We open on the palace where Fisto has come by for a tour, because He-Man said if he ever came by the palace, he’d get the royal treatment. Man-At-Arms greets him, but before they start the tour, Prince Adam says that Cringer and Orko will be running a race. The two stand side by side and Prince Adam says, “Go!” They continue standing there, not moving at all, and just as I was thinking that there was some kind of magic that has frozen them, Fisto asks when the race starts. Prince Adam says that the race has started. The race is to see who can do nothing for the longest, which is not a race at all.
The first one who blinks, moves, or makes any movement, loses. Orko says that he always wins, but nothing moves when he says it, because his face is just a black void covered by a scarf. Cringer protests Orko’s claim, but guess what? His mouth move when he does it, so he loses. Cringer protests his loss at first, but quickly concedes. Fisto is amused and thinks this is great fun. Orko spots something in the sky and points it out. They all look and see a big flying saucer with a flashing city on top come flying in. Fisto comments that it’s huge, while Man-At-Arms points out that it’s coming in really fast. The ship settles into a position overhead and a voice comes out of it announcing that the occupants are Bendarians, seekers of truth. They claim where they come form, there is no evil, only good.
They have come to study and understand the constant, eternal conflict between good and evil that is a normal, daily occurrence on Eternia. They explain that what’s going to happen is that they will choose the best representative of good, and the best representative of evil, and they will go head to head in a contest. I swear this shit happened already, in an earlier episode! He-Man and Skeletor were selected to compete against each other for these same reasons! They only have a few episodes left, and these writers just can’t be bothered. They weren’t satisfied enough with recycling animation, so now they are just shamelessly recycling plots. Yeah, yup. Season 2 Episode 16 The Arena – a peaceful alien being named Om just wants to study Eternians. However, Skeletor is a shit, and Om gets pissed at him and pits He-Man and Skeletor against each other in an arena.
The Bendarians say they’ll be back tomorrow with their selections. Since we have a little time to kill, we cut to Skeletor in his war room, telling his minions Beast Man, Spikor, and Mer-Man that if He-Man is selected as the force for good, they’ll have to select him as the force for Evil, because he’s the evilest there is! But even the most evil could use a boost to clench the thing. Skeletor whips the sheet of a little “toy” he’s been playing with – The Evilgizer. It’s a pod that you sit in, and whomever is inside it is made ten-times as evil. Skeletor would just happen to have that sitting around, wouldn’t he? Well, I guess he wants to test it out first, but both Beast Man and Mer-Man puss out. Spikor stands there quaking in fear, clearly to scared to move away or speak. Skeletor wishes Spikor good luck, because he’s going to need it.
At the Royal Palace, Prince Adam and Teela are practicing their sword fighting, as if they think they are possible contenders in this arena fight. Obviously, Prince Adam is, because he’s He-Man, but Teela doesn’t know that. It would be pretty amazing if the Bendarians selected He-Man, but while he is still in his Prince Adam form, thus gaving away his identity. Prince Adam wants to quit sword practice, but Teela won’t let him leave because his training is really super important right now. Prince Adam gets a little aggressive and goes in for the winning blow, but Teela knocks the (power) sword from his hand. “That was too easy. Something on your mind?” Teela asks. Prince Adam says he’s worried about the Bendari’s choice for the representative of good. Then he blurts out that it’s late and takes off.
He-Man gets hung up on his way out when Fisto shows up to say good-bye before he heads back to his forest. Teela keeps hounding Prince Adam, saying he can’t go until they finish their practice. The Bendari saucer shows up (when did it turn to tomorrow?) and Fisto suggests maybe they found He-Man. Prince Adam mutters about how they’re not going to find him if people won’t leave him the fuck alone to recycle some animation. Suddenly, the saucer zaps Fisto and the Bendari tell him that he’s been chosen. Well, since they seemingly decided to move up their time scale, Spikor is going to be selected instead of Skeletor! And also, wasn’t Fisto kind of a bad guy when he was first introduced? Why would he be the most good over another hero that has not been evil before? Fisto shouts that it should have been He-Man they chose, but the Bendari are just like, “Yeah, well, we can’t find him. Tough shit, it’s you.”
