Episode 054 – Game Plan

In which He-Man plays a computer game.

Happy Boxing Day to you all. I hope you all had a great Christmas. As you sit there finishing off your turkey and stuffing and plum puddings and what have you, spare a thought for me, please, because I’ve had to waste my time watching Game Plan. To make matters worse, it’s not an even slightly Christmas-themed episode. I hope your hearts are bleeding for me.

Anyway, as the episode opens, Adam borrows Man-at-Arms’ new invention – a beam ray – to create a sculpture of Orko. I have no idea why he would want to do this, and clearly the writers don’t either, giving Adam only the excuse that “it’s a surprise”. Naturally, the beam ray can also be used as a weapon, and equally naturally, a loony called Negator wants to nick it.

Game Plan 1.jpg
Orko: “You look a little different from your Tinder profile pic.”

Negator is a computer games obsessive looking for a living subject to insert into his latest game. Concluding that Teela and Man-at-Arms are ideal participants, he doesn’t bother to try to actually put them in his game. Instead, he invites Man-at-Arms to work for him, and then destroys a dam for no readily apparent reason. Luckily, He-Man is on hand to stop the ensuing flood, and Negator disappears, vowing to return. I for one can’t wait.

Once back at the Palace, Negator disguises himself as a guard and knocks on Teela’s door, informing her that Prince Adam wants to meet her out in the desert, and didn’t say why. Teela, being the massive moron that she is, doesn’t think to question this, and trots off, while Negator takes time out to smirk evilly at the camera. Once Teela is safely captured, Negator contacts Man-at-Arms to repeat his employment offer, and this time, Man-at-Arms is forced to accept. He heads out to the desert to meet Negator.

game-plan-2
Man-at-Arms: “All right, Negator, I’ll work for you. But there’d better be an on-site gym and a decent pension plan.”

Quickly deducing there’s something wrong, He-Man decides to go to the desert too, taking Ram-Man with him. Once in the desert, the episode takes a momentary turn for the weird when He-Man allows himself to be eaten by a giant cloud with teeth, which whisks him off to join Teela in Negator’s hideout. Ram-Man and Battle-Cat enter the hideout via more conventional means, using an air vent, which is eminently more sensible.

Teela and Battle-Cat are quickly captured, but He-Man and Ram-Man successfully make their way to Negator’s control centre. Negator, however, finally gets to the point and inserts He-Man and Ram-Man into his computer game. The game is a hugely boring maze, which occupies our heroes for the remaining five minutes of the episode as they navigate its none-too-interesting traps.

game-plan-3
He-Man: “Ram-Man, can you see this thing too, or am I off my tits on LSD again?”

Once they find the exit to the maze, He-Man and Ram-Man emerge back into Negator’s hideout. Unsure of how to wrap the episode up, the writer opts for a slightly deranged conclusion in which He-Man blows up Negator’s computer, Negator converts himself into pink glowing energy and disappears, and Battle-Cat complains that he’s hungry. Genius.

 

In today’s adventure…

Not unexpectedly, today’s moral is all about games, and how it’s natural to want to win. I thought that this would be a sensible point about not being a sore loser, or not cheating, both of which are things that Negator did. Instead, He-Man advises us not to be so eager to win that we injure ourselves, which is a rather strange direction for this moral to take.

 

Character checklist

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to you to learn that this week’s offering grants us sight of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Ram-Man and Negator. There’s also a pair of weird hooded beings, in case you’re interested.

game-plan-4
Negator: “Right, time to relax and watch Homes Under the Hammer. Oh, Christ, what’s Man-at-Arms doing on Homes Under the Hammer? Where’s the remote?”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

He-Man shows up while Adam is trapped in a tunnel, courtesy of Negator. Consequently, the excuse is readily to hand: “Don’t worry, he got out the other end of the tunnel,” He-Man explains to the credulous Teela.

 

Insults

Eager to remind us not to ram things with our heads like Ram-Man does, the writer has Battle-Cat call Ram-Man “dumb” after he rams the air vent open. Elsewhere, He-Man informs Negator that he is going to be “the big loser”, which is probably fighting talk rather than an actual insult. Meanwhile, Negator very oddly calls He-Man and Ram-Man “pigeons”, which just seems odd.

game-plan-5
He-Man: “Even if I stand around gormlessly with my mouth hanging open, I still look at least five times more intelligent than Ram-Man.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is all over the shop. Inserting living participants into a computer game is an interesting idea, and one that I suspect seemed very up-to-date in 1983, but the impression I get is that the writer didn’t know how to make this concept last the full 20 minutes, thus leading to the completely gratuitous scene at the start with the dam being destroyed, and to the 10 minutes worth of messing around capturing Teela, Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat, until eventually Negator decides to get down to business and actually play the game with He-Man and Ram-Man in it. On the one hand, I should be grateful for this, because when they are actually in the game, the episode is really dull – but on the other, it’s equally dull before the game starts. In short, this is best described as a reasonable idea put into very poor practice, and I suggest you don’t concern yourselves with it.

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7 thoughts on “Episode 054 – Game Plan

  1. It’s a bit of a mixed bad this episode it’s certainly not a classic of the series but definetly not the worst either, the opening half of the episode I didn’t like an it felt a bit boring to watch but the 2nd half of this episode when he man an ram man get inside the game I quite enjoyed so you see what I’m saying it’s like an episode of two halves with the first part not being very good at all but it did pick up a lot I felt once they got in negators game, negator as a villain isn’t the best by no stretch an he isn’t that threatening however there were a couple of things i thought were good I liked the catch phrase used from negator “nerds power me”! There was a ridiculous line from ram man in this episode iv always found hilarious when they get out into the desert I think he man says something on the lines of “I don’t see man at arms” to which ram man replies with “that’s because he’s not here” it’s my funniest line ever!! I guess because he’s not the quickest on the uptake the scriptwriters had a lot of fun writing for ram man, anyway overall Game plan isn’t a great he man episode an I can see why people aren’t keen but if the viewer hasn’t lost interest by the time you get to the game the 2nd part I got quite hooked on, at the time it was quite a brave episode to do as it was the first time they did an episode that’s based on science rather than Magic an I personally thought this actually worked, rating this episode as a whole I think I’d score gameplan a 6/10

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  2. Pff, I love Ram-man, the writers tend to make his dialouge pretty funny. Great review, as always; I love the captions under the pictures!

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    1. Glad you’re liking it Zinn! The captions are a new feature I’ve been experimenting with over the last few reviews, so pleased it’s popular! Unfortunately, I can’t share your enthusiasm for Ram-Man … he winds me up a treat, though more so in House of Shokoti than he does here!

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  3. It’s just like in that episode house of shokoti part 2 I think where he just could never say her name correctly you had “sho sheeme” sho shoe me but the funniest one was “mushroomie” lol this I thought was a very clever piece of writing from Larry di tillio as it’s appropriate for hie character, ram man is probably one of my favourite characters!!

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  4. I’m surprised that you didn’t get a bigger kick out of Negator constantly saying “Nerves, charge me” or whatever to those hooded beings, until he eventually drains them dry. I always found that either funny or bizarre.

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