At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is shouting at a mysterious, hooded figure, tellng him that he’s not wanted here. The guy’s hood has bells on the end, like a jester, so who could blame Skeletor. The guy is a total clown, bowing, begging Skeletor’s favor. He’s come from far to ask for Skeletor’s help. He tries to be very dramatic when he reveals that he’s a toy maker, but as you can imagine Skeletor is pretty fucking disrespectful about it. The Toy Maker claims his ordinary toys are anything but, and can bring any realm to its knees. All he wants is space to build them, undisturbed, and he will allow Skeletor to be their master. I smell a bait and switch, but since Skeletor has no nasal passages, he doesn’t, and takes the bait.
Before he’s signed on full contract, first, a test – The Toy Maker must capture Man-At-Arms, whom we promptly cut to, and bring him to Skeletor. Out in the field, Man-At-Arms is tinkering with a big machine. Teela helpfully explains that it’s a “hover melter”. Man-At-Arms adds that it can melt away rock and leave pure minerals! And thaw the frozen northland for agriculture in the winter! Wow! Prince Adam comes flying in, driving a wind raider like a maniac. Cringer quickly divines that Prince Adam has brought lunch, which Prince Adam Promptly holds up with a pinky finger. We cut back to Skeletor, who is explaining to The Toy Maker that Orko is an annoying piece of shit, but also an easy target. All The Toy Maker has to do is give his toys to Orko, and the rest will take care of itself.
Man-At-Arms is ready to give the hover melter a “trial run” – at full speed! Before lunch! Let’s go melt our faces off, shall we? A mechanical bird flies overhead and Prince Adam looks up and says, pretty much to himself and in a disturbingly casual manner, “Hey, it’s Screech, Skeletor’s robut bird!” Then, he goes right back to watching the launch and doesn’t try to warn anybody or do anything. The gif makes it look like he didn’t have time, but before that he’s gawking for quite a while, and muttering to himself as noted above. Man-At-Arms is shocked when he can’t control the hover melter, but he really shouldn’t be, because it would have failed even if Skeletor weren’t fucking with it.
The screams from Screecher are jamming the control’s radio waves. Orko decides to use his magic to help block out the screams, but the spell only gives Man-At-Arms earmuffs. Prince Adam nudges Cringer so they can go recycle some animation, but Cringer wants to wait until after lunch. Meanwhile, the hover melter starts blasting some fucking rock, which creates a lava stream just as Prince Adam draws his power sword, lunching the recycled animation sequence. Teela says something about stopping the hover melter, so it turns on her and starts firing. All Man-At-Arms can think about is the stupid earmuffs he’s wearing and orders Orko to remove them, which just leads to Orko using his magic again. Though, this time, it works.
He-Man shows up and goes after the hover melter, hopefully planning on smashing the retarded thing to bits. I also hope Man-At-Arms cries when it happens. The hover melter runs away from He-Man, as if it wants to live. I mean, really, it’s like it developed a life of it’s own, rather than just having the signal from the controller blocked. “Hopefully Man-At-Arms will forgive me for this,” He-Man says, as he grips and crushes one of the small rocket engines. He spots a storm cloud and bends the rocket engine so it points the laser at the cloud. This, logically, causes the storm cloud to erupt in thunder and lightning, which scares off Screecher. Yes, a laser that melts rock also produces thunder storms when aimed at clouds. Maybe even more logically, the instant Screecher is gone, the sun breaks through and the clouds disappear.
Orko offers to use his magic again, even though the danger is over. Teela cleverly suggests he can help by going to report the incident to the Royal Palace. Orko actually takes the hint and flies off into the woods to mope about how he’s not wanted. Again. Wouldn’t you know it – and I know you saw this coming – he runs smack into The Toy Maker, literally. The Toy Maker plays it really cool and acts like he’s honored to meet a “famous wizard”. Oh, shit. Orko’s fucked. The Toy Maker lays it on thick, even really, specifically talking about how magic is way better than machines, which has been Orko’s beef the whole episode. I’d like to point out neither magic nor machine has worked thus far. Not surprisingly, Orko eats up The Toy Maker’s overly flattering words.
The Toy Maker tells Orko he’s a wizard too, though with modest powers. He shows Orko his toys, a teddy bear, a toy soldier, and a brontosaurus. All of which do little magic-powered tricks. The Toy Maker tells Orko that he could impress his friends with them. Orko actually tries to resist the gift, saying he’s not supposed to accept gifts from strangers. The Toy Maker pulls the oldest trick in the book and says, quickly, “Srangers? Alright, let me introduce myself. They call me The Toy Maker,” as if that’s any kind of name, like it’s on his fucking driver’s license. While I presume Orko gives in, we cut back to Skeletor watching on his staff, and who is thrilled with the results, but we don’t actually see Orko giving in and accepting the toys as a gift.
