Episode 074 – Island of Fear

In which Skeletor seems to think that six ships contain the sum total of all of Eternia’s food.

We appear to be in for a repeat of City Beneath The Sea this week, beginning as we do with the introduction of Buzz-Off, a giant bee who is complaining to King Randor about the disappearance of six food ships this month. This time, however, the missing ships are quickly linked to a volcanic island that doesn’t feature on any maps, so Adam, Cringer and Man-at-Arms fly out to take a look.

The island isn’t present on first inspection, but seconds later it appears out of nowhere, and Adam crashes into it, like the clumsy clown he is. Man-at-Arms and Cringer get sucked down beneath the new Great Eternian Dam, requiring Adam to turn into He-Man and rescue them. He-Man’s method of rescue is a bit suspect, involving launching all three of them practically into orbit without considering how they will get down again. Luckily, Buzz-Off is on hand to save them all.

Island 1
Buzz-Off: “This is going to be one mother of a bra-strap ping.”

Landing on the island, He-Man turns back into Adam, while Buzz-Off flies off to get Teela and Orko, who I’m sure will be very useful. True to form, on arrival, Teela immediately starts having a go at Adam and demanding to know where He-Man is. Adam distracts her by pointing out the mysterious island on which they all currently stand and suggesting that they investigate. Teela likes this plan and suggests that they split up into two groups to explore.

Adam and Man-at-Arms discover a waterfall, with a large sign behind it bearing the unexpected message, “Hello chumps”. No sooner have they read this odd notice then a whirlpool begins, sucking them into a cave, where they discover the missing food ships. They also discover a submarine containing Skeletor, Mer-Man and a new recruit, Whiplash, both of whom are sucking up to Skeletor as if it’s time for their annual performance reports.

Island 2
Man-at-Arms: “Looks like Skeletor’s upgraded his bath toys.”

Skeletor takes the time to detail his plan, which is as sophisticated as ever. He has captured the six food ships, which he seems to believe contain all the food on Eternia. He also intends to sail his island into the Great Eternian Dam, destroying it and flooding all the farmland so that everyone on Eternia will have to come to him for food. Man-at-Arms comments, “I hate to say it, Adam, but this time Skeletor’s plan seems pretty good.” This can only be an attempt to humour Skeletor, because frankly this plan is one of the stupidest yet.

Teela, Buzz-Off, Cringer and Orko discover a ventilation shaft leading down to the island’s engine room, where they discover Adam and Man-at-Arms being held captive in a nice unguarded prison. Naturally, this results in their immediate rescue. Unfortunately, Skeletor appears and starts the engines to drive the island into the Dam, so Adam lunges behind a computer bank and transforms into He-Man. He then emerges from behind the computer and expects no one to notice. Which, of course, they don’t.

He-Man demands that Skeletor stop the engines, but Skeletor simply destroys the control mechanism instead, in a pointless act of defiance. Naturally, He-Man’s next move is to destroy the engines, and the control room itself. With the Dam saved, Skeletor heads for home, using Mer-Man and Whiplash as a pair of water-skis. In the closing scene, Randor decides to make the floating island into Eternia’s first nature reserve, and then everyone sits round the table applauding their cleverness and cheering like halfwits.

Island 3
King Randor: “Is it conceited if I voice the opinion that we are literally the best people who have ever existed?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Adam explain that sometimes trees need to be chopped down in order to put up buildings, but that it’s important to set aside some areas to remain natural. Clearly, the writer of this episode felt that the head of the United States’ Department for the Environment was a frequent He-Man viewer and would be glued to the screen, and thus took the opportunity to dispense some helpful policy advice.

 

Character checklist

As noted, we meet two newbies today: Buzz-Off and Whiplash. Of course, there’s also Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Skeletor and Mer-Man. I didn’t notice Battle-Cat this week, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Two transformations occur in this episode, and Adam doesn’t offer an excuse on the first occasion. However, once he’s changed back, Teela demands to know where He-Man is, to which Adam responds, “He’ll be back if we need him.”

Island 4
Teela: “Christ, I’m livid.”

After the second transformation, Teela again wonders as to Adam’s whereabouts. “I’m sure he’s all right,” responds He-Man. Given mere seconds ago Adam was in a room that has now blown up, this extreme confidence on He-Man’s part is the sort of behaviour that in anything vaguely resembling reality would result in Teela putting two and two together.

 

Insults

Every insult this week comes from Skeletor, who refers to Orko as a “silly bag of wind”. Otherwise, his vitriol is reserved for Mer-Man and Whiplash, who are referred to variously as “fishy fools” and “bumbling fools”. Skeletor also insults his henchman with the more oblique comment, “I have to be brilliant, to make up for them.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’d hesitate to call it a classic, but it certainly is good fun: I’ve always felt He-Man was at its best when the villain of the piece is Skeletor with a ridiculous plan, and in that, this episode does not disappoint. The initial investigation into the island is suitably mysterious, and once Skeletor’s responsibility is revealed, he keeps us entertained – especially with his closing use of Mer-Man and Whiplash as a method of transport.

Island 5
Skeletor: “I suppose this serves me right for buying my water-skis at Poundland.”

As an introduction for Buzz-Off and Whiplash, this episode doesn’t do too well; neither of them comes across as particularly exciting. Buzz-Off does slightly better, having one moment of competence early on when he catches He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Cringer, but Whiplash doesn’t manage to rise above the level of generic villain. Still, plenty of time for development later, which I’m sure they’ll get.

In short, you won’t be disappointed in watching this episode, but don’t go in expecting greatness.

Episode 073 – Origin of the Sorceress

In which I court controversy by not particularly caring about the Sorceress.

The episode starts with a sales pitch from Man-at-Arms concerning Stridor, his new robot horse, now available in Toys R Us at the very reasonable price of £14.99. Following this, a burning wheel of fire appears in the sky above the Palace, firing meteors down into the courtyard. Once this has been attended to, the Sorceress summons He-Man and Stridor to Castle Grayskull, where she explains that the meteors were caused by Morgoth the Terrible. Many years ago, Morgoth was a sorcerer who acquired more and more powers, eventually becoming immortal and growing into a giant, but eventually he was imprisoned by the Ancients.

Origin 1
He-Man: “Get out of my head, Sorceress.”

