Episode 105 – No Job too Small

In which Panthor learns that Prince Adam and He-Man are one and the same.

In Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Whiplash are gathered miserably round the spyglobe. Skeletor has gone away for a weekend break in Skegness, but before going, he has instructed his employees not to do anything to aggravate He-Man. However, on learning from the spyglobe that King Randor is sending Prince Adam to Phantos (last seen in the early disappointing effort She-Demon of Phantos), Evil-Lyn decides to disregard Skeletor’s orders, and forms an ill-advised plan to kidnap Adam.

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Prince Adam: “My gearstick is absolutely enormous, Teela.”

Arriving on Phantos, Adam, Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko indulge in a spot of sightseeing in the Phantosian desert. After talking in a ridiculously high-pitched voice for no apparent reason, Adam decides to make things easier for his kidnappers by wandering out of sight of his friends. Evil-Lyn doesn’t capitalise on this opportunity though, instead choosing to wake some dinosaurs up, who chase our heroes around for a while, until He-Man shows up to deal with them.

With He-Man occupied with the dinosaurs, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Whiplash successfully kidnap Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko and take them back to Snake Mountain. Once there, Evil-Lyn makes the unexpected decision to use her new invention – the Reducto Ray – to shrink our heroes so they’re only about a foot high. She offers absolutely no explanation for this behaviour, though in fairness He-Man breaks into Snake Mountain and interrupts before she can finish gloating.

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Teela: “There’s got to be some pun here about being too big for your boots.”

Evil-Lyn somehow has time to set up an elaborate trap, involving boulders, the Reducto Ray and a cage containing the miniature heroes. She and Beast-Man then proudly explain how the trap works, in the belief that it leaves He-Man completely unable to save his friends. Evil-Lyn offers to release her prisoners in exchange for the surrender of Eternia, so He-Man is sent off to check whether this would be acceptable to King Randor. Knowing King Randor’s usual idiocy, he’ll probably agree.

Once He-Man has gone, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and Whiplash stand around laughing evilly for ages, then go off to have a party to celebrate the imminent surrender of Eternia. They’ll be waiting a while though: instead of going to Randor, He-Man has nipped behind a rock, turned back into Adam, and re-entered Snake Mountain. His reasoning is that for this conundrum, he needs brains rather than muscles. I have to say that He-Man – despite looking like a complete moron – has in the past demonstrated some reasonable degree of brainpower. Moreover, Adam’s allegedly “brainy” solution to the problem is to use the Reducto Ray on himself so that he is also tiny.

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Prince Adam: “This escapade will guarantee me a guest spot in Honey I Shrunk the Kids.”

Once he has conferred this dubious benefit on himself, Adam manages to release his friends from the cage. He then successfully restores them all to their original size, and quickly ushers his friends out of the room, with the vague promise that he’ll catch up later. He then transforms back into He-Man, with no evident purpose other than to use the Reducto Ray on Panthor, Beast-Man and Whiplash and to taunt Evil-Lyn.


In today’s adventure…

Man-at-Arms explains that muscle power is all very well, but imagination and inventiveness are much better. He advises us to exercise our bodies to become strong, but also to exercise our minds by reading books and doing our homework. And, presumably, by not watching cartoons like this one.


Character checklist

On Team Goody, we’ve got Prince Adam, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, and a big guy called Mishy or something similar. On Team Baddy, there’s Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man, Whiplash and Panthor.

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Prince Adam: “No, Mishy, you may not have any lines.”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

He-Man can’t be bothered to offer an excuse this week, and leaves it to Man-at-Arms, who manages the pathetic, “Don’t worry, Teela, I’m sure he’s okay.”



