In which He-Man deliberately doesn’t do anything to help.
We open this week with a cutesy nice village called Roxtown, where a cutesy nice woman is going about her business, singing inanely and yammering to herself about how cutesy and nice her life is. It therefore comes as something of a relief when she is frightened by a creature known as the Tingler. The Tingler has the same animation as the friendly giant from way back in The Heart of a Giant, and consequently I expect he will follow the same plotline. But we shall see. As it stands, let’s just say how glad I am that the dimwit woman stopped talking and singing.
At the Palace, King Randor receives a communication from Roxtown, begging for help against the evil Tingler. Randor obligingly sends Teela, Adam, Cringer and Orko, but not before he says that the inhabitants of Roxtown are a bit “naive” because “they believe in superstitions and such”. On a planet like Eternia, where absolutely anything can happen – no matter how insane – I would simply call this common sense. But if Randor wants to unnecessarily take the piss out of his subjects, who am I to intervene?
On the way to Roxtown, Adam points out Mount Fear, where the Tingler lives. He claims that Mount Fear is the most dangerous mountain in all of Eternia. Er, excuse me, what about Snake Mountain? It seems Adam is getting a bit complacent. Skeletor may be easily defeated every single day, but he’s still at least a bit dangerous. Anyway, our team land on the mountain, where they see the Tingler in silhouette, and He-Man prevents an avalanche.
After this unnecessary and unexciting diversion, our heroes arrive in Roxtown to find that the inhabitants are an angry mob bent on getting rid of the Tingler. Seemingly forgetting that he’s literally just seen the Tingler on Mount Fear, Adam puts in an impassioned case for the Tingler not actually existing. He is embarrassingly out-argued by the hugely irritating Roxtownians, who in between talking complete drivel, reasonably point out that Adam has seen the Tingler himself.
The episode then meanders around pointlessly for absolutely ages, until it finally gets to the point. The Tingler is, of course, not evil, but just misunderstood. He’s actually a really lovely guy, whose hobby is amateur veterinary medicine, which is handy because Cringer has hurt his leg. Big surprises all round, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Unfortunately, the episode doesn’t end there. The villagers decide to head up to Mount Fear and “do something about the Tingler”. They don’t specify what, but that’s possibly because mentioning lynchings on He-Man was frowned upon by the production team. Adam tries to persuade the villagers that listening to rumours is a bad thing, but they already think he’s an idiot because of the earlier “no such thing as the Tingler, even though I’ve seen it” fiasco, so they ignore him.
I think we’re expected to think the lynch mob situation is a problem, but frankly, though the Tingler may not be evil, he is really annoying. Anyone who says things like, “The birdies and the trees are my friends” deserves anything he gets, and his voice is clearly supposed to be endearingly goofy, but it just comes across as incredibly sinister.
Thanks to their own idiocy, the villagers get themselves trapped on a narrow ledge. He-Man shows up and builds them a bridge, but that fucktard woman from the start of the episode is too slow to get on it before the ledge starts crumbling away. He-Man just stands there and maintains he can’t do anything to help, which in his mind evidently means he’s freed from the obligation of even trying. So it’s down to the Tingler to save the woman, and believe it or not, this results in all the villagers no longer being afraid of him. The episode ends with a slightly bizarre moment in which a donkey tries to initiate an interspecies breeding programme with Cringer.
In today’s adventure…
Teela and Orko come along to hammer in the message that people like to exaggerate and spread rumours, and therefore we must use our common sense and not believe everything we hear. I suppose, if we are going to be subjected to tripe like this episode, we might as well get some sensible moral lessons from it.
Oh, shall I even bother with this? I suppose I better had. It’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, the Tingler, the idiot woman, and about 8 billion annoying villagers.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
We get two transformations this week. The first comes at the avalanche stage, after which Teela asks where Adam and Cringer are. He-Man replies, “I think you’ll find them back in the Wind Raider.” This is an unwise comment, since Teela is herself going back to the Wind Raider, which means He-Man has to suspiciously leg it in order to make his transformation before Teela arrives.
The second transformation comes when the villagers get themselves stuck on the ledge. Adam doesn’t give an excuse, and moreover happily transforms into He-Man in full view of the entire lot of them, not that they seem to notice.
The inhabitants of Roxtown are described as “ninnies” by the miller and “silly villagers” by the Tingler. Both of these comments seem fair enough to me, though I’d probably have gone for something stronger, like “twats”.
Does it have the Power?
When I was four, my family acquired a BBC computer with a very basic word processor on it. I say “acquired”, which makes it sound like they stole it. Maybe they did, I don’t know, but I imagine they bought it. I could go back and replace “acquired” with “bought”, but I’ve invested too much in this paragraph to want to delete all this hard work now.
Anyway, on this basic word processor, I wrote a He-Man story. I don’t want to brag or anything, but it was very good. It was essentially a list of all the characters I could think of having a massive fight outside Castle Grayskull. The fight was resolved when He-Man took leave of his senses and offered to let Skeletor have the victory if he could successfully answer the sum 18 + 2. Skeletor may be many things, but a mathematical dunce he is not. He correctly answered “18 + 2 = 20” and He-Man was forced to give up the power of Grayskull to him. The story was called SKELEWIN because a file name could only be 8 characters long and had to be in capitals, and I think you’ll agree SKELEWIN pretty much sums up what happens in the story.
Now, this story was, I suspect, influenced by two things. One, that I had recently learned that I could do basic addition, and two, that I had looked all over the keyboard on the BBC computer and was insanely taken with the fact that the + and = symbol were on the same key. I remember loving that key, God knows why, and so I wanted to write a story that involved pressing that key as often as possible. I think we can probably conclude that I was mental.
The point of this anecdote is – and I think you can probably all see where I’m going with this – that SKELEWIN was a much, much better He-Man story than Monster on the Mountain is. Unfortunately, SKELEWIN never made it to screen, but I am confident that anyone in their right mind would prefer to watch an episode about Skeletor and He-Man jointly presenting an arithmetic class than watching Monster on the Mountain. And so it is that I must sadly conclude that Monster on the Mountain does not have the Power.