04 October 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #1

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 #1
Teela's mother is revealed to be the Sorceress.
"Teela's Quest"



Teela, wishing to know about her parents, speaks to her adopted father Man-At-Arms. Knowing that her mother is still alive, Teela tells Orko that she will ask the Oracle of the Crystal Sea who her mother is, and promptly leaves for the Crystal Sea, home territory of Mer-Man. After fighting a group of Shadow Beasts Teela finds the Oracle's cave. Just as the Oracle reaches the conclusion of the story Mer-Man appears and captures Teela. He-Man and Battle Cat soon arrive to save Teela, but they are too late, as Mer-Man uses the Crimson Pearl to summon Bakkull. During the battle Zoar swoops down and steals the Crimson Pearl from Mer-Man, resulting in Bakkull turning against him. He-Man rescues Mer-Man, and then manages to push down the ice structure on which Bakkull stands, burying the beast in an avalanche. With the forces of evil defeated, Teela returns to the Oracle...

Teela approaches the Oracle once more, asking, "Oh, Oracle, finish your tale. Tell me of my mother." The Oracle once again appears within the crystal and explains that twenty years ago, having driven off Mer-Man and his allies, the young Man-At-Arms made his way to Zoar the falcon's nest. The Oracle continues, "Inside the nest was a baby girl. It was the Sorceress' young daughter. With the passing of her husband, she had brought the child to the mountain to raise her in peace." In the crystal the Oracle reveals images of Man-At-Arms now cradling the young child, continuing to explain, "But after Mer-Man's attack, the falcon knew that without a real home, the baby would never be truly safe. The young warrior's heart went out to the child, and he promised to care for her all his days." A wide-eyed Teela is stunned as the Oracle reveals, "You are that child, Teela..." Without hesitation Teela replies, "That means my mother is..." Teela's words are cut off as another voice enters the cavern, "The Sorceress of Grayskull." Teela walks up the Sorceress, "Mother?" The Sorceress nods, "Yes, you are my own daughter. And someday you will take my place as the mystic guardian of Grayskull." The Sorceress solemnly explains to her daughter, "But for now, you have other deeds to do, and until that time when your special destiny calls, you must forget what you have learned today." And with that statement, the Sorceress gently touches the forehead of Teela, who instantly forgets everything. As Teela stands with her eyes now closed, as if at peace, the Sorceress with a heavy heart explains, "She will only remember that her mother was a woman who loved her very much."

The most memorable moment in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one of the most celebrated. No doubt many readers of this blog would've predicated this moment as being my choice for first place, but that is simply a testament to the scene and the episode itself, both of which effortlessly transcend the series they were written for. The relationship between the Sorceress and her daughter Teela is what makes the story absolutely unforgettable; their meeting proving to be one the most dramatically beautiful scenes in the series. The idea that Teela and the Sorceress are connected was established in the some of the earliest written material for Masters of the Universe. In the fantastic DC-produced minicomics it was revealed that Teela was a clone of the Sorceress. Whilst that particular idea works perfectly within the context of the canon (and ties nicely into the design of the Teela action figure), Filmation decided to have the Sorceress revealed to be Teela's mother in their canon. Thus when Teela finally comes face to face with her mother, the end result is an incredibly heartbreaking story of love and sacrifice. When the Sorceress removes the memory of the most important day of Teela's life, we know that it must have been a horribly difficult act for the Sorceress to perform. After all, in revealing herself to Teela, she must have briefly wondered what kind of life they could've shared together as mother and daughter. When a tear rolls down the cheek of the Sorceress we realize for the first time the unbelievable sacrifices she has made in her role as the guardian of Castle Grayskull. She has given up her family, her daughter, and, as is revealed in "Origin of the Sorceress", we learn that she has had to give up her life as a mortal human being. The Sorceress loves her daughter passionately, but cannot tell her the truth, while Teela wanders desperately, living in mystery, wondering why she has no memory of her mother. The scene is beautifully executed by those involved. Linda Gary's performance as both Teela and the Sorceress is fantastic, once more showcasing how talented she was. The Sorceress' dialogue is laced with both strength and sadness, an incredibly tough ask for any voice actor or actress. Marsh Lamore directs the scene in a rather straightforward manner, wonderfully letting the dialogue dominate the scene, with a few close-ups utilized to beautiful effect. Paul Dini may have long since denounced his work on this series, but "Teela's Quest" is a timeless jewel. Even though a few episodes have proven themselves better than this one, there is no doubt that this heartbreaking story is the one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that everyone remembers. This scene, above all others, will live in our hearts when the series has long since faded from our minds.

4 comments:

Kevin Martinell said...

Excellent synopsis and perspective, James! For me, I would have chosen He-Man carrying Teela off into the sunset, from "The Problem with Power," as the #1 spot in that it involves two of the main characters of the series, plus it was sad that the Sorceress caused Teela to lose her memory after the brief moment of her finding out that the Sorceress is her mother ... One could only imagine Teela's reaction and how she would go through the remainder of the series had the revelation of her mother not been erased! Teela does not even have much time to react to finding out who her mother is, but in that perspective, it was very well directed, and we do see a wide-eyed, surprised looking Teela. It still is a very powerful and touching scene and definitely deserves to be in the top five greatest moments, IMO. :) Thanks for reading and God Bless! ~"KevyGuy" :)

Lee Clevenger said...

Beautifully written, James!

RastaSaiyaman said...

That indeed was the most powerful moment of the series, Man-at-arms seeing Teela and becoming the father she needed.

But also the Sorceress, knowing that because of her duty she has to give up being a mother to her own child.

AB said...

Good choice.

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