What the Hell does that even mean? When the fuck has Orko even left? Really, his origin story strongly suggested, if not down right said, that he would up being transported from Trolla to Eternia by accident and he was trapped here. Then all of the sudden, in later episodes, some tramp shows up in a little teleporting pyramid to slurp on Orko every once in a while, and Orko’s uncle can come back and forth as much as he wants. So what is the significance of “Orko’s Return”? He’s “returned” to Trolla several times as well, so surely it can’t be that special as to name an episode after it. Not that these episode names are exactly hallowed. We open with a slow pan over a jungle with some ominous, piano based music. Trap Jaw cuts a swath of land open with his laser-beam arm, then Beast Man throws in some “seeds”, which is a handful of little crystals. Beast Man is also conspicuously wearing a huge gem on a necklace, like he’s gone mid-80s hip-hop on us.
As they chatter about how “it’s about time” they went into business for themselves and how, “it’ll be bigger than Snake Mountain”, Beast Man lifts the conspicuous medallion from around his neck and it emits some rays which he focuses on where he tossed the crystals. Suddenly, I know where that fucktarded movie Superman Returns got its evil plot for Lex Luthor, because a huge pillar of crystal rock emerges from the ground where one never existed before. I’m reminded of one of Kevin Spacey’s proclamations in his wasted performance of Lex Luthor: real estate is the one thing they’re not making any more of. Clearly, they are making their own fortress with the intention of horning in on Skeletor’s territory. What they don’t realize is, it’s not the fort that makes the villain, it’s the villain that makes the fort. Skeletor’s twenty times as smart as they are, and even he’s an idiot and a failure.
At the Royal Palace, Orko is torturing every one by forcing them to witness him doing magic tricks. King Randor and Queen Marlena, at least, just sit there, unmoved by the buffoonery taking place before them, but Prince Adam and Teela overplay it a bit by clapping enthusiastically at I’m-not-even-sure-what. In the middle of his trick, Orko starts to glow gold like a Nintendo game boss on his final stage of life. Orko gets a panicked look on his face, which, through the applause, nobody seems to notice. Then he disappears and they all just assume that it was part of his trick. In actually, based on the episode’s title, my guess is that he randomly was teleported back to Trolla for “Orko’s Return”. As Prince Adam and Teela continue to laugh for no real reason, it occurs to me that they may be laughing out of relief at finally having rid themselves of Orko. It’s like not being willing to overtly doing anything about it, but just wishing that one awful coworker would quit, and then he does. Even though he should be the most relieved, Man-At-Arms stokes his chin suspiciously.
I was wrong though. Well, at least about where Orko went. As it turns out, he was somehow teleported to the newly created crystal tower, and is now being laughed at by Beast Man and Trap Jaw while he is trapped in a glass cage. Not so surprisingly, Beast Man and Trap Jaw plan on holding Orko ransom against King Randor. This plan won’t work for two reasons. One, it’s been done before, and more than once, by Skeletor, and as recently as the last episode, and has failed each time. Two, they are severely over estimating Orko’s value. At least Skeletor had Teela as added collateral. At the Royal Palace, a strange golden ball floats into the Royal Throne Room. Man-At-Arms remarks that it’s a Polti Communicator Ball. Beast Man and Trap Jaw appear inside the ball, and King Randor demands to know what the meaning of this intrusion is. The two rogue villains show their captive and demand their ransom; all of the photanium in Eternia. Teela is distraught, but not over Orko, she’s upset because giving up all the photanium would leave them defenseless.
At their crystal tower, Beast Man and Trap Jaw are sitting around with their feet up, congratulating each other on how clever they are, having asked for all the photanium. They muse on what they will do once they have used it to take over Eternia. They also revel in the fact that Orko is their slave now, which prompts Beast Man to use his crystal on Orko. Beast Man says, “By the power of the Amber Crystal of Milarka, little wizard, you may hence forth only use your magic only to serve the exact commands of and wishes of Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw.” That’s what they’re calling themselves now, by the way. They let Orko out of his glass cage and he immediately tries to use his magic to teleport out of there, but he ends up being teleported into his glass cage again. It’s pretty obvious why that happened, but Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw explain it anyway.
Elsewhere, Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms are out cruising in Attak Trak, looking for Orko. Since it’s just the two of them, I’m not sure why Prince Adam hasn’t turned into He-Man, if only because this way, he can subject us to recycled animation instead of taking care of that off-camera before the jump cut to him. Man-At-Arms has Teela on the video screen, updating her on their lack of success. She expresses regret that she can’t be there to help, but again, I think it’s only motivated by the prospect of all the planet’s photanium falling into the wrong hands – which I still doubt is a likely outcome, especially under the duress of Orko as a hostage. Man-At-Arms reminds her that her place is taking care of the palace, and it’s not clear if he means that because she’s a woman, or because of her duties as Captain of the Guard. Daddy Duncan promises they will continue their search, and to keep Teela updated. Then we cut back to the crystal tower.
