Episode 130 – The Cold Zone

In which Kobra Khan forgets to pay the leccy bill.

Adam, Cringer, Man-at-Arms and Orko are out on one of their inexplicable jaunts, doing nothing at all, when they are perturbed by the arrival of Kobra Khan, driving a ridiculous vehicle identified by Orko as a Land Shark. The plot thickens when Kobra Khan asks the assembled multitude where He-Man is, requesting his help. Apparently the Eternal Fire has gone out, which means that Kobra Khan’s people – the Reptons – will go into hibernation forever. I would define hibernation that lasts forever as being dead, but Kobra Khan clearly prefers to dance around that issue.

Cold 1
Cringer: “That vehicle is so stupid, even I’m not intimidated.”

Adam points out that – Kobra Khan himself aside – the Reptons are a peaceful people, and offers to help. After waiting for Kobra Khan to get out of sight, he turns into He-Man, and he and his team set off for the Reptons’ home. The road there involves several boring traps and monsters, and He-Man and Kobra Khan work together to defeat them. Kobra Khan notably saves Man-at-Arms from a falling tree, thus earning his trust – but it is made clear that Kobra Khan is planning a betrayal.

The home of the Reptons turns out to be the same generic cave system that we see every other episode on He-Man, and our merry band troll through it, commenting that it genuinely is quite cold, and exchanging worried remarks about whether relighting the Eternal Fire is possible. Naturally enough, Kobra Khan goes missing, so – without smelling a rat – He-Man and co. continue to explore. They eventually discover the chamber where the Eternal Fire ought to be, and conclude that it definitely isn’t burning any more.

Cold 2
He-Man: “This is the moment to panic more than we’ve ever panicked before.”

As they examine the chamber, they are cornered by lots of Reptons, who accuse them of being responsible for extinguishing the Fire. Taken to King Pythos, He-Man pleads his innocence, and rests his case on Kobra Khan’s ability to vouch for them. When questioned, however, Kobra Khan claims that he saw Team He-Man putting the Fire out. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

He-Man gets violent at this stage, which results in Kobra Khan using his sleeping gas to knock the entire lot of them out. Kobra Khan then makes an offer to the Reptons: if he is able to restore the Eternal Fire, he will replace Pythos as King. Pythos agrees, and Kobra Khan pops off to call Scottish & Southern Energy and get them to turn the gas back on. Unfortunately, Scottish & Southern tell him that due to unpaid arrears, they can’t restore power. Kobra Khan doesn’t have enough hard cash to make a payment, and he doesn’t have any credit cards either, so we really do have a problem now.

Cold 3
Kobra Khan: “Seems I didn’t think this through.”

Luckily, a nice Repton called Scales quickly discovers Kobra Khan’s treachery, and goes to He-Man’s prison cell forthwith. He details the entire plot for the benefit of the slower viewers, explaining that Kobra Khan engineered the whole situation in order to become King, but now is unable to relight the Fire. He-Man is only too willing to try to get the Fire going again, and asks Man-at-Arms how to do it. Man-at-Arms compiles a lengthy list of necessary mining equipment which they don’t have, so He-Man ignores his contribution and turns the Fire back on by turning himself into a drill and burrowing down to the centre of the planet.

As soon as the Fire is working again, Kobra Khan leaps out of a hiding place and happily crows that he will take the credit. Unfortunately, he’s idiot enough to not check whether King Pythos is standing behind him when he makes this statement – and what do you know, he is. Kobra Khan is led away by the Repton guards, then brought back about 20 seconds later for Scales to throw doughballs at him. This cartoon could be completely mental sometimes.

Cold 4
Kobra Khan: “In some ways, I suppose you could argue I had this coming.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms informs us that we shouldn’t make decisions by jumping to the first or the easiest conclusion, which is what King Pythos did by believing Kobra Khan. This touches on racism – Man-at-Arms explains that Pythos trusted Kobra Khan simply because he was one of the Reptons – and is a pretty good moral.

The only downside to this moral is that Man-at-Arms closes by saying, “See you next time.” Unfortunately, this being the last episode ever, we all know that this is untrue, and so his comment has an unexpected poignancy. I wish they’d carried on making He-Man for ever and ever.

 

Character checklist

The grand finale of He-Man gives us the fairly classic hero line-up of Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms and Orko. The villain is, of course, Kobra Khan, and we also meet Scales, King Pythos, and plenty of other Reptons.

Cold 5
King Pythos: “Imperial robes or dressing gown? You decide.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Not wishing to go out on a high, Prince Adam doesn’t bother to give an excuse.

