March 9, 2022 (Originally posted on Neocities)
Some time last year, I watched this new Netflix show about the characters in He-Man and She-Ra and Pronoun-Word and so on, though I’m not exactly sure to what extent, while only having superficial knowledge of the toy series turned show turned whatever else, where it got all dark and edgy and a bunch of characters died for probably dramatic reasons. Also some people got mad about the lack of He-Man focus in general. By the way, spoilers for the previous part and of course this part. This time though, I didn’t have a commentary track of jokes to follow along with, so it was just me and whatever motivation to finish things I’ve started. I was kinda waiting to see if one would pop up from the same person but I don’t blame the lack of drive to watch again since it’s not full of Skeletor memes. And honestly I’m just finishing business here to see if whatever things I guessed end up happening. Anyway this is the other half of the show.
Here’s the gist of the first part: Skeletor really wanted some special magic power, but getting this power would implode the universe, so He-Man stopped him, sacrificing himself and obliterating Skeletor. After a time skip, Teela shows up with a crew to reforge the special sword that He-Man had the power with because it was apparently two stuck together somehow. They travel through hell and heaven alike, losing a comic relief character in each dimension, and get the sword remade and also bring Adam, who people apparently didn’t know was He-Man previously, back as well. They restore the special magic power, but as soon as Adam’s about to have the power again, Skeletor shows up out of nowhere to stab him in the back, after hiding in Evil-Lyn’s staff, and she was previously acting not evil while on the trip. Then Skeletor has the power and wins the game I guess. Somehow that’s not the golden ending so there’s the second part.
The sixth episode starts with what I think is that same oil painting intro thing explaining stuff. Then there’s a flashback, but not to a recap of the last part, even further back, to when Teela was a baby and her parents, Man-At-Arms and Sorceress, were explaining how the mother had to go “see the universe” for a while, by which she just walks into some kind of magic pool while stock baby sound effects happen. Back where the story left off, Skeletor, wielding the power of a god, gives a long evil speech, talking about naked power while his nipples are out on display, before considering finishing murdering Adam. Adam for some reason clarifies that he’s not He-Man, which technically currently he’s not, and his pet kitty cat Cringer attacks from the shadows, resulting in some big fight.
Sorceress breaks out of the beam of light she’s in and uses the last of her power to teleport the rest of the party back home, though Evil-Lyn keeps Man-At-Arms from going with them. Skeletor repays this kindness by completely stabbing Sorceress through with the sword and murdering her much more than he managed with Adam. Back at the home town castle, Teela tries to figure out how to stop He-Man from bleeding out any more than he has for some time now, and Sorceress astral projects her force ghost to help bring out Teela’s magic to close Adam’s wound and also his shirt. They’re met by two guys, apparently called Fisto and Clamp-Champ, explaining that the town is being evacuated.
Back at Castle Greyskull, Skeletor has Man-At-Arms locked in the dungeon and appoints Evil-Lyn as the new sorceress, complete with a new bat-themed outfit, binding her to the castle while giving a long speech about how he manipulated her to carry out his plan, and tasking her to find where the party went. This goes pretty smoothly as Skeletor shows up in the clouds above the home town and turns anyone left in the streets into skeleton zombies before sending the evil fog after the rest. Fisto mentions how he wants to fist Skeletor, but they all get into the castle mostly safely. However, Fisto and Clamp-Champ got touched by the evil fog so they turn into skeleton zombies as well. The non-zombified party ends up having to blow them up with one of Andra’s grenades, and Adam mentions how it’ll be fine because their souls went to heaven.
Skeletor knocks on the front door to correct him, mentioning that with his god powers he also controls heaven and hell and decides to send everyone to hell from now on, or whatever’s left of it after it pretty much imploded. He begs Adam to take him on in a mocking way, befitting of the Joker, and Adam wonders out loud what would happen if he decided to have the power without using the sword, as the sword is apparently just a conduit and he’s the chosen one. Then he finds out. It turns out that he just hulks the hell out.
The seventh episode starts with Hulk-Man punching Skeletor in the face, then proceeding to rip apart the zombie army before engaging in a full anime fight with laser portals and giant energy ball attacks. Hulk-Man is unharmed by anything and Skeletor looks worried that he somehow doesn’t have all the power despite having a hell of a lot of it. Teela decides to have the party retreat from the battle when they’re surrounded by the re-undead army, using her powers to teleport everyone out of there. Skeletor returns to his castle while Evil-Lyn is giving a speech about failure not being tolerated, and she ends up being not tolerated for not knowing how Adam grabbed the power without the sword.
