Episode 095 – A Bird in the Hand

In which Orko causes a right load of trouble, again.

Orko begins the episode by deciding to irritatingly insert himself into an unsuspecting victim’s life, and selects for this honour Stanlin, Melaktha’s apprentice. He tries to use magic to help Stanlin dust some archaeological artefacts, but of course it goes wrong, and a statue of a wolf ends up smashed. All is not lost, however; in the remains of the statue, Orko and Stanlin discover a map written in an unknown language. They show it to Adam, who suggests asking the Sorceress to decipher it.

Bird 1
Stanlin: “Piss off, Orko. Go on. Go away.”

Adam, Cringer, Orko and Stanlin take a Wind Raider to Grayskull, Stanlin worrying all the way about what Melaktha will say when he finds the statue is broken. As it happens, Teela quickly fills Melaktha in on the events, and they decide to follow the others to Grayskull. Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw are also flying around, seemingly with no purpose other than vaguely looking for trouble, and conclude that they might as well go to Grayskull too.

On arrival, Beast-Man sends a small purple beast called a Hollywag into the castle, to listen in on all the conversations taking place inside. This is precisely the sort of thing that would drive me nuts, since all he’s going to hear is Orko’s usual deranged gibber, the Sorceress being unable to do anything, Adam not saying anything useful, and Cringer whining about being tired/hungry/frightened.

Bird 2
The Sorceress: “I really do wish I owned a pair of trousers.”

The Sorceress soon deduces that the map leads through the Caves of the Wind to the Temple of the Wolf, in which can be found the Ancients’ Book of Spells. The Hollywag relays this information to Beast-Man, and Skeletor decides that the Ancients’ Book of Spells would be pretty handy. His next step is therefore to try to shoot down the Wind Raider, which seems completely crazy, since the Hollywag has already told him how to get to the Temple, so all he needs to do is go there and get the Book first.

Flying the Wind Raider, Adam manages to evade Skeletor, so Skeletor opts to head for the Caves of the Wind and wait for our heroes there. Somehow, Melaktha and Teela arrive at the Caves before Adam’s party does, and they are immediately captured in a net by Skeletor, who then implies that Stanlin has told him about the Ancients’ Book of Spells. Melaktha is very quick to believe the worst of Stanlin, but Teela is less certain.

Bird 3
Melaktha: “No, I wanted to see Teela in her fishnets, not this type of net.”

It’s at about this point that – with a distinct lack of provocation – Adam decides that enough is enough and that it’s time for He-Man to show up. Even with He-Man on the scene, however, Skeletor proves himself capable of stealing the map and kidnapping Stanlin. As he leaves, he causes a cave-in, but He-Man isn’t in the mood for such tomfoolery and turns himself into a drill to deal with it. He then meets up with Melaktha and Teela, and they all head off to the Temple.

Once at the Temple, Skeletor dimwittedly manages to conjure up a wolf, which chases him and Beast-Man away. Stanlin is left to retrieve the Book, but as soon as he does so, Skeletor reappears and tries to seize it from him. Luckily, He-Man and his party show up, He-Man throws some rocks around, and Melaktha is convinced that Stanlin isn’t a traitor after all. The episode ends with a very prescient comment from Stanlin: “I shouldn’t have let Orko help me in the first place.” This is a lesson for us all.

Bird 4
Orko: “Such a hilarious moment.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela says that anyone who jumps to conclusions will usually find that the conclusion is wrong, as Melaktha did when he listened to Skeletor saying that Stanlin is a traitor. Warning against jumping to conclusions is all well and good, but this episode really demonstrates that you shouldn’t listen to inexplicably muscle-y blue skeletons.

 

Character checklist

For the most part, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw. Melaktha and Stanlin are the only particularly noteworthy characters.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam’s transformation comes pretty much out of the blue, as if the writer suddenly realised, “Oh Christ, we’re halfway through this episode and He-Man hasn’t shown up yet.” There’s no very good reason offered for the transformation, and no one comments on it.

Bird 5
Adam: “You know what, Cringer? I’m just going to turn into He-Man and wrap this one up early.”

