Note to Readers: The following will contain spoilers and critiques of the first episode of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Spoilers heaped upon the dead bodies of other spoilers, feasted upon by spoiler crows. Then the uneaten spoilers rise up as zombie spoilers, and wander off to spoil anew. And offshore there are snarks in the waters. Lots of snarks. So consider yourself warned! If you don’t like spoilers, just breeze on down to the comments. I won’t mind. Beware the spoilers on the way though. If you don’t like snark, what in the tubes are you doing here??
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Episode 1: The Power of Grayskull (part 2 of 2)
SCENE: Outside of Castle Grayskull. The heroic forces of Eternos are arriving on scene, but it must have been after awhile. The fireworks at the palace were not actually seen on the horizon from where the Castle is, they just made the horizon glow a bit, so we’ve got to be talking about a pretty long distance between the Palace and Grayskull, right? But the Forces of Good move at the speed of Plot, so here we are.
Teela is seen charging towards the Castle, flanked by two of the heroic allies of the Forces of Good: Fisto, so named because his right hand is enormous and mechanical; and Clamp Champ, an African-Eternian hero who uses a forearm mounted clamping device to crush robots, but only entrap living enemies to make the censors happy. Anyhoo, Fisto punches some generic villain-soldier with his giant metal fist, and Clamp Champ crushes an evil looking robot, then the camera remembers that the story isn’t about these two guys.
The battle is intense, with flashes of other familiar villainous figures like Tri-Klops, Trap-Jaw, and Beast Man. Duncan defeats the first two, then He-Man swoops in and rescues him from Beast Man’s attack.
DUNCAN: “Thanks for saving my bacon, He-Man. I don’t see any of Skeletor’s other significant minions around here, just the army of generic nobodies. So I’ll go inside where the heavier hitters probably are, while you stay out here and take out the trash.”
HE-MAN: “You are a master strategist, Duncan.”
Duncan heads inside the Castle with Teela on his heels. He-Man looks at the massed army of evil, smiles, then punches the ground, and a wave of force causes the ground to ripple as if He-Man had dropped a stone into a pond, knocking all the bad guys down and probably most of the good guys too? Wasn’t there a whole army of Palace soldiers too, and some Heroic allies? Maybe they all practice surfing the ground when He-Man punches it just for occasions like this.
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SCENE: The Great Hall inside of Castle Grayskull. The Sorceress is behind a shimmering wall of energy, and before her Faker is punching the wall repeatedly with great force and mechanical endurance. Sounds akin to thunderclaps echo off the walls as Faker relentlessly assaults the Sorceress’ protective barrier. The Sorceress is straining to maintain the field under Faker’s relentless attack. Suddenly, a laser beam comes from behind Faker and slices him almost perfectly in half! The two halves of the robot drop to the floor, revealing Man-At-Arms, who then cuts power to his weapon. Teela arrives behind him and sees two palace guards trying to restrain a robotic horse, no longer having the coloration of Stridor, but now a darker, somehow more evil-looking creation; Night Mare, a robotic steed of Skeletor’s, because whatever He-Man has, Skeletor wants.
Man-at-Arms approaches a grateful, weary-looking Sorceress, but he is blasted by a bolt of magic from one side, and gets knocked into a wall. Evil-Lyn drops a spell of invisibility and fires an even more intense blast towards the stricken Duncan. The ray of energy lances across the hall, but is halted by an unseen force. Then, Orko appears from his own spell of invisibility, and he generates his own beam in response, which pushes back against Evil-Lyn’s! Wow, maybe Orko isn’t a giant putz in this serie– no, wait, he was only able to hold off her blast for a few seconds before Evil-Lyn’s magic prevails. His efforts seemed to weaken the energy of her attack, because it simply knocks him to the floor, dazed. Well, ‘A’ for effort little guy.
Teela breaks away from Night Mare to attack Evil-Lyn, and Teela makes pretty short work of it, kicking the witch into a wall, where she collapses unconscious. Duncan then saves Teela from an attack by the sinister horse-bot.
DUNCAN: “Go find Skeletor. I’ll handle this nightmare.” (Actual line.)
