We’re back with another He-Man episode rewatch! This is Episode 35 overall and what a ride it’s been!
When we left off yesterday, the Masters had foiled King Hiss’s big plans to turn everyone in Eternia into Snake Men, but the Snakes were able to get away and will, no doubt, return to fight again. Up until this point, the Masters had been unaware of the Snakes survival after the battle for Grayskull in which it appeared Hiss had been killed by Zodak and dropped into the abyss.
Also unaware of Hiss and the Snakes’ survival is Skeletor and that dynamic should begin to get fleshed out now that they’ve reappeared into public consciousness.
There’s a lot of angles in play here and you can fantasy book a lot of wild shit. Personally, I’d have He-Man and Skeletor team up to fight the Snakes and then have an Eternian pizza party to celebrate. But that’s just one man’s opinion. Let’s see what people who actually got paid to come up with this stuff did.
S02E09: The Power of Grayskull
Original Air Date: December 13, 2003
Screen Cap Analysis: Winter is coming.
We open with Prince Adam awakening from a very in-depth dream of the past: a battle in front of Castle Grayskull involving Snake Men, Hordak and a warrior who is similar to He-Man, but is actually an ancestor of Adam known as King Grayskull, a former ruler of Eternia from hundreds of years in the past. Adam, shaken from this vision, is sure it’s just a dream, but is immediately contacted by the Sorceress to come to Grayskull.
At Snake Mountain, Skeletor is terrorizing his minions as per the usual for being stupid. He basically talks to them like Murray Goldberg talks to his kids.
Skeletor, however, is thrown off by a mysterious voice in his head: Hordak.
Hordak is ready to return to Eternia and needs Skeletor to free him from the locked dimension he’s in. Skeletor has no choice since it was Hordak’s magic that saved his life after he had the acid splashed on to his face during the battle that opened this series.
The Sorceress, still unable to be much help, brings Adam into a secret lair of Castle Grayskull to introduce him to the past. It is the lair of King Grayskull and the Sorceress explains his legacy and the history of his battles with Hordak and the Snake Men.
For the first time in this series, we get to see some of the classic warriors that made up the Horde. While better known as the villains of Filmation’s She-Ra: Princess of Power, they are shown here as a pack of baddies from generations long past intent on conquering Eternia.
In this exploration into the history of Eternia, we see King Grayskull searching for a power that will help him defeat Hordak and be able to protect his kingdom. The Oracle – who has an incredible similarity to Orko (just not as buffoonish) leads him to a a far away cave where he is given a sword we know as He-Man’s Power Sword, but here was just the sword of Grayskull. Nothing powerful about it just yet. Grayskull had lost it in a prior battle and the Oracle explains that the power he seeks has been inside him the entire time. The Oracle also warns that Grayskull will not survive the battle with Hordak, but Grayskull is such a noble guy that he worries not for himself, but just to keep his kingdom safe.
During the battle with the Horde, Hordak opens a portal to the dimension of Despondos, a dark universe that evil sorcerers would summon to entrap their rivals. King Grayskull, fights the evil magic, though and raises his sword to exclaim the familiar, “I have the power!” which turns the magic against Hordak, forcing him and his Horde into Despondos instead.
The power and intensity of the moment, however, is too much for King Grayskull to take. In his final moments, he transfers his power into his sword to be used whenever evil again threatens Eternia. His wife, Veena – a precursor to the Sorceress – promises to guard his power in the castle and that when her time is up to find another to do the same. The power of Grayskull transforms his advisors into what we know as the Elders and Veena carries his sword into the protection of the walls of Grayskull.
As our history lesson ends, we are thrown into an encounter between He-Man and Skeletor. One looking to free Hordak for his return and the other looking to stop it at any cost. He-Man is insistent on destroying Hordak’s sanctuary to ensure Hordak can never be freed and Skeletor gives a menacing, “Good point, He-Man.”
Skeletor then proceeds to destroy the sanctuary himself to the befuddlement of He-Man while the voice of Hordak can be heard crying out as he can now never return to Eternia.
PSA: If you have problems, talk them out.
I freaking loved this episode.
I’m a sucker for whenever they go back into the mythos and build history and backstory and this was absolutely excellent. The inclusion of the Horde made for great fan service as well as building for what appeared to be another threat for He-Man to have to deal with until Skeletor realized that he could get out from under Hordak’s thumb by destroying the sanctuary.
I can’t help but wonder if this actually succeeds in keeping Hordak away since he has shown the ability to contact Skeletor through telepathy and always inflict pain on him in the same way despite being locked in Despondos.
I mean, as great as the episode was, it would almost be a waste if we went through all that trouble to explain the past just so we could end Hordak right there and have him be gone from any future stories. At the very least, another layer is built-in for our final few episodes and with so many possibilities out there for each of them to go, it should be a pretty exciting conclusion.
Until next time.