A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, that’s the expression, right? Words of wisdom. Don’t covet what you don’t have over what you do. Wisdom this profound can’t possibly be well represented in a show this dumb, can it? We open on Stanlan, Melaktha’s archeological assistant, as he is cleaning off some artifacts in the Royal Museum. Orko comes up and pesters Stanlan to do something with him. After Stanlan refuses to quit doing his job in order to fuck around with Orko, Orko decides to use his magic to help Stanlan more quickly clean all the priceless ancient artifacts. I can’t take it! Orko has got to go. He’s going to break something, I know it. Sure enough, the hand duster he magically programmed goes haywire and knocks over a wolf statue. It’s very reminiscent of a stone wolf that showed up in an episode not that long ago. I can’t remember which one though.
Stanlan is about to puke over the whole ordeal when Orko finds some old map that was hidden inside the wolf statue. I guess a treasure map is probably better than a priceless wolf statue, but maybe not much. Stanlan immediately takes it to Prince Adam. Prince Adam is like, “Yeah, that’s really neat. We should show it to Melaktha, because I can’t read it.” Stanlan is about to puke again. He recovers and nervously says that Melaktha is away, and they should really get this thing interpreted soon. Prince Adam suggests they take it to Castle Grayskull and show it to the Sorceress. Don’t you think it’s suspicious that Prince Adam has such unfettered access to the Sorceress when in all other regards she so well insulated and protected from the outside world? It still continues to baffle me that nobody can figure out Prince Adam is He-Man.
Elsewhere, Trap Jaw, Skeletor and Beast Man are out cruising in a jet craft when they spot a wind raider taking off and decide to follow it. Beast Man inexplicably has this parrot-bat-duck on his shoulder. Skeletor shouts, “Closer, you fool!” at Trap Jaw as he pilots the jet. Beast Man’s parrot-bat-duck repeats this, in an exact copy of Skeletor’s voice, but then again in a different voice. Trap Jaw gets upset, then the parrot-bat-duck starts making up shit in both Skeletor’s and Trap Jaw’s voices, almost as if it was trying to play them off one another in order to cause a disruption. Skeletor realizes what’s going on and threatens Beast Man and his “hollywag”. If he can’t keep the thing quiet he’ll skin them both.
Of course the wind raider that Skeletor so luckily happened to encounter is Prince Adam’s. They follow him as he cruises along. Stanlan is fretting because he forgot to tell Melaktha where they’ve gone. Prince Adam is confident that Teela will update him. This relieves Stanlan, because dude’s gonna be mad when he discovers the broken statue. Wait, Stanlan wants to be found? Predictably, we cut to Melaktha as he discovers the broken wolf statue. “Oh, no! My priceless statue! Broken! Shattered! That boy just can’t be trusted anymore.” This is Melaktha’s reaction; is soul has been murdered by Stanlan. Melaktha sets off to find Stanlan. Teela tells him about the map (casually mentioning that Orko broke the statue) and that they’ve all gone to Castle Grayskull. She offers to accompany him there, because she’s always kind of had a thing for Melaktha.
At Castle Grayskull, The sorceress tells Prince Adam that it’s going to take a while for her to translate it. There’s a particular book she needs to consult first, and she’s not sure where she put it. Outside the castle, Skeletor gazes forlornly on, jealous that he is not privy to the goings-on inside. He gets an idea and tells Beast Man to send his hollywag inside to eavesdrop. When it comes back, it will repeat everything that was said. Beast Man tells the hollywag to go listen in, and to keep its fucking mouth shut. Inside, Prince Adam is looking through books when the hollywag just comes flying right in the window Stanlan gazes out from, nearly hitting Stanlan in the face. Then he lights on Cringer’s head, which causes Cringer to flip out, of course. Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter if the thing keeps its mouth shut now that everybody knows its there.
The hollywag starts flying around, repeating “holy-moly”, which is what Cringer had cried out in fright, then he lands on Stanlan’s shoulder. Everybody seems to think it’s pretty cute, even the Sorceress, who looks on approvingly. Really? Every one is cool with this? The Sorceress can’t sense that the thing has been keeping company with Skeletor, or that it’s under Beast Man’s control? Cringer can’t smell the consortium? The Sorceress suddenly deciphers the map while reading from a book of witchcraft. She says, “Follow the map through the caves of the wind to the Temple of the Wolf…” It seems like that should be pretty easy to discern by just looking at the map, since the nature of a map is typically pretty visual, but okay…
We cut back to Skeletor and friends. Beast Man is in a bug eyed trance, repeating what the Sorceress is saying to Skeletor. I guess he has some kind of tele-pathetic connection with the hollywag, such that it doesn’t need to actually fly back and repeat anything to them. Rather, Beast Man can just hear what it hears. It turns out the ancient’s book of spells is hidden in the Temple of the Wolf. Skeletor gets an instant hard-on for this book of spells, and proclaims that he must have it. Skeletor immediately runs off to go steal the thing without waiting to hear any more.
