Episode 118 – Orko’s Return

In which Beast-Man and Trapjaw make the elementary mistake of kidnapping Orko.

Well, it’s nice to know that Orko will be making a return, after his really, really long absence. This episode starts out in the wilderness, where Trapjaw and Beast-Man, somewhat surprisingly, are planting some crops. This is no ordinary plant, however – it grows within seconds into an enormous orange crystal mountain. Beast-Man mysteriously claims that it will show King Randor who’s boss, which might be true if King Randor is interested in a bollock-kicking contest over who’s got the biggest orange mountain. I suspect he isn’t.

Return 1
Trapjaw: “Beast-Man, you’ve been shopping at Claire’s Accessories again, right?”

The next scene shows Orko in the Palace, performing magic tricks which are actually working for once. The assembled crowd are amazed at this display of competence, especially Prince Adam, who is for some reason animated with his jaw hanging open like a first-class moron. The animators have also seen fit to give him a quite stunning hunchback. When Orko disappears, the court assumes it’s part of his magic show – but in reality, he has been magicked away by Beast-Man and Trapjaw.

Beast-Man and Trapjaw instantly send a message to King Randor, demanding to be addressed in future as Mr Beast-Man and Mr Trapjaw. They’ve evidently been watching Reservoir Dogs again. Randor isn’t at all interested, until these two clowns reveal that they’ve kidnapped Orko, at which point Randor becomes only marginally more interested. Beast-Man demands all the photanium in Eternia in exchange for Orko’s release, but Teela points out that this would leave the Palace defenceless, as if she thinks this isn’t Beast-Man’s intention. In any case, Teela seems to think that photanium is more useful than He-Man in terms of defending the Palace.

Return 2
King Randor: “Not a massive fan of this new bubble mixture.”

Beast-Man then uses an amulet called the Amber Crystal of Mallarka on Orko, locking his magic so he can only use it for the express purposes defined by Beast-Man and Trapjaw. This is an outstandingly bad idea, since Orko develops a “hilarious” habit of wilfully misinterpreting said express purposes, and the rest of the episode is filled with intermittent scenes of Orko’s magic doing increasingly stupid things to Beast-Man and Trapjaw.

He-Man and Man-at-Arms soon find the orange mountain, where Beast-Man shoots a volley of energy bolts at them, and then treats them to a huge holographic projection of his face, welcoming them to the Amber Fortress. He then proceeds to laugh like a complete lunatic, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms decide to pop off to Castle Grayskull to ask advice. The Sorceress reveals that the Amber Crystal was created in ancient times by an insectoid race called the Polteeth, so He-Man’s next move is to visit them.

Return 3
He-Man: “This episode is like Pol-ing-teeth. Geddit? Oh fine, suit yourselves.”

The Sorceress had said that the Polteeth are now peaceful, but when He-Man and Man-at-Arms arrive, the Polteeth surround them, point spears, and take them captive. He-Man glances at Man-at-Arms, as if to say, “Thanks for the up-to-date intel, Sorceress.” Refusing to help our heroes, the Polteeth queen orders them off her territory. With suspiciously convenient timing, He-Man then rescues one of the Polteeth from falling off a cliff, and the queen changes her mind and agrees to help. I wouldn’t mind betting He-Man engineered the whole cliff danger business.

Using an Amulet Nullifier given to him by the Polteeth queen, He-Man returns to the Amber Fortress and successfully gets inside. He finds the Amber Crystal and destroys it, which makes the entire fortress disappear. He also discovers that Orko has irritated Beast-Man and Trapjaw so extensively that they are only too pleased to hand him over. This makes He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko laugh as if they’re demented.

Return 4
He-Man: “I haven’t laughed this much since I watched On The Buses last week.”

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral today would appear to be that if you get taken hostage, you should make every effort to infuriate your captors. This seems a trifle unwise. Instead, Orko shows up to suggest that we shouldn’t play tricks on our friends, because people might get hurt. This pearl of wisdom is followed by a repeat performance of that animation of Adam with his mouth hanging open. I don’t know why.

