This had really, actually be an episode about Cringer, instead of one of those that barely invokes or has anything to do with the title. I could go for a Cringer episode, that actually sounds interesting and appealing. Then again, it will probably be a very boring episode, if it delves into any kind of back-story. We open at Snake Mountain where Skeletor is actively explaining the plan. He has a map of the Royal Palace, where he plans to break in with his goons to abduct Queen Marlena while He-Man is distracted with a diversion.
At the Royal Palace, all are seated around the huge dining table for lunch. Even though there is food readily available on the table, appetizers and such, Prince Adam is bitching because he’s hungry and Cringer and Orko aren’t there yet. Man-At-Arms uses the opportunity to rip on Orko. The delay is that Cringer is taking a nap and refuses to be roused for lunch, despite Orko’s best efforts. Perhaps all of the mental and physical abuse Prince Adam heaps upon him has finally driven the poor creature into clinical depression. A butterfly, of all things, lands on Cringer’s nose and scares him into a fully conscious and locomotive state. His panicked trajectory takes him straight into the Royal Palace. Okro pauses to explain, rather needlessly, to the butterfly what a “fraidy cat” Cringer is.
Deep below the Royal Palace, in what I assume are open, unguarded passages beneath the palace, Clawful studies the map Skeletor gave him. I have an overwhelming feeling that he’s going to misread it and fuck things up. They argue about whether they are to first to kidnap Queen Marlena, or go to the banquet hall. Why isn’t Queen Marlena having lunch with everyone? King Randor is there… Anyway, upstairs, Orko is perforating an annoying trick as he hovers over the table, further delaying Prince Adam’s enjoyment of lunch. The trick ends as it does nine times out of ten, which is with Man-At-Arms getting wet, on account of the endless carafe Orko conjured. Man-At-Arms is pissed, but King Randor loves it!
King Randor finally notices that Queen Marlena is missing, so he sends Cringer to go find her. Begrudgingly, he does so and finds her asleep in her room. He ambles in and loudly asks if she’s awake when it’s clear she’s not. Why do people (or cats) do that? Cringer politely decides that he’ll just wait until she wakes up naturally and hope that not all the food gets eaten. Back in the banquet room, Kobra Khan slips a door open, his cobra hood at full attention. He must be excited, be cause an effluent vapor drifts out of his hood and into the room, causing everyone to fall asleep. In Queen Marlena’s bedroom, Cringer hears a hissing sound from nearby and resolves to hide under the bed. As he does, Kobra Khan’s noxious hood-cheese smell wafts into the room, full of smegma scented goodness, and causes Cringer to fall asleep, thus allowing Queen Marlena to be easily abducted.
Outside, apparently not impeded by any of the Royal Guard what-so-ever, Kobra Khan orders Whiplash and Clawful to lay in wait for He-Man’s inevitable pursuit, while he and Mer-Man take Queen Marlena back to Snake Mountain and present her to Skeletor for an as-yet unknown end. In the banquet room, Orko wakes Prince Adam up by grabbing the back of his hair and literally hauling his head off the table into an upright sitting position. I kind of loved it. Apparently, the only way to wake people up from the noxious smegma gasses is by hair pulling, because everyone else stays asleep. For some reason, Prince Adam immediately goes to check on his mother and finds her and Cringer gone.
Prince Adam draws the power sword to begin his recycled animation transformation. He-Man goes to check outside, never realizing that Cringer is still sleeping beneath the bed. I have to say, the power of Grayskull isn’t that powerful, or at least magical. I’ve seen bolts from the transformation sequence chase Cringer around corners to turn him into Battle Cat against his will, but it can’t figure out he’s under the bed and accomplish the same feat? Maybe he has to be actively unwilling, instead of passively unwilling. Outside, He-Man is taking his time inspecting some footprints when a sleepy Teela wanders over and asks him what’s going on. Man-At-Arms joins them and, I guess because his brain is sleep-addled, decides they should take the dragon walker – the slowest moving, most inefficient machine ever to achieve locomotion – to go chase after the queen. In a small display of wisdom, they leave Orko behind.
