Episode 75 – Day of the Flowers

In which Orko yet again earns a special place in hell.

Prince Adam, Snout Spout and Orko have come on a special trip for a festival called the Day of the Flowers, in which the beauty of Etheria will be celebrated. Previous episodes of She-Ra had led me to believe that Snout Spout already lived on Etheria, but let’s gloss over petty whinges like that, since as this episode goes on, we’ll have plenty more to complain about.

Flowers 1
Prince Adam: “Sane people would bring their parents with them to visit their sister. But not me! I bring this guy.”

Let’s start with complaining about Orko. After his last atrocity of an appearance, in The Greatest Magic, I was ready to sign up for an Orko-free future, but no – here he is again, playing stupid magic tricks and setting the episode’s plot in motion by making Adam and Adora’s swords disappear. You cock, Orko. Can’t you just leave well enough alone?

I feel like I’ve been getting ever more furious over the last few episodes of She-Ra, but you’ve got to admit I’m being sorely provoked.

An old man arrives at the festival, begging for help because a group of gigantic evil robots known as the Monstroids have kidnapped all the men and boys from his village to work in Hordak’s nucleon mines. Adam and Adora try to transform, but of course their swords have gone, resulting in a mildly satisfying scene where they get livid with Orko, and then decide to try to defeat the Monstroids as themselves.

Flowers 2
Adora: “Right. You didn’t bring Mother. You didn’t bring Father. You brought Snout Spout. And you brought this div. Don’t bother to visit again, Adam.”

The Monstroids approach the site of the flower festival, so Adam, Adora, Snout Spout and Frosta stand on a mountain looking down at them, in a misguided attempt to look intimidating. No doubt realising that no one would ever be intimidated by a man with Adam’s dress sense, however, they quickly move on to making more elaborate plans, which involve Frosta and Snout Spout making ice bombs, and Adora throwing them at the Monstroids. This is very boring, but it’s at least mildly better than Adam’s role in the plan, which is to stand around shouting at Orko.

This episode is such a tedious mess that I rather lost interest around about this point, but suffice it to say that there’s a whole lot more of Adam and Adora alternately yelling at and encouraging Orko, while the Monstroids continue to stamp around the flower fields with zero sense of urgency. In the meantime, Madame Razz hangs around, having evidently been written as a fusty old-fashioned eight-year-old who’s been given too much lemonade: “Oh dearie my! This is so exciting!” I can assure you, Madame Razz, that it’s not exciting in the slightest.

Flowers 3
Monstroid: “If you find us boring, just pretend we’re mechs from Scythe. That might make us interesting for up to 3 seconds.”

As you have no doubt predicted, Orko eventually manages to get the swords back, and Adam and Adora are free to turn into She-Ra and He-Man. The writers appear to have finally realised that cutting the transformation sequences together just plain doesn’t work, so at least they are good enough to take turns. Once these two are on the scene, of course, the Monstroids are turned into scrap metal, and I hope I never see them – or Orko – again.

In today’s adventure…

Loo-Kee was hiding in a tree, again, but I didn’t see him. I’m willing to let it pass this time. He suggests that we should believe in ourselves, and then we can do anything. If only I’d believed in myself, I could have turned this tripefest of an episode off.

Character checklist

Adora, Prince Adam, She-Ra, He-Man, Snout Spout, Orko, Madame Razz, Broom, Bow, Glimmer, loads of rebels, Loo-Kee, Hordak, the Monstroids, some Horde Troopers, and some poor unfortunate soul who’s been christened with the name of Ore Captain Sludge-Man, and as such had some pretty insurmountable obstacles right from the beginning of his life.

Flowers 4
Frosta: “He-Man looks like he’s going to propose to his sister.”

Insults

Hordak refers to the Monstroids as “drumheads”, and that’s all you’re getting on the insults front. However, if you fancy a spot of innuendo, we do bear witness to Adora saying, “Making things big is something you’re very good at, Orko.” Do with that as you wish.

Oh No, Bow!

If I really wanted to stretch a point, I’d argue that Bow drives like a complete maniac in the opening scene of this episode. Thereafter, he has sufficient wisdom to absent himself from the remainder of this thrilling instalment.

Does it have the Power?

Towards the beginning of this episode, Hordak snaps, “You’re not getting enough nucleon out of those mines, Ore Captain Sludge-Man!” It’s dialogue like this that makes me wonder if the voice actors ever had sudden flashes of despair, a la Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest. “I was Richard III …”

Flowers 5
Ore Captain Sludge-Man: “Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.”

Unfortunately, that little insight into the minds of the voice actors was the only entertaining thing about this episode, which is the third appalling effort in a row. It is at least different from the other two rubbish episodes, though. Unlike The Time Transformer, which was insane, and Above It All, which was disjointed, Day of the Flowers is just achingly boring. There are endless shots of the Monstroids trampling through the flower field, and of Orko again and again trying to get the swords back. Adora and even Adam are really patronising too, in their efforts to encourage Orko. This is another dreadful episode. She-Ra needs to pull her socks up.

