Episode 127 – The Ancient Mirror of Avathar

In which Trapjaw chucks it all in to join the Royal Navy Reserves.

The episode opens with Adam introducing Moss-Man to Melaktha. I say Moss-Man is introduced to Melaktha, but in actual fact, Adam is clearly addressing the viewers, hoping to sell Moss-Man action figures. He even runs through Moss-Man’s special ability, which is to fall asleep and disguise himself as the nearest plant. I don’t see how this ability is ever going to help He-Man defeat Skeletor, but perhaps we’ll find out today.

Avathar 1
Melaktha: “Adam, how is this weird little leprechaun ever going to help?”

Moss-Man and Melaktha have joined Adam to go on a pleasure cruise to try to discover the ancient island continent of Avathar, which Melaktha is convinced is not a myth. Trapjaw has stowed away on their ship, disguising himself rather pathetically as a pirate, and he puts in a quick call to Evil-Lyn and Two-Bad at Snake Mountain to inform them that our heroes are searching for Avathar. They think Skeletor will be interested, but unless he needs a coursework topic for his GCSE in Archaeology, this seems unlikely to me.

Naturally, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to find the island of Avathar, and Melaktha gets straight into the archaeology – at least, when he’s not being pointlessly rude to Moss-Man. Investigating a demonic-looking statue, Melaktha unlocks a secret passage leading underground, which turns out to lead to the former museum of Avathar. Moss-Man strikes up a conversation with the moss on the walls, from which he learns that the Ancient Mirror of Avathar is hidden in a secret chamber.

Avathar 3
Prince Adam: “Thanks for the outing to the tackiest antique shop on Eternia, Melaktha.”

Our heroes find their way into the secret chamber with considerable ease, and gaze upon the Mirror. Adam asks what the Mirror is, at which point the Mirror wakes up and speaks to them. After ripping off the dialogue used by the Guardian of Forever in the famous Star Trek episode, it gets down to business and explains that it holds the entire knowledge of the former Avathar Empire. Adam and Melaktha immediately grab it and take it back aboard their ship, while Moss-Man loots all the other treasures in the museum. These people are not responsible archaeologists.

Trapjaw, still in his laughable pirate disguise, calls Snake Mountain again to give a progress update and to request instructions. Two-Bad, who seems to have taken an assertiveness course since his appearance last week, orders him to nick the Mirror and bring it to Snake Mountain. Trapjaw attempts to take advantage of a sudden thunderstorm to do just that, but due to his usual degree of incompetence, he is immediately discovered by Adam and Moss-Man.

Avathar 2
Two-Bad: “Worst snowglobe ever.”

Unfortunately, because of a subplot involving an idiot boy and his dad who live in a lighthouse, the ship is accidentally misguided onto some rocks, and runs aground. He-Man puts in an appearance to save the ship from sinking, then tows the ship safely to the docks. And then, to my distinct surprise, the episode ends, without making any kind of an attempt to wrap things up. It just stops.

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man treats us to a little lecture about how boring jobs are still worth doing. Various characters throughout the episode have had a weird obsession with this theme, so it comes as no surprise to find it trotted out as the moral.

Avathar 4
Lighthouse keeper: “Our jobs and lives are very very dull.”

 

Character checklist

This week, we have the pleasure of the company of Prince Adam, He-Man, Melaktha, Moss-Man, Trapjaw, Evil-Lyn, Two-Bad, the lighthouse keeper, the idiot boy, and a large number of sailors. Oh, and also the Mirror, obviously.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The first transformation comes when Adam in alone is a room, and so he doesn’t need to give an excuse. The second transformation equally comes with no excuse, and is noteworthy for Adam’s curious decision to turn into He-Man right in front of Trapjaw.

Avathar 5
Prince Adam: “Say there, sailor, you look a bit like Trapjaw. Unfortunate coincidence for you, I guess.”

