WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the fourth season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, now streaming on Netflix.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power hasn't been afraid to blow up the status quo in the previous seasons of the show, showing a surprising willingness to have major characters betray each other or even be lost in the line of duty. But the finale to the newest season sees the entire world irrevocably changed and a new threat rising to take the show closer to a giant finale.
Here's what happens in the fourth season finale of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and what it means going forward.
FALL OF THE HORDE
Catra and Hordak spend most of the season in a good strategic position over the Princess Rebellion. They are even able to conquer new kingdoms, taking control of the sea halfway through the season. But the alliance between Catra and Hordak falls apart at the worst possible time. Just as their forces are on their way to try to overwhelm the Princesses, Double Trouble goes to Hordak and reveals the truth behind Entrapta's "betrayal" in the previous season. Learning that it was Catra who faked her treachery and covered it up to save her own skin, Hordak attacks Catra and attempts to kill her.
Their battle ends up destroying much of the capital's base, and Hordak himself is seriously injured in the chaos. A winded Catra is then confronted by Double Trouble. The shape-shifter reveals the "defenseless" Bright Moon was a trap to lure the Horde armies into the open field. The Princesses were then able to strike as a unified force, wiping out most of their remaining army. Suddenly, the advantage the Horde had in the war is lost. Double Trouble's betrayal was a result of the amplifying power of the Princess's secret weapon, and they leave the stunned Catra to stew in her own failure. With that, the primary villains of the series up to this point are more or less defeated.
THE HEART OF ETHERIA
Adora's journies to discover more about the truth behind Mara leads her to make a shocking discovery about Etheria: the old ones were harnassing the magical power of the planet to use as a potential weapon. Mara sacrificed herself to prevent the weapon from being taken, sealing it away into the modern-day. The stored energy exists within the core of the planet and could be unleashed to give all the Princesses major power boosts. But utilizing the energy could have a chain reaction, destroying the world in the process. While Adora and Bow leave to find Entrapta so she can potentially find a way to contain the power, Glimmer ignores their warnings and goes to Light Hope herself. She only sees the core as a weapon to use against the Horde, regardless of the risk.
Wanting to complete her programming by activating the weapon (known as the "Heart of Etheria"), Light Hope helps Glimmer access the magical energies. By uniting Scorpia (who has since left the Horde and joined the Rebellion) with her Runestone, Glimmer is able to let the power loose. This empowers all the princesses around the world, giving them a major advantage in the battles against the Horde. Coupled with Hordak and Catra's battle leaving their capital largely destroyed, the Horde has been defeated by the empowered princesses. For a moment, it seems that the choices by Glimmer seemed to help save the day.
But the powers of the Heart quickly took a turn, overloading the princesses, drawing the power through them and causing crippling pain. Light Hope kept activating the powers of the Heart, despite Adora's attempts to stop her. Adora is the key to fully activating the Heart of Etheria, and she's almost forced to use She-Ra's sword in the act. But with moments left, Adora is able to shatter the sword into pieces. This seals the core back away, saving the princesses and keeping Etheria from blowing up. But it also means Adora no longer has Bright Moon (who was seemingly destroyed in the act) or She-Ra to call upon in coming battles.
NEW THREATS RISING
Before Adora could destroy the sword however, Bright Moon was able to use the unleashed runestones to move Etheria out of the parallel universe that had been hiding it and the weapon within it. This means that Etheria can now be found by denizens of the core universe, which is quickly proven to be the case, as Hordak Prime arrives above the planet. He teleports Hordak, Catra and Glimmer to his flagship, where he is greeted by the weakened Hordak. Out of his suit and without his power source, Hordak is on his last legs. Hordak Prime reveals that he was drawn to the world by the energy readings coming from the Heart of Etheria, meaning Glimmer indirectly brought Hordak Prime straight to Eternia.
Disgusted with what Hordak has become, Hordak Prime casually seems to erase his mind... And, just like that, the main villain of the show is dispatched in moments.
The only thing that saves Glimmer is Catra, coyly teasing that she and Glimmer could be the key to accessing the power at the core of the planet. He announces that Etheria shall be the "jewel" of his empire, essentially announcing his intention to conquer the world. With the heroes largely separated and underpowered, it's left in the air as to how they will fight back against the newly introduced Hordak Empire.
Adora is, of course, committed to saving Glimmer and then the entire universe, setting up the series to enter a potential endgame.
Streaming now on Netflix, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power stars 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, Krystal Joy Brown and Jacob Tobia.
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