On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.
GREATEST MOMENT #11
Queen Marlena hints that she knows her son is He-Man.
"The Rainbow Warrior"
Having been captured by Skeletor, King Randor, Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms, Teela, and Orko are all held captive outside of Snake Mountain. As Skeletor prepares an all-out attack on the Royal Palace, Queen Marlena, piloting the Rainbow Explorer, leads the Royal Guard in a pre-emptive strike against Snake Mountain. Chained, Prince Adam finds himself unable to escape and transform into He-Man. Skeletor is shocked when the Royal Guard unexpectedly attacks, prompting the villain to order his Hover Robots to fight back. The Rainbow Explorer blasts the chains that bind Prince Adam, freeing him. After attempting to free Teela, Adam rushes off to transform into He-Man to aid in the battle. Skeletor's forces are soon overpowered, and King Randor reveals that the talented pilot is, to everyone's surprise, Queen Marlena. Back at the Royal Palace Prince Adam has something on his mind...
As Teela performs the Immelmann turn maneuver high over the skies of the Royal Palace, Prince Adam and Queen Marlena observe the events from their royal pavilion. Having taught Teela the maneuver, Queen Marlena remarks on Teela's proficiency to Prince Adam. However, Adam clearly has other things on his mind and quickly changes the subject, "Uh...mother? I was just wondering..." he awkwardly begins. Marlena turns to him, "Yes, what is it, Adam?" Adam still somewhat floundering with his question tries once again, "Well, I was wondering...When Skeletor had us all chained up--", he then questioningly looks out of the corner of his eye to his mother asking, "--why did you free me instead of one of the others?" Queen Marlena turns away from Adam and looks skyward, "Because you are my son, Adam. I didn't have time to free everyone--" Marlena then looks out of the corner of her eye and knowingly remarks, "--and I had a feeling you would know what to do." Before Prince Adam who is slightly taken aback by this comment can address it, Queen Marlena turns to her son and adds, "Adam -- a mother always knows her own son...and what he is capable of doing." She then turns away from him and looks skyward once more, adding, "I've always been very proud of you, Adam." With nothing else needed to be said, Prince Adam smiles to himself.
Aside from "The Rainbow Warrior" being the standout episode for Queen Marlena, the suggestion and strong implication that she is aware that her son is also He-Man is a groundbreaking moment in the series. After all, we have always been led to believe that only three others share Prince Adam's dual identity. On the other hand, when written correctly, it is obvious that Queen Marlena's awareness is far above those around her. What makes this scene work so wonderfully is that we rarely see Prince Adam praised. In this case, not only is his mother praising him, but she is also implying that she is proud of everything he has accomplished, possibly including his work as the most powerful man in the universe! Filmation's cost cutting techniques also add to this scene. Rather than having a plethora of shots, the dialogue between Queen Marlena and Prince Adam takes place in one single shot, with the only deviation being a camera truck-in towards Adam as he asks the question. By doing this we really get the sense that these are the only two people in this important scene, even though there are other individual nearby, and an entire stadium of people! It also should be mentioned that the voice acting between Linda Gary and John Erwin is perfect. Gary's words are assuring and warm, peppered with the perfect pace, with Erwin's dialogue delivered with the awkwardness that it requires.