Episode 066 – The Cat and the Spider

In which He-Man learns about cultural vandalism the hard way.

Adam and the royal archaeologist, Melaktha, have discovered an ancient temple in the jungle, a temple that used to belong to a race of Cat People, now believed extinct. As they explore the temple, Melaktha steps onto an extremely obvious trapdoor and falls into a pit, the walls of which begin to close in around him.

Luckily, Melaktha has been knocked unconscious, so Adam can turn into He-Man without being detected. Once Melaktha is rescued, He-Man takes him outside and opts to steal all the glory by exploring the temple himself. As he does so, he engages in some serious historical vandalism, destroying the floors and walls of the temple to allow himself easier access. I bet when Melaktha finds out, he won’t be pleased.

Cat 1
He-Man: “If only it were still the 19th century, the British Museum would pay me handsomely for stolen antiquities.”

He-Man works his way through to the temple’s inner sanctum, where he loots a small jade cat statue. Turning back into Adam, he returns to Melaktha, who voices his intention of studying the statue in greater depth at the Palace. Eavesdropping outside is a Cat Person, who runs off to the King of the Cat People to alert him to the theft of the statue of the Grimalkin. The King sends a sexy Cat Woman called Katrina to recover the statue.

Skeletor is watching on his spy-globe, and decides relatively randomly that he would like the statue for himself, and sends his new mate Webstor off to the Palace to get it. Both Webstor and Katrina arrive in time to have a tussle with Teela; Webstor is the ultimate victor, departing with the statue. As He-Man gives chase in the stupid robotic chicken vehicle that we last saw way back in Orko’s Favourite Uncle, Katrina tells Teela that the statue has the power to release a monster called a Grimalkin.

Cat 2
Skeletor: “I’ll just check my order, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t want this tacky cat statue from my Tesco online shopping.”

Webstor delivers the statue into Skeletor’s bony blue hands, and Skeletor occupies himself reading books trying to work out what powers the statue might have. He is interrupted by the burglar alarm, which has been set off by He-Man and Battle-Cat casually walking into Snake Mountain. To my distinct surprise, Skeletor manages to capture Battle-Cat in a pit and knock He-Man out, but he then makes the mistake of simply putting He-Man in a forcefield cage.

Battle-Cat digs his way out of the pit, emerging outside Snake Mountain where he meets Katrina, who refers to him as “big boy” and offers her help. As these feline friends rescue He-Man, Skeletor gives up on his books and just pumps power into the statue, resulting in his unleashing the Grimalkin, a gigantic demon which not surprisingly fails to acknowledge Skeletor’s authority.

Cat 4
Grimalkin: “Where’s my breakfast?”

The Grimalkin grows to such a size that it bursts through the walls of Snake Mountain, emerging into the open. Katrina reveals that only the power of the storm can stop the Grimalkin, so He-Man finds a handy salt deposit, pausing only to indulge in a quick science lesson and explain that when salt particles are introduced to moisture-laden clouds, rain is produced. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it certainly works here when He-Man hurls a massive block of salt into a cloud.

The rain seems only to aggravate the Grimalkin, so He-Man uses another power of the storm: specifically, he uses himself as a lightning rod to channel electricity onto the demon. This produces the desired effect, and the Grimalkin shrinks back into its statue form. The episode ends with Katrina promising to come back and see that handsome fellow Battle-Cat again someday.

Cat 5
Katrina: “My heavily implied sexual interest in Battle-Cat raises some disturbing anatomical questions.”

 

In today’s adventure…

Katrina and Adam deliver today’s moral, which is exactly the same as last week’s moral: don’t judge other people on how they look, or by their race or religion. It’s slightly tenuous this week, linked into the story by saying that Katrina didn’t trust the people of Eternia because they looked different – but I’d say she didn’t trust them because they broke into her temple and stole her statue. On the other hand, I don’t think a moral segment saying “don’t loot archaeological digs” would have been enormously relevant to the episode’s intended audience.

 

Character checklist

Our first season two outing treats us to appearances from Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Melaktha, Skeletor, Webstor, Katrina, the King of the Cat People, a random Cat Person, and the Grimalkin.

Cat 3
Teela: “Not tonight, He-Man, I’m a bit put off by the mental image of Battle-Cat and Katrina getting it on.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“He’s safe,” He-Man reassures Melaktha. This seems to be He-Man’s favourite excuse, and to be fair, it does seem to work every time, but only because everybody on Eternia is completely witless.

 

Insults

Everyone’s favourite inexplicably muscle-y skeleton is up to his old tricks again, shrieking out insults every other sentence. Today, he calls Webstor a “spider brain” and twice calls him a “bug face”, and also dishes out “fool” and “muscle-bound buffoon” to He-Man. Webstor doesn’t take this abuse lying down, though only manages the ineffectual “bony” in retaliation. He-Man similarly doesn’t seem to have his heart in it when he offers “bonehead”. Elsewhere, Katrina and Webstor get in a slanging match, referring to each other respectively as “furball” and “spider breath”.

Cat 6
Webstor: “I’m just hanging around. Pretty confident no one’s ever made that joke about me before.”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the first He-Man episode that I saw as an adult, so it has a special place in my heart as the one that started me off rediscovering this magical series. Even looking at it objectively, I think it’s a pretty good episode, though I don’t think it would make anyone’s top ten list. It’s Skeletor – as usual – who steals the show, lighting up every scene in which he appears with random outbursts of unpleasantness. The mystery of the apparently abandoned temple at the beginning is nicely atmospheric, and the use of the storm to defeat the Grimalkin at the end is pleasingly demented. Katrina is a well-drawn character, and it’s funny – and logical – to see her being interested in Battle-Cat rather than He-Man. In short, it’s certainly worth a watch.