Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 10) – St Olga’s Reform School For Wayward Princesses

While numerous “Starco” fanshippers out there were chomping at the bit for episode 8’s segment titled Blood Moon Ball, I was moreso eager for this episode.

St Olga’s Reform School For Wayward Princesses
has been a part of the show’s lore since the first segment, Star Comes to Earth. After causing chaos after obtaining her family’s ancestral wand, Star’s biggest fear is that she’s got a one-way ticket to the notorious school…only for her parents to say they aren’t going to send her there (“…yet.”).

In the segment titled Party with a Pony, it was revealed that Star’s best friend, Flying Princess Pony Head, was going to be sent there as well, escorted by several masked men with glowing eyes.

starep10-04

Star’s nightmarish, imaginative vision of what the inside of St Olga’s could be like, from the segment, “Match Maker.”

Star brought up her fear of the school in the segment titled Match Maker, where we get a view into her mind at what she imagines goes on inside there. As well, the Sleep Spells segment had Princess Smooshy, an escapee from the school, intending to switch her face with Star’s, and have her take her place.

Many of us wondered if the showrunners would continue to milk St Olga’s reputation as the show went on, but were surprised when 10 episodes in, we got this one.

But enough of my rambling. Let’s dive right in, and talk a little about one of Star vs The Forces of Evil’s most notorious locales!

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St Olga's Reform School For Wayward Princesses

St Olga’s Reform School For Wayward Princesses

Star calls Pony Head at St Olga’s, to wish her a Happy Birthday! Star confides how she wishes she could party with her ‘bestie,’ but when Pony Head expresses several forms of individuality, she is hauled off, and the call is terminated!

Star then decides to break Pony Head out of St Olga’s for her Birthday, along with Marco’s help. This leads to them sneaking in with a fresh group of “new recruits,” getting to see just what lies inside the towering walls of one of Star’s worst fears.

Most episodes of Star focus on a theme, and with St Olga’s, the theme seems to be about individuality, vs conformity. St Olga’s promise (which is even laid out in a mock commercial we see), is to rectify ‘wayward princesses,’ and make them worthy of their royal heritage, and noble bloodlines.

It is also interesting to see how both Star and Marco treat what they are seeing. Marco, who has no royal duties hanging over his head, doesn’t see the place as being a big deal (at first), other than being just a super-posh finishing school. Star on the other hand, who has to live with her royal title and eventual duties, sees the ‘true horror’ of what is going on within the school’s echoing hallways.

Unlike the episode Party With A Pony, I found myself being a little less negative towards the mouthy Pony Head this time around. Maybe it’s just the humor in seeing how the school reformed her, let alone that rather ‘abrasive’ voice of Jenny Slate’s, twisting her tone to be slightly more proper.

At St Olga’s, the imposing edifice is presided over by Miss Heinous (voiced by Jessica Walter). Much like Toffee in the segment Fortune Cookies, Heinous keeps a very stoic composure. However, when she lets her guard down, we see that she’s got a few secrets that she’s trying to hide.

She even seems to deduce that Star (though not giving her name) is from Mewni, based on the heart-shaped marks on her cheeks. This led me to wonder: is there more than one Princess throughout the land of Mewni? I was figuring Heinous would pounce on Star, if she realized she had one of the most notoriously wayward Princesses in her school now.

This episode is also the first to buck the regular two-segments-per-episode trend, with the whole story taking up almost 20 minutes! Even given more time to tell its story, I was surprised how the episode seemed to fly by. The run time does allow for some longer moments, and even some quieter ones.

One such moment, is when Marco, Star, and Pony Head find themselves in a room with stone pillars, unfamiliar markings, and a mural on the ceiling. We have no idea what the room is for, but given how the scene took the time to show it, makes me feel that we’ll see it again before the season is over.

The episode’s pacing also feels a little ‘stunted’ in areas. It doesn’t ‘flow’ as well as I would have hoped after the last episode. In a sense, it reminded me of the stop-and-go feel with how the Mewberty segment in episode 6 was structured.

Also like Mewberty, the majority of the animation in this episode also felt like a lapse in quality from episode 9. My guess is that this episode was also being worked on by Toon City studios, shortly after they took over from Mercury Filmworks. The squash-and stretch of the characters, let alone some of the line quality seems a little awkward in places, almost like they were still getting the hang of the ‘proper’ way to animate the characters.

Even some of the dialogue seemed a little strange at times. Usually, I’m right on board with Eden Sher’s vocals as Star Butterfly, but there seemed to be something a little ‘off’ in some areas of the episode.

I didn’t expect the best episode ever, but I had hoped for a little deeper story regarding St O’s. Pony Heads’ reappearance also brought us some more character development for her as well (albeit minimally), but it just feels like the episode is a little too flimsy overall for me to give it a higher rating.

Final Episode Grade: B

Best Star Butterfly line from segment: “So this is how it ends...on a cold checkered floor by a pile of soiled linens, wearing an eyepatch.

Best Star Butterfly line from segment: “So this is how it ends…on a cold checkered floor by a pile of soiled linens, wearing an eyepatch.”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly):

Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “Why are you saying that? You don’t even have pinkies!”

In conclusion, St Olga’s Reform School For Wayward Princesses is a decent episode, though I couldn’t help but feel that it could have gone a little deeper with the subject matter.

I sensed that in some areas, it could have gotten a bit more story development, to help solidify the ‘individuality vs conformity’ plot point. As well, Star has an emotional moment near the end of the story, that I wished I could have actually cared more about. It was prime ‘onion-cutting’ material, that just didn’t cut it.

The introduction of Miss Heinous and certain elements of the school have also opened a new plot thread, that like the one in Fortune Cookies, has left us with some more world-building to consider. I hope this means we’ll be getting more calling cards from “The Forces of Evil” pretty soon.

The episode also manages to make Marco-Diaz-in-a-dress an entertaining concept, not to mention showing us a few callbacks to previous characters, and incidents. There’s even a fun moment for ‘magical girl’ fans when Star gets her own ‘transformation’ sequence (though not as detailed as Sailor Moon’s, it still is a fun few seconds, and includes a catchy tune added by composer, Brian H Kim).

*With 10 episodes down, it definitely feels like some chess pieces are being set up on the board, regarding where this season is heading. Next week, the show returns to its standard two-segment format. The first segment titled “Mewnipendence Day,” sees Star and some of her Earth friends re-enacting an event from her planet’s history. In the second segment, titled “The Banagic Incident,” Star goes on a quest for a “magical” Earth product, but things don’t go according to plan. See you back here real soon, for a review of the next episode.*

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About MWH1980

Growing up in the state of Iowa, one would assume I'd be enamored with pigs and corn. Well, I wasn't. Instead, I grew fascinated by many things that were entertainment-related. Things like movies, animation, toys, books, and many more kept my attention. This blog I hope to use to express myself regarding my varied obsessions. (P.S. There's no Photoshop involved in that Gravatar-I really am holding an Oscar)

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