Episode 082 – Attack From Below

In which Teela experiences Stockholm Syndrome.

Buckle your seatbelts and hold on tight, because this week promises to be a non-stop thrill ride, as Teela and Orko make an official visit to Eternia’s most productive farm. This actually gets a lot more exciting when cracks in the ground open up, and all the corn falls down into a cave system below. Teela falls down too, and despite falling for a good ten seconds onto a rock floor, she is completely unhurt.

Attack 1
Teela: “Just look at this place. So untidy. Good job it isn’t Orko’s bedroom. Man-at-Arms would do his nut.”

Teela explores for an incredibly short space of time before being captured by some vaguely ape-like creatures, who have been stealing the corn. Their leader, Subturnius, explains to her that, though he deplores violence, his people are hungry and therefore must steal in order to survive. Teela says that the Eternian people would be happy to supply food, but Subturnius does not believe her.

In the meantime, Orko flies off to fetch He-Man, Battle-Cat and Man-at-Arms, and Battle-Cat digs in the former cornfield until he discovers the tunnel into which Teela fell. He-Man and Battle-Cat leap down into the cave system and quickly find their way to Subturnius’ throne room. In an unexpected twist, Teela refuses He-Man’s rescue attempt and opts to stay with Subturnius to try to help his people.

Attack 2
Teela: “No, He-Man, please don’t rescue me. I WANT to stay here with my hands tied, accompanied by this freaky little gnome. What’s that? Stockholm Syndrome? Never heard of it.”

He-Man returns to the surface, after showing Subturnius his fist as a non-too-subtle hint that Teela must not be harmed. Once He-Man has gone, Subturnius explains to Teela that many years previously, he and his people went to the surface to ask for food, but made the mistake of asking Skeletor, who simply enslaved them. Now Subturnius refuses to trust any surface-dwellers, and begins an attack to steal all the Eternians’ food.

Above ground, Subturnius’ forces begin to help themselves to the food supply, driving a seemingly inexhaustible supply of tanks, tractors and combine harvesters, so many that even He-Man gets a bit bored of punching them. Eventually, Man-at-Arms works out that all the vehicles are powered by an underground generator, so He-Man heads off to find the generator and destroy that instead.

He-Man quickly finds and destroys the generator, but not before Subturnius decides to up the ante and flood all the Eternian fields. Seconds later, after a little heart-to-heart with an Eternian farmer’s son, Subturnius realises the error of his ways and apologises. He-Man bounds back up to the surface and makes the funniest face I’ve ever seen, then stops the flood with the help of a giant boulder. Finally, Subturnius and his people start working with the Eternian farmers to provide food for all.

Attack 3
He-Man: “Battle-Cat, I cannot believe you just called me a moptopped imbecile.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Orko explain that it’s wrong to judge a whole group of people because of the actions of just one or a few. This is reasonable, and demonstrated by the episode’s events, but I’ve lost count of the times we’ve heard this one. Couldn’t the moral have been something about growing plants?

 

Character checklist

As if you didn’t already know, this episode treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Ram-Man, Subturnius, loads of Subturnius’ people, a farmer called Agar and his son Garda. There are also some cameos from Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam makes his transformation with only Man-at-Arms and Orko present, so doesn’t need an excuse today.

Attack 4
Man-at-Arms: “There’s no time for excuses this week. The Dragon Walker will be appearing later, and that’s so slow it’ll eat up all the airtime.”

 

Insults

Teela calls Subturnius’ people “cowards” when they first capture her. This is completely unfair, because they’ve attacked her with their bare hands despite her aiming a gun at them – and it’s only down to her own incompetence that they’ve actually managed to overpower her.

Otherwise, it’s hard to be sure, but it sounds like Subturnius introduces himself as “King of the Bell-ends.” This is an unlikely title, admittedly, but it’s certainly insulting.

 

Egg on your face?

I’m going to stretch this category this week to include an example of Orko being a complete tosser: a child asks him to do some magic, and Orko responds by eating some fruit and claiming he’s made it disappear. Since Orko has never been shy to demonstrate his appalling magic before, I can only conclude that he’s deliberately trying to disappoint the child.

Attack 5
Orko: “Oh thanks, animators, for drawing attention to the fact that eating is quite awkward for me.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I thought this was quite good, up to a point, and that after that point it was rubbish. The idea behind the episode seems fairly innovative for He-Man, and it was quite interesting towards the start when the crops started mysteriously vanishing. Unfortunately, the scene with the tanks gathering crops, only to be destroyed by He-Man, went on for far too long, and not enough (well, not anything really) came from Teela’s surprising decision to stay underground with Subturnius. In the end, I’d call this episode a miss, but it certainly wasn’t offensively bad.

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6 thoughts on “Episode 082 – Attack From Below

  1. That’s a fair review owen id say your pretty spot on personally I feel much the same with this ep, as you say things start of promising with the crops disappearing but the episode quickly decends becoming pretty dull, subternious is predictable character or I should say villan about to turn good as its so obvious! As you say teela staying behind to try an stop the attack on eternia was a pleasant surprise this was also a good episode for the dragon walker which is one of the least popular vechicles and rightly so mainly for it being ridiculously slow however this is the most appropriate episode for it the dragon walker gets to flex its muscles and smash up a few tanks! Overall it certainly isn’t a dreadful episode by no means but it isn’t a master piece either average at best which is probably where I would rate it 5/10.. what really lets this ep down for me is you feel a similar theme has been used before city beneath the sea from season one which was the same thing with the people not trusting the people above the surface, yeah I would agree with you owen with this episode probably best to give it a miss but is not horrendously bad!!

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  2. This is one of several episodes that strong hint (if not outright show) that Skeletor runs a little mini-empire on the side that He-Man and Randor do nothing about. Skeletor is shown to enslave the underground dwellers in order to have them grow food. This means that somewhere Skeletor controls some amount of arable land (he doesn’t just skulk around in Snake Mountain).

    Hunt for He-Man will give us another view of Skeletor’s kingdom, once again showing that Skeletor doesn’t just run around with a bunch of goons causing occasional trouble. He dominates a portion of Eternia and has his own subjects or at least tributaries.

    I find that fascinating for a million reasons, but others might not.

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    1. Interesting point, Jeremy – I hadn’t thought of that. Though now you mention it, isn’t there something about Eternia being divided into light and dark hemispheres? Or is that just in the MYP series? (Or have I made it up altogether?)

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  3. That’s from the MYP series, but I think they got it from some of the implications in Filmation that Skeletor did have kind of a kingdom in Filmation.

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  4. I never thought of that but thinking about it, it would make sense as there slaves under skeletor but obviously the slaves help provide food for randor an the eternian people, weather randor know this an turns a blind I im not sure but its interesting! regarding hunt for he man, that is one of my absolute favourite episodes for many reasons but the main being the destruction you see by skeletor ie burning villages, I call it the hoarde episode of the he man series as you see a lot of this destruction in the she ra series from hoardak anyway attack from below is a sort of average ep, its certainly not terrible there wasn’t any of it that was unwatchable it just wasn’t outstanding either, think a lot more could of been made of this episode story much like many season two episodes.

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