Episode 080 – The Shadow of Skeletor

In which King Randor does some moonlighting as a scientist.

The episode opens with Ram-Man again proving his “moron” credentials: he walks into the Palace theatre, sees Man-e-Faces with his monster face on, and decides that he must be a monster. He attacks Man-e-Faces and accidentally destroys the theatre scenery, then gets really defensive about it. This is all despite the fact that he definitely knows who Man-e-Faces is; Prince Adam says they are friends. Ram-Man must therefore know about Man-e-Faces’ ability, and consequently it really is massively stupid of him to not be able to figure out that the monster dressed as Man-e-Faces is not in fact a monster.

Shadow 1
Man-e-Faces: “Jesus, Ram-Man, could you be more of an idiot?”

This demented quarrel is interrupted by the only person on Eternia thicker than Ram-Man: Beast-Man, who has contrived to lose control of his stupid flying machine and head straight for the Palace dome. He-Man decides to intervene by spinning round on the spot really quickly, until he takes off and flies through the sky as a whirlwind, sucking in the flying machine and depositing it a safe distance away. Well done, He-Man. Now that you’ve proved you can fly, that means Stratos and Buzz-Off need never appear again.

He-Man turns back into Adam and leads an expedition to check out the flying machine. When Skeletor gets on the radio demanding a progress report, Man-e-Faces imitates Beast-Man’s voice, but doesn’t manage to learn any information about what Skeletor is hoping Beast-Man will achieve. Despite this, Adam claims Man-e-Faces has done good work, in the sort of patronising tone used to encourage very stupid children.

Shadow 2
Adam: “Well DONE, Man-e-Faces! I’ll write your name down in the Good Effort Book today!”

Man-at-Arms repairs the auto-pilot on the flying machine, while Man-e-Faces creates a whole body Beast-Man disguise. The auto-pilot takes the ship right through the atmosphere, to the Moon of Darkness, where a photon blaster fires at Eternia’s other moon, referred to as the Bright Moon. Man-at-Arms points out that the blaster might have hit the moon colony, so everyone except Man-e-Faces boards a shuttle to go and check if the colony has survived.

On arrival at the Bright Moon, our heroes meet Professor O’Ryan, who looks suspiciously similar to King Randor. It’s almost as if Filmation reused the animation and thought pedantic people like me wouldn’t notice – but surely they wouldn’t do that? Anyway, a transmission comes in from King Barble of the Dark Moon, who accuses the inhabitants of the Bright Moon of attacking them and declares the Treaty of Friendship over.

Shadow 3
Professor O’Ryan: “What? No, of course I haven’t got a crown on underneath this silly hat.”

Our heroes quickly deduce that Skeletor must be behind the mysterious attacks that are being blamed on the Bright Moon. They are quite right: Man-e-Faces – in his Beast-Man outfit – has met up with Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, Trapjaw and Whiplash, and they all crowd round while Skeletor gets on Skype to reveal the full plan, which boils down to “try to cause a war by being unpleasant”. I really don’t know what Skeletor stands to gain by having the Dark and Bright Moons go to war, and I suspect he doesn’t either.

Adam and Ram-Man take a shuttle across to the Dark Moon, where they arrive just in time for Skeletor and the real Beast-Man to show up and unmask Man-e-Faces’ disguise. Adam changes into He-Man, and he and Ram-Man save Man-e-Faces; this is achieved by Ram-Man ramming Whiplash and Evil-Lyn back through space to Eternia. Even a child would debate the sanity of this method, but at least it leads to Man-e-Faces and Ram-Man making friends again, which I’m sure you cared about. He-Man then destroys the photon blaster, renegotiates the treaty between the Dark and Bright Moons, and finds time to throw Skeletor and Trapjaw into a pond.

Shadow 4
Trapjaw: “There’s a sort of weary inevitability about this turn of events.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Ram-Man and Man-e-Faces appear to deliver the fairly predictable moral lesson that if you get into an argument, you should be careful to not lose your temper and say things you might regret later. This is all very well, but there’s then a slightly unexpected turn of events where Ram-Man says, “Now we’re better friends than ever” and appears to put his hand on Man-e-Faces’ arse.

