Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 13) – Storm The Castle
Life moves in mysterious ways. This past Spring, I found myself wandering around online, and came across the summary for a DisneyXD show titled, Star vs The Forces of Evil.
My interest piqued, I watched the first few episodes, and soon found myself along for the ride…even buying a season pass to the show on iTunes: something I’ve never done with any other show!
The adventures of inter-dimensional Princess Star Butterfly, and her Earth friend Marco Diaz, has sent us into strange dimensions where we’ve met plenty of stranger characters, but unlike some shows like Gravity Falls or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, its two-segments-per-episode style tended to play fast and loose with its rules, let alone character and backstory development.
And now, after over 6 months, and numerous hiatuses, the 13th and final episode of Season 1, is upon us.
Well, I’ve yammered enough, onto the review!…which, will, have even more yammering…yeah.
After Star and Marco have a falling out over her actions during a recent inter-dimensional romp, Star attempts to patch things up…only to find that Marco has been kidnapped, and taken to Ludo’s castle!
Going back to her dimension, she comes across the recently-exiled Ludo and Buff Frog, who she forms an unlikely alliance with. It is also the first time Star is informed about who is now in control of Ludo’s castle, and his minions: the enigmatic lizard-monster, named Toffee.
There have been rumblings about this episode for some time, not just in the fact that it’s 20+ minutes long, but that it would definitely be a game-changer going forward in the world of the show.
One of the most unpredictable things about the show, is knowing what will go forward, and what will be shrugged off by the time the next episode goes on. So far, Storm feels like the first episode where several things that have taken place, will be solid story points going forward.
The highlight of the episode to me, is definitely Toffee. We’ve only gotten the faintest of information about him over three previous segments, but in this episode, we get a few revelations about his character…while still keeping some of his mysteries open for future thought. One of the worst things a bad guy can do is wear a self-assured smirk, and Toffee just never seems to run out of them here.
The show also raises a question regarding Ludo, that has been in the back of my brain for a few episodes now: what if Ludo is little more than a child? Toffee at one point tells one of the minions, “I’m an adult,” which leads me to this conclusion, not to mention how Ludo is largely foiled so easily. Oftentimes he rarely thinks through what he’s going to do, and largely whines about everything.
There also is some minor continuity between Star Butterfly and Buff Frog, that seemed to almost tie into a brief scene in the episode 11 segment, Mewnipendence Day. Though Buff has been faithful to Ludo for a long time, it feels like he will most definitely go down a new path in his life, given some added responsibility he has taken on.
I’m one of those people that is often about the dramatics, and I must say the episode delivered in areas that I wished could have happened with Episode 10’s St Olga’s episode. Eden Sher can definitely hit some emotional areas with her voice in regards to Star, and here it works well in a few specific scenes.
Even Brian H Kim comes through with a musical score that really ups the ante in some fight scenes, and then manages to hit emotional softness regarding a major moment. The music that really caught my ear, sounded like something that came from the synthesizer-heavy 80’s, but mixed in with the melancholy tinkle of a music box. I think if you see this episode, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The storyboard artists and writers have given us some decent gags in the past, but it felt like in regards to this story, it was hard to find a harmonic balance between the serious tones, and the humor at times. This has been the trip-up in a few other episodes I’ve seen over the season, though luckily, the stakes and main focus of the story don’t derail it completely.
Some will probably see the episode as some form of stepping stone towards both Star and Marco having a relationship, but to me, I see it moreso as a story that cements Star realizing a little more how important their friendship is, let alone realizing on a larger scale, what her actions can now entail to those around her, both on her Homeworld, and on Earth.
Final segment grade: B+
In the end, the season finale of Star vs The Forces of Evil, definitely puts into perspective how far the show has come. From a hyperventilating Princess eagerly taking control of her family’s Royal Wand, to a situation where she must consider its use in the form of helping a friend, Star Butterfly’s ‘training’ seems to have definitely opened her eyes to a number of different experiences.
Storm The Castle also seems to add more questions to throw onto the pile of the couple dozen we’ve accumulated since the show began. Even so, a few little things we probably never considered, are answered in this episode (such as the first name of Star’s Father, for example).
The wand and its capabilities to both Mewnians and Monsters, continues to be a mystery…though with what befalls it in the episode’s final act, is something that will have us speculating for awhile…and the last image of the episode I feel, may hold some clues as to what direction a portion of Season 2 might head into. Maybe those clues can be “built” into something…intriguing.
*And so, it is done. A first for my blog, in that I’ve reviewed an entire season of a show…and the first Season of “DisneyXD’s” latest show has drawn its curtains, for now. However, I won’t be going away from the show just yet. There’s still some information that I can put into speculative postings, let-alone compile some ‘Best-of/Worst-of’ lists for various episodes. I’ll surely have something soon, much in the same vein as my previously questioning blog post about certain elements we saw in the first 5 episodes. Much like my ‘Animated Dissections’ on the films of Studio Ghibli, there’s plenty of unanswered questions to puzzle over regarding “Star vs The Forces of Evil”*