Episode 103 – The Good Shall Survive

In which He-Man takes time out to solemnly inform the audience not to eat baking soda.

In Buzz-Off’s kingdom, the year’s honey harvest has just been completed, when suddenly the giant bees come under attack from some other humanoid insects, known as Tykons. With Buzz-Off away at the Palace, the bees are completely useless, so Orko – who for whatever reason is hanging around the colony, showing magic tricks to unfortunate young bees – is despatched to the Palace to get help.

Skeletor watches the Tykons on his spy globe and comes up with one of his stupider plans – if he can get the Tykons to eat all the food in the Palace warehouse, he believes that Randor will have to hand over the secrets of Castle Grayskull. Skeletor doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp of the principles of cause and effect when it comes to food – in Island of Fear, he also tried a plan which boiled down to “steal food, get secrets of Grayskull”. Nonetheless, he finds the Tykons and leads them towards the kingdom’s only honey warehouse.

Good 1
Skeletor: “I wish my spyglobe could get Netflix, then I wouldn’t have to watch this idiot.”

At the Palace, Orko successfully explains the Tykon situation, and He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Buzz-Off set off to go to the bee colony. He-Man defeats Skeletor this week by speaking sternly to him, which frightens him so much that he walks backwards into a pool of water. He-Man then enters the honey warehouse and tries to explain to the Tykons about the morality (or lack thereof) of stealing.

The Tykons don’t listen, and use their stings to put He-Man to sleep. Well, the dialogue describes it as their stings, but since it’s actually energy rays shot out of their eyes, this seems to be a misnomer, or at the least a serious miscommunication between the writers and the animators. Anyway, our heroes bring He-Man back to the Palace to recover, where they discuss what to do, and decide to try to teach the Tykons about cooperation rather than stealing.

Good 2
Man-at-Arms: “He’s unconscious. Roll him over, Teela, and we’ll write ‘kick me’ on his back. He’ll never know which of us did it.”

The Tykons, however, have already reached the Palace warehouse and eaten everything in it. This includes a Baking Soda Pie which Orko has moronically if conveniently made. He-Man addresses the camera to explain that eating too much baking soda can make you sick. I don’t believe that this was genuinely a major problem among children in the 1980s, but the earnestness with which he gives this little speech suggests that it was a message the writers desperately wished to convey.

Anyway, now that the Tykons are feeling unwell, they retreat to the cave from which they came. He-Man and his mates track them to the cave, where we are treated to noises which sound like the Tykons are projectile-vomiting all over the place. I need hardly add that they aren’t. They are, on the other hand, more receptive to reason now, and He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Buzz-Off persuade them to become friends. This scene is notable largely because Man-at-Arms is stammering like crazy, and it sounds like the voice actor has forgotten his lines and is only barely clinging on to sanity.

At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is eagerly if dementedly awaiting a call from King Randor, who he anticipates will be begging for food. In this, he is sadly disappointed. He-Man comes blundering in with Buzz-Off and the lead Tykon, and – after gratuitously putting Skeletor, Webstor and Kobra Khan upside-down in a vase – steals all of Eternia’s food back. There is then some odd animation of He-Man sauntering sexily into the Palace throne room, where Randor happily accepts the Tykons as friends and makes them the guards of the honeycomb fields.

Good 3
He-Man: “Catwalk queen. Own it.”

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man tells us about the right and wrong way to get what we want, be it a toy, some candy or a cake. These are the only things I ever want, so He-Man’s got a good handle on me. He should work in advertising. Anyway, he informs us that the wrong way to get these things is to steal them, whereas the right way is to ask. He claims that doing this will result in us getting back more than we give. Well, of course it will – we’re not giving anything, you moron. I should also add that he dispenses this sage advice in a much calmer and gentler voice than usual, and it’s so relaxing that you could put it on a cassette tape and go to sleep with it playing softly in the background. Then you’d wake up and He-Man’s morals would have infused your entire being. I’d definitely sign up for that.

 

Character checklist

Well, here we are again, for another of our regular doses of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena and Skeletor. Less regular attendees today are Buzz-Off, Kobra Khan and Webstor. Even less regular are the Tykons and a whole crowd of bee people.

