Yeah, so you remember how when I started season 2, my streaming service, which has since taken He-Man down, had mislabeled episode 15 as episode 1? As a result, I had reviewed episode 15 as episode 1, and had already finished my review of episode 2 before I found out, so it all got out of order and shit? And I said I would figure out a way to fix it? Well, I changed my mind. There is too much contextual stuff written into several of the season 2 episodes, such that that I really don’t feel like going back and re-writing them and changing publication dates, etc. It’s a whole domino effect, and it’s insincere to revise my reaction to the episodes in the context of when I wrote them. If you missed episode 15, you can find it in the archives for June, 2013. Anyway, I think the calamity of it all was in the spirit of the original He-Man run – as I pointed out before, none of the He-Man episodes originally aired in the true production order, and there is virtually no continuity between episodes. So, there you go. It doesn’t really matter if the episodes for this season were in order, and I’m leaving it as is. Now, lets enjoy hating on episode 16 together, shall we?
We open on the Royal Palace. It’s night, and Man-At-Arms is up late in the lab. Prince Adam and King Randor saunter into the room, telling Man-At-Arms that they’ve come as quick as they could. They don’t seem to be moving very quickly, if you ask me. Man-At-Arms is all hopped up because the space probe they launched last year has made contact with an alien being! Wow! That would be really exciting, if there weren’t monsters and aliens all over already. Prince Adam’s mother – King Randor’s wife – is an alien for fuck’s sake. Man-At-Arms takes them all to go communicate with Om, the alien consciousness that is visually represented as an orb of sparkling light. The communication method looks more like open mic night than trans-universal broadcasting equipment.
Om shares his origins, which reach much farther back than humanoids. They have become so evolved, that they don’t even need physical bodies anymore. Now they traverse the galaxy observing intelligent life. It was on these travels that they encountered the Eternian satellite and got in touch with Man-At-Arms. Om proposes a peaceful visit to Eternia so he can, well, observe. Against Man-At-Arms better judgment, King Randor quickly agrees to have Om over for dinner this very night. It’s funny that Man-At-Arms was so excited about contacting this alien being that he roused King Randor and Prince Adam in the middle of the night to come talk to him, only to be so pissy about Om actually coming to visit them. King Randor ain’t havin’ any sensible discussions today and orders Duncan to prepare for Om’s arrival.
Outside Snake Mountain, a bunch of goblins are standing around when the Snake Head on the mountain winks at them, summoning them inside. General Tataran informs Skeletor that he’s amassed a whole army of goblins – a mighty army – to serve Skeletor’s will, but, that’s not good enough for Skeletor. He has failed so many times, that now he’s interested in the details of a plan, and he even says so. This goblin army includes “a multi-attack force with laser-armed air ships, jet-pack paratroopers, thunder-lizard cavalry, robot assault-walkers, and 500 goblin infantry troops.” Jesus. I had to replay that part 4 times to get all that down. Skeletor is sufficiently impressed and promises 10,000 gold pieces for each soldier. Even more surprising, Skeletor is going to pay half up front, and half upon the fall of Eternia. Skeletor never struck me as the type to pay anything up front, much less 50%. So the deal is made; they will fly to Eternia and attack tonight!
In Eternia, I guess it’s pretty lucky King Randor invited Om over, after all. You know, what with the pending attack. Unless Om turns out to be malevolent too, in which case they’re all just fucked. Man-At-Arms, however, is increasingly sketched out by the “first contact”, and whispers to He-Man that he convinced King Randor to allow his presence in case some shit went down. Well, it’s a good thing King Randor didn’t also want Prince Adam there. That would have been awkward. Om shows up and the people rejoice like they’re the Heaven’s Gate cult, or something. Om maintains his façade of peace for now, and starts asking questions like he’s actually interested in the answers. He takes interest in Orko first, asking who he is. The strategy of starting in on the outsider is clever. His allegences may be the weakest and he could be used against them. Orko is very boastful and proclaims, falsely, to be the best wizard in the land. Om invites him to speak all about his homeland, Trolla. Man, it sure seems like this creature is gathering knowledge in order to devour worlds, like Galactus.
Elsewhere on Eternia, a man’s two-headed dog is going nuts as the goblin army comes in with their “laser-armed air ships”. The man sounds the alarm and the villagers all scatter. Inside one of the ships, Skeletor delights at the sight of the fleeing peasants, his boner nearly showing. They plan to follow the herding villagers as they flea to the palace, causing panic and confusion. At the Royal Palace, Om is regurgitating some information about the magical Castle Grayskull and the Sorceress that lords over it, and it strikes me as really irresponsible to be handing all this detailed information over. There isn’t much time to dwell on this, however, because the goblin army arrives with the throngs of screaming villagers. The gates are opened to let the people in, and then suddenly all the shooting stops.