Shadow 5
Man-e-Faces: “Our relationship shall be explored more thoroughly in fan-fic.”

 

Character checklist

This episode features a pretty sizeable number of Eternia’s inhabitants: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Ram-Man, Man-e-Faces, King Randor, Professor O’Ryan, King Barble, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man and Whiplash. I probably forgot someone in that lot, and if so, you can tell me all about it in the comments below.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Despite two transformations, there are no excuses. On the other hand, the episode does contain an absolutely brilliant sequence in which Adam thinks he will have to turn into He-Man in front of Teela, Ram-Man and Man-e-Faces, and he gets as far as “By the …” before the crisis is averted. He hilariously concludes, “By the way, Teela, remind me to show you my new jacket when we get home.”

Shadow 6
Adam: “Oh no! I left my copy of Eternian E-Turn-Ons on the bed, and Mother’s heading for my room!”

 

Insults

Skeletor calls Beast-Man a “fool”, but he doesn’t sound like his heart is really in it. He also calls Adam a “troublemaker”, sounding similarly uninterested. Evil-Lyn, on the other hand, sounds hugely invested in calling King Barble a “dope”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t know quite why, but unfortunately this one doesn’t really work for me. It’s nice to see Skeletor with one of his stupid plots, and all his henchmen happily getting involved, but there just doesn’t seem to be any point to him trying to cause a war between the two moons. As far as I could tell from the episode, neither moon had anything to do with Castle Grayskull or the Royal Palace, which seem to be the two targets Skeletor tends to go for. He just seems to be causing mischief for no apparent gain and a rather substantial cost. He’d have been better advised to just shoot his photon blaster at the Palace.

I don’t have a lot of time for Man-e-Faces, because I think his face-changing ability is just plain stupid, and I don’t have any time at all for Ram-Man, because he’s really irritating. Therefore, the plot concerning them falling out and making friends was unlikely to capture my interest, and sure enough, it didn’t. In short, I’d say the only real reason to watch this episode is the – admittedly brilliant – moment where Adam nearly betrays his He-Manic identity.

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Episode 079 – Disappearing Dragons

In which heroes and villains alike unite to hurl insults at a mute robot.

Responding to an invitation from Granamyr, He-Man and Orko make their way to Darksmoke, where Orko proceeds to wind Granamyr up a right treat. Sadly, before Granamyr can murder Orko, He-Man intervenes to ask why they were invited. Granamyr explains that dragons have been disappearing from Dragon Mountain, and that he has been unable to discover the cause, so he requests He-Man’s assistance in investigating.

He-Man decides to undertake a search of the Eternian wilderness, and calls on his new friends Mechaneck and Buzz-Off to help. It takes our heroes a very short space of time to find two of Skeletor’s cronies, Webstor and Kobra Khan, trying to use a mysterious machine on a dragon. In attempting to prevent them, Orko manages to activate the machine, resulting in He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan all disappearing. Before Orko can attempt to reverse the effect, the machine blows up.

Disappearing
Webstor: “Why is there a giant ear at the front of the screen?”

Orko summons Granamyr, who helps him to repair the machine. In the meantime, the heroes and villains appear in an unfamiliar place which He-Man instantly identifies as “another dimension”, though how he can tell this so quickly is not made clear. Webstor and Kobra Khan do a runner to a city, and He-Man, Mechaneck and Buzz-Off decide to follow them, where they quickly discover a whole load of caged dragons.

Two men and a woman now show up, and imprison our heroes in a forcefield from which even He-Man cannot escape. They explain that they are the only three remaining survivors of a war that devastated their race, the Dami, and that their sole remaining pleasure is to force dragons to fight each other in a gladiatorial arena. In return for providing dragons, they will supply Kobra Khan and Webstor with the means to conquer Eternia.

Disappearing 2
Dami: “Yes, we’re inspired by the Romans. And before you ask, yes, Romans did have goofy helmets like this.”

