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Thread: "The Shaping Staff" - the return of the Official Classic Episode Review Threads!

  1. #1
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    "The Shaping Staff" - the return of the Official Classic Episode Review Threads!

    It's Monday... which means it's time for... another episode review thread.

    This week's episode is "The Shaping Staff", an early episode most notable for the one and only appearance in the cartoon of Faker.

    At the Royal Palace, a mysterious sorceress called Majestra suddenly appears. She performs a trick, putting King Randor into the 'Cabinet of Wonders' and making him disappear and reappear again. Unbeknown to the Royal party, Majestra is really a magically disguised Evil-Lyn, and the magic trick was to replace the real King Randor with Beast Man. Evil-Lyn and Beast Man have found the mystical Shaping Staff, which they use to transform the real King Randor into a goat, and Orko into a cricket. As King Randor, Beast Man plans to give the command to take over Castle Grayskull. Outside Castle Grayskull, Skeletor waits for them, with his latest creation - a magical clone of He-Man called Faker...

    I'd like to hear what you have to say on this episode.
    I'll be posting my own review of it a bit later.
    ~jay firestorm~
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  2. #2
    80s cartoon guru manny's Avatar
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    one of my faves defenitly like to see the greyskull battle at the end and see how valuable the sorceress really is as she to me was the one that turned out to be the hero in this episode, i give it a 8
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  3. #3
    Eternian Henchman motu77's Avatar
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    This was always one of my favorites as a kid. The main reason was for the brief and unspectacular appearance of Faker. I'll give it a 7, would have been a 10 if they got Faker right though.
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  4. #4
    Human... Robot... Maniac Spacedust's Avatar
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    Here's my review...

    "The Shaping Staff" is an enjoyable, quite early episode that is most notable for the only cartoon appearance of Faker. But there's a good story aside from that...

    Things start off with He-Man testing his strength on Man-At-Arms' assault course. This whole scene feels like nothing but padding, and has nothing at all to do with the rest of the episode. I would have preferred to have seen the time used to provide some backing to the appearance of a certain robot impostor later in the episode, instead of Skeletor suddenly conjuring him up out of nowhere.

    When Majestra (alias Evil-Lyn) suddenly appears at the Royal Palace, there is a great use of music, telling us right away that something is not right.

    After all the magic we see on Eternia, it's curious that the Royal party is so startled to see the King disappear, and subsequently reappear. It is to be assumed that they are concerned about the King's sudden disappearance rather than amazement at the actual trick itself.

    This episode is notable for one of the few occasions that we hear Queen Marlena's alternative voice, provided by Erika Scheimer.

    Things roll on nicely through Act 1, with King Randor turned into a goat and Orko into a cricket, and things really get going in Act 2, with Teela turned into a frog, and He-Man turned into a bronze statue.

    Then, mid-Act 2, we get the scene that makes the episode most notable - the appearance of Faker. Here we see him to be a magical creation of Skeletor, not a robot as he was said to be elsewhere. Here he appears as an exact double of He-Man, with eerie glowing eyes and hollow voice.
    The fight between He-Man and Faker is very good, and Faker's fate - falling into the bottomless abyss, is both dramatic and slightly unexpected. I can only imagine that Filmation allowed such a fate as Faker wasn't a "real" being.

    Many fans were disappointed that we never saw more of Faker in the series - he definitely deserved his own story or two.

    One might wonder why Skeletor or Evil-Lyn actually *need* the Shaping Staff, as the magic displayed by both of them during this episode shows that they are already very powerful conjurers without the staff.

    All in all, a very enjoyable episode, with the appearance of Faker an added bonus. I give it a solid 9 out of 10.
    ~jay firestorm~
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/pj-firesto...id=p4340.l2562 FS: MIB first release Classics, MIB 200x, COMPLETE VINTAGE FIGURE SET, 2009 SDCC Art Book, more...

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior Canadian_He-Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedust
    Here's my review...

    "The Shaping Staff" is an enjoyable, quite early episode that is most notable for the only cartoon appearance of Faker. But there's a good story aside from that...

    Things start off with He-Man testing his strength on Man-At-Arms' assault course. This whole scene feels like nothing but padding, and has nothing at all to do with the rest of the episode. I would have preferred to have seen the time used to provide some backing to the appearance of a certain robot impostor later in the episode, instead of Skeletor suddenly conjuring him up out of nowhere.

    When Majestra (alias Evil-Lyn) suddenly appears at the Royal Palace, there is a great use of music, telling us right away that something is not right.

