The She-Ra returns! After a fun breezer of season two, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – DreamWorks Animation’s vibrant reboot of 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power – has returned with six new episodes. In the magical land of Etheria, Adora (Aimee Carrero), the reincarnated She-Ra warrioress with her magical sword, is set on unearthing answers about her past. Her arch nemesis and former friend Catra (AJ Michalka) is seeking to redeem herself from disgrace after letting loose hers and Adora’s former abusive mentor, Shadow Weaver (Lorraine Toussaint). 

Adora faces a few kickers: she may not be from this world and grapples with more Chosen One burdens. Catra also confronts an identity crisis when Hordak (Keston John) exiles her on a death mission to the Crimson Waste. But Catra acclimates to the Crimson Waste beyond the reach of her commander, perhaps seeing a chance to flee her abusive homeland and forge her own life – her own villainy – with the emotional support of the mellow claw-handed Scorpia (Lauren Ash). 

Under the watchful eye of creator Noelle Stevenson and her team, She-Ra never lets character dynamics go unanswered. Season three throws many gut-wrenching turns, and its potency lies in its purpose-fueled heroes and antagonists. Everyone gets a moment in the spotlight and no character and no relationship is less intriguing than another. Even the typically generic and villainous Hordak receives a backstory entangled with the grander scheme of the story that affords pity, not for his deeds, but for his motivation.  

There’s a surge in the Catra and Adora drama compared to the last season’s restraint on their chemistry. Shadow Weaver is also thrown into the mix in a shaky alliance with the rebellion – and taking an interest in Starlight Glimmer (Karen Fukuhara), whose father she once taught. There’s an introduction to the enigmatic, burly Huntara (Geena Davis), who dwells in the margins of a strong-rules-the-weak society before becoming game for revolution. The Catra and Scorpia interplay is a hoot as usual, with Scorpia serving as the pouting angel on Catra’s shoulder and an audience surrogate to react to the latter’s hubris. Most surprisingly, the ditzy gadgeteer Entrapa (Christine Woods) and the no-nonsense Hordak bud into a compelling odd couple. When the absent-minded inventor designs a less painful armor for her superior and assures him, “imperfection is beautiful,” he expresses gratitude in humorously villainous language: “Anyone who discounts you are utter fools.” Not unlike the antagonists of Steven Universe, some villains like Hordak and Catra need to hear validation.

The final two episodes hurl out an armageddon of alternative universe shenanigans and collapsing realms, a shade reminiscent of the climax of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Due to its deep investment in its character’s emotions, the glimpses of what-could-have-been, the positives and negatives of another timeline, hit hard. Empathetic lenses are offered for each character’s emotional reactions and decisions to events, to downfalls, and to revelations. Whether it’s Adora desiring a say in her Chosen One mantle, Catra reveling in the possibility of a new start, or Queen Angelica (Reshma Shetty) doing right by her rebellion, everyone is given their moment. And yet, never does She-Ra let go of its fun-spiritedness and its ability to find humor in and elevate its story beats with devastating punches.

The most heartbreaking, yet refreshingly real, sequence is when Adora excavates the final moments of the last She-Ra incarnation, the late Mara (Zehra Fazal). What was supposed to be a simple search for information turns into an elegy of a frightened young Chosen One’s honesty about her duty insecurities: “I never wanted to be a hero, I won’t be remembered as one.” There’s an important theme for young and adult viewers: even those who have fallen deserved to be revered.

/Film Rating: 9 out of 10

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Author : Caroline Cao

Publish date : 2019-07-31 17:00:53