Episode 068 – Day of the Machines

In which Skeletor adopts the guise of a bitchy office worker.

Man-at-Arms ill-advisedly uses the Palace courtyard as a testing ground to launch his new rocket, and he gets his comeuppance when the rocket crashes into the royal chambers. Luckily, no one is hurt, but Man-at-Arms takes it badly, deciding to quit his job. It seems he’s only being a drama queen though, since he is easily persuaded to stay by Adam’s less than enthusiastic pep talk.

Skeletor, over in Snake Mountain, has watched this whole sequence and Man-at-Arms’ malfunctioning machinery inspires him to come up with one of his more extravagant plans: he acquires a vicious Marrabeast, creates a duplicate of the Marrabeast composed of pure electrical energy, miniaturises the electrical Marrabeast, calls it Byte, and finally introduces it into the Palace’s computer system. The intended outcome of this deranged scheme is presumably to get Man-at-Arms fired, a prospect which makes Skeletor chortle with disproportionate glee, though Trapjaw doesn’t seem particularly enthused.

Machines 1
Trapjaw: “Er, Skeletor, are you sure your endgame is worth the effort you’re putting in here?”

Byte’s first trick is to send a Sky Sled chasing after Man-at-Arms and Teela, which is a poor opening move and merely alerts Adam to the problem. Enter He-Man, stage left. He-Man stops the Sky Sled, then makes a thinly veiled remark to the effect that Man-at-Arms is rubbish at his job. In response, Man-at-Arms suggests they head back to the lab, where they find that Byte has attached two guns to a chair. Luckily, Byte is a dreadful marksman, so our heroes are able to exit the lab hastily to consider their next move.

He-Man surprisingly doesn’t demand to know why Man-at-Arms has designed and built a chair with weaponry and a bad attitude, instead voicing the opinion that the computer has a mind of its own. Man-at-Arms runs off to try to fix the computer, while Teela randomly but correctly surmises that this whole thing must be Skeletor’s fault. He-Man agrees but insanely claims that he cannot leave the Palace, so Teela rides off on Battle-Cat to Snake Mountain.

Machines 2
Teela: “Yes, Battle-Cat, we know you can roar. Stop showing off.”

Man-at-Arms uses a miniaturisation ray on himself, becoming small enough to get inside the computer. I don’t wish to dwell on this too much, because it’s mental, but suffice it to say that the animation is crazy, there’s some pretty trippy music playing, and eventually Man-at-Arms steps on a computer chip which encases him within the computer’s memory.

In something of a first, Teela enters Snake Mountain, confirms her suspicions vis-a-vis Skeletor’s responsibility, and returns without being captured, while He-Man occupies himself doing absolutely nothing of use. In the apparent absence of anything better to do, they head off to see the Sorceress, He-Man having evidently decided that he can leave the Palace after all.

The Sorceress shrinks He-Man and he enters the computer too, quickly finding and freeing Man-at-Arms. Man-at-Arms helpfully points out that since Byte is composed of positive energy, perhaps they could trap him by creating some negative energy. Luckily, negative energy is easy to create, simply requiring two bits of computer to be bent together. Once this is done, a wave of red energy appears, and He-Man and Man-at-Arms jump onto it, surfing it all the way to Byte. Then He-Man creates a lasso out of a wire, and ties up Byte – yes, he ties up a creature composed of pure electrical energy. Fine, whatever.

Machines 3
Man-at-Arms: “He-Man, do you ever get the feeling that this whole thing’s a little bit, well, silly?”

Congratulating themselves on their distinctly implausible victory, He-Man and Man-at-Arms rather unkindly send Byte to wreak some havoc in Snake Mountain’s computer system, then exit from their computer and restore themselves to their original size. There follows a touching scene in which He-Man, Teela and Orko all reassure Man-at-Arms that he isn’t a failure. I beg to differ myself, but I suppose a closing scene in which Man-at-Arms is berated by all his friends for being an idiot might have set the wrong tone somehow.

 

In today’s adventure…

There’s a pretty mixed message from Teela this week, who says that if we make a mistake, we should admit it, and if we didn’t make a mistake, we shouldn’t blame other people but instead try to make things right. This sounds pretty much like those who make mistakes should say, “That’s my fault,” and then hang around while someone else fixes it.

 

Character checklist

This week’s excursion into lunacy is good enough to feature Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Trapjaw and Byte.