He-Man not unexpectedly gets on his customary high horse about this, but his protests fall on deaf ears. However, on a suggestion from Kobra Khan, the Dami offer He-Man an alternative: if he fights and defeats an enormous stupid robot called Bellatron, they will release He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off and the dragons. He-Man accepts this deal of a lifetime, and is transported from the forcefield into the arena.

The battle with Bellatron is pretty tedious, except for the really rather odd bit in which we get a point-of-view shot from Bellatron’s perspective in which it is made clear that he is aiming his weapons directly at He-Man’s crotch. Rather unusually, Bellatron actually gets to a stage where he is about to defeat He-Man, but Granamyr and Orko show up just in time to get involved too. Once Bellatron is destroyed, the Dami – reasonably enough – declare the match invalid because He-Man had outside assistance.

Disappearing 3
Bellatron: “The reason Skeletor never wins is because he never attempts to shoot He-Man in the balls.”

While He-Man and his mates go and have a gratuitous fight with Webstor and Kobra Khan, Granamyr decides that an appropriate punishment for the Dami will be to make them fight each other for his entertainment. He-Man isn’t cool with this, and persuades Granamyr that an eye for an eye does not constitute justice. Instead, the Dami are told to go and rebuild their world. This presumably involves repopulation, but with a starting gene pool consisting of only three people, I suspect this is doomed to failure.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral of this week’s episode is that you should not hurt or tease animals, but instead treat them with kindness. This will be, as He-Man so intelligently puts it, “more fun for you, and for the animal!” He says this in that special tone of his that implies he’s making a really funny joke, and has a massive great big smirk on his face the whole time, which leads me to suspect that He-Man secretly gets a whole load of pleasure in pulling the wings off flies. Or possibly pulling the wings off Buzz-Off.

 

Character checklist

This episode gives us a fairly unusual cast. Obviously, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko and the Sorceress, but Granamyr, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan are quite out of the ordinary. Bellatron and the Dami – introduced as Verdor, Kara and Bylon – are the one-shot characters of the week. Typing that, I’ve just realised that Bellatron and the Dami is an ace name for a band.

Disappearing 4
He-Man: “Go on, Granamyr! Eat him! He’s asking for it! He’s been asking for it for 78 episodes now!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Not only do we get no excuse this week, it’s a rare beast indeed because the transformation actually takes place off screen. For possibly the first time ever, we don’t have to sit through the recycled “By the Power of Grayskull” animation. That alone makes this episode worth watching.

 

Insults

This episode quite possibly breaks the all-time record for insults. Towards the beginning, Orko rather unwisely decides to call Granamyr “lizard-breath” and a “big bully”, while Webstor and Kobra Khan trade the insults “Web-head” and the possibly misheard “Snake-pus”. Mechaneck gets in on the act, calling Kobra Khan a “snake-face”, while Webstor retaliates by referring to Buzz-Off as a “bee-brain” and He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. Elsewhere, Kobra Khan considers Orko a “meddling little wizard” and Buzz-Off rather mildly calls the Dami “bats”.

Finally, pretty much everyone has unkind things to say about Bellatron, perhaps in the secure knowledge that since he can’t talk, he won’t be answering back. Buzz-Off starts the ball rolling with “hunk of junk” and Mechaneck attempts to top this with “rolling rust pot”. Webstor sees the fun everyone else is having, so joins in with the distinctly unimaginative “stupid robot”. He-Man then contributes the slightly odd “bucket-face”, and follows it up with “overgrown teapot”. While this latter is not particularly amusing now, I had this episode on VHS when I was little, and I can remember me and my sister rewinding it to watch this quip over and over, then laughing till the tears rolled down our cheeks. My sister and I were very stupid children.

Disappearing 5
Bellatron: “Hey, armour-plated killing machines have feelings too, you know.”

 

Does it have the Power?