Inside the crystal tower, Orko is getting a little snarky, saying, “So, I can only use my magic to do exactly what you say, huh?” That’s, right, exactly. Orko wants to know what, exactly, it is that Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw want. Well, they want food, of course. Orko is charged with conjuring up a table with some food, which he does, but only with a plate of bread. It’s not good enough, so he conjures up a whole feast for them, including, by Beast Man’s request “roast google”, which is obviously not a reference to the silicon valley giant, since it wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye at the time. Orko obligingly conjures a feast. “Good work, Slave”, Mr. Trap Jaw says. Then, Orko is then charged by Mr. Trap Jaw with using his magic to prevent them from getting fat. Orko casts the spell he was commanded to cast, and as soon as Mr. Beast Man or Mr. Trap Jaw try to take a bite of anything, the food disappears. It seems Orko’s non-fatting spell is really an anorexia inducing spell.
Outside, Attak Trak rolls up on a suspicious crystal tower. Attak Trak’s sensors go nuts and he announces that he doesn’t’ know what the structure is, but his sensors are picking up that Orko is inside. I have a feeling some animation is about to be recycled. Inside, Mr. Trap Jaw, exhibiting the memory of a goldfish, remarks that he’s still hungry. Mr. Beast Man reminds him that they haven’t actually eaten anything. Suddenly, the Amber Crystal of Milarka starts glowing, which apparently warns them that “someone is coming”. Back outside, as Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms start approaching the tower when energy bolts start flying at them. Prince Adam says, “Ooo, energy bolts,” as he dives and rolls, and I lost my shit at the way he said it. The sound of their voices is one thing that’s really hard to communicate in my written interpretations of these episodes.
If you’ve never taken advantage of the links I provide to watch these episodes, I implore you to watch this one, and this moment, in particular. This moment occurs at about the eight minute and 22 second mark. It can’t be delayed any longer so Prince Adam finally recycles some animation and turns into He-Man. He-Man starts blocking and reflecting the energy blasts with the power sword, managing to direct some of the to the top of the tower where the blasts are coming from, but there isn’t a gun firing them, so it doesn’t really do any good. Mr. Beast Man’s face appears to them and says, “Welcome, he… he… he… Fools!” I’m not sure if he was giggling, or trying to say “He-Man”, and went with “fools” instead. He-Man reasons that they’ll never get past the energy bolts, so Man-At-Arms suggests that they’d better consult the Sorceress.
We fade out slowly, then fade back in at Castle Grayskull. Inside, He-Man, Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress have Beast Man on screen. He-Man is fired up, saying, “I’m warning you, if any harm comes to Orko…” Beast Man cuts He-Man off, pointing out that He-Man is in no position to make demands, but that Orko is safe, as long as Kind Randor hands over the photanium. Beast Man signs off, but the Sorceress recognizes the material of their fortress as derived from the power of the Amber Crystal of Milarka, which was a weapon wielded by an ancient, warlike insect race called the Polti. Nowadays, the Polti peaceful and doesn’t like fighting. “Good for them,” He-Man says. The Sorceress tells them that it’s impossible to get inside; the fortress is impenetrable. He-Man suggests that perhaps the Polit can help. Man-At-Arms uselessly points out that they won’t let any body use the ancient weapon. The Sorceress points out that it is a mystery as to how Beast man and Trap Jaw came to be in possession of the weapon, so He-Man resolves to go enlist the Polti’s help, even if the way to their homeland is hard.
Back in the crystal tower, Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw are intimidating their slave because they’re pissed about Orko’s shenanigans with the feast and the weight loss. They cool off a bit, but Mr. Beast Man notices that his fur is a tangled, so he demands a brushing. On command, Orko conjures some ordinary brushes. Except that Mr. Beast Man wants magical brushes that will keep his fur well-kempt all the time. Orko mischievously announces that this is what Mr. Beast Man shall get, and Mr. Trap Jaw says that he has a bad feeling about this. Mr. Trap Jaw was right to feel ill at ease about this. We cut to He-Man and Man-At-Arms cruising in a wind raider. He-Man is worried about Orko, and Man-At-Arms echoes this, saying he never thought he could worry so much about such a little piss-ant. They locate the valley of the Polti, and as they near it, the wind raider begins to glow yellow and an alarm goes off.
They’ve been caught in tracking beam and are reeled in like a fish on a hook. Having landed, even if forcefully, He-Man tells the Polti that they have come to seek their help. The insects don’t want to hear it. They’re hung up on the “trespassing” part of the situation and take He-Man and Man-At-Arms prisoner. In a strange turn of gender equality, we cut to the Pulti queen, very much in resemblance of a female Jabba the Hutt, where she is not interested in their claims of altruism, on account of the lack of proof on their “just cause”. She unceremoniously denies their request for assistance.
Man-At-Arms comments loudly that they can’t force her to trust them. The Queen offhandedly remarks that they can’t trust any one, because recently, an evil witch came to them under the guise of a friend and stole their most ancient weapon – the Amber Crystal of Milarka. Man-At-Arms remarks that this sounds like Evil-Lyn’s work. He-Man chimes in that it also sounds like the work of Beast Man and Trap jaw. This doesn’t make any sense – if Evil-Lyn assisted them, why isn’t she a part of the rest of the plot? She hates Skeletor and would readily help Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw thwart him, if not even usurp the power for herself! I doubt this will be explained. The queen orders the “trespassers” out of the kingdom and warns them that if they return, they will be imprisoned.