Machines 4
He-Man: “Yes, Man-at-Arms, I think it is a bit.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam watches merrily as Man-at-Arms and Teela are chased offscreen by the Sky Sled, then takes the opportunity when no one else is about to make his transformation.

 

Insults

“Why am I surrounded by fools?” inquires Skeletor rhetorically; the intended recipient of this oblique comment is Trapjaw. Trapjaw is pretty dense, so he might not have realised that this was directed at him. This concern is evidently shared by Skeletor, who immediately goes on to use the rather more overt insult of “pile of scrap iron”.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s nuttier than the entire fruit cake aisle at Sainsbury’s, but it’s very good fun nonetheless. Skeletor really outdoes himself in the loopy plot stakes this week: introducing Byte into the Palace computer is a huge amount of trouble to go to, simply for the pretty low payoff of maybe getting Man-at-Arms to resign. Once again, Skeletor doesn’t capitalise on his initial success: when his plan is succeeding, all he does is watch, when surely this would be the ideal moment to start trying to invade Grayskull, no?

Machines 5
Man-at-Arms: “By God, I wish I was competent.”

Even allowing for the usual suspension of disbelief, there’s lots of moments that literally could not happen in this episode: The purely electrical Byte swings on a rope at one point, he gets tied up at the end, Man-at-Arms steps on a computer chip and gets imprisoned in the computer’s memory; I could go on.

Still, I don’t mind one bit when it’s this much fun. This episode is a worthwhile entry to the annals of He-Man, and I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

Episode 067 – The Energy Beast

In which our heroes plan public holidays to celebrate their own awesomeness.

As the inhabitants of the Palace prepare to celebrate He-Man Day, in honour of all the good He-Man has done the kingdom, Orko decides to crash the party by destroying one of Man-at-Arms’ stupid inventions and then whinging about how no one thinks he’s a hero. It’s thus shaping up to be a pretty annoying episode, when suddenly an earthquake shakes Mount Eternia, causing a rock fall and revealing an ancient temple buried inside.

Energy Beast 1
King Randor: “Perhaps if I hold this piece of paper up against my face, no one will know I’m here.”

Teela translates the writings on the temple’s entrance, which state that magic treasures and ultimate power await those who enter. Orko is very keen to get inside and find the magic treasures, but Teela and Adam decide to wait until the rest of the writing can be translated, in case it’s dangerous inside. In a twist which I’m sure you didn’t foresee, Orko sneaks back without the others, and enters the temple.

Inside, he meets a glowing orange thing – vaguely reminiscent of Donkey Kong, at least to my poor demented eyes – trapped beneath a glass dome. This creature is the Energy Beast of the title, and it promises to make Orko as famous as He-Man in exchange for its release. Orko moronically agrees to this bargain, unleashes the Energy Beast, and quickly realises his error when he is attacked for his troubles.

Energy Beast 2
Energy Beast: “I’m annoyed and a little perplexed at being compared to Donkey Kong.”

The release of the Energy Beast causes further earthquakes around Mount Eternia, so Adam becomes He-Man and forces his way into the temple. There he confronts the Energy Beast, who engages in a crazed rant which made little sense to me, other than the bit where it explained it would shortly dominate Eternia. He-Man seems relatively cool with this prospect, even chilling out sufficiently to turn back into Adam.

At Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress gives Adam, Man-at-Arms and Teela a brief history of the Energy Beast, where she helpfully reveals that the only way to stop the Beast has been forgotten. Man-at-Arms adds that they can’t use any kind of energy against the Beast, since it will only absorb it and become more powerful. Then the Sorceress decides that maybe the only way to stop the Beast hasn’t been forgotten after all – it’s written down in the Gold Chamber in the centre of Mount Eternia.

Consequently, Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer board Man-at-Arms’ new experimental drill, and start burrowing to the centre of the mountain. Notably, Man-at-Arms does not come with them, which perhaps indicates that he’s not as confident in his invention as we might hope. Nonetheless, it takes very little time for our heroes to reach the Gold Chamber, where they meet the ghost of an Ancient Eternian, who gives them the Eternian Crystal – the only means of controlling the Energy Beast.

Energy Beast 3
Cringer: “Say, Adam, you don’t think Man-at-Arms didn’t come with us on his experimental and dangerous invention because he hates us, do you?”

