She-Ra Season 4 is back to being a full thirteen-episode season and with this comes good and bad things. The good is the half season method Netflix has been employing with DreamWorks’ shows has been annoying. These seasons were produced to air as thirteen episode installments and cutting them in half ruined the intent of the writers. It made the pacing feel uneven and you’d usually get one half with a lot of set-up and another half with most of the payoff.
With the full season restored the season as a whole flows better. There isn’t an awkward start of stop. Everything progresses in a logical way and the character arcs track better. Even if some characters don’t get a ton of spotlight at least you can point to everyone getting a moment or two to shine. With the half seasons it really felt like some plotlines or characters were forgotten about.
The bad of getting the full thirteen episodes is that this season is a bit of a slog at the beginning. It’s not bad by any stretch but after the more serialized season three, it feels strange to go back to the more stand-alone style episodes. I don’t mind those type of episodes and they’re good for establishing the new status quo but it does feel as if the season has to spin its wheels for a bit in order to make the end of the season work. If the first seven or so episodes was a season on its own it would have felt a little lackluster.
Thankfully this slower pace does give time for everyone to shine. All of the main cast have powerful arcs throughout the season but Glimmer and Scorpia especially get the spotlight. This is their season and both characters go through massive changes. She-Ra delightfully plays with its new status quo and shatters it to great effect; even if takes a little too long to settle into it.
Glimmer’s changes throughout the season are suitably dramatic and push the character into darker areas but its Scorpia’s that resonate the most. Her friendship with Catra doesn’t continue in the “oh she thinks they’re best friends but Catra doesn’t” way it has. It morphs and changes to an endpoint that was a long time coming and may not end up where you think it will.
She-Ra introduced a lot of amazing characters throughout its first three seasons and while even the painfully underused Netossa and Spinerella get an episode to shine in season 4, I wish the series let other characters feel more important. Frosta, who delights in every scene she gets, is criminally wasted especially while Glimmer goes through so much. Frosta hero worships Glimmer so much it seems a wasted opportunity not to have had her character play more into Glimmer’s journey.
This season doesn’t introduce many new characters to an already large cast but the one given the most attention is Double Trouble. They bring a delicious energy to the season and are just fun. No character is having a better time than Double Trouble and with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, it’s nice to watch a character who just flips their hair back and grins at everything.
Much has been made about Double Trouble being a non-binary character and I hope they’re just the first step in more non-binary rep in children’s entertainment. She-Ra has been doing a lot of work in breaking down the barriers that exist for queer characters but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Double Trouble may not be everything fans hope for (they never use the word non-binary, although the character is referred to by they/them pronouns) but they’re still important to the continual evolution of queer representation. Casting a non-binary actor alone is worthy of praise and I hope Double Trouble gets to shine even more in seasons to come.
Even with Season 4 taking some time to ramp up the second half of the season is worth the wait. The final few episodes smash into each other with ferocious power and they open up the world of She-Ra in ways that make me NEED Season 5 right now! Most importantly though, it reminds us of the most important lesson the show has been giving us. That friendship, no matter how hard, is important. It’ll help us get through even the worst of times.
She-Ra season 4 will delight fans, especially those already invested in the world and characters. The slower moments at least provide time for the characters to bounce off each other and with such a colorful cast that’s very much appreciated. Hopefully season 5 can take full advantage of its episode count and make each episode as strong as it can be.
The fourth season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power series will drop November 5 on Netflix. Keep up with all the news about it here.