Episode 045 – Orko’s Missing Magic

In which He-Man finds shaking hands with a four-armed man hilarious.

If we were to remove the word “magic” from the title, I’d be a lot more optimistic about this episode, but here we go anyway. The plot, such as it is, begins with Orko messing about trying to increase his magical powers with a silly crystal of some sort, but it all goes wrong thanks to some stupid white bouncing animal called a Gronk knocking him out of the way. The crystal explodes, and the Gronk disappears.

Later, Orko tries to demonstrate a magic trick to the court, but he quickly realises that all his magical powers are gone. “Oh no,” you all cry. “Who will irritate us with stupid tricks now?” Without his magic, Orko convinces himself that he’s no good to anyone, despite Adam and Teela telling him that they love him for himself, not for his magic. Adam goes so far as to say Orko is a special person, which I’d agree with, depending on your definition of special.

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Adam, Cringer and Orko consult the Sorceress, who informs them that the Gronk absorbed all of Orko’s magic and then disappeared to another world. Obviously. She opens a portal to the correct world, and He-Man, Battle-Cat and Orko head through. On arrival, they meet a two-headed man who welcomes them to the planet Omiros, and informs them that an evil wizard called Zolt from Castle Ackle is using the magical powers in the Gronk to ruin the planet.

Arriving at Castle Ackle, our heroes are greeted by a blue giant, which is convenient for He-Man, since it’s now past the commercial break and he hasn’t hit anyone yet. Once the giant is despatched with the customary efficiency, He-Man and co. enter Castle Ackle and quickly meet Zolt, who wears a long purple robe and has the same ridiculous eye mask as Burglar Bill. He poses on his throne like he’s modelling for Men’s Health.

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He-Man isn’t in the least impressed by this dandy, and quickly defeats him with a variation on the “please don’t throw me into that there briar patch” trick. Despite the unexpected and unwelcome appearance of a bunch of mechanical lions at this juncture, He-Man rescues the Gronk and they return to the portal to Eternia.

But shockingly, the portal disappears before they can enter it. He-Man exclaims, “Oh no!” but frankly, he doesn’t sound like he means it. It’s almost disinterested: the sort of “Oh no” you might say if, for example, someone said you were never allowed to watch Orko’s Missing Magic again. Anyway, the stupid man with two heads from earlier helps out and recreates the portal, then shakes hands with He-Man, at which He-Man laughs his fool head off.

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Back at the Palace, we find that the Sorceress has successfully restored Orko’s magic, and he is back to his old habits performing magic tricks for the court. Which is, I think, a resolution for which we are all truly thankful.

 

In today’s adventure …

Orko dispenses today’s pearl of wisdom, which is the same as various other episodes, namely that you don’t have to give people presents or make them laugh in order to be liked. This is fortunate, because I never give people presents or make them laugh. On the other hand, I don’t have any friends.

 

Character checklist

Appearing today for our delight and delectation are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Teela, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Gronk, the two-headed man, the blue giant, and Burglar Bill or whatever the hell his name was.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“I know someone who can help us. See you later, Teela,” says Adam, before trotting off to transform into He-Man. I don’t know why he tries to make this seem mysterious: it’s obvious that the unspecified “someone” isn’t exactly going to be Ram-Man, is it?

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Insults

He-Man comes in for a bit of abuse today, being referred to as “Pipsqueak” and “Shorty” by the big blue giant, and as “Muscle man” by Zolt.

 

Egg on your face?

It wouldn’t be an episode about Orko’s magic without something in this category, so I’m pleased to report that the final joke is a goblet of water being upended on Man-at-Arms’ head. Then the entire court laughs like hyenas. People this easily amused shouldn’t be in charge of a planet.

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Does it have the Power?

In absolute fairness, this episode isn’t terrible, insofar as episodes about Orko go. That isn’t to say it’s good, obviously, but it’s not painful to watch in the same way that the two episodes about Uncle Montork were. Zolt is a rubbish baddy, but I did enjoy his appearance purely because his outfit is so insane. On the other hand, the Gronk was a little too cutesy for my liking. In short though, the main thing undermining the episode is that I genuinely couldn’t care less if Orko never did get his magic back. Ultimately, this is a slightly below average outing that I would recommend skipping unless you’re a major Orko fan (in which case, what’s wrong with you?).

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Episode 044 – The Region of Ice

In which Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw go above and beyond in their efforts to be completely mental.

A skiing holiday for the royal family and Orko quickly goes wrong when everyone except Orko vanishes. Orko is left to solve the mystery alone, and quickly determines that the royal family have fallen through a trapdoor into a downward-sloping tunnel. Orko descends the tunnel, peculiarly complaining about the lack of stairs. Why should he care? He couldn’t use stairs even if they were there, so what’s his beef? (I do wonder if the writer had ever seen an episode of He-Man before. Maybe he had merely been given a list of characters to use and, not unnaturally, assumed that they all had legs.)

