Episode 127 – The Ancient Mirror of Avathar

In which Trapjaw chucks it all in to join the Royal Navy Reserves.

The episode opens with Adam introducing Moss-Man to Melaktha. I say Moss-Man is introduced to Melaktha, but in actual fact, Adam is clearly addressing the viewers, hoping to sell Moss-Man action figures. He even runs through Moss-Man’s special ability, which is to fall asleep and disguise himself as the nearest plant. I don’t see how this ability is ever going to help He-Man defeat Skeletor, but perhaps we’ll find out today.

Avathar 1
Melaktha: “Adam, how is this weird little leprechaun ever going to help?”

Moss-Man and Melaktha have joined Adam to go on a pleasure cruise to try to discover the ancient island continent of Avathar, which Melaktha is convinced is not a myth. Trapjaw has stowed away on their ship, disguising himself rather pathetically as a pirate, and he puts in a quick call to Evil-Lyn and Two-Bad at Snake Mountain to inform them that our heroes are searching for Avathar. They think Skeletor will be interested, but unless he needs a coursework topic for his GCSE in Archaeology, this seems unlikely to me.

Naturally, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to find the island of Avathar, and Melaktha gets straight into the archaeology – at least, when he’s not being pointlessly rude to Moss-Man. Investigating a demonic-looking statue, Melaktha unlocks a secret passage leading underground, which turns out to lead to the former museum of Avathar. Moss-Man strikes up a conversation with the moss on the walls, from which he learns that the Ancient Mirror of Avathar is hidden in a secret chamber.

Avathar 3
Prince Adam: “Thanks for the outing to the tackiest antique shop on Eternia, Melaktha.”

Our heroes find their way into the secret chamber with considerable ease, and gaze upon the Mirror. Adam asks what the Mirror is, at which point the Mirror wakes up and speaks to them. After ripping off the dialogue used by the Guardian of Forever in the famous Star Trek episode, it gets down to business and explains that it holds the entire knowledge of the former Avathar Empire. Adam and Melaktha immediately grab it and take it back aboard their ship, while Moss-Man loots all the other treasures in the museum. These people are not responsible archaeologists.

Trapjaw, still in his laughable pirate disguise, calls Snake Mountain again to give a progress update and to request instructions. Two-Bad, who seems to have taken an assertiveness course since his appearance last week, orders him to nick the Mirror and bring it to Snake Mountain. Trapjaw attempts to take advantage of a sudden thunderstorm to do just that, but due to his usual degree of incompetence, he is immediately discovered by Adam and Moss-Man.

Avathar 2
Two-Bad: “Worst snowglobe ever.”

Unfortunately, because of a subplot involving an idiot boy and his dad who live in a lighthouse, the ship is accidentally misguided onto some rocks, and runs aground. He-Man puts in an appearance to save the ship from sinking, then tows the ship safely to the docks. And then, to my distinct surprise, the episode ends, without making any kind of an attempt to wrap things up. It just stops.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man treats us to a little lecture about how boring jobs are still worth doing. Various characters throughout the episode have had a weird obsession with this theme, so it comes as no surprise to find it trotted out as the moral.

Avathar 4
Lighthouse keeper: “Our jobs and lives are very very dull.”

 

Character checklist

This week, we have the pleasure of the company of Prince Adam, He-Man, Melaktha, Moss-Man, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Two-Bad, the lighthouse keeper, the idiot boy, and a large number of sailors. Oh, and also the Mirror, obviously.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The first transformation comes when Adam in alone is a room, and so he doesn’t need to give an excuse. The second transformation equally comes with no excuse, and is noteworthy for Adam’s curious decision to turn into He-Man right in front of Trapjaw.

Avathar 5
Prince Adam: “Say there, sailor, you look a bit like Trapjaw. Unfortunate coincidence for you, I guess.”

 

Insults

Melaktha rudely refers to Moss-Man as Adam’s “green friend”, which is true but is definitely not meant politely. Two-Bad calls Trapjaw a “tin head”, but Trapjaw achieves a new low when he refers to himself as a “scurvy knave”.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s really, really odd. I’ve complained in the past about episodes not knowing what they wanted to do with themselves, but I’m struggling to think of an episode that’s quite as disjointed as this one. The plotlines battling for attention in this episode are:

