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Nightmare Fuel / She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

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There was a good reason for that mask.
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Season 1

  • Adora, Glimmer and Bow being chased by the insect monster, which just won't stop going after them.
  • Shadow Weaver's uncovered face. The animators really went an extra mile in terms of detail, what with her bulging eye veins and scarred skin.
  • Shadow Weaver in general, but her treatment of Adora and Catra especially. Their relationship is reminiscent of a narcissist who has a favorite child (Adora) and a scapegoat child (Catra).
    • Not to mention the implication that Shadow Weaver just stole Adora as a baby.
    • "In The Shadow of Mystacor" is particularly horrifying, with Shadow Weaver pulling the textbook definition of Gaslighting for the entire episode.
  • "The Battle of Bright Moon": Catra gruesomely lacerates She-Ra's back with her claws.
  • Hordak is surprisingly Affably Evil, but he's still chilling. Especially how pragmatic he is. While the '80s version was mostly Played for Laughs with moments of staggering incompetence, Hordak here is believable as a world-conquering warlord.
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Season 2

  • Hordak's Reasonable Authority Figure facade begins to degrade in this season, and on two separate occasions he removes the air from the room while Catra's in it just because he's angry with her. Watching her gasp for breath is terrifying— and worse yet, that's the situation she's in at the end of the season.
  • Hordak is seen without his armor and cloak, revealing him to be thin and sickly, with odd coloration on his arms and back. He also has cybernetic implants that allow his body to interface with his armor, but they need regular delicate maintenance. Delicate because if not done carefully it's extremely painful for him. It's likely he's been in constant agony this whole time.
  • Scorpia implied in Season 1 that her family joined the Horde willingly. A flashback here, however, implies that this might not have actually been the case...
    • It's also possible that Shadow Weaver (Light Spinner at the time), skilled in the art of illusion spellcasting, fabricated the image in order to make the situation look as dire as possible to the council and strengthen her case for using the forbidden Spell of Obtainment.
  • The spell Shadow Weaver uses in her backstory to gain power manifests as a shadowy ball of reaching hands reminiscent of the Cluster, not to mention how Shadow Weaver later commands it to attack the head of the sorcerers' council, Norwyn, who is then literally devoured by it. Are all those hands people the spell's already consumed?
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    • Shadow Weaver approaching the Horde to join them. The Horde guards see her as a slithering shadow with crazed, inhuman eyes, the street lights in the Fright Zone flickering out and dying in her presence.
  • Hordak reveals his plan is constructing portals. Entrapta is in awe with the possibility of moving armies across Etheria in an instant but he dismisses this as thinking too small, alluding to Etheria being opened up to far-off planets and galaxies. Just what is his end goal? Bringing in even vaster armies? Summoning Horde Prime? Returning Etheria to the Universe?
  • The reveal of how Shadow Weaver "found" Adora: Shortly after joining the Horde, she saw two Horde soldiers with baby Adora, having found her while they were out doing what they do. Then Hordak, not really interested in the crying baby, tells them to just leave it in the infirmary with "the others". So, apparently, the Horde just goes around abducting the kids of people they kill.
  • The last shot of Season 2 is Adora fast asleep with Shadow Weaver looming over her.

Season 3

  • After prolonged separation from the Black Garnet, Shadow Weaver is deathly ill. Shadows pour out of her skin like liquid whenever she coughs. This perhaps, is one of the few times you can't help but fear for Shadow Weaver rather than have a fear of her.
  • Catra has become so utterly broken that she is now willing to destroy all of Etheria, including herself, if it means denying Adora another victory over her.
    • Just before Catra activates the portal, Adora desperately tries to plead with her to stop, pointing out that if her plan works, she will die too. Catra darkly snarls back that she does not care, stating that if she dies, she'll at least die knowing that she finally won.
  • After Catra opens an interdimensional portal, the characters find themselves in a new setting in which they experience fugue states and see objects suddenly appear and disappear. Then, the fabric of reality begins to disintegrate as a purple light quickly devours the setting. When Adora is in this version of reality, she is constantly having visions, her memory keeps failing or getting mixed up and, most terrifying, she keeps seeing the world light up and being destroyed.
  • Catra's laugh when she starts to remember reality as it was. It's creepy as hell. And then there's the demented expression that follows. In case it wasn't clear already that Catra's gone completely off her nut.
  • After being caught up in the wave of purple light disintegrating the new version of reality, Catra emerges in a corrupted state. Her right arm and the right side of her face are black, and she speaks with the Voice of the Legion.
  • Hordak's laboratory features several alien fetuses growing in glass vats. Entrapta learns that these were his attempts at cloning a replacement body for himself.
  • Hordak tells Entrapta about his achievements as Horde Prime's chief general, which included the conquest of entire galaxies. It's chilling to realize how unfathomably massive Horde Prime's military must be to pull off such feats, and how many quadrillions of people they've killed to build his empire.
  • Horde Prime now knows where Hordak is. The final scene suggests that Horde Prime's invasion may be imminent.
  • When Horde Prime receives Hordak's transmission through the portal, an old file on Hordak appears on Horde Prime's screen, complete with a picture of the clone with a monochromatic color scheme and uncharacteristic blank expression. Viewers learn in Season 4 that this is exactly what the drone-clones look like. The picture is of Hordak before he became "Hordak", before his free will kicked in, when he was just another mindless drone in Horde Prime's army.

