Very happy birthday, Mr. Roboto! Oh, wait, that’s not how the song goes. Whatever. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, as well, then. We open on Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam cruising in a wind raider together. An alarm on the control panel goes off, indicating it’s picking up an unknown signal, so they go to check it out. Down on the desert sands, they use a device to pinpoint the signal at what looks like a sand dune. Prince Adam is suspicious and starts pawing at the sand, revealing something metal. As a precaution, he recycles some animation so He-Man and Man-At-Arms can inspect it. He-Man uncovers what looks like a ship. As He-Man inspects a gaping hole in the side of it, Man-At-Arms remarks that it doesn’t look like the thing originated from Eternia. He hears a strange sound and turns around, contorting his face in horror.
A giant sand crab crests the hill behind them and goes after Man-At-Arms. “Duncan, look out!” He-Man shouts. Man-At-Arms runs, but he trips and falls. He-Man gets there just in time to stop dear old Duncan from being crushed in its pincers. He pushes hard against the claw, muttering before he finally sends the sand crab flying. Flipping back over onto its legs, the sand crab scrambles off. Once again, unencumbered, He-Man and Man-At-Arms enter the ship and discover the ship’s pilot, unconscious on the dash. As the ship has clearly been buried for a while, and because this body is not decomposing, I assume this is Mr. Roboto. Indeed, the signal is coming from the body, and when He-Man pulls it back against the seat, its mono eye flashes as his head lolls to face them. “It’s a robot!” Man-At-Arms remarks.
It’s not in very good shape. Roboto’s chest is open there are cords protruding from it. Not surprisingly, Man-At-Arms wants to take Roboto back to his lab to try and fix it. Good idea, because, if this robot was sent to destroy Eternia, or is some kind of robotic space criminal, they would surely want to repair it and bring it back to life. Back in the lab, Man-At-Arms has apparently been at for a while and is getting frustrated at his lack of success in resurrecting his new harbinger of death. Prince Adam suggests they just kick it, like they do with King Randor’s sky chariot. Really? Man-At-Arms can’t make the King a sky chariot that doesn’t need to be kicked to operate? Anyway, his comment earns Prince Adam a sternly raised eyebrow.
Orko heads down the hall to ensure that everything goes wrong for everyone, but encounters a strange robot guarding Man-At-Arms’ lab. It asks Orko to identify himself. The robot processes the information and reports that Orko has been flagged as a “pest”, and is barred from entry. YES! Finally, Man-At-Arms has made an invention worth inventing – a robot that keeps Orko OUT. Orko is pretty indignant about it, and pretty much gets into a fight with the robot. The ruckus is so loud that Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam hear it, so Prince Adam goes to see what all the hoopla is. Out in the hall, the security robot has taken Orko by his collar. Orko is being such an entitled asshole and the robot gently responds, “I wish you’d understand. This is just my job.” Awww poor guy!
Orko doesn’t back down and tries to use his magic on this poor, poor robot. “Abracadabra, abrakadee, make this junk pile set me free!” He says. The robot reports a malfunction and begins to shoot steam from its neck, thrashing wildly, probably in its death throes. Holy shit, you guys. I’ve always hated him before, but at least he was never outwardly violent! Robot or no, Orko has really crossed a line this time. That robot was so kind, I’m sure it had feelings baked in, and then Orko just goes and tortures the thing?! Prince Adam finally arrives, nay exits the lab (seriously, how big is this lab?) only for Orko to zip right past him into the lab, crashing right into Roboto, knocking them both to the ground. I’m kind of surprised that Man-At-Arms didn’t see this coming, maybe even especially because of the security robot. What did he really expect that outcome to be? Like a hurricane, you can’t stop Orko.
Man-At-Arms lays into Orko, who deflects, “It wasn’t my fault, it was that stupid robot!” You know, the one that he tortured for just doing its job? “I beg your pardon?” Roboto says, his head panning, mono eye flashing. Orko flips out and hides behind Prince Adam. “Orko must have jarred something that turned him on!” Man-At-Arms exclaims. So, I guess Prince Adam was right after all, they did just need to kick it. More than I’m curious as to whether Roboto is going to murder them all now, I’m pissed that Orko is going to go unpunished as a result of this happy accident. Roboto stands up and, sounding a bit like Steve Urkel, says, “Excuse me, but could you define my present location?” Man-At-Arms answers him, but asks some questions of his own. Roboto explains that he’s an explorer from the planet “Robotica”.
“Finally, robotic beings rule the world. The humans are dead. We used poisonous gasses … to poison their asses…” Then Roboto asks if he can scan them because he’s never seen beings of their kind before. “Well. I have no objection,” Man-At-Arms says quickly and in a low voice. No, why would he. So, Roboto scans him with a blue light he emits out of his eyes. While enveloped in it, we see Man-At-Arms’ skeleton, with certain parts described in a robotic alien language. “Totally organic, no metal parts” Roboto says. He comments on how strange this is, then specifically mentions that he noticed a high degree of intelligence.
