"The Dragon Invasion"
Written By Michael Reaves - Directed By Gwen Wetzler


Synopsis

.....In the wastelands surrounding Snake Mountain, Beast Man and Skeletor are stealing a dragon's eggs for some undisclosed purpose. Skeletor then speaks of the Dragon Pearl, a magical item that Mer-Man foolishly traded to the Lord of Destruction for Eternian silver, making this whole operation possible. Naturally, the mother dragon doesn't share Skeletor's enthusiasm, and immediately attacks the two, chasing Beast Man behind a pile of rocks as he vainly attempts to control the dragon.

Angered by Beast Man's ineptitude, Skeletor takes matters into his own hands and blasts a hole in the walk way the dragon is using, causing the creature to fall down and (presumably) get trapped or knocked out.
.....Once he disposes of the dragon, Skeletor orders Beast Man to get in the Air Cart and get the eggs to Snake Mountain immediately, which makes the bestial warrior openly question Skeletor's ability to order him around. Skeletor replies by brandishing his Havoc Staff, which gets Beast Man moving like a bat out of hell. Once he's gone, Skeletor vaguely brags about the eggs, mentioning their "new home".....
.....Later, at Eternos, the royal family (plus, as always, Cringer, Orko, and Teela) are eating dinner, as Randor asks for Orko to pass the final plate of food, which the magician produces from the "O" on his robe. Orko also pulls out another drumstick for himself, which he basically inhales, leaving the bone (which he tosses aside) and one stuffed little Trollan.
.....Orko declares that he's full, and the king makes a passing comment about being able to eat twice as much if he were two Orkos. Amazingly, Orko is able to produce a "clone" of himself, which immediately dives for the plate. Intrigued, Orko creates two more "clones, which also take a drumstick. Feeling pretty confident of himself, Orko declares that he's probably four times as powerful now, which causes the other three Orkos to give him dirty looks.

An argument quickly breaks out in front of the true Orko, with the three clones essentially pushing him aside until Adam interrupts, and points out that using teamwork is the best answer when things look bad. The four agree, and create a big star for the others to look at.

The star quickly disappears, taking the excess Orkos with it. Then, the entire room shakes, making Orko wonder what's going on, since the trick wasn't supposed to shake the room. However, just outside, an egg has landed in the palace courtyard. The egg hatches, revealing.....a baby dragon. The cute creature quickly grows to full size before the assembled party, and nearly fries everyone.
.....The dragon begins bashing the building with its tail, causing the roof to start to collapse, and Teela takes action, ordering Adam to get the Royal Guard while she leads the king and queen to safety. Naturally, Adam has other ideas, and he, Cringer, and Orko head for a room where he can change into He-Man. While changing, Adam is crushed by some rocks. Thankfully, however, the change saves him.
.....Outside, the dragon is still tearing up the place when Battle Cat arrives on the scene and challenges the beast. This diversion allows He-Man to jump down from a window onto the neck of the dragon. He-Man gets thrown off of the creature's neck, but lands unscathed, despite the fiery breath of the dragon. Teela joins in the battle, firing a laser at the dragon, to little effect, and barely escapes getting destroyed along with the platform she was standing on.
.....Next, Man-At-Arms and Ram Man arrive, and Rammie tries to ram the dragon, but hits a wall instead. The dragon takes another shot at He-Man, who deflects the blast of fire with his sword, and then picks up the creature, tossing across the courtyard, which gives Duncan a chance to stun the creature with a new Stasis Ray he had been working on. Teela asks about how the dragon could have gotten to the palace, to which He-Man surmises that "...Beast Man has the power to control animals, and Skeletor controls Beast Man..."
.....Later, the quiet, foreboding scene at Snake Mountain disguises what is happening inside the evil lair.

