We return to the Crimson Waste in the second episode of She-Ra‘s fourth season, following several returning characters and meeting a new major player. Double Trouble’s presence in Season 4 was hyped heavily by news outlets prior to the season’s release (ours included), not only because they’re non-binary, but also because they’re a shapeshifter. Although this episode only scratches the surface of Double Trouble’s dramatic possibilities, they absolutely live up to the hype. We also see a lot more range from Perfuma this episode, an unexpected but welcome character focus. Her dynamic with Season 3 series addition Huntara is very fun as it develops.
The episode begins in the Bright Moon war room, where Adora, Bow, and Huntara discuss Glimmer’s new workload as queen. Glimmer teleports in, now capable of (flawed) long-range travel because of her full connection with the Moonstone. She presents Mermista to her friends and tasks them all with retrieving Mara’s ship from the Crimson Waste. When Adora points out that Mermista’s powers would be useless in the desert, Glimmer teleports her away and returns with Perfuma, who’s super frazzled by Rebellion’s call disrupting her morning routine.
We follow Adora, Bow, Huntara, and Perfuma to the Crimson Waste, where the former pair walk ahead and the latter pair walk behind. Huntara and Perfuma are unlikely but hilarious scene partners, unsure about each other and their respective roles in the Rebellion (buff scary lady vs. hippie flower princess). Perfuma attempts to prove herself to Huntara by enchanting a cactus, but fails miserably, her zen totally harshed. Huntara leaves her and engages Adora, who flexes her new sword wristband that probably prevents a lot of continuity problems in episodes to come. Recalling their shared upbringing in the Horde, Huntara teases Adora that she’s gone “soft” during her time with the Princesses. The two jocks run ahead, in full competition mode, leaving Bow with Perfuma. She bemoans her inability to work with rough and difficult cacti, which Bow takes as a metaphor for Huntara. Perfuma clarifies that she literally can’t enchant cacti, which ironic since succulents are the easiest plants for the non-magically inclined to maintain.
The group finally approaches the ship’s crater, only to find it empty. Glimmer chooses this exact moment to FaceTime Bow, who nervously tells her that nothing’s wrong, they’re doing awesome, and they’ve gotta go. Huntara flexes on Adora by volunteering to track the ship, tasting rubber in the sand. Adora straight-up eats sand to prove that she’s a good tracker, proving instead that she’s someone who’d eat sand to establish her dominance.
Huntara brings Adora, Bow, and Perfuma to the Valley of the Lost, an underground bazaar of criminals and smugglers within the Crimson Waste. Horde officers patrol the area, cluing the group in to the Horde’s occupation. This is scene is the first of many Star Wars-esque environments we see this season, resembling a galactic market with roaming Stormtroopers and freaky-looking background aliens. Huntara hides Adora, Bow, and Perfuma under hoods, leading them through the Valley. She’s tempted to start a fight with her former cronies, but Adora dissuades her. Instead, Huntara leads the rebels to someone who can help.
Within the Horde’s settlement, Catra is hard at work as co-Horde Lord. She’s annoyed with Scorpia, who’s still trying to make the best of their fractured friendship, and rolls her eyes as the Force Captain exits the room. When Scorpia returns she boldly flirts with Catra, causing the already-frustrated woman to slam her against a wall. The other shoe drops when Scorpia enters again, rambling her confusion as Catra and Not-Scorpia exchange a tired glance. Catra demands to know what’s going on, and screams when Not-Scorpia transforms into another Catra. Despite her new outfit and hair, she doesn’t seem too happy to face herself.
Meanwhile in the Valley, Huntara brings the rebels to meet Grox, an old Crimson Waste friend. Or so she thinks—after some tense banter, Grox calls out for the Horde, exposing Adora, Bow, and Perfuma. She tells the fleeing Huntara that the woman she knew wouldn’t have been so trusting and foolish, paralleling Huntara’s betrayal of a naive Adora in Season 3. After another botched attempt at cactus magic, the rebels hide in an alley from the alerted Horde soldiers. Yet again, Glimmer chooses a fantastic moment to check in, getting major FOMO when she learns that her friends are mid-chase.
