Wow, what a great segue from last episode. I always trash this show (unfairly, I know) for not having continuity, and then they follow an episode about how much of a disappointment Prince Adam is to King Randor with an episode titled “Search for a Son”. I guess after Prince Adam was late for the Eternia Day ceremony, King Randor finally disowned him. At least, that’s what I hope this episode will be about. Immediately, my hopes are dashed. In the palace courtyard, Man-At-Arms looks on while a boy plays Frisbee with Mekaneck. Derek, the boy, stops and turns to Man-At-Arms and says, “It’s fun to play with Mekaneck. But, sometimes he doesn’t seem very happy.” I laughed, I really did. Maybe this episode will be about bi-polar disorder? Man-At-Arms looks at the boy and says, matter-of-factly, “He’s isn’t. Playing games with you reminds him of his son.” His lost son. Oh! What a fucking trip to lay on this kid!
Derek’s curiosity about why his idol, Mekaneck, isn’t happy to play with him is a great jumping off point for Man-At-Arms to tell a story. You see, Mekaneck was visiting Dragon Mountain with his flute-playing son, Phillip. They sit against a tree and dream of Phillip one day playing his flute for the king and queen. Suddenly, a lightning storm rolls in. “I’ve never seen the wind blow up so fast!” Mekaneck says, leaning into the wind and rain. In fact, the wind blows so hard, Phillip literally blows away in the wind, like he’s as light as the flute music he makes so fondly. Or maybe his weird power is that he’s a kite. Well, whatever the case, it’s too bad Mekaneck’s special power isn’t Go-Go-Gadget arms instead of his Go-Go-Gadget neck. When the storm was over, Man-At-Arm’s narrates, Mekaneck searched all over for his boy.
What the fuck? Mekaneck waited until the storm was over to search for his son?! No wonder he’s all guilt ridden! Man-At-Arms tells us that Mekaneck wandered around shouting for his son until the pain was too great and he fainted from it. That’s when Man-At-Arms found him. For some reason, Mekaneck’s neck was all fucked up from all the shouting and fainting (I guess), so Man-At-Arms made him a bionic neck. Indebted, Mekaneck has served the King ever since, only occasionally being allowed leave to climb Dragon Mountain to look for his lost son. It’s not clear how long ago this was, but I suppose when we inevitably find his son, we will find out. So far, Mekenek has yet to find his son, but he still believes that one day they will be together again, somehow. Until then, Mekaneck will just get all bitter when he plays with other young boys.
In the town square, the place is bustling while some 80s synth music plays in the background. Near a vendor offering to trade gold for jewels, Count Marzo is talking to a boy, none other than a blond boy, holding a flute. “That jeweler’s gold rightly belongs to a nobleman,” Count Marzo tells him. Count Marzo tells Phillip to play the magic flute song he taught him so they can charm the vendor out of all the bags of gold he’s surrounded by, because who is more noble than Count Marzo? That’s why he’s dirt poor. Phillip starts to play, the vendor unable to look away, and just as Marzo is about to make off with the gold, Phillip stops, refusing to use his flute to help Count Marzo steal. The vendor spots Count Marzo, who drops his gold and runs. Marzo snaps and goes violent on the kid, grabbing him by the scruff of his shirt, dragging him into an alley to beat him into submission.
In the alley, Marzo tries guilt before knuckles, reminding Phillip how he found him wandering, alone, and took him in. Ever ungrateful, Phillip says he doesn’t want to be with Count Marzo, he wants to be with his father. Having nothing to do with anything that was just said, Count Marzo says, “Perhaps you’re right. Why am I wasting my time with a bag of gold when I deserve the throne?! And you’ll be my bait to trap the King and Queen.” In the Royal Throne room King Randor is telling Man-At-Arms, Mekaneck, and Prince Adam that he’s going to the realm of the Bee-People to learn about the healing properties of bee pollen. Prince Adam asks if he can come along, and King Randor says, curtly, “We’ll see”. I guess he is still bitter from last week, after all. Man-At-Arms asks Mekaneck if he’d like to lead the caravan, and Mekaneck dutifully agrees.
We fade out to the courtyard where Mekaneck is sitting alone for no apparent reason. He’s muttering about how lonely his life is without Phillip when his son appears to him in the sky, pleading for his father to help him. Just as quickly as he appeared, he disappears. Mekaneck thinks he’s seeing things, but then a flash of lighting crashes down and Count Marzo stands there in its place. Marzo assures Mekaneck that he’s not hallucinating, and shows him his son again. Mekaneck is desperate to see his son and begs Count Marzo to take him to Phillip. Marzo says that he will, as he casually buffs his gloved nails, as soon as Mekaneck delivers the King and Queen to him. Well, I guess it’s a good thing that Man-At-Arms arbitrarily offered to let Mekaneck lead the Royal Caravan! Count Marzo muses on the sound of “King Marzo”, then Mekaneck refuses to help. “King” Marzo tells Mekaneck he’ll change his mind, and as he vanishes in a flash of lightning, his son’s image appears in the sky again, crying out for help. “Don’t give up hope, son. We’ll be together soon. I promise,” Mekaneck says.
