In which Zodac gets an apprentice.
The Sorceress contacts Adam, requesting that he come to Castle Grayskull immediately, in He-Man format. When he arrives, with Battle-Cat and Orko in tow, he discovers that the jawbridge is banging up and down, and the castle’s eyes are lighting up randomly. Correctly surmising that this isn’t a light show that the Sorceress has put on for his entertainment, He-Man enters the castle, to be confronted by a collection of ghostly monsters. Noting that the ghosts are not doing any harm, He-Man suggests that maybe someone is trying to attract attention.
That someone is Zanthor, who long ago was the keeper of the Golden Disks of Knowledge, a repository of all the wisdom in the universe. Because he’s a halfwit, Zanthor gave the disks to Skeletor, and as a result the Council of the Wise banished him to the Phantom Dimension, where he is now. It is only because of the knowledge gained from the Golden Disks that Skeletor is now able to threaten Eternia, so this whole cartoon is Zanthor’s fault. All join me in a hearty condemnation of Zanthor.
Zanthor has caused the sound and light show in order to appeal against his banishment. The Sorceress is quite emphatically in favour of leaving Zanthor locked up forever, but He-Man convinces her that perhaps Zanthor deserves a second hearing. The Sorceress thus contacts the one remaining member of the Council of the Wise: the ever popular “rider of the cosmic spacewaves”, Zodac.
Zodac, seated on a white throne, rides a cosmic spacewave into Castle Grayskull, which looks as ridiculous as it sounds. He spouts a load of gibberish about serving the Overlords of the Eternal Dimension, which is utterly irrelevant, and then gets down to the business of listening to Zanthor’s appeal. The appeal rests on Zanthor’s promise to recover the Golden Disks from Skeletor’s clutches, but Zodac remains unconvinced. Only when He-Man states that everyone deserves a second chance is Zanthor restored from the Phantom Dimension, though he retains his ghostly form.
He-Man, Zanthor, Battle-Cat and Orko arrive at Snake Mountain, and by way of a secret passage known to Zanthor, make their way to the vaults in which the Disks are kept. Once inside, however, they discover that the Disks are fakes, made by Skeletor to fool anyone who might come looking. Skeletor immediately gets on the videophone to laugh his head off about this particular act of cunning, and encases our heroes in a “solid magnetic forcefield”, which sounds like a scientific implausibility to me, but who am I to argue with Skeletor?
Luckily, Skeletor is stupid enough not to realise that as a ghost, Zanthor can step right through his forcefield. In addition, Orko is capable of teleporting himself out. While Zanthor distracts Skeletor with ghostly projections, Orko turns the forcefield off, freeing He-Man and Battle-Cat. Zanthor now theorises that since Skeletor built Snake Mountain with the knowledge gained from the Golden Disks, he must therefore have built the Mountain on top of the Disks. I’ve heard sounder logic than that in UKIP press releases, but He-Man seems to think it’s a reasonable conclusion, and smashes the floor in the basement to pieces, revealing the Disks on a throne.
Zanthor grabs the Disks, but is confronted by Skeletor, who attempts to corrupt Zanthor again. His argument is not what I’d call subtle: “It was awful in the Phantom Dimension, wasn’t it, Zanthor? Give me the Disks!” Unsurprisingly, Zanthor doesn’t fall for it, and leaves with He-Man and Orko. Back at Castle Grayskull, Zodac mutters some incomprehensible rubbish about how he is the Cosmic Enforcer and the Watcher of the Universe, and will now become the Guardian of the Disks. He gives Zanthor a job as his assistant, which seems to please Zanthor, even though he doesn’t get his own white throne on which to ride the cosmic spacewaves.
In today’s adventure…
He-Man gets on his theme of second chances again, pointing out that though Zanthor committed a crime, he subsequently made up for it. He-Man suggests that all our friends deserve second chances, but if they continue to do wrong, perhaps they shouldn’t be our friends anymore. He-Man quite clearly operates a two-strikes-you’re-out policy when it comes to friends, which is perhaps why he’s hardly got any, and most of those he does are possessed of some quite startling deformities.
Today’s box of delights contains the ubiquitous Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Evil-Lyn, as well as the rather less common Zodac and Zanthor.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Adam is in the forest with only Cringer and Orko at the start of the episode, so doesn’t need to explain himself.
Surprisingly for an episode featuring Skeletor so prominently, there’s not a lot to report here. Skeletor sneers that our heroes are “do-gooders” at one point, and otherwise addresses a giant snake as a “fool”, but doesn’t seem to be inclined to say anything particularly cutting.
While it’s not an insult, there’s a point when He-Man is in Snake Mountain and is confronted by Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Trapjaw. He-Man comments, “Don’t you just hate it when unexpected guests drop by?” Well, yes, He-Man, but in this case, you’re the unexpected guest – or have you forgotten that you don’t actually live at Snake Mountain?
Does it have the Power?
This is a very good episode, despite featuring the slightly irritating Zodac. I very much enjoy the episodes that suggest a more epic history to Eternia, and this one appears to explain how Skeletor initially became as powerful as he is. I’m pretty sure that the notion that Skeletor built Snake Mountain is contradicted elsewhere (the very early Masks of Power springs to mind, though I can’t be certain), but that doesn’t really matter.
Zanthor’s light show at the beginning is rather creepy, and it’s nice that throughout the episode we can never be sure if he has genuinely redeemed himself, or if he’s leading our heroes into a trap. In addition, Skeletor is once again on form; once he’s captured He-Man, he relaxes in his throne room crowing about what a treat it is for him, which was very entertaining. So despite a few lapses in logic and – occasionally – sanity, I can issue a hearty recommendation for this episode.