TV Review – Masters of the Universe 200X – Episode 19: “Orko’s Garden”
Original Air Date: 15th March 2003
Writer: Len Uhley
Director: Gary Hartle
In this episode, Orko, desperate to be given something to do while all the other Masters are sent off on their various missions, is tasked with tending to the Palace gardens. Should be harmless enough, right? Following some trademark magical miscues, Orko heeds the advice of Ram-Man and heads off into the Evergreen Forrest in search of the mysterious Moss Man, who should be able to help him bring the plants and flowers back to life. Unfortunately, the first person he stumbles upon is actually the nefarious Evilseed, who tricks Orko into planting corrupted seeds, freeing him from his imprisonment and nearly destroying the Palace in the process.
In what has become a bit of a trend with recent episodes, this latest instalment features the introduction of not one but two new characters in the form of Evilseed and Moss Man. In terms of first impressions, both make quite the impact here. Evilseed is a great addition – a cackling menace out for revenge against humans for “gorging themselves on plants”, and is brought to life courtesy of some top-notch voice work from Don Brown. For me, John Payne’s Moss Man voice is far less impressive, coming across (oddly) like an old timey Texas Sheriff, but his impressive nature control powers speak for themselves, and the MYP team do a great job of bringing these abilities to the screen.
I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two new additions, with the frantic Evilseed contrasting beautifully with the calm, matter-of-fact Moss Man. Personally, I would have liked to find out a little more about the history between Moss Man and Evilseed, as it’s clear that this isn’t exactly the first time they’ve crossed paths, but I suppose you can’t have everything.
Once again we’re leaning heavily into the “hero gets tricked by deceptive villain” trope, with Orko joining Mekanek, Ram-Man, Buzz-Off and Stratos in the ‘being duped’ column. This time however, it isn’t the duped one who eventually saves the day, which I suppose makes a nice change, even if it does make Orko seem like even more of a goof than usual, particularly after his strong showing in “Lessons”, the 7th episode of the series.
I really liked this one. We got two more new and interesting characters introduced, a lot of fun visuals along the way (Evilseed’s hulking vines burrowing beneath the Palace and ensnaring the various Masters is a particular highlight), and a satisfying conclusion that isn’t overshadowed too much by He-Man swooping in to save the day. For an episode that interestingly doesn’t feature Skeletor or a single Evil Warrior, this is a real treat.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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