Way back in 2018 – long before the first season of Dreamworks Animation's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot for Netflix debuted – show-runner Noelle Stevenson announced that Adora's (Aimee Carrero) friend Bow (Marcus Scribner) would have two fathers. Fans were excited to see Stevenson's representation of an animated LGBT family. However, the first season of She-Ra came and went without even a mention of Bow's family. In fact, viewers had to wait until the final episode of Season 2 to get a glimpse of Bow's home life. When we do get our look, Bow's family life is one big mess – and not for the reasons some might think.
In the season 2 finale "Reunion," Adora and Glimmer (Karen Fukuhara) follow Bow home after he leaves Bright Moon in a hurry. We learn from Glimmer that despite being Bow's best friend, she knows almost nothing about his home life. When the "best friend squad" shows up at Bow's home unexpectedly, they learn that Bow is the youngest of thirteen siblings and that his fathers George (Chris Jai Alex) and Lance (Regi Davis) are historians – as are his siblings. Despite the twelve other academic-minded siblings, everyone expects Bow to take over the family library. In fact, Bow's fathers have no idea that Bow fights as a part of the resistance and has joined the Princess Alliance. They think Bow has been off at some imaginary boarding school, wearing full shirts and studying history.
Complicating matters is the fact that George was a soldier in the first war between the Horde and the original Princess Alliance. He remembers the rise and fall of that first alliance and has no love for the current crop of Princesses. Scared of disappointing his fathers, Bow enlists the help of Glimmer and Adora to continue his ruse. What follows is a somewhat slapstick version of the classic "secret life" television trope. Bow goes to extreme lengths to hide his real life, with Adora and Glimmer struggling to help him keep his story "straight."
By far, the best part of the episode is the juxtaposition of Bow's deception with his largely harmonious home life. While Bow feels like he cannot share his true hopes, desires, and experiences with his family, it's clear that George and Lance love their son. The pair treat Glimmer and Adora to childhood stories and artifacts from Bow's life before he started fighting for the resistance.
Coincidentally – and more important plot-wise – George and Lance are experts in the history of the First Ones. In fact, they have First Ones artifacts in their library home. When one of these artifacts turns in to an elemental monster, Bow can no longer hide who he truly is. In the end, Bow chooses to out himself as a warrior to his fathers in order to save the day – with his fathers reacting in the only way loving parents should: by continuing to love and support their child.
Stevenson has stated previously that she envisions Etheria as a haven, where sexism and homophobia are not present. One of her great skills as a storyteller is her support for LGBT characters as well as their relationships and family dynamics by writing them as well-rounded and accepting. In "Reunion," Stevenson does not depict Bow's family as part of a "very special episode" – respectfully treating them like any other family on the show, with their own strengths, weaknesses, and problems.
In reality, "Reunion" was a coming out story – but the main issue had nothing to do with the fact that Bow has two fathers. Bow's family expects him to be someone he's not… making the assumptio that he would love what they do. Just like any parents, George and Lance want the best for their son – but until he tells them about his life in Bright Moon, George and Lance never stop to think about what it is that Bow really wants.
Back in the real world, the irony of a child with gay parents living in a kind of political/military closet is an intriguing one. But in the world of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, that irony is lost on the characters: Adora, Glimmer, and Bow live in a world where all forms of love are accepted. It is a remarkable storyteller that can make a world full of conflict, battles, war, and destruction still serve as a form of utopian acceptance.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns with Season 3 on August 2nd to Neflix.