Episode 087 – Things That Go Bump in the Night

In which the new boy on Skeletor’s team proves less than impressive.

On King Randor’s birthday, Orko decides to indulge in an extended showcase to demonstrate just how irritating he can be. After a less than amusing magic trick, he accidentally but dementedly steals the King’s birthday present – a new Stratoblaster. Unfortunately, this isn’t a weapon designed to kill Stratos; it’s a plane of some sort. As luck and the script would have it, the Stratoblaster heads straight for Snake Mountain, with Orko trapped inside.

Teela and Man-at-Arms follow in the Wind Raider, and are on hand to pick Orko up when he crashes the Stratoblaster. Before they can escape, however, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Clawful find them – as does Skeletor’s new apprentice, a young boy called Glitch who is already regretting signing up. Unfortunately for Skeletor, He-Man is also on the scene, which results in immediate defeat for Skeletor and his collection of no-hopers.

Bump 1
Evil-Lyn: “Everyone here except me is stunningly incompetent.”

Inside Snake Mountain, Skeletor berates his followers, and finishes up by expelling Glitch from the gang. After being thrown out of Skeletor HQ, Glitch is found by Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and Adam, who are still dossing around outside trying to fix the Stratoblaster. Glitch introduces himself as the son of the King of Selassia and begs for a lift out of the vicinity, but tellingly he doesn’t explain what he was doing there in the first place.

At the Palace, Glitch demonstrates that he has a super attitude problem, so Adam decides to try to get to know him better by taking him out to the forest to shoot crossbows. Once this bizarre attempt at a male bonding ritual is over, Glitch readily explains to Adam that he is a coward, and joined Skeletor’s crew to try to overcome his fears. Adam dismissively comments, “Well, that didn’t work,” thus in one short sentence managing to imply that Glitch is not only still a coward, he’s an idiot as well.

Bump 2
Adam: “Glitch, don’t take this the wrong way, but your animation style makes it look like you belong in another cartoon altogether.”

Nonetheless, when seconds later Adam is incapacitated by an evil plant, Glitch summons sufficient courage to head through the forest by himself to fetch help from Man-at-Arms and Teela. Of course, by the time he gets back, Adam has long since turned into He-Man, tied the plant in a knot, and departed. Luckily, he shows up again mere seconds later as Adam, before Man-at-Arms and Teela can accuse Glitch of being not only a coward and an idiot, but a liar as well.

Meanwhile, at Snake Mountain, Skeletor receives a visit from the King of Selassia, who demands the return of his son. Knowing that the Selassians come from another world and have little knowledge of Eternia, Skeletor explains that the evil King Randor is likely to have kidnapped Glitch, and points the King in the direction of the Palace.

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Skeletor: “Jazz hands!”

When the Selassians fly their spaceship directly over the Palace and encircle it with rock stalagmites, Adam decides that the third transformation of the episode is in order. Glitch explains to his father that the Eternians are his friends, and realising that his treachery has been unmasked, Skeletor hijacks the Selassian ship. However, thanks to Glitch’s newfound courage, Skeletor is defeated, and the Selassians depart – notably without apologising for the attack on the Palace.

 

In today’s adventure…

Adam suggests a variety of things that maybe we could be afraid of, including water, heights, the dark, fire and the fairly general getting hurt. He explains, however, that fear is likely to prevent us from something bad happening, so it’s nothing to be concerned about. He then adds, rather strongly, that only a fool is afraid of nothing. Incidentally, I’m pretty confident that He-Man is afraid of nothing.

 

Character checklist

Well, the guest star is of course Glitch, and his dad is a one-shot character too. Otherwise, it’s just the regulars: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Clawful and Evil-Lyn.

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The King of Selassia: “Always look at your enemies sternly, Glitch. Don’t look at them like you’re a moron.”

 

Insults

There was a moment near the start when I thought Skeletor was referring to Glitch as “bitch”, but even for someone as unhinged from reality as I am, that did seem unlikely. He definitely does call Glitch a “fool”, though that’s hardly unprecedented, and he also considers Glitch a “miserable wimp”. Skeletor is very proud of the phrase “snivelling coward”, using it three times to describe Glitch, and on the first of these occasions it also encompasses Clawful and Evil-Lyn. Clawful comes off fairly badly from Skeletor’s zingers, also receiving a “fool” and a slightly unexpected “fishmonger”. Skeletor then refers to He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. He finally gets his comeuppance when the King of Selassia calls him a “deceitful blaggard”. I bet that hurt.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Three transformations this episode provide rich pickings for feeble excuses. On the first occasion, Adam says, “You go ahead, I’ll, uh, catch up later,” which is bad enough, but his attempt on the third transformation is nothing short of pitiful: “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll, uh.”

