Archives on TV: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, "Reunion"
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
This might be a stretch for some because it sounded like a stretch to me when I first considered this episode of She-Ra, but screw it. The second I witnessed the beauty that is Bow's historian fathers, I wanted to talk about it!
The finale of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power's second season on Netflix is primarily a character piece about Bow (Marcus Scribner). The resident tech expert and soldier with an affinity for crop tops, Bow has been leading a double life twice over. When he seemingly goes missing, Adora (Aimee Carrero) and Glimmer (Karen Fukuhara) track him down and discover that their friend is the son of two historians who have no idea that he's a soldier in the resistance against the Hoard.
It turns out, though, that George (Chris Jai Alex) and Lance (Regi Davis) are the foremost experts on the First Ones and their home is essentially a museum/library/archive of documents, research, and artifacts devoted to the enigmatic ancient-yet-advanced society. Believing Adora and Glimmer are schoolmates of Bow's, and totally not part of the resistance, George and Lance give them a tour of their home and discover that Adora understands the language of the First Ones. When she accidentally activates a First Ones artifact, Adora transforms into She-Ra and Bow effectively comes out to his fathers about being part of the resistance in order to help defeat the threat.
Like I said, it's a stretch regarding how much archives is actually present. That George and Lance are explicitly called historians doesn't automatically count them out of the archives game. There are plenty of archivists who are historians and have a degree in history or started with a history major before moving into archives - including your friendly neighborhood pop archives writer! It does speak to the nebulous position of archives compared to libraries and museums, which is an ongoing issue within most pop culture properties. George and Lance's home isn't necessarily defined as any particular institution, but it's less likely to be thought of as an archives when a museum or a library presents a less complex visual representation.
The main purpose of introducing Bow's family, however, is to give Bow some character development while simultaneously providing exposition and direction for Team She-Ra going into the next season. And as is the case with most genre shows there's usually a library or a database ready to dole out useful information when it's convenient to the plot. At best, you'd have to squint and imagine George and Lance appraising, selecting, arranging, and describing their First Ones collection, but they're passionate enough about their work that I can absolutely imagine them burning the midnight oil doing just that. They also love their son and they're an adorable couple and George has a First Ones tattoo that says "lunch" when he thought it meant "love!" Hopefully we get to see more of them and their lavish history-based home in a future episode.