1967 – 1994
Something tells me this isn’t going to be about a rip-roaring trip to Vegas. We open on a fair of some kind, with Prince Adam telling us that the Widgets are celebrating the completion of a new reactor. Cringer yawns, unimpressed. A magician, or maybe a carney who is levitating some juggling balls in the air, attracts the attention of a nameless Widget, Man-At-Arms, and Teela. He plucks one of the balls from the air and shoves a diamond – Teela’s favorite – into it and challenges her to guess which of the three levitating, spinning balls contains it.
“Easy,” Teela says. Foolishly, they take Orko’s advice on which ball to pick. I’m not sure why Man-At-Arms is the one to select the ball, but on Orko’s advise he chooses the one on the right. He shakes it, then squeezes it, which causes him to get squirted in the face with water. He really should have seen that coming. The Widget, apparently named Smudge, or Smut, or something, chooses one of the two remaining balls. He rubs it, and it turns into an apple with the diamond stuck in it. It seems pretty unfair that he only had to choose from two balls instead of three. The magician, who speaks out of only one side of his mouth like he’s straight out of a 30s crime caper, says that Smudge has a keen eye.
Just as Teela is saying that his keen eye is why Smudge is Chief Guard of the Corodite Reactor, the alarm for the Corodite Reactor goes off. I knew this slimy side-mouth speaking bastard was up to no good! The loudspeaker announces that mineshaft number 3 has collapsed. Prince Adam helpfully, and a little too happily says, in his nasal voice, “That’s where we get Corodite from!” While the alarm is still sounding, just as Smudge is about to run off, the carny bastard whips out a bigger diamond and says that he’ll bet that Smudge can’t guess the right ball again. However, if Smudge fails, he has to give the little diamond back. Smudge doesn’t realize that the House always wins.
Elsewhere, Teela and Man-At-Arms enter the unstable, quaking mines. Man-At-Arms doesn’t see anything obvious so he whips out a magnifying glass and discovers “timber bugs”. They happen to be eating the supports, which is causing the caves to become structurally unsound. I was sure that the carny was actually one of Skeletor’s goons in disguise, and that Skeletor and/or some of his other goons were up to something in the mines, trying to steal Corodite again. But no, it’s bugs. Teela wisely suggests they get the fuck out. Just as Man-At-Arms is agreeing with her, the whole place starts to come down.
Really, if they’re just opening this new Corodite Reactor, don’t you think that there would be safety and quality inspections and these glorified termites would be easily discovered. If there were safety inspections, they missed it and now Teela and Man-At-Arms could die. They become trapped, then one of the walls cracks and the cavern starts filling with water. Remember when He-Man did that on purpose? Man-At-Arms and Teela scale a wall, trying to get to higher ground. They reach as far up as they can climb as the water continues to rise. Teela, despairingly, says “We can’t climb any further, and the water is still rising. What can we do?” Man-At-Arms looks up at her calmly, his somber reply: “Hope for a miracle”. He means He-Man.
Adam wanders into the cave and finds it blocked by the cave-in and immediately whips his power sword out and recycles some animation. Once that’s done, He-Man pulls a boulder out of the wall, which releases the flood water from below and fills the upper chamber with water. Orko flies upward quickly and grabs onto a stalactite to avoid it. It doesn’t work for long, as the water quickly overtakes him. He-Man swims quickly to retrieve the boulder that he plucked, and underwater, throws it back into the hole he left. This has the surprising effect of causing ALL of the fucking water to recede. Also, have you ever tried to throw something underwater? I doubt even He-Man would be strong enough to pull this off. The best part though, is when He-Man shakes out that mane of his like a dog. He-Man calls out to ensure Orko is safe when Teela and Man-At-Arms suddenly step forward.
They don’t explain how they escaped at all. Instead, Man-At-Arms says they have more problems. He holds up a glowing piece of green rock with red flecks in it. Man-At-Arms explains that the flood water must have contained selenium, which has caused a chemical reaction in the corodite. “What does that mean?” asks He-Man like a bad co-host on an educational show. What it means, Duncan explains, is that all of the corodite in this section is unstable. To be used in the reactor, could mean an explosion. They determine they need to throw out the bad corodite in a safe place, but that they first need to replace the rotten timbers before more sections of the mines collapse. Once that’s done, they should be able to move the corodite by the morning.
We cut back to the carnival, where Smudge is still playing the carny’s guessing game. He pulls the ball on the left and wins a whole handful of diamonds. “You’ve won every time!” says Melbrag, the conning, skeevy carny. Some Chief Guard Smudge is. He seems to have completely forgotten there’s even an emergency. The shifty eyed (yes, now he also has shifty eyes as well as a 1930s side-mouth talking affect) tricks Smudge in to betting some of their corodite for a chance to win his wind raider. I was going to explain the negotiation, but it’s so convoluted, it’s really not worth the effort. I will say it involves a claim that the corodite is needed to power lifesaving medical equipment.
