The first two She-Ra and the Princesses of Power series have been a bright and generally breezy reboot of the classic 80s Filmation series, but boy does season 3 crank things up a little. There are three main through-lines over the course of this season; Hordak's plan, which is suitably nefarious, involves portals and the Horde army travelling through space and time to take over Etheria; Adora and her Best Friend Squad deepen their bonds on a journey through the Crimson Waste to find more First Ones technology and learn what happened to Mara, the previous She-Ra, and Catra and Scorpia become closer as they search for the tech in the Crimson Wastes too. The three storylines converge in dramatic fashion and, from episode 5, get pretty heady.
This series has a laser focussed storyline but the true area of development is character as we delve further into all our invested parties.
A surprising addition to this is that we learn about Hordak's motivations, and even though he is the big bad in this series, it is hard not to feel a little sympathy for him. Special mention must be made of the cool artistic style to present Hordak's back story, all art deco edgy stuff, similar in style if not colour palette of Batman: The Animated Series. This episode, episode 2, also sees his friendship (maybe romance?) with Entrapta grow. What could have been a 2-dimensional bad guy, becomes more intriguing and the storyline goes to some pretty heady places, not Pulp Fiction level dark but for a 7+ kids show... pretty noir. Alternate realities, the darkest timeline and time and space being all wobbly wobbly feature in this series and actually play a huge part in the finale.
Fans of this blog will already know how much I like this series but this series ups the ante and delivers powerful, tour de force storytelling whilst remaining humorous and true to the characters it has developed. I've said it twice before, but I will say it again: miss this show at your peril.