Sofia's New Quest

Tonight's episode of Sofia the First reveals that she is in her final semester at Royal Prep, the magical princess school run by the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty. This is surprising because even though the show has been around for five years, Sofia shows no sign of aging. At the same time, she's constantly evolving. Her new pink amulet transformed her from the one who needed advice from other princesses into the advice giver. Her new job as a protector of the Mystic Isles also lays a huge responsibility upon her shoulders. The two-part special that kicked off this storyline introduced a recurring villain named Prisma who tricked Sofia into thinking she was her friend. Once the truth was revealed, Sofia and Amber worked together to capture Prisma at which point she was locked in a dungeon by the other protectors of the Mystic Isles.

In last week's episode, "The Mystic Isles: The Falcon's Eye," Prisma escapes from the dungeon using a door-making device her magical new animal friend Twitch steals from Sofia that looks like it came straight out of Pan's Labyrinth. Twitch also helps her steal a magic talking locket that was sealed up in the dungeon where Prisma was trapped. The locket encourages Prisma to search for nine objects from various Disney Princess movies, collectively known as the "Wicked Nine." Sofia's new quest is clear. She must find the nine objects before Prisma does and catch her before she can use the locket to steal these powers and become unstoppable. This quest is a more structured version of her original mission to gather advice from all the Disney Princesses. It also solidifies the connection between Enchancia and the other Disney Princess worlds, making it clearer why Pocahontas was left out.

The Wicked Nine appears to contain a villain's object associated with each princess that Sofia has encountered in the past with the exception of Belle. The specific items appear to be different from the ones depicted above, so the vision presented by the locket may have only been symbolic of who the nine items belonged to. For instance, instead of Shan-Yu's actual sword, the locket wanted Prisma to collect a special jewel hidden inside the sword's hilt called the Falcon's Eye. Though Maleficent's staff appears to be included, tonight's episode "The Mystic Isles: The Great Pretender" saw Prisma trying to steal the spindle from the spinning wheel that Aurora pricked her finger on. Therefore, even though the locket projects an image of the Evil Queen's heart box, Mor'du's claw, Shan-Yu's sword, Dr. Facilier's hat, Mother Gothel's flower, Maleficent's staff, Jafar's staff, Lady Tremaine's key, and Ursula's shell, these may not be the actual items being sought after.

Going on a quest to find magical relics before a villain gets to them is a classic plot for many animated princess shows, especially Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. When Kale stole the crown jewels in the pilot episode "Jewel Quest," Merlin scattered them across the land so the Jewel Riders would have to find them and return them to the jewel keep before Kale could get her hands on them again. This type of story works well for television because it guarantees that at least a certain number of episodes will keep the story moving forward. It worked great for the first season of Jewel Riders but was harder to use again with the wizard jewels in the second season because the story had less structure. I predict that Sofia's quest will end similarly to the first season of Jewel Riders, in which Kale took back all the crown jewels after the Jewel Riders had finished collecting them, resulting in an exciting and emotional final battle for the ultimate power.

This new quest to compete with Prisma to collect the Wicked Nine works well for Sofia the First because she has already interacted with all the Disney Princesses using her purple amulet powers. The new story arc gives the show a chance to continue referencing Disney Princess movies in an organic way. Prisma is a great villain because she's clever, resilient, and excellent at deception. She also has awesome hair that changes colors when she gets her powers back. I really like her new sidekick, Twitch, who can transform into any animal that happens to strike his fancy. It's great to see that the Disney Princesses have a stronger connection to the world of Enchancia than the ability to mysteriously teleport from their worlds to hers.


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