This episode has got to be about Orko. There’s no way that this isn’t about Orko. Fuck. We open at the palace where Orko and some random girl are playing a game of catch with a ball and some basket-like sticks. Orko tells her she throws like a girl, so she flings the ball extra hard, sending it through a window, which breaks some of Man-At-Arms’ shit inside. Oh, now that’s a moral dilemma. She wants to cut and run before they’re discovered, while Orko wants to go inside and confess and say he’s sorry. The girl practically holds a knife to Orko’s throat, warning him not to rat on her, then takes off.

Orko sucks it up and goes into the palace anyway to survey the damage. He finds Man-At-Arms inspecting his broken “molectron atomizer”, and admits that the ball that broke it is indeed his. For no reason other than he has to butt-in, Prince Adam walks into the room joins Man-At-Arms in shitting on Orko, even though it has nothing to do with him. Worse, Prince Adam mentions the girl, Podi, was playing ball with Orko, so Man-At-Arms demands to speak with her.

Orko freaks because the bitch is going to kill him now, assuming that he’s ratted on her. Man-At-Arms is banking on it, and insists that she be summoned to receive a scolding. After Orko splits to drag Podi to the inquisition, Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms have a really expository conversation about how it’s hard to admit when you fuck up, but most punishments are inconsequential anyway. Man-At-Arms agrees that Prince Adam has had it pretty fucking easy.

Podi is tromping around in the vine jungle on her way to her and Orko’s “secret hiding spot”, which turns out to be some golden, ancient temple conveniently located near the palace. Just as Podi is remarking that something is “off” a gate closes over the entrance, trapping her and this Mongolian Viking guy pops out and laughs at her. As it turns out, he’s been stalking her and knows she’d come here. You see what happens when you lie, kids? You get abducted by a cultural amalgamation, that’s what. Orko shows up and gets nabbed by one of the Mongolian Viking’s lackeys.

Deeper inside the palace, the Mongolian Viking, Rago, reveals that he is the arch-enemy of Podi’s father, Chief Merlo. He intends to overthrow the chief by holding her ransom. That, and by the use of some convoluted idol that requires the morefire stones for its eyes. The theft of them will steal the power from Chief Merlo’s idol, in which they currently serve as eyes. Orko makes a break for it, but he flies right into a fucking pillar, even though he was watching out directly in front of him and gets captured again.

Just as Prince Adam is fretting that Orko is not back with Podi, even though it’s been hours, a messenger delivers a scroll to Man-At-Arms. It’s from Chief Merlo and warns to keep Podi close because Rago is on the loose in the vine jungle. Whoops, too late for that! Prince Adam turns into He-Man the meets Teela and Man-At-Arms in the vine forest. We get a bunch of ridiculous animations as He-Man and Man-At-Arms hack through the forest with swords and Teela hits plants with her useless staff. Seriously, there’s like a good 20 seconds of them chopping foliage.

He-Man struts right into the mouth of a “catcher plant”, which isn’t as fortunate for He-Man as it might sound. It’s not really a big deal because he simply flexes and explodes the thing’s head. I’m going to count that as a murder, considering he spent a few recent episodes denouncing arborcide pretty ardently. They come upon the temple gate, which was smashed when Rago took off in his tank with his abductees. Teela finds Orko’s ball, and they correctly deduce that something is wrong. Good job, guys. Keep up the good work.

They decide to go tell Chief Merlo what they’ve found instead of trying to resolve the situation on their own. Man, they’re really laying the morals on thick this week. In Chief Merlo’s, um, Wigwam, I guess, Man-At-Arms tries to downplay their fault by explaining that Podi had split before they got the message. Chief Merlo is actually pretty cool about it, relating that his daughter is an insolent little twat. He then exposits that Rago must be after then morefire stones, which, of course, can only be removed from the current idol by the daughter of the Chief, which is Podi. So, they all tromp off through the woods, encountering extremely minor impediments on the way.

Rago rampages through the woods in his tank, which also turns out to be the idol for which he seeks the morefire stones. He too comes across a minor impediment – a too-narrow bridge – which he then simply leaps over using a convenient spring-jump feature in the idol tank. He destroys the bridge before he moves on to slow down the group that he doesn’t know is in pursuit of him. He-Man and crew come upon the destroyed bridge. Chief Merlo takes the brief delay in the group’s locomotion to explain that Rago’s his whole beef with him is that he didn’t like his appointment as Water Controller because the job was so boring. So, he quit and turned to a life of crime and was sent to the prison mines as a result.

Once Chief Merlo stops flapping his yap, He-Man borrows and absurdly long rope that Man-At-Arms definitely didn’t have before, ties it around his waste and leaps across the bridge-less ravine, thereby creating a zip line as a means for the rest of them to cross. Just as I thought that the only thing that really slowed the group down was Chief Merlo’s babbling, we watch each of them not only zip line across individually, but also toss the handle back to the next person. One. At. A. Time. Chief Merlo goes last, but some evil vines snap the rope, causing just a little more delay while He-Man rescues him. That shit ended up taking long enough that He-Man says there’s no time to rest, as if they had originally planned to take a fucking siesta after they crossed the bridge.

