Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 7 ) – Lobster Claws / Sleep Spells
The return of Star Butterfly and her adventures in episode 6, brought about some changes for the Princess of Mewni, both to her, and to the show. The episode also signaled the start of animation by the Philippine production house Toon City, after Mercury Filmworks in Canada had to let go of the production (after their animation workload became too cumbersome).
Episode 7 brings us two new segments to add to the (slowly) growing collection of episodes…so let’s dive right in!
Ludo and his minions have once again turned the Diaz’s backyard into a battleground for Star’s wand. However, one of the minions named Lobster Claws is given ‘one job’ to do, and fails at it…causing Ludo to quickly fire his lackey.
With nowhere to go, Lobster Claws turns to Star and Marco for help. Though Star is convinced that monsters can’t be changed, Marco tries to think positive, and is willing to help him out.
I’m sure many of you are already thinking the same thing as I was: “Sounds eerily similar to Disney’s Wreck-It-Ralph.” Even so, the writers manage to do their own spin on the bad guy who doesn’t quite “get” what it means to be good.
After he disappeared into a black hole in the Quest Buy segment of episode 4, I didn’t think we’d see Lobster Claws again…but, I guess Ludo’s minions eventually find their way back to him, no matter which dimension they end up in. As well, we get to see that he has a strange habit of running backwards (though he walks forwards?).
The jokes in this one are largely visual, and rely quite a bit on timing. Some are predictable, while others managed to make me chuckle quite a bit.
I can be a little jaded when it comes to some episodes featuring Ludo and his minions, but this one seemed to work pretty well, and we even get a tinge of darkness during the final minutes of the episode. Plus, Star gets to deliver quite a few new spells from her wand, to rain down some tasty-yet-painful vengeance.
Also, for eagle-eyed viewers, there’s a little (gross-out) joke for a split-second, that deals with the effects of gravity. That’s all I’ll say. I’ll leave it to you to see if you find it, and whether you’ll chuckle…or retch.
Final Segment Grade: B
After finding the downstairs living room has been turned into a jungle, Marco suspects Star, but she claims she had nothing to do with it. The next night, Marco finds out that Star seems to be sleep-spelling, walking around in her room, randomly casting spells.
Naturally, Star freaks out, and asks Marco for help, leading him to take quite an excited interest in her predicament…but, is it really something so simple that a student with an “A” in Psychology can solve?
One thing I lamented in the last episode’s segment titled Pixtopia, was a running gag that just never seemed to work (for me). Here, Marco’s eager attempts to peruse Star’s psyche leads to one of the funniest moments so far…and Doctor Marco, PHD is on the case! It gets a little corny, but I dare anyone to watch this little psychological segment and not find at least one thing to laugh at!
There is also a little subplot about Marco keeping score about how many times Star has saved him, and vice-versa. I didn’t really feel it added much to the plot, but I was more willing to accept it than the “mess-up twins” subplot of the Pixtopia episode (are you sensing a pattern here?).
We also get a new other-dimensional villain in this episode, in the form of Princess Smooshy (voiced by Arif Kinchen). However, she doesn’t seem much more than an attention-seeking Princess-elephant-sleep-goblin-thing(?), with a plan that seems straight out of a 90’s action film (once you see what it is, you’ll know what I mean). As well, she has a rather ‘horrid habit’ that I think a lot of self-entitled people seem to have these days.
There is some pathos within the story, though where it really succeeds, is in the comedy moments, in which both Star and Marco seem almost like a comedy duo, bent on outdoing the other. As well, even Marco’s parents show up for some quick cameos, but each of them makes the most of their limited screen-time.
Final Segment Grade: B+
Well, that was a pretty fun episode! The last few episodes seemed to inhabit the “good episode/bad episode” vibe, but this feels like probably one of the most solid ones since the fourth episode!
Lobster Claws comes off a little like Wreck-it-Ralph in the “bad guy attempting to be good” department, but it has enough humor (and even gets a little dark), to make it good. And, unlike Ludo’s last appearance at the tail end of Brittney’s Party, this one feels a little more solid.
Of course to me, the real winner of the bunch is Sleep Spells. This is a fun episode in that it seems both Star AND Marco are being a little weird…and, a little wild with what’s going on. The bad guy in this one doesn’t add much to the story, but it’s in the overall execution that makes it most exciting.
I’m looking forward to watching this one again real soon! A plus, is that the animation on the two segments, definitely seems to flow a little smoother than episode 6. I just hope Toon City can build themselves to a point where I can (almost) put Mercury Filmworks’ animation style behind me (though it will be hard, considering the work Mercury did on the opening and closing credits is still running with each episode).
*Unfortunately, just as soon as Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz had come back to us, word is that DisneyXD has left us in the lurch for ANOTHER MONTH! As such, we’ll have to wait until late July, for episode 8, where we’ll encounter the segments titled, “Blood Moon Ball,” and “Fortune Cookies.” What wonders/craziness will unfold? We’ll find out in 28 days!*