Evil-Lyn gets the obligatory “fool” out of the way early on, addressing Beast-Man. Beast-Man retaliates with “foolish witch”, and then refers to He-Man as “that cursed He-Man”, and I must say it was quite a surprise to discover that his vocabulary stretches that far. Evil-Lyn mockingly calls Orko “little one” twice, and He-Man refers to Skeletor as Evil-Lyn’s “misguided master”, which was a quite pleasing use of alliteration. A less pleasing alliterative insult from He-Man to Beast-Man was “beast-brain”, which is not particularly original by this stage of the series. Finally, Teela calls Orko a “silly little thing”, which was plainly meant to be affectionate, but I prefer to interpret it as vicious.


Does it have the Power?

I really enjoyed this episode. Evil-Lyn has rarely been better: she’s intelligent and very unpleasant, and her voice work and animation combined to portray her as a purring, seductive villainess. Her one error was her odd decision to leave her prisoners unguarded while she went off to have a party; overconfidence is always the downfall of Eternian baddies.

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Evil-Lyn: “I’m going to have a party. And no, He-Man, you’re not invited.”

The notion of a perfectly balanced trap that could not be solved with muscle power was a good idea; lately, there have been quite a few episodes that have tried to mess with the formula by making He-Man helpless one way or another (in Hunt for He-Man, he was poisoned and in need of medicine, and in Not So Blind, he was struck blind), which suggests the writers were getting bored of a hero who can defeat everything easily. This week’s move in that direction was particularly inventive. My quibble is – as mentioned above – He-Man has just as many brains as Adam, so it wasn’t really necessary for him to turn back, and it actually led to some clunky dialogue later as Adam tried to explain the constant interchange between himself and He-Man.

One final point – Adam transforms into He-Man right in front of Panthor this week. Since Panthor can’t speak, it must be hugely frustrating for him to know this secret and not be able to tell Skeletor! So that’s something on which to ponder as you enjoy this instalment.

Episode 078 – Betrayal of Stratos

In which Skeletor demonstrates an unexpected desire to learn how to fly.

I’m very much hoping that this will be an episode about Stratos betraying He-Man and turning evil, so He-Man can finally punch his stupid goggled face. Unfortunately, it seems far more likely that it will actually be about someone betraying Stratos, especially since the episode begins with Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw and Tri-Klops attacking Stratos’ home of Avion, and someone has destroyed the defensive shield generator.

The bird people see Skeletor’s attack off easily anyway, while Stratos attempts to repair the shield generator. Hawk, a bird woman with a suspiciously evil voice, finds Stratos making the repairs, and interprets this as meaning that Stratos must have been responsible for the sabotage. The bird people put Stratos on trial, and dismissing his absolutely pathetic attempts to defend himself, sentence him to exile.

Betrayal 1
Stratos: “Come on guys, you may all look the same, but you don’t have to dress the same too.”

Like an idiot, Stratos’ next move is to land for a rest in the nest of an enormous flying monster, which means that He-Man has to get involved. He-Man sees off the monster by throwing some melons at it, then listens to Stratos’ story and decides that he and Orko will help Stratos to unmask the real culprit.

Meanwhile, Skeletor and his army return to Avion, and the bird people discover that now their guns have been sabotaged as well. This means two things: firstly, Stratos couldn’t possibly be the saboteur, and secondly and more importantly, Skeletor is able to steal the Egg of Avion, which is a ridiculous item that will apparently allow Skeletor to grow wings. Exactly how he thinks this will help him is beyond me, given he’s already got a wide range of flying machines. Maybe it’s just for the sheer joy of feeling the wind between his feathers. Anyway, since I suspect his plot won’t reach that stage, it doesn’t matter too much.

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Skeletor: “This is going to net me so many points in the Eternian Easter Egg Hunt this year.”

Learning of the loss of the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Orko go to see the Sorceress, who says that Skeletor will have hidden the Egg in the Demon Zone. The Demon Zone is apparently the home of Whiplash, and it can only be entered through a door in the Mountains of Doom (or possibly Mountains of Dune; I tend to stop paying attention whenever the Sorceress is talking). Oddly, it transpires that the door can only be opened twice a year, which means that given his excessive presence in recent episodes, Whiplash probably can’t go home all that often.

