Episode 026 – Ordeal in the Darklands

In which Evil-Lyn does some Photoshopping.

With Skeletor away for a few days on his annual trip to Butlins, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops have been left in charge. Evil-Lyn swiftly reveals that she plans to use Skeletor’s absence as an opportunity to conquer Eternia for herself, which she will do with the aid of the wizard Quor, Keeper of the Crimson Scourge. Tri-Klops points out that Quor is a peaceful man, but Evil-Lyn suggests that may change if he believes He-Man has kidnapped his daughter Meera.

Darklands 1

Accordingly, Tri-Klops heads to the Darklands, where he surprisingly efficiently kidnaps Meera, and takes her back to Snake Mountain. Subsequently, Evil-Lyn goes to see Quor and shows him some Photoshopped footage alleging to show He-Man and Man-at-Arms kidnapping Meera. Quor takes very little persuasion to determine that he must hunt He-Man down.

Over at the Palace, Teela tells Orko that she’s thinking of going to the Darklands for a few days, just to see if she’ll survive. Man-at-Arms, listening in on this conversation, tells Teela that it’s too dangerous, though he doesn’t point out that there seems to be no reason whatsoever for her proposed trip. Teela’s insane trip to the Darklands is comparable to Britain leaving the EU: pointless and dangerous.

Well, guess what, kiddoes? For the fifty millionth time, Teela decides that she doesn’t like people telling her what to do and sets off for the Darklands anyway. Orko follows her with the intention of keeping her safe, and I’m sure she’ll be very grateful. Naturally, it takes all of 10 seconds in the Darklands for Teela to be kidnapped by some odd blue people with shark fins on their heads, and Orko whizzes off to fetch the inevitable He-Man.

Darklands 2

Teela is taken before Quor, for whom the walking sharks appear to work. He is prepared to let her go, until he learns of her association with He-Man, after which she becomes He-Man bait. In the meantime, Man-at-Arms provides some exposition, explaining that years ago, the Red Scourge ran rampant across Eternia, but into every generation a Slayer is born. No, wait. Into every generation, a wizard is born, and currently it’s Quor who must contain the Scourge.

Once in the Darklands, He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Orko allow themselves to be captured and taken to Quor’s headquarters. Quor accuses our heroes of kidnapping Meera, but they quickly deduce that Evil-Lyn is to blame. Naturally enough, Quor won’t listen, so He-Man beats up some shark people, while Teela and Orko escape. They head straight to Snake Mountain, where they rescue Meera. I would be impressed at their achieving this without He-Man, if it weren’t for the fact that the only resistance they encounter is Tri-Klops saying, “Stop,” very unenthusiastically.

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In the meantime, Quor has teleported He-Man into a dungeon containing a massive red fire-breathing cat, which turns out to be the Crimson Scourge. He-Man spends the remainder of the episode carefully demolishing the wall of the dungeon brick by brick, which is odd given he’d normally just knock it down with a single punch. By the time he finally gets out, Teela and Orko have brought Meera home.

There’s just time for He-Man to have a quick barney with the Scourge, which he defeats by diverting a river at it. He uses his bare hands to divert the river. I’ll let you consider whether you think that would work, but my money’s on not. Then there’s apologies all round, from Teela for disobeying her father, and from Quor for being a tosser. The episode ends with Orko opening his hat, shaking a mechanical hand inside it, and then laughing like a complete maniac.

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In today’s adventure…

Teela and Man-at-Arms have a touching little dialogue in which Man-at-Arms reveals that parents usually have a good reason for refusing their little darlings anything. Teela claims that she should have listened to him in the first place, though we all know that we’ll see this moronic plot line again, probably next week. In addition, it’s not as if Teela being in the Darklands would have particularly affected anything in this story – Quor would still have thought He-Man was a kidnapper even if Teela hadn’t been prancing around. The real moral is that you shouldn’t listen to blatantly evil women when they show you doctored CCTV footage.

 

Characters appearing

This week treats us to the delights of Quor, Meera and the Red/Crimson Scourge, as well as the more regular appearances of Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops. And the shark-finned weirdos, who don’t get or deserve names.

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Excuse for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

No excuse today. Adam barely appears before turning into He-Man, and there’s only Man-at-Arms and Orko around when he transforms.

 

Insults

This one got off to a good start, with Evil-Lyn calling Tri-Klops a “coward” within the first minute or so, but there the insults stopped. Without Skeletor about, this perhaps isn’t surprising.

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s a pretty average outing this time. I can’t specifically remember, but I’m almost entirely certain we’ve seen Teela disobeying Man-at-Arms before, with tragic consequences, and as noted above, I’m sure it’ll happen again. It’s thus rather difficult to be invested in what is basically a cut-out-and-reuse plot line. Quor was all right, in that the episode went to great length to show that he was not evil, just deceived, and as such he’s a much better executed version of Malik from that Stone Mountain debacle a few weeks back. A tighter script might have benefitted things – everything was very slow to unfold, for one thing, and for another, no one seemed quite sure whether the Scourge was Red or Crimson, leading me to suspect there were a few careless rewrites. In short, I wouldn’t really recommend it, but if you like He-Man, you probably won’t be infuriated by it either.

