Episode 075 – To Save Skeletor

In which Skeletor bites off more than he can chew.

In Snake Mountain, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn open a portal to another dimension, with intent to summon forth an evil entity with sufficient power to defeat He-Man and conquer Eternia. In this, they are successful: a gigantic, one-eyed, tentacled demon named Sh’Gora appears. Unfortunately, Sh’Gora is unwilling to accept Skeletor’s leadership, and Skeletor’s attempts to tame it simply make it laugh. Skeletor then orders all his minions to destroy Sh’Gora, but they are defeated with ease.

To Save Skeletor
Skeletor: “This isn’t going to end well, is it?”

Only Whiplash escapes, and – badly injured – he makes his way to the Palace to beg King Randor’s assistance. As Adam and Man-at-Arms debate the issue, the Sorceress pops along to verify that Whiplash is telling the truth, and informs Adam that the powers of good and evil must unite to defeat Sh’Gora.

Adam transforms into He-Man, and gathers a motley crew consisting of Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Fisto and Battle-Cat to travel to Snake Mountain with Whiplash. Once inside, they discover Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw imprisoned in crystals, from which He-Man releases them. Skeletor notably does not say thank you, but he agrees to form a temporary alliance.

To Save Skeletor 2
Fisto: “Who the hell does that purple-booted leg underneath Skeletor belong to?”

Sh’Gora summons a host of shrieking things that look like flying eels, which distract the heroes and villains while Sh’Gora gets on the next South West Trains service to Castle Grayskull. On arrival, Sh’Gora opens the jawbridge, enters and casts a spell on the Sorceress. Shortly thereafter, He-Man arrives, and leads the assembled multitude inside, where they encounter the Sorceress transformed into an evil bird woman.

Evil-Lyn restores the Sorceress to normal, after which they both combine their powers with those of Skeletor’s to reopen the portal to Sh’Gora’s dimension. While the heroes watch Sh’Gora being sucked back to wherever he came from, Skeletor and his crew skulk off to try to find the secrets of Grayskull. They are, unfortunately, deceived by a cunning double-bluff from He-Man, who warns them not to enter a specific room. Skeletor – not being one for subtlety – enters that very room and finds himself teleported back to Snake Mountain, to his distinct displeasure.

To Save Skeletor 4
He-Man: “No secrets here, Skeletor. No. None at all.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Fisto dispenses the moral that we should never be afraid to ask for help if we need it. He stops short of pointing out that this sound advice was demonstrated in today’s story by Whiplash, of all people. Instead, he adds that if we ever need his help, we should let him know. I’m sure that subsequently, Filmation were flooded with letters from anxious four year olds asking for Fisto’s help.

 

Character checklist

This fairly epic episode has pretty much everybody in it, but being more specific, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Fisto, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Whiplash, Trapjaw, and Sh’Gora. There’s also a load of nameless extras at the Palace at the beginning, if you’re the sort of person who needs really extensive details.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

While there’s no actual excuse, Teela does comment that she bets Adam’s been having a wonderful time while they have been fighting Sh’Gora. He-Man responds, “Given the choice, Teela, I’m sure he’d much rather have been with you.” He then revives his old irritating habit of winking at the camera.

To Save Skeletor 5
He-Man: “Winking at the camera is a great way to come across like a creepy old uncle.”

 

Insults

Today’s episode is fairly thin on the ground for insults. Man-at-Arms calls Whiplash a “monster”, Sh’Gora calls Skeletor a “foolish creature”, and Skeletor offers “fools” to encompass all of He-Man’s crowd.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is a great episode, which I’d put among the top ten of all the series. The notion of He-Man and Skeletor having to work together is fantastic, allowing for a great deal of entertaining banter between the two. It contains one of the funniest lines in He-Man ever: He-Man tells Skeletor to follow him to Castle Grayskull, and Skeletor simply responds, “I know the way, He-Man; I’ve been there before,” and then collapses in giggles, which He-Man finds not at all amusing.

To Save Skeletor 3
Sh’Gora: “It’s Black Friday on Eternia! Let me in!”

The sequence in which the Sorceress is transformed into an evil version of herself is pretty creepy, and Sh’Gora conveys an air of genuine menace that is rarely seen on He-Man. The animation of his body is admittedly not a 100% success, but his facial expressions are very well done, putting across his evil and unpleasant nature very effectively. In addition, the early references to Skeletor being near death, and Whiplash’s injury, give the episode a rather dark feel that isn’t matched in any other episode so far.