.....Skeletor brags about how well his plan is working. Beast Man is naturally quite unimpressed, which causes the Lord of Destruction to ask, "Did you say something?" again, Beast Man backs down, and Skeletor gloats over the growth serum that's making the dragons grow to full size in under a minute. However, Skeletor declares that it's still nothing compared to the Dragon Pearl.....
.....Meanwhile, Teela and Orko are continuing the dragon hunt when Stratos shows up and says that a dragon has shown up in Avion. Teela gives the winged warrior the one second summation of what's going on, just as the three encounter another dragon, which Teela quickly stuns with another one of her father's Stasis Rays.
.....Man-At-Arms and He-Man take care of yet another dragon, this one lurking about a few miles away from Eternos, by luring it into a cave and trapping it with a huge boulder. Duncan notes that this dragon-hunting is tiring, but He-Man replies that their work is not done, as there are more of the creatures in the Mystic Mountains that need to be dealt with.
.....Back at Snake Mountain, Skeletor has summoned Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, and Jitsu. He declares that now is the time to take Grayskull, and, leaving behind Beast Man, the four (plus Panthor) use the Space Portal to get to the front door, where Skeletor asserts that even the Sorceress can't stop the Dragon Pearl before calling for her.


"Sorceress, I will control Castle Grayskull! Stop me, if you dare!!"

The Sorceress appears at one of the windows as Zoar, and assumes her human form as she tells Skeletor to get out of the area as politely as she can, since the Heroic Warriors have enough problems without him trying to get inside Grayskull (for about the ten millionth time). She magically restrains each of them, but Skeletor laughs hysterically and removes the restraints easily, much to the Sorceress' surprise. Skeletor has Evil-Lyn focus her magical energies through the Dragon Pearl, which causes things to only get worse, so she telepathically calls He-Man.


"He-Man, come to Grayskull...."

The Heroic Warriors head off for Grayskull, but not in time to save the Sorceress, as she is drawn into the Dragon Pearl, leaving Skeletor with a free shot at the secrets of Grayskull. As a preventative measure, Skeletor places a protective barrier around the castle, just as He-Man and the others arrive, causing He-Man and Battle Cat to take a header right into the barrier.

Never one to waste a prime opportunity to boast, Skeletor appears before his foes and gleefully declares Grayskull his, with Eternia soon to follow.....


"Grayskull has fallen, He-Man....to me! The Sorceress is my prisoner, and with her power added to the Dragon Pearl, all of Eternia will be mine!! A-heh-heh, heh-heh-heh-hahahahahahaha......"

.....With Skeletor inside Grayskull and the barrier impenetrable, things look hopeless until Orko remembers what Adam said:


"When things look bad, teamwork's the answer."

He-Man then decides that all of the dragons might be able to break through the barrier, which, as Teela points out, requires handling Beast Man first, requiring the Heroic Warriors to find Beast Man.
.....Inside Grayskull, Evil-Lyn asks with skepticism about whether or not the Sorceress will be able to escape, and Skeletor states that he has sent the Dragon Pearl back to Snake Mountain, where the Sorceress is powerless. In addition, the Pearl is draining her power, adding to its own already vast power. When it's done, the Sorceress will be no more.
.....He-Man and Teela later arrive at Snake Mountain in a Wind Raider, and Teela notes that they might be playing into Skeletor's hands as they begin to land, a risk that He-Man says is completely necessary. Once inside, the two find their way to the Skeletor's throne room, and are found by Beast Man who is riding another dragon. This dragon tries to fry He-Man much like the first, and He-Man again deflects the blast, this time searing through a rocky pillar behind Beast Man and his steed, causing it to start to fall as if it were a tree. Beast Man runs from under the impending collision, leaving the dragon, which He-Man saves by jumping on top of it and catching. He throws it in Beast Man's direction when the master of beasts attempts to use the Stasis Ray against Teela, and Beast Man is thrown across the room. Beast Man hurls a smaller boulder at He-Man with all his might, which is deflected by the hero like a mere basketball. He-Man then grabs a claw-like rock and pins Beast Man to the wall, where he's stunned by Teela, using the Stasis Ray. The dragon immediately becomes docile, and He-Man has Teela take the dragon to the others while he goes off to hunt for the baby dragon.
.....Elsewhere, Man-At-Arms, Battle Cat, and Ram Man have gathered the other dragons, who have also become tame, a fact confirmed by Stratos. The three then head to Grayskull, where they later meet Teela and Orko. The dragons fire at the castle, and successfully destroy the magical force field.


