Pawns of the Game Master is the 61st episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, written by Paul Dini and directed by Steve Clark. The Game Master brings his Cosmic Arena to Eternia to add He-Man to his legion of gladiators, but when he captures Teela and the Power Sword, it's up to Prince Adam to come to the rescue.
The Game Master comes to Eternia in search of new warriors to participate in gladiatorial combat. He dismisses Ram Man as too clumsy and Beast Man as too savage for his purposes, but He-Man piques his interest. The Game Master fakes a distress call and has his servants attack He-Man when he comes to investigate, but He-Man easily defeats them and pointedly tells the Game Master that he isn't interested in becoming a gladiator. The Game Master calls off his servants and lets He-Man go, but sends a winged spy to collect information that he can use against He-Man.
Back at the Royal Palace, Teela is sparring with Man-At-Arms' new Training Robot, which knocks her to the ground and shoots her sword out of her hand. He-Man arrives just in time to take her shield and throw it at the robot, switching it off and making it collapse to the ground. He tells her about his encounter with the Game Master, leading Teela to remark that it would have been terrible if he'd been taken away. The Game Master's spy overhears them confess that they mean a lot to each other, and flies back to the Cosmic Arena to report to its master.
Later, Prince Adam is showing off Stridor to a couple of female courtiers, but the horse goes wild and throws him into the fountain when he tries to activate it. Teela shows up and tells Adam that Stridor only recognizes Man-At-Arms' voice and her own, then encourages Adam to rely on his natural charm rather than showing off to impress people and trying to compete with He-Man. The Game Master then shows up with some servants, who capture Teela and subdue Adam when he tries to fight them. The Game Master takes the Power Sword as a trophy and tells Adam to send He-Man to the Cosmic Arena alone if he ever wants to see Teela again. Orko and Cringer then show up, and the three of them set out in the Wind Raider to rescue Teela on their own.
At the Cosmic Arena, Teela tries to escape from her cell and is recaptured by the Game Master, who intends to add both He-Man and her to his roster of gladiators permanently. Orko arrives soon after with Cringer, who he describes to the Game Master as "one of the fiercest, most savage creatures on this or any other planet." Adam sneaks onto the Game Master's ship and goes looking for Teela while Orko and Cringer have their audience with him, but he gets caught once the Game Master becomes wise to his friends' charade.
Adam and Cringer are taken to the ship's gladiatorial arena, where they are forced to fight Kraggox the Terrible while the Game Master, Teela, and Orko watch. Adam becomes trapped under a slab of stone that Kraggox blasts off the wall, but Orko uses his magic to untie the ropes around his and Teela's wrists and help Adam get free. Teela takes the Power Sword from the Game Master and charges Kraggox, but is hit by his stinger and knocked unconscious. The Game Master delightedly proclaims that the match is the best one he's seen in ages, but Orko drops a tapestry on him and blinds Kraggox with a flash of light, buying Adam and Cringer time to transform into He-Man and Battle Cat. The two of them easily defeat Kraggox, but the Game Master decides to engage He-Man personally. He uses his trident and an exploding discus even after He-Man challenges him to unarmed combat, and when he orders his servants to fight He-Man, they walk out on him. He refuses to accept his loss even as He-Man ties him up with his own trident, and when Teela regains consciousness, she is just as surprised as He-Man is that Adam showed up to help rescue her.
Later, He-Man and Teela are at Castle Grayskull, where the Sorceress tells the Game Master's former servants that they are free to return home now that he is in the palace jail. As the creatures step through her time corridor, He-Man asks Teela whether she would prefer a man like Adam or a man like him. Teela replies that she'd prefer a man with Adam's wit and his courage, but has no idea where she'd find him. He-Man and the Sorceress exchange knowing winks as the episode ends.
Orko tells viewers to not boast when playing games, to be a good winner and a good loser.
- Prince Adam
- Battle Cat
- Ram Man (cameo)
- Stridor (first Filmation appearance)
- Beast Man (cameo)
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