Episode 127 – The Ancient Mirror of Avathar

In which Trapjaw chucks it all in to join the Royal Navy Reserves.

The episode opens with Adam introducing Moss-Man to Melaktha. I say Moss-Man is introduced to Melaktha, but in actual fact, Adam is clearly addressing the viewers, hoping to sell Moss-Man action figures. He even runs through Moss-Man’s special ability, which is to fall asleep and disguise himself as the nearest plant. I don’t see how this ability is ever going to help He-Man defeat Skeletor, but perhaps we’ll find out today.

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Melaktha: “Adam, how is this weird little leprechaun ever going to help?”

Moss-Man and Melaktha have joined Adam to go on a pleasure cruise to try to discover the ancient island continent of Avathar, which Melaktha is convinced is not a myth. Trapjaw has stowed away on their ship, disguising himself rather pathetically as a pirate, and he puts in a quick call to Evil-Lyn and Two-Bad at Snake Mountain to inform them that our heroes are searching for Avathar. They think Skeletor will be interested, but unless he needs a coursework topic for his GCSE in Archaeology, this seems unlikely to me.

Naturally, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to find the island of Avathar, and Melaktha gets straight into the archaeology – at least, when he’s not being pointlessly rude to Moss-Man. Investigating a demonic-looking statue, Melaktha unlocks a secret passage leading underground, which turns out to lead to the former museum of Avathar. Moss-Man strikes up a conversation with the moss on the walls, from which he learns that the Ancient Mirror of Avathar is hidden in a secret chamber.

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Prince Adam: “Thanks for the outing to the tackiest antique shop on Eternia, Melaktha.”

Our heroes find their way into the secret chamber with considerable ease, and gaze upon the Mirror. Adam asks what the Mirror is, at which point the Mirror wakes up and speaks to them. After ripping off the dialogue used by the Guardian of Forever in the famous Star Trek episode, it gets down to business and explains that it holds the entire knowledge of the former Avathar Empire. Adam and Melaktha immediately grab it and take it back aboard their ship, while Moss-Man loots all the other treasures in the museum. These people are not responsible archaeologists.

Trapjaw, still in his laughable pirate disguise, calls Snake Mountain again to give a progress update and to request instructions. Two-Bad, who seems to have taken an assertiveness course since his appearance last week, orders him to nick the Mirror and bring it to Snake Mountain. Trapjaw attempts to take advantage of a sudden thunderstorm to do just that, but due to his usual degree of incompetence, he is immediately discovered by Adam and Moss-Man.

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Two-Bad: “Worst snowglobe ever.”

Unfortunately, because of a subplot involving an idiot boy and his dad who live in a lighthouse, the ship is accidentally misguided onto some rocks, and runs aground. He-Man puts in an appearance to save the ship from sinking, then tows the ship safely to the docks. And then, to my distinct surprise, the episode ends, without making any kind of an attempt to wrap things up. It just stops.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man treats us to a little lecture about how boring jobs are still worth doing. Various characters throughout the episode have had a weird obsession with this theme, so it comes as no surprise to find it trotted out as the moral.

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Lighthouse keeper: “Our jobs and lives are very very dull.”

 

Character checklist

This week, we have the pleasure of the company of Prince Adam, He-Man, Melaktha, Moss-Man, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Two-Bad, the lighthouse keeper, the idiot boy, and a large number of sailors. Oh, and also the Mirror, obviously.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The first transformation comes when Adam in alone is a room, and so he doesn’t need to give an excuse. The second transformation equally comes with no excuse, and is noteworthy for Adam’s curious decision to turn into He-Man right in front of Trapjaw.

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Prince Adam: “Say there, sailor, you look a bit like Trapjaw. Unfortunate coincidence for you, I guess.”

 

Insults

Melaktha rudely refers to Moss-Man as Adam’s “green friend”, which is true but is definitely not meant politely. Two-Bad calls Trapjaw a “tin head”, but Trapjaw achieves a new low when he refers to himself as a “scurvy knave”.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s really, really odd. I’ve complained in the past about episodes not knowing what they wanted to do with themselves, but I’m struggling to think of an episode that’s quite as disjointed as this one. The plotlines battling for attention in this episode are:

  1. The quest for the Mirror, and the knowledge it can bestow. This one takes up quite a lot of the first half of the episode, and seems to be the main storyline, but once our heroes have acquired the Mirror and stashed it on the boat, it never appears again – except right at the end, when the lighthouse boy and his dad use it to reflect light at the ocean. Quite how they got their hands on the Mirror is not explained.
  2. As a subplot of the above, there’s Trapjaw trying to nick the Mirror. This is clearly just here to bulk the episode out, since it’s a plotline that goes absolutely nowhere and does nothing.
  3. The stupid boy in the lighthouse. After the quest for the Mirror, the episode decides it wants to focus on this individual, who is a pretty standard Filmation child. He doesn’t want to do the lighthouse job because it’s boring, so he goofs off, and ultimately discovers that he’s caused a disaster. Cue much hand-wringing, apologies, and forgiveness from his disappointed but understanding father.
  4. Melaktha’s odd prejudice towards Moss-Man. In the early part of the episode, Melaktha clearly hates Moss-Man’s guts, but he gets over this when Moss-Man saves his life.
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Mirror: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the oddest episode of them all?”

With all this going on, it’s plain that it’s not all going to get a fair showing. The Mirror plotline is particularly poorly served, since there’s a lot of build-up and excitement around the Mirror’s discovery, and then nothing at all happens. Trapjaw’s plotline could have been safely cut, and I’d have been happier if the lighthouse rubbish hadn’t been involved.

So all in all, it’s a bit of a mess, but – especially in the first half – an enjoyable one. It’s particularly good if you’re a massive Moss-Man fan; I’m sure there must be at least one of you out there.