I can’t imagine that “Castle of Heroes” refers to Castle Grayskull, because there’s only one hero of Castle Grayskull, and that’s He-Man. You can take that shit to the bank, bitch. So, I wonder what the Castle of Heroes will turn out to be… At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is watching Teela, Prince Adam and Orko picnicking in the courtyard of the palace on his table monitor. Clawful is busting Skeletor’s balls about being such a pervy voyeur when, suddenly, a Roman-like warrior appears atop an elephant, followed by a purple, um, pirate, I guess. Skeletor wants to know what the fuck they are doing in his castle, so the Purple Pirate says, “Avast, there, what we be wantin’, you’ll be knowin’ soon enough”.
On cue, a weird little gray dude in a kimono shows up. Skeletor immediately addresses him as Monteeg, and compliments his ability to make an entrance. It would seem they have history and express a fondness for each other, but I’m still surprised that Skeletor doesn’t kick his ass just for dropping in unannounced. Not only that, but he makes himself a martini pretty fucking quick. Like, maybe ask first, dick. So, Skeletor and Monteeg booze it up and trade stories about saran-wrapping toilets, putting peanut butter on dog’s backs, and this one time at band camp…
Monteeg reveals that he’s curated a very talented team of henchman that he’s hand selected from the farthest reaches of the universe, a group of which “the barbarian” and “the pirate” are only two. Monteeg looks at Skeletor demurely, then stirs his martini with his finger, and drinks it like Mork from Ork. As it turns out, Billy Barbarian and Purple Pirate are from Ancient Earth. They and each of the other hand chosen soldiers in Monteeg’s “army” were chosen for having been the most evil of their time and place. As it turns out, Billy Barbarian and Purple Pirate are none other than Hannibal the Conqueror and Blackbeard.
Not to be outdone, Skeletor shits on Monteeg’s “army of has-beens” and compares his own roster, citing such renowned incompetents as Evil-Lyn and Clawful (Skeletor’s right hand man, as he tells it). Before Skeletor can continue citing any more of his nincompoops, Monteeg interrups him and rattles off like three or four more of his own crew. Wisely, Skeletor doesn’t boast any further. I mean, who else does he have, Mer-Man? Beast Man? Trap Jaw? Monteeg has Cignus, the Red Demon of Mars – “left the place in shambles”, you know.
So, Monteeg refills his martini and they get to the point. Monteeg has heard many tales about He-Man, and he intends to add him to his army. I don’t know why the fuck he thinks that will work, or why he would even consider He-Man – everyone else he’s cited is evil, it just doesn’t fit the bill. Anyway, Skeletor is cool with it, but warns Monteeg that there is no way that he will be able to get He-Man to submit and join his evil army. However, in a Napoleonic short man syndrome kind of way, Monteeg is pretty fucking sure of himself. Despite He-Man’s reputation, Monteeg figures he needs to test He-Man’s worthiness first.
Even though almost five minutes have elapsed, when we cut to the palace, Prince Adam (or should I say Pimp Adam, ha ha), Teela, and Orko are sitting in the exact same position as they were when Skeletor was touching himself and watching them on the monitor. Prince Adam is hungry because Man-At-Arms was talking about meteors, which reminds me of a stupid Phil Hartman McDonald’s commercial (“Meatier? It sure is meatier!”). Naturally, Orko conjures a meteor instead of food.
Monteeg suddenly appears and says he needs the help of He-Man because there is a giant that is threatening Polonia. Teela says there has never been a giant in that territory, which sounds like she’s suspicious of him. Prince Adam immediately runs off to recycle some animation, and Teela steps forward, bends down, puts her hand on Monteeg and reassures him that they’ll help him. How Skeletor and Monteeg could be such old friends and Prince Adam/He-Man doesn’t know who he is, is quite beyond me.
A quick screen wipe later, He-Man casually shows up and, like an asshole, says, “I heard there’s a giant on the loose”. Okay, I know that there was a screen wipe, which signifies the passage of time, but they can’t have been waiting more than 30 seconds between when Prince Adam said he would “get word” to He-Man and when He-Man actually showed up. I mean really, how do they not figure it out?? He-Man can’t help but say, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” before heading out to take out this giant, leaving Teela to defend the palace from this fictitious giant.
As He-Man flies over the forest in a wind raider, Monteeg, who is along for the ride, twinkles his fingers and starts a forest fire. Skeletor, who is watching, of course, surmises that He-Man’s test is to put out the forest fire, and figures that He-Man will put it out pretty easily. As Skeletor figures it, this will be good, because if He-Man stops the fire, Monteeg will take him away forever. He-Man simply pulls a boulder up which diverts a river, then he cups his hands over the stream it to pressurize it, like putting your thumb partially over a hose, and puts out the fire. Always the good Samaritan, He-Man puts the boulder back where he found it to return the river to its natural course. I think he really did this so he could pose with a boulder that looks like giant nuts.
As it turns out, this was just the first test. Skeletor is concerned Monteeg won’t select He-Man, as putting out the fire was clearly child’s play for him – too easy. Continuing on their way, He-Man passes through Ice Troll territory. They are besieged by “ice cannon balls”, which apparently have homing technology, as they follow Prince Adam though crazy twists and turns, dips and dives. The obvious solution is for He-Man to stand up on the wind raider with his arms spread, which was clearly the inspiration for the “I’m the King of the World” bit in James Cameron’s Titanic, jump off, land on some ice rocks, then use those powerful thighs of his to separate a giant one from the ice cavern wall, and block the path of the homing ice boulders.
