Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 2 ) – Match Maker / School Spirit
After the Premiere episode of Star vs The Forces of Evil, I like many, was eager to see where the second episode would take its viewers. After all, given that large cast image during the opening scenes, we were sure to start getting to know more regarding the other characters that populated this strange new world. Well, episode 2’s segments give us quite a few, and then some.
Seeing how Marco gets tongue-tied when his crush Jackie Lynn Thomas skateboards by, Star gets the idea that she’d be the perfect person to play match maker around Echo Creek Academy.
Star offers to play match maker for their recently-dumped teacher Ms Skullnick, but her wand ends up turning Skullnick into a troll. During Star’s attempts to resolve the problem, Ludo drops by, in another attempt to get Star’s wand.
Match Maker starts out feeling like an open door to learning some more about the supporting teen cast. This is the first time we’ve had characters addressed by name like Jackie, and we also meet Marco’s friends, Alfonzo, and Ferguson. However, the story points revolving around Skullnick and Ludo’s minions quickly thrusts the story into a new (if somewhat erratic) direction. The segment even manages to squeeze in a brief cameo of Star’s ex-boyfriend Tom, as well as her Mom.
A positive regarding the segment, is that we get a little more insight into two areas of the overall world of the series. In less than 30 seconds, we do get a little more explanation regarding just why Ludo wants Star’s wand, and just what will (supposedly) happen once he gets his claws on it. We also get a little more (imaginative?) insight into Star’s fear of St Olga’s School for Wayward Princesses.
The plot veering from school to a backyard battle just makes this episode feel like the weakest one so far. The pacing of the segment reminded me of the hodge-podge nature of some episodes of My Life as a Teenage Robot, and The Fairly OddParents. It’s far from terrible, but it could have had a little more TLC applied to it, staving off the somewhat erratic ping-pong’ing of the story in multiple directions.
Final Segment Grade: C+
Star attends her first pep rally for the school’s football team, the Awesome Opossums. However, her enthusiasm turns to concern, when Marco tells how their arch-rivals “The Warriors,” are going to “slaughter” their team. Full of school spirit, and knowing a thing-or-two about combat, Star is willing to help in her own “special” way.
Meanwhile, Marco finds out that his friend Ferguson has taken on the role of the school’s mascot, and goes on the defensive, sure that the Warriors intend to steal Ferguson as part of a school prank.
The concept of Star misunderstanding Earth terms is something I figured would come about sooner or later. It happened in some anime series I watched (and in Teen Titans with the character, Starfire), and it’s fun to see it here. It doesn’t help that Star is so eager to help, but unable to fully grasp what Marco truly means (such as his use of the term, “kitty-cat offense”).
A notable scene is where Star attempts to join the Spirit Committee, but is denied by their head-cheerleader, Brittney Wong. One would assume Star would flaunt her Princess status upon being criticized, but the writers bypass this easy way out. Instead, Star simply figures she’ll need to take matters into her own hands regarding the upcoming game.
Unlike Match Maker, this episode actually does some good, in giving us more character-building regarding Alfonzo and Ferguson. Plus, much of the episode is split with both Star and Marco doing their own things to get ready, until their plans collide before the big game. Both storylines show fun examples of each character’s fanaticism getting out of hand, but in different ways.
Like the previous episode, this one also seems to suffer from story-overload, scrunched into an 11-minute window. Luckily, there’s enough structure to keep it entertaining. Plus, I’m sure many will love to see “Star Butterfly: Warrior Princess.”
Final Segment Grade: B
In conclusion, Episode 2’s segments feel a little weaker than the first episode’s. Match Maker ends up derailing half-way in, while School Spirit has some nice moments, but needed some tightening up. Continuity-wise, Spirit shows that Ms Skullnick is still a troll since her transformation in Match Maker, which most likely is going to be her appearance for the rest of the show (she also shows up in the show-opener as a troll as well).
*Coming up in my review of Episode 3, Star’s attempt to heal Marco’s broken arm gives him a slimy tentacle, and a former exchange student the Diaz’s housed previously, shows up for a visit.*