KEVIN SMITH: Tee Hee Hee HEE!”
TEELA: “You are a master strategist, Dad.”
Teela descends a staircase in the floor of the grand chamber.
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SCENE: Teela is walking slowly down a spiral staircase on the wall of a vast cylindrical room. The walls are covered in blooming flowers and lush vegetation, which spreads down several levels to the floor towards the center of the room. In the center where the stone floor is bare, a stone and metal pyramid sits, with a beam of bluish light emanating from the top and extending upwards out of the room. Each of the pyramid’s three sides has the image of the “H” on He-Man’s harness.
As Teela descends, Skeletor steps out from some kind of hiding place and strikes her with his Havok Staff! She is knocked off the stairs and falls several feet to the floor, sliding to a stop up against the pyramid. Skeletor teleports to the floor, makes a sexist comment about Teela being ‘just a cheerleader’ (casual sexism is expected out of someone who’s pure evil, right?), and aims the Havok Staff at her, its ram’s head crackling with dark energy.
Just as the energy in the staff reaches its most dramatic level, He-Man and Battle Cat drop down to the floor, interposing themselves between Skeletor and Teela! Woo hoo! With one swipe of his mighty paw, Battle Cat slaps Skeletor across the room and into the foliage on one wall! Noice!
TEELA: “So He-Man, is this like the Castle’s conservatory? Or does the Sorceress like to garden in her off time?”
HE-MAN: “This is the Heart of the Castle. The source of all the magic in Eternia is in that pyramid.”
SKELETOR: “And we wants it! Ahem, I mean, uh, and it’s going to be all mine!”
Skeletor emerges from the thicket and launches a huge ball of fire at He-Man and Battle Cat, but He-Man uses the power of … I don’t know, Goodness or something, to shrug it off. Battle Cat charges at Skeletor, but a bolt of lightning takes him out as Evil-Lyn appears by Skeletor’s side. Now that the sides are even, the girls pair off and the boys can tussle. Teela and Evil-Lyn fight but it’s pretty much a stalemate. Likewise, Skeletor attacks He-Man in a myriad of ways: bolts of dark energy at range, striking at him through a portal that makes his arms and fist gigantic, turning the ferrule of the Havok Staff into a spear, and so on. He-Man thwarts each attack and Skeletor protects himself from He-Man’s counters.
Then, Skeletor fires a massive lance of power directly at He-Man, who dodges. But the lance strikes the pyramid behind He-Man and deflects off of it at an angle, somehow hitting He-Man in … the side? The geometry of this would make no sense if a person were to think about it, but fortunately none of the fans of this show as kids would ever grow up to be good at math– oh. Shit.
Well anyway, the blast blindsides He-Man, propelling him into the dense foliage and jarring the Sword of Power from his grip! The Sword tumbles through the air and, abiding by the Laws of Drama, lands point-down in the floor. Teela turns to look at where He-Man fell and Evil-Lyn strikes her to the floor with her own weapon.
Skeletor moves towards the sword of Power, but before he can grab it a tangle of thick vines envelops him, pushing him away from the Sword until he is pressed up against one face of the pyramid. The vegetation continues to grow and assume a large humanoid shape — Moss Man, the embodiment of pristine nature on Eternia!
MOSS MAN: “Skeletor, you defile this place! I bid thee Gee Tee Eff Oh!”
SKELETOR: “Twigga, please.”
A tremendous gout of flame erupts from the Havok Staff, instantly igniting Moss Man! Well, immolating is probably a better word. Or incinerating. Skeletor just friggin’ one-shots the guy. Moss Man screams in agony as his form is consumed by the fire. He-Man, emerging from the foliage, can only gape as Moss Man is reduced to a skeletal form within the fire before that too crumbles into a fine black powder.
FANS: “What the Fu-?!”
Skeletor makes a few plant-related quips as he brushes crumbling vegetation from his shoulders, clearly using his Taunt Hero attack. It’s super effective! He-Man roars in rage and charges at Skeletor with the Sword of Power. Skeletor holds his ground, and He-Man plunges the Sword of Power into the villain, pinning Skeletor through his torso to the pyramid behind him!
