The plot pot is slowly starting to boil, everyone. What starts as a happy, joyous victory for the Rebellion soon turns into a quiet loss, escalating the struggle of the war. ‘Flutterina’ turns up the heat on the animosity between the Horde and the Rebellion, detailing the aftermath of a successful Rebellion victory on Elberon. In gratitude, the Elberon (ites? ians?) villagers throw a party for Adora, Bow and Swift Wind. Meanwhile, amid remaining stress and paranoia after shipping Entrapta off to Beast Island, Catra introduces Double Trouble to the Horde’s side. Double Trouble, voiced by the exceptional Jacob Tobia, proves to be a unique asset in the fight against the Rebellion.
In the Fright Zone, Catra is tormented by a vicious nightmare. She relives hurting Entrapta and sending her to Beast Island, and if that wasn’t enough, Adora appears right after, asking her why she activated the portal. Despite her rough exterior, it’s clear that these actions are brutally haunting Catra’s psyche. What’s interesting to note is that this is our first glance of present-Catra without her headpiece—she isn’t in uniform, and for once, her outside appearance is just as vulnerable as her inside. She wakes up panting, only to be greeted by Emily. In a (misplaced) fit of rage, she attacks the bot and barks at her to stay away, glaring until she leaves.
After this nightmare, Hordak fiddles with a piece of technology in his sanctum, wondering aloud if the tech was Entrapta’s doing. To further rat out Hordak’s lingering feelings for her, his imp loudly repeats Entrapta’s name, flying around the room and taunting his blushing ruler. Hordak tosses the piece of technology at the imp, only for it to land at an arriving Catra’s feet. She smirks, asking what happened, and Hordak reveals that the Rebellion managed to capture one of their bots and retrofit it with a surge device that destroyed an entire squadron of Horde machines. Catra, always one to pour salt in a wound, teases the loss and remarks on how many battles the bots had lost them. Hordak warns her to watch her tone, but Catra presses further, wondering if Hordak is tired of losing now that Horde Prime is set to make his arrival. Having had enough of her, Hordak snaps at Catra, only for the real Catra to step out of the shadows.
Turns out, the ‘Catra’ who had previously been speaking to him was Double Trouble. Catra introduces the mercenary to Hordak, explaining that they are their newest asset in taking down the Rebellion. In his own way, Hordak is pleased but warns Catra not to deceive him again. However, one glance from Catra to Hordak’s crystal renders the warning more empty than anything. She continues her little trip, asking what happened with the bots, and Hordak explains that the bots were part of the failed occupation of Elberon, and the rebellion has now seized the town. He muses that the Rebellion’s advanced technological capabilities are a result of Entrapta, which shakes Catra for a moment but she quickly recovers. Unfazed by the defeat, Hordak insists he will improve the bots so that they can retake Elberon, but Catra is not impressed. She claims that Elberon itself does not matter, but rather what it can do for them. Intrigued, Hordak asks for her idea, only for her to turn her gaze to Double Trouble.
Back with the rebellion, Adora, Bow and Swift Wind connect with Glimmer via tracker pad, recounting their win in Elberon. Glimmer is thrilled about the victory, but also seems a little envious, unhappy to be stuck in Bright Moon with queenly duties. She asks if her friends will be returning soon, but Adora and Bow mention that there is one more thing they have to take care of. Swift Wind, in his blunt, unabashed way, reveals that the townspeople are having a dinner in celebration of them. Adora and Bow try to appease Glimmer and tell her that they can skip it if she wants them home, but Glimmer won’t hear of it. The three head to the celebratory dinner, only to find out that the ‘small dinner’ is in fact a huge party. Before Glimmer can feel even more left out, Bow hangs up the call and the three proceed to enjoy themselves. The townspeople are incredibly kind in their gratitude, making sure that Adora, Bow and Swift Wind feel their appreciation. While I’m sure Bow has experienced parties like this (or to a lesser extent) in the past, it’s quite touching to see Adora let loose and have fun. There’s even a She-Ra cake!
At one point in the party, an eager little girl introduces herself. Her name is Flutterina, and she’s She-Ra’s biggest fangirl. Flutterina’s biggest dream is to leave Elberon and fight for the Rebellion, right alongside She-Ra. All this attention does wonders for Adora’s ego, which worries me. The last time Adora got too overconfident, things didn’t work out so well. Nevertheless, the group enjoy the party; Adora shows off her prowess as She-Ra, Bow practices his magic tricks, and Swift Wind gets his mane and tail adorned with flowers. The party is a smashing success— up until the Horde comes back.
The mayor of Elberon worriedly announces that their scouts have reported a bot, bigger than any they’ve seen before. She wants to evacuate the villagers, but Adora insists otherwise. She bids them (and Bow) to stay and enjoy the party while She-Ra handles the bot. Adora and Swift Wind leave the party to handle the bot, only to indeed discover that it’s different from any bot they’d handled before. When She-Ra slices it with her sword, the bot recovers and regenerates into two bots. Though it’s a challenge, Adora is not discouraged. She and Swift wind carefully take down the two bots using their bond, surprised at how easy it was. Turns out, it was easy for a reason; the bot served as a distraction. While she and Swift Wind left the townspeople unprotected, the Horde ambushed the party and took everyone— except Flutterina.
After Adora finds her cowering in a corner, she recounts how the Horde attacked as soon as she left. Bow did his best to fend off the attack, and it was because of his help that a few people were able to escape. The truth soon dawns on Adora that the bot was a distraction, and by leaving she left everyone vulnerable to an attack. Nevertheless, Adora wants to set things right and rescue everyone, and Flutterina offers her assistance as well.
