In which Orko learns a really important lesson about lying, and we all learn with him, and we come away feeling enlightened rather than patronised.
Prince Del of Diperia has been sent to the Palace to keep him safe from unspecified attacks on his home. On his arrival, Adam, Teela and Orko instantly whisk him off to see the new water purification plant, which is precisely what I’d want to see if I made a visit to Eternia. Del’s homesickness for Diperia is not lessened by his thrilling trip to the sewage works, so Orko promises to take him somewhere even more beautiful. Del looks pleadingly at Adam and Teela, but they just abandon him to Orko’s tender mercies.
Del is unimpressed by Orko’s choice of beauty spot, for which I can’t say I blame him, and implies that Eternia is not as good as Diperia. Stung to the quick by this remark, Orko produces a diamond from his hat and claims that it is the Star Crystal, which will protect anyone from harm. Del is most taken with the alleged Star Crystal, and decides to test it by walking under a waterfall. To prevent his lie being discovered, Orko diverts the course of the river and saves Del from getting very wet, and Del thus concludes that the Crystal works.
The diverted river flows into the Palace, where Adam and Teela are playing with a pair of the most disgusting children I’ve ever seen. This scene, which ranks as one of the most sickening things ever shown on television, comes to a merciful end when the water from the river appears, and Adam runs off to become He-Man.
After attending to the flooded Palace, He-Man finds Del and Orko still gaping stupidly at the waterfall. Asking what happened, Del starts to explain about the Crystal, but Orko quickly interrupts, claiming the waterfall went crazy of its own volition. He-Man then mutters something slightly crazy about getting Man-at-Arms to fix the waterfall, and slopes off.
That night, Del steals the Crystal from Orko’s bedside and heads home, so that his father can use the Crystal to defend Diperia from the Torks. Discovering his absence in the morning, Orko realises what has happened, and tells Teela that Del has gone to the caverns. He helpfully explains to the audience that he has told this lie so that Teela won’t find out about the Star Crystal lie, and then he sets off himself to find Del.
Heading down to the caverns, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms and Battle-Cat come up against a party of Torks and are knocked out by sleeping gas. They are locked in a prison cell in the Torks’ encampment, which is our cue for some jolly prison breaking antics from He-Man. If you’re on the lookout for nonsensical dialogue, during this scene, a Tork says, “What’s going on?” to which He-Man replies, “I will, in just a moment.”
In the meantime, Orko finds Del, but almost immediately they are both found by some more Torks. Del still has great faith in the Crystal, and once again Orko engages in some sleight of hand to convince him that the Crystal works. Even more confident than ever, Del runs off to join his father and present him with the Crystal, and Orko cannot keep up.
When He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Teela find Orko in the forest, He-Man looks absolutely livid, but refuses to hear Orko’s explanation of events to this point (which is just as well, because I didn’t want to hear it again). The intrepid band head for Diperia, where they find Del has given the Star Crystal to King Stefan. Believing himself to be invincible, Stefan challenges the Torks, and is about to get his ass whupped good, but He-Man intervenes just in time.
Matters are wrapped up with He-Man trapping the Torks inside a cave, and everyone cheers like a halfwit. King Stefan thanks He-Man for his help, after which He-Man demands an explanation from Orko. Orko reiterates the entire plot for those of us who hadn’t been paying attention, and I wish I’d known he was going to do that, so I could have just watched the last 30 seconds instead of the whole thing.
In today’s adventure…
Orko has little faith in the audience’s ability to comprehend the message this episode was delivering, since he shows up again to tell us that lying is not a great idea. Interestingly, he seems to be saying lying is a bad thing because it’s really hard to keep up with the lies you’ve told, rather than because it’s intrinsically wrong. Still, whatever works to stop children lying, eh?
Not that anyone cares who’s in this bollocks, but for the sake of completion I suppose I should note that this episode features Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Del, King Stefan, a Christ-load of Torks, and those beastly, beastly children.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
I’m pretty sure he mumbled something as he ran off when the flood water appeared in the Palace, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy bemoaning the fact that I could clearly see where this story was going, and that there was still a full 15 minutes of it to go.
King Stefan calls the Torks “cowards”, but otherwise there’s nothing to report here.
Does it have the Power?
It’s another patronising stream of gibberish from the pen of J. Brynne Stephens, so no, it doesn’t. In J’s favour, it’s by far the best episode he/she has ever written, but on a CV including A Friend in Need, The Starchild and The Rarest Gift of All, that shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. The problem – as ever – is that it’s a story deliberately devised to hammer in a moral, and starts from the position that children are incredibly dull-witted and will need the message slammed into them with less subtlety than a John Lewis Christmas advert. Because it’s so important that the message is received, there’s none of the usual sly humour – laughing for even the briefest of seconds might make us miss the MESSAGE! It’s consequently no fun at all to watch this episode as an adult, and I’m convinced that if I’d seen this when I was a child, it might have actually put me off He-Man for life.
In short – don’t bother.