I bet it’s Orko. I bet you anything that “Trouble’s Middle Name” is Orko. If I win, can I quit the blog early? Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that to you. Well, probably not. Anyway, how were your holidays? Did you have a merry Chrismahanukwanzakah? Good. Sorry there was no special Christmas post for He-Man this year. There’s just the one special Christmas episode, and the posts were actually due on Christmas and New Year’s last year, so I went for it even though the Christmas special wasn’t until after the series was over. You can always go back and read the two-parter again. We open on… I guess it’s the Temple of the Sun, but there’s some Pharaoh and his right-hand man that seem to be ruling the place, which I thought was supposed to be an abandoned, ancient ruin.
A sick, decrepit old man steps forth so that the Pharaoh can hear his plea. The old man, Vola-Ree, desires that the Pharaoh use the Sunstone to heal him. “At what price?” the Pharaoh demands to know. “Will you give up your land? Your farm?” the right-hand man grills. “What will my children eat? How will I live?” Vola-Ree begs. The Pharaoh doesn’t give two shits and wants to know Vola-Ree’s answer, which is echoed when his thug of a right-hand man says, “Only one answer is the correct one”. Vola-Ree gets pissed and, still having a sense of pride, says “No! The answer is no!” and then shakes his fist at the Pharaoh. “I will not rob my family to help myself,” he says, then he turns to go. “Wait”, the Pharaoh says, stopping Vola-Ree in his tracks, “That was the right answer.”
The Pharaoh gives the order to administer the Sunstone. A large circle in the floor slides open and this monolithic grey stone rises up from it. It flashes and a ray of yellow light beams out of a rectangular crevice. When it hits Vola-Ree, he straightens up and flexes his arms, clearly feeling all better. He leaves, happy and healed and the Pharaoh and his right-hand man share a deep gaze and a knowing smile. Their smiles are quickly wiped when the monolith starts to flash and make strange noises. They walk over to it and gaze in the slot, only to see the yellow, glowing Sunstone fade to a cold and lifeless grey. Welp, the last of the Sunstone power has been used up, the Pharaoh says. Not to fret, preparations for the sun-ceremony, which will restore it, have been made and all the strongest forces for good will be there.
At the Royal Palace, Prince Adam tells Cringer it’s time to go. Cringer is resisting, but Prince Adam says that the Keepers of the Temple of the Sun invited He-Man and all his friends, and that means Cringer too. Before Cringer can protest further, Prince Adam recycles his animation right out in the middle of the palace courtyard and turns into He-Man. On the way to the temple in Attak Trak, He-Man and Man-At-Arms banter pleasantly about how relaxing it is driving out into the desert. Battle Cat ain’t impressed and wants to know how much longer. Attak Trak flatly replies, “Two-hours and thirty-three minutes”. Since they have some time to kill, they banter some more and Man-At-Arms explains to Teela that the Sunstone can only be charged once in a hundred years because it’s the only time the sun is in the exact right position.
Attak Trak suddenly alerts them that over the next dune, there will be will be an “object” in sight. Orko wants to know what it is, so Attak Trak snaps back, “If I knew, I would have told you.” Damn, Attak Trak doesn’t like Orko very much either! So, they crest the dune and find a large glass bottle lodged in the sand. Like, really big. Sensing adventure, everyone gets all excited, especially Battle Cat. Elsewhere, a mechanical scorpion is crawling through the desert. It sounds an alert, and we cut to the Negator, whom I am certain perished in a prior episode. Yes, Season 1 Episode 54, he disappears into his game computer, kind of like the Lawnmower Man, then his game computer gets destroyed. Negator, inexplicably back from the dead, is monitoring the transmissions from his robot scorpion, which alerts him that He-Man is in sector 7. He brings it up on screen and finds He-Man and friends all gawking at this giant bottle they found in the desert.
Orko wonders if there’s a message in it. Battle Cat thinks it smells “suspicious” and wants to bury it. Orko tries to use his magic to open it. After one failed attempt, Battle Cat again suggests they bury it, but even He-Man wants to know what’s in it and tells Battle Cat to shut up. Orko gets it open. Nothing happens at first, so Orko puts his face in it and asks if any one is in there. A spring-loaded arm with a hand gripping a note comes out. Orko takes the note and reports that it says they should not have opened the bottle. The arm retracts and the bottle blows a puff of air that sends Orko flying. Battle Cat thinks it’s pretty funny.
Suddenly, the bottle vanishes and in it’s place is a floating blue elf and his robot companion. His demeanor is that of Gazoo from the Flintstones, and I hate him immediately for it. I really seem to hate obnoxious sidekicks, especially when they represent “jump the shark” moments for their respective series’. Scrappy-Doo is number one my list, followed in close second by Orko. Nobody seems to think this little joker is funny, and the take turns ripping on him. Orko recognizes him as being from another part of Trolla, known as Caradania, also known as “The Land of Practical Jokers”. Well, shit. I wasn’t too far off. Trouble’s middle name turned out to be from the same land as Orko, at least.