 

Egg on your face?

Less than a minute of this episode passes before Orko deliberately drops a 1 ton weight onto a birthday cake, resulting in Man-at-Arms, Teela, Adam, King Randor and Queen Marlena all being covered in chocolate. This sort of thing never grows old. I half wonder sometimes why they didn’t simply make 130 episodes of 20 minutes of Orko throwing food at people.

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Orko: “An opportunity to be annoying? Let me at it!”

 

Does it have the Power?

It starts very badly indeed. Orko’s failing magic trick followed by his accidental joyride in the Stratoblaster led me to expect one of those awful ‘Orko feels sorry for himself’ episodes. Luckily, this angle was dropped as soon as it began to rear its head, and instead veered off along a plotline that I don’t recall seeing before: someone signing up to Skeletor’s crew and becoming disillusioned. Glitch isn’t dreadfully irritating, and his journey from coward to hero is believable.

The real highlight, though, is once again Skeletor. He’s got no overall plan this week, simply reacting to whatever comes along: he tries to capture Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko at the start, just for the hell of it, and his nimble act of deception when the King of Selassia shows up is a joy to behold. There’s also a brilliant moment when he is watching Glitch on his globe, laughing ridiculously hard and thumping his fist, ending up breaking the globe. Skeletor’s immediate reaction is to shriek, “Clawful, you fool! Now look what you’ve done!”

The only criticism I have of the whole thing is Queen Marlena’s voice. Either the normal actress wasn’t available, or she had forgotten how to do it, because it was really inconsistent with every other episode in which Marlena appears. That’s certainly not a deal breaker though. In summary, this isn’t the best of the series, but it’s a very watchable instalment.

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Episode 086 – A Trip to Morainia

In which Skeletor doesn’t put in the slightest bit of effort.

After a surprisingly long and irrelevant sequence in which Man-at-Arms demonstrates his new invention, one of King Randor’s mates gets on the videophone. Introducing himself as King Borayis, he invites Randor to send someone to his kingdom of Morainia to collect some new energy crystals, which are ten times more powerful than other Eternian energy sources. Randor decides that this is the sort of low-responsibility, high-prestige job that would suit Adam, Cringer and Orko.

Morainia 1
Man-at-Arms: “Let’s get kinky.”

Despite a stupid diversion caused by Adam driving like an idiot down a ravine and into a giant spider’s den, the trio arrive at Morainia in good time. Borayis welcomes them, and introduces them to his son Prince Esker and his daughter Princess Janice. These two might as well have labels on them to say Esker is arrogant and incompetent, while Janice is intelligent but ignored. Borayis invites Adam to spend some time skiing, to which Adam happily agrees.

It would probably not surprise you to learn that Skeletor is also interested in the acquisition of the energy crystals – though he evidently isn’t that interested, because he sends Beast-Man and Trapjaw to get them for him. These two put on the worst disguises I’ve ever seen (literally, a white bib each, and that’s it) and are easily defeated by Borayis. Skeletor then has to take matters into his own hands, and successfully kidnaps Borayis.

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Beast-Man: “Pretty sure we’d slip past MI5’s finest officers with disguises this slick.”

With Borayis missing, Esker takes on the role of leader, and makes a complete hash of it by refusing to listen to the suggestions of the court. Skeletor teleports in, laughs irrelevantly, then offers to exchange the kidnapped king for the energy crystals. He is kind enough to offer the Morainians half an hour to think about this, and teleports out again. Esker sits at the table, trying to think of a solution, but ignoring Janice’s clever ideas.

Janice consequently heads off by herself to try to rescue Borayis, but manages to irritate Clawful in the process, leading to Adam turning into He-Man to save her. Janice then explains to He-Man that Skeletor must be holding Borayis in the abandoned mine, and outlines her clever plan for rescuing him. This plan essentially boils down to there being three entrances to the mine, so He-Man and Battle-Cat go in one, Orko another, and Janice the third. Then they all meet up in the central room. It’s difficult to say exactly what this achieves, but He-Man seems impressed.

Morainia 3
He-Man: “I’m pretending to be interested, but I’m actually just making sarky faces behind Janice’s back.”