Season 4

  • Noelle Stevenson described Season 4 as "the season we all went to see Annihilation." IT SHOWS.
  • In the first episode, Hordak is in the midst of a nervous breakdown after Entrapta's supposed betrayal. It's a shock to see the normally cool, dominant Hordak disintegrating.
  • Catra defeats Hordak by knocking out the lights in his sanctum, pouncing on him, and ripping out the First Ones' crystal powering his cybernetic exoskeleton before he can react. Doing so shorts out the life support functions of his exoskeleton. Hordak falls to his hands and knees, barely able to move and struggling to breathe. Catra's move was not only physically sadistic but emotionally sadistic because the crystal was a gift to Hordak from Entrapta and Catra had recently lied to Hordak about Entrapta's supposed betrayal.
  • In the "Protocol" episode, Kyle, Lonnie, and Rogelio fall under a "spore storm", which is akin to acid rain or a chemical attack. Even with its tame rating, the show doesn't shy away from the horrifying effects - a single spore landing on bare skin causes agony (and poor Kyle catches one on his tongue), they slowly melt through armor, and after the trio are forced to go out into the thick of it, they're all covered in nasty burns. Seeing this happen to children, after the previous episodes mostly dealt in Amusing Injuries, is unsettling to say the least.
  • We finally find out why Mara turned against the First Ones and abandoned the mantle of She-Ra. Because the First Ones were actually Omnicidal Maniacs who transformed Etheria into a living weapon for the sole purpose of eradicating all life in the galaxy because they saw all other life aside from themselves as "impure". Adora is so horrified by this that she willingly destroys the Sword in direct defiance of Light Hope.
    • Light Hope when Adora confronts her about the truth. Her dispassionate nature faded entirely, and she furiously rants about how the rest of the galaxy is "impure" and must be "cleansed", and outright orders Adora to stop questioning her and perform her duties as the First Ones' "weapon".
      • And even then, Light Hope still manages to be sympathetic. Why? Because it's then revealed that when Mara rebelled, Light Hope was actually genuinely considering her plea to give non-Etherian life a chance. How did the First Ones respond? By kidnapping Light Hope and forcibly reprogramming her into a mindless, emotionless tool with the sole directive of finding a new She-Ra to activate the Heart and begin the galaxy's cleansing.
    • The activation process is pretty horrifying. At first, the princesses get a major power-boost from the magic channeling through them into She-Ra, but then it starts becoming too much and they start falling down in pain. Mermista's words at the beginning of Season 5 actually make that scene even more horrifying by suggesting that they weren't just in pain, but that the activation process was literally draining their life forces along with their magic.
  • Horde Prime proves to be much worse than his '80s incarnation ever was. Within minutes of his first on-screen appearance, he ruthlessly dismisses Hordak's attempts to conquer Etheria as a "waste of time" despite the latter having spent decades building up his army and empire from the ground up, gives him a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and then casually orders Hordak sent for "reconditioning". And the season ends with both Glimmer and Catra at his mercy.
    • Horde Prime forces himself into Hordak's mind. Hordak looks terrified as Horde Prime probes his memories. Later, when Horde Prime neck-lifts him and overrides his mind, Hordak's expression goes blank, and his eyes change from red to green. Whether the effect is permanent remains to be seen, but for the moment, "Hordak" is gone. Horde Prime can do that to any of his clones.
    • Horde Prime has multiple eyes on the right side of his face, all gazing in different directions. During a November 2019 Patreon discussion with fans, character designer Rae Geiger explained where those eyes came from: he took them from his clones.
