Welcome back to another cartoon episode re-watch on Car JoeMez! Today we finish the third part of the three-part “The Beginning” of the 2002 He-Man and The Masters of the Universe reboot.
Part 1 left us with Adam denying his destiny to become He-Man and telling Sorceress and Man-At-Arms that they were nuts if they thought Eternia would ever be threatened by evil again while Part 2 gave us the cliffhanger of Adam becoming He-Man and stepping into battle, but before he could do anything of circumstance as the most powerful man in the universe.
So far, the most drastic difference is in the presentation of differences between Prince Adam and He-Man. And it’s a much-needed and appreciated change in my opinion as well. The transformation sequence is no longer just Adam changing into his He-Man clothes, it’s a full-body change including size, strength and maturity. As in the original, He-Man’s secret identity is known to only a select few and we shall see if that circle grows as we go on and becomes similar to the recent She-Ra reboot on Netflix where Adora’s identity is well-known to all players.
With that said, let’s get on with the show.
S01E03: The Beginning Part 3
Original Air Date: August 16, 2002
We pick up exactly where we left off in Part 2 with He-Man shielding Teela from a massive magmatite heading right for her. In an homage to the original series, we see He-Man pulling back before delivering a thunderous punch to the oncoming meteor and sending a shockwave through the battlefield.
Man-At-Arms introduces him as He-Man, a friend which the Sorceress had told him about. He-Man puts his strength on display by ripping a massive piece of a rockpile out of the ground and clearing out the villains by throwing it at them like it ain’t no thang. He looks at his new pals and gives the whole, “BRB” before jumping back on Battle Cat and heading off to rescue King Randor from the clutches of Skeletor. In the immediacy of his exit, though, Man-At-Arms is gobbled up by flying fish monster piloted by Mer-Man who I’m sure will go on to give many mute women orgasms set to an egg timer in this series.
He-Man finally arrives on scene and confronts Skeletor for the first time. Skeletor drastically underestimates the power of He-Man at the beginning, but quickly realizes he has to bring his A-game against this new defender of Eternia. What sells this is another big difference from the original series: Skeletor (voiced here by Brian Dobson) is not played for laughs. He’s a serious, dangerous threat to all of Eternia and is treated as such by all the good guys as well as the rest of the baddies who are in constant fear of disappointing him.
Man-At-Arms frees himself from the inside of the fish monster by throwing some Alka Seltzer he conveniently keeps in his utility belt into the monster’s stomach causing it to get all gassy and burp him out because…eh, this is a cartoon and I shouldn’t overthink it. We’re talking about a fish monster that flies and then dives deep into the ocean after all.
He-Man and Skeletor are locked in a stalemate until He-Man finally disarms ole Bonehead. After giving his surrender, Skeletor uses his magic to send both halves of his own Power Sword at He-Man. They go back and forth trading attempts to outpower and outwit the other until Skeletor uses He-Man morality against him, tricking him into letting him go free in return for keeping King Randor alive. Of course, Skeletor lies and still blasts Randor off a cliff before disappearing into the sunset and He-Man is forced to make a dramatic save.
The good guys have stopped Skeletor for now, but him and his legion of villains have gotten away to attempt a takeover another day. We conclude back in the Kingdom of Eternia where Teela, King Randor and Queen Marlena openly wonder where He-Man came from while also criticizing Adam for running away in the heat of battle. It’s apparent that Adam will have a tough time keeping his identity a secret, at least in the near-term, while those around him portray him as a coward.
I don’t think there’s anything in this episode that’s going to blow you away, but there is plenty of solidly good items to take away. It’s our first glimpse at He-Man in action and our first showdown between He-Man and Skeletor and both instances just scratch the surface for what’s to come.
While I openly admit to being a huge mark for the original Alan Oppenheimer-voiced Skeletor of the Filmation series, this version just has so much more credibility as an actual threat to the well-being of Eternia. Old Skelly was kind of a bumbling oaf, the smartest of the dumb kids while this version is truly sinister looking not to trade one-liners, but to harm, damage and eliminate as shown when he casually blasts Randor off the cliff to his intended impending death.
After this introduction, we can see that we have major differences in both main characters from the original series and I’d think they both are successful in bringing a more updated feel and realism to each.
Now that “The Beginning” is out of the way, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where the writers take this new lease on these characters. These past three episodes were fun, but they were very much an introduction and to lay the groundwork for the tone and shape of this series. From that perspective, I’m glad we’re done with this and am excited for tomorrow.