Episode 008 – The Time Corridor

In which Skeletor fails to master the art of reverse psychology.

We open at Snake Mountain, where we discover that Skeletor has been indulging his weakness for buying tat on eBay. This week, he’s bought the Wheel of Infinity, which he claims is the key to destroying Castle Grayskull and ruling Eternia. He further reveals that he and his cronies (which this week include Tri-Klops and some vaguely dinosauresque fellow who’s graced with the name of Fang Man) are going back in time, to a point in Eternia’s history when there was no Castle Grayskull. He also – erroneously, as it turns out – says that He-Man won’t be able to stop them this time.

Time Corridor 1

In Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress summons Prince Adam, Man-at-Arms and Orko to tell them that Skeletor has returned to the past and is happily occupied building a fortress on the very spot that Castle Grayskull now stands. She also details Skeletor’s plot: if he starts the Wheel of Infinity spinning, it will get faster and faster and larger and larger until it destroys Castle Grayskull. This is a matter which requires He-Man’s immediate attention, and once he has transformed, our crowd head through a Time Corridor back to the past.

Once in Ancient Eternia, our heroes are greeted by some Ancient Eternians. He-Man speaks to them very slowly and patronisingly, but this doesn’t help, so instead he gets in a fight with the goofiest purple dragon I’ve ever seen. In the course of this fight, we discover that Man-at-Arms’ blasters don’t work and he is therefore even more useless than usual. We also discover that He-Man has a secret grudge against Battle-Cat, since he tries to order him to walk backwards into a pit, an irrational order which Battle-Cat ignores.

Time Corridor 2

Once this important business is settled, He-Man and co. make their way to Skeletor’s fortress. On finding it quiet, He-Man decides to rile Skeletor by threatening to turn the castle into toothpaste. Naturally, Skeletor is unable to ignore this threat, and a pitched battle ensues, in the course of which He-Man says that a battle club would make a good toothpick. In the end, Skeletor kidnaps one of those Ancient Eternians and explains that our heroes can either save Castle Grayskull, or save the Eternian from Dragasore Isle.

Well, of course, He-Man opts to go to Dragasore Isle, which contains a variety of interesting flora and fauna, including a plant which has elements of Venus fly traps and octopuses, and an animal which appears to be a pig-crab hybrid, as well as a lot more of those stupid purple dragons. On finally finding the Ancient Eternian, they find that she is in a cage which Skeletor claims will trap her “forever between time and space”. This is a transparent deception; He-Man bends the cage’s bars and out she comes.

Time Corridor 3

The Sorceress puts a stop to this pointless excursion by transporting our heroes back to Skeletor’s fortress, where it’s time for the final showdown. In the course of the battle, Skeletor sets the Wheel of Infinity spinning, which sends him into paroxysms of laughter and also leads him to utter the phrase, “At last, I’ve won!” which is so dementedly deluded that you almost feel sorry for him.

He-Man cannot stop the Wheel spinning, but he suggests that maybe he could speed it up. Skeletor, who is not a master of the art of reverse psychology, shouts, “No!!!!!!!!”, which is of course a cue for He-Man to do just that. The Wheel spins faster and faster, and is just about to explode when He-Man punches it, sending it flying to explode peacefully in the sky. Our heroes return to the present, upon which the Sorceress thanks He-Man, prompting him to smile in a very silly way.

Time Corridor 4

 

In today’s adventure…

He-Man explains that in real life, it’s not possible to travel back in time, but it is possible to learn from your past to make yourself a better person in the present. It’s a relatively sensible comment, spoiled only by He-Man finishing up by saying, “Until next time, this is He-Man, wishing you good health, and good luck,” which seems like a very strange way to sign off.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance:

There’s no excuse required today, since the only heroes involved are those who know the secret anyway.

Time Corridor 6

 

Characters appearing

A relatively small main cast today, with a fair number of supporting players. We have, of course, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Prince Adam, Cringer, Man-at-Arms, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor and Tri-Klops. I’m going to count Fang Man as a supporting character, because he never appears again. We also have a load of ancient Eternians, possibly with names.

 

Insults

There’s a bumper crop of insults this week, most of which involve the word ‘face’. He-Man calls the purple dragon “Worm-face”. The Ancient Eternians refer to Skeletor as “Ghost-face”, while He-Man prefers the slightly more accurate “Skull-face”.  Skeletor also gets a few vicious digs in at He-Man, calling him a fool twice – though on the first of these occasions, it is in response to He-Man’s nonsensical gibe about toothpaste, so it’s perfectly reasonable.

 

Egg on your face?

No eggs this week, but Orko is more than capable of working with other foodstuffs, and thus it is that Man-at-Arms is covered in chocolate cake. (Or at least that’s what I assume the badly animated brown cylinder thing is.)

Time Corridor 5

 

Does it have the Power?

Absolutely. It’s a little bit insane – I’m still a bit uncertain about how exactly Skeletor’s plan was supposed to work – but it’s super fun. There are some elements of the script which come across rather oddly, for example He-Man’s closing message, and the inexplicable obsession with dental care he develops in the middle of the episode. But Orko isn’t too annoying, we have the pleasure of seeing Skeletor come close to victory, and He-Man is at his most brazenly confident. If you fancy a good solid He-Man episode, this one is a strong choice.