In short, if you’re looking for a fine example of He-Man – perhaps in order to try to hook some poor unsuspecting soul into watching the entire series – you probably couldn’t find a better one than this.

Advertisements

Episode 074 – Island of Fear

In which Skeletor seems to think that six ships contain the sum total of all of Eternia’s food.

We appear to be in for a repeat of City Beneath The Sea this week, beginning as we do with the introduction of Buzz-Off, a giant bee who is complaining to King Randor about the disappearance of six food ships this month. This time, however, the missing ships are quickly linked to a volcanic island that doesn’t feature on any maps, so Adam, Cringer and Man-at-Arms fly out to take a look.

The island isn’t present on first inspection, but seconds later it appears out of nowhere, and Adam crashes into it, like the clumsy clown he is. Man-at-Arms and Cringer get sucked down beneath the new Great Eternian Dam, requiring Adam to turn into He-Man and rescue them. He-Man’s method of rescue is a bit suspect, involving launching all three of them practically into orbit without considering how they will get down again. Luckily, Buzz-Off is on hand to save them all.

Island 1
Buzz-Off: “This is going to be one mother of a bra-strap ping.”

Landing on the island, He-Man turns back into Adam, while Buzz-Off flies off to get Teela and Orko, who I’m sure will be very useful. True to form, on arrival, Teela immediately starts having a go at Adam and demanding to know where He-Man is. Adam distracts her by pointing out the mysterious island on which they all currently stand and suggesting that they investigate. Teela likes this plan and suggests that they split up into two groups to explore.

Adam and Man-at-Arms discover a waterfall, with a large sign behind it bearing the unexpected message, “Hello chumps”. No sooner have they read this odd notice then a whirlpool begins, sucking them into a cave, where they discover the missing food ships. They also discover a submarine containing Skeletor, Mer-Man and a new recruit, Whiplash, both of whom are sucking up to Skeletor as if it’s time for their annual performance reports.

Island 2
Man-at-Arms: “Looks like Skeletor’s upgraded his bath toys.”

Skeletor takes the time to detail his plan, which is as sophisticated as ever. He has captured the six food ships, which he seems to believe contain all the food on Eternia. He also intends to sail his island into the Great Eternian Dam, destroying it and flooding all the farmland so that everyone on Eternia will have to come to him for food. Man-at-Arms comments, “I hate to say it, Adam, but this time Skeletor’s plan seems pretty good.” This can only be an attempt to humour Skeletor, because frankly this plan is one of the stupidest yet.

Teela, Buzz-Off, Cringer and Orko discover a ventilation shaft leading down to the island’s engine room, where they discover Adam and Man-at-Arms being held captive in a nice unguarded prison. Naturally, this results in their immediate rescue. Unfortunately, Skeletor appears and starts the engines to drive the island into the Dam, so Adam lunges behind a computer bank and transforms into He-Man. He then emerges from behind the computer and expects no one to notice. Which, of course, they don’t.

He-Man demands that Skeletor stop the engines, but Skeletor simply destroys the control mechanism instead, in a pointless act of defiance. Naturally, He-Man’s next move is to destroy the engines, and the control room itself. With the Dam saved, Skeletor heads for home, using Mer-Man and Whiplash as a pair of water-skis. In the closing scene, Randor decides to make the floating island into Eternia’s first nature reserve, and then everyone sits round the table applauding their cleverness and cheering like halfwits.

Island 3
King Randor: “Is it conceited if I voice the opinion that we are literally the best people who have ever existed?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Adam explain that sometimes trees need to be chopped down in order to put up buildings, but that it’s important to set aside some areas to remain natural. Clearly, the writer of this episode felt that the head of the United States’ Department for the Environment was a frequent He-Man viewer and would be glued to the screen, and thus took the opportunity to dispense some helpful policy advice.

 

Character checklist

As noted, we meet two newbies today: Buzz-Off and Whiplash. Of course, there’s also Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Skeletor and Mer-Man. I didn’t notice Battle-Cat this week, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Two transformations occur in this episode, and Adam doesn’t offer an excuse on the first occasion. However, once he’s changed back, Teela demands to know where He-Man is, to which Adam responds, “He’ll be back if we need him.”

Island 4
Teela: “Christ, I’m livid.”

