Episode 107 – The Gambler

In which He-Man prevents Eternia’s version of Chernobyl.

At a fair arranged by the Widgets to celebrate the opening of their new corodite reactor, Adam, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko and a Widget named Smudge meet a conjuror called Melbrag. I like to think that this is the stage name of the esteemed South Bank Show presenter Melvin Bragg, but I may be some distance off the mark here. Anyway, Smudge wins a small diamond from Melbrag, after which Teela lets slip that Smudge is the chief guard of the corodite reactor. This is information in which Melbrag seems a little too interested, not that our moronic heroes notice.

Gambler 1
Man-at-Arms: “God, the budget for Glastonbury has really plummetted.”

This pleasant scene comes to an abrupt halt when Man-at-Arms reveals that some of the corodite in the mine has been contaminated with selenium. He-Man sounds just a bit impatient when he says, “But what does that mean?” He seems quite keen to get to the bit where he can hit someone, and he doesn’t think he’ll get there by talking about contaminated rocks. Man-at-Arms explains that the corodite is now useless, and He-Man suggests dumping it somewhere safe. You know, like nuclear waste disposal.

Smudge has been hanging out with Melbrag, gambling for bigger and bigger stakes. He has won a huge pile of diamonds, after which Melbrag puts up his Wind Raider as a stake, and requests that Smudge bet some corodite against it. Despite his misgivings, Smudge agrees on the basis that he’s thus far won every time. Can you say “set-up”? Smudge can’t. To my distinct lack of surprise, Smudge loses, and Melbrag takes a fairly modest lump of corodite.

Gambler 2
Melbrag: “I may have a stupid outfit, but at least I have a better dress sense than Prince Adam.”

To replace the corodite taken by Melbrag, Smudge nips into the mine, takes a lump of the selenium-soiled corodite and puts it in the reactor. Rather surprisingly, he then immediately confesses to He-Man that he’s given some corodite to Melbrag, and He-Man heads off, eagerly anticipating the moment he can smash Melbrag’s face in.

He-Man and Smudge find Melbrag leaning casually against his ship. He reveals that he is intending to sell the corodite to Skeletor, and traps the pair of them in a forcefield while he trots off to seal the deal. Skeletor doesn’t show up in person: he sends his new sidekick Spikor to get the corodite. However, Spikor disappears from the episode as quickly and inauspiciously as he entered it when He-Man punches his vehicle.

Gambler 3
He-Man: “Oh, hello, Spikor. Did you know you’re the most irritating of Skeletor’s team, bar none?”

It’s at about this point that Smudge tells He-Man about the contaminated corodite that he’s put in the reactor, a revelation that doesn’t please He-Man one bit. Nonetheless, he still takes time out to vandalise Melbrag’s ship before heading back to the reactor, which is perhaps why he isn’t in time to stop King Randor flicking the switch to turn the reactor on. The reactor starts to explode, so He-Man lifts the entire thing up and throws it into space. Everybody cheers, and while I agree it’s good that there was no explosion, no one seems too upset that this new reactor – the pride of Eternia – has been destroyed. In particular, I’d expect Man-at-Arms, who’s spent some time inventing the thing, to be a bit upset.

Gambler 4
Man-at-Arms: “Er, He-Man, what’s wrong with your face?”

 

In today’s adventure…

Adam tells us about the need to respect other people’s property, like Smudge didn’t when he gambled with the corodite. Adam’s advice essentially boils down to “don’t nick things”, but he doesn’t seem to want to come right out and use any of the relevant words, like “steal”, “thief”, “burglar”, “petty larceny” or “kleptomania”.

Other interesting morals which could have been used for this episode include the predictable “don’t get into gambling, because it’s hard to stop” and the rather more surprising “you have to dispose of contaminated nuclear material safely”.

 

Character checklist

This exciting excursion to Eternia features Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Smudge, Melbrag and Spikor. Melbrag also has a pair of guards, whose names either weren’t mentioned or weren’t sufficiently interesting for me to pay attention. And, of course, there’s loads of Widgets, but the less said about them, the better.

Gambler 5
He-Man: “As you know, I generally abhor violence, but a crowd of numpties like this is pushing me to my limits.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Adam is disinclined to explain himself today. There’s a brief return to the theme of King Randor being irritated that Adam is missing though, which is always nice to see.

