(Please forgive the double post; I haven't got much time on-line this evening and really wanted to post my review )
"Evilseed" is a deservedly popular first season episode, and is one of my all-time favourite episodes of the classic series.
Things start off a little strangely, with Man-At-Arms suffering hay fever. I think the point they were trying to make was "If you think plants are a nuisance for causing this, you ain't seen nothing from them yet!", but the way it is carried off just makes it seem detached from the rest of the episode. It might have worked better if they referred to it again at the end of the story.
After the alert of the bursting dam, Teela's line "I'd better stay here to guard the Palace" is an uncharacteristic one, as on a number of other occasions, we see her insisting that she go along, even disobeying her father's orders not to do so.
When He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Battle Cat race to the Dam of the Ancients, we get a surprise appearance from a vehicle resembling the toy-version Attak Trak, with its colour scheme reversed, and referred to as the 'Small Trak'. This is the only time it ever appears in the shows run.
As He-Man stops the flood from the dam, he performs one of Filmation's 'silly He-Man feats', as he becomes a human tornado to gather the rocks up and fill the hole in the dam with them. Normally I dislike such far-fetched moments, but in such an enjoyable episode as this, I'm willing to overlook it, as it doesn't affect the overall plot too severely.
When the farmers (who sound suspiciously like Orko) tell of how a hooded man gave them the seeds which grew into the giant vines, naturally we immediately think that it was Skeletor. So it comes as a surprise when we see that Snake Mountain is also over-run by the vines.
The sequence when the hooded Evilseed finally appears, to both He-Man and Skeletor, is great, with great use of spooky music. The moment when he removes his hood to reveal his plant-like face is excellent, and I really like the design of the character. I would really have loved a figure version of Evilseed to have been released.
One of the great things about this episode is the number of cameos we get from both Heroic and Evil Warriors. I like the moment when Skeletor calls Mer-Man on his crystal ball, and we see Mer-Man underwater, struggling with seaweed vines, giving a real sense that the plants are really spreading right across Eternia.
If you asked me about a story where He-Man and Skeletor were forced to work together, I'd initially say that I wouldn't like it, as it somehow diminishes the bitter conflict between them, but here it is presented in a quite credible way, and the dire situation doesn't stop old bone face making several doomed attempts to take over Grayskull.
The element of He-Man and Skeletor working together is almost incidental for my love of this episode. I like it because Evilseed is just such a cool villain.
He-Man throwing the ice ball from the Ice Mountains, and himself, Skeletor and the Sorceress (and Orko) making it explode high above Eternia, causing it to snow, is another far fetched moment, but again, for such an enjoyable episode, I'm willing to overlook it on this occasion.
The animation of Evilseed withering away is excellent. It's a shame we never got to see him in the series again, as I would have loved a sequel of some sort.
Evilseed re-appeared in the Mike Young Productions 2002 series, where he looked a bit different. Although I liked his appearances in that series, I felt that he lacked the memorable, menacing presence that he has in this episode.
All-in-all, an extremely enjoyable, memorable episode, one of the very best of the entire classic series. It definitely makes my Top 10 list, and is fully deserving of its place on the 10 Best DVD (unlike certain other episodes, *cough*“Quest for He-Man”*cough*). A top-scoring 10 out of 10 from me.