Unfortunately, Skeletor has been hanging around the fringes of the episode, laughing even more dementedly than usual every now and again, and he chooses this moment to make his grand entrance and steal the Eternian Crystal. This proves only a momentary distraction from the real business, however, and He-Man easily retrieves the Crystal – though he manages to arrange it so that Orko does the easy bit and feels like a hero in the process.

He-Man then cuts a hole in the top of Mount Eternia, revealing a shaft that allegedly leads all the way down to the centre of the planet. He throws the Eternian Crystal down it, the Energy Beast idiotically flies down after it, and then He-Man closes the hole again. They all then return to the Palace, cancel He-Man Day, and prepare to celebrate Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Adam Day. I felt like I was genuinely insane watching this conclusion.

Energy Beast 4
Orko: “2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? Mostly H-E-M-A-N, but I’m quite good now and then.”

 

In today’s adventure…

An unnerving close-up on Teela’s face greets us, as she lectures us on the importance of having patience. Orko’s inability to wait did admittedly cause a great deal of trouble in today’s episode, so I suppose I’ll grant them this one.

 

Character checklist

This week’s episode allows us to feast our weary eyes on Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Beast-Man, the Energy Beast, and the Ancient Eternian.

Energy Beast 5
Man-at-Arms: “And for my next number, I’ll be doing Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There are three transformations this week, but He-Man only explains himself once, with the by now standard, “They’re safe.” The inverse also occurs this week: at one stage, Teela asks where He-Man is, and Adam replies, “I’m sure he’s nearby.”

 

Insults

Skeletor seems to be in this episode only to give and receive insults: he refers to Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer collectively as “fools”, calls Orko a “little pest” and He-Man the fairly enigmatic “muscle-head”. He also is subjected to bone-based abuse from our heroes: Teela and Orko both call him “bonehead,” while He-Man opts for the more imaginative but less sane “boneface.”

Otherwise, I very much doubt it’s meant to be an insult, but Adam does refer to He-Man at one stage as a “perfect tool”. I’m not going to elaborate; if you want context, you’ll have to watch it yourself.

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Skeletor: “Why isn’t the TV working, Beast-Man? It’s nearly time for Poirot, and I shall be very upset if I can’t watch it.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a pretty standard episode, offering nothing we haven’t seen before, though it does it relatively entertainingly. Skeletor’s appearance was fairly gratuitous, seeming to exist only to pad the episode out to the required length, but on the other hand I think it would have been a lot duller without him, as the Energy Beast never really became a very exciting prospect. It was a good concept though: a creature that couldn’t be defeated, because it would just absorb whatever was thrown at it, has a lot of potential. It’s a shame the writers couldn’t think of a way to defeat it that didn’t boil down to “throw it in a pit”. Ultimately, I think you’ll probably enjoy the episode well enough, but it’s no classic.

Episode 066 – The Cat and the Spider

In which He-Man learns about cultural vandalism the hard way.

Adam and the royal archaeologist, Melaktha, have discovered an ancient temple in the jungle, a temple that used to belong to a race of Cat People, now believed extinct. As they explore the temple, Melaktha steps onto an extremely obvious trapdoor and falls into a pit, the walls of which begin to close in around him.

Luckily, Melaktha has been knocked unconscious, so Adam can turn into He-Man without being detected. Once Melaktha is rescued, He-Man takes him outside and opts to steal all the glory by exploring the temple himself. As he does so, he engages in some serious historical vandalism, destroying the floors and walls of the temple to allow himself easier access. I bet when Melaktha finds out, he won’t be pleased.

Cat 1
He-Man: “If only it were still the 19th century, the British Museum would pay me handsomely for stolen antiquities.”

He-Man works his way through to the temple’s inner sanctum, where he loots a small jade cat statue. Turning back into Adam, he returns to Melaktha, who voices his intention of studying the statue in greater depth at the Palace. Eavesdropping outside is a Cat Person, who runs off to the King of the Cat People to alert him to the theft of the statue of the Grimalkin. The King sends a sexy Cat Woman called Katrina to recover the statue.

Skeletor is watching on his spy-globe, and decides relatively randomly that he would like the statue for himself, and sends his new mate Webstor off to the Palace to get it. Both Webstor and Katrina arrive in time to have a tussle with Teela; Webstor is the ultimate victor, departing with the statue. As He-Man gives chase in the stupid robotic chicken vehicle that we last saw way back in Orko’s Favourite Uncle, Katrina tells Teela that the statue has the power to release a monster called a Grimalkin.

