February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994
Ah! The end of the season is in sight, yet so far. Ten more episodes, and 10 more weeks. That’s almost a 1/5 of a year, just to finish the season! Well, only one way to get there… Usually the phrase Eye of the Beholder is in reference to the subjectivity of beauty. I’m guessing either Teela falls in love with an ugly dude, or a shadow beast or something, or Prince Adam falls in love with Ron Jeremy. The episode opens, for the third time in the last four or five episodes, with Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms out cruising in a wind raider. If he’s out cruising, maybe Prince Adam will meet and fall in love with the Hedgehog himself!
As Prince Adam whines about how hungry he is, the engines suddenly go out. Instead of spending their time jerking each other off as they plummet to certain death, Prince Adam spends it recycling animation so that he can at least save himself. Lucky for Duncan, he manages to save them both by using a grappling hook to halt the wind raider, then jumps down and catches it. Only something’s not right. He-Man isn’t feeling so well. That wind raider was really heavy and it took all of He-Man’s strength to catch it. And why did the engines just stop working anyway?
To find out, He-Man then literally drags the wind raider all the way back to Eternia, even though he’s all weakened, and arrives just in time to see a dead tree falling over and rush over to catch it before it crushes the Council Chamber. The weird thing is, that tree was perfectly healthy this morning. What in blue blazes is going on around here? He-Man saves the Council Chamber but he’s weaker than ever after dragging that damned wind raider all the way back and catching a large tree. But not so exhausted that he can’t burn a little brain power speculating that they won’t find anything wrong with the wind raider, because there is something weird going on in general.
Finally having dragged the wind raider into Man-At-Arms’, lab, He-Man wants to turn into Prince Adam and take a nap, but Duncan won’t let him. Orko shows up asking about why his magic isn’t working, which Man-At-Arms turns in a rip on Orko’s incompetence. Orko demonstrates that he can’t even fuck up a simple trick, and says that every one in the palace is all fucked up too. So, naturally, Man-At-Arms decides that best next step is to work on the wind raider. Then he gets all tired and falls asleep on the hood, prompting He-Man to embrace him lovingly.
Man-At-Arms can barely think straight, but then it comes to him. “The missing element” that makes it all add up. To illustrate his yet-to-be-articulated theory, he tries to light his Bunsen burner, but it won’t light. You see, fire needs fuel, and oxygen. Trees need oxygen, as do engines. And so too, people need oxygen. Therefore, the oxygen must be lowering on Eternia, and the only explanation is that Dark Helmet is using a giant vacuum cleaner spaceship to suck all the air out of the place, which would, by default, mean that He-Man has become the over-tired Prince Valium.
He-Man tries to run to Castle Grayskull for help, but he’s so week that he can’t really run. He just kind of lurks his way there, looking like that character from an episode of Seinfeld that doesn’t move her arms when she walks or runs. He makes it to the edge of the woods near Castle Grayskull and discovers the drawbridge to be wide open. He makes it inside and discovers The Sorceress all smacked out in her chair. So smacked out, she couldn’t even use enough brainpower to summon or warn him.
So then they chat and the Sorceress shows us a map of Eternia – which is conspicuously tacked to the stone wall – starting with the Sea of Eternity (which is more like a reservoir), which flows through the forest, right on past Eternia. She surmises, because of the dead trees in the forest, that their condition is not a result of decreased oxygen, it is the cause of the decreased oxygen. Rather, someone must be cutting off the water supply at the Sea of Eternity, which is killing the trees, which is articulated in a long explanation about how trees make the air we breath, etc. This is the second is the second time in the episode that they are clearly trying to drop some science on some kids.
He-Man wastes his energy going all the way back to Etenria to tell this to Man-At-Arms instead of saving that energy for use at the Sea of Eternity, where he will surely have to perform some sort of physical feat to restore the water supply. Don’t they have communicators? Anyway, it’s a good thing he did, I guess, because Man-At-Arms has invented a tiny little scuba tank. Now He-Man can take little hits and get his oxygen-high on which will work like spinach on Popeye. I love how Man-At-Arms is always inventing things that have existed for a long time already. Now that he’s got a little more electrical activity flowing in his cranium, He-Man puts his money on Skeletor being behind all of this. However, I’m not getting my hopes up. That bag of bones never seems to come around any more.