He-Man suggests that maybe Morgoth is back, and earns himself a gold star for his powers of deduction. The Sorceress then decides that she, He-Man and Stridor must journey to the Dark Mountain, for which she uses a crystal that allows her to maintain her true form outside Grayskull. Once at the Dark Mountain, the Sorceress says that Morgoth will appear at dawn, and decides to pass the time until then by telling He-Man how she became the Sorceress. Settle down and pay attention, because this might well be a question in your Eternian History GCSEs.

A long time ago, before she was half-woman, half-falcon, and when she was still capable of being useful, the Sorceress was called Teela-Na. With the aid of some space pirates, Morgoth quickly defeated Teela-Na’s village, but on the advice of a wise old man, Teela-Na headed out to the old castle in the wastelands. The castle, of course, was Grayskull, and Teela-Na entered despite a warning that going inside would leave her forever altered.

Origin 2
Teela-Na: “That’s a lovely chair. I could sit up there making pseudo-profound statements all day.”

Inside, Teela-Na found an old woman called Kodak Ungol, with the same crazy feathers and bird head that our Sorceress now has. Kodak Ungol offered Teela-Na all the power she needed to defend her village, but on the condition that she become the new Sorceress of Grayskull, and defend the secrets of the castle. Teela-Na accepted, became the Sorceress, and defeated the space pirates and Morgoth.

Once this exciting story has been recounted, He-Man stifles a yawn and says what a lucky day for Eternia that was. He even goes so far as to say that he can’t count the times he’s needed the Sorceress, which I can only assume is his idea of a joke, because I can’t think of a single occasion on which the Sorceress has even approached being useful.

And so to the final showdown: Morgoth pops his head through the wheel of fire in the sky and shouts ineffectual insults down at He-Man, Stridor and the Sorceress, as well as dropping a gemstone into the ground. The Sorceress reveals that to defeat Morgoth, the gemstone must be destroyed, so He-Man does that very thing, sounding uncommonly cross about it.

Origin 3
Morgoth: “I imagine Johnny Cash has something to say about this.”

With Morgoth defeated, there’s just enough time in the episode for a bizarre closing section in which the Sorceress explains that though Stridor may have been a robot when he went up against Morgoth, now he is a living creature, even though there is no reason for this whatsoever. Man-at-Arms therefore decides to set Stridor free. Having thus successfully interfered in Man-at-Arms’ lab work, the Sorceress returns to Grayskull, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms happily witter to each other about how special the Sorceress is.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s take-home message this week is that we must all do whatever we can to help other people, as demonstrated by the Sorceress taking on the role of guardian of Grayskull in order to help her village. This seems reasonable enough.

 

Character checklist

Well, let’s see. There’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Teela-Na, the wise old man, Kodak Ungol, Morgoth and the space pirates. If we must, we can also count Stridor.

Origin 4
The Sorceress: “Hey guys, I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t you release the weirdo robot horse into the wild?”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam can’t wait to turn into He-Man this week, and doesn’t have time to mess about giving vague excuses.

 

Insults

There’s nothing to report here other than “old fool” from a space pirate to the wise old man, and the similar “fools” from Morgoth to He-Man and the Sorceress.

Origin 5
He-Man: “Yeah, sorry, Sorceress, but the brochure said this was a 5* resort.”

 

Egg on your face?

Orko manages to embed himself in a snowball in the opening scene, but since this is his method of avoiding being hit by a meteor, I imagine he doesn’t mind too much.

 

Does it have the Power?

I suspect I’ll earn the hatred of He-Fans around the world for saying this, but no, I don’t think it does. This is a very highly-regarded episode, presumably because it fills in some back story and shows us how the current state of affairs came to be. That’s fine, but to be honest, the Sorceress isn’t really a character I care about. Had it been the origin of Skeletor, or perhaps shown the first time Adam transformed into He-Man, perhaps I might have been able to muster some enthusiasm, but not for the Sorceress. And, being frank, the origin story isn’t very exciting, and neither was the fight with Morgoth at the end. If you want to know the ins and outs of Eternian history, therefore, this episode’s a good one for you; otherwise, it’s fairly boring and you’d not miss out by skipping it.

Episode 072 – The Great Books Mystery

In which Skeletor makes friends with Eternia’s version of Batman.

As the episode opens, Orko is telling Teela and Man-at-Arms that he’s lost “a book about unicorns, with lots of pictures.” So far, so mental, but then Orko reveals that the book was intended for Prince Adam’s birthday. Unless it’s a large BBC Wildlife coffee table book, the implication is that Orko has a seriously low opinion of Adam’s intelligence. He could hardly have made it sound more childish if he’d referred to it as having rubber pages.

We are next treated to a return appearance of Professor Smullen, from Keeper of the Ancient Ruins, who informs King Randor that all the books in the kingdom have disappeared. Randor doesn’t believe him at first, suggesting idiotically that maybe Smullen has just lost them, but eventually agrees to get Adam and Man-at-Arms on the case.

Books 1
Prince Adam: “Me and Man-at-Arms enjoy staring at Professor Smullen with unwarranted contempt.”

The first thing on the agenda is, of course, a transformation into He-Man, following which a visit to the Sorceress is in order. The Sorceress yammers on about how books are worth more than gold. In the case of a Read-It-Yourself book I used to have called Jim Hedgehog’s Supernatural Christmas, that’s debatable, but still. She also reveals that the books can be found at the Temple of the Sun, a conclusion that Teela and Orko had already reached without the Sorceress’ help. So yet again, she’s not much use.

The villain of the piece is now revealed: a gentleman called Batros, who is a cheap knock-off of Batman, so cheap that he can only afford to wear Batman’s headpiece and a pair of blue underpants. Batros is deluded enough to believe that nicking Eternia’s books will somehow result in him being made Emperor. Skeletor becomes aware of this none-too-elaborate plot, and sends Beast-Man and Trapjaw out to capture Batros, in order to persuade him to work for Skeletor.

Books 2
Batros: “Welcome to the party, lads. Right, keys in the bowl, please.”

Once these two clowns arrive at the Temple of the Sun, Batros agrees to go to see Skeletor. Beast-Man leads the way, leaving Teela and Orko to have a fight with Trapjaw, a fight into which Trapjaw puts absolutely zero effort and winds up tied to the rafters. They then head off to report the location of the books, and warn He-Man that Skeletor is peripherally involved.