Although nervous before, Orko now eagerly begs, “Oh, do me! Do me!” Roboto scans Orko, but a literal internal shade gets pulled closed, which only reveals a bunch of question marks, Rather than Orko’s amputated skeleton. Roboto panics, saying he can’t make sense of it, and then his head literally spins. I don’t know what Orko expected, but he sure is butt-hurt over the outcome. We cut to King Randor being introduced to Roboto. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Roboto,” Randor says. Seriously, they just bring this strange robot to have an audience with the King? They have no idea of his true intentions, or really anything else about him! If it tried to assassinate King Randor right now, you think Prince Adam could recycle animation fast enough to stop it? “The feeling is mutual,” Roboto says.
Duncan says that Roboto requests that he be allowed to explore their planet while they fix his ship on the Royal dime. “Sure, map the whole thing in detail so your robot friends can efficiently take over the planet after you go retrieve them with your newly repaired ship,” King Randor (basically) says. Out of nowhere, a random little flying demon shows up in the window to eavesdrop as King Randor and Roboto compliment and flatter each other. Prince Adam says that Roboto is one of a kind on Eternia, which is overheard by a strange, three-legged villain who is observing the feed from the demon’s eyes on his monitor. Speaking in the third person so we can learn his name, Modulok tells us that he plans to steal and sell this one of a kind robot.
Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms promise Roboto that they will start his tour in the morning (that’s very different than exploring) and tell him good night, leaving him alone in the lab, where I’m sure he won’t be sleeping. You know, on account of that he’s a robot and all. Seems like a really good idea to leave him awake and unattended in the lab, yep. Outside, Modulok shows up and magically changes his hands into hammers and busts the wall open. Roboto was in the middle of getting a cup of hot oil from a, uh, hot oil dispensing machine, when Modulok comes through the wall. “Hello. Are you a friend of Man-At-Arms?” Roboto asks, innocently. “No, I’m his sworn enemy, as you will be when I am through with you,” Modulok says before changing his hand into a blaster. He shocks Roboto until he emits black smoke, his head spins, and his eyes go all bonkers.
In the morning, Prince Adam is all excited about showing Roboto around and asks Man-At-Arms what they should show him first. They discuss it as they go to fetch Roboto. Boy, are they in for a bitter surprise! They enter the lab to find Roboto missing and the wall caved in from the outside. How did that not set off an alarm, really? Elsewhere, In Modulok’s lair, Roboto is strapped to a table, begging to know what Modulok wants from him. “Why, your power, of course!” Modulok plugs a cable into Roboto’s head, and explains his plan to reprogram him and use him for his own ends. Roboto is confident that Man-At-Arms will find him. However, he immediately gets brainwashed, his eyes displaying skulls to prove it.
Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms are in the Royal Hanger and have tweaked the signal scanner on the wind raider so that it picks up Roboto’s signal. They immediately pick the signal and take off. In Modulok’s lab he’s testing his brainwashed lackey, Roboto, and it seems like it’s working. In the wind raider, they track the signal as it moves north and follow it. Having already arrived at Station Zeta, Eternia’s top research laboratory. He instructs Roboto to break in and steal all of it’s secrets for him. Roboto approaches dutifully, and when the shots from their staffs don’t stop him, the guards just run away. Modulok orders Roboto to break in, which he does. Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms arrive and find the hole that has been busted in the door to Station Zeta. They suspect it was Roboto. Being unsure if he is now their enemy, Man-At-Arms suggests that Prince Adam change into He-Man so they are ready if there is any trouble.
And so, we burn up some time with recycled animation – but not the full sequence, because gets cut short when we cut back to Modulok and Roboto, inside. Modulok commands Roboto to capture the scientists, which he does dutifully by wrapping them in an iron beam, then carting them off to somewhere else. Where exactly though, I’m not sure, because they just sort of walk off-screen. Modulok picks up a controller that operates a drilling vehicle. He-Man walks in to spoil the fun, so Modulok uses the drill machine against him. He-Man evades it and uses an inexplicably convenient glass dome, which just so happens to be suspended from the ceiling, to trap Modulok. What luck. He-Man greets Roboto, but he doesn’t respond. Man-At-Arms surmises that Modulok has done something to him.
He-Man tries to assure Roboto that they’ll help him, then he and Man-At-Arms lay hands on him. This actives a defense mechanism that stuns both of them, dropping He-Man and Man-At-Arms to the ground. We cut to Modulok’s lab where he’s got He-Man trapped in force field containers. Man-At-Arms is tied up in a chair while Modulok is tinkering with a mechanical head that somewhat resembles his own. There are two wires leading out of it like battery cables, and I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s going to steal Man-At-Arm’s brain and put it in this mechanical head.
