Welcome back to another cartoon rewatch! It’s Friday so let’s close out the week strong so we can get enough rest to come out swinging on Monday.
In yesterday’s episode, we had a huge moment at the end where Skeletor comes to the realization that Castle Grayskull has some kind of importance that he’d previously been unaware of. He doesn’t quite know what that importance is as of yet, but prior to yesterday’s episode, the Castle was thought to be just some old ruins on the outskirts of Eternia. Only Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms, Orko and Cringer were aware of the power held and protected within.
While Skeletor still doesn’t know that it’s exactly what he seeks (the power of the Elders) that’s being protected inside, he does know that Castle Grayskull just moved up on his list of shit to take over since he saw how vehemently the Masters tried to defend it.
Now we’ll see how important he believes it to be and if he makes it the focal point of his new plans and attacks. Obviously, without the full knowledge, it’s very possible he may push this back for a few episodes, but if I was an Overlord of Evil, I’d probably want to get in there ASAP and snoop around. Like some real Navy SEAL shit.
Today’s episode is called “Lessons” and, honestly, that give me absolutely no hint as to what this episode will be about or which character it will be focusing on. I’m kinda good with that. Surprise me, He-Man. Let’s watch a cartoon.
Original Air Date: October 11, 2002
For you convenience here’s today’s episode so you can watch and follow along! I’m pretty nice about that stuff.
First thing that stood out to me was during the title credits: “Written By Larry DiTillio”. I don’t know if I missed a similar credit in earlier episodes, but Larry DiTillio was a writer on the original Filmation MOTU as well as the spin-off She-Ra Princess of Power so to see that he was brought back for this is kind of cool. Can I start rattling off episodes that he’s written and how they’ve impacted my life? No. But I recognize the name and just think that’s a cool connection.
We open at the Eternian palace where the people are just about finished rebuilding the walls to keep out the powers of evil. King Randor is incredible proud of his people. Of course, Orko wants to help and prove that he’s more than just a jester and, like clockwork, destroys all the hard work these people have put in. A real piece of shit.
Skeletor and team are watching this unfold from the camera of one of Tri-Klops’ Doomseeker drones and they are eating it up with a spoon. It’s like they’re watching Bob Saget get ready to give out $10,000 because they just keep replaying it over and over. Skelly moves to his throne and is all, “OK, OK, enough. We’ve all had a good laugh, but shit has to get serious. Take over the fucking world and shit.”
He – Skeletor (pronouns, pal) – says he needs to find out the secrets of Castle Grayskull and to do that he’s going to need an ancient artifact call the Ram Stone. He delegates the task of procuring this to Evil-Lyn who does not seem thrilled at the assignment. She offers that the legend of the Ram Stone is that it’s protected by an ancient wizard called The Faceless One and that her magic would not stand a chance. Skelly’s like, “Good point, take Trap-Jaw and Beast Man because these motherfuckers never let me down.”
Orko – feeling dejected about fucking up the hard manual labor of an entire village – heads to Grayskull to ask the Sorceress to send him back to his home of Trolla where he wasn’t such a goofy bastard. To her credit, Sorceress doesn’t even try to convince him otherwise. She’s just like, “That’s a fucking phenomenal idea and you need to go, but give me a hot second to build a portal and your goofy ass is as good as gone.”
I really hope Mike Young Productions doesn’t sue me for transcribing these quotes verbatim.
Orko is told to wait in the Castle’s library where he is approached by a straggler who seems to have taken the Grayskull tour about 60 years ago, fell off the line and has been wandering around ever since. Him and Orko start chatting and now he’s trying to convince Orko that he’s not useless. Spoiler alert: Orko is fucking useless.
While Orko is having his ego stroked, our villains have arrived at the temple housing the Ram Stone. The Faceless One appears and is surprised to see Evil-Lyn still wasting her powers in the service of Skeletor. Oooooh, there’s a relationship there! I love depth of characters! Evil-Lyn is able to dismiss the Faceless One and grab the stone, but as the villains exit, they’re met by Man-At-Arms and He-Man who got a hot tip that there was action going on they needed to investigate.
