Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 9) – Freeze Day / Royal Pain
The return of Star vs The Forces of Evil with last week’s 8th episode, definitely re-ignited a lot of the fandom’s pent-up energy, and gave us one of the more solid episodes in some time.
As we moved on to episode 9, I will admit I didn’t know quite what to expect from the previews, but enough of my babbling…let’s dive right in!
When Marco wakes up late, he madly rushes to make it to school in time for his 7:56 AM ritual – to be at his locker as Jackie Lynn Thomas skateboards by. However, with just a few minutes to spare, Marco asks Star for help, and with a wave of her wand, she ends up freezing time.
After partaking in some frozen-time antics, Star attempts to unfreeze time, only to find out that Father Time (voiced by Jim Gaffigan), has stepped off the Wheel of Progress. Star and Marco travel to the Plains of Time, where they find the old man eagerly running around the strange landscape, with little care about wanting to get back to his neverending grind.
I will admit, as soon as Jackie Lynn Thomas came into the picture for this episode, I was hooked. The Jackie/Marco crush story development is something I’ve been curious about for some time. It hasn’t been a constant in most episodes, and any little hints that Marco still pines for his dream girl, definitely make me eager to see more. As well, much like in the Match Maker segment of episode 2, Star is also an encouraging figure regarding Marco’s love life.
This episode was also fun because of a lot of little cameos (we even get a brief glimpse of what Gustav from episode 4 is up to!). Most intriguing to me, was when Star addresses Glossaryck (of Terms), the little creature in her wand’s spellbook. This put to rest one of the questions I had since seeing the episode 6 segment, Mewberty, in which he was introduced by name.
Father Time isn’t the best supporting character, but he does have his moments. Gaffigan voices him like a person who has just come to life, eager to see and do things beyond the smaller scope of his lifetime of simply turning the Wheel of Progress. In a sense, his wild abandon running around the Plains of Time, is almost reminiscent of Star’s romping around Echo Creek Academy when Marco first showed her around in the first episode.
During our visit to the Plains of Time dimension, we get plenty of little tidbits regarding Star and Marco’s past (and a tiny glimpse into the future, perhaps?). Those past glimpses are always welcome by me, as they help add more pieces to the puzzle in my head regarding who these characters are.
Almost every animated show seems to have an episode that deals with time disruption in one form or another, and this looks like it’ll be the one for Star. The use of back-story and character insight for Marco was what definitely drew my attention, as well as getting to get brief glimpses into Star’s past.
Plus, one has to wonder if the episode’s message, might push some to…take a chance?
Final Segment Grade: B
After Star’s Mom kicks her Dad out of the castle, the King of Mewni decides to crash at the Diaz’s place on Earth. Though at first excited that her Dad isn’t as overbearing towards her as her Mom, Star soon begins to tire of his presence when he keeps her up at night, let alone leaves his laundry lying around (I’m sure the same scene I saw will also have you shivering in repulsion!).
Things don’t get much better when the King decides to take up residence on Earth, and throw a massive party with other dimensional royalty in attendance.
Much like Freeze Day, Royal Pain gives us a little more insight into some characters, in this case, Star’s Dad. We saw a little of his wild ways in the segment Diaz Family Vacation, in episode 5. Here, it pretty quickly becomes evident just where Star gets some of her wild-abandon in some situations. Marco even makes note of this, though it is a little fun to see that maybe some of Star’s Mom is alive in her as well, given how she wants some order to the chaos her Dad has wrought.
A minor subplot that weaves its way through the episode, involves Marco and wet socks, which I found slightly humorous, because wet socks also bug me in the same way. Fortunately, it doesn’t fall flat like the “mess-up twins” subplot in the Pixtopia segment of episode 6.
Also like Freeze Day, we get quite a few return nods to previous characters, and foreign dignitaries, not to mention a few other new personalities that the King knows.
I wobbled back-and-forth on my feelings for this episode. Much like how Party with a Pony dealt with the typical ‘friend doesn’t like other friend’ storyline, this worked on slightly altering the ‘my relative is driving me crazy and won’t leave’ plotline we’ve seen done in most series. Sadly, it didn’t feel like Royal Pain really did much to make my mind stray far from thinking of how formulaic it was at times.
Don’t get me wrong. It does have its moments, and I did laugh out loud several times, but I felt the story just didn’t hold together as strongly. What does save the story to me, is its comedic moments. Though I did enjoy Freeze Day more, I laughed more at Royal Pain.
A fun moment was when Star panics at seeing her Dad on the Diaz’s doorstep. I will admit having almost the same anxieties when my own Dad visits, and like Star, I usually freak out, making sure the place looks presentable (and most people I know go into the same sort of ‘panic mode’ when their parents come to town).
Final Segment Grade: B
I didn’t know quite what to expect from episode 9, but it definitely surprised me regarding some of its twists and turns.
Freeze Day looked a little too wacky when I first saw preview clips of it, but turned out to be a little deeper, in how we got to explore some of Marco and Star’s backstory, let alone get some character callbacks.
Royal Pain was definitely the weaker of the two stories, but made up for its shortcomings with the placement of its humor at times. Plus, we get a few more glimpses into other-dimensional royalty, and see Star may have a little bit more of her Mom’s responsible personality than we thought.
One of the most decent episode releases so far, but not as intriguing as the previous episode. I will admit, it’s probably the episode most chock-full of cameos and background characters I’ve seen yet.
*And with Episode 9 wrapped up, we must now endure the torture that is 2 weeks until episode 10. But…episode 10 is most likely going to have everyone eager to see what happens. It’s not only the first episode to have a full 22-minute segment, but it is also going to deal with…St Olga’s Reform School For Wayward Princesses! Will Star’s imaginings of what goes on inside come true? Will it be Star’s Mom that ends up sending her there? Will Flying Princess Pony Head be Star’s Morgan Freeman? We’ll have to hold our breaths, and wait…FOR 2 WEEKS!!!??*