Episode 051 – City Beneath the Sea

In which our heroes meet some walking fish.

A shipping merchant arrives at Eternia’s Palace to inform King Randor and Man-at-Arms of the disappearance of six ships over the course of the last month. Before a sensible answer can be given, Prince Adam blunders in, playing blind man’s buff with Cringer and two ladies of easy virtue, both of whom are laughing like rabid hyenas. Adam earns himself a stern telling off, but manages to inveigle himself onto the missing ship investigation.

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Girl on left: “I am either laughing or having a spasm. Also, please check out my beautiful earmuffs.”

This week, Man-at-Arms’ brand new invention is radar, which in fairness I don’t think we have seen on Eternia before, so he’s clearly getting better at the inventing game. As he, Adam and Cringer sail to the site of the disappearances, the radar picks up an image of an entire subsea city, encased in a protective dome. A whirlpool forms, sucking the ship down to the city, and Adam decides it’s time for a swift transformation.

The next scene finds He-Man, Battle-Cat and Man-at-Arms in a room in the city, concluding that this place must be the legendary underwater city of Aquatica. They are greeted by some walking fish, who whisk them along on a conveyor belt to meet a vaguely less fishy gentleman wearing a conch on his head. This man informs them that the ships have only been attacked in self-defence. The plot thickens.

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He-Man: “Isn’t it nice on the conveyor belt? I feel like someone’s buying me at Sainsbury’s.”

And then the plot thins again, with the entirely unsurprising entry of Mer-Man. Mer-Man details his plan, which is nicely vague: “I’m going to keep on sinking ships until Eternia is mine.” Er, care to elaborate on the middle step there, Mer-Man? At any rate, He-Man decides that enough is enough and starts attacking the walking fish, which is something he’s been itching to do for the last five minutes, having been making ominous comments like, “We come in peace … for now.”

Once He-Man defeats the fish, Mer-Man reveals his trump card: the Pearl of Power. This little trinket allows him to tie up our heroes in bonds that they cannot break, and that should be the end of that. Unfortunately, Mer-Man makes an amateur error: putting He-Man in an arena, removing his bonds, and making him fight a giant crab. Obviously, He-Man defeats the crab in about 3 and a half seconds, and then does a runner.

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Man-at-Arms: “Once He-Man’s finished with this dude, I’ll take him to Loch Fyne.”

Our heroes shortly thereafter find themselves surrounded by walking fish, but are rescued by the man with the conch on his head. He helps them onto a shark-shaped submarine, where he reveals that Aquatica’s true ruler is Princess Nami, who has been captured by Mer-Man and hidden in the Coral Caverns. Mer-Man has blamed her disappearance on the surface-dwellers of Eternia, and the Aquaticans have needed little prompting to go on the offensive.

If you guessed that He-Man now goes to the Coral Caverns and rescues the princess, you’d be absolutely right. If you also guessed that this involves a tedious fight with a boring monster, it’s a relatively clear indication that you’re as familiar with this cartoon as I am. And if you further guessed that He-Man puts Mer-Man out of action and everything is set to rights with the return of Princess Nami to Aquatica, then well done. I’m proud of you. However, if you also guessed that He-Man concludes matters by making the whirlpool explode, then I must conclude that you’ve seen this episode before.

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The episode’s writer: “I don’t know how to finish this episode, so I’ll just make a whirlpool explode. That can happen, right?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms draws the sensible conclusion this week that we shouldn’t judge people by appearances, which is allegedly what the Aquaticans did. These morals have been quite sensible of late, rather disappointingly.

 

Character checklist

Contrary to last week, there’s a very large cast list. We’ve obviously got Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man and Battle-Cat. Then of course there’s Man-at-Arms and King Randor, and Orko’s around for the moral. Mer-Man is also present, and one-shot characters include Princess Nami, the man with the conch on his head, the fishy guards, and Prince Adam’s floozies.

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Mer-Man: “I have this feeling it’s not going to work out for me.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Yet again, nothing.

 

Insults

Early on, Adam calls Cringer a “big coward”, though I don’t think it’s meant unkindly. We then get nothing else until right at the end, when He-Man unimaginatively refers to Mer-Man as “Fishface”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I enjoyed this episode, though it’s no classic. The early mystery behind the missing ships was well-drawn, and I liked that it was only gradually revealed who was really behind it: at first, it’s the Aquaticans who are the baddies, then we finally learn that Mer-Man has been the puppet master. I think I like Mer-Man episodes more than they really deserve, because I can still remember as a child seeing his face in the opening sequence every week, always wondering whether he’d be in the actual story, and he never seemed to be – so it still feels like a bit of a treat when he does show up. But anyway, this episode is well-constructed and pretty sane, as far as these things go. I’d recommend it, so long as you don’t go in expecting amazingness.

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5 thoughts on “Episode 051 – City Beneath the Sea

  1. Iv always found it nice to see strong merman based episodes too altho it’s not quite as strong as his other 2 waterbased episodes teela quest and search for the vho the city beneath the sea is still entertaining enough without being spectacular, I always talk about episodes that set a foundation of the series this is one of them, it’s what I’d call a midtable episode, nice to see he man and man at arms working together overall I’d score city beneath the sea a fair 6/10

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  2. This episode kind of bores me. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that nothing really happened. Maybe it’s because I’m a (amateur) writer, but He-man episodes that are just a lot action bore me. I know it’s an action show, but if there’s something we learned about the characters or if it shows some fun dynamics, I’m cool with that. If it does all of the above in addition to a lot of action, that’s awesome! In this episode, we learned…Mer-man is a king? It’s never brought up again, and all his subjects are mindless slaves, so I usually skip to the next episode. I do like the intro in the palace though, that was fun to watch. I like your reviews, they are thought-provoking.

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  3. It’s a fair point what you say, there’s nothing wrong with just pure action (the dragon invasion, reign of the monster) to name a couple providing the action is decent, but in general I’m the same I always prefer the he man episodes with character development that delve into the personalities of the characters (prince Adam no more into the abyss) for instance! Some episodes tho can get away with little character development providing it’s done right for example an episode like the curse of the spellstone that has really grown on me has very little character development but you don’t need it for an episode like that, in general tho I much prefer when they explore the characters!

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