For the reasons just outlined, I do have a very soft spot for this episode, but I think even without the history I have with it, I’d consider it a good one. Granamyr is a great character, the new animation for the Dami’s world is beautifully ominous, and it’s good to see this cartoon tackling blood sports in such a head-on manner. As an introduction for Kobra Khan and Mechaneck, for whom this is their first appearance, it serves pretty well, both of them coming across as relatively competent – and in Kobra Khan’s case, rather threatening. On the downside, both Webstor and Buzz-Off have really irritating voices. That’s only a very minor complaint though – this episode is well worth your time.

Episode 078 – Betrayal of Stratos

In which Skeletor demonstrates an unexpected desire to learn how to fly.

I’m very much hoping that this will be an episode about Stratos betraying He-Man and turning evil, so He-Man can finally punch his stupid goggled face. Unfortunately, it seems far more likely that it will actually be about someone betraying Stratos, especially since the episode begins with Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Tri-Klops attacking Stratos’ home of Avion, and someone has destroyed the defensive shield generator.

The bird people see Skeletor’s attack off easily anyway, while Stratos attempts to repair the shield generator. Hawk, a bird woman with a suspiciously evil voice, finds Stratos making the repairs, and interprets this as meaning that Stratos must have been responsible for the sabotage. The bird people put Stratos on trial, and dismissing his absolutely pathetic attempts to defend himself, sentence him to exile.

Betrayal 1
Stratos: “Come on guys, you may all look the same, but you don’t have to dress the same too.”

Like an idiot, Stratos’ next move is to land for a rest in the nest of an enormous flying monster, which means that He-Man has to get involved. He-Man sees off the monster by throwing some melons at it, then listens to Stratos’ story and decides that he and Orko will help Stratos to unmask the real culprit.

Meanwhile, Skeletor and his army return to Avion, and the bird people discover that now their guns have been sabotaged as well. This means two things: firstly, Stratos couldn’t possibly be the saboteur, and secondly and more importantly, Skeletor is able to steal the Egg of Avion, which is a ridiculous item that will apparently allow Skeletor to grow wings. Exactly how he thinks this will help him is beyond me, given he’s already got a wide range of flying machines. Maybe it’s just for the sheer joy of feeling the wind between his feathers. Anyway, since I suspect his plot won’t reach that stage, it doesn’t matter too much.

Betrayal 2
Skeletor: “This is going to net me so many points in the Eternian Easter Egg Hunt this year.”

Learning of the loss of the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Orko go to see the Sorceress, who says that Skeletor will have hidden the Egg in the Demon Zone. The Demon Zone is apparently the home of Whiplash, and it can only be entered through a door in the Mountains of Doom (or possibly Mountains of Dune; I tend to stop paying attention whenever the Sorceress is talking). Oddly, it transpires that the door can only be opened twice a year, which means that given his excessive presence in recent episodes, Whiplash probably can’t go home all that often.

When they reach the door, He-Man and Stratos enter like normal people but Orko manages to be so slow that he gets left outside. Given the door’s limit of two openings per year, I’d guess this means He-Man and Stratos are now trapped in the Demon Zone till next year – the door must have been opened once already to allow the Egg to come in. I am fully prepared for this logical conclusion to be ignored.

Betrayal 3
Orko: “It’s a shame I’m so stupid I can’t even go through a door successfully.”

Sure enough, in the very next scene, the door opens again, as Whiplash sends a snake out to deal with Orko, which leads to a genuinely amusing scene as the snake chases Orko around the forest. In the meantime, He-Man and Stratos confront Whiplash, who finds himself tied to a pole by his tail. I think Whiplash has quite a sad time really. That tail is too easy a target.

He-Man and Stratos then find Hawk in a cage, who admits to sabotaging the shields and to bringing the Egg to the Demon Zone, where instead of the riches she was promised, she was imprisoned. Stratos starts gleefully rejoicing in Hawk’s downfall, but He-Man releases her with his trademark, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Betrayal 4
He-Man: “Welcome to my kinky dungeon, Hawk.”