Skeletor is struck! Coughing and in obvious great pain, he manages to yet speak.
SKELETOR: “Well, running me through wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it to happen, but nevertheless you’ve unlocked the pyramid with your Sword, the way the Elders designed it to! Though why they couldn’t have just make a key for it, gasp, cough…”
He-Man backs away, withdrawing the Sword, which is covered in Skeletor’s purple blood (?), and Skeletor falls to the ground, revealing a slot in the face of the pyramid behind him. The pyramid’s sides open as if on hinges in the floor, but the process is slow, allowing the dying Skeletor to narrate that the Elders had all this great power and decided to turn it into an orb that would be the source of all Eternian magic, which they put in the Hall of Wisdom for safe keeping. Then to protect the Orb they created an illusion of a grim old decrepit castle, Castle Grayskull, to cover the existing building! So the secret is that Castle Grayskull was really the Hall of Wisdom all along!
Um. Somehow, nobody who worked in the Hall of Wisdom or even lived near it wondered why it had gotten demolished and a huge grim castle that looked as if it had been there for centuries showed up the next day. It’s like if Randor decided to hide his crown in the floor under his throne and then had a rickety outhouse built around it in a single day to fool trespassers. Maybe they did it over a long weekend? I don’t know, Skeletor doesn’t have time to get into details with his guts spilling out.
Meanwhile, from outside the familiar image of Castle Grayskull fades away, revealing a brighter, grand structure that sort of looks like what you’d get if you built Notre Dame cathedral out of Skittles. Everyone outside is dumbfounded.
Back inside, his narrative done, Skeletor attempts to claim the orb of ultimate power by smashing it with his Havok Staff. That’s how Skeletor claims things, you know; by smashing them. He’s never eaten a cookie in his entire life, but he’s eaten a mountain of cookie crumbs.
The orb fractures at the point of impact, but then the scene freezes! Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are immobile, held in position, while He-Man and Teela look on in confusion. A ghostly image of the Sorceress appears over the Orb.
SORCERESS: “I have tried to stop time so we can tell the viewers what the hell’s going on, but I can only slow it down, and I cannot keep this up for long. Long story short: Skeletor’s an idiot. When the Orb shatters, the explosion will release all of the energy that created the universe at once, which will be enough to destroy the universe. Did I mention Skeletor’s an idiot? Because he is.”
TEELA: “So why did you stop time just to tell us we’re all going to die?”
The Sorceress gazes fondly at Teela.
SORCERESS: “So I could see you once last time.”
TEELA: “What? Are you coming on to me?”
HE-MAN: “Say, what if I call upon the Power of Grayskull while in this form, and then use the Sword to channel the power of the Orb to somewhere that’s, like, not in the universe?”
TEELA: “What do you mean ‘this form’?”
Teela’s queries are ignored.
SORCERESS: ” … Call upon the Power.”
SORCERESS: “The Power that you already have right now, because you’re He-Man right now.”
HE-MAN: “Well, yes!”
SORCERESS: “But you Already Have the Power right now, ya doof. You think you’ll get a second dose?”
HE-MAN: “Oh. Well if I have the Power right now, what does the Orb have? Shouldn’t it be, like, empty? And do you really want to end the whole show in the first episode?”
SORCERESS: “Hm, good points. Okay, we’ll say that your plan will work. But the Laws of Drama require me to inform you that you must make The Ultimate Sacrifice to actually pull it off.”
HE-MAN: “Well this is a pretty dramatic moment, so okay.”
TEELA: “Wait, you’ll die if you do this He-Man!”
HE-MAN: “Uh, yeah. Welcome to the conversation.”
SORCERESS: “No time to argue, my spell is expiring!”
The spell ends, and time begins to flow normally. Glowing cracks spread over the surface of the Orb, and energy swells from within it! He-Man raises the Sword of Power!
HE-MAN: “By the Power of Grayskull!”