When they reach the door, He-Man and Stratos enter like normal people but Orko manages to be so slow that he gets left outside. Given the door’s limit of two openings per year, I’d guess this means He-Man and Stratos are now trapped in the Demon Zone till next year – the door must have been opened once already to allow the Egg to come in. I am fully prepared for this logical conclusion to be ignored.

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Orko: “It’s a shame I’m so stupid I can’t even go through a door successfully.”

Sure enough, in the very next scene, the door opens again, as Whiplash sends a snake out to deal with Orko, which leads to a genuinely amusing scene as the snake chases Orko around the forest. In the meantime, He-Man and Stratos confront Whiplash, who finds himself tied to a pole by his tail. I think Whiplash has quite a sad time really. That tail is too easy a target.

He-Man and Stratos then find Hawk in a cage, who admits to sabotaging the shields and to bringing the Egg to the Demon Zone, where instead of the riches she was promised, she was imprisoned. Stratos starts gleefully rejoicing in Hawk’s downfall, but He-Man releases her with his trademark, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”

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He-Man: “Welcome to my kinky dungeon, Hawk.”

After recovering the Egg, He-Man, Stratos and Hawk return it to Avion, where Hawk admits before the people that she was responsible for the sabotage. Then all the bird people cheer for He-Man, causing his already immense ego to expand to a whole new level of smug.


In today’s adventure…

He-Man’s message this week is all about forgiveness, and once again utters the phrase, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” I genuinely wonder how many chances he gave Skeletor on their first encounter. Though in fairness, given he basically allows Skeletor to escape every week, he’s actually given Skeletor about five thousand chances now.


Character checklist

Today we are witness to the antics of Prince Adam, He-Man, Stratos, Orko, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Tri-Klops, Hawk, loads of Stratos clones, a big red demon, and the ubiquitous Whiplash.

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Skeletor: “Come on lads, it’s 2-for-1 at Burger King today!”


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

It’s not an excuse as such, but He-Man explains his presence by saying, “I was just in the neighbourhood.”



Skeletor considers that the inhabitants of Avion are all “bird-brains”, which seems reasonable. He also refers to Trapjaw and Tri-Klops as “imbeciles”, which again is accurate. A fire demon has the temerity to call Whiplash a “fool”. Whiplash develops an entertaining habit of talking to himself, muttering about He-Man, Stratos and Orko being “pests” and Orko being a “half-pint sorcerer”. Whiplash also says, “Now it’s time to find that muscle-headed moron”, which presumably refers to He-Man, but the target of this remark is not actively specified.

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Fire Demon: “I fear I’m not as scary as I should be.”


Does it have the Power?

It all starts well enough, with Skeletor’s assault on Avion and the subsequent exile of Stratos, but it goes downhill a bit with the introduction of the Demon Zone, especially with its nonsensical rules concerning the door. I’m genuinely getting fed up of Whiplash now; he’s not that interesting, so we don’t need to see him week-in week-out. Still, I’d chalk this one up as worthwhile enough, if only for the mental image of Skeletor growing wings, which appears to be his overall ambition this week.

Episode 077 – Trouble in Trolla

In which Whiplash puts in an unnecessary appearance and ends up locked in a chest.

Dree Elle makes an unwelcome reappearance at the Palace this week, though to her credit she doesn’t bring Yuckers with her. She bears the bad news that Uncle Montork has been replaced as head of the Academy of Magic by a younger Trollan called Snoob. On hearing this, Orko determines to return to Trolla to comfort Montork, and Adam and Cringer make the demented decision to come too, in He-Man and Battle-Cat form.

Trolla 1
Dree Elle: “Oh, Orko, I’d love to marry you, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re really annoying.”

Uncle Montork indulges in a quick flashback, in which he reveals that Snoob challenged him to a magic contest. During the course of this contest, Montork started to feel weak, and his magic tricks began to fail. On hearing this, Orko concludes that something nefarious has clearly taken place, and feels the next step is to visit Snoob.