After recovering the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Hawk return it to Avion, where Hawk admits before the people that she was responsible for the sabotage. Then all the bird people cheer for He-Man, causing his already immense ego to expand to a whole new level of smug.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s message this week is all about forgiveness, and once again utters the phrase, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” I genuinely wonder how many chances he gave Skeletor on their first encounter. Though in fairness, given he basically allows Skeletor to escape every week, he’s actually given Skeletor about five thousand chances now.

 

Character checklist

Today we are witness to the antics of Prince Adam, He-Man, Stratos, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Tri-Klops, Hawk, loads of Stratos clones, a big red demon, and the ubiquitous Whiplash.

Betrayal 5
Skeletor: “Come on lads, it’s 2-for-1 at Burger King today!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

It’s not an excuse as such, but He-Man explains his presence by saying, “I was just in the neighbourhood.”

 

Insults

Skeletor considers that the inhabitants of Avion are all “bird-brains”, which seems reasonable. He also refers to Trapjaw and Tri-Klops as “imbeciles”, which again is accurate. A fire demon has the temerity to call Whiplash a “fool”. Whiplash develops an entertaining habit of talking to himself, muttering about He-Man, Stratos and Orko being “pests” and Orko being a “half-pint sorcerer”. Whiplash also says, “Now it’s time to find that muscle-headed moron”, which presumably refers to He-Man, but the target of this remark is not actively specified.

Betrayal 6
Fire Demon: “I fear I’m not as scary as I should be.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It all starts well enough, with Skeletor’s assault on Avion and the subsequent exile of Stratos, but it goes downhill a bit with the introduction of the Demon Zone, especially with its nonsensical rules concerning the door. I’m genuinely getting fed up of Whiplash now; he’s not that interesting, so we don’t need to see him week-in week-out. Still, I’d chalk this one up as worthwhile enough, if only for the mental image of Skeletor growing wings, which appears to be his overall ambition this week.

Episode 077 – Trouble in Trolla

In which Whiplash puts in an unnecessary appearance and ends up locked in a chest.

Dree Elle makes an unwelcome reappearance at the Palace this week, though to her credit she doesn’t bring Yuckers with her. She bears the bad news that Uncle Montork has been replaced as head of the Academy of Magic by a younger Trollan called Snoob. On hearing this, Orko determines to return to Trolla to comfort Montork, and Adam and Cringer make the demented decision to come too, in He-Man and Battle-Cat form.

Trolla 1
Dree Elle: “Oh, Orko, I’d love to marry you, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re really annoying.”

Uncle Montork indulges in a quick flashback, in which he reveals that Snoob challenged him to a magic contest. During the course of this contest, Montork started to feel weak, and his magic tricks began to fail. On hearing this, Orko concludes that something nefarious has clearly taken place, and feels the next step is to visit Snoob.

Orko and Dree Elle are rudely rebuffed by Snoob, so they teleport inside his house, where they quickly discover that Snoob is attempting to teach magic to Whiplash. Making the insane decision to confront Whiplash rather than waiting for He-Man, Orko and Dree Elle quickly find themselves captured by a bunch of pigs who would appear to be working for Whiplash.

Trolla 2
Orko: “I can’t believe I’ve been shown up in front of Dree Elle by a load of distinctly unintimidating pigs.”

Once Orko and Dree Elle are safely tied up, Whiplash takes the time to explain his plan, such as it is. Whiplash wants to learn magic in order to get better at being evil, and he knew Montork would never teach it to him. So instead, he hid in the room in which the contest was held, and used a Plot Device Ray to temporarily weaken Montork’s powers, resulting in Snoob winning. Then, Whiplash started bullying Snoob into teaching him magic. I’m not certain where the pigs fit in, but I’m sure it’s very sensible.

With the plan revealed, Snoob realises what an idiot he’s been, and turns on Whiplash, but being a bit rubbish, he is quickly captured by the pigs and tied up as well. Once Whiplash turns his back, however, Orko manages to free all three of them – just in time for them to be attacked by Whiplash’s new pet, a giant caterpillar.

Trolla 3
Orko: “First pigs, now caterpillars. I’m not having a good day with wildlife.”