I guess this is because it’s time for the 500 goblin-strong infantry army and the thunder-lizard cavalry that is now outside the palace to attack. Skeletor stands with General Tataran, giving orders. The gates are still open as the villagers continue to funnel in. Om moves down over the army in a maneuver that seems like curious observance. The army takes Om for a weapon of some kind and they open fire on it. He-Man and Teela fly around on sky crafts and shoot lasers at the ships and laser-rifle toting, jet-pack wearing goblins. Ram Man and Stratos even show up suddenly to help with the defense. Yet a goblin manages to get in the vicinity of King Randor, but the king hurls his staff at the goblin, de-swording him. The two guardsman just nod at each other lazily and let their king apprehend the creature.
Some of the goblins activate the robot assault-walkers, which head toward the palace, laser canons pointed. The royal guardsman try to shoot them, but the robots just melt their weaponry. Teela shouts that she knows what to do, then easily blasts one down. Man-At-Arms easily takes out the second. The battle heats up, lasers and recycled animations of jets and troops whiz by. Orko turns a thunder-lizard into a pink plesiosaur, like Nessie. Om is suddenly bearing down on the scene and shouts (well, what passes for shouting) “Stop! Stop!”, then he gets really angry and energy blasts cover the goblin army in goo, as well as every one else, He-Man and Skeletor included. Then he goes on a rant about how awful war is (where has he been in any other war?), and decides that he will choose one champion for each side to do battle, and the winner will be the winner of the war.
Of course, Om picks He-Man and Skeletor for this arena contest, which finally brings the episode’s title to relevance. Though I’m not sure when Skeletor has been a champion of anything. Skeletor gets right to it and hurls blast after blast at He-Man, every one of them defelcted by his power sword. Skeletor enchants a tree behind He-Man, causing it to clutch him. He-Man breaks looks and cocks his fist at it, which sends the tree literally running for the hills. Skeletor brings it with a mystic cage that He-Man allegedly can’t break. He breaks it immediately. Skeletor pumps his fists in the air a few times and produces some power balls that will jolt him if they touch him. He-Man shows off his gymnastic skills and flips around avoiding them. They return to Skeletor, and he calls He-Man a “swamp-hopper”. Boy, is he ever. He-Man responds by destroying all of the balls with his power sword as they make another run at him. I guess that last insult really bit a little.
For his next trick, Skeletor covers He-Man in silly putty. He-Man gets out from under it, and it turns in to a putty monster, which He-Man blows away with a cyclone he generates. Next, Skeletor conjures a snake, but He-Man again gets the best of it. Then Skeletor summons a nasty bug which grows to about the size of a pug and jumps on He-Man’s throat. He-Man throws it off, so Skeletor just makes it bigger, now about the size of a Labrador. That’s not very effective either, so Skeletor makes it about the size of a bear. Between all of these tricks, Skeletor keeps shouting things like, “I’m done fooling around”, and “This time for really real!” The bear sized bug is not really interested in listening to Skeletor any more, so Skeletor starts shooting at it, which just pisses it off more. Skeletor uses up all his magic energy, and runs from the creature. It’s just about to impale him when He-Man saves him.
Om intervenes and asks why He-Man didn’t let Skeletor die. He-Man spews some self-righteous crap about believing in the sanctity of all life, even the magical undead, like Skeletor. Om decides He-Man is the winner and unglues everyone, then orders Skeletor to take his army and leave and they all disappear. After they’re all gone, Om gushes about the goodness of the Eternian people some more, then flies off to continue his exploration of the universe. In the throne room, everyone jerks each other off about what good people they are. Orko has to claim the spotlight by boasting that he could have taken out Skeletor, and as he mimics his battle with a wooden sword, he causes a curtain to come down on himself and gets laughed at.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how you should automatically trust someone that asks very probing questions about where you live, what you have, where your power source comes from, and wants to be invited over, simply based on their unvetted assurance that they have good intentions. Instead, Man-At-Arms comes on and tells us that battles are won with compassion. So, kids, be the bigger person and take a few punches in the face, because that’s how you win a fight.
He-Man Murder Count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 1
Episodes Missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 6
IMDB cast list:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Om
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms
Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, General Tatarn, Guard, Eternians, Goblin Warrior
Hey, don’t worry, John or Alan, Lou will do all the extra work!