Oh, boy! It’s one of those origin story episodes. These are always interesting, and it’s guaranteed to be better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, because everything is. I wonder if The Sorceress was born or hatched? I remember my mom telling me that when she was a kid around the early to mid Sixties, her peers used to tease her, saying that she was hatched and not born. Damn, have kids changed. We open with shameless exposition spewing from Orko as he tells Prince Adam that Man-At-Arms has been holed up in his lab for days. Rather than be worried, Orko is just anxious to find out what he’s making. Prince Adam kind of inexplicably stretches his arms up and puts them behind his head.
The suspense is broken quickly because they only have 22 minutes to tell the story, and they’ve already wasted a minute and a half on the intro, and the episode’s title character hasn’t shown up yet. Man-At-Arms comes forward and unveils that he’s invented a mechanical horse, again. Man-At-Arms really has a penchant for inventing things that already exist. This one is bigger and stronger, and his name is Stridor, and I remember him from the toys. Oh, actually, he’s not bigger. They just made it seem that way with the toe-to-head full body pan. But he IS stronger. Allegedly. According to Man-At-Arms, he’s “the perfect companion for He-Man”, which seems pretty insulting to Cringer, who happens to be standing right there.
For his first trick, Stridor warns them of danger. Wait, what? Danger? Turns out there’s swirling fire-sphincter in the sky, and it starts shitting comets at them. Orko hides and Prince Adam turns into He-Man. Well, I guess we will get to find out how Stridor measures up against Battle Cat. He-Man and Battle Cat each smash one while Man-At-Arms and Stridor each take out comets. Orko even stops one by turning it into a snowball, which falls on him. He-Man knocks one more comet back, right into the center of the burning anus, which destroys it. He-Man is confused because he’s never seen a burning anus before (well, isn’t he lucky), but his confusion won’t last long because the Sorceress summons He-Man to Castle Grayskull to explain STDs.
What the Sorceress has to tell He-Man must remain absolutely secret. And with that, I am on absolute pins and needles with anticipation to find out what a burning anus has to do with the origin of the Sorceress. Since He-Man has been instructed to come alone, he decides he had better take Stridor to Castle Grayskull, because I guess Battle Cat has loose lips. Stridor looks strangely happy that He-Man has selected him as his means of conveyance from here to there. I’m pretty sure this is the rise of the machines and the episode will end by leading into The Terminator.
He-Man shows up and the Sorceress weaves a tale about Morgoth the Terrible, a powerful Sorcerer who tried to rule, not only Eternia, but the Universe, as well. He sought a power greater than any man should, and became a giant with terrible, evil powers. The ancients, just in time, cast him into a “prison zone”, which is depicted as Morgoth walking calmly and willingly in between two tornadoes. The Sorceress says the burning anus had something to do with Morgoth, so they have to go to Dark Mountain. She uses a magic crystal that will allow her to maintain her “true” human form outside the Castle, and off they go to “prepare for the coming of Morgoth”.
Amid a city of ruins, the Sorceress tells He-Man that they must keep watch overnight and wait for the coming of dawn, which will bring the stubborn Morgoth, whom apparently is fond of coming at dawn. In the meanwhile, to help pass the time, the Sorceress tells He-Man about how she “wasn’t always the Sorceress”. She conjures a magic mirror in which to magically depict her tale. She was a young girl, named Teela-Na, and her village was in peril from the conquering ways of Morgoth. No young virgin was safe, not male, not female.
The evil wizard bastard Morgoth summoned an invading alien army to attack the village, raping with their strange alien genitalia, and pillaging their food supplies. They drink through their fingers like Mork, it’s unsettling. They used their drinking-fingers in ways you can’t imagine. It was horrific. Teela-Na sheds a tear as her village and anus burn. Within an hour, every one has been taken captive, and the men can no longer stand up straight, they’ve taken it so hard. Morgoth kicks the little aliens’ asses because even he thinks they went a little too far.