 

Insults

The episode goes a long way before starting on insults, and even when it gets going, they’re not all that good. Smudge is called a “silly Widget” by Melbrag, and a “shrimp” by one of Melbrag’s guards. Smudge retaliates by calling Melbrag’s guards “small and foolish”, while Melbrag is a little more vicious with them by calling them “bunglers” and “fools”. And finally, Smudge dishes out an insult which would have made me cry when I was little: he says to Melbrag, “You’re a really bad person.” Ouch.

 

Egg on your face?

In an early trick performed by Melbrag, Orko recommends that Man-at-Arms takes the sphere on the right. Foolishly heeding this advice, Man-at-Arms does so and receives a face full of water for his troubles. During this sequence, Adam is rather oddly animated in the background of the shot, looking at Orko with an expression somewhere between mild antipathy and complete loathing.

Gambler 6
Prince Adam: “Orko, has anyone ever mentioned to you how utterly repulsive you are?”

 

Does it have the Power?

It’s not a highlight. As always, the Widgets are really annoying, though on this occasion it’s only Smudge who actually speaks, so it could be worse. There’s rather too much messing about in the middle, with Melbrag capturing, losing, and recapturing He-Man, and the plot doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself, veering from a rabid diatribe against the dangers of gambling to the unexpected theme of safe nuclear waste disposal.

In addition, though I’m always keen to see new baddies, Spikor’s appearance came across as nothing more than a five second advertisement for his action figure. In further addition, he has an absolutely infuriating voice, so I hope we don’t see him too much in the future. In short, I’d be happy to never watch this one again.

Episode 092 – The Littlest Giant

In which He-Man reveals an unnecessary talent for baking.

Oh, what? Really? This is actually genuinely unfair. After last week’s less than enthralling foray into the world of the Widgets, we are treated to a second episode all about them today. This time, the focus is on Squinch, with whom the viewer is clearly supposed to identify. His problem is that he’s really small – though in comparison to the other Widgets, he’s pretty average – and he believes that if he were as big as He-Man, he’d be a hero too. He’s probably right, but do you care? I don’t.

When a massive tree blows down in a gale, blocking the entrance to the Widgets’ fortress, Squinch tries to chop it in half, but completely fails. The other Widgets summon He-Man, who clearly hasn’t got anything better to do, because he arrives almost immediately and moves the tree, giving Squinch deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Again I ask though – do you care?

Littlest 1
He-Man: “Face it, Squinch. You just aren’t anywhere near as interesting as me.”

The plot now takes an unexpected if completely nonsensical turn: Squinch goes to Snake Mountain to ask Skeletor to make him as big as He-Man. Evil-Lyn gives Squinch a golden box and tells him to give it to He-Man – without telling him where it came from – and in return, she will grant Squinch’s wish. Disregarding the numerous times Skeletor and Evil-Lyn have messed with the Widgets, Squinch believes them and runs off to give He-Man the box.

The animators give He-Man a look of utterly insane delight when Squinch gives him the box, but once he opens it, it’s a completely different story. The box contains some evil magic which knocks He-Man and Battle-Cat out, after which Skeletor loads them into his flying machine and zooms off, crowing happily and doing utterly unnecessary loop-the-loops.

Littlest 2
He-Man: “Best golden box ever.”

Of course, Skeletor goes wrong at this point. The logical next step is to drop He-Man into a lava pit or something equally concerning, but instead he opts to put He-Man in a cage made out of laser beams. Evil-Lyn then magics up a brick wall to surround the laser cage, just for good measure. Skeletor then decides that this week his objective is to steal King Randor’s crown, rather than the secrets of Grayskull, so he heads off to the Palace accordingly.

In the meantime, the Widgets have gone to the Palace to warn Man-at-Arms, Teela and Orko. Working off the usual model in He-Man where forgiveness is just one sentence away, Squinch admits that it’s his fault – and is then subjected to a barrage of abuse from our three heroes. Once that’s over with, Man-at-Arms decides that he doesn’t really want He-Man to be rescued, because he sends Teela, Orko and Squinch to do the job. I wouldn’t trust these clowns to fetch a pint of milk from Sainsbury’s, and he thinks they can get He-Man out of Snake Mountain?