When we cut back to Orko, The Toy Maker whispers some magic words to the toys before he hands them over to Orko. He tells Orko this will be their secret, even though he was just encouraging Orko to show the toys off to his friends. The Toy Maker clomps off on his way, but Orko stops him, warning that if he goes that direction, he’ll go through the Valley of Echoes, where the voices and memories of times past will trap you forever. The Toy Maker heads off on the safe path, but plots to use the Valley of Echoes as his escape route, once he’s captured Man-At-Arms. This way, nobody would dare follow him through there.
At the Royal Place, Orko has his new toys on the table to show his “friends”. Teela is delighted as the toys march around and perform tricks. Orko takes credit for the magic that makes them go, of course. Man-At-Arms picks up the blue dinosaur and inspects it, asking Orko where he got them from. Orko sputters, “They’re… they’re… they’re just… from a fan.” Prince Adam, as the teddy bear jumps up and down in front of him, suggests that the King and Queen would probably like to see these toys perform too. Orko is pretty floored by the idea of a royal performance. Prince Adam and Orko leave while Man-At-Arms sets the intruder alarm on his lab.
The toys are left on the table in the lab, which is puzzling because I thought Orko was going to use them to put on a royal performance. Well, I guess that wouldn’t serve the plot, so whatever. However, before Man-At-Arms can leave, the toys spring to life and lock Man-At-Arms in the lab. The menacing things have now become life sized, instead of the miniature toys that they were before. “I’m locked in by Orko’s toys!” Man-At-Arms remarks. The Toy Maker’s voice booms through the room, correcting Man-At-Arms that these are Skeletor’s toys, and they all have an appointment together with their master.
Later, Prince Adam and Teela return to Man-At-Arms’ lab, but he’s nowhere to be found. His key ring, which carries many very strangely shaped skeleton keys, is suspiciously on the ground. Orko comes floating him with his hand greedily outstretched, “My toys are missing!” he wails. King Randor comes sauntering in behind Orko. “What’s this about toys?” King Randor asks. Prince Adam fills him in about how Orko had these magic toys that seemed harmless enough, but, well, now there is a giant hole in the door, shaped like the toys, and Man-At-Arms is missing. So, you do the math. King Randor asks Orko where he got the toys. Orko says he promised not to tell, but Prince Adam convinces him you shouldn’t keep secrets from your friends. Orko agrees, saying, “You’re right! I don’t know why The Toy Maker wanted to give me those toys anyway!” King Randor is familiar with The Toy Maker and is alarmed that he’s back on Eternia.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is pacing back and forth impatiently as he waits for The Toy Maker to arrive with Man-At-Arms. Before long, the toys arrive along with The Toy Maker. Man-At-Arms is clutched in the arms of the now-giant teddy bear. Skeletor raises his fists and cackles triumphantly as he shakes them. Out in the woods, Teela is closely inspecting some dinosaur tracks, even though it really shouldn’t be that hard to follow them. Ram Man approaches, “Duh, Adam sent me to help.” He-Man shows up only moments later. Ram Man helpfully points out that “the tracks lead that way.” I’m glad rammy said that, because Teela really seems to be struggling with her tracking skills. Orko points out that the tracks lead right through Echo Valley.
At Snake Mountain, The Toy Maker thinks his toys have passed the test and appeals to Skeletor. Skeletor claims that the test isn’t over yet, to which The Toy Maker protests that they had a deal, fair and square. He should know that with evil, there’s no such thing as a fair and square deal. They always cheat each other. Skeletor says there’s one more test and gives The Toy Maker a UV light test to check for skin damage. Skeletor won’t have any skin cancer on his team. You may not know this, but that’s how Skeletor lost his face, to skin cancer. Actually, he’s brain washing The Toy Maker to give him the magic words to control the toys, which Skeletor will then use to capture He-Man. As if that’s going to work. Seriously, the toys caught Man-At-Arms unawares and unsuspectingly, and he’s got no powers, of course they were going to capture him. He-Man, on the other hand, he could rip a teddy bear to shreds. I hope that teddy bear actually becomes the 5th murder of the season.
On their way to rescue Man-At-Arms, He-Man, Orko, Ram Man, and Teela have come upon Echo Valley. He-Man says, “You’re right, Orko. This is a dangerous place.” If He-Man says a place is dangerous, than you know it must be. Immediately, the voice of Dree Elle calls to Orko through the mist. Orko falls for it instantly, “Dree Elle! What’s she doing on Eternia? I’ve got to do something!” Everybody starts hearing voices. Ram Man hears Man-At-Arms calling for assistance with some unspecified thing. He-Man warns Ram Man not to follow the voice, but he doesn’t listen. Just then, Teela hears Prince Adam calling for help. Awkward! “No, stop! Those voices aren’t real, they’re just echoes, tricks!” He-Man exclaims, reaching after Teela as she goes.