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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.

Greatest 1
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.

Greatest 2
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.

Greatest 3
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”.

Greatest 4
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.

Episode 33 – A Talent for Trouble

In which Madame Razz inadvertently refers to Orko’s sexual activities.

Orko is helping the Sorceress to spring clean Castle Grayskull, but of course he cocks up and accidentally transports himself to Etheria. He immediately meets Madame Razz, so we are faced with a character pairing that I’m sure won’t prove annoying. They are both then captured by Mantenna, who encases them in what look like giant ice cubes. Broom, luckily, escapes and flies off to warn the other rebels.

Talent 1
Broom: “Why do I have to be paired with these divs?”

Once She-Ra learns that Orko is on Etheria, she contacts the Sorceress, presumably hoping that she’ll have a clever trick to get Orko off the planet without delay. It turns out, however, that the Sorceress considers Orko should be kept off Eternia for as long as possible, so simply sends He-Man to Etheria to help out. When He-Man arrives, he wears a pained expression, as if he literally can’t believe he’s having to waste his time here again.

Talent 2
He-Man: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

In the meantime, Mantenna has taken Madame Razz and Orko to the Fright Zone, where Hordak and Shadow Weaver try to work out what Orko is. For some reason, Orko is resistant to all of Shadow Weaver’s magic, so Hordak employs a scientific tool called the mind sweeper instead. If I wanted to be unkind, I might interject at this juncture that Hordak is also a scientific tool. It goes without saying, of course, that the mind sweeper has serious problems with Orko, because he doesn’t have a mind, and the end result is that the mind sweeper explodes.

Realising that they cannot determine what Orko is, Hordak and Shadow Weaver decide to send him as a present to Horde Prime. This gives us a dramatic moment to cut for the advert break, and when we return the story progresses to He-Man and She-Ra busting into the Fright Zone and causing all manner of havoc. They dispose of Grizzlor and Leech with the usual ease, and Catra proves even less challenging. Once they find Madame Razz, she informs them of the plan to send Orko to Horde Prime, so He-Man and She-Ra head straight to the space port.

Talent 3
She-Ra: “To quote Buffy, synchronised slayage!”

On arrival, they find that the rocket containing Orko has already been launched, and that Hordak is gallivanting about on a really strange green insect creature. She-Ra attends to Hordak and the other Horde representatives with another of her trademark pant-displaying kicks, while He-Man leaps onto the rocket. It should be noted that He-Man is clearly less powerful than She-Ra, since he is incredibly concerned about going into outer space without a spacesuit, whereas She-Ra does it regularly just for kicks. Anyway, He-Man successfully redirects the rocket and rescues Orko.

The episode ends with an unwelcome moment in which Orko decides that She-Ra is gorgeous, and tells her so. She-Ra rewards him with a kiss, which prompts He-Man to join in and tell She-Ra she’s beautiful. If he was expecting a kiss, he’s disappointed, at least until after the episode fades out.

 

In today’s adventure…

I found that beastly Loo-Kee again! I can feel my heart bursting with pride. If you must know, he’s in a bush by the path just after Orko arrives on Etheria. His moral is once again pretty stupid, being all about helping people when they need a hand and thus proving that you’re their friend. He tries to link this in to the episode by claiming that Orko was giving the Sorceress a hand with her cleaning, but frankly Orko’s contribution to that task was minimal. It might have worked better if it had been He-Man and She-Ra lending Orko and Madame Razz a hand with being rescued, but even so, it would still have been largely irrelevant to the episode’s story.

Talent 4
The Sorceress: “Let’s see … Orko, mops, and buckets of water. What could possibly go wrong?”

 

Character checklist

What blimey and what a treat this is. There’s Adora, sure, and She-Ra, of course, but what’s this? He-Man too. And Orko and the Sorceress. It’s like a high school reunion. Less excitingly, we see Spirit, Swift Wind, Madame Razz, Broom, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Mantenna, Shadow Weaver, Catra, Leech, Grizzlor and some Horde Troopers. Is that an Evil Horde full house? In case you really want to know, there’s also some weird skull thing with which Orko strikes up a conversation in Castle Grayskull.

 

Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s disappearances

Prince Adam doesn’t feature this time, and Adora’s only contribution is a muttered, “I smell trouble,” to the camera before her transformation.

 

Insults

A wide range of insults this week, and a special prize to the episode for not resorting to using the word ‘fool’. We have Mantenna calling a pair of Horde Troopers “useless tin cans” and Grizzlor calling He-Man a “muscle man”. Orko and Hordak have a brief exchange of sharp words, with Orko telling Hordak he’s a “bonebrain”, and Hordak retaliating with “insect”. Finally, Orko manages to break the mind sweeper in such a way that it begins chanting, “Hordak is a meanie”, prompting Hordak to blow it up, thus rather proving the point.

