In which we meet the most annoying character in all of fiction ever.
An interplanetary circus arrives on Eternia, and because he’s an idiot, Man-at-Arms promises Orko that he can attend if he tidies up his room. Surely he knows that saying this will inevitably result in Orko using magic to attempt to tidy his room and causing some dreadful mess. But before we even reach that stage, the circus rocket train (I didn’t think a “circus rocket train” was even a thing) arrives, and Orko starts messing about with the various props.
Over at Snake Mountain, Skeletor is pacing around, mixing cocktails and shrieking that there’s no one about to cooperate with him. This is just plain weird, to be honest, though it gets odder seconds later when Evil-Lyn shows up to inform Skeletor that the circus has refused his kind invitation to perform at Snake Mountain. I can’t see him as the sort to really want to watch a circus, but I suppose it adds another layer to his complex characterisation. Skeletor is inexplicably livid about the circus’ refusal to perform, and decrees that if he can’t enjoy the circus, no one can. As tense and dramatic scenes go, I think the only comparable television moment ever achieved is the Red Wedding.
If you think Orko isn’t annoying enough, you may be interested in meeting Crackers the Clown, who shows up to introduce himself to Orko and perform a variety of distinctly unfunny tricks. Orko says he wishes he could work at the circus, and I wish he could too, but Crackers isn’t interested without Orko going through the full recruitment process. Adam then properly starts doing a hatchet job on Orko’s job application, reminding him that he hates putting an effort into anything.
Skeletor orders Evil-Lyn and Beast-Man to go to the circus and make sure it never opens. They start by using Beast-Man’s animal-controlling powers to stop a three-trunked elephant from putting up the Big Top, but they are detected within 20 seconds, tied up in metal, and thrown back to Snake Mountain. Once he’s dealt with the villains, He-Man decides to help out at the circus, and we are treated to endless scenes of him putting up tents, which is truly a fitting task for the Most Powerful Man in the Universe.
He-Man then persuades Crackers to give Orko a job, so that Orko will learn that working in the circus is not as glamorous as he seems to think. This leads to a load of hugely boring and/or irritating scenes in which Orko has his dreams cruelly shattered by Crackers, Adam and a trapeze artist called Orlando, who laugh their heads off at him pretty much continually.
This mercifully comes to an end when Skeletor intervenes to kidnap Crackers, sending him to a place called Echo Valley. Skeletor then feels confident enough to announce the rest of his plan – to take over the circus – to Orlando, Orko and Adam, whose pose suggests deep disinterest. Skeletor attempts to ramp up the tension by shrieking, “Prepare for the Skeletor Circus!” but no one cares.
The inhabitants of Eternia gather for the circus, only to find that Skeletor has cancelled the performance. If the ill-judged animation of their beaming faces is anything to go by, I’d say the inhabitants of Eternia are overjoyed at the circus’ cancellation. We then cut to the interior of the Big Top, where Skeletor is attempting to convince the circus artists to perform for him, but he is interrupted by the return of Crackers, who has been rescued by He-Man.
He-Man and Skeletor inexplicably decide to have a go on the trapezes trying to defeat each other, and when this doesn’t work out, Skeletor opts for a quick try on the tightrope. It all comes to a hugely hilarious conclusion when Skeletor accidentally sets off a load of fireworks and ends up being blasted out of the Big Top clinging desperately to a rocket. How we chortled.
In today’s adventure…
Adam and Orko take inspiration from Orko’s circus training to explain to us that if we want to be good at something, we have to be prepared to put in the hard work. This was demonstrated in the episode, I suppose, but Orko’s experience was little more than a subplot. The main storyline also taught us a moral lesson, which was that being selfish tends to lead to being shot into the sky on a giant firework.
This complete abomination of an episode involves Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, Crackers, and loads of circus folk. They should all be ashamed of themselves.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
There are three transformations this week (though luckily they only treat us to the actual animation sequence once). On one of these occasions, Adam comments, “I’d better do something about this,” which pretty much gives the game away.
Evil-Lyn evidently feels pretty confident in her abilities this week, since she calls Skeletor a “bonehead” at an early stage. Skeletor doesn’t even lower himself to retaliate, suggesting that perhaps he’s maturing. Although, given the aims of his grandiose plan this week, perhaps not.
Does it have the Power?
This episode is equal measures irritating and bizarre. Firstly, the irritating is of course Orko and everything he says or does, and this is exacerbated by Crackers and the other allegedly amusing denizens of the circus. The bizarre is the very premise of Skeletor wanting the circus to come to Snake Mountain, which seems completely at odds with everything else he’s ever wanted, and it only gets weirder when he starts putting in massively disproportionate efforts to ruin the circus.
I can only assume the episode was meant to be a light-hearted romp, which might have worked if only they’d remembered to put some jokes in. In summary, this one is a complete waste of time, and I might suggest you find something else to do with your life than watch it, let alone review it.