Episode 111 – Double Trouble

In which we’re expected to care when some one-time guest star begins acting evil.

At the Palace, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko greet Koldar, an ally of He-Man’s, who has come for a visit. I’m sure we’ve seen Koldar before, because I recognise his Viking helmet and gold armour, but I’m pretty certain he wasn’t called Koldar last time, whenever it was. Anyway, Koldar seems a pleasant enough chap, and comes equipped with a robotic horse called Shadowmaster, who can disappear into any shadow. This is a great ability, but not at all relevant to the episode.

Double 1
Orko: “Even this stupid horse hates me.”

Meanwhile, a powerful lightning strike at Snake Mountain opens up a secret passage, and Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Beast-Man investigate. They find the Mirror of Morivad, a legendary device which can create an evil double of anyone. Skeletor immediately decides to use it to defeat He-Man, and with this in mind, sends Beast-Man off to create a diversion.

Beast-Man’s diversion – as usual – consists of him sending some stupid monsters to attack a settlement. While He-Man and his mates deal with the situation, Koldar is lured into a cave by Evil-Lyn, kidnapped, and taken to Snake Mountain, where Skeletor uses the Mirror on him. Skeletor then instructs the newly created evil Koldar double to steal the secrets of Castle Grayskull.

Double 2
Koldar: “Now I see myself, I must admit I look pretty stupid.”

On returning to the Palace, Evil-Koldar signs up for the next tourist trip round Grayskull. Once inside, he blows his cover pretty quickly by setting off a smoke bomb and doing a runner. As we cut to the commercial break, the camera zooms in on He-Man’s face, and I have to say, I’ve never seen him look this immensely pissed off before.

The Sorceress shows up at this point, and after He-Man explains that Koldar used to be an ally, she says she cannot help, because Castle Grayskull is supposed to be a safe haven for the friends of He-Man. While it’s no surprise that she can’t help (when has she ever?), her reasoning is deeply unsound, and though He-Man says, “I understand,” it’s quite plain that he’s livid at her weaselling out of helping yet again. He then indulges in a spot of hyperbole, claiming that he’ll search Grayskull for ever if he has to. Knowing He-Man, he’ll get bored after 30 seconds, and find a monster to have a fight with instead.

Double 3
He-Man: “See this, Sorceress? This is my ‘despairing-eyes-to-the-heavens’ face.”

Evil-Koldar soon locates a large face on a wall between two doors, which introduces itself as the Guardian of Grayskull. The Guardian explains that behind one door are the secrets, and behind the other is “what you deserve”. To get the secrets, Evil-Koldar must correctly answer the question, “Why do you want the secrets?”

Evil-Koldar’s response is typically megalomaniac – he says that he wants the secrets for the power they will bestow upon him, which will allow him to rule the entire universe. Needless to say, that is the wrong answer, and the Guardian instructs Evil-Koldar to open the left door. When he does so, he is disintegrated into tiny shards of glass. Watching smugly, He-Man somehow concludes that Evil-Koldar must have been a mirror duplicate, and heads back to the Palace.

On arrival, he is surprised to find Teela and Man-at-Arms hanging around in a corridor, shooting the breeze with Skeletor. It turns out, however, that this is a well-behaved version of Skeletor, created by the Mirror, thanks to the real Koldar tricking the real Skeletor. Good-Skeletor leads He-Man to Snake Mountain and they rescue Koldar. This done, Good-Skeletor returns into the Mirror, and smashes it for good measure.

Double 4
He-Man: “‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello, what’s all this then?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms explains that very few people are entirely good or entirely bad, which is a perfectly sensible bit of advice and fairly relevant to the episode’s events. He’s then interrupted by Orko, who tells us because no one is entirely good or bad, we shouldn’t judge people by the way they look. This is at least slightly relevant to the episode’s events, but completely irrelevant to what Man-at-Arms was just saying. It feels rather as though the episode was written by two people who couldn’t agree on what the moral should be, so they chucked them both in.

 

Character checklist

Being put through their paces today are Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, Good-Koldar, Evil-Koldar, Good-Skeletor, Normal-Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn and Shadowmaster. The episode also features a rare appearance from Queen Marlena without being accompanied by her ever-present husband.

Double 5
Queen Marlena: “I don’t understand the joke, but I’m going to laugh along politely.”

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Teela tells Adam early on to come along to meet Koldar, but Adam essentially tells her to get lost. When she does so, he transforms, and Adam is not mentioned again.

 

Insults

Fairly slim pickings this week: Koldar addresses Skeletor to say “you’re mad,” which instantly draws Skeletor’s usual comeback: “fool”. Later on, both Good-Skeletor and the real Skeletor call Beast-Man a “fool” simultaneously.

