Episode 085 – The Rainbow Warrior

In which Adam learns his secret isn’t quite as safe as he thought.

Good Lord. Skeletor’s in an absolutely foul mood this morning. We find him in Snake Mountain, shouting at Beast-Man and Trapjaw for no evident reason other than to let off some steam. In the course of the crazed yammering, however, Skeletor comes up with a plan, which can’t really be described as his greatest. He intends to defeat He-Man by turning the Palace Guards against him. Skeletor does not appear to have considered that even Beast-Man can defeat the Palace Guards, so it’s not going to give He-Man any trouble. This plan is so rubbish that even Skeletor appears to have forgotten about it by the time his next scene rolls around.

Rainbow 1.jpg
Beast-Man: “Skeletor, this plan is so stupid, even I could have come up with it.”

At the Palace, Queen Marlena reminisces about her time as an astronaut from Earth. She visits her old ship – the Rainbow Explorer – which is now in the Eternian Museum, and we are treated to a flashback showing Marlena’s arrival on Eternia. Her ship crashed in the Eternian plains, where a hilariously unbearded young King Randor found her and sleazily suggested she come back to the Palace as his guest. Fortunately, the episode does not attempt to show us Randor and Marlena’s courtship, merely summing up with, “Then I fell in love with you.”

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Marlena: “You so need to grow a beard. You look like you’re two years old.”

Almost entirely oblivious to Marlena’s nostalgia, Randor chirpily invites her to come to a picnic on the beach, which she declines. And so it is that Marlena is not in the Wind Raider when Skeletor successfully captures it, freezing Randor, Adam, Man-at-Arms, Orko and Teela and securing them in chains just outside Snake Mountain. He then sends a message to the Palace, demanding unconditional surrender.

Marlena refuses this kind offer, and orders the Palace Guards to prepare for battle. Without Teela or Man-at-Arms to lead them, they are uncertain of victory – until Marlena puts on her old astronaut suit and takes command, flying the Rainbow Explorer. Leading the Guards to Snake Mountain, Marlena shoots the chains from Adam’s wrists, and he runs off to try to find He-Man. This he does, with astonishing alacrity.

Skeletor unleashes a fleet of robots on Sky Sleds to destroy the Palace Guards, but Marlena shows off her flying skills, shooting Skeletor’s robots out of the sky. She then gets into a dogfight with Skeletor’s ship, the Doom Buster, and Marlena successfully forces Skeletor to crash. In the meantime, He-Man doesn’t really do a lot, to be honest. He does confront Skeletor in the wreckage of the crashed ship, but Skeletor rather unexpectedly flies away using what appears to be an inbuilt jetpack.

Rainbow 3
Skeletor: “Laters.”

Marlena lands the Rainbow Explorer, and takes off her astronaut helmet, revealing her identity. This shocks absolutely everyone, even He-Man, who stumbles, “Mother – uh, your Majesty.” Back at the Palace, Adam asks Marlena why she chose to free him, rather than someone useful – and she replies, “A mother always knows her own son, and what he is capable of doing.” I think it’s therefore safe to say that Marlena is fully aware of Adam’s double life.


In today’s adventure…

This episode comes with a little sequence which barely qualifies as a moral: Teela and Marlena agree to teach other to fly the Sky Sleds and the Rainbow Explorer. The lesson – given with an astonishing degree of subtlety compared to every single other episode – is that older people have a lot of knowledge, and they also remember what it’s like to be young. Fair enough, though it seems to me that the moral this week is that your mother always knows what you’re up to. Which is a disturbing thought.


Character checklist

Prince Adam, He-Man, Queen Marlena, King Randor, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Teela, plenty of unnamed Palace guards, Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw make up the perfect cast to this tale.

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He-Man: “Pre-Glasto group photo, guys!”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Teela hands it to Adam on a silver platter this week, by telling him to run away and find He-Man. Adam does not need telling twice.



As noted above, Skeletor uses the entire first scene simply to berate his henchmen, providing a possibly unmatched wealth of imaginative insults which you can use on your friends, assuming you don’t want them to be your friends anymore. Skeletor calls Trapjaw a “tin-tongued dolt” and a “metal-munching moron”, and calls Beast-Man a “flea-bitten furbrain”. He refers to them collectively as “fools”, “stupid assistants”, a “dim-witted duo”, and a “pathetic pair of pitiful pinheads”. He also taps Trapjaw’s head and comments, “Just as I suspected – hollow.”

It’s not just Beast-Man and Trapjaw who draw his wrath: he refers to He-Man as a “poor fool” and a “muscle-bound moron”, though there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. Skeletor also is the recipient of a number of insults: Queen Marlena calls him a “demon”, while Teela says he is an “evil monster” and a “hooded hoodlum”. And finally, there’s a slightly strange moment when Trapjaw addresses Skeletor and – perhaps a little unwisely – comments, “You look a little fat.”

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Skeletor: “Say what, Trapjaw?”


Does it have the Power?

Yes, it absolutely does. It’s a real treat to get another super episode so soon after the outstanding Into the Abyss, but The Rainbow Warrior is also a series highlight. I never thought I’d be particularly interested in Queen Marlena’s back story, but this episode was very effective in showing us her arrival on Eternia and conveying her sense of nostalgia for her astronaut days, even though she is happy with her life as Queen.

The point at which she flies the Rainbow Explorer into battle is almost a punch-the-air moment, and it’s notable that He-Man contributed very little to Skeletor’s defeat. I’d actually suggest that he could have been left out of this episode and I possibly wouldn’t have even noticed. Marlena’s decision to free Adam, and her subsequent hinting that she knows the secret, is also a really great moment.

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Prince Adam: “How can Mother know my secret? I thought the whole thing was completely watertight.”

But the icing on the cake is – as so often – Skeletor. As well as the numerous insults recorded above, he is also gifted more hugely comedic dialogue. Early on, he comments, “I’ve tried to invade Castle Grayskull six times.” Beast-Man corrects him, “Seven, boss…”, to which Skeletor snaps back, “Six! The first time was only practice. I was teasing the poor fool.” His plan once again appears to boil down to ‘capture some people, then wait for them to be rescued’, which is sheer buffoonery, and it’s almost heartbreaking to see this poor skeleton want something so much, and be far too incompetent to achieve it. In addition, his final exit on a jet pack was a touch of demented genius.

Watch this one: you won’t be disappointed.

Episode 084 – Fraidy Cat

In which Skeletor unrealistically imagines that a mechanical bird can defeat He-Man.

We are treated this week to an opening panning shot across the wilderness to Snake Mountain, inside which Skeletor has gathered four villains – Mer-Man, Kobra Khan, Clawful and the omnipresent Whiplash. He explains his plan to them – essentially, they will sneak into the Palace and kidnap Queen Marlena – then he laughs for absolutely ages, evidently blown away by his genius for concocting this elaborate scheme.