After the second transformation, Teela again wonders as to Adam’s whereabouts. “I’m sure he’s all right,” responds He-Man. Given mere seconds ago Adam was in a room that has now blown up, this extreme confidence on He-Man’s part is the sort of behaviour that in anything vaguely resembling reality would result in Teela putting two and two together.

 

Insults

Every insult this week comes from Skeletor, who refers to Orko as a “silly bag of wind”. Otherwise, his vitriol is reserved for Mer-Man and Whiplash, who are referred to variously as “fishy fools” and “bumbling fools”. Skeletor also insults his henchman with the more oblique comment, “I have to be brilliant, to make up for them.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’d hesitate to call it a classic, but it certainly is good fun: I’ve always felt He-Man was at its best when the villain of the piece is Skeletor with a ridiculous plan, and in that, this episode does not disappoint. The initial investigation into the island is suitably mysterious, and once Skeletor’s responsibility is revealed, he keeps us entertained – especially with his closing use of Mer-Man and Whiplash as a method of transport.

Island 5
Skeletor: “I suppose this serves me right for buying my water-skis at Poundland.”

As an introduction for Buzz-Off and Whiplash, this episode doesn’t do too well; neither of them comes across as particularly exciting. Buzz-Off does slightly better, having one moment of competence early on when he catches He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Cringer, but Whiplash doesn’t manage to rise above the level of generic villain. Still, plenty of time for development later, which I’m sure they’ll get.

In short, you won’t be disappointed in watching this episode, but don’t go in expecting greatness.

Episode 073 – Origin of the Sorceress

In which I court controversy by not particularly caring about the Sorceress.

The episode starts with a sales pitch from Man-at-Arms concerning Stridor, his new robot horse, now available in Toys R Us at the very reasonable price of £14.99. Following this, a burning wheel of fire appears in the sky above the Palace, firing meteors down into the courtyard. Once this has been attended to, the Sorceress summons He-Man and Stridor to Castle Grayskull, where she explains that the meteors were caused by Morgoth the Terrible. Many years ago, Morgoth was a sorcerer who acquired more and more powers, eventually becoming immortal and growing into a giant, but eventually he was imprisoned by the Ancients.

Origin 1
He-Man: “Get out of my head, Sorceress.”

He-Man suggests that maybe Morgoth is back, and earns himself a gold star for his powers of deduction. The Sorceress then decides that she, He-Man and Stridor must journey to the Dark Mountain, for which she uses a crystal that allows her to maintain her true form outside Grayskull. Once at the Dark Mountain, the Sorceress says that Morgoth will appear at dawn, and decides to pass the time until then by telling He-Man how she became the Sorceress. Settle down and pay attention, because this might well be a question in your Eternian History GCSEs.

A long time ago, before she was half-woman, half-falcon, and when she was still capable of being useful, the Sorceress was called Teela-Na. With the aid of some space pirates, Morgoth quickly defeated Teela-Na’s village, but on the advice of a wise old man, Teela-Na headed out to the old castle in the wastelands. The castle, of course, was Grayskull, and Teela-Na entered despite a warning that going inside would leave her forever altered.

Origin 2
Teela-Na: “That’s a lovely chair. I could sit up there making pseudo-profound statements all day.”

Inside, Teela-Na found an old woman called Kodak Ungol, with the same crazy feathers and bird head that our Sorceress now has. Kodak Ungol offered Teela-Na all the power she needed to defend her village, but on the condition that she become the new Sorceress of Grayskull, and defend the secrets of the castle. Teela-Na accepted, became the Sorceress, and defeated the space pirates and Morgoth.

Once this exciting story has been recounted, He-Man stifles a yawn and says what a lucky day for Eternia that was. He even goes so far as to say that he can’t count the times he’s needed the Sorceress, which I can only assume is his idea of a joke, because I can’t think of a single occasion on which the Sorceress has even approached being useful.

And so to the final showdown: Morgoth pops his head through the wheel of fire in the sky and shouts ineffectual insults down at He-Man, Stridor and the Sorceress, as well as dropping a gemstone into the ground. The Sorceress reveals that to defeat Morgoth, the gemstone must be destroyed, so He-Man does that very thing, sounding uncommonly cross about it.

Origin 3
Morgoth: “I imagine Johnny Cash has something to say about this.”