 

Insults

It’s not the most bountiful episode for insults, sadly. Battle-Cat implies that Kobra Khan is a “big mouth”, without coming out and actually saying it to his face. Orko calls Kobra Khan a “snake”, but that’s hardly insulting, and the Attack Trak decides to get personal by calling the Land Shark “Smiley”.

 

Does it have the Power?

For the last episode of the series, He-Man goes out with neither a bang nor a whimper. It’s not the show-stopping finale that we were all secretly hoping for, but luckily neither is it on a par with the poor efforts we’ve seen lately. I do appreciate that the writers didn’t know the show was finishing, and so it’s not particularly surprising that we don’t get an amazing last episode, but it does seem a shame that we finish without seeing Skeletor messing with Castle Grayskull one last time.

Cold 6
Prince Adam: “Let’s all look down on Cringer.”

Still, judging this episode without considering its position in the series, it’s all right. It’s quite nice to see where Kobra Khan came from, and the reference to him being the “black snake of the family” was entertaining. It’s easy to see the double-cross coming a mile off, so perhaps it’s fortunate that the writer signposted it by allowing us to hear Kobra Khan’s thoughts from quite early on – that way, we actually had a sense of anticipation building for the inevitable betrayal, instead of the episode expecting us to be surprised when Kobra Khan turns out to be a baddy. I’m happy to say, then, that I recommend the final episode of He-Man.

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Episode 121 – The Magic Falls

In which Orko loses his magic, and we’re all expected to give a toss.

Today’s episode opens on Eternia Day, a day of special celebration on which King Randor invites the needy amongst his people into the Palace and does whatever he can do to help them. At Snake Mountain, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn hatch a diabolical plot to steal the Sceptre of Power, an artefact of immense power which is wielded by Randor only on Eternia Day. Evil-Lyn uses her magic to disguise Kobra Khan as a needy citizen of Eternia, and off he pops to the Palace.

Magic Falls 1
King Randor: “Tell me honestly, Adam, is this sceptre a bit tacky?”

This is all well and good and pretty much in line with every other plan Skeletor and Evil-Lyn have ever come up with, but it suddenly varies from the norm when Evil-Lyn claims that Orko will probably be able to see through the disguise. This is despite the fact that Orko has been completely oblivious every single other time one of Skeletor’s cronies has disguised themselves to come into the Palace. This lapse in logic notwithstanding, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn ambush Orko out in the forest, and remove his magic powers.

Magic Falls 2
Skeletor: “We’ve been waiting here hours, Evil-Lyn. Are you sure this is a bus stop?”

Man-at-Arms gleefully claims that he can’t do anything to restore Orko’s powers, but Orko himself suggests that they visit a legendary magic waterfall, the gateway to which is somewhere beneath the surface of Eternia. That’s pretty vague, though Adam optimistically claims it’ll only take a few hours to find. He turns into He-Man, and takes Orko on an expedition to find the falls.

They very quickly find a magic door, which refuses to let them in until they say “please”. Orko manages this simple feat, but He-Man instead succumbs to a fit of temper and tries to wrest the door off its hinges. He is consequently denied entry, and so turns back into Adam to get round the “no He-Man” rule. Once inside, he smugly transforms into He-Man again, flicking Vs at the door as he does so.

Magic Falls 3
He-Man: “Whoa, that was some party last night. Now, where am I?”

The two of them navigate a number of stupid hazards in the caves, eventually meeting a loopy old man who identifies himself as the Gatekeeper. He’s really annoying, so we won’t dwell on him too much, but suffice it to say that he transports He-Man and Orko (after a great deal of time wasting) into another dimension, where they find the magic waterfall. Orko submerges himself in its waters, sadly doesn’t drown in the process, and gets his magic back.

In the meantime, Kobra Khan has assumed his disguise, and barged his way to the front of the queue of the needy people of Eternia. The Eternia Day ceremony begins, and Kobra Khan is just about to do something nefarious, when Orko arrives and immediately unmasks the villain. The episode ends with Kobra Khan being sent off to the tender mercies of the Gatekeeper, which I think is a far worse fate than he deserves.

Magic Falls 4
Kobra Khan: “Let’s not overreact, Orko.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms and Orko conclude that they learned all about cooperation today. This is largely due to a very short scene in which Adam and Orko had to work together to defeat some tentacles. We’ve had this lesson eight billion times before, so it doesn’t really seem necessary. My pick for moral would have been the importance of persistence: there was a point in the episode when Orko despaired of ever getting his magic back, and had to be persuaded not to give up. I don’t recall that theme ever being discussed in the morals before.