"WHAT-!?!"

The five enter Grayskull, setting up a battle royale with Skeletor's men.

Skeletor orders the Evil Warriors into battle, and Jitsu takes on Ram Man, knocking back his slow-witted foe by chopping through a stone table. However, Rammie isn't fazed and quickly rams Jitsu into a wall, knocking him out.
.....As Trap Jaw vainly fires his Lasatron at Stratos, Skeletor senses the tide turning, and flees through the Space Portal, as Teela fires the Stasis Ray at him, missing completely. When he arrives at Snake Mountain, Skeletor gives a slight sign of concern about the others, but is more pleased that he got away, until He-Man appears to face his enemy. Taking the Dragon Pearl with him,

Skeletor runs towards the Blood Falls, and is followed closely by He-Man.


"Heh-heh, heh-heh-haha....I win, He-Man! Your Sorceress is trapped inside the Dragon Pearl!"

Skeletor uses the powers of the Sorceress to grow about twice his normal size, which he uses to grab hold of He-Man's arm with enough strength to get He-Man to drop his sword. However, He-Man creates enough leverage to tip Skeletor over the nearby ledge, leaving the Lord of Destruction hanging by a thread. He-Man saves the villain, flinging him to a lower ledge. Skeletor then chastises He-Man for his act of kindness, reminding He-Man that he'd never save him.


"He-Man, you're a fool! You know I wouldn't have saved you!"

Naturally, He-Man replies by reaffirming his moral caliber.


"I guess I value life more than you do, Skeletor, even yours!"

Unimpressed, Skeletor taunts He-Man with the Dragon Pearl, but drops it into the Blood Falls when the mother dragon surprises him. Still unwilling to accept a total defeat, Skeletor takes some relief in knowing that the Sorceress is lost forever, and calls a War Sled by touching the center of his breastplate, escaping into the night.

The dragon flies down the falls, and returns with the Dragon Pearl, freeing the Sorceress with its breath. After the Sorceress has reverted to her form of Zoar, He-Man thanks the dragon, and the two return to Grayskull.
.....Later, the Heroic Warriors send the dragons back to their mother through a Space Portal, which will also revert them back to their correct form, as that of babies. Teela informs He-Man that Evil-Lyn was in fact able to create a Space Portal of her own, through which she, Trap Jaw, and Jitsu were able to escape through. Orko regrets having let all of the dragons go, as one of them might have made a good pet. 


"You know, one of those baby dragons might have made a nice pet."

Then, one of the baby dragons returns, smothering the little magician with love, as the other heroes get a good laugh.


"Hey, I said, 'might have'! Hey, take it easy! Stop it!"

Moral

"In today's story, Skeletor tried to conquer Eternia by using animals in an evil way. Animals, like all living things, should be treated with kindness and respect. I hope that those of you who have a dog or cat, or maybe even a hamster, remember that, when we have a pet, we also have a responsibility, because they depend on us. But you can be sure of one thing: however much we love them, they return that love, and more. Well, time for me to disappear. Bye!"