Cat 2
Skeletor: “I’ll just check my order, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t want this tacky cat statue from my Tesco online shopping.”

Webstor delivers the statue into Skeletor’s bony blue hands, and Skeletor occupies himself reading books trying to work out what powers the statue might have. He is interrupted by the burglar alarm, which has been set off by He-Man and Battle-Cat casually walking into Snake Mountain. To my distinct surprise, Skeletor manages to capture Battle-Cat in a pit and knock He-Man out, but he then makes the mistake of simply putting He-Man in a forcefield cage.

Battle-Cat digs his way out of the pit, emerging outside Snake Mountain where he meets Katrina, who refers to him as “big boy” and offers her help. As these feline friends rescue He-Man, Skeletor gives up on his books and just pumps power into the statue, resulting in his unleashing the Grimalkin, a gigantic demon which not surprisingly fails to acknowledge Skeletor’s authority.

Cat 4
Grimalkin: “Where’s my breakfast?”

The Grimalkin grows to such a size that it bursts through the walls of Snake Mountain, emerging into the open. Katrina reveals that only the power of the storm can stop the Grimalkin, so He-Man finds a handy salt deposit, pausing only to indulge in a quick science lesson and explain that when salt particles are introduced to moisture-laden clouds, rain is produced. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it certainly works here when He-Man hurls a massive block of salt into a cloud.

The rain seems only to aggravate the Grimalkin, so He-Man uses another power of the storm: specifically, he uses himself as a lightning rod to channel electricity onto the demon. This produces the desired effect, and the Grimalkin shrinks back into its statue form. The episode ends with Katrina promising to come back and see that handsome fellow Battle-Cat again someday.

Cat 5
Katrina: “My heavily implied sexual interest in Battle-Cat raises some disturbing anatomical questions.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Katrina and Adam deliver today’s moral, which is exactly the same as last week’s moral: don’t judge other people on how they look, or by their race or religion. It’s slightly tenuous this week, linked into the story by saying that Katrina didn’t trust the people of Eternia because they looked different – but I’d say she didn’t trust them because they broke into her temple and stole her statue. On the other hand, I don’t think a moral segment saying “don’t loot archaeological digs” would have been enormously relevant to the episode’s intended audience.

 

Character checklist

Our first season two outing treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Melaktha, Skeletor, Webstor, Katrina, the King of the Cat People, a random Cat Person, and the Grimalkin.

Cat 3
Teela: “Not tonight, He-Man, I’m a bit put off by the mental image of Battle-Cat and Katrina getting it on.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He’s safe,” He-Man reassures Melaktha. This seems to be He-Man’s favourite excuse, and to be fair, it does seem to work every time, but only because everybody on Eternia is completely witless.

 

Insults

Everyone’s favourite inexplicably muscle-y skeleton is up to his old tricks again, shrieking out insults every other sentence. Today, he calls Webstor a “spider brain” and twice calls him a “bug face”, and also dishes out “fool” and “muscle-bound buffoon” to He-Man. Webstor doesn’t take this abuse lying down, though only manages the ineffectual “bony” in retaliation. He-Man similarly doesn’t seem to have his heart in it when he offers “bonehead”. Elsewhere, Katrina and Webstor get in a slanging match, referring to each other respectively as “furball” and “spider breath”.

Cat 6
Webstor: “I’m just hanging around. Pretty confident no one’s ever made that joke about me before.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the first He-Man episode that I saw as an adult, so it has a special place in my heart as the one that started me off rediscovering this magical series. Even looking at it objectively, I think it’s a pretty good episode, though I don’t think it would make anyone’s top ten list. It’s Skeletor – as usual – who steals the show, lighting up every scene in which he appears with random outbursts of unpleasantness. The mystery of the apparently abandoned temple at the beginning is nicely atmospheric, and the use of the storm to defeat the Grimalkin at the end is pleasingly demented. Katrina is a well-drawn character, and it’s funny – and logical – to see her being interested in Battle-Cat rather than He-Man. In short, it’s certainly worth a watch.

Season 1 Summary

Well, here we are, at the end of the first season of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. 65 episodes is a very long season, but they evidently worked themselves pretty hard in that Filmation office. I thought it might be a good idea to stop at this point and have a quick look back at the best and worst episodes of the season.

