In which Orko and Dree Elle bring the series to its most soul-crushing low point.
The opening scene of this episode is among the least promising in recent memory. It’s set on Trolla, where a Trollan guard is talking to Dree Elle (Orko’s love interest, last seen in Dawn of Dragoon), explaining that Trapjaw and a new baddy called Clawful have stolen the Horn of Evil, with intent to use it to conquer Eternia. Dree Elle resolves to travel to Eternia to warn Orko, and because she’s completely out of her skull, she decides to take her little brother with her. Her brother is called Yuckers, he wears a baseball cap, and he has a reputation for playing “dumb jokes”. Somebody needs to just shoot me now.
Dree Elle and Yuckers arrive in the Palace on Eternia to find Orko home alone. True to form, Yuckers immediately plays what is undeniably a dumb joke on Orko and then laughs his dreadful head off. Dree Elle makes him promise not to play any more jokes, which is precisely the sort of promise I can see being broken a mile off.
Once Orko learns of the Horn of Evil’s disappearance, he and his crowd head for Castle Grayskull, where they find that Trapjaw has blown the Horn and produced a cloud of black smoke, which has defeated the ever-useless Sorceress. Before they can open the jawbridge, though, Orko snatches the Horn and does a runner. But, of course, Yuckers plays two more dumb jokes which result in himself, Orko and the Horn being captured.
Dree Elle flees back to the Palace, where she raises the alarm, resulting in He-Man, Battle-Cat and Teela all heading to the rescue. Teela releases Orko and Yuckers, while He-Man wrestles with Clawful for an unnecessarily long time, eventually disposing of him in a mud puddle. Meanwhile, Yuckers plays a dumb joke on Trapjaw, at which I expect we’re supposed to cheer. I didn’t.
With the baddies defeated, that should be the end of that, but since there was five minutes left on the episode’s run time, I didn’t for a moment think I’d be that lucky. Sure enough, thanks to yet another dumb joke, Yuckers accidentally blows the Horn of Evil, which results in everything in the surrounding forest turning evil and indulging in a spot of misbehaviour.
He-Man and Teela occupy themselves in battling off the various evil trees, rocks, giants, vampire bats and randomly mutated wallabies, while Orko and Dree Elle attend to the actual problem. They do this by singing the worst song I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t make out any of the words because of their dreadful voices, but it was the most hideous racket outside of a Steps reunion concert. The terrible effect of this song is even apparent on He-Man; the next scene shows him looking haggard with massive bags under his eyes.
The episode ends back at the Palace, where Orko plays a dumb joke on Yuckers, who instantly throws a tantrum and whinges that jokes aren’t fun when they’re on him. Boo hoo, Yuckers. My heart bleeds for you. To my huge relief, Dree Elle and Yuckers return to Trolla, where I hope they instantly get eaten by some giant dragon or something.
In today’s adventure…
Orko pops along to tell us that Yuckers messing about with the Horn of Evil resulted in all sorts of dreadful trouble, so advises us not to play with any knives or Horns of Evil we might find in our house. All well and good, but nowhere does Orko mention practical jokes, which was definitely the real focus of this episode. Obviously the writers trusted us to have grasped this bit of the message all by ourselves.
We have the pleasure of seeing Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Trapjaw and Dree Elle, as well as the random Trollan guard. There are also debut appearances from Clawful and Yuckers, the latter of which I do not wish to ever see polluting my screen again.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Despite two dramatic transformations into He-Man, Adam is unable to summon up the energy to give an excuse for either.
Clawful definitely leads the field this week, with some properly cutting remarks to Trapjaw, including “cowardly hunk of tin” and “Dim-brain”. He also calls Orko a “little runt”. Still, he gets what he deserves shortly thereafter, when Teela refers to him as “Crust-face”, which I assume is short for “Crustacean-face” rather than being an oblique reference to him having eaten all the pies.
Does it have the Power?
Yes and no. Mostly no. On the plus side, on the strength of his first appearance, you can chalk me down as a big fan of Clawful, Skeletor’s red lobster-inspired henchman. He’s incredibly rude to everyone, his animation and voice acting is great, and his behaviour and general attitude come across as genuinely evil (as opposed to most of Skeletor’s men, who only really achieve being moderately naughty). I’ll be interested to see if he retains this strong character, or if he quickly becomes a bumbling idiot like the others. I’m not holding my breath.
On the minus side, towards which the episode is very strongly weighted, there’s Yuckers. What were the writers thinking? Orko is infuriating enough; why did anyone think it would be a great idea to introduce a much more annoying version of him? Yes – I know he’s meant to be an annoying younger brother who learns his lesson, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. His idiotic jokes and his dreadful voice were hugely grating.
And speaking of grating, there’s that song at the end. It was literally awful – relentlessly bouncy and cheerful and saccharine. And once it was over, He-Man invited Orko and Dree Elle to sing it again! Never have I wanted to join Skeletor’s side quite so much as when that was going on.
So in conclusion – watch the bits with Clawful in them. As soon as He-Man throws Clawful into a mud puddle, you can stop.