Sure enough, Evil-Lyn manages to tie Teela and Orko up within half a second of their arrival. Squinch, on the other hand, manages to release He-Man, and the whole crowd of them return to the Palace just in time to find Skeletor lounging about on the throne. There follows a really stupid fight in the Palace kitchen, which culminates in He-Man baking a giant loaf of bread with Skeletor, Beast-Man and Panthor inside it.

Littlest 3
Skeletor: “Every time I think I’ve had my most humiliating defeat, something even worse happens.”

He-Man then congratulates Squinch, in a piece of dialogue which sounds slightly dubious: “It doesn’t matter how big your body is, but how big you are inside.” I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t come up with a double entendre for this. There must be one there somewhere though. Any ideas?

 

In today’s adventure…

As a special treat, Squinch is allowed to do the moral segment of this episode. He wastes it though: if I’d been him, I’d have taken the opportunity to say, “If you’re a hugely annoying cartoon character like me, why not just piss off?” or something of the like. Instead, he goes through the predictable motions of mumbling about how it doesn’t matter what you look like, so long as you always do your best. He then concludes by suggesting that there’s probably someone who wants to be just like you, so you should always be on the lookout for stalkers.

 

Character checklist

This time, it’s Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Orko, King Randor, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Evil-Lyn, Panthor, Squinch, the other Widgets, and a bunch of Palace guards. Jacob from last week does not appear, thankfully.

Littlest 4
Laura the Widget: “I only agreed to participate in this episode if the producers gave me a massive supply of drugs.”

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

Yet again, nothing. Prince Adam’s getting really lazy about this.

 

Insults

There’s a lot of people, mainly baddies, referring to Squinch as “little one”, though only Skeletor does this with sufficient sneer to make it a definitive insult. Evil-Lyn does up the ante with “little fool” though.

The episode concludes with He-Man calling Orko a “big clown”. This is accompanied by some absolutely terrifying animation of Orko, half-hidden in shadow, laughing in an actively sinister way about nothing at all. I am definitely going to dream about this tonight, and it’s not going to be fun.

Littlest 5
He-Man: “I have never been this terrified ever before.”

 

Does it have the Power?

If I’m going to be absolutely fair, it’s not that bad. I maintain that Squinch and the Widgets are really annoying, and putting them in two episodes in a row is completely uncalled for. On the other hand, this one’s a lot more watchable than last week’s effort, even if the plot relies on Squinch trusting Evil-Lyn, which is something that would genuinely never happen, given their history (which stretches all the way back to the twelfth episode of the series, Evil-Lyn’s Plot). It did entertain me to see Skeletor being baked into a loaf of bread, which happened for absolutely no purpose other than for He-Man to be a dick. In addition, if you’re the sort of person who desperately wants He-Man and Teela to get it on, this episode contains some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it animation of the two of them lying on the ground in a sultry fashion, Teela’s arm round He-Man. This is about as X-rated as this cartoon gets, so enjoy.

Littlest 6
Teela: “I’m pretty sure my legs must be broken for me to be in this position.”

Episode 091 – Jacob and the Widgets

In which He-Man demonstrably proves there is no upper limit to his ludicrousness.

Thanks to the corodite mineral mined by the Widgets, Man-at-Arms has created a new rocket booster for the Wind Raider. After Teela successfully tests the rocket booster, she and Adam head for the beach with four Widgets, where we are treated to scenes of beach ball and sandcastle building. It’s nice to see Adam and Teela doing their bit for Care in the Community.

Jacob 1
Adam: “I hate it when the Palace public relations officer says I have to go out and meet the proles.”

I was just about at the end of my tether with the sickeningly sweet music and jolly happy family attitude between Adam, Teela and the Widgets, so it comes as a merciful relief when Mer-Man and Trapjaw show up with a batch of unconvincing mechanical sea monsters. They use these for no evident reason to attack a boat belonging to a fisherman called Jacob, which is the cue for He-Man’s entry.

He-Man rescues Jacob and punches the robots into pieces, then considers the danger over and turns back into Adam. In what I think must be a first, Jacob is not grateful for He-Man’s help, and he frets over his destroyed boat and fishing equipment. Our heroes are distinctly unsympathetic to the loss of his livelihood, and get very huffy. As a punishment for his uncooperativeness, Jacob is sent to live with the Widgets until he can get himself a new boat.