Highlights

There have been some really good fun episodes. Looking back at the titles, it’s hard to pick an absolute favourite, so I’m going to go with five (and even that’s difficult – there’s no space for The Shaping Staff or Golden Disks of Knowledge, among others):

defection-4
He-Man: “Ladies and gentlemen, I present my Greatest Hits, Volume 1.”

5. House of Shokoti, Part 2 – Definitely the creepiest episode of the season, and probably the entire run – and also notable for having a baddy actually able to incapacitate He-Man for a while, at least.

4. The Dragon’s Gift – A great twist at the end in which He-Man demonstrates clearly the importance of life for all living things really elevated this episode to one that makes you think (especially if you’re a child).

3. The Dragon Invasion – A fantastic early episode featuring a diabolical plot from Skeletor, in which he actually succeeds in getting into Castle Grayskull, and showcases his scheming side to perfection.

2. Evilseed – This one was lots of fun, including a threat against which He-Man and Skeletor had to team up to defeat. Skeletor was absolutely hilarious in this episode.

1. The Region of Ice – One of the funniest outings, and I suspect not always intentionally. He-Man’s fights with Beast-Man and Trapjaw were ludicrous, and he was talking nonsense the entire time. It was like He-Man on speed.

Lowlights

Well, yes, there have also been an awful lot of these. Many episodes this season were happy to settle into an unobtrusive mediocrity, but several really pushed the envelope. These are my five choices for worst episodes of the series:

shaping-staff-3
He-Man: “Yes, well, I’m a little less pleased about how these ones worked out.”

5. Wizard of Stone Mountain – Mostly boring, and occasionally a little bit sleazy and borderline misogynistic, what with Teela being treated as a prize to be fought over.

4. The Return of Orko’s Uncle – I’m actually surprised this is the only Orko-centric episode to make my bottom five, but it is definitely the worst of the lot. Montork and Orko were infuriating, and the villains were stupid beyond measure.

3. A Friend in Need – Hey kids! You want drugs? A Friend in Need is here to tell you that you definitely don’t, and it’ll make the point with all the subtlety of a hammer to the head.

2. The Remedy – This one barely had any story; it was just scene after scene of He-Man doing He-Man-like stuff, strung together seemingly at random, resulting in an excruciatingly dull episode.

1. The Starchild – A not-at-all subtle divorce allegory which quickly devolves into endless scenes of He-Man and co. running round the Palace bellowing “Starchild, where are you?” Seriously annoying and definitely bottom of the heap.

(Honorary mention: The Once and Future Duke – This was almost offensively rubbish, but the other episodes on the list just squeeze it down into 6th place.)

 

Favourite character

I don’t think I need to tell you that my favourite character is Skeletor – definitely my favourite character in this cartoon, and quite possibly my favourite in all of fiction. His sarcastic and vicious humour never fails to entertain me, and his increasingly insane plans are never short of hilarious. I’ll never understand why he didn’t feature every week.

evilseed-5
Skeletor: “I give a hearty thumbs-up to being voted favourite character.”

 

Themes

Continuity between episodes was never particularly a strong point for He-Man, but a couple of ongoing stories did manage to sneak in. Primary among them was Adam’s situation. Regarded by his parents and especially by Teela as a lazy no-hoper, there’s occasional flashes of the frustration he feels by being – in secret – the defender of Eternia. Prince Adam No More and Quest for the Sword are probably the best episodes to turn to for exploration of this theme, though there’s shades of it in Pawns of the Game Master as well.

Another ongoing plotline, if you can call it that, is the regular visits to and from Trolla, with Dree Elle and Uncle Montork putting in relatively regular appearances. But I’m going to gloss over that, because it’s one of the most infuriating aspects of the programme.

Orko's Uncle 3
Orko: “You should never have made it past the drawing board, Uncle. There, I said it.”

Onward and upward…

So, with stock taken, I think we’re ready to proceed to Season 2 …

Episode 065 – The Heart of a Giant

In which Orko goes looking for drugs and finds a friendly giant.

Adam, Cringer, Man-at-Arms and Orko are out in the Eternian wilderness, looking for a bright orange weed that grows on trees. The only explanation offered as to why they want this weed is that Man-at-Arms needs it for one of his “experiments”, no doubt the same type of “experiment” that a lot of liberal-leaning students set up.

heart-1
Orko: “This crop should net me a fortune on Koh Samui this year.”

