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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.