit of a mess, and I wouldn’t bother to watch it again.

Episode 041 – House of Shokoti, Part 2

In which He-Man and Ram-Man get tied onto a bondage table.

Since this episode doesn’t make any attempt to recap last week’s Part 1, I shan’t either, and I’ll just assume you know what I’m talking about. Melaktha explains that an outer wall has been built around the pyramid, probably to keep something evil inside. His immediate instinct is to remove the outer wall, which Cringer thinks is a bad idea, and I’m inclined to agree.

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Disregarding his own – admittedly moronic – advice from last week, Ram-Man rams the wall down, revealing a door with an evil laughing face on it. Melaktha instantly recognises the face as Shokoti and advises that they must not enter the pyramid until morning, as Shokoti was an evil sorceress from many years ago. Why this means no messing with the pyramid until after sunrise is for now left unexplained.

Back at the camp, Stanlin is told the pyramid is too dangerous for him and that he will be going back to the Palace in the morning. He throws a major temper over this, and in a twist that no one could possibly foresee, heads out in the middle of the night to enter the pyramid. As soon as he reaches the door, however, he is entrapped by some black tentacles that erupt from the afore-mentioned laughing face and sucked into the pyramid.

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Once inside, Stanlin has a pretty miserable time, finding himself chased down a load of corridors by a giant mutant rat. Things don’t really pick up for him when he runs into the clearly evil but undeniably foxy Shokoti, with her sexy black and purple leotard and red cloak. She takes Stanlin to a black pool, where she reveals her plan to wake the Sleeping Beast and allow the Living Darkness to cover the world, and then Stanlin gets tied up by three horrible pulsating green tentacley things.

Adam and Cringer witness Stanlin being sucked inside, and transform into He-Man and Battle-Cat. They break the door down and enter the pyramid, with Ram-Man bouncing merrily along behind them. They enjoy a little perambulation through a variety of entertaining illusions before arriving at the black pool, where they are quickly overcome by Shokoti’s dark magic and tied to a stone table, then put into an unnatural sleep.

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Luckily, Stanlin escapes the defeat at the pool, but isn’t sure what he can do about the situation. The Sorceress contacts him telepathically, offering no more than her usual vague hints, telling Stanlin the key to defeating Shokoti is to not be afraid. Somehow, Stanlin manages to free He-Man and co. despite this unhelpful advice, leaving He-Man in a position to battle the Sleeping Beast, which is now more of a Waking Green Unconvincing Beast.

He-Man achieves the victory simply by pushing an idol of Shokoti into the dark pool, which results in the pool becoming filled with normal water and Shokoti herself fading out of existence. Once outside, Stanlin apologises for going into the pyramid without permission. Then Ram-Man makes a joke, and Prince Adam laughs more than I’ve ever seen anyone laugh, even at things that are actually funny. He laughs so much I swear he needs locking up.

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In today’s adventure …

Adam pops up to explain that going into old dark buildings or caves can be very dangerous, even though there are no demons or monsters in our world. To be honest, pretty much any moral would be acceptable after last week’s excursion into insanity, but even so, I can’t help but feel the real lesson in this episode was that you needn’t be afraid of the dark. After all, Shokoti’s power was Living Darkness, wasn’t it? And Stanlin somehow defeated her by not being afraid? Am I the only one to connect the dots here?

 

Characters appearing

We are treated to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Ram-Man, Melaktha, Stanlin, the Sorceress and Shokoti.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

He-Man skirts the issue this week, offering only a terse, “No time to talk.”

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Insults

Not a lot going on, except Shokoti calling Ram-Man a “fool!” pretty vehemently, and he deserves it. He’s more than usually annoying this week.

 

Does it have the Power?

As predicted last week, there was absolutely no need for this to be a two-parter, but assessing the episode on its own strengths, it’s pretty good. Shokoti herself is probably the scariest baddy we’ve seen on He-Man yet – her laugh echoing out of nowhere is on a few occasions genuinely creepy, and her ability to actually put He-Man out of action for some time elevates her to a position occupied by very few.

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On the downside, the resolution seems a little easy, and there’s no explanation for why the Shokoti idol led to her downfall. I was expecting her to be defeated by sunrise, which would have fit the episode’s light versus dark theme rather well. It was also a bit of a shame that the rather interesting Melaktha character departed the story in the first three minutes, not to reappear. And finally, I have to take exception to the running “joke” of Ram-Man being unable to pronounce Shokoti correctly, which is as amusing as it sounds.

Still, these are minor quibbles, and I’d be happy to recommend both parts of this story as decent examples of He-Manity. Still, where’s Skeletor got off to?

Episode 040 – House of Shokoti, Part 1

In which Ram-Man dispenses his infamously demented moral.