Jacob 2
Jacob: “I’d rather take my chances with Trapjaw and Mer-Man, thanks.”

Mer-Man and Trapjaw have a quick debate over what went wrong, and hilariously conclude that they need to build new mechanical sea monsters using a different material – corodite. I’m pretty sure they won’t get to that stage, but even if they do, I can’t believe they genuinely think that building some corodite sea monsters is the key to defeating He-Man. Anyway, Mer-Man briefly kidnaps one of the Widgets called Biro, finds out from him where the corodite is kept, then lets him go after muttering some vague threats.

Once back at the Widgets’ fort, Jacob persists with being grumpy, until Squinch gives him an old fishing rod, at which point he starts whimpering about how no one’s ever been kind to him before. Before this can go any further, Mer-Man floods the mines, then appears in the fortress, demanding corodite and threatening to flood the entire fort if he doesn’t get it. He is secure enough in this plan to indulge in a fishy kind of laugh.

Luckily, Teela decides to pay a visit to the Widgets to see how Jacob is getting on. On discovering Mer-Man in the fort, Teela immediately gets down in a suggestive all fours pose, which is not the most obvious thing to do, but it works out quite well because Mer-Man is stupid enough to trip over her. Jacob then uses his new fishing rod to catch Mer-Man and tie him up, to general acclaim. However, Mer-Man manages to free himself and heads down into the flooded mines to help himself to corodite.

Jacob 3
Mer-Man: “This is possibly my most embarrassing defeat.”

Realising that Teela and Jacob are completely useless, the Widgets summon He-Man, who shows up in very short order. Learning of the situation, he pops down into the mines and kicks Mer-Man, and that’s the end of that. Unfortunately, the tide is coming in and filling the mines with more water – threatening the entire fort.

He-Man decides that this is the sort of thing that requires immediate and disproportionate action. Rather than blocking the water’s entrance to the mine with a rock like he normally would, his solution today is to take the Wind Raider with its new rocket booster out into space. I need hardly remind you that the Wind Raider is an open-top vehicle, so I suppose we can add “breathing in a vacuum” to He-Man’s list of skills.

Jacob 4
He-Man: “I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve gone mad and all this is some strange delusion.”

There is then a ridiculous shot of He-Man standing on the front of the Wind Raider – out in space – and pushing the moon. This of course has the desired effect of reversing the tide and causing the water to flow back out of the Widgets’ fortress. I expect it also causes floods and tsunamis and all sorts of other havoc all over Eternia, but we don’t dwell on that. Once the flood is resolved, He-Man flies to the other side of the moon and pushes it back into its correct orbit, demonstrating at least some sense of environmental responsibility.

In case you cared, which I certainly didn’t, Jacob’s storyline is concluded by him becoming less grumpy and being elected as the Widgets’ new mayor. Hip hip hooray. You’ll forgive me if I don’t give a monkey’s about this.

 

In today’s adventure…

Teela tells us that like Jacob, sometimes we don’t know how much we are loved and needed. She then concludes by asking in a pretty accusatory fashion, “Have you hugged your parents today?”

Jacob 5
Jacob: “I’m so glad that I’m loved and needed by these irritating little morons.”

 

Character checklist

Appearing today for our delight and delectation are Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Man-at-Arms, Mer-Man, Trapjaw, Jacob, Squinch, Laura, Biro, and the other Widgets, the names of whom temporarily escape me, but who cares, eh? No Orko today, though, so thank the Lord for small mercies.

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

We are treated to two transformations from Adam to He-Man this week, but on neither occasion does he bother to excuse himself.

 

Insults

Laura the Widget calls Mer-Man a “fish-face”, which Teela then refines into just plain “fish”. Mer-Man’s insults are reserved for Trapjaw, who he calls a “metal-mouth”, and shortly thereafter states, “You not only look stupid, you are stupid.” Trapjaw is sufficiently stupid to not react in any way to this cutting remark.

Jacob 6
Trapjaw: “Let’s be honest with ourselves, Mer-Man: we both look pretty stupid, don’t we?”

 

Does it have the Power?

