When preparing the IDMB cast list for this episode, I discovered that IMDB lists this episode as S2E15. But, I had already written this episode, and I’ve seen IMDB be wrong before, so I went with this as Episode 1, which is how my streaming service listed it. Then, a helpful reader posted a link to a list of the episode production order, which confirmed that this episode was listed out of order and mislabeled as Episode 1 by my streaming service. But, I didn’t find out this out until I had already completed Episode 2. I’m going to fix it, but I’m not exactly sure how yet. For now I just changed the episode number. Anyway, none of these episodes aired in the production order in the first place. So, really, it’s almost more authentic this way.
Here we are at Season 2. I’m just going to rip it off like a band-aid and get started. You know, after Skeletor being absent from 43% of Season 1, especially including the season finale, I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode is literally about Skeletor’s shadow, and Skeletor somehow manages not to actually be in it. We open on Teela rehearsing theater with Many-E-Faces. Hey, Manny’s back! Ho! Anyway, the scene has Teela’s character declaring her love for Manny’s character, in spite of his hideous monster face. Sounds like a sort of Beauty and the Beast tale. I’m not surprised. Teela’s shown herself to be a little experimental before.
Teela kisses his cheek, then Manny’s face spins into nice friendly, handsome humanoid one. Teela pretends to be surprised, but she’s not very good at acting. Manny explains that he’s a actually a handsome prince, but a witch turned him into a monster. Then they put their faces really close together, like they might actually kiss because they want to, not because they are acting, until Prince Adam interrupts them by clapping loudly. Prince Adam then only compliments Manny. I think he’s a little jealous of Teela, wishing that he were the one helping Manny practice his lines, leaning in for kisses.
Man-E-Faces pretty obviously fishes for some more compliments by switches his faces and chasing after opinions on them, even ones we’ve seen before, like his monster face. Ram Man, or “Rammy” as Prince Adam calls him sometimes, comes in looking for Orko. He sees the monster face Manny is making and immediately attacks. Manny switches back to his regular face and announces himself, but it’s too late – Ram Man is already sailing in his direction. Fortunately, Manny dodges him, and he just crashes into a wall, damaging some set pieces.
They actually get into a fucking argument over who’s fault it is – Man-E-Faces for looking like a monster in the first place, or Ram Man’s for being a dim-witted bucket head. Prince Adam tries to get them to lighten up, but the argument results in first a standoff, then in the informal dissolution of their friendship. Tempers flare until finally the two of them storm off in opposite directions like tantruming children.
Elsewhere, Beast Man is flying along quickly in an evil looking jet. He exalts at how fast the ship is and almost pushes the lever up to make it go faster before he catches himself and remembers that Skeletor told him not to fucking touch anything, because the ship is on autopilot. I wonder if Skeletor is actually chaperoning Beast Man on this flight, or if he is absent again. It would seem the answer is no, Skeletor is not present, because Beast Man decides that Skeletor will never know, and pulls the lever. It immediately shocks him and causes the jet to plummet, heading right for the Royal Palace. What the hell kind of lever is that?
Prince Adam spots the jet speeding toward impact and somehow, impossibly, really, has time to turn into He-Man before the jet has even crashed. Then he takes the only action that could possibly stop this inevitable crash from happening. He turns into a human whirlwind, of course! He-Man, as a whirlwind, sweeps the jet far, far away from the Royal Palace. I hope he pukes from all that spinning, that would be awesome. Beast Man, too. Instead, he comes out of it completely still, on the ground, holding the jet like Atlas holds the Earth. Then, He-Man tosses the thing into a gentle, grassy upslope where it comes to rest slowly and safely.
He-Man decides to turn back into Prince Adam and call Man-At-Arms to check out the ship for some reason, and yet again, I find myself hopeful that we will get to see how he accomplishes turning back into Prince Adam. My guess is that he points his sword down at the ground and says his power phrase phonetically backwards. Kind of like the alleged satanic phrases said to be backwards masked on Rock and Roll records. Sadly, we don’t get to find out, because a screen wipe jumps us to after Man-At-Arms has arrived and He-Man has already transformed back into Prince Adam. The two of them, as well as Teela, Orko and Manny board the ship with purpose. Why the fuck is Manny there? Seriously.