At Snake Mountain, Batros and Skeletor indulge in a few pleasantries, bonding over some unkind remarks at Beast-Man’s expense. However, things get a little nastier moments later when Batros reveals he considers Skeletor might work for him, whereas Skeletor feels the inverse would be more satisfactory. Skeletor gets the better of the discussion, and Batros agrees to help him conquer Castle Grayskull.

Books 3
Skeletor: “Now, Batros, please don’t prove to be so rubbish that you end up never appearing again.”

He-Man re-enters the episode at this point, having been absent for some length of time. He seems to have spent this time travelling from Grayskull to the Temple of the Sun, and once he gets there, he immediately receives word that Skeletor and Batros are going to attack Grayskull, meaning he’ll have to go all the way back. He-Man isn’t one to say things like, “For Christ’s sake,” but there’s something of a dangerous edge to his voice when he says, “I’ll go there at once.”

He arrives just in time to do a meet-and-greet with Skeletor, who instantly decides to run away. Batros puts up slightly more resistance, but quickly finds himself thrown off to the other side of the planet. It subsequently emerges that Skeletor has occupied himself in taking the books from the Temple to Snake Mountain, necessitating a trip to get them back. Once this is over, it’s time for Adam’s birthday, where he gets his rubber unicorn book and for no readily apparent reason claims that this is the best birthday of his life.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, bugger me sideways if today’s moral doesn’t inform us that books are great, because you can use them to find out about subjects including but presumably not limited to science, dragons, sports and bodybuilding. While I agree that books are great, it wasn’t really demonstrated in the episode – perhaps if a problem had been solved by use of a book, the link might have been clearer. As it stands, I’d say the main moral is if you’re going to dress up as Batman, you should put in the effort to buy the whole costume.

Books 4
Orko: “If I point meaningfully at these books, no one will realise I can’t read.”

 

Character checklist

Popping out from their padded cells for today’s little excursion are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, the Sorceress, Professor Smullen, Batros, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Mer-Man and Tri-Klops.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“Excuse me. I have something important to do,” says Adam vaguely, and wanders off. Randor looks sadly after him, bemoaning the fact that Adam doesn’t take the books problem seriously – but nonetheless, he doesn’t think to inquire what Adam’s important something is. I genuinely wonder sometimes if everyone on Eternia, and King Randor in particular, is brain-dead.

 

Insults

Skeletor is in a foul mood this week, especially with Beast-Man, referring to him variously as a “worthless hunk of fur”, a “dummy”, and a “furbag”. He also makes the slightly more subtle comment to Beast-Man that, “Unlike you, Batros has a brain.” Elsewhere, Skeletor finds time to call Battle-Cat a “stupid beast”, with perfect sneering disdain.

Batros considers that Teela and Orko are “fools” and that Trapjaw is a “rust-head”. Orko thinks Batros is a “bat-brain”, and Trapjaw summons up sufficient wit to call Orko a “little pest”. This is a surprisingly frequent insult for Orko, perhaps because it’s true.

Books 5
Trapjaw: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s not really a Great Books Mystery, since we find out very quickly who’s nicked the books and where they’ve put them; it’s more of a Great Argument About Some Books. Despite pointless quibbling about the title, though, the episode is a good, solid adventure romp, and it was nice to see Skeletor actually going to try to break into Castle Grayskull again, for the first time in absolutely ages. Batros was a passable villain but ultimately couldn’t hold a candle to Skeletor, and frankly his scheme of “nick books, become Emperor” needed a bit of fleshing out. Overall, I’d call this episode pretty strong, and definitely better than last week’s drivel, but unlikely to make anyone’s Top Ten.

Episode 071 – The Rarest Gift of All

In which I genuinely lose the will to live.

Oh thanks God. I go away for three weeks and you punish me by presenting me with a special showcase to remind me why I despise Orko so much. It’s the King and Queen’s wedding anniversary tomorrow, but Orko can’t think of a present for them. He tries to muscle in on Man-at-Arms’ firework display, but simply ends up letting off all the fireworks and causing a fire in the lab. Then he goes to the kitchen and ruins the cake that Teela was baking. Having achieved these disasters, Orko has his first good idea in ages and decides to run away with Cringer. I’m sure no one will begrudge me a “good riddance”.

Rarest 1
Man-at-Arms: “Orko, leave me alone while I assemble this amazing hosepipe windmill thing.”

He-Man, Teela and Man-at-Arms have a nice little chat about Orko, in which they realise they haven’t seen him for a while. They waste time asking various people (Stratos, Fisto, the King and Queen, and some freak of a giant caterpillar) where Orko might be, before they think to do the obvious and check his room. There they find a note from Orko explaining that he has run away. Teela says, “Oh no,” probably more out of a feeling of obligation than anything else.

Orko and Cringer decide to go to Castle Grayskull to see the Sorceress, and Orko whinges literally all the way there that no one likes him and he’s useless and all that rubbish that we’ve heard billions of times before, which wasn’t even interesting the first time. Eventually, they start complaining that something is sapping their energy, and then a stupid monster starts chasing them, though this appears to only be so something of vague interest happens at the commercial break stage.

Rarest 2
Cringer: “Orko, get off me, or I swear to God I will eat you.”

At Grayskull, the Sorceress and Orko engage in the most infuriatingly insipid conversation I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. Orko’s argument is that everyone hates him – which by this stage in the episode they certainly do – whereas the Sorceress’ position is that they don’t. In order to persuade him of this, she gets her magic mirror to display a hilarious glimpse of life in the Palace a year from now, if Orko wasn’t there. Apparently, in this future, everyone would be hanging around looking miserable and bellowing, “Where’s Orko?”

Despite the fact that this is almost certainly a complete work of fiction on the Sorceress’ part, Orko is convinced that everyone loves him after all. That being resolved, the Sorceress provides some information on the energy-sapping monster, which boils down to “it saps your energy and it’s evil”. Orko and Cringer bolt off to warn He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela.

Unfortunately, it’s too late. He-Man and his merry band of idiots are in the forest, looking for Orko, and they have fallen prey to the energy-sapping monster. Pleasingly, He-Man and Teela have had their strength sapped, but Man-at-Arms seems to have lost his brains instead, so he keeps standing round saying, “What shall I do?” while rocks fall on his head.

Rarest 5
Man-at-Arms: “Perhaps I can help the situation if I hide behind this tree looking like I’m completely out of my mind.”