Fraidy Cat 1
Skeletor: “Truly, I am the master of Machiavellian plots. Walter White, eat your heart out.”

At the Palace, the royal family are at the table for lunch, but Marlena is late. King Randor sends Cringer off to fetch her, and while he is gone, Kobra Khan nips in and knocks them all out with his sleeping gas. Hearing Kobra Khan’s hissing, Cringer hides under Marlena’s bed, where he falls prey to the sleeping gas and cannot save Marlena from being kidnapped. When Adam and Orko wake up, they go to Marlena’s room and find her missing, so a hasty transformation is in order.

Once outside, Kobra Khan and Mer-Man set off to take Marlena back to Snake Mountain, while Whiplash and Clawful are left behind to lure He-Man into a trap. They set up a false trail for He-Man to follow, which he obligingly does. Once Cringer wakes up, he blames himself for hiding under the bed, but he is then able to determine that the Queen was actually taken in the opposite direction, into the Haunted Forest. With He-Man, Teela and Man-at-Arms going the wrong way, Cringer and Orko set off themselves to rescue Marlena.

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Cringer: “Uh, Orko, do you usually have knees?”

When Kobra Khan arrives back at Snake Mountain with Marlena, Skeletor cordially greets her, even toning down his language: it’s quite clear he wants to say something cutting to Kobra Khan, but he seems to restrain himself. He explains to Marlena that she is the bait for the trap; the ultimate target is He-Man. It seems that the false trail is going to lead He-Man to Screeech, who is a really rubbish robot bird. Skeletor seems to be suffering from a condition I refer to as “unrealistic optimism” if he thinks He-Man is going to be overcome by an electronic eagle.

Once Marlena is safely ensconced in a jail cell, Cringer and Orko arrive to release her, which they manage with surprising efficiency. Marlena informs them of the “threat” from Screeech, and Cringer bravely volunteers to warn He-Man while Orko takes Marlena home. To make Cringer braver, Orko gives him his special bravery medallion, which I just bet turns out to be a placebo.

Whiplash and Clawful’s trail leads He-Man to Snake Mountain, and they even helpfully leave the door open for him, but he quickly determines that this is a trap. I can’t really see why Skeletor wants He-Man to come inside Snake Mountain, if he’s going to be attacked by a robot bird, but there we have it. Realising that He-Man isn’t taking the bait, Skeletor launches Screeech anyway, but just in time, Cringer leaps onto Screeech’s back and takes flight too.

Fraidy Cat 3
Cringer: “I knew Ryanair were a budget airline, but this is taking it a bit far.”

With Cringer making an unholy racket as he flies around on Screeech, He-Man quickly detects the danger. Skeletor then makes the very poor tactical decision to demolish his own lair to making Screeech fly through the walls, which incidentally allows He-Man easy access. Amusing and non-violent defeats are liberally bestowed in the baddies’ direction, before our heroes return to the Palace to find Orko has successfully escorted Marlena home. Oh yes, and they also find the bravery medallion was indeed a placebo. Definitely didn’t see that coming.


In today’s adventure…

The moral this week concerns fear, and how sometimes it’s just as important as being brave. This is all very well, but it quickly gets confused by Cringer bleating on about being afraid of being afraid and being afraid of being brave. He-Man clearly doesn’t understand what he’s on about, so he chuckles politely and hopes the episode will fade out quickly.


Character checklist

The star of the show is of course Cringer, but he’s ably assisted by a vast array of individuals, including Prince Adam, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Clawful, Kobra Khan, Whiplash, Mer-Man and Screeech.

Fraidy Cat 4
Clawful: “Wonder if I could get away with pinching Whiplash’s tail.”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Unfortunately, once again, we get nothing.



It’s a bad week for Whiplash and Clawful, who get called a “fool” three times, twice by Skeletor and once by Kobra Khan. Mer-Man fares slightly better, in that he is only called “fool” twice, once from each of the afore-mentioned villains. Skeletor also addresses Screeech as a “stupid machine”, which is entirely fair, and reserves the rather mild “silly cat” for Cringer.


Egg on your face?

Orko performs an appalling trick which results in Man-at-Arms getting fruit juice all over his arms. This causes King Randor to laugh in a very high-pitched voice while the camera treats us to an extreme close-up of his face, which was neither necessary nor welcome.

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Prince Adam: “Dad … you look really weird.”


Does it have the Power?

This episode is a really worthy attempt, let down by a few odd moments that don’t quite qualify as plot holes but are nevertheless things that the writer should have thought out a little better:

  • The whole false trail sequence was pointless, since the trail simply led He-Man to Snake Mountain, which is where Marlena was anyway.
  • He-Man chooses the Dragon Walker as his choice of vehicle, then complains that Clawful and Whiplash are getting away. Perhaps if he had picked something capable of moving quicker than a tortoise, he’d have a chance of catching them.
  • It was a little strange how Skeletor seemed to want He-Man to come inside, when an attack from Screeech would surely work better in the open air.

I did like the ease with which Marlena was kidnapped in the early stages, and how competent the group of villains were under Kobra Khan’s leadership; this sequence demonstrated an actual sense of danger. From there, however, the episode seemed to flounder a bit, not knowing what to do with the characters and killing time, until suddenly everything needed wrapping up really quickly. Still, I’d say this episode is no dud, and worth giving it a spin.

Episode 083 – Into the Abyss

In which Teela falls down the abyss, in case you didn’t know.

This episode begins with He-Man, Teela and Orko in the Widgets’ fortress, having evidently just foiled one of Beast-Man’s schemes. They return to Castle Grayskull and have a casual conversation concerning the abyss, which surrounds the castle and is passable only by the jawbridge. The abyss is bottomless (until it reaches the centre of the planet, at least), and contains the source of Grayskull’s power. Given the title of the episode, I suspect this may shortly become important information.

Abyss 1
He-Man: “You don’t have to listen to me, Orko. I’m only telling you stuff so the audience will get the info they need.”

Once she gets back to the Palace, Teela prepares to teach Adam in a survival skills class. However, Adam doesn’t turn up, and after two hours, Teela finds him relaxing in the courtyard. Sounding more irritated than usual, Adam tells her that he didn’t feel like attending the class and suggests that Teela loosen up and have some fun once in a while. He then actually pulls rank and dismisses her; once she’s gone, Adam has a heart-to-heart with Cringer concerning the differences between himself and He-Man.

Teela runs whinging to Man-at-Arms, who claims he’s not taking anyone’s side but then immediately tells Teela that she does need to loosen up. He suggests that since Adam wants fun, Teela should find a way of combining work and fun. Teela likes this idea so much that she makes an oddly sexual noise, and runs off to find Adam. They both apologise to each other for the incident in the courtyard, and Teela suggests going to have a picnic.

Abyss 2
Cringer: “Man, this weed is good.”