A poor, broken young man does his best to straighten up and stand. He’s being held captive in what appears to be a pub along with Teela-Na and an old man with a leather football helmet. The young man is understandably full of despair, but the old man says there’s a way they can overcome. He tells them of “the castle”. Legend says that when the evil times come, and a hero is needed, The Castle Grayskull will open. The Sorceress decides that these are evil times, so the castle must be ready to open. So, the old man gives her a riddle to help her find it: “In barren places, find ye hope. Where no water springs, no plant grows, no wind blows, find all you need.” What a shitty riddle.
Teela-Na escapes, the guards letting her go, assuming that she will just die out in the wastelands. Indeed, the next morning, Teela-Na is in dire straights. Suddenly, a mirage of Castle Grayskull appears to her, and a hissing voice that sounds like Evil-Lyn beckons her to enter. The voice ambiguously warns her that if she enters, she will never be the same. Of course, Teela-Na enters. An old bird-woman, Kuduk Ungol(what?) appears to her and says, “Tag, you’re it, bitch! Ha-ha! I can die now, sweet peace!” And so it is that Teela-Na becomes Zoar, the falcon Sorceress.
The most interesting part of the story is when Kuduk Ungol tells Teela that she must protect the swords of power until the one day they are claimed. Swords, plural, as in more than one. Now I’m intrigued. My hazy recollection of what ever small effort this show made at a back story is that He-Man’s power sword has a twin, and that, at some point, Skeletor obtains the other. Kuduk Ungol lowers Teela-Na into a pit of steam where the castle accepts her, and she emerges as an orange falcon. She transforms back to her “human” form, which is now that of the sexy bird-woman that we know as the Sorceress. I guess she was born and not hatched. Good to know. Kuduk Ungol, ecstatic, goes off to crawl under a rock and accept her final lover, Death.
One of the invading aliens is picking on the old man prisoner while Zoar circles above, chirping ineffectually. The alien thug decides he’s going to teach the old man a lesson by shooting down the most annoying falcon on the planet. It doesn’t seem like Teela-Na is going to last too long as the new Sorceress. The goon is a horrible shot, and then Zoar blasts him with some laser eyes, causing him to drop his gun. Zoar chases them all off, then lands, turns into her human form and warns the aliens to leave this peaceful village alone. They try to escape and bring their friends, but the Sorceress sends them through slip-space or something.
Morgoth shows up and challenges the fledgling Sorceress, and I can’t help but think that Man of Steel ripped its plot off of this episode. Surprisingly, the Sorceress takes him easily. She quickly encircles him in a burning anus ring – fitting revenge – and magically commands him back to the prison zone. The Sorceress humbly attributes the old man with some of their success, but clearly she’s pretty proud of herself. When she returned to the castle, Kuduk Ungol was “gone”. R.I.P. And that, He-Man, is the story of how Teela-Na became the Sorceress. Now I just need to know how Prince Adam came to find Castle Grayskull and what the fuck happened to that other power sword?
Even though I’m pretty sure only five minutes have passed, and it’s clearly still light out – too light to be dawn – the burning anus appears in the sky and Morgoth emerges. He drops a giant crystal, which is apparently his “link” to this world. The crystal encases itself in a dome, just like that little egg on Under the Dome. The Sorceress instructs He-Man to destroy the gem while she fends off Morgoth. Morgoth mocks He-Man as he tries to break through the dome by pushing on it. With suspicious specificity, Morgoth says that “no living creature” can get through the force field. It would seem that Stridor is programmed with a phenomenal ability to understand human subtext and linguistic technicality, because it catches the subtle nuance of the phrasing and rams the dome, then passes through it.
He-Man explains to Morgoth that Stridor is not a living creature, he is a robot, so he can go through the force field. Morgoth is flabbergasted. These kids and their technology! What ever happened to good old insults like telling an 11 year old he or she was hatched and not born? He-Man commands Stridor to break the crystal. Morgoth shocks Stridor with some lightning bolts like Zeus from Mount Olympus, but Stider powers on, apparently due only to He-Man’s cheerleading. Stridor kicks the crystal just as he gets shocked again, knocking it out of the dome for He-Man to catch. He-Man slams the crystal down upright and ignores Morgoth’s lightning bolts while he punches the thing in half.