Bow wakes up in the company of the Elberon townspeople, who are justifiably scared and in deep sorrow over their imprisonment. I know it’s a tiny moment, but glimpses like these remind us that while She-Ra is a children’s show, it’s unafraid to tackle deeper issues, giving us glimpses of the repercussions of war and how it affects people, albeit in a fantasy setting. This moment is one of many in Season 4, reminding the audience that we’re long past the carefree happiness in earlier episodes. Despite the loss of his arrows, Bow continues to instil hope in the townspeople, reassuring them that She-Ra and Swift Wind are likely looking for them as they speak, and in the meantime, they should work on trying to escape.
Outside of the cell-like hole, Catra oversees the prisoners from up top. Scorpia joins her, reminiscing on their accomplishment and being her cheerful self. Catra takes no pleasure from her company, asking about the weapons they confiscated. In total delight, Scorpia bids her to look at the tank reconfigured into a confetti cannon, but Catra isn’t here for a good time. Per usual, she’s focused on She-Ra and her ‘big plan’, one that she hasn’t divulged to Scorpia. It appears that she’s keeping more things to herself this season, causing Scorpia to feel a little left out. She mentions the portal, which triggers Catra and her earlier nightmare, causing her to snap at her companion. Poor Scorpia. One day you’ll have friends who appreciate you and your goofy sense of humor, I’m sure of it.
Meanwhile, Adora, Flutterina and Swift Wind have just made it to the Horde base, trying to determine their plan of action. Flutterina acts as the distraction, luring away the guards right to Adora and Swift Wind so they can quickly take them out. With the guards’ tracker in hand, they determine the location of the prisoners. Adora then transforms into She-Ra, while Flutterina adorably fangirls, and storms the Horde camp. However, the pit isn’t where it appeared on the map. They’re accosted by two bots, and Adora bids Flutterina to stay out of sight while she and Swift Wind handle them. However, they’ve forgotten that the bots regenerate and multiply, leaving far more for them to handle.
Back in the pit, Bow prepares for an escape attempt. The Horde didn’t search them well enough and didn’t take away his surge device. Using a child’s toy bow and arrow, he shoots it at the pit’s ceiling, disabling it and setting them free. Before Adora can continue her attack on the bots, she’s baited by Catra, who’s more than happy to watch the show. She tries her usual teasing speech, but Adora isn’t here for it. The portal changed things between them, and Adora insists that too many people got hurt by Catra’s decision to open it. Just the mention of the portal sets off a response in Catra, though she quickly reins it in favor of more biting accusations. Adora insists that she won’t let Catra hurt her friends again, but Catra reminds Adora that she was the one who left the villagers unprotected, pinning the blame back to her. She proceeds to trap Adora in an electric vortex, similar to something Shadow Weaver had used on Catra. It’s fine, I’m not hurting from this painful development or anything.
Bow has managed to help everyone out of the pit and sets to escape, only to meet Flutterina. She explains that She-Ra is in trouble and needs help, which kind of feels like an understatement, but Bow understands and moves to help anyway. Catra continues her taunts of Adora, up until she’s distracted with a pebble to the head. Bow and Flutterina have arrived to the rescue! Flutterina spies the confetti cannon, giving Bow an idea. He borrows the toy bow and arrow again, shooting the trigger on the cannon and causing it to blow confetti everywhere. The bots are distracted by the confetti, giving Adora and Swift Wind just enough time to ignite their bond. They destroy both the vortex and the bots before Adora sets her aim at Catra. She dodges, of course, and Adora is greeted by cheers from the Elberon townspeople. She thanks them for their help, but Bow points out that Flutterina was the true asset. Flutterina makes her case for wanting to help the Rebellion, and after her brave performance, how can Adora refuse? Adora agrees, much to Flutterina’s delight.
In the Fright Zone, Catra sulks on her usual perch. Scorpia joins her, offering her friendship and support to the disgruntled kitten. However, the moment she brings up Entrapta, Catra loses it. She barks at Scorpia to back off, claiming they’re not friends, and issues a warning to keep Emily away from her or else she’ll turn her into scrap metal.
Adora, Bow, Swift Wind and Flutterina journey back to Bright Moon, but Adora isn’t completely satisfied. She reminisces on the day’s events, and how her sudden overconfidence caused her to place an entire town in jeopardy. Bow, the charming sweetheart that he is, reminds her to look at the bright side and all the good things that came as a result. Meanwhile, Catra returns to Hordak’s sanctum, where he asks her if her plan worked. No longer moody, Catra laughs and assures that it had. We glimpse back to Flutterina, whose eyes suddenly change to those of Double Trouble’s. Looks like the Rebellion has a new spy in their midst—well played, Catra.
‘Flutterina’ is a perfect example of the downfall of overconfidence and how it can hurt a person in the long run. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Adora like this, and just like before, her cockiness caused her to put others’ wellbeing aside and accidentally place them in danger. However, this Adora is a bit older, a bit wiser, and quickly sobers up. While it’s a delightful quirk to see her so confident in her abilities, I expect that she’ll learn from this lesson and rein it in a bit more. Additionally, ‘Flutterina’ really gives us our first look at Catra’s trembling mental stability, beginning with her nightmare in the beginning of the episode. It is this nightmare that starts her unraveling, a heartbreaking yet fascinating journey to watch. And let’s not forget Flutterina herself! Double Trouble pulls off this pink little fairy child perfectly, to the point where no one (not even the audience) suspects that they might be anyone else. Chalk another one up to their splendid acting prowess. At the end of the day ‘Flutterina’ is a wonderful setup episode, hinting at many delicious plotlines to come while still keeping the audience thoroughly entertained.