 

Character checklist

This one’s got a pretty standard cast list – Prince Adam, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Beast-Man and Trapjaw. The only characters out of the ordinary are the multitudes of Polteeth.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

It’s getting very tedious to report, but once again, Adam doesn’t give an excuse because the only person present at transformation time is Man-at-Arms.

 

Insults

Orko calls Beast-Man a “fuzzball”, and Beast-Man tells He-Man and Man-at-Arms that they are “fools”. Not terribly exciting, really.

Return 5
Beast-Man: “Got a killer three-piece suite at DFS this weekend.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I may be getting a bit jaded, but despite there being nothing much wrong with it, this episode doesn’t really seem like a winner, aside from the delightfully mental Mr Beast-Man and Mr Trapjaw business. At this point in the series, it’s getting a bit tedious to see the kidnap and ransom plot wheeled out yet again. In case you haven’t detected it, I’ve never been a fan of Orko’s persistent stupid magic tricks, and so watching him playing silly jokes on Beast-Man and Trapjaw for most of the episode wasn’t a lot of fun. The business with the Polteeth seemed like time-wasting too. As I say, there’s nothing terrible about the episode, but neither is it all that exciting. It’s probably worth a watch, but don’t look forward to it or anything.

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Episode 117 – Beauty and the Beast

In which we witness a fairly pointless retelling of a certain fairytale.

This week, we find Prince Adam, Teela, Orko and Sy-Klone listening to an old man telling the story of Beauty and the Beast. Just as he finishes, a squadron of Skeletor’s robot fighter ships arrives, followed by Skeletor himself. Not surprisingly, He-Man very quickly appears, and he and Sy-Klone dispose of a vast quantity of robots while making stupid quips.

Beauty 1
Prince Adam: “Teela may be the beauty, but which of us is the beast?”

While He-Man is thus occupied, Skeletor nips into the Palace and kidnaps Teela and Orko. He freezes them, seals them into two coffin-like pods, and blasts them off to an undisclosed location. He then crows that in order to get them back, Randor will have to negotiate. Skeletor seems to be overlooking the fact that Randor probably doesn’t particularly want them back. I certainly don’t.

The pods land in a room containing a table piled high with food, mostly croissants, presumably because they are easy to animate. Teela and Orko unfreeze and emerge from the pods, and instantly help themselves to the feast. They are interrupted by a huge dude with bat-wings instead of ears, who mumbles something about being the Monster of Morigor. He’s very indistinct and difficult to understand, but I think we can safely assume that this guy is the Beast and Teela is Beauty.

Beauty 2
The Monster: “Can I interest you people in some of these fine wares?”

After demolishing a ridiculously huge pile of robot fighter ships, He-Man finally realises that he’s being distracted, and zooms off to find Teela and Orko are missing. He sets off to Snake Mountain, where he has a little discussion with Skeletor – or rather, a holographic projection of Skeletor, who has presumably got fed up of being defeated in person. Skeletor offers to return Teela and Orko in return for the entire kingdom of Eternia, terms which He-Man rejects as being a bit silly.

He-Man then heads to Castle Grayskull to ask the Sorceress where Teela and Orko are. For no particular reason, he decides to change back into Adam before he does so; I suspect this is purely so he can kill thirty seconds later in the episode when he turns back into He-Man. The Sorceress informs Adam that Teela and Orko are being held by the Monster of Morigor, and issues some dire but boring warnings about how dangerous the road to the Monster’s castle is.

Beauty 3
The Sorceress: “Just thought you’d appreciate a brief scene of time-wasting.”

Sure enough, Adam turns back into He-Man, and sets off to Morigor. Observing him on the spyglobe, Skeletor gets in touch with the Monster to warn him of He-Man’s impending arrival. During the course of this conversation, it emerges that Skeletor is responsible for the Monster’s beastly appearance, and that he has threatened to put the same curse on all the people of Morigor if the Monster refuses to serve him.

When He-Man arrives, the Monster unleashes a really big, really boring robot, which naturally does not slow He-Man down for more than a second. He-Man then happily occupies himself running through a stupid maze, while the Monster discusses the situation with Teela, apologising for his behaviour but claiming he has no choice and blaming his ugly appearance.