 

Insults

Melaktha rudely refers to Moss-Man as Adam’s “green friend”, which is true but is definitely not meant politely. Two-Bad calls Trapjaw a “tin head”, but Trapjaw achieves a new low when he refers to himself as a “scurvy knave”.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s really, really odd. I’ve complained in the past about episodes not knowing what they wanted to do with themselves, but I’m struggling to think of an episode that’s quite as disjointed as this one. The plotlines battling for attention in this episode are:

  1. The quest for the Mirror, and the knowledge it can bestow. This one takes up quite a lot of the first half of the episode, and seems to be the main storyline, but once our heroes have acquired the Mirror and stashed it on the boat, it never appears again – except right at the end, when the lighthouse boy and his dad use it to reflect light at the ocean. Quite how they got their hands on the Mirror is not explained.
  2. As a subplot of the above, there’s Trapjaw trying to nick the Mirror. This is clearly just here to bulk the episode out, since it’s a plotline that goes absolutely nowhere and does nothing.
  3. The stupid boy in the lighthouse. After the quest for the Mirror, the episode decides it wants to focus on this individual, who is a pretty standard Filmation child. He doesn’t want to do the lighthouse job because it’s boring, so he goofs off, and ultimately discovers that he’s caused a disaster. Cue much hand-wringing, apologies, and forgiveness from his disappointed but understanding father.
  4. Melaktha’s odd prejudice towards Moss-Man. In the early part of the episode, Melaktha clearly hates Moss-Man’s guts, but he gets over this when Moss-Man saves his life.
Avathar 6
Mirror: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the oddest episode of them all?”

With all this going on, it’s plain that it’s not all going to get a fair showing. The Mirror plotline is particularly poorly served, since there’s a lot of build-up and excitement around the Mirror’s discovery, and then nothing at all happens. Trapjaw’s plotline could have been safely cut, and I’d have been happier if the lighthouse rubbish hadn’t been involved.

So all in all, it’s a bit of a mess, but – especially in the first half – an enjoyable one. It’s particularly good if you’re a massive Moss-Man fan; I’m sure there must be at least one of you out there.

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 072 – The Great Books Mystery

In which Skeletor makes friends with Eternia’s version of Batman.

As the episode opens, Orko is telling Teela and Man-at-Arms that he’s lost “a book about unicorns, with lots of pictures.” So far, so mental, but then Orko reveals that the book was intended for Prince Adam’s birthday. Unless it’s a large BBC Wildlife coffee table book, the implication is that Orko has a seriously low opinion of Adam’s intelligence. He could hardly have made it sound more childish if he’d referred to it as having rubber pages.

We are next treated to a return appearance of Professor Smullen, from Keeper of the Ancient Ruins, who informs King Randor that all the books in the kingdom have disappeared. Randor doesn’t believe him at first, suggesting idiotically that maybe Smullen has just lost them, but eventually agrees to get Adam and Man-at-Arms on the case.

Books 1
Prince Adam: “Me and Man-at-Arms enjoy staring at Professor Smullen with unwarranted contempt.”

The first thing on the agenda is, of course, a transformation into He-Man, following which a visit to the Sorceress is in order. The Sorceress yammers on about how books are worth more than gold. In the case of a Read-It-Yourself book I used to have called Jim Hedgehog’s Supernatural Christmas, that’s debatable, but still. She also reveals that the books can be found at the Temple of the Sun, a conclusion that Teela and Orko had already reached without the Sorceress’ help. So yet again, she’s not much use.

The villain of the piece is now revealed: a gentleman called Batros, who is a cheap knock-off of Batman, so cheap that he can only afford to wear Batman’s headpiece and a pair of blue underpants. Batros is deluded enough to believe that nicking Eternia’s books will somehow result in him being made Emperor. Skeletor becomes aware of this none-too-elaborate plot, and sends Beast-Man and Trapjaw out to capture Batros, in order to persuade him to work for Skeletor.