After the picnic, Teela tells Adam that they are now going to play hide-and-seek; she will hide, and Adam will find her. This is her clever way of teaching Adam tracking skills, and it all goes well until Teela manages to fall down into the abyss surrounding Castle Grayskull. Fortunately, she lands on a ledge rather than falling to the centre of the planet, but it’s still not good news: with a surprising touch of realism, her arm is broken. Luckily, she has a signalling beacon with her, so turns that on to alert her friends to her predicament.

Unable to find Teela, Adam returns to the Palace, where Man-at-Arms picks up Teela’s signal. They track her to the jawbridge, then find her footprints leading over the edge into the abyss. The Sorceress determines that Teela is alive, but warns our heroes that due to very strong updrafts, they will not be able to take a flying vehicle down. Adam thus decides to transform into He-Man and climb down to rescue Teela.

While Adam undergoes the transformation, Teela watches from her ledge as white energy flies up the abyss – evidently Grayskull’s power being channelled into He-Man. Despite a few minor setbacks, in which He-Man demonstrates that he is by no means a skilled mountaineer, Teela is rescued successfully.

Abyss 3
Teela: “Wow, nice of the Sorceress to put on a fireworks display for me.”


In today’s adventure…

He-Man and Man-at-Arms tell us that today, Teela learned that it’s just as important to play as it is to work, but it’s also very important to learn the rules for playing safely. The moral is that if you are playing out of sight of your family or friends, you should make sure someone knows where you are. This is very sensible and a perfect conclusion to draw from this episode’s events.


Character checklist

This one sticks mostly to the core characters: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, and Beast-Man. The Widgets can also be seen if you really want to see them, but I’m assuming that you’re sane and therefore you don’t.

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Squinch: “How come this is one of the best episodes, even though I’m in it?”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once again, only those already in the know are around when Adam makes his transformation, so he doesn’t need to give an excuse.



At the beginning, with his plan failing, Beast-Man’s rock monsters run away, leaving Beast-Man to call them “cowards” and “miserable traitors”. Teela subsequently refers to Beast-Man as “furface”.


Does it have the Power?

This is an episode of really rather surprising sophistication. For one thing (aside from Beast-Man’s cameo appearance at the start), there’s no baddy and no evil plan to foil. The only other episodes to try this tack, as far as I can recall, are The Starchild and The Remedy, and we all know how those worked out. Into the Abyss, on the other hand, is a real gem.

The dialogue is both snappy and realistic, and the characterisation of our heroes is probably the best it’s ever been. Adam’s frustration at being He-Man, but no one knowing it, has been explored before but never better than here; and for once it’s possible to see Teela’s point of view, rather than her coming across as a screeching harridan. Man-at-Arms and the Sorceress both show real parental concern, and it’s really quite touching at the end when Teela says she can feel the love of her mother – even though she doesn’t know who that is.

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The Sorceress: “Not to spoil a touching moment, but remind me again why I can’t tell Teela she’s my daughter?”

In addition, it’s a truly great touch to see the Power of Grayskull flooding up through the abyss, as Teela watches uncomprehendingly. In conclusion, this is a real must-see, certainly in the top 10 of the series.

Episode 082 – Attack From Below

In which Teela experiences Stockholm Syndrome.

Buckle your seatbelts and hold on tight, because this week promises to be a non-stop thrill ride, as Teela and Orko make an official visit to Eternia’s most productive farm. This actually gets a lot more exciting when cracks in the ground open up, and all the corn falls down into a cave system below. Teela falls down too, and despite falling for a good ten seconds onto a rock floor, she is completely unhurt.

Attack 1
Teela: “Just look at this place. So untidy. Good job it isn’t Orko’s bedroom. Man-at-Arms would do his nut.”

Teela explores for an incredibly short space of time before being captured by some vaguely ape-like creatures, who have been stealing the corn. Their leader, Subturnius, explains to her that, though he deplores violence, his people are hungry and therefore must steal in order to survive. Teela says that the Eternian people would be happy to supply food, but Subturnius does not believe her.

In the meantime, Orko flies off to fetch He-Man, Battle-Cat and Man-at-Arms, and Battle-Cat digs in the former cornfield until he discovers the tunnel into which Teela fell. He-Man and Battle-Cat leap down into the cave system and quickly find their way to Subturnius’ throne room. In an unexpected twist, Teela refuses He-Man’s rescue attempt and opts to stay with Subturnius to try to help his people.

Attack 2
Teela: “No, He-Man, please don’t rescue me. I WANT to stay here with my hands tied, accompanied by this freaky little gnome. What’s that? Stockholm Syndrome? Never heard of it.”

He-Man returns to the surface, after showing Subturnius his fist as a non-too-subtle hint that Teela must not be harmed. Once He-Man has gone, Subturnius explains to Teela that many years previously, he and his people went to the surface to ask for food, but made the mistake of asking Skeletor, who simply enslaved them. Now Subturnius refuses to trust any surface-dwellers, and begins an attack to steal all the Eternians’ food.

Above ground, Subturnius’ forces begin to help themselves to the food supply, driving a seemingly inexhaustible supply of tanks, tractors and combine harvesters, so many that even He-Man gets a bit bored of punching them. Eventually, Man-at-Arms works out that all the vehicles are powered by an underground generator, so He-Man heads off to find the generator and destroy that instead.

He-Man quickly finds and destroys the generator, but not before Subturnius decides to up the ante and flood all the Eternian fields. Seconds later, after a little heart-to-heart with an Eternian farmer’s son, Subturnius realises the error of his ways and apologises. He-Man bounds back up to the surface and makes the funniest face I’ve ever seen, then stops the flood with the help of a giant boulder. Finally, Subturnius and his people start working with the Eternian farmers to provide food for all.

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He-Man: “Battle-Cat, I cannot believe you just called me a moptopped imbecile.”


In today’s adventure…

Teela and Orko explain that it’s wrong to judge a whole group of people because of the actions of just one or a few. This is reasonable, and demonstrated by the episode’s events, but I’ve lost count of the times we’ve heard this one. Couldn’t the moral have been something about growing plants?


Character checklist

As if you didn’t already know, this episode treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Ram-Man, Subturnius, loads of Subturnius’ people, a farmer called Agar and his son Garda. There are also some cameos from Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam makes his transformation with only Man-at-Arms and Orko present, so doesn’t need an excuse today.

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Man-at-Arms: “There’s no time for excuses this week. The Dragon Walker will be appearing later, and that’s so slow it’ll eat up all the airtime.”



Teela calls Subturnius’ people “cowards” when they first capture her. This is completely unfair, because they’ve attacked her with their bare hands despite her aiming a gun at them – and it’s only down to her own incompetence that they’ve actually managed to overpower her.

Otherwise, it’s hard to be sure, but it sounds like Subturnius introduces himself as “King of the Bell-ends.” This is an unlikely title, admittedly, but it’s certainly insulting.