Beauty 5
Teela: “I’m not sure which person in this room has the worst fashion sense. But for once, it’s not me.”

Teela persuades him that his appearance doesn’t matter, and that ugly actions are worse than an ugly face. When Skeletor shows up to oversee matters, the Monster refuses to obey him, which is great but Skeletor doesn’t really seem to care. He-Man then arrives and waves his sword around for a bit until Skeletor and his minions run away. Finally, Teela kisses the Monster – fairly chastely, since she knows He-Man’s looking on – and he recovers his former, allegedly handsome, appearance. His handsome appearance is not entirely dissimilar to that of a 1970s Blue Peter presenter, so it’s not that appealing.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral is nicely integrated into the story for a change; instead of directly addressing the viewer in the usual patronising manner, we get a little bonus scene in which He-Man, Teela and the former Monster discuss the beauty and ugliness of actions. As they do so, the Monster grins as if he’s demonically possessed. It’s a smile that will haunt my dreams.

Beauty 6
The Monster: “I’m not sure exactly why I’m smiling like a sexual predator.”

 

Character checklist

This episode offers a nice day out for Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Sy-Klone, the Sorceress, the Monster, the storyteller, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, Whiplash, and a few of the Monster’s mates.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

In the first scene, when the robots attack, Adam gets Teela out of the way by saying to her, “You’d better check the perimeter.” While Teela does run off to do just that, Sy-Klone and – more importantly – Skeletor are still there to witness Adam transforming into He-Man in the middle of the courtyard.

As noted above, there’s a bizarre moment in the middle of the episode in which He-Man turns back into Adam for a visit to Grayskull, then back into He-Man again. There’s no reason for this, and we don’t get a second excuse.

 

Insults

All quiet on the Western Front today, with Skeletor offering only “fool” to Whiplash, and a collective “fools” to encompass Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Whiplash.

Beauty 7
Skeletor: “Selfie!”

 

Does it have the Power?

All in all, it’s a pretty average affair, being noteworthy for nothing particularly good or bad. Skeletor’s plan was uninspired this week; though he managed to cause a great deal of havoc with his hundreds of robot fighter ships, the best he could subsequently manage was kidnapping Teela and Orko, which he’s done billions of times before. His decision to then put them in the guard of one of his least committed servants was bordering on idiotic.

He-Man didn’t do much better, limiting himself this week to blowing up robots and finding his way through tedious mazes while Teela got on with the actual plot. I didn’t really care about the Monster, partly because I couldn’t understand a word he said, and partly because I knew exactly where the story was going from the moment the storyteller at the beginning of the episode related Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty 4
Teela: “He-Man, I’ve got to say, you look a little bit special.”

This episode won’t win any converts to He-Man, but I suppose it’s a relatively pleasant way to pass 20 minutes. That’s the best I can say, I’m afraid.

Episode 116 – Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere

In which Skeletor goes above and beyond in his efforts to cause mental havoc.

Well now, this is a promisingly mental title. I have a good feeling about this episode. We begin with Man-at-Arms demonstrating his new Duplication Machine, which makes a half-size duplicate of anything. Initially, this is put to use making lots of rangleberries for Cringer to gorge himself on, but Skeletor and Whiplash are in the vicinity and decide they want the machine for themselves.

Despite Skeletor’s singularly incompetent attempt to force them to crash land in the Tar Swamp, our heroes return to the Palace without too much trouble. Once there, they find that King Randor and Queen Marlena are talking to three teddy bears called Jerba, Jeeba and Jay. Jerba, Jeeba and Jay apparently live in a forest where they avoid being eaten by other animals by using a mineral called vambite to become invisible. At this point, I was beginning to wonder if I’d watched too much He-Man and was experiencing a completely insane delusion.

Skeletors 1
Jeeba: “Don’t mind us, we’re just passing through on our way back to the Land of Sylvanian Families.”

Jerba, Jeeba and Jay are visiting the Palace to ask for help, because their supply of vambite is mysteriously disappearing. Rather than voicing the saner opinion that he doesn’t want a crowd of invisible teddy bears cluttering up Eternia, Prince Adam suggests using Man-at-Arms’ Duplication Machine to make some more vambite.

