She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a delightfully witty and poignant show, focused on magic, love, and the lore of She-Ra. As fun and adventurous as it is, fantastic storytelling has made it seriously emotional too. The show broaches difficult topics such as abuse, broken relationships, loss and grief, and makes them compelling to viewers of all ages. To usher in Season 5, which is sure to be full of twists and turns that will have us riding an emotional roller coaster, we’ve decided to compile a list of the most heartbreaking moments of She-Ra so far. You’re welcome.
- A princess left behind (No Princess Left Behind – 1×09)
The Princess Alliance joined forces to rescue Glimmer and Bow from the Fright Zone, but things didn’t go as planned. As Bow, Mermista, Perfuma, Sea Hawk, and Entrapta made their way back to the skiff, Entrapta turned back for her new friend Emily, and is trapped as a result. The looks of horror on the Princess Alliance’s faces implied that Entrapta perished in the flames. Of course, the audience’s fears are assuaged soon after, but this moment was a pretty big blow to morale for the rebellion, and certainly heartbreaking for Adora, who held herself responsible.
- Catra letting Adora fall (Promise – 1×11)
Honestly, this entire episode was a heartbreaking journey of trust and betrayal. We got a glimpse of the life our protagonists had during their childhood in the Fright Zone, and all the messy tension in Catra and Adora’s relationship. This episode helped us gain a true sense of why Catra is who she is, but also signified the beginning of a long downward spiral. Instead of accepting Adora’s offer to join the rebellion, Catra remained obstinate, and made it clear that the two of them are no longer on each other’s side. The look on Adora’s face as she watched her closest friend cut the webbing keeping her from plummeting will never fail to make our stomachs sink.
- Catra is fooled for the last time (Light Spinner – 2×06)
Despite all the abuse she’s endured from Shadow Weaver, Catra did all she could to prevent her from being sent to Beast Island. In an attempt to gain information, she shared a vulnerable moment with Shadow Weaver where the sorceress admitted to seeing herself in Catra and agreed to tell her something that would appease Hordak. However, in true Shadow Weaver fashion, this was just a ruse to save her own skin. Catra’s anguish when she discovers Shadow Weaver’s absence is still seared into our minds.
- The Super Pal Trio is torn apart (Moment of Truth – 3×04)
This moment was one of the biggest catalysts in Catra’s rapid downward spiral. After an emotional run-in with Shadow Weaver, Catra decided that she would open the portal at any cost. When Entrapta attempted to stop her by going to Hordak, Catra panicked, relied on instinct and electrocuted her. Shocked at the realization of what she’s done, she orders her to be sent to Beast Island. While we are used to Catra making poor decisions based on instinct, this one was the most severe by far and truly led her down a dark, dangerous path.
- Queen Angella’s sacrifice (The Portal – 3×06)
This scene was intense. After losing everyone that she cared about in the portal and a difficult confrontation with a corrupted Catra, Adora was left on her own in the portal. Just when it seemed like there was no hope, Angella arrived to save the day. Adora explained what must be done to save Etheria from the portal, and Angella made the brave decision to sacrifice herself. With a smile and the words “take care of each other,” the Queen followed through, and has not yet been heard from again.
- The fall of Salineas (Mer-Mysteries – 4×07)
This moment was so heartbreaking because of how abruptly it all happened. Mer-Mysteries played off like a lighthearted and silly mystery episode, but there was something much more sinister underway. While ‘Flutterina’ kept the princesses distracted, the Horde mounted a flawless attack on Mermista’s kingdom. By the time they uncovered Double Trouble’s ruse and found out about the Horde’s plans, it was too late. The shot of Salineas, destroyed, gives us goosebumps every time. This was truly the turning point of Season 4, where we started to realize the more frightening consequences of the War with the Horde.
- Catra finds out Scorpia has left the Horde (Boys Night Out – 4×08)
Catra’s mistreatment of Scorpia finally came full circle. In Princess Scorpia Catra said some incredibly hurtful things, and Scorpia was pushed to her limit. Later that day, Scorpia packed up and left the Horde, leaving behind her radio, the jacket Catra gave her in the Crimson Waste, and a note we never got to see. While Scorpia’s leaving was more than justified, it hurt seeing that Catra became truly alone.
- Mara’s Final Message (Hero – 4×10)
Without fail, Hero makes us cry every time we watch it. We learned so much about Mara in such a short time, including the true purpose of She-Ra, the reason she sent Etheria to Despondos, and her relationship with Light Hope. Her last message to Adora was urgent and sorrowful, but hopeful. Mara truly did everything she could to save Etheria and Razz’s devotion to her only drove home the message. We can’t look at pies the same way since.
- Beast Island’s Signal (Beast Island – 4×11)
We’d heard about Beast Island from the very beginning, but Chibbits and Razorfins didn’t even come close to the real danger: the Signal. In a terrifying similarity to depression, the Signal amplified Adora, Micah, Bow and Swift Wind’s deepest doubts and insecurities, making it all too easy for the heroes to give up. While Adora was ultimately able to break out of it, her broken cry that she couldn’t do it really set into our hearts. Too real.
- Double Trouble’s Vibe Check (Destiny Part 2 – 4×13)
Destiny Part 2 is an overall masterpiece, but this scene really took a big slice of the cake. It’s all the events leading up to it that make it so tragic. It began with Adora’s defection from the Horde, followed by Shadow Weaver’s betrayal, then Scorpia’s goodbye, and finally, Double Trouble’s double-crossing. We got a front-row seat to Catra’s downward spiral, seeing her sob, surrounded by everything she’s destroyed in her anguish despite ‘having everything under control’. We all knew that eventually Catra would have to own up to her behavior, but the theatrical and deeply personal fashion in which Double Trouble calls her out makes this one of our top heartbreaking moments.
Which moments broke your heart? Did we leave anything out? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #StrongPeopleCryToo.