    • To be a clone in Horde Prime's army means your thoughts are monitored and signs of independence (including giving yourself a name) can get you mind-wiped and reset like a malfunctioning machine.
    • The moment before he overrides Hordak's mind, the expression on Hordak's face is like that of a horrified child who doesn't understand why his parent is hurting him.
    • Horde Prime's demeanor is incredibly off-putting. He only raises his voice once, when he reprimands Hordak before mindwiping him. At all other times, he speaks in a soft, affable and sophisticated voice and treats Glimmer and Catra with the utmost kindness and courtesy, even when he nonchalantly threatens to murder the former and her entire planet to cover up Hordak's "failure" and later states his intention to harness the Heart of Etheria's power for his own use.
    • The way Horde Prime touches Hordak and Glimmer feels very predatory. The way he gropes Hordak's face and runs his hand over Hordak's armor during the Mind Rape is uncomfortable to watch. Horde Prime also touches Glimmer's face and holds her hand, making her visibly uncomfortable.
  • Horde Prime's clones look like Hordak with green eyes, white hair, and colorless clothing. They're silent and obedient to Horde Prime, and may very well be drones. "Reconditioning" might involve turning Hordak into one of them, if Horde Prime's mind-wipe has not done so already.
  • Beast Island lives up to its reputation as the worst place on Etheria. A First Ones-tech dumping ground (literally classified as a disposal site by Mara's ship systems), it's crawling with mutated deadly creatures (such as the initially unassuming pookas, which slowly surround and ambush their prey) and constantly giving off a signal that grows stronger the longer you're there—compelling you to approach the center of the island, where the land destroys your mind with your own doubts and fears, then slowly consumes your body with vines. A process we get to see firsthand on Bow, Entrapta, Adora, and Micah, complete with Empty Eyes.
  • Double Trouble's dissection of Catra's personality comes off as brutal and somewhat even horrifying. They first confront her using the appearance of Adora, just to rile her up, and laughs as Catra reacts with fear and anger. Then, they take it up a notch, transforming into Catra herself and telling her she doesn't really want to rule the Horde and that it's never been a real goal. They start getting really cruel by repeatedly shifting into people Catra has in someway cared about, mentioning all the things people have done to her. Then, they transform into Scorpia to tell her it's all her fault that people leave. It's utterly heartbreaking to watch Catra slowly become more and more despondent, and it's easy to tell that the affectionate body language Double Trouble uses as Adora really gets to her. However, Double Trouble goes even further and explains that they have betrayed her and everything Catra has ever worked for will be torn down, making it clear that they themselves never cared for her either. Double Trouble finishes off with a cheerful smile, leaving Catra despondent and alone.
    • It's fairly unnerving to see Double Trouble come right out and emotionally break Catra after she had appeared to look up to them. The cruelty they display in one scene can only be surpassed by that of Horde Prime, which is a fairly high bar. Even Shadow Weaver's abuse doesn't quite reach that level, as Double Trouble reveals the truth in the most brutal way possible and then leaves Catra completely alone with no one. When Glimmer shows up, Catra outright tells her to just do it.
    • The worst part that might not be easily noticed is that Double Trouble lumps in Shadow Weaver and Hordak's abusive behavior with Adora and Scorpia's legitimate grievances with her, basically implying Catra deserved her Parental Abuse. That could make Catra extremely vulnerable to gaslighting if she and Shadow Weaver ever meet again.
  • At the end of the season, dozens of ships from Horde Prime's fleet have appeared in Etheria's skies. Given the vast technological gap between the intergalactic Horde and Etheria, the implications of what those ships could do are disheartening.