As they explore the ship, Beast Man sort wanders out from behind a corner, only marginally aware the intruders. Teela spots him, and in a startled, knee-jerk reaction, blasts him with a force field from her wrist blaster. He must be wasted, which would explain a lot, because he just sort of mumbles feels around against the force field in a confused way. It also might explain how he managed to crash a ship that was on autopilot, and why he didn’t really attack anyone just now, but rather just kind of stumbled upon them. Skeletor comes on over the radio, apparently oblivious that the jet isn’t even in the air anymore, and asks why Beast Man hasn’t arrived at his destination yet. Knowing Skeletor is behind this makes Teela smile really big for some reason.
Prince Adam gets a clever idea and has Manny impersonate Beast Man’s voice so they can find out more about Skeletor’s plan. Oh, so that’s why he’s there. Convenient. They don’t find out much, but they find out enough – they just have to fix the autopilot, and the ship will take them wherever it was that Beast Man was supposed to be taken. Once they get there, they will use Manny’s powers of disguise, never mind that it’s only his face that changes, to further infiltrate Skeletor’s plan. They toss Beast Man into an “escape proof” cell, and were he taunts them before they cruise on their way to whereever.
Cringer gets scared when Manny shows off his new Beast Man Costume that he made out who-knows-what. I’m hoping Many-E-Faces pulled a Buffalo Bill and skinned Beast Man to wear his flesh as a costume. Then Ram Man comes out of nowhere, carrying a large wooden crate for no reason, and ends up smashing it all over Manny’s new Beast Man costume by accident. Needless to say, Manny is not happy. For some reason, Ram Man blames him. Damn, that dude is dense. Both of the incidents between them have clearly been Ram Man’s fault. I think Rammy might have some kind of dementia.
Before they can get in too big of a fight over it, Man-At-Arms tells them all to gather quickly – this ship isn’t going to land on Eternia, it’s going to land on the Moon of Darkness, and there’s a fucking antiaircraft cannon pointing right at them. Prince Adam decides that only He-Man can fix this (how, I don’t know), so he walks right by Teela, then just barely around a corner and starts to draw his sword and say his power phrase. Are you fucking kidding me? Well, before he can get the whole power phrase out, which would seem to be necessary before anything totally incriminating happens, Rammy calls out that the cannon is turning away, which stops Prince Adam from continuing.
Teela is still suspicious and says, “Adam, you were saying what? By the…” – “Yes, by the way, Teela, remind me to show you my new jacket”, comes Prince Adam’s, weak, weak cover up. It’s so unbelievable because Prince Adam has never worn anything else than his pink vest, white shirt and purple pants, ever. He doesn’t have a new fucking jacket, and anybody would know that. Somehow, Teela buys it. Before she has a chance to second-guess herself, the antiaircraft cannon fires on a mountain near an Eternian colony across the way, on the Bright Moon. Man-At-Arms resolves that they need to go make sure that everyone is all right.
They leave Manny on the jet to continue toward the Dark Moon while Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms, Teela, and Ram Man take a dingy ship to go make sure everyone in the colony is okay over on the Bright Moon. On the way, Prince Adam talks about how the colony has been on the moon for 20 years, has developed an artificial atmosphere, and that they even have agriculture there. Oh, what a fantasy, moon colonies. It’s 2013 now, and really, we are no closer to off-planet colonies than we were in the 80s, or even in the 60s. And where’s my flying car (wind raider) goddammit?
Anyway, in further exposition, they reveal how incredible it is that this colony turned a once cold and dead planet into a marvel of Eternian achievement, and that, by contrast, the Moon of Darkness lies in the shadow of Skeletor’s domain, and so the people that live there have a very hard and unhappy lives. What? A character that is barely in 50% of the show’s episodes has a presence large enough to overshadow an entire moon, all the time? Why do people even live there in the first place? As unhappy as these people’s lives supposedly are, no one can figure out why they would want to attack the more prosperous moon people? Well, people can’t quite seem to understand why anyone would protest wall street either, but, it happened.
