Daily Cartoon: He-Man & The Masters of the Universe S01E17: “Roboto’s Gambit”

Hey hey welcome to your Friday cartoon rewatch over here on CarJoeMez! So much good stuff happening as we work through the back 9 of this season and I’m really invested in what’s been going on. If you’re still reading these blogs on Day 17, I’d assume you’re feeling similar so that’s a good thing.

It’s been 17 years since this show debuted which still blows my mind because I very clearly remember being excited that this was coming out and visiting the Toys R Us in Times Square regularly to look for new figures. I was even recording each episode on to VHS as it aired! That may be the most wild thing about this: that I was 20 years old, an adult in the eyes of the law and VHS was still a common enough thing. I’ve gotten old.

But – as excited as I was – there was a clear point when I said, “Ahh fuck this. I’m done with it.” I don’t remember for certain, but it may have been around this episode. As mentioned a few days ago, there was a weird three week gap between Episodes 13 and 14. Do I know why? I do not. But three weeks is totally long enough to break a routine for anyone who was actively watching this show. If you think that’s bad, wait until you see this…

S01E17: Roboto’s Gambit

Original Air Date: March 1, 2003

March 1st!!!!!

It’s been over two months since the last new episode and I sincerely doubt there was any kind of “Fall Finale” gimmick in December to lead to this Spring premiere. No way in fucking hell.

I’m sure the answers are out there. 2002, while already almost two decades ago, was fully engulfed by the internet so I’m sure there are interviews and records of the reasoning behind this. Someone like He-Man.org probably has a full oral history of what went wrong here, but I’m not a historian, just a guy who’s into this shit. I’ll probably look it up for myself later on, but we still have a show to watch before we head to the beach for the weekend.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m sure a lot of people jumped off the bandwagon at this point, if not before. Part of me also thinks there were changes with the timeslot, but that could just be me making shit up to make it sound worst. I don’t know.

OK, let’s just watch this episode and we can get more into things if we need to afterward.

Just off the still screen, you know I’m going to be excited for this since we’re getting a Sy-Klone appearance.

We open with a game of Eternian Chess. Man-E-Faces (with his robot face) is playing against a new invention of Man-At-Arms: a droid named Roboto. Roboto is a character that was introduced in the original toyline, but honestly, I think the show was already winding down and I really don’t think he ever had a role of any consequence in there.

Here, Roboto is built to offer Man-E a real challenge at chess since none of the other Masters are real competition. Roboto defeats Man-E with a move called “Roboto’s Gambit” and Man-E congratulates the droid before running off to join Duncan’s patrol.

At Snake Mountain, Tri-Klops is showing off his new invention: tiny bone-made fighters who are easily destroyed, but multiply once they rebuild themselves. This immediately becomes a problem as during the demonstration for Skeletor, they keeping destroying themselves and multiplying until Tri-Klops finally pulls the plug and swears to fix the glitch.

Teela and Adam are having a sparring session when confronted by the bone warriors. They beat back a few, but that just makes things worse. Sy-Klone comes by in a whirlwind and takes them all out, once again making things worse, but it gives Teela and Adam time to head back to the palace to alert the others Masters – who aren’t there because Man-At-Arms took them on patrol.

Teela summons the Royal Guard as Adam slips out the back to change into He-Man. He-Man rushes to join Sy-Klone at the perimeter while telling Teela to say and guard the palace. Sy-Klone still hasn’t realized that breaking these bone warriors just fucks their shit up even more so the manpower is getting to ridiculous proportions now.

Roboto falls in line with the Royal Guard volunteering for service, but Teela tells him to get the fuck out since he only exists to play chess. He’s gets the boo boo face and heads to Duncan’s workshop to enhance his frame to make himself a warrior. This is pretty much the scrawny kid getting blown off by the hot girl so he starts drinking milk so he can win her affection with his new, rock-hard pecs.

Roboto comes back all tricked-out with weapons after about 8 minutes away and Teela is still telling him to get bent. At this point, the bone soldiers are an absolute fucking swarm. He-Man lures the army into a cave and has Sy-Klone blow a rockslide to bury them in, but Tri-Klops – watching from afar with the controls for his warriors – moves it into the next phase, blowing the cave-in and setting his minions on the palace. At first, he just wanted to impress Skeletor, but now, he’s all, “the fuck I need Skeletor for? I’m killin’ the goddamn game right now!”

He-Man and Sy-Klone are finally getting overpowered and Teela preps the Guard for battle. Roboto, still not welcome, surveys the land and is able to locate Tri-Klops pulling the strings from afar. He immediately relays this info to He-Man and implements his “Roboto Gambit” move from chess to open up a lane for He-Man to walk right up to Tri-Klops and shit in his cereal.

He-Man, obviously makes quick work of the heel and then destroys the control turning all those bone soldiers to dust. Just as He-Man’s is about to take him into custody, though, Skeletor comes flying in like an angry dad, plucks him off the ground and heads back for Snake Mountain with a snarling, “We need to talk, Tri-Klops!”

Teela learns a lesson about being flexible and Tri-Klops gets grounded for not cutting in Skeletor on the action.

PSA: Sy-Klone tells us that sometimes we need to be flexible. OK, pal, we’ll hit that DDP Yoga.

Final Thoughts:

This is actually one of the lower-rated episodes of the season as per IMDB, but I liked it. Sy-Klone got some good screen time and got himself over as a powerful force who can aid He-Man, Roboto was introduced and was perfectly fine in his role and, on the bad guy side of things, the Tri-Klops story of being tired of being disrespected and trying to make a go of this villain thing on his own was great for a day.

I really like that Skeletor’s henchmen have ulterior motives from time to time in this series and distinct personalities. Sure, they’ve always had different character traits and powers, but in the past, they’ve basically all been bumbling fools who never questioned their oaf-ish leader. Here, yes, they’re still fodder for He-Man and the Masters, but there is a different level of seriousness that helps their credibility and, like in today’s episode, gives the appearance that just one of these days they may be actually able to overcome their nemesis.

Sure, it’s probably never going to happen because that’s just not how you write these things, but it made for a pretty fun episode. I’m closing out this week with a smile completely satisfied what the writers gave us this week. Very solid.

Enjoy your weekend and we’ll pick back up on Monday.


Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

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