 

Does it have the Power?

This episode is a great deal of fun. While it might have had a bit more impact if it had been Teela or Man-at-Arms acting evil, rather than a rubbish new character like Koldar, it’s an enjoyable romp nonetheless. The highlight of the episode is an extremely funny scene towards the end, in which Beast-Man is given contradictory orders by both Skeletors. The one criticism I might have is that Good-Skeletor is accepted by He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela all too easily. One could argue that there wasn’t enough time in the episode to go into that, but I’d respond that if the episode was too long, you could cut that pointless scene with the Sorceress.

Double 6
Beast-Man: “I’ve literally never been this confused.”

One final point: this episode contains some outstanding dialogue from He-Man, when he booms at Evil-Koldar: “You’re trespassing in the Hall of He-Man.” I have to get a soundclip of that to be my ringtone. Just imagine the admiring looks of people on the train when that goes off.

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Episode 110 – The Problem with Power

In which King Randor reveals that he thinks Skeletor is subtle.

This magnum opus begins at Snake Mountain, where General Tataran (last seen in the Star Trek rip-off The Arena) has popped by in response to Skeletor’s invitation. Skeletor has a cunning plan to defeat He-Man, which requires the presence of Tataran because as a goblin, he literally doesn’t have a heart – and thus, he doesn’t have a heartbeat. This seems very important to Skeletor, who declares that with this advantage, he can arrange for He-Man to defeat himself.

Problem 1
Skeletor: “Whassat, pal? Startin’ trouble?”

Shortly thereafter, word reaches the Palace that Skeletor has enslaved a village by the Crystal Sea and is forcing the inhabitants to build a giant construction. King Randor is worried, claiming that “it’s not like Skeletor to be so obvious in his actions.” Who the hell are you kidding, Randor? Skeletor is the very definition of obvious. His picture is next to the word ‘obvious’ in the OED. Despite his new-found and demented belief in Skeletor’s grasp of subtleties, Randor sends Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko to investigate.

Arriving to find that Skeletor’s new structure is an enormous dimensional gate, Adam notices that one of the support beams looks weak, and opts to transform into He-Man – presumably in order to offer his services to Skeletor as a skilled construction worker. While He-Man is transforming, Skeletor occupies himself in disguising General Tataran as a human worker, equipping him with a forcefield to protect him from harm, and instructing him to stand near the weak support beam.

Problem 2
Skeletor: “Oh, is that the time? Got to dash, I’m late for my lunch date with Evil-Lyn.”

He-Man approaches Skeletor and trades the usual pleasantries, until Skeletor shoots at Orko, thus provoking He-Man into attacking. Skeletor dodges round the weak support, dishing out taunts mercilessly until He-Man punches the support beam in frustration. The disguised Tataran activates his protective forcefield and allows himself to be crushed by a huge falling rock.

He-Man unearths Tataran and checks for a heartbeat, but of course cannot find one, and concludes that he is dead. Skeletor – now disguised as another villager – claims that Tataran was his brother, and denounces He-Man as an irresponsible killer. The rest of the villagers join in, and turn their backs on He-Man, who walks sadly away.

Problem 3
He-Man: “This situation is actually a bit more serious than a facepalm, but there we go.”

Orko tries to persuade He-Man that it was an accident and that such things happen. He-Man, however, is utterly devastated: he believes that because he acted unthinkingly, a man has died. This is a violation of a promise he made when he first became He-Man: to do the right thing and to protect the innocent. He sends Orko away, and mooches off to Castle Grayskull, where he stands on the topmost tower and concludes that, having broken his promise, he is unworthy of wielding his power. He draws the power sword, turns back into Prince Adam, and drops the sword into the abyss surrounding the castle.

Problem 4
He-Man: “Every other piece of work about this episode includes this picture, so who am I to argue with tradition?”

Some time goes by – exactly how much is unclear – and word reaches the Palace that Skeletor has rebuilt the dimensional gate, big enough to bring an army of goblins through. Randor suggests calling on He-Man for help, but Man-at-Arms explains that He-Man is not available. An all-out assault by the Palace Guard is ruled out, in favour of Teela going on a stealth suicide mission with a mesotronic bomb to destroy the gate. As he watches his friend go, Adam realises the full ramifications of his rejection of He-Man’s power.