 

Insults

There’s a lot of insults this week, but they’re pretty much all Skeletor telling someone or another that they’re a “fool”. Trapjaw is the recipient of this treatment once, while Stanlin earns the title twice. Skeletor also refers to Beast-Man as “Furface” and a “clumsy oaf”, and Trapjaw as an “incompetent pile of scrap metal”. Beast-Man calls the Hollywag “lizard-lips” and a “stupid Hollywag”, while He-Man makes the understatement of the century when he comments, “Skeletor is not the most honest man on Eternia.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It didn’t exactly blow me away as a work of staggering genius, but neither was it rubbish. The idea of the Hollywag spying on our heroes was a good one, but as usual Skeletor completely failed to capitalise on his advantage. He could have been at the Temple a long time earlier, and if he hadn’t messed about creating wolves, the Book would have been his. I really wonder sometimes if Skeletor doesn’t actually want to win.

Bird 6
He-Man: “Don’t mess with me, wolf. I eat bigger things than you for breakfast.”

The one bit of the episode that I really felt didn’t work was Melaktha’s eagerness to believe that Stanlin was a traitor. Stanlin has been working with Melaktha for a long time – his last appearance was about 50 episodes ago – so you would think that Melaktha would have got to know him by now. The sequence in which Melaktha believes Stanlin has betrayed them doesn’t really go anywhere either, so it’s plainly just there to set up the moral.

As a side-note, the first time I wrote “Stanlin” in this review, Microsoft Word auto-corrected it to “Stalin”, and I must say that if the episode had featured He-Man hanging out with a cartoon Stalin, it would have been absolutely amazing, if somewhat unlikely in 1980s America. If anyone fancies messing about with the master tape to replace Stanlin with Stalin for this episode, I will buy them a cookie.

Bird 7
Cringer: “Er, Adam, are you aware that one of the most infamous dictators of the 20th century is sat next to you in the Wind Raider?”

Anyway, as a pretty standard He-Man-by-numbers, I’d expect you’ll enjoy this one, but it’s not possessed of anything that raises it above the average.

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Episode 094 – Journey to Stone City

In which Evil-Lyn gets her deviousness on.

Prince Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko are out in the Vine Jungle, hunting for the ancient ruins of Stone City. According to legend, Stone City contains a great treasure, which explains why Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan have been tracking our heroes for three days, hoping to capture the great treasure for themselves. They are curiously ill-informed as to what the treasure is, but I’m sure it’ll be something that they can use to conquer Eternia once and for all.

After he gets into a really quite random argument with a tree, Orko discovers a complete map showing the way to the City. Rather than following our heroes any further, Evil-Lyn chooses this moment to make her move, stealing the map and setting up a less than impressive stone trap. Adam turns into He-Man, busts out of the trap, and sets off after Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan. Attack Trak claims the villains have quite a head start, but this is a transparent attempt to add some tension, since they sauntered off about 45 seconds previously.

Stone City 1
Orko: “Yes, okay, I may have overdone it on the LSD at Glasto this year.”

Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan arrive at the City to discover that it is populated by hundreds of stone statues. They indulge in a spot of looting, nicking a large machine and teleporting it back to Snake Mountain for later – but come to a halt when one of the statues starts moving, then comes alive and proclaims “Free! Free! At last!” For some reason, this freaks the villains right out, and they run away.

The newly awakened man introduces himself as Volkan, and tells Evil-Lyn that the people of Stone City are its greatest treasure. This news does not please Evil-Lyn one bit, and she becomes even less pleased when Volkan announces his intention to wake up the rest of his people and resume the fight against evil. Unfortunately, it emerges that the stolen machine is the Life Bringer, and without it, Volkan cannot wake the other statues.

Stone City 2
Evil-Lyn: “I never thought I’d be the most sensibly dressed person in the room.”

Evil-Lyn now exhibits her usual cunning, and explains that He-Man has nicked the Life Bringer. Volkan is as gullible as every other one-shot guest star and believes her, despite her ridiculously evil laugh and the fact that Webstor loudly says, “WHAT?” and has to be shushed. Evil-Lyn takes Volkan to Castle Grayskull and invites him to break in to retrieve the Life Bringer. The Sorceress, as ever unable to repel an attack, instantly chickens out and summons He-Man.