Commentary

.....He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, like the studio that produced it, is one of the most unique shows I've ever come across in my life. For one thing, it's a pioneer: it was the first syndicated first-run cartoon series, and one of the first (along with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) to be tied into a toyline. Of course, Filmation made major changes to Mattel's line (which included some development work by noted animation writer Donald F. Glut), and some less radical changes to the writer's bible written by Michael Halperin. In the end, the result of all of this is that He-Man means many things to many people.
....."The Dragon Invasion" comes right when the Filmation series was still establishing itself, so much so that each episode is basically the same plot: "Skeletor uses some magical item/technological device/spell/whatever to try to get into Grayskull, and He-Man stops him". Don't believe me? Take a look at my (quite speculative) episode list: of the seven episodes airing before this one, three focus on Grayskull. "The Curse of the Spellstone" (which was on the old RCA/Columbia Volume I with "The Dragon Invasion") is a Grayskull plot transposed to the Royal Palace, and two others ("Disappearing Act" and "She-Demon of Phantos") are stepping stones in Skeletor's plans to take Castle Grayskull. In fact, "The Dragon Invasion" has the horror of being aired (if I'm right) the very day before the classic anti-drug episode, "A Friend in Need" (and was also produced just before it, as well), so another one of the Grayskull-centered plots can be seen as quite a problem in enjoying the episode.
.....Thankfully, this isn't the case. "The Dragon Invasion" goes for the "easy" target (having Skeletor try to take Grayskull), but does it in an original way. I like how Michael Reaves starts the episode with Skeletor and Beast Man doing (as opposed to talking about) the first step in his plan. In addition, I like how Skeletor chastises Mer-Man (who doesn't even show up in this episode), as not only does it show that Skeletor has the customary villain God-complex, it makes Mer-Man seem that much more separate (and, as a result, more powerful) from the other Evil Warriors. 


"The fool traded it to me for Eternian Silver. He doesn't know it's value, he doesn't know...."

The mother dragon is impressive, too, and its color and design are far better than designs that were used for Granamyr's dragons (including the awful red dragons that were just re-colored from the one in this episode). Green is a good reptile color, and I'm amazed at how well a sort of teal works here.
.....Beast Man is in rare form, as well, and his inability to control the mother dragon is quite realistic, and not something that some live action shows don't even pick up on (partly in fear of clichés, I presume).


"Stop, I command you!"

Even better is the conflict between Beast Man and Skeletor (which is in both the scenes they have together in the episode). For whatever reason, there was a decision made at some point to make Beast Man a boob (or ninny, or nincompoop, or.....well, you get the idea ;)). The earliest episodes had Tri-Klops and Mer-Man as "hired guns" (or bad asses if you will), Trap Jaw as the hapless boob who could be the best if his weapons would fit correctly, and Beast Man and Evil-Lyn as the insurgents (although Beast Man without Evil-Lyn's backbone and intelligence). Here, he's in rare form, although the best moment is the look on his face after Skeletor threatens him with his Havoc Staff.

It's extremely exaggerated, and with the way his hand is, it looks as if he's merely Skeletor's bitch. ;) In fact, the opening scene is all about Skeletor. He kicks the ass of anything that has an ass, and probably would have kicked a few things without asses had he been given the chance. ;)
.....The dinner scene at the palace is fairly standard, but still pretty funny. However, seeing Orko pull stuff out of his chest is just too freaky for me, and I like the little guy.

The "clone" idea is really unique, and funny as hell. It's almost as if Randor was anticipating something like what happened. Also well-placed is the stock animation of Teela folding her arms, which also has an "Orko's done it now" effect, even if it's normally something we'd hear or see from Cringer or Man-At-Arms.

Of course, they're right, and Orko finds himself in deep trouble. The animation is really good as Orko is bug-eyed, while the other three Orkos look as mad as actors in a contract dispute.
.....Adam's interruption is well-timed, an handled OK, but not great. The reason for this was that the show's educational consultant, Don Roberts vetoed the original idea, a food fight between the four Orkos. Roberts' objection, coupled with his suggestion (which ended up enhancing the story) marked an important moment for both the series and the involvement of Roberts. Adam's gestures are nice, too, and I'm surprised they didn't pop up somewhere else (although sick minds could use that footage with Teela superimposed over it).


"Hey guys, hold it!"

Other than the introduction of the moral, there's not a lot wrong with the scene. Orko looks both humorous and ugly (in the early series way for the character) when the room starts to shake.


"That trick wasn't supposed to shake the room."