Unfortunately, before they can do so, Skeletor and Whiplash cut a hole in the Palace floor and nick the Duplication Machine. He-Man obligingly gives chase in the Attack Trak, and despite no one inviting him, Mechaneck tags along too. Mechaneck has a noticeably different voice from his last appearance, but in fairness, there’s only five or six voice actors to do the entire cast of He-Man, so it’s no surprise that they’d forget how to do one of the voices every now and again.

Skeletors 2
Prince Adam: “A large hole has appeared in the Palace floor. The royal family are looking into it. Oh, fine, you make a better joke then.”

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. In an act of complete lunacy, Skeletor gets into the Duplication Machine and creates a vast quantity of half-sized duplicates of himself, which he then instructs to follow him to the Palace. This is behaviour so ridiculous and so utterly pointless that it doesn’t even qualify as a plan: it’s just a random act of mayhem.

After messing about in the Attack Trak for a while, He-Man receives a call from Moss-Man, who is one of He-Man’s more useless allies. Moss-Man is hanging out at the Palace pretending to be a bush, and has observed Skeletor and his miniatures arriving. He-Man and Mechaneck turn the Attack Trak back round, and return to the Palace to find that about fifty miniature Skeletors are standing around, waving their staffs and muttering.

Skeletors 3
Skeletor: “There is no way I’ll ever be able to top this.”

For some reason, He-Man says he doesn’t fancy his chances against all the little Skeletors, but frankly I don’t see why not. Nonetheless, he and Mechaneck opt to enter the Palace by a secret tunnel, and join the King and Queen in the throne room. Man-at-Arms is also lurking about there, and lest you had forgotten about them, Jerba, Jeeba and Jay are there too.

Man-at-Arms advises He-Man that if he destroys the Duplication Machine, all the mini-Skeletors will disappear. He-Man claims he can’t get past all the Skeletor Juniors who are guarding the throne room, but he definitely could if he tried; I reckon he secretly finds the whole thing pretty amusing and can’t be bothered to sort it out. Anyway, Jerba, Jeeba and Jay give He-Man their last piece of vambite, and he becomes invisible long enough to sneak out of the Palace.

Skeletors 4
Mechaneck: “He-Man, I’ve had enough of this. I’m leaving. Want to come too?”

Finally, He-Man, Battle-Cat and Jerba (or Jeeba or Jay) go to Snake Mountain, where Skeletor is happily occupied in creating even more tiny versions of himself. He-Man manages to get all the mini-Skeletors arguing amongst themselves, after which he is free to destroy the Duplication Machine. If you care – which I most decidedly did not – it also transpires that Skeletor has been nicking vambite, so the Jerba, Jeeba and Jay plotline gets a happy end too.

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms hangs out in the Palace courtyard to inform us that no matter how much we want it, having too much of something will usually lead to it disagreeing with us. He’s talking about sweets, but it’s nicely illustrated by a shot from the episode of all the mini-Skeletors disagreeing with each other. I like this very much.

Skeletors 5
Skeletor: “This is simply glorious.”

 

Character checklist

This outstandingly crazy episode features a bumper cast list, including Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Mechaneck, Moss-Man, Sy-Klone, Whiplash, Two Bad, Modulok, Jerba, Jeeba, Jay, and more Skeletors than you can shake a Havoc Staff at.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

On the first occasion, Adam is accompanied only by Man-at-Arms, Orko and Cringer, none of whom need to hear an excuse. The second time, as soon as he sees Skeletor, Adam doesn’t bother to give an excuse but simply legs it. No wonder King Randor thinks he’s a coward.

Skeletors 6
Prince Adam: “Got to dash, there’s a special offer on Honey Nut Loops at Sainsbury’s.”

 

Insults

Skeletor addresses his miniatures as “wonderfully horrible creatures”, which is probably meant as a compliment, but if you try using it in the office as a compliment I don’t think it’ll have the desired effect. We’re on more familiar territory when Skeletor calls He-Man, Battle-Cat and Jerba “fools”, and Whiplash refers to the latter two as “mangy”. There’s also a disappointing moment, when Skeletor addresses Jerba and gears up for a sensational burn with a dramatic “SILENCE, YOU …” and then seems to lose all his momentum, finishing with the rather lame “soon-to-be-prisoner.”