Just as Volkan brings the jawbridge down, He-Man arrives and jumps into his path. He attempts to talk matters over, but Volkan is more interested in shooting red energy beams out of his torso, which is understandable. I wish I could do that. Anyway, Volkan learns the hard way that red energy beams don’t impress He-Man, and he winds up lying on his back with Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan shouting at him.

Stone City 3
Volkan: “Draw me like one of your French girls, He-Man.”

Evil-Lyn makes something of a tactical error at this stage and tells Volkan that she has the Life Bringer after all, and says she’ll give it back if He-Man surrenders Castle Grayskull. He-Man has zero interest in this deal, perhaps because he hasn’t got the foggiest what the Life Bringer is, though admittedly there is a clue in its name. The villains thus teleport back to Snake Mountain, while Volkan apologises to He-Man, who agrees to help him recover the Life Bringer.

He-Man and Volkan head to Snake Mountain and start pummelling the walls down. Skeletor puts in a cameo appearance to tell He-Man completely pointless lies, and then attempts to drop the Life Bringer directly onto He-Man’s head. Returning to Stone City, Man-at-Arms reinstalls the Life Bringer and Volkan uses it to awaken his people. He then apologises again for the earlier misunderstanding, and offers his services if ever they are needed in the future. He-Man doesn’t say anything, but you can see the look of faint scorn on his face at the implication that Volkan could ever help with anything.

Stone City 4
Man-at-Arms: “Okay, we’ve tried turning it off and on again.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers the moral this week, telling us that we should always listen to He-Man’s side of the story before deciding who to blame. It is possible that this advice was supposed to be more generally applicable, but I choose to believe that I should listen to He-Man before making any future decisions.

 

Character checklist

A few unusual faces here, among the standard crowd. Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are of course the regulars, but it’s nice to see appearances from Webstor and Kobra Khan. Volkan is of course the character of the week, as is that tree, for whatever reason. There’s also all of the inhabitants of Stone City, and I can’t remember whether I count the Attack Trak as a character, but let’s err on the safe side and mention it.

Stone City 5
Attack Trak: “Yay, a picture of me and only me!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam turns into He-Man while trapped inside a stone cube with Man-at-Arms and Orko. Therefore, he doesn’t need to give an excuse to these two, but he’s lucky no one’s outside watching when he emerges. Not even Teela is stupid enough to disregard Adam’s substitution for He-Man while inside a stone cube.

 

Insults

There’s some unusual insults in this episode, beginning with Kobra Khan telling Webstor, “You don’t smell too good.” In a similar vein, a tree addresses Orko to say, “You talk too much.” Volkan calls Kobra Khan a “Snake-man” which I think was supposed to be insulting. We’re back on more familiar territory when Evil-Lyn calls Volkan a “fool” twice, once behind his back and subsequently to his face.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is an all-round entertaining episode, which builds a bit of history and legend into our usual setting. The hunt for a treasure in ancient ruins is a pretty standard motif, and it’s good to see the twist that the treasure is the people. Equally entertaining is Evil-Lyn’s scornful reaction to this revelation. Her cunning plan to blame He-Man for the Life Bringer’s disappearance is entirely in character and confirms her position as Skeletor’s most intelligent sidekick.

Stone City 6
Webstor: “This will make a lovely entrance to the new Skeletor theme park.”

Skeletor himself gets some hugely fun moments, my favourite being the brilliant ending in which he decrees that since Evil-Lyn and Webstor (though, oddly, not Kobra Khan) like stone statues so much, they must spend the next month chiselling an enormous statue of him. His attitude when He-Man attacks Snake Mountain is also joyfully belligerent. In short, this episode offers everything you’d want from a classic He-Man romp: you shouldn’t miss it.

Episode 093 – Trouble’s Middle Name

In which Negator puts in an unexpected and unwelcome repeat appearance.