Using another of Janice’s deeply innovative schemes, He-Man rescues Borayis from a stupid cage in which Skeletor has imprisoned him. The party then return to Morainia just in time to find that Esker has achieved absolutely nothing, and that Skeletor has managed to get his silly blue paws on the energy crystals. However, on seeing He-Man, Skeletor runs away through a teleportation portal – though he helpfully actually takes the time to give He-Man the crystals back.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela explains that listening to other peoples’ ideas is likely to come in handy when Skeletor has kidnapped your dad and imprisoned him in an abandoned mine. And possibly at other times too.

 

Character checklist

This week, we are witness to Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Janice, Esker, King Borayis, various Morainian officials, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Clawful. Teela only shows up to deliver the moral, but she doesn’t seem too cross at being left out of the adventure.

Morainia 4
Teela: “You know what? I’d only have got kidnapped or something anyway, so it’s just as well I didn’t get involved.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

With only Orko and Cringer along for the ride, Adam doesn’t see the need to explain himself on either of his two transformations today. However, there’s a strong hint that Princess Janice knows the dual identity secret: she congratulates Adam on something He-Man did. This is either a mistake (admittedly more likely) or a tacit admission that everyone on the entire planet knows, and are just humouring our hero.

 

Insults

Skeletor addresses Borayis as “royal enemy”, which could be interpreted as more of a statement of fact than an actual insult. However, there can be mistaking the insulting tone behind He-Man calling Clawful both “fish-bait” and “swamp-breath”.

Morainia 6
Clawful: “I wonder if I should give this ‘being evil’ lark up. Never seems to work out.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Like Disappearing Dragons a few weeks back, I used to have this one on VHS, and consequently I love it. Unlike Disappearing Dragons, however, objectively I can see that it’s not really very good. It’s essentially He-Man by numbers, with very little of interest to it, though admittedly nothing that drags it down to the depths either.

The most obvious criticism of it is that it’s wrapped up far too quickly: Skeletor is actually holding the energy crystals, and when confronted, he makes no effort to hold onto them, even though it would have been easy for him to escape. Moreover, Skeletor could have easily nicked the crystals before the commercial break by simply kicking down a door, rather than messing around kidnapping Borayis. I suppose that he knew that if he did get the crystals earlier, the second half of the show would be given over to He-Man and his mob coming round to Snake Mountain and trashing the place to get the crystals back, which is the sort of outcome which I daresay Skeletor would find undesirable.

Morainia 5
Skeletor: “I didn’t really want these stupid crystals anyway.”

But basically, He-Man only won because Skeletor didn’t put the least bit of effort in this week, and that’s pretty unsatisfying. I’d still recommend you watch it though, because as mentioned earlier, I love it.

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.

Fraidy Cat w
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.

 

Insults

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.

Fraidy Cat 5
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 059 – The Witch and the Warrior

In which that creepy idiot Malik makes an unwelcome comeback.

Malik, the stupid wizard from the less than exciting episode Wizard of Stone Mountain, seems to have branched out into a new career guarding the Fountain of Life, in the desert city of Arridan, from the evil wizard Kothos. As the episode opens, we find him deciding that Kothos’ attacks are becoming too frequent, and accordingly he contacts the Palace to request the help of He-Man and Teela.

witch-1
Prince Adam: “Why is there a massive picture of that twat Malik on your wall, Teela?”

As soon as He-Man arrives, Kothos provides a nice big sand monster for He-Man’s delight and delectation. While He-Man is thus occupied, Evil-Lyn sneaks into the temple with intent to steal the waters of the Fountain for Skeletor. Teela attempts to stop her, but during their battle, Kothos arranges for the entire temple to fly away with both Teela and Evil-Lyn inside it. Kothos then strips Evil-Lyn of her magical powers, and abandons both her and Teela in the middle of the desert.

Teela proposes a truce, at which prospect Evil-Lyn snarls and then accepts. They trudge through the desert, helping each other to find water, defeat a Sand Devil, and light a fire for warmth once night sets in. Around the campfire, the two of them grudgingly admire each other’s skills and bemoan the fact that they’re on opposite sides.

He-Man, in the meantime, has been distracted from Teela’s predicament by Clawful, who lures him into a battle in a cave. This battle does not go too well for Clawful, who ends up encased in concrete and hurled all the way back to Snake Mountain, where he is greeted with distinct displeasure by Skeletor. He-Man then gathers Man-at-Arms, Orko and Battle-Cat, and sets off with Malik for Kothos’ hideout to recover the stolen temple.

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Clawful: “I think I need to lay off the ketamine.”

Teela and Evil-Lyn sneak into Kothos’ lair, where Evil-Lyn recovers her magic powers. He-Man and his group also show up at this point, and there follows a not particularly entertaining fight with Kothos’ guards, while Evil-Lyn nips off to prevent Kothos drinking the waters of the Fountain of Life. She does this by turning him into a Sand Slug, but then passes out from her injuries sustained in the battle.

witch-4
Kothos: “I think my finger is exploding.”

