Episode 050 – Temple of the Sun

In which I begin to suspect that Man-at-Arms has recently suffered head trauma.

Our story opens with a ragged man called Nepthu crawling through the desert towards the Temple of the Sun. Once he gets inside, he engages in a frantic search for a piece of gold called the Sun Scarab; when he finds this, he uses its powers to transform himself into a strong powerful individual, and announces his intention to rule the universe. As a demonstration of his power, he captures the Sorceress, who happens to be flying around in falcon form. It’s a typical Thursday on Eternia.

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Nepthu: “I’m sure this will end well.”

Meanwhile, over at the Palace, Man-at-Arms is demonstrating another of his miraculous inventions. This one’s called a “communicator”, and it works in exactly the same way as a radio. Eternia has been shown as possessing radios right from the very first episode, I’m sure. This is the second week in a row that Man-at-Arms has “invented” something that already exists. It’s entirely possible that at some point offscreen, he sustained a serious head injury, and this flurry of inventing things is just part of his re-education programme.

This fascinating and completely irrelevant scene is interrupted by Adam, who receives a telepathic communication from the Sorceress informing him that she is a prisoner in the Temple of the Sun. Cue inspiring music and the entry of He-Man – though curiously, Cringer demands not to become Battle-Cat and to come along in his usual form instead. This is an interesting idea, but unfortunately we only get about halfway through the next scene before Cringer decides to be Battle-Cat after all.

Our heroes arrive at the Temple without too much difficulty, where they are greeted by a whirlwind. He-Man employs a technique we’ve seen before and spins really fast in the opposite direction, which somehow enables him to throw the whirlwind into outer space. I feel the writers of He-Man should stay away from whirlwinds. It brings out their most mental side, which is saying something.

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He-Man: “If I think hard enough, I expect I can come up with an insane solution to this problem.”

The next hazard to be faced is a giant scorpion, which He-Man defeats by rubbing the desert sand so much that it heats up and forms a nice big pane of glass, behind which the scorpion is trapped. This bit genuinely seems to be included simply so that He-Man can explain to the audience that glass is made from sand, which is nice to know but seems completely random.

Meanwhile, Nepthu has occupied himself in creating a bunch of sand monsters, which he describes as being “as hard as rock and completely invincible”. If you want to nip off to Ladbrokes now to place bets on whether these monsters will defeat He-Man, I’m happy to wait for you to get back. The Sorceress attempts an escape, but Nepthu turns her into solid diamond and laughs crazily.

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Nepthu: “Snapped up a right bargain in Poundland today.”

Before Nepthu can be spurred to further mayhem, He-Man lets himself into the Temple and enters into a difference of opinion with the sand monsters. Once this is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction (except, obviously, Nepthu’s), Man-at-Arms manages to swipe the Scarab out of Nepthu’s hand. He-Man destroys the Scarab, returning the Sorceress to life and Nepthu to his ragged form. The episode ends with the revelation that Nepthu gets a job as a gardener in the Evergreen Forest.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man considers the take-home lesson this week is that Nepthu used power for his own selfish ends, and thus wasn’t a very good leader. He-Man reminds us that being a good leader takes a lot of responsibility, but then seems to remember that the target audience of this cartoon isn’t a symposium for CEOs of multi-national companies, and correspondingly adjusts the direction of the moral by informing us that it’s also important to be responsible when following a leader – i.e. don’t do something wrong just because someone tells you to. Sage advice, actually.

 

Character checklist

There aren’t many characters to entertain us today. It’s only Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko and Nepthu doing the rounds.

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Prince Adam: “Unfortunately my head appears to be detached from my body, and Man-at-Arms doesn’t have a neck today.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The writers seem to have settled into a comfortable pattern of only including Man-at-Arms and Orko in these stories, thus negating the need for Adam to explain himself to anyone.

 

Insults

The only insult this week is Adam calling Cringer a “big furball”, and he sounds mightily cross when he does so.

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Cringer: “How very dare you.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is neither particularly good nor particularly bad – in fact, it’s almost wilfully average. The only part that’s even a bit interesting is the bit where Cringer refuses to become Battle-Cat and insists on helping by himself; there’s always a slight undercurrent of resentment from Cringer when he has to be Battle-Cat, and it was a fun notion for him to demand to contribute on his own merits. The problem is this is undermined almost immediately by him changing his mind shortly thereafter, before he’s had the chance to do anything. A bit of a missed opportunity, really.

Nepthu is not a very interesting villain, and without any background on him, his ambition of conquering the universe seems like it comes from nowhere and isn’t very convincing. The scenes of He-Man facing the whirlwind and the scorpion are nothing but time-wasting, as is the really odd scene of Man-at-Arms inventing the communicator. One nice touch was seeing Nepthu at the end of the episode actually happy with his lot, which is probably a first for a defeated baddy. On the whole, though, I wouldn’t really bother with this episode.