Anyway, Orko quickly discovers that the missing persons have been transported into a large cavern and encased in ice. The perpetrator of this indignity is a fellow in another of those ubiquitous Viking helmets, which seem to be Eternian shorthand for “slightly rubbish villain”. This fellow chatters away to himself, explaining that their Majesties will remain iced up until He-Man comes to rescue them.

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Orko listens in and realises that with Adam trapped in the ice, He-Man isn’t likely to show up. He therefore decides that the most appropriate course of action is to pretend to be He-Man and demand his friends’ release. The Viking man unexpectedly believes this claim, and explains that Skeletor has taken his daughter Snowflake prisoner, and will only release her in exchange for the royal family.

Orko promises to try to rescue Snowflake, and negotiates Adam’s release from the ice, describing him as his assistant. Luckily, despite being frozen inside a block of ice, Adam has heard every word, and happily plays along with the notion that Orko is He-Man. Once they return to the surface, Orko tries to persuade Adam to become He-Man and rescue the others, but Adam reminds Orko of the promise he made, so instead they head off to rescue Snowflake.

En route to Snake Mountain, He-Man starts making passive-aggressive digs at Orko about being the assistant. He continues to do this, at random intervals, throughout the rest of the episode. Once they arrive at their destination, He-Man decides that instead of knocking a hole in the wall like he’d normally do, it is necessary for him and Orko to enter through the mouth of the snake. It appears that he decides this primarily so there’ll be a dramatic point at which to cut to the commercial break, but that’s his prerogative, I suppose.

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Inside Snake Mountain, Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw are indulging in a spot of bickering that’s pointless beyond even their usual depths of insanity. Skeletor keeps moaning and waving his arms around because he can only see snow on his monitor, Beast-Man seems even more miserable than usual and is pessimistically – though admittedly realistically – claiming that Skeletor’s plan won’t work, while Trapjaw is laughing manically at absolutely nothing.

With only this dream team to oppose him, therefore, it’s perhaps unsurprising that He-Man gets the advantage, in a number of fight scenes that veer just the wrong side of mental. The fight with Trapjaw, for example, involves He-Man picking up a stick and making the non sequitur comment of, “This is the ten foot pole I wouldn’t touch you with, Trapjaw.” He then proceeds to touch Trapjaw with the pole, thus contradicting himself within less than a second of his making his statement.

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After rescuing Snowflake from her dungeon He-Man gets in a completely ridiculous fight with Beast-Man. He is on particular form in this fight, making endless nonsensical jokes about cold soup and playing catch. I can only conclude he’s showing off to Snowflake, but she isn’t all that impressed; after He-Man makes a particularly demented comment, she doesn’t laugh and pointedly says, “I’d appreciate it if we could get out of this place now.”

Discovering that his prisoner is escaping, Skeletor pulls a lever which allegedly makes Snake Mountain come alive. He-Man does make a valiant attempt to convince us that the snake’s mouth is shut and he has to force it open, but this concept seemed to be beyond the animators, so the mouth is wide open all along, making He-Man look like a first-class chump.

And so it comes to pass that Snowflake is returned to her father and the royal family are released. Snowflake says she really wants to thank He-Man, or indeed, “Both my He-Men,” in a sultry tone which implies she’d willingly have sex with either He-Man or Orko, and possibly both at the same time. But naturally enough, the episode doesn’t dwell on this.

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In today’s adventure …

Man-at-Arms shows up to inform us that our appearance, honesty and the way we act are the things that show our character. Well, yes to the last two, but my appearance doesn’t have a whole lot to do with my character. Man-at-Arms’ point is that if you make a promise you don’t intend to keep, that shows bad character, and he advises us to always think before we speak. Good advice, but I was distracted by the fact that the animators inexplicably appear to have given Man-at-Arms some black antennae.

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Character checklist

A nicely traditional cast this week, featuring Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw, with special guest stars Princess Snowflake and the Viking man.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam changes into He-Man with only Orko present, so he doesn’t concern himself with an excuse this time.

 

Insults

Skeletor achieves being on screen for about 30 seconds before giving in to temptation and shouting “fool!” at Beast-Man. Rather surprisingly, the rest of the episode is insult-free. On the other hand, He-Man is full of utterly insane wisecracks this week.

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Does it have the Power?

This is exactly the sort of episode I think of when I recommend He-Man to people, which isn’t as often as you might think. It’s got pretty much everything: a short mystery to solve, followed by a ludicrous plot from Skeletor, and topped off with a super trip for He-Man to Snake Mountain, where he gets to wreak havoc to his heart’s content, while Skeletor rages impotently. If I wished to pick holes, the worst I can say is that the baddies seemed a little too willing to simply stand there while He-Man makes his half-witted jokes, whereas in reality they’d have attacked him half an hour ago. But expecting realism from He-Man is the sort of attitude that gets you checked into an institution for your own safety.