Episode 65 – The Greatest Magic

In which my blood pressure is once again subjected to unnecessary strain.

Oh, good. Orko is paying a visit to Etheria, because he’s never proved to be annoying in the past. As the episode opens, he has the decency to be leaving, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to be with us for the duration. He and Adora trot off into the forest and quickly find what appears to be a Frisbee, though it probably isn’t because Adora considers it to be worrying enough to warrant a trip to She-Ra City.

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Adora: “Don’t worry everyone, I’ll suffocate him in his sleep when there are no witnesses.”

The Frisbee soon reveals itself to be a magical portal, which sucks both She-Ra and Orko in. On the other side, to my distinct lack of delight, are Uncle Montork and Dree Elle. In case you need reminding, Uncle Montork and Dree Elle were the key ingredients in a number of appalling He-Man episodes, and up to now, I had considered their absence to be one of the few things that elevated She-Ra above He-Man.

Uncle Montork explains that the Crimson Council have disappeared, and consequently the Trollans need Orko’s help. The four of them vanish off somewhere to do something to help the Crimson Council reappear, the details of which I honestly can’t be bothered to go into here. If you care, it involves an evil Trollan called Doctor Zoog who has locked up the Council in a prison, and there’s a whole load of self-consciously “zany” and “wacky” Trollan hi-jinks, which I think we’ll all agree we could have done without.

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She-Ra: “This has to be a nightmare, right?”

Just in case the episode wasn’t infuriating enough, we’re also treated to a subplot in which Dree Elle decides that Orko is probably sleeping with She-Ra, and develops an insane case of jealousy. From what I’ve seen in this episode, neither Orko nor Uncle Montork nor any other male Trollan would turn She-Ra out of their beds, but as it happens, She-Ra hasn’t taken sufficient leave of her senses to allow that circumstance to come up. Consequently, Orko successfully wins back Dree Elle’s favour by rescuing her from Doctor Zoog, who half-heartedly kidnaps her.

Orko and Dree Elle then defeat Doctor Zoog by some hippy rubbish about the power of love, while She-Ra wastes her time pushing palaces around and bouncing about distracting some boring robots. Once Zoog is safely locked up, our heroes get some special award or other, and then She-Ra rabbits on about love until I vomited.

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Dree Elle: “Look at these rubbish robots.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee decides that this week he’s not going to mess about, accordingly appearing in the very first shot. His choice of moral is nothing short of bizarre, suggesting that if we want to get a pet, we should ask our local Humane Society for advice. Besides the fact that it’s nothing whatsoever to do with this week’s sickening episode, what in the seven hells is a Humane Society?

 

Character checklist

If you must know, today is a showcase for Adora, She-Ra, Orko, Uncle Montork, Dree Elle, an irritating individual called the Muckess, and Doctor Zoog. The opening scene of the episode includes cameo appearances for Madame Razz, Broom and Bow.

 

Insults

A pretty uninspiring selection greets us today. Doctor Zoog calls Orko a “pest”, She-Ra a “meddling muscle-woman” and his robots “fools”. Dree Elle retaliates by calling him a “villain” twice, and an irritating character called the Muckess describes Zoog as a “scoundrel”.

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Doctor Zoog: “I know you despise me. The truth is I despise myself too.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It baffles me that the writers thought anyone was desperate for a follow-up to the apoplectically annoying Trolla episodes, still less one that’s so outstandingly bile-inducing. In short, this episode is both sickening and infuriating, the latter when it’s trying to be funny and the former when it’s trying to be serious. It’s even worse for coming so completely out of the blue: as mentioned above, I did think that with the He-Man cartoon over, at least I’d never be subjected to these Trollan tosspots again. But no. Not even that small dignity is afforded us. This episode is one to skip, and perhaps one for the hugely dedicated to track down and destroy the master tape.

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Episode 077 – Trouble in Trolla

In which Whiplash puts in an unnecessary appearance and ends up locked in a chest.

Dree Elle makes an unwelcome reappearance at the Palace this week, though to her credit she doesn’t bring Yuckers with her. She bears the bad news that Uncle Montork has been replaced as head of the Academy of Magic by a younger Trollan called Snoob. On hearing this, Orko determines to return to Trolla to comfort Montork, and Adam and Cringer make the demented decision to come too, in He-Man and Battle-Cat form.

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Dree Elle: “Oh, Orko, I’d love to marry you, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re really annoying.”