Malik transports the temple back to Arridan, then uses some of the Fountain’s waters to heal Evil-Lyn. Evil-Lyn declares the truce over, but decides that she’s had more than enough of the Fountain, and heads back to Snake Mountain without trying to steal it again. Then He-Man revives one of his long-forgotten annoying habits and winks at the camera, which is clearly because the writer couldn’t think of a pithy line on which to close the episode.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela is the one delivering the moral, but instead of talking about cooperation, she decides to go off on one about making the best of a bad situation. Yes, okay, that was demonstrated in the episode as well, I suppose, but come on – this episode was a perfect showcase for working together with people you don’t like. I suppose the writers don’t want to make things too obvious, but if you’re going to have a moral segment at the end of the cartoon, it’s never going to be all that subtle, is it?

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Teela: “Look, writers! Me and Evil-Lyn are working together! Surely you can do something with that, no?”

Character checklist

Oh, there’s loads of people today. Of course, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Malik, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Clawful, Kothos, and a whole horde of nameless cannon fodder on both Malik and Kothos’ teams.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

No excuse is given when Adam turns into He-Man. Later in the episode, He-Man transforms Cringer into Battle-Cat, and he does it right in front of Malik, thus completely blowing Cringer’s cover once and for all. Well done, He-Man.

 

Insults

There’s quite a bit of nastiness flying around this week: Teela calls Evil-Lyn an “evil witch”, and Evil-Lyn reciprocates with “impudent fool”. Teela also implicitly calls Evil-Lyn a “vicious creature” by suggesting that it takes one to know one when Evil-Lyn discusses her knowledge of Eternia’s beasties. Kothos calls his guards “fools” and refers to Evil-Lyn as a “nuisance”, but it’s perhaps He-Man who takes first prize this week with his outstandingly inventive “lobster lips” for Clawful.

witch-5
He-Man: “I’ve got a great insult stored up to use on you, Clawful. You’ll cry for weeks.”

Does it have the Power?

I must say, of all the characters who needed a comeback, Malik wouldn’t be my first choice. Wizard of Stone Mountain was rubbish, and I didn’t need to be reminded of it. Still, Malik’s presence was pretty much irrelevant, and I suppose it’s nice to see the writers creating a little bit of continuity in Eternia.

The Teela and Evil-Lyn plotline was very enjoyable, showing the benefits of cooperation and demonstrating that Evil-Lyn has quite a bit more depth than most of Skeletor’s clowns: I can’t imagine Beast-Man forming a truce with anyone, no matter how much he needed to. The story was complemented by a lot of excellent animation work going into Evil-Lyn this week: her disgusted grimace when she realises she has to work with Teela is superb, and when she’s at the campfire, she flicks her cloak to make sure it doesn’t go up in flames, which is a completely unnecessary attention to detail which I really appreciated in He-Man’s world of frequently recycled stock animation.

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Evil-Lyn: “What do you mean, you didn’t bring any marshmallows?”

And if you’re easily entertained, there was more Viagra voiceover work from He-Man, when he addresses the sand monster: “So that’s your trick, eh? Soft one minute and solid the next.” Probably worth watching for that alone.

Episode 053 – Dree Elle’s Return

In which Orko and Dree Elle bring the series to its most soul-crushing low point.

The opening scene of this episode is among the least promising in recent memory. It’s set on Trolla, where a Trollan guard is talking to Dree Elle (Orko’s love interest, last seen in Dawn of Dragoon), explaining that Trapjaw and a new baddy called Clawful have stolen the Horn of Evil, with intent to use it to conquer Eternia. Dree Elle resolves to travel to Eternia to warn Orko, and because she’s completely out of her skull, she decides to take her little brother with her. Her brother is called Yuckers, he wears a baseball cap, and he has a reputation for playing “dumb jokes”. Somebody needs to just shoot me now.

Dree Elle and Yuckers arrive in the Palace on Eternia to find Orko home alone. True to form, Yuckers immediately plays what is undeniably a dumb joke on Orko and then laughs his dreadful head off. Dree Elle makes him promise not to play any more jokes, which is precisely the sort of promise I can see being broken a mile off.

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Yuckers: “As well as promising not to play any dumb jokes, I promise not to be the absolute worst character in the history of He-Man up to this point. Shall we see if I can keep my promises? Spoiler: I can’t.”