Books 2
Batros: “Welcome to the party, lads. Right, keys in the bowl, please.”

Once these two clowns arrive at the Temple of the Sun, Batros agrees to go to see Skeletor. Beast-Man leads the way, leaving Teela and Orko to have a fight with Trapjaw, a fight into which Trapjaw puts absolutely zero effort and winds up tied to the rafters. They then head off to report the location of the books, and warn He-Man that Skeletor is peripherally involved.

At Snake Mountain, Batros and Skeletor indulge in a few pleasantries, bonding over some unkind remarks at Beast-Man’s expense. However, things get a little nastier moments later when Batros reveals he considers Skeletor might work for him, whereas Skeletor feels the inverse would be more satisfactory. Skeletor gets the better of the discussion, and Batros agrees to help him conquer Castle Grayskull.

Books 3
Skeletor: “Now, Batros, please don’t prove to be so rubbish that you end up never appearing again.”

He-Man re-enters the episode at this point, having been absent for some length of time. He seems to have spent this time travelling from Grayskull to the Temple of the Sun, and once he gets there, he immediately receives word that Skeletor and Batros are going to attack Grayskull, meaning he’ll have to go all the way back. He-Man isn’t one to say things like, “For Christ’s sake,” but there’s something of a dangerous edge to his voice when he says, “I’ll go there at once.”

He arrives just in time to do a meet-and-greet with Skeletor, who instantly decides to run away. Batros puts up slightly more resistance, but quickly finds himself thrown off to the other side of the planet. It subsequently emerges that Skeletor has occupied himself in taking the books from the Temple to Snake Mountain, necessitating a trip to get them back. Once this is over, it’s time for Adam’s birthday, where he gets his rubber unicorn book and for no readily apparent reason claims that this is the best birthday of his life.

 

In today’s adventure…

Well, bugger me sideways if today’s moral doesn’t inform us that books are great, because you can use them to find out about subjects including but presumably not limited to science, dragons, sports and bodybuilding. While I agree that books are great, it wasn’t really demonstrated in the episode – perhaps if a problem had been solved by use of a book, the link might have been clearer. As it stands, I’d say the main moral is if you’re going to dress up as Batman, you should put in the effort to buy the whole costume.

Books 4
Orko: “If I point meaningfully at these books, no one will realise I can’t read.”

 

Character checklist

Popping out from their padded cells for today’s little excursion are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, the Sorceress, Professor Smullen, Batros, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Mer-Man and Tri-Klops.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

“Excuse me. I have something important to do,” says Adam vaguely, and wanders off. Randor looks sadly after him, bemoaning the fact that Adam doesn’t take the books problem seriously – but nonetheless, he doesn’t think to inquire what Adam’s important something is. I genuinely wonder sometimes if everyone on Eternia, and King Randor in particular, is brain-dead.

 

Insults

Skeletor is in a foul mood this week, especially with Beast-Man, referring to him variously as a “worthless hunk of fur”, a “dummy”, and a “furbag”. He also makes the slightly more subtle comment to Beast-Man that, “Unlike you, Batros has a brain.” Elsewhere, Skeletor finds time to call Battle-Cat a “stupid beast”, with perfect sneering disdain.

Batros considers that Teela and Orko are “fools” and that Trapjaw is a “rust-head”. Orko thinks Batros is a “bat-brain”, and Trapjaw summons up sufficient wit to call Orko a “little pest”. This is a surprisingly frequent insult for Orko, perhaps because it’s true.

Books 5
Trapjaw: “This is literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s not really a Great Books Mystery, since we find out very quickly who’s nicked the books and where they’ve put them; it’s more of a Great Argument About Some Books. Despite pointless quibbling about the title, though, the episode is a good, solid adventure romp, and it was nice to see Skeletor actually going to try to break into Castle Grayskull again, for the first time in absolutely ages. Batros was a passable villain but ultimately couldn’t hold a candle to Skeletor, and frankly his scheme of “nick books, become Emperor” needed a bit of fleshing out. Overall, I’d call this episode pretty strong, and definitely better than last week’s drivel, but unlikely to make anyone’s Top Ten.

