WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2, now streaming on Netflix.
For nearly four decades, across multiple incarnations, Prince Adam has called upon the power of Grayskull to transform into its noble champion, He-Man, imbued with incredible strength and speed. However, Masters of the Universe: Revelation reveals that barely scratches the surface. All of this time, He-Man has wielded the powers of a god, and simply chose not to use them.
A sequel to Filmation's 1980s cartoon, Revelation finally gives the wicked Skeletor what he's long sought: the Sword of Power and Castle Grayskull itself. In the Part 1 finale, Skeletor (Mark Hamill) gravely wounded a newly resurrected Adam (Chris Wood) before transforming into his ultimate form -- Skele-God, a hulking figure who declares himself Master of the Universe. In the Part 2 premiere, this Skele-God kills the Sorceress of Grayskull, appoints Evil-Lyn to replace her, summons an army of the dead, and then steals the souls of the fallen Fisto and Clamp Champ, all in a grotesque display of his newfound power.
"Such is the power with which I find myself imbued," Skeletor gloats to Adam. "Now, I have command not only over life and death, but the afterlife as well! And you, Adam, you abused this power. You hid it away and only ever called upon it to police me, when you could've used that power to rip the soul from my body! Like I just did to your noble friends! So, while they were bound for glory and eternal reward in Preternia ... I just damned them both to Subternia instead!"
The implied question -- Why didn't Adam ever unleash these awesome and terrible powers? -- becomes a fixation of Skeletor throughout Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2, eating away at him even while feeding his obsession with He-Man. Simultaneously, the actions taken by Skeletor and, later, a transformed Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey) serve to shed new, surprising light on what He-Man has been capable of all along.
Presumably, had Adam wished, he could have reigned over Subternia (Eternia's gloomy underworld) and Preteria (its heaven). Likewise, he could have peered into the heart of the universe, resurrected the dead, and destroyed opponents with little more than a thought. But he didn't, and that nags at Skeletor, who has only ever sought to seize and wield power.
At last armed with the sword that he believes is the key to the power of Grayskull, Skeletor is dismayed to learn the weapon is merely a conduit. The spark, as Adam calls it, was always with him. And when he finally calls down the power, empty-handed: He's transformed into Savage He-Man, a massive, super-fast brute who's more than a match for this Skele-God. To describe this as He-Man's ultimate form is a mistake, because Adam later recognizes this raging alter ego as "a mindless, dangerous weapon," the power of Grayskull untempered.
The encounter reveals the two characters for who they truly are: Skeletor seeks only to discover how Adam called down the power without the sword, and how he can do it himself, while Adam rejects it, knowing the dangers posed by the "power incarnate."
But what prevented Adam, when he possessed the sword, from tapping into this wellspring of godlike power? An imprisoned Duncan (Liam Cunningham) reveals that to a bewildered Skeletor, who demands an accounting of Adam's "manipulation" of the power.
"I'll bet you haven't let the power return once since you hijacked it," says the former Man-At-Arms. "You want to know why we followed Adam? Because he had all the power of the universe at his fingertips, but he only chose to call it down when someone else needed it! He gave it away! That's what made him a hero!"
Of course, if Skeletor takes away a lesson from any of this, it's the wrong one, because he does return the power of a god, but only under the implied promise of sex with Evil-Lyn. She, in turn, seizes the Power Sword and transforms herself into a being even more frightening than Skele-God. It's a safe bet Adam never did that, either.
The entire 10-episode first season of Masters of the Universe: Revelation is now available on Netflix.
KEEP READING: Why Masters of the Universe: Revelation Has Angered So Many He-Man Fans
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