Episode 108 – Teela’s Triumph

In which I finally realise that Man-at-Arms is wearing an all-in-one bodysuit.

In Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress has been joined for a friendly chitchat by a freaky floating pink head. The two of them watch Man-at-Arms and Teela on a magic mirror, idly conversing about how awesome Teela is and how much the Sorceress is looking forward to the day she can reveal that she is Teela’s mother. Suddenly, the Sorceress decides she can wait no longer, so she turns into her falcon form and flies off to tell Teela all about it.

Triumph 1
The Sorceress: “This pink head thing could just be the result of too much cheese before bedtime.”

Unfortunately, the Sorceress’ route takes her past Snake Mountain, where Skeletor is messing about with inter-dimensional weapons again. To demonstrate his new gun to Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw, he shoots Zoar and sends her to another world. Zoar appears in a landscape of volcanoes and raining lava, and indulges in a monologue about how hopeless her situation is, and how even He-Man will be unable to find her. It seems to go without saying that her super duper daughter Teela will be similarly unable.

Luckily, the freaky pink head appears to Adam, Cringer, Teela and Man-at-Arms to inform them that the Sorceress has vanished. Man-at-Arms tells Adam to find He-Man, and the pink head tells Teela that she must replace the Sorceress at Castle Grayskull. Teela presciently asks why, but the pink head dodges the question with, “I can’t tell you.” This seems to be adequate for Teela, but let’s not forget she is the least perceptive person on an entire planet of people with eyes closed to the obvious.

Triumph 2
Teela: “No need to question too much as to why I’ve got to be the Sorceress. I’m sure it all makes sense.”

Teela arrives at Castle Grayskull, where – to the beat of an outstandingly trippy 80s soundtrack – the pink head guides her through the lessons she must learn to become the new Sorceress. These lessons do not include the knowledge concerning He-Man’s secret identity, which I would argue is hands down the most important thing for the Sorceress. How else will she call for help when she inevitably gets into some stupid form of trouble?

Meanwhile, in an effort to find out where the Sorceress is, He-Man goes to Snake Mountain to have a heart-to-heart with Skeletor, which proves to be a surprisingly subtle fencing match of a conversation. It ends, however, with He-Man being blasted with the Dimension Gun and sent to the volcano planet, after which Skeletor abandons all pretence at subtlety and shrieks, “That’s the end of He-Man!” while happily waving his arms around.

Triumph 3
He-Man: “Hmm. Skeletor’s version of Butlin’s leaves something to be desired.”

Skeletor’s next move is to leap on the Grayskull Express train, and arrives at the castle gates pronto, with his usual intent to unlock the secrets. Teela, who isn’t doing very well in her training course run by the floating pink head, decides to disguise herself as the Sorceress, which she does very badly. To his eternal credit, Skeletor sees through this deception, so Teela has no choice but to fight.

Back on Volcano World, the Sorceress has opted to lurk inside a cave full of lava, which is as sensible as it sounds. It’s not terribly surprising, therefore, that she gets trapped inside, which means He-Man has to turn himself into a drill and dig her out. Once this implausible feat is achieved, the Sorceress is able to use He-Man’s sword to return them to Eternia.

Triumph 4
He-Man: “So that’s how many times this week I’ve had to rescue you, Sorceress? I ought to be charging a finder’s fee.”

They arrive to find Teela has tied Evil-Lyn up with more ropes than looks strictly necessary, but hasn’t bothered to do anything about Skeletor – presumably because Skeletor equally hasn’t bothered to do anything except lounge about on Castle Grayskull’s throne. The appearance of the Sorceress and He-Man spooks Skeletor so much that he simply runs away. There’s just enough time for the Sorceress to tell Teela that her mother would be very proud of her, and for Teela to reciprocate that she wishes her mother was just like the Sorceress. There is also enough time for me to vomit copiously into a bucket.

 

In today’s adventure…

We’re treated to a pretty muddled moral this week, delivered by Man-at-Arms, who tells us that we have to try to do difficult things and must always do our best. There’s really not a lot I can say about that, so instead I’d like to focus on a question about Man-at-Arms that has bothered me for a while. You know how he wears green, with yellow armour on top? It really bothers me that he has green hands too. They’re not gloves, because they blend seamlessly with his green sleeves. The only explanation is that he’s wearing a green all-in-one latex bodysuit, which is a horrible thought.

Triumph 5
Man-at-Arms: “Loving my green body stocking.”

 

Character checklist

It’s a relatively tight cast today, featuring Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Trapjaw and the giant pink head. It’s also a special occasion, since there’s no sign of Orko.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

No excuse as such, but Man-at-Arms does pointedly say that Adam had better find He-Man. And what do you know, he does!

 

Insults

It’s a relatively imaginative selection today, what with Evil-Lyn calling Battle-Cat “mangy”, though notably not to his face. Teela comments, “You don’t have a mind” to Trapjaw, which seems fair enough. Skeletor lowers the standard, though, by offering the dull “fool” to Evil-Lyn.

