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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2019) Season Two Review

Not too long ago, I wrote a short review summarising the plot and characters of Netflix’s new She-Ra reboot. In that review I praised the show’s first season, happily inviting the arrival of season 2. And it seems I didn’t have to wait too long, as the second season only dropped on the streaming service at the end of last month – allowing me to return fully to the colourful world of Etheria.

Right off the bat, I can state that the second season of She-Ra does somewhat pale in comparison to its first. Not that this is exactly a bad thing, the show still remains strong in its story and animation. However, this season only gives us a mere seven episodes – a small number compared to the first season’s thirteen. And because of the shorter length, She-Ra season two feels somewhat incomplete, as if we are still missing a further six episodes to wrap up the second season’s arc, but no, we’re not.

Whereas season one had a beautifully built seasonal storyline that accumulated in the final boss battle between the princesses and the Horde, this season ends with an episode that truly feels like it should just be filler. More on the final episode later.

But through all this, I still can’t fully give the season a negative review, because what the show does right, it does right!

via GIPHY

Once again the characters remain the components of a strong and likeable cast, with the elemental princesses now taking a far more prominent position in the show’s narrative – leading to some truly hilarious interactions between them and Glimmer. The so-called ‘evil’ characters of the show are also still strong, and in some cases stronger, which is always a refreshing development. Hordak, who in season one was more of a shadowy figure, comes to the forefront this season, solidifying his original iteration as the joke he always was. Seriously, why are all the old He-Man villains so OTT? I know it’s a cartoon, but you think they’d actually make them menacing!

Returning the Horde, another character who steals the Catra spotlight this season has to be Scorpia, who still remains to be the most loveable villain of any animated TV show. Once again the show demonstrates how people are not always purely evil, Scorpia simply fights for the cause she believes in, and wants to make some friends while doing so. In fact, Scorpia’s friendship with Catra is addressed quite a lot this season, with Scorpia often getting jealous over Catra’s past with Adora. However, she eventually decides that continuing to support Catra is the best thing she can do for her as a friend, which holds as one of the more emotional character developments of the season.

The subject of good vs. evil and grey morality is addressed further in characters such as the Princess Entrapta, who we last saw joining the Horde in season one. I remember being shocked by this turn of events, fearing the day that Adora and the gang would discover Entrapta alive. I feared that from that point onwards Entrapta would simply play the villain card, even though she has no real reason to. However, this season proved by suspicions wrong. Upon discovering Entrapta is alive, the princess posse attempt to free her, only to discover that she is happy with the Horde, as it allows her time to continue her scientific experiments. Entrapta is seemingly not fulled by any malice or hatred, but rather by curiosity and intrigue, which I liked. Again it demonstrates that sometimes being evil is not the only reason why a person may join the opposing side. Entrapta’s relationship with Hordak also makes for some interesting content, with their research into portals and neighbouring planets also hinting at the possibility of us soon seeing this show’s version of a certain blonde muscle man. Wink, wink.

In terms of the seasons best episodes, only two truly stand out as gems – as again a lot of this season feels more like filler than actual plot. One episode worth mentioning is the episode entitled “Roll with it”. In the episode, the princess squad squabble over their individual plans to attack the Horde, leading to some hilarious content. The best thing about the episode is that every different plan scenario takes on a different tone and genre of animation style, leading to a side-splitting homage to the show’s original 1985 content.

via GIPHY

The next episode of note, is a prequel piece entitled “Light Spinner”, which gives the character of Shadow Weaver  the old Wicked spin. In the episode, we see that the powerful witch was once a warrior of good, teaching magic and craft to the future generations. Again we see the showrunners question what is good and what is evil, as we watch Light Spinner have to resort to dark magic to fight against the Horde, leading to her banishment from the side of good. It’s a beautifully crafted episode, that also delivers some more amazing world-building and history. The fact that Shadow Weaver is given so much of a presence this season also hints to what will hopefully be a pretty epic third season.

However, a majority of the episodes this season again feel like they deliver us very little, with the final episode actually being a B plot heavy piece about Bow and his tumultuous relationship with his dads. Although I commend the show for its natural and organic approach to LGBTQ+ characters, the episode overall does not feel like a thought out conclusion. Even the final stinging shot of Shadow Weaver towering over a sleeping Adora is not enough to make the episode feel warranted as our last for the rest of the year.

Overall, She-Ra’s second season may feel a little weak in its delivery. But the character beats and fantasy elements still remain to be this show’s bread and butter. And although the final shot wasn’t enough to save the last episode, it was enough to make me excited for the show’s future.

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