WARNING: The following contains minor spoilers for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 2, now streaming on Netflix.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power's second season has built up the various factions warring for the heart of Etheria even more than Season 1. Last season focused more on Adora becoming the titular heroine and Catra turning into the best friend who hated her for it. This time around, the stakes are raised and we see just how cosmic the scope of their story is.
It's no longer just about Etheria, because as more of Hordak's armies and their overall mission are explored, it becomes a battle for the fate of the entire galaxy. In fact, upon closer inspection, Season 2 really ends up drawing huge influence from one of pop culture's most iconic space sagas, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
She-Ra's training is very similar to Luke Skywalker's from the movie, where he went to Yoda to complete his journey towards becoming a Master Jedi. In Empire, Luke, on the advice of Obi-Wan's Force ghost, ended up on the swamp planet Dagobah and trained steadfastly under Yoda, someone who had all the knowledge of the galaxy and Jedi to pass on. Yoda knew he had a new objective here because he had to shape the Chosen One to restore balance to the galaxy.
Here, Dagobah's replaced by the Crystal Castle outside the dark forests of Etheria. It's a way cleaner environment, but, ironically, it's surrounded by caves and acts as home to the wise Light Hope. She's the holographic construct running the place, blessed with the knowledge of the cosmos.
Light Hope trains Adora to perfect her use of the Sword of Power, just like Yoda trained Luke with his lightsaber, even putting her through a similar series of trials.
A VILLAIN REDEEMED
In Empire, Darth Vader wasn't redeemed fully, but we could spot the glimmer hope in him when he talked about creating order in the galaxy with Luke. At this point, we knew he was ready to turn on the Emperor, something that would eventually happen in Return of the Jedi. Clearly, the love for his child started to resonate with the Sith Lord, even if the arc wasn't followed through until the next film.
In She-Ra, the same thing happens to Shadow Weaver. As the sorceress Light Spinner, she wanted to reduce chaos in the galaxy but succumbed to the darkness (a la Anakin Skywalker). Season 2 finally sees her cutting ties with Hordak and his legion in the Fright Zone, inspired by the love she has for Adora, who she raised from a baby.
Shadow Weaver begins to see the light, walking the path of redemption by going to make a pact with Adora so they can rule the galaxy with a new vision, just like Vader offered Luke.
HORDAK WINS THE DAY
Empire's famous for Palpatine winning the day by breaking the rebels' spirit. He got Lando Calrissian to betray Princess Leia and company, not to mention Jabba finally got his hands on Han Solo. Palpatine and Vader clearly infiltrated the Alliance and, with this personal triumph in hand, they began speeding up plans to create a new Death Star to decimate the remnants of their opposition.
Season 2 sees Hordak winning in similar fashion as he finally converts Entrapta, the smartest woman in the cosmos, into being his right-hand operative. Most importantly, they finally figure out how to use Etheria's energy and the Black Garnet (a runestone) to create portals so they can invade other planets, enslave more civilizations and garner other weapons and allies.
While Adora was busy training, the Princesses were tied up trying to expand their coalition, and the Alliance in general was looking to break into Hordak's lair and stop his plans. But the villain simply kept his distance like Palpatine did and engineered a weapon that may well decide the war to come, with all the heroes none the wiser.
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.