Well, now we’re back where we should be, at episode 47. Not an episode too early, not an episode too late, but juuuuuuust right. We open with a slow pan in outer space, the camera gliding silkily over Eternia. Man, they really went for the long pan! We zoom into the planet, then pan over the Royal Palace, then do a fancy camera loop-the-loop, spiraling as we zoom in. Finally, when the camera eventually lands at the Royal Palace courtyard, Cringer is all pissed off because Chad and Jonno are coming. If that doesn’t sound like a gay couple, I don’t know what does. Every body else is excited they’re coming, but not cringer. It’s really not clear why, but it seems to be because they’re too loud.
Chad and Jonno arrive in a wind raider. The two unaccompanied minors definitely look like they cuddle at night. Except that it turns out they’re brothers. Jonno puts his hand up, says, “Hi, everybody,” then without pause, turns his head to his brother and says, “Hop out, Chad. See you later.” Jonno takes off in the wind raider. Teela asks where Jonno went, but Chad doesn’t answer the question, only says that Jonno will be at the ceremony – he wouldn’t miss it! It sure sounds like Chad is making excuses for Jonno, already I can see the underlying dysfunction in their relationship – he’s an abuser, and Chad is enabling him. Chad’s weird propeller-tailed elephant bee, which is totally friendly looking, chases Cringer up a tree, much to everyone’s amusement. Then, cringer can’t come down because he’s afraid of heights.
Out in the desert somewhere, Jonno lands the wind raider in order to consort with some very, very unsavory types. To make matters worse, they are creepy as fuck. The first thing out of the short, Shakespearian looking one’s mouth is, “There’s nothing to fear, dear boy. You are in good hands.” The way he says it is just dripping with sleaze. It seems Jonno is here to barter for a rare flower. Maybe I have Jonno and Chad’s relationship wrong – or maybe Jonno did something really wrong and he’s trying to make up for it. Anyway, in return for this special flower – probably the Eternian Flower, Mr. Billy Shakespeare says, “Then do as I say. You. Are. The leader. The other boys and girls will follow you, I want to meet them tonight, every one of them.” Whoa. Dude, this just went from creepy to totally off the charts pederastastic!
They have a deal and the pederast Shakespeare hands over the flower, in which Jonno immediately buries his face. Jonno turns and walks away, continuing to snort the pollen from this black flower, like it’s laced with coke. “I’ll be watching you. Don’t forget. I’ll… always be watching you,” the pederast Shakespeare says as Jonno goes, as if he wasn’t creepy enough already. When he speaks, he pauses in these really disturbing ways, which I’ve tried to recreate for the written page. I’m floored by how utterly creepy this is. The moral this week better be about stranger danger. Holy shit, what have we gotten into? If I have to write the word pederast one more time, I’ll probably be flagged on some kind of internet predator watch list.
Back at the Royal Palace, every one is seated, and the awards ceremony (did I mention that Jonno and Chad are here because Jonno is to be named kid-of-the-year, or something, at some big ceremony?) is about to begin. Anyway, Jonno is not there yet. Teela looks down at Chad disapprovingly, which causes him to get up and go look for Jonno to prove that he’s “there somewhere”. We cut to Jonno arriving in the wind raider, clearly slurring his words (is that an oxymoron?) as he says, “Uh-huh. Aww, there’s the place”, he does a sloppy corkscrew in the wind raider, and then promptly crash-lands. “Heeeeey, perfect landing!” Jonno slurs again. Yep, he’s wasted. I guess I was right the third time – the flower is laced with coke, or the Eternian pollen equivalent. Deciding to take a short cut into the stadium, Jonno climbs a random scaffolding, which can’t end well. From the podium, we hear King Randor babble on about how our children are the future, while we pan, yet again, over the coliseum.