Back in the castle, the Sorceress gravely warns that nothing they say must leave their present company. I get the impression that Beast Man may no longer be listening in because they split so hastily, but nonetheless, the hollywag is still there, listening. She proceeds to advise that the book of spells is locked in a box inside the wolf statue, and to open it, one must repeat passwords, “Klaatu Barada Nikto!” Just kidding. It’s, “Nepo Amasis”. The Sorceress also says that they must bring the book to her, because if this book falls into the wrong hands, all of Etenria will be in danger. So why are they even messing with it? Shouldn’t she, when she figured it out, have said, nope, we’re not messing with this one! Orko ironically says, “Don’t worry, Sorceress. Nobody else knows about it!”
Prince Adam, Stanlan, the hollywag, Cringer, and Orko are back in the wind raider on their way to the caves of the wind, and along the way, we find out that there are two things that Cringer is not afraid of: eating and sleeping. Prince Adam announces they have company and Orko turns around to spot Skeletor cruising up behind them, making no effort to hide his presence. Prince Adam takes evasive maneuvers as Trap Jaw shoots at them and gives chase. Skeletor curses Trap Jaw’s flying when Prince Adam loses them in a crystal forest. I still think having Trap Jaw fly is a better idea than having Beast Man fly. Skeletor used let Beast Man fly, but the dude’s wasted all the time. Just look at those bags under his eyes! He’s a lush.
Cringer is still on edge from their little run-in with Skeletor, but Prince Adam is confident that he won’t bother them again, since he lost them. “There’s no way he could no where we’re going. He doesn’t know about the map,” he says, ironically. At the Cave of the Winds, Skeletor, Beast Man and Trap jaw have beat them to it and are setting up a trap. What, is Prince Adam taking the scenic route or something? Even though Prince Adam lost them, they’re going to the same place and couldn’t have gotten separated that much. You’d think they’d encounter each other again on the way there. Anyway, Skeletor, Beast Man and Trap Jaw all head into the Cave of the Winds to lay in wait.
Prince Adam, Cringer, Orko and Stanlan arrive outside the Cave of the Winds, where it happens to be really gusty. So, it’s not just a clever name. Cringer is scared because it’s dark inside, so Orko tries to do a spell for light, but he makes a kite instead and gets blown away. I was hoping he’d never come back, but he does. Right away. At least he comes back with a torch. Prince Adam asks Stanlan if he has the map, to which he replies, “Right here in my pocket, Adam. Safe as can be”. Inside the cave, Beast Man recites this to Skeletor. Everything is going right according to their spontaneous plan.
At Castle Grayskull The Sorceress is freely telling Teela and Melaktha that Prince Adam and Stanlan went to recover the ancient’s Books of Spells. You know, for a magical Sorceress, sworn to protect the secrets of Castle Grayskull, she doesn’t keep a secret very well, does she? “Why don’t you catch up with Adam”, she suggests, “I’m sure he’d welcome your help.” Dude! You’re blowing the whole thing, what the Hell?! Melaktha turns to Teela, and I swore he said “Come on, Teela. I’ve got a thing or two to tell that young stallion.” Ahahahaha, oh, holy shit. I crapped myself. He referred to Prince Adam as a “young stallion”. But then I went back to grab my screen capture and realized that he said “young Stanlan,” and that I have an unnecessary load in my pants.
Trap Jaw comes running and alerts Skeletor that someone is coming. Skeletor tells him to “give them a warm welcome,” so Trap Jaw shoots flames into the air from out of his arm. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do. We cut to Teela and Melaktha walking into the Cave of the Wind. Wait, how did they get there so damn fast? Where is Prince Adam and his party? As they walk into the caves, a net drops on them and Skeletor jumps out. Teela demands to know what Skeletor is doing there. Melaktha can’t understand how he knew about the book, so Skeletor tells him that he owes his knowledge to Stanlan. Melaktha infers this to mean that Stanlan is a traitor and says, “I knew that boy couldn’t be trusted!” He sure turns on his trusted employees quickly, doesn’t he?
I guess Skeletor is sitting back and listening to Prince Adam and Stanlan make their way to the wolf statue, because Stanlan is using the map to navigate through the caves unchallenged. Oh, they can suddenly read the map now, huh? Beast Man repeats the steps they take back to Skeletor. Trap Jaw has built a log cage around the net ensnaring Teela and Melaktha. I have no fucking clue where he got the logs from. Teela tells Melaktha to distract Trap Jaw while she cuts the net open. They’re standing right next to each other, trapped in a net, so I really don’t understand how this is going to work. Trap jaw yells, “no whispering!” and sets fire to the bottom of the log cage. Damn!
