“No Job Too Small”. Yeah, that’s what she said. Not. What? Never mind, forget I said anything, because we open on Prince Adam wresting with a sumo wrestler, which is way more interesting that whatever dumb joke I was making. Prince Adam has the not-small man in headlock. Suddenly, the sumo wrestler gets the upper hand – literally – and hoists Prince Adam above his head. Mishi coldly throws Prince Adam to the ground where he surrenders. Mishi is dismissed and Prince Adam tries to play his loss off on account of Mishi’s size. Teela feels obligated to tell that lie that women are always telling, and says that size doesn’t matter. To be fair, she suggests that brains are more important, but only as a means of implying that Prince Adam is dumb as well as small.
Prince Adam gets defensive and says that if He-Man was wrestling with Mishi, he would have won. Apples and oranges, dude, and anyway, why don’t you just fucking tell her you’re He-Man already, because you sure don’t hide it very well. Teela gets ticked and says, “He-Man? What about your abilities, don’t they count for anything?” Then she storms off in a huff. Price Adam asks how she got so much sand in her panties when Man-At-Arms conveniently shows up to answer Prince Adam’s rhetorical question. Man-At-Arms suggests that maybe Teela wants him to believe in himself as much as she does. Prince Adam asks where he’d be without He-Man – which is a fair question. “Why, you would still be Prince Adam”, which I think is exactly the problem that Prince Adam was trying to communicate in the first place.
At Snake Mountain, Whiplash, Beast Man, and Evil-Lyn are gathered in the war room, but Skeletor is absent. They just happen to be watching on the table monitor as King Randor tells Prince Adam that his trip to Thantos is very important for diplomatic reasons. Beast Man is bummed because without Skeletor around they can’t take advantage of the situation. Evil-Lyn suggests that perhaps she could… “Perhaps what?” Beast Man demands, cutting her off. “You have strict orders not to make a move while Skeletor is…” Evil-Lyn cuts him off right back. I’m much less interested in what she has to say though. Tell me, Beast Man, where is Skeletor? I want to know where fuck he goes all the time that he misses approximately 40% of the episodes?! Will he even be in this one? I have my doubts.
Evil-Lyn continues and lays out her plan – kidnap Prince Adam and hold him for ransom. Beast Man points out that Skeletor has tried this a million times (actually more like 58) and He-Man always shows up. I think it’s a brilliant plan because He-Man is never around when Prince Adam is, so if they capture Prince Adam, then nothing can stop them, right? I almost shit myself when Evil-Lyn pretty much says exactly that, “Even He-Man can’t be in more than one place at a time, trust me, Beast Man.” Well, not quite what I said, but it has the same idea behind it.
I guess this trip requires that they go to another planet because they are definitely out cruising around in space. Prince Adam is babbling excitedly about wanting to stop off and see “The Great Desert”, which is supposed to be bigger than the Caverns of Cintauri. I just try to wrap my head around this for a second, and I just have too many questions. Man-At-Arms seems to think they’ll have enough time to do this, and I have no idea if this is something that should take a long time or is quick-like, because none of it really makes any sense at all. Of course, they are being followed by Evil-Lyn and crew, and all Beast Man can do it is whine about how they shouldn’t do this without Skeletor. Pussy.
Down on Thantos, everybody gazes at the “sea” of sand, wowing at how ocean like it is. Man-At-Arms explains that on this planet, the desert acts like their ocean and responds to the tidal pull of not one, but TWO moons. Prince Adam remarks at the strange animal skulls and Man-At-Arms regales them with the tales of strange beasts that still live beneath the sand. I can’t imagine they are any stranger than anything on Eternia, but whatever. Prince Adam starts to wander off and says he’s going to go check out more fossils by himself. Even if Prince Adam is He-Man and Man-At-Arms knows it, I’m surprised when he doesn’t bat an eye at this. Wandering alone in a literal ocean of sand – which I’m pretty sure would be quicksand – where there are beasts around that are strange even by Eternian standards seems like a really bad idea.
Evil-Lyn has been watching from her craft notices that Prince Adam has foolishly separated from the rest of the group. She activates an energizer device, which affects waves of, um, energy, upon the sand ocean. The sand starts to quake and shift which immediately catches the attention of Man-At-Arms and Orko. Suddenly, two of those “strange beasts” rise up from the sand, and they basically look like larger versions of that three-eyed creature that licked He-Man in Season 1 Episode 27, except green. They are a bit more terrifying as well and they shoot purple ice lasers out of their third eyes. The group goes running in terror as Prince Adam looks on from behind a rock.