This is the sort of episode that should carry a public health warning: “If you think you’ve been driven mental by the events depicted in this programme, call 0800-HELP-ME.” Honestly, He-Man’s moon-related antics this week are not only impossible and insane, but they’re also an unnecessarily convoluted way of solving a very simple problem. It’s as if the writer thought, “Oh Christ, everyone’s going to remember this episode as the boring one with the grumpy fisherman. I’d better do something about that: I’ll make them remember it as the demented one where He-Man breathes in space and pushes the moon around.”

The moon bit aside, it’s a very boring episode. The only bit I liked was the quite realistic bit with Jacob’s worry for his livelihood when he was first rescued, and even this was tempered with the secure prediction that he’d end up apologising for his behaviour. In addition, the inclusion of the hugely irritating Widgets is rarely a good way to get me invested in a plot.

Still, if you want to see an episode which goes completely off its head in the last five minutes, there’s probably no better than this. Otherwise, it’s worth missing.

Episode 043 – The Mystery of Man-e-Faces

In which a man with loads of faces justifiably tries to kill the Widgets.

At the preparations for Queen Marlena’s birthday party, Prince Adam decides to scare the living bejesus out of Orko and Cringer by introducing them to a gentleman dressed in a blue and orange robotic kind of suit who can change his face, demonstrating a green scary monster, a robot, Skeletor, Beast-Man and a “normal” face, which consists of orange skin and red diagonal sunglasses. His name is Man-e-Faces, and with a name like that, what ability did you expect him to have?

Man-e-Faces 1

As Man-e-Faces trundles off to prepare himself to entertain the guests at the party, Adam indulges in a flashback, which comprises the rest of the episode. Some time ago, the Widgets (last seen in Evil-Lyn’s Plot) were being terrorised by Man-e-Faces, whose motivation for this behaviour remains unclear.

His actions catch the attention of Skeletor, who notes that with most of his allies in jail, Man-e-Faces would be a welcome addition to his ranks. Luckily, the Sorceress has also spotted the appearance of Man-e-Faces, and asks Adam to become He-Man and head to the Widgets’ aid. Teela and Orko pop along for the expedition too, because the episode wasn’t annoying enough with just the Widgets.

Meanwhile, Man-e-Faces has installed himself on a chair at the Widgets’ castle and is demanding his dinner. This guy is hardly an evil mastermind, if the best plot he can come up with is asking some midgets for food. But still, everyone seems to take him seriously, so I suppose I should at least try to do the same. Luckily, before Man-e-Faces can have more than a mouthful of some miserable soup, He-Man shows up to ruin his fun.

Man-e-Faces 2

Man-e-Faces decides to switch from his sunglasses face to his green monster face, in the vain hope that this will help him to defeat He-Man. It doesn’t. He-Man knocks him over easily, and all seems to be concluded when suddenly Skeletor intervenes, teleporting Man-e-Faces aboard his ship. Man-e-Faces responds to this change in his fortunes by squatting in an uncomfortable and inexplicable position, but otherwise does nothing except gape foolishly.

The Sorceress shows up at the Widgets’ fortress to inform He-Man that Man-e-Faces isn’t really evil, but is just alone and afraid. She also reveals that Skeletor is on his way to Castle Grayskull to attack it, so He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela and Orko barrel off to stop him. The Widgets offer to come too, but He-Man declines, barely repressing a shudder as he does so.

Man-e-Faces 3

Skeletor tries to persuade Man-e-Faces to work with him in the conquest of Eternia, but Man-e-Faces refuses, so Skeletor stops playing nice and orders Beast-Man to use his animal-controlling powers. Presumably because Man-e-Faces is currently in his green monster format, this works, and Skeletor and Beast-Man indulge in about 20 seconds of evil laughter.

While Skeletor flies around shooting at Castle Grayskull, Beast-Man and Man-e-Faces are set to work with the age-old trick of pulling the jawbridge down with a grappling hook. As usual, this tactic is interrupted by He-Man, who gets into a brief barney with Man-e-Faces until the Sorceress releases him from Beast-Man’s control, whereupon Man-e-Faces and He-Man join forces to defeat Beast-Man and Skeletor.