The Sorceress summons He-Man and Battle-Cat to Castle Grayskull, with disturbing news. Apparently, a merchant reported that a pyramid has risen out of the desert near the Fortress of the Sands, but when men from the Fortress went to investigate, there was no pyramid there. The Sorceress feels that this is due to some ancient evil, discounting the possibility that it’s due to an idiot merchant playing a none-too-amusing joke.

He-Man and Battle-Cat head off to check out this mysterious pyramid, taking with them Orko and Ram-Man, who are most definitely the B-team: Man-at-Arms and Teela are allegedly off chasing space pirates, so they’re not available. Arriving at the Fortress of the Sands, our intrepid heroes find that it is under attack by giant metal spiders, which He-Man recognises as being Trapjaw’s inventions.

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Getting involved, He-Man defeats one of the spiders, while Ram-Man surprisingly takes out the other two. Trapjaw watches on a screen, getting told off by a mysterious figure in a brown outfit, referred to by Trapjaw as Mask. He-Man salvages a control box from one of the spiders and sets the homing beacon, leading him straight to Trapjaw’s lair.

After eavesdropping for a time and learning that Mask is working for a mistress whose aim is to awaken a Sleeping Beast, He-Man intervenes. Once again, it’s Ram-Man who claims the victory, incapacitating Trapjaw with a well-timed ramming of a spider. On the other hand, Mask escapes, and He-Man doesn’t bother to interrogate Trapjaw, instead opting to turn back into Adam and head back to the Royal Palace to pick up the royal archaeologist Melaktha and his apprentice, Stanlin.

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Arriving in the desert village of Kalysh, our heroes hire a guide, who is of course Mask in disguise. Overnight, Mask sabotages the party’s vehicles and makes arrangements with a bunch of humanoid lizards to capture the group on the following evening. Naturally, this plot doesn’t go down quite as planned, with He-Man quickly putting in an appearance and despatching the lizards.

Unfortunately, the lizard attack has served one purpose: acting as a distraction while Mask stands there waving his hands around, raising the pyramid from the sands. Orko tries to stop him, seizing the mask from his face, which gives Orko a bad case of glowing yellow outline disease. He-Man gets involved again and cuts Mask’s mask in half, leading Mask to shrivel and dissolve like the Lord of the Nazgul.

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In the morning, Orko is sent back to the Sorceress to be healed, hopefully meaning his part in this story is over. Melaktha happily proclaims that with Mask gone, the pyramid should be safe to explore, to which Adam ominously replies, “I hope you’re right…” Given there’s a Part 2, I think we can safely conclude that Melaktha is not right.

 

In today’s adventure …

I don’t quite know what to say about this. I understand that this being Part 1 of an adventure, it may be difficult to really work in some kind of moral lesson into the episode without giving the end away … but still, I’m sure they could have done better than having Ram-Man show up to say, and I quote, “Ramming things may look like fun, but it really isn’t. It’s not only dangerous, it’s dumb.”

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Well, Ram-Man, I have news for you. Ramming things does not look like fun. It never looked like fun, even when I was the target audience at the tender age of 4. This is because I didn’t want to be Ram-Man. No one wants to be Ram-Man. They want to be He-Man. And He-Man does not ram things with his head. So, thanks for the advice, but frankly, even 2 year olds have this one down.

I am convinced the writers must have been taking the piss. If they weren’t, I’m genuinely worried for them.

 

Characters appearing

We are graced with a large number of characters this week – Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Orko, Ram-Man, Melaktha, Stanlin, the Sorceress, Mask and Trapjaw. You can also count a very brief, cliff-hangery appearance from the eponymous Shokoti, if you like.

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam undergoes the transformation into He-Man three times in the course of this episode (though thankfully twice off-screen, so we only have to sit through the stock animation once), but not once does he try to explain himself. In fairness, each He-Man appearance is so brief that it is believable that Adam is simply cowering inside the tent.

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Insults

Insults abound this week, most of them aimed at Trapjaw, who is referred to as an “incompetent fool” by Mask, and as “Metal-mouth” by He-Man. He-Man also calls him “Trappy”, and while this sounds more like a pet name, I’ve never spotted any particular affection between He-Man and Trapjaw, so we’ll chalk it up as an insult.

Elsewhere, Orko tells Adam that Cringer is a “dumb kitty”, to which Cringer responds with equal vehemence that Orko is “dumb” and so is his magic hoop. He-Man calls one of the humanoid lizards a “Scale-face”, and Orko puts in a poor effort by saying Mask has a “funny face”.

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Does it have the Power?

Without having watched Part 2 yet, I’m happy to give this episode a cautious thumbs-up. There’s a few bits that could have been better thought out, such as why Mask bothers sabotaging the expedition’s vehicle when he actively wants them to reach the pyramid so he can give them to his mistress, and obviously the moral should never have made it past the first draft. I’m also rather suspicious that the episode doesn’t actually need to be a two-parter: I very much doubt we were given any information this week that will be relevant next time.