Fisto accepts, and the Bendari go off to make their next selection. At Snake Mountain, it would appear I missed something earlier (shocking!), and Skeletor wants Spikor to get selected, because he’s in a hurry to get him in The Evilgizer before the Bendari make their selection. I guess Skeletor is feeling lazy today and doesn’t want to personally compete in the contest. Skeletor uses his staff to activate The Evilgizer, which causes Spikor to flash all sorts of colors and twist and bend in agony. As soon as it’s done – the very instant – the Bendarian Voice comes from outside and announces they’ve made their selection, and it’s Spikor. Skeletor tells Mer-Man that they have to get Spikor ready. However, when Mer-Man lets him out, he falls flat on his face, his eyes spinning around in his head. “We’ll win this game the old fashioned way – the tried and true way!” Skeletor shouts, “We’ll cheat.”
After a screen wipe, from their ship, the Bendarian Voice announces that both contenders are in place, and each of their respective sides can watch on the Jumbotron in the arena. From a viewing platform, Prince Adam expresses confusion that Spikor is there. Down below, Skeletor is drilling down into the ground, and muttering about Fisto having being selected. He decides that it doesn’t matter because defeating the side of good is all that matters. Up above, the Bendarian Voice tells Fisto and Spikor that they have to seek out these glowing orbs and push the button on top. For every button they push, they get 100 points. To find the orbs, they have to follow the seeking device on their wrist, which points a directional arrow that always seems to point forward..
They note that if one of them, “for some reason” has to withdraw, another will take his place. One more thing – good has to play by their own, good rules, while evil is bound by no rules. Skeletor, watching on the monitor in his drill, rejoices, “Then we can do what ever we want! And we will!” he bellows. And the games begin. Spikor finds the first orb using his tracker and is about to climb a mountain to get it but Skeletor tells him to stop. Beast Man is already on top of the mountain (convenient) and calls in a bird to get the orb and bring it to Spikor. Spikor gets the orb, and Skeletor counts 100 points for evil.
Fisto locates his first orb, which is across a stream that is flowing steadily with logs. As he starts to hop across the logs, Mer-Man comes up from underneath him and spins the log. Fisto is able to run it out for a while, but he eventually falls in. Mer-man grabs the orb and the Bendarian Voice announces that Spikor now has 200 points. Prince Adam is suspicious about the “accident” Fisto just had. Orko protests that they’re cheating, which they obviously are, and asks why they can’t cheat too? Prince Adam says its because they have to prove to the Bendari that good can win while still following the rules. Man-At-Arms suggests that it might be a good idea for He-Man to keep an eye on things. “Cheating is one thing, but Fisto could be hurt,” Man-At-Arms says, implying that getting He-Man subbed for Fisto is a way around the no-cheating rule.
Prince Adam takes the hint and runs off to recycle some animation. Mercifully, it’s not the whole animation sequence. We cut back to Skeletor in his drill machine, still tunneling around with no clear purpose. Up above, Fisto is standing in front of a large stone pyramid, under which lies the next orb. Fisto hoists it above his head while He-Man is watching from behind a rock. Skeletor activates his new weight-magnifying ray, which causes the obelisk to become far heavier than it was. Fisto gives under the weight of the pyramid, and He-Man goes to step forward and help him. The Bendarian Voice says that He-Man may not help him, but he may take his place. Shenanigans! Fisto isn’t hurt! He-Man lifts the Pyramid, letting the uninjured Fisto free.
Then the same thing happens to He-Man when he tries to lift the stone – it gets heavier. He-Man struggles with it until he gets it to balance on one hand for a moment. He punches it, which breaks it apart into thousands of tiny rocks. He-Man gets the tracker since he is taking Fisto’s place. Fisto questions the Bendarian Voice, asking why Spikor doesn’t get disqualified for cheating. Where the fuck was he when they explained the rules? It seemed pretty clear that evil is allowed to do what ever it wants. The Bendarian Voice patiently explains that each side can do whatever its conscience will allow, so tough titty.
Out searching for the next orb, He-Man decides he’s got to find the red orb so he can make up the 200-point gap. Wait, didn’t they get 100 points for the orb under the rock? What the hell? Anyway, nothing to do but follow the tracker, which points forward, of course. Meanwhile, Spikor finds another orb in a bird’s nest up on the side of another mountain and starts climbing for it. He grabs an egg out of the nest by mistake, and just then, mommy bird shows up. She’s pissed that Spikor is messing around with her nest, so she grabs him and takes off with him. Beast Man causes the bird to release Spikor, dropping him to the ground. When he lands, he finds an orb next to him and scores another 100 points. He-Man is going to waste all his time trying to find the one red orb while Spikor cleans up the points with the rest of them. Jeez.
