Episode 098 – Search for the Past

In which Prince Adam leaps out of a moving Wind Raider for no reason whatsoever.

Man-at-Arms and Orko go shopping down at the market. You might think that the episode can’t get any more exciting than that, but it does. At one trader’s stall, Man-at-Arms spots a golden bracelet which used to belong to King Randor’s father, King Miro, and demands to know where he found it. On learning that it came from the Swamps of Enchantment, Man-at-Arms takes the bracelet to Randor, and the two of them decide to go to the Swamps to find Miro.

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King Randor: “You’re nicked.”

Concerned for her husband, Queen Marlena asks Adam and Cringer to go to the Swamps as well. She is right to be worried: Man-at-Arms’ stupendous incompetence has already led to Randor being kidnapped by the Enchantress, a sexy sorceress who was responsible for Miro’s disappearance many years ago.

Adam and Cringer fly to the Swamps in the Wind Raider. Once they get there they decide not to land the Wind Raider like normal, but instead jump out and float down using parachutes, leaving the Wind Raider to land itself. This is bizarre behaviour, the only reason for which Adam gives is the non sequitur phrase, “In that spinach?” Adam is mental.

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Cringer: “This sequence must have been a devil of a job for the animators.”

They quickly locate Man-at-Arms, and decide to turn into He-Man and Battle-Cat for good measure. They soon decide that Randor must be being held in Lost Mountain, which is a mountain hovering in mid-air directly above the Swamps. Unsure of how to get up to the mountain, He-Man comments that it would be good to have a Wind Raider. There is no hint in his voice that it’s his own bloody insane fault that they don’t.

Without a Wind Raider available, He-Man instead catapults himself onto the mountain using a bent tree, and sets off to find the missing royals. He finds King Miro first, who is in a rock cabin at the very top of a mountain spire, and he reveals that Randor is probably being held in Castle Fear, back on solid ground. They set off together, awarding themselves a fight with a stupid monster en route.

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King Miro: “Thank goodness you’re not my grandson Adam. I’d do my nut if he dyed his hair neon orange.”

He-Man and Miro parachute off Lost Mountain and head for Castle Fear, picking up Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat as they go. The Enchantress tries to defeat the assembled party with various stupid monsters and magic tricks, but fails entirely. Once she’s dealt with, Randor offers Miro his throne back, but Miro declines, opting instead to roam Eternia and learn about its people anew. I predict that after two weeks of learning about imbeciles like Ram-Man and Buzz-Off, Miro will be back at the Palace, begging to live with Randor and Adam, who are at least borderline sane.


In today’s adventure…

Orko gives us two morals for the price of one this week:

  • You can’t do bad things without being punished for them.
  • If you have a grandmother or grandfather, you are really lucky.

The first of these wasn’t exactly demonstrated; Orko tries to make out that the Enchantress got punished, but she didn’t really – she just got carried off camera by a giant slug (sorry, I didn’t mention that in the synopsis). What happened to her thereafter is anyone’s guess. The second wasn’t really demonstrated either: having a grandfather in this episode led to He-Man having to mess about catapulting himself onto floating mountains and other such rubbish, which I’d hesitate to describe as lucky. My guess is that the writers knew each of these lessons singularly was too weak to carry the episode, so they thought that if they mashed them together, that would be good enough.

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The Enchantress: “I wonder why so many female magicians on Eternia wear birds on their heads.”


Character checklist

This week’s effort treats us to Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, King Randor, Queen Marlena, King Miro, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Enchantress, the marketplace trader, and the massive slug.



The Enchantress does a lot of insulting this week, but her voice is really soft so I couldn’t tell what she was saying a lot of the time. It’s a definite fact that she refers to her sluggy servant thing as a “bothersome insect”, a “slimy slug”, a “fool”, and “sludge”. She also calls Miro a “royal buffoon” and might call Randor a “fool”, but her soft voice lets her down here. He-Man refers to one of the stupid monsters as an “ugly snowball”, and two more as “mudballs”, which suggests He-Man has acquired a sudden and unexpected obsession with balls.

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Stupid monster: “Smugger than Nigel Farage on 24th June 2016.”


Egg on your face?

It barely qualifies, but since this category has been quiet lately, I should report that Orko’s stupid clumsiness brings a huge pile of oranges down on his head.


Does it have the Power?