  1. The quest for the Mirror, and the knowledge it can bestow. This one takes up quite a lot of the first half of the episode, and seems to be the main storyline, but once our heroes have acquired the Mirror and stashed it on the boat, it never appears again – except right at the end, when the lighthouse boy and his dad use it to reflect light at the ocean. Quite how they got their hands on the Mirror is not explained.
  2. As a subplot of the above, there’s Trapjaw trying to nick the Mirror. This is clearly just here to bulk the episode out, since it’s a plotline that goes absolutely nowhere and does nothing.
  3. The stupid boy in the lighthouse. After the quest for the Mirror, the episode decides it wants to focus on this individual, who is a pretty standard Filmation child. He doesn’t want to do the lighthouse job because it’s boring, so he goofs off, and ultimately discovers that he’s caused a disaster. Cue much hand-wringing, apologies, and forgiveness from his disappointed but understanding father.
  4. Melaktha’s odd prejudice towards Moss-Man. In the early part of the episode, Melaktha clearly hates Moss-Man’s guts, but he gets over this when Moss-Man saves his life.
Avathar 6
Mirror: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the oddest episode of them all?”

With all this going on, it’s plain that it’s not all going to get a fair showing. The Mirror plotline is particularly poorly served, since there’s a lot of build-up and excitement around the Mirror’s discovery, and then nothing at all happens. Trapjaw’s plotline could have been safely cut, and I’d have been happier if the lighthouse rubbish hadn’t been involved.

So all in all, it’s a bit of a mess, but – especially in the first half – an enjoyable one. It’s particularly good if you’re a massive Moss-Man fan; I’m sure there must be at least one of you out there.

6 thoughts on “Episode 127 – The Ancient Mirror of Avathar

  1. I couldn`t agree more owen with your review of this episode, you cover most of the main points and imo its fair comment. As you say the first act and second act seem like two totally different episodes, in the second act the mirror gets totally abandoned! I appreciate how its a fresh location and being a water episode but the problem with this episode as much as all the disjointedness (which I totally agree on) is the fact I found it quite boring and for this reason very difficult to watch right through! If I had to score this episode imo id probably rate it about 4 marks out of 10, so why would I give it 4marks and not even lower after all iv said against it? well there is one plus about this episode this is a fantastic episode for moss man simply because he gets many chances to show off his powers even briefly teaming up to help he man near the end, so your points are fair owen and like you say if your a huge fan of moss man this is definetly his strongest outing, other than this tho I too just found this episode far far to disjointed! (only episode I can think of at the top of my head that was just as all over the place was keeper of the ancient ruins from season one) I actually really like the character moss man (who was created by the great larry di tillio) but I too though he was dreadful in this episode and extremely offensive towards moss man some of his lines were even a bit cringy to listen to one stand out one for example when melaktha said to moss man “I think I know more about all old things than a patch of fungus”!! Its a shame cos again like many season two episodes the basic premise showed a lot of potential robert lamb was the writer and he wrote 2 incredibly powerful classic episodes with not so blind and into the abyss, even capture the comet keeper altho not great was still alot of fun but the ancient mirror of avathar was no doubt robert lambs worst episode in my honest opinion, overall i found this a very disappointing episode….

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    1. Yeah, the Melaktha thing is interesting and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it’s good to tackle prejudice, and the decision to make one of our heroes actually be prejudiced against someone is pretty brave. It also makes sense (to some extent) that it’s Melaktha, given he’s often been shown to be short-tempered and jumping to conclusions, so it kind of fits his character.

      On the other hand, it’s just not done very well, largely because it gets crowded out by everything else going on here.

      So probably best to file under “missed opportunity”…

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  2. Yeah I think your right. I meant melaktha by the way was the character created by Larry di tillio not moss man! I actually like both characters melaktha and mossman but yeah I just felt melaktha was alittle too much in this episode!! I’ve just realised the boy in this episode looks exactly the same from the boy glitch in things that o bump in the night recycled. I think the best of the water episodes imo has to be search for the vho it was fun, witty and entertaining I found this episode the complete opposite of all these things and I’m a huge fan of Robert lamb this was his only real bad episode again just in my opinion takecare..

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  3. //Moss-Man strikes up a conversation with the moss on the walls, //

    Seems like this fellow could be really good in spying… Skeletor better watch carefully, what he is saying in the presence of any vegetation.

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    1. It’s not fair on Skeletor really, is it? Hardly a level playing field if he can’t even say anything if there’s any plants around.

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  4. To be exact, nothing said in the presence of plants is safe on Eternia. Moss-Man could easily extract any data possible. Which make me wonder; who is the shadow mastermind around here?… Moss-Man have literally the most valuable ability out of all “heroic warriors” bunch, yet he is definitely not using it for everyone good. Who are you, mister Moss-Man?

    Liked by 1 person

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