Meanwhile, Orko has discovered the truth about Skeletor’s deception, but on his way to inform He-Man, he is captured and taken to Snake Mountain. Finally escaping, he returns to the Palace and tells Adam. Adam flies straight to Grayskull, retrieves the sword from the abyss, makes his transformation and finds time for a barney with a giant spider. He then heads to the dimensional gate, arriving just in time to save Teela from the mesotronic bomb blast, and then carry her off into the sunset.

Problem 5
He-Man: “I have definitely earned this dramatic end of the episode.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms thinks that the most relevant take-home from today’s adventure is that we should always wear a seatbelt when we’re in a car, and we should never play with matches because we might destroy our toys, our home, our family and ourselves. Really and truly? After this downright excellent episode teaching us the importance of using power responsibly, the writers felt that wittering on about seatbelts and matches was the point to hammer in? I despair sometimes.

 

Character checklist

The stars of today’s outing are Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, General Tataran, Trapjaw, some other goblins, a load of villagers, and a giant spider.

Problem 6
Trapjaw: “Hey, Skeletor, check this guy’s funky dance moves.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

On the first occasion, Adam evidently feels that because only Man-at-Arms and Orko are in immediate proximity to him, he doesn’t need to offer an excuse. He seems to be overlooking the fact that he makes his transformation while standing on a ridge in full view of the entire village and – more importantly – Skeletor. Even so, he gets away with it.

On the second occasion, Adam is alone in the abyss with the giant spider, so I think we’ll forgive him for not offering an excuse in this scenario.

 

Insults

Not only is this a fantastic episode for its story and its message, it’s also brilliant if you hate Orko’s guts and want to see Skeletor ripping him to shreds with such cutting remarks as “little vermin”, “worthless wizard” and “foolish Orko”. He also finds time to call He-Man a “fool”, all the goblins “cowards”, and sneeringly address Man-at-Arms as “tin-hat”, while positioning his clawed blue hand in the campest possible pose.

Despite only appearing in one scene, Trapjaw manages to antagonise General Tataran to the extent that he is addressed as a “walking can-opener” and described as “not too bright”. Skeletor himself is the recipient of a number of unkind comments, including “evil creep” from Orko and the slightly odder “evil face” from Teela. Orko also says that Skeletor is “silly-looking”. Advice to cartoon producers: it’s best not to draw attention to this sort of thing.

Problem 7
Skeletor: “Silly-looking? Takes one to know one, Orko.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’m not sure if it’s possible to be intimidated by a He-Man episode, especially if you’re 34 years old and reasonably sane, as I consider myself to be. Nonetheless, if such intimidation were possible, it’s definitely how I felt as I approached this episode. It has a staggeringly high regard among the dedicated fans of the show, and if that weren’t enough, it’s the only episode of the original Filmation He-Man series that I’d never seen before. High stakes indeed.

I’m happy to report that it’s absolutely superb, aside from the very minor quibble about the completely off-topic moral. This is the sort of story that could only be produced in the 80s, with a hero who is so completely heroic. Most fictional characters now have greater shades of grey, and heroes have dark sides. A modern day He-Man would probably have considered Tataran’s death to be an acceptable loss; he’d have felt bad, but wouldn’t have been so completely destroyed as He-Man is in this episode. It’s interesting that a story with such a moral quandary actually only works with a hero who is so black-and-white.

Problem 8
Prince Adam: “This is more of a double-facepalm situation. That seems about proportionate.”

So here we have He-Man being provoked into angry destructive rage, and – to all intents and purposes – killing someone. (The fact that he actually didn’t is, I think, immaterial – it’s eminently plausible that he could have, and in fact, apparently early versions of the script specified that he did.) Was He-Man’s response proportionate? He considers himself a failure for having caused one death – but in rejecting his powers, he was likely to cause many more. It’s actually a He-Man episode for which you can debate morality, and presents the conundrum remarkably well.

I genuinely wonder what I would have thought of this if I’d seen it as a child. As an adult, all I can say is that this has to be the best episode of He-Man ever produced. Incredible stuff.

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 025 – Evilseed

In which He-Man and Skeletor team up to defeat a vegetable.

In the Palace laboratory, a computer alerts Man-at-Arms to a burst dam and crops being ruined, which prompts the re-use of animation from last week’s Wizard of Stone Mountain, when exactly the same thing happened. Man-at-Arms attempts to get to the dam to sort things out, but he can’t start the Wind Raider because there’s plants growing in the engine. How mysterious.

Once He-Man and Man-at-Arms get to the dam by other means, they successfully repair it. Talking with the farmers subsequently, they learn that a strange man sold them some seeds the previous day, which when planted caused vines to grow up the dam extremely quickly. Man-at-Arms remains with the farmers to “help”, though God knows what he thinks he’s going to do, or even what he thinks needs doing.