Episode 047 – Keeper of the Ancient Ruins

In which He-Man throws a whirlwind into a pit.

It’s that time again, boys and girls, for our weekly catch-up with Eternia’s best and brightest. This week, we find Man-at-Arms has come on an archaeology trip with a very small man called Professor Smullen, to a ruined city in the desert. Professor Smullen very quickly locates the Book of Ancient Eternia, which has been lost for centuries, but Man-at-Arms is only interested in having his dinner. The pair then come under attack by Zactons – helpfully expositioned by Smullen as thousand year old robots.

keeper-1
Man-at-Arms: “Get on with it, Smullen, it’s sausages for tea today.”

The Zactons, however, have made the mistake of attacking while there was an open radio link to the Palace, which means that Adam, Teela and Cringer hop in the Wind Raider forthwith to come to the rescue. Unfortunately, a serious thunderstorm forces them to crash land in a cave near to the ancient city, a crash landing in which Teela is conveniently knocked out long enough for Adam to turn into He-Man.

Teela has sustained a head injury, and He-Man rather hilariously shouts, “Help me, Sorceress, I need wisdom – wisdom that matches my strength,” essentially admitting that he’s just a muscle-bound moron. In response to He-Man’s plea, the Sorceress sends the scariest-looking rooster I’ve ever seen to cure Teela with its freaky glowing eyes. While the demented rooster looks after Teela, He-Man and Battle-Cat head out to find Man-at-Arms and Smullen.

keeper-2
He-Man: “Well, this is new.”

En route, they get caught in a whirlwind. He-Man’s solution to this is to carve a circular hole in the ground, into which the whirlwind falls. Honestly. I know that this programme is utterly implausible at the best of times and that I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but this is genuinely insane. What with this and the rooster, this feels like the sort of stupid He-Man episode you’d make up in your dreams.

In the meantime, Man-at-Arms has been trying to appease the Zactons by showing them his food synthesiser, which is a little bit weird, if you ask me. Smullen has a better idea by trying to persuade the Zactons that they were not intending to steal the treasures of the ancient city. Luckily, one of the Zactons falls over, and Man-at-Arms offers to fix it, thus proving his honourable nature. This is nearly ruined when He-Man blunders in waving his sword around, but he is quickly talked out of doing any damage.

At this point Trapjaw – who has rather aimlessly been floating around the periphery of the episode – makes his grand entrance, capturing Teela and rather ambitiously claiming he wants to take everyone prisoner as a present for Skeletor. As I’m sure you can guess, this doesn’t work out very well for Trapjaw, and he winds up shot by the Zactons’ freeze ray, then once again carted off to the prison mines.

keeper-3
He-Man: “Why do you even bother, Trapjaw?”

Man-at-Arms and Smullen decide to turn the ancient city into a museum for all Eternians to see the treasures, a prospect that makes the Zactons weep with joy, despite them being robots. As the episode ends, Teela attempts to summarise the events for Adam. She is not one of the world’s best storytellers, managing simply, “There were all these treasures, and then Trapjaw showed up!” I wrote better stories than that when I was four.

 

In today’s adventure …

He-Man shows up with the pearl of wisdom that museums are storehouses of knowledge, and since knowledge is power, if you go to a museum, you can get the power. As he earnestly utters this tripe, the camera slowly and disconcertingly zooms in on his face. Once the camera is sufficiently close, He-Man fixes us with a stare that implies he’s deeply disappointed in us.

keeper-4
He-Man: “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.”

