Welcome back to another cartoon rewatch! We’re coming off a couple of mediocre episodes, but I have faith that things will improve. Why wouldn’t they? What’s the worst that can happen?
Well, I don’t foresee any kind of New Adventures trash mucking up what we having going on here so I think we’ll be OK. So why waste any time? Let’s watch some cartoons and keep pushing our way through this season.
S01E21: Snake Pit
Original Air Date: March 29, 2003
Look at that screen cap! It’s Zodac!
Actually, it’s not. It’s Zodak. Yeah, you’re just going to have to trust me on this. But seeing as how this will be his series debut, I’m sure that gets explained.
We open in the palace prison. Some kind of iguana looking creature sneaks in through the ventilation system and grabs the keys to the cells while the Royal Guards are engaged in a game of Eternian Chess. It passes the keys to prisoner who is kept in the shadows at first. The guards finally hear the rattling of the keys, check out the one, now-empty cell and are attacked from behind by the newly-freed prisoner. We are introduced to Kobra Khan.
Man-At-Arms summons an immediate and urgent manhunt to track down Khan. Shit, they’re really selling him to be dangerous so now I’m definitely intrigued. This is new. Khan heads to Snake Mountain where he rattles off an soliloquy about freeing ancient ones so they can rule Eternia, but he’s cut off almost instantly by Mer-man and Two Bad who take him prisoner and bring him to Skeletor.
Kobra Khan offers to serve Skeletor, but I see right through this charade. He’s just doing this to get into Snake Mountain. Skeletor isn’t as smart as me, though, and welcomes Khan into the fold saying he can use a warrior like him and that his reputation proceeds him.
Back at the palace, Adam, Orko and Man-At-Arms are discussing the Snake Men which Adam always thought was just a myth. Duncan shoots that down quickly and gives him a history lesson about how they were led by King Hiss and ran roughshod over all Eternia using their impenetrable fortress of Snake Mountain as a base. They were only defeated when the Elders teamed up with the cosmic enforcer Zodak to imprison the Snake Men in a bottomless tomb encased in the catacombs of Snake Mountain. Khan will surely be looking to free them and, if that happens, Eternia is in grave danger. Duncan and Adam grab Teela and take off for the Mystic Mountains to find Zodak.
I ain’t gonna lie. I am fucking fired up after hearing all this!
Khan gives Skeletor some information about possible weaknesses in the Eternian Palace so Skelly devises a plan of attack. The ulterior motives of Khan show through, though, as this is all part of his plan to get the villains away from their headquarters so he can be uninterrupted as he tries to free the Snake Men.
Our heroes arrive at Zodak’s lair and inform him of Kobra Khan’s escape and intentions. The cosmic enforcer doesn’t say much, but he does say he will handle this…alone. Despite protests from Adam that he shouldn’t make this a solo mission, Zodak summons his flying chair and heads for Snake Mountain without further word. Man-At-Arms says that despite Zodak’s words, he’s going to need their help.
As the Masters approach Snake Mountain, we get some background on Zodak in the form of a voiceover by Duncan who states that this is a personal mission for Zodak because, according to legend, his brother was killed by the Snake Men in the ancient war. He’s also incredibly powerful with the ability to read his opponents’ weaknesses almost instantly.
Zodak makes his way through Snake Mountain easily dispatching of Skeletor and all his normal goons as he casually strolls through looking for Kobra Khan. Khan, meanwhile, is searching the dungeons for the prison void where his people are being held. He finally comes upon it and his attempt to open the tomb is interrupted by an appearing Zodak. Khan, however, is up to the challenge and spits some kind of acidic venom in Zodak’s face incapacitating him. Snake Men begin to crawl from the void as the Masters arrive on the scene just in time to save Zodak from sure death at the hands of Khan and the newly freed Rattlor who apparently serves as a general in the Snake army.
Adam runs off to find somewhere to do his transformation as a full-on battle breaks out. He-Man arrives in the nick of time and squares of with Khan as Rattlor and a few henchmen snakes. He-Man chases Khan when a sudden energy blast smokes them both sending them crashing into the open void. Skeletor.
Khan is able to grab the edge and pull himself back from the point of no return, but He-Man is not as lucky and is dropped to the bottom where he’s greeted by a gang of hench-snakes who hold him for presentation to…an emerging-from-smoke-and-shadows King Hiss.
Zodak dives into the void to rescue He-Man ordering him to get out while he attends to unfinished business, but He-Man is a team-first guy and says they get out together. Hiss never gets his shot at either of them as they climb their way back from the void. Zodak says they have to reseal the void, but Khan hears this and spits his venom on to the equivalent of what would be a keypad but is really just a place where you stick a magic staff and that makes it open and close. Khan is fired up and exclaims that now nothing can stop the reemergence of King Hiss. Skeletor is standing right there and not happy to hear such hurtful things.
Zodak tries using his cosmic staff to close the void, but because of the venom, it’s not powerful enough. He-Man joins him, using his power sword, and then begins collecting all the freed snakes and locking them back in the void. Rattlor and Khan avoid this fate and are able to escape as does Skeletor once left alone with the Masters.
The day is saved, but only the day as Khan swears that King Hiss will return and Skeletor vows to fight another day.
PSA: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Holy fucking wow!
This was absolutely dynamite. The introduction of all the Snakes was made to be such a big deal and serious threat that I couldn’t help but get anxious while He-Man and Zodak were about to be food for King Hiss and then when they were trying to close the void. I mean, they really sold me on it and it came off great.
Skeletor being a pawn in the plan of Kobra Khan was terrific as well. He’s double-crossed almost immediately and now has to worry about not only the Masters, but of Khan and a now-freed Rattlor being able to re-open the void and freeing the Snake Men.
Same goes for the Masters as they now have a new enemy to worry about even though they have added Zodak to their roster of heroic warriors.
I’m not going to lie, I truly loved this episode. I have vague memories of it, but even today, I was OMG’ing as shit was going down. I would suspect almost a breather episode next before referencing back to the happenings here, but I am really excited to see them pick up this story and bring it forward. Probably my favorite episode of the one’s we’ve watched so far.
And now I’m crazy excited to see what happens tomorrow.