He-Man rejoins the wind raider, only to have to get out again and hold open a perilous snapping door at the end of the tunnel they’re in. Of course, this is easy, and Skeletor’s excitement grows, because if He-Man performs enough feats of strength, this little man, Monteeg, will simply be able to just take He-Man away and add him to the ranks of his evil army, leaving Skeletor free to dominate Eternia. Yeah, it’ll be that easy.
While He-Man wanders into a cave to look for the fictitious giant, Monteeg teleports back to Snake Mountain to see how “Skeletor is enjoying the show”. When he appears, Monteeg is laying on the conference table on his stomach, with his arms folded, looking up at Skeletor, which is just strange. They both agree that He-Man will make a nice addition to Monteeg’s army. Inside the cave, He-Man is starting to realize there is no giant. Instead, Blackbeard the Purple Pirate shows up, complete with generic pirate speak, along with Hannibal the Conqueror.
Rather than attack He-Man, they tell him that Monteeg wants something from He-Man and they suggest they all head off together. Blackbeard the Purple Pirate and Hannibal lead He-Man to a plank and advise that Monteeg wants to train him to join his army, which apparently involves “walking the plank”, which is positioned over a big pit. I think the Purple Pirate is a little too into this pirate thing. I guess the pit is a holding cell to keep He-Man until Monteeg wants him for training, after which he will be placed in a holding cell under a magic dome that controls them all until Monteeg either lets them go, or the dome gets broken. That seems like quite an expository bit of information.
He-Man uses the plank as a springboard and leaps up onto a bluff overlooking the pit. He-Man announces his resistance then runs off to go smash him some magic dome. Monteeg decides that the only way he will capture He-Man is to do it himself. Monteeg appears, impeding He-Man’s path. He conjures a rock wall that is supposed to confine He-Man in the cave he is in, but He-Man introduces Monteeg to the power of a recycled animation sequence and smashes it.
Orko tussles with Hannibal and his elephant as He-Man goes after Monteeg. As He-Man rushes the little man, Monteeg conjures a pit into which He-Man dutifully falls. Orko tries to help, but Hannibal captures him in a bubble. Monteeg explains that the pit is made of magic granite, which replenishes what He-Man cuts away. What this means is if He-Man chops the rock fast enough, it will pile up and lift him out of the pit. And so it is that He-Man easily escapes the pit.
Blackbeard the Purple Pirate and Monteeg give He-Man everything they’ve got, but he evades their assaults. An errant electric blast from Monteeg’s fingers frees Orko. Orko and He-Man work together to trap their enemies, and He-Man runs off to smash the magic dome. Meanwhile, Hannibal uses his elephant to smash out of the cell He-Man created for them. Before He-Man can get very far, the rag-tag group of villains catches up with him. The battle is easy enough that He-Man has some time to recycle some animation of him looking from side to side while he hatches a plan.
The plan is to climb a fir tree to reach the top of the castle, and thus the dome. While He-Man does this, Orko distracts Hannibal by snake-charming his elephant’s trunk. Except it doesn’t work, and the elephant tosses Orko into the tree where he lands by He-Man. Hannibal begins to head-butt the fir tree to knock He-Man out of it. So then, He-Man jumps out of the tree, off the elephant’s back, and I swear he uses his arms to fly in an upward trajectory, where he grabs a rock pillar and twirls around it rather fancily. It is absolutely unbelievable. See for yourself. And he does this all, as he claims, so the elephant won’t hurt it’s head ramming the tree.
He-Man climbs to the top of the castle while Monteeg blasts at him from below. He-Man gets to the top and picks up the dome. He chucks it into space where it smashes against a comet, thus freeing all the different soldiers Monteeg has been collecting. Now freed from their captivity, the ghostly, disembodied heads of all these dastardly conquerors and villains float up and thank He-Man for freeing them.
I guess at some point, Skeletor arrived on the scene and witnessed the whole failure. Monteeg blames the loss of his army on Skeletor, which really is a false accusation since all Skeletor literally did this whole episode was drink and voyeuristically watch the whole thing unfold on his table monitor. Anyway, Skeletor points out it was Monteeg’s dumb ass idea to try and capture He-Man in the first place, and then they both just disappear.
Hannibal helps He-Man down and Blackbeard the Purple Pirate is like, “yar, thanks, bro, ye be savin’ arrr arses”. Then they say something about being able to rest in peace and they all disappear in a paranormal vapor. With all the action over, Orko is relieved that they don’t actually have to fight a giant, but He-Man offers that they can go find one to fight. Orko would rather daydream about all the evil historical figures he just met and fantasize about getting their autographs.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it’s going to be about there really was no Castle of Heroes. The “castle” on top of which He-Man smashed the magic dome was little more than a rock cube with the dome on top. Seriously, all the “historical figures” (Hannibal and Blackbeard are the only actual ones mentioned) were scourges! I mean, there was a guy that destroyed Mars included in the group, along with another that “enslaved Jupiter for all eternity”! Just because someone is infamous and historical does not mean that person is a hero. Prince Adam comes on screen to tell us that history is cool, even if you can’t actually meet historical figures, so read your history kids, and idolize historical figures like The Countess of Bathory, or Vlad the Impaler, or Hitler.
He-Man murder count: 17 and 1 attempted murder
Episodes missing Skeletor: 22
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Monteeg, Hannibal, Blackbeard
Linda Gary: Teela
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Clawful