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.

Episode 024 – Wizard of Stone Mountain

In which an idiot tries to seduce Teela.

This week’s episode begins with our introduction to Malik, the eponymous wizard of Stone Mountain. He engages in a short monologue to explain his background and motivations; in short, he’s a really powerful wizard but all his magic was not enough to persuade Teela to be his wife. Instead, she rejected him to join the Palace Guard.

Some crazy monkey-lion-eagle hybrid called Lokus has been listening in, and now comes forward with an offer: if Malik will do some unspecified service, Lokus will arrange for Teela to be his. Malik foolishly agrees to do anything; they shake on it and a golden bracelet appears on Malik’s wrist. Immediately, Lokus starts destroying dams and ruining crops, claiming it is all part of the bargain. Thanks to the bracelet, Malik is powerless to intervene.

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Lokus’ next move is to go to the Palace in disguise as a farmer, and he claims to Teela that Malik has destroyed the dam out of loneliness for her. Teela heads off to Stone Mountain, with He-Man, Battle-Cat and Ram-Man in tow. In the meantime, Malik’s assistant Carine begs Malik to send Lokus away, but Lokus disposes of her by way of a giant bird. Once again, Malik cannot help.

Carine is rescued from the bird by He-Man and party, and she explains that Malik is following the demon Lokus out of love for Teela. Before this can go any further, Malik appears on a flying carpet and levitates Teela up onto the carpet with him. For whatever reason, the animators at this point chose to present Teela in a rather suggestive all-fours pose. It seems a tad inappropriate. Anyway, Malik then flies off with Teela.

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The next scene finds Malik and Teela in the tackiest boudoir I’ve ever seen. Teela is sat on a purple cushion, with flowers, silk curtains, and a truly terrible porcelain cherub next to her. After Teela harangues Malik that he can’t force her to fall in love with him, the cherub mutates into Lokus, who demands the payment for delivering Teela: Malik’s soul!

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As we reel from this unexpected development, Lokus summons his master. I assume his master is meant to be some sort of fire demon, but the animation is really shoddy. The voice work is also deeply appalling: the demon explains that he’s the master of fear, the destroyer of mankind throughout the universe, and Evil Itself, but it does so in such a disinterested voice that I found it somewhat hard to believe.

He-Man and Evil Itself have a quick wrestling match, but Evil Itself decides to simply take Malik’s soul and piss off. But Carine intervenes, offering her own soul instead and explaining that she loves Malik. Evil Itself is quite willing to take this bargain and releases Malik, but as it stretches out its fiery paw to take Carine, it discovers that it cannot do so because her soul is full of … yes, love. Like she just explained to you, you halfwit. Evil Itself retreats, and I hope it never shows up again.

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He-Man and Malik repair the dam, and Teela advises Malik to cherish Carine as much as he thought he loved Teela. Then He-Man gets all sleazy and starts hinting that perhaps Teela would be down to draw his magic sword and indulge in a little game of The Most Powerful Man In The Bedroom later, but Teela prefers to hook up with Ram-Man. Perhaps this is a line that I shouldn’t cross, but I have to wonder if Ram-Man’s name had anything to do with this decision. Thank God Fisto hasn’t been invented yet.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela tells us that doing something wrong when you know it’s wrong really doesn’t make sense, and tries to suggest that this is what Malik did. What Malik actually did was rashly agree to something before he fully understood what he was getting into, which isn’t wrong; it’s just stupid. That being the case, they could have made the moral into “think things through before doing them, and always read the small print.” Advice which is just as useful, and far more relevant. They could also have considered doing a moral about not trying to force people to love you, maybe?

 

Characters appearing

Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Ram-Man, Malik, Carine, Lokus, and Evil Itself. Quite a promising cast list, but not good enough to make this episode any good.

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Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no excuse this time, though Teela does tell Adam to go and find He-Man. I’m sure they all know.

 

Insults

In an early scene, Teela and Adam are having some fighting lessons, in the course of which, Teela calls Adam a “black-hearted villain”. I’m going to count this as an insult, even though she obviously doesn’t mean it, because otherwise the only insult in the episode is from Evil Itself, who calls Battle-Cat a “miserable animal”. I feel this is exceptionally mild, considering this is Evil Itself talking.

 

Egg on your face?

It’s not egg, but we haven’t heard from this category in a while, so I thought I’d revive it to tell you that early on, we find that Orko has arranged for a raincloud to be above Man-at-Arms’ head. This subsequently becomes a snow cloud, though Man-at-Arms remains unamused. In fact, to tell the truth, I’ve rarely seen him looking as livid as he does here.

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Does it have the Power?

I think it’s safe to say you can skip this one. If you’re interested, Christopher Marlowe told the same story a little bit better about 400 years ago, and it would be advisable to stick to that version really, especially if you’re taking an English Literature course. The episode suffers from four things really: firstly, Carine is treated as a consolation prize for Malik when he can’t get his rocks off with Teela, and it left a slightly misogynistic taste in the mouth – especially after He-Man started basically asking Teela to get her kit off. Secondly, Evil Itself was among the worst baddies I’ve ever seen. Poor animation and dreadfully dull voice acting added up to an entirely forgettable adversary. Thirdly, it’s the second episode in a row where the baddy was defeated by the power of love, which is a plot device which irritates me no end. Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s boring.