“No! I was so close”, yells Morgoth as the anus of fire spins around him. He-Man picks up the two halves of the crystal and chucks them into the flames, destroying the whole mess and sending Morgoth back to the prison dimension. Then he puts the thumb and middle finger of one hand over his temples like he’s got a migraine or something. The Sorceress steps up and asks if he’s all right. He-Man plays it off then changes the subject by expressing concern over Stridor – a robot, as He-Man pointed out only moments ago – and says, “We have to get him back to the lab. Man-At-Arms can fix him up”. Then, more gravely, he says, “If we get there in time.” Right, got to get that robot back before he reaches clinical death, because his brain cells will die.
The Sorceress is at a loss as to how they will get him back to the lab, seeing as how he’s out of commission and all. He-Man reasons that since Stridor carried him here, he will carry Stridor back. That is hardly an equal trade or comparison, but He-Man doesn’t care, so, out of his puzzling sense of urgency to get Stridor back to the lab, rather than come back with a vehicle, He-Man hoists Stridor up over his shoulders. Even the Sorceress thinks it’s an unnecessary feat, and gently asks if he’s sure he wants to do that. “After what Stridor went through, I’d carry him to the other side of the Planet if I had to”, He-Man replies. Dude, seriously, a mechanical horse walked you over here and got zapped a few times while following commands out of programming, not some kind of heroic valor. Anyway, just wait until these machines really wake up and invent the Terminator. I’d like to see He-Man versus the Terminator, actually.
Back in the lab, Stridor is back on his feet and Man-At-Arms is saying that Stridor should be all right. The Sorceress is there in her human form and He-Man hasn’t turned back into Prince Adam yet. It’s as if he’s been up all night in the waiting room waiting for Stridor to get out of surgery. He-Man walks over to Stridor, puts his hand on his shoulder and says, “We’ve been through quite a lot, the two of us. I wonder what he thinks of it all.” What? You went through one minor ordeal with a machine and you’re all sentimental about it? I have never once seen him show such a fondness for Cringer/Battle Cat, not once. That’s fucked up, man.
Man-At-Arms pushes a button that, as it happens, will show them what’s on Stridor’s mind. What appears is an image of a river and trees. As He-Man and Man-At-Arms wonder what it means, Stridor starts repeating the word “free”. Oh, damn. That’s got to sting a little bit, eh, Duncan? He-Man? And also, awwwww he thinks he’s a real horse. How cute. The Sorceress theorizes that because of the magical lightning blasts, he’s now “alive”, like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit. Man, I liked that movie when I was a kid. Anyway, Man-At-Arms decides they can’t hold captive anything that longs to be free, so they let him go. He-Man figures they’ll see him again, and I wonder about that. He-Man thanks the Sorceress for all her service, and she’s like, “That’s right, bitch.”
Time for this week’s moral! I think it’s going to be about how it’s okay to love machines like real living beings, like a sex doll. Especially if it’s a Real Doll. But not animals, you can’t love them. In fact, don’t even show them any affection, it’s not right. He-Man comes on screen to tell us that it’s important to care about our fellow man. You should help your friends that are having a difficult time and do what ever you can like carrying their broken down car on your back all the way to the mechanic because your friend is too cheap to pay for a tow.
He-Man Murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 1
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 4
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Horde Captain
Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms, Morgoth, Old Man
Linda Gary: The Sorceress, Kuduk Ungol
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Stridor, Horde Invaders, Villager
Oh, my God. I nearly had a heart attack. I just went to IMDB to pull the cast list, and I didn’t see “The Origin of the Sorceress” as the episode following “The Great Books Mystery” and I thought they got out of order again. Then I noted the episode that followed last weeks on the list was episode 9. When I sort to the episode for the week I usually click on the year, then find the episode. As it turns out, all of Season 2 originally aired in 1984, except this episode, which aired in 1985, so that’s why it didn’t show up.