Luckily, He-Man and Montork are in the vicinity to effect a rescue. While He-Man has a seemingly endless battle with an enormous quantity of pigs, Montork helps Orko and Snoob to defeat the caterpillar. Whiplash opts to do a runner, but comes up against He-Man and inevitably gets the worst of it. He ends up locked in a metal chest, in which he is forced to listen to He-Man and the Trollans yammering on about forgiving and forgetting, Orko’s love for Dree Elle, and the prospect of a roast gooble.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers a borderline ageist moral this week, explaining that though Snoob was young and powerful, Montork’s age and experience worked in his favour. Therefore, if old and young people work together, great things can be accomplished. Essentially, this boils down to “listen to your elders, because they might occasionally say something worthwhile in the midst of their crazed jabbering.”

Trolla 5
Orko: “Hey, Man-at-Arms! What’s it like being old and useless?”

 

Character checklist

Well, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena and Whiplash. Unfortunately, there’s also Orko, Dree Elle, Uncle Montork and Snoob. And those demented pigs.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The transformation occurs today in Castle Grayskull, with only the Sorceress present. Consequently, Adam doesn’t feel the need to give an excuse.

 

Insults

Whiplash dishes out an awful lot of mild insults this week, including “wimp” and “fool” for Snoob, “twits” for Orko and Snoob, and “little pests” for Orko, Snoob and Montork. He is also the recipient of every insult made by our heroes, being called a “villain” by both Montork and He-Man. He-Man also calls him a “scale-head”, but it’s Orko who seems to have major anger management issues when it comes to Whiplash, referring to him variously as “lizard-breath”, “alligator-breath” and “crocodile face”.

Trolla 6
Snoob: “Chill out, Whiplash! It’s Orko calling you names, not me!”

 

Egg on your face?

It’s a bit of a stretch for this category, because it doesn’t involve food, but the episode does open with a genuinely amusing scene in which Orko’s magic backfires, resulting in the entire royal family vanishing and reappearing inside a very small box.

More appropriately, Uncle Montork’s flashback to how he lost the contest with Snoob includes a sequence in which the three Trollan judges are covered with various unspecified foodstuffs.

 

Does it have the Power?

The title Trouble in Trolla didn’t fill me with joy when it popped up on screen, and the reappearance of Uncle Montork was a distinctly displeasing prospect. As it turned out though – perhaps due to the absence of Yuckers – the whole thing wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. I quite enjoyed the notion of Snoob being led astray by his ambition, and liked his ultimate redemption, which was done with relative subtlety and wasn’t sickening. It was also quite refreshingly different in that He-Man didn’t really need to be present – I feel Orko and his family would actually have been capable of dealing with the situation on their own.

Trolla 4
He-Man: “I wish I hadn’t had to be here for this.”

What I didn’t particularly like was the inclusion of Whiplash. Putting aside the fact that this is now his fourth appearance in a row (gotta sell those action figures, guys!), the world of Trolla seems completely unconnected to that of Eternia, so it seems implausible that Skeletor and his men would have any interest in it – or indeed, any knowledge of it. I’m generally not a fan of episodes that don’t involve Skeletor, but these Trolla ones really would be better without him and his crew being shoehorned in.

Episode 076 – The Ice Age Cometh

In which He-Man tries to dig to the centre of Eternia, for no particularly apparent reason.

The episode begins with a short sequence in which Orko distracts a young Palace Guard called Philip from his duties by doing rubbish magic. Unfortunately, this seems to have been the moment Whiplash has been waiting for, as he springs out of hiding to steal the new Ice Raider. Not a moment too soon, He-Man shows up and demonstrates Whiplash’s design flaw: he’s really easy to grab by the tail, swing round, and throw away.

Ice Age 1
Whiplash: “Hey, He-Man! Check out my new dance moves!”

Glowing with self-righteousness, Teela hauls Philip in front of the King and Queen, detailing everything he did wrong in this encounter. Philip defends himself with a variety of relatively feeble excuses, but when both Teela and Adam join forces to harangue him, there’s nothing he can do to dissuade Randor from transferring him to a no-hope job guarding a weather station in the frozen wastes. Man-at-Arms tries to convince Philip that this is an important job, but he doesn’t buy it, and frankly neither do I.

