In which we get a Scientist Special.
It’s back to business as usual today, after the conclusion of the recent five-part story that – on reflection – didn’t make any changes whatsoever to the status quo. This week, Skeletor has found an alien computer and is convinced that it contains the secret of intercom – a massively destructive chemical element that for some reason appears to have the name of a telephone company. Unfortunately, none of the Mutants can decode the alien computer, so Flogg comes up with the worst idea ever: make the scientists of Primus do the work.
As part of this plan, the Mutants send letters to each of the scientists, inviting them to come to a ceremony at the Intergalactic Foundation space station to be recognised as a Mind of the Millennium. This ought to set alarm bells ringing, because no one in their right mind would invite these divs anywhere, except perhaps into a Disintegrating Machine. Perhaps mindful of this, Master Sebrien has forbidden the scientists to attend, presumably suspecting that it must be a trap.
Not to be deterred, the scientists nick the Starship Eternia and take it on a joyride with Gleep at the helm, intending to reach the Foundation space station. Rather to my surprise, they actually get there, and are greeted by a sinister robot who informs them that before they can receive the Mind of the Millennium prize, they must solve a scientific puzzle. Naturally, the puzzle is the equation that will result in the creation of intercom.
The scientists solve the equation and create a glowing ball of intercom. The robot takes the ball, hides it inside a trophy, then presents the trophy to Elcon, Krax and Meldock. Gepple is excluded, simply because Skeletor is feeling mean. The scientists return to Primus, unwittingly bringing the intercom with them, and it doesn’t take long for the intercom to start imploding; Gepple realises that before long, it will destroy the entire planet.
With this sort of problem going on, it’s up to He-Man to show his chiselled face and save the day. This is, of course, extremely difficult, but I found it equally difficult to care, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t summarise the remainder of this drivel as thoroughly as I sometimes do. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot of bollocks about positive and negative energy, as well as a stupid little sequence in which He-Man gives himself up as a hostage to Skeletor. He’s been doing this a lot lately, and I’m beginning to wonder if he simply enjoys being chained up.
If so, he’s disappointed this time. Skeletor doesn’t chain him up, instead choosing to have a tedious fight with him, and thus it is that a good percentage of the dialogue at the latter end of the episode consists simply of He-Man and Skeletor grunting at each other, so enthusiastically that it frankly sounds a little bit sexual. Eventually, thanks to some well-timed gibberish from the Sorceress, He-Man realises that only Skeletor’s power can stop the intercom, so he arranges for that to happen. I can’t be bothered to explain how. Let’s just say it’s a good job, He-Man. Well done.
In today’s adventure…
We get a short comic scene this week, in which Gepple comes across a house on fire, but can’t remember the fire brigade’s phone number. Then He-Man appears and bellows at Gepple in a really intimidating way that he ought to have written down the phone number. The moral here is that we should always keep the fire brigade’s number handy, and have free licence to be a complete dick to anyone who hasn’t.
We’ve got a pretty small cast list today: it’s just Prince Adam, He-Man, Master Sebrien, Hydron, the Sorceress, Gepple, Meldock, Elcon, Krax, Gleep, Skeletor and Flogg.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Adam’s on his own when he makes his transformation, so I’ll let him off not making an excuse this time.
Skeletor quite accurately describes the scientists as “fools” twice, and as “egotists”. Elcon tells Gepple that he is a “sore loser”, and He-Man briefly ducks back into his Filmation persona by calling Skeletor a “bonehead”.
Well, as you can perhaps imagine, pretty much everything that happens in this episode comes under this category, so I’ll try to keep it brief as I describe this points bonanza:
Elcon gets a point for poncing about boasting about his invitation, and another point for panicking in a really irritating way when the intercom starts causing trouble.
Meldock gets a point for being the moron who comes up with the plan to steal the Starship Eternia. He also gets a point for arguing unnecessarily when He-Man is trying to save them.
Krax can have a point for being unable to say “Mutant” without having a panic attack.
Gepple gets an idiot point for recognising that the intercom equation is dangerous and thus refusing on principle to take part, then being persuaded to change his mind with minimal effort. I think he also deserves a point for stating the bloody obvious when Master Sebrien and the scientists are formulating a plan for combating the intercom.
Krax, Elcon and Meldock all earn another point for being really insensitive around Gepple when he’s upset that he didn’t win the prize. These three also get a point each for just being massively infuriating when they realise they’ve created some intercom.
All four of them get a final point for having an apoplexy-inducing argument at the end.
So, the final scores are now as follows:
Does it have the Power?
Well, it has its moments. Skeletor is really on form this week; his dialogue is great, and his voice actor really conveys a sense of borderline insanity. I enjoyed his scenes with Flogg; for quite some time, he’s been playing a subordinate role, flattering Flogg’s ego, all the while working to undermine him. I wasn’t expecting to like Skeletor in this series, but I really do.
Unfortunately, pretty much everything else about the episode lets down the good work with Skeletor. I’ll grudgingly admit that the scientists are okay in small doses, but when they form a pivotal part of an episode, we really run into trouble. They wind me up an absolute treat. The Sorceress’ brief cameo appearances in this series do likewise, and He-Man is just too perfect in his current incarnation.
I also can’t really understand what the baddies stand to gain by this plan; if they’d won, they’d have dissolved Primus into nothingness. I thought they wanted to conquer it, not destroy it? On the other hand, I must confess I’m not entirely au fait with the Mutants’ motivation, nor do I especially want to be.
So, it’s a very mixed bag of an episode. Ultimately, I don’t think I can really recommend it, but if you skip through it looking for Skeletor’s scenes, they’re worth a watch, if you really are bored and can’t think of anything else to occupy you.
And we’re already a quarter of the way through The New Adventures of He-Man! I feel like I can do this. It’s going to be trying, but I can do it.