Scorpia watches the two Catras face off, one informing the other that she’s her new best friend. Real Catra says she’s done with best friends, which, I mean, is just kind of unnecessary and hurtful to me specifically. Finally Not-Catra yields, shifting to their true form—a tall, elf-like rogue whose outfit already suits Catra’s fashionable overhaul of the Horde. They introduce themself as Double Trouble, a theatrical shapeshifter with boppin’ theme music. They offer to work for the Horde—for a price—or else offer their services to the Rebellion. A Horde officer bursts into the scene, informing Catra that rebels are in the valley. She turns to Double Trouble, eager to see how useful they can be.
The rebels are disheartened as they continue to hide from the Horde. Huntara regrets her trust in Grox, while Perfuma laments her magical struggles. Glimmer checks in again, and Bow finally cracks, telling her the entire situation with the ship. Glimmer is surprisingly excited and jealous, complaining about the meetings she’s attending as Queen. She tells her friends that she’ll be there soon, and teleports out of sight despite Bow and Adora’s protests. Stuck in a ‘what now?’ moment, Bow removes the Force Captain badge from a jacket he grabbed from Grox’s den. He reminds the rebels that the badges contain tracking devices, which once foiled their attempted kidnapping of Catra. There’s some hesitation in the recollection, drawing attention to Bow’s discomfort with the Rebellion’s moral failings. The rebels’ spirits rise, though, when Bow successfully programs the badge to locate Mara’s ship.
The rebels’ plan to reclaim the ship is complicated by Perfuma’s ongoing struggle. Huntara encourages her, admitting that she was wrong to doubt her, wrong about a lot of things, and that they all need her help. Given the all-clear, Adora transforms into She-Ra and jumps into the crater containing the ship. She lands on a wooden platform and immediately takes out a patrolling soldier, greeting him with a cool “hello” that she might have picked up from someone she used to know. Catra enters the fight, but fails to say the Sacred Words (“Hey, Adora”). Adora does not hold back in combat, throwing Catra onto a wooden platform and wounding her face.
Beneath the ship, Huntara meditates with Perfuma to help her enchant the cacti. This leads Perfuma to an epiphany—because they’re underground, there’s an extremely strong root system that can help her elevate the spacecraft. Her magic does wonders, leaving Huntara amazed and endeared. Perfuma circles back to the Huntara = cacti metaphor, praising the plants’ power that she previously failed to notice.
Catra and She-ra still haven’t stopped fighting, fast and vicious and unrelenting. She-Ra collapses the platform beneath Catra, catches her in her arms, and slams her up against the wall. She slams a metal grate to trap her, essentially placing Catra in Gay Baby Jail (Noelle Stevenson’s words, not mine). She Ra tells her foe that she has more important things to do, but it was fun distracting her—and then she winks. This is a fascinating reversal of Catra and Adora’s dynamic in Season 1, when Catra was the shameless flirt between them.
Under the ship, Perfuma’s magic generates a green light that completely removes Mara’s ship from the Horde’s crater. Overwhelmed by this defeat, the Horde begins to evacuate—but when Adora returns to Gay Baby Jail to retrieve Catra, she’s shocked (and a little disappointed) to find it empty. Her attention is recaptured, though, when Bow, Huntara, and Perfuma begin to celebrate. Perfuma thanks Huntara for her praise and assistance, making her a cactus-flower-crown that Huntara happily accepts. Queen Glimmer teleports among the rebels, apologizing for getting temporarily sidetracked by the ocean. Huntara takes her presence as an opportunity to pitch her plan to retake her home for the Rebellion. Perfuma admits she’ll miss her “desert rose,” becoming the first character in She-Ra to out-gay Catra and Adora in any given episode.
Catra, Not-Catra, and Scorpia share a skiff as the Horde retreats. Double Trouble shifts back to base form as Scorpia applauds them, having nailed their audition. They bask in the glory, praising their own detailed portrayal of Catra (as a lifetime theater person, I can confirm that this characterization tracks). Catra already starts to scheme, stating that because Adora fell for the trick, she and Double Trouble are unstoppable. She stares ahead, grinning deviously, already planning the chaos her new asset can invoke.
‘The Valley of the Lost’ is a strong introduction to newcomer Double Trouble, as well as an update on several focal relationships in the show. Glimmer’s FOMO brews as she fills her new role, Adora’s done making excuses for Catra, and Catra really isn’t holding back on the whole ‘evil’ thing. This episode portrays a small battle in the massive war between the Rebellion and Horde, promising a season full of conflict, trickery, and ridiculously gay moments.