    After all the magic we see on Eternia, it's curious that the Royal party is so startled to see the King disappear, and subsequently reappear. It is to be assumed that they are concerned about the King's sudden disappearance rather than amazement at the actual trick itself.

    This episode is notable for one of the few occasions that we hear Queen Marlena's alternative voice, provided by Erika Scheimer.

    Things roll on nicely through Act 1, with King Randor turned into a goat and Orko into a cricket, and things really get going in Act 2, with Teela turned into a frog, and He-Man turned into a bronze statue.

    Then, mid-Act 2, we get the scene that makes the episode most notable - the appearance of Faker. Here we see him to be a magical creation of Skeletor, not a robot as he was said to be elsewhere. Here he appears as an exact double of He-Man, with eerie glowing eyes and hollow voice.
    The fight between He-Man and Faker is very good, and Faker's fate - falling into the bottomless abyss, is both dramatic and slightly unexpected. I can only imagine that Filmation allowed such a fate as Faker wasn't a "real" being.

    Many fans were disappointed that we never saw more of Faker in the series - he definitely deserved his own story or two.

    One might wonder why Skeletor or Evil-Lyn actually *need* the Shaping Staff, as the magic displayed by both of them during this episode shows that they are already very powerful conjurers without the staff.

    All in all, a very enjoyable episode, with the appearance of Faker an added bonus. I give it a solid 9 out of 10.
    I agree. This was a very, very strong episode for the villians. Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and even Beastman, all came off looking exceptional here. There was a genuine unpredictability to the entire episode. In the back of your mind, you always know that He-Man would win in the end, but when an evil He-Man doppelganger comes out of nowhere, it's dramatic and suprising. The scene of Skeletor appearing standing next to an evil He-Man has a genuine "Oh crap" feel to it (i.e. the good guys are in REAL trouble now). You really did wonder how the heroes would win. The He-Man vs. Faker fight was one of the better one-on-one fights of the show, I felt. He-Man was truly struggling in that one.
    "I'm not just crying for Hordak. I'm crying for the saddest thing I know - a wasted life. To be given that most precious gift - the gift of living, to do with as we choose. I'm crying, because this man has chosen to throw it away, and when he goes, nobody will care..." - She-Ra ( "My Friend, My Enemy")

  6. #6
    Dynasty Masters Universe DynastyMasters's Avatar
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    I copied these from YouTube using the application Grab and Capture on IMAC.

    Last edited by DynastyMasters; August 24, 2010 at 08:47pm.
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  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior Blue's Avatar
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    This is one of my favorite episodes, but I never understood why people thought the faker appearance was of special note. I didn't know who he was in the 80s, and I think concentrating on him detracts from most of the suspense of the story.

    I can see why toy fans would be excited, but he's used in this specific story as a device to trick the Sorceress and give He-Man someone to wrestle, nothing more. That said, I do love the line where Skeletor creates him and exclaims, "Sometimes my power even amazes me!"

    I agree with Spacedust about how the beginning feels like padding, but it's one of the few times where we see He-Man, rather than Adam training, so I can forgive it. It feels like the writers wanted to jump start the episode with action because most action doesn't take place until Ac II. However, the ep is so tightly written, no one really notices.

    This He-Man ep feels like a thriller where the bad guys keep winning up until the last moment. I love it. They're not funny or bumbling idiots, they are real threats who, through magic and a well-thought-out scheme, take over the palace, immobilize He-Man, and trick the Sorceress.

    As a Sorceress fan, this episode is of particular note because she is the first character to turn the tide of events. Although she's lured outside of Grayskull out of concern for He-Man, she is still powerful enough to reverse the effects of the Shaping Staff. This is the first time in the entire episode that the good guys begin to win.

    I love the little telepathy talk between He-Man and the Sorceress because it goes against type. In most episodes, e.g. "The Search," she is the character encouraging He-Man, but here he is the one encouraging her. It really shows a bond between the only two characters (in this series) with the powers of Grayskull and highlights their unique relationship.

    I can keep on praising this episode. I give it a 9.7 out of a 10 with minor points taken away for the distraction that Faker causes to most MOTU fans.
    RIP Andy Conrad.

  8. #8
    Dynasty Masters Universe DynastyMasters's Avatar
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    DYNASTY AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
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  9. #9
    Fire By Night Falconhood's Avatar
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    Watching right now...
    the Queen is from Earth?
    King Randor is a swinger? "I'm sure we'd all like to see your illusions!"
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    "Well it's good to be back on the throne!" snicker!
    Last edited by Falconhood; October 8, 2011 at 06:32am.
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