In the crystal tower, Mr. Trap Jaw orders Orko to keep the magic brushes away from them, and he doesn’t care how he does it. Orko uses his magic to teleport Mr. Trap Jaw and Mr. Beast Man in the glass cube, where the brushes can’t get them. For some reason, this makes the Amber Crystal of Milarka fall off of Mr. Beast Man, the crystal phasing right through the bottom of the glass and down to the chamber floor. Cruising in the wind raider, He-Man hears a cry for help and they go to investigate. One of the Polti has lost his giant pet bug over the side of a cliff, and it’s stuck on a ledge. He-Man swings down on a vine and rescues the bug, returning it safely. The other Polti acknowledge He-Man’s kindness and bravery, but point out that he has violated the queen’s orders and so he must be punished. “Right out of the frying pan…” He-Man says, “…And into the fire,” Man-At-Arms finishes for him.
At the crystal tower, Orko is still being snarky and asks what magical service he can perform for his masters. Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw tell him to go away – they’ve had enough! Orko is pleased that they’ve learned their lesson and points out that if he doesn’t use his magic to get them out, they’ll be stuck. Mr. Beast Man doesn’t care, he says Orko is free to go, they can’t bear him anymore. Mr. Beast Man tells the crystal, which is still on the floor, not to let Orko use his magic, which causes Orko to teleport inside the glass cube with his “masters”. I hope they rip him limb from limb while he’s in there with them!
Back in the audience of the Polti queen, she is asking He-Man why he risked imprisonment to save the life “of a mere pet”. He-Man tells her that all life is precious – a man’s, a woman’s, a child’s, even a pet’s. The queen is impressed and says that this is enough confirmation that He-Man’s cause is just and that he is being set free. What’s more, she will give He-Man a none-a-fier to combat the crystal. He-Man wants to know if it will stop the energy bolts. It will, but only long enough for one of them to slip inside and destroy the amulet. We cut to He-Man and Man-At-Arms cruising in Attak Trak. Energy blasts start flying everywhere as they get near the crystal tower. When He-Man and Man-At-Arms get to the crystal tower, they find the whole thing is cracking with electric energy. Man-At-Arms pops out the window and uses the none-a-fier to take down the defenses for a moment so He-Man can run inside.
Inside, as Man-At-Arms continues blasting the crystal tower, the glass cube starts to flash and Mr. Beast Man wants to know what Orko has done. Obviously, nothing, he says, because he has been magically commanded not to use his magic. Outside, though still electrified, it’s safe to pass through the crackling energy as long as Man-At-Arms is still blasting it, but He-Man can’t find the door. So, he does what he always does, and recycles some animation to punch through the wall. On his way in, he gets wrapped up by a tentacle that comes out of the wall. Upstairs, Mr. Beast Man and Mr. Trap Jaw are bickering about whose fault this epic fail is. Mr. Beast Man blames Mr. Trap Jaw because it was his idea to steal the crystal from Evil-Lyn. Well, I guess that explains that. Man-At-Arms implores He-Man to get to hurry because the battery is almost out on the none-a-fier. I really don’t see why it matters, because He-Man is going to win, and then he can just turn off the energy field.
He-Man breaks free and runs to the chamber where Mr. Beast Man, Mr. Trap Jaw, and Orko are all trapped in the glass cube. The villains just stare with slack jaws, but Orko says he’s glad He-Man’s here. He-Man picks up the Amber Crystal of Milarka and as Man-At-Arms shouts “Hurry! Hurry!” He-Man crushes it in one hand. As soon as it’s destroyed, the whole crystal tower just vanishes. “Mr.” Beast Man stares at He-Man for a moment then has just one question. He wants to know how long He-Man can restrain Orko so they can make an escape from him. Orko, feigning hurt feelings, sarcastically says, “You mean, you’re not going to take me back to Snake Mountain with you?” Beast Man and Trap Jaw both shout “NO!” in unison and take off running as fast as they can. He-Man and Man-At-Arm just laugh as we fade out.
They really ran this plot to the end, because we fade right in to this week’s moral! I think it should be about how, technically, Orko didn’t return anywhere. He didn’t return to Trolla, and we didn’t see him return to the Royal Palace either. Or, it could be about how Beast Man and Trap Jaw really proved just how unbearable it is to be around Orko and his magic. Instead Orko comes on screen to tell us that it was funny playing tricks on his enemies, but we shouldn’t play tricks on anybody because it could be dangerous, or worse, unfunny, so we have to leave it to “experts” like Orko. That’s a tough moral to swallow – Orko sure doesn’t set a good example. Hypocrite.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 3
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 22
IMDB cast list:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man
Alan Oppenheimer: Man-At-Arms
Linda Gary: Teela, The Sorceress, Polti Queen
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Trap Jaw, Attak Trak
Erika Scheimer: Polti Warrior, Polti Mother