Finally! It’s about time. Skeletor’s back from vacation, right? That’s got to be what “Return of Evil” is about! In Eternia, Orko is serving pink drinks on a tray (Oh, hey, happy Valentine’s Day, or whatever), but he’s not doing a very good job, because he’s babbling about how he’s going to be a great warrior one day and defeat Skeletor. Teela is either not impressed with Orko’s pink drinks, or his daydreaming, or both, and turns her head away because the thunder outside is more interesting.
Cringer gets all spooked, and Prince Adam says, “Don’t be scared, it’s only thunder”. However, Man-At-Arms doesn’t think so. He leads everyone to the window to show them this strange golden cloud, and when Orko sees it, he freaks the fuck out, drops all the drinks he was carrying and takes off. After a short search, they find him hiding with Cringer and Orko tells them that he’s sure the golden cloud is a sign that Aremesh, an evil Electroid from Orko’s dimension is coming to get him, because Orko is just that important.
Prince Adam says, “Hmmmm. Yes, I’ve heard that name before. That’s a robot made of pure energy”. If it’s made of pure energy, how is it a robot? Wouldn’t it need to have some mechanical parts to qualify? Anyway, Man-At-Arms is tweaked and wants to know more, but before Orko can speak any more, Aremesh appears in the hallway looking like a robot banana in a cape. I would totally watch a show about a robot banana in a cape. It seems, if I heard right, that he is here for “the secret thing”, and “Orko, the icon asset”, whatever that means. Orko cowers behind Teela’s right buttock in fear as Aremesh advances on them.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is indeed back from vacation, despite the episode’s title not being in reference to him. He’s have a screening party on his table monitor with Evil-Lyn and Beast Man in attendance, and Beast Man looks drunk as ever. Skeletor is, naturally, watching the shenanigans going on over at the royal palace, and decides to sit back and let this “walking light bulb” do all the work. Even though I’m pretty sure he just said it, Evil-Lyn asks what the plan is, and Skeletor clarifies that he will attempt to align with Aremesh, then steal the secret for himself. Beast Man is too drunk to follow.
At the palace, Aremesh easily thrashes Teela and her Pops, which ends in an up-skirt shot of Teela as she lay unconscious next to Man-At-Arms, whose pelvis is mercifully pointed away from us. Prince Adam stands there gawking while Aremesh lays his hands all over Orko. He somewhat snaps out of his stupor and grabs a sword and shield off the wall. What the fuck? Well, I guess he can’t just turn into He-Man in front of Aremesh. All right, you win this one, He-Man writers! Aremesh pummels Prince Adam with an energy blast and takes him out just as easily as he did with Old Man Duncan, then bolts with Orko in-hand.
Prince Adam recovers quickly and spends enough time recycling animation in the hall that, by the time he comes back as He-Man, Teela and Man-At-Arms have regained consciousness. He-Man rides off on Battle Cat with Man-At-Arms promising that he and Teela will follow him in a wind raider, even though they don’t know where they’re going. At Snake Mountain, Skeletor frantically switches channels on his monitor, trying to find Aremesh. In the woods, He-Man races ahead, still ignorant of his destination, when Man-At-Arms conveniently spots Aremesh with Orko on the wind raider’s monitor, and He-Man sets up for an ambush.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor has homed in on Aremesh as well and is calibrated to beam him to Snake Mountain. He-Man intercepts Aremesh, and their battle is long and boring enough for Skeletor to finish his calibrations. Before He-Man can shred that tin can (and he would), Skeletor teleports Aremesh and Orko away. They reappear inside of a canister at Snake Moutain when Aremesh starts groaning like the classic Frankenstein monster and beating on the container. Not very articulate, is he? He calms down to listen to Skeletor’s ruse about joining forces, and goes for it, but not before Orko makes a sarcastic remark about Skeletor’s integrity, which couldn’t serve any purpose other than to warn his enemy against peril. Smart.
At the palace, Man-At-Arms is “theorizing” that Aremesh didn’t disappear on his own, because in college, he learned that Electroids can’t vanish of their own power, and I literally scoffed out loud. He just fucking appeared at the palace on his own, so you mean to tell me that he can appear, but not disappear? The plot service, which is obviously leading to the immediate, and correct, assumption that Skeletor is involved with Aremesh’s disappearance, is really just saddening. These writers really are just phoning it in at this point, aren’t they?
Their correct guess is immediately rewarded with confirmation when Skeletor and Beast Man, who is carrying a burlap sack, which obviously contains Orko, appear in the room. Beast Man dumps Orko out and he flees to safety behind Battle Cat as He-Man steps to Skeletor and demands to know what he wants for this “favor” of rescuing Orko. Naturally, Skeletor wants Orko to bring him “the secret thing”, or else he will unleash Aremesh on all of them. Satisfied that they have incentive enough to comply, Skeletor leaves, instead of making them lead him to “the secret thing”. Orko reveals, unsurprisingly, he hid it at Castle Grayskull, but for some reason everyone reacts with exaggerated surprise.
At Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress is like, “You just have to trick Aremesh into going back to his dimension, duh”! So, Orko goes off to get the Dimension Sphere. Oh, brother. He-Man says, “Dimension Sphere?” – even he can’t buy that one! Well, it turns out that it’s “the secret thing”. Orko’s kind are the keepers of them, blah, blah, blah, it’s how he accidentally got here, blah, blah blah, even though he can’t use it to return, they can use it to return Aremesh to his dimension, blah, blah, blah, more nonsense.
At the royal palace, Skeletor is tired of Man-At-Arms “jerking him off”, and demands to know where He-Man and Orko are with “the secret thing” they promised to bring him. Man-At-Arms pretends to let slip that they went to the tar swamp, except that they actually are going there, because that’s where the portal back to Orko’s dimension is. Aremesh sneaks off, and when Skeletor goes after him, Man-At-Arms triggers a trap door, which captures Evil-Lyn and Beast Man leaving Skeletor to go it alone. He’s better off anyway, they’re useless. It’s all part of He-Man’s plan, apparently, and Man-At-Arms radios to He-Man that it’s all falling in line.
At the tar swamp, Aremesh arrives and demands that He-Man give him the Dimension Sphere, as Skeletor shows up and watches behind a tree. Battle Cat lays idly on the ground, which is convenient because when Skeletor tries to sneak around back, Battle Cat trips him with his tail. Skeletor falls head long into the tar swamp and stares at He-Man stupidly with muck all over him. Skeletor demands the Dimension Sphere, and He-Man responds by teasing him that Aremesh got there first, so Skeletor will have to wait in line.
Orko pulls the Dimension Sphere out of his hat while the Falcon Zoar circles above and reminds him she can’t keep the portal open for long. Orko uses the Dimension Sphere to open the portal and goes through it shouting that he’s going to return the crystal to where it belongs. Skeletor doesn’t waste a second and rushes through the portal after Orko. Aremesh almost follows them but then stops and declares it’s a trick. He-Man gapes in disbelief that Aremesh saw through his ruse.
Aremesh gets all stubbon and refuses to follow “that fool Skeletor” through the portal. Since He-Man is running out of time, he gets into a fight with Aremesh. He-Man knocks Aremesh to the ground then moves to pick him up and throw him through the portal. Zoar warns him not to touch Aremesh because it will drain him of his powers, but it’s too late. He-Man mutters about his powers draining as his powers drain, because touching Aremesh drains powers.
It doesn’t matter all that much because He-Man still manages to throw him through the portal. Then he kind of shudders and stumbles around until he collapses from exhaustion. As He-Man lays on his face, Zoar summons Orko back from his other dimension. Orko tumbles back trough the portal, the Dimension Sphere in hand, and Zoar closes the portal, lands, and turns back into the Sorceress. For a bird, she sure does have some nice legs. I wonder if her pubes are made of soft fluffy down…
Then everyone stares at He-Man until he gets up, and the Sorceress explains again that touching Aremesh drained his powers. The only reason he survived it is because he’s He-Man. Orko reports that Skeletor was still in the other dimension when the portal closes, so He-Man proposes they all go back to the royal palace to report the good news. So they do, and He-Man sits on the steps to the thrones while Queen Marlena gives Orko a medal. Then I nearly shit myself because Queen Marlena declares him, “Sir Orko, brave knight”. They knighted him?! It’s moments like this that I’m glad this show doesn’t have continuity.
But the medal isn’t good enough for Orko and he gets all pouty. The dilemma is that Orko doesn’t think he’s a hero because he was scared. Whoa, this episode sort of has a double moral because they’re setting one up right now, but it’s not the official one. He-Man calls Orko over to the stairs, where he is still sitting lazily, and says that you have to have fear in order to have courage to fight the fear, or something like that. Just as he is starting to believe in himself, some thunder crashes and Orko takes off like a scared little pussy. No, I mean like Cringer. Get your mind right!
Time for this week’s actual moral! I think it should be about how this show would be way cooler if it were about a cape-wearing robot banana. Maybe I should write that show… Anyway, the actual moral is delivered in voiceover by Teela, who recites us everything we just watched, all in two seconds, which makes me wonder why I even had to watch it. Then we cut to her sexy smirk as she says that it’s okay to be afraid, and you should listen to your fear. Listen to the fear, kids. Listen.
He-Man murder count: 16 and 1 attempted murder
Episodes missing Skeletor: 16
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Beast Man, Aremesh
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, Battle Cat
Linda Gary: Teela, Evil-Lyn, The Sorceress, Queen Marlena
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor