Episode 087 – Things That Go Bump in the Night

In which the new boy on Skeletor’s team proves less than impressive.

On King Randor’s birthday, Orko decides to indulge in an extended showcase to demonstrate just how irritating he can be. After a less than amusing magic trick, he accidentally but dementedly steals the King’s birthday present – a new Stratoblaster. Unfortunately, this isn’t a weapon designed to kill Stratos; it’s a plane of some sort. As luck and the script would have it, the Stratoblaster heads straight for Snake Mountain, with Orko trapped inside.

Teela and Man-at-Arms follow in the Wind Raider, and are on hand to pick Orko up when he crashes the Stratoblaster. Before they can escape, however, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Clawful find them – as does Skeletor’s new apprentice, a young boy called Glitch who is already regretting signing up. Unfortunately for Skeletor, He-Man is also on the scene, which results in immediate defeat for Skeletor and his collection of no-hopers.

Bump 1
Evil-Lyn: “Everyone here except me is stunningly incompetent.”

Inside Snake Mountain, Skeletor berates his followers, and finishes up by expelling Glitch from the gang. After being thrown out of Skeletor HQ, Glitch is found by Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and Adam, who are still dossing around outside trying to fix the Stratoblaster. Glitch introduces himself as the son of the King of Selassia and begs for a lift out of the vicinity, but tellingly he doesn’t explain what he was doing there in the first place.

At the Palace, Glitch demonstrates that he has a super attitude problem, so Adam decides to try to get to know him better by taking him out to the forest to shoot crossbows. Once this bizarre attempt at a male bonding ritual is over, Glitch readily explains to Adam that he is a coward, and joined Skeletor’s crew to try to overcome his fears. Adam dismissively comments, “Well, that didn’t work,” thus in one short sentence managing to imply that Glitch is not only still a coward, he’s an idiot as well.

Bump 2
Adam: “Glitch, don’t take this the wrong way, but your animation style makes it look like you belong in another cartoon altogether.”

Nonetheless, when seconds later Adam is incapacitated by an evil plant, Glitch summons sufficient courage to head through the forest by himself to fetch help from Man-at-Arms and Teela. Of course, by the time he gets back, Adam has long since turned into He-Man, tied the plant in a knot, and departed. Luckily, he shows up again mere seconds later as Adam, before Man-at-Arms and Teela can accuse Glitch of being not only a coward and an idiot, but a liar as well.

Meanwhile, at Snake Mountain, Skeletor receives a visit from the King of Selassia, who demands the return of his son. Knowing that the Selassians come from another world and have little knowledge of Eternia, Skeletor explains that the evil King Randor is likely to have kidnapped Glitch, and points the King in the direction of the Palace.

Bump 3
Skeletor: “Jazz hands!”

When the Selassians fly their spaceship directly over the Palace and encircle it with rock stalagmites, Adam decides that the third transformation of the episode is in order. Glitch explains to his father that the Eternians are his friends, and realising that his treachery has been unmasked, Skeletor hijacks the Selassian ship. However, thanks to Glitch’s newfound courage, Skeletor is defeated, and the Selassians depart – notably without apologising for the attack on the Palace.

 

In today’s adventure…

Adam suggests a variety of things that maybe we could be afraid of, including water, heights, the dark, fire and the fairly general getting hurt. He explains, however, that fear is likely to prevent us from something bad happening, so it’s nothing to be concerned about. He then adds, rather strongly, that only a fool is afraid of nothing. Incidentally, I’m pretty confident that He-Man is afraid of nothing.

 

Character checklist

Well, the guest star is of course Glitch, and his dad is a one-shot character too. Otherwise, it’s just the regulars: Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Clawful and Evil-Lyn.

Bump 5
The King of Selassia: “Always look at your enemies sternly, Glitch. Don’t look at them like you’re a moron.”

 

Insults

There was a moment near the start when I thought Skeletor was referring to Glitch as “bitch”, but even for someone as unhinged from reality as I am, that did seem unlikely. He definitely does call Glitch a “fool”, though that’s hardly unprecedented, and he also considers Glitch a “miserable wimp”. Skeletor is very proud of the phrase “snivelling coward”, using it three times to describe Glitch, and on the first of these occasions it also encompasses Clawful and Evil-Lyn. Clawful comes off fairly badly from Skeletor’s zingers, also receiving a “fool” and a slightly unexpected “fishmonger”. Skeletor then refers to He-Man as a “muscle-bound meddler”. He finally gets his comeuppance when the King of Selassia calls him a “deceitful blaggard”. I bet that hurt.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Three transformations this episode provide rich pickings for feeble excuses. On the first occasion, Adam says, “You go ahead, I’ll, uh, catch up later,” which is bad enough, but his attempt on the third transformation is nothing short of pitiful: “If you’ll excuse me, I’ll, uh.”

 

Egg on your face?

Less than a minute of this episode passes before Orko deliberately drops a 1 ton weight onto a birthday cake, resulting in Man-at-Arms, Teela, Adam, King Randor and Queen Marlena all being covered in chocolate. This sort of thing never grows old. I half wonder sometimes why they didn’t simply make 130 episodes of 20 minutes of Orko throwing food at people.

Bump 4
Orko: “An opportunity to be annoying? Let me at it!”

 

Does it have the Power?

It starts very badly indeed. Orko’s failing magic trick followed by his accidental joyride in the Stratoblaster led me to expect one of those awful ‘Orko feels sorry for himself’ episodes. Luckily, this angle was dropped as soon as it began to rear its head, and instead veered off along a plotline that I don’t recall seeing before: someone signing up to Skeletor’s crew and becoming disillusioned. Glitch isn’t dreadfully irritating, and his journey from coward to hero is believable.

The real highlight, though, is once again Skeletor. He’s got no overall plan this week, simply reacting to whatever comes along: he tries to capture Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko at the start, just for the hell of it, and his nimble act of deception when the King of Selassia shows up is a joy to behold. There’s also a brilliant moment when he is watching Glitch on his globe, laughing ridiculously hard and thumping his fist, ending up breaking the globe. Skeletor’s immediate reaction is to shriek, “Clawful, you fool! Now look what you’ve done!”

The only criticism I have of the whole thing is Queen Marlena’s voice. Either the normal actress wasn’t available, or she had forgotten how to do it, because it was really inconsistent with every other episode in which Marlena appears. That’s certainly not a deal breaker though. In summary, this isn’t the best of the series, but it’s a very watchable instalment.

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