Oh, a new character! Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t get too excited over the title just yet, since last week the title had little to no relation to what happened in the episode. Fabulous secret powers. Sorry, I haven’t said that in a while. Tee-hee. My God, actually, I hope Man-E-Faces isn’t a new character, because I don’t want to fucking type that every time he shows up. At the palace, Orko and Cringer struggle incompetently to decorate for the Queen’s party. It ends in disaster, and why anyone would expect that asking a floating amputee elf and a green and orange tiger to decorate would end any other way, I don’t know.
Prince Adam comes along and chastises them for their failure, but he should punish himself just as much, since he probably put them up to helping. I think he should wear a hair shirt for a week as punishment. If you don’t know what a hair shirt is, look it up. It would suck to wear one. Cringer and Orko bicker about whose fault it is, until Prince Adam tells them to knock it off, fails to sentence himself to wear a hair shirt, and threatens to take away the surprise if they don’t get their shit together. And to my astonishment, Orko does something successful; he snaps his fingers and the whole room is magically decorated.
So, the surprise is that Man-E-Faces has come to be their entertainment for the party. I didn’t expect him to turn out to be party entertainment for hire, that’s for sure. Times must be tough in Eternia. Anyway, his deal is that he has this like, helmet, or mechanical head or something, that can spin around inside the housing to change his facial appearance. He’s got his scary monster face, his robot face, a normal (kinda) friendly looking face, and even Skeletor and Beast Man faces. Prince Adam refers to him as Man-E, pronounced more like “manny”, like they’re old friends. For his grand finale, “Manny” does an Orko face, but it’s like a whole magic mask and hit that pops over his head. Prince Adam thinks it’s hilarious. I had the Man-E-Faces toy, but mine only had the monster, robot, and “normal” faces. Bummer.
I’m pretty sure we just saw his whole routine already. I can’t imagine he’s got much more to offer. When he’s done, Prince Adam introduces him to “Duncan (long awkward pause), our Man-At-Arms”. Seems Duncan’s “daughter”, Teela, has told him that Manny is quite the actor. Manny is demure about it, and attributes his talents to… Teela and He-Man? Man-At-Arms is equally puzzled, which is the perfect opportunity for Prince Adam to tell one of those, oh-I-never-told-you-about-that stories. It’s a long story, says, Prince Adam. It all began on a dark and windy night at the Widget village…
The Widgets stand around, cowering, wondering if “the monster” will come back. Those poor Widgets, always getting picked on for the easy targets they are. Indeed, the monster returns, and it’s Man-E-Faces, with his monster face exposed. He yells like the Frankenstein Monster and beats at the gate. You see, he wasn’t always the well-adjusted, happy-go-lucky “actor” we know and love today. Back in the story, he changes his monster face to his robot face, which allows him to break the gate down, for some reason, then he changes back to his monster face. He terrorizes the Widgets by snapping spears and breaking their He-Man signal, then declares himself their new master. Good thing the Sorceress is flying overhead in hawk form.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is observing all this on his table monitor, while Beast Man stares at him, trying not to look too drunk. Wow, this is a long story. I’m starting to think story Prince Adam is telling might be the primary vehicle for this episode’s plot. Skeletor plots to befriend this monster and use him toward his own ends, because most of his usual cronies are in jail. Hey! Continuity! Prince Adam confirms that Zoar, the Falcon (1. I didn’t realize the Sorceress had a different name as a falcon and; 2. I thought she was a hawk, not a falcon), was watching as well. She perches on the windowsill of Prince Adam’s palace window to alert the sleeping prince of the trouble.
Zoar politely apologizes for interrupting his beauty sleep, but the Widgets need him. Prince Adam activates a switch revealing a secret storage place for the power sword behind a bookcase, then recycles some animation. At the Widget village, Man-E-Faces is forcing the poor little people to bring him food, which he tastes, then rejects. He-Man shows up and demands to be let inside. The Widgets shout for help, and so He-Man and Battle Cat just jump over the wall. To be fair, the Widgets are pretty small, so their walls aren’t all that tall. Though they seemed a lot bigger when Man-E-Faces was banging on the door.
He-Man threatens Man-E-Faces to leave his friends alone, then, they get into a fight. He-Man knocks Man-E-Faces down, which causes all the Widgets to laugh at him, which pisses him off even more, because everyone always laughs at him. Teela and Orko come by and manage to humiliate poor Manny even more. Finally, He-Man and Manny end things by having a staring contest. Well, that is until Manny just disappears when Skeletor flies overhead and beams him aboard. Skeletor politely introduces himself and Beast Man, then he tells Manny to get comfortable because he ain’t leaving.
