Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 4) – Star vs Echo Creek / Wand to Wand
Four episodes into Season 2 of Star vs the Forces of Evil, and it’s pretty clear that the style of storytelling, already is much different than what we experienced during the first season.
Most series tend to be this way, with the first season putting the series’ feet on the ground, and pretty soon, it learns how it wants to walk, and where it wants to go.
We’ve had quite a few revelations so far that tied into the first season, as well as seen some character development in the last few episodes.
With episode 4 of Season 2, we get the chance to open the door a little wider regarding Star Butterfly, as well as the enigma that is, Mewnian magic.
After Star wrecks a Police Car while on a major sugar-high, Marco is concerned that she might end up going to prison for what happened! Fearful of what might be in store for her, Star decides to run away. However, her journey from Inter-dimensional Princess to local fugitive, leads her down a few paths she didn’t expect.
Star vs Echo Creek is a bit more of an introspective experience than a comedic romp like last week’s Star on Wheels segment, and I welcome these kinds of stories into the show’s episode mix.
From the start, the title made me think that Star would end up on some sort of rampage that could lead to bad news. What we get instead, is an episode focused moreso on studying how she copes with making a rash decision. This almost feels like a continuing ‘growth’ study of Star, after last week’s segment Fetch, where we saw how she handled various problems.
The journey here, leads to Star meeting several different characters, each with their own personality quirks, who guide her along on what she’s done. In a way, the episode almost plays like those after-school specials I saw as a kid. The specials would show a kid making a bad decision (running away from home, doing drugs, etc), and then try to have them work through their decisions, to come to a sensible solution.
So far this season, director Giancarlo Volpe has seemed to find just the right buttons to push, when it comes to showing us more about Star Butterfly as a character. In episode 2’s Mr Candle Cares segment, Star slows down to a point where we get to see her worried about one day becoming a Queen. Here, we see Star wrestle with external and internal thoughts, in a way that works perfectly for a show such as this one.
The humor of the episode may be a bit uneven for some in where it goes, but it never gets too crazy. Given that the segments are storyboarded rather than written, it does make one wonder how the group of writers come up with a lot of the strange things we encounter. Star even gets to be a part of a song that has a rather catchy beat, almost putting one in mind of something from Alice in Wonderland.
Marco has a very small role in this segment, but overall, his minimal appearance is used very well (though maybe he did go overboard in being worried about Star going to prison, and what could happen to her in there). I’m also pretty sure that like some parts of Mr Candle Cares, Starco shippers will also end up reading more into this segment than was intended.
Final Segment Grade: B
At the end of Season 2’s first episode segment, titled Ludo in the Wild, Star’s diminutive nemesis found the remains of her ‘cleaved’ wand. Just what that could mean for the planet Mewni, we were left to ponder.
As Wand to Wand starts, we see that Ludo is still getting acclimated with the other half of Star’s wand. However, as he attempts to figure out how it works, he has to contend with quite a few new problems.
Meanwhile, on Planet Earth, Star is tasked with helping to clean the Diaz’s house, and summons a creature she knows named Cloudy…however, something about her wand seems to have changed Cloudy…and not for the better.
This segment (also directed by Giancarlo Volpe), attempts to walk a fine line in explaining more about Star’s ‘cleaved’ wand. We were given some little glimpses at its changes earlier this Season, but still have not had anything concrete regarding just what the ‘cleaving’ of it has wrought.
Unlike some of the more straight-forward segments, much of what goes on with the episode, may take viewers a few returns to figure out just what is going on. Even the normally useless Glossaryck of Terms, might have given us a small hint about what can influence the wand.
Ludo’s segment almost feels like it could have picked up right where we left him the last time we saw him. Though given where he is currently on his journey, one wonders how soon we’ll get him and Star to face-off. The title Wand to Wand, almost made it sound like Ludo would confront Star on Earth, and we’d get to see what would happen when both wands clashed.
The show’s attempts to juggle both parts of the Royal Mewnian Sceptre, feels like a struggle, as if the writers were afraid that another Ludo-only segment might be a bit too blase after having one a few episodes ago.
It has some okay moments, but overall, Wand to Wand doesn’t work for me. It feels like trying to fit together two parts of a mis-matched jigsaw puzzle.
Final Segment Grade: B-
If there’s one thing that stands out to me most about this week’s segments, it’s that their titles could have used a little more work.
Star vs Echo Creek sounded like she was going to possibly wage war on the small California community. I feel a more appropriate title could have been Runaway Star, or maybe Star’s Big Mistake.
Even so, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise, in showing more about character development for Star, but not falling too far down the rabbit hole for off-the-wall craziness.
Wand to Wand attempts to give us more clues on the ‘cleaving’ of the Mewnian Royal Sceptre, now in the hands of both Star, and Ludo. Both end up in unexpected situations with their portions of the wand, though we are still no closer to fully understanding what happened to the wand following the end of Season 1.
*This week’s episode had some introspective points, with the first segment to me, being the highlight. Next week, we get the titled segments “Starstruck,” and “Camping Trip.” We get to see Star encounter another magical princess, named Mina Loveberry, and also a return of her father, the King of Mewni. Mina’s been seen in the new opening credits image, so I think many like myself, are eager to know more about this other crazy, unkempt princess. See you guys back here in 7 days.*