Egg on your face?

I’m going to stretch this category this week to include an example of Orko being a complete tosser: a child asks him to do some magic, and Orko responds by eating some fruit and claiming he’s made it disappear. Since Orko has never been shy to demonstrate his appalling magic before, I can only conclude that he’s deliberately trying to disappoint the child.

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Orko: “Oh thanks, animators, for drawing attention to the fact that eating is quite awkward for me.”


Does it have the Power?

I thought this was quite good, up to a point, and that after that point it was rubbish. The idea behind the episode seems fairly innovative for He-Man, and it was quite interesting towards the start when the crops started mysteriously vanishing. Unfortunately, the scene with the tanks gathering crops, only to be destroyed by He-Man, went on for far too long, and not enough (well, not anything really) came from Teela’s surprising decision to stay underground with Subturnius. In the end, I’d call this episode a miss, but it certainly wasn’t offensively bad.

Episode 081 – The Arena

In which He-Man channels his inner Captain Kirk.

Responding to a distress call from Cestus III, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise find the colony under attack by an alien race known as the Gorn. When the Enterprise pursues the Gorn’s ship into uncharted space, an advanced race called the Metrons intervene, decreeing that Kirk and the Gorn captain must decide the conflict by battling it out between themselves on a deserted planetoid. Kirk defeats the Gorn, but refuses to kill him, demonstrating the quality of mercy. Oh wait, sorry, that’s the Star Trek episode with the same name and exactly the same plot. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say, and I’m sure Paramount’s lawyers agreed.

Anyway, in the He-Man version, Man-at-Arms summons King Randor and Prince Adam to his lab, and explains that he has made contact with an alien being. Randor says, “Oh Christ, he’s been at the absinthe again,” but it turns out that on this occasion Man-at-Arms is telling the truth. On his viewscreen, he introduces Orm, a glowing ball of light, who is a member of a race that has evolved beyond the need for a physical body.

Arena 1
Man-at-Arms: “Jesus, Adam, I know King Randor looks a bit bozz-eyed, but you don’t have to get quite so pissed off about it.”

Orm states that it is exploring the galaxy for other intelligent life, and – perhaps misinterpreting the intellectual capacity of King Randor – expresses a desire to come to Eternia. Randor gladly grants this request, and Man-at-Arms prepares a landing site. Adam takes a moment to transform into He-Man, just in case Orm isn’t as peaceful as he claims.

Meanwhile, a goblin called General Tataran offers Skeletor the services of his army for the conquest of Eternia. Skeletor is taken with the notion and offers Tataran a large payment for the use of the army. When they arrive at the Palace, they do not even appear to notice Orm, who is – if I must I remind you – an enormous ball of light much larger than the Palace itself.

In a rather odd animation choice, Teela, He-Man and Man-at-Arms decide that the best response to Skeletor and Tataran’s attack is to climb, Gollum-like, straight up a wall, from the top of which they survey the assembled goblin troops and siege engines, as well as the dinosaurs that Tataran has randomly brought along. As Orm watches, a pitched battle begins between the Eternians and Tataran’s army.

Arena 2
He-Man: “Erm, slow down a bit there, Man-at-Arms.”

Suddenly Orm intervenes. Proclaiming that the battle will cause too much waste and needless suffering, it decides that the conflict will be resolved by a fight between one warrior from each side. Ominously, it also states that it will determine the fate of the loser. On the other hand, it selects He-Man and Skeletor as the champions, so the whole thing ought to be over pretty smartish.

A good portion of the remainder of the episode is devoted to Skeletor conjuring up a variety of stupid creatures to attack He-Man, including an evil tree, a snake, a giant spider, and a walking puddle of something that looks like melted candy floss. Needless to say, He-Man is not defeated by any of these efforts, and eventually the giant spider turns on Skeletor instead.

Arena 3
Skeletor: “There is no way I could have seen this coming.”

He-Man saves Skeletor from the spider and yammers on about the sanctity of life, an act of mercy that favourably impresses Orm. It sends Skeletor and his army back to Snake Mountain after erasing their memories of the evening’s events, then congratulates the Eternians on having love in their hearts, and flies off back into space.


In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms embarks on a confused monologue explaining that today’s conflict was resolved by a single act of compassion, that fighting is often not the right way to solve problems, and that sometimes it’s more courageous not to fight. He doesn’t explain when this is more courageous, or when fighting is the right way to solve problems. However, he does give us a dictionary definition of compassion, so he hasn’t completely wasted his time.


Character checklist

It’s very goody-heavy, this one. We get Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Stratos, Ram-Man, Orm, and lots of nameless extras. On the evil side of things, it’s only really Skeletor, General Tataran and the billions of goblins.

Arena 4
Man-at-Arms: “The great thing about going to Muse gigs is they really put on a good light show.”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

As with Disappearing Dragons a few weeks ago, we don’t see the transformation this week, which is rather pleasing. Despite the fact that Orm’s presence is an important diplomatic occasion which I feel Randor would expect Adam to attend, his disappearance goes completely unexplained.



Orm refers to Orko as a “little creature”, which, judging by his reaction, Orko takes as an insult. Orko later has a play-fight with an imaginary Skeletor, calling him a “bone-headed being” in the process. Skeletor does address He-Man as a “muscle-bound moron”, but reserves his main vitriol for his giant spider, which, in rapid succession, he calls a “filthy beast”, a “dim-witted animal”, a “stupid creature”, a “fool” and a “hideous beast”, all of which I have noted down for future use on the Doctor Who IMDB board when things get a bit heated.

Arena 5
He-Man: “Frankly, Skeletor just defeats himself sometimes.”


Does it have the Power?

Yes, this one’s pretty good, despite being a Star Trek rip-off. The main highlight is probably the battle between the Eternians and Tataran’s army, which lasts a good five minutes or so and has a very Star Wars-y vibe to it, with various ships and robots attacking each other. The sequence with Skeletor conjuring up endless magical opponents for He-Man in the arena is also really quite entertaining. All in all, I’d say this one doesn’t really put a foot wrong. It’s not a staggering work of genius, but it’s certainly worth a watch.

Episode 080 – The Shadow of Skeletor

In which King Randor does some moonlighting as a scientist.

The episode opens with Ram-Man again proving his “moron” credentials: he walks into the Palace theatre, sees Man-e-Faces with his monster face on, and decides that he must be a monster. He attacks Man-e-Faces and accidentally destroys the theatre scenery, then gets really defensive about it. This is all despite the fact that he definitely knows who Man-e-Faces is; Prince Adam says they are friends. Ram-Man must therefore know about Man-e-Faces’ ability, and consequently it really is massively stupid of him to not be able to figure out that the monster dressed as Man-e-Faces is not in fact a monster.

