Gonna start this one with a bit of a tangent. The original rough draft of this post was 2563 words. See, previously I was devoting at least a paragraph to each episode, going over everything in detail. But that’s longer than your average high school essay (hell, upwards of double the length) and that’s just unfeasible. It absolutely makes sense to cut everything down, summarizing the season in a paragraph or two, and then going over things I liked or didn’t like. But on the other hand, I’m throwing away thousands of words I wrote, which is one hell of an edit. It’s all for the greater good, I know, but don’t be surprised if at some point in the future I post an actual essay about… something.
Enough whining! On with season 4!
Glimmer is now queen of Bright Moon and that role sees her not in the field as much. A rift develops between her and Adora, exacerbated by Double Trouble, a shapeshifter hired by Catra to infiltrate the Resistance and cause mischief. Missions fail left and right and tensions rise. By the time Double Trouble is caught, Mermisa’s kingdom is taken by the Horde. We also find out that the weapon spoken of by Mara is the Heart of Etheria, a superweapon in the core of the planet that could destroy galaxies. Glimmer wants to activate it to destroy the Horde, but Bow and Glimmer disagree. While the dissenting duo go rescue Entrapa–and discover Glimmer’s dad is alive as a bonus–Glimmer has Scorpia attune with her family’s runestone, which was the missing piece to activate the Heart. She-Ra resists her built in programming, channeling the energy generated by the Heart into returning Etheria to the universe, and destroys the Sword of Protection in the process. Hordak, Glimmer, and Catra are captured by Horde Prime, the former being mindwiped and the girls being taken as prisoners.
I’ve mentioned them, but Double Trouble is my favorite character of season 4, hands down. Voiced by a genderqueer activist and referred to by “them/them,” DT is a sort of sassy gay friend to Catra. Just a friend that you pay for their services, and betrays you in the end because your side is losing. Double Trouble lays out every single one of Catra’s personality flaws, completing her descent to rock bottom. In the end it’s for the best, but at the time it’s one of the most brutal take downs Catra has ever faced. But, to be real, she has been a shitty person, so it’s not entirely undeserved.
The other characters also go through a tough time this season (though generally not as tough as Catra). Glimmer’s mom, Queen Angella, sacrificed herself to save everyone and it was only a matter of time before Glimmer blamed Adora (which, in a very roundabout way, isn’t entirely wrong?). She takes the losses of the Resistance personally, eventually opting to use a superweapon that backfires horribly and ushers in everything in season 5. Adora finds out that the She-Ra’s true purpose was to be a weapon of the First Ones, which shakes her. And she destroys the Sword, which means the end of She-Ra, right? Over with the Horde, Scorpia finally realizes the Catra is a bad friend, even directly saying it in a heartbreaking moment. And Hordak gets fed up with Catra’s lying, but gets mindwiped by Horde Prime before he can kill her. This is the Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back downer ending of the series.
The season did that thing that comic books love to do, where the new villain kills off one of the old villains. Sure, Hordak isn’t actually dead, but being taken out by Horde Prime so easily sets up the villain of the final season as someone not to take lightly. But is he a better villain than Hordak?
Yes. He absolutely is. See you next time for the final season!
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