Becoming aware of this development on his spy-globe, Skeletor gets on the phone to his old mate Icer, who has apparently been trying to break through a protective shield around the weather station for some time. When Philip arrives to take up his new job, he deactivates the shield to allow himself entry – and Icer slips through as well.

Ice Age 2
Icer: “No, I don’t buy things from door-to-door salesmen. Now get off my property.”

Icer wastes no time in using the weather station to mess about with the weather, causing an enormous glacier to flow as fast as a river towards the Palace. On discovering this development, Adam, Teela, Cringer and Orko take the Attack Trak to the foot of the glacier. There they meet a bunch of trolls, necessitating a second appearance for He-Man and Battle-Cat, who dispose of the trolls in a not very entertaining fight.

On reaching the weather station, He-Man defies the laws of physics once again by cutting a hole in the protective shield, which is composed of energy. Entering by this impossible method, our heroes encounter Philip, who is very quick to point out that he’s not responsible for Icer getting inside. He-Man now decides not to bother looking for Icer, but instead claims that the important thing is to descend to the lower levels and get as close to the centre of Eternia as possible. He gives no reason for this, and I can only conclude that he’s gone completely off his head.

Philip locates the stairs, and He-Man determines that Icer is hiding inside a wall nearby. Showing further evidence of his impending insanity, he delegates to Orko the responsibility for stopping Icer, in which task Orko predictably fails.  At the bottom of the stairs, He-Man drives his sword into the ground and occupies himself making a big hole, while Icer stands around beating his chest and making inexplicable noises which are suggestive of a difficult bowel movement.

Ice Age 3
Orko: “Hey He-Man, standing in a hole like that makes you look completely vacant.”

Having dug a really deep hole by using his sword as a drill, He-Man then leaps in. Standing in a cave, he cuts some rocks up, producing geothermal energy and thus making the glacier recede. This seems a frankly long-winded way of doing things. Summing matters up at the end, Teela does attempt to justify it by saying that the control room was all iced over so they couldn’t get rid of the glacier that way, so I suppose it makes some vague sense after all, but it would have been nice if they could have referenced this problem before He-Man started wittering about getting to the centre of the planet.

 

In today’s adventure…

Adam, Teela and Philip explain how you can become a “winner” – it’s by being responsible and dependable. This is a lesson that Philip learned this week, having stopped trying to shift the blame for his mistakes. Lucky Philip. I bet he’s a winner now.

Ice Age 4
Philip: “More drugs, Teela?”

 

Character checklist

Well, it’s not as extensive as last week, but there are still a fair number of Eternia’s finest presenting themselves for inspection today. You won’t be surprised by the inclusion of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor and Whiplash. The characters-of-the-week are the trolls, Icer and Philip. I nearly typed Prince Philip then. I wish he’d been in it.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

We are blessed with two transformations this week. The first time, we get no excuse, but the second time, we get two: when confronted by the trolls, Adam says, “I’ll go and see if there’s a way round them.” Reappearing seconds later as He-Man, he dismisses Adam by saying, “We’d better not wait for him.”

Ice Age 5
He-Man: “One of these days, pulling stunts like this is going to backfire.”

 

Insults

Teela calls Icer a “cubeface”, which is nice. Skeletor encompasses every single inhabitant of the Palace with the succinct “fools”, but then surpasses himself by calling Whiplash “Wimp-lash”, which, it has to be said, is sheer genius.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is one of those odd episodes that really feels like it should be good, but just somehow isn’t. The writing was slightly off, especially in the first few scenes – it felt like it was an episode written very early on, when the writers hadn’t quite got a handle on the characters yet. In addition, the failure to mention the ice in the control room was a serious blooper – it made He-Man look like he’d gone mad when he decided he had to get to the centre of the planet. Philip’s storyline was fine but not enthralling. To be honest, it’s only Skeletor’s “Wimp-lash” quip that makes this one worth watching.