On He-Man's 35th anniversary, let's review Skeletor’s 11 most morbidly hilarious episodes

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Sep 4, 2018, 12:45 PM EDT

Skeletor is not the villain he thinks he is. He-Man's ultimate nemesis, who swears he will someday have power over Castle Grayskull and all its secrets, is actually a coward who crumbles at the slightest threat from the man he calls "that muscle-bound moron."

You can't help but laugh in the face of someone who thinks he's the master of all evil who can't even think ahead enough to realize that the hero he wants to conquer can smash any wall or prison he can conjure from his staff. Of course, it's never his fault. Nothing that wrecks Skelly's plans is ever his own fault, because he can always blame it on Beastman and Trap-Jaw. It's just that much more convenient when one of your henchmen has ears full of fur and the other a mouth full of metal.

Skeletor isn't just hypersensitive when it comes to who gets to rule Castle Grayskull. If anyone so much hints at usurping his Snake Mountain throne some day, that really grinds his bones. Clawful should consider himself warned against plotting anything before he gets thrown back into the ocean and possibly into someone's lobster cage.

This might be the only chance you get to mock the master of all evil from here to Eternia.


Rainbow Warrior (S2, E20)

Never state the obvious to Skeletor, like how many times he failed to conquer Castle Grayskull. Everyone knows it's really seven times (or at least his henchmen do). Try actually saying that while staring into his empty eye holes and you're going to get whacked upside the head and called something along the lines of a flea-bitten furbrain (at least if you're Beastman). The nature of Trap-Jaw's head means he's going to get a fist banged against it to prove it's hollow. Don't you understand that the first time Skeletor tried to crush He-Man and get his skeletal grip on Castle Grayskull, it was just practice?

The ultimate insult is when he finally gets a chance to face off against He-Man mano a mano, Skelly just sets off his jetpacks and blasts off with fumes of cowardice.


The Great Books Mystery (S2, E7)

Poor Beastman. He has some dregs of logic somewhere in his mostly deficient gray matter, but Skeletor, who has no gray matter and always manages to make that glaringly obvious, is always calling him a fur-for-brains. There's a reason Beastman looks up to Batros. He didn't waste his time on gold and jewels when there were invaluable books to steal from the Library of Eternia. Unfortunately, Batros doesn't think half as much of Beastman, and when he drags him back to Skeletor, his master suggests a leash. What Skelly doesn't realize is that Batros pretty much thinks the same of him.

Batros wants to keep his claws on the books for power, but all of Eternia knows that Skelly would do anything to keep that power to himself, so He-Man hardly could have figured out the so-called genius next move of his nemesis with his eyes closed. Skelly is just too easy to read.


Evil-Lyn’s Plot (S1, E12)

Evil-Lyn herself confronts Skeletor for overreacting to Beastman and Trap-Jaw's nonexistent brains (no surprise there), but how can he act when he's surrounded by such fools? Obviously no better if even a bunch of Widgets can figure out how to reduce him to bone dust. His skull is too empty to realize the only reason they go to the volcano to get their precious corodite back is to lure Skeletor to where they can melt him. Skelly deludes himself into thinking it's the corodite that will melt into an upgraded breast plate for his ribcage — until He-Man shakes him like the bag of bones he is.


The Problem With Power (S2, E45)

When Skeletor requires what he calls "intelligent assistance," the one thing he gets right is that he has to look beyond Snake Mountain. What doesn't quite get through his skull is that he can't rely on himself any more than the furball or metal-mouth at his disposal. He actually thinks he can succeed at turning He-Man against himself. Insert maniacal laugh here.

What exactly is this brilliant plan that Skeletor is plotting in the empty space where there may have once been some semblance of a brain? He turns himself and his hench-goblin Tataran into humans and tries to carry out a plan so pitiful even Orko calls him a creep. After he's busted, he takes way too many cheap shots at He-Man. You can't assume you’re going to imprison the strongest man in the universe behind a wall when that all-smashing fist can turn it to dust two seconds later.


Things That Go Bump in the Night (S2, E22)

Skeletor proves that he's not just a coward himself but also a coward magnet. When runaway teen prince Glitch follows him to his decrepit castle thinking he's in for some epic adventure, he realizes too late that he should have never listened to a talking skeleton to begin with. Of course, the natural response from Skeletor, watching with glee from his viewing glass as Glitch is attacked by a tentacled mutant flower, is "once a coward, always a coward." Does this villain ever look in the mirror without putting his hood down first?