He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko are invited to a ceremony at the Temple of the Sun. The Keepers of the Temple use the Sunstone to perform acts of charity, such as curing illnesses, but now the Sunstone’s batteries need recharging. This can only be done once a century, when the sun is in a certain position, and requires the presence of the universe’s most powerful forces of good.

Trouble
Orko: “Hmm, let’s see. A mysterious artefact, right at the beginning of the episode. No, can’t possibly be anything bad.”

En route to the Temple, our heroes come across a giant bottle in the sand. Battle-Cat is the only member of the team with an ounce of brains, suggesting that they leave it well alone, but his idiotic companions overrule him and open the bottle. This releases a Trollan who introduces himself as Prankster, and he promises to be more annoying than the average Trollan, in that he comes from a region renowned for its practical jokes. Prankster is insistent that his real name must remain secret, and Orko explains that if Prankster’s real name is revealed, he will have to return to Trolla.

Pausing only to magic up some impressive moustaches for Orko and Battle-Cat, Prankster disappears, and our heroes continue on their way to the Temple. Their departure is observed by Negator, who if I’m not mistaken, was the baddy in the less than impressive episode Game Plan. On this occasion, Negator intends to absorb the power of the Sunstone for himself and become the Most Powerful Man in the Universe (TM).

Trouble 2
Negator: “If I pose sufficiently suavely, I might get on the cover of What Spaceship? next month.”

Prankster’s tricks are irritating but ultimately benign, but Negator develops a nasty habit of taking the tricks and developing them into a much more serious form. Prankster conjures up some butterflies, which Negator turns into wolf bats. When Prankster creates some tiny insects, Negator magnifies them to dangerous proportions. Of course, Prankster gets the blame for Negator’s enhancements, though he doesn’t seem to care.

Once our heroes reach the Temple, the Keepers begin the ceremony, which appears to be no more complex than raising the Sunstone on a plinth so that it is very slightly nearer to the sun. This is evidently what Negator has been waiting for, since he now makes his move, seizing the Sunstone and using it for the unexpected purpose of doubling his size. He then erects a forcefield, which prevents He-Man from reaching him, and settles down to absorb the Sunstone’s power.

Trouble 3
Negator: “Must admit, I was expecting a bigger turnout for my gig tonight.”

Outside, Prankster is trying to come up with a super practical joke, and eventually opts to conjure up a raincloud to block out the sun. As soon as he does this, the Sunstone is unable to recharge its energy from the sun, so starts draining power out of Negator instead. As he shrinks, Negator pointlessly shoots what remains of the Sunstone’s power into the raincloud, causing an energy storm. He then shrinks so much that he disappears inside the Sunstone.

He-Man then does something incomprehensible which enables him to fly up into the energy storm, where he does something else incomprehensible to get the Sunstone’s energy back. This is all wrapped up nice and neatly and as quickly as possible, to ensure that there is enough time for Prince Adam to find out what Prankster’s real name is, and thus send him back to Trolla – notably without thanking him for his raincloud joke which, like it or not, did save the day.

Trouble 4
Prince Adam: “Prankster, this scroll has the story of Rumplestiltskin on it. You may as well start back to Trolla now.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela not unexpectedly considers that this episode taught us that practical jokes have a way of getting out of hand. Well, judging by this week’s evidence, that’s only the case if there’s some blue-skinned freak hanging round putting his own finishing touches to your jokes. Prankster is actually the hero of this episode – if he hadn’t pulled his raincloud stunt, who knows what would have happened? The moral we all learned, therefore, is that practical jokes are really useful, until someone interferes.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam makes his transformation alone, and no one seems to want to know where he is, so no excuses are needed this week.

 

Character checklist

Well, whoop whoop de loop, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Negator, Prankster, and a variety of Temple of the Sun gentlemen in silly hats.

Trouble 5
Temple Keeper: “Got to be honest, our outfits would look a bit better if they included some trousers.”

 

Insults

There’s a moment when Orko and Teela refer to the absent Skeletor as “rotten”, but that’s all we get this time.

 

Does it have the Power?