Evil-Lyn escapes the battle with the Ram Stone, leaving the her compatriots to face the wrath of Man-At-Arms while He-Man takes off after her. She heads toward Grayskull where she’s joined by Skeletor who is ready to use the power of the Ram Stone to gain access. He-Man interrupts the party, but Skeletor uses the stone to knock his fucking block off. He-Man recovers quickly, but Battle Cat? Not so much. He’s alive, but only barely and He-Man has to finish this fight alone.
Skeletor couldn’t give a fuck right now. He’s got the Ram Stone and he’s gonna use the shit out of it. The Sorceress sends a telepathic message to He-Man warning him not to challenge its power, but he doesn’t listen and is quickly overtaken by the force causing him to not only get thrown from battle, but transforming him back to Prince Adam. You ain’t ever truly fucked someone up until you’ve hit them so hard that they go back to being 16.
The Sorceress needs to jump in to aid He-Man as he’s their only hope, but she grabs Orko to make himself useful before it’s too late. With He-Man incapacitated, Skeletor is free to march into Grayskull, but Orko holds him up and after a silly spell, swaps it with a meaningless jug. He leads Skelly on a Scooby-Doo chase through the corridors of the Castle and as he’s trying to escape back to the outside, he’s blasted by an energy bolt from the staff of Evil-Lyn. Orko immediately falls to the ground and the Ram Stone from his hand and into the abyss. Evil-Lyn dives after it and uses her magic to get back to the surface safely, but Skeletor is completely unaware and thinks the stone to have been lost forever.
He-Man makes his babyface comeback at this point and disposes of Skeletor who – now without the Ram Stone – knows better than to reengage in this fight and high tails it back to Snake Mountain where he’ll browbeat his minions for costing him the takeover of Grayskull.
A quick cut back to the Temple of the Ram and the Faceless One returns to find the Ram Stone back in its place with a note from Evil-Lyn informing him that Skeletor will no longer be troubling him. Since he doesn’t have a face, I can only assume that he pulls back for a moment, tilts his head and a single tear rolls down his cheek as he utters, “Perhaps there is still hope for you yet…my daughter.” Ahhhhhhh! There’s that relationship!
PSA: Orko tells us that we all make mistakes, but our friends should be OK with it.
PSA follow-up from me: If some asshole is gonna fuck up as often and big as Orko, he can go fuck himself.
On IMDB, this episode was rated a 7.2 which I think is fair. In what’s becoming a theme with these episodes, there are a lot of aspects within them which I like very much. Orko knowing he’s a piece of shit that nobody wants around, Evil-Lyn having an actual life, He-Man showing his humanity when he thinks Battle Cat has been killed are all good traits that deepen the characters as move along into this series.
I’m not really familiar with the Faceless One or his background of being Evil-Lyn’s father, but bad guys are regular people until they make a decision at some point to be bad guys so Evil-Lyn having family and having her choices questioned by her father make a lot of sense. Since his role seems to be just a protector of the Ram Stone, I’d be surprised if we see much if anything from Faceless again in this series even if to further flesh out the relationship with his daughter.
Speaking of his daughter, this is yet another nugget of Evil-Lyn not being wholly committed to serving Skeletor. There has been subtle hints in a couple episodes now where she thinks she’d be better at running this whole villains racket, but today she outright turns on him after rescuing the Ram Stone and returning it to the Faceless One without so much of a word and allowing Skelly to think it lost. That’s a nice, little wrinkle to have moving forward as Evil-Lyn is – and has always been – a very powerful sorceress in her own right and could be the focal point of some entertaining power struggle within the Snake Mountain ranks in episodes to come.
Either way, this was a solid episode to close the week on. Enjoy your weekend and see you on the couch Monday for the next episode!