Uncle Montork indulges in a quick flashback, in which he reveals that Snoob challenged him to a magic contest. During the course of this contest, Montork started to feel weak, and his magic tricks began to fail. On hearing this, Orko concludes that something nefarious has clearly taken place, and feels the next step is to visit Snoob.

Orko and Dree Elle are rudely rebuffed by Snoob, so they teleport inside his house, where they quickly discover that Snoob is attempting to teach magic to Whiplash. Making the insane decision to confront Whiplash rather than waiting for He-Man, Orko and Dree Elle quickly find themselves captured by a bunch of pigs who would appear to be working for Whiplash.

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Orko: “I can’t believe I’ve been shown up in front of Dree Elle by a load of distinctly unintimidating pigs.”

Once Orko and Dree Elle are safely tied up, Whiplash takes the time to explain his plan, such as it is. Whiplash wants to learn magic in order to get better at being evil, and he knew Montork would never teach it to him. So instead, he hid in the room in which the contest was held, and used a Plot Device Ray to temporarily weaken Montork’s powers, resulting in Snoob winning. Then, Whiplash started bullying Snoob into teaching him magic. I’m not certain where the pigs fit in, but I’m sure it’s very sensible.

With the plan revealed, Snoob realises what an idiot he’s been, and turns on Whiplash, but being a bit rubbish, he is quickly captured by the pigs and tied up as well. Once Whiplash turns his back, however, Orko manages to free all three of them – just in time for them to be attacked by Whiplash’s new pet, a giant caterpillar.

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Orko: “First pigs, now caterpillars. I’m not having a good day with wildlife.”

Luckily, He-Man and Montork are in the vicinity to effect a rescue. While He-Man has a seemingly endless battle with an enormous quantity of pigs, Montork helps Orko and Snoob to defeat the caterpillar. Whiplash opts to do a runner, but comes up against He-Man and inevitably gets the worst of it. He ends up locked in a metal chest, in which he is forced to listen to He-Man and the Trollans yammering on about forgiving and forgetting, Orko’s love for Dree Elle, and the prospect of a roast gooble.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers a borderline ageist moral this week, explaining that though Snoob was young and powerful, Montork’s age and experience worked in his favour. Therefore, if old and young people work together, great things can be accomplished. Essentially, this boils down to “listen to your elders, because they might occasionally say something worthwhile in the midst of their crazed jabbering.”

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Orko: “Hey, Man-at-Arms! What’s it like being old and useless?”

 

Character checklist

Well, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena and Whiplash. Unfortunately, there’s also Orko, Dree Elle, Uncle Montork and Snoob. And those demented pigs.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The transformation occurs today in Castle Grayskull, with only the Sorceress present. Consequently, Adam doesn’t feel the need to give an excuse.

 

Insults

Whiplash dishes out an awful lot of mild insults this week, including “wimp” and “fool” for Snoob, “twits” for Orko and Snoob, and “little pests” for Orko, Snoob and Montork. He is also the recipient of every insult made by our heroes, being called a “villain” by both Montork and He-Man. He-Man also calls him a “scale-head”, but it’s Orko who seems to have major anger management issues when it comes to Whiplash, referring to him variously as “lizard-breath”, “alligator-breath” and “crocodile face”.

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Snoob: “Chill out, Whiplash! It’s Orko calling you names, not me!”

 

Egg on your face?

It’s a bit of a stretch for this category, because it doesn’t involve food, but the episode does open with a genuinely amusing scene in which Orko’s magic backfires, resulting in the entire royal family vanishing and reappearing inside a very small box.

More appropriately, Uncle Montork’s flashback to how he lost the contest with Snoob includes a sequence in which the three Trollan judges are covered with various unspecified foodstuffs.

 

Does it have the Power?

The title Trouble in Trolla didn’t fill me with joy when it popped up on screen, and the reappearance of Uncle Montork was a distinctly displeasing prospect. As it turned out though – perhaps due to the absence of Yuckers – the whole thing wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. I quite enjoyed the notion of Snoob being led astray by his ambition, and liked his ultimate redemption, which was done with relative subtlety and wasn’t sickening. It was also quite refreshingly different in that He-Man didn’t really need to be present – I feel Orko and his family would actually have been capable of dealing with the situation on their own.

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He-Man: “I wish I hadn’t had to be here for this.”