I wouldn’t describe it as my favourite by any stretch, but it’s not offensively awful either. Prankster isn’t very interesting, but at least he never crosses the line into infuriating as I had feared he would. Similarly, Negator’s evil plot is fairly dull but serviceable. There’s very little to say about this episode one way or the other; it exists, it goes by relatively pleasantly, but doesn’t distinguish itself at all.

Episode 092 – The Littlest Giant

In which He-Man reveals an unnecessary talent for baking.

Oh, what? Really? This is actually genuinely unfair. After last week’s less than enthralling foray into the world of the Widgets, we are treated to a second episode all about them today. This time, the focus is on Squinch, with whom the viewer is clearly supposed to identify. His problem is that he’s really small – though in comparison to the other Widgets, he’s pretty average – and he believes that if he were as big as He-Man, he’d be a hero too. He’s probably right, but do you care? I don’t.

When a massive tree blows down in a gale, blocking the entrance to the Widgets’ fortress, Squinch tries to chop it in half, but completely fails. The other Widgets summon He-Man, who clearly hasn’t got anything better to do, because he arrives almost immediately and moves the tree, giving Squinch deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Again I ask though – do you care?

Littlest 1
He-Man: “Face it, Squinch. You just aren’t anywhere near as interesting as me.”

The plot now takes an unexpected if completely nonsensical turn: Squinch goes to Snake Mountain to ask Skeletor to make him as big as He-Man. Evil-Lyn gives Squinch a golden box and tells him to give it to He-Man – without telling him where it came from – and in return, she will grant Squinch’s wish. Disregarding the numerous times Skeletor and Evil-Lyn have messed with the Widgets, Squinch believes them and runs off to give He-Man the box.

The animators give He-Man a look of utterly insane delight when Squinch gives him the box, but once he opens it, it’s a completely different story. The box contains some evil magic which knocks He-Man and Battle-Cat out, after which Skeletor loads them into his flying machine and zooms off, crowing happily and doing utterly unnecessary loop-the-loops.

Littlest 2
He-Man: “Best golden box ever.”

Of course, Skeletor goes wrong at this point. The logical next step is to drop He-Man into a lava pit or something equally concerning, but instead he opts to put He-Man in a cage made out of laser beams. Evil-Lyn then magics up a brick wall to surround the laser cage, just for good measure. Skeletor then decides that this week his objective is to steal King Randor’s crown, rather than the secrets of Grayskull, so he heads off to the Palace accordingly.

In the meantime, the Widgets have gone to the Palace to warn Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko. Working off the usual model in He-Man where forgiveness is just one sentence away, Squinch admits that it’s his fault – and is then subjected to a barrage of abuse from our three heroes. Once that’s over with, Man-at-Arms decides that he doesn’t really want He-Man to be rescued, because he sends Teela, Orko and Squinch to do the job. I wouldn’t trust these clowns to fetch a pint of milk from Sainsbury’s, and he thinks they can get He-Man out of Snake Mountain?

Sure enough, Evil-Lyn manages to tie Teela and Orko up within half a second of their arrival. Squinch, on the other hand, manages to release He-Man, and the whole crowd of them return to the Palace just in time to find Skeletor lounging about on the throne. There follows a really stupid fight in the Palace kitchen, which culminates in He-Man baking a giant loaf of bread with Skeletor, Beast-Man and Panthor inside it.

Littlest 3
Skeletor: “Every time I think I’ve had my most humiliating defeat, something even worse happens.”

He-Man then congratulates Squinch, in a piece of dialogue which sounds slightly dubious: “It doesn’t matter how big your body is, but how big you are inside.” I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t come up with a double entendre for this. There must be one there somewhere though. Any ideas?

 

In today’s adventure…

As a special treat, Squinch is allowed to do the moral segment of this episode. He wastes it though: if I’d been him, I’d have taken the opportunity to say, “If you’re a hugely annoying cartoon character like me, why not just piss off?” or something of the like. Instead, he goes through the predictable motions of mumbling about how it doesn’t matter what you look like, so long as you always do your best. He then concludes by suggesting that there’s probably someone who wants to be just like you, so you should always be on the lookout for stalkers.