Evilseed 1

He-Man returns to the Palace, where he finds it covered in vines and weeds. The vines advance, forcing He-Man to waste time holding the Palace together, and in the meantime King Randor, Queen Marlena and Teela disappear. The Sorceress then teleports He-Man and Orko to Castle Grayskull, where He-Man voices the opinion that Skeletor is responsible for this little diversion.

He-Man contacts Skeletor via Skype, thus beginning an entertaining conversation where they each accuse each other of causing the vine invasion. This comes to a halt when a third party named Evilseed joins the discussion to claim responsibility. Evilseed looks like a walking stalk of broccoli, and he reveals that he has captured Randor, Marlena, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat. His aims at this point remain unclear, beyond the usual vague conquest of Eternia, and I suspect that’s all we’ll get.

Evilseed 2

He-Man, the Sorceress and Orko take a vine to the laboratory for analysis, where they quickly determine that to destroy the plants, they must make them cold. He-Man enthusiastically suggests getting a big ice ball from the Ice Mountains and smashing it in the sky, to which the Sorceress agrees, on condition that it is done above Castle Grayskull. The catch, however, is that for this to work, it will require the power of He-Man, the Sorceress – and Skeletor.

He-Man goes and gets the ice ball, as Skeletor arrives in Castle Grayskull. Ever unable to see past a quick win, Skeletor engages in a spot of betrayal, but ultimately the three most powerful forces on Eternia unite to destroy the ice ball, which makes it snow. Instantly, Evilseed’s vines retreat, and Evilseed himself withers and presumably dies. Harsh times.

Evilseed 4

In Grayskull, He-Man attempts to convince Skeletor to work together with him on future projects, but Skeletor knows that the series will end and he’ll be out of a job if he agrees, so he isn’t having any of it. Whoever said Skeletor isn’t smart?

 

In today’s adventure…

Not surprisingly, today it’s all about co-operation. We saw He-Man and Skeletor actually working together, which is something out of the ordinary. Teela explains that it’s sometimes easier to get the job done by working with other people, even if you don’t agree with them. I am perfectly happy with this moral, which is sane and relevant.

Evilseed 3

 

Characters appearing

It’s a pretty hefty cast list this week, with the ever-present Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man and Battle-Cat leading the way. Then of course there’s Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, Ram-Man, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Orko, Skeletor, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, and Evilseed. And some farmers, who are gnomes of some kind, for no particular reason.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

“I just remembered something I have to do,” says Adam. Does he honestly think that anyone is buying these vague offerings?

 

Insults

Evilseed calls Skeletor a “bonehead”, and the Sorceress gets a bit vicious by calling Skeletor a “fool.” But otherwise it’s Skeletor who leads the way this week. He calls Trapjaw a “fool” and a “blundering fool” within seconds of each other, and refers derisively to Evilseed as a “cabbage”. He also has a couple of choice phrases for He-Man – “Muscle-brain” being an obvious favourite. In addition, when He-Man first accuses Skeletor of summoning the vines, Skeletor responds with “Back up, Muscle-boy,” which may possibly be the most amusing line he has ever uttered, and I don’t even know why. It made me snort, though.

Evilseed 5

 

 

Does it have the Power?

Without a doubt. It’s a convincing threat, with energy-sapping vines shooting up all over the place, even if Evilseed himself looks a bit too much like a vegetable, and doesn’t really have much of a motive (not that Skeletor does either, really). The episode is perhaps a little slow to get going, but it really kicks in when we get the wonderful twist that Skeletor is also under attack by the vines – especially when he whinges that “they’re bugging the big bones out of me!” Once he is allowed entrance to Castle Grayskull, Skeletor’s constant bitching about He-Man being too heroic for his own good is hilarious. Ultimately, I haven’t got a bad word to say about this episode, and it could even be my new favourite.

 

Episode 022 – Song of Celice

In which Skeletor builds a Lego model of Castle Grayskull.

Like me last week, our heroes (Prince Adam, Cringer, Teela, Orko and Lizard-Man) are on holiday. Well, they’re actually making a state visit to Toron, where Prime Minister Pangus is waiting. After the usual pleasantries, which of course involve a demonstration of Orko’s rubbish magic, an earthquake breaks out. Adam gets halfway through the Power of Grayskull bit, but is then distracted by a sexy woman standing on top of a pillar and singing, which stops the earthquake.

Celice 1

Pangus explains that beneath Toron, a creature named Yog is attempting to rise, and if he does, Toron and Eternia will be destroyed. Only Celice the singing lady can calm him, and when she joins our party, she demonstrates other powers, such as making flowers open at will, and also not speaking at all clearly. Adam is very taken with the singer, though Teela is less impressed, seeming rather jealous.