There’s an inherent problem with episodes like this one. From the moment the prospect arises that King Miro might be alive, we know he will be, because Filmation doesn’t do tragic. We also know, however, that even though he’s alive, he’s not going to take his throne back from Randor. Further to that, we’re pretty confident that we’ll never see him again. Consequently, it’s really difficult to get invested in the plotline, because it’s not going to have any long-term impact. And yes, I know that every episode restores matters to the status quo at the end, but most of them don’t offer potentially huge changes as a consequence of the episode’s events, like this one does.

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King Miro: “I’m leaving now, Adam. There’s no need to ever mention me again.”

It doesn’t help, I suppose, that the Enchantress is a boring and utterly motiveless baddy, and that Randor and Miro don’t really seem to care when they are reunited. Adam makes a valiant attempt to convince us that he’s pleased to meet his grandfather, but while we’re on the subject of Adam, his behaviour with the Wind Raider this week was so far outside the realms of logic that I’m tempted to conclude he’s cracked under the pressure and gone completely insane.

So, unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of this one. I recommend missing it.

That’s the last review for a couple of weeks now. Should be back around about 4th November. Don’t miss me too much.


Episode 097 – The Time Wheel

In which He-Man goes head to head with a boring old king.

Out exploring in a rocky canyon, He-Man and Orko discover a tunnel leading into an ancient Silkon laboratory. He-Man explains that the Silkon civilisation died out many centuries previously, and decides not to give us any further background, even though we’re eagerly hanging on his every word. Instead, He-Man activates a boring booby-trap that shoots some boomerangs at him, while Orko gets himself trapped in another room.

Orko discovers a great big golden wheel with a handle, and because he just can’t leave anything well enough alone, he turns it. This prompts a migraine-inducing light show, at the end of which we find a man called Tamask, who wears a Viking helmet, wields a club, and demands to know who has kidnapped him from his palace. In the course of the subsequent conversation, it emerges that Tamask is a Sorcerer-King of Eternia from long ages past, who has been brought to the future by Orko’s meddling.

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Tamask: “I may have come from centuries ago, but at least Eternian fashion hasn’t changed much.”

Orko’s lack of finesse leads Tamask to conclude that King Randor is a pretender to his throne, and sets off to challenge him in battle. Before going, he seals He-Man and Orko in a room, and He-Man narrows his eyes and glares at Orko, which is a perfectly natural reaction – the only difference between He-Man and me is that I’d have glared at Orko 97 episodes ago. By now, I’d be at the tying-Orko-to-the-train-tracks stage.

He-Man punches his way out of the room and chases Tamask, with Orko still in tow. Once they catch up, they attempt to reason with Tamask, though they make zero effort to explain what has happened. Tamask refuses to listen, believing them to be his Silkon enemies, and conjures up a giant centipede, while he carries on his merry way to the Palace.

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He-Man: “Oh, for goodness sake.”

Once he arrives, he notes that the Palace looks very different, but concludes that Randor must be a very powerful sorcerer to have made all these changes. He bounds into the throne room, making stupid proclamations about reclaiming his throne, but Randor refuses to fight him. Instead, he chooses to wind Tamask up by saying that fighting is rubbish, and that wisdom and compassion are better. Luckily for Randor, He-Man and Orko show up before Tamask has time to act on the implied insult.

He-Man and Randor make some pitiful efforts to explain to Tamask what has happened, but – possibly because they accompany their attempts by having the Palace Guards shooting at him – Tamask again refuses to listen, and does a runner. The rest of the episode is taken up with Tamask running around, conjuring up stupid traps, while He-Man shouts at him for not listening.

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He-Man: “Right, gang, any ideas why we’re being filmed at this jaunty angle?”

Eventually, when one of his traps backfires, Tamask finds himself in need of He-Man’s help. He-Man saves him, and finally Tamask listens. He-Man says, “Thank Christ for that,” and uses the Time Wheel to send Tamask back to his own time. Or possibly uses it to send him into outer space, which is what I’d be tempted to do after all the tedious trouble Tamask’s caused. Once Tamask is gone, the entire Silkon laboratory blows up, which is nice, and at least means that this plotline is unlikely to be repeated.