Talent 5
Madame Razz: “Orko, stop lounging around in your stupid chair! Do something!”

 

Does it have the Power?

Well, Orko and Madame Razz ganging up didn’t prove as irritating as I’d feared, largely because Madame Razz took a back seat throughout most of the episode. It was also almost pleasant to see Orko again; perhaps in small doses, he’s not so bad. Or perhaps it’s simply in comparison to the idiots who populate Etheria. As for He-Man, it’s always pleasing to see him, though I think it’s time for Skeletor to put in another appearance, please.

The storyline was nothing special; it does seem like the Horde waste most of their time capturing solitary rebels, rather than just dropping atom bombs or something equally devastating on Whispering Wood. This week’s effort did have a few nicely sinister overtones, especially the decision to send Orko to Horde Prime, where it is hinted that he will be dissected.

Talent 6
Mantenna: “Yes, this was the best plan I could come up with, but in my defense, I am very stupid.”

Overall, I think I’d describe it as a pretty decent episode, except for one thing. I know it doesn’t have the same meaning in the USA as it does here, but when Madame Razz refers to Orko and says, “I like that little guy’s spunk,” I can’t help but shudder.

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.

Episode 125 – Bargain with Evil

In which the Starchild returns, to unpopular acclaim.

In a mysterious castle, a young lady called Arvella casts a spell and summons a dude called Angast, who introduces himself with the title, “King of the Realm of Evil.” It seems that some time ago, Arvella’s father Landros accidentally entered the Realm of Evil and was imprisoned for his troubles. Arvella now requests her father’s return, to which Angast agrees on condition that Arvella bring him the Starchild. (If you don’t remember the Starchild, you can count yourself fortunate. She was the eponymous star of the worst episode of the entire series.)

Allegedly, Angast only wants to look at the Starchild. Arvella isn’t sure about this deal, but Angast assures her that the Starchild will not be harmed. Consequently, Arvella goes out looking for the Starchild, who – as luck would have it – is visiting the Palace, accompanied by her bodyguard, a woman called Moweena who dresses like Robin Hood might do if he was invited to a tarts and vicars party. The Starchild is just as annoying as before, hugging everyone and saying things like, “It’s so good to see you all” in a squeaky cute voice.

Bargain 1
Starchild: “Hands up if you’re pleased to see me again!”

When night falls, Arvella teleports into the Starchild’s bedroom and kidnaps her. Orko quickly raises the alarm and runs into He-Man, who was on his way to pay an ominous nocturnal “visit” to the sleeping Starchild. Learning from Orko that the kidnapper looked like Lady Arvella, He-Man and Moweena decide to go to Castle Landros to learn more. They emphatically tell Orko to stay behind, perhaps because the combination of Orko and the Starchild would be sufficiently infuriating to melt the brain of any sane viewer. Unfortunately, Orko ignores them and comes anyway. I hate my life.

Arriving at Castle Landros, He-Man, Moweena and Orko break in. They are just in time to witness Angast breaking his word and kidnapping the Starchild and Arvella. For good measure, he also kidnaps He-Man, Moweena, Orko and Battle-Cat. The whole sorry lot of them are teleported into a room, at which point Angast puts on a disarmingly mental grin, welcomes them all to the Realm of Evil, and dances around like a maniac.

Bargain 2
Angast: “Check out my funky dance moves.”

The party really gets started when Angast sends a horde of armoured cannon-fodder to try to seize the Starchild, and we are treated to a nice long scene in which He-Man and Moweena dispose of the soldiers in amusing and non-violent ways. The whole thing comes to a sorry conclusion when Orko smashes a pumpkin on Angast’s head, and our heroes run away, rescuing Arvella’s father Landros in the process. The Starchild is then able to use her very strong and not-at-all annoying magic to return everybody to Eternia.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man explains that Arvella’s attempts to do a good thing by doing a bad thing didn’t really help. He adds that the way we react to problems can make the difference between solving them and simply making them worse. He optimistically states that he hopes we remember today’s adventure, which is unlikely, unless it’s as “that time they brought the Starchild back for no reason whatsoever”.

Bargain 4
Arvella: “No no no, I will not sell pot. I will urn a living some other way. Okay, okay, not funny.”

 

Character checklist

This week brings to the fore Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela, King Randor, Queen Marlena, the Starchild, Moweena, Arvella, Landros, Angast, and a whole load of Angast’s soldiers.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam only transforms into He-Man because the Starchild complains that she hasn’t seen He-Man recently. Talk about abuse of power. At least he has the sense to do it privately, and thus doesn’t need to give an excuse.