Season 5

  • The Galactic Horde quickly shows how much, much more powerful it is than Hordak's Horde. By the time the season starts, Horde Prime has already conquered Bright Moon and forced the Rebellion on the run. The sleek white robots that serve as his basic foot soldiers are much more numerous than Hordak's own forces and are almost impossible to kill with traditional weaponry.
  • Catra is in Horde Prime's spaceship, looking out a window at a planet Horde Prime is in the middle of conquering. The landscape is dotted with explosions, suggesting that Prime's forces are inflicting massive damage.
  • Hordak is subjected to a second mind wipe in the form of baptism in a pool of green liquid, later implied to be that of clone life force. Horde Prime looks on and the other clones chant as Hordak walks into the liquid and is engulfed in green gas, screaming. Afterwards, his eyes are white, and Horde Prime proclaims that he is "pure". It's telling that Catra, despite her sordid history with Hordak, is utterly horrified by the entire ritual.
    CAST OUT THE SHADOWS!
    ALL BEINGS MUST SUFFER TO BECOME PURE!
  • When rejuvenating his body and overseeing the attack on the Heart of Etheria, Horde Prime has long tubes full of green liquid attached to the base of his skull. The green liquid is the life force that he harvests from his clones, and is implied to be the same liquid that viewers saw in the baptismal pool. His expression is furious during the latter.
    ''Put an end to this MOCKERY! DESTROY THEM ALL!
  • When one of Horde Prime's clones have been captured, he demonstrates that all clones are practically unhinged fanatics of the emperor. The clone praises Horde Prime with quasi-religious language and sounds like a religious extremist.
  • While exploring a First Ones ruin on another planet, the Best Friends Squad are told by Entrapta to go down a neverending hallway, her voice sounding a little strange during this command. Not long after, they speak to Entrapta again, who reveals that she hadn't talked to them since they were on a different floor. Then the princess of Dryl says she's picking up a fifth life sign on their current level. Our heroes and the camera slowly turns to reveal this human-shaped mass of ethereal fire and matter. Thankfully, said being turns out to be the entirely benevolent Melog.
  • The first episode demonstrates Horde Prime's Faux Affably Evil and Manipulative Bastard tendencies by sharing dinner with Glimmer and Catra, during which Glimmer is treated to a tasty dish; he then casually remarks that the dish is rare because it came from a realm that no longer exists, causing Glimmer to drop her spoon. He even goes out of his way to compare the realm in question to Etheria, and then immediately after Glimmer declines seconds opts to show her the current status of her homeworld- that being utter chaos, with everything in flames and her friends struggling to survive as Horde Prime's forces conquer it; he does all of this while maintaining a calm and even tone and giving no regard for Glimmer's obvious distress. The intent is clear; Horde Prime wanted her to cave and reveal everything she knows about the Heart of Etheria.
    • Immediately afterward, when Catra tries to pal up to Prime, he makes it clear that making Glimmer cave has instantly made Catra useless, costing her the only advantage she had. Catra's knack for survival and manipulation is rendered moot within days of her alliance with Prime.
  • Horde Prime has no qualms with using mind control chips to turn people into drones similar to his clones and, subsequently, turn them against their friends. Even worse, the chips bond with the subject's nervous system over time, getting harder and harder to remove, and if the green eyes and disturbing behavior of those chipped individuals wasn't bad enough, this increased bond is represented by bright green Tainted Veins.
    • After Catra is chipped into becoming a servant, as she is explaining to Adora how much better life is under his rule, Prime suddenly comes up behind her and places his hands on her shoulders, uncomfortably close to her neck. Even chipped and completely under his sway, the second he places his hands on her, Catra visibly stiffens and her expression turns from one of serenity to visible fear and discomfort. She doesn't relax at all until Prime lets go of her.
    • When Adora manages to rescue Catra, Horde Prime responds by mass-chipping the Etherians solely to spite her.
    • Watching Mermista, Scorpia, and Spinnerella beat the crap out of and even try to kill their friends and loved ones. It's also made clear everyone should be grateful these good-hearted women are the ones who ended up with lethal abilities. In the wrong hands, their powers could be used to kill hundreds if not thousands.
    • The two most nightmarish are likely Micah and Scorpia. Chipped Scorpia never says a word and loses her goofy qualities, leaving her with a crushing amount of power and a disconcerting focus. Micah similarly drops his dorky side and adds dark magic to his already formidable power. He's also still chipped when he and Glimmer are 'reunited' and he just tells her she's a failure.
      • On a similar note, chipped Mermista. She's already extremely powerful in her introduction, and that's when she's working with the good guys. With the bad guys? She's utterly terrifying, controlling literally entire waves and threatening to drown everyone around her.
    • Whenever the heroes encounter a chipped Etherian, dark whispers can be heard, as if all the members of Horde Prime's Hive Mind are speaking in unison.
    • Prime can also pull a Villain Override on one of his clones or a chipped person at any time... at one point, one of the clones that he takes over contorts in a very unsettling manner when it happens.
  • After taking control of Hordak after the latter destroys his original body, Horde Prime finally loses it completely and decides to unleash the Heart of Etheria and destroy all life in the universe purely to spite the Rebellion, darkly reminiscent of how Catra opened the portal for the exact same reason.
    • The scene where he reveals his ability to take over Hordak is also terrifying, as it shatters one heck of a Hope Spot. Hordak has refused to kill Entrapta, and turned on Prime, blasting him from a high ledge in an awesome moment. Entrapta is just beginning to cheer and congratulate Hordak when suddenly he stills... and then mocks her and Hordak for thinking it could be so easy, Prime now in control. He proceeds to seize Entrapta by the hair and teleport them both down to Etheria to exact his vengeance, Entrapta looking utterly broken and terrified the entire time.
    • His zealous rant during the sequence is also horrifying as it starts to dawn on the viewer that he's so pettily angry at Hordak for daring to defy him and shatter the illusion that he was an untouchable god that he's willing to kill the universe in retaliation.
      Prime: (snarling) So be it! You have forced my hand. (increasingly manically) I will unleash the Heart and so we shall die in cleansing flame together!
  • When She-Ra exorcises Horde Prime's spirit from Hordak's body, his spirit resembles a black mass pouring out of Hordak's back.

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