Though its six episodes fly by in the blink of an eye, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s third season is anything but filler. Each episode is a dense exploration, both physical and emotional. Whether it be Catra figuring out her new place in the world, Adora and company wandering the Crimson Waste, or a tender moment between Hordak and Entrapta, of all people, this season is all about growth -- and sometimes growth is uneven and awkward.
That double-sided aspect of growth is nowhere as prevalent this season as it is with Catra. Starting off from the lowest low, having been thrown in prison by Hordak after allowing Shadow Weaver to escape, Catra continuously takes two steps forward and one step back through the season. She’s offered an incredible confession from Scorpia, and treats it as a weakness. She finds a place of power for herself in the Crimson Waste, but rejects it because it isn’t enough to just be powerful; she has to show up everyone that ever doubted or wronged her. It’s a shockingly mature storyline for the character, and plays out exceptionally well.
If there’s only truly disappointing aspect of She-Ra’s third season, it’s the odd pacing of the introduction of Geena Davis’ Huntara. You could chalk this up to the simple fact that there’s only six episodes in the season, but something about the speed with which Huntara comes into the picture, becomes part of the Best Friends Squad, and then basically fades into the background is unfulfilling. While she’s sure to feature in future seasons, the amount of Huntara here just isn’t enough to satisfy.
But even if that’s a knock against this season, it’s a relatively minor one. “This character is so good that I wish there were more of them” is basically a compliment. On the other hand, the actual compliments to dish out for this season are too numerous to list. Bow and Glimmer remain incredibly heartwarming, with their interactions together regularly setting the bar high for literally any other character interactions, and Adora’s quest for understanding perfectly dovetails with Catra’s quest for acceptance.
The previous seasons have absolutely dealt with how both Catra and Adora have handled the fact that the latter defected, but by comparison, this season finally confronts all of what that means, and seems to actually start to move on -- in its own, She-Ra kind of way. There’s lots of punching and anger, but there’s also a genuine confrontation that’s been coming since the beginning, and it feels right that it should finally happen where it does. If you’ve been waiting for Catra and Adora to actually hash out their feelings, and to seemingly move on from there rather than continuously repeat the same cycle, this might just be it. (I won’t spoil when this comes, but it should be fairly obvious when it does.)
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s third season is brief, yes, but it manages to encapsulate everything that works about the show in its six episodes. There’s friendship, there’s magic, and there’s an undeniable core to this show that allows it to be extremely goofy and deadly serious all within the same 20 minutes and change. Can someone ever truly be redeemed, and what does that even look like in practice? She-Ra doesn’t really pretend to have answers to either question, but it and its characters are willing to find out.
Rating: 5 out of 5
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