Good 4
Skeletor: “Do you two really have to sneeze in unison?”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“Father, I’ll find He-Man,” says Adam. He then addresses Cringer, “Come on, we’ve got a job to do, old buddy.” It’s so painfully obvious to even the dimmest viewer what’s going on here. Even a complete imbecile who’d never seen this programme before would suspect, and yet Randor, Marlena, Teela and Buzz-Off – all of whom are present – don’t seem to twig.

 

Insults

Teela calls the Tykons “horrible creatures”, and Skeletor refers to Webstor and Kobra Khan as “fools”. There’s also a point where Skeletor addresses no one in particular and gets halfway through saying, “you puny little –” before He-Man rudely interrupts him, so we never find out what this was going to be, though I’m sure it would have been seriously cutting.

 

Egg on your face?

Orko teleports himself all the way from the bee colony into the Palace, which is an impressive trick. It’s less impressive that upon arrival at the Palace, he immediately drops like a stone into a bowl of white stuff (possibly ice cream, possibly porridge) which splatters all over Buzz-Off.

Good 5
Teela: “For Christ’s sake, Orko. You’re stoned again?”

 

Does it have the Power?

Let’s deal with the good parts first, because there aren’t an awful lot of them. In fact, I can’t really think of any. I suppose that grudgingly I’d admit the story isn’t dreadful, though it’s hardly that original or exciting either. I think the only mildly interesting thing about the episode is that I’m pretty sure He-Man actually hits a Tykon, where normally he doesn’t punch people, only objects.

The downsides of the episode, however, are numerous. Firstly, Buzz-Off has a really annoying voice, and so do all the Tykons. The Tykons’ dialogue is also infuriating, consisting largely of baby-sentences like, “Want honey.” They’re like a thin nasal version of the Sugar Puffs monster.

Skeletor seems to be going through the motions this week, with his insane plan which never gets close to success. There is no sense of peril at any stage; even when He-Man breaks into Snake Mountain at the end, the music is chilled out rather than the usual exciting backbeat. The writer exhibits a serious lack of imagination with names – the insects are called Tykons, their leader is called Tykor, and a little bee-child is called Tyke.

Good 6
Tykons: “We may be clones, but would it have been asking too much to give us distinguishing names?”

And finally, there’s a genuine WTF moment at the end. Orko creates an exploding dumpling, which Teela suggests might be useful next 4th July. So, the Eternians celebrate the American Independence Day, do they? Even without that stretch, I’ve never heard of exploding dumplings being a traditional part of Independence Day. Any Americans in my readership, please feel free to correct me here.

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Episode 102 – Revenge is Never Sweet

In which He-Man tries on a smashing new helmet.

The Attack Trak has broken down in the desert, and Adam and Teela are fixing it. Well, actually, Adam’s fixing it, because that’s what men do, and Teela is sitting next to him, watching enthralled, and curling her legs round herself coquettishly, because that’s what women do. Orko offers to help with some magic, which is politely if forcefully refused, and he floats away looking for some trouble to get himself and the others into.

Revenge 1
Teela: “Get on with it, Adam. I’ve got lots of gender stereotyping confirmation to do today.”

Trouble comes along pretty quick. Remember Kothos from The Witch and the Warrior? No, neither did I. Well, he was an evil magician who ended up being turned into a Sand Slug by Evil-Lyn. Orko, being thick as bricks, is persuaded to turn him back, and Kothos embarks on a new career of mayhem. He starts by freezing our heroes to the spot, then decides to exact his revenge on Evil-Lyn.

However, he goes about this in an unusual and – dare I say it – even sensible way. He contacts Skeletor, offering to trade Evil-Lyn for Adam, Teela, Orko, Cringer and He-Man. This last is fairly ambitious, since Kothos doesn’t have He-Man, nor does he have a hope of getting him. Skeletor – who seems to have reacquired his brains since his last appearance in The Greatest Show on Eternia – agrees, but only on condition that Kothos actually capture He-Man first.

