Maybe this episode will be about Teela avoiding a destructive, ill-advised relationship or sexual encounter? Nah, can’t happen. We open again in the Eternian market, a backdrop that they seem to insist on getting their mileage out of this season. Prince Adam stops and speaks with a vendor and says he’s looking to buy a gift for his mum, just to say, “I love you”. Prince Adam must have fucked up, and he’s trying to soften the blow with a gift. However, I don’t think that the silk scarf that he’s being shown is going to cut it, even for a minor offence. It’s a pretty shitty looking scarf, even if it is silk.
Prince Adam recognizes how shitty it is and is trying to politely refuse it when a small ruckus behind him turns his attention. A bunch of children are gathered around an old man, excited to hear the story he’s about to tell them. “There we were,” he says, “surrounded by rock monsters, but the thing is, they’re just rocks.” So, because they’re just rocks, He-Man can punch the fuck out of them to pieces, and no one gives a shit. The children are delighted by the tale of the geologically insensitive slaughter of rock “monsters”, but one boy seems particularly inspired, his eyes shining like the kids in Village of the Damned. I would like to mention that rock monsters may very well have souls, and be considered a “living thing”.
Prince Adam wanders up, distracting the old man. Prince Adam, barely able to refrain from touching himself with excitement, begs that the old man continue his stories about He-Man. The old man introduces Prince Adam as “He-Man’s closest friend” and invites him to sit down. A little girl asks if he lives in the palace and if He-Man lives there too. A little boy interrupts Prince Adam’s stammering, nasal reply and demands to know why He-Man doesn’t just go over to Snake Mountain and smash Skeletor’s stupid face into tiny bone fragments. Prince Adam says that He-Man “tries” not to hurt any living thing (except rock monsters, obviously). Yet another girl points out that when she’s bad, she gets punished and wants to know why Skeletor is still roaming as free as the wind blows. Wow, they’ve got a mutiny on their hands, don’t they?
Prince Adam tries to pull some bullshit with a long-winded explanation of crime and punishment, the legal system, trials, blah, blah, blah, but the kids see right through it. One of the rabble rousers says to another child, “See, I told you if you’re powerful enough, there are no consequences for your actions”. I have to agree with her. He-Man, more often than not, blatantly lets Skeletor get away. Prince Adam hasn’t given up trying to explain yet and takes a karmic approach, saying that Skeletor’s punishment is getting worse with each crime, and someday, when they finally catch him, he’ll have Hell to pay. Its just… baby steps, you know? The kids have the last word when one of them says, “I still think He-Man should beat Skeletor up”. Then shit down his throat.
Story time breaks up and the kids all run off. Except for the boy with the Village of the Damned eyes. He sticks around to talk to Prince Adam about He-Man some more. “Your highness? Are you really friends with He-Man?” he asks. He’s lucky that Prince Adam doesn’t infer that he’s been called a liar from that question. Anyway, the boy says he’s always wanted to meet He-Man. The old man leans over and whispers, a little too loudly, “This is Loos, he was born blind,” which clearly only serves the purpose of demanding special treatment and sympathy from Prince Adam. Also, I have to say, “Loos” is a terrible name for a little boy.
Prince Adam immediately says, overcompensating for the boy’s blindness, “How would you like to go on an adventure with He-Man?” I shit you not, his reply is, “I have to ask my parents first.” What a tool. I suppose that when a man dressed like Prince Adam asks a boy named Loos to go on adventure with a mysterious, scantily clad muscleman named He-Man, it probably is a good idea to at least get parental consent first. Prince Adam offers to go with him to ask, which I’m sure is not going to help their chances. Off they go with Loos leading the way. Good luck with actually getting their consent! Creepy!