Bargain 5
Prince Adam: “Sure, why not, I’ll turn into He-Man on the whim of an infuriating child. That’ll help defend Eternia.”

 

Insults

Moweena refers to Arvella’s servant as a “little man”, perhaps in recognition of his lower class status. Otherwise, the insults only begin to flow thick and fast once our heroes find themselves in the Realm of Evil. Angast calls all of our heroes “fools”, and specifically reserves “foolish woman” for Arvella. Considering they are nameless cannon-fodder, Angast’s soldiers get a surprising degree of abuse, being referred to as “clowns” and “bumblers” by Angast, and the milder “bad guys” by Orko.

Elsewhere, it’s Angast himself who comes under fire, receiving a “Mr Bat Face” from Orko, and “hornhead” and “hornheaded horror” from Moweena. These latter two are a touch odd given Angast doesn’t have horns. Nonetheless, they’re still not as surprising as Orko’s parting shot to Angast, which sounded distinctly like “fat bastard”.

Bargain 6
Angast: “I think this moment may haunt my nightmares hereafter.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I’m in two minds about this one. I remain completely baffled as to why anyone thought that the Starchild was a character in desperate need of revisiting. I’d have thought the writers would just want to draw a line under that particular debacle and pretend it never happened. While this episode is nowhere near as bad as the Starchild’s first episode was, I still can’t see why it was necessary to involve the Starchild at all. With a bit of tweaking, Bargain with Evil could have told the same story without the unneeded baggage of a much-hated character from nearly 100 episodes ago.

Bargain 3
He-Man: “Yes, Starchild, of course I’m really pleased to be talking to you. Tell you what, though, why don’t you just get lost for a little while, like perhaps for the rest of your life?”

On the other hand, most of the bits that didn’t involve the Starchild were pretty decent, for a baddy-of-the-week episode. Angast was relatively competent, and he had a reasonable motive for kidnapping the Starchild (she had powers that could open a gateway to Eternia, in case you wondered). I’m still not sure about the need for the tarty Robin Hood, but maybe the animators had gone mental. I know I would after animating 125 He-Man episodes.

To conclude, I think I’d put this one down under the don’t bother heading. But if you do, you probably won’t regret it too much.

Episode 124 – The Toy Maker

In which Skeletor begins plans to open a sinister version of Toys R Us.

We open in Snake Mountain, where the eponymous Toy Maker is offering his services to Skeletor. Skeletor, proving that he isn’t completely mad yet, asks why the bloody hell he would be interested in a Toy Maker. The Toy Maker explains that his toys are somewhat out of the ordinary, to the extent of being able to take over a kingdom. Skeletor admits his interest, and instructs the Toy Maker to use his toys to capture Man-at-Arms.

As luck would have it, Man-at-Arms is messing about in the wilderness with one of his new inventions, which I will christen the Amazing Melting Machine. Environmentally responsible as always, he is trying to use the Amazing Melting Machine to melt hills. There follows an extended and irrelevant sequence in which the Amazing Melting Machine goes haywire and has to be stopped by He-Man. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out that during this sequence, He-Man uses the Amazing Melting Machine to melt a cloud, which I do not think is possible.

Toy Maker 2
He-Man: “Right … what physical impossibility shall I try today?”

After this delightful happening, Orko flies off, whinging about how no one likes him. He is correct. I like him still less when, a moment or two later, he bumps into the Toy Maker, who flatters him and then gives him some evil toys – specifically a teddy bear, a toy soldier, and a diplodocus. The Toy Maker even uses the telltale evil phrase, “Now remember, this’ll be our little secret.” Orko doesn’t pick up on this enormous spot-the-baddy hint, and happily takes the magic toys back to the Palace.

Toy Maker 3
Orko: “I’m all for not judging people by appearance, but really, there’s no way you’re not going to turn out to be evil, is there?”

At the Palace, Adam, Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko all watch the toys as they magically strut about on a table. The four of them are ridiculously entranced, as if they’ve never heard of clockwork. Man-at-Arms suggests that the King and Queen would like to see the toys as well, because he evidently considers the King and Queen to be equally mentally deficient. Unfortunately, things never get to that stage, since once everyone else has gone to bed, the toys increase dramatically in size, and advance on Man-at-Arms and take him prisoner, in a surprisingly creepy sequence.

In the morning, Adam, Randor, Teela and Orko discover what has happened. When it emerges that the Toy Maker is actually a dangerous criminal and not a friendly if secretive wizard, Orko utters his favourite phrase: “Oh no! It’s all my fault.” Instead of agreeing with him, Adam just tells him not to blame himself, and pops off to turn into He-Man.

Teela and Orko are examining the tracks left by the toys, when Ram-Man unexpectedly shows up, offering his services. There is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm displayed at his arrival. Everyone is much more pleased when seconds later, He-Man and Battle-Cat appear. It is quickly determined that the tracks lead through the Valley of Echoes, which is allegedly very dangerous, but frankly in the extended sequence that follows, I think “boring” would be a more accurate description.