In the Royal Garage, Man-At-Arms is filling Prince Adam in on the situation. Even though he leads with “So that’s the story”, he proceeds to tell Prince Adam the whole Count-Marzo-has-Mekaneck’s-kid-captive-and-wants-to-trade-him-for-the-King-and-Queen, yadda-yadda-yadda thing, which means that he told Prince Adam twice. Anyway, Man-At-Arms was thinking that Prince Adam and Cringer should come along in case Marzo tries to take the King and Queen captive. I’m pretty sure, based on King Randor’s reaction before, that it’s not Man-At-Arms’ place to invite Prince Adam along. On the road, exciting music plays as Prince Adam and Cringer ride in on one craft with Queen Marlena and King Randor, while Mekaneck drives a vehicle that has a specific name I can’t remember, and Man-At-Arms, Teela, and Orko follow in Attak Trak.
Mekaneck goes ahead to scout out some rocks. He finds an oasis with a creepy-ass statue of a head that with what looks like an exposed brain. Though the fountain works, the place looks abandoned. Mekaneck comes back and reports what he’s found – an oasis that’s hidden in the rocks – and suggests that it would be a good place to rest. Why the fuck do they need to rest? It’s not like they’re walking to meet the Bee-People. Suddenly, Attak Trak announces that he isn’t “feeling so well”. Man-At-Arms sends the others ahead to the convenient oasis while he and Teela tend to Attak Trak. King Randor, Queen Marlena, and Mekaneck head in first, while Prince Adam tries to convince Cringer to go instead the fortress that surrounds the oasis. Count Marzo appears outside and zaps the rocks above the fortress, boulders tumbling down, blocking the entrances. With Prince Adam and Cringer still outside. “I knew there was something wrong with this place,” Prince Adam says nonchalantly.
Count Marzo zaps himself inside the fortress, and thanks Mekaneck for bringing the King and Queen to him, thus incriminating him. Count Marzo then announces that, since he has the King and Queen, he doesn’t need “this” anymore. With a wave of his hand, the lush fountain disappears, leaving only a barren desert fortress. Outside, Prince Adam takes his cue and draws the power sword to recycle some animation. Inside, rather than proclaim his innocence, Mekaneck asks Count Marzo where his son is. Count Marzo causes Phillip to appear behind him, guarded by that purple goon of his, Chimera. Count Marzo absolves Mekaneck’s guilt, saying, “You should have listened to me, now I have the King and Queen, and your son.” He-Man punches through the wall and steps inside. Count Marzo says, “I have some new tricks I’ve been saving, just for you.”
Count Marzo tells He-Man he’s surrounded and not to be stupid. Mekaneck raises his neck (because he hasn’t used his power yet this episode) and spots dragon-demons circling the fortress and tells He-Man it’s the truth, for once. Count Marzo takes hold of Phillip and then sends Chimera to take the King and Queen hostage. The goon teleports behind the King and Queen, picks them up, and makes a run for it. Count Marzo uses his magic to open a gap in the wall for Chimera to escape through. It closes behind them, and He-Man just stands there. “You lose, He-Man. I have them all!” Count Marzo says before he disappears in a flash of lightning. To keep them busy, the two dragon-demons circle in tightly, then dive in to attack. He-Man swats at one ineffectually with his power sword, then Battle Cat pounces at it, scaring it away.
Another swoops down, grabs Mekaneck, and takes off with him. The dragon-demon drops mekaneck from up high, trying to splatter him everywhere, but He-Man runs for it and dives to catch him, which he does. The dragon-demons consider coming in for one more attack, but after Battle Cat roars at them, they decide otherwise and take off. He-Man busts the entrance back open again, and they all go running for their vehicles just as Man-At-Arms shows up in the repaired Attak Trak. I am just blown away, like Mekaneck’s son, by how convenient the timing of all this was. What luck!! Later, up in the mountains, He-Man suggests they split up and look around. Teela says, “But what about Adam, where is he?” with the sound of genuine concern is in her voice.
He-Man plays it off, “He’s safe, Teela. I don’t think we’ll need his help. I’ve got Mekaneck and Battle Cat.” As if Prince Adam has ever demonstrated himself to be helpful in dire situations. “And Me,” Teela says. “And me,” Orko chimes in. “We can’t lose with a team like that,” Man-At-Arms finishes. He’s right, but it’s really not because of anybody but He-Man. At He-Man’s direction, Teela begins the climb to the top of the mountain for a good vantage point. Then we cut to the realm of the Bee-People where they are busy stocking and inventorying their highly sought after man-honey. One of the worker bees tells Buzz-Off that the King and Queen aren’t there yet, which is obviously strange because they should have arrived already. Buzz-Off decides to go see if everything is all right.