What I didn’t particularly like was the inclusion of Whiplash. Putting aside the fact that this is now his fourth appearance in a row (gotta sell those action figures, guys!), the world of Trolla seems completely unconnected to that of Eternia, so it seems implausible that Skeletor and his men would have any interest in it – or indeed, any knowledge of it. I’m generally not a fan of episodes that don’t involve Skeletor, but these Trolla ones really would be better without him and his crew being shoehorned in.

Episode 027 – The Return of Orko’s Uncle

In which I start to lose the will to live.

Oh, thanks, God. As if the EU Referendum results weren’t devastating enough, I now have to deal with Orko’s stupid uncle again. And sure enough, we open with a return to the dildo forest of Trolla, where we find Uncle Montork trying to arrest a stupid blue individual called Azrog. Azrog, not unnaturally, escapes and heads to Eternia to team up with a witch called Spydra, while Montork gives chase.

Return of Orko's Uncle 1

Something goes awry in this process, however, and Montork ends up in Spydra’s clutches, while Azrog lands up in the Palace. He attempts to paint himself as a serious threat, but this impression is somewhat diminished by the fact that Orko and Teela manage to trap him under a tablecloth while Adam is off turning into He-Man. However, due to incompetence on He-Man’s part, Azrog subsequently escapes and heads for Spydra’s castle.

Return of Orko's Uncle 2

He-Man, Teela and Orko follow, teaming up with Montork, while inside the castle, Azrog sends a pink dragon to attack our heroes. Don’t gasp in astonishment or anything, but He-Man is completely unthreatened by the dragon. During the course of the fight, Orko nips off to tackle Azrog on his own, hoping to make Montork proud of him. The inevitable result, of course, is his capture by Azrog and Spydra.

Charging to the rescue, He-Man neutralises Spydra in about 1.4 seconds, but Azrog proves to be slightly more challenging. In fact, he has turned Orko evil, thus prompting a nice long and tremendously exciting fight between Orko and Montork. In the meantime, Azrog repeatedly levitates up to the ceiling, sometimes in a red velvet chair, while He-Man and Teela take turns to stop him. This is as interesting as it sounds.

Return of Orko's Uncle 3

Once again, Montork persuades Orko that he loves him, which is the key to stopping Orko being evil. There’s a lot of dreadful dialogue in this bit, including, “Love is the greatest power in the universe. Do you feel love, Orko? If you feel it, you have it.” Then, thank Christ, Montork returns to Trolla, taking Azrog and Spydra with him. And good riddance to all of them.

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko explains that playing with things you don’t understand, such as electricity, pills, and berries on a bush is likely to lead to trouble. This is tenuously linked to an irrelevant part of the episode where he had messed about with Spydra’s magic toys. I suppose as morals go, it’s reasonable enough, and I’ll let it pass simply thanks to this not being another interminable lecture about the power of love.

 

Characters appearing

I don’t know why you’d care who’s in this gibberish, but on the off chance that you do, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Orko, Montork, Azrog and Spydra. I think Battle-Cat might be in it too, but I didn’t note it down when I was watching, and I’m certainly not going to watch it again to find out.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once Azrog appears in the Palace, Adam quickly realises that this is a job for He-Man, and accordingly runs off, muttering, “I just remembered I have, er, I have an appointment. Nice meeting you, Azrog.”

 

Insults

Not a lot going on in this category today, the only contender being Teela calling the pink dragon an “Overgrown buzzard”.

Return of Orko's Uncle 4

 

Does it have the Power?

No. No it doesn’t. This episode has pretty much everything that could make He-Man a real chore to watch: a spotlight on Orko, the appearance of Montork, the substitution of Skeletor for really tedious baddies, barely any actual plot, and most irritatingly, the hippy resolution of love conquering all. Moreover, the writers seem to have forgotten that last time Montork appeared, Orko was regarded on Trolla as a powerful sorcerer, so why on this occasion does he feel he has to prove himself to Montork?

Return of Orko's Uncle 5

The only redeeming feature comes during the fight between Orko and Montork, when Teela turns to He-Man and demands, “He-Man, do something!” He-Man doesn’t move a muscle, perhaps thinking that whichever one loses, he’ll at least be rid of Orko or Montork, which has to be a bonus. This, naturally, is not enough for me to issue a recommendation for this episode. I suggest you skip it, or if you’re really talented, you could artfully scratch your DVDs so it never can be played again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a good strong drink, and then I need a break from reality while I adjust to a new and nonsensical political situation.

Episode 023 – Orko’s Favourite Uncle

In which Orko and his uncle make my blood boil.