 

Character checklist

This time, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn, Panthor, Squinch, the other Widgets, and a bunch of Palace guards. Jacob from last week does not appear, thankfully.

Littlest 4
Laura the Widget: “I only agreed to participate in this episode if the producers gave me a massive supply of drugs.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Yet again, nothing. Prince Adam’s getting really lazy about this.

 

Insults

There’s a lot of people, mainly baddies, referring to Squinch as “little one”, though only Skeletor does this with sufficient sneer to make it a definitive insult. Evil-Lyn does up the ante with “little fool” though.

The episode concludes with He-Man calling Orko a “big clown”. This is accompanied by some absolutely terrifying animation of Orko, half-hidden in shadow, laughing in an actively sinister way about nothing at all. I am definitely going to dream about this tonight, and it’s not going to be fun.

Littlest 5
He-Man: “I have never been this terrified ever before.”

 

Does it have the Power?

If I’m going to be absolutely fair, it’s not that bad. I maintain that Squinch and the Widgets are really annoying, and putting them in two episodes in a row is completely uncalled for. On the other hand, this one’s a lot more watchable than last week’s effort, even if the plot relies on Squinch trusting Evil-Lyn, which is something that would genuinely never happen, given their history (which stretches all the way back to the twelfth episode of the series, Evil-Lyn’s Plot). It did entertain me to see Skeletor being baked into a loaf of bread, which happened for absolutely no purpose other than for He-Man to be a dick. In addition, if you’re the sort of person who desperately wants He-Man and Teela to get it on, this episode contains some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it animation of the two of them lying on the ground in a sultry fashion, Teela’s arm round He-Man. This is about as X-rated as this cartoon gets, so enjoy.

Littlest 6
Teela: “I’m pretty sure my legs must be broken for me to be in this position.”

Episode 091 – Jacob and the Widgets

In which He-Man demonstrably proves there is no upper limit to his ludicrousness.

Thanks to the corodite mineral mined by the Widgets, Man-at-Arms has created a new rocket booster for the Wind Raider. After Teela successfully tests the rocket booster, she and Adam head for the beach with four Widgets, where we are treated to scenes of beach ball and sandcastle building. It’s nice to see Adam and Teela doing their bit for Care in the Community.

Jacob 1
Adam: “I hate it when the Palace public relations officer says I have to go out and meet the proles.”

I was just about at the end of my tether with the sickeningly sweet music and jolly happy family attitude between Adam, Teela and the Widgets, so it comes as a merciful relief when Mer-Man and Trapjaw show up with a batch of unconvincing mechanical sea monsters. They use these for no evident reason to attack a boat belonging to a fisherman called Jacob, which is the cue for He-Man’s entry.

He-Man rescues Jacob and punches the robots into pieces, then considers the danger over and turns back into Adam. In what I think must be a first, Jacob is not grateful for He-Man’s help, and he frets over his destroyed boat and fishing equipment. Our heroes are distinctly unsympathetic to the loss of his livelihood, and get very huffy. As a punishment for his uncooperativeness, Jacob is sent to live with the Widgets until he can get himself a new boat.

Jacob 2
Jacob: “I’d rather take my chances with Trapjaw and Mer-Man, thanks.”

Mer-Man and Trapjaw have a quick debate over what went wrong, and hilariously conclude that they need to build new mechanical sea monsters using a different material – corodite. I’m pretty sure they won’t get to that stage, but even if they do, I can’t believe they genuinely think that building some corodite sea monsters is the key to defeating He-Man. Anyway, Mer-Man briefly kidnaps one of the Widgets called Biro, finds out from him where the corodite is kept, then lets him go after muttering some vague threats.

Once back at the Widgets’ fort, Jacob persists with being grumpy, until Squinch gives him an old fishing rod, at which point he starts whimpering about how no one’s ever been kind to him before. Before this can go any further, Mer-Man floods the mines, then appears in the fortress, demanding corodite and threatening to flood the entire fort if he doesn’t get it. He is secure enough in this plan to indulge in a fishy kind of laugh.

