Skeletor’s evil scheme is a Bob Dylan song: everybody must get stoned!
We’re back on track after that little mix-up last week about the order of the episodes. It’s a small thing, I know, but when I start watching a show and writing about it, I really like to dig in, get all the details, know everything inside and out. So I’m glad to have that behind me now, and I’m sure that there isn’t a single thing that can happen now that can put me off track of my goal to OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS
Former Mattel artist and designer Mark Taylor recounts the backstory behind the creation of Skeletor, which stemmed back to a traumatizing event at a local carnival in which he was certain he saw a real-life corpse. In fact, 60 years later Taylor learned that his encounter at the Pike Amusement Park was in fact real.
I’m gonna need to sit down for a second.
Skeletor Labs: Where the future is evil
This one is going to take some unpacking, so bear with me. Today’s episode starts at Snake Mountain, where Beast Man is… laying on a pile of hay in Skeletor’s high-tech hangar. Ok, we’re starting with a nap. Skeletor informs his napping lackey that “while you were sleeping, I finished my greatest creation!” It’s a ship called The Collector, and it can turn people to stone and make stone figures come to life.
Sun Tzu always advised to attack while your opponents are busy playing chess
Skeletor decides to test these powers out on the citizens of Eternia, who are engrossed in a chess match between Man-at-Arms and Orko. (Technically the match ends when Duncan calls checkmate and Orko dumps a goblet of water on his head.) The Collector enstones two of the palace’s redshirt guards as Teela hustles the Queen to safety. Man-at-Arms draws the ship’s fire away from the Queen, yelling “You don’t scare me!” but Skeletor turns him to stone too, and knocks him off a high balcony for good measure.
This is the high point of the battle for the villains, as Prince Adam takes this moment to lift his sword to the heavens, over Cringer’s objections (“I make a lousy statue”), and He-Man catches his rocky buddy just in time. Battle Cat ducks the charge of a lion statue Skeletor brought to life, Ram Man drops by to head butt a living statue into pieces, and, best of all, Stratos the bird man defeats his stone opponent by dropping a potted plant on his head.
Have we tried turning him off and turning him back on again?
Queen Marlena uses her Earth training to explain that Man-at-Arms will turn to stone forever at sundown. This is maybe the most arbitrary thing anyone’s said on this show. While everyone else shrugs their shoulders and looks glum, He-Man asks The Sorceress for help, and she tells him to “seek the Fire Jewels… Only they can save Man-at-Arms.”
Guest appearance by “Mean” Gene Okerlund
Skeletor and Beast Man are turning The Collector’s special lasers on a giant creepy stone statue called Colossor, and once it’s alive they’re going to send it against Castle Greyskull. But rather than finish this crucial task, Skeletor reboards his ship and starts flying around zapping people. There’s a scene where a bald guy is out gardening, and zap, he’s a statue. They don’t explain who he is, or why Skeletor zaps him, he’s just pure cannon fodder, and it’s absolutely hysterical. Then he returns to Palace Eternia to stone two palace guards and – no! – Ram Man. And – ack! – Orko! Skeletor’s evil scheme is a Bob Dylan song: everybody must get stoned! He is snickering like he’s never snickered before.
THE FLOOR IS LAVA
He-Man, Teela and Battle Cat take the Attack Track to find the cave that’s home to the Fire Jewels. As quests go, this one’s a pretty light lift: they fend off a swamp bat working for Beast Man in about a half a second, and then they’re at the cave. Sure, when He-Man scoops some of the jewels off their perch and carries them off, the cave starts filling with lava, but no worries; he tosses the jewels to Teela and breaks off a stalactite to pole vault back out of there (!)
“The Fire Jewels have to be crushed into fine powder!” explains the Sorceress. This is the second time in the first three episodes that He-Man has to save his friends by crushing jewels (the other was in Diamond Ray of Disappearance, of course) Actually, the jewels themselves don’t save Man-at-Arms; they just create a magic ring that can turn the evil lasers on Skeletor’s ship into helpful ones.