In today’s adventure…

As with another rubbish episode some time ago, He-Man begins the moral by saying, “I hope you enjoyed today’s adventure story,” which immediately brings to mind the inevitable criticism that we didn’t. He then goes on to say that although we don’t have a Time Wheel in real life, we do have books, and makes a valiant but ultimately doomed effort to claim that books and Time Wheels are pretty much the same thing. He finishes up by suggesting that we all give books a try. I don’t really want to go into how stupid this is, so I won’t.

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He-Man: “Hey kids, you should take some advice on reading material from a guy in red furry underpants.”


Character checklist

It’s a pretty tight cast today, featuring Prince Adam, He-Man, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Tamask, and some Palace guards. Man-at-Arms doesn’t feature, which is just as well, since I don’t think I could bear to look at him after his disgraceful performance last week.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam can’t wait to change into He-Man this week, doing so about 20 seconds after the episode starts, for the tenuous purpose of creating a cave that he and Orko can shelter in. The only witness is Orko, so he doesn’t need to give an excuse.

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Adam: “For Christ’s sake, Orko, turn the bloody hairdryer off.”



For the second week running, no one has an unkind word to say about anyone else this time. It is possibly not a coincidence that in neither of these episodes has Skeletor shown his bony face. That Skeletor, he’s a bad influence on people, you know?


Does it have the Power?

I liked the premise of the episode very much – a savage king, well-versed in powerful sorcery, from Eternia’s past is dragged into the present. Unfortunately, I did not like the execution at all. Tamask was quickly reduced to an idiot who shouted, “Friend of Silkons!” every time anyone tried to talk to him, and all he did was run from the Silkon lab to the Palace and back again, creating pointless and dull diversions for our heroes as he did so. The scene in which He-Man saved his life was inevitable, and to top it all off, the moral was borderline insane. I think you’d be advised to skip this one.

Episode 096 – Battlecat

In which Man-at-Arms releases an ancient demon and blames everybody else.

This episode begins with an extended sequence in which Man-at-Arms, Teela and Adam all properly lay into Orko for being irresponsible and generally annoying. If their vitriol were directed at anyone else, I’d call it a massive case of going overboard, but when it’s Orko, he deserves anything that anyone chooses to throw at him. Once that’s done with, Orko decides to mess about in Man-at-Arms’ lab to create a potion to make Cringer brave.

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Prince Adam: “Jesus Christ, this is pretty scary for pre-watershed fare.”

Well, I was as shocked as any of you when this doesn’t work. Instead, Orko conjures up a seriously terrifying transparent cat demon, which luckily is pretty stupid and is consequently easily trapped in a bottle. Predictably, Man-at-Arms is livid, and after shouting about it for a while, decides that the best thing to do now is to tell – at length – the story of how Adam first met Cringer. This is a random choice, even for Man-at-Arms’ customary inexplicable behaviour, so I can only conclude that he’s completely lost it.

The story begins with a roughly 12 year old Adam heading off on a camping trip on his own, because nothing bad could ever happen on Eternia. Sure enough, Adam quickly comes under attack from a sabre-cat, but he drives it away using a device that imitates animal noises. Once the sabre-cat leaves, Adam finds Cringer, who is still a kitten and possibly the cutest cartoon cat ever. Cringer is injured, so Adam brings him back to the Palace and asks Man-at-Arms to save him.

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Cringer: “Adopt me. Please adopt me. I am the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen.”

Because Filmation couldn’t be bothered to animate a character called the Palace Vet, Man-at-Arms successfully restores Cringer to health. Cringer earns his name when he takes fright at a crowd of the most hideous children I’ve ever seen, for which I can’t say I blame him. He is also terrified when the disembodied head of the Sorceress appears to have a chat with Adam, which again is reasonable.

Years pass, until one day Melaktha and his archaeological team find a temple in the Tikon Jungle which is over 100 centuries old. Marlena suggests that Man-at-Arms goes on the expedition to investigate, because he is the most skilled person on Eternia at deciphering ancient writings. Excuse me? So Man-at-Arms is the Palace inventor, vet, and poly-linguist? Couldn’t they have given this skill to someone else – you know, someone like Stratos, who doesn’t seem to have any abilities?

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Man-at-Arms: “I reckon if I stand here in this pose, looking at the paper seriously, everyone will think I’m doing some difficult translation work rather than just reading the Daily Star.”

Anyway, Adam, Teela and Cringer all tag along on the expedition, and quickly get some hints that the temple is super evil. Shortly before nightfall, Adam and Teela find a doorway to the temple, which has been bricked up. They inform Man-at-Arms, but he tells them to wait till morning before investigating. This does not suit Adam and Teela, who return to the door and succeed in opening it very slightly, before giving up and trotting off to bed.