The remaining hero party arrives at the Mystic Mountains, which Teela felt drawn to for some reason, while Adam is still hulked out and smashing things as a hulk will, before running off and having everyone run after him. Back at Castle Greyskull, Man-At-Arms is having trouble with his tentacled cellmate, who Skeletor subdues briefly to ask him a few questions about how the Power of Greyskull works. Man-At-Arms mentions that the key of using the power properly is to release it back when done and not just hold onto it the whole time.
After Cringer drinks from a river flowing with the blood of a mutilated manticore’s corpse, they spot Hulk-Man dripping with more blood. Teela attempts to calm him down, but he almost breaks her arm before running toward the sound of a horn. It turns out they’re near a playset called Point Dread, where the town evacuated to the last episode. Hulk-Man can’t contain his rage powers and smashes his way into the camp. The king emerges from his tent and recognizes Adam in his even more buff than before powered up form, and apologizes for not being a good father. The resolution of these daddy issues makes Adam un-hulk in a tearful hug, while everyone else gets blown back by the shockwave.
Back again at Castle Greyskull, Evil-Lyn is looking into a magic mirror and Beast-Man walks in. They get into a discussion about following and leading, and he suggests that Evil-Lyn stop following and start leading. She yells out loud at him to not say such things and to get out of the room, while she decides to look further into this idea that she was probably already considering.
The eighth episode starts after the explosive hug, and the king starts thanking everyone for what they’ve done so far. Then the queen arrives on a hoverbike, and her and Adam hug, non-explosively. She has him tell the entire story so far. Meanwhile, back at Castle Greyskull, Man-At-Arms is consoling his tentacled cellmate when Evil-Lyn shows up to interrogate him as well. He brings up the same thing about knowing how to not just hold all the power at once all the time, and also brings up the thing again about her being a subordinate to Skeletor when she should be on top.
Back at the camp, Adam is blaming himself for breaking up the royal marriage by getting murdered. Back again at the evil-looking castle place, Skeletor shows Evil-Lyn the entire scope of the universe to explain his goals, which breaks her and she starts thinking everything is for nothing. About an expected result given that sort of thing is apparently an effective torture method in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. Evil-Lyn also wonders why Skeletor is just using his supposedly infinite power to crush He-Man when more could be done. She heads off into a random hallway and talks with Beast-Man about her history. In summary, she grew up in a poor family with cannibal parents that were going to eat her as a birthday present, so she hid in the sewers until becoming an adult, where she became a thief and was found by Skeletor after realizing she had powers.
Back again at the camp, Adam apologizes to Teela for not telling her about being He-Man, as well as not telling her about Sorceress being her mother. She’d about figured it out by that time though anyway and is fine with things mostly. However, at Castle Greyskull, Evil-Lyn starts coming on to Skeletor about wanting to get on his bone, but mentions that having sex with a skeleton god could be lethal, so that manages to convince him to power down. Of course this is just a plan to grab the sword from him, so after somehow making out with a skull face, she does so and calls down the power herself. She gets swole as heck and Skeletor just leaves through a portal.
Evil-Lyn displays her new power by showing up in the sky to everyone and then just straight up completely nuking heaven for the hell of it. The remaining good guys have an emergency meeting in Point Dread about needing to take care of this as soon as possible, and Teela decides to become the real next Sorceress. And who else but Skeletor shows up at the door, looking to deal with an evil that’s totally serious and not just comedic.
The ninth episode, apparently named “Hope, for a Destination” for a lyric that one song that gets sung in that He-Man meme, starts with Teela figuring out how to send a message with magic, and so far has gotten as far as realizing she’s floating and then falling on her butt. Since Evil-Lyn has apparently blocked all communication except for this specific magic method, she keeps trying despite doubting herself. Meanwhile Adam and Skeletor are discussing a plan in the command room, since Adam refuses to hulk out without the sword again, and the plan turns out to be just heading up to Castle Greyskull and having a talk while Teela and Andra head under the castle to do other things.