Toy Maker 4
He-Man: “The Beeb didn’t mention fog in today’s forecast. They never bloody get it right.”

It’s now time for a fight with the toys, which luckily doesn’t last too long, and ends with Orko acquiring magical mastery of the toys, for some reason. He-Man then considers it the height of hilarity to defeat Skeletor using the toy diplodocus. Once he’s finished messing around thus, Teela rescues Man-at-Arms, and He-Man takes the Toy Maker into custody. He also randomly decides to arrest Beast-Man and Trapjaw, which seems a little unfair, since they haven’t done anything wrong (at least, not this week).

Toy Maker 5
Teela: “I am for some reason suddenly sexually interested in Orko.”

 

In today’s adventure…

King Randor stands in the Palace courtyard, looking incredibly solemn. And with good reason: today’s moral is the very important lesson that you mustn’t take presents from strangers. Then Orko shows up, and adds that he ought to have known something was afoot when the Toy Maker asked him to keep secrets from He-Man. King Randor agrees with this piece of advice, and says, “Friends don’t have to keep secrets from each other.” He then closes with the by now traditional sign-off, “Till next time.” Unfortunately, he slurs these sentences together, making it sound as if he’s saying, “Friends don’t have to keep secrets from each other till next time,” implying that after the next episode of He-Man, you’ll have an absolutely massive secret to keep from your friends.

 

Character checklist

A pretty classic line-up greets us today, with Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Teela, Ram-Man, King Randor, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Whiplash. The only newbie on the table is the Toy Maker.

Toy Maker 1
Man-at-Arms: “Hey Orko, check out these awesome earmuffs I got from Primark!”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

When the Amazing Melting Machine goes mental, Adam comments, “Let’s go, Cringer, we’re needed.” This is at a juncture when no one is paying any attention to him anyway, so it’s unnecessary, but appreciated. Later on, he offers, “I’ll go for help”, when it becomes clear that He-Man is going to be called upon to do battle with a giant toy teddy bear.

 

Insults

Skeletor is less interested in insults than normal, rather surprisingly referring to everybody as his “friend”. It may be sarcastic, but it doesn’t sound it. Even when he does get insulting, his heart isn’t really in it, offering only “little man” to the Toy Maker. The only other insult in the episode isn’t much better, consisting as it does of Orko referring to the Toy Maker as a “bad Toy Maker”.

Toy Maker 6
Toy Maker: “I can’t begin to tell you how upset I am over what Orko said to me.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s good fun, an original idea for an episode, and a relevant moral – all things that have been sorely lacking in He-Man recently. The Amazing Melting Machine sequence is completely irrelevant, and the bit in the Valley of Echoes is fairly dull, but otherwise, it gets a lot right. The Toy Maker is a credible baddy, and his toys achieve a few moments of genuine creepiness. Skeletor’s plans are all over the place as usual – God knows why he wants to capture Man-at-Arms – but who cares about that? All in all, this is an unexpectedly good episode, though once again, you won’t find it on my Top 10 list.

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 118 – Orko’s Return

In which Beast-Man and Trapjaw make the elementary mistake of kidnapping Orko.

Well, it’s nice to know that Orko will be making a return, after his really, really long absence. This episode starts out in the wilderness, where Trapjaw and Beast-Man, somewhat surprisingly, are planting some crops. This is no ordinary plant, however – it grows within seconds into an enormous orange crystal mountain. Beast-Man mysteriously claims that it will show King Randor who’s boss, which might be true if King Randor is interested in a bollock-kicking contest over who’s got the biggest orange mountain. I suspect he isn’t.

Return 1
Trapjaw: “Beast-Man, you’ve been shopping at Claire’s Accessories again, right?”

The next scene shows Orko in the Palace, performing magic tricks which are actually working for once. The assembled crowd are amazed at this display of competence, especially Prince Adam, who is for some reason animated with his jaw hanging open like a first-class moron. The animators have also seen fit to give him a quite stunning hunchback. When Orko disappears, the court assumes it’s part of his magic show – but in reality, he has been magicked away by Beast-Man and Trapjaw.

Beast-Man and Trapjaw instantly send a message to King Randor, demanding to be addressed in future as Mr Beast-Man and Mr Trapjaw. They’ve evidently been watching Reservoir Dogs again. Randor isn’t at all interested, until these two clowns reveal that they’ve kidnapped Orko, at which point Randor becomes only marginally more interested. Beast-Man demands all the photanium in Eternia in exchange for Orko’s release, but Teela points out that this would leave the Palace defenceless, as if she thinks this isn’t Beast-Man’s intention. In any case, Teela seems to think that photanium is more useful than He-Man in terms of defending the Palace.