Shadow 1
Man-e-Faces: “Jesus, Ram-Man, could you be more of an idiot?”

This demented quarrel is interrupted by the only person on Eternia thicker than Ram-Man: Beast-Man, who has contrived to lose control of his stupid flying machine and head straight for the Palace dome. He-Man decides to intervene by spinning round on the spot really quickly, until he takes off and flies through the sky as a whirlwind, sucking in the flying machine and depositing it a safe distance away. Well done, He-Man. Now that you’ve proved you can fly, that means Stratos and Buzz-Off need never appear again.

He-Man turns back into Adam and leads an expedition to check out the flying machine. When Skeletor gets on the radio demanding a progress report, Man-e-Faces imitates Beast-Man’s voice, but doesn’t manage to learn any information about what Skeletor is hoping Beast-Man will achieve. Despite this, Adam claims Man-e-Faces has done good work, in the sort of patronising tone used to encourage very stupid children.

Shadow 2
Adam: “Well DONE, Man-e-Faces! I’ll write your name down in the Good Effort Book today!”

Man-at-Arms repairs the auto-pilot on the flying machine, while Man-e-Faces creates a whole body Beast-Man disguise. The auto-pilot takes the ship right through the atmosphere, to the Moon of Darkness, where a photon blaster fires at Eternia’s other moon, referred to as the Bright Moon. Man-at-Arms points out that the blaster might have hit the moon colony, so everyone except Man-e-Faces boards a shuttle to go and check if the colony has survived.

On arrival at the Bright Moon, our heroes meet Professor O’Ryan, who looks suspiciously similar to King Randor. It’s almost as if Filmation reused the animation and thought pedantic people like me wouldn’t notice – but surely they wouldn’t do that? Anyway, a transmission comes in from King Barble of the Dark Moon, who accuses the inhabitants of the Bright Moon of attacking them and declares the Treaty of Friendship over.

Shadow 3
Professor O’Ryan: “What? No, of course I haven’t got a crown on underneath this silly hat.”

Our heroes quickly deduce that Skeletor must be behind the mysterious attacks that are being blamed on the Bright Moon. They are quite right: Man-e-Faces – in his Beast-Man outfit – has met up with Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, Trapjaw and Whiplash, and they all crowd round while Skeletor gets on Skype to reveal the full plan, which boils down to “try to cause a war by being unpleasant”. I really don’t know what Skeletor stands to gain by having the Dark and Bright Moons go to war, and I suspect he doesn’t either.

Adam and Ram-Man take a shuttle across to the Dark Moon, where they arrive just in time for Skeletor and the real Beast-Man to show up and unmask Man-e-Faces’ disguise. Adam changes into He-Man, and he and Ram-Man save Man-e-Faces; this is achieved by Ram-Man ramming Whiplash and Evil-Lyn back through space to Eternia. Even a child would debate the sanity of this method, but at least it leads to Man-e-Faces and Ram-Man making friends again, which I’m sure you cared about. He-Man then destroys the photon blaster, renegotiates the treaty between the Dark and Bright Moons, and finds time to throw Skeletor and Trapjaw into a pond.

Shadow 4
Trapjaw: “There’s a sort of weary inevitability about this turn of events.”


In today’s adventure…

Ram-Man and Man-e-Faces appear to deliver the fairly predictable moral lesson that if you get into an argument, you should be careful to not lose your temper and say things you might regret later. This is all very well, but there’s then a slightly unexpected turn of events where Ram-Man says, “Now we’re better friends than ever” and appears to put his hand on Man-e-Faces’ arse.

Shadow 5
Man-e-Faces: “Our relationship shall be explored more thoroughly in fan-fic.”


Character checklist

This episode features a pretty sizeable number of Eternia’s inhabitants: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Ram-Man, Man-e-Faces, King Randor, Professor O’Ryan, King Barble, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man and Whiplash. I probably forgot someone in that lot, and if so, you can tell me all about it in the comments below.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Despite two transformations, there are no excuses. On the other hand, the episode does contain an absolutely brilliant sequence in which Adam thinks he will have to turn into He-Man in front of Teela, Ram-Man and Man-e-Faces, and he gets as far as “By the …” before the crisis is averted. He hilariously concludes, “By the way, Teela, remind me to show you my new jacket when we get home.”

Shadow 6
Adam: “Oh no! I left my copy of Eternian E-Turn-Ons on the bed, and Mother’s heading for my room!”



Skeletor calls Beast-Man a “fool”, but he doesn’t sound like his heart is really in it. He also calls Adam a “troublemaker”, sounding similarly uninterested. Evil-Lyn, on the other hand, sounds hugely invested in calling King Barble a “dope”.


Does it have the Power?

I don’t know quite why, but unfortunately this one doesn’t really work for me. It’s nice to see Skeletor with one of his stupid plots, and all his henchmen happily getting involved, but there just doesn’t seem to be any point to him trying to cause a war between the two moons. As far as I could tell from the episode, neither moon had anything to do with Castle Grayskull or the Royal Palace, which seem to be the two targets Skeletor tends to go for. He just seems to be causing mischief for no apparent gain and a rather substantial cost. He’d have been better advised to just shoot his photon blaster at the Palace.

I don’t have a lot of time for Man-e-Faces, because I think his face-changing ability is just plain stupid, and I don’t have any time at all for Ram-Man, because he’s really irritating. Therefore, the plot concerning them falling out and making friends was unlikely to capture my interest, and sure enough, it didn’t. In short, I’d say the only real reason to watch this episode is the – admittedly brilliant – moment where Adam nearly betrays his He-Manic identity.

Episode 079 – Disappearing Dragons

In which heroes and villains alike unite to hurl insults at a mute robot.

Responding to an invitation from Granamyr, He-Man and Orko make their way to Darksmoke, where Orko proceeds to wind Granamyr up a right treat. Sadly, before Granamyr can murder Orko, He-Man intervenes to ask why they were invited. Granamyr explains that dragons have been disappearing from Dragon Mountain, and that he has been unable to discover the cause, so he requests He-Man’s assistance in investigating.

He-Man decides to undertake a search of the Eternian wilderness, and calls on his new friends Mechaneck and Buzz-Off to help. It takes our heroes a very short space of time to find two of Skeletor’s cronies, Webstor and Kobra Khan, trying to use a mysterious machine on a dragon. In attempting to prevent them, Orko manages to activate the machine, resulting in He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan all disappearing. Before Orko can attempt to reverse the effect, the machine blows up.

Webstor: “Why is there a giant ear at the front of the screen?”

Orko summons Granamyr, who helps him to repair the machine. In the meantime, the heroes and villains appear in an unfamiliar place which He-Man instantly identifies as “another dimension”, though how he can tell this so quickly is not made clear. Webstor and Kobra Khan do a runner to a city, and He-Man, Mechaneck and Buzz-Off decide to follow them, where they quickly discover a whole load of caged dragons.