Suddenly, He-Man is alone and Skeletor appears to him in the mist. “At last, He-Man! I have defeated you! You’re doomed! Doomed! Doomed!” Skeletor’s mist-hand reaches our for He-Man, clutching him, until He-Man shouts “No!” over, and over, then rips his way out of the hand, Skeletor’s face also tearing apart and fading into the mist. He-Man mounts up on Battle Cat and endeavors to snap Orko, Ram Man and Teela out of it. He-Man succeeds in breaking Orko’s hallucination. Orko then uses his magic and brings back those earmuffs to cover Teela’s ears, which snap her out of it. Orko does the same thing with Ram Man. “What? Hey, where did these come from,” Ram Man asks, confused. He really isn’t very smart is he?
On the other side of it, He-Man announces that they’re clear of the echoes now, and credits Orko’s earmuffs with saving them all. Suddenly, they hear screeching coming from the canyon walls. He-Man realizes it’s the toys coming for them and suggests they quickly build a trap of their own. He-Man approaches two trees, does a somersault up through them to grab the tops and pull them down. Then, He-Man uses some rope to tie snares around them. He stands, blocking the trees, but the snares are pretty conspicuously laid out in front of him. As the evil toys approach, Teela, Orko and Ram Man use various methods to trip them up causing the toy soldier and the teddy bear to fall into the snares.
With the evil toys subdued, Orko fantasizes about having stronger magic that he could use to defeat The Toy Maker. As Orko shadow boxes, he realizes that his magic is used for good whereas The Toy Maker’s magic is used for evil. Orko reasons that good is always stronger than evil. Except for when evil has a chain saw, but, I digress. Orko uses his magic to conjure up The Toy Maker’s visage, then demands to know how to control the toys. The Toy Maker doesn’t even try to resist, and just utters the magic words to Orko, like a chump. Orko rushes over to He-Man and Teela as they are being charged by the brontosaurus. He uses the magic words. The blue, plush dinosaur screeches to a halt so that it may obey only Orko.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is trying to convince Man-At-Arms that He-Man has been defeated and suggests that Man-At-Arms join him. Man-At-Arms is sure that Skeletor is wrong, and the day when He-Man is defeated will never come. Skeletor assures Man-At-Arms that he’s wrong, and that he sees his toys coming with He-Man, not realizing that Orko is now controlling the toys. Skeletor realizes that He-Man isn’t in fact, with them, and orders them to stop, but they don’t. The toy soldier continues to advance until it takes Man-At-Arms’ shackles off, freeing him. He-Man busts through the wall, proclaiming, “Here I am Skeletor! It takes more than toys and echoes to defeat the power of Grayskull!”
Skeletor can’t believe it! He thought toys and echoes would be enough. He orders Beast Man and Trap Jaw to stop him, but the toy brontosaur heads them off and sits on them, which is pretty effective in stopping them. His minions beg for Skeletor to help them, but he says, “I’m only interested in saving myself!” Skeletor raises his staff and disappears. Teela gazes into Duncan’s eyes. “Father, I was so worried,” she says before moving in to hug him. Relaxing out of their embrace, Man-At-Arms says, “Skeletor doesn’t realize there’s one magic he can never defeat, the power of love and friendship.”
He-Man looks at The Toy Maker and says, “Speaking of friends, I’d like to have a word with you, Toy Maker”. The Toy Maker says Skeletor was unworthy of his skills, and that he’ll be leaving now. He changes the toys in to a pink dragon and makes to fly off. Oh well, it’s not like He-Man was going to arrest him anyway. Orko reminds The Toy Maker that he’s forgotten that the toys are still under his control. He uses his magic to make the toys disappear. He-Man then corrects me, saying, “Well, Toy Maker, I think you and Skeletor’s friends here have an appointment with the authorities, and I will deliver you all personally.” I’m not convinced. See last episode, where there were no known villains in the Royal Prison. Orko concludes that it’s been a great day, and he’s glad to be with people that appreciate his magic.
Abruptly, it’s time for this week’s moral! I think it should be about how the prospect of toys coming to life for evil purposes is probably one of the scariest things a kid could imagine. It calls to mind a scene from Look Who’s Talking Too in which a teddy bear comes to evil life, or that movie, Demonic Toys, or even, The Puppet Master. Therefore, this was probably the scariest episode of He-Man ever. Well, for a kid, anyway. I wasn’t scared. I swear. Instead, King Randor himself personally delivers this week’s moral. It’s about stranger danger. Orko joins him, saying, “Gifts and toys from strangers are nothing to pay around with.” They add that friends don’t have to keep secrets from each other. I note that they didn’t say that friends shouldn’t keep secrets with each other. Never rat on your friends.
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, Toy Maker, Ram Man, Best Man, Whiplash
Alan Oppenheimer: Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer
Linda Gary: Teela, Dree Elle’s Echo
Lou Scheimer: Orko, King Randor, Trap Jaw