“Here, there, Skeletors everywhere”. Oh, is he now? Then why has he been absent from 21 of the last 51 episodes? I’m not sure I can even certain that he’ll he in this one based on his track record! He’s been absent 41% of the time this season, which is just slightly less than last season at 43%. Wait a minute. There’s no apostrophe in that title card, so it’s not a contraction of “Skeletor is”, rather, it’s Skeletors, as in plural; more than one. I guess he’s trying to make up for for the episodes he’s been missing from. Nice try, but I’m only counting this as one appearance, not several. We open on Man-At-Arms and Prince Adam out in the field, testing a new invention – some kind of duplicator ray. It works, but the only problem is that the duplicates are half the size of the originals. Oh, I think I see where this is going. This is going to be good. Maybe. Hopefully.
Unfortunately, Orko shows up because he was lonely at the palace. It sucks that he came, but I’m surprised he wasn’t there already. All of the sudden, a conspicuous bush near a tree turns into – HOLY SHIT! IT’S MOSS-MAN!! Ahem. A conspicuous bush turns into Moss-Man. Sorry, it’s just that Moss-Man and I go way back. You see, I used to have the Moss-Man action figure, among many others. Moss-Man’s figure was covered in a green, velvet-like skin. He was one of the cooler figures, really. Poor old Moss-Man got left in the yard one day, and, well, he blends in with grass pretty well. Blends right in with that long, summer grass… that Dad is driving around on with a lawn mower… rest in peace, Moss-Man, rest in peace.
I digress. Orko freaks as Moss-Man stretches and yawns, casually asking what’s going on. Man-At-Arms, with an aw-shucks flavor to a familiar tone, says, “Moss-Man. This was supposed to be a secret test.” Obviously, they know each other, even though Moss-Man has never been mentioned, much less made an appearance. Moss-Man is good-natured and apologizes, saying it wasn’t intentional; he was just taking a nap. Then he goes off to nap somewhere else. Helpfully, Orko exposits on Moss-Man’s powers, saying, “Even when he’s not trying to be, Moss-Man’s a spy. Being able to change into any plant would sure be handy!” Then, Orko tries to out-do the duplication machine by using his magic to make more of the berry they duplicated. It results in several of them falling from the sky, right on Man-At-Arms’ head.
Nearby (I assume), Skeletor is following Whiplash to an undisclosed location. He peeks through the reeds that Whiplash courteously parts and sees Man-At-Arms use the duplicator ray on a rock. Much to my delight, it still has the issue of making the duplicate half the size of the original. Even though it looks plenty light out, Man-At-Arms declares that they’re done for the day. “Wonderful! With that machine, I could duplicate anything. There would be no limit to my power!” Skeletor says, excitedly. Packed up and flying home in the wind raider with their equipment, Man-At-Arms, Prince Adam, Cringer, and Orko are being followed by Whiplash and Skeletor in Whiplash’s buzz-saw vehicle.
Skeletor blasts out the wind raider’s engine to force them to land. It’s a subtle ray, and no one is yet aware that they’ve been shot down, much less that Skeletor is after them. Man-At-Arms does his best to control their crash landing, but he still manages to crash land in a tar swamp, where they begin sinking. Prince Adam immediately recycles some animation and turns in to He-Man. He does a somersaulting leap to the shore where Man-At-Arms throws him a rope. Man-At-Arms loops the rest around the wind raider and He-Man pulls. It’s far too stuck, even for He-Man, so Battle Cat jumps out to help in two ways – first, by removing his presumably massive weight from the vehicle, and second, by helping He-Man pull. It’s a miracle that Skeletor didn’t see Prince Adam transform, because he certainly was close enough behind that he should be here by now.
Anyway, He-Man and Battle Cat get the wind raider out. “The engines are jammed, I can’t get them going,” Man-At-Arms blurts out. He-Man has an idea, but we have to wait to find out what it is, because we cut to Skeletor and Whiplash, flying low over the swamps, searching unsuccessfully for the crashed wind raider. We cut back to He-Man as he picks the rope up and starts running with it. The wind raider immediately takes flight like a dime store kite on a stiff summer breeze, as if it weighs nothing. I’d like to point out that, unless Man-At-Arms can get the engines going, the wind raider is no better than a four-seated hang glider. Blast it all, Man-At-Arms tries the engine again, and this time it works. Really, there should be no difference between the wind raider being on the ground versus in the air, but now the engines work. He-Man climbs the rope and they fly off. Meanwhile, Skeletor and Whiplash have managed to get the buzz-saw vehicle trapped in the tar swamp and are now sinking.