Explosions and Orko seem to go together well, so it's genuinely funny.
.....The egg's crater looks a bit "wrong" to me. Since the action of it landing is off-screen, I assume in my mind that it landed like a torpedo-which would imply a crater that's more of a thin line, and not a circle. Of course, I'm probably over-analyzing, as another alternative is that Beast Man dropped the egg like a bomb. The dragon inside is certainly cute, and doesn't look like the potential menace that its mother is in appearance. Orko looks just plain wrong as he talks about the baby dragon.


"A baby dragon! Isn't it cute?"

The look on everyone's face as they duck under the window is hilarious, as well.

.....The set-up for Adam's change is really good, as Reaves has Adam doing something positive, instead of looking like a goof-off. The shot of Adam's shadow is great, and a truly interesting variation to the regular change (although having the lightning come from the shadow looks stupid).


"Oh....oh.....I don't think I care for baby dragons......"

It's even more dramatic when Adam is crushed by falling debris and seen only through the shadow.

Gwen Wetzler further injects some unique ideas by having the image of Castle Grayskull appear over the rocks, almost like an apparition.

.....The battle itself is very introductory, which alone explains why the episode was put on Volume I of the video releases. The heroes all get an "introduction" like the one that was sorely missing in "Diamond Ray of Disappearance", particularly Man-At-Arms and Ram Man, who appear from the shadows.

Of course, when I first saw this episode, my first episode of He-Man in almost a decade, this was great (and still is, to some extent). There's nothing so satisfying as seeing old friends for the first time in years, and seeing them at their best. Case in point is Ram Man, who tries to ram the dragon, but misses completely.


"That's the hardest dragon I ever rammed!"

He-Man's throwing of the dragon is funny, as we just see Battle Cat watching it fly through the air, and Man-At-Arms' Stasis Ray is an interesting device (although a bit too convenient) and is uniquely designed in that it looks like a gun, but not entirely. The ending to the scene is a bit strange, as He-Man's guess is a bit too far fetched, even if it's true. The soundtrack is odd, as well, as most scenes like this end with one of the transition animations. It's one of a few signs in these early episodes that Filmation was considering a three-act format, especially since Act 1 really ends almost 12 minutes after the opening title fades out on my tape-far longer than in later episodes.
.....The next scene at Snake Mountain, however, would have made a great scene coming out of the commercial break. As it stands, however, the scene a classic, as Skeletor gets to gloat, and gloat well.


"Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.....I'm so powerful, I even impress myself!"

Beast Man talks some more smack, and Skeletor asks, "Did you says something?" in a manner designed entirely to remind Beast Man and the audience of the earlier confrontation between the two. I'm surprised Skeletor doesn't slap a "I'm Skeletor's bitch" sign on Beast Man's back here, seeing as he's in total control. ;)
.....The scene ends with an animation error that's totally mistimed, as it's Skeletor's breastplate-one of the "bones" are missing-and in the one scene that does a close-up on him in this manner!

.....Stratos shows up next, and it's yet another example of how badly he's used on this show. Personally, I think he should have just appeared on a view screen or something, because all he does is suck up the time that Battle Cat and Man-At-Arms deserve. I do like how Orko is holding onto his hat during the entire scene, saying nothing, and looking like he's pretty annoyed. The dragon they encounter has been going to town.

Somebody's mad because he's had no one to play with, I'd say. ;) The next scene is about as unremarkable as the last one, but the background is really nice.

The palace looks cool in the distance, but the dragon is an idiot! Obviously they don't get The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (as it was called in 1983) in Eternia, as he falls for one of the oldest tricks in the book. The scene is marred by a glaring error, as the rock holding back the creature mysteriously slides down as the dragon's head repeatedly juts out.

.....Another rarity occurs when Skeletor gathers some of his Evil Warriors, and includes Jitsu, in the character's only appearance out of the 130 episodes of He-Man (and 93 eps of She-Ra). He isn't referred to by name, and this is mainly because he was still known as "Chopper", as dictated in the writer's bible. What's odd is that he even appears at this point, as the Jitsu toy was paired against Fisto, who doesn't show up until the next season. And when Jitsu does speak, it's a total no-brainer voice for him: Asian accented English.