Inside the idol tank, Rago is still bitching about the job Chief Merlo once gave him. “Keeping the vines clear from the water supply is a pussy job”, he says. “It’s for giiiiiiiirls”. Laying this episode’s apparent moral on even thicker, Podi busts Rago’s balls saying, unwittingly, that he should have done his job anyway, because it’s his responsibility. I don’t remember an episode that piles a continuous lesson on throughout the while episode like this. I’m actually kind of proud of the writers for carrying a plot line so consistently.

As He-Man and crew race after them, Rago and his goons arrive at the temple where the morefire stones are. The horn of the idol tank lifts Rago and Podi up where she immediately obeys Rago’s command and plucks the morefire stones from the statue, and it looks awfully fucking creepy. Suddenly, the sneaky little bitch throws the morefire stones down to Okro. He catches them in his hat and then bolts, and he is again unsuccessful. With the morefire stones recovered and installed in the idol tank, Rago makes a rambling speech about how Podi should be proud that she helped him overthrow her father. Then he takes off in the idol tank with his posse, leaving Orko and Podi tied up and trapped inside the temple.

He-Man, Chief Rago, Man-At-Arms and Teela finally arrive outside the temple. It doesn’t take much imagination for me to predict that He-Man will recycle some animation and punch through the rocks sealing the entrance to the temple. And indeed, Chief Rago tries to use his staff, which doesn’t work on account of the missing morefire stones, so He-Man recycles some animation and punches through the rocks. Podi warns He-Man that Rago is on his way to the village to decimate it, so He-Man takes off on foot like, really fast, because he didn’t bring Battle Cat with him. Like, really fast. He runs so fast he’s able to lean into the wind at a 45 degree angle.

On his way to the village Rago blasts the shit out trees for fun while he boasts about how nothing can stop him, which is always the kind of hubris display that means He-Man is about to show up and shut things down. Right on cue, He-Man jumps down out of the trees (what the fuck?) in front of the idol tank. Rago blasts at him with the morefire stones but He-Man easily deflects the blast with his sword, taking out the front track on the idol tank. A second deflected blast takes out both the rear tracks, immobilizing it. He picks it up by the nose and shakes the goons out.

One of the goons takes off, but Man-At-Arms gives chase. The goon lures him across a narrow rock bridge, which spans a precarious chasm, then stops and runs back at Man-At-Arms. He dodges the goon and grapples him. They get into a good old fashioned wrestling match and Man-At-Arms tries to hump the goon off the side of the walkway. After he gets a thrashing from Man-At-Arms, the goon whips out a light saber. Man-At-Arms simply grabs the goon’s forearm and gives him an Indian burn, causing him to drop the light saber down the chasm. Then he grabs the goon’s right arm and does some kind of nerve pinch, which brings the goon to his knees where Man-At-Arms captures him in a portable snap-out cage.

Apparently, He-Man can only shake these guys out of the idol tank one at a time, because another goon plops out, which Teela then goes after. I wonder who gets to lay mitts on Rago, He-Man or Chief Merlo? Teela chases her goon for a little ways, then stops and throws her bolo at him, easily tripping him up. Then Teela, that tight little ginger minx, smiles that sexy smile of hers. He-Man gets tired of shaking the idol tank, so he throws it and Rago comes running out. This whole thing is reminding me of cartoons where a bear is trying to shake bees out of a hive or something. I think it’s because He-Man is a big dumb animal, like a bear.

So I guess it’s He-Man that gets to go after Chief Rago, if only because he called it first. Rago cackles at He-Man as he swings off on a vine. Rago boasts that his superior knowledge of the vine forest is his advantage, but He-Man just rips out a bunch of “clinging vines” and tosses them on Rago. Hasn’t Rago learned not to boast around He-Man yet? It’s like being a slut a horror flick. You’re guaranteed to go down, and I don’t just mean sucking dick. But maybe He-Man will make him do that too, since that catcher plant wasn’t quite what he thought it was.

So then, immediately following Rago’s capture, we cut to like a one second clip of Chief Merlo holding his daughter up to replace the morefire stones, which is impossible because the statue they’re housed in was way taller than that. Then we cut to everyone standing out on the walkway to the temple where Chief Merlo exposits that Rago will be in prison for a long time. He-Man prematurely declares Podi more responsible, only to be interrupted by the sound of clay pottery being smashed. Only this time Orko and Podi fight about who’s fault it is that the pot is broken, which causes everyone to laugh.

Damn. I’m not even excited about guessing what the moral is this week. It’s so fucking obvious; they laid it on thicker than I spread peanut butter on a PB&J, and that’s thick. I can’t even fake it. Maybe I’ll just cut this episode off early and go do something more fun like stick needles under my fingernails. You’re lucky I love you guys, because I also have a sinking feeling that Orko will be delivering the moral, and I’ve had enough of him. Okay, fuck it. I’m ripping off the band-aid. Gah! Orko comes on screen to tell us, you guessed it, if you make a mistake you should admit it and not run off like a little baby. Unless you killed somebody, then you should probably high tail it.

He-Man murder count: 13 and 1 attempted murder

 

Episodes missing Skeletor: 8

 

IMDB Cast List:

 

John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Rago

Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms, Chief Merlo

Linda Gary: Teela

Lou Scheimer: Orko, Centaur, Messenger

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