At the Royal Palace, a teddy bear family has finished appealing to King Randor about a dire plight. “Your situation is indeed a desperate one,” King Randor says diplomatically as we pan into the room. Mekaneck and Sy-Klone are there too. Mekaneck goes on “high” alert and literally cranes his neck as Prince Adam comes running in. Apparently, Prince Adam is late for this pre-scheduled “Royal Meeting”. “Sorry I’m late, father,” Prince Adam says. “This is our son, Prince Adam,” King Randor says, his throat a little tight with embarrassment. The teddy bear family restates their plight, this time so we can hear it. Apparently, they’re here to complain because there are lots of predators in their forests, and they have to use a crystal to turn invisible so they don’t get eaten when they go out to gather food. Only, their crystal supply has mysteriously disappeared, and the last crystal they have is running out of juice.
Man-At-Arms has an idea – he’s going to use the duplicating machine on it. It’s definitely going to come out half the size, but I also wonder if it would sap more of the remaining energy every time they copy it. You can’t charge a bunch of batteries with one that that is almost empty without running out of juice in the original pretty fast. Seems to me the best long-term solution is to have He-Man murder all the predator species in the cute teddy bear people’s region. Suddenly, something cuts through the floor in a circle around the duplicator ray. The floor drops out into cavern, and they all see Skeletor standing there with Whiplash. Icing on the cake, it turns out that Skeletor has a grudge against Jova, the father teddy bear, because the sweet little thing wouldn’t help him steal some rare diamond one time. Skeletor laughs evilly as he carts off the duplicator ray.
Price Adam sprints from the room immediately and wakes up Cringer before he draws the power swords to recycle some animation. Why did Prince Adam bother to wake Cringer up first? It could only have been to torture him, because we know that Cringer hates being transformed, and now he’s wide awake to experience every second of it, rather than being somewhat anesthetized by sleeping. You know why I think Cringer hates transforming so much? He gains a lot of mass and size when he does, and I bet his bones stretch out. Ouch!! That’s got to be extremely painful. He-Man runs into the Royal Chambers and Man-At-Arms helpfully explains that Skeletor’s taken the duplicating ray. For such an obvious double identity, they sure do work hard to maintain the façade. Mekaneck, He-Man, and Battle Cat take off in Attak Trak.
They encounter a minefield that Skeletor has laid out. Mekaneck helpfully cranks his head up and out of the open top, using his goggles to scan for the mines. He warns Attack Trak to veer left, and Attak Trak haughtily responds that he’s already detected that mine and altered their course. “You can rest your neck,” Attak Trak says. Mekaneck continues to watch out. He warns of the next mine, and this time Attak Trak does nothing and drives right into it. I’m not sure which is more alarming, that Attak Trak drove right into the mine (possibly out of spite), or that he was also headed full steam for a cliff. Attak Trak just may be trying to kill all of them, as well as himself. Finally, Attak Trak says, “You’re new here, aren’t you,” as he drives right down the vertical chasm wall, unharmed from the blast, and then right up the opposite side, which is equally as vertical. Sick burn, Attak Trak. It shouldn’t be possible for you to do that, but now I remember you’ve done it before. Joke’s on me.
Out in the forest somewhere, Skeletor has set up the duplicator ray, which I noticed is suddenly tall enough for a person to stand in. Knowing he is being pursued, he wastes no time duplicating himself, and just like that we have a Skeletor that is half the size. “Again!” Skeletor shouts. He cackles each time one of the little Skeletors splits from him, like he’s having as good of a time as if he was tossing off his other “little Skeletors”. Soon, he has a small dominion of little Skeletors gathered around him. He preaches the black gospel to them and off they go. All 11 of them (including the original) march single file to steal the crown and christen their master, “King Skeletor”.
