Elena Begins Her Final Journey

After months of hiatus, Elena of Avalor finally came back today to kick off a steady march toward the series finale on August 23rd. The long periods of time between episodes made it appear as though Elena's arm has been in a cast for nearly six months due to a minor injury that took place in the February episode "Giant Steps." It was a relief to see that cast finally removed at the end of "The Lightning Warrior" today. Our Avaloran princess can now be at her peak physical strength for the final confrontation with the evil sorceress Ash. Despite some scheduling complications, "The Lightning Warrior" was a good pick to bring the show back from its hiatus. It was originally scheduled to air after the Mothers Day episode, "Dia de las Madres," which was delayed due to coronavirus complications. That episode will now air next week, with the rest to follow every consecutive Sunday until the finale.

Elena leads her new team consisting of Naomi, Gabe, Mateo, Victor, Carla, and Ixian, to victory

Elena's arm wasn't the only that healed in "The Lightning Warrior." Following the latest princess trend of forgiveness, Elena learned to heal her torrid relationship with Victor and Carla Delgado for their prior grievances against her and her kingdom. Elena's forgiveness of these two foes follows in the footsteps of Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, two series that concluded this year with princess protagonists forgiving their arch enemies. This role reversal had been a long time coming after all three characters had been betrayed by Ash, the wife of Victor, mother of Carla, and Elena's new enemy since defeating Shuriki. Pitting a daughter against her biological mother is a new twist for Disney that works in congruence with the darker themes that Elena of Avalor has in comparison to other Disney Princess stories.

This episode also accentuated another trait that sets Elena apart from other Disney Princesses, which is her ability to lead a team. It is questionable whether or not the loyalty of the father-daughter duo was earned after Elena's reluctance to listen to them throughout today's episode, but they decided to fight for her anyway, if only for their resolve to defeat the woman who ripped their family apart. Another new member of Elena's team was the titular Lightning Warrior herself, Ixian. Ixian was reluctant to follow Elena at first but changed her mind upon seeing how many loyal followers she had. We didn't get a taste of the fabled warrior's true powers until the end of the episode, when Quita Moz presented her with a pair of gloves that grant her power over lightning. The final hero shot of Elena's new team-up could not be complete without her long-time companions Gabe, Naomi, and Mateo, who have been there for her since the beginning.

Four more regular episodes remain before the "Coronation Day" series finale special, which will air on August 23rd. Now that Elena is on the final legs of her journey, she will need to master her scepter and crystal powers and strengthen her bonds with her companions for the final fight against Ash. Something that sets Elena apart from her predecessor, Sofia the First, is that Elena is more dependent on her teammates than her powers when it comes to strategizing attacks. Sofia could single-handedly defeat practically any foe thanks to the enhanced powers she gained after Elena was freed from her amulet, but even after three seasons, Elena still struggles with her scepter's powers. In order to successfully protect her kingdom, she must have as many people on her side as possible with a variety of abilities to account for her own shortcomings. This is a wonderful lesson to teach children in real life, but it also diminishes some of the fun mystical elements of the show in comparison to the more imaginative Sofia the First.

Elena of Avalor follows Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power this as the third animated princess series to come to a finite end this year. We have been spoiled over the past decade with loads of wonderful princess cartoons to enjoy, and I cannot say whether or not that trend will continue throughout the '20s, especially with the state of the world being what it is. For now, I am grateful to see another princess show complete a successful run and look forward to the next five weeks as we follow Elena on the last legs of her journey to becoming queen of Avalor.

Comments

Personally, I loved A princess for Christmas. As one of the earliest examples of the Christmas princess movies, it was not too cliché. It was even more serious (due to the mourning thematic). I've opened the TV tropes page about it: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/APrincessForChristmas

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