In which Skeletor doesn’t put in the slightest bit of effort.
After a surprisingly long and irrelevant sequence in which Man-at-Arms demonstrates his new invention, one of King Randor’s mates gets on the videophone. Introducing himself as King Borayis, he invites Randor to send someone to his kingdom of Morainia to collect some new energy crystals, which are ten times more powerful than other Eternian energy sources. Randor decides that this is the sort of low-responsibility, high-prestige job that would suit Adam, Cringer and Orko.
Despite a stupid diversion caused by Adam driving like an idiot down a ravine and into a giant spider’s den, the trio arrive at Morainia in good time. Borayis welcomes them, and introduces them to his son Prince Esker and his daughter Princess Janice. These two might as well have labels on them to say Esker is arrogant and incompetent, while Janice is intelligent but ignored. Borayis invites Adam to spend some time skiing, to which Adam happily agrees.
It would probably not surprise you to learn that Skeletor is also interested in the acquisition of the energy crystals – though he evidently isn’t that interested, because he sends Beast-Man and Trapjaw to get them for him. These two put on the worst disguises I’ve ever seen (literally, a white bib each, and that’s it) and are easily defeated by Borayis. Skeletor then has to take matters into his own hands, and successfully kidnaps Borayis.
With Borayis missing, Esker takes on the role of leader, and makes a complete hash of it by refusing to listen to the suggestions of the court. Skeletor teleports in, laughs irrelevantly, then offers to exchange the kidnapped king for the energy crystals. He is kind enough to offer the Morainians half an hour to think about this, and teleports out again. Esker sits at the table, trying to think of a solution, but ignoring Janice’s clever ideas.
Janice consequently heads off by herself to try to rescue Borayis, but manages to irritate Clawful in the process, leading to Adam turning into He-Man to save her. Janice then explains to He-Man that Skeletor must be holding Borayis in the abandoned mine, and outlines her clever plan for rescuing him. This plan essentially boils down to there being three entrances to the mine, so He-Man and Battle-Cat go in one, Orko another, and Janice the third. Then they all meet up in the central room. It’s difficult to say exactly what this achieves, but He-Man seems impressed.
Using another of Janice’s deeply innovative schemes, He-Man rescues Borayis from a stupid cage in which Skeletor has imprisoned him. The party then return to Morainia just in time to find that Esker has achieved absolutely nothing, and that Skeletor has managed to get his silly blue paws on the energy crystals. However, on seeing He-Man, Skeletor runs away through a teleportation portal – though he helpfully actually takes the time to give He-Man the crystals back.
In today’s adventure…
Teela explains that listening to other peoples’ ideas is likely to come in handy when Skeletor has kidnapped your dad and imprisoned him in an abandoned mine. And possibly at other times too.
This week, we are witness to Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Janice, Esker, King Borayis, various Morainian officials, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Clawful. Teela only shows up to deliver the moral, but she doesn’t seem too cross at being left out of the adventure.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
With only Orko and Cringer along for the ride, Adam doesn’t see the need to explain himself on either of his two transformations today. However, there’s a strong hint that Princess Janice knows the dual identity secret: she congratulates Adam on something He-Man did. This is either a mistake (admittedly more likely) or a tacit admission that everyone on the entire planet knows, and are just humouring our hero.
Skeletor addresses Borayis as “royal enemy”, which could be interpreted as more of a statement of fact than an actual insult. However, there can be mistaking the insulting tone behind He-Man calling Clawful both “fish-bait” and “swamp-breath”.
Does it have the Power?
Like Disappearing Dragons a few weeks back, I used to have this one on VHS, and consequently I love it. Unlike Disappearing Dragons, however, objectively I can see that it’s not really very good. It’s essentially He-Man by numbers, with very little of interest to it, though admittedly nothing that drags it down to the depths either.
The most obvious criticism of it is that it’s wrapped up far too quickly: Skeletor is actually holding the energy crystals, and when confronted, he makes no effort to hold onto them, even though it would have been easy for him to escape. Moreover, Skeletor could have easily nicked the crystals before the commercial break by simply kicking down a door, rather than messing around kidnapping Borayis. I suppose that he knew that if he did get the crystals earlier, the second half of the show would be given over to He-Man and his mob coming round to Snake Mountain and trashing the place to get the crystals back, which is the sort of outcome which I daresay Skeletor would find undesirable.
But basically, He-Man only won because Skeletor didn’t put the least bit of effort in this week, and that’s pretty unsatisfying. I’d still recommend you watch it though, because as mentioned earlier, I love it.