The crowning glory of this episode is when a gargantuan falling stalactite shuts up Skeletor's whining before He-Man points to the already rattled bag of bones and tells Glitch to take a look at a real coward.


Colossor Awakes (S1, E14)

"You better be twice as clever or I’ll make a rug out of you!"

Sure, Beastman might have fur permanently stuck in his cerebral cortex, but what was that about being twice as clever as He-Man, Skelly? This is coming from the villain who conjures statues that randomly crash into walls and doesn't watch for falling pottery and awakes the gargantuan stone being Colossor only to have him smashed by He-Man's fist five minutes later. That’s still nothing compared to the realization that He-Man can actually think, which actually comes to Beastman before his boss even considers it. Prepare for a ghoulish temper tantrum.


Reign of the Monster (S1, E16)

When Skeletor gets his bony hands on a weapon a powerful as the Staff of Avion, you'd think he would use it to do more than continuously set off fireworks. Intoning "Powers of darkness, hear me!" doesn't exactly make him look that much more powerful. It looks like he's casting a spell over Pepto Bismol when he's supposedly trying to free the monster Molcrum from his crystal prison, and duplicates Stratos into a humanoid puppet-army that is really only useful for firing pew-pew-pew shots at his nemesis like some sort of twisted video game. Then he has the nerve to call the humans foolish mortals.

Also, how many times does Skelly have to put stone walls in front of He-Man for the most powerful man in the universe to punch his way through them?


Evilseed (S1, E25)

Sometimes you've got to feel for Skeletor, because when weird things happen, he's always the first culprit (sarcasm was oozing here just now). When you're He-Man, of course you're going to suspect the bony bad boy when invasive alien vines suddenly choke Eternia... until you realize that Snake Mountain is so overrun that even Evil Lyn can't obliterate them. With Merman and Trap-Jaw literally tied up, the bonehead is left to hopelessly watch and whine as the chlorophyll pumps through Evilseed's veins as he threatens to overgrow Snake Mountain. Skeletor whining is prime schadenfreude.

Ironically, the only way Skelly can reclaim his lair is to join forces with He-Man and Sorceress to make Evilseed wilt. Karma.


Like Father, Like Daughter (S1, E13)

When do you stop mass-producing a horde of robot serpentoids? Maybe when all those supposedly fearsome metal dragons keep getting crushed into tinfoil by He-Man and his friends. What really burns Skeletor is that He-Man is obviously having fun with these things, asking one if it wants to dance before smashing it to the ground and throwing a massive rock at the "unstoppable army" like he's bowling a strike. The lack of gray matter is so obvious here, but it's Beastman and Trap-Jaw who can't do anything right. Always Beastman and Trap-Jaw.

Bonus: you get a closeup of Skelly's Instagram-worthy stiletto nails.


He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special

As if Skeletor didn't have enough issues, now he's butting heads with Hordak right when Horde Prime is on the verge of vaporizing them both. Then he has an even bigger foe to contend with: the Christmas spirit.

The holidays and Skeletor go together about as well as anything goes with Skeletor, which is to say horribly. The last thing macho Skelly wants to be stuck with while he's trying to figure out how to eliminate all this peace on Eternia and goodwill towards men (and creatures humanoid or otherwise) is a pair of displaced Earth children freezing in the snow. Suddenly he finds himself magicking coats for them out of thin air and even carrying a lost Manchine puppy, all the while muttering "I am not nice." There is nothing more hilarious than an evil overlord who slowly breaks down into something that could actually pass as kindness.


Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere (S2, E55)

What could possibly be more wonderfully horrible than Skeletor? An army of mini-Skeletors, or Skeletoids, which spawned from a mishap with Man-at-Arms' duplicator and laugh like Beavis and Butt-head. As you would probably expect, they run wild around Snake Mountain, arguing over who is going to be the next walking action figure to usurp Castle Grayskull.

Because the swarm of skele-gremlins shooting lightning from their staffs and cackling mercilessly isn't enough, Skeletor thinks this is his most groundbreaking accomplishment ever and keeps magicking more and more Skeletoids to show off to He-Man as if he really is capable of taking over Eternia overnight with an army of insectile clones. What Skelly doesn't realize is that He-Man can play that game. Just revel in Skeletor's despair when his greatest rival in the cosmos dupes himself to destroy the machine — and every last Skeletoid.