"You have trapped the Sorceress in the Dragon Pearl."

While no where near as offensive as the Japanese soldiers in the notorious Bugs Bunny World War II cartoon, "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips", I'm willing to bet the farm that Asian-American groups will protest if this episode, or the toy, is re-released intact. At which point, I shall promptly ask them to buy a clue. ^_^
.....Of course, the most annoying part of this otherwise great scene is the Sorceress' entrance. The Evil Warriors aren't supposed to know that she's Zoar!

Granted, the window she appears at is high up, but Skeletor can see that, and you know that Evil-Lyn would never let something like that avoid her attention. It's just a silly mistake, prodded on by the desire for a dramatic entrance. Later versions of this episode corrected this by having the Sorceress appear out of thin air.

It does remain a mystery as to how the error appeared on the commercial release, and whether or not it was corrected before the original airing.
.....To his credit, Skeletor doesn't seem to care. He's loving life at this point, and the animation of him laughing is excellent.


"Trouble!?! Heh-heh-heh-ha-heh-heh-heh!!! I'll show you trouble, Sorceress!"

He's the star of the episode, and he knows it, too. Skeletor tosses aside the Sorceress' magical force fields like they were barely even there. He doesn't even give the Sorceress the dignity of losing to him, he passes the job off to Evil-Lyn! So, when Skeletor stands inside Grayskull for the first time, his joy is believable, and great to see. The moment is an important one, and handled excellently by Reaves and Wetzler. However, the inside of Grayskull barely resembles the entry area as seen in future episodes, mainly because we actually see the main entry area. But this still doesn't explain why the room looks totally different from future episodes.


"Hehehehehehe.....At last! Castle Grayskull and all it's secrets are mine!"

.....Skeletor's barrier is a major benefit of the Dragon Pearl, and the ability to keep out He-Man would be sorely missed each time afterwards that Skeletor got inside Grayskull. That said, Battle Cat certainly would come to appreciate the difference, as he takes a header into the barrier, proving that Cringer is right-being Battle Cat sucks. Act 1 ends with Skeletor on top, and proud of it. I love the variation on the opening, as Skeletor's image talks trash. However, the fading out of all of the various effects surrounding the castle before the screen fades out is purely sloppy.
.....The teamwork moral comes back with a vengeance after the break as He-Man takes his own advice and decides that teamwork is the answer after all. The ensuing trip to Snake Mountain looks like filler, smells like filler, and is more or less filler, but still entertaining enough. The first shot with Teela and He-Man inside Snake Mountain always pisses me off, though.

Granted, neither one knows much about the Dragon Pearl at this point in the episode (and, in fact, none of the good guys ever do learn a whole lot about it), but it's just aggravating! It's not like the Pearl is a normal fixture at Snake Mountain, you know.
.....The battle with Beast Man has some nice moments to it, such as the (somewhat sloppily animated) sequence with Beast Man throwing the boulder at He-Man. He-Man's pinning Beast Man to the wall looks particularly nice, as it looks very realistic (although He-Man's scabbard is miscolored).

The frozen image of Beast Man is darkly humorous, as well, as he looks like he's about to be hit by a truck, given the look on his face.
.....Another error occurs as the dragons are being herded outside Castle Grayskull.


"But how can the dragons get us into Grayskull?"

