Episode 088 – Three on a Dare

In which Man-at-Arms reveals his rather Victorian ideas about gender politics.

Teela takes a group of three students out on a field trip to the Mystical Forest, despite the Palace’s radio transmitter being broken. Man-at-Arms and Adam attempt to warn Teela that with the transmitter down, she will be unable to ask for help if she needs it – but Teela ignores them and saunters off confidently, saying she can manage. Your starter for 10: will Teela regret her impetuousness before the episode is finished?

Dare 1
Teela: “Of course I’ll be fine. Nothing’s ever happened to me before, has it?”

Man-at-Arms determines that in order to repair the transmitter, he will need some rainbow quartz. This commodity can only be found in a cavern in Snake Mountain, and I must say it seems fairly stupid of the Eternians to have designed a product that could only be fixed using nearly unobtainable materials. Anyway, Adam and Cringer fly off to Snake Mountain to get some quartz. He optimistically doesn’t turn into He-Man at this stage, but I think we all know it’s only a matter of time.

Teela’s field trip with her students – named Krill, Sinda and Tager – consists of taking them into the forest and letting them nearly get eaten by a variety of ridiculous plant life. It is therefore no surprise that while Teela’s back is turned, Krill and Sinda dare Tager to take their vehicle on a joyride towards Snake Mountain. Teela calls for help on the radio, but of course it doesn’t work. Serves her right.

Dare 2
Teela: “Hello? Hello? Could I speak to the guy in charge of obvious plot developments, please?”

Skeletor, on the other hand, receives Teela’s signal loud and clear, and begins to hatch a pretty unrealistic plot to capture her and trade her for the secrets of Castle Grayskull. After he sends Evil-Lyn out to begin this scheme, Skeletor then spots the students zooming towards Snake Mountain, so he turns on a giant magnet to suck them in. As they wander the corridors, they see a captured Teela being led in by Evil-Lyn, and decide to try to escape to bring help.

Adam and Cringer successfully enter Snake Mountain, but attract the attention of Mer-Man, and only now decide to turn into He-Man and Battle-Cat. Mer-Man reports He-Man’s presence to Skeletor, who realises that – with the radio not working – He-Man could not know about Teela’s kidnapping, and therefore must have come to Snake Mountain for some other reason. He thus quickly finds out what He-Man wants, and offers him all the rainbow quartz he wants in exchange for He-Man’s speedy departure from Snake Mountain.

Dare 3
Skeletor: “He-Man! So nice to see you! Fancy some rainbow quartz? I’ve got loads going spare.”

He-Man is naturally suspicious of this uncharacteristic burst of generosity on Skeletor’s part, and thanks to an ill-timed announcement on the radio courtesy of Evil-Lyn, he learns of Teela’s predicament. The rest of the episode consists of He-Man running all over Snake Mountain trying to recover Teela and the missing students, as well as nicking some rainbow quartz.

Once the motley crew return to the Palace, Man-at-Arms fixes the radio transmitter with the quartz and the students apologise for causing such a kerfuffle. Then Adam and Man-at-Arms make thinly veiled allusions to He-Man’s secret identity, and laugh their heads off. This would be a little bit crazy even if they were alone, but with Teela and the students in the room as well, it’s borderline insane.

Dare 4
Prince Adam: “Can’t believe I’ve never seen Bridget Jones’ Diary before. It’s well funny.”

 

In today’s adventure…

For the second week in a row, Adam suggests that the average viewer is pretty foolish. This time it’s because taking a dare doesn’t prove you’re brave, just that you’re an idiot. Adam counsels us to only do what we think is right. Unless we’re an affectionless psychopath. He doesn’t say that bit.

 

Character checklist

A veritable cornucopia of exciting persons grace our screens this week, including Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Mer-Man, Evil-Lyn, Tri-Klops, Krill, Sinda and Tagar.

Dare 5
Teela: “This is among the most ominous dotto trains I’ve ever been on.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam doesn’t give an excuse, but frankly – as mentioned above – it’s downright odd that he waits until he’s actually inside Snake Mountain and under attack before turning into He-Man in the first place. This is especially odd since he hasn’t brought any mining tools, and the rainbow quartz has to be physically broken by He-Man in order to take some.

 

Insults

Skeletor leads the field once again, referring to Beast-Man as a “furball”, and collectively describing Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Mer-Man, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops as “dullards” and “incompetent fools”. He-Man considers Mer-Man a “scale-face”, while Teela calls Trapjaw a “walking junkyard” and a “lump of worthless ore”.

Dare 6
He-Man: “I’m a bit concerned that this is radioactive.”

Also worth a mention, though it’s not intended insultingly, is Man-at-Arms’ display of some rather dated gender politics when he describes Teela thus, “That woman’s got a mind of her own.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This one feels rather like the writer simply wanted to write a good old-fashioned “He-Man breaks into Snake Mountain and causes chaos” story, but was told that he had to add a more obvious moral lesson, and consequently shoehorned in the children and the bit about the dare. Certainly the primary focus is given to He-Man’s quest for the quartz, and the students only appear every so often as something of an afterthought.

I also must confess I really did feel sorry for Skeletor in this episode. He indisputably owns the rainbow quartz, because it’s in his home, but He-Man feels he has the right to tool in and help himself. Admittedly, Skeletor doesn’t seem too bothered by this act of burglary, and he has kidnapped Teela as well, which is morally questionable to say the least, but there’s definitely a slight tinge of He-Man turning into a vigilante here.

Dare 7
Skeletor: “I’ve been robbed!”

Anyway, I may have been spoiled lately – there’s been a couple of stone-cold classic episodes recently, and Skeletor has taken the limelight in every episode for five weeks now – but this one didn’t feel quite as good as perhaps it would if it were sandwiched in a period of Skeletor drought. So, I’d conclude that it’s worth watching, but it’s not truly great.

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