Skeletor is the new mother of dragons. Does he have to fall for Jon Snow now?
The names of He-Man episodes are amazing – lots of magic and might, lots of swords and sorcery. The general image I have in my head when I think of classic He-Man is something close to the 80s cult classic The Beastmaster. Honestly, if Dolph Lundgren hadn’t been available for the “Masters of the Universe” movie, Marc Singer could’ve definitely taken on the role. And while I love Frank Langella as much as anyone, I could also see “Beastmaster” antagonist Rip Torn playing Skeletor in the live action world. And Tanya Roberts would’ve been a solid choice to play Teela. Of course, the caveat here is that in my mind I superimpose the cast of “The Beastmaster” into every movie. How about John “Seth” Amos as Iron Man? It could happen!
Your move, Daenerys
The Dragon Invasion
We’re high up on a rocky, pointy cliff with Beast Man and Skeletor, who are… levitating giant dragon eggs. “They are ready for transporting, Beast Man!” Skeletor says, though Beast Man probably already knows this since he is the one transporting them. In theory Beast Man has the power to control the dragons, but the mama dragon is so angry that she breathes fire and Beasty defies his boss and runs for it. Skeletor has to drop her off a cliff so they can take the eggs. I suppose that makes Skeletor the new mother of dragons. Does he have to fall for Jon Snow now?
Over at Castle Eternia, things are getting weird as Orko pulls entire cooked turkeys out of his robes (!) and the royal court is almost thankful that dinner is interrupted by the arrival of a dragon. Somehow a dragon’s egg shows up, hatches, and turns into a full-size dragon in an instant, and of course it starts roasting the castle with its fire breath. That’s Prince Adam’s cue to rush off and turn into He-Man. Ram Man is also here, and he’s trying to use his spring attack to headbutt the dragon, only it moves and Ram Man ends up under another pile of rubble. He’s not the brightest master of the universe, is he? He-Man throws the dragon like five feet, which distracts it long enough for Man-at-Arms to hit it with his new “stasis ray” and freeze it in place for a couple hours.
Where would a dragon come from? “Beast Man has the power to control animals,” explains He-Man. “And Skeletor controls Beast Man.” This may sound like an astounding feat of deduction, but remember there are only like twelve people in all of Eternia so there aren’t many other options.
We will defeat He-Man and his forces, but first, we get some fresh air
Snake Mountain is awash in the sounds of Skeletorial snickering. “I’m so powerful I even impress myself!” says Skeletor, who explains that he used growth serum to make dragons grow at super speed. Stratos the bird man tells Teela that his homeland, Avios, has also been attacked, which is horrifying, except that Teela freezes that dragon with the stasis ray too. So… problem solved? Oh, here comes another one. Rather than use the stasis ray which is working fine, He-Man pushes a giant rock at the dragon to trap it in a cave. “This dragon hunting is tiring business,” says Man-at-Arms, and the trouble is, there are still more out there.
Sorceress is like, at least I’m not inside one of those eggs Gwyneth Paltrow sells on GOOP
Skeletor doesn’t mind that the dragons are frozen in time and space, as long as they keep the heroes occupied. “While He-Man and his friends are busy battling the dragon invasion, we will enter Castle Greyskull. The Space Portal will transport us there.” And so it does. “Our new home!” Skeletor says, sounding more like a TV client of Chip and Joanna Gaines than a supervillain. The “we” he mentions, by the way, is a who’s who of Eternian villains: there’s Beast Man, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw and Jitsu, who’s making his debut here. He’s supposed to be a martial arts master, but mostly he’s a master of not appearing in any other episodes of the series. They focus Evil-Lyn’s magic through Skeletor’s Dragon Pearl, which magnifies her power a hundredfold. They zap The Sorceress, guardian of Castle Greyskull, inside the Pearl and begin draining her powers, though at least she’s able to use her telepathy to call He-Man for help.
Give me your lunch money, twerp, or I’ll stuff you in a locker
Once Skeletor sets up shop at Greyskull he seals the place up tight. “There’s no science or sorcery that’s hot enough to burn through that force field,” says Man-at-Arms. Orko has an idea: bring all the dragons to Greyskull. Teela asks, how, since Beast Man controls the dragons? “Then we’ll control Beast Man.” He-Man and Teela head right to Snake Mountain and zap Beast Man with the stasis ray and instantly the dragons are all super-friendly.
These two clearly don’t understand what you need to play jai alai
The heroes round up the dragons and have them breathe fire at the force field until it gives way and Skeletor shouts “what?!?” Skeletor lets his underlings get beat up by Team He-Man (Jitsu closes out his brief, useless career falling to Ram Man!) while he makes his escape back to Snake Mountain… except He-Man is waiting for him. Skeletor tries tapping the power of the Dragon Pearl, but all it does is let him grow a few extra feet tall and briefly grab He-Man’s wrist. Soon he has a bigger problem: mama dragon is back and she wants her Pearl. She makes Skeletor drop it, shrinking him back down to size like he was Super Mario running headlong into a koopa. The dragon breathes fire onto the Pearl, breaking it, and Sorceress is free!
Trogdor’s origin story
All is well again; Greyskull is out of Skeletor’s clutches and Man-at-Arms has teleported all the dragons back to their mom, though Orko wishes he’d gotten a baby dragon as a pet. At least until one flies back through the space portal and starts licking him. Womp womp. “Animals, like all living things, should be treated with kindness and respect,” explains Orko in our lesson of the day. This lesson applies to kids who have a dog or cat “or maybe even a hamster” at home.
Well that certainly moved quickly! It was a good idea to build an episode around dragons – it gave us a lot of Skeletor snickering, after all – but the show didn’t totally sell it. Honestly the heroes just took the dragons out without a whole lot of hassle, even before they stopped Beast Man from controlling them.
Didn’t know Orko was Shaggy’s mystical cousin
- Mer-man could’ve had the Dragon Pearl; he stumbled upon it in the Slime Swamp, but as Skeletor explains, “The fool traded it to me for Eternian silver!” Don’t you know a Dragon Pearl when you see one, Mer-man?
- On the king’s suggestion, Orko creates clones of himself solely because having multiple Orkos will help him eat more turkey. That is an actual thing that happened in this cartoon.
- Battle Cat to the dragon: “Come on, dragon face, take your best shot!” He sounds just like Burgess Meredith in “Rocky” and that may be why he doesn’t do much in the rest of the episode.
- Beast Man is growing ever more resentful of his boss: “Someday, I’ll show you what power really is.” Skeletor: “Did you say something, Beast Man?” “No.”
- Jitsu has one line and it’s said in a stereotypical Asian-sounding voice. It’s… not a great moment for the series.
- Orko thinks of using dragons against Skeletor’s force field because earlier in the episode Prince Adam told him that “when things look bad, teamwork’s the answer.” But if that’s true, why didn’t the other three Orkos help out? Were they too full from the turkey dinner?
- Man-at-Arms with the weirdest line of the episode: “All the dragons have become friendly!”
- Er, hang on: after defeating Jitsu, Ram Man says “I won… I think.” He’s sort of the Strong Mad of the He-Man crew. Pretty soon he’s gonna shout out “Garbledina!”
- During the final battle, He-Man knocks Skeletor off a cliff, but offers to help the bad guy out. Why? “I guess I value life more than you do, Skeletor – even yours.” Heart of gold, man. Heart of gold.