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8 thoughts on “Episode 050 – Temple of the Sun

  1. agreed! also another thing id touch on is in the middle of the transformation sequence (interrupted by cringer) he also claims he can bring some “common sense to this quest” may be hinting that he thinks he has a higher degree of intelligence to battlecat! overall I never particularly cared to much for this episode I found it quite plodding and alittle boring at times on the plus I liked the episodes end morale and it complimented the story just not one off my favourites this one slightly below average not awfal but one that id give a miss as well id score temple of the sun 5/10!

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  2. For a second I thought this was the other episode with the Temple of the Sun, and was horrified. Good thing it’s only this one, the other is so annoying to me. XD

    I always have questions about the relationship between Cringer and Battlecat…Adam and He-man is straightforward, but the show acts like Cringer’s not fully in control of himself when he’s Battlecat. Is it a Man-e-faces thing, where he has multiple personalities but they share information and work together? I wish they clarified that somwhere.

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    1. Yeah, don’t worry, we’ll get to the other two Temple of the Sun episodes in the fullness of time. You can look forward to them…

      I always imagine the Cringer/Battle-Cat relationship to be basically the same as that of Adam/He-Man, except that Cringer doesn’t like Battle-Cat. It’s probably because he knows that when he’s Battle-Cat, he’ll be doing dangerous things that scare him while he’s Cringer.

      It does, of course, raise interesting questions about whether He-Man is forcing a sentient being to do something against its will…. I don’t think we need to explore that angle.

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      1. I have always wondered about Cringer and Battlecat as well and rewatching these episodes, you get the distinct impression that He-Man IS forcing his friend to transform against his will.

        This is actually vaguely disturbing and extremely curious.

        Virtually every writer throws this in to the transformation scene, so it isn’t just one guy’s pet peeve about Cringer — it’s a core part of the cat’s character.

        But it’s never explored.

        I’d love to see one of those semi-serious, partially snarky essays people write on this kind of thing explore this and maybe even get an answer from somewhere about what this was all about.

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  3. There’s three temple of the sun episodes, this one from season one (temple of the sun) the other 2 episodes are the great books mystery and troubles middle name both from season two I’m pretty sure the other poor temple of the sun episode your referring to is troubles middle name it’s soooo bad! It’s also actually in my bottom 10 episodes, the great books mystery to be fair is quite good which I personally enjoyed mainly thanks to a great villain in batros!! Re cringed and battlecat that’s a good question I’d like to know myself as it doesn’t seem to get discussed what I would say tho is cringed doest seem to like battlecat very much from quotes he says one for example I recalled him saying to adam just before a transformation sequence “don’t tell me I have to be that awful battlecat again”!! I can’t make my mind up if cringed slightly envies battlecat or thinks he’s just plain dumb!

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  4. Agree, as you say its a very interesting point in regards to his reasons for not wanting to become battlecat but I think the more simple answer is cringers just scared of the things battlecat does and as you say while he’s cringer he’s not gonna be feeling too brave!! Still it’s interesting and the going against his own will point is an interesting theory, I think there’s a lot more mystery in some ways with the connection between cringer and battlecat than Adam and he man they appreciate the other identity more making the connection feel smoother, however cringer has acknowledged battlecat help tho and how useful he is particularly in the abyss episode saying to adam as much as I hate to say this is glad battlecat is around when we need him!! Agree in the context of the series it isn’t an angle that needed to be explored interesting tho has to be said. One thought on this episode temple of the sun I did like the quick science lesson he man gave making glass, some were better at this than others on this occasion it worked without feeling too preachy.

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  5. To give you a semi serious answer to this (and this subjects always fascinated me by the way) cringed hates becoming battlecat and yes I would say he man is forcing him in that actual moment against the cats will, however as it’s a children’s cartoon it’s not something they maybe felt needed to be discussed interesting for us tho!! Yes I think it just comes back to the fact that cringer being terrified of everything and thinking of all the things that battlecat does puts the wind up him after all battlecat is cringers opposite!! In just about every transformation sequence cringer would make some sort of a comment to he man just before he points the sword at him but this is the only episode I can think of where cringer actually interrupts the transformation sequence yes I too wish this had been explored further!

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  6. In short cringer I don’t believe likes battlecat an I guess you can understand this as he’s his opposite! Having said this cringer knows him and adam both have to save the day an there has been one or two occasions in the series where he’s asked to become battlecat, he’s just very begrudging about it think there’s one episode in this series where it involves cringer and they had a perfect opportunity to explore this i.e. Cringers fears why he gets do scared and not wanting to be battlecat etc.. sadly tho this wasn’t explored takecare..

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