He-Man reaches a spot that indicates there’s another orb, but he doesn’t see anything. He moves to look under a rock, but a robot pops up behind it and warns He-man that he may not approach and he may not move forward. He-Man paws at the rock and finds it to have a force field around it. He reasons that the Bendarian Voice said that this is not a game of strength. He reasons that if he can’t approach, maybe if he walks backwards, it will work. The robot continues to want him not to approach. Walking backward or not, he’s still approaching. None-the-less, it works and He-Man lifts the rock up behind him. Underneath, he finds the red orb. He presses the button and Orko flips the fuck out because the red orb is worth 2,000 points. Apparently, he’s only tied with Spikor now. Whaaaat? There’s no way Spikor has found 20 orbs!
Oh, well, isn’t this a predicament; the score is tied and there’s only one more orb. Skeletor is pretty happy about this because all Spikor has to do is get one more orb. He-Man finds it first. It’s up at the top of a really, really, impossibly tall tree. He-Man is about to start climbing when Spikor shows up and tries to save He-Man the trouble, bragging that it’s practically Spikor’s already. He-Man replies, mocking the computer-esque, halting manner that Spikor uses, “Spi-kor ta-lks too mu-ch”, then he sprints for the tree and shimmies up a vine. Spikor takes a little time to protest before following He-Man up the vine, rather efficiently. That is until he gets tangled in a bunch of vines, just a little beneath He-Man’s position.
He-Man actually warns Spikor not to struggle so much or he’ll fall, which promptly comes to pass. Spikor lands on a branch not too far from his former position. He looks down and is frightened by how high he still is. He-Man looks up at the Orb, “Just a little farther…” He hears Spikor’s moans for help and looks down at him again, conflicted. Oh, fuck, He-Man is going to be all selfless and risk the game to save his enemy, isn’t he? Yeah, that’s what he does. He-Man tells Spikor to hang on. Sounding a little like Pinhead on helium, Spikor repeats “Hang on, hang on, hang on,” over and over again, like a mantra, sort of sing-songing the last “hang on”. He-Man tells Spikor to take his hand, but Spikor is scared. He-Man finally convinces him, and they catch hands and He-Man pulls him up.
Once Spikor is safely seated on a branch, He-Man is about to continue his climb when Spikor says he’s going to “return the favor”. He grabs the vine and gives it a good shake, causing He-Man to lose his grip and fall. “I knew I was going to regret this!” He cries as the scenery blurs past him on his way down. He-Man catches a branch near the bottom and spins around it, reducing the momentum of his fall, then lands safely on the ground while Spikor continues his climb. Spikor is at the top, his hand reaching out for the orb when He-Man begins to shake the impossibly tall tree. The orb falls out of the tree and lands right in He-Man’s hands. He pushes the button and wins the game.
The Bendarian Voice congratulates He-Man on his win. The Voice points out that He-Man risked the game to save his enemy and asks why? He-Man explains that a win at Spikor’s expense is not a win at all. Man-At-Arms chimes in and says, “That’s the difference between good and evil.” The Bendarian Voice says it understands. The Bendarian ship takes off and Orko wonders what Skeltor learned in all this. We cut to him to find out. Skeletor summons Spikor, “Yes, Skeletor-or” he says. Skeletor says he learned something very important. “I! Hate! Losing!” Skeletor shouts, Snake Mountain shaking as the camera pans out, then fades to black.
Time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how species that either have never known evil, or come from a planet where evil has been eradicated, should not be playing games with other species and pitting good against evil and whatnot. That seems like a pretty evil thing to do, in my opinion. It’s almost like cock fighting or dog fighting, or what have you. And also, it should be about how, even though Skeletor didn’t face off against He-Man head to head, they were in a broader sense, in battle against each other, which is a lazy rehash of an episode from the same season, even. Instead, Man-At-Arms comes on to tell us it’s important to keep trying, even when the odds are against you. Even if we’re talking about completing some tough-ass homework assignment, you can’t win if you don’t try.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 4
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 25
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man, Bendari
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Mer-Man
Linda Gary: Teela
Lou Scheimer: Orko, Fisto, Spikor, Bendari Robot