In which Teela falls down the abyss, in case you didn’t know.
This episode begins with He-Man, Teela and Orko in the Widgets’ fortress, having evidently just foiled one of Beast-Man’s schemes. They return to Castle Grayskull and have a casual conversation concerning the abyss, which surrounds the castle and is passable only by the jawbridge. The abyss is bottomless (until it reaches the centre of the planet, at least), and contains the source of Grayskull’s power. Given the title of the episode, I suspect this may shortly become important information.
Once she gets back to the Palace, Teela prepares to teach Adam in a survival skills class. However, Adam doesn’t turn up, and after two hours, Teela finds him relaxing in the courtyard. Sounding more irritated than usual, Adam tells her that he didn’t feel like attending the class and suggests that Teela loosen up and have some fun once in a while. He then actually pulls rank and dismisses her; once she’s gone, Adam has a heart-to-heart with Cringer concerning the differences between himself and He-Man.
Teela runs whinging to Man-at-Arms, who claims he’s not taking anyone’s side but then immediately tells Teela that she does need to loosen up. He suggests that since Adam wants fun, Teela should find a way of combining work and fun. Teela likes this idea so much that she makes an oddly sexual noise, and runs off to find Adam. They both apologise to each other for the incident in the courtyard, and Teela suggests going to have a picnic.
After the picnic, Teela tells Adam that they are now going to play hide-and-seek; she will hide, and Adam will find her. This is her clever way of teaching Adam tracking skills, and it all goes well until Teela manages to fall down into the abyss surrounding Castle Grayskull. Fortunately, she lands on a ledge rather than falling to the centre of the planet, but it’s still not good news: with a surprising touch of realism, her arm is broken. Luckily, she has a signalling beacon with her, so turns that on to alert her friends to her predicament.
Unable to find Teela, Adam returns to the Palace, where Man-at-Arms picks up Teela’s signal. They track her to the jawbridge, then find her footprints leading over the edge into the abyss. The Sorceress determines that Teela is alive, but warns our heroes that due to very strong updrafts, they will not be able to take a flying vehicle down. Adam thus decides to transform into He-Man and climb down to rescue Teela.
While Adam undergoes the transformation, Teela watches from her ledge as white energy flies up the abyss – evidently Grayskull’s power being channelled into He-Man. Despite a few minor setbacks, in which He-Man demonstrates that he is by no means a skilled mountaineer, Teela is rescued successfully.
In today’s adventure…
He-Man and Man-at-Arms tell us that today, Teela learned that it’s just as important to play as it is to work, but it’s also very important to learn the rules for playing safely. The moral is that if you are playing out of sight of your family or friends, you should make sure someone knows where you are. This is very sensible and a perfect conclusion to draw from this episode’s events.
This one sticks mostly to the core characters: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, and Beast-Man. The Widgets can also be seen if you really want to see them, but I’m assuming that you’re sane and therefore you don’t.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Once again, only those already in the know are around when Adam makes his transformation, so he doesn’t need to give an excuse.
At the beginning, with his plan failing, Beast-Man’s rock monsters run away, leaving Beast-Man to call them “cowards” and “miserable traitors”. Teela subsequently refers to Beast-Man as “furface”.
Does it have the Power?
This is an episode of really rather surprising sophistication. For one thing (aside from Beast-Man’s cameo appearance at the start), there’s no baddy and no evil plan to foil. The only other episodes to try this tack, as far as I can recall, are The Starchild and The Remedy, and we all know how those worked out. Into the Abyss, on the other hand, is a real gem.
The dialogue is both snappy and realistic, and the characterisation of our heroes is probably the best it’s ever been. Adam’s frustration at being He-Man, but no one knowing it, has been explored before but never better than here; and for once it’s possible to see Teela’s point of view, rather than her coming across as a screeching harridan. Man-at-Arms and the Sorceress both show real parental concern, and it’s really quite touching at the end when Teela says she can feel the love of her mother – even though she doesn’t know who that is.
In addition, it’s a truly great touch to see the Power of Grayskull flooding up through the abyss, as Teela watches uncomprehendingly. In conclusion, this is a real must-see, certainly in the top 10 of the series.