 

Character checklist

Our main cast today consists of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Professor Smullen and Trapjaw. There’s cameo appearances from Orko and the Sorceress, and lest you forget, there is also a giant inexplicable rooster.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Once the adventure is over, Teela demands to know where Adam and Cringer went. Cringer claims that they have been fixing the Wind Raider, which is the most ludicrous excuse ever, given that Teela was with the Wind Raider for the entire time she was being cured by the flaming-eyed rooster, and Adam and Cringer were clearly not there then. Teela nonetheless accepts this excuse, idiot that she is.

keeper-5
Adam: “I reckon we can get away without even trying for a sensible excuse this week, Cringer. Teela probably thinks she’s gone insane anyway, thanks to that ridiculous rooster.”

 

Insults

Despite a promising shot of Snake Mountain, leading me to imagine that Skeletor would feature, we get only Trapjaw, for whom insults are not a strong suit. Though admittedly, nothing is a strong suit for Trapjaw.

 

Egg on your face?

Right, okay. This is just downright odd. It isn’t an egg – or any other foodstuff – on anyone’s face, but it is a magic trick by Orko and it does apparently go wrong. Orko conjures up a basket of fruit and gives an apple to Cringer. Cringer greedily gobbles it up and then complains, “Orko – that apple was green!” as if this is a bad thing. Surely – SURELY – the writers of He-Man knew that apples could be both green and red? Cringer continues to complain about the apple throughout the rest of the episode, as if the writers wanted to continually remind us that they’re mental.

keeper-6
Orko: “Yes, Cringer, apples can be green, you complete spoon.”

 

Does it have the Power?

I think I’ll come down on the side of no. The story is fine, if not enormously compelling, but there’s just so many really strange bits in this episode that I’m almost convinced it was a piss-take first-draft that accidentally managed to get made into an actual episode. Cringer and the apple, Trapjaw’s fairly random appearance, the giant rooster with glowing eyes, Man-at-Arms’ minor obsession with his food synthesiser, and most of all, the bit where the whirlwind falls down a hole – all these things are crazy on their own, and here they’re mixed together into a great big saucepan of mental. The only reason to watch it is so you can exclaim, “What the hell did I just see?”

Episode 040 – House of Shokoti, Part 1

In which Ram-Man dispenses his infamously demented moral.

The Sorceress summons He-Man and Battle-Cat to Castle Grayskull, with disturbing news. Apparently, a merchant reported that a pyramid has risen out of the desert near the Fortress of the Sands, but when men from the Fortress went to investigate, there was no pyramid there. The Sorceress feels that this is due to some ancient evil, discounting the possibility that it’s due to an idiot merchant playing a none-too-amusing joke.

He-Man and Battle-Cat head off to check out this mysterious pyramid, taking with them Orko and Ram-Man, who are most definitely the B-team: Man-at-Arms and Teela are allegedly off chasing space pirates, so they’re not available. Arriving at the Fortress of the Sands, our intrepid heroes find that it is under attack by giant metal spiders, which He-Man recognises as being Trapjaw’s inventions.

Shokoti 1

Getting involved, He-Man defeats one of the spiders, while Ram-Man surprisingly takes out the other two. Trapjaw watches on a screen, getting told off by a mysterious figure in a brown outfit, referred to by Trapjaw as Mask. He-Man salvages a control box from one of the spiders and sets the homing beacon, leading him straight to Trapjaw’s lair.

After eavesdropping for a time and learning that Mask is working for a mistress whose aim is to awaken a Sleeping Beast, He-Man intervenes. Once again, it’s Ram-Man who claims the victory, incapacitating Trapjaw with a well-timed ramming of a spider. On the other hand, Mask escapes, and He-Man doesn’t bother to interrogate Trapjaw, instead opting to turn back into Adam and head back to the Royal Palace to pick up the royal archaeologist Melaktha and his apprentice, Stanlin.