In an effort to lure He-Man into a trap, Kothos puts his four captives on a raft, shoves it into the middle of a lake, and then unfreezes them. His reasoning is that He-Man will come barrelling along and be overcome by Kothos’ magic. Adam instantly dives into the lake and swims far enough away to become He-Man without being observed, then returns and shows off by surfing the raft to safety.

Revenge 2
Orko: “Yes, I could float across the lake and fetch help, but I’m not going to.”

Unfortunately, once they reach dry land, Kothos freezes them all again – except He-Man, for whom he arranges a special magic helmet, which effectively neutralises him. Kothos then calls Skeletor to report that he now has He-Man. He doesn’t mention that he’s lost Prince Adam, but Skeletor couldn’t give a flying fox about that. He eagerly puts Evil-Lyn in a cage and flies off to meet Kothos. He reassures Evil-Lyn that he’s simply playing along with Kothos and that she’s in no danger, but he gives a demented little chuckle that left me entirely unsure what he’s actually going to do.

On arrival, Skeletor reveals his true colours and happily exchanges Evil-Lyn for He-Man and co. Kothos wheels Evil-Lyn’s cage into his giant flying palace, which has just arrived on the scene, while Skeletor stands around in the desert praising his own skills in duplicity. Evil-Lyn, however, from her cage uses her magical powers to remove the silly helmet from He-Man’s head, and He-Man promises to rescue her from Kothos as soon as he can.

Revenge 3
Skeletor: “He-Man, you simply have to tell me where you get your adorable hats.”

First, though, he has to deal with Skeletor, which is achieved with consummate ease. With Skeletor out of the way, Team He-Man decides to go the extra mile and really earn their Hero of the Year awards, by going to save Evil-Lyn from Kothos. Equipping themselves with Sky Sleds, He-Man, Teela and Orko fly up to the floating palace, while Cringer is told to go home.

The floating palace is well equipped with a variety of traps, which range from the mildly perilous to the actively tedious. While He-Man wastes time with giant hands, trapdoors and lecturing Kothos on the futility of revenge, Teela and Orko find Evil-Lyn and release her. Unfortunately, Evil-Lyn refuses to go quietly and decides to go to get her revenge on Kothos. At about this point, I’d say our heroes ought to leave them to it, but of course they don’t. Evil-Lyn is stupid enough to fall out of a window though, so there’s no need to deal with her. Kothos, on the other hand, in return for He-Man’s help against Evil-Lyn, swears never to be evil again. Hurrah!

Revenge 4
Kothos: “Looking forward to a life of being good.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Orko deliver the not unexpected moral that getting your own back will simply lead to escalation, and suggest that you should talk things over and start afresh instead. This is not a view that Skeletor subscribes to, I expect. I’d have loved to see the scene where Evil-Lyn returns to Snake Mountain after having freed He-Man. Skeletor is unlikely to have been pleased.

 

Character checklist

Everyone and his mother shows up for this week’s outing: Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Kothos, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, and Kothos’ guards. Incidentally, for those of you who give a toss about such things, Kothos’ guards are re-uses of the Tork animation from Just a Little Lie.

Revenge 5
Evil-Lyn: “This is the sort of thing that prevents me getting onto the front cover of What Witch every month.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He’s just fine,” He-Man explains dismissively, when Teela asks.

 

Insults

It’s all about Evil-Lyn calling people a “fool” this week: Kothos is the lucky recipient twice and his guards once.

 

Does it have the Power?

The title of the episode put me in a bad mood; it led me to expect one of the more tedious moralising instalments, so imagine my surprise when we were presented with an entertaining episode. Kothos wasn’t that exciting in The Witch and the Warrior, and he wasn’t much better this time, but as a plot device to get the story going, he served his purpose pretty well. Skeletor’s scenes were brilliant, of course, and the whole thing zips by most enjoyably. Recommended.

Episode 101 – Not So Blind

In which He-Man and Ram-Man take a blind boy to a cave.

Prince Adam overhears an old man in the marketplace telling some children stories about He-Man’s exploits, so he wanders along to join in. One of the children presciently asks why He-Man doesn’t just smash Skeletor into little bones, and Adam explains that He-Man tries not to hurt any living being. He then goes on to lamely explain that Skeletor will be punished for his evil one day, but the children are unconvinced, as was I.

