WARNING: The following contains spoilers for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 5, now streaming on Netflix.
Since She-Ra and the Princesses of Power debuted on Netflix in 2018, showrunner Noelle Stevenson, the cast and crew have all agreed on one thing: The relationship between Adora and Catra is the heart’s blood of the series. In the Season 5 finale, their relationship reaches a new height as they join the ranks of canon queer couples in kids’ cartoons — and fans are rightfully ecstatic.
Adora and Catra grow up together in the Horde, but break up — and become mortal enemies — when Adora discovers she possesses the power of the ancestral warrior She-Ra. Simultaneously, she figures out the Horde is evil and dedicates herself to saving Etheria from its clutches.
Throughout the series, the pair have battled with incredible intensity, not just for the fate of Etheria, but with the intention of taking each other down. Juxtaposed against their current relationship, the series also treats viewers to flashbacks of Adora and Catra as kids — which makes their current antagonism even more heartbreaking.
In spite of Adora constantly asking Catra to leave the Horde and join her in the fight for good, Catra refuses. Motivated by a desire to please Shadow Weaver and Hordak — whom she sees as surrogate parents despite their abuse — as well as a desire to prove she doesn’t need Adora, who abandoned her, Catra does everything she can to destroy her former friend. She has complete tunnel vision, which for the first four seasons of She-Ra means undermining Adora and the Princess Alliance at every turn.
In Season 5, however, Catra turns a new leaf. Terrified for Adora’s safety now that Horde Prime has returned, Catra finally begins to redeem herself. She saves Queen Glimmer and stands up to Horde Prime, which ultimately leads to her being possessed through his tech.
Adora makes it her mission to rescue Catra, harkening back to when they were friends and not enemies. When it appears Catra has been killed — after her feelings for Adora allow her to briefly push through Horde Prime’s mind control — Adora once again becomes She-Ra. She uses her power to heal her friend, though the struggle isn’t over just yet.
While these two have always been the heart of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Season 5 hyper-focuses on what they mean to each other and how they’ve changed. The final season is the precipice and these two can either walk into the light together or plummet into the dark. Luckily, under the guidance of Stevenson, they successfully defeat the darkness — and they do it hand-in-hand, literally.
The two-part series finale, aptly entitled “Heart,” allows Catra to fully redeem herself. It also gives viewers the pay-off they’ve been hoping for since She-Ra debuted: Adora and Catra not only exchange “I love yous,” but a passionate first kiss that fully reawakens the dormant spirit of She-Ra living in Adora’s heart, bringing the warrior back in a permanent way.
This moment is huge. It marks a moment of significant character growth for Catra, who’s refused to openly acknowledge her feelings for Adora for years. Likewise, it pushes Adora to acknowledge her own feelings and gives the pair the chance to be fully honest with each other.
Perhaps most important about this long-awaited kiss, however, is the fact that it allows Adora and Catra — fondly referred to by the She-Ra fandom as Catradora — to join the ranks of canon queer couples in kids’ cartoons. The Legend of Korra heavily implied a same-sex relationship in its finale; Steven Universe established multiple queer characters and relationships, including a lesbian couple who loved each other so much they fused in order to never spend a moment apart; after years of fans questioning whether Cartoon Network would allow it, Adventure Time featured Marceline and Princess Bubblegum kissing on-screen.
Incredibly, Catradora becoming canon has felt inevitable since the series’ debut. Stevenson, the cast and crew repeatedly left the characters’ relationship open to interpretation when asked about it at conventions and in interviews. However, fans always believed the pair would end up together, because it seemed like the most natural conclusion for their individual and joint character arcs.
Of course, plenty of viewers — especially older ones, who’ve often faced the disappointment of being queer baited with no pay-off — worried She-Ra would end without Adora and Catra ever acknowledging their love for each other, let alone getting together. The fact that the series ends with them not just reunited, but openly in love, is a huge win — and one fans should celebrate, loudly and with joy.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 5 makes a queer couple canon, which is a huge win for fans and for LGBTQ representation.