Orko and Dree Elle are rudely rebuffed by Snoob, so they teleport inside his house, where they quickly discover that Snoob is attempting to teach magic to Whiplash. Making the insane decision to confront Whiplash rather than waiting for He-Man, Orko and Dree Elle quickly find themselves captured by a bunch of pigs who would appear to be working for Whiplash.

Trolla 2
Orko: “I can’t believe I’ve been shown up in front of Dree Elle by a load of distinctly unintimidating pigs.”

Once Orko and Dree Elle are safely tied up, Whiplash takes the time to explain his plan, such as it is. Whiplash wants to learn magic in order to get better at being evil, and he knew Montork would never teach it to him. So instead, he hid in the room in which the contest was held, and used a Plot Device Ray to temporarily weaken Montork’s powers, resulting in Snoob winning. Then, Whiplash started bullying Snoob into teaching him magic. I’m not certain where the pigs fit in, but I’m sure it’s very sensible.

With the plan revealed, Snoob realises what an idiot he’s been, and turns on Whiplash, but being a bit rubbish, he is quickly captured by the pigs and tied up as well. Once Whiplash turns his back, however, Orko manages to free all three of them – just in time for them to be attacked by Whiplash’s new pet, a giant caterpillar.

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Orko: “First pigs, now caterpillars. I’m not having a good day with wildlife.”

Luckily, He-Man and Montork are in the vicinity to effect a rescue. While He-Man has a seemingly endless battle with an enormous quantity of pigs, Montork helps Orko and Snoob to defeat the caterpillar. Whiplash opts to do a runner, but comes up against He-Man and inevitably gets the worst of it. He ends up locked in a metal chest, in which he is forced to listen to He-Man and the Trollans yammering on about forgiving and forgetting, Orko’s love for Dree Elle, and the prospect of a roast gooble.


In today’s adventure…

Orko delivers a borderline ageist moral this week, explaining that though Snoob was young and powerful, Montork’s age and experience worked in his favour. Therefore, if old and young people work together, great things can be accomplished. Essentially, this boils down to “listen to your elders, because they might occasionally say something worthwhile in the midst of their crazed jabbering.”

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Orko: “Hey, Man-at-Arms! What’s it like being old and useless?”


Character checklist

Well, there’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena and Whiplash. Unfortunately, there’s also Orko, Dree Elle, Uncle Montork and Snoob. And those demented pigs.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

The transformation occurs today in Castle Grayskull, with only the Sorceress present. Consequently, Adam doesn’t feel the need to give an excuse.



Whiplash dishes out an awful lot of mild insults this week, including “wimp” and “fool” for Snoob, “twits” for Orko and Snoob, and “little pests” for Orko, Snoob and Montork. He is also the recipient of every insult made by our heroes, being called a “villain” by both Montork and He-Man. He-Man also calls him a “scale-head”, but it’s Orko who seems to have major anger management issues when it comes to Whiplash, referring to him variously as “lizard-breath”, “alligator-breath” and “crocodile face”.

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Snoob: “Chill out, Whiplash! It’s Orko calling you names, not me!”


Egg on your face?

It’s a bit of a stretch for this category, because it doesn’t involve food, but the episode does open with a genuinely amusing scene in which Orko’s magic backfires, resulting in the entire royal family vanishing and reappearing inside a very small box.

More appropriately, Uncle Montork’s flashback to how he lost the contest with Snoob includes a sequence in which the three Trollan judges are covered with various unspecified foodstuffs.


Does it have the Power?

The title Trouble in Trolla didn’t fill me with joy when it popped up on screen, and the reappearance of Uncle Montork was a distinctly displeasing prospect. As it turned out though – perhaps due to the absence of Yuckers – the whole thing wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. I quite enjoyed the notion of Snoob being led astray by his ambition, and liked his ultimate redemption, which was done with relative subtlety and wasn’t sickening. It was also quite refreshingly different in that He-Man didn’t really need to be present – I feel Orko and his family would actually have been capable of dealing with the situation on their own.

