by James Eatock
Just how useful were the three eyes of Tri-Klops?
Only appearing in 10 of He-Man's 130 episodes, and not getting all that much memorable material, out of all of Skeletor's original villains, Tri-Klops really got the bad end of the deal. In some of his few appearances he did display his very unique gimmick that made him one of the original and classic He-Man villains. Out of all the Masters of the Universe merchandise, the 1984 UK annual appears to define his individual eye powers the most; "One has night vision, one can see great distances in Distavision, and the third has Gammavision, which allows Tri-Klops to see round corners like a periscope." However, the card that came with the action figure simply states, "It's a daytime eye! It's a nighttime eye! It "sees" around corners!," which does not mean anything. It appears that none of the writers or directors really knew what Tri-Klops eyes actually did, and on the few occasions that he used his powers, there were contradictions to other appearances.
MU4 - "Diamond Ray of Disappearance"
In the first episode we can see that he is one of the most useful of Skeletor's villains. Not only does he possess a very unique power, which can benefit the evil warriors, he also has an immense amount of strength, even capable of fighting hand-to-hand with He-Man.
Triangular eye - Gammavision
Tri-Klops triangular-shaped eye enabled him to see through solid objects. The first inconsistency occurs later in the episode; when He-Man is down a crevice trying to get the diamond back, Tri-Klops states, "He's got it!," and yet we see Tri-Klops looking on with his square eye.
MU8 - "The Time Corridor"
In this episode, Skeletor's two main henchmen are Tri-Klops and the one-shot Fang Man. Tri-Klops has a big role in this episode and appears at many times to be Skeletor's main ally. This episode is noteworthy because Tri-Klops uses his Distavision for the first time, and many times during the episode.
Circular eye - Distavision
Tri-Klops circular-shaped eye enabled him to see long distances. This was used frequently in this episode, and to comic effect when Tri-Klops looks towards the sky and sees a huge great boulder falling towards him. Although the name of the power is never given in this episode, we learn later on in "The Royal Cousin" that it's called Distavision.
MU19 - "Quest for He-man"
As Tri-Klops flees from the palace on a Sky Sled, He-Man gives chase in a Wind Raider. He-Man fires several blasts at Tri-Klops who manages to evade every single shot claiming, "I can see every move long before you make it!" This makes it sound as if his square-shaped eye can see into the future, but that's highly unlikely as he is defeated by Ram Man.
Square Eye - Unknown
This appears to be the eye that none of the writers used clearly, because on the occasions where they did it differed immensely. It appeared to be used from a directorial point of view, as his most "natural" eye shape. In most of his appearances this would be the standard eye.
MU21 - "The Royal Cousin"
This is the first of two occasions where Tri-Klops is teamed up solely with Evil-Lyn. The two appear to make a good partnership, although Tri-Klops is played as the bumbling sidekick who cannot really think for himself. In this episode Tri-Klops uses both his Distavision, to spot Ram Man hanging on to Jeremy's Sky Sled for dear life, and Gammavision to spy on He-Man and his friends.
MU26 - "Ordeal in the Darklands"
Again teamed-up with Evil-Lyn, Tri-Klops is again played as the sidekick. In this episode though he does not display any of the familiar eye powers we have seen before. This time, in an almost desperate piece of writing, Tri-Klops now has the ability to shoot concussive blasts out of his eyes. First using his triangular eye he fires a beam towards Teela, Mira and Orko, and as Orko flies higher, Tri-Klops fires at him using his square eye. Needless to say this idea was not used again, thankfully.
MU55 - "Eye of the Beholder"
In this appearance, Tri-Klops' square-shaped eye is defined as the one that makes it impossible for anyone to sneak up on him. Also in this brief appearance whenever he turns his head, his visor rotates 360 degrees.
MU88 - Three on a Dare
In the "Diamond Ray of Disappearance" reunion party Tri-Klops gets to shine alongside his old teammates. For the final time we get to see Tri-Klops use his unique power and he activates his Gammavision, enabling him to see the power source of the Basher. However what is not clear in the script is if Tri-Klops' Gammavision actually deactivates the power source, considering we hear him reply to Skeletor, "I'll get it."
Weakness of uniqueness
Tri-Klops also appeared to have one major problem, apart from his lack of appearances; his visor was often the target of his enemies. In "Diamond Ray of Disappearance" Orko decides to spin his visor around thus temporarily making him dizzy. And in "Ordeal in the Darklands" Evil-Lyn knocks Tri-Klops out of his seat causing his visor to once again spin.
MU29 - "Prince Adam No More"
MU72 - The Great Books Mystery
MU78 - Betrayal of Stratos
PP5 - Battle For Bright Moon
Sadly, in all of his other appearances his powers were not used, and any other villain could have performed his screen-filling task. As a consolation prize for being treated so badly, he shows up one final time in She-Ra's "Battle For Bright Moon" episode. Even Evil-Lyn did not get that chance!