I don’t know if they actually got parental consent or not (something tells me they didn’t) because we just cut to the garage where Prince Adam is introducing Loos to Ram Man before they all load up into Attak Trak. Oh, Jesus they’re even bringing a guy named Ram Man along? Look, I’m not saying that anyone has pedophilic intentions here, I’m just saying it doesn’t look good. Prince Adam claims he has to “go do something”, and while he’s off recycling animation, Loos asks if he can feel Ram Man’s face. He explains it’s how blind people see faces, a phenomenon I am familiar with, but under the circumstances, I am having a little trouble not being creeped out. “Where’s your neck? How do you turn your head?” Loos wants to know. Fair questions, both.
He-Man walks up and greets Loos. The boy responds with disbelief, “He-Man? Really? You’re not just fooling me because I’m blind?” On the contrary, I think that he’s the least fooled – I think he hears Prince Adam and thinks they’re putting him on by claiming that he’s He-Man. He-Man assures Loos that is him, He-Man. He proves it by letting Loos feel his muscles. This just gets Loos more excited and increases the queasy feeling I’ve had throughout this episode so far. He-Man changes the subject from his muscles and quickly and asks if they’ve ever heard of the singing crystals. Ram Man has, but swears they are just a legend. Hasn’t anyone learned that on Eternia, ALL of the legends are true? He-Man assures them that they’re real, and they’re fantastic. He knows where the crystals are located, and he offers to take Loos to be the only boy on Eternia that has touched the singing crystals.
Later, He-Man, Loos and Ram Man have traveled as far as they can in Attak Trak. Attak Trak bids them fairwell as they leave him and trek into a cave. Loos is delighted at hearing Attak Trak speak. They emerge from the other side of the short tunnel, which is not the crystal cave, as Loos wanted to know. On the other side, Loos detects a lumpy rock with his stick. He dutifully warns against it as a tripping danger, but Ram Man trips anyway. He-Man suggests that they take a rest, which apparently means standing around. It’s really an excuse for Loos to explain how he detects his surroundings – sounds, smells… well, that’s all he mentions, but I’ll throw him a bone and say touch, and the sense of balance provided by proper ear-pressure.
They move on before anyone really rested at all. They reach a narrow, dangerous old rope bridge that crosses a deep gorge. He-Man explains what’s up and that he’s going to carry Loos across. “Are you going to carry Ram Man across?” Loos wants to know. He’s got you there, He-Man. He-Man agrees to let Loos cross on his own, making both Ram Man and Loos promise to hold on to the rope all the way across. The thing is really quite long, shaky, and treacherous. Really, anybody should be nervous to cross the thing, much less a technically unassisted blind boy. Yet, they traverse it rather quickly and casually.
Across the bridge and just around the bend, they come to the singing crystals. What kind of mysterious, legendary singing crystals have a bridge that leads right to them? The bridge is old, but it’s not that old. The crystals shimmer and sparkle, beautifully, which Loos can’t admire. “The crystals are right in front of you,” He-Man tells him. It only takes a soft touch to make them sing.” Just like at a massage parlor. Loos touches them and they produce a sort of synthesized female vocal song, almost like a new wave ambient electronica. Like Enya or something. Up above, some crystals seem to be cracking. Loos asks if He-Man hears some crystals cracking, but nobody seems to hear anything. They crack louder and more severely, and He-Man takes notice and pulls Loos out of the way, just in time. The crystal flashes brightly when it hits the ground, just as Ram Man is bouncing by. But a weird camera cut repositions all the characters conveniently so that they are standing and facing the flash, though this is impossible from their previous positions. He-Man and Ram man take it right in the face. Loos doesn’t notice, of course.
Suddenly, Ram Man’s eyes look like Loos’. “I can’t see!” exclaims Ram Man! He-Man still has his eyes clamped tightly shut, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if he’s been blinded as well. He-Man looks down dramatically for the longest time, a sad expression on his face. After he’s built up sufficient suspense, He-Man lifts his head slowly and turns it toward the camera with his opened, whited-out eyes. “Loos, I’m blind too,” He-Man says gravely. You can even see a hint of tears well up in his eyes. Oh, fuck you, He-Man. It was all fun and games when you were just doing some charity, wasn’t it? Now you’re blind too, and you’re going to get misty about it?