The monster then absorbs Orko’s magic, which it attempts to use on our heroes. However, because Orko’s magic is so rubbish, the monster is similarly incapable of casting a successful spell. Then He-Man digs a pit and throws the monster down it, and that’s the end of that. Now it’s time for He-Man to tell Orko off for running away, and to lecture him for about an hour and a half about how we all make mistakes, but it’s how we deal with them that’s important. This perspective had genuinely not occurred to me before, and I watched open-mouthed as He-Man dispensed this pearl of wisdom.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko comes along again to reiterate the point that running away doesn’t solve any problems. Unless your problem is that you’re losing a race. I may have wilfully misunderstood this.

 

Character checklist

This atrocious exercise in patronising twaddle comes replete with appearances from Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, Stratos, Fisto, King Randor, Queen Marlena, and of course that unremitting cock, Orko. There’s also a surprise cameo from a big lizard reading a book, who I think may be supposed to be Lizard-Man, though he looks completely different from his last appearance way back in The Time Corridor.

Rarest 4
Lizard-Man: “Yes, of course I’ll sign your autograph book, Teela.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no need for an excuse, as no one’s around when He-Man makes his grand entrance.

 

Insults

“You’re not very good at spell-weaving,” says He-Man to the energy-sapping beast. More of a comment than an insult, perhaps, but I wanted to mention it because I feel it could be adapted and addressed to the episode’s writer: “You’re not very good at writing He-Man episodes.”

 

Egg on your face?

After a very long interlude with nothing for this category, I’m pleased to report that Orko is successful in arranging for large splodges of cake to fall on himself, Teela and Cringer. How we chortled.

Rarest 3
Teela: “As lyrics go, I think ‘Hallelujah, it’s raining cake’ will only work as a first draft.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’m beginning to detect a pattern. Whenever I see the name J. Brynne Stephens listed as the writer on the opening credits, I know I’m in for a very tedious time. This individual is responsible for A Friend in Need and The Starchild, two of the worst episodes of He-Man, and now he/she adds The Rarest Gift of All to the list of crimes against He-Manity.

Orko stories are rarely – if ever – of interest, and still less so when they’re all about him being self-pitying. This one firmly ticks the ‘Orko being irritating’ box, then adds a dash of ‘boring’ to the mix. It finally tops it off with a good solid helping of ‘talking down to the audience’. If asked to go for two words that summarise this effort, I think I’d pick “patronising” and ” dreadful”. I think my position here is clear: there’s no need to watch this one.

Episode 070 – Fisto’s Forest

In which we meet Eternia’s most dubiously named hero.

An irritating Eternian child (TM) falls out of a tree and is attacked by a Grazzlor, but luckily for him along comes a man called Fisto. Just in case you had any funny ideas, Fisto has his name because one of his hands is an enormous metallic fist. The child admires Fisto, claiming that he is almost as much of a hero as He-Man, and with little to no provocation, Fisto then embarks on an episode-long flashback recounting how he used to be evil, but now he’s good.

It seems that a few years ago, Fisto was messing about in a forest, being evil by damming rivers and thus killing crops. It’s not really evil mastermind level, but I suppose it’s unpleasant enough. Skeletor is apparently behind this, having imprisoned the Elf Lord in a crystal ball and installed Fisto in the forest in the Elf Lord’s place, but quite what Skeletor intends to gain from this little arrangement is anyone’s guess.

Fisto 1
Fisto: “Worst snowglobe ever.”

A little girl called Rayna heads to the Palace to ask for help, and Randor dispatches Adam, Cringer, Orko and Teela. In the meantime, Rayna’s father goes into the forest where he is attacked by Fisto’s pet giant spider. The heroes arrive to effect a rescue, but because no one on Eternia except He-Man has the slightest degree of competence, Teela and Rayna manage to get themselves trapped by some kind of glue spat out by the spider. He-Man and Orko help them out, and they head off to save Rayna’s father.

Imprisoned in a tree, Rayna’s father asks Fisto a very pertinent question: “Why are you doing this?” Fisto responds with the absolutely insane reasoning, “Because people will stop me if I let them, but they never get the chance.” Well, perhaps if you stop yourself, Fisto, then other people won’t need to stop you, and then everyone would be happy, no? This makes so little sense that I wonder if this bit of the script simply said [insert villain’s motivation later], and then the voice actor had to improvise on the spot when it came to recording.

Anyway, Fisto now indulges in a bit more craziness, flooding a valley in which Teela, Orko, Rayna and Battle-Cat are standing, in the hope that the water will wash them directly into his dungeon. Which it does, mightily conveniently. Fisto then rigs up a stupid trap to fill the dungeon with water, with the intention of drowning his prisoners, but being an idiot, he winds up trapping himself under a log and in danger from drowning himself.

Fisto 2
Fisto: “Somehow my plan seems to have gone wrong somewhere.”

Orko reveals a hitherto unknown talent of contacting He-Man telepathically, and calls for help. Before He-Man can show up, however, Rayna manages to squeeze through the dungeon’s bars and helps Fisto out from under the log. This act of kindness prompts Fisto to change his ways with immediate effect, and he releases Teela and Orko from the dungeon. He-Man then rescues Rayna’s father and the Elf Lord, and Fisto becomes a good person forever after.

We now fade back to the present day, where Fisto has just finished telling this story to the irritating Eternian child, who politely claims that it’s a nice story, and tries to get the hell out of there before He-Man and Fisto start telling pointless and unfunny jokes about the size of Fisto’s hand. In this, however, he does not succeed.

Fisto 3
He-Man: “It’s great fun hanging out in the forest with my mate Fisto, wearing virtually nothing except a pair of furry underpants and chatting to young boys.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela comes along to tell us all about how we should do unto others as we’d have them do unto us. This is precisely what Fisto did in this episode, and it seems a reasonable conclusion from the events depicted, I suppose. It’s a bit boring, though. I wish, just once, they’d go mental and say, “If you live in a forest near an evil man with a giant metal fist, the best thing to do is to go to the Palace and get help. Until next time!”

 

Character checklist

Well, obviously, there’s Fisto. But more importantly, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Rayna, Rayna’s dad, the Elf Lord, the Irritating Eternian Child, and let’s not forget Skeletor’s most pointless appearance ever.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Teela hands it to Adam on a plate this week, actively telling him to go and head off the giant spider. This is all the excuse Adam needs to get out of sight. Then, when He-Man appears, Teela comments, “It looks like Adam and Cringer have gone on to the village.” It’s as if she’s so used to the standard excuses that she’s started giving them herself.