Man-e-Faces 4

At the debriefing session, Man-e-Faces explains that people used to think he was a monster, so he started acting like one, but now he knows what it’s like to be pushed around and bullied, and promises not to do it again. He-Man asks what his name is – since he’s been referred to as “the stranger” up to this point – and Man-e-Faces responds that he’s never had one. He-Man offers to give him a name, at which point Orko comes up with Man-e-Faces, as if it’s a clever pun.

As the episode ends, we return to the birthday party, where we learn that Man-e-Faces has now learned to put his face-changing talent to good use, and has become Eternia’s foremost freak show centrepiece. Sorry, I mean Eternia’s foremost actor. Obviously.

 

In today’s adventure …

Man-e-Faces explains to Orko that the best way to remember something is to say it over and over again. This is extremely tenuously linked into the episode by way of Man-e-Faces being an actor who has to remember his lines. It’s not exactly a moral lesson, frankly, and there were a couple of more obvious messages from this episode to learn: don’t judge people by their appearance might have been appropriate, as might don’t bully people.

 

Character checklist

Today, we are treated to appearances from Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Teela, Orko, Man-at-Arms, Man-e-Faces, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Beast-Man, and the billions of Widgets, the names of whom I don’t know and don’t want to know. There are also non-speaking roles for King Randor, Queen Marlena, Stratos and Ram-Man.

Man-e-Faces 5

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

There’s no excuse because Adam becomes He-Man in his bedroom, when there’s no one else there. I’d have liked to see the scene where He-Man came sneaking out of Adam’s bedroom in the middle of the night, hoping to avoid being spotted, but for some reason they didn’t show us that bit.

 

Insults

Fittingly for Skeletor’s first appearance in God knows how long, abuse abounds between our characters this week. Man-e-Faces comes in for a fair proportion of the insults, being called a “creepy creature” and a “creep” by Squinch the Widget, while Laura the Widget considers him a “funny-faced weirdo”. He also is called a “fool” twice and a “dolt” once by Skeletor.

Meanwhile, no one seems to have much love for the Widgets either, an attitude I certainly share. Man-e-Faces calls them “little worms”, while Orko considers them to be “little squirts”. You can leave it to Skeletor to really spell things out though, and he obliges with “miserable Widgets”.

Man-e-Faces 6

And finally, where would we be without He-Man dishing out some tongue lashing? It’s fairly standard stuff though – just a “fuzz-face” for Beast-Man and an “old bonehead” for Skeletor.

 

Egg on your face?

It’s been so long since we had an entry for this category that I’d almost forgotten it existed. So it is with great pleasure that I can report that in the opening scene, Orko manages to arrange for a massive birthday cake to be upended on Cringer’s head.

 

Does it have the Power?

This is one of those episodes that is blatantly contrived in order to sell an action figure, specifically an action figure that no one in their right mind would buy otherwise. The problem with Man-e-Faces is that he’s obviously intended to be a master of disguise, and I can imagine that at an early stage of character design, he was supposed to be able to change his entire appearance. But then some bright spark will have pointed out, “But if his appearance changes all the time, what will his action figure look like?”

The solution to this problem is to make his face change, but his body always remains the same, which I think you’ll agree gives rise to a new problem: his disguises cease to be effective, even among Eternia’s customary dimwits. “Hmm,” says Skeletor, “there’s Beast-Man over there. Oh, hang on, Beast-Man’s wearing the same outfit that Man-e-Faces normally does. Could it be that this is actually Man-e-Faces in disguise? No, can’t be!”

Man-e-Faces 7

Leaving this aside, the episode is quite fun, and it’s nice to see someone being a baddy but then changing sides to join the heroes; it’s a refreshing reminder that sometimes good and evil aren’t as black and white as all that, and might have helped children to realise that bullies at school aren’t necessarily evil.

On the other hand, I can’t issue a complete recommendation for this episode, largely because there are two scenes depicting the Widgets laughing, but they sound more like a troupe of discordant monkeys screeching. No wonder people keep trying to kill them.

And that’s that for a few weeks, as I’m going on holiday. Check back towards the end of October for the next exciting instalment!

Episode 012 – Evil-Lyn’s Plot

In which I attempt to come up with lots of rhymes for Widget, but give up after midget, fidget and ridget, the latter of which isn’t even a word.