Boy, Adam should take lessons. Energy dives from the heavens and once again engulfs He-Man just as the Orb shatters! The energy from above focuses on the Sword, and so too does the energy from the Orb. He-Man strains valiantly to remain standing, maintaining his grip on the Sword now with both hands as he is buffeted by unfathomable forces. The Sword of Power begins to glow white-hot in He-Man’s hands as energy courses into it!
Then, the Sword of Power splits in half along the length of the blade, and He-Man throws his arms wide, each hand holding one half of the Sword. Between the blades and over his head, intense power begins to coalesce. The Power of Grayskull flows into this region of energy, leaving He-Man and reverting him back into Prince Adam, still holding the two swords! Battle-Cat is likewise reverted into Cringer. Somewhere along the way, Duncan and a couple of royal guards have entered the chamber and can only watch, somehow without freaking the hell out.
Teela sees the two transformations and is shocked to see Adam holding the two swords, which each alter shape slightly to become complete and different swords; one light, one dark. Skeletor turns and also sees Prince Adam!
SKELETOR: “What? Some punk kid was allowed to have all the power in the universe and I wasn’t?! Skeletor want power! GIMMEE!!”
Skeletor reaches for the Swords, but can only reach one of Adam’s wrists. Time slows dramatically and Adam casts one last look at Teela over his shoulder before…
A cataclysmic explosion takes place, but the force of it is directed up through the Hall of Wisdom and into the heavens, clearing the clouds from the sky but otherwise missing the entire universe apparently. Eternia, and the entire universe, is saved!
Inside the Heart of Graysk- uh, The Hall of Wisdom, Teela, Cringer, and Evil-Lyn have survived intact and unharmed, but Adam and Skeletor are nowhere to be found. A scorch mark on the floor indicates where they were, and the skull-head of Skeletor’s Havok Staff lies nearby. Evil-Lyn picks up the skull in shock, looks warily at Teela, then melts away into invisibility.
Teela hardly notices. Her gaze is focused on the floor where Adam was. Her stricken expression remains on the screen as the background changes around her…
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SCENE: The Royal Palace. Teela looks up as Duncan is making a sad report to the King and Queen.
DUNCAN: “Your Majesties, I regret to inform you that while the battle was won, He-Man … was lost.”
Queen Marlena bursts into tears at the news, while Randor comforts her.
RANDOR: “We mourn his loss, but he earned his eternal reward. Grayskull has lost her Champion.”
MARLENA: “Randor, we’ve lost our son!”
Randor is taken aback by this, and looks to Duncan for an explanation. Duncan regretfully confirms that Adam and He-Man were really one and the same. Randor is outraged that his most trusted subject would keep such information from him, and Duncan claims he was doing it at the Prince’s orders. Which is bullshit, because canonically the Sorceress was really the one who said they needed to keep the circle small. Duncan displays no small amount of cowardice here by trying to shift the blame to Adam. Randor remains outraged, strips Duncan of all titles, and banishes him from the kingdom, threatening to have him executed should he ever return. At least Duncan accepts this pronouncement humbly. But that was still a bitch move before, man. Ugh.
Randor commands Teela to remove the traitor Duncan from the Palace. Teela casts her sword on the floor, shocking everyone present.
TEELA: “No. I know your Royal Highnesses are in shock over the sudden loss of your only child, I know the line of succession is ended, and I see that your most loyal subject is basically guilty of treason, but what really matters here is that people I like kept a secret from me! From me!! And that includes Adam, for whom I’m still grieving so I’m totally conflicted about that right now! But whatever! The rest of you are jerk faces though! I’m freaking outta here!”
… O-kay… How long was Teela a soldier again? How did she ascend to the pinnacle of her profession without learning about the need for classified information? Are the guards under her command allowed to draw detailed maps of the Palace for any wandering yahoo who asks for one? These questions are not answered as Teela storms out of the audience chamber, aiming for Righteous Indignation but actually stomping right into a big steaming pile of Petulant Brat, which splatters all over her. Yuck!
The episode concludes with an exterior shot of the Palace. The common folk are gathered, excitedly spreading the news that Skeletor is dead. Teela is in no mood to celebrate, and she casts one final glance at the Palace over her shoulder before disappearing into the crowd.