He-Man and Man-At-Arms have a really grave discussion about how that teeny bottle of oxygen is all that stands between life and death, then we cut to He-Man at the mouth of a tunnel that leads through the mountain to the Sea of Eternity. As soon as he enters, he’s confronted by these cave dwelling ant beings, who don’t appear to be affected by the reduced oxygen levels. They insult his appearance and lack of exoskeleton, thus denouncing him as ugly. They proceed to accuse him of being responsible for a disaster threatening their eggs, which are about to be born.
Despite He-Man’s oxygen-wasting explanation as to why he’s there, the robed ant person is highly suspicious of him. However, the tall ant guy, Garth, who seems to be a general or something, is not, and agrees to help He-Man on his quest. Suddenly, the ceiling starts falling in, and ant people start diving on top of all the eggs to protect them. He-Man effortlessly rips a stalagmite from the ground and wedges it up against the ceiling to reinforce it, never mind that the stalagmite is proportionately not big enough to do this with. The robed ant person softens when he sees that He-Man saved their eggs.
Elsewhere, Tri-Klops and Beast Man are standing guard for Skeletor and laughing because, while every one else is being deprived of oxygen, they have these nifty little canisters filled with the stuff. I guess that’s what happens when Man-At-Arms invents things that already exist: other people have them. The mention of oxygen prompts Beast Man to take a hit. The ant general jumps out and runs distraction, while He-Man steps up and takes Beast Man’s phaser. Beast Man’s oxygen tank breaks, so he’s down for the count. Then He-Man takes Tri-Klops’ oxygen tank, and instead of keeping it for back up, he crushes it, which causes Tri-Klops to fall asleep instantly.
He-Man and his bug friend, Garth, emerge from the caverns and find Skeletor has dammed up the river and is pumping the water out of the Sea of Eternity, which I can now see is a rather small reservoir. He-Man and Garth confront Skeletor, who makes fun of the Garths’s ant-person appearance, which is part of a pretty obvious moral subplot about not judging things based on the way they look. Oh! Science and preachy morals, all in the same episode with a cameo appearance from Skeletor? Have I won the lottery, or died and gone to Hell? I can’t tell which.
Skeletor quickly uses a tractor beam to steal He-Man’s oxygen tank and destroy it. By the time He-Man climbs up to Skeletors position at the controls of this giant pump, he’s pooped and falls back down to the ground. See? I knew he should have kept Tri-Klops’ oxygen tank! Garth runs around to the front of the pump and devises a way to clog it up, which involves jumping in the reservoir with a big rock. While Skeletor is distracted with the clog, He-Man drags himself up to the control seat and hits the reverse switch.
Suddenly, this moth man flies up out of the Sea of Eternity and attacks Skeletor. Where did this guy come from? Why was he underwater? Here has he been underwater this whole time? He steals Skeletor’s oxygen thank and takes it to He-Man. Instead of continuing his nefarious plan, Skeletor leaps into the control seat, and then takes off in it, because it obviously doubles as an escape pod. He-Man looks at the moth man and, after taking a hit of oxygen, is like, “Garth? Is it really you?”, and it really is Garth.
He-Man runs over and takes out the dam and gets into a little trouble when he falls in the water. Before he gets swept away in the water, Garth comes and rescues him. They chat, and determine that the oxygen rich water of the Sea of Eternity sped up his evolutionary process and now he’s the first one of his kind to turn into a humanoid moth. Sure, why not. He-Man and Garth look at each other lovingly and Garth invites He-Man back to watch all the eggs hatch. And there we have it. The eye of the beholder. He-Man fell in love with a beautiful butterfly man. Okay, well, he’s a moth man and moths are ugly, but who are you to judge? The episode is called “Eye of the Beholder”, and they lay it on pretty thick.
Later, back in Eternia, Prince Adam is explaining everything we just watched, then Orko fucks up a trick and every one verbalizes their appreciation for normalcy, now that the oxygen is back, just like that. Then, Prince Adam looks out into the proverbial distance and says, “Don’t thank me, thank my noble friend Garth. I just can’t quit you, Garth”.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it’s about how science will make you smart, and how moths can be as beautiful and seductive as butterflies, if you’re a weirdo who likes bugs a lot. Instead, Teela comes on the screen to really ram home the obvious moral lesson that has been running through this episode. She tells us that ugly people are beautiful, and beautiful people are ugly and have vomit breath on account of their bulimia, so don’t throw up your lunch, kids. I just want to know one thing before I go throw up my dinner – which one are you, Teela?
He-Man murder count: 17 and 1 attempted murder
Episodes Missing Skeletor: 21
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Shaman
Linda Gary: The Sorceress
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Tri-Klops