Welcome to season 3, episode 8 of the re-imagined world of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This episode was a big one! The most epic and worthy episode in an epic and worthy season.
1. Super Skeletor is Super Badass
Skeletor is next-leveled like a supreme boss from Final Fantasy. He’s thousands of meters tall and built like a bull-demon glowing with veins of toxic waste all over his body. The fun part is he is so big his entire body becomes a video game level, with Prince Adam and the gang running around Skeletor’s body trying to find the perfect shot. Which just like a video game is square on his chin, incidentally. He is leveled up so much that it’s really hard to imagine what could possibly be next for him in the series. More on this later.
2. We have the power!
From episode one, the writing squad has done an amazing job of world-building through better character development. Each character as introduced had a clear set of pathos, dreams, and personal challenges to overcome. Ram Ma’am was a great choice to seed from season one to develop into a major plot device that is emotional and fulfilling. Even though she was annoying all season by the time she apologizes, it’s still worth the moment. And a great lesson on what true forgiveness looks like, because if you can’t forgive your friends at their worst, then do you deserve them at their best?
3. We have the power!
Ram Ma’am tells him “It isn’t about the power itself, but how any person uses it.” and she finds herself set ablaze with a golden fire. As Duncan says, she’s on fire with the power of self-actualization! Haha Duncan, you’re so funny. With such the build-up to this episode was multi-season long, the message they finally reveal is worth the wait. If you’re paying attention to it.
The writers are so talented at weaving in a key message each season – – and this time they drop the mic. Here it is, as given by Teela in her full wisdom and glory: “To know oneself is to truly become a master of the universe.” What a great message and such a modern way to teach kids to focus on knowing themselves.. And then they can master the universe. Each character takes a moment to say what they’re truly proud of/motivated by and then they get ripped through with golden energy and assume new costume designs worthy of the amped up energy.
Prince Adam exclaims to everyone “Nobody can take away the power we found in ourselves!” And they all shout “WE HAVE THE POWER!” Which is an actually emotional and cathartic moment. Which is then punctuated by an awkward silence afterwards befitting the series (and target audience).
4. Design is on point
One thing I wanted to call attention to is the quality of many design aspects within this show. The evolution of the character design is organic, inspired, and playful. This is especially shown off when the gang’s outfits get the Avengers upgrade with gray or dark colored mesh spandex suits that underlie He-Man’s gauntlets or chestplate. Skeletor’s final boss design is truly worthy of a video game or a theme-park ride. Speaking of which, the level design and visual world-building on this episode is truly worthy of the greatest episode so far.
5. Introducing next season’s heavy.. Evil-Lyn!?!
As we close the season with a surprise twist: Skeletor as a prisoner… but back in his human form of Keldor! This is interesting because it robs him of his teeth, but keeps him around for the future. However it did leave me wondering: what could possibly top this season if he’s not the villain?
Well that’s answered pretty soon after Keldor warns him of something coming from the heart of the universe that sounds much more ominous than him. He laughs and we find out it’s.. Evil-Lyn’s dad, who looks like a vampire night king from Game of Thrones. He is definitely a much more menacing figure than Skeletor who always had a hint of comical villainy. Evil-Lyn’s papa looks like he came out the darkness made of it.