In the course of searching for the weed, Orko encounters a giant, who he instantly assumes is a monster. Nothing could be further from the truth, however; Orko manages to knock himself out, and the giant brings him back to his friends safely, then disappears into the undergrowth. Adam decides that they need to poke their noses into the giant’s business, to find out who he is. God alone knows why Adam should think this: perhaps it’s time for Eternia’s regular census? Pausing only to transform into He-Man and Battle-Cat, our heroes go off to look for the giant.

Hovering above the jungle in a bizarrely shark-shaped flying machine is the baddy of the week. He is a collector of strange creatures, and the episode’s writer doesn’t bother to give him a name, so I’ll refer to him as Boring-Man. The creatures he’s collected are reuses of individuals from various other rubbish episodes: there’s Gorgon from The Defection, the two-headed man from Orko’s Missing Magic, and a four-armed dude who might well also have featured in Orko’s Missing Magic, but I can’t remember and don’t want to watch that episode again to make sure. Anyway, Boring-Man wants to add the giant to his collection.

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Boring-Man: “Not only do I have a collection of recycled animation creatures, I wouldn’t mind betting my spaceship interior is recycled from Star Trek: the Animated Series.”

He-Man and co. are just in time to see the giant being captured, at which point Boring-Man decides that He-Man and Orko would also be worthy exhibits. He captures Orko, then throws a giant scorpion out of his airship to distract He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat while he flies away. He-Man defeats the scorpion using his favourite tactic of diverting a river at it, then sets off after Boring-Man.

On board the ship, Boring-Man explains to Orko and the giant that they are now permanent fixtures in his circus, and then announces an inexplicable intention to add Stratos to the collection as well. Once Boring-Man leaves the room, Orko strikes up a friendship with the giant, who introduces himself as Canbro and explains that he is an outcast, because people ridicule or fear him. Once these pleasantries are over, Orko and Canbro escape their cage and set about building a radio with which to contact He-Man.

heart-4
Orko: “Well, I’m massively incompetent at the best of times, so I hope you’re good at building radios, because I’m very unlikely to be any help.”

Orko informs He-Man via radio that Stratos is next on the hit list, so our heroes head for Avion, arriving in time to rescue the ever-incompetent Stratos from Boring-Man’s clutches. He-Man then boards the ship and immediately gets entangled in cords of solid titanium, from which Boring-Man claims “even he cannot escape”, and all I’m going to say about that statement is that it’s a classic case of misplaced confidence.

He-Man opens all the cages and takes all the creatures to see Boring-Man, who collapses on the floor shrieking “No!” Just as the creatures are about to attack Boring-Man, however, Canbro intervenes to stop them, demonstrating his peaceful and merciful nature. As the episode ends, Man-at-Arms offers Canbro a job as a lab assistant, which Canbro accepts, though I’ll bet we never see him again.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko provides the very sane and relevant moral that judging people by their appearance – as he initially did with Canbro – is not a good way to behave. This is a perfectly sensible lesson, demonstrated nicely by the episode’s story, for the first time in a while.

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Canbro: “I know the entire point of this episode is to not judge by appearances, but by God, I look disturbing.”

Character checklist

Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Stratos, Canbro and Boring-Man are our principal movers and shakers this week. Well, Stratos isn’t exactly a mover or shaker, though I imagine you could have guessed that.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam doesn’t give an excuse, and he doesn’t even have a sensible reason for turning into He-Man this week. He just does it on a whim.

 

Insults

All the insults this week are dished out by Boring-Man, who calls his Gorgon animation reuse a “mindless brute”, calls Canbro “big but dumb”, and refers to his entire collection as “dumb beasts”.

heart-5
He-Man: “Once again, I’m going to have to make a mental note to cut down on my LSD intake.”

Does it have the Power?

It’s not the most enthralling of episodes, but neither is it anywhere near as rubbish as some recent offerings. It’s obvious from the moment Canbro shows up that he’s not going to be a baddy, so it’s fortunate that the episode doesn’t waste much time trying to pretend he is. The real villain of the piece is genuinely nondescript – Boring-Man is an apt name for him – and his whole plot feels pretty tired, being too similar to the recent Pawns of the Game Master and Castle of Heroes. In addition, He-Man’s fight with the scorpion isn’t very exciting, and Stratos seems to have been dropped in just for the sheer why-not of it. All in all, I’d call this one pretty determinedly average.