"Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere"
Synopsis and Review
Cartoon Series: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983-85
Producer: Filmation
Season: 2
Writer: Cinnamon-Wengrod
Year: 1985
Director: Steve Clark
Production No: MU116


Original Airdate: ?/?/1985

Man-At-Arms secretly tests his new Duplicator machine in the forest, where they discover that the machines makes half-size duplicates of anything. Skeletor and Whiplash spy on them and follow them back to the Royal Palace. The villains steal the Duplicator and flee. Skeletor uses the Duplicator to create an army of Skeletoids, which descend upon the Royal Palace and take over. Jovah and his family have come to King Randor for help in finding their lost Bambite. Jovah uses his last gem of Bambite to make He-Man, Battle Cat, and himself invisible so they can sneak out of the Palace. Whiplash and the Skeletoids capture them and take them to Skeletor. The Skeletoids turn on each other, and He-Man duplicates himself twice. The Duplicator is destroyed, causing the Skeletoids to vanish. Jovah discovers the supply of Bambite that Skeletor stole from his people. They return to the Royal Palace with the Bambite.

Synopsis by Zadoc Angell

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The episode opens with Man-at-Arms conducting a top secret test of his new Duplicator machine, which can replicate anything in half size. So, given how sensitive he says this is, you’d think he might choose a secure environment like the Royal Palace or Castle Grayskull, right? Wrong! He opts for doing it in the middle of open ground, where he’s seen not just by Orko and Moss Man but also Whiplash and Skeletor. You idiot Duncan!

Skeletor decides to steal the Duplicator but rather than doing so straight away, he instead waits for the heroes to take off in a Wind Raider so he gets all the fun of a pursuit in Roton. If I owned something as awesome as Roton, I’d probably do that too to be honest. But it doesn’t go well, as Skeletor contrives to end up in a bog despite maintaining the element of surprise throughout his attack. This is brilliant fun to watch!

Back at the Royal Palace, and King Randor is having an audience with some teddy bear creatures that look like toys girls were forced to play with in the 1980s instead of cool MOTU action figures. (Let’s hope times have changed). It turns out the bears have a problem that can be solved by a machine that can replicate anything in half size, which is exceedingly fortunate given that Man-at-Arms has literally just built one. But before he gets chance to wrap this one early, Skeletor and Whiplash manage to break through the floor of the Royal Palace to steal the Duplicator after all. So it just goes to show, even if you end up in a bog in the morning you can still achieve your day’s goals in the afternoon. Surprised that wasn’t picked up in the closing moral.

Skeletor swiftly clones himself in miniature – a bit like Dr Evil making Mini-Me in Austin Powers II but there’s a million of the little Skeletoids and they soon take over most of Eternia. It’s one of Skeletor’s greatest successes but he doesn’t overdo the gloating, perhaps having learned by now that no matter how strong his hand is he never seems to win. And yes, as it turns out, you can destroy all the clones by destroying the Duplicator machine itself. He-Man proceeds to do just that but don’t worry about the plight of the teddy bears, because he discovers Skeletor has been hording the supplies they need at Snake Mountain and he takes (steals?) them.

A final point of note is the use of characters whose action figures I assume had just hit the shops back in ’85 – Moss Man, Two-Bad, Sy-Klone, Mekaneck and Modulok all make rare cartoon appearances here although none of them really come out of it well. One my favourite parts of the whole story is Attak Trak being all sassy with Mekaneck. When Mekaneck suggests the heroes won’t be able to get over a cliff edge, Attak Trak not only defies all known laws of physics to prove him wrong but disparagingly remarks “you’re new here, aren’t you?” Brilliant.

(If you’ve got any comments or thoughts about the review then please do e-mail me on misterclawful@umpire.com).

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