Man-At-Arms' eyebrows switch colors at least twice while he turns his head, meaning that the in-betweeners (the people who draw the frames between the "key" frames that the director and animators do first in order to get the scene looking right) screwed up in the coloring process. The moral message about teamwork pops up again, pushing it to near-saturation level.
.....The animation of the barrier being broken down is nice, plus it's extremely colorful. I love the expressions on Evil-Lyn's and Skeletor's faces as they feel the shock waves, as Evil-Lyn has a totally understated look on her face, as if someone had just grabbed her butt or something. Skeletor, on the other hand, looks around, with one frame directly facing the audience with a look of anger. If not for the pacing and tone, it would've been a great time to break down the "third wall" between the characters and audience, as would happen on occasion in the future.
.....The ensuing battle is great, with an excellent soundtrack, but there's simply no excuse for Panthor, Evil-Lyn, Man-At-Arms, Battle Cat, and Orko essentially falling of the face of Eternia for the part of the battle that takes place in Grayskull. However, Jitsu gets a stock animation for his action feature, which looks a lot better than his horrid "walking" stock animation (if you can even call it stock).

Like the other villains introduced up to this point, he gets beaten quite easily by one of the Heroic Warriors (Ram Man, in this instance). Skeletor escapes a bit too quickly, but it's still nicely executed. However, the footage of him emerging from the Space Portal is poorly proportioned against the background as seen previously in the episode. Also, the animation would imply that Skeletor would end up running into the wall.

.....He-Man doesn't fare better, as one of his worst stock animations is used, one of the few where his sword looks completely wrong.


"You've had it, Skeletor!"

The animation of Skeletor grabbing the Dragon Pearl is great, but it seriously puts into question the placement of the Dragon Pearl on that background (which resembles the "mouth" of Snake Mountain a little too much for my tastes, hence the confusion), but the scene is directed so well it's not as noticeable as it could have been.
.....The background at the Blood Falls is one of the best I've seen in the series, and the music works perfectly. Skeletor's use of the Dragon Pearl's power is a bit odd, but it's far better than the Ice Hacker battle that this footage was used to create in "The Dragon's Gift". It's also interesting to note that the sound effect of Skeletor growing in size is Filmation-produced, but most famous as the sound of Zartan emerging from the shadows in various episodes of G.I. Joe. The real highlight is when He-Man reaffirms his morality, as it sums up the characters so well. Skeletor's evil qualities, like the evil qualities of villains in other cartoons, drives He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in a way that no other villain could ever duplicate.


"Well, I value this! Take your last look-you won't see it again!"

He's petty, evil, and arrogant, but yet he's on an equal level with He-Man, primarily because He-Man will never kill him. Of all of He-Man's contemporaries (with the exception of his sister), I don't think that quality exists. Not that it effects my love of the characters any more or less, it's just that He-Man has infallible ethics in many areas, and few writers seem to be willing (or talented enough) to tackle those ethics, or present them in a memorable and realistic manner. Thankfully, Michael Reaves is not one of those writers.
.....Skeletor's "button" on his breastplate is a great idea.

I'm really amazed no one used this as the standard way for Skeletor to summon his War Sled, like the way He-Man whistles when he needs a Sky Sled. Besides, doesn't his breastplate just shout out, "Button"?
.....When the mother dragon goes after the Dragon Pearl, its head bobs in the strangest way.

It looks like she's having sex! *looks around nervously* OK, OK......maybe it's just me, but I still think it looks that way.
.....Some people don't like the ending jokes (or Orko), but I tend to like them-at least the good ones. ;) The joke with the baby dragons is one of those, as it's a fun little illustration of the "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it" maxim. What I don't like about the end of the episode is the moral. Don't get me wrong: talking about the mistreatment of animals is important, and Lou Scheimer (as always) put his all into delivering the moral. But when teamwork is mentioned three times, and is a major factor in the resolution of the plot, it feels a bit cheap. Granted, it was Reaves' original moral, but it would have been better to change the moral to match the script revision suggested by Don Roberts.

Final Verdict

.....As much as it pains me to say it, "The Dragon Invasion" is not a classic. It's highly enjoyable, but the scattered flaws with the animation and the plot take it down a couple of notches from the holy land of He-Man classics. But be warned: that doesn't mean that this episode is a failure. It's a success, on many levels. We get to see Skeletor inside Grayskull for the first time, and we see Jitsu for the first (and last) time. If you want character development, avoid this ep at all costs. If you want some action or a well-directed episode, sit back and enjoy the show.

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