Loos immediately launches into a downward spiral of shame for causing two of Eternia’s greatest heroes to become blind. He-Man calms everyone down and they find out that Loos knows the way back because he memorized the landmarks and can lead them back. As they move back across the treacherous rope bridge, Loos feels like something isn’t right. He’s correct, the rope is beginning to snap, losing its tautness as it slowly unspirals. They try to hurry, but don’t make it. They manage to all hang on, but He-Man has to valiantly climb down to untangle Ram Man. They slowly try to climb up, but it’s no use, the boards are too loose. Loos remembers a tree that was next to the bridge. He-Man pulls a rope tied to a board from the bridge and throws it up into the air, trying to snag the tree. He gets it on the second try and immediately tests his weight on it.
He-Man makes it to the top, but the board is deteriorating and nearly gives way. Then he has to hand walk across a branch to the trunk. He makes it, but it clearly was not easy. Once at the top, He-Man feels around and finds the bridge, then pulls the rest of the bridge up to safety. They continue on their way, and Loos remembers there should be a beehive, and there is. He smells some flowers and remembers they turned there. They seem to have reached the same short cave back near where they started, but when they enter, Loos says there’s too much dust in the air, and He-Man doesn’t remember all the rocks he’s kicking. Loos thinks he took a wrong turn. He-Man feels around while Ram Man asks Loos what the worst thing about being blind is. Loos says, since he’s been blind all his life, the worst part is being treated like he doesn’t belong. Ram Man relates – people treat him like he’s stupid, but he’s not stupid. Except that he is – he even admits that he’s “a little slow”, and “very clumsy”.
He-Man decides they didn’t go the wrong way, but there’s been a cave in. Loos feels some sunlight on his face and stays where he is until He-Man can find his way over. He-Man feels around and locates the sun shaft. I guess what that tells him is which wall to punch out, rather than, say, an alternate exit, so He-Man uses two recycled animation punches and busts the wall down. They find their way out and call out to Attak Trak, which is right there, and says that they don’t need to shout. Back at the Royal Palace, Man-At-Arm is apparently also the royal optometrist and is inspecting He-Man’s eyes. “Superficial damage” he says, and pushes a button to raise the eye inspection machine because He-Man is going to be fine.
Down in the courtyard, Loos is telling everyone about his adventure with He-Man and how he lead He-Man and Ram Man back to Attak Trak. Nobody believes him and those mean children all start calling him a liar and teasing him. Just then, He-Man saunters up and loudly says, “Excuse me!” He approaches Loos and is like “Hey, my eyes are all better already, but thanks for rescuing me and Ram Man. It sucks to be blind. Here’s a crystal I stole from the cave. You can’t see how pretty it is, but you can make it sing.” He-Man smiles as he walks away and listens to all the kids fawning over the now most popular kid, blind or not, that has ever lived on Eternia.
Time for this week’s moral! It reminds me of the time that I took a challenge to understand what it’s like to be blind and wore a blindfold all day, even to school and everything. It was quite difficult at times, but I have to admit, as an exercise for only one day when I was in fifth grade, it was more fun than it was hard. I have the impression He-Man thought so too. I’m relieved that an episode that started with such troubling circumstances resolved itself as a sweet, and not too heavy-handed episode about how to treat people that are differently-abled the same as you would treat anyone else. The actual moral is presented in the story time format and the kids all talk about how they learned Loos is the same as them and he helped He-Man, and they have, I mean he has, feelings too.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 2
They talked about He-Man murdering rock monsters, which was cool.
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2 16
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Ram Man
Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms, The Storyteller, Salesman
Linda Gary: Little Boy #1, Little Boy #2
Lou Scheimer: Attak Trak
Erika Scheimer: Loos, Little Girl, Mother