Back on Dragon Mountain, Okro is bitching to himself about having had to split up, and how they’ll never find Count Marzo’s lair this way. He picks up rocks and tosses them idly to show how disappointed he is. Then Orko notices an anomaly when one of the rocks seems to strike an invisible field and disappear. He does it again and gets the same result. Orko finds He-Man and He-Man gives it a try. They conclude the rock wall is an illusion, but before they can walk through it to enter Count Marzo’s lair, they have to get past – horror of horrors – a cactus! Battle Cat figures it’s another illusion, but He-Man stops him from swatting it and inspects it more carefully. No, unfortunately, that cactus is real. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. What the shit are they going to do?! Rather than a long, drawn out battle with it, He-Man and Mekaneck use Battle Cat to jump over it, and Orko can just float. Whew! That, was close. Man-At-Arms waits outside to keep watch.
Deeper inside the cave, Count Marzo confidently tells his captives to give up hope because He-Man will never find the entrance to this invisible cave in a million years. He dazes off for a moment while he imagines sitting on the throne and salivates. He snaps out of it and before he goes, Count Marzo tells the King and Queen not to try and escape the alcove, because if they do, they’ll awaken the giant jarmak. I think that’s what he called it. I really have no idea, there’re no subtitles. Outside the alcove, Count Marzo conjures a magic cloud that allows him to spy on what He-Man is up to. Marzo discovers that they’ve found their way in and panics a little. Outside, Teela is still climbing the side of the mountain, oblivious that the others have found a way in. She makes it to the top after slipping only once, and hears the cries of pterodactyls.
Well, Teela calls them pterodactyls, but they aren’t really, because they are those dragon-demons I described, which is a much more apt description of them. Teela makes a dive for it as they come after her. She scrambles back to her feet and leaps between peaks trying to evade them. Buzz-Off shows up and spots Teela as she stands on top of one of the peaks, trying to fend off one of the dragon-demons. It picks Teela up and drops her from high up, trying to splatter her on the mountain rocks. That seems to be their M.O. Buzz-Off catches her just in time, and Teela unironically points out what great timing Buzz-Off has. That’s really the theme of the episode isn’t it, perfectly timed coincidences?
Inside, King Randor is trying to convince them that they should try to escape. Phillip is scared, but they try anyway. Instantly, the giant jarmak awakens, which is one of those giant orange spiders. It lowers down from the ceiling, landing in front of them all threateningly. Phillip is panicked, but then gets the idea to use his flute. He plays a tune that causes the giant jarmak to fall asleep and they all scram before it wakes up. They run, and run, and run, until Phillip runs right into a deep crevice. He catches the side and hangs on, but as King Randor points out, he’s fallen into a pit of loom wasps. I think that’s what he called them. I really have no idea, they’re no subtitles. What bad luck!
Better luck, though, is that Mekaneck happens to have his head raised and sees King Randor and Queen Marlena, through a wall, peering down into the crevice. Before He-Man can go after them Chimera appears. The purple goon dodges Battle Cat a few times by disappearing. He-Man says, “You’re good at jumping out of the way, blinkey, but let’s see if you can take me on.” Chimera takes the bait and goes after He-Man, who easily flips him into a pool of water. He-man leaves him behind and gets to King Randor, Queen Marlena, and Phillip just in time. A giant bee is about to fuck Phillip up when He-Man throws his power sword overhead, cutting a web down above the chasm. The web falls and catches the giant wasp, which in turn falls into the pit, unable to fly. It probably died at the bottom of that pit, shattered to pieces because it couldn’t fly to save itself, so I’m counting that as a murder.
Mekaneck lowers his head down so that Phillip can grab on, then hauls him back up. I wonder if the kid is freaked out by the bionic neck, because the last time he saw his dad, his neck was normal. Count Marzo appears and says, “So, you have foiled my plans this time, He-Man.” He-Man is duly obliged. “You know, it’s difficult for people like me to make a better life for themselves in Eternia when there are people like you around,” Count Marzo whines. What a thing to say after committing treason and kidnapping the King and Queen. He-Man points out that Count Marzo’s idea of a “better life” only includes himself. Marzo gets in the last word before disappearing. Nearby, Mekaneck cradles his son in his arms, and Phillip says, “Feels good to be in your arms, father.” Then the episode ends really abruptly after He-Man says, as King Randor looks at him really strangely, “Well, that’s where a father and son belong.”
Then we fade into Teela because it’s time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how I really shouldn’t have sort of, kind of, a little bit cut the show some slack for not having continuity, because that’s how you end up with shit episode plots like this. How many times have we met Mekaneck before, three? Maybe four? And they’ve never once mentioned that he has a lost son. Also the boy didn’t seem to age much, so it’ can’t have been all that long ago that the kid got lost, which seems to fuck continuity so far up the ass it’ll never sit again. Instead, Teela comes onscreen to remind us how her foot slipped on the rocks, and how Phillip fell into the loom wasp pit. That’s why it’s important to be careful when you’re running and playing. Really?? That was the moral? What a rip! What about parental love, or never giving up hope? What bullshit.
He-Man murder count:
Season 1: 19
Season 2: 4
Episodes missing Skeletor:
Season 1: 28
Season 2: 24
IMDB Cast List:
John Erwin: He-Man, Prince Adam, Count Marzo
Alan Oppenheimer: Cringer, Man-At-Arms, Buzz-Off, Chimera
Linda Gary: Teela, Queen Marlena, Phillip
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Mekaneck, Attak Trak, Jeweler, Bee Person