Fisto 4
Teela: “I can’t really be bothered pretending I don’t know your secret identity, Adam, but if it really matters to you, why don’t you ‘go on to the village’?”

 

Insults

Fisto sounds very much like he nonsensically calls He-Man and Teela “metal do-gooders”, though I suspect it’s “meddling”. Otherwise, there’s nothing to report here.

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is nothing more than an advert for the Fisto action figure, and since Fisto is not an enormously interesting character, it really struggles. Fisto’s problem is that his ability is to hit things really hard, which also happens to be He-Man’s ability, except that He-Man doesn’t require an enormous deformed hand in order to do so. Consequently, children are far more likely to be interested in He-Man, rather than this second-rate replacement. Giving him an evil past doesn’t make him any more exciting, especially since his evil past lacked any kind of ambition or motivation.

Fisto 5
Orko: “Photobomb!”

One thing I will say, though, is that in the five episodes of Season 2 so far, I’ve noticed a definite step up in the quality of the animation. Fisto’s evil forest this week was beautifully done, there are new and interesting panning shots of the Palace being used, and new locations have been created, like the village this week. Whereas in Season 1 we got a lot of recycled animation, Filmation have made a definite effort so far to keep things fresh and varied. It can’t make episodes like Fisto’s Forest into classics, but it does make them at least worth a watch.

And with that, I’m on holiday for a couple of weeks. Reviews will resume in early May. Bet you can’t wait.

Episode 069 – The Gamesman

In which King Randor risks Teela’s life because a stranger gave an apple to Orko.

Okay. After last week’s diversion into silliness, we’ll get back to the serious business of reviewing episodes. Our story today begins with a very sleazy gentleman called Lord Todd coming to visit the Palace, where he defeats King Randor at chess, and then distributes gifts. Orko gets an apple, Cringer a steak, and Teela gets a huge sapphire necklace. Todd finally presents Randor with a new bejewelled chess set, and in return asks that Teela be his guest at Castle Star. Reasoning that anyone who gives such nice presents can’t possibly be evil, even if they are smiling in an openly psychopathic way, Randor gives his permission.

Gamesman 1
Lord Todd: “Evil? Me? No, definitely not.”

Orko and Cringer head out to the countryside to eat their apple and steak, but they have only just settled down at a nice picnic spot when a giant mole burrows up through the ground and steals the steak. They return to warn the others, and Adam transforms into He-Man and heads out to stop the mole from burrowing directly into the Palace.

On confronting the mole, He-Man manages to establish a telepathic link with it and learns that it is friendly but short-sighted, clumsy and lonely, and possibly therefore even more annoying than if it had just been a generic monster. He-Man persuades the mole not to destroy the Palace, and off it goes politely. Whoop whoop.

Meanwhile, Teela arrives at Castle Star, where Lord Todd shows her through a complex labyrinth to the treasure at the centre: a Stargate to another dimension. Todd explains that he is a collector of unique games, and that Teela is to become the Queen in his life-size chess set. Teela says thanks but no thanks, but Todd is unwilling to accept her refusal.

Gamesman 2
Lord Todd: “Look at all these lovely game pieces. Why wouldn’t you want to be one of them? There must be something wrong with you.”

Warned of Todd’s evil nature by the Sorceress, Man-at-Arms shows up at Castle Star and immediately gets captured. This forces Teela to promise to become the Queen in return for Man-at-Arms’ release, so that was really helpful – thanks, Man-at-Arms. To top it off, Todd pulls his face off, revealing that he is in fact an alien with a face the colour of vomit, and starts spouting rubbish about taking Teela through the Stargate to his dimension, from which there is no return.

This is an opportune moment for He-Man to show up. With the assistance of the giant mole, he manages to reach the centre of the labyrinth, just in time for Teela to idiotically get herself sucked through the Stargate. He-Man and Man-at-Arms follow, finding themselves in a freaky dimension composed of bright colours and conveyor belts, where Man-at-Arms flirts with the notion of total incompetence by falling off a walkway. Unfortunately, Teela saves him, and they all return to Eternia, where the Sorceress puts in an unnecessary appearance as a giant floating head to say “things are now the way they really are”, which is nice and nonsensical.

Gamesman 3
He-Man: “Em, Sorceress, not to be rude, but what are you gibbering on about?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Yet again, it’s a moral about not judging people by the way they look – Lord Todd looked nice (before he became a vomit-coloured alien) while the giant mole looked like a monster, but would you believe it, it was the other way round. This episode did demonstrate this moral, I suppose, but since we’ve learned this one three times now within the space of five episodes, I think it’s time for a change of pace. The perils of accompanying a stranger into their home, for example, was a very relevant theme for this episode.

 

Character checklist

Today treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, the Sorceress, Lord Todd, and the giant mole.

Gamesman 5
Giant mole: “Am I the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen? I’m definitely trying to be.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

I’d love to say it was the best excuse ever, but unfortunately there isn’t an excuse at all.

 

Insults

Teela rather strongly tells Lord Todd that he’s “evil and twisted”, while Lord Todd presents the ubiquitous “fools” to He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela.

Gamesman 4
Teela: “I really need to lay off all the cheese before bedtime.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I really am getting fed up by now of random people showing up at Eternia looking to kidnap our heroes for gladiatorial matches, circuses, or other games. Lord Todd is blatantly evil from the start, what with his demented gurning after his chess match with Randor. Man-at-Arms says, “We know nothing about Lord Todd. He comes from a far off place and we’ve never seen him before,” and it thus beggars belief that he would let Teela go off with someone this obviously up to no good. I didn’t find the mole storyline very diverting either. All in all, I would say we have here a disappointing effort which is more than skippable.

Bonus Update: The Lost Episodes of He-Man

I undertake a vast degree of extensive and diligent research for this website (stop sniggering at the back there). In the course of this research, I have uncovered a number of He-Man story pitches that were, for whatever reason, never developed into episodes. I thought it would be only fair to share them with you. Some of them sound quite good.

 

The Delvers of Delos

The mines of Delos are famed across Eternia for their mineral wealth. But when Skeletor offers the miners a better employment contract, they go on strike. He-Man must negotiate with an intransigent union leader to settle the industrial dispute before Eternia runs out of vital resources!