All the children leave, except one boy, who is blind. His name – for no readily apparent reason – is Loose, and he expresses a desire to meet He-Man. Adam offers him the chance to go on an adventure with He-Man, and Loose accepts. First needing to ask permission from his parents, he leads Adam to his home. It is made clear at this juncture that Loose may be blind, but he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself.

Blind 1
Storyteller: “I’ve got the best hat ever, and don’t even try to tell me otherwise.”

Adam evidently decides that he doesn’t like Loose very much, because he next introduces him to Ram-Man, who is definitely not the person I’d most want to meet if I visited Eternia. As Adam pops off to turn into He-Man, Loose feels Ram-Man’s face and asks him various questions like, “Where is your neck?” and “How do you turn your head?” This is all intended to demonstrate that the blind boy can ‘see’ as well as any of us, but it comes perilously close to pointing out just how stupid Ram-Man’s character design is.

He-Man now appears and introduces himself to Loose, then suggests that the three of them go to find the legendary Singing Crystals. This whole sequence feels as if it’s the start of a ride in the He-Man Theme Park; I can just imagine lots of people being packed into a fake Attack Trak, while He-Man and Ram-Man deliver overblown lines about going to find something rare and exciting, just for the fun of it. Maybe it’s a business venture the two of them will take up when they retire.

Blind 2
He-Man: “Loose, I’m sorry I had to involve Ram-Man, but he’s contractually obliged to appear.”

Anyway, the three companions make their way through the wilderness, as Loose explains that he uses his other senses to find his way with ease. This is demonstrated in a few scenes of relative subtlety which show Ram-Man tripping over a rock that Loose had successfully avoided, and Loose concluding how old a bridge is by feeling the rope and listening to the wooden planks.

Finally, they reach the caves of the Singing Crystals, which are bright and shimmery, but more importantly for Loose, they genuinely do sing when they are touched. Unfortunately, one of the Crystals falls and shatters in a bright explosion, and because He-Man and Ram-Man are both stupid enough to look right at it, they are blinded by the flash.

Blind 3
Loose: “There’s just something about this scene that screams 1980s disco.”

Debating what to do, Loose says that he will be able to lead the party home, which he does with considerable ease, until they get to the old bridge. While they are on the bridge, one end collapses and the three of them find themselves hanging on for dear life, and unable to climb up because the boards are loose. He-Man manages to throw a lasso into a nearby tree and hoist the party up, a feat which ordinarily would be second nature for him, but gives him some difficulty while he is unable to see.

The trio navigate a number of other hazards before they successfully return to the Palace, where Man-at-Arms (in his capacity as Palace Optician, to add to his hundreds of other jobs) restores He-Man’s sight. There’s no mention of Ram-Man’s sight being restored, but I think we can take it as a given that this happens too. Loose then relates the story to the other children, who call him a liar until He-Man comes along to give him some street cred.

Blind 4
He-Man: “Ello, ello, ello, what’s all this then?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Would you know it, children that are blind or handicapped are not helpless, and have feelings and desires just like the rest of us. It’s easy for me to poke fun, but actually this moral is well worth the inclusion.

 

Character checklist

It’s one of those rare episodes without a villain, and it’s even rarer in that it’s a good one (see The Starchild and The Remedy, if you can stomach it). That results in a pretty tight cast list, consisting simply of Prince Adam, He-Man, Ram-Man, Loose, the storyteller, a bunch of children, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance from Man-at-Arms.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam mutters, “Please excuse me, but, uh, there’s something that I’ve got to do,” just after introducing Loose to Ram-Man. He goes just out of sight – and presumably earshot – to transform, then reappears as He-Man and says, “Adam can’t make it.”

Blind 5
Adam: “Maybe if I shrug my shoulders so it looks like I have no neck, I won’t have to go on this stupid expedition with Ram-Man.”