With Morgoth defeated, there’s just enough time in the episode for a bizarre closing section in which the Sorceress explains that though Stridor may have been a robot when he went up against Morgoth, now he is a living creature, even though there is no reason for this whatsoever. Man-at-Arms therefore decides to set Stridor free. Having thus successfully interfered in Man-at-Arms’ lab work, the Sorceress returns to Grayskull, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms happily witter to each other about how special the Sorceress is.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s take-home message this week is that we must all do whatever we can to help other people, as demonstrated by the Sorceress taking on the role of guardian of Grayskull in order to help her village. This seems reasonable enough.

 

Character checklist

Well, let’s see. There’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Teela-Na, the wise old man, Kodak Ungol, Morgoth and the space pirates. If we must, we can also count Stridor.

Origin 4
The Sorceress: “Hey guys, I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t you release the weirdo robot horse into the wild?”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam can’t wait to turn into He-Man this week, and doesn’t have time to mess about giving vague excuses.

 

Insults

There’s nothing to report here other than “old fool” from a space pirate to the wise old man, and the similar “fools” from Morgoth to He-Man and the Sorceress.

Origin 5
He-Man: “Yeah, sorry, Sorceress, but the brochure said this was a 5* resort.”

 

Egg on your face?

Orko manages to embed himself in a snowball in the opening scene, but since this is his method of avoiding being hit by a meteor, I imagine he doesn’t mind too much.

 

Does it have the Power?

I suspect I’ll earn the hatred of He-Fans around the world for saying this, but no, I don’t think it does. This is a very highly-regarded episode, presumably because it fills in some back story and shows us how the current state of affairs came to be. That’s fine, but to be honest, the Sorceress isn’t really a character I care about. Had it been the origin of Skeletor, or perhaps shown the first time Adam transformed into He-Man, perhaps I might have been able to muster some enthusiasm, but not for the Sorceress. And, being frank, the origin story isn’t very exciting, and neither was the fight with Morgoth at the end. If you want to know the ins and outs of Eternian history, therefore, this episode’s a good one for you; otherwise, it’s fairly boring and you’d not miss out by skipping it.

Episode 072 – The Great Books Mystery

In which Skeletor makes friends with Eternia’s version of Batman.

As the episode opens, Orko is telling Teela and Man-at-Arms that he’s lost “a book about unicorns, with lots of pictures.” So far, so mental, but then Orko reveals that the book was intended for Prince Adam’s birthday. Unless it’s a large BBC Wildlife coffee table book, the implication is that Orko has a seriously low opinion of Adam’s intelligence. He could hardly have made it sound more childish if he’d referred to it as having rubber pages.

We are next treated to a return appearance of Professor Smullen, from Keeper of the Ancient Ruins, who informs King Randor that all the books in the kingdom have disappeared. Randor doesn’t believe him at first, suggesting idiotically that maybe Smullen has just lost them, but eventually agrees to get Adam and Man-at-Arms on the case.

Books 1
Prince Adam: “Me and Man-at-Arms enjoy staring at Professor Smullen with unwarranted contempt.”

The first thing on the agenda is, of course, a transformation into He-Man, following which a visit to the Sorceress is in order. The Sorceress yammers on about how books are worth more than gold. In the case of a Read-It-Yourself book I used to have called Jim Hedgehog’s Supernatural Christmas, that’s debatable, but still. She also reveals that the books can be found at the Temple of the Sun, a conclusion that Teela and Orko had already reached without the Sorceress’ help. So yet again, she’s not much use.

The villain of the piece is now revealed: a gentleman called Batros, who is a cheap knock-off of Batman, so cheap that he can only afford to wear Batman’s headpiece and a pair of blue underpants. Batros is deluded enough to believe that nicking Eternia’s books will somehow result in him being made Emperor. Skeletor becomes aware of this none-too-elaborate plot, and sends Beast-Man and Trapjaw out to capture Batros, in order to persuade him to work for Skeletor.

Books 2
Batros: “Welcome to the party, lads. Right, keys in the bowl, please.”

Once these two clowns arrive at the Temple of the Sun, Batros agrees to go to see Skeletor. Beast-Man leads the way, leaving Teela and Orko to have a fight with Trapjaw, a fight into which Trapjaw puts absolutely zero effort and winds up tied to the rafters. They then head off to report the location of the books, and warn He-Man that Skeletor is peripherally involved.