 

Egg on your face?

A triumphant return for this category sees Orko accidentally create a vast quantity of rangleberries, which fall and explode on Man-at-Arms’ head. In case you were wondering, this is not at all funny. The same thing happens later, with rangleberries raining down on the miniature Skeletors, and it isn’t any funnier on its second showcasing. It is still less amusing when it happens for a third time at the very end of the episode.

Skeletors 7
Skeletor: “I don’t know how to react to this.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, I was hoping for a mental episode, and by golly, it delivered. This episode is probably what madness looks like. I don’t think this cartoon has been this deranged since that one with the giant camp pink rabbit. Skeletor’s decision to create hundreds of miniatures of himself is completely unhinged and without seeming motive. It’s extremely funny just because it’s so ridiculous – but it’s also oddly menacing. The voice acting has very little humour to it, and it’s a strangely perfect decision to play this one straight, since although it’s completely crazy, it somehow comes across as a viable threat.

The episode is guilty of the semi-regular crime of extremely obvious product placement. Evil Warriors now available at Toys R Us are Two Bad and Modulok, neither of whom speak but are just casually standing around to demonstrate their existence. Heroic Warriors include He-Man’s new friend Sy-Klone, who can wave his arms around and produce a whirlwind, as well as the afore-mentioned Moss-Man, who gets a very odd introduction. He’s hanging out at the Duplication Machine test site, doing no harm, but Man-at-Arms tells him in no uncertain terms to piss off, which he does.

Skeletors 8
Moss-Man: “Admittedly, I have no real reason to be here.”

Other than action figure adverts, this episode is brilliant, especially coming after the recent lacklustre efforts. Very highly recommended indeed.

Episode 115 – Time Doesn’t Fly

In which I just don’t know what was going through the writer’s head.

Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer are out in the forest, playing some sort of stupid game which looks like a form of cricket, except it uses a triangle musical instrument instead of a bat. Teela suddenly realises that though they’ve been playing for what seems like hours, her watch still shows the same time as when they started. Moreover, the sun and the clouds have remained in the same place in the sky. Given these clues and the episode’s title, I am awarding no prizes to those who can guess the plot.

Time 1
Teela: “Orko, I’d rather look at my watch for 10 hours than look at you for 10 seconds.”

Finding a little girl stuck in a pit, Teela idiotically falls in herself while trying to effect a rescue. Sighing heavily at Teela’s ineptitude, Adam turns into He-Man and saves both Teela and the girl, who introduces herself as Princess Cafe, daughter of Emperor Sinbad. There is a chance I have misheard both of these names. He-Man exits stage left, leaving Teela and Adam to escort the Princess back to the Palace.

At the Palace, Cafe tells Randor and Marlena that she is on a mission: she must go to Hourglass Mountain and rescue the Keeper of Time and her father Sinbad from the evil wizard Hexon. Apparently, Hexon has stopped time in a demented attempt to seize control of Sinbad’s kingdom, which he can do if he presents himself to the Council of Seasons before Sinbad does. I don’t know why he has to stop time in order to do this.

Time 2
Hexon: “Eternian fashion is never particularly sane, but I really do take the biscuit outfit-wise.”

Adam asks why, if time has stopped, everyone is still able to move, and Cafe replies, “Sssh, you idiot, this episode’s already stupid enough without me having to add nonsensical explanations of that sort of thing.” Randor sends Teela and Orko off with Princess Cafe to rescue Sinbad and the Keeper of Time, and despatches Adam to the Temple of Seasons to warn the Council about Hexon’s plan.

Adam turns into He-Man and receives some useless advice from the Council, then barrels off to find the others. When he arrives at Hourglass Mountain, He-Man is completely unsurprised to find that Teela, Orko and Cafe have managed to get themselves tied up in some vines without achieving anything. Wondering why he’s the only person on Eternia who can get anything right, He-Man releases his friends, and then rescues Sinbad and the Keeper of Time.

Time 3
Emperor Sinbad: “There’s something about He-Man’s pose here that just screams ‘loony’.”

