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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.