In the morning, despite translating the ancient writings on the temple as meaning “WARNING – EVIL!”, Man-at-Arms decides to blast open the door. This releases a big blue demon thing called a Gedge, and the combined might of Teela, Ram-Man and the Palace Guards fails to slow it down. Adam thus decides that He-Man is needed and, seemingly on a whim, during the transformation he points his sword at Cringer, who becomes the mighty Battle-Cat. Genuinely, this move seems to be prompted by him thinking, “Hmm, I wonder what will happen if I shoot this energy at the cat?”

The Sorceress appears in a vision to explain that to defeat the Gedge, He-Man will have to be clever, which is precisely the sort of useful advice she’s always giving. I seriously doubt He-Man was thinking, “To defeat this monster, I’ll have to be really stupid.” Anyway, He-Man does some stuff which barely qualifies as clever in my book, and successfully reseals the Gedge in the temple. It’s worth pointing out that Man-at-Arms tries his damnedest to seal He-Man and Battle-Cat inside as well, so I’m sure He-Man will be keeping a close eye on him in the future.

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The Sorceress: “No, He-Man. No matter how miserable you look, I will not buy you another ice cream.”

Man-at-Arms ends this rambling and irrelevant story by attempting to tie it in with Orko’s actions at the beginning of the episode, claiming that the Gedge wouldn’t have got out if Adam and Teela hadn’t ignored his instructions. This is entirely untrue. Yes, Adam and Teela did open the door a crack, but the Gedge didn’t get out until Man-at-Arms rocked up with his massive charges of dynamite and blew up the door. Still, Orko nods and pretends to have taken in the lesson, but I’m sure next time he’ll be happily meddling again.


In today’s adventure…

Orko and Man-at-Arms talk about poisons this week. They show us a big bottle with a massive skull-and-crossbones on it, and inform us that we mustn’t touch bottles that look like this, of which there were absolutely loads in my house when I was growing up. This lesson might have sunk in more effectively if the animators hadn’t chosen to draw Man-at-Arms with his mouth hanging open in a really gormless smile for this scene.

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Man-at-Arms: “Don’t worry about me, I’m completely out of my mind.”

Anyway, the real lesson of this episode, quite clearly, is that if you are in a position of authority – like Man-at-Arms – and act quickly to shift the blame to someone else, you’ll get away scot free. I can’t believe his blatancy in trying to make out the whole business with the Gedge was Adam and Teela’s fault, when it was definitely him and his explosives obsession that caused the problem.


Character checklist

Oh, you know the drill by now. It would barely qualify as a He-Man episode if it didn’t have Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela and the Sorceress in it. It’s also got King Randor, Queen Marlena, Melaktha, some random woman, a load of horrible children, some Palace guards, some workmen, and a surprise appearance from Ram-Man, who we haven’t seen in a while. The Gedge is in it too, but who the hell gives a monkeys about that?

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Gedge: “Sorry for being such a rubbish monster.”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

No one asks and no one cares.



It’s been a long, long time since we’ve had an episode with no insults in it, but this one qualifies, unless one counts the beastly bullying children shrieking “Cringer! Cringer!” at Cringer.


Does it have the Power?

Apart from the outstandingly cute scenes of Cringer as a kitten, there’s not much going for this one. While I do appreciate the efforts to fill in the background of some of our characters, I don’t really care about the first time Cringer became Battle-Cat, especially not when it’s because of a massively boring monster like the Gedge. It’s almost as if they wanted to do an episode about the first time Adam became He-Man, but chickened out and compromised with Battle-Cat.

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He-Man: “Hey, homies, check out my new wheels.”

In its favour, the episode does start off looking like it’s going to be a dreadful episode about Orko, and it skirts round that pitfall pretty neatly. But Man-at-Arms seems to have only a very flimsy excuse for relating the Battle-Cat story in the first place, and frankly he’d have been better off not telling it, because the behaviour he exhibits in the story is frankly reprehensible.

In short, I suppose I’d better recommend watching it, because at least you’ll know a bit of Adam and Cringer’s history. But it’s only a grudging recommendation, because it’s pretty boring history. If you do skip it, then don’t worry, I won’t blame you. But Man-at-Arms will.