Welcome back to another episode rewatch of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! We’re plowing through this series and already almost halfway through Season 1. Give yourselves a round of applause for this momentous accomplishment.
Quick sidenote: Happy 4th of July!
If there was any justice in the world, this would be the national anthem. Won’t see anyone kneeling when they could be nodding their heads like yeah.
In addition to staying committed to these recaps, I’ve realized how nice it is to be able to watch an episode and just be OK with seeing that one episode. Binge culture has obviously become how we consume so many of our shows now, but how much do we actually remember and process from those shows? Stranger Things is out this week on Netflix and everyone will go nuts for about ten days over it and then quickly forget it ever existed again. Maybe I’ll do a daily episode recap of that like I’ve been doing for old cartoons just because and to see if it makes me care any more than I usually would.
Either way, we’re here for Episode 11 today and I’d say we’re fully engorged in the canon now. Adam recognizes the power and importance of being He-Man, Skeletor has figured out why Castle Grayskull is so important and Orko is a fucking buffoon. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
All of that brings us to today’s episode to further dive into Eternian mythology. Let’s do it.
Original Air Date: November 8, 2002
As always, today’s episode is included so you can watch along and seriously, how great is it to be able to find each episode with a quick search on YouTube? Technology is the best.
We open with Skeletor leading his goons through caverns of ice where they come upon one of the most powerful weapons known to mankind, hidden away by the Elders because of the effect it can cause: the Diamond Ray of Disappearance.
As a weapon, it does exactly what it sounds like it does: instantly eradicates its target. Why is it important beyond just that? Because it was the centerpiece of the first ever episode of the classic Filmation series. (In terms of production order, it was actually fourth, but was the first episode screened as it was set-up in a way that neatly introduced characters and themes to make it better served as a debut.)
Skeletor doesn’t even have a moment to celebrate his find, however, as the He-Man and the Masters immediately interrupt the party. He-Man says Skelly came a long way for a broken toy and then proves his point by punching the ground causing a rockslide that destroys the Ray. Skeletor counters by causing a rockslide of his own using his magic nearly burying the Masters in the cave while the villains make their escape.
Ram Man hypothesizes that Skeletor wouldn’t be such a bad guy if he wasn’t so evil and that gives Man-At-Arms an idea to build a belt with a secret jewel embedded in it that will sap Skelly of his evilness if they can get him to wear it.
Duncan sends in Adam and Teela as bait to draw Skeletor out in the open and – when the time is right – fires the Attitude Adjusting Belt from his arm cannon. Skeletor immediately begins thinking evil thoughts the belt surges with power through him. The belt is proving to be irremovable and Skeletor is in great pain as his power is drained by the implanted jewel. Even the henchmen are having fun with it since Skelly can’t browbeat them without being paralyzed by the power of the belt.
This leads to a great scene where Skeletor tries to fool the belt by acting nice. Evil-Lyn of course is enjoying testing his patience way too much as the others watch and laugh. Skeletor resigns himself to knowing he’s overmatched by the belt for now and his forced pleasantries are dynamite.
Tri-Klops, the evil inventor, takes the theory behind the belt and uses it to make a device that would have the opposite effect on He-Man: using his will to do good to force him into doing evil. It’s inspired thinking and – after baiting the Masters into the open – He-Man is immediately tagged with the evil chestplate. He tries fighting against it, but that forces it to drain his power even faster. He’s almost ready to give up, but the Sorceress gives him a telepathic pep talk that causes him to rise up and rip the unit from his chest. This sends an enormous power surge through the village that it even destroys the belt containing Skeletor’s evil urges.
Skeletor is almost a goner, hanging on just barely to the edge of a cliff after the blast, but He-Man saves him because he’s He-Man and he’d never be able to just let Skeletor perish. Of course, Skeletor immediately turns on the man who saved him and blasts He-Man through a hut so he can escape to fight another day.
PSA: There’s no force more powerful than goodness.
Fun little episode today! I actually really enjoyed this because – rather than Skeletor devising a plan of action for the day, it was the Masters that brought it to him. It was a nice…Turnabout. *winkTHATSTHENAMEOFTHEEPISODEwink*
My ears immediately perked up at the beginning when the term “Diamond Ray of Disappearance” was uttered and I loved that it was basically a McGuffin to set up the rest of the episode rather than a tribute episode of one of the more popular chapters from the original series.
There’s not going to be anything from this episode that further impacts the story down the line, but the difference in the attack plan as well as Skeletor being forced to be nice (which can also be a callback to the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special from the 80s where Skelly has a whole bit about not being nice) made for a very entertaining half hour.
Yeah, I know that doesn’t serve well when reviewing stuff on the internet, but I do these blogs to share the things that I like or that I hope to like. Why would I want to shit on everything just for clicks? This episode was fun and I enjoyed it. If you like He-Man, you probably will too. Watch it.