Two men and a woman now show up, and imprison our heroes in a forcefield from which even He-Man cannot escape. They explain that they are the only three remaining survivors of a war that devastated their race, the Dami, and that their sole remaining pleasure is to force dragons to fight each other in a gladiatorial arena. In return for providing dragons, they will supply Kobra Khan and Webstor with the means to conquer Eternia.

Disappearing 2
Dami: “Yes, we’re inspired by the Romans. And before you ask, yes, Romans did have goofy helmets like this.”

He-Man not unexpectedly gets on his customary high horse about this, but his protests fall on deaf ears. However, on a suggestion from Kobra Khan, the Dami offer He-Man an alternative: if he fights and defeats an enormous stupid robot called Bellatron, they will release He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off and the dragons. He-Man accepts this deal of a lifetime, and is transported from the forcefield into the arena.

The battle with Bellatron is pretty tedious, except for the really rather odd bit in which we get a point-of-view shot from Bellatron’s perspective in which it is made clear that he is aiming his weapons directly at He-Man’s crotch. Rather unusually, Bellatron actually gets to a stage where he is about to defeat He-Man, but Granamyr and Orko show up just in time to get involved too. Once Bellatron is destroyed, the Dami – reasonably enough – declare the match invalid because He-Man had outside assistance.

Disappearing 3
Bellatron: “The reason Skeletor never wins is because he never attempts to shoot He-Man in the balls.”

While He-Man and his mates go and have a gratuitous fight with Webstor and Kobra Khan, Granamyr decides that an appropriate punishment for the Dami will be to make them fight each other for his entertainment. He-Man isn’t cool with this, and persuades Granamyr that an eye for an eye does not constitute justice. Instead, the Dami are told to go and rebuild their world. This presumably involves repopulation, but with a starting gene pool consisting of only three people, I suspect this is doomed to failure.


In today’s adventure…

The moral of this week’s episode is that you should not hurt or tease animals, but instead treat them with kindness. This will be, as He-Man so intelligently puts it, “more fun for you, and for the animal!” He says this in that special tone of his that implies he’s making a really funny joke, and has a massive great big smirk on his face the whole time, which leads me to suspect that He-Man secretly gets a whole load of pleasure in pulling the wings off flies. Or possibly pulling the wings off Buzz-Off.


Character checklist

This episode gives us a fairly unusual cast. Obviously, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko and the Sorceress, but Granamyr, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan are quite out of the ordinary. Bellatron and the Dami – introduced as Verdor, Kara and Bylon – are the one-shot characters of the week. Typing that, I’ve just realised that Bellatron and the Dami is an ace name for a band.

Disappearing 4
He-Man: “Go on, Granamyr! Eat him! He’s asking for it! He’s been asking for it for 78 episodes now!”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Not only do we get no excuse this week, it’s a rare beast indeed because the transformation actually takes place off screen. For possibly the first time ever, we don’t have to sit through the recycled “By the Power of Grayskull” animation. That alone makes this episode worth watching.



This episode quite possibly breaks the all-time record for insults. Towards the beginning, Orko rather unwisely decides to call Granamyr “lizard-breath” and a “big bully”, while Webstor and Kobra Khan trade the insults “Web-head” and the possibly misheard “Snake-pus”. Mechaneck gets in on the act, calling Kobra Khan a “snake-face”, while Webstor retaliates by referring to Buzz-Off as a “bee-brain” and He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. Elsewhere, Kobra Khan considers Orko a “meddling little wizard” and Buzz-Off rather mildly calls the Dami “bats”.

Finally, pretty much everyone has unkind things to say about Bellatron, perhaps in the secure knowledge that since he can’t talk, he won’t be answering back. Buzz-Off starts the ball rolling with “hunk of junk” and Mechaneck attempts to top this with “rolling rust pot”. Webstor sees the fun everyone else is having, so joins in with the distinctly unimaginative “stupid robot”. He-Man then contributes the slightly odd “bucket-face”, and follows it up with “overgrown teapot”. While this latter is not particularly amusing now, I had this episode on VHS when I was little, and I can remember me and my sister rewinding it to watch this quip over and over, then laughing till the tears rolled down our cheeks. My sister and I were very stupid children.

Disappearing 5
Bellatron: “Hey, armour-plated killing machines have feelings too, you know.”


Does it have the Power?

For the reasons just outlined, I do have a very soft spot for this episode, but I think even without the history I have with it, I’d consider it a good one. Granamyr is a great character, the new animation for the Dami’s world is beautifully ominous, and it’s good to see this cartoon tackling blood sports in such a head-on manner. As an introduction for Kobra Khan and Mechaneck, for whom this is their first appearance, it serves pretty well, both of them coming across as relatively competent – and in Kobra Khan’s case, rather threatening. On the downside, both Webstor and Buzz-Off have really irritating voices. That’s only a very minor complaint though – this episode is well worth your time.

Episode 078 – Betrayal of Stratos

In which Skeletor demonstrates an unexpected desire to learn how to fly.

I’m very much hoping that this will be an episode about Stratos betraying He-Man and turning evil, so He-Man can finally punch his stupid goggled face. Unfortunately, it seems far more likely that it will actually be about someone betraying Stratos, especially since the episode begins with Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Tri-Klops attacking Stratos’ home of Avion, and someone has destroyed the defensive shield generator.

The bird people see Skeletor’s attack off easily anyway, while Stratos attempts to repair the shield generator. Hawk, a bird woman with a suspiciously evil voice, finds Stratos making the repairs, and interprets this as meaning that Stratos must have been responsible for the sabotage. The bird people put Stratos on trial, and dismissing his absolutely pathetic attempts to defend himself, sentence him to exile.

Betrayal 1
Stratos: “Come on guys, you may all look the same, but you don’t have to dress the same too.”

Like an idiot, Stratos’ next move is to land for a rest in the nest of an enormous flying monster, which means that He-Man has to get involved. He-Man sees off the monster by throwing some melons at it, then listens to Stratos’ story and decides that he and Orko will help Stratos to unmask the real culprit.

Meanwhile, Skeletor and his army return to Avion, and the bird people discover that now their guns have been sabotaged as well. This means two things: firstly, Stratos couldn’t possibly be the saboteur, and secondly and more importantly, Skeletor is able to steal the Egg of Avion, which is a ridiculous item that will apparently allow Skeletor to grow wings. Exactly how he thinks this will help him is beyond me, given he’s already got a wide range of flying machines. Maybe it’s just for the sheer joy of feeling the wind between his feathers. Anyway, since I suspect his plot won’t reach that stage, it doesn’t matter too much.

Betrayal 2
Skeletor: “This is going to net me so many points in the Eternian Easter Egg Hunt this year.”

