Episode 102 – Revenge is Never Sweet

In which He-Man tries on a smashing new helmet.

The Attack Trak has broken down in the desert, and Adam and Teela are fixing it. Well, actually, Adam’s fixing it, because that’s what men do, and Teela is sitting next to him, watching enthralled, and curling her legs round herself coquettishly, because that’s what women do. Orko offers to help with some magic, which is politely if forcefully refused, and he floats away looking for some trouble to get himself and the others into.

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Teela: “Get on with it, Adam. I’ve got lots of gender stereotyping confirmation to do today.”

Trouble comes along pretty quick. Remember Kothos from The Witch and the Warrior? No, neither did I. Well, he was an evil magician who ended up being turned into a Sand Slug by Evil-Lyn. Orko, being thick as bricks, is persuaded to turn him back, and Kothos embarks on a new career of mayhem. He starts by freezing our heroes to the spot, then decides to exact his revenge on Evil-Lyn.

However, he goes about this in an unusual and – dare I say it – even sensible way. He contacts Skeletor, offering to trade Evil-Lyn for Adam, Teela, Orko, Cringer and He-Man. This last is fairly ambitious, since Kothos doesn’t have He-Man, nor does he have a hope of getting him. Skeletor – who seems to have reacquired his brains since his last appearance in The Greatest Show on Eternia – agrees, but only on condition that Kothos actually capture He-Man first.

In an effort to lure He-Man into a trap, Kothos puts his four captives on a raft, shoves it into the middle of a lake, and then unfreezes them. His reasoning is that He-Man will come barrelling along and be overcome by Kothos’ magic. Adam instantly dives into the lake and swims far enough away to become He-Man without being observed, then returns and shows off by surfing the raft to safety.

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Orko: “Yes, I could float across the lake and fetch help, but I’m not going to.”

Unfortunately, once they reach dry land, Kothos freezes them all again – except He-Man, for whom he arranges a special magic helmet, which effectively neutralises him. Kothos then calls Skeletor to report that he now has He-Man. He doesn’t mention that he’s lost Prince Adam, but Skeletor couldn’t give a flying fox about that. He eagerly puts Evil-Lyn in a cage and flies off to meet Kothos. He reassures Evil-Lyn that he’s simply playing along with Kothos and that she’s in no danger, but he gives a demented little chuckle that left me entirely unsure what he’s actually going to do.

On arrival, Skeletor reveals his true colours and happily exchanges Evil-Lyn for He-Man and co. Kothos wheels Evil-Lyn’s cage into his giant flying palace, which has just arrived on the scene, while Skeletor stands around in the desert praising his own skills in duplicity. Evil-Lyn, however, from her cage uses her magical powers to remove the silly helmet from He-Man’s head, and He-Man promises to rescue her from Kothos as soon as he can.

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Skeletor: “He-Man, you simply have to tell me where you get your adorable hats.”

First, though, he has to deal with Skeletor, which is achieved with consummate ease. With Skeletor out of the way, Team He-Man decides to go the extra mile and really earn their Hero of the Year awards, by going to save Evil-Lyn from Kothos. Equipping themselves with Sky Sleds, He-Man, Teela and Orko fly up to the floating palace, while Cringer is told to go home.

The floating palace is well equipped with a variety of traps, which range from the mildly perilous to the actively tedious. While He-Man wastes time with giant hands, trapdoors and lecturing Kothos on the futility of revenge, Teela and Orko find Evil-Lyn and release her. Unfortunately, Evil-Lyn refuses to go quietly and decides to go to get her revenge on Kothos. At about this point, I’d say our heroes ought to leave them to it, but of course they don’t. Evil-Lyn is stupid enough to fall out of a window though, so there’s no need to deal with her. Kothos, on the other hand, in return for He-Man’s help against Evil-Lyn, swears never to be evil again. Hurrah!

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Kothos: “Looking forward to a life of being good.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela and Orko deliver the not unexpected moral that getting your own back will simply lead to escalation, and suggest that you should talk things over and start afresh instead. This is not a view that Skeletor subscribes to, I expect. I’d have loved to see the scene where Evil-Lyn returns to Snake Mountain after having freed He-Man. Skeletor is unlikely to have been pleased.

 

Character checklist

Everyone and his mother shows up for this week’s outing: Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Kothos, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, and Kothos’ guards. Incidentally, for those of you who give a toss about such things, Kothos’ guards are re-uses of the Tork animation from Just a Little Lie.

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Evil-Lyn: “This is the sort of thing that prevents me getting onto the front cover of What Witch every month.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He’s just fine,” He-Man explains dismissively, when Teela asks.

 

Insults

It’s all about Evil-Lyn calling people a “fool” this week: Kothos is the lucky recipient twice and his guards once.

 

Does it have the Power?

The title of the episode put me in a bad mood; it led me to expect one of the more tedious moralising instalments, so imagine my surprise when we were presented with an entertaining episode. Kothos wasn’t that exciting in The Witch and the Warrior, and he wasn’t much better this time, but as a plot device to get the story going, he served his purpose pretty well. Skeletor’s scenes were brilliant, of course, and the whole thing zips by most enjoyably. Recommended.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.