Fake 2

 

A Hard Day’s Knight

A mysterious wizard calling himself the Day Knight arrives on Eternia and offers his services to the highest bidder. He claims to be able to control Eternia’s rotation speed, thus providing the possibility of boundless sunlight – or endless night. Will He-Man be able to prevent Skeletor from engaging the Day Knight to plunge Eternia into a neverending darkness?

 

A Cautionary Tale

Orko happens upon a grove of plants that give him strange hallucinations when he eats them. Naturally, he becomes addicted and eats a whole kilogram of them. The remaining 18 minutes of the episode is shown from Orko’s point of view as he undergoes a strange and increasingly alarming LSD trip, in which all sorts of distressing things happen. Once kids have seen Orko knife Ram-Man to death, they’ll be sufficiently disturbed to be put off drugs for life.

Fake 1

 

Confession

Evil-Lyn develops a magic potion that forces the drinker to tell the truth. Can Prince Adam avoid confessing his deepest secret – that he has some nude photos of Teela hidden on his laptop? He must also avoid revealing that he is He-Man, though Adam is more concerned about the Teela business.

 

Under the Sun’s Warm Glow

When Prince Adam accidentally overdoes it in the Palace tanning studio, he must endure a day of everybody ribbing him good-naturedly about how he now looks just like He-Man. Even so, no one manages to put two and two together, leading to Adam beginning to despair of the intellectual capacity of his parents and everybody else on Eternia.

Fake 3

 

It’s Personality That Counts

On an archaeology dig, Melaktha uncovers a 20-foot-tall ancient statue of a nude and hugely under-endowed Man-at-Arms, and when word gets out, Man-at-Arms finds it difficult to be taken seriously around the Palace until he agrees to a full-frontal photoshoot for FHM to set the record straight. Meanwhile, He-Man embarks on a quest to discover how the Ancient Eternians could have made a statue of Man-at-Arms, but it eventually transpires that Skeletor is responsible, having simply planted the statue in the archaeological ruins for a laugh.

 

And yes, just in case anyone was deceived, this is an April Fool. How we chortled.

Episode 068 – Day of the Machines

In which Skeletor adopts the guise of a bitchy office worker.

Man-at-Arms ill-advisedly uses the Palace courtyard as a testing ground to launch his new rocket, and he gets his comeuppance when the rocket crashes into the royal chambers. Luckily, no one is hurt, but Man-at-Arms takes it badly, deciding to quit his job. It seems he’s only being a drama queen though, since he is easily persuaded to stay by Adam’s less than enthusiastic pep talk.

Skeletor, over in Snake Mountain, has watched this whole sequence and Man-at-Arms’ malfunctioning machinery inspires him to come up with one of his more extravagant plans: he acquires a vicious Marrabeast, creates a duplicate of the Marrabeast composed of pure electrical energy, miniaturises the electrical Marrabeast, calls it Byte, and finally introduces it into the Palace’s computer system. The intended outcome of this deranged scheme is presumably to get Man-at-Arms fired, a prospect which makes Skeletor chortle with disproportionate glee, though Trapjaw doesn’t seem particularly enthused.

Machines 1
Trapjaw: “Er, Skeletor, are you sure your endgame is worth the effort you’re putting in here?”

Byte’s first trick is to send a Sky Sled chasing after Man-at-Arms and Teela, which is a poor opening move and merely alerts Adam to the problem. Enter He-Man, stage left. He-Man stops the Sky Sled, then makes a thinly veiled remark to the effect that Man-at-Arms is rubbish at his job. In response, Man-at-Arms suggests they head back to the lab, where they find that Byte has attached two guns to a chair. Luckily, Byte is a dreadful marksman, so our heroes are able to exit the lab hastily to consider their next move.

He-Man surprisingly doesn’t demand to know why Man-at-Arms has designed and built a chair with weaponry and a bad attitude, instead voicing the opinion that the computer has a mind of its own. Man-at-Arms runs off to try to fix the computer, while Teela randomly but correctly surmises that this whole thing must be Skeletor’s fault. He-Man agrees but insanely claims that he cannot leave the Palace, so Teela rides off on Battle-Cat to Snake Mountain.

Machines 2
Teela: “Yes, Battle-Cat, we know you can roar. Stop showing off.”

Man-at-Arms uses a miniaturisation ray on himself, becoming small enough to get inside the computer. I don’t wish to dwell on this too much, because it’s mental, but suffice it to say that the animation is crazy, there’s some pretty trippy music playing, and eventually Man-at-Arms steps on a computer chip which encases him within the computer’s memory.

In something of a first, Teela enters Snake Mountain, confirms her suspicions vis-a-vis Skeletor’s responsibility, and returns without being captured, while He-Man occupies himself doing absolutely nothing of use. In the apparent absence of anything better to do, they head off to see the Sorceress, He-Man having evidently decided that he can leave the Palace after all.

The Sorceress shrinks He-Man and he enters the computer too, quickly finding and freeing Man-at-Arms. Man-at-Arms helpfully points out that since Byte is composed of positive energy, perhaps they could trap him by creating some negative energy. Luckily, negative energy is easy to create, simply requiring two bits of computer to be bent together. Once this is done, a wave of red energy appears, and He-Man and Man-at-Arms jump onto it, surfing it all the way to Byte. Then He-Man creates a lasso out of a wire, and ties up Byte – yes, he ties up a creature composed of pure electrical energy. Fine, whatever.

Machines 3
Man-at-Arms: “He-Man, do you ever get the feeling that this whole thing’s a little bit, well, silly?”

Congratulating themselves on their distinctly implausible victory, He-Man and Man-at-Arms rather unkindly send Byte to wreak some havoc in Snake Mountain’s computer system, then exit from their computer and restore themselves to their original size. There follows a touching scene in which He-Man, Teela and Orko all reassure Man-at-Arms that he isn’t a failure. I beg to differ myself, but I suppose a closing scene in which Man-at-Arms is berated by all his friends for being an idiot might have set the wrong tone somehow.

 

In today’s adventure…

There’s a pretty mixed message from Teela this week, who says that if we make a mistake, we should admit it, and if we didn’t make a mistake, we shouldn’t blame other people but instead try to make things right. This sounds pretty much like those who make mistakes should say, “That’s my fault,” and then hang around while someone else fixes it.

 

Character checklist

This week’s excursion into lunacy is good enough to feature Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Trapjaw and Byte.

