This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.
The Emmy Award-winning show is back on Netflix for its fifth season. The Dragon Prince has been able to establish a reputation with six additional seasons called and in development thanks to its immense popularly. So far, this seven-season saga was able to fully actualize the creators’ vision, allowing fans of the show to see this story through completely.
We enter the next chapter of the ‘Mystery of Aaravos‘ arc, Book 5: Ocean, rejoining our heroes after their narrow escape from the depths of Umber Tor. With the map to Aaravos’ prison in Claudia’s hand, she and Terry race against time to save Viren’s life. Meanwhile, Callum (Jack DeSena), Rayla (Paula Burrows), Ezran (Sasha Rojen), and Soren (Jesse Inocalla) seek out friends, new and old, to help them prevent the return of the infamous Startouch Elf Aaravos (Erik Todd Dellums).
Sadly, there is no improvement over last season from this one. Fans were unhappy when they had to wait three years for a season when that was all set-up. Sure, setup is necessary and isn’t always a negative thing. However, when it consumes an entire season, it becomes an ineffective use of time.
Season 5 is yet another nine episodes, all of which are just set-ups for the next two seasons. Mystery of Aaravos is the title of the second and final story arc, but we haven’t explored that mystery yet as Aaravos is rarely in this season. He only shows up for a few minutes throughout the entire season. In fact, he shows up more in the title sequence if you chose not to skip it each episode.
The nine-episode structure of The Dragon Prince worked incredibly well with the first arc since each season’s pacing was excellent. Unfortunately, the ‘Mystery of Aaravos‘ storyline doesn’t mesh with the nine-episode format. They are incredibly focused on pushing through the plot while setting it up. The pace of these latest seasons might have improved if they had increased the amount of episodes. It really hurts to see it suffer with pacing, especially when there’s a longer wait.
In addition, the characters were one of the poorest aspects of the season in addition to the poor pacing. This season sees the return of Callum and Rayla, yet there still seems to be a split. There isn’t any mention of them attempting to restart their previous romance and Rayla’s departure is still unjustified. The journey of Claudia (Racquel Belmonte) and her pointless lover, who is merely a character inserted to help Claudia without any real depth, was annoying to watch.
There are some entertaining scenes in the show that do involve the dragon queen and the sun elves. Unfortunately, due to how little attention the show gives these segments, these moments nearly become forgettable. Meanwhile, the ‘Sun Elves’ plot adds a new character named Kim’dael the Bloodmoon Huntress. She spiced up the show and kept me on the edge of my seat, making her introduction one of the best things The Dragon Prince added. Honestly, this is what the season needed: just a little more excitement.
With the growth he receives, Viren unexpectedly ends up becoming one of the season’s finest characters. Watching Claudia’s portions was worthwhile because he appeared in numerous scenes. I truly care about him and I’m interested in where they’ll take him in the upcoming season as the story continues.
The fifth season of The Dragon Prince is a passable addition to the seven-story narrative overall. It felt exciting sometimes and uninteresting other times. The next season is its last chance to capture everyone’s attention before we all stop caring about the story they’re telling. Less of the slower-paced seasons that we are currently receiving and more of the quicker seasons like the first three are what we need.
The Dragon Prince‘s fifth season is now streaming on Netflix.