As we continue to pan, the scaffolding is visible, as well as the parking lot full of jets, and on up to the mountain to where Mr. Pederast Shakespeare (oh, shit, I’m on a list), looks down from above with his purple goon. “Indeed they are, Randor, indeed they are.” And here we come to the obligatory screen where the villain reveals his plan. He intends to hook all of Eternia’s youth on his addictive black flower, and then they will have to do what he says, and you don’t want to know what he intends to tell them to do. It’s certainly not befitting of a children’s show, I’m sure. But first, he’s going to use them as his army against King Randor, so that he, Count Marzo, can rule Eternia. His goon says, “I get to be like Man-At-Arms, right?” then puts his head on Marzo’s shoulder to sniff one of the flowers. You know, I didn’t recognize him as Count Marzo from Season 1 Episode 58 “The Once and Future Duke, which was about a boy who had his memory wiped clean, after Count Marzo did who-knows-what to him. This guy has a seedy, seedy, past.
Down in the coliseum, Chad and Teela spot Jonno standing precariously atop the coliseum wall. “Wahooo” he slurs, swaying, clearly about to fall. King Randor shouts, “Somebody get that boy!” He falls, but catches the ledge, kicking another scaffolding (what’s with all the scaffolding?), which nearly crushes Teela. Jonno pulls himself back up on the wall and waves stupidly at every one. Prince Adam yells, “I’ll get something to reach him,” and runs off around a corner to recycle some animation. Jonno falls off again and catches the ledge, because Prince Adam is taking so long. Teela runs and starts scaling a wall, trying to actually do something about this wasted kid that’s about to fall to his peril.
She’s not making much progress, so He-Man shows up and gives Teela an ollie-oop. Marzo, up on his perch, is pissed that He-Man has been brought into the mix, and raises his fists, as if he’s going to fight him from the considerable distance at which he stands. Teela cannonballs on top of the wall and pulls Jonno to safety. Later, the ceremony apparently cancelled, and after another long pan to the Royal Palace, Teela is lecturing Jonno. “I was just having fun,” he says, defensively. “Jonno, every young boy on Eternia looks up to you! You were chosen Boy of the Year, and you ruined it for yourself and everybody!” Jonno shuts down, and Teela leaves angry, promising they will talk later.
As soon as she leaves, Jonno sneaks out and goes to a video monitor and Facetimes one of his friends. Man, we really are living the future, aren’t we? His friend actually seems impressed by his stunt. Jonno invites him, and every one, to a secret meeting. Out in the courtyard, Prince Adam is sitting, holding one of the black flowers, possibly high. Teela walks up and tells Prince Adam she’s worried about Jonno. Prince Adam asks Teela if she’s ever seen this black flower he found in Jonno’s wind raider. She barely says, plainly, “No,” when Orko swoops in and steals the flower, and warns them of the danger. They have these all over Trolla, they call them “the Black Nightmare” – sniffing it does bad things to your mind, he says. “Some people laugh, or cry, or see things that aren’t there. Others get sick or try to do dangerous things,” Orko says.
However, Teela says there’s no such flower on Eternia, because she’s a botany expert. Orko echoes that they were all destroyed on Trolla. And now they have a mystery to solve. Orko plans to head to Trolla to see if he can find anything out, while Prince Adam goes to talk to Jonno. Up in Jonno’s room, Chad is laying into him when Count Marzo bursts in. Chad tries to run, but Marzo freezes him. “Don’t leave so soon. I insist you stay,” Marzo says, creepy as ever. After a screen wipe to signify some time passing, Prince Adam approaches Jonno’s chamber doors. He opens it to find the boys missing. Burby, Chad’s strange pet is there. It babbles at them incoherently, which causes Teela to remark that it’s strange for Chad to be separated from his pet. Then Prince Adam spots the black flower on the floor. Prince Adam picks up the flower and no sooner has he stepped out of the room with it, when Orko shows up to tell them what he found out. That was fast. He went all the way to Trolla and back?
