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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.