Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 8 ) – Blood Moon Ball / Fortune Cookies
And so, the constant stopping and lurching forward of another DisneyXD series, continues. After a month-long wait after 2 episodes, we have finally reached the 8th episode, of Star vs The Forces of Evil. And, if the numerous freak-outs and fan-art I’ve seen generated from its previews are any indication, it might be one of the most anticipated episodes so far from the series.
But enough chit-chat…let’s dive right in!
While at school, Star is shocked (and annoyed) when her ex-boyfriend Tom shows up, to invite her to The Blood Moon Ball. Star is at first against the proposal, but decides to give Tom a chance, as he claims he’s been working through his anger issues. Of course, Marco is convinced that this isn’t a good idea.
Up until now, many have been intrigued by the enigma that is Tom. Having been seen in the opening credits, and a small cameo in the segment Match Maker, this is the first full appearance of the demon. Rider Strong (Girl Meets World) voices Tom with a suaveness that befits his looks as a teenage bad-boy (why do girls always go for the bad-boy?), though with a tinge of something possibly dangerous underneath.
I will admit, the thought process of the episode reminded me of the Lobster Claws segment from episode 7, given that Marco felt Claws could be good, and Star claimed monsters are just plain evil. In this case, Star is convinced that a demon can get over his anger issues, while Marco doesn’t trust Tom’s words.
This scenario leads to an interesting discussion in the last few minutes of the episode between Star and Marco. It feels like this could become character development, but given most series, it’s hard to say if this is just development within this segment, or if it will carry over into future episodes. That to me is the issue with having two 11-minute segments per episode: getting any form of character development is sometimes hard to decipher.
Even so, the episode ends up showing us a little bit more about Star’s past, while also delving a bit into her relationship/friendship with Marco. Of course, given a few scenes in the episode, we’ll probably have more people making mountains out of molehills regarding where these two crazy kids are heading.
Like most of my previous episode rantings, I do wish Blood Moon Ball had more time to develop the segment. Even so, I was also surprised that it had plenty of decent comedy beats that gave me a chuckle.
Final Segment Grade: B+
After winning another battle against Ludo and his minions, Marco treats Star to some Chinese food. When they receive fortune cookies at the end of the meal, Marco has a little fun with Star’s inter-dimensional naivete, claiming the fortunes inside are real. Unfortunately, Star soon won’t make any decision without opening a fortune cookie.
Meanwhile, Ludo has grown exasperated after losing to Star and Marco, and decides to hire someone to manage his staff. His new employee comes in the form of a well-suited lizard-creature, who simply presents Ludo with a business card, with one word on it: “Toffee.”
I’ve been a fan of ‘Star-meets-naivete’ plotlines ever since the School Spirit segment, and I was pleasantly surprised with how the writers handled this one. I will also go on record and admit that there have been some fortune cookie fortunes I have actually believed in (one last year seemed to foretell of a job promotion I was finally able to obtain, and it’s still taped to my work laptop), The storyline makes me also feel that the writers may have used their own experiences in crafting a rather entertaining tale.
I was also surprised at just how well Ludo’s subplot tied into the whole episode. Toffee (voiced by Michael C Hall), comes across as a very sophisticated individual, and doesn’t quite operate on the same level of ‘smash-and-grab’ like we’ve seen Ludo and his guys do many times. Toffee’s methods seem a little more cunning. Even his way into Ludo’s employment is through unconventional means.
Given the way the story was structured, a fun character surprise was seeing how Ludo’s minion named Buff Frog, seemed a little unsettled by how quickly Ludo had taken a shine to his new employee. This could possibly lead to some more characterization for one of Ludo’s right-hand minions in the future.
What was most intriguing for me story-wise, was the final 30 seconds of the episode, which gives an ominous feel that reminded me of why I really loved the segment Monster Arm so much. Something has definitely been set in motion by Toffee’s appearance. I have no clue what that might be…BUT I WANT TO FIND OUT!!!
Final Segment Grade: B+
Episode 7 (Lobster Claws/Sleep Spells) was pretty entertaining, but I think that this Episode was more of a win-win with what we got to see here.
With Blood Moon Ball, we finally got to see and know about Star’s ex-boyfriend Tom a little more, and got a little character-building regarding Star and Marco (and of course, some more fodder for the fan-shippers out there).
With Fortune Cookies, an added tinge of mystery surrounds the newly-introduced character named Toffee, though the episode does pretty well giving us the humor with Star’s fortune cookie obsession, and making us wonder just what Toffee’s end-game is.
Both of these episodes I can see getting quite a bit of replay value from me, and I look forward to perusing through the episodes a bit more.
What was a little strange, was the animation quality appeared to change a few times. In one of my previous reviews, I mentioned how Toon City in the Philippines was taking over from Mercury Filmworks in Canada. Though in the credits for this episode, another studio was mentioned: Rough Draft Korea Co., LTD.
My assumption is that Rough Draft may have been brought on board as an 11th hour ‘helper studio.’ I did an internship with an animation studio almost a decade ago, wherein we’d finish some extra work for television commercials, and I could see that maybe being what this studio did. After all, if one notes the quality of animation in parts of Blood Moon Ball where Tom first arrives at Echo Creek Academy, the character styles seem a bit odd, and Star’s animation of dragging Tom back to his carriage, feels a little lower-class than usual.
*Fortunately, we won’t have to wait another month for the next episode of “Star vs The Forces of Evil.” Next week, we’ll deal with Star and Marco visiting with Father Time in the segment “Freeze Day.” Following that segment, Star’s own father stops by for a visit in “Royal Pain.” One can only imagine what the King of Mewni will do with his time on Earth. Hope next week’s episode can keep up the momentum from this week’s.*