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He-Man: “I wish I hadn’t had to be here for this.”

What I didn’t particularly like was the inclusion of Whiplash. Putting aside the fact that this is now his fourth appearance in a row (gotta sell those action figures, guys!), the world of Trolla seems completely unconnected to that of Eternia, so it seems implausible that Skeletor and his men would have any interest in it – or indeed, any knowledge of it. I’m generally not a fan of episodes that don’t involve Skeletor, but these Trolla ones really would be better without him and his crew being shoehorned in.

Episode 076 – The Ice Age Cometh

In which He-Man tries to dig to the centre of Eternia, for no particularly apparent reason.

The episode begins with a short sequence in which Orko distracts a young Palace Guard called Philip from his duties by doing rubbish magic. Unfortunately, this seems to have been the moment Whiplash has been waiting for, as he springs out of hiding to steal the new Ice Raider. Not a moment too soon, He-Man shows up and demonstrates Whiplash’s design flaw: he’s really easy to grab by the tail, swing round, and throw away.

Ice Age 1
Whiplash: “Hey, He-Man! Check out my new dance moves!”

Glowing with self-righteousness, Teela hauls Philip in front of the King and Queen, detailing everything he did wrong in this encounter. Philip defends himself with a variety of relatively feeble excuses, but when both Teela and Adam join forces to harangue him, there’s nothing he can do to dissuade Randor from transferring him to a no-hope job guarding a weather station in the frozen wastes. Man-at-Arms tries to convince Philip that this is an important job, but he doesn’t buy it, and frankly neither do I.

Becoming aware of this development on his spy-globe, Skeletor gets on the phone to his old mate Icer, who has apparently been trying to break through a protective shield around the weather station for some time. When Philip arrives to take up his new job, he deactivates the shield to allow himself entry – and Icer slips through as well.

Ice Age 2
Icer: “No, I don’t buy things from door-to-door salesmen. Now get off my property.”

Icer wastes no time in using the weather station to mess about with the weather, causing an enormous glacier to flow as fast as a river towards the Palace. On discovering this development, Adam, Teela, Cringer and Orko take the Attack Trak to the foot of the glacier. There they meet a bunch of trolls, necessitating a second appearance for He-Man and Battle-Cat, who dispose of the trolls in a not very entertaining fight.

On reaching the weather station, He-Man defies the laws of physics once again by cutting a hole in the protective shield, which is composed of energy. Entering by this impossible method, our heroes encounter Philip, who is very quick to point out that he’s not responsible for Icer getting inside. He-Man now decides not to bother looking for Icer, but instead claims that the important thing is to descend to the lower levels and get as close to the centre of Eternia as possible. He gives no reason for this, and I can only conclude that he’s gone completely off his head.

Philip locates the stairs, and He-Man determines that Icer is hiding inside a wall nearby. Showing further evidence of his impending insanity, he delegates to Orko the responsibility for stopping Icer, in which task Orko predictably fails.  At the bottom of the stairs, He-Man drives his sword into the ground and occupies himself making a big hole, while Icer stands around beating his chest and making inexplicable noises which are suggestive of a difficult bowel movement.

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Orko: “Hey He-Man, standing in a hole like that makes you look completely vacant.”

Having dug a really deep hole by using his sword as a drill, He-Man then leaps in. Standing in a cave, he cuts some rocks up, producing geothermal energy and thus making the glacier recede. This seems a frankly long-winded way of doing things. Summing matters up at the end, Teela does attempt to justify it by saying that the control room was all iced over so they couldn’t get rid of the glacier that way, so I suppose it makes some vague sense after all, but it would have been nice if they could have referenced this problem before He-Man started wittering about getting to the centre of the planet.


In today’s adventure…

Adam, Teela and Philip explain how you can become a “winner” – it’s by being responsible and dependable. This is a lesson that Philip learned this week, having stopped trying to shift the blame for his mistakes. Lucky Philip. I bet he’s a winner now.