As Teela tend to Man-At-Arms who has fallen and hurt his leg, Prince Adam whips it out and recycles some animation behind a rock. I wonder if Evil-Lyn observed this from her ship as well. They always seem to miss it when Prince Adam changes. He-Man picks up a big rock and throws it into the sea to create a “sand-screen”, which envelopes the beasts, confusing them. They angrily shoot freeze lasers everywhere as he tugs on their tails, and Teela goes to help him. Man-At-Arms catches her arm and says that He-Man doesn’t need help. “You’re just as bad as Adam. Speaking of, where is he?” “Don’t worry Teela, I’m sure he’s okay,” Man-At-Arms says.
Just when I think Teela has finally put it together (how the fuck did He-Man show up so quickly all the way on another planet?), she says, “I’m not worried about him, I’m worried about time! We’re due at Thantos City!” Just then, Evil-Lyn steps in and assures them that time is the least of their worries. She demands to know where Prince Adam is then immediately answers her own question and observes that he’s disappeared. Beast Man points out that He-Man won’t be distracted by the monsters much longer, and that they’d better hurry. She adapts her plan quickly and decides to settle for the hostages she has at her disposal. Having tied up the beasts’ tails, He-Man finishes up with them and goes to find every one else. “Hey?! Guys? It’s me, He-Man! Where’d you go?” Realizing they’re gone, he mutters the name “Skeletor” under his breath and runs off to the jet.
At Snake Mountain, Evil-Lyn smugly says to Teela, “Well my dear, you’ll never need a diet after you experience my new invention!” She laughs, because she just called Teela fat. Then she orders Beast Man to turn on the “reductor ray”, which shrinks Teela, Man-At-Arms, and Orko, like her name is Rick Moranis. The shrunken Orko is pissed and tries to use his magic on her. He only manages to conjure a mini rhino, which sort of hops up and down in front of her ankle a bit. Not very threatening. Evil-Lyn laughs some more. Beast Man giggles as he picks it up and puts it in a glass tank where it jumps some more.
Suddenly there’s a racket – it’s He-Man using some recycled animation to punch doors down as he comes to the rescue of his friends. There’s the King’s ransom you were looking for, Evil-Lyn. It’s He-Man’s fist in your face. He-Man barges in and demands to know where Skeletor is. Evil-Lyn giggles and plays coy. He-Man’s in no mood, and again demands to know where Skeletor is. Evil-Lyn says only that he’s a way on “diplomatic” business, and then changes the subject by revealing that she has captured his friends. He-Man looks up to see his miniaturized compatriots suspended in a cage. Man-At-Arms warns that Evil-Lyn has set some traps. Insultingly, He-Man says, “Oh, you make it too easy. Skeletor would have done better.” Actually, I doubt it. I have to say Evil-Lyn’s plan has gone reasonably well so far.
Evil-Lyn cautions that it’s not as easy as He-Man thinks. Whiplash reveals that the cage is suspended from a rope that is tied to a boulder on the other end (never mind that the miniaturized hostages and cage could not weigh enough to balance the boulder), which in turn is suspended over the ray that can put them back to normal size. I’d like to point out that it’s a “reductor” ray, not a un-reductor ray. The obvious solution would be to go right to the reductor ray and make his friends big again, but Beast Man says that it’s set to automatically make them yet smaller if he touches it. It’s a “no win” scenario, Evil-Lyn says. He-Man’s Kobayashi Maru, if you will. Further, Evil-Lyn submits that He-Man’s muscles are useless under the circumstances.
And so we circle back to the theme of the episode – it’s not size that matters, but brains. When I think of people like Bill Gates (not that I care much for most Microsoft products), I think that they’re right. Money talks. If size really mattered that much Lexington Steele would be worth way more than Bill Gates. He-Man assures an unconcerned Teela that he’ll figure something out. Evil-Lyn tells He-Man not to strain himself – she’s got it figured out for him. He’ll be their messenger and bring their ransom demand to King Randor. She promises to release his friends but “only after Eternia surrenders to me! …And Skeletor, of course”. Why is she giving Skeletor any of her credit? Because it’s his house? If she scratched off a winning lottery ticket in his house, would she split it with him?
