Revelations Rewrites, Part 3
Note to Readers: The following will contain spoilers and critiques of the second episode of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Like, a whole lot of spoilers. I’m not even kidding here. Spoilers of all sizes and colors, for low, low prices! Some of the spoilers are mixed lovingly with snark. Some spoilers are mixed hatefully with snark if that’s your jam, and I’m totally not judging you right now. Much. Considering I spent over 5,000 words on the first episode, I suppose I should warn you that this will probably be a long read split up into two parts, which goes to show how invested I apparently am in a cartoon. Hey, are you judging me now?!
That’s okay, I am too.
If you don’t like spoilers, just scroll on down to the comments. I won’t mind. Watch out for the spoilers on the way though. If you don’t like snark, what are you doing here? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore!
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Episode 2: Poisoned Chalice
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SCENE: Inside a wooden building, facing a closed door. It is daytime; the walls have several gaps in them allowing daylight to dimly illuminate the interior. The door opens, revealing two cloaked figures, wearing identical masks covering their entire faces.
The building seems to enclose a small tunnel opening, leading downward to a larger chamber. At the end of this larger room opposite the tunnel large bags are heaped against the wall, mixed with unidentifiable refuse. The floor is covered in grime, and insects can be seen flying around the trash. The ceiling here is somewhat open, as a network of wines supports a patchwork canopy of hanging mosses. One of the figures complains that, despite using “full filtration,” there is a strong stench in the air.
The other figure says nothing, but looks at some sort of device with a blinking point of light on the screen directly ahead. This figure looks at the first, silently. The first figure makes an exasperated sound and begins digging into the pile of garbage.
FIGURE 1: “Ugh, this smell is so gross! It’s like if you took all the pig farts in Eternia and put them into a single egg, and then you let that egg sit in the sun for a month!”
The second figure remains silent, looking around the room.
FIGURE 1: “Yuck, have I talked about this smell yet? Because it’s really horrible! Believe it or not, it reminds me of a toy that used to be sold years ago when I was little. Some skunk-monster-guy thing that my brother had to have when were kids. Skunk-O or somesuch. Anyhow, it smells like there are a hundred of the stupid things buried in this pile right in front of me, along with maybe a whiff of foreshadowing.”
The second figure still has nothing to say as the first continues rummaging. Eventually the first individual uncovers something that looks less disgusting than everything else and lifts a small object out of the muck.
FIGURE 1: “Hey, I found it!”
Suddenly, a large figure with black and white fur rises out of the filth pretty much right where the object was and grasps the thief by the wrists with both hands! The creature has a bright yellow breastplate on, with two tall metal canisters on its black, and is also responsibly masked. Fans recognize him as Stinkor, one of Skeletor’s henchmen. The silent cloaked figure pockets the device they were carrying and moves forward. The figure with the object in hands lifts one leg and pushes off of Stinkor, breaking his grip and creating space between them.
STINKOR: “Hey yourself! Hands off my stuff!”
Stinkor removes his mask and belches — literally, with the sound and everything, sheesh — a billowing cloud of noxious-looking fumes. Canonically, Stinkor was the result of a chemical weapons accident and the stench emanated constantly and uncontrollably from his entire body. His armor was designed by Tri-Klops to contain and direct his odor like a weapon. Maybe it’s malfunctioned or something, but Stinkor didn’t burp massive clouds of gas, like, ever. Sigh.
Anyway, the cloud of burp-gas quickly spreads and surrounds the two masked figures, who begin coughing under their masks. Stinkor puts his mask back on and is obscured from sight as the clouds thicken around him. Stinkor attempts to tackle the figure with the item, but the second figure pushes the first aside, causing Stinkor to miss. The second figure pulls out a small rod, and each end lengthens mechanically until it’s the size of a staff. Twirling the staff rapidly overhead, the pungent fog clears around the three. Yeah. I’m not even going to pretend to explain how that might work.
There is a tense moment where the figure with the staff and Stinkor stare at each other, then…
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SCENE: Outside of the ramshackle structure. One wall is smashed as Stinkor is propelled out of the building at great speed, landing pretty far away on top of what looks like a produce cart next to a shocked vendor. One almost expects to hear the vendor lament “My cabbages!” at this point, but such a one would be disappointed. Stinkor is down and dazed, well defeated. The two other figures descend the slope to stand over their vanquished foe. The first figure removes its — her mask, revealing a young African-Eternian woman.