Return 2
King Randor: “Not a massive fan of this new bubble mixture.”

Beast-Man then uses an amulet called the Amber Crystal of Mallarka on Orko, locking his magic so he can only use it for the express purposes defined by Beast-Man and Trapjaw. This is an outstandingly bad idea, since Orko develops a “hilarious” habit of wilfully misinterpreting said express purposes, and the rest of the episode is filled with intermittent scenes of Orko’s magic doing increasingly stupid things to Beast-Man and Trapjaw.

He-Man and Man-at-Arms soon find the orange mountain, where Beast-Man shoots a volley of energy bolts at them, and then treats them to a huge holographic projection of his face, welcoming them to the Amber Fortress. He then proceeds to laugh like a complete lunatic, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms decide to pop off to Castle Grayskull to ask advice. The Sorceress reveals that the Amber Crystal was created in ancient times by an insectoid race called the Polteeth, so He-Man’s next move is to visit them.

Return 3
He-Man: “This episode is like Pol-ing-teeth. Geddit? Oh fine, suit yourselves.”

The Sorceress had said that the Polteeth are now peaceful, but when He-Man and Man-at-Arms arrive, the Polteeth surround them, point spears, and take them captive. He-Man glances at Man-at-Arms, as if to say, “Thanks for the up-to-date intel, Sorceress.” Refusing to help our heroes, the Polteeth queen orders them off her territory. With suspiciously convenient timing, He-Man then rescues one of the Polteeth from falling off a cliff, and the queen changes her mind and agrees to help. I wouldn’t mind betting He-Man engineered the whole cliff danger business.

Using an Amulet Nullifier given to him by the Polteeth queen, He-Man returns to the Amber Fortress and successfully gets inside. He finds the Amber Crystal and destroys it, which makes the entire fortress disappear. He also discovers that Orko has irritated Beast-Man and Trapjaw so extensively that they are only too pleased to hand him over. This makes He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko laugh as if they’re demented.

Return 4
He-Man: “I haven’t laughed this much since I watched On The Buses last week.”

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral today would appear to be that if you get taken hostage, you should make every effort to infuriate your captors. This seems a trifle unwise. Instead, Orko shows up to suggest that we shouldn’t play tricks on our friends, because people might get hurt. This pearl of wisdom is followed by a repeat performance of that animation of Adam with his mouth hanging open. I don’t know why.

 

Character checklist

This one’s got a pretty standard cast list – Prince Adam, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Beast-Man and Trapjaw. The only characters out of the ordinary are the multitudes of Polteeth.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

It’s getting very tedious to report, but once again, Adam doesn’t give an excuse because the only person present at transformation time is Man-at-Arms.

 

Insults

Orko calls Beast-Man a “fuzzball”, and Beast-Man tells He-Man and Man-at-Arms that they are “fools”. Not terribly exciting, really.

Return 5
Beast-Man: “Got a killer three-piece suite at DFS this weekend.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I may be getting a bit jaded, but despite there being nothing much wrong with it, this episode doesn’t really seem like a winner, aside from the delightfully mental Mr Beast-Man and Mr Trapjaw business. At this point in the series, it’s getting a bit tedious to see the kidnap and ransom plot wheeled out yet again. In case you haven’t detected it, I’ve never been a fan of Orko’s persistent stupid magic tricks, and so watching him playing silly jokes on Beast-Man and Trapjaw for most of the episode wasn’t a lot of fun. The business with the Polteeth seemed like time-wasting too. As I say, there’s nothing terrible about the episode, but neither is it all that exciting. It’s probably worth a watch, but don’t look forward to it or anything.

Episode 117 – Beauty and the Beast

In which we witness a fairly pointless retelling of a certain fairytale.

This week, we find Prince Adam, Teela, Orko and Sy-Klone listening to an old man telling the story of Beauty and the Beast. Just as he finishes, a squadron of Skeletor’s robot fighter ships arrives, followed by Skeletor himself. Not surprisingly, He-Man very quickly appears, and he and Sy-Klone dispose of a vast quantity of robots while making stupid quips.

Beauty 1
Prince Adam: “Teela may be the beauty, but which of us is the beast?”

While He-Man is thus occupied, Skeletor nips into the Palace and kidnaps Teela and Orko. He freezes them, seals them into two coffin-like pods, and blasts them off to an undisclosed location. He then crows that in order to get them back, Randor will have to negotiate. Skeletor seems to be overlooking the fact that Randor probably doesn’t particularly want them back. I certainly don’t.

The pods land in a room containing a table piled high with food, mostly croissants, presumably because they are easy to animate. Teela and Orko unfreeze and emerge from the pods, and instantly help themselves to the feast. They are interrupted by a huge dude with bat-wings instead of ears, who mumbles something about being the Monster of Morigor. He’s very indistinct and difficult to understand, but I think we can safely assume that this guy is the Beast and Teela is Beauty.