Ice Age 4
Philip: “More drugs, Teela?”


Character checklist

Well, it’s not as extensive as last week, but there are still a fair number of Eternia’s finest presenting themselves for inspection today. You won’t be surprised by the inclusion of Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Orko, Teela, Man-at-Arms, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor and Whiplash. The characters-of-the-week are the trolls, Icer and Philip. I nearly typed Prince Philip then. I wish he’d been in it.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

We are blessed with two transformations this week. The first time, we get no excuse, but the second time, we get two: when confronted by the trolls, Adam says, “I’ll go and see if there’s a way round them.” Reappearing seconds later as He-Man, he dismisses Adam by saying, “We’d better not wait for him.”

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He-Man: “One of these days, pulling stunts like this is going to backfire.”



Teela calls Icer a “cubeface”, which is nice. Skeletor encompasses every single inhabitant of the Palace with the succinct “fools”, but then surpasses himself by calling Whiplash “Wimp-lash”, which, it has to be said, is sheer genius.


Does it have the Power?

This is one of those odd episodes that really feels like it should be good, but just somehow isn’t. The writing was slightly off, especially in the first few scenes – it felt like it was an episode written very early on, when the writers hadn’t quite got a handle on the characters yet. In addition, the failure to mention the ice in the control room was a serious blooper – it made He-Man look like he’d gone mad when he decided he had to get to the centre of the planet. Philip’s storyline was fine but not enthralling. To be honest, it’s only Skeletor’s “Wimp-lash” quip that makes this one worth watching.

Episode 075 – To Save Skeletor

In which Skeletor bites off more than he can chew.

In Snake Mountain, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn open a portal to another dimension, with intent to summon forth an evil entity with sufficient power to defeat He-Man and conquer Eternia. In this, they are successful: a gigantic, one-eyed, tentacled demon named Sh’Gora appears. Unfortunately, Sh’Gora is unwilling to accept Skeletor’s leadership, and Skeletor’s attempts to tame it simply make it laugh. Skeletor then orders all his minions to destroy Sh’Gora, but they are defeated with ease.

To Save Skeletor
Skeletor: “This isn’t going to end well, is it?”

Only Whiplash escapes, and – badly injured – he makes his way to the Palace to beg King Randor’s assistance. As Adam and Man-at-Arms debate the issue, the Sorceress pops along to verify that Whiplash is telling the truth, and informs Adam that the powers of good and evil must unite to defeat Sh’Gora.

Adam transforms into He-Man, and gathers a motley crew consisting of Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, Fisto and Battle-Cat to travel to Snake Mountain with Whiplash. Once inside, they discover Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Trapjaw imprisoned in crystals, from which He-Man releases them. Skeletor notably does not say thank you, but he agrees to form a temporary alliance.

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Fisto: “Who the hell does that purple-booted leg underneath Skeletor belong to?”

Sh’Gora summons a host of shrieking things that look like flying eels, which distract the heroes and villains while Sh’Gora gets on the next South West Trains service to Castle Grayskull. On arrival, Sh’Gora opens the jawbridge, enters and casts a spell on the Sorceress. Shortly thereafter, He-Man arrives, and leads the assembled multitude inside, where they encounter the Sorceress transformed into an evil bird woman.

Evil-Lyn restores the Sorceress to normal, after which they both combine their powers with those of Skeletor’s to reopen the portal to Sh’Gora’s dimension. While the heroes watch Sh’Gora being sucked back to wherever he came from, Skeletor and his crew skulk off to try to find the secrets of Grayskull. They are, unfortunately, deceived by a cunning double-bluff from He-Man, who warns them not to enter a specific room. Skeletor – not being one for subtlety – enters that very room and finds himself teleported back to Snake Mountain, to his distinct displeasure.

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He-Man: “No secrets here, Skeletor. No. None at all.”