FIGURE 1: “Ugh, you know this stinker?”
KEVIN SMITH: “Tee Hee!
FANS: “Dude, just stop.”
FIGURE 2: “Stinkor.”
The second figure removes its — her, also — mask. It’s Teela! Older, but not old, with a severe undercut hairstyle that just screams ‘I’m showing the world what a rebel I am by conforming to what they’d think a rebel would look like.’
TEELA: “From my old life.”
Teela Solo tosses a small bag of what I guess is money to the vendor and apologizes for the mess, then departs. If she knows Stinkor, she’d know that when he wakes up he’ll probably vent his anger on puny shopkeepers and steal any bags of money he finds on them, but she doesn’t feel sorry enough for the mess to mention that I guess.
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SCENE: A rather long and narrow building, with a tall tower at the far end and a large fancy window above the entrance. A priestess inside thanks Teela and her companion for returning the Glove of Globula, a magic item of some sort that has now apparently become a focus of worship for the people. Being a kids show, religion on Eternia was never delved into deeply, so there’s little canonic information. But worshiping a glove?
Anyway, the priestess returns the valuable relic to the same case from which Stinkor likely stole it, while mentioning that they had mistakenly considered the glove theft-proof. Stinkor apparently wanted to sell the glove; magic has abandoned Eternia, and items that retain enchantment are highly valuable. Which is why Stinkor hid it in a trash pit.
Teela scoffs at the loss of magic.
TEELA: “You don’t need magic when you’ve got technology on your side. I found your glove with this handy gadget made by my pal here. This is Andra.”
PRIESTESS: “Oh, are we making introductions now that your mission is completed and you’ve been paid? Well, I’m Not Interested.”
The Priestess walks away.
TEELA: “Tech rules, magic drools!”
OLD WOMAN: “Oh, well said.”
Teela and Andra turn, and an elderly woman in a heavy robe is standing nearby in the shadow of one of the temple’s pillars.
ANDRA: “Can we help you…?”
WOMAN: “Call me … Magestra. And what I want is a job done.”
The woman is elderly, with white hair, but she looks familiar somehow… She tosses a small bag to the floor, and some fine jewels spill out where it lands.
MAGESTRA: “You returned a stolen item to this temple. Do the same for me. There is an old goblet that I would very much like to have returned to me, but it’s in a very dangerous place. Retrieve the goblet and I’ll pay triple this amount.”
ANDRA: “Oh you got a deal!”
TEELA: “Let me guess, this is a magic goblet.” She emphasizes the word ‘magic’ mockingly.
MAGESTRA: “No, just sentimental. The goblet belonged to a friend. A dead friend. My best friend. I would pay anything for its safe return.”
TEELA: “Fine, whatever. Where is this goblet anyway?”
MAGESTRA: “Snake. Mountain.”
ANDRA: What the Fu-?”
TEELA: “Say, your dead best friend didn’t happen to also be in charge of Snake Mountain before he died, did he?”
MAGESTRA: “What? Oh, sweet merciful Hordak, no! Ha ha ha, what a funny thing for you to say!”
TEELA: “Oh, okay then. We’ll be back in two days with your dead best friend’s cup that’s in the headquarters of all that’s evil on Eternia.”
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SCENE: Snake Mountain. A towering peak on the badlands of Eternia’s dark side, where it is forever night. Snake Mountain would probably be called a monadnock on Earth, a geological term meaning a tall exposed mass of bedrock in an otherwise non-mountainous area. Snake Mountain truly gets its name from the carving of a gigantic fanged serpent that coils around the mountain from the tail at the base to the head overlooking the peak of the spire. In the Filmation series the fanged mouth was used by Skeletor as a balcony to overlook the region and lot the fall of Grayskull. In later versions a river of lava flows from the open mouth instead.
There is a brief flashback to events of the past, clued in by showing Teela in her old Captain of the Royal Guard uniform. She and He-Man battle Whiplash, a lizard-man henchmen of Skeletor’s, named so for the use of his long tail as a whip to strike at foes from a distance. Teela and He-Man defeat Whiplash by knocking him into a pit trap outside of Wolf’s Gate, one of the known entrances to the mountain lair.
