Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 3) – Star on Wheels / Fetch
The first two episodes of Star vs The Forces of Evil’s Season 2 premiere, brought back some familiar characters from Season 1, and embellished their rather limp backstories. This seemed to hint that this new Season, with its 22 episodes, was going to further open up the world/dimensions, that we had only gotten a taste of last year.
As we move into the third episode, we get two segments that largely deal with Star Butterfly, as she continues to learn a bit more about the planet Earth, regarding its customs, and inhabitants.
After Star continuously enjoys riding on the back of Marco’s bicycle, Marco thinks it’s time she learned how to ride one on her own.
However, his attempts to bolster’s Star’s confidence backfires, when he lets go of the bicycle seat, and she careens through town, unable to stop!
Fortunately, Oskar Greason (whom Star has a crush on!), is available to lend his driving services, to help chase Star down. We also get a return from Glossaryck of Terms, who as usual, provides little(-to-no) help regarding the situation at hand.
The episode does play around with not giving us the easy way out, in regards to Star’s emotions, and ‘dimensional naivete.’ There are plenty of opportunities for her to end the ride early, but the writers play with Star’s other-worldly mindset (not to mention her being upset at Marco for breaking a promise). This is where the humor can wear a little thin. A few times, it seemed like the writers were struggling to even carry the events out to the final conclusion.
Much like Marco’s Sensei in last week’s episode, this segment also gives over more screentime to a lesser-known supporting character, in the form of Oskar. Star’s schoolyard crush and keytar player (voiced by actor Jon Heder), gets a bit more time to interact with Marco, as well as Glossaryck of Terms (voiced by actor Jeffrey Tambor).
It feels like Oskar and Glossaryck could become future best buds, given the way they chat about foodstuffs, and break it down to some tunes in one scene (never thought I’d hear Heder and Tambor ‘gettin down’ with some mad rhymes).
Throughout the episode, Marco is largely the voice of reason, amidst a madhouse of other characters that don’t seem to see things in more serious terms like he does. Of course, Marco soon has to learn more about letting go of his more structured thought process, in order to help Star in the end (it culminates in a scene that I definitely did not see coming).
A decent episode, even if it does feel like they overdo the runaway bicycle plot. Then again, it’s no different than the story The Berenstain Bears Go Fly a Kite, where an event also goes horribly wrong, and the characters could easily end it, but it lasts the entire length of that storybook.
Final Segment Grade: B-
While taking the laser-puppies to the local dog park with Marco, Star decides to use her wand in a game of fetch, and soon finds it firmly lodged in the jaws of a rather aggressive-looking dog.
For much of the episode, Star attempts to get her wand back, but soon finds herself just carrying the dog everywhere she goes, trying to find a peaceful solution to her problem.
This serves as the main gag through much of the segment, with the litmus test being how long Star can put up with this nuisance before she snaps.
Composer Brian H Kim also has one of his more memorable musical cues so far this season. Near the end of the episode, the music gets emotional and heartfelt, in a similar fashion to some cues I’ve heard in Japanese anime…and to me, it just works!
The story came very close to being on the levels of The Banagic Incident, but it soon became a bit like The Other Exchange Student, in how the dog acted (even staring intently at Marco while he slept!).
In regards to secondary storylines, I was a little more enamored with seeing Marco’s relationship with the laser-puppies, who we’ve seen being very affectionate towards him previously, but often seemed to irk him in smaller moments. However, it seems like he’s gotten used to them, and one scene will probably make them seem even cuter than before (if no less dangerous).
Fetch even managed to cram in several smaller subplots, such as Star’s Mom reminding her to write a thank you note to a relation, and Marco trying to get a straw into a juice pouch. Plus, we now see that Star has the equivalent of an inter-dimensional cellphone, in the form of a compact (and as with most teenagers, it becomes a source of annoyance as her Mom keeps calling her on it!).
The overload of all these threads made it very close to making me feel that the segment was suffering from the same ADHD as the first season’s Matchmaker episode, but somehow, they managed to tie things together pretty well, even if a few of the results were a bit blase.
We also have some guest voices for the episode, provided by actresses Amy Sedaris, and Mayim Biailk. Both give decent performances, but their characters are rather brief in their appearances. Of the two, it is Sedaris who really gets to play around with her voice role, while Bialik is the more down-to-earth in the tone of her character.
Even with a gaggle of cutesy-eyed laser-puppies throughout, the episode meanders a bit with its languid pace, as Star continues to try and retrieve her wand from the dog’s jaws.
Final Segment Grade: B-
Coming off of last week’s episode that had some character development for its segments, this episode’s segments feel a little less serious in many respects.After reaching an emotional and storytelling highpoint with Mr Candle Cares last week, I did expect that this week’s segments couldn’t possibly keep up that ’emotional’ momentum (the show is more about comedy than drama, after all).
Overall, the segments this week did manage to keep their own (decent) momentum going within their stories, and while not top-caliber regarding the comedy, they were definitely passable.
Star on Wheels showed Stars’ ‘earth training’ freewheeling out-of-control, along with additional characters sharing in Marco’s attempts to help her. Kinetic at times, but felt a bit too simple a story, stretched out into too long of a running gag.
Fetch deals with an unexpected problem that Star attempts to fix on her own, leaving Marco with a lesser-involved, if not decently-enjoyable ‘story b’ for the segment. One could also see it as showing further how Star solves problems when they brush up against her, with not all resolutions being the same in the end.
If this week’s segments were a bit ‘iffy’ when I first heard of their storylines, I’m moreso looking forward to what is coming up next week. A clip has already been revealed for the first segment, “Star vs Echo Creek,” where it looks like a high-on-sugar Star Butterfly may run rampage across the city. And the second segment, “Wand to Wand,” may finally give us the conclusion some of us has wondered about, since Ludo found the other half of Star’s ‘cleaved’ wand, earlier this season. This could be one of the most major magical showdowns, since Harry Potter, and Voldemort! See you all in 7 days!