Episode 047 – Keeper of the Ancient Ruins

In which He-Man throws a whirlwind into a pit.

It’s that time again, boys and girls, for our weekly catch-up with Eternia’s best and brightest. This week, we find Man-at-Arms has come on an archaeology trip with a very small man called Professor Smullen, to a ruined city in the desert. Professor Smullen very quickly locates the Book of Ancient Eternia, which has been lost for centuries, but Man-at-Arms is only interested in having his dinner. The pair then come under attack by Zactons – helpfully expositioned by Smullen as thousand year old robots.

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Man-at-Arms: “Get on with it, Smullen, it’s sausages for tea today.”

The Zactons, however, have made the mistake of attacking while there was an open radio link to the Palace, which means that Adam, Teela and Cringer hop in the Wind Raider forthwith to come to the rescue. Unfortunately, a serious thunderstorm forces them to crash land in a cave near to the ancient city, a crash landing in which Teela is conveniently knocked out long enough for Adam to turn into He-Man.

Teela has sustained a head injury, and He-Man rather hilariously shouts, “Help me, Sorceress, I need wisdom – wisdom that matches my strength,” essentially admitting that he’s just a muscle-bound moron. In response to He-Man’s plea, the Sorceress sends the scariest-looking rooster I’ve ever seen to cure Teela with its freaky glowing eyes. While the demented rooster looks after Teela, He-Man and Battle-Cat head out to find Man-at-Arms and Smullen.

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He-Man: “Well, this is new.”

En route, they get caught in a whirlwind. He-Man’s solution to this is to carve a circular hole in the ground, into which the whirlwind falls. Honestly. I know that this programme is utterly implausible at the best of times and that I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but this is genuinely insane. What with this and the rooster, this feels like the sort of stupid He-Man episode you’d make up in your dreams.

In the meantime, Man-at-Arms has been trying to appease the Zactons by showing them his food synthesiser, which is a little bit weird, if you ask me. Smullen has a better idea by trying to persuade the Zactons that they were not intending to steal the treasures of the ancient city. Luckily, one of the Zactons falls over, and Man-at-Arms offers to fix it, thus proving his honourable nature. This is nearly ruined when He-Man blunders in waving his sword around, but he is quickly talked out of doing any damage.

At this point Trapjaw – who has rather aimlessly been floating around the periphery of the episode – makes his grand entrance, capturing Teela and rather ambitiously claiming he wants to take everyone prisoner as a present for Skeletor. As I’m sure you can guess, this doesn’t work out very well for Trapjaw, and he winds up shot by the Zactons’ freeze ray, then once again carted off to the prison mines.

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He-Man: “Why do you even bother, Trapjaw?”

Man-at-Arms and Smullen decide to turn the ancient city into a museum for all Eternians to see the treasures, a prospect that makes the Zactons weep with joy, despite them being robots. As the episode ends, Teela attempts to summarise the events for Adam. She is not one of the world’s best storytellers, managing simply, “There were all these treasures, and then Trapjaw showed up!” I wrote better stories than that when I was four.

 

In today’s adventure …

He-Man shows up with the pearl of wisdom that museums are storehouses of knowledge, and since knowledge is power, if you go to a museum, you can get the power. As he earnestly utters this tripe, the camera slowly and disconcertingly zooms in on his face. Once the camera is sufficiently close, He-Man fixes us with a stare that implies he’s deeply disappointed in us.

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He-Man: “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.”

 

Character checklist

Our main cast today consists of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Professor Smullen and Trapjaw. There’s cameo appearances from Orko and the Sorceress, and lest you forget, there is also a giant inexplicable rooster.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once the adventure is over, Teela demands to know where Adam and Cringer went. Cringer claims that they have been fixing the Wind Raider, which is the most ludicrous excuse ever, given that Teela was with the Wind Raider for the entire time she was being cured by the flaming-eyed rooster, and Adam and Cringer were clearly not there then. Teela nonetheless accepts this excuse, idiot that she is.

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Adam: “I reckon we can get away without even trying for a sensible excuse this week, Cringer. Teela probably thinks she’s gone insane anyway, thanks to that ridiculous rooster.”

 

Insults

Despite a promising shot of Snake Mountain, leading me to imagine that Skeletor would feature, we get only Trapjaw, for whom insults are not a strong suit. Though admittedly, nothing is a strong suit for Trapjaw.

 

Egg on your face?

Right, okay. This is just downright odd. It isn’t an egg – or any other foodstuff – on anyone’s face, but it is a magic trick by Orko and it does apparently go wrong. Orko conjures up a basket of fruit and gives an apple to Cringer. Cringer greedily gobbles it up and then complains, “Orko – that apple was green!” as if this is a bad thing. Surely – SURELY – the writers of He-Man knew that apples could be both green and red? Cringer continues to complain about the apple throughout the rest of the episode, as if the writers wanted to continually remind us that they’re mental.

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Orko: “Yes, Cringer, apples can be green, you complete spoon.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I think I’ll come down on the side of no. The story is fine, if not enormously compelling, but there’s just so many really strange bits in this episode that I’m almost convinced it was a piss-take first-draft that accidentally managed to get made into an actual episode. Cringer and the apple, Trapjaw’s fairly random appearance, the giant rooster with glowing eyes, Man-at-Arms’ minor obsession with his food synthesiser, and most of all, the bit where the whirlwind falls down a hole – all these things are crazy on their own, and here they’re mixed together into a great big saucepan of mental. The only reason to watch it is so you can exclaim, “What the hell did I just see?”

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4 thoughts on “Episode 047 – Keeper of the Ancient Ruins

  1. Review cracked me up!! It is a rather odd an wacky episodes not one of my favourites personally altho not the worst I’d say it falls slightly below average, an episode that’s easy to forget and one I don’t bother to rewatch, the main highlight of the ep that I thought worked really well was the scene with the giant bird a guardian sent from the sorceress to heal teela and also the transformation sequence when adam was stuck in the wind raider, the zactons I noticed were absolutely huge at the start of the episode then seemed to shrink in size blatantly as it went on! Overall it’s alright but not one I’d wanna show off to somebody wanting to watch he man for the first time I like the title keeper of the ancient ruins but the episode doesn’t quite live up to it! 5/10 I’d go.

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  2. Great review as always. 🙂 I forgot about that rooster…That came straight out of nowhere, but this is He-man, what doesn’t come out of nowhere in this show?

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  3. As I rewatch this show and then reward myself with these wonderful reviews, I’m noticing some weird trends. This episode seemed part of a run of episodes that featured Trap-Jaw as the main villain. I wonder which writer liked him so much that he kept getting random roles as the main antagonist.

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    1. Glad you’re liking the reviews, Jeremy!

      You’re right about Trapjaw. It is a bit strange that he should be so prominent at this point. Never had much time for him myself; he’s hardly the most interesting character….

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