REVIEW: SHE-RA Season 2 Keeps Things Fresh & Amps Up the Queerness

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She-Ra Season 2 posterJust five months after the first season hit Netflix, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns for season two on Friday, April 26. This season features seven brand-new episodes that feel as fresh and exciting as the first 13, though the shortened season does have its shortcomings (no pun intended). She-Ra season two feels more like the back-half of the first season than its own story arc, which makes it feel somewhat rushed, even as it does spend significantly more time developing the characters and their relationships.
That’s not to say there isn’t a thru-plot, because there is; there’s also some long-awaited pay-off. At the She-Ra panel at NYCC 2018, some spoilers flew that were supposedly for season one; however, those things didn’t come to pass in the 13 episodes released last November. They do, however, make an appearance in these new episodes, albeit in totally unexpected ways. These characters went on significant, life-changing journeys in season one. Their stories pick up right where they left off after the battle of Bright Moon, which means we continue to see them grow.
The characters have more backbone now, but they also have more to lose, which certainly increases the stakes.
The Princess Alliance is still strong in these episodes, which is a relief. Seeing these young characters come together and enhance each other’s powers is chills-inducing, especially when they’re able to set aside their differences to win the fight. Season two shows them strengthening their bonds and pushing harder than ever to win the war, which of course is complicated by characters like Entrapta; her friends think she’s dead, but she’s in fact making tech for the Horde. Yikes!
Photo of Catra, Entrapta and Scorpia in She-Ra S2
Season two also seriously amps up the queer content. Adora’s obsession with Catra hasn’t lessened, nor has Catra’s obsession with Adora; meanwhile, the queer subtext of their relationship has gotten so intense that any mention of their friendship is drenched in double meaning. In fact, Scorpia even has to reckon with her jealousy of Adora when it ruins her attempts to solidify her relationship with Catra. It seems unlikely that any of the core characters will ever be made canonically queer, since She-Ra is a licensed property, but if we all cross our fingers, maybe it will happen someday.
Of course, Catra and Adora make up the emotional core of the show, but Bow, Glimmer and even Swift Wind occupy huge roles in Adora’s life, too. This season, we see Glimmer leaning even more into her magic and we learn new things about Bow, which flesh out his character really beautifully. The characters’ relationships shift and change as their bonds tighten and bend. As the audience learns new things, so do the characters. This creates a unique ebb-and-flow of tension, especially between the Alliance and the Horde.
Season two goes some unexpected places. There are bigger laughs, more tears and wildly creative battle scenes. By the end of episode seven — which, just a warning, ends on a terrifying cliffhanger — the future is uncertain but these kids’ love for each other is as strong as anything. The petty drama of season one is no more, which is perhaps the most marked difference between the seasons; it’s a welcome change.
Photo of Mermista, Bow and Perfuma in She-Ra S2
As mentioned above, there are some pacing issues with season two. She-Ra season one seemed to stretch past its natural conclusion in order to end on a big battle, which, in retrospect, feels like it would have fit better in this new mini-arc presented to us in She-Ra season two. The thing is, if She-Ra were a network show, it would have seen a mid-season break and then finished with 20-22 episodes. Since it’s not, both seasons suffer, especially because season two doesn’t really stand well on its own.
On the one hand, it would make sense for She-Ra‘s sophomore season to heavily rely on the first season to make sense. On the other, the lack of unique plot in these episodes makes it very much feel like season 1b. Ultimately, I think I’m OK with that. The revelations made in these episodes are great, the acting is stellar and the writing continues to delight. Thus, my only real complaint is that there are only seven episodes. I want more of this show, immediately, because it’s just that good.
If you’re not watching She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, you’re missing out. Be sure to catch up before it returns to Netflix on Friday, April 26.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Honest analysis of the second season of She-Ra is the Princesses of Power. If the first season exhibited and tried against the story of how Adora [She-Ra] learns about the Horde’s cruelty, and how she should use her new powers, is to be a leader, also how to relate to her new friends while they work to rebuild the Alliance. She also doubles in more than one character arc, such as Catra and Adora [She-Ra] in navigating with the new status quo, as best friends now on opposite sides of the war, which is sad because the arc of Adora [She-Ra] is not well written, it is the Catra that carries the story and also the audience since it is the only one that has charisma is / or generates interest of the public. There are other character arcs as well, but not one with Catra’s weight. In the second season, unfortunately, has no cohesive plan or even plot, relying on stories without grace, also without nexus to advance it hangs. If the aim of the first season was to rebuild the Princess Alliance, the purpose of Season Two is just a vague confusion of fighting the Horde and finding out more about the She-Ra legend, in other words, there is no central goal.
    The only character who has some sort of real bow this season is Catra, who struggles with her new leadership role now that Shadow has been stripped of her position. The season sees Catra unfolding as she tries desperately to keep control and please Lord Hordak.
     And that’s not as interesting as Catra’s arc in the first season, dealing with her hurt feelings about Adora having walked away and betrayed her, it’s her trying to climb the ranks of the Horde, but at least it’s something, the only thing she has had this season, the character has been responsible for carrying the story and the audience. The only funny part was Scorpia’s attempt to become Catra’s best friend. Other characters have their moments, but poorly written and uninteresting or captivating [you feel like you’ve seen this before, and in a better way or even contrary to how it happened] even an episode devoted to Bow’s development was wasted focusing on It’s not a silly novel just to say we have LGBTQ male couples here, seriously, everyone knows that the series has it] and Shadow also win episodes explaining their story more at that time they are predictable, you guessed it all up to the characters’ speeches so predictable, got boring.
    If the first season culminates in a grand battle of princesses against the Horde, when the Horde directly attacks the Clara Moon and approaches to conquer the world, then the princesses get together, defeat the Horde and the Alliance is officially reformed. In the second season one does not see such culmination or final battle. It’s the final episode could be any other episode. The second season also sees much less the princesses working together, and, with the exception of a development of the personage of the Ice Princess, the other princesses are relegated to extras hardly taken advantage of of background.

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