Episode 099 – Hunt for He-Man

In which an idiot child tries to sell He-Man to Skeletor.

Adam and Cringer are out testing the new auto-pilot system that Man-at-Arms has installed in a Wind Raider. Unfortunately, Skeletor decides that he would like to acquire the auto-pilot system, so forces Adam to crash in the Misty Swamps. The Wind Raider lands in a pool of water and begins to sink, which is bad news for Cringer, whose tail is stuck. Adam transforms into He-Man and drags the Wind Raider out of the water, saving Cringer.

Hunt 1
Cringer: “Christ! I’ve just remembered that last time I was in the Wind Raider with Adam, he made me jump out for no reason!”

Unfortunately, something is wrong with He-Man. He complains of feeling weak, and when the two companions get stuck in a trap, he cannot break them out. Luckily, the trap is owned by an old man and his grandson called Drac, rather than Skeletor and his cronies. The old man explains that the swamp water is poisonous, which explains He-Man’s lack of strength, and offers to nurse him back to health.

Drac, however, is in favour of turning He-Man over to Skeletor, arguing that Skeletor would make a powerful friend. His grandfather tells him that he should choose his friends carefully, and orders him to fetch the cart, after which they load He-Man into it and head off to the village. For no evident reason, the cart can hover, for which the only explanation I can come up with is that Filmation couldn’t be bothered to animate wheels. All the way, Drac suggests over and over that Skeletor would give them money and power in return for He-Man; but the grandfather won’t hear of it.

Hunt 2
Drac: “But if we sold He-Man, I could get some new clothes, ones that don’t make me look like I’ve escaped from The Sound of Music.”

Skeletor, Trapjaw and Whiplash cruise the swamps, looking for traces of the Wind Raider. Once they find it is damaged beyond repair, they decide that instead they will try to kidnap some prisoners to work in the mines. Learning through Skeletor’s magic that He-Man is weak and helpless, the three of them get very excited, and head off to capture him.

Unfortunately, on our heroes’ arrival at the village, they find that Skeletor has got there first, and burned the entire place down, kidnapping the populace to work in the mines. Drac now sees the truth about Skeletor and there’s no more talk of selling He-Man out. Unfortunately, all the village’s medicine has been destroyed, so He-Man, Cringer, Drac and the grandfather must journey to the Healing Tree in order to make more.

Hunt 3
Cringer: “Why did I have to pull this stupid levitating cart?”

Our heroes reach the Healing Tree, but Skeletor tracks them down using a Hunter Robot. Since He-Man needs time to heal, Drac comes up with a plan to buy such time. It’s a pretty rubbish plan, to be honest, consisting simply of Drac talking to Skeletor and trying to flatter him, and is so transparent that even Skeletor sees through it in about 15 seconds.

That’s all the time needed though: He-Man makes a full recovery and goes barrelling into Skeletor’s ship, freeing all the prisoners from the village and destroying as many robots as he can get his silly tanned hands on. Skeletor, Whiplash and Trapjaw put in their usual poor efforts at fighting back, and eventually teleport home to Snake Mountain.

Hunt 4
Cringer: “It’s pretty difficult to explain what’s going on here, and frankly it’s not worth it, so let’s move on.”

Drac then says he’s sorry for his earlier imbecility in thinking that Skeletor could be a friend, and He-Man wisely says that evil often looks attractive. All the villagers cheer at this, and He-Man says, “Well, that about wraps it up. Cringer, let’s go home.” He does not say anything about helping to rebuild the village, and none of the villagers seem to care, though I’d have thought it would be one of their top priorities really.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral this week is delivered by He-Man, Cringer and Drac. Well, actually, it’s delivered by Drac, in a really odd squeaky voice, while He-Man and Cringer hang around looking at him. Drac claims that He-Man’s friendship is the richest treasure in the world, which is lovely for Drac, but it doesn’t have any relevance to a real-life scenario. If anyone tells me that they’re really rich because they’re friends with He-Man, I’m likely to give them a wide berth at best, and try to get them locked up for society’s sake at worst.

Hunt 5
Drac: “You may be my friend, He-Man, but if you don’t take your hand off me right now I’m going to go ape.”

 

Character checklist

Very few of our usual goodies on the scene today – only Prince Adam, Cringer and He-Man. On the villainous side of things, we have Skeletor, Trapjaw and Whiplash, and the guest stars are Drac and his granddad, as well as the other villagers.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Only Adam and Cringer are present at the time, so once again there’s no excuse offered.

 

Insults

Our villains oblige with some reasonable fare this week. We start with the obligatory “fool”, this time offered by Trapjaw to Whiplash. Whiplash is more ambitious, referring to every single one of our heroes as “those goody-goodies at the Palace”. Meanwhile, Skeletor calls Drac a “swamp-child” and calls Whiplash and Trapjaw “dunderheads”. More imaginatively, he comments to Trapjaw, “I could write a book about what you don’t know.”

Hunt 6
Skeletor: “I knew bringing Trapjaw to the garden centre would be a mistake. He wants to look at everything.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I liked this one, but I didn’t love it. It’s commendable for trying to do something different, in portraying He-Man ill and needing the help of others, and the idea of Skeletor hunting down our hero when he’s helpless really should have been exciting, but I felt that it just somehow never managed to ramp up the tension. I did like the burning of the village, which is the most actively evil thing Skeletor’s done since the very early days of the series (remember Disappearing Act, when he forced a volcano to erupt to destroy the farmland?), and the kidnapping of slaves for mining has very dark undertones as well. Skeletor does get some entertaining dialogue too. All in all, there’s plenty to like here, but put together it for some reason didn’t quite reach the level it perhaps could have. Still, it’s better than a lot of other recent offerings.

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