WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, streaming now on Netflix.
Netflix's 3Below: Tales of Arcadia has been vocal in its stance on immigration and refugees, as creator Guillermo del Toro & Co. focus on the royal alien siblings, Princess Aja and Prince Krel, who seek safety on Earth following a coup on their homeworld.
However, in addition to directly addressing the "aliens in America" sociopolitical issue, in its second season 3Below stands up even more for inclusivity and diversity by introducing its first LGBT character: Arcadia High School student Shannon Longhannon, voiced by Bebe Wood.
Shannon is depicted as comic relief throughout the season, although she's somewhat of an introvert. A quiet and a shy bookworm, Shannon considers herself a nerd; she wears large, red glasses, and doesn't makeup, unless Claire and her classmates apply it for her. Everyone seems to love her, as she's always preaching kindness when students fight with each other.
And we get a lot of that with Aja and Krel, their classmates Toby and Jim from Trollhunters, and Aja's love interest Steve and his sidekick, Eli. The dynamic inevitably creates drama, as they're such different characters, but what really stands out with Shannon this season is how much trouble follows her, even as she tries to make sure everyone else's life runs smoothly. For example, she creates a volcano for a science fair, only for it to be smashed repeatedly by Aja and Krel when they become stuck in a time loop. Shannon can't catch a break, which is her theme this season, and it comes full-circle in "Asteroid Rage," when an asteroid is blasted into pieces by the royals, only for fragments to come fall toward Arcadia High.
As the school is about to be struck by the debris, Shannon continues with another of her running gags -- that is, she's never been kissed. However, with the staff and classmates sit, watching hopelessly at their impending doom, a girl sitting next to Shannon at the back of the cafeteria admits she's never been kissed, either. And, so, they kiss each other. Shannon comes out in this romantic moment, which she thought might be her last on Earth. Luckily, the royals eradicate the fragments at the last minute, leaving Shannon and her mystery friend now part of a potential arc for the future.
Season 2 already depicted a couple of women holding hands in a cafe, but this is a more direct take on LGBT characters, as Shannon is no mere background figure. She's one of Aja and Krel's closest friends, as evidenced in the finale when they reveal themselves as aliens, and it's laudable the show opts to take this route to her.
It's more than just warm embraces on She-Ra and the Princesses of Power between Bow's dads, and the queer princesses, Netossa and Spinnerella. It also helps to make up for Netflix copping out with Shiro's romance with Adam and his hamfisted marriage on Voltron: Legendary Defender. Instead, Shannon's arc feels organic, following an awkward teen who gains the confidence to acknowledge who she is.
Season 2 of DreamWorks' 3Below: Tales of Arcadia is available now on Netflix.