The joker perks up and becomes less evasive about who he is and what he wants, though he stops his robot companion, Blinker, from giving his name. He tells them that his real name is a secret, but that they can call him Prankster. Orko explains that as soon as he says his real name he has to go back to his homeland, it’s how his magic works. He-Man says, disappointedly, “So, we’re stuck with you and your jokes until we can trick you, uh, until you feel like saying your name, is that it?” Ah! Even He-Man hates this guy. He is not amused. Prankster confirms he plans to stick around and be a pain in the ass. As Battle Cat is bitching about it, he suddenly grows a wicked Fu-Man Chu. Orko makes the mustache disappear, but it just grows back as eyebrows on Orko.
I’m sick of this shit already, and so is He-Man. So, they all pile into Attak Trak and continue on their way. Yeah, man. That sun is headed right for that hundred-year sweet spot, you better hurry. As they drive off, I’m reminded that they were being watched the whole time as we pan back to the mechanical scorpion. In his control room, Negator spins in his chair and just unleashes exposition right into the camera, every detail of his plan dripping from his mouth like oral diarrhea. He’s going to use Prankster to distract He-Man so he can steal the Sunstone and absorb all of its power in order to become the strongest man in the universe. Ahem. Wipe your chin, dude. That’s gross.
Clearly not invited along, Prankster floats above Attak Trak following them. He bounces ideas on how to fuck with He-Man and his friends off of Blinker, then finally lands on something he likes. He works some magic on Attak Trak, which causes it to stop. Man-At-Arms asks Attak Trak what’s wrong, to which the vehicle replies that it feels like he “has butterflies in his stomach”. Man-At-Arms goes around the back and pops the hatch and, you guessed it, butterflies flutter out of the back. Prankster thinks it’s hilarious. Not usually a good sport, Man-At-Arms says, “Well, it could have been worse. It could have been a pack of wolf-bats.” Still spying on them, Negator echoes the idea, saying, “Wolf-bats, eh? Not a bad idea.”
Duncan, what the fuck have you done. It was bad enough risking Prankster overhearing that, but now Negator has as well. An antenna on the mechanical scorpion raises and sends out some kind of, um, magic, I guess, which turns all of the butterflies into wolf-bats. Man-At-Arms shits his pants while He-Man creates a sandstorm by waiving his sword around really fast. He-Man succeeds in blowing the wolf-bats away, then confronts Prankster. “Nice try, Prankster. You’re going to have to try better than that next time.” Again, that seems like a really stupid thing to say around him. Prankster tries to protest that he didn’t do it, but He-Man has already walked away.
Negator causes more trouble by summoning a bunch of locusts from under the sand, then he uses the same ray from his scorpion robot to make them grow to five times their original size. They chase Teela all over the sand while they shoot their locust laser eyes at her (you didn’t know locusts could do that?). He-Man chops up a large boulder to make several slabs that he uses to box in the locusts. He-Man seems to be really fond of eliminating his enemies that way, lately. I wish he’d fucking kill some more things this season. He really seems to have changed his ways. Maybe as the show got more popular they toned down some of the murdering. I’ve actually been considering discontinuing the murder count because it’s been so damn slow! He-Man assumes this was Prankster’s doing and says, “Seriously, knock it the fuck off”.
Later, at The Temple of the Sun, Keeper of the Temple #1, or whatever, welcomes He-Man and announces that the time to charge the Sunstone is almost upon them. I can’t believe they made it in time, what with all the distractions – both Prankster AND Negator – working against them. They all head off to prepare when Prankster appears behind them and starts following them. Orko intercepts him and makes him swear that he’s not going to cause any more trouble for anyone. Prankster promises that he won’t pull any shit inside the temple, which just means he plays a prank on Orko before they enter the temple. It had something to do with Orko getting tangled in a bunch of vines.
As He-Man, the Keepers of the Temple (#1 and #2), and the rest of the crew wrap up their preparations, Negator continues to spy on them. As they stand around and wait for Negator to interfere, they exposit a little bit more about the Sunstone. “It gets its power directly from the sun,” says Man-At-Arms. “But if its not recharged in time, it loses its power forever,” replies He-Man ominously. Battle Cat quips that he wishes they could get Prankster to disappear forever. Their daydreaming about getting rid of Prankster is interrupted when Keeper of the Temple #1 says that the Sunstone and the sun must be brought together, and that time is now! He triggers a circle to open up in the ceiling, which lets the sun in to charge up the Sunstone again.