On the Bright Moon, Professor Orion explains that by firing that cannon, the Moon of Darkness has just declared war, despite having just signed a treaty with them. Just then, a message from the leader of the Moon of Darkness comes over the monitor. Their leader, King Barbo, looks primal, less evolved. He is decked out in furs. Even his name is suggestive of the word “barbarian”. He announces that they are now at war, because the people of the Bright Moon have betrayed their friendship. It would seem that the leader of the Moon of Darkness is blaming natural disasters on the Bright Moon, kind of like how some fundamentalist Christians blame Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, etc, etc, on the gays.
Professor Orion assures the savage Moon of Darkness leader that neither the Bright Moon, nor they gays, have anything to do with the natural disasters they have been experiencing. Prince Adam, and the rest of sane, rational humanity agree. Dude refuses to hear any words of reason and then tears up the peace treaty, like it was the United States constitution in 2001. He swears to their now adversarial relationship and signs off. Teela opportunizes on the briefest silence and likens this to the dispute between Ram Man and Man-E-Faces, which seems really unnecessary. Like comparing the holocaust to spilled milk.
With his bitters on full display, Professor Orion takes them all up to a big reflecting dish they’ve been building to shine on the Moon of Darkness. You know, to brighten their day a little bit, boost their agriculture and Vitamin D levels. Ponies and rainbows for everyone. As he is practically about to sob over King Barbo’s betrayal, it dawns on Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam that Skeletor is probably behind this whole thing. It dawns on me that we still haven’t seen him in this episode, and I’m seriously doubting that he’s actually going to make an appearance. He’s literally phoning it in. Prince Adam heads off to take a shuttle to the Moon of Darkness to assist Manny when shit hits the fan.
Still not having landed on the Moon of Darkness, Man-E-Faces puts his Beast Man mask back on in preparation for his momentary touch down on the Dark Moon. He lands, finally, and presses the button to open the door, anticipating who will be on the other side… maybe Skeletor? Nope. It’s Evil-Lyn. “Beast Man” is kind of surprised that she’s there, and he says as much. Evil-Lyn is like, “You’re a fucking dipshit, we’re ALL here”, by which she means Trap Jaw, Mer Man, and some dude I’ve never seen before. “All” does NOT mean Skeletor. They stand around waiting for Skeletor to tell them where they are supposed to “cause destruction”.
Finally Skeletor appears to them, this time, video-phoning it in, and as everyone gazes up a his image, I recognize the guy I didn’t know. At least, from the toys. I don’t remember his name, but he had a heavy rubber tail, like an alligator’s, and he had a waist snapping action that made him whip it, whip it good. Oh, Whiplash is his name. I can’t decide if Skeletor’s face appearing to everyone holographically counts as making an appearance or not. I’m gong to have to think about that. Skeletor tells them that Prince Adam, that peace-making do-gooder, is trying to bring peace over on the Bright Moon. So, they need to be fucking up as much shit as they can on the Moon of Darkness before Prince Adam gets there. Skeletor ain’t fucking around, he calls for misery and despair; he wants WAR!
The real Beast Man roams restlessly around his cell, fuming that Man-E-Faces is impersonating him somewhere right now, and lacking appreciation for the fact that he wasn’t skinned and worn as a disguise. He stares angrily out of the bars of his window when he spots some power lines and recalls that Prince Adam said the bars were electronically sealed. He devises a plan to use his animal controlling powers to command a pterodactyl to fly into the power lines, thus releasing the bars on his cell. It works and Beast Man is freed. The pterodactyl picks him up to take him to Skeletor.
On Prince Adam’s way over to the Dark Moon, he hails King Barbo, and pleads with him to allow a chance to prove that the Bright Moon didn’t do anything to them. On account of Prince Adam’s good family name (which I’m not sure is Randor or not) King Barbo is going to allow him 24 hours to prove it. Rammy says he thinks King Barbo is nice. He thinks the Dark Moon Colony should make up with the Bright Moon Colony. What a turd. Prince Adam opportunizes on the situation and chides Rammy over his feud with Manny.