Shokoti 2

Arriving in the desert village of Kalysh, our heroes hire a guide, who is of course Mask in disguise. Overnight, Mask sabotages the party’s vehicles and makes arrangements with a bunch of humanoid lizards to capture the group on the following evening. Naturally, this plot doesn’t go down quite as planned, with He-Man quickly putting in an appearance and despatching the lizards.

Unfortunately, the lizard attack has served one purpose: acting as a distraction while Mask stands there waving his hands around, raising the pyramid from the sands. Orko tries to stop him, seizing the mask from his face, which gives Orko a bad case of glowing yellow outline disease. He-Man gets involved again and cuts Mask’s mask in half, leading Mask to shrivel and dissolve like the Lord of the Nazgul.

Shokoti 3

In the morning, Orko is sent back to the Sorceress to be healed, hopefully meaning his part in this story is over. Melaktha happily proclaims that with Mask gone, the pyramid should be safe to explore, to which Adam ominously replies, “I hope you’re right…” Given there’s a Part 2, I think we can safely conclude that Melaktha is not right.

 

In today’s adventure …

I don’t quite know what to say about this. I understand that this being Part 1 of an adventure, it may be difficult to really work in some kind of moral lesson into the episode without giving the end away … but still, I’m sure they could have done better than having Ram-Man show up to say, and I quote, “Ramming things may look like fun, but it really isn’t. It’s not only dangerous, it’s dumb.”

Shokoti 4

Well, Ram-Man, I have news for you. Ramming things does not look like fun. It never looked like fun, even when I was the target audience at the tender age of 4. This is because I didn’t want to be Ram-Man. No one wants to be Ram-Man. They want to be He-Man. And He-Man does not ram things with his head. So, thanks for the advice, but frankly, even 2 year olds have this one down.

I am convinced the writers must have been taking the piss. If they weren’t, I’m genuinely worried for them.

 

Characters appearing

We are graced with a large number of characters this week – Prince Adam, He-Man, Cringer, Battle-Cat, Orko, Ram-Man, Melaktha, Stanlin, the Sorceress, Mask and Trapjaw. You can also count a very brief, cliff-hangery appearance from the eponymous Shokoti, if you like.

 

Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam undergoes the transformation into He-Man three times in the course of this episode (though thankfully twice off-screen, so we only have to sit through the stock animation once), but not once does he try to explain himself. In fairness, each He-Man appearance is so brief that it is believable that Adam is simply cowering inside the tent.

Shokoti 5

 

Insults

Insults abound this week, most of them aimed at Trapjaw, who is referred to as an “incompetent fool” by Mask, and as “Metal-mouth” by He-Man. He-Man also calls him “Trappy”, and while this sounds more like a pet name, I’ve never spotted any particular affection between He-Man and Trapjaw, so we’ll chalk it up as an insult.

Elsewhere, Orko tells Adam that Cringer is a “dumb kitty”, to which Cringer responds with equal vehemence that Orko is “dumb” and so is his magic hoop. He-Man calls one of the humanoid lizards a “Scale-face”, and Orko puts in a poor effort by saying Mask has a “funny face”.

Shokoti 6

 

Does it have the Power?

Without having watched Part 2 yet, I’m happy to give this episode a cautious thumbs-up. There’s a few bits that could have been better thought out, such as why Mask bothers sabotaging the expedition’s vehicle when he actively wants them to reach the pyramid so he can give them to his mistress, and obviously the moral should never have made it past the first draft. I’m also rather suspicious that the episode doesn’t actually need to be a two-parter: I very much doubt we were given any information this week that will be relevant next time.

On the good side, Mask was quite an interesting villain, and possibly unique in He-Man for actually being killed. Melaktha comments that he was more of a “shadow of evil” than a person, but I don’t imagine that excuse would stand up in court. I enjoyed Trapjaw’s appearance as a sort of evil-inventor-for-hire, and I am happy to eat my words from a few weeks back and report that Melaktha is a positive black role model.

So join me next week for the no-doubt thrilling conclusion – unless of course you spend the week ramming things with your head.