The flashback ends, showing Wolf’s Gate with an obvious grid of light beams in front of the door, and the ground in front of it intact. Andra examines the mechanism beside the door and says it is trapped with a pressure-sensitive trigger. Teela opens the trap door in the area before the door and jumps down, indicating that they’ll dig their way into the mountain instead. By hand, which would take some time engaging in back-breaking labor, while hopefully remaining undiscovered.
But it works.
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SCENE: Inside Snake Mountain. Teela and Andra have found a ventilation duct large enough to crawl in, and from there have made their way into a hallway of Skeletor’s former lair. This is not the Snake Mountain fans remember; what once were natural corridors carved in the mountain are now squared off and finished in metal panels, with glowing lights, exposed plumbing, and control panels of varying appearance.
The sound of approaching footsteps spur Teela and Andra to hide behind some metal drums nearby. A figure walks past; a man, clad in long purple and black robes. He pauses and turns his head toward where the heroines are hiding, and we see one side of his face is now covered in exposed wiring, his eye on that side glowing a lurid red. A cyborg! The cyborg pulls the hood of his robe up over his head and walks on, joined by other similarly dressed figures. The last two figures in line make perfect targets of course, and are silently dispatched by Teela and Andra, who then don the robes and follow the rest into a larger chamber.
A ceremony is taking place. The hooded figures gather around a raised platform, and we can see Skeletor’s original cyborg Trap-Jaw and the fully robotic Blast-Attak in the room, along with Whiplash, now also heavily cybernetically augmented. On the raised platform is Tri-Klops, who was an inventor and tactician among Skeletor’s minions. Now Tri-Klops is dressed in priestly vestments, praising an entity called The Motherboard, decrying the ‘false promise’ and sinful ways of magic, and urging a commoner brought before him to drink a mysterious fluid from a silvery goblet.
The dialogue is … terrible. Henry Rollins was cast in the role of Tri-Klops, and his voice is great, but the dialogue he has to recite is just terrible. There’s apparently a triumverate in this religion, the last of the three being The Holy Sprocket. Ugh. And technology is something for them to ‘live and diode’ by, sheesh. To me at least, the journey from Evil Inventor to Technology Pope is a little hard to fathom. It makes sense for him to look upon magic with scorn and consider technology better without going so far as to start worshiping tech like it’s a god. This, for me, is the low point of the first five episodes. But I digress…
The commoner gratefully takes the goblet, praising Cardinal Tri-Klops for his mercy and kindness, and drinks. After an appropriate moment of nothing happening, something happens! The man writhes on the ground in agony, and his body begins to transform. Circuitry emerges from his flesh, crawling from his left elbow towards his hand. Similar circuitry begins to appear on his face! One eye opens wide, then the eyeball becomes more mechanical and pops out of his socket at the end of a long mechanical tendril. The camera withdraws and we see his left arm has become completely metal from the elbow down, and a retractable saw blade springs out of his iron forearm! Archbishop Tri-Klops leads the group in a solemn prayer of thanks to the Motherboard at this transformation.
Andra is, well, freaked by this. Teela cautions her to stay focused, and go for the cup while Teela acts to distract the rest. Andra nods and slips back, awaiting her chance.
TEELA: “Yo, Trike! Traps! ‘Sup?
Teela removes her robe, revealing her disgustingly non-cybered up self.
TRAP-JAW: “Teela! You sully the sanctity of Snake Mountain! I mean, not even wearing an Apple Watch? Disgraceful!”
TEELA: “Whatevs, Trappy. I’m really just here to taunt you all with corny insults, and not because I’m trying to keep you from looking at anyone else but me or anything. I’m actually sort of with you guys on the whole tech-beats-magic thing, but I’m not going so far as to pray to The Holy Sprocket. And I certainly agree that Skeletor was a putz, but at least I fought against him unlike you chumps!”
Caliph Tri-Klops snaps his fingers and his robed minions start attacking Teela, who generally holds her own against them. An exciting battle takes place, but it’s ultimately just to burn screen time and show Teela being a badass. Teela and Andra get the goblet and escape Snake Mountain, much to the frustration of Rabbi Tri-Klops. Apparently there was only one goblet in all of Snake Mountain, and now Reverend Tri-Klops will have to find another.
End of Part 1 of 2.