 

Insults

With the possible exception of the other children calling Loose a “liar” at the end of the episode, there are no insults on show today.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is an episode that could have gone one of two ways: either outstandingly good or toe-curlingly bad. I’m happy to report that it is the former. Loose’s blindness is handled with considerable sensitivity, and there are some scenes included that genuinely make you think, especially if you’re four years old. My favourite such scene was on the way to the caves, when He-Man offers to carry Loose over the bridge. Loose responds, “Are you going to carry Ram-Man across?” before requesting to be treated like anybody else. The message is clearly received, without ever descending into patronising drivel.

Blind 6
Loose: “I wonder how anyone managed to construct this ridiculously long and flimsy bridge.”

The conceit of turning He-Man and Ram-Man blind was also good; we’d all seen Loose being capable beforehand, but it really upped the game when our heroes were rendered helpless and had to be led to safety by another character. I also enjoyed the fact that there was no villain in the episode. The only criticism I might level is that I have no idea why Loose has such a stupid name. On the other hand, characters in He-Man are often named after their ability, so I suppose it’s lucky that he didn’t wind up with a tactless name like Blindor or No-Eyes-Man.

In short, this is a surprisingly mature episode, and well worth a watch.

Episode 100 – The Greatest Show on Eternia

In which we meet the most annoying character in all of fiction ever.

An interplanetary circus arrives on Eternia, and because he’s an idiot, Man-at-Arms promises Orko that he can attend if he tidies up his room. Surely he knows that saying this will inevitably result in Orko using magic to attempt to tidy his room and causing some dreadful mess. But before we even reach that stage, the circus rocket train (I didn’t think a “circus rocket train” was even a thing) arrives, and Orko starts messing about with the various props.

Greatest 1
Orko: “Boy oh boy! Someone more irritating than me!”

Over at Snake Mountain, Skeletor is pacing around, mixing cocktails and shrieking that there’s no one about to cooperate with him. This is just plain weird, to be honest, though it gets odder seconds later when Evil-Lyn shows up to inform Skeletor that the circus has refused his kind invitation to perform at Snake Mountain. I can’t see him as the sort to really want to watch a circus, but I suppose it adds another layer to his complex characterisation. Skeletor is inexplicably livid about the circus’ refusal to perform, and decrees that if he can’t enjoy the circus, no one can. As tense and dramatic scenes go, I think the only comparable television moment ever achieved is the Red Wedding.

Greatest 2
Skeletor: “Sex on the beach, Beast-Man?”

If you think Orko isn’t annoying enough, you may be interested in meeting Crackers the Clown, who shows up to introduce himself to Orko and perform a variety of distinctly unfunny tricks. Orko says he wishes he could work at the circus, and I wish he could too, but Crackers isn’t interested without Orko going through the full recruitment process. Adam then properly starts doing a hatchet job on Orko’s job application, reminding him that he hates putting an effort into anything.

Skeletor orders Evil-Lyn and Beast-Man to go to the circus and make sure it never opens. They start by using Beast-Man’s animal-controlling powers to stop a three-trunked elephant from putting up the Big Top, but they are detected within 20 seconds, tied up in metal, and thrown back to Snake Mountain. Once he’s dealt with the villains, He-Man decides to help out at the circus, and we are treated to endless scenes of him putting up tents, which is truly a fitting task for the Most Powerful Man in the Universe.

Greatest 3
He-Man: “This is so below my pay grade.”

He-Man then persuades Crackers to give Orko a job, so that Orko will learn that working in the circus is not as glamorous as he seems to think. This leads to a load of hugely boring and/or irritating scenes in which Orko has his dreams cruelly shattered by Crackers, Adam and a trapeze artist called Orlando, who laugh their heads off at him pretty much continually.

This mercifully comes to an end when Skeletor intervenes to kidnap Crackers, sending him to a place called Echo Valley. Skeletor then feels confident enough to announce the rest of his plan – to take over the circus – to Orlando, Orko and Adam, whose pose suggests deep disinterest. Skeletor attempts to ramp up the tension by shrieking, “Prepare for the Skeletor Circus!” but no one cares.

The inhabitants of Eternia gather for the circus, only to find that Skeletor has cancelled the performance. If the ill-judged animation of their beaming faces is anything to go by, I’d say the inhabitants of Eternia are overjoyed at the circus’ cancellation. We then cut to the interior of the Big Top, where Skeletor is attempting to convince the circus artists to perform for him, but he is interrupted by the return of Crackers, who has been rescued by He-Man.