He-Man and Mekaneck are still cruising around, seeming to have lost Skeletor’s trail. At the Royal Palace, Moss-Man un-blends from an ivy-covered wall and tells He-Man to get back to the Royal Palace quickly, because something is going down. He blends back in just in time as we see the shadows of a bunch of tiny Skeletors roll over him. As they near the palace, Battle Cat Sets on edge, sensing “big trouble”. Mekaneck cranes his neck out again and spots what is actually a bunch of “little trouble”. Skeletor and his near-dozen Mini-Mes are milling about, the little guys chattering away. Can you imagine if they all blathered on like the OG Skeletor does? Much like Mini-Me though, they seem to only make basic grunts and cackles. Actually, now there are 13 of them, even though Skeletor left the duplicator with only 11. I counted carefully, both times.
With all those Skeletors outside, He-Man comments that they won’t be able to get in the front door. Battle Cat growls, “Rainbow Tunnel”. Mekaneck conveniently asks what that is, so He-Man helpfully explains it’s a secret tunnel that King Randor build into the palace when Adam and Teela were children. They go around the back of the palace where He-Man and Battle Cat feel around on the wall for the release. As they search, the little Skeletors have gotten onto them and rush toward them. He-Man finds the release just in time, and they all rush in, the door closing behind them with not a moment to spare.
Safely in the rainbow tunnel, He-Man comes to a stop in the center chamber and says, “Come on out, Skeletor.” Immediately, three of the little Skeletors drop from the ceiling and say, simultaneously, “Skeletor’s our name, evil’s our game.” Seriously, where the fuck did they all come from? I just witnessed the good guys escape safely into the rainbow tunnel, and now there’s Skeletors raining from the ceiling of the “secret” tunnel. Suddenly there’s even more than three of them, and they all use their staffs to make a “sonic sound trap” (that’s not a redundant name or anything). He-Man grabs his ears in pain, but Mekaneck raises his head up and out of the sound field to avoid its effects, then brags about it. The little Skeletors just aim higher. “I should have kept my mouth shut,” Mekaneck says. Then, all the heroes just run off, which begs the question of what good that “sonic sound trap” was.
After a screen wipe, we find all the important people still camped out in the Royal Throne Room. I assume there’s still a big hole in the floor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not there any more. He-Man, Mekaneck, and Battle Cat walk in. King Randor announces that the “Skeltoids” have taken over the entire palace. Mekaneck cracks the door open and cranks his head out, and indeed, there are Skeletors everywhere, and none of them seem interested in getting into the Royal Throne Room. Man-At-Arms tells He-Man to destroy the duplicating machine, because when he does, all of the Skeletors will disappear. How does that make any sense? The machine either duplicates matter or it doesn’t. Am I to believe they are all being wirelessly powered by the machine, and turning it off or destroying it is like unplugging them all? Jova offers He-Man the use of his invisibility crystal so that they can escape the Royal Throne Room.
He-Man makes sure that this is what Jova really wants, because if the crystal runs out of juice, that’s it! He’s sure. Jova takes He-Man’s hand, who, in turn, holds onto Battle Cat, and they all go invisible. Orko exits out of the Royal Throne room to run a distraction with the now dozens of little Skeletors. Orko uses the same spell he used on the berries at the beginning of the episode to make it rain berries on all of them, which the little Skeletors don’t like one bit. This seems like a bad plan, because if it’s still raining berries when Jova, He-Man, and Battle Cat exit, I would think getting covered in berry juice might reveal them. I really shouldn’t think about this shit too hard, but I suppose the berries might turn invisible upon landing on them.
The berries pile up on the little Skeletors, burying them as the invisible trio escapes. It’s a good thing too, because as they go, they leave very obvious footprints in the carpet that surely would have been noticed by the little Skeletors. On their way out of the palace, they overhear some of the little Skeletors chattering about how Skeletor is back at Snake Mountain making more little Skeletors. On the way there, they come upon Sy-Klone, shackled to stone wall. The invisibility crystal begins to lose it’s power, which reveals Jova, He-Man, and Battle Cat. The little Skeletors spot them as He-Man frees Sy-Klone and come after them. Now freed, Sy-Klone spins really quickly, turning into a cyclone, which flings the little fuckers this way and that. I would think that if this defense were so successful, Sy-Klone probably would not have been caught in the first place. Anyway, Sy-Klone’s defense was enough to allow He-Man to escape.