Down in the Widget village, everyone quickly condemns Manny as one of Skeletor’s lackeys, but He-Man isn’t so sure. Orko unwittingly refers to the Widgets as “little squirts”, and they return the insult by calling him “half-pint”. The Sorceress shows up to confirm He-Man’s suspicions and explains that he’s just a really lonely dude, and that he’s just acting out. Suddenly the Sorceress senses that Skeletor is on his way to attack Castle Grayskull, so they all take off, but not before Teela stands there looking like she had a stroke for three seconds.
On the way to Castle Grayskull, Skeletor tries to convince Manny to join forces with him willingly, promising him power, and respect; promising that no one will laugh at him ever again. Manny rejects Skeletor’s offer, because he’s a loner. Skeletor traps him in a glass tube, but Manny just turns on his monster face and breaks out. Beast Man uses his ability to control savage beasts to take control of Manny’s will, which actually works, and Monster Manny then requests to know his first command. Skeletor laughs to Beast Man, “after I finish using this dolt to break into Castle Grayskull, you can have him as your toy”. Somewhere deep inside, the real Manny sheds a tear at their insults.
Having arrived, Beast Man beams down with Monster Manny, while Skeletor attacks the castle with his ship. The Sorceress stands in the window shooting energy blasts at it, which results in us twice seeing the same animation of the ship being struck. Nope, actually, it’s three times. Down below Monster Manny and Beast Man tug at a grappling hook trying to open the drawbridge. They actually get it partly open, but then He-Man shows up. Monster Manny tussles with He-Man, but he manages to warn He-Man that he’s being controlled and can’t help himself. The Sorceress uses her magic to free Manny from Beast Man’s control, and together with He-Man, they take down Beast Man.
Man-Again Manny and He-Man lay their hands on Beast Man just before Skeletor beams him back up, and so, they all get beamed up to Skeletor’s ship. What follows was just utterly delightful. Manny changes to his robot face, punches some panels, which electrocutes them, while He-Man rips off other panels and throws them through the hull. I have to admit; it was pretty fun watching them rip Skeletor’s ship apart. Having effectively wrecked the ship, He-Man and Manny jump overboard to safety as it flies low to the ground. To quote Batman to Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, “I’m not going to kill you, but I don’t have to save you”.
Skeletor’s ship continues to skirt the ground until it goes over the edge of the cliff in front of Castle Grayskull, falling into the “bottomless gorge” as the Sorceress refers to it. Funny, I thought the castle was surrounded by a tar-pit moat, since He-Man has tossed Beast Man into it twice before. The Sorceress doubts that will stop Skeletor for long. Manny is like, “Welp, so long, jerks”, but He-Man stops him and asks who he his. Manny is touched, because nobody has ever asked him that before. They are always just afraid of him because he runs around with his monster face on, scaring and bullying every one.
Manny tells them that he’s never had a name before, so they babble about how he’s a good guy now, and so they need a good guy name for him. Orko dubs him “Man-E-Faces”, but I like Manny better. Finally, with a minute and 44 seconds left in the episode – 30 seconds of which belong to the closing credits – we finally come back to present day, where Prince Adam is wrapping up his “long story”. Since then, Manny has become Eternia’s most famous actor – available for birthdays and Bat Mitzvahs. Man-At-Arms realizes that Prince Adam has been prattling on for so long, they are probably missing the performance, and they all run off to see it. They catch the very end of it, and as far as I can tell, the only difference from what we saw earlier is that now Manny is wearing a cape. None-the-less, the crowd adoringly throws roses at his feet as he concludes his “performance”.
Time for this week’s moral! I think its going to be about how if you are a misunderstood bully that gets laughed at all the time, the only alternative is to become a birthday clown that fancies himself and actor, and gets laughed at all the time. Instead, there really isn’t a moral this week. Orko asks Manny to help him with a “problem”; how do actors remember all their “speeches” (they’re called monologues, idiot)? Manny just says repetition is the key, so then there is this dumb bit where Okro says, “Say goodbye” to himself, over and over, because he’s practicing his closing line, then he breaks the fourth wall and says, “Good bye”!
He-Man murder count: 15 and 1 attempted murder
Episodes missing Skeletor: 13
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man, Squinch
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Battle Cat, Skeletor, Man-At-Arms
Linda Gary: Teela, The Sorceress
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Man-E-Faces, Kando, Widgets
I just noticed that Alan Oppenheimer is the only one with a profile picture on IMDB, so I actually went to look at his roles. Damn! He’s been acting since 1964, and still is! And, he’s been in so much cool stuff, that I can’t even begin to name it all, or even the best parts. You should check it out.