 

Character checklist

A nice wide-ranging cast today brings us Prince Adam, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Kobra Khan, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, the Gatekeeper, and some random unnamed Eternian citizens.

Magic Falls 5
He-Man: “Gotta say, I’m not a massive fan of this latest addition to the National Portrait Gallery.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Despite two transformations, we aren’t lucky enough to get an excuse for either.

 

Insults

It’s fairly thin on the ground today, the only offerings being “cowards” from Kobra Khan to Beast-Man and Trapjaw, and a gratuitous “meddling fool” from Skeletor in reference to Orko.

 

Egg on your face?

I didn’t think we’d get anything in this category, but suddenly – in the moral segment, no less – we were treated to the familiar and hilarious sight of Orko accidentally throwing an egg into Man-at-Arms’ face. It was no more and no less amusing than usual.

Magic Falls 6
Orko: “Laugh, go on. You know it’s funny.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It must have been getting very difficult for the writers at this stage in the series. After 120 episodes of He-Man, they were clearly running out of possible storylines, and were forced to borrow from everything that had gone before. This one helps itself liberally to Orko’s Missing Magic and The Shaping Staff, and I’m pretty confident we’ve had one previously that contained a concept similar to the Gatekeeper as well. This repetition is understandable, but it does give episodes such as The Magic Falls an air of tiredness. It’s perhaps unfair, but if this episode had come a lot earlier in the show’s run, it would have been much more enjoyable. As it is, it’s fine, but not a must-see.

Episode 094 – Journey to Stone City

In which Evil-Lyn gets her deviousness on.

Prince Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko are out in the Vine Jungle, hunting for the ancient ruins of Stone City. According to legend, Stone City contains a great treasure, which explains why Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan have been tracking our heroes for three days, hoping to capture the great treasure for themselves. They are curiously ill-informed as to what the treasure is, but I’m sure it’ll be something that they can use to conquer Eternia once and for all.

After he gets into a really quite random argument with a tree, Orko discovers a complete map showing the way to the City. Rather than following our heroes any further, Evil-Lyn chooses this moment to make her move, stealing the map and setting up a less than impressive stone trap. Adam turns into He-Man, busts out of the trap, and sets off after Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan. Attack Trak claims the villains have quite a head start, but this is a transparent attempt to add some tension, since they sauntered off about 45 seconds previously.

Stone City 1
Orko: “Yes, okay, I may have overdone it on the LSD at Glasto this year.”

Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan arrive at the City to discover that it is populated by hundreds of stone statues. They indulge in a spot of looting, nicking a large machine and teleporting it back to Snake Mountain for later – but come to a halt when one of the statues starts moving, then comes alive and proclaims “Free! Free! At last!” For some reason, this freaks the villains right out, and they run away.

The newly awakened man introduces himself as Volkan, and tells Evil-Lyn that the people of Stone City are its greatest treasure. This news does not please Evil-Lyn one bit, and she becomes even less pleased when Volkan announces his intention to wake up the rest of his people and resume the fight against evil. Unfortunately, it emerges that the stolen machine is the Life Bringer, and without it, Volkan cannot wake the other statues.

Stone City 2
Evil-Lyn: “I never thought I’d be the most sensibly dressed person in the room.”

Evil-Lyn now exhibits her usual cunning, and explains that He-Man has nicked the Life Bringer. Volkan is as gullible as every other one-shot guest star and believes her, despite her ridiculously evil laugh and the fact that Webstor loudly says, “WHAT?” and has to be shushed. Evil-Lyn takes Volkan to Castle Grayskull and invites him to break in to retrieve the Life Bringer. The Sorceress, as ever unable to repel an attack, instantly chickens out and summons He-Man.

Just as Volkan brings the jawbridge down, He-Man arrives and jumps into his path. He attempts to talk matters over, but Volkan is more interested in shooting red energy beams out of his torso, which is understandable. I wish I could do that. Anyway, Volkan learns the hard way that red energy beams don’t impress He-Man, and he winds up lying on his back with Evil-Lyn, Webstor and Kobra Khan shouting at him.

Stone City 3
Volkan: “Draw me like one of your French girls, He-Man.”

Evil-Lyn makes something of a tactical error at this stage and tells Volkan that she has the Life Bringer after all, and says she’ll give it back if He-Man surrenders Castle Grayskull. He-Man has zero interest in this deal, perhaps because he hasn’t got the foggiest what the Life Bringer is, though admittedly there is a clue in its name. The villains thus teleport back to Snake Mountain, while Volkan apologises to He-Man, who agrees to help him recover the Life Bringer.