GET OFF MY PLANE
Skeletor’s laser is finally bringing Colossor to life and sends him to attack Castle Greyskull, shouting “Nothing can stop me now, not even He-Man!” Which I’m sure is 100 percent true. But just as Colossor starts ambling ahead and Skeletor takes to the skies, He-Man climbs aboard the Collector, rips the hull open with his bare hands, and attacks. First he throws Beast Man (because he always does), and trips up Skeletor’s purple pet Panthro. But Skeletor gets the jump on the big guy, and he tries to push He-Man out of the ship. “You can survive a fall from this height, He-Man!” he taunts. He-Man does jump out, but first he kicks Skeletor out of the way and puts his magic ring on the evil ray’s controls. Apparently Skeletor doesn’t notice this, because he attacks… the people he already turned to stone, which means they’re all fine. “You’ll pay for this, He-Man!” Skeletor says, flying away.
The hardware store in Eternia is about to have a big clearance sale on gravel
Colossor is still stomping his way toward Greyskull, so all the heroes have to join forces. This is like the Snyder Cut of Masters of the Universe. Man-at-Arms ties Colossor’s leg together as Orko distracts him with a massive flash of light. He-Man lifts the giant up and slams him to the ground; then, with one punch, He-Man turns Colossor into a pile of rubble. Skeletor, not knowing when to quit after all, shoots his regular lasers, but He-Man deflects them and The Collector goes flying off into the distance. “Why do I get the feeling he’ll be back?” Teela asks. “Oh, he’ll be back, all right,” says He-Man. “But we’ll be waiting for him!”
We wrap up back at the castle, where Orko is telling Prince Adam about all the adventures he “missed,” and in his version, he pretty much stopped Colossor and Skeletor himself. Of course, when Man-at-Arms drops by, Orko freaks because he thought Duncan’s shadow was Colossor returning, and everybody chuckles. Hey, what happened to the bald guy? Did he ever get restored?
Today’s moment of educational Zen is He-Man and Teela out for a run to demonstrate the benefits of exercise. “Be good to your body, and it’ll be good to you,” says the guy who gets his superhuman strength from magic.
The little red beastie, asleep in the hay
Ok, that was an extremely convoluted episode. It was almost like the “turning everybody into stone” plot was going to be one standalone show, and Colossor was to be a whole separate one. Why they were slammed into one overly busy episode I’m not sure, but I had a hard time figuring out what the heck was happening. I did like that we finally got a big battle, even if it didn’t last too long. And Skeletor absolutely hounding Beast Man for an entire show was terrific. As a character, Beast Man is a good punching bag, since he’s usually very bad at his job.
Can two villains share an apartment without driving each other crazy?
- Eternia chess is a lot like the game R2D2 and Chewbacca play on the Millennium Falcon, with monsters and other bizarre creatures strutting around the board attacking each other.
- Skeletor wakes Beast Man up on purpose and calls him a “lazy creature,” and later, when Beast Man notices that The Collector turned Man-at-Arms to stone, Skeletor answers, “Of course I did, fur brain!” He-Man and Skeletor may disagree about everything, but they both know Beast Man is a derp.
- Later, Skeletor tries to zap Beast Man for saying something sassy, and vows that next time, “I’ll make a rug out of you!” Even by his own standard, he’s in a gloriously foul mood here.
- Evil-Lyn calls Skeletor to tell him about He-Man seeking the Fire Jewels, but when he asks what she wants when she calls, Evil-Lyn answers, “Your power, Skeletor!” The villains need a weekend teambuilding retreat, or something.
- As Skeletor flies around turning people to stone he notes that he needs “one more tankful of energy and Colossor will live!” So why not just, like, go do that instead of taking breaks to attack randos?
- King Randor, who is technically in charge of everyone in Eternia, does only two things in the entire episode. He says the sun is almost down and, when Skeletor does round three of his stone attacks, he exclaims, “Orko!”
- Skeletor repeatedly refers to Beast Man as “Beastie,” which makes me want to see a montage of this episode set to the song “Sabotage.”