Another person taken with the singer’s power is Skeletor, who is watching on his spy-glass. He sends Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw to Toron, where they attempt to capture Celice. In a departure from the usual, they actually manage it, even when Adam turns into He-Man. Pangus explains again that without the singer, Yog might wake up, and right on cue, the earthquakes start again. Clearly, action is required. He-Man sends Teela and Man-at-Arms to Snake Mountain to rescue Celice, while he takes Orko and Lizard-Man down into the caverns to face Yog.

Celice 2

At Snake Mountain, Skeletor welcomes Celice and explains his plan: she will sing for him. If that’s all he wants, surely he could just put on his Steps CD. But it turns out that actually Skeletor wants Celice to sing Castle Grayskull’s jawbridge open. Once Celice is hypnotised to Skeletor’s will, she is allowed to practice on Skeletor’s scale model of Grayskull, and she succeeds in opening the jawbridge. The tension is definitely mounting.

Celice 3

En route to Snake Mountain, Man-at-Arms is predictably captured by one of Beast-Man’s monsters, and is taken to the rather improbable sounding “Ice Island in the middle of the Lake of Fire”. This is good for a waste of two or three minutes’ screen time, after which Man-at-Arms and Teela return to their task of rescuing Celice. Perhaps hoping that the delay with the monster will have caused the viewers to forget they were supposed to be going to Snake Mountain, Man-at-Arms and Teela show up at Castle Grayskull just as Celice breaks Skeletor’s hypnosis and refuses to open the jawbridge.

He-Man and team navigate a variety of dull hazards in the caverns, before deciding not to bother with Yog and to go to Castle Grayskull instead. They also arrive just in time to distribute a few punches in Skeletor’s direction, but then Yog starts rising through the ground. Skeletor and co. all head for home, while Celice and He-Man contrive to send Yog plummeting to the centre of the planet.

Celice 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela gives perhaps the most useless advice this cartoon has yet come up with: if you’re feeling bad, why not try singing a song, whistling, or just smiling? At best, this advice would have resulted in a horde of infuriating kids making a right racket or moping about while smiling like deranged serial killers. It’s admittedly difficult to think of a moral that is appropriate for this episode, but this decidedly isn’t it.

 

Characters appearing

Well, such a range here. Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Orko, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw make up our regular attendees. Less common and less welcome are Lizard-Man, Celice, Prime Minister Pangus, and Yog. There are also a bunch of troglodyte-style creatures in the caves, but I don’t know their names, which just proves I’m not obsessive.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

Even though there was a frisson of sexual tension between Adam and Celice early on, He-Man didn’t bother to explain Adam’s absence later. Perhaps he was calculating that once Celice saw him, she’d forget all about that wussy Adam.

Celice 5

 

Insults

After a slow start on the insults front, this episode blossoms into a veritable crop. Skeletor offers the now traditional “fools” concerning Teela and Man-at-Arms, and reintroduces “beast” for Beast-Man. Man-at-Arms considers Beast-Man’s monster an “overgrown garden pest”, but it’s in the final battle at Castle Grayskull that things get a bit crazy. He-Man starts us off with “rock-face” for Beast-Man, which makes literally no sense. Then Skeletor gets in on the act with “flesh-face” for He-Man. I really was not sure about this one. Maybe Skeletor said “fresh-face”, referring to He-Man’s clean complexion? Finally, He-Man calls Skeletor a “lightweight”, after trapping him in a zero-g bubble. He then disproportionately laughs so hard I thought his jaw was going to fall off.

Celice6

 

Does it have the Power?

There were some super things about this episode; in particular, I absolutely loved Skeletor’s scale model of Castle Grayskull, which he claims to have made himself. The notion of Skeletor painstakingly building a mini-replica of Grayskull so he can practice his demented schemes is absolutely hilarious. To be honest, the idea of him practicing at all is distinctly amusing. You can imagine him keeping the villains back after school each day: “Now then, you fools! You’re staying here until you open the jawbridge! Mini-Grayskull will be mine!” Beast-Man: “But, uh, Skeletor, mini-Grayskull already is yours.” Skeletor: “Silence, Beast-Fool!”

Otherwise, the only thing I can really complain about here is that Celice’s singing was pretty irritating, and I could only understand Celice’s voice about half the time. Yog didn’t seem enormously necessary either, and I have yet to figure out why Lizard-Man is making repeated appearances but they never made an action figure of him. But in short, this episode is well worth a watch.