As it turns out, Count Marzo had a flower farm on Trolla, and he developed the black nightmare there. Prince Adam theorizes that, what ever he’s up to, Count Marzo must have taken Jonno and Chad. Out in the mostly gray skies of Eternia, Count Marzo is cruising in a ship with his purple goon, Chad, and Jonno. A proximity buzzer on the dash starts going off, alerting Marzo to a fast approaching wind raider. Marzo tries to play it off like he planned this. He dips around a mountain and loses Prince Adam. Prince Adam lands the wind raider, thinking maybe Marzo also landed. Marzo’s ship comes out from behind the mountain and stops abruptly in midair, then traps Prince Adam and the whole crew in a force field, at which Prince Adam paws helplessly.
Prince Adam tries his wrist blaster, but it’s no good. Orko suggests he should try some magic, which Teela begs that he not do. Cringer asks for some food, and the whole stupid thing ends with Orko burning a raw hotdog and bun into a crisp. As it turns out, the flame that Orko produced, which was on the level of an industrial strength flamethrower, burned a hole in the force field. The giggle that Prince Adam lets out is ridiculous. Cringer is disappointed that he didn’t get to eat.
Out in the desert, Count Marzo is reminding Jonno that he’s to bring all of Eternia’s kids there tonight to get hooked on the black nightmare. Chad tries to talk Jonno out of it, but Marzo gives him a flower to sniff and he loses his mind over it. Jonno protests, shouting, “You gave him a flower?! He’s just a little kid!” I can’t tell if this episode is really about drugs, or pedophilia or both. Count Marzo decides he’s sick of Chad and uses some sleeping gas on him. Jonno sobs with regret, “This is all my fault, I’m so sorry!” Marzo orders Jonno to shut the fuck up because his friends are arriving in their X-Wings, he hands a “speaker unit” to Jonno, asking that he address his friends, but when Jonno says, “Sure, I’ll welcome my friends,” his tone belies his intention to warn his friends off. Marzo decides to MC instead. As he welcomes the youth of Eternia, a few times. Then, Jonno snatches the speaker unit from him and warns all his friends to danger, telling them to go home and send help.
Marzo looks horrified. “You fool!” Jonno retorts, “You’re wrong, Marzo. I was a fool, I just got smart.” As all of Jonno’s friends take off, Count Marzo decides it’s time to leave and tells his goon to call the wolf bats. The creature’s mouth starts flapping as it lets out an awful howl. Just shy of the howl giving me a migrane, Marzo mercifully says, “enough!” Count Marzo spots the wind raider landing and makes haste. Jonno kneels on the ground, cradling his brother, pleading for him to wake up. Prince Adam lands and orders Teela and Cringer after Count Marzo while he helps Jonno and Chad. As soon as they’re gone, Prince Adam whips out his power sword and recycles some animation so he can kick some wolf-bat ass.
He-Man gets a running start on Battle Cat and uses the momentum to leap high into the air, grabbing the two wolf-bats by their tails. When he lands, He-Man spins around and around and flings the wolf-bats off to oblivion. You might think that they will survive, because they can just fly off before they fall to their deaths. However, it looks like one of them was flung at high velocity into a mountain wall, and the other into a chasm, where it is probably so dizzy from all that spinning that it couldn’t possibly recover and fly to safety. As a result, I’m counting that as two murders, even if they are wolf-bats. I guess Prince Adam will have to stop being He-Man again.
“Hurry, stone head, we can still get back to the castle,” Count Marzo says, just before his goon trips over a box, thus tripping Marzo as well. Teela gets Marzo and his goon tied up while He-Man tends to Jonno and Chad, who just-so-happens to be waking up. Teela spots He-Man and wanders over to flirt with him. She suggests they get the boys to the medical center. “That’s a good idea,” He-Man says quickly, “I must go now.” That was close. It seems He-Man realized he might have sent the wrong message to Teela when he carried her off into the sunset all tenderly, recently. He wisely splits before Teela can make a move on him. Prince Adam steps out from behind a rock just in time to witness Marzo and his goon break loose and disappear.