Machines 4
He-Man: “Yes, Man-at-Arms, I think it is a bit.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam watches merrily as Man-at-Arms and Teela are chased offscreen by the Sky Sled, then takes the opportunity when no one else is about to make his transformation.

 

Insults

“Why am I surrounded by fools?” inquires Skeletor rhetorically; the intended recipient of this oblique comment is Trapjaw. Trapjaw is pretty dense, so he might not have realised that this was directed at him. This concern is evidently shared by Skeletor, who immediately goes on to use the rather more overt insult of “pile of scrap iron”.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s nuttier than the entire fruit cake aisle at Sainsbury’s, but it’s very good fun nonetheless. Skeletor really outdoes himself in the loopy plot stakes this week: introducing Byte into the Palace computer is a huge amount of trouble to go to, simply for the pretty low payoff of maybe getting Man-at-Arms to resign. Once again, Skeletor doesn’t capitalise on his initial success: when his plan is succeeding, all he does is watch, when surely this would be the ideal moment to start trying to invade Grayskull, no?

Machines 5
Man-at-Arms: “By God, I wish I was competent.”

Even allowing for the usual suspension of disbelief, there’s lots of moments that literally could not happen in this episode: The purely electrical Byte swings on a rope at one point, he gets tied up at the end, Man-at-Arms steps on a computer chip and gets imprisoned in the computer’s memory; I could go on.

Still, I don’t mind one bit when it’s this much fun. This episode is a worthwhile entry to the annals of He-Man, and I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

Episode 067 – The Energy Beast

In which our heroes plan public holidays to celebrate their own awesomeness.

As the inhabitants of the Palace prepare to celebrate He-Man Day, in honour of all the good He-Man has done the kingdom, Orko decides to crash the party by destroying one of Man-at-Arms’ stupid inventions and then whinging about how no one thinks he’s a hero. It’s thus shaping up to be a pretty annoying episode, when suddenly an earthquake shakes Mount Eternia, causing a rock fall and revealing an ancient temple buried inside.

Energy Beast 1
King Randor: “Perhaps if I hold this piece of paper up against my face, no one will know I’m here.”

Teela translates the writings on the temple’s entrance, which state that magic treasures and ultimate power await those who enter. Orko is very keen to get inside and find the magic treasures, but Teela and Adam decide to wait until the rest of the writing can be translated, in case it’s dangerous inside. In a twist which I’m sure you didn’t foresee, Orko sneaks back without the others, and enters the temple.

Inside, he meets a glowing orange thing – vaguely reminiscent of Donkey Kong, at least to my poor demented eyes – trapped beneath a glass dome. This creature is the Energy Beast of the title, and it promises to make Orko as famous as He-Man in exchange for its release. Orko moronically agrees to this bargain, unleashes the Energy Beast, and quickly realises his error when he is attacked for his troubles.

Energy Beast 2
Energy Beast: “I’m annoyed and a little perplexed at being compared to Donkey Kong.”

The release of the Energy Beast causes further earthquakes around Mount Eternia, so Adam becomes He-Man and forces his way into the temple. There he confronts the Energy Beast, who engages in a crazed rant which made little sense to me, other than the bit where it explained it would shortly dominate Eternia. He-Man seems relatively cool with this prospect, even chilling out sufficiently to turn back into Adam.

At Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress gives Adam, Man-at-Arms and Teela a brief history of the Energy Beast, where she helpfully reveals that the only way to stop the Beast has been forgotten. Man-at-Arms adds that they can’t use any kind of energy against the Beast, since it will only absorb it and become more powerful. Then the Sorceress decides that maybe the only way to stop the Beast hasn’t been forgotten after all – it’s written down in the Gold Chamber in the centre of Mount Eternia.

Consequently, Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer board Man-at-Arms’ new experimental drill, and start burrowing to the centre of the mountain. Notably, Man-at-Arms does not come with them, which perhaps indicates that he’s not as confident in his invention as we might hope. Nonetheless, it takes very little time for our heroes to reach the Gold Chamber, where they meet the ghost of an Ancient Eternian, who gives them the Eternian Crystal – the only means of controlling the Energy Beast.

Energy Beast 3
Cringer: “Say, Adam, you don’t think Man-at-Arms didn’t come with us on his experimental and dangerous invention because he hates us, do you?”

Unfortunately, Skeletor has been hanging around the fringes of the episode, laughing even more dementedly than usual every now and again, and he chooses this moment to make his grand entrance and steal the Eternian Crystal. This proves only a momentary distraction from the real business, however, and He-Man easily retrieves the Crystal – though he manages to arrange it so that Orko does the easy bit and feels like a hero in the process.

He-Man then cuts a hole in the top of Mount Eternia, revealing a shaft that allegedly leads all the way down to the centre of the planet. He throws the Eternian Crystal down it, the Energy Beast idiotically flies down after it, and then He-Man closes the hole again. They all then return to the Palace, cancel He-Man Day, and prepare to celebrate Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Adam Day. I felt like I was genuinely insane watching this conclusion.

Energy Beast 4
Orko: “2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? Mostly H-E-M-A-N, but I’m quite good now and then.”

 

In today’s adventure…

An unnerving close-up on Teela’s face greets us, as she lectures us on the importance of having patience. Orko’s inability to wait did admittedly cause a great deal of trouble in today’s episode, so I suppose I’ll grant them this one.

 

Character checklist

This week’s episode allows us to feast our weary eyes on Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Beast-Man, the Energy Beast, and the Ancient Eternian.

Energy Beast 5
Man-at-Arms: “And for my next number, I’ll be doing Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There are three transformations this week, but He-Man only explains himself once, with the by now standard, “They’re safe.” The inverse also occurs this week: at one stage, Teela asks where He-Man is, and Adam replies, “I’m sure he’s nearby.”

 

Insults

Skeletor seems to be in this episode only to give and receive insults: he refers to Adam, Teela, Orko and Cringer collectively as “fools”, calls Orko a “little pest” and He-Man the fairly enigmatic “muscle-head”. He also is subjected to bone-based abuse from our heroes: Teela and Orko both call him “bonehead,” while He-Man opts for the more imaginative but less sane “boneface.”

Otherwise, I very much doubt it’s meant to be an insult, but Adam does refer to He-Man at one stage as a “perfect tool”. I’m not going to elaborate; if you want context, you’ll have to watch it yourself.