Greatest 4
Orko: “Er, Man-at-Arms, the townspeople seem quite pleased about the circus being cancelled.”

He-Man and Skeletor inexplicably decide to have a go on the trapezes trying to defeat each other, and when this doesn’t work out, Skeletor opts for a quick try on the tightrope. It all comes to a hugely hilarious conclusion when Skeletor accidentally sets off a load of fireworks and ends up being blasted out of the Big Top clinging desperately to a rocket. How we chortled.

 

In today’s adventure…

Adam and Orko take inspiration from Orko’s circus training to explain to us that if we want to be good at something, we have to be prepared to put in the hard work. This was demonstrated in the episode, I suppose, but Orko’s experience was little more than a subplot. The main storyline also taught us a moral lesson, which was that being selfish tends to lead to being shot into the sky on a giant firework.

Greatest 5
Skeletor: “Hmm. Fireworks, me, and upcoming obligatory end of the episode joke. Nope, definitely can’t see what’s in the pipeline here.”

 

Character checklist

This complete abomination of an episode involves Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, Crackers, and loads of circus folk. They should all be ashamed of themselves.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There are three transformations this week (though luckily they only treat us to the actual animation sequence once). On one of these occasions, Adam comments, “I’d better do something about this,” which pretty much gives the game away.

Greatest 6
Adam: “Good God, this is a waste of my time.”

 

Insults

Evil-Lyn evidently feels pretty confident in her abilities this week, since she calls Skeletor a “bonehead” at an early stage. Skeletor doesn’t even lower himself to retaliate, suggesting that perhaps he’s maturing. Although, given the aims of his grandiose plan this week, perhaps not.

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is equal measures irritating and bizarre. Firstly, the irritating is of course Orko and everything he says or does, and this is exacerbated by Crackers and the other allegedly amusing denizens of the circus. The bizarre is the very premise of Skeletor wanting the circus to come to Snake Mountain, which seems completely at odds with everything else he’s ever wanted, and it only gets weirder when he starts putting in massively disproportionate efforts to ruin the circus.

Greatest 7
He-Man: “Listen, Crackers, I’ll tolerate you this week, but if you ever show up again I’m going to get Battle-Cat to bite your stupid head off.”

I can only assume the episode was meant to be a light-hearted romp, which might have worked if only they’d remembered to put some jokes in. In summary, this one is a complete waste of time, and I might suggest you find something else to do with your life than watch it, let alone review it.

Episode 099 – Hunt for He-Man

In which an idiot child tries to sell He-Man to Skeletor.

Adam and Cringer are out testing the new auto-pilot system that Man-at-Arms has installed in a Wind Raider. Unfortunately, Skeletor decides that he would like to acquire the auto-pilot system, so forces Adam to crash in the Misty Swamps. The Wind Raider lands in a pool of water and begins to sink, which is bad news for Cringer, whose tail is stuck. Adam transforms into He-Man and drags the Wind Raider out of the water, saving Cringer.

Hunt 1
Cringer: “Christ! I’ve just remembered that last time I was in the Wind Raider with Adam, he made me jump out for no reason!”

Unfortunately, something is wrong with He-Man. He complains of feeling weak, and when the two companions get stuck in a trap, he cannot break them out. Luckily, the trap is owned by an old man and his grandson called Drac, rather than Skeletor and his cronies. The old man explains that the swamp water is poisonous, which explains He-Man’s lack of strength, and offers to nurse him back to health.

Drac, however, is in favour of turning He-Man over to Skeletor, arguing that Skeletor would make a powerful friend. His grandfather tells him that he should choose his friends carefully, and orders him to fetch the cart, after which they load He-Man into it and head off to the village. For no evident reason, the cart can hover, for which the only explanation I can come up with is that Filmation couldn’t be bothered to animate wheels. All the way, Drac suggests over and over that Skeletor would give them money and power in return for He-Man; but the grandfather won’t hear of it.

Hunt 2
Drac: “But if we sold He-Man, I could get some new clothes, ones that don’t make me look like I’ve escaped from The Sound of Music.”