In some other caverns, Smudge takes Melbrag to carts and carts of corodite. Since the carny hasn’t won yet, Smudge won’t let him touch the corodite, but he shows him a piece. So, they get to it – a cart full of corodite (I think, maybe it’s just one rock, what ever) bet against the wind raider. This time, the balls spin faster than ever. The shifty carny pressures Smudge to make a selection. Of course, Smudge picks the wrong ball. “Oh, that’s too bad, Smudge. Well, I’ve got to be going,” the shifty carny says. As it turns out, the corodite wasn’t Smudge’s to give, but Melbrag doesn’t give a shit.
Melbrag goes to leave, but pretends to let Smudge convince him into an alternate agreement; provide him with a piece of the corodite from the mine, and he can keep the one from the cart. Obviously, whether or not he’s Skeletor in disguise, the man’s a terrorist and is looking for a bomb to blow up the corodite reactor. Smudge completely misses this motive and agrees that this is an acceptable arrangement. “Trust me, smudge, everything will be fine” Melbrag says, then leaves Smudge to it. Smudge tries to convince himself that no one will know what he’s done as he puts the corodite rock back in the bin. He gets all jumpy and nervous when He-Man suddenly walks in.
“Easy, smudge, it’s just me”. He-Man lays on thick about how he just came to check on the corodite because if it got into the wrong hands, it could put ALL OF ETERNIA in danger. Smudge acts even more suspicious, which leads He-Man to demand that Smudge tell him what’s wrong. You may not be surprised to know that Smudge spills the beans immediately. He-Man is like, “You shit. Er, I mean, thanks for telling me. We’ll deal with you later, lets go save the day”. They easily find Melbrag, as he “doesn’t seem to be hiding”. He-Man decides to go talk to him. He politely asks Melbrag to give the corodite back.
“Hey, I won it fair and square. It’s mine now,” Melbrag says. He-Man offers to buy it from him. “Skeletor will pay any price you name,” the Melbrag says. He-Man is pretty not happy about that comment. Skeletor can never be allowed to have corodite, he says. “So, come and take it”, Melbrag challenges. Suddenly, when He-Man moves for it, a golden energy cage appears around him. He-Man pulls out his sword and says, “Let’s see if we can’t short circuit Melbrag’s plan.” He simply touches the power sword to the cage and it crashes like cartoon show lightning, and then disappears. That was easy.
Melbrag is pacing back and forth anxiously as he waits for “Skeletor’s man” to arrive. He hears what sounds like something rusty limping, which heralds the arrival of Spikor. The rusty limping sounds are… OH MY GOD, I had that shark tank vehicle! Like most things on this show, I completely forgot. It had these orange rubber strips cut to look jagged for the teeth. Ahem. Pardon me, anyway, the rusty limping sounds are the snapping jaws on the shark vehicle. Spikor greets Melbrag, and he speaks haltingly, like he’s an old computer voice, or brain damaged, or both. Melbrag says he not only has the corodite, but also that he has He-Man, and desires to sell him into sex slavery.
Spikor doesn’t believe that a skinny, shifty guy like Melbrag could capture He-Man. Just then, He-Man’s voice comes from off screen, confirming that Melbrag tried to capture him, at least. He-Man then punches the back of the shark tank, sending it off into the horizon. Melbrag makes a break for it, boarding a ship and warning his lackeys that He-Man is coming. He climbs up into a turret on top and takes aim at He-Man. Melbrag blasts He-Man with a red laser. Making its mark, the laser envelopes He-Man, weakening him. The slimy prick explains that he used some of the corodite he conned to power the ray as his goons wrap He-Man in chains.
As He-Man stands there in chains, Melbrag expresses his intention to sell He-Man to Skeletor to be used in all kinds of unspeakable ways. Smudge shows up and tells Melbrag that he’s a “really bad person”. That stings. Well, it would if Melbrag wasn’t in enthusiastic agreement. Melbrag goes off to go call Skeletor and leaves his goons to watch over He-Man. “What if his strength returns?” one of them frets. “Well, just give him another blast of the corodite ray,” says Melbrag. He-Man sits down as he’s told, and flexes against the chains. “It’s no use,” he says. I really hope he’s faking it to lull the goons into security. I mean, that’s the smart play. Fake being weak until his strength returns, then bust out of the chains. Simple.