On the good side, Mask was quite an interesting villain, and possibly unique in He-Man for actually being killed. Melaktha comments that he was more of a “shadow of evil” than a person, but I don’t imagine that excuse would stand up in court. I enjoyed Trapjaw’s appearance as a sort of evil-inventor-for-hire, and I am happy to eat my words from a few weeks back and report that Melaktha is a positive black role model.

So join me next week for the no-doubt thrilling conclusion – unless of course you spend the week ramming things with your head.

Episode 039 – Trouble in Arcadia

In which Prince Adam and Teela discover an invisible city full of sexist women.

This week we find Teela and Prince Adam heading to pay a visit to the lowland villages. Teela sees the journey as a chance to indulge in a long, unfocussed and unprovoked rant about the sexism inherent in Earth’s space exploration programme, while Adam seizes the chance to ignore her and go to sleep.

Arcadia

This happy journey comes to an abrupt halt when the Attack Trak bangs into something invisible blocking the path. Attempting to find out how far this barrier stretches, Adam comes across two women who accuse him of snooping round their city’s defences and put him in a cage, with his sword out of reach. They then make some disparaging remarks about men. Hands up who can see the moral coming here.

Teela runs into two more women and has better luck; she is invited to the city of Arcadia to meet Queen Sumana. En route, Teela asks whether there is also a king, to which the women react with at first disgust and secondly a fit of unconvincing laughter, followed by some crazed screeching and an inability to put their apparent distaste for men into words, culminating simply with “Men are just … you know?”

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Sumana takes Teela on a tour of the city, explaining that Arcadia’s beauty is protected by a vast force dome, which keeps out intruders. On inquiring what powers the force dome, Teela discovers that all Arcadia’s men are set to work mining a mineral called arkalyte, which serves as the dome’s fuel. Sumana explains gently that while men are great at physical labour, women are more suited to rule, because they are better.

Meanwhile, Adam has been escorted into a nice dungeon, and his sword taken off to the Mistress of Arms. He meets a gentleman called Ananda who informs him that he is now a slave labourer in the arkalyte mines, to which Adam takes great exception and starts throwing machinery about. Nonetheless, soon he begins work and very quickly concludes that the mines are unstable and will collapse if mining continues.

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Ananda tries to warn Sumana that if the mines collapse, the entire city will be destroyed, but she doesn’t want to know because he’s a man. Ananda then decides that maybe Adam will be able to convince Sumana. I have no idea why; Adam is a man too. Anyway, Ananda shows Adam the way up to the city, where he makes his way to the throne room and tries to explain about the mines. Predictably, Sumana doesn’t listen until the city starts collapsing.

Teela persuades Sumana to make the women and men work together to strengthen the city, prompting lots of realistic dialogue from the women like, “You know, I LIKE working with men!” In the meantime, Adam retrieves his sword and puts in a long-overdue He-Man appearance. He-Man indulges in one of his trademark ludicrous solutions: he digs down until he finds an underground lava flow, which then wells up into the mines and hardens, becoming a super solid foundation for Arcadia.

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Later on, Sumana addresses the people of Arcadia, decreeing that henceforth women and men will be equals, and asks Ananda to rule by her side as king. Ananda’s only reaction to this is, “Well, it’s about time,” which I feel is a bit of an ungracious acceptance. Teela closes the episode by commenting that there’s a little difference between men and women, while Adam sits there with his legs wide akimbo. This may have been meant to emphasise the difference, which otherwise goes unspecified.

 

In today’s adventure …

He-Man and Teela discuss the perils of inequality, in a rather confused segment that references the Magna Carta and various other laws throughout the ages. Nowhere do they mention sexism as such, and while it’s true there are many kinds of inequalities, I do feel that in an episode that’s been so ridiculously heavy-handed about sexism, it seems almost skirting the issue to not specifically denounce it in the moral.

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Characters appearing

Our regulars consist only of Prince Adam, He-Man, Teela, and a brief cameo from Orko. Guest appearances come from Sumana, Ananda, and loads of screeching women.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

He-Man’s appearance this week is so blink-and-you’ll-miss-it that there’s no call for an excuse. I assume they kept He-Man out of the picture because he’s so blatantly superior to everyone that Sumana would have had no choice but to acknowledge it.

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Insults

Very disappointingly, no one does any insulting today. I’d have paid good money to hear Teela call Adam a chauvinistic pig, like she was clearly implying at the beginning.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t think so. For an episode that is attempting to tackle sexism, I feel that it dropped the ball rather in having the solution be He-Man come barrelling in and performing an immense feat of strength. It would have been much better if he could have kept his stupid muscley arms out of the whole proceedings and just encouraged the Arcadians to work together. Added to this, the dialogue presents a bit of a problem: I’m sure it had good intentions, but when it wasn’t corny like the example cited above, it gave out the wrong message entirely: Teela had a number of lines such as, “The men know what they’re talking about,” implying strongly that the women don’t. Ultimately, this is a heavy-handed and largely boring Episode With A Message. I’d avoid it if I were you.