On the Dark Moon, Evil-Lyn suggests they hurry their destruction along. “Beast Man” stalls them a little by asking them to bring him up to speed on the destruction they’ve already caused, and after each one of them brags about what they’ve done, they perform some minor feat of destruction, like smashing rocks. It’s almost like a touchdown dance or something. Evil-Lyn laughs at all the death and mayhem. It kind of reminds me of when those murderous kids laugh after they intentionally back over a young boy’s head in The Toxic Avenger. That secene was so fucking disturbing. “Beast Man” looks like he’s going to puke. For once, it’s not because he’s drunk. She goes on to brag that she changed into a peasant and claimed to witness the Bright Mooners causing all the hardship. They believed her because she appeared as a redheaded nymph that batted her lashes at them.
Manny tries to sneak off to report out on all of this, which sure seems like telling Prince Adam what he already knows, but before he can make his escape, Skeletor actually shows up, in person, with the real Beast Man. He makes his triumphant return looking all bad-ass, bathed in shadow. He blasts Many-E-Faces in the chest with his staff and tells him to sit the fuck down. Prince Adam and Ram Man have arrived and look on from some nearby bluffs. Ram Man gets pissed that Manny is in trouble and just launches right into the fray. Prince Adam sits in silence for a few seconds before he decides he better turn into He-Man. Really? He already almost turned in to He-Man so hastily this episode that he would have revealed himself to Teela, but he hesitates in this situation?
Mer Man pulls the mask off of the fake Beast Man, revealing Manny. Just as Mer-Man is about to pummel him, Ram Man steps in and shakes his fist as he threatens Mer Man. Evil-Lyn tries to shoot Rammy with her eyes, but He-Man distracts her and she turns her head slightly, hitting Mer Man instead. He-Man taunts Mer Man as he turns to stone. The incompetence on display here is pretty astonishing, but regardless, Skeletor leaves the Whiplash to keep He-Man and crew busy while he and trap jaw try to go fuck some more shit up, as if the people of the Dark Moon are going to still believe that it’s the Bright Moon colony causing all this trouble.
Whiplash causes a rockslide which seemingly crushes He-Man, and as Evil-Lyn stands there on top of a boulder congratulating him. He-Man rises up from beneath the pile and lifts the boulder the two villains are standing on, chucking it into the air. Ram Man winds up and leaps into the boulder, knocking it, and those pesky bad guys, out of the park. There’s a reasonable chance that they could either fall off the boulder and die, or be crushed by it as it lands, which is pretty awesome. Manny sucks up his humility a little bit and thanks Ram Man for saving him. Then they hug. I guess Ram Man doesn’t have to apologize for being such an ass all day.
Skeletor and Trap jaw are at the antiaircraft cannon, getting ready to blast the shit out of the reflector the Bright Moon colony made to shed some light on the Moon of Darkness, which they still expect is going to ruin the peace treaty, even though He-Man could pretty reasonably prove that Skeletor was behind the whole thing. He-Man shows up and jumps down onto the end of the cannon, causing it to catapult Skeletor and Trap Jaw into a lake. Skeletor shakes his fist in anger, promising that He-Man won’t get away with this. Oh, I think he will.
He-Man trashes the cannon by bending the barrel back around so that it points at it’s own control panel. Then he touches said control panel to set off the cannon, and the whole thing explodes in his fucking face, and if I didn’t know better, I would think that He-Man just turned into red mist. He’s fine, of course, and later King Randor oversees King Barbo and Professor Orion as they sign a new peace treaty. King Barbo sure is tan for a guy that lives on a Dark Moon, but I digress. The episode ends with Ram Man and Man-E-Faces arguing with each other over claims that the other is the best friend anyone could have. Gag me.
Time for this week’s moral! It’s pretty obviously going to be about not fighting with your friends and talking out your problems or something, but I think it should be about how bogus all the technological promises of the 50s and 60s were. Flying cars, moon colonies, jet packs, etc. Where’s my jet pack, scientists? WHERE?!? Yeah, I know jet packs exist, but they are not practical at all. They only work for like 10 minutes or something. Rammy and Manny come onscreen to tell us to be careful not to say things in anger that you might regret. But then Ram Man says that now that they’ve made up, they are better friends than ever, which kind of sends mixed messages, in my opinion.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 0
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 0
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Ram Man, Beast Man, Whiplash, King Barbo
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Mer-Man, Professor Orion
Linda Gary: Teela, Evil-Lyn, Peasant Girl
Lou Sheimer: Man-E-Faces, Trap Jaw