He-Man resists, but she threatens to shrink his friends more, so he backs off. He-Man heads off, but before he steps out he makes threats on Evil-Lyn if any harm is to fall upon his friends. Outside, he wanders, deep in thought. You can tell because he has his hands folded contemplatively behind his back, and because we can hear his thoughts. He’s thinking that it’s too risky; that his strength will bring harm to his friends. He considers that Prince Adam could pull this off, but worries about his ability to be effective as Prince Adam, since the guy is a good-for-nothing. I really don’t see why his strength is such a direct threat to the situation such that he can’t even remain as He-Man, but I have no desire to think about this any harder.
Did you know Boatswain (pronounced “bo-sun”, apparently) Double IPA from Trader Joes is only $1.99 for 650 ml (1 pt. 6 oz)? At 8.2% APV, it tends to make one not think about He-Man too hard. And thus it’s a must and is my weekly He-Man writing tradition. Anyway, He-Man ultimately ducks behind some rocks, we see some lightening, and then he comes back out as Prince Adam. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to understanding how he turns back into Prince Adam, and I still insist that he utters “By the power of Grayskull, I have the power” phonetically backwards. Like the way people imagine Satanic phrase were backwards masked in rock and roll records. Back in his pink and purple tights, he says, “Oh, there’s some kind of back entry”, and I suddenly realize why He-Man was concerned about turning back into Prince Adam – the boy is way too distracted by sex. He figures he can “breeze through” this “back entry” and with no lubrication, he slides right in to that tight little tunnel.
Prince Adam sneaks back into the chambers and is immediately spotted by Man-At-Arms. Trying hard to give away Prince Adam’s entry, Man-At-Arms whispers loudly (after saying “shhhh, shhhh, shhh” to his fellow captives) “Prince Adam, up here!” Teela proceeds to tell Prince Adam everything he already knows because he’s also He-Man (unless it’s a Jekyll and Hyde kind of think and the one doesn’t remember what the other had done). He makes up some shit about how he figured out they are there. His first thought is to touch the reductor ray, but Man-At-Arms warns him not to. Either he really doesn’t remember, or he’s really overplaying his ignorance.
Prince Adam starts working it out. “Let’s see. The reductor ray is aimed directly at the cage… Now, if I stand on the box, and you duck down in the cage” he says, thinking out loud… “It’ll hit you!” Man-At-Arms finishes. Maybe it’s the Boatswain, but I don’t get it. That box is way too small to allow Prince Adam to get in the way, much less reach the cage. It’s like standing on a step stool to change a bulb in a cathedral ceiling. Well color me stupid (or buzzed), but Prince Adam puts the box closer to the ray, so that when he touches the laser, setting it off, he is able to stand up and block the ray. Except that the spends a few seconds letting the ray blast the cage while he gets to the box stands up to block the ray and shrink himself. Obviously, that’s why he had them duck, so they wouldn’t shrink, but wouldn’t that still shrink – at the very least – the cage? Then the cage would weigh less and cause the boulder to fall on the reductor ray.
Once he’s small, Teela says, “Adam, there’s nothing you can do! He-Man will find a way!” Prince Adam reminds her what she said earlier, “that size isn’t everything”. He-Man finds a miniature rope, or some thread or something, and scales a wall, never mind how. He reaches a vent. He figures he’s light enough now that he can use the rope to get up to the cage without unbalancing the cage and boulder. I’m still not sure how they balanced it in the first place, but even if they did, it’s a delicate balance, and I’m sure that even his additional weight – however small he his – would set the thing off.
He-Man lassos the thread over the hook that suspends the cage, then secures the other end on this side. Before he climbs the rope, Man-At-Arms warns him not to shake the cage, or the ray will shrink them further – maybe even to the size of germs, Orko says, helpfully. Somehow, Evil-Lyn hears some racket and sends Panthor to investigate. The miniaturized Prince Adam hangs not-so-perilously above him while Panthor’s useless, heightened animal senses, as well as his ability to look up slightly, fail to detect him. The cat leaves and Prince Adam makes it to the top of the cage. He finds a switch on top that opens the cage and presses it. When he jumps into the cage – not so carefully, either – he has the rope with him, which makes no sense because it was tied tight on the other end.