Unfortunately, Hexon has emptied an hourglass containing the Sands of Time, and mixed them with the sand in the Ranhur Desert. On learning this from the Keeper of Time, He-Man decides to go to the desert and get the sand back. He can tell the difference between the Sands of Time and normal sand because the Sands of Time give off a purple glow. He also tells Teela to take Sinbad to the Council of Seasons, so he can reclaim his throne.

After a brief boring scene at the Council, we cut to the desert, where He-Man is hilariously picking up glowing purple sand grain by grain and putting it back in the hourglass. Understandably, he gets bored of this pretty smartish, so he welcomes the distraction when Hexon appears for a quick and stupid fight. During this fight, Hexon makes the pretty elementary mistake of gathering all the grains of the Sands of Time together into a sandstorm, which Orko lures back into the hourglass.

Time 4
Battle-Cat: “Most powerful man in the universe there, just playing in a sandpit.”

With Hexon under arrest and the Sands back in the hourglass, He-Man smugly returns to Hourglass Mountain, where the Keeper of Time restarts time. He-Man sets Hexon to work setting all of Eternia’s clocks back to their correct time, which is less of a punishment than he seems to think: since time had stopped and so had all the clocks, surely they should still be correct?

 

In today’s adventure…

We fade in on He-Man, who is awkwardly leaning against a wall in the Palace. He has an expression on his face which suggests he’s reciting the moral at gunpoint. This is understandable, since the moral is completely insane: he advises us that if time didn’t move, we wouldn’t be able to develop to our full potential. Essentially, he’s warning us not to invent machines capable of stopping time. This is one of those morals that I think should have gone without saying.

 

Character checklist

Here for our entertainment – or a vague approximation of entertainment – we have Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Princess Cafe, Emperor Sinbad, the Keeper of Time, Hexon, and the Council of Seasons.

Time 6
Battle-Cat: “My client would like to enter a plea of ‘guilty’, your Honour.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There are two transformations this week, and on both occasions Adam doesn’t give excuses as such, but stands around making loaded comments instead. The first time, he says, “This is a job for He-Man,” and the second time, he mutters, “We have a job to do.”

 

Insults

Very late in the game, Hexon calls Orko a “magical nuisance”. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report, except for He-Man commenting, “Looks like your garden’s a little overgrown, Teela”, which could be construed as a rather insulting double-entendre if you’re that way inclined.

Time 7
Teela: “You’ve crossed a line this time, He-Man.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s drivel. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that particularly, but in case you want further detail, the entire plot doesn’t make sense. Time has stopped, but everyone keeps moving. There was a very cursory attempt at an explanation of this, but it consisted simply of Cafe saying, “Hexon has divided the last second in every hour, then divided it again, and again, and so on,” which I think you’ll all agree doesn’t count as an explanation at all.

Time 5
Cafe: “Stop harrassing me, you weirdo.”

Moreover, I really don’t see why Hexon had to stop time at all. He wanted to be Emperor, and to do this he had to present himself at the Council of Seasons on the first day of spring, and ensure that Sinbad did not do the same. Since he already had Sinbad locked up, he could have done all of this without messing about stopping time in the first place.

In short, this episode was dull and nonsensical, and I hereby issue a hearty recommendation against watching it.

Episode 114 – Battle of the Dragons

In which a war between dragons is somehow boring.

This week, we are introduced to a very evil-looking dragon called Morningstar, who has hatched a plan to rule Eternia. This plan hinges on the acquisition of the Ice Crystal, which will allow Morningstar to put out the fire from which Granamyr draws his powers, after which he plans to depose Granamyr and start a war with the humans.

With the Crystal in his possession, Morningstar heads straight for Darksmoke and uses it to put out Granamyr’s fire. When Granamyr kicks off about it, Morningstar claims that the fire was extinguished by humans. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko are even now arriving for a visit to Darksmoke to celebrate the anniversary of the treaty between dragons and humans. Overriding Granamyr’s concerns, Morningstar sends a squadron of dragons who force the Wind Raider to crash land.

Battle 1
He-Man: “Typical Easyjet.”

