Welcome back to another episode rewatch! We’re just burning through this series so, in the words of Freddie Mercury, “bicycle, bicycle, bicycle.”
Sure, “Don’t Stop Me Now” would have been more appropriate, but what fun would that be?
Yesterday’s episode was pretty fun and I’m expecting the same of today’s. I don’t base that on anything besides the fact that I’ve enjoyed every episode so far and see no reason why I wouldn’t feel the same today. While the heart of each episode is true to the original – Skeletor wants power, tries taking over everything – this series is doing a good job of almost playing a long game with his plans.
Nobody is going to say for one second that Skeletor isn’t the big bad here, but this series has actually shrunk his role to an extent thus far. Our double-main man is still prevalent, but is more than happy to stay at Snake Mountain while delegating his assignments and orders from the comfort of his bone throne. It’s keeping him fresh for the instances where he does show up for battle and gives a vibe of, “shit…the Masters may really be fucked now” since he hasn’t been portrayed as a clown like the classic Skelly.
You can say the same for Evil-Lyn who – always Skeletor’s #2 – has been a standout character for me thus far. They’ve written her incredibly well and given her a lot to work with. She’s demonstrated her intelligence, her power as well as her somewhat muted thoughts of possibly overthrowing Skeletor at some point. She’s proven she can take the lead on missions and there’s nothing unbelievable about it.
So that’s where we are. Sometimes you forget how early in the series this still is because of all the previous iterations of these characters we’ve had over the years, but going into Episode 9 today, I’d say that right now this show is sailing along wonderfully. So, with that being said, let’s get to Episode 9 right now.
S01E09: The Ties That Bind
Original Air Date: October 25, 2002
We open in the heat of battle! The Masters appear to just be driving off an attack on Castle Grayskull when Ram Man runs up to Man-At-Arms in a panic saying that Teela has been injured. It’s apparently really serious because everybody is using their Owen Hart voices. Man-E-Faces does a body scan using his robot face and deduces that she needs blood and lots of it despite having no wounds or showing any signs that she’s even skinned her knee from falling off her bicycle, bicycle.
Each of the Masters immediately offers to donate blood which seems a little unsanitary to do at the end of a strenuous battle against the forces of Skeletor, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. But since Man-At-Arms is a good dad, he knows that none of the willing donors have a match for Teela’s type. It is then that the Sorceress reaches him telepathically telling him to bring her to Grayskull immediately.
So this is kind of important as it harkens back to a cornerstone episode of the original series titled “Teela’s Quest”. In that episode, Teela finds out that the Sorceress is her mother and that Duncan is not her father, but has raised and cared for her her entire life because the Sorceress’s responsibilities at Grayskull precluded her from raising Teela safely.
When Teela begins to wake, she’s in her bed in the kingdom of Eternia flanked by the Masters who are all waiting to see her pull through. Ram Man, Man-E-Faces and Mekaneck are all ecstatic to see her still living, but Teela immediately finds herself able to read their thoughts. Man-E relays that info to Duncan who’s not worried since he’s studied Occlumency from Professor Snape and is in no danger of having his mind read, but he immediately tells Prince Adam to keep his distance so Teela cannot find out his secret life as He-Man.
Man-At-Arms heads to Grayskull to confront the Sorceress. She’s weakened from having given blood and her powers are not what they usually are which seems like foreshadowing that Grayskull is going to be in great danger in a hot second, but that’s neither here nor there. Duncan is pretty pissed at Sorceress because she’s giving Teela the ole oop-de-oop. Yes, she needed blood, he says, but what she really needs is…her mother.
Evil-Lyn – also a telepath – becomes aware that there is a new open mind that she can link to and realizes quickly that it’s Teela. After sharing this information with Skeletor, the two immediately get the idea to feed fake news to Teela in the hopes that this will lead to her pushing the Masters in the wrong direction while the evil forces attack elsewhere. Teela mobilizes the Masters, but Man-At-Arms is AWOL because he’s still chastising Sorceress for not giving her daughter any love. We are then presented with the reveal that – just as in the original – Teela was taken in by Man-At-Arms because Sorceress was unable to raise and protect her while simultaneously protecting the powers within Grayskull. Duncan is adamant that Teela be told of her history, but Sorceress refuses.