In today’s adventure…

Fisto dispenses the moral that we should never be afraid to ask for help if we need it. He stops short of pointing out that this sound advice was demonstrated in today’s story by Whiplash, of all people. Instead, he adds that if we ever need his help, we should let him know. I’m sure that subsequently, Filmation were flooded with letters from anxious four year olds asking for Fisto’s help.


Character checklist

This fairly epic episode has pretty much everybody in it, but being more specific, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, the Sorceress, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Fisto, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Whiplash, Trapjaw, and Sh’Gora. There’s also a load of nameless extras at the Palace at the beginning, if you’re the sort of person who needs really extensive details.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

While there’s no actual excuse, Teela does comment that she bets Adam’s been having a wonderful time while they have been fighting Sh’Gora. He-Man responds, “Given the choice, Teela, I’m sure he’d much rather have been with you.” He then revives his old irritating habit of winking at the camera.

To Save Skeletor 5
He-Man: “Winking at the camera is a great way to come across like a creepy old uncle.”



Today’s episode is fairly thin on the ground for insults. Man-at-Arms calls Whiplash a “monster”, Sh’Gora calls Skeletor a “foolish creature”, and Skeletor offers “fools” to encompass all of He-Man’s crowd.


Does it have the Power?

This is a great episode, which I’d put among the top ten of all the series. The notion of He-Man and Skeletor having to work together is fantastic, allowing for a great deal of entertaining banter between the two. It contains one of the funniest lines in He-Man ever: He-Man tells Skeletor to follow him to Castle Grayskull, and Skeletor simply responds, “I know the way, He-Man; I’ve been there before,” and then collapses in giggles, which He-Man finds not at all amusing.

To Save Skeletor 3
Sh’Gora: “It’s Black Friday on Eternia! Let me in!”

The sequence in which the Sorceress is transformed into an evil version of herself is pretty creepy, and Sh’Gora conveys an air of genuine menace that is rarely seen on He-Man. The animation of his body is admittedly not a 100% success, but his facial expressions are very well done, putting across his evil and unpleasant nature very effectively. In addition, the early references to Skeletor being near death, and Whiplash’s injury, give the episode a rather dark feel that isn’t matched in any other episode so far.

In short, if you’re looking for a fine example of He-Man – perhaps in order to try to hook some poor unsuspecting soul into watching the entire series – you probably couldn’t find a better one than this.

Episode 074 – Island of Fear

In which Skeletor seems to think that six ships contain the sum total of all of Eternia’s food.

We appear to be in for a repeat of City Beneath The Sea this week, beginning as we do with the introduction of Buzz-Off, a giant bee who is complaining to King Randor about the disappearance of six food ships this month. This time, however, the missing ships are quickly linked to a volcanic island that doesn’t feature on any maps, so Adam, Cringer and Man-at-Arms fly out to take a look.

The island isn’t present on first inspection, but seconds later it appears out of nowhere, and Adam crashes into it, like the clumsy clown he is. Man-at-Arms and Cringer get sucked down beneath the new Great Eternian Dam, requiring Adam to turn into He-Man and rescue them. He-Man’s method of rescue is a bit suspect, involving launching all three of them practically into orbit without considering how they will get down again. Luckily, Buzz-Off is on hand to save them all.

Island 1
Buzz-Off: “This is going to be one mother of a bra-strap ping.”

Landing on the island, He-Man turns back into Adam, while Buzz-Off flies off to get Teela and Orko, who I’m sure will be very useful. True to form, on arrival, Teela immediately starts having a go at Adam and demanding to know where He-Man is. Adam distracts her by pointing out the mysterious island on which they all currently stand and suggesting that they investigate. Teela likes this plan and suggests that they split up into two groups to explore.

Adam and Man-at-Arms discover a waterfall, with a large sign behind it bearing the unexpected message, “Hello chumps”. No sooner have they read this odd notice then a whirlpool begins, sucking them into a cave, where they discover the missing food ships. They also discover a submarine containing Skeletor, Mer-Man and a new recruit, Whiplash, both of whom are sucking up to Skeletor as if it’s time for their annual performance reports.

