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After a well received first season, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was quickly renewed for a second. In fact, its sophomore batch of episodes was even released relatively quickly after the first, less than 6 months later. While a shorter season (only seven episodes compared to last year’s 13), it was still very anticipated by fans. Even more so now the dumb, sexist and homophobic online controversies relating to the series and its creators has finally died off. So with less distractions, She-Ra season two offers a fun, if occasionally flawed, watch.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power season two sees She-Ra/Adora training to become stronger and more capable, the Princesses of Power defending Etheria as they battle the horde, and Catra asserting herself as a new high power in the horde as Hordak’s right hand. There isn’t as much of an overarching story this season, aside from Catra and the horde, with the show instead deciding to shift focus to a more character centric serialised format. This does lead to some great character growth and world building if a lack of focus at times.
The character beats throughout the series are very well done. Adora is still rather stubborn but notably growing less and less so. Supporting players like Bow and Scorpia have dedicated episodes that flesh out their characters, establishing them as strong in their own right and helping viewers understand exactly what makes them tick. And everything with Catra in the horde is nothing short of excellent. Her interactions with Hordak, Scorpia and particularly Shadow Weaver flesh her out greatly and add so much depth and tragedy to her character. It’s easily the season’s, if not the entire show’s, highlight.
Unfortunately, this sophomore effort is let down by its short length and lack of overarching story. You get the impression that since they only had seven episodes they decided to focus on characters and not the main storyline. While understandable and a commendable work around that functions its own way, it gives the season less flow. The main crew of Adora, Bow and Glimmer just dick around for the most part, making their segments feel like filler at times.
It’s still fun filler. But when its debut season had such a focus on story, it harms its follow-up to not feel as propulsive in terms of plot. And when it does progress, characters don’t always take it as seriously as they should, apart from Adora. Yes it’s a show aimed at younger audiences but in season one the war felt serious. Here, it’s strangely downplayed, lowering stakes and audience investment.
For example, episode four sees the gang planning strategies to take down a watch tower. It’s a fine throwaway entry with inconsistencies and plot conveniences. But no one apart from Adora takes planning the strategy seriously, instead opting to just wing it. Did they forget that Entrapta nearly died last time?
Speaking of Entrapta, the gang thought she died towards the end of season one. Yet, she was just captured by the horde, later joining them to use their equipment and machinery for her inventions and scientific research, rather than for evil. As far as she knows, her friends left her behind in battle, upsetting her greatly. When Bow and Glimmer discover she’s still alive they’re horrified to realise that they left their friend to die when they could’ve saved her but now she’s joined the other side.
This is a great set up for character dynamics that ultimately goes nowhere. Upon seeing Bow and Glimmer again, Entrapta doesn’t show any malice towards them. In fact she acts like nothing happened. Bow and Glimmer are upset that she won’t leave the horde but get over it by the next episode. That’s just lazy. It feels like the series’ writers would have fleshed that out if given the time. However, maybe they just didn’t want to change up Entrapta’s naïve personality so they decided to skip over this. It’s a shame whatever the reason.
It’s also a pity that the titular Princesses of Power are seldom used in this season. Seeing how the goal of season one was to recruit them, it’s disappointing they are in less than half the episodes – with only a throwaway line of them staying back to guard the castle and land while Adora, Glimmer and Bow go out in the field to justify there lack of presence. It doesn’t ring true that these three would be embarking on dangerous missions and not opt to bring at least one of these all powerful magical people with them. They could’ve swapped which one tags along each episode. That would have been fun and given them more time to shine and develop.
She-Ra series two is a fun watch that’s ultimately hurt by its shorter run. The final episode has no sense of finality, outside the final shot, and feels like just the end to a regular episode more than a season finale. While the show is still enjoyable on a moment to moment basis and everything with Catra and the villains is simply phenomenal, in the case of this series more is more.