‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’ Season 3 Review: A Powerful, Fluid Continuation of Its Previous Seasons

Part 3 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a gorgeous continuation of its earlier seasons. This is my third review for its third season. I’ve loved She-Ra so much from the beginning that it’s almost unfair for me to be assigned to review the show as it’s difficult for me to be objective. She-Ra is a wonderful show, and now that it has found secure footing, it’s flourishing.

Now that all of the main and supporting characters are completely integrated, plots and relationships are running a lot more smoothly. Rather than being focused on creating relationships, the show can focus more on deepening relationships and building a more interesting dialogue between characters. Viewers will feel a stronger emotional presence from the leads (particularly within Adora and Catra but also within Scorpia, Shadow Weaver, Entrapta, Bow and even Lord Hordak). The exploration of Adora’s past and her relationship with Shadow Weaver is a brilliant choice for season 3, as it provides the route through which that stronger emotional presence could be found.

Of course, there are a few lovely new characters, namely Huntara. In every way but by name, Huntara is the reigning leader of the Crimson Waste. She is enlisted by Adora and Catra for help along their journey which prompts Adora’s stutter-filled crush on her. Turns out the Crimson Waste plot is the best because it also gives Catra the side-plot she deserves. It seems like she’s finally found a place where she’s respected; feared even. Especially after being shoved aside by Hordak, who out of spite pretends as though Catra hasn’t made an insane amount of progress on behalf of the Horde. So she finally gets to have her long-awaited moment, which has been described as being a very “Han Solo” kind of moment (I happily agree). Catra lets the other Crimson Waste occupants’ insults slide off her with ease, and quickly learns that they are more sheep than wolves, following whoever proves strongest.

Speaking of the Horde, it’s become deeply fractured. Hordak and Entrapta have essentially isolated themselves to an extreme degree. It’s unclear at what rate the rest of the army seems to be overtaking Etheria, but that has become irrelevant to Hordak’s larger plan. Catra and her followers have split from the main division of the Horde, as a result of Hordak’s throwing his second in command into prison. Shadow Weaver has chosen to seek out Adora and thus has become separated from the Horde. While this could have led to a more confusing plot, it actually leads to a more accurate representation of each of the characters (again: stronger emotional presence). This also results in a more realistic plot and conflict. Additionally, this season throws in reality-based conflicts (ie. reality becoming warped and confusing). I absolutely loved this added layer of difficulty, and really appreciate how the show seems to be delving deeper with every step forward.

The Best Friend Squad is still just as messy and powerful as always, with Glimmer bouncing around and Bow chaotically rambling about First One’s tech. Adora is still struggling with sorting out her past, present, and future. Their sweet friendship is hopeful and loving, no matter how much trouble they find themselves in. Bow and Glimmer’s unconditional love for Adora is such a great constant for the show to have, and Adora’s growth through their friendship is pretty admirable as well.

We, by we I mean gay twitter, talk a lot about sword lesbians. Adora is (obviously) the sword lesbian of the century. The sword lesbian to end all sword lesbians. I love Adora for about a thousand reasons, however, one of the most personal and important reasons for me is her lesbian-codedness. From being flustered in front of Huntara to her complicated relationship with Catra, Adora is very easy to view through that lens. It feels quite warm to see her portrayed the way she is: no strings attached, no strange sexualization, just incredibly genuine. I’m aware of many others who feel similar to me about both Adora and Catra. She-Ra has proven to be such a safe, comfortable space for LGBT women in particular, as it is such a light-hearted, wonderful experience.

Overall, season 3 is continuing to improve upon what She-Ra does best but remembers to add new content and voices to its pre-established plots and characters. As I’ve expressed aptly so far, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is kind of the greatest thing ever. It’s definitely my happy place. I’m very grateful to Noelle Stevenson for creating such a heart-warming, sensational and diverse work of animation. It’s truly magic.

 

★★ 

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