Energy Beast 6
Skeletor: “Why isn’t the TV working, Beast-Man? It’s nearly time for Poirot, and I shall be very upset if I can’t watch it.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a pretty standard episode, offering nothing we haven’t seen before, though it does it relatively entertainingly. Skeletor’s appearance was fairly gratuitous, seeming to exist only to pad the episode out to the required length, but on the other hand I think it would have been a lot duller without him, as the Energy Beast never really became a very exciting prospect. It was a good concept though: a creature that couldn’t be defeated, because it would just absorb whatever was thrown at it, has a lot of potential. It’s a shame the writers couldn’t think of a way to defeat it that didn’t boil down to “throw it in a pit”. Ultimately, I think you’ll probably enjoy the episode well enough, but it’s no classic.

Episode 066 – The Cat and the Spider

In which He-Man learns about cultural vandalism the hard way.

Adam and the royal archaeologist, Melaktha, have discovered an ancient temple in the jungle, a temple that used to belong to a race of Cat People, now believed extinct. As they explore the temple, Melaktha steps onto an extremely obvious trapdoor and falls into a pit, the walls of which begin to close in around him.

Luckily, Melaktha has been knocked unconscious, so Adam can turn into He-Man without being detected. Once Melaktha is rescued, He-Man takes him outside and opts to steal all the glory by exploring the temple himself. As he does so, he engages in some serious historical vandalism, destroying the floors and walls of the temple to allow himself easier access. I bet when Melaktha finds out, he won’t be pleased.

Cat 1
He-Man: “If only it were still the 19th century, the British Museum would pay me handsomely for stolen antiquities.”

He-Man works his way through to the temple’s inner sanctum, where he loots a small jade cat statue. Turning back into Adam, he returns to Melaktha, who voices his intention of studying the statue in greater depth at the Palace. Eavesdropping outside is a Cat Person, who runs off to the King of the Cat People to alert him to the theft of the statue of the Grimalkin. The King sends a sexy Cat Woman called Katrina to recover the statue.

Skeletor is watching on his spy-globe, and decides relatively randomly that he would like the statue for himself, and sends his new mate Webstor off to the Palace to get it. Both Webstor and Katrina arrive in time to have a tussle with Teela; Webstor is the ultimate victor, departing with the statue. As He-Man gives chase in the stupid robotic chicken vehicle that we last saw way back in Orko’s Favourite Uncle, Katrina tells Teela that the statue has the power to release a monster called a Grimalkin.

Cat 2
Skeletor: “I’ll just check my order, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t want this tacky cat statue from my Tesco online shopping.”

Webstor delivers the statue into Skeletor’s bony blue hands, and Skeletor occupies himself reading books trying to work out what powers the statue might have. He is interrupted by the burglar alarm, which has been set off by He-Man and Battle-Cat casually walking into Snake Mountain. To my distinct surprise, Skeletor manages to capture Battle-Cat in a pit and knock He-Man out, but he then makes the mistake of simply putting He-Man in a forcefield cage.

Battle-Cat digs his way out of the pit, emerging outside Snake Mountain where he meets Katrina, who refers to him as “big boy” and offers her help. As these feline friends rescue He-Man, Skeletor gives up on his books and just pumps power into the statue, resulting in his unleashing the Grimalkin, a gigantic demon which not surprisingly fails to acknowledge Skeletor’s authority.

Cat 4
Grimalkin: “Where’s my breakfast?”

The Grimalkin grows to such a size that it bursts through the walls of Snake Mountain, emerging into the open. Katrina reveals that only the power of the storm can stop the Grimalkin, so He-Man finds a handy salt deposit, pausing only to indulge in a quick science lesson and explain that when salt particles are introduced to moisture-laden clouds, rain is produced. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it certainly works here when He-Man hurls a massive block of salt into a cloud.

The rain seems only to aggravate the Grimalkin, so He-Man uses another power of the storm: specifically, he uses himself as a lightning rod to channel electricity onto the demon. This produces the desired effect, and the Grimalkin shrinks back into its statue form. The episode ends with Katrina promising to come back and see that handsome fellow Battle-Cat again someday.

Cat 5
Katrina: “My heavily implied sexual interest in Battle-Cat raises some disturbing anatomical questions.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Katrina and Adam deliver today’s moral, which is exactly the same as last week’s moral: don’t judge other people on how they look, or by their race or religion. It’s slightly tenuous this week, linked into the story by saying that Katrina didn’t trust the people of Eternia because they looked different – but I’d say she didn’t trust them because they broke into her temple and stole her statue. On the other hand, I don’t think a moral segment saying “don’t loot archaeological digs” would have been enormously relevant to the episode’s intended audience.

 

Character checklist

Our first season two outing treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Melaktha, Skeletor, Webstor, Katrina, the King of the Cat People, a random Cat Person, and the Grimalkin.

Cat 3
Teela: “Not tonight, He-Man, I’m a bit put off by the mental image of Battle-Cat and Katrina getting it on.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He’s safe,” He-Man reassures Melaktha. This seems to be He-Man’s favourite excuse, and to be fair, it does seem to work every time, but only because everybody on Eternia is completely witless.

 

Insults

Everyone’s favourite inexplicably muscle-y skeleton is up to his old tricks again, shrieking out insults every other sentence. Today, he calls Webstor a “spider brain” and twice calls him a “bug face”, and also dishes out “fool” and “muscle-bound buffoon” to He-Man. Webstor doesn’t take this abuse lying down, though only manages the ineffectual “bony” in retaliation. He-Man similarly doesn’t seem to have his heart in it when he offers “bonehead”. Elsewhere, Katrina and Webstor get in a slanging match, referring to each other respectively as “furball” and “spider breath”.

Cat 6
Webstor: “I’m just hanging around. Pretty confident no one’s ever made that joke about me before.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the first He-Man episode that I saw as an adult, so it has a special place in my heart as the one that started me off rediscovering this magical series. Even looking at it objectively, I think it’s a pretty good episode, though I don’t think it would make anyone’s top ten list. It’s Skeletor – as usual – who steals the show, lighting up every scene in which he appears with random outbursts of unpleasantness. The mystery of the apparently abandoned temple at the beginning is nicely atmospheric, and the use of the storm to defeat the Grimalkin at the end is pleasingly demented. Katrina is a well-drawn character, and it’s funny – and logical – to see her being interested in Battle-Cat rather than He-Man. In short, it’s certainly worth a watch.