At Snake Mountain, Batros and Skeletor indulge in a few pleasantries, bonding over some unkind remarks at Beast-Man’s expense. However, things get a little nastier moments later when Batros reveals he considers Skeletor might work for him, whereas Skeletor feels the inverse would be more satisfactory. Skeletor gets the better of the discussion, and Batros agrees to help him conquer Castle Grayskull.

Books 3
Skeletor: “Now, Batros, please don’t prove to be so rubbish that you end up never appearing again.”

He-Man re-enters the episode at this point, having been absent for some length of time. He seems to have spent this time travelling from Grayskull to the Temple of the Sun, and once he gets there, he immediately receives word that Skeletor and Batros are going to attack Grayskull, meaning he’ll have to go all the way back. He-Man isn’t one to say things like, “For Christ’s sake,” but there’s something of a dangerous edge to his voice when he says, “I’ll go there at once.”

He arrives just in time to do a meet-and-greet with Skeletor, who instantly decides to run away. Batros puts up slightly more resistance, but quickly finds himself thrown off to the other side of the planet. It subsequently emerges that Skeletor has occupied himself in taking the books from the Temple to Snake Mountain, necessitating a trip to get them back. Once this is over, it’s time for Adam’s birthday, where he gets his rubber unicorn book and for no readily apparent reason claims that this is the best birthday of his life.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, bugger me sideways if today’s moral doesn’t inform us that books are great, because you can use them to find out about subjects including but presumably not limited to science, dragons, sports and bodybuilding. While I agree that books are great, it wasn’t really demonstrated in the episode – perhaps if a problem had been solved by use of a book, the link might have been clearer. As it stands, I’d say the main moral is if you’re going to dress up as Batman, you should put in the effort to buy the whole costume.

Books 4
Orko: “If I point meaningfully at these books, no one will realise I can’t read.”

 

Character checklist

Popping out from their padded cells for today’s little excursion are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, the Sorceress, Professor Smullen, Batros, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Mer-Man and Tri-Klops.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“Excuse me. I have something important to do,” says Adam vaguely, and wanders off. Randor looks sadly after him, bemoaning the fact that Adam doesn’t take the books problem seriously – but nonetheless, he doesn’t think to inquire what Adam’s important something is. I genuinely wonder sometimes if everyone on Eternia, and King Randor in particular, is brain-dead.

 

Insults

Skeletor is in a foul mood this week, especially with Beast-Man, referring to him variously as a “worthless hunk of fur”, a “dummy”, and a “furbag”. He also makes the slightly more subtle comment to Beast-Man that, “Unlike you, Batros has a brain.” Elsewhere, Skeletor finds time to call Battle-Cat a “stupid beast”, with perfect sneering disdain.

Batros considers that Teela and Orko are “fools” and that Trapjaw is a “rust-head”. Orko thinks Batros is a “bat-brain”, and Trapjaw summons up sufficient wit to call Orko a “little pest”. This is a surprisingly frequent insult for Orko, perhaps because it’s true.

Books 5
Trapjaw: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s not really a Great Books Mystery, since we find out very quickly who’s nicked the books and where they’ve put them; it’s more of a Great Argument About Some Books. Despite pointless quibbling about the title, though, the episode is a good, solid adventure romp, and it was nice to see Skeletor actually going to try to break into Castle Grayskull again, for the first time in absolutely ages. Batros was a passable villain but ultimately couldn’t hold a candle to Skeletor, and frankly his scheme of “nick books, become Emperor” needed a bit of fleshing out. Overall, I’d call this episode pretty strong, and definitely better than last week’s drivel, but unlikely to make anyone’s Top Ten.

Episode 071 – The Rarest Gift of All

In which I genuinely lose the will to live.

Oh thanks God. I go away for three weeks and you punish me by presenting me with a special showcase to remind me why I despise Orko so much. It’s the King and Queen’s wedding anniversary tomorrow, but Orko can’t think of a present for them. He tries to muscle in on Man-at-Arms’ firework display, but simply ends up letting off all the fireworks and causing a fire in the lab. Then he goes to the kitchen and ruins the cake that Teela was baking. Having achieved these disasters, Orko has his first good idea in ages and decides to run away with Cringer. I’m sure no one will begrudge me a “good riddance”.

Rarest 1
Man-at-Arms: “Orko, leave me alone while I assemble this amazing hosepipe windmill thing.”