Beauty 2
The Monster: “Can I interest you people in some of these fine wares?”

After demolishing a ridiculously huge pile of robot fighter ships, He-Man finally realises that he’s being distracted, and zooms off to find Teela and Orko are missing. He sets off to Snake Mountain, where he has a little discussion with Skeletor – or rather, a holographic projection of Skeletor, who has presumably got fed up of being defeated in person. Skeletor offers to return Teela and Orko in return for the entire kingdom of Eternia, terms which He-Man rejects as being a bit silly.

He-Man then heads to Castle Grayskull to ask the Sorceress where Teela and Orko are. For no particular reason, he decides to change back into Adam before he does so; I suspect this is purely so he can kill thirty seconds later in the episode when he turns back into He-Man. The Sorceress informs Adam that Teela and Orko are being held by the Monster of Morigor, and issues some dire but boring warnings about how dangerous the road to the Monster’s castle is.

Beauty 3
The Sorceress: “Just thought you’d appreciate a brief scene of time-wasting.”

Sure enough, Adam turns back into He-Man, and sets off to Morigor. Observing him on the spyglobe, Skeletor gets in touch with the Monster to warn him of He-Man’s impending arrival. During the course of this conversation, it emerges that Skeletor is responsible for the Monster’s beastly appearance, and that he has threatened to put the same curse on all the people of Morigor if the Monster refuses to serve him.

When He-Man arrives, the Monster unleashes a really big, really boring robot, which naturally does not slow He-Man down for more than a second. He-Man then happily occupies himself running through a stupid maze, while the Monster discusses the situation with Teela, apologising for his behaviour but claiming he has no choice and blaming his ugly appearance.

Beauty 5
Teela: “I’m not sure which person in this room has the worst fashion sense. But for once, it’s not me.”

Teela persuades him that his appearance doesn’t matter, and that ugly actions are worse than an ugly face. When Skeletor shows up to oversee matters, the Monster refuses to obey him, which is great but Skeletor doesn’t really seem to care. He-Man then arrives and waves his sword around for a bit until Skeletor and his minions run away. Finally, Teela kisses the Monster – fairly chastely, since she knows He-Man’s looking on – and he recovers his former, allegedly handsome, appearance. His handsome appearance is not entirely dissimilar to that of a 1970s Blue Peter presenter, so it’s not that appealing.

 

In today’s adventure…

The moral is nicely integrated into the story for a change; instead of directly addressing the viewer in the usual patronising manner, we get a little bonus scene in which He-Man, Teela and the former Monster discuss the beauty and ugliness of actions. As they do so, the Monster grins as if he’s demonically possessed. It’s a smile that will haunt my dreams.

Beauty 6
The Monster: “I’m not sure exactly why I’m smiling like a sexual predator.”

 

Character checklist

This episode offers a nice day out for Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Sy-Klone, the Sorceress, the Monster, the storyteller, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, Whiplash, and a few of the Monster’s mates.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

In the first scene, when the robots attack, Adam gets Teela out of the way by saying to her, “You’d better check the perimeter.” While Teela does run off to do just that, Sy-Klone and – more importantly – Skeletor are still there to witness Adam transforming into He-Man in the middle of the courtyard.

As noted above, there’s a bizarre moment in the middle of the episode in which He-Man turns back into Adam for a visit to Grayskull, then back into He-Man again. There’s no reason for this, and we don’t get a second excuse.

 

Insults

All quiet on the Western Front today, with Skeletor offering only “fool” to Whiplash, and a collective “fools” to encompass Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Whiplash.

Beauty 7
Skeletor: “Selfie!”

 

Does it have the Power?

All in all, it’s a pretty average affair, being noteworthy for nothing particularly good or bad. Skeletor’s plan was uninspired this week; though he managed to cause a great deal of havoc with his hundreds of robot fighter ships, the best he could subsequently manage was kidnapping Teela and Orko, which he’s done billions of times before. His decision to then put them in the guard of one of his least committed servants was bordering on idiotic.

He-Man didn’t do much better, limiting himself this week to blowing up robots and finding his way through tedious mazes while Teela got on with the actual plot. I didn’t really care about the Monster, partly because I couldn’t understand a word he said, and partly because I knew exactly where the story was going from the moment the storyteller at the beginning of the episode related Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty 4
Teela: “He-Man, I’ve got to say, you look a little bit special.”

This episode won’t win any converts to He-Man, but I suppose it’s a relatively pleasant way to pass 20 minutes. That’s the best I can say, I’m afraid.

Episode 114 – Battle of the Dragons

In which a war between dragons is somehow boring.

This week, we are introduced to a very evil-looking dragon called Morningstar, who has hatched a plan to rule Eternia. This plan hinges on the acquisition of the Ice Crystal, which will allow Morningstar to put out the fire from which Granamyr draws his powers, after which he plans to depose Granamyr and start a war with the humans.