The Masters head to the desert to head of Skeletor just as Teela heard from her inner voice, but realize too late that it was a trap and are attacked by…um…worm monsters, I suppose. An obvious diversionary tactic as Evil-Lyn leads a charge on Grayskull. Man-At-Arms finally arrives on the scene with He-Man as his wingman and they take out the sand worms in no time.
Teela starts receiving another message – this time from the Sorceress – informing her that Grayskull is in peril, but Teela doesn’t know if she can trust it. The Sorceress reveals her identity and tells Teela to touch her heart and feel it beat. The blood it pumps is from her and she can always be trusted. Teela breaks from the telepathy when Duncan asks what’s going on, she simply replies, “Grayskull.”
Skeletor and his goons arrive at Grayskull as the Sorceress projects a force field around the Castle. Evil-Lyn disables that immediately though as the Sorceress cannot hold it in her weakened state. She descends into the catacombs to feed off the powers of the Elders which she swore to never do, but finds absolutely necessary now. It enhances her magic to such levels that Skeletor finally realizes that this is where the power he has desired all this time is kept since there is nothing else in the universe that can be so strong.
As powerful as it is, however, the combined forces of all the villains is close to taking it down when He-Man and the Masters arrive on the scene just in time. They make quick work of the sidekicks and, when left alone, Skeletor retreats to save himself for another day.
There’s only a moment of joy in between before Teela tells Duncan that she wants to enter the Castle and see the Sorceress. Almost immediately, the force field is gone and the jawbridge lowered to welcome her. Teela calls out for her, but the Sorceress never reveals herself to her. She says that she gave her blood to give her life again, but stops short of saying outright that she’s her mother. Teela leaves the Castle disheartened and distressed for not getting the answers she’s desperate for.
Man-At-Arms later joins the Sorceress and acknowledges how she was forced to tap into the Powers of the Elders to defend Grayskull. He apologizes for ever questioning her love for her daughter since – as a soldier himself – he understands that having orders and responsibilities take a considerable amount of sacrifice.
PSA: Your parents love you.
Strong from the aspect of delving deeper into the mythology of Teela and adding to her development. They kept true to the original mythos, but still haven’t given Teela the full reveal of who she really is or will become. This is another one of those things that I don’t know if we’ll even ever get to because of how short the run for this series is.
Season 1 was 26 episodes which is a pretty healthy load, but Season 2 was only half that at 13 and the storyline – if I’m remembering correctly – is completely focused around the appearance of the Snake Men led by King Hiss. Now, I’m completely interested in the Snake Men story because of how different it is, but I just really don’t know where that leaves us with how far they can develop these relationship and stories.
You’re always going to have unanswered questions or loose ends whenever a show is cancelled, but it sucks when you try to project down the road for where you are at the current place in the story to think what could be may not ever come to fruition.
Thems the breaks, as they say on the streets.
As for this episode alone, the Teela saga is good. Skeletor and his goons came off weak as fuck, though. That battle at the end for Grayskull was over basically as soon as the Masters arrived and Skeletor – left alone as the others had been incapacitated – simply whistled for a cab and drove back off to Snake Mountain without even a sarcastic one-liner.
In wrestling, we’d say that he lost his heat because it was a really weak showing so I’m hoping that they do something to repair that as we go forward. The one big takeaway from the evil side to come out of this is the knowledge that yes, definitely it’s the Power of the Elders contained within Grayskull. The Sorceress using it to enhance her force field left no doubt and now the forces of evil are sure to mount more focused attacks on the Castle.
Tomorrow we come back with another and see where these writers want to keep taking us. See you then.