Island 2
Man-at-Arms: “Looks like Skeletor’s upgraded his bath toys.”

Skeletor takes the time to detail his plan, which is as sophisticated as ever. He has captured the six food ships, which he seems to believe contain all the food on Eternia. He also intends to sail his island into the Great Eternian Dam, destroying it and flooding all the farmland so that everyone on Eternia will have to come to him for food. Man-at-Arms comments, “I hate to say it, Adam, but this time Skeletor’s plan seems pretty good.” This can only be an attempt to humour Skeletor, because frankly this plan is one of the stupidest yet.

Teela, Buzz-Off, Cringer and Orko discover a ventilation shaft leading down to the island’s engine room, where they discover Adam and Man-at-Arms being held captive in a nice unguarded prison. Naturally, this results in their immediate rescue. Unfortunately, Skeletor appears and starts the engines to drive the island into the Dam, so Adam lunges behind a computer bank and transforms into He-Man. He then emerges from behind the computer and expects no one to notice. Which, of course, they don’t.

He-Man demands that Skeletor stop the engines, but Skeletor simply destroys the control mechanism instead, in a pointless act of defiance. Naturally, He-Man’s next move is to destroy the engines, and the control room itself. With the Dam saved, Skeletor heads for home, using Mer-Man and Whiplash as a pair of water-skis. In the closing scene, Randor decides to make the floating island into Eternia’s first nature reserve, and then everyone sits round the table applauding their cleverness and cheering like halfwits.

Island 3
King Randor: “Is it conceited if I voice the opinion that we are literally the best people who have ever existed?”


In today’s adventure…

Teela and Adam explain that sometimes trees need to be chopped down in order to put up buildings, but that it’s important to set aside some areas to remain natural. Clearly, the writer of this episode felt that the head of the United States’ Department for the Environment was a frequent He-Man viewer and would be glued to the screen, and thus took the opportunity to dispense some helpful policy advice.


Character checklist

As noted, we meet two newbies today: Buzz-Off and Whiplash. Of course, there’s also Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko, King Randor, Skeletor and Mer-Man. I didn’t notice Battle-Cat this week, but maybe I wasn’t paying attention.


Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Two transformations occur in this episode, and Adam doesn’t offer an excuse on the first occasion. However, once he’s changed back, Teela demands to know where He-Man is, to which Adam responds, “He’ll be back if we need him.”

Island 4
Teela: “Christ, I’m livid.”

After the second transformation, Teela again wonders as to Adam’s whereabouts. “I’m sure he’s all right,” responds He-Man. Given mere seconds ago Adam was in a room that has now blown up, this extreme confidence on He-Man’s part is the sort of behaviour that in anything vaguely resembling reality would result in Teela putting two and two together.



Every insult this week comes from Skeletor, who refers to Orko as a “silly bag of wind”. Otherwise, his vitriol is reserved for Mer-Man and Whiplash, who are referred to variously as “fishy fools” and “bumbling fools”. Skeletor also insults his henchman with the more oblique comment, “I have to be brilliant, to make up for them.”


Does it have the Power?

I’d hesitate to call it a classic, but it certainly is good fun: I’ve always felt He-Man was at its best when the villain of the piece is Skeletor with a ridiculous plan, and in that, this episode does not disappoint. The initial investigation into the island is suitably mysterious, and once Skeletor’s responsibility is revealed, he keeps us entertained – especially with his closing use of Mer-Man and Whiplash as a method of transport.

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Skeletor: “I suppose this serves me right for buying my water-skis at Poundland.”

As an introduction for Buzz-Off and Whiplash, this episode doesn’t do too well; neither of them comes across as particularly exciting. Buzz-Off does slightly better, having one moment of competence early on when he catches He-Man, Man-at-Arms and Cringer, but Whiplash doesn’t manage to rise above the level of generic villain. Still, plenty of time for development later, which I’m sure they’ll get.

In short, you won’t be disappointed in watching this episode, but don’t go in expecting greatness.