Inside Snake Mountain, Skeletor is holding a map of Eternia with skulls all over it. Skeletor points, saying “See here, the planet Eternia is becoming mine! All mine!” I think he’s getting a little ahead of himself. Also, if that’s the “planet” Eternia, it sure doesn’t have much landmass for a planet! One of the little Skeletors rushes over and warns that He-Man is coming. When He-Man arrives at Snake Mountain, Whiplash is waiting for him, standing on top of the snake’s head that forms the topmost part of the fortress with a pile of rocks. Whiplash whacks the rock pile with his tail and they all fall, not ON He-Man, but rather they fall neatly in a circle around them, trapping them in a sort of well. I don’t know how that even happened, but it seems like crushing them with the rocks would have been a better option.
He-Man tells Jova not to worry and says that if the little Skeletors are anything like the big Skeletor, they are greedy and selfish. So, the plan is to play along for now and use that to their advantage. I guess they just waited in the well they were trapped in until they were taken prisoner, because we cut to He-Man inside Snake Mountain, surrounded by little Skeletors while they are addressed by the original Skeletor. Skeletor comments that Jova looks frightened and again mentions the grudge he’s holding against him. Skeletor says that once he duplicates an army of his cohorts (meaning Modulok and Two-Bad), he, Skeletor, will be the ruler of Eternia. He-Man activates his plan and says that he’s confused because he thought all of the little Skeletors would be the rulers. He-Man fans the flames, asking if they are even to be rewarded for their assistance.
Immediately the little Skeletors start bickering and fighting with each other, each of them arguing that he is the most evil and should be the ruler. I’m actually surprised this didn’t happen sooner and more organically. Skeletor darts for cover while He-Man says out loud, “Now is my chance to destroy the duplicating machine!” He-Man makes a run for it, but the cover Skeletor took happens to be right next to the door control for the room that the duplicating machine is in. As the door is closing, Skeletor assures He-Man that the door is impenetrable. He-Man throws his power sword just in time, and it wedges in between the door and the floor, bowing so much that it must be about to snap in two.
He-Man gets a grip under the door, and as he tries to lift it, the little Skeletors cooperate together to blast He-Man with weakening rays. Just as it looks like the door is going to shut and chop off He-Man’s fingers, he gets a burst of strength and throws the door back up into the ceiling. The little Skeletors hit him with another blast of weakening rays as he stumbles toward the duplicating machine. He-Man barely makes it, but he steps inside, then hits the on switch, thus duplicating himself. I don’t know why, but two miniature He-Men appear instead of one. He-Man says, “Ready boys?” Skeletor shrieks in frustration as He-man and his new little duplicates work together to pick up the duplicating machine and throw it against the wall, destroying it. The little Skeletors immediately disappear, as do He-Man’s duplicates.
Skeletor stands there, alone, with his hands on his hips, but only for an instant before he takes off running. Jova makes sure that He-Man is all right, then he notices a conspicuous pile of glowing green gems off in a little alcove behind He-Man. As you probably suspected all along, Skeletor is the one that stole all the gems from the teddy bears, most likely out of his repeatedly mentioned grudge against them. This is confirmed when we cut to the Royal Palace were King Randor exposites exactly that. He-Man says, “I think Skeletor got a taste of his own medicine when he had to face himself. Literally.” Man-At-Arms says that he’s learned a lesson too – duplicating machines are too dangerous to have around. Orko agrees, but then tries to use his magic to duplicate a gem, which, even though it was a completely different spell, causes berries to rain down on all of them.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how Man-At-Arms should just quit inventing things all together, because he’s either inventing things that already exist, things that don’t work quite right, or dangerous things that fall into the wrong hands, and most often, all of the above. It was pretty awesome that Skeletor made dozens and dozens of pint-sized versions of himself though. Instead, Man-At-Arms comes on screen to tell us that getting what you want isn’t always a good thing. Too much of a good thing is bad. Orko shows up and suggests that he’s the exception to that rule. Clearly Man-At-Arms does not agree (neither do I!), because sex is the only exception to that rule.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 3
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 21
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Whiplash, He-Man clones
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Battle Cat, Skeletoids
Linda Gary: Queen Marlena, Jeeta
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Attak Trak, Mekaneck, Moss Man, Sy-Klone, Jova, Modulok, Two-Bad
Erika Scheimer: Jade
Why did Lou Scheimer have to do 9 different voices? John Erwin and Alan Oppenheimer couldn’t have helped him out with a couple?