On a second viewing of She-ra and the Princesses of Power, it strikes me that it’s very easy to read the Shadow Weaver business as an explicit criticism of the whole idea of redemption arcs.
Like, you think Shadow Weaver should have had a redemption arc?
As far as she’s concerned, she did.
Basically everything she does after defecting to Brightmoon is just her methodically ticking off every box on the “redemption arc” checklist in the most awful, cynical way imaginable.
Like, she even manages to turn heroically sacrificing herself into a passive-aggressive guilt trip, in the process denying the audience the simple catharsis of seeing a bad guy go down – leaving us stuck with the knowledge that she went out smugly confident that she’d completed her redemption arc and was officially on the side of the angels, and nobody’s ever going to be able to challenge that narrative because she immediately blew herself up.
I can’t imagine it’s accidental that the show gives us a character who technically does everything the genre’s formulas demand in order to earn her redemption, and thereby makes a travesty of it.
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