Learning of the loss of the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Orko go to see the Sorceress, who says that Skeletor will have hidden the Egg in the Demon Zone. The Demon Zone is apparently the home of Whiplash, and it can only be entered through a door in the Mountains of Doom (or possibly Mountains of Dune; I tend to stop paying attention whenever the Sorceress is talking). Oddly, it transpires that the door can only be opened twice a year, which means that given his excessive presence in recent episodes, Whiplash probably can’t go home all that often.

When they reach the door, He-Man and Stratos enter like normal people but Orko manages to be so slow that he gets left outside. Given the door’s limit of two openings per year, I’d guess this means He-Man and Stratos are now trapped in the Demon Zone till next year – the door must have been opened once already to allow the Egg to come in. I am fully prepared for this logical conclusion to be ignored.

Betrayal 3
Orko: “It’s a shame I’m so stupid I can’t even go through a door successfully.”

Sure enough, in the very next scene, the door opens again, as Whiplash sends a snake out to deal with Orko, which leads to a genuinely amusing scene as the snake chases Orko around the forest. In the meantime, He-Man and Stratos confront Whiplash, who finds himself tied to a pole by his tail. I think Whiplash has quite a sad time really. That tail is too easy a target.

He-Man and Stratos then find Hawk in a cage, who admits to sabotaging the shields and to bringing the Egg to the Demon Zone, where instead of the riches she was promised, she was imprisoned. Stratos starts gleefully rejoicing in Hawk’s downfall, but He-Man releases her with his trademark, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Betrayal 4
He-Man: “Welcome to my kinky dungeon, Hawk.”

After recovering the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Hawk return it to Avion, where Hawk admits before the people that she was responsible for the sabotage. Then all the bird people cheer for He-Man, causing his already immense ego to expand to a whole new level of smug.


In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s message this week is all about forgiveness, and once again utters the phrase, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” I genuinely wonder how many chances he gave Skeletor on their first encounter. Though in fairness, given he basically allows Skeletor to escape every week, he’s actually given Skeletor about five thousand chances now.


Character checklist

Today we are witness to the antics of Prince Adam, He-Man, Stratos, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Tri-Klops, Hawk, loads of Stratos clones, a big red demon, and the ubiquitous Whiplash.

Betrayal 5
Skeletor: “Come on lads, it’s 2-for-1 at Burger King today!”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

It’s not an excuse as such, but He-Man explains his presence by saying, “I was just in the neighbourhood.”



Skeletor considers that the inhabitants of Avion are all “bird-brains”, which seems reasonable. He also refers to Trapjaw and Tri-Klops as “imbeciles”, which again is accurate. A fire demon has the temerity to call Whiplash a “fool”. Whiplash develops an entertaining habit of talking to himself, muttering about He-Man, Stratos and Orko being “pests” and Orko being a “half-pint sorcerer”. Whiplash also says, “Now it’s time to find that muscle-headed moron”, which presumably refers to He-Man, but the target of this remark is not actively specified.

Betrayal 6
Fire Demon: “I fear I’m not as scary as I should be.”


Does it have the Power?

It all starts well enough, with Skeletor’s assault on Avion and the subsequent exile of Stratos, but it goes downhill a bit with the introduction of the Demon Zone, especially with its nonsensical rules concerning the door. I’m genuinely getting fed up of Whiplash now; he’s not that interesting, so we don’t need to see him week-in week-out. Still, I’d chalk this one up as worthwhile enough, if only for the mental image of Skeletor growing wings, which appears to be his overall ambition this week.

Episode 077 – Trouble in Trolla

In which Whiplash puts in an unnecessary appearance and ends up locked in a chest.

Dree Elle makes an unwelcome reappearance at the Palace this week, though to her credit she doesn’t bring Yuckers with her. She bears the bad news that Uncle Montork has been replaced as head of the Academy of Magic by a younger Trollan called Snoob. On hearing this, Orko determines to return to Trolla to comfort Montork, and Adam and Cringer make the demented decision to come too, in He-Man and Battle-Cat form.

Trolla 1
Dree Elle: “Oh, Orko, I’d love to marry you, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re really annoying.”

Uncle Montork indulges in a quick flashback, in which he reveals that Snoob challenged him to a magic contest. During the course of this contest, Montork started to feel weak, and his magic tricks began to fail. On hearing this, Orko concludes that something nefarious has clearly taken place, and feels the next step is to visit Snoob.

Orko and Dree Elle are rudely rebuffed by Snoob, so they teleport inside his house, where they quickly discover that Snoob is attempting to teach magic to Whiplash. Making the insane decision to confront Whiplash rather than waiting for He-Man, Orko and Dree Elle quickly find themselves captured by a bunch of pigs who would appear to be working for Whiplash.

Trolla 2
Orko: “I can’t believe I’ve been shown up in front of Dree Elle by a load of distinctly unintimidating pigs.”

Once Orko and Dree Elle are safely tied up, Whiplash takes the time to explain his plan, such as it is. Whiplash wants to learn magic in order to get better at being evil, and he knew Montork would never teach it to him. So instead, he hid in the room in which the contest was held, and used a Plot Device Ray to temporarily weaken Montork’s powers, resulting in Snoob winning. Then, Whiplash started bullying Snoob into teaching him magic. I’m not certain where the pigs fit in, but I’m sure it’s very sensible.

With the plan revealed, Snoob realises what an idiot he’s been, and turns on Whiplash, but being a bit rubbish, he is quickly captured by the pigs and tied up as well. Once Whiplash turns his back, however, Orko manages to free all three of them – just in time for them to be attacked by Whiplash’s new pet, a giant caterpillar.

Trolla 3
Orko: “First pigs, now caterpillars. I’m not having a good day with wildlife.”

Luckily, He-Man and Montork are in the vicinity to effect a rescue. While He-Man has a seemingly endless battle with an enormous quantity of pigs, Montork helps Orko and Snoob to defeat the caterpillar. Whiplash opts to do a runner, but comes up against He-Man and inevitably gets the worst of it. He ends up locked in a metal chest, in which he is forced to listen to He-Man and the Trollans yammering on about forgiving and forgetting, Orko’s love for Dree Elle, and the prospect of a roast gooble.


In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers a borderline ageist moral this week, explaining that though Snoob was young and powerful, Montork’s age and experience worked in his favour. Therefore, if old and young people work together, great things can be accomplished. Essentially, this boils down to “listen to your elders, because they might occasionally say something worthwhile in the midst of their crazed jabbering.”

Trolla 5
Orko: “Hey, Man-at-Arms! What’s it like being old and useless?”


Character checklist

Well, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena and Whiplash. Unfortunately, there’s also Orko, Dree Elle, Uncle Montork and Snoob. And those demented pigs.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The transformation occurs today in Castle Grayskull, with only the Sorceress present. Consequently, Adam doesn’t feel the need to give an excuse.