Topside, Evil-Lyn is having a vision of a bunch of animals being attacked by a snake and interprets it as further convincing for her nihilism. She lets Adam and Skeletor in the front door when they show up, seeing no threat from them. As mentioned before, they just come to discuss, but Evil-Lyn just decides to fight them anyway.
In the dungeons, the pair are being attacked by random bad guys before being grabbed by weirdly familiar tentacles. Turns out Man-At-Arms and his tentacled cellmate broke out with a bit of help from the slime shorting out the systems. Teela doubts she’s instantly the next Sorceress just because she’s related to one, and relates how her message didn’t go through. He counters by saying that it actually did work, and tells her to go through a door and become the new Sorceress while he and Andra hold off what remains of the weird random bad guys in the toy line, perhaps from the bargain bin.
In the battle above, Adam and Skeletor and their respective battle cats are holding off Evil-Lyn, using tricks like Scooby-Doo portals and such, and Adam even managing to make the goddess bleed, though she does manage to petrify and obliterate Skeletor’s battle cat whose name is apparently Panthor, not to be confused with Pantherk. Beast-Man, earlier asked if he’s either a man or a beast since apparently one can’t be both according to Evil-Lyn, and clearly she hasn’t seen the Internet even with her all-seeing powers, decides that he’s a beast, and she turns him into a giant battle cat who pins down Cringer.
Teela makes it to the room where the original Sorceress took the elevator down to see the universe, and goes down that elevator. She meets her mother in ethereal form, trying to convince Teela to take the plunge and forgo mortal existence to be bound to the castle and be the new Sorceress, insisting that Teela has to specifically be ready for it to work.
Above, the royal army has gathered in front of the castle and is waiting for the sign to attack while the king and queen say their sorries to each other. Then a whole bunch of other armies show up from all parts of the planet and they start the charge. Evil-Lyn, busy trying to unmake the universe and then some just to get rid of Skeletor, sees them through the door she ripped off. Adam says that there’s no soul alive who would fight for her since they all saw her blow up heaven, so she decides to grab all the dead souls from hell, which were either double dead from hell imploding or somehow they managed to survive that, including the weirdly-named Scare Glow who proclaims allegiance to Dark-Lyn, apparently the name she chose once she used the sword.
The tenth and final episode, apparently named “Comes with Everything You See Here” because this was a toy line after all, seems to be where all the action budget went. It starts off with Teela taking a dip into the universe pool to start the process of becoming the new Sorceress. As the battle rages above, suddenly there’s a gold and red ribbon moving around and forming into something. It’s not a weird form of the new Sorceress, but it turns out they totally did pull a Gandalf, and Orko is back, in white robes even, with some kind of red Journey kinda scarf powers as well, in addition to other powers such as effectively being everywhere at once, maybe some kind of time stop projection thing. Somehow being dead in hell for a while really overclocked his power frequency or however this is even supposed to work, and he got brought back with all the demons from hell, and his eyes are still as anime as ever. Dark-Lyn manages to lose the sword with Orko’s help and Adam grabs it, turning into He-Man proper this time. He also gives Skeletor back his swoleness to assist in the fight.
Back in the pool, Teela is stuck in limbo, seeing visions, including one that Dark-Lyn saw earlier, and encounters the old Sorceress again who talks about having to give up mortal connections. Teela decides this isn’t for her with the argument for the connections of family, in the Vin Diesel way, and becomes the new Sorceress without having to cut ties and bind to the castle, somehow.
On the battlefield, Orko is using his overclocked magic to put the hurt on his previous murderer with bubbles, and Andra, armed with Man-At-Arms’s cannon that he gave her as well as her own, so now she’s dual-wielding, starts just cutting a bunch of demons in half. However, the planet reaches the apex of existence or whatever it’s called, which means Dark-Lyn can get all the power ever, but she’s also met with Teela with her own new powers. Dark-Lyn just leaves the castle since the Sorceress can’t possibly follow her that far, but the unbound new Sorceress does follow and gives a beatdown. With the two goddesses battling elsewhere, Skeletor decides to go back to being evil and fight He-Man, since he’s convinced existence will end so he might as well end being the victor. The queen, flying above, drops a “special bomb” on Skeletor, which turns out to be Ram-Man, who gives He-Man a shield he can fly and surf with, and both Mans head to the main battlefield to assist the armies.