The monolith containing the Sunstone rises. Outside, Negator gets out his grappling hook and babbles about how the sound of the Sunstone will mask his presence until it’s too late. Negator scales the side of the temple as the monolith rises to its full height. Keeper of the Temple #1 says that to keep the Sunstone safe they keep it sealed in the monolith, which is impervious to attack. Only the two keepers can open it, which they do. The monolith parts and the two sides slide down, revealing the Sunstone. He-Man breaths a sigh of relief that Prankster hasn’t fucked with them any further.
Up above the temple, Prankster is lounging around, rationalizing that he promised he wouldn’t fuck with them inside the temple, but since he’s outside of it, it’s a loophole. However, he’s undecided on what he should do for a prank, and as he rambles to himself about it, Negator crests the top of the temple and stalks over to the open circle in the center, unnoticed. Down below, the Keeper tells them not to look at the Sunstone while it charges, which will make it even harder for them to spot Negator gazing down into the temple, preparing to steal the Sunstone. He leaps down and lands next to the pillar, which turns out only to be as tall is Negator, instead of as tall as the temple as it appeared before. As Negator snatches the Sunstone, Teela and He-Man spot him.
Negator promises to finish off He-Man once and for all. He-Man draws his power sword and deflects a few blasts from him. Negator uses the power of the Sunstone to grow taller and taller. Man-At-Arms and Teela open fire on him, but Negator likes it, saying, “Yes, yes! More power!” as he continues to grow. He-Man finally decides it’s time to murder again, so Negator creates a force field that holds He-Man at bay while he finishes absorbing the Sunstone’s energy. Up top, Prankster, oblivious to the danger inside, finally lands on a prank – since it’s The Temple of the Sun, he will send them some rain. Blinker thinks this sounds like a good prank, and so Prankster conjures a storm.
As you might have guessed, this turns out to be pretty fortuitous because the storm clouds cover the sun, which stops the charging of the Sunstone. Negator immediately begins to shrink, much to his chagrin. He even shrinks down beyond what his original height was so that he’s just slightly larger then the Sunstone. Man-At-Arm explains that since the sun is blocked, the Sunstone is now stealing energy from Negator. Negator sets the Sunstone down in front of him (it must have been quite heavy by now), then discharges the energy into a cloud, which produces an “energy storm”. Right after he does this, he continues to shrink until he actually disappears into the Sunstone itself.
Keeper of the Temple #1 implores He-Man to do something about the energy storm because they can’t finish charging the Sunstone until the sun is back. What he does is pretty incredible. He-Man gets up on top of the temple and squats down. He leaps up into the air, being swept along with a gust of wind. He rides it right up into the middle of the energy storm where he absorbs all of the energy. Still hovering, he points the power sword back down at the Sunstone and blasts all of the energy back into it. Because my eyes obviously don’t work properly, Orko explains everything He-Man just did. He-Man drops back down into the temple and the storm clouds move away. The Sunstone now properly charged, that pretty much resolves everything, except that they haven’t yet tricked Prankster into saying his name out loud.
Back at the Royal Palace, Man-At-Arms has just finished telling Prince Adam what happened, which he has only done for the sake of keeping up appearances in front of Teela since she and Prankster, who is unfortunately still hanging about, are the only ones that don’t know Prince Adam is He-Man. “Do you think we’ve seen the last of Negator?” Prince Adam says. Man-At-Arms confirms that he was absorbed into the Sunstone, but suspects it’s not the last they’ll see of him. He may be right, but they will never explain how he gets back out of the Sunstone again, of this I’m sure.
Prince Adam ponders what they should do with Prankster now. He assures them he won’t be tricked into saying his name. However, he is, immediately. Prince Adam is studying a scroll and suggests that since Prankster is new to Eternia, they should name a day of celebration after him. Prince Adam reads off all the holidays they have. Just as Blinker is saying, “You should have a day named…” Prankster cuts Blinker off and says, “Don’t tell them my name is Rocwoponikee!” Oooooh! Got you, motherfucker! So long! Rather than some kind of spectacular exit, he just fades out as he bitches about falling for the trick. Orko brags about how he was able to undo all of Prankster’s jokes with his own magic, but then the eyebrows show up on him again, along with the vines from the prank outside the temple.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how He-Man needs to get a little bit more aggressive again. He really should have just murdered Prankster and Negator, on sight, simply on principle. Instead, he opts for less permanent solutions which just causes this shit to keep happening over and over again. Teela comes on to tell us that it might be tempting to play a joke on someone, but you shouldn’t. Nobody likes “that guy” – some dumb-fuck that goes around punking people all the time. Pranks can go wrong and people can get hurt. Don’t be “that guy”.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 2
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 12
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Vola-Ree
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Battle Cat, Man-At-Arms, Negator
Linda Gary: Teela
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Prankster, Blinker, Keeper of the Temple #1, Keeper of the Temple #2