WARNING: The following contains spoilers for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 2, now streaming on Netflix.
One of the biggest criticisms of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1 was that fans didn't get a look at Bow's dads. The series touted they'd appear, yet in the first 13 episodes there was no sign of the duo.
However, the second season finally introduces them in the season finale, "Reunion," and it's everything the LGBT community and its supporters could hope for. The series depicts them as a married couple raising an aspiring soldier, leading to one of the most perfect pieces of representation ever.
What eased the disappointment of not seeing the fathers George and Lance last season was how the show painted an unexpected romance between two of She-Ra's Rebel Princesses, Netossa and Spinnerella. But still, the concept of two fathers and their son represents a family arc in a way few cartoons have ever tackled. Voltron tried and failed miserably with its Shiro story, but Netflix doesn't hold back with Bow's parents in an episode that's as progressive as it gets.
When we meet Bow's family, Adora and Glimmer assume Bow is in trouble. More so, they're shocked at how he's always kept his family hidden, at first giving the audience the impression he's hiding his gay fathers. However, we soon discover Bow's the one hiding the secret that he's a soldier with the Bright Moon army.
As the girls meet the parents, they find George, a war veteran who saw the Princess Alliance fail in the past and cost him his home, and Lance, an intellectual historian. It turns out they're forcing Bow to follow in their footsteps, as they don't want him near the war with Hordak.
It's by normalizing the family turmoil via such a common predicament that She-Ra really proves this issue isn't an issue after all. It doesn't treat Bow's parents as gay parents, or a family that's a gay family, it simply makes them a typical family with the typical drama parents and their kids endure.
The parents want Bow to follow a set path, but he wants his own identity. Now, we admit it's clever writing by showrunner Noelle Stevenson to have him hiding his identity from gay parents, but the way everything flows so organically and subtly, it's really amazing how natural George and Lance come off on the screen. Simply put, the show doesn't try to force or plug some kind of agenda, and by making the episode about Bow's inner turmoil, and not them, it allows the duo to simply be the worried parents.
In fact, they're bad parents for not allowing Bow to choose his own life, so clearly Netflix is showing us, gay or straight, parents can be flawed, even when they want the best for us. This is very relatable, and She-Ra gets to have its cake and eat it too, because while they're in the background, George and Lance as a couple isn't downplayed. They get their hugs, they're spotted kissing each other on the hands, sitting next to each other on chairs and playfully teasing to show they're just as in love as any straight couple.
In so doing, She-Ra continues to build on its messages of inclusivity, reminding us that sometimes a subtle approach works just as well as a loud, vocal one. What we're left with is a family arc steeped in acceptance, reinforcing just how much Etheria truly is an open-minded and diverse society amid the villains lurking on the outskirts.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, starring Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner, Reshma Shetty, Lorraine Toussaint, Keston John, Lauren Ash, Christine Woods, Genesis Rodriguez, Jordan Fisher, Vella Lovell, Merit Leighton, Sandra Oh and Krystal Joy Brown, is now available on Netflix.