Good evening. You may be interested to know that WordPress tells me which countries are reading these reviews, and I can here report that there have been readers from 26 different countries so far. The USA is in the lead by a considerable distance (227 views, as compared to the nearest rival’s 172), and thus it is that I suspect the vast majority of my readership today will have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention that the football competition Euro 2016 starts this evening. I don’t like football, and I’m going to neatly segue into this review by announcing that the one thing I like less than football is Orko.

I should also here note that anyone reading these reviews is likely to be a dedicated He-Man fan and thus may be very upset when they get to this week and find that I’ve done this one out of order. On my DVDs, the episode following Song of Celice was entitled The Return of Orko’s Uncle, and since we hadn’t met Orko’s uncle yet, I thought it might be best if we watch this one first. Because I’m sure it will matter.

Anyway, an evil wizard called Toron (no relation, presumably, to the city in Song of Celice) conjures up a storm, which is intended to bring him some allies from another world. It actually brings him a rubbish brown dinosaur thing called Gark from Orko’s world, Trolla. Also brought to Eternia is Orko’s uncle Montork, but he gets diverted into a cave where Prince Adam, Cringer and Orko are being attacked by a manticore monster.

Orko's Uncle 1

Once He-Man intervenes, the manticore is defeated, leaving our heroes to get on with the serious business of taking Uncle Montork to lunch at the Palace. Toron watches them eating on his iPad and concludes that he needs to capture Montork as a partner for Gark in the conquest of Eternia. With this in mind, he teleports Gark into the Palace, where he hypnotises Montork, who instantly assaults Orko. I think I like Montork after all.

After a quick altercation between He-Man, Orko, Montork and Gark, Toron projects his face onto the Palace wall to laugh evilly and reveal that the next objective is Castle Grayskull. He teleports Montork and Gark away, leaving He-Man to follow in a flying machine that looks like a robotic chicken.

Orko's Uncle 2

Montork and Gark transform themselves into butterflies and fly into Grayskull, which is a surprisingly intelligent tactic. They quickly locate the door to the Inner Chambers, beyond which the Power of Grayskull is stored. He-Man shows up just in time to prevent them getting inside, but for no apparent reason, Montork steals the robotic chicken and quickly proves himself entirely incapable of flying it.

In the meantime, Battle-Cat and Orko head to Toron’s cave to capture Toron’s iPad, which is controlling Montork and Gark. They achieve this pretty speedily, and use the iPad to teleport themselves to Grayskull, but idiotically bring Toron with them. Orko saves the day by persuading Montork that he loves him, thus breaking the spell on both Montork and Gark.

Orko's Uncle 3

He-Man finishes up by destroying the iPad, which rather tragically causes Toron to degenerate into an aged, bent and broken old man. None of our ostensive “heroes” has any sympathy whatsoever for him. Montork and Gark then are pulled back to Trolla, Montork telling Orko that the most wonderful magic of all is just being alive. Tell it to Toron, you heartless bastard.

Orko's Uncle 4

 

In today’s adventure…

Orko talks to us about the various kinds of magic. These include a rainbow, a mother taking care of her young, and being alive. This made me want to reach through the screen and throttle him.

 

Characters appearing

Hmm, let’s see. There was Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, the Sorceress, and Toron. I seem to recall there were a few really, really annoying characters in it too. Who were they again? Oh yes. Orko, Gark, and the intolerable Uncle Montork.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

On He-Man’s first appearance, Orko remarkably attempts to claim to his uncle that he used his magic to summon He-Man, though Montork is not convinced. On the second occasion, He-Man explains that Adam and Cringer had a “pressing engagement”. He says “pressing” as if it’s a pun, which it decidedly is not. Or if it is, then I missed the joke entirely.

Orko's Uncle 5

Insults

Thanks to Skeletor’s absence, there’s not much in this department this week. The best anyone can muster is Toron calling Orko a “troublesome Trollan”.

 

Does it have the Power?

I don’t think I even need to say that no it doesn’t. I despise Orko, even when he’s only a minor character hanging round the fringes of an episode. When he’s the centrepiece, and coupled with Montork, who’s basically another version of Orko where the only discernible difference is a big white beard, he becomes at best tedious and at worst enormously irritating. For the evil spell to be broken by the power of love is the sort of infuriating storytelling device that I’d have hated even when I was five years old, and it hasn’t improved on me with age. The worst thing about this episode, though, is that I have to live with the knowledge that in four episodes’ time they made a sequel.