Once Orko learns of the Horn of Evil’s disappearance, he and his crowd head for Castle Grayskull, where they find that Trapjaw has blown the Horn and produced a cloud of black smoke, which has defeated the ever-useless Sorceress. Before they can open the jawbridge, though, Orko snatches the Horn and does a runner. But, of course, Yuckers plays two more dumb jokes which result in himself, Orko and the Horn being captured.

Dree Elle flees back to the Palace, where she raises the alarm, resulting in He-Man, Battle-Cat and Teela all heading to the rescue. Teela releases Orko and Yuckers, while He-Man wrestles with Clawful for an unnecessarily long time, eventually disposing of him in a mud puddle. Meanwhile, Yuckers plays a dumb joke on Trapjaw, at which I expect we’re supposed to cheer. I didn’t.

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Clawful: “This is the face that literally everyone pulls when they see Orko and his idiot clan.”

With the baddies defeated, that should be the end of that, but since there was five minutes left on the episode’s run time, I didn’t for a moment think I’d be that lucky. Sure enough, thanks to yet another dumb joke, Yuckers accidentally blows the Horn of Evil, which results in everything in the surrounding forest turning evil and indulging in a spot of misbehaviour.

He-Man and Teela occupy themselves in battling off the various evil trees, rocks, giants, vampire bats and randomly mutated wallabies, while Orko and Dree Elle attend to the actual problem. They do this by singing the worst song I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t make out any of the words because of their dreadful voices, but it was the most hideous racket outside of a Steps reunion concert. The terrible effect of this song is even apparent on He-Man; the next scene shows him looking haggard with massive bags under his eyes.

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He-Man: “That song is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

The episode ends back at the Palace, where Orko plays a dumb joke on Yuckers, who instantly throws a tantrum and whinges that jokes aren’t fun when they’re on him. Boo hoo, Yuckers. My heart bleeds for you. To my huge relief, Dree Elle and Yuckers return to Trolla, where I hope they instantly get eaten by some giant dragon or something.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko pops along to tell us that Yuckers messing about with the Horn of Evil resulted in all sorts of dreadful trouble, so advises us not to play with any knives or Horns of Evil we might find in our house. All well and good, but nowhere does Orko mention practical jokes, which was definitely the real focus of this episode. Obviously the writers trusted us to have grasped this bit of the message all by ourselves.

 

Character checklist

We have the pleasure of seeing Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Trapjaw and Dree Elle, as well as the random Trollan guard. There are also debut appearances from Clawful and Yuckers, the latter of which I do not wish to ever see polluting my screen again.

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Teela: “Remind me again why we have to associate with these imbeciles?”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Despite two dramatic transformations into He-Man, Adam is unable to summon up the energy to give an excuse for either.

 

Insults

Clawful definitely leads the field this week, with some properly cutting remarks to Trapjaw, including “cowardly hunk of tin” and “Dim-brain”. He also calls Orko a “little runt”. Still, he gets what he deserves shortly thereafter, when Teela refers to him as “Crust-face”, which I assume is short for “Crustacean-face” rather than being an oblique reference to him having eaten all the pies.

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Teela: “I understand, He-Man. I want to put these morons into a liquidiser too. But we can’t, because it’s before the watershed.”

 

Does it have the Power?

Yes and no. Mostly no. On the plus side, on the strength of his first appearance, you can chalk me down as a big fan of Clawful, Skeletor’s red lobster-inspired henchman. He’s incredibly rude to everyone, his animation and voice acting is great, and his behaviour and general attitude come across as genuinely evil (as opposed to most of Skeletor’s men, who only really achieve being moderately naughty). I’ll be interested to see if he retains this strong character, or if he quickly becomes a bumbling idiot like the others. I’m not holding my breath.

On the minus side, towards which the episode is very strongly weighted, there’s Yuckers. What were the writers thinking? Orko is infuriating enough; why did anyone think it would be a great idea to introduce a much more annoying version of him? Yes – I know he’s meant to be an annoying younger brother who learns his lesson, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. His idiotic jokes and his dreadful voice were hugely grating.

And speaking of grating, there’s that song at the end. It was literally awful – relentlessly bouncy and cheerful and saccharine. And once it was over, He-Man invited Orko and Dree Elle to sing it again! Never have I wanted to join Skeletor’s side quite so much as when that was going on.

dree-elle-5
Dree Elle: “Hey, Orko! I’ve got a great idea! Let’s sing a song so bad that the lyric sheet starts to spontaneously combust!”

So in conclusion – watch the bits with Clawful in them. As soon as He-Man throws Clawful into a mud puddle, you can stop.