I don’t often comment on the music in He-Man (it’s mostly all the same anyway) but this episode opens with the most sickeningly sweet symphony I’ve ever heard. This is supposed to illustrate the happy and good lifestyle of a bunch of midgets called Widgets including one called Squinch, who live in a fortress and are guarding something mysterious in their mines.

Evil-Lyn's Plot 1

On a ridget above the Widgets, Skeletor is plotting to break in and steal some corodite, which he will use to fashion a breastplate which naturally will help him destroy He-Man once and for all. He leads an all-out assault on the castle, at which point the Widgets send a signal to ask He-Man for help.

He-Man is hanging out in the wilderness looking for people to help, so it comes as a blessed relief to him to see the Widgets’ signal. He arrives just in time: Skeletor has breached the castle walls and is demanding corodite from the Widgets. Once Skeletor has been repelled, the Widgets tell He-Man that they mine corodite, but it’s too powerful for them to use, so they keep it hidden in the mines. I was a tad confused as to why they bother mining it in the first place, but there’s no need to argue.

Evil-Lyn's Plot 2

Back at Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn and Panthor are laughing their fool heads off while Skeletor berates Beast-Man and Mer-Man for their failure at the Widgets’ castle. Evil-Lyn then disguises herself as a sexy blonde and offers to trick the Widgets into giving her the corodite. She returns to the fortress and pretends to be under attack from Panthor, leading the Widgets to rescue her and bring her inside.

Evil-Lyn's Plot 3

Evil-Lyn introduces herself as Nadira and claims to have lost her family in the woods, prompting much fidgeting as the Widgets to offer to search for them. Only Squinch remains at the fortress with Nadira, and in an ill-conceived attempt to cheer her up, shows her the corodite mine. Of course, Evil-Lyn steals the corodite, but less expectedly, she then transforms herself into a fireball to make her exit.

He-Man and the Widgets catch up with Skeletor and Evil-Lyn in Volcano Cave, the only place the corodite can be moulded into shape. Think Mount Doom, but quite a bit less menacing. Skeletor actually manages to create the corodite breastplate, which he puts on and announces, “Now I have the Power!” which makes He-Man look angrier than I’ve ever seen him before. The Widgets attend to Evil-Lyn, while He-Man and Skeletor duke it out. Obviously, He-Man wins, and peace is restored to Eternia.

Evil-Lyn's Plot 4

 

In today’s adventure …

Teela shows up to explain the logic behind the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” The Widgets were taken in by Evil-Lyn looking so sexy, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Teela wisely tells us we mustn’t judge people by their appearance. This is all well and good, but it’s not exactly born out by this very cartoon, is it? Would it really have killed the creators to have a character who looks evil but acts good?

 

Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance

As the episode begins, Adam and Cringer are pointlessly wandering around on their own, and they transform before they even meet the Widgets, so there’s no need for anyone to explain it.

 

Characters appearing

Well, we have Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Mer-Man, Beast-Man, the Sorceress, and all the Widgets, including Squinch, Laura and the other one. Plus there’s Teela, who only appears to dispense the moral.

 

Insults

Whoa! There must be something in the Eternian water today. Skeletor in particular seems livid, referring to Beast-Man and Mer-Man as “Witless fools! Dolts! Halfwits! Bunglers! Brainless idiots! Morons!” thanks to their pathetic efforts in storming the Widgets’ castle. He also yet again refers to He-Man as a “fool”, which seems to be his insult of choice for his nemesis. For his part, He-Man also displays a lack of imagination, once again calling Skeletor “skull-face”. More innovative is Squinch’s blistering assault on Panthor: “purple pest!” Evil-Lyn also gets in on the act with “little pests” directed at the Widgets when they tie her up in Volcano Cave.

Evil-Lyn's Plot 5

 

Does it have the Power?

I have to admit, my heart sank when the episode opened with the Widgets. I’d forgotten all about them, but the moment I saw them, I remembered how irritating they are. Nonetheless, the episode isn’t too bad, concentrating as it does on Skeletor and his blundering cronies for quite a long time. Plus the episode doesn’t have Orko in it, which makes for a very special episode indeed. In conclusion, I’d say this episode is unexpectedly good. (Unexpectedly good for He-Man, that is – don’t go expecting any masterpieces.)