He-Man, Teela and Man-at-Arms have a nice little chat about Orko, in which they realise they haven’t seen him for a while. They waste time asking various people (Stratos, Fisto, the King and Queen, and some freak of a giant caterpillar) where Orko might be, before they think to do the obvious and check his room. There they find a note from Orko explaining that he has run away. Teela says, “Oh no,” probably more out of a feeling of obligation than anything else.

Orko and Cringer decide to go to Castle Grayskull to see the Sorceress, and Orko whinges literally all the way there that no one likes him and he’s useless and all that rubbish that we’ve heard billions of times before, which wasn’t even interesting the first time. Eventually, they start complaining that something is sapping their energy, and then a stupid monster starts chasing them, though this appears to only be so something of vague interest happens at the commercial break stage.

Rarest 2
Cringer: “Orko, get off me, or I swear to God I will eat you.”

At Grayskull, the Sorceress and Orko engage in the most infuriatingly insipid conversation I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. Orko’s argument is that everyone hates him – which by this stage in the episode they certainly do – whereas the Sorceress’ position is that they don’t. In order to persuade him of this, she gets her magic mirror to display a hilarious glimpse of life in the Palace a year from now, if Orko wasn’t there. Apparently, in this future, everyone would be hanging around looking miserable and bellowing, “Where’s Orko?”

Despite the fact that this is almost certainly a complete work of fiction on the Sorceress’ part, Orko is convinced that everyone loves him after all. That being resolved, the Sorceress provides some information on the energy-sapping monster, which boils down to “it saps your energy and it’s evil”. Orko and Cringer bolt off to warn He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. He-Man and his merry band of idiots are in the forest, looking for Orko, and they have fallen prey to the energy-sapping monster. Pleasingly, He-Man and Teela have had their strength sapped, but Man-at-Arms seems to have lost his brains instead, so he keeps standing round saying, “What shall I do?” while rocks fall on his head.

Rarest 5
Man-at-Arms: “Perhaps I can help the situation if I hide behind this tree looking like I’m completely out of my mind.”

The monster then absorbs Orko’s magic, which it attempts to use on our heroes. However, because Orko’s magic is so rubbish, the monster is similarly incapable of casting a successful spell. Then He-Man digs a pit and throws the monster down it, and that’s the end of that. Now it’s time for He-Man to tell Orko off for running away, and to lecture him for about an hour and a half about how we all make mistakes, but it’s how we deal with them that’s important. This perspective had genuinely not occurred to me before, and I watched open-mouthed as He-Man dispensed this pearl of wisdom.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko comes along again to reiterate the point that running away doesn’t solve any problems. Unless your problem is that you’re losing a race. I may have wilfully misunderstood this.

 

Character checklist

This atrocious exercise in patronising twaddle comes replete with appearances from Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, Stratos, Fisto, King Randor, Queen Marlena, and of course that unremitting cock, Orko. There’s also a surprise cameo from a big lizard reading a book, who I think may be supposed to be Lizard-Man, though he looks completely different from his last appearance way back in The Time Corridor.

Rarest 4
Lizard-Man: “Yes, of course I’ll sign your autograph book, Teela.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no need for an excuse, as no one’s around when He-Man makes his grand entrance.

 

Insults

“You’re not very good at spell-weaving,” says He-Man to the energy-sapping beast. More of a comment than an insult, perhaps, but I wanted to mention it because I feel it could be adapted and addressed to the episode’s writer: “You’re not very good at writing He-Man episodes.”

 

Egg on your face?

After a very long interlude with nothing for this category, I’m pleased to report that Orko is successful in arranging for large splodges of cake to fall on himself, Teela and Cringer. How we chortled.

Rarest 3
Teela: “As lyrics go, I think ‘Hallelujah, it’s raining cake’ will only work as a first draft.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’m beginning to detect a pattern. Whenever I see the name J. Brynne Stephens listed as the writer on the opening credits, I know I’m in for a very tedious time. This individual is responsible for A Friend in Need and The Starchild, two of the worst episodes of He-Man, and now he/she adds The Rarest Gift of All to the list of crimes against He-Manity.

Orko stories are rarely – if ever – of interest, and still less so when they’re all about him being self-pitying. This one firmly ticks the ‘Orko being irritating’ box, then adds a dash of ‘boring’ to the mix. It finally tops it off with a good solid helping of ‘talking down to the audience’. If asked to go for two words that summarise this effort, I think I’d pick “patronising” and ” dreadful”. I think my position here is clear: there’s no need to watch this one.