Cringer lazily wakes up from his nap and goes to find out if there’s any food left. We completely skip him discovering everyone missing and instead cut to Okro telling Cringer not to worry that he couldn’t save the queen, because He-Man is on the job. Then we cut again to King Randor standing there commenting on how many foot prints there are, which means that there were a lot of “them”. Cringer covers his eyes and cries, sniffling. In doing so, he realizes that the queen’s scent isn’t on the tracks they’ve discovered. You see, Whiplash wiped out the tracks left by Korba Khan and Mer-Man, who have the queen. But they couldn’t wipe out her scent, and so Cringer follows her unmistakable Earth-woman musk and leads King Randor and Orko on to effect her rescue from the Haunted Forest. Cringer panics when Orko points out that He-Man went the other way.
In a stream framed by steep rock bluffs, far below a perilous foot bridge, Mer-Man steers a ship pulled by two pink seahorse-dragons, and I wonder if they’re in some kind of tunnel of love. Cringer has arrived at the footbridge and begins crossing. Even though I swear he was just sailing away from it, Mer-Man is waiting for them on the other side and cuts the bridge’s support lines. Cringer clings to the end of the cut bridge, fretting because he can’t swim. Orko convinces him that, although he can’t swim, he can float. Cringer buys it and drops off the bridge, floating down the stream on his back, pissed that he’s getting wet. Headed right for a waterfall, Orko grabs his tail and tries to help. Though they hover for a few seconds, they both end up falling.
We don’t see what happens to them, but Mer-Man, and Skeletor, who is watching on his monitor, both assume victory. We shift over to Skeletor at Snake Mountain as Kobra Khan and and Mer-Man arrive back with the coerced Queen Marlena. Skeletor completes his explanation of his plan, which is to use Queen Marlena as bait to lure He-Man under attack. Attack from a mechanical bird, because, I guess, He-Man never looks up, so he’s susceptible to attack from above. Why do villains always explain their plan to their captive? Completely unaware of the foolishness of explaining his plan, Skeletor shakes his fists up in the air in satisfaction with his foolproof plan.
Down at the bottom of the waterfall, Cringer and Orko have washed up on shore. Cringer spouts some water and a fish from his mouth. Orko pulls a miniature Mer-Man from his hat and tosses it in the water. Mer-Man pops up and sics a bunch more of the little mermen after them. Cringer and Orko take refuge in a cave, which seals behind them, leaving them in total darkness. Cringer is about to give up, on account of how scary the dark is. Orko shines a light and shows Cringer that it’s not so dark or scary. Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean they’re not after you. Off they go to continue their haphazard saving of the day.
Elsewhere, Clawful and Whiplash sprint as they lead He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Teela off the trail of Queen Marlena. He-Man points and says, “Hurry, they’re getting away!” Man-At-Arms maneuvers the dragon walker after them and they slowly give chase. As images of senior citizens with walkers ambling to get the mail stream through my mind, I laugh out loud as the dragon walker limps pitifully after the two villains. You’ve heard of high speed chases? This is a slow speed chase. Why, in God’s name, aside from some gimmick that they will employ that makes the dragon walker necessary, would they take this vehicle in pursuit of even a snail? It’s the stupidest thing ever!
Cringer and Orko conveniently and quickly find Queen Marlena’s cell, which is inside of Snake Mountain. Orko’s hat opens and that bizarre third arm that lives where his brain should be reaches out, first with some cheese, then with keys. Strangely instead of handing them to Orko, the arm itself reaches out like Gadget arms and unlocks the cell door. This is despicably unchallenging. I hope they come under peril of death or dismemberment very quickly. Queen Marlena tells Orko of Skeletor’s plan and that they must save He-Man. Orko bows out claiming that he has to escort Queen Marlena back to the palace because it’s too dangerous for her. Cringer takes it upon himself to go warn He-Man of the trap, an act that Queen Marlena reacts to with surprise and doubt, saying, “You?” Cringer commits to it but doubts himself at the same time. Queen Marlena tries to recover from her obvious surprise, claiming that she believes in him. Orko’s third arm then gives Cringer a magical medal for bravery. Oh, geez.