He-Man and Volkan head to Snake Mountain and start pummelling the walls down. Skeletor puts in a cameo appearance to tell He-Man completely pointless lies, and then attempts to drop the Life Bringer directly onto He-Man’s head. Returning to Stone City, Man-at-Arms reinstalls the Life Bringer and Volkan uses it to awaken his people. He then apologises again for the earlier misunderstanding, and offers his services if ever they are needed in the future. He-Man doesn’t say anything, but you can see the look of faint scorn on his face at the implication that Volkan could ever help with anything.

Stone City 4
Man-at-Arms: “Okay, we’ve tried turning it off and on again.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers the moral this week, telling us that we should always listen to He-Man’s side of the story before deciding who to blame. It is possible that this advice was supposed to be more generally applicable, but I choose to believe that I should listen to He-Man before making any future decisions.

 

Character checklist

A few unusual faces here, among the standard crowd. Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are of course the regulars, but it’s nice to see appearances from Webstor and Kobra Khan. Volkan is of course the character of the week, as is that tree, for whatever reason. There’s also all of the inhabitants of Stone City, and I can’t remember whether I count the Attack Trak as a character, but let’s err on the safe side and mention it.

Stone City 5
Attack Trak: “Yay, a picture of me and only me!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam turns into He-Man while trapped inside a stone cube with Man-at-Arms and Orko. Therefore, he doesn’t need to give an excuse to these two, but he’s lucky no one’s outside watching when he emerges. Not even Teela is stupid enough to disregard Adam’s substitution for He-Man while inside a stone cube.

 

Insults

There’s some unusual insults in this episode, beginning with Kobra Khan telling Webstor, “You don’t smell too good.” In a similar vein, a tree addresses Orko to say, “You talk too much.” Volkan calls Kobra Khan a “Snake-man” which I think was supposed to be insulting. We’re back on more familiar territory when Evil-Lyn calls Volkan a “fool” twice, once behind his back and subsequently to his face.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is an all-round entertaining episode, which builds a bit of history and legend into our usual setting. The hunt for a treasure in ancient ruins is a pretty standard motif, and it’s good to see the twist that the treasure is the people. Equally entertaining is Evil-Lyn’s scornful reaction to this revelation. Her cunning plan to blame He-Man for the Life Bringer’s disappearance is entirely in character and confirms her position as Skeletor’s most intelligent sidekick.

Stone City 6
Webstor: “This will make a lovely entrance to the new Skeletor theme park.”

Skeletor himself gets some hugely fun moments, my favourite being the brilliant ending in which he decrees that since Evil-Lyn and Webstor (though, oddly, not Kobra Khan) like stone statues so much, they must spend the next month chiselling an enormous statue of him. His attitude when He-Man attacks Snake Mountain is also joyfully belligerent. In short, this episode offers everything you’d want from a classic He-Man romp: you shouldn’t miss 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 079 – Disappearing Dragons

In which heroes and villains alike unite to hurl insults at a mute robot.

Responding to an invitation from Granamyr, He-Man and Orko make their way to Darksmoke, where Orko proceeds to wind Granamyr up a right treat. Sadly, before Granamyr can murder Orko, He-Man intervenes to ask why they were invited. Granamyr explains that dragons have been disappearing from Dragon Mountain, and that he has been unable to discover the cause, so he requests He-Man’s assistance in investigating.

He-Man decides to undertake a search of the Eternian wilderness, and calls on his new friends Mechaneck and Buzz-Off to help. It takes our heroes a very short space of time to find two of Skeletor’s cronies, Webstor and Kobra Khan, trying to use a mysterious machine on a dragon. In attempting to prevent them, Orko manages to activate the machine, resulting in He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan all disappearing. Before Orko can attempt to reverse the effect, the machine blows up.

Disappearing
Webstor: “Why is there a giant ear at the front of the screen?”

Orko summons Granamyr, who helps him to repair the machine. In the meantime, the heroes and villains appear in an unfamiliar place which He-Man instantly identifies as “another dimension”, though how he can tell this so quickly is not made clear. Webstor and Kobra Khan do a runner to a city, and He-Man, Mechaneck and Buzz-Off decide to follow them, where they quickly discover a whole load of caged dragons.

Two men and a woman now show up, and imprison our heroes in a forcefield from which even He-Man cannot escape. They explain that they are the only three remaining survivors of a war that devastated their race, the Dami, and that their sole remaining pleasure is to force dragons to fight each other in a gladiatorial arena. In return for providing dragons, they will supply Kobra Khan and Webstor with the means to conquer Eternia.