With the Crystal in his possession, Morningstar heads straight for Darksmoke and uses it to put out Granamyr’s fire. When Granamyr kicks off about it, Morningstar claims that the fire was extinguished by humans. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko are even now arriving for a visit to Darksmoke to celebrate the anniversary of the treaty between dragons and humans. Overriding Granamyr’s concerns, Morningstar sends a squadron of dragons who force the Wind Raider to crash land.

Battle 1
He-Man: “Typical Easyjet.”

Morningstar persuades most of the dragons to prepare for war, but Granamyr refuses to join them. When He-Man’s party finally arrives at Darksmoke, Granamyr fills them in on the situation. Though he believes Morningstar that some humans put out his fire, he does not wish for war over it – but without his magic, he cannot prevent the other dragons. He then casually mentions that his fire can only be re-lit with flames from the Pit of Shadows, in the same sort of fashion that a child might just happen to mention they’d like a new bike or something in the run-up to Christmas.

Of all people, it’s Orko who picks up on this subtle hint, and promises to retrieve the flames for Granamyr. Of course, he’s accompanied by He-Man and Man-at-Arms, and the three of them manage to get hold of some of the flames with no trouble. They return to Granamyr and relight his fire, after which Granamyr persuades the majority of the dragons to call off their attacks on human villages.

Battle 2
Man-at-Arms: “Pretty sure Take That did a song based on the plot to this episode.”

Naturally, Morningstar doesn’t listen to Granamyr, and so the two of them breathe fire at each other for a while. Granamyr wins, as you may well have predicted, then shows mercy, and there’s time enough for a return visit to Darksmoke and a less-than-amusing joke to finish the episode. Despite it not being at all funny, we are treated to at least 30 seconds’ worth of Man-at-Arms, He-Man and Granamyr laughing like hysterical hyenas.

 

In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms draws inspiration from Granamyr and Morningstar’s fire-breathing competition, at the end of which Granamyr did not press the matter further. Man-at-Arms tells us that winning is no excuse for bad manners, and reminds us that being a good winner is as important as being a good loser. It’s tempting to say Man-at-Arms is a loser, but he’s too easy a target, so I won’t.

 

Character checklist

It’s not big on the regulars, limiting itself to Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko, but it makes up for that with a reasonably hefty guest cast, consisting of Granamyr, Morningstar, a dude called Targon, and a whole load of dragons and some human villagers.

Battle 3
Granamyr: “Orko, you can either get off my head voluntarily or as a result of some serious violence.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s transformation

As usual these days, Adam transforms with only Man-at-Arms around, and thus doesn’t bother with the tired excuses.

 

Insults

It’s the first time in quite a while, but no one insults anyone else today. Unless of course I missed it, because this episode was pretty boring and I wouldn’t mind betting I zoned out quite often while it was on.

Battle 4
Morningstar: “Check out my new bling.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is a disappointing episode, all the more so because I have really enjoyed the other three episodes involving Granamyr, so I was rather looking forward to this one. It’s all the more tragic given this is most likely Granamyr’s last appearance (there’s only 16 episodes left, folks, and it’s unlikely he’ll be showing up again), so it’s a shame he goes out on a damp squib.

I understand what they were aiming at with this episode, but it all came across as quite stunningly mediocre. There was never a sense of threat or peril, and frankly Orko got far too much screen time, while He-Man and Man-at-Arms seemed to be sleepwalking through the story and didn’t really do anything. I somehow just didn’t care about Morningstar and his plot, and Granamyr seemed far too vulnerable as compared to his previous appearances.

There were two points I really liked though, one at the start and one at the end. We first meet Morningstar when he’s talking to a dude named Targon, who has brought him the Ice Crystal. This scene is cleverly constructed, giving Targon his own motivations and schemes (he’s plainly intending to double-cross Morningstar at some point), to the extent that the viewer thinks Targon is the episode’s main baddy. Then Morningstar simply freezes him with the Ice Crystal, and we never see him again! It’s a great subversion of the viewer’s expectations.

Battle 5
Targon: “I’m suddenly a bit concerned about my long-term prospects.”

The other moment comes at the end of the episode, just as Granamyr and He-Man are wrapping things up at Darksmoke. Over the course of the episode, the dragons have destroyed a human village. Normally, in this cartoon, we’d see the villagers standing round laughing their heads off at the end of the episode, forgetting the fact that they now have no homes. Here, Granamyr actually promises to rebuild the village. It’s a very nice touch of realism rarely seen in He-Man World.

These two immensely positive points, however, don’t really redeem the dull 18 minutes that they bookend. If I were you, I’d ignore this episode and pretend that Granamyr’s story finished with Disappearing Dragons.