Triumph 6
Evil-Lyn: “I’ll grant you, it was fairly foolish of me to let this happen.”

 

Does it have the Power?

There’s quite a bit to like about this one, though I’d hesitate to describe it as a classic. Skeletor – as usual – has some sparkling dialogue, and his scene with He-Man in the middle of the episode, in which they each try to learn from the other where the Sorceress is, is definitely a highlight. The Volcano Planet is beautifully animated, and there’s a great atmosphere of desolation in those scenes, conveying nicely – without ever saying it – that this is a dead world, with no inhabitants and no hope.

That being said, the Sorceress is useless as ever, simply cowering in a cave until He-Man shows up, and being honest, their method of returning to Eternia is as deus ex machina as they come. I also have very little time for Teela, so the scenes of her learning to be the Sorceress – and being too monumentally stupid to work out why she’s been selected for this honour – did not interest me. In addition, I have very little conception as to why the Sorceress can’t tell Teela who her mother is; it feels like an arbitrary rule made up just for the hell of it.

Still, this all sounds like I didn’t like this episode, which isn’t the case at all. It’s well worth a watch.

3 thoughts on “Episode 108 – Teela’s Triumph

  1. I think that it is an above average He-man episode.

    This episode was entairtaining. Teela’s tricks against Skeletor and his minions were rather smart and funny. Also, the Volcano Planet was beautifully animated. However, He-man digging under a volcano was not realistic at all. Also, for once, Skeletor had a new weapon able to get rid him of He-man, which brought new developments to the
    plot. Also, there were some surprises, which I liked.

    Also, we had actual characters growth in this part of the main storyline and we got to see them act like real people. I liked the human moments.
    I indeed think that it was important that Teela confide in her female mentor/her mother in the end. (Also, Teela talked to the Sorceress 1min20s. Thus, if any episode passes the Bechdel test, this is this one. See here for infos about the Bechdel test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test). Also, the fencing between Man-at-arms and Teela was good but badly choreographied (Some Japanese animes are indeed far better in swords choreographies than He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.) and Man-at-arms seemed to be very demanding to his daughter.

    However, this anime quickly began with Skeletor kidnaping Zoar the falcon, which was a plot device . I mean: There is no reason that Zoar flies near Snake mountain (I wouldn’t do that at all if I was the Sorceress). Also, there is no reason that Skeletor tests his new weapon at the exact moment that Zoar arrives near Snake mountain. (Also, the same kind of plot device (=Zoar kidnaped by a vilain for no reason) was used in “Diamond ray of disappearence” and in “Temple of the sun” episodes.). Thus, the writer decided that Zoar becomes a damsel in distress in this beginning of the episode, which was lazy writing.

    Also, I don’t know why Man-at-arms, the Sorceress, Adam don’t tell the truth to Teela. I mean: Her mother is Sorceress. It is frustating that they don’t tell the truth to Teela. Why are they lying to her? Maybe to protect Teela from Skeletor? Maybe the rules of Grayskull forbids Teela to know the truth? Anyway, it is a pitty that we even don’t know why they don’t tell the truth to Teela. We only know that the Sorceress seemed distressed about not telling the truth to her girl.

    Also, yes, He-man and the Sorceress’ method of returning to Ethernia was deus ex machina. I think that it would have made more sense if the Sorceress had contacted telepathically Teela to ask her to create a dimensionel gate which would have permited the Sorceress and He-man to return to Grayskull.

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  2. @Owenmorton

    “I also have very little time for Teela, so the scenes of her learning to be the Sorceress – and being too monumentally stupid to work out why she’s been selected for this honour – did not interest me. ”

    I disagree partly. Context is important. I think that it is a problem of children psychology. It seems to me that Teela doesn’t know why she has been selected partly because she doesn’t have confidence in herself. Teela indeed has been under intense pressure: Duncan asked her to do everything against Skeletor and his goons and the Sorceress never told Teela in this episode that she was her mother. Thus, to me, it was a recipe for paralizing yourself. I personally think that they should have told Teela that the Sorceress was her mother and they should have told Teela some knowledge about her own powers. I think that it would have given her more confidence in herself.

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    1. Interesting what you say about teela I too agree about the part of why she was chosen yo do it, yes i think it is partly lack of confidence and may be self belief this was confirmed right at the end of the episode when teela says to the sorceress to quote “I just don’t think I’m special enough to do what you do” this kind of says she’s saying if she’s worthy of such an honour. Anyway I too thought this was a very very good episode with an appropriate plot line ie the sorceress disappears to another world (skeletors Ray device) so it’s left to teela all on her own to take up the reigns, also there was a nice scene when teela was posing as the sorceress in disguise, clever writing from Joseph botsworth he wrote a very enjoyable episode with some lovely emotional scenes saving the best one at the end with teela talking with the sorceress, both these characters were voiced by Linda Gary and I personally think her voice acting for teela and the sorceress at the end scene of this episode was her very best..

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