Disappearing 2
Dami: “Yes, we’re inspired by the Romans. And before you ask, yes, Romans did have goofy helmets like this.”

He-Man not unexpectedly gets on his customary high horse about this, but his protests fall on deaf ears. However, on a suggestion from Kobra Khan, the Dami offer He-Man an alternative: if he fights and defeats an enormous stupid robot called Bellatron, they will release He-Man, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off and the dragons. He-Man accepts this deal of a lifetime, and is transported from the forcefield into the arena.

The battle with Bellatron is pretty tedious, except for the really rather odd bit in which we get a point-of-view shot from Bellatron’s perspective in which it is made clear that he is aiming his weapons directly at He-Man’s crotch. Rather unusually, Bellatron actually gets to a stage where he is about to defeat He-Man, but Granamyr and Orko show up just in time to get involved too. Once Bellatron is destroyed, the Dami – reasonably enough – declare the match invalid because He-Man had outside assistance.

Disappearing 3
Bellatron: “The reason Skeletor never wins is because he never attempts to shoot He-Man in the balls.”

While He-Man and his mates go and have a gratuitous fight with Webstor and Kobra Khan, Granamyr decides that an appropriate punishment for the Dami will be to make them fight each other for his entertainment. He-Man isn’t cool with this, and persuades Granamyr that an eye for an eye does not constitute justice. Instead, the Dami are told to go and rebuild their world. This presumably involves repopulation, but with a starting gene pool consisting of only three people, I suspect this is doomed to failure.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral of this week’s episode is that you should not hurt or tease animals, but instead treat them with kindness. This will be, as He-Man so intelligently puts it, “more fun for you, and for the animal!” He says this in that special tone of his that implies he’s making a really funny joke, and has a massive great big smirk on his face the whole time, which leads me to suspect that He-Man secretly gets a whole load of pleasure in pulling the wings off flies. Or possibly pulling the wings off Buzz-Off.

 

Character checklist

This episode gives us a fairly unusual cast. Obviously, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Orko and the Sorceress, but Granamyr, Mechaneck, Buzz-Off, Webstor and Kobra Khan are quite out of the ordinary. Bellatron and the Dami – introduced as Verdor, Kara and Bylon – are the one-shot characters of the week. Typing that, I’ve just realised that Bellatron and the Dami is an ace name for a band.

Disappearing 4
He-Man: “Go on, Granamyr! Eat him! He’s asking for it! He’s been asking for it for 78 episodes now!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Not only do we get no excuse this week, it’s a rare beast indeed because the transformation actually takes place off screen. For possibly the first time ever, we don’t have to sit through the recycled “By the Power of Grayskull” animation. That alone makes this episode worth watching.

 

Insults

This episode quite possibly breaks the all-time record for insults. Towards the beginning, Orko rather unwisely decides to call Granamyr “lizard-breath” and a “big bully”, while Webstor and Kobra Khan trade the insults “Web-head” and the possibly misheard “Snake-pus”. Mechaneck gets in on the act, calling Kobra Khan a “snake-face”, while Webstor retaliates by referring to Buzz-Off as a “bee-brain” and He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. Elsewhere, Kobra Khan considers Orko a “meddling little wizard” and Buzz-Off rather mildly calls the Dami “bats”.

Finally, pretty much everyone has unkind things to say about Bellatron, perhaps in the secure knowledge that since he can’t talk, he won’t be answering back. Buzz-Off starts the ball rolling with “hunk of junk” and Mechaneck attempts to top this with “rolling rust pot”. Webstor sees the fun everyone else is having, so joins in with the distinctly unimaginative “stupid robot”. He-Man then contributes the slightly odd “bucket-face”, and follows it up with “overgrown teapot”. While this latter is not particularly amusing now, I had this episode on VHS when I was little, and I can remember me and my sister rewinding it to watch this quip over and over, then laughing till the tears rolled down our cheeks. My sister and I were very stupid children.

Disappearing 5
Bellatron: “Hey, armour-plated killing machines have feelings too, you know.”

 

Does it have the Power?

For the reasons just outlined, I do have a very soft spot for this episode, but I think even without the history I have with it, I’d consider it a good one. Granamyr is a great character, the new animation for the Dami’s world is beautifully ominous, and it’s good to see this cartoon tackling blood sports in such a head-on manner. As an introduction for Kobra Khan and Mechaneck, for whom this is their first appearance, it serves pretty well, both of them coming across as relatively competent – and in Kobra Khan’s case, rather threatening. On the downside, both Webstor and Buzz-Off have really irritating voices. That’s only a very minor complaint though – this episode is well worth your time.