He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and Teela finally catch up with Clawful and Whiplash, just as they run inside Snake Mountain. The door stays open, but He-Man senses a trap and won’t go inside. Elsewhere, Cringer has wandered into total darkness and a ghostly voice is moaning, “Who goes there”, which obviously terrifies Cringer. Then an actual ghost appears and he shits himself. The ghost tries to punish Cringer for trespassing in Snake Mountain and reaches out to rip Cringer’s soul out through his eye sockets, but Cringer timidly says, “Well, you can’t hurt me, I have my medal of bravery on”, which makes the ghost recoil in discomfort. After an awkward moment it disappears. Cringer is as shocked as I am.
Skeletor seems surprised and disappointed that He-Man won’t come inside, so he orders the mechanical falcon to attack him outside, which is really puzzling since his whole fucking plan was to lure He-Man into a trap so he could be attacked by a mechanical falcon. Cringer has happened to appear at an air vent or something, high above the falcon’s roost and hears Skeletor’s orders instructing it to attack He-Man. Again finding courage in the lame medal that Orko gave him, he leaps on to the falcon’s back as it takes flight in opposition of He-Man. Cringer covers the falcon’s eyes as it flies around Snake Mountain. Skeletor sees this on his monitor and casts a black energy into the crystal, which then projects out of Snake Mountain’s eyes and acts as a tractor beam.
I’m not exactly clear how this occurs, and I even watched it twice, but Skeletor and his goons are watching the falcon get reigned in on the monitor when there’s a big crash that surprises them. We cut to Cringer atop the falcon, apparently having crashed through the wall. However, it sure as fuck seems like Skeletor should have known that was coming – literally should have seen it coming – but he didn’t. But then we cut quickly to Me-Man who is stepping into the room amongst dust and debris and he says, “Doesn’t anyone ever clean up around here”? This makes me think that maybe He-Man punched his way into the room, but he was just all the way outside roving around in that stupid vehicle (which ended up not being used for any special purpose) – how did he get up there so fast?
Skeletor sics his goons on them and a four on four battle ensues. Teela freezes Mer-Man with a ray gun. Man-At-Arms traps Clawful’s claws open with a couple of small metal poles. Whiplash tries to whip He-Man a few times, though he should know better. He-Man does what he always does and grabs Whiplash’s tail and ties it to something. Skeletor blasts at He-Man a few times, saying, “Take it He-Man!” He-Man deflects them back and says, “No, YOU take it, Skeletor!”, and I cracked up. Skeletor gives up super easily and just runs away at this point. And that’s it. That’s the whole battle.
Back at the Royal Palace, King Randor is once again seated on the throne next to his Queen. He demands that Cringer come forth, and then attempts to award Cringer another bravery medal. Cringer tries to decline it, basically saying he’s already got one, but then he looks down and finds that he’s lost the one Orko gave him. Cringer begs Orko not to be cross with him for losing it, and Orko is like, what, that old thing? It wasn’t a real magic charm anyway; I made it up to make you feel better. Of course, this means that Cringer was brave all by himself, and so he truly deserves this medal. King Randor slips it around his neck, then Queen Marlena kisses him, which makes him blush. Prince Adam remarks that they can’t call him fraidy cat anymore, but I’m sure next episode there will be no character growth and they’ll have all forgotten about that one time that Cringer was kinda, sorta brave. Then that butterfly from the beginning of the episode lands on Cringer’s face again and scares the shit out of him, which gives everyone a good laugh.
Time for this week’s moral! You know it’s going to have something to do with courage. I think it should be about how they really shouldn’t do another Cringer-centric episode. Don’t get me wrong, he’s lovable and I feel bad that he’s abused, but one episode of him per series is fine with me. I’ve had my fill. He-Man comes on with Orko to tell us that it’s important to be afraid because being afraid of shit will keep you alive. But come on, don’t be a pussy about it either. Cringer comes on to tell us that he was a double “fraidy cat” because before, he was afraid of being scared, and now he’s afraid of being brave. Good lord, is that cat’s psyche fractured. It’s only a matter of time before he snaps and kills a child or something. Perhaps a child playing with a butterfly will be his trigger…
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 2
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2 8
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Whiplash
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Mer-Man
Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena
Lou Sheimer: Orko, King Randor, Clawful, Kobra Khan