Melaktha starts whining about how he’s afraid of fire and yelling, “help, help!” Seriously, who wouldn’t be afraid of fire, especially when it’s threatening to burn you alive? Also, I think that was kind of the point. Melaktha makes it sound like some kind of special phobia he has. Just when I thought Trap Jaw had really stepped up his game, he relents and puts on his fire extinguishing arm attachment to put the fire out. When he sprays it, he does it too hard and it knocks him backwards. But, it also puts out the fire, so then Teela cuts the net and easily escapes the log cage. Actually, I think it was supposed to be a funeral pyre, not a log cage. Trap Jaw tries to use the extinguisher on her, but it blows him back even harder this time, and he crashes into the wall, then gets buried in rocks that he’s shaken loose. Teela and Melaktha make their escape.
As Prince Adam and crew continue their journey to the wolf statue, a shit ton of giant snakes come out to harass them. Cringer gets spooked real fast and takes off. The snakes corner him. Prince Adam ducks away. He draws his sword and at 12 minutes 20 seconds into the episode, says, “By the Power of Grayskull” for the first time. When he puts his sword back in it’s sheath, Battle Cat says, “Thanks”. Then He-Man and Battle Cat start taking out the snakes. As Stanlan backs away from the melee, he backs right into Skeletor. Skeletor takes Stanlan hostage, and uses his staff to seal the cave tunnel with rocks so that he can force Stanlan to take him to the statute. Stanlan still has that stupid hollywag on his shoulder.
Skeletor steals the map from Stanlan and decides he can find the statue himself. He orders Beast Man to drag Stanlan along. Beast Man says, “Keep quiet and don’t try anything funny.” Before Stanlan can say anything, the hollywag says, in Skeletor’s voice, “Silence, fur-face!” Stanlan is floored that it can talk like Skeletor. Then it says something like Beast Man. Beast Man tells the hollywag to shut its fucking face because they have the map and they don’t need it any more. Then the hollywag says, in the Sorceress’ voice, “Nothing we say must go beyond this room.” Stanlan understands instantly that his pet hollywag betrayed them. Beast Man tells Stanlan to try not to cry about it.
On the other side of the rubble, He-Man is devising a way to get through it. He decides to be a little flashier than to use his recycled animation punch, so he swings his arms to cast himself into a spin. Spinning super fast, He-Man leaps into the rubble and begins to drill through it. Somehow, Teela and Melaktha wind up on the other side of the wall. Melaktha starts to panic at the cave-in they’ve encountered and wants to go back, but suddenly he notices the sound of He-Man drilling through solid rock with only his body, which has somehow continued to spin at an incredible RPM.
He-Man breaks through to the other side, and is like, “Oh, hey, Teela. Hey, have you seen Stanlan? Skeletor kind of captured him.” Melaktha scoffs and claims Stanlan is in league with Skeletor. Both He-man and Teela voice their doubts at this. Melaktha insists it’s true, because Skeletor told him it was. He-Man points out that Skeletor is not the most trustworthy or truthful of people. He-Man quickly changes the subject and says that they must find the Book of Spells before Skeletor does. Orko claims to have memorized the map and offers to take them right to it. Against my better judgment, He-Man allows Orko to lead them on.
Skeletor arrives at the proverbial “X” on the map, but doesn’t seem to be sure where to find the Book of Spells. As I suspected, when Skeletor initially ran off so quickly after learning of the Book of Shadows, he seems to be missing the detail about needing the secret password. He fires his staff at the wolf statue, which then turns into a real wolf, which comes after them. Beast Man is unable to use his mind control on the thing, so he and Skeletor both run away. Stanlan is hiding behind a pillar as they run by.
After they have passed, Stanlan steps out and tries to find the book before Skeletor comes back. The hollywag starts speaking like the Sorceress again and says, “You must bring the book to me. If it falls into the wrong hands, all Eternia will be in danger,” then it points right to the book, which is encased in glass where the wolf statue had been crouching. Stanlan tries to touch it, and the case seems to shock him. He seems confused about how to get the book out. Wasn’t he standing there when the Sorceress was talking about the secret password? Did he forget about that whole part? Or maybe just can’t remember the password exactly and thinks it “Klaatu Barada Nickle”.
Either way, the hollywag helps him out and repeats everything the Sorceress said about the password, but not the actual password. Stanlan tries the classic “open sesame”, which is actually supposed to be “open says me”, but everybody gets that wrong. Like, “it’s a doggy dog world” instead of the correct “it’s a dog eat dog world”. Pet peeves. Anyway, Skeletor is spying from behind a rock, and even though he doesn’t know the words either, is cursing Stanlan for a fool for not remembering them. Once again the hollywag steps in – I don’t know why this kid still trusts it – and repeats the magic words. Just as Stalan goes to lay hands on the book, Skeletor steps out and levels his staff at him.