Man-At-Arms comes to and wants to know what was done to Roboto, like they’ve been best friends for forever. Modulok explains that he only reprogrammed him to be obedient to him. “But, if I were you, I’d be more concerned about what will happen to YOU!” Modulok says. He-Man warns Modulok against harming Man-At-Arms. Man-At-Arms doesn’t want to hear it, but Modulok is going to tell him anyway. As it turns out, I was 100% correct – the sunlamp above Man-At-Arms is going to transfer his brain in the robot head. It’s not as gory as I’d have liked, but it’s pretty fucking awesome. He-Man protests, but he’s helpless as Modulok starts the processes. As the machine energizes, He-Man tries to talk sense into Roboto. He reminds Roboto of their kindness toward him, implores him to fight the programming and save Man-At-Arms. I’m pretty sure robot programming doesn’t work that way. It worked for Robocop because he had a human brain in there, but Roboto is all robot.
Regardless, it works, and Roboto starts to smoke and shake. He bangs his hands against his head, then his head starts spinning. He stands still an instant, and then his mono eye goes yellow again. “I cannot allow any harm to come to Man-At-Arms!” Roboto shouts as he picks up and throws a computer console, stopping the brain transfer process. Modulok is pissed that this “stupid robot” defeated his programming. As Roboto goes to free He-Man, Modulok blasts him with his ray again, but Roboto resists, his “will” driving him forward. With his last reach, he touches the force field, which I guess disrupts it, because… he’s a robot… I guess. Whatever.
Now freed, He-Man punches a floor panel, which acts like the lever on a fulcrum, and sends Modulok flying in to a vat of green liquid. He-Man breaks Man-At-Arms’ bonds, freeing him. Man-At-Arms quickly assures He-Man he’s fine, then rushes to Roboto’s side scooping him up in his arms as if he were Teela. “Roboto, are you alright?” Man-At-Arms asks desperately. “Friend, I… I…. i…” Roboto utters as he fades from consciousness. Man-At-Arms is destroyed and on the verge of tears. “We’ve got to get him back to my lab, quickly!” He says. Sure, before his organs spoil. Dipshit. Why are they always rushing machines into emergency repair? He’s repairable, or he’s not. Sheesh.
Oh, good God. Back at the Royal Palace, every one, and I mean EVERYONE is gathered in the Royal Hall. The tension is high, as they all wait on pins and needles. Orko rushes in, “Y-you think Man-At-Arms can fix Roboto?” he asks. Somberly, Prince Adam says, “I don’t know, Orko. His circuits were very badly damaged.” Cinger lowers his head sadly, “He was such a nice robot…” he whines. Give me a fucking break. “Well, thank you,” comes Roboto’s weak, but distinctive voice. Everyone turns to face the voice, their hearts skipping a beat in unison. “You did it!” Teela cries. “Man-At-Arms is a genius! I feel better than the day I was constructed,” Roboto says excitedly. Yeah? If he’s such a genius, then why’s he always inventing shit that already exists? Huh?
King Randor suggests they have a celebration. Queen Marlena contributes that it should be a birthday, because its… kind of, sort of his second birthday? Yeah, good suggestion, Marlena. Roboto is flattered, of course, and makes this sort of purring sound he makes between statements sometimes. Roboto doesn’t get the concept of birthdays, of course, and so Man-At-Arms literally explains to him what a birthday is. He doesn’t get what being “born” means, so Man-At-Arms has to explain that to him too. Orko jumps ahead to my moral for the week when he says, “Hey. That kind of makes Man-At-Arms Roboto’s father”. Teela looks a bit uncomfortable with that, and Man-At-Arms feigns the same. But when Orko points out their resemblance (it’s true, what with Duncan’s helmet and all) everyone agrees and laughs.
So, yeah. Time for this week’s moral, which Orko just kind of ruined for me. Fucker. I was going to say that I now understand why Man-At-Arms has never married or ever had any real children. He’s not gay, this one. He’s a machinophile. He’s got such a hard-on for machinery, that he’s got no interest in the carnal desires of the flesh and blood. It’s oil and steel Man-At-Arms lusts after. If he hasn’t already invented one, when the Real Doll gets invented, his head will explode! I know he was secretly excited by the idea of fathering a robot, I just know it. Instead, Teela comes on-screen to tell us that when a friend is in trouble, don’t think about it, just help, because doing something good for someone else will make you feel good. Like the feeling Daddy Duncan gets when he fucks a machine.
He-Man murder Count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 3
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 20
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Security Robot
Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Roboto
Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Modulok, Station Zeta Scientist