Original Air Date: 20th September 2002.
Writer: Dean Stefan
Director: Gary Hartle
Hot on the heels of a cracking three-part pilot, MYP’s He-Man series attempts to continue its early momentum with “The Courage of Adam”, a solid episode which sees the young prince’s pride and insecurity getting him into trouble as he finds himself kidnapped by Skeletor and used as bait to lure He-Man into a trap.
I’ve always enjoyed episodes that focus on He-Man’s secret identity, and while this certainly isn’t the best example of that trope I’ve seen, it does a good job of establishing this particular dynamic early on in the 200X series. It also shows that, while he may not have the strength of his alter ego, Adam is actually fairly capable when he puts his mind to it.
Once again, we get some good character work, particularly from Adam as he struggles with everyone thinking he’s a coward – a mindset which actually ends up putting him at risk with his burning desire to prove himself, showing his immaturity again in the process.
Cleverly, and in a move we never would have really seen in the classic Filmation series, we get a little foreshadowing for the upcoming episodes as Stratos requests a leave of absence to return home to Avian to resolve a trade dispute with the residents of Andreenos. It’s a relatively minor move, but one which adds a real depth of interconnected storytelling and world building that previous iterations of the show have sadly lacked.
The finale sees Adam, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, reclaiming his Power Sword, transforming into He-Man and sending all the baddies scattering. However, the introduction of a hulking Skeleton Warrior adds some brief stakes to the proceedings (for a few moments, anyway) by presenting a legitimately powerful foe to be vanquished.
A solid episode then, and despite a definite dip in quality from the bombastic, fan service-laden three-part opening, there’s still a heck of a lot to like here.
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