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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.