Skeletor, Trapjaw and Whiplash cruise the swamps, looking for traces of the Wind Raider. Once they find it is damaged beyond repair, they decide that instead they will try to kidnap some prisoners to work in the mines. Learning through Skeletor’s magic that He-Man is weak and helpless, the three of them get very excited, and head off to capture him.

Unfortunately, on our heroes’ arrival at the village, they find that Skeletor has got there first, and burned the entire place down, kidnapping the populace to work in the mines. Drac now sees the truth about Skeletor and there’s no more talk of selling He-Man out. Unfortunately, all the village’s medicine has been destroyed, so He-Man, Cringer, Drac and the grandfather must journey to the Healing Tree in order to make more.

Hunt 3
Cringer: “Why did I have to pull this stupid levitating cart?”

Our heroes reach the Healing Tree, but Skeletor tracks them down using a Hunter Robot. Since He-Man needs time to heal, Drac comes up with a plan to buy such time. It’s a pretty rubbish plan, to be honest, consisting simply of Drac talking to Skeletor and trying to flatter him, and is so transparent that even Skeletor sees through it in about 15 seconds.

That’s all the time needed though: He-Man makes a full recovery and goes barrelling into Skeletor’s ship, freeing all the prisoners from the village and destroying as many robots as he can get his silly tanned hands on. Skeletor, Whiplash and Trapjaw put in their usual poor efforts at fighting back, and eventually teleport home to Snake Mountain.

Hunt 4
Cringer: “It’s pretty difficult to explain what’s going on here, and frankly it’s not worth it, so let’s move on.”

Drac then says he’s sorry for his earlier imbecility in thinking that Skeletor could be a friend, and He-Man wisely says that evil often looks attractive. All the villagers cheer at this, and He-Man says, “Well, that about wraps it up. Cringer, let’s go home.” He does not say anything about helping to rebuild the village, and none of the villagers seem to care, though I’d have thought it would be one of their top priorities really.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral this week is delivered by He-Man, Cringer and Drac. Well, actually, it’s delivered by Drac, in a really odd squeaky voice, while He-Man and Cringer hang around looking at him. Drac claims that He-Man’s friendship is the richest treasure in the world, which is lovely for Drac, but it doesn’t have any relevance to a real-life scenario. If anyone tells me that they’re really rich because they’re friends with He-Man, I’m likely to give them a wide berth at best, and try to get them locked up for society’s sake at worst.

Hunt 5
Drac: “You may be my friend, He-Man, but if you don’t take your hand off me right now I’m going to go ape.”

 

Character checklist

Very few of our usual goodies on the scene today – only Prince Adam, Cringer and He-Man. On the villainous side of things, we have Skeletor, Trapjaw and Whiplash, and the guest stars are Drac and his granddad, as well as the other villagers.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Only Adam and Cringer are present at the time, so once again there’s no excuse offered.

 

Insults

Our villains oblige with some reasonable fare this week. We start with the obligatory “fool”, this time offered by Trapjaw to Whiplash. Whiplash is more ambitious, referring to every single one of our heroes as “those goody-goodies at the Palace”. Meanwhile, Skeletor calls Drac a “swamp-child” and calls Whiplash and Trapjaw “dunderheads”. More imaginatively, he comments to Trapjaw, “I could write a book about what you don’t know.”

Hunt 6
Skeletor: “I knew bringing Trapjaw to the garden centre would be a mistake. He wants to look at everything.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I liked this one, but I didn’t love it. It’s commendable for trying to do something different, in portraying He-Man ill and needing the help of others, and the idea of Skeletor hunting down our hero when he’s helpless really should have been exciting, but I felt that it just somehow never managed to ramp up the tension. I did like the burning of the village, which is the most actively evil thing Skeletor’s done since the very early days of the series (remember Disappearing Act, when he forced a volcano to erupt to destroy the farmland?), and the kidnapping of slaves for mining has very dark undertones as well. Skeletor does get some entertaining dialogue too. All in all, there’s plenty to like here, but put together it for some reason didn’t quite reach the level it perhaps could have. Still, it’s better than a lot of other recent offerings.