Apparently, the wolf has cornered Beast Man and he was left by Skeletor to get his nuts ripped off by the creature. He-Man and friends happen upon them and he begs for their help – he’s terrified because he can’t control the wolf. Teela says in a dopey puppy-wuppy voice, “What’s the matter boy, did Beast Man do something naughty?” He-Man leans down and pets the wolf, which looks up at him approvingly. He-Man speaks to the dog and says, “Good boy. If Beast Man answers our questions, I won’t have to let you at him again.” What? He-Man is not in control of that wolf. In fact, why isn’t it attacking them? Its purpose is to protect the Book of Spells, which He-Man is there to take, just like Beast Man. It should be trying to rip all of their throats out, except for the hollywag, because it’s the only one of them that said the secret password. This doesn’t make any sense.
Beast Man tells He-Man that Skeletor and Stanlan are in the temple. Melaktha interrupts, shouting, “See, I told you we couldn’t trust Stanlan! He’s with Skeletor!” He-Man expresses his doubts, but won’t quite come out and tell Melaktha he’s a fucking idiot. In the temple, Stanlan grabs the Book of Spells and makes a run for the exit. Skeletor shoots his staff at a boulder above the exit, which causes it to fall and block it. Skeletor makes a move for the book, but Stanlan tells the hollywag to fly, then tosses the book to it like a game of keep away. Why he thinks it won’t just fly over and give it to Skeletor, I don’t know.
For some reason, the hollywag doesn’t take the book to Skeletor, but instead flys around near the ceiling. He-Man busts into the room as Skeletor is firing his staff wildly all over the room, trying to take out the hollywag. He-Man picks up a large boulder and throws it through the ceiling, which breaks through outside. I guess it’s not a very deep cave. He tells the hollywag to fly to the Sorceress, and the thing flies out of the hole. Whether or not it’s going to the Sorceress, I can’t say. Clearly, I still don’t trust the hollywag. As Skeletor is raising his staff to fire at He-Man, Stalan runs by and snatches it from him. Then He-man sics his new pet wolf on Skeletor, saying, “Get him, boy!”
Say what you want about him, but Skeletor knows when he’s licked. Just as the wolf pounces, Skeletor uses his magic to disappear. Beast Man sneaks off down a side tunnel as the wolf howls mournfully, heartbroken that he didn’t get to rip anybody apart. Melaktha says to Teela, “Did you see that? Stanlan helped He-Man! Maybe I was wrong about him.” Yeah, but He-Man and Teela have been telling him the whole time that he’s wrong about Stanlan. I would think Malatha would have interpreted Stanlan’s actions as backpedaling, as trying to throw them off of his Benedictine path.
We cut to the Sorceress’ chambers at Castle Grayskull where she casually flips through the powerful Book of Spells, the hollywag on her shoulder, as she tells Melaktha that he was wrong about Stanlan. She explains that the hollywag is very talented, but that it was under Beast Man’s control the whole time. On queue, the hollywag, in Skeletor’s voice says, “We’ll send the hollywag to listen in. Whatever he hears, we will too!” See? That’s how Skeletor knew everything, she says. The Sorceress assures them that it’s no longer under their control and is free to choose its master. I don’t know how she can make that assurance when she couldn’t tell that Skeletor and Beast Man were controlling it earlier. She asks if it wants to go back to Skeletor, to which it replies, in Beast Man’s voice, “What, do you take me for, a dunce?” Everyone laughs.
Ugh, again I thought the episode was over, but first we cut back to the palace where Stanlan is finishing his task of using a feather duster to dust priceless, ancient relics. Melaktha is hovering over him, apologizing for doubting him. Stanlan apologizes for breaking the wolf statue and for letting Orko help him in the first place. Damn straight. That was your first mistake. This whole thing was Orko’s fault, let’s not lose sight of that. Just then, Orko comes in with a gift box. Melaktha opens it and finds the wolf statue has been repaired. Then Orko asks if he can help dust or show them a new magic trick, because the little shit just doesn’t know when to stop. He even says he doesn’t understand why they don’t want him to.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how I shouldn’t be surprised that an episode that borrows its title from some pretty deep words of wisdom didn’t actually structure the episode around the message that the title alludes to. Rather, as far as I can tell, they applied the title literally, and it was a reference to that hollywag thing. Instead, Teela comes on and tells us that we shouldn’t form opinions until we have the whole story. It’s called jumping to conclusions, she says, and anyone who does that will usually find that the conclusion is wrong. As Teela goes on to beat her point to death, the hollywag flies in, lands on her shoulder, and starts repeating, “Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t jump to conclusions,” thus beating her point to death for her. That thing sure is helpful.
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, Beast Man
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Cringer, Battle Cat, Melaktha
Linda Gary: Teela, Stanlan, The Sorceress
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Trap Jaw, Holly the Hollywag