Whiplash dishes out an awful lot of mild insults this week, including “wimp” and “fool” for Snoob, “twits” for Orko and Snoob, and “little pests” for Orko, Snoob and Montork. He is also the recipient of every insult made by our heroes, being called a “villain” by both Montork and He-Man. He-Man also calls him a “scale-head”, but it’s Orko who seems to have major anger management issues when it comes to Whiplash, referring to him variously as “lizard-breath”, “alligator-breath” and “crocodile face”.

Trolla 6
Snoob: “Chill out, Whiplash! It’s Orko calling you names, not me!”


Egg on your face?

It’s a bit of a stretch for this category, because it doesn’t involve food, but the episode does open with a genuinely amusing scene in which Orko’s magic backfires, resulting in the entire royal family vanishing and reappearing inside a very small box.

More appropriately, Uncle Montork’s flashback to how he lost the contest with Snoob includes a sequence in which the three Trollan judges are covered with various unspecified foodstuffs.


Does it have the Power?

The title Trouble in Trolla didn’t fill me with joy when it popped up on screen, and the reappearance of Uncle Montork was a distinctly displeasing prospect. As it turned out though – perhaps due to the absence of Yuckers – the whole thing wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. I quite enjoyed the notion of Snoob being led astray by his ambition, and liked his ultimate redemption, which was done with relative subtlety and wasn’t sickening. It was also quite refreshingly different in that He-Man didn’t really need to be present – I feel Orko and his family would actually have been capable of dealing with the situation on their own.

Trolla 4
He-Man: “I wish I hadn’t had to be here for this.”

What I didn’t particularly like was the inclusion of Whiplash. Putting aside the fact that this is now his fourth appearance in a row (gotta sell those action figures, guys!), the world of Trolla seems completely unconnected to that of Eternia, so it seems implausible that Skeletor and his men would have any interest in it – or indeed, any knowledge of it. I’m generally not a fan of episodes that don’t involve Skeletor, but these Trolla ones really would be better without him and his crew being shoehorned in.

Episode 076 – The Ice Age Cometh

In which He-Man tries to dig to the centre of Eternia, for no particularly apparent reason.

The episode begins with a short sequence in which Orko distracts a young Palace Guard called Philip from his duties by doing rubbish magic. Unfortunately, this seems to have been the moment Whiplash has been waiting for, as he springs out of hiding to steal the new Ice Raider. Not a moment too soon, He-Man shows up and demonstrates Whiplash’s design flaw: he’s really easy to grab by the tail, swing round, and throw away.

Ice Age 1
Whiplash: “Hey, He-Man! Check out my new dance moves!”

Glowing with self-righteousness, Teela hauls Philip in front of the King and Queen, detailing everything he did wrong in this encounter. Philip defends himself with a variety of relatively feeble excuses, but when both Teela and Adam join forces to harangue him, there’s nothing he can do to dissuade Randor from transferring him to a no-hope job guarding a weather station in the frozen wastes. Man-at-Arms tries to convince Philip that this is an important job, but he doesn’t buy it, and frankly neither do I.

Becoming aware of this development on his spy-globe, Skeletor gets on the phone to his old mate Icer, who has apparently been trying to break through a protective shield around the weather station for some time. When Philip arrives to take up his new job, he deactivates the shield to allow himself entry – and Icer slips through as well.

Ice Age 2
Icer: “No, I don’t buy things from door-to-door salesmen. Now get off my property.”

Icer wastes no time in using the weather station to mess about with the weather, causing an enormous glacier to flow as fast as a river towards the Palace. On discovering this development, Adam, Teela, Cringer and Orko take the Attack Trak to the foot of the glacier. There they meet a bunch of trolls, necessitating a second appearance for He-Man and Battle-Cat, who dispose of the trolls in a not very entertaining fight.

On reaching the weather station, He-Man defies the laws of physics once again by cutting a hole in the protective shield, which is composed of energy. Entering by this impossible method, our heroes encounter Philip, who is very quick to point out that he’s not responsible for Icer getting inside. He-Man now decides not to bother looking for Icer, but instead claims that the important thing is to descend to the lower levels and get as close to the centre of Eternia as possible. He gives no reason for this, and I can only conclude that he’s gone completely off his head.

Philip locates the stairs, and He-Man determines that Icer is hiding inside a wall nearby. Showing further evidence of his impending insanity, he delegates to Orko the responsibility for stopping Icer, in which task Orko predictably fails.  At the bottom of the stairs, He-Man drives his sword into the ground and occupies himself making a big hole, while Icer stands around beating his chest and making inexplicable noises which are suggestive of a difficult bowel movement.

Ice Age 3
Orko: “Hey He-Man, standing in a hole like that makes you look completely vacant.”

Having dug a really deep hole by using his sword as a drill, He-Man then leaps in. Standing in a cave, he cuts some rocks up, producing geothermal energy and thus making the glacier recede. This seems a frankly long-winded way of doing things. Summing matters up at the end, Teela does attempt to justify it by saying that the control room was all iced over so they couldn’t get rid of the glacier that way, so I suppose it makes some vague sense after all, but it would have been nice if they could have referenced this problem before He-Man started wittering about getting to the centre of the planet.


In today’s adventure…

Adam, Teela and Philip explain how you can become a “winner” – it’s by being responsible and dependable. This is a lesson that Philip learned this week, having stopped trying to shift the blame for his mistakes. Lucky Philip. I bet he’s a winner now.

Ice Age 4
Philip: “More drugs, Teela?”


Character checklist

Well, it’s not as extensive as last week, but there are still a fair number of Eternia’s finest presenting themselves for inspection today. You won’t be surprised by the inclusion of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor and Whiplash. The characters-of-the-week are the trolls, Icer and Philip. I nearly typed Prince Philip then. I wish he’d been in it.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

We are blessed with two transformations this week. The first time, we get no excuse, but the second time, we get two: when confronted by the trolls, Adam says, “I’ll go and see if there’s a way round them.” Reappearing seconds later as He-Man, he dismisses Adam by saying, “We’d better not wait for him.”

Ice Age 5
He-Man: “One of these days, pulling stunts like this is going to backfire.”



Teela calls Icer a “cubeface”, which is nice. Skeletor encompasses every single inhabitant of the Palace with the succinct “fools”, but then surpasses himself by calling Whiplash “Wimp-lash”, which, it has to be said, is sheer genius.


Does it have the Power?

This is one of those odd episodes that really feels like it should be good, but just somehow isn’t. The writing was slightly off, especially in the first few scenes – it felt like it was an episode written very early on, when the writers hadn’t quite got a handle on the characters yet. In addition, the failure to mention the ice in the control room was a serious blooper – it made He-Man look like he’d gone mad when he decided he had to get to the centre of the planet. Philip’s storyline was fine but not enthralling. To be honest, it’s only Skeletor’s “Wimp-lash” quip that makes this one worth watching.