Even though the episode should really have ended when they apprehended Marzo and they saved the boys, we cut to Prince Adam, Teela, Cringer, and Orko consulting with the Sorceress. “The person you are seeking lives on the planet Eronia. It is small, but very hazardous. There are dangers animals, quick sands…” the Sorceress warns until Prince Adam cuts her off, saying, they must go there. Why the Hell not, it doesn’t sound any more dangerous than Eternia, and might actually be less dangerous. I can’t believe they are actually going to pursue a villain after escaping. They don’t even do that with Skeletor, and he lives on the same damn planet. So, the Sorceress sends them though a dimensional gate and on their merry way.
Back on his home planet, Count Marzo licks his wounded pride, lamenting how close he came, only to fail. He resolves not to give up, when an alarm goes off alerting him to intruders. That’s some alarm! It triggers before Prince Adam and crew haven’t even finished walking through the gate, and are still a considerable distance from Marzo’s fortress. I hope Prince Adam doesn’t need to turn into He-Man again, because, one, he will really burn out a good chunk of the last minute and a half of the show, and, two, because it will be extremely difficult to explain how He-Man got there just when Prince Adam disappeared. That is, unless the just gloss over that aspect, which I’m sure they will. Proving my suspiciaon, only seconds later, when a defensive wall comes up, separating Teela from Prince Adam, Orko, and Cringer, Prince Adam immediately whips out his power sword and burns a good 15 seconds of screen time recyling animation.
He-Man pushes on the metal wall until the whole damn thing falls over. He’s fucking lucky he didn’t smash Teela – or a hapless villager – underneath it, especially after the events of episode 45. It doesn’t even occur to Teela that Prince Adam was on the other side of that wall 20 seconds ago, and now He-Man is standing there. She doesn’t even try to question it. Apparently, Marzo’s fortress is really easy to enter, because we cut to He-Man, inside, confronting Marzo, “If it isn’t the flower man.” Ooooh, that stings. Good one, He-Man! The goon lunges at him, but He-Man easily sidesteps him. Just then, Marzo’s fancy alarm system goes off, warning of the intruder that is already right in front of him. “Now you tell me,” Marzo says bitterly. Teela chases him and snags Count Marzo around his ankles, tripping him. “Down for the count!” He-Man says before we cut back to the Royal Palace.
At the Royal Palace, Teela is telling Jonno and Chad about how He-Man showed up and saved the day, destroying all the black nightmare flowers and then took Count Marzo to a prison planet, without a trial. That might be fair, considering his history, but I can’t help but wonder why Skeletor isn’t treated the same way. Jonno shits all over himself, admitting that everything was his fault, and that he was a fool, and that he never should have “tried the flower”. “If you learned that, Jonno, it was worth all the trouble,” Teela says. I really think that’s the wrong message to send here, and considering that he’s clearly not going to be punished, I take especial exception to this sentiment. Then Cringer gets chased up a tree, again, and we pan back out of the Royal Palace, and then the planet as Orko’s awful theme music plays.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how pedophilia and drugs don’t mix. Kids, if a creepy, creepy, skeevy stranger offers you candy, or a strange substance – or flowers – run away yelling “Rape! Rape! He touched my naughty parts!” as loud as you can. It could also be about how the show should cut down on the wide pans, seriously. Or, it could even be about how if you’re a gay, muscle bound man, you should not flirt with women that want to lay a snail trail on you, lest it get awkward. Instead, Teela comes on screen to ask us if we know anyone who uses drugs, like Jonno used the flower. “Never take drugs from other people,” Teela says, “even if a close friend says it’s alright,”. Instead, narc on them and get them arrested. Even you’re parents; D.A.R.E.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 5
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 19
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Count Marzo
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Chimera, Battle Cat
Linda Gary: Teela, The Sorceress, Chad
Lou Sheimer: Orko, King Randor, Morton
Erika Scheimer: Jonno