A short review;
Listen, I understand on a base level that a review of a show should have lots of concrete talking points, dissections of various plots, discussion of character arcs and all that jazz, but let me just sit back a moment and let out my real feelings.
Eeeee! Gay love wins! Gay love saves the universe! There’s hope in these dark times and my heroes get to be happy! Eeeee!
I’ve got a complicated relationship with my sexuality; it’s something I’m still parsing through as a 30-year-old and will probably still be processing for the rest of my life. But the thing is, I know that if I saw She Ra and the Princesses of Power as a child I might have felt a little safer, a little more secure, and a little bit more whole. That’s god’s honest truth. I cannot help but be super grateful that we live in a world where this kind of content for children is being made because I understand implicitly that it helps, and it’s necessary. Sure, seeing same-sex characters kiss as a child probably would not have helped my anxiety or depression, but it would have at least given me an anchor point; a true north that says, “This is okay too.” Smarter people said it better; representation maters.
In the same vein of things I would have related to as a child was the deep threaded theme of reconciliation. Characters who have made bad choices and have hurt others being forgiven and being given space to forgive themselves. It’s about as complicated a theme as a story can get; plenty of adult shows have tried and failed to portray it accurately, but She Ra comes through. Catra’s arc in particular; a character acting out of fear and uncertainty and ultimately regretting her choices, but feeling too deep into them to turn back just resonates with me. I’ve felt that way, I know I’ve had friends feel that way. Sure, none of us are starting intergalactic battles over it, but the weight of that guilt and fear sits heavy.
Again, it’s a complicated theme, a lot of the themes presented in She Ra are, I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. It treats its audience — in this case, children — with respect, which sometimes doesn’t happen, even in the most popular shows.
In the last few months there’s been a real fear that some of my favorite shows that have been ending would’ve gotten the HIMYM virus, (or worse, Game of Thrones). Endings where the creators got so invested they forgot about their audiences and in the end the audiences forgot about them. Those were two hugely culturally important shows and after their miserable endings they just vanished out of the zeitgeist (with good reason, they both ended so badly).
So finding out She Ra was ending, as well as Steven Universe I was worried something similar would happen. Sure, they’re not comparable to the megaliths of adult television, but they’re important to me.
Thankfully it didn’t!
The conclusion was solid, it was happy, it was real. Sure, sometimes happy endings aren’t the best, but it fit here. Not only were some of the main characters able to reconcile with their mistakes, but the world was not the same as it had been, and that change was met with hope. The audience was treated with respect, which ultimately I feel is a sign of good storytelling.
I’m happy. It ended perfectly. It’s great. This is the least coherent ‘review’ but I wanted to get my thoughts out before it became irrelevant. She Ra is important and good and ended well.
And was gay af, which made me squeal with delight.