Luckily, Teela decides to pay a visit to the Widgets to see how Jacob is getting on. On discovering Mer-Man in the fort, Teela immediately gets down in a suggestive all fours pose, which is not the most obvious thing to do, but it works out quite well because Mer-Man is stupid enough to trip over her. Jacob then uses his new fishing rod to catch Mer-Man and tie him up, to general acclaim. However, Mer-Man manages to free himself and heads down into the flooded mines to help himself to corodite.

Jacob 3
Mer-Man: “This is possibly my most embarrassing defeat.”

Realising that Teela and Jacob are completely useless, the Widgets summon He-Man, who shows up in very short order. Learning of the situation, he pops down into the mines and kicks Mer-Man, and that’s the end of that. Unfortunately, the tide is coming in and filling the mines with more water – threatening the entire fort.

He-Man decides that this is the sort of thing that requires immediate and disproportionate action. Rather than blocking the water’s entrance to the mine with a rock like he normally would, his solution today is to take the Wind Raider with its new rocket booster out into space. I need hardly remind you that the Wind Raider is an open-top vehicle, so I suppose we can add “breathing in a vacuum” to He-Man’s list of skills.

Jacob 4
He-Man: “I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve gone mad and all this is some strange delusion.”

There is then a ridiculous shot of He-Man standing on the front of the Wind Raider – out in space – and pushing the moon. This of course has the desired effect of reversing the tide and causing the water to flow back out of the Widgets’ fortress. I expect it also causes floods and tsunamis and all sorts of other havoc all over Eternia, but we don’t dwell on that. Once the flood is resolved, He-Man flies to the other side of the moon and pushes it back into its correct orbit, demonstrating at least some sense of environmental responsibility.

In case you cared, which I certainly didn’t, Jacob’s storyline is concluded by him becoming less grumpy and being elected as the Widgets’ new mayor. Hip hip hooray. You’ll forgive me if I don’t give a monkey’s about this.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela tells us that like Jacob, sometimes we don’t know how much we are loved and needed. She then concludes by asking in a pretty accusatory fashion, “Have you hugged your parents today?”

Jacob 5
Jacob: “I’m so glad that I’m loved and needed by these irritating little morons.”

 

Character checklist

Appearing today for our delight and delectation are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Mer-Man, Trapjaw, Jacob, Squinch, Laura, Biro, and the other Widgets, the names of whom temporarily escape me, but who cares, eh? No Orko today, though, so thank the Lord for small mercies.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

We are treated to two transformations from Adam to He-Man this week, but on neither occasion does he bother to excuse himself.

 

Insults

Laura the Widget calls Mer-Man a “fish-face”, which Teela then refines into just plain “fish”. Mer-Man’s insults are reserved for Trapjaw, who he calls a “metal-mouth”, and shortly thereafter states, “You not only look stupid, you are stupid.” Trapjaw is sufficiently stupid to not react in any way to this cutting remark.

Jacob 6
Trapjaw: “Let’s be honest with ourselves, Mer-Man: we both look pretty stupid, don’t we?”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the sort of episode that should carry a public health warning: “If you think you’ve been driven mental by the events depicted in this programme, call 0800-HELP-ME.” Honestly, He-Man’s moon-related antics this week are not only impossible and insane, but they’re also an unnecessarily convoluted way of solving a very simple problem. It’s as if the writer thought, “Oh Christ, everyone’s going to remember this episode as the boring one with the grumpy fisherman. I’d better do something about that: I’ll make them remember it as the demented one where He-Man breathes in space and pushes the moon around.”

The moon bit aside, it’s a very boring episode. The only bit I liked was the quite realistic bit with Jacob’s worry for his livelihood when he was first rescued, and even this was tempered with the secure prediction that he’d end up apologising for his behaviour. In addition, the inclusion of the hugely irritating Widgets is rarely a good way to get me invested in a plot.

Still, if you want to see an episode which goes completely off its head in the last five minutes, there’s probably no better than this. Otherwise, it’s worth missing.