While he sits, hopefully waiting for his strength return and to execute the simple plan I laid out for him, He-Man asks Smudge where he got the corodite. Smudge sheepishly admits he stole it from the mines. He-Man flips the fuck out. He explains that the corodite is unstable, and that if Melbrag puts it in the reactor, it will cause a huge explosion. He-Man eyes his power sword, which is stuck in the ground in front of him and tasks Smudge with keeping the goons busy. Smudge insults the goons to get his attention, then runs off. Stupidly, they both give chase. While Smudge is distracting them, He-Man finally breaks loose and then something interesting happens.
Although he is already He-Man, He-Man lifts his power sword and says, “By the Power of Grayskull!” He is surrounded around by lightning power as he recycles just a bit of the full length sequence – just enough to juice up again. Smudge is actually doing a pretty good job of taking care of the goons and climbs an orange tree. He shakes it and buries the goons in oranges. They bust out and as they try to shake Smudge out of the tree, He-Man sidles up behind them and taps one on the shoulder. The goons freak and run back to Melbrag while Smudge jumps from the tree into He-Man’s arms.
The goons bang on the door to the ship shouting to Melbrag that He-Man is loose. “Bunglers! Fools! Now I’ll have to use the corodite ray on him again!” Melbrag shouts as he opens the door. Melbrag climbs up into the turret and fires a blast as He-Man approaches. He-Man deflects the blast with his power sword, which ricochets and hits the corodite ray, destroying it. Melbrag and his goons make a run for it, but He-Man opts to let them escape so he can stop King Randor from launching the reactor. There we have it, this whole thing was an assassination plot against King Randor, and it would seem that the skeevy Melbrag is the mastermind behind it, not Skeletor, who I doubt will even show up for this episode.
At the reactor, King Randor thanks Teela and Man-At-Arms for coming, and decides he can’t wait for his imbecile son any longer. King Randor approaches the podium and begins to give a speech. The speech includes mention of the “genius” of Man-At-Arms and the “hard work” of the Widgets, and concludes with the obvious fact that they now have this fancy reactor. Without further adieu, King Randor starts to pull down the levers that are going to turn most of the royal court and just about all of the Widgets into red mist.
Just a little too late, He-Man lands in Melbrag’s wind raider and tells King Randor he must not activate the reactor. Smudge points out that he can hear it gearing up – it’s too late. Rather than hurry and shut it off, which Man-At-Arms should automatically do when He-Man lands in flurry and says not to run the reactor, he asks He-Man what the problem is, because the reactor seems to be working just fine. Just then a great rumbling starts and one of the needles on an unlabeled gauge goes from the big white section to the little red section, which is bad. He-Man orders Man-At-Arms to get everyone off of the reactor. Man-At-Arms doesn’t question He-Man this time, but he does take his sweet time doing it, starting selfishly with his daughter instead of saving King Randor.
Gauges start blowing and the reactor starts to pop and smoke. From a wide angle, we see the reactor start to lift into the air. He-Man has gotten under it and is lifting the whole thing up, including a base of rock beneath it. Stones rain down around him while he struggles to push the reactor up. “This is going to take everything I’ve got,” He-Man says, and it occurs to me that this is a pretty easy measure of the limit of ‘everything He-Man’s got’. He struggles for a bit then finally hurls the whole damn thing – it’s at least 3 – 4 stories tall – right the fuck into space. He-Man stands in a huge crater rubbing the back of his neck while Teela, King Randor, Man-At-Arms and all the Widgets cheer for him.
We cut to a shot of Eternia from space where the giant reactor goes flying past the camera. Against all physics, the reactor comes to a stop just outside the orbit, glows red, and then explodes. On Eternia, Smudge says, “I wonder what happened to Melbrag.” He-Man smiles coyly, “Oh, I’m sure he’s floating around”. Back out in space, Melbrag and his goons float by trapped in a sphere. I have no idea how that happened. I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss Melbrag being captured and tossed into space, but I’m too lazy to go back and check, so I’ll just assume it was never explained. Back on Eternia again, there’s a throw away joke where Orko wakes Cringer up from a nap, and everyone laughs when he says, “Did I miss anything exciting?” The only reason I can think for including this was to waste twenty or so seconds before…
…This week’s moral! I think it should be about how it should be a natural instinct to be mistrustful of skeevy 1930s-esque side-mouth talking carnies. Right? I mean, it’s obvious! It should take all the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, strippers included, or at least that of an Indian casino to dupe people out of their wealth. Instead, Prince Adam comes on screen to tell us that a big part of growing up is learning to respect other people’s property. So kids, when you gamble, either put up your own property, or ask first if you are going to use someone else’s property as collateral. I’m serious, there isn’t one mention about how gambling can be irresponsible and addictive.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Sesaon 2 : 2
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 17
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Melbrag
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Man-At-Arms, Smudge
Linda Gary: Teela
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Spikor, Announcer, Melbrag’s Henchmen