If we had to pick two words to describe the final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, they would be ‘overwhelmingly satisfying’. We know that this is a bold claim, but Season 5 managed to not only meet, but surpass all of our expectations—and they were pretty high to begin with. The highly anticipated final season is thought-provoking and memorable, with stellar voice acting, animation, artistry, and writing to boot. It’s clear that the cast and crew put their hearts into this season, and it shows.
As a general disclaimer, this review will not discuss key plot points or outright spoilers for Season 5. However, we will be discussing this season’s themes and lightly touch upon some events from the first ten episodes, so if you’re spoiler-wary and would like to go into the season completely blind, this is your warning.
As far as the general tone and stakes are concerned, the trailer does an excellent job of setting up the season. Between AJ Michalka’s (voice of Catra) eerie, haunting cover of ‘Warriors’ and the frequent flashes of Horde Prime’s menacing army, you know that this season is going to hurt. However, while the stakes are certainly the highest they’ve ever been, we found Season 5 to be a breath of fresh air after the intensity of Season 4. We loved Season 4, but due to the heaviness and constant turmoil the characters were put through, we found it quite difficult to rewatch. The opposite is true of Season 5. While it certainly has its intense moments, they’re often juxtaposed with softer scenes that make them very easy and enjoyable to watch and rewatch.
Just like its predecessor, Season 5 rises to action fast. There’s no filler left to go on—every episode is crucial to the plot. The writing this season is top-notch, and though we’ve only seen the first ten episodes, we don’t anticipate many, if any, loose ends for the characters. Season 5 does an excellent job at addressing everything that needs to be said without beating around the bush. We were often surprised at how much each episode manages to cover, and covers it well; it’s not often that a show can manage this without botching the pacing. On the contrary, the pacing is steady and moves forward naturally, allowing for a very smooth viewing experience.
Friendship and love have always been the core themes of the show, and Season 5 is no exception. Relationships that were tried and broken are repaired, with new ones formed to join them. While Season 4 tested these relationships and put them through the wringer, Season 5 focuses on healing. With high external stakes at the forefront, the characters band together to tear down an unjust dictatorship. Catra and Glimmer’s interactions on Horde Prime’s ship speaks volumes to this; the two have always been strong adversaries, but now that they’re the only two Etherians in space under Horde Prime’s direct mercy, they must learn to adapt.
She-Ra caters to a younger audience, but we found that the way the characters addressed the previous season’s relationship challenges is quite mature. Old wounds are addressed and finally given the necessary space to mend. Transgressions are acknowledged and forgiven. This is especially evident in the way this season handles Adora and Catra. As their relationship is the cornerstone of the show, Season 5 gives viewers closure regarding their past, as well as hope for their future.
Self-acceptance and confidence also play a large role this season. At the end of Season 4, Adora rejected her destiny and lost herself in the process. Season 5 follows her progress in understanding that true power lies within the connections she makes, not the sword she was told to wield. Other characters follow her example, embracing their unique abilities and allowing their differences to become their combined strength. While previous seasons have touched upon toxic characters who tear others down, Season 5 shines a spotlight on those who encourage others and help lift them up, teaching the audience that it’s okay to rely on others for help when needed and to believe in ourselves, even in the face of adversity.
Season 5’s greatest strengths lie in its storytelling and character development, which should come as no surprise. Horde Prime rises to power as a genuinely terrifying villain, and his arrival forces characters down a path they may not have previously seen themselves taking. By this point the cast of She-Ra is quite large, but Season 5 excels at giving each character ample screentime to showcase their strengths and leadership abilities; even ones you may not have expected. The story remains engaging, balancing moments that are funny, painful and dramatic without leaving you exhausted or longing for one over the other.
In terms of new characters, prepare to gain a new favorite or two. At this point in the series, we didn’t expect that we could make any more room in our hearts for new characters, but we were very wrong. We won’t spoil the surprise, but every addition to the cast (both supporting and main) is clever, witty, and downright entertaining to watch.
She-Ra’s art direction has always been phenomenal, but the artists on Season 5 really went hard. From the smooth animation, heart wrenching music, background paintings and character designs, the artistry on Season 5 is worth a rewatch alone. Previous seasons touted the viewers around Etheria, but focused on locations in Bright Moon and the Fright Zone. Season 5 expands beyond these two locations, exploring several planets in space, Horde Prime’s ship, and various locations around Etheria. These changes in location are amplified by the detailed designs and background work, allowing viewers to expand their view of both Etheria and the space surrounding it.
The beautiful animation is enhanced with a powerful soundtrack; you will hear strategic instrumental swells at key moments contrasted with soft, introspective music during tearjerker scenes. Pay extra attention to the music in episodes 3, 5, and 6; you’ll thank us later. Fight scenes are a strong point of Season 5; with their dynamic choreography and unique camera staging, we can only imagine how hard the storyboarding team must have worked.
Season 5 has a very special place in our heart, and it may be our favorite season of She-Ra. Keep an eye out for episodes 3 and 5, as those were our picks for standout episodes of the ten. Additionally, make sure you pay attention to the title cards during the theme song as it changes several times over the course of the season.
She-Ra has consistently delivered memorable seasons, one after the other. The story remains sharp, charming, and focused. Characters continue to grow and change as they engage with their internal and external conflicts. Love and light remains at the center of the show’s themes, reminding the audience that no one is ever truly alone. While a large part of us remains hesitant to say goodbye, we cannot wait to watch the thrilling finale.