The reboot of the beloved ‘80s classic comes to an epic end.
SUMMARY (Spoilers for Seasons 1-4)
On the magical planet Eternia, Adora (Aimee Carrero) was raised to lead the Horde, an evil army under the rule of Hordak (Keston John). After finding a magic sword that transformed her into the powerful warrior She-Ra, Adora realized that the Horde were the bad guys, and joined the Princess Rebellion. Along with her new friends Glimmer (Karen Fukuhara) and Bow (Marcus Scribner), as well as her horse Swift Wind (Adam Ray), she helped form an army of the most powerful princesses on the planet: Chlorokinetic Perfuma (Genesis Rodriguez), Hydrokinetic Mermista (Vella Lovell), Cryokinetic Frosta (Merit Leighton), Centrifugalkinetic Spinnerella (Noelle Stevenson), Net…tossingkinetic Netossa (Krystal Joy Brown), and later the technowizard Entrapta (Christine Woods) and the adorable Scorpia (Lauren Ash). Adora’s former best friend Catra (AJ Michalka) commands the Horde now, trying to take over Eternia. Unfortunately, it is revealed that Hordak is just the minion of a much greater threat, Horde Prime, and he has now found Eternia just as Adora loses her ability to turn into She-Ra. It’s up to the princesses to stop a galaxy-wide army of destruction.
So, as I said when I reviewed the first season, I wasn’t completely won over by this show. I particularly thought that the first season was too formulaic and repetitive and had way too many dei ex machina to keep me interested. It didn’t help that the only character I really felt had a compelling personality was Entrapta, because she was an amoral character who wasn’t portrayed as outright villainous. While I appreciated that the show was broad in terms of representation, I didn’t think a ton of it otherwise. I thought it got a little better over the next few seasons, but I still wouldn’t put it in the category of great animated kids shows like Avatar or Gravity Falls. However, I will give it this, when it finally came down to the line, the show stepped up.
Season five of this show was pretty intense and took full advantage of all of the elaborate world-building and character development that had previously been put into the show. The fact that the show had already permanently killed off a major character and the fact that the series was coming to an end meant that, even though you probably know that the good guys are going to win, you actually didn’t know who would make it to the end. The season also reveals the reason why Horde Prime is more horrifying than his minion, because Horde Prime commands a slavish devotion from all of his followers, most of whom are clones of him. He is spoken of as if he is a god and clearly thinks of himself as being close to one. That makes it obvious that the heroes are going to end up having to take extreme measures to beat him. It gives the show a darker edge that really forces the characters to take stock of the reality that they’re in a war that may kill everyone they love.
It helps that the season does play up the Catra/Adora relationship more than ever before. Since they have the most interesting dynamic in the show, having been best friends who now fight as mortal enemies, this really drives forward both their characters and also those around them. It also helps that the B-plotline of the resistance against Horde Prime’s assault on the planet is also very compelling, mostly because Horde Prime is not above tactics that Hordak probably would have thought too repulsive.
Overall, I don’t know if the show really deserves to be up there in the annals of great kids animation, but I will say that the show consistently improved, and that’s more than almost any other series can claim. I cheered loudly during one of the ending scenes, something many shows can’t excite me enough to merit. Also, it pissed off a lot of people who deserve to be pissed off, and that always makes me smile.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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