Since its beginnings on Netflix, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has delivered three years of superb animated television. The second and third season only suffering from their split format, which left the story arc shared between them feel short and somewhat unresolved by the end of season two. But now the show is back with its fourth season, an epic 13 episode arc that will leave fans breathless, beaming with joy and weeping in distress.
Following the world-altering events of the final season, season four shows us a new world where Queen Angella is gone and where Glimmer must now take on the mantle of ruler of Brightmoon. Hordak still mourns Entrapta’s betrayal and Catra is continuing to become more and more unhinged as she rises higher in the Horde’s evil ranks. All while Adora finds herself learning new and impossible secrets about herself, the She-Ra legacy and the planet of Etherea itself.
When first discussing the show back in 2018, creator and showrunner, Noelle Stevenson, talked about the significance of relationships in the show, and how it is the relationships between the core characters that fuel the fantastic story. And I think this is nowhere more evident than in this season, which has proven how fantastic the writers are at constructing morally grey characters with complex partnerships. In this season we see all the core friendships and duos questioning their bonds with one another. Glimmer begins to question the allegiance of her friends, especially now that she is detached from them in her royal role. Eventually choosing the leave them behind in favour of finding a way to destroy the Horde once and for all.
And while Glimmer questions the nature of friendship, we also see Scorpia come to the conclusion that her only true friend in life has been Entrapta, someone she Catra hurt and banish. In this season we see Scorpia reach her full character arc, choosing to leave the Horde to save the only person who truly cared for her. But I think it is Catra who displays the most interesting storyline when it comes to the theme of relationships, because she no longer has any. Abandoned by Scorpia and Adora, Catra begins to question exactly what pushed them away, or more specifically, who?
The questions and moments of realisation here are truly stellar, proving again how this show can present its characters as being almost completely grey in their motives. Catra may want power, but now she questions if all she truly wanted was the love of her friends. While we see Glimmer go to some extreme lengths to try and stop the Horde. She wants to do right by her kingdom and alliances, but does that mean she should cross an ethical line to do so? These are questions that are asked and sometimes they aren’t answered, demonstrating a brutal nuance rarely seen in shows of this calibre.
The longer season also allows time for smaller side characters to have their time to shine. Mermista in particular is given an episode that demonstrates how comical she truly is at one moment, and how loyal she is to her people the next. The episode is called ‘Mer-mysteries’ and it almost plays out like a child-friendly episode of Game of Thrones, ending with a devastating twist that will leave you gasping in horror. Even smaller characters again, such as Netossa and Spinnerella are given more time to shine as a cute couple and fierce warriors, something that was long overdue seeing as they are the only princess characters barely seen on screen. Characters such as Razz and Mara also get an episode dedicated to their relationship, one that pulls at the heart strings in a similar way to the relationship seen between Marceline and Simon in Adventure Time.
But this does not mean that she show is afraid to introduce anyone new to the cast – far from it. In this season we actually get the introduction of a new villain called Double Trouble, a shape-shifting lizard creature who causes their own fair share of chaos throughout the story. The character is voiced by non-binary LGBTQ+ activist, Jacob Tobia. The character was obviously styled after Tobia’s real-life aesthetic and the fact that the character is never really gendered is also something to applaud, another step forward for children’s television in our modern age.
The artwork continues to remain strong and unique and true to its established aesthetic, while some of the new locations introduced here are truly something to be seen. The world this show is set in only seems to grow more and more enriched with every season and I am always excited to see what the writers will deliver next. And although I don’t want to divulge too much about the ending of this season, let’s just say it is probably the most mouth-dropping one yet. As ever I will await the next season with bated breath, because it can only keep getting better.