She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns for a second season tomorrow, Friday, April 26th. While it will inevitably be buried in other pop-culture happenings -- Avengers: Endgame’s premiere, the latest Game of Thrones episode -- the animated reboot’s second season has a lot to offer despite lacking the stakes of its initial outing.
If there’s a main theme to the second season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, it’s one of belonging. What is Adora’s place as She-Ra in the newly established second incarnation of the Princess Alliance? Now that Catra’s established herself as the right-hand thug of Hordak, how does she manage her new responsibilities? How does Bow fit into things as the de facto “tech guy” for said Princess Alliance? This extends to the likes of Shadow Weaver, Scorpia, Glimmer, Entrapta, Frosta, and more.
The seven-episode Season Two handles this theme fairly well, with Adora coming to embrace her role while Catra realizes just how tenuous her own position is. Adora, for example, trains almost relentlessly only to discover that sometimes she must rely on others, while Catra consistently schemes to gain more power while admitting in private moments what little she actually has -- to some surprising characters, no less.
While it certainly embraces some thematic components, the individual episodes are otherwise fairly disparate. Yes, the Princess Alliance fights the Horde in the wake of the attack on Bright Moon, but there’s no throughline to speak of that connects these seven particular episodes together. There’s much more to Swift Wind, Bow, and Shadow Weaver than previously explained that’s explored here, but none of it feels connected or essential -- largely because the major tease of the season isn’t resolved by the time it ends.
While this might all sound like I’m negative on the new season, the reality is that it’s quite good. There were a number of times where I genuinely laughed out loud or caught myself smiling, thanks in large part to a number of well-timed references and jokes. Every individual episode is a delight on its own, but the sum of these parts doesn’t add up to anything special. In some ways, it feels like some of the smaller seasons of Voltron in that it’s quite good, but oddly parsed out.
In short, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season Two is good, but perhaps not great. It’s held back simply due to the fact that none of it ever seems to come to fruition by the end of the season despite teasing certain plot hooks throughout. It ultimately feels incomplete, but what’s there is worth watching.
Rating: 4 out of 5
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season Two is set to release on Netflix on April 26th.
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