Morningstar persuades most of the dragons to prepare for war, but Granamyr refuses to join them. When He-Man’s party finally arrives at Darksmoke, Granamyr fills them in on the situation. Though he believes Morningstar that some humans put out his fire, he does not wish for war over it – but without his magic, he cannot prevent the other dragons. He then casually mentions that his fire can only be re-lit with flames from the Pit of Shadows, in the same sort of fashion that a child might just happen to mention they’d like a new bike or something in the run-up to Christmas.

Of all people, it’s Orko who picks up on this subtle hint, and promises to retrieve the flames for Granamyr. Of course, he’s accompanied by He-Man and Man-at-Arms, and the three of them manage to get hold of some of the flames with no trouble. They return to Granamyr and relight his fire, after which Granamyr persuades the majority of the dragons to call off their attacks on human villages.

Battle 2
Man-at-Arms: “Pretty sure Take That did a song based on the plot to this episode.”

Naturally, Morningstar doesn’t listen to Granamyr, and so the two of them breathe fire at each other for a while. Granamyr wins, as you may well have predicted, then shows mercy, and there’s time enough for a return visit to Darksmoke and a less-than-amusing joke to finish the episode. Despite it not being at all funny, we are treated to at least 30 seconds’ worth of Man-at-Arms, He-Man and Granamyr laughing like hysterical hyenas.

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms draws inspiration from Granamyr and Morningstar’s fire-breathing competition, at the end of which Granamyr did not press the matter further. Man-at-Arms tells us that winning is no excuse for bad manners, and reminds us that being a good winner is as important as being a good loser. It’s tempting to say Man-at-Arms is a loser, but he’s too easy a target, so I won’t.

 

Character checklist

It’s not big on the regulars, limiting itself to Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko, but it makes up for that with a reasonably hefty guest cast, consisting of Granamyr, Morningstar, a dude called Targon, and a whole load of dragons and some human villagers.

Battle 3
Granamyr: “Orko, you can either get off my head voluntarily or as a result of some serious violence.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s transformation

As usual these days, Adam transforms with only Man-at-Arms around, and thus doesn’t bother with the tired excuses.

 

Insults

It’s the first time in quite a while, but no one insults anyone else today. Unless of course I missed it, because this episode was pretty boring and I wouldn’t mind betting I zoned out quite often while it was on.

Battle 4
Morningstar: “Check out my new bling.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is a disappointing episode, all the more so because I have really enjoyed the other three episodes involving Granamyr, so I was rather looking forward to this one. It’s all the more tragic given this is most likely Granamyr’s last appearance (there’s only 16 episodes left, folks, and it’s unlikely he’ll be showing up again), so it’s a shame he goes out on a damp squib.

I understand what they were aiming at with this episode, but it all came across as quite stunningly mediocre. There was never a sense of threat or peril, and frankly Orko got far too much screen time, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms seemed to be sleepwalking through the story and didn’t really do anything. I somehow just didn’t care about Morningstar and his plot, and Granamyr seemed far too vulnerable as compared to his previous appearances.

There were two points I really liked though, one at the start and one at the end. We first meet Morningstar when he’s talking to a dude named Targon, who has brought him the Ice Crystal. This scene is cleverly constructed, giving Targon his own motivations and schemes (he’s plainly intending to double-cross Morningstar at some point), to the extent that the viewer thinks Targon is the episode’s main baddy. Then Morningstar simply freezes him with the Ice Crystal, and we never see him again! It’s a great subversion of the viewer’s expectations.

Battle 5
Targon: “I’m suddenly a bit concerned about my long-term prospects.”

The other moment comes at the end of the episode, just as Granamyr and He-Man are wrapping things up at Darksmoke. Over the course of the episode, the dragons have destroyed a human village. Normally, in this cartoon, we’d see the villagers standing round laughing their heads off at the end of the episode, forgetting the fact that they now have no homes. Here, Granamyr actually promises to rebuild the village. It’s a very nice touch of realism rarely seen in He-Man World.

These two immensely positive points, however, don’t really redeem the dull 18 minutes that they bookend. If I were you, I’d ignore this episode and pretend that Granamyr’s story finished with Disappearing Dragons.