Teela takes Dark-Lyn to the place seen in the weird animal vision to continue their battle, while He-Man charges ahead to cut through the demons in a wildly animated fashion that looks like they really wanted to nail the action of this part. However, Skeletor’s annoyed at being ignored and starts to fight with him again. Back in the vision place, Dark-Lyn gets the upper hand and chases after Teela being a bird, but Teela escapes and convinces Dark-Lyn to give up with a light show and a speech about universal chaos and life and gods not being dead, unlike how she originally interpreted the vision, and so on. She gives up her powers and just becomes regular Not-Evil Lyn.
Skeletor, busy throwing a tantrum with spirit bombs and whatnot, just gets thrown by He-Man over the horizon, Team Rocket style with the star and everything. Teela shows up to fix the sky being red and demonic, and He-Man helps with his sword. This sucks up everyone who came back from hell, including Orko, but Lyn simply grabs him to keep him on the mortal plane, which is somehow enough to work once all the demons get sucked up.
Back in the kingdom, a happy ending is going on with Andra being officially made the new Man-At-Arms and another speech about family in the Vin Diesel way as well. Teela and Adam hang out at the balcony to discuss the future while watching fireworks, Lyn heads to Orko’s home realm to drop off her staff, and because there needs to be a sequel hook, it turns out Skeletor got thrown over to the Techno Union. He starts calling them boobs like old times, and attempts to destroy their leader Motherboard, not to be confused with the one from the PBS show Cyberchase, but instead gets assimilated with the robot juice, with the bird statue even building an android lady from itself, looking a bit like SHODAN from System Shock but less Giger-y, and the statue also shows some evil demon logo.
In conclusion, the second half of this mini-series as it is now seemed to work out a bit more, though with a number of twists I pretty much expected. That’s not always a bad thing, but I did recognize them happening, and totally called Orko’s return in terms of Gandalf similarity. I laughed at how on point I was there, though it did wrap up his lethal redemption arc, which again used a pretty simply explained way to do so.
I also mentioned something in the previous review about leaning more into the series roots to play off that, as cheesy as that was, and for one thing the title of the last episode seemed to be a weird nod to that, but there was also a lot more wisecracking between characters even as the situation grew more dire in this part instead of it being a more somber journey to re-forge a sword. Skeletor even called people boobs right at the end. I feel like the first part could have been a bit more condensed, and the Techno Union was barely even a thing in the second part except for the end, and they were even forgotten about as far as I could tell once they went into hell in the first part. I’m wondering about a Star Wars prequel style recut of sorts between both parts that may have made things go along more at pace. While I do enjoy the cheese present in the Star Wars prequels, I do see the points in wanting to recut the films to focus more on the core plot.
At least to the relief to anyone who may have been seething with rage about the lack of He-Man and Skeletor, at least there was a lot more of that action happening here, though He-Man proper didn’t show up until the last episode. Then again anyone who already bailed on the show in the first part probably doesn’t care anyway. But there is still a lot of focus on Teela, as mentioned before about the story being a focus on her figuring things out for her arc. I still feel like a lot of pretty clear tells about the direction of the story were made throughout. This may have been meant as a family watch thing despite the increased intense violence, as there’s not a ton of blood and not really any swearing I can recall, maybe just in case some kid got here from one of the other much more kid-looking shows of this franchise that are on Netflix. I don’t know that I’ll go watch those, though. Apparently one is a weird reboot where they’re kids maybe and Orko is some kinda robot thing? I’ve thought about robot mages before.
Long story short, pretty okay. I feel like the second part did more even though the first part was pretty much something like an odyssey through hell and heaven to save the world in a less action-packed way and more discussion about the self. It felt more like a not-quite-gritty Netflix sequel reboot thingy would be. Especially the last episode where all the things happen, and as I mentioned, where I expected all the budget went. Then there’s the other reboot more directly for the kids. And I’m not sure what all goes on in the She-Ra show except that it has several seasons already. They’re making a lot of shows about things. Including a gritty reboot of Fresh Prince, somehow. Apparently it was inspired from someone’s recut trailer they made as a joke maybe to take clips of the classic show into a darker format, and then they just decided to make the show. I don’t know how they could improve on perfection though, as they say. As far as shows I’m looking forward to seeing more of, I’m keeping an eye on Stone Ocean.