Episode 069 – The Gamesman

In which King Randor risks Teela’s life because a stranger gave an apple to Orko.

Okay. After last week’s diversion into silliness, we’ll get back to the serious business of reviewing episodes. Our story today begins with a very sleazy gentleman called Lord Todd coming to visit the Palace, where he defeats King Randor at chess, and then distributes gifts. Orko gets an apple, Cringer a steak, and Teela gets a huge sapphire necklace. Todd finally presents Randor with a new bejewelled chess set, and in return asks that Teela be his guest at Castle Star. Reasoning that anyone who gives such nice presents can’t possibly be evil, even if they are smiling in an openly psychopathic way, Randor gives his permission.

Gamesman 1
Lord Todd: “Evil? Me? No, definitely not.”

Orko and Cringer head out to the countryside to eat their apple and steak, but they have only just settled down at a nice picnic spot when a giant mole burrows up through the ground and steals the steak. They return to warn the others, and Adam transforms into He-Man and heads out to stop the mole from burrowing directly into the Palace.

On confronting the mole, He-Man manages to establish a telepathic link with it and learns that it is friendly but short-sighted, clumsy and lonely, and possibly therefore even more annoying than if it had just been a generic monster. He-Man persuades the mole not to destroy the Palace, and off it goes politely. Whoop whoop.

Meanwhile, Teela arrives at Castle Star, where Lord Todd shows her through a complex labyrinth to the treasure at the centre: a Stargate to another dimension. Todd explains that he is a collector of unique games, and that Teela is to become the Queen in his life-size chess set. Teela says thanks but no thanks, but Todd is unwilling to accept her refusal.

Gamesman 2
Lord Todd: “Look at all these lovely game pieces. Why wouldn’t you want to be one of them? There must be something wrong with you.”

Warned of Todd’s evil nature by the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms shows up at Castle Star and immediately gets captured. This forces Teela to promise to become the Queen in return for Man-at-Arms’ release, so that was really helpful – thanks, Man-at-Arms. To top it off, Todd pulls his face off, revealing that he is in fact an alien with a face the colour of vomit, and starts spouting rubbish about taking Teela through the Stargate to his dimension, from which there is no return.

This is an opportune moment for He-Man to show up. With the assistance of the giant mole, he manages to reach the centre of the labyrinth, just in time for Teela to idiotically get herself sucked through the Stargate. He-Man and Man-at-Arms follow, finding themselves in a freaky dimension composed of bright colours and conveyor belts, where Man-at-Arms flirts with the notion of total incompetence by falling off a walkway. Unfortunately, Teela saves him, and they all return to Eternia, where the Sorceress puts in an unnecessary appearance as a giant floating head to say “things are now the way they really are”, which is nice and nonsensical.

Gamesman 3
He-Man: “Em, Sorceress, not to be rude, but what are you gibbering on about?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Yet again, it’s a moral about not judging people by the way they look – Lord Todd looked nice (before he became a vomit-coloured alien) while the giant mole looked like a monster, but would you believe it, it was the other way round. This episode did demonstrate this moral, I suppose, but since we’ve learned this one three times now within the space of five episodes, I think it’s time for a change of pace. The perils of accompanying a stranger into their home, for example, was a very relevant theme for this episode.

 

Character checklist

Today treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, the Sorceress, Lord Todd, and the giant mole.

Gamesman 5
Giant mole: “Am I the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen? I’m definitely trying to be.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

I’d love to say it was the best excuse ever, but unfortunately there isn’t an excuse at all.

 

Insults

Teela rather strongly tells Lord Todd that he’s “evil and twisted”, while Lord Todd presents the ubiquitous “fools” to He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela.

Gamesman 4
Teela: “I really need to lay off all the cheese before bedtime.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I really am getting fed up by now of random people showing up at Eternia looking to kidnap our heroes for gladiatorial matches, circuses, or other games. Lord Todd is blatantly evil from the start, what with his demented gurning after his chess match with Randor. Man-at-Arms says, “We know nothing about Lord Todd. He comes from a far off place and we’ve never seen him before,” and it thus beggars belief that he would let Teela go off with someone this obviously up to no good. I didn’t find the mole storyline very diverting either. All in all, I would say we have here a disappointing effort which is more than skippable.

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