Prince Adam ties the rope off and slides down to the ground. He pulls it taught and whispers that they should slide down one at a time, slowly. Man-At-Arms says Teela should go first, but she defers to his injured ankle. Duncan doesn’t argue at all and slides right down the rope. It seems to me that, as they empty out the cage, the boulder would become unbalanced and crush the reductor ray, but whatever, it doesn’t. Teela slides down while Orko floats. Prince Adam climbs up the stand for the reductor ray and flips a switch, which should have started firing the ray automatically in the shrink setting as soon as he touched it, but whatever, it doesn’t.
Since none of the things that should have happened actually happened, Prince Adam has everyone stand in a circle and sets off the laser, returning his pals to regular size. He orders them all to leave, and then he quickly climbs down and trades places. What happens next is total bullshit. Just before the laser goes off, Panthor comes roaring in to the room and pounces on Prince Adam. He clearly gets struck by the ray, which is set to make Prince Adam large, so it should make Panthor giant. That would be awesome and cool. Instead, Prince Adam returns to normal size, but Panthor is miniaturized. Like I said, TOTAL BULLSHIT.
Panthor kicks his legs uselessly as he dangles from Prince Adam’s fingers. Prince Adam hears Evil-Lyn coming and decides it’s time for some He-Man action. He places Panthor into the tank that the rhino is in. This could either turn out really badly for Panthor, or everything could go fine, since this rhino seems to be kind of “special”. We don’t get to find out because Prince Adam immediately draws his power sword so that he can make us watch some recycled animation instead of Panthor getting nuzzled and maybe accidentally gored. He runs a pretty good risk of getting caught, because his enemies are right out side the door and he uses the full recycled animation sequence, which takes a fair amount of time.
Of course, he finishes in time, just before Beast Man and Whiplash come bursting through the door. Evil Lyn comes out and starts firing the reductor ray wildly. He-Man leaps out of the way and it strikes Beast Man and Whiplash instead. He-Man thoughtfully places the two of them in the tank as well, so they can also be nuzzled and maybe accidentally gored by the mini special-ed rhino. He-Man notices the boulder above Evil-Lyn is twitching, which probably means it should have fallen already, and is about to now fall. He-Man runs for it with the seeming purpose of crushing the reductor ray and probably Evil-Lyn along with it. Please kill again, He-Man. It’s been so long! Instead, he was actually racing to catch the boulder and he sets it down gently, where it doesn’t break anything.
Evil-Lyn begs He-Man not to use the reductor ray on her. “What makes you think I’d do that?” He-Man says, smirking. He says she’ll be in enough trouble when Skeletor gets back and she has to explain what she’s done. Then he does something I didn’t expect at this point, and picks up the boulder and smashes the reductor ray. He-Man really gets to her and she freaks out over her cohorts being trapped in glass tank. In the ship on the way home, Prince Adam is explaining how He-Man showed up to save the day. “He always does!” Orko says. He-Man mopped the floor with every one while Prince Adam escaped. Orko keeps saying “He always does” after everything Prince Adam says which pisses everyone off, except for Prince Adam, who, for all his insistence on proving his ability as Prince Adam, is more than happy to ramble on about He-Man’s strength. Somehow, Orko turns this around on him and tricks every one into telling him they love him.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how it was entirely unnecessary for He-Man to turn back in to Prince Adam to save his friends. I mean really, does his mass increase 4 times when he turns into He-Man? Like Spawn? I read once that the necroplasmic flesh he’s made up of is very dense and he weights about 500 pounds. Weighing less would be the only reason it would have been necessary for Prince Adam to complete the task instead of He-Man, but even the weight of the hostages didn’t matter. Unless He-Man truly is a meathead and can’t think very creatively as He-Man, it was completely pointless to change back. Hey, wait a minute! What the fuck happened with that all-important diplomatic trip to Thantos? I don’t think they ever made their appointment! King Randor made it very, very clear that this was an important trip. Prince Adam probably just brought war – or at least sanctions – against Eternia. Anyway, we fade into Man-At-Arms as he’s reading a book in the garden. He looks up from his book and says that imagination and intelligence are better than strength, but exercising is still a good idea. So, pump iron while you do your homework, kids.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 2
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 17
I knew he wouldn’t show up!
IMDB Cast list:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man, Whiplash
Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms
Linda Gary: Teela, Evil-Lyn
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Ring Randor