Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 5) – Starstruck / Camping Trip
Ever since its first episode, a key mixture within the series Star vs The Forces of Evil, has been a potent combination of ‘weird,’ and ‘wild’ for each segment/episode.
In some cases, both items tend to balance themselves out well, but quite a few times, the show ends up tilting a bit too far either way, and some episodes can struggle to be enjoyable (or even coherent).
Several times, it has been sad to see a few intriguing concepts, just thrown aside for a series of quick gags. One example is the segment Matchmaker, where it looked like we could have had a more introspective introduction to the other kids at Echo Creek Academy. Instead, the story ended up drifting into a high-octane panic, with ‘distraction’ being the key word as the segment got under way.
This week’s episode, promised to introduce us to a new character, as well as send some familiar faces into unfamiliar settings. Just how weird and wild did things get?
While dumpster-diving for donuts, Star is shocked when she encounters one of her planet’s greatest warriors: Mina Loveberry!
Like any ‘starstruck’ fan(atic), she immediately wants to spend time with her idol, but Mina’s babbling voice and wild eyes, makes Marco apprehensive that this woman has all her marbles.
Right around the time that DisneyXD started building up hype for Season 2 of Star vs The Forces of Evil, Mina’s visage was seen in a few images, and got a number of persons excited. Her outfit and hairstyle, gave off a definite Sailor Moon vibe, which some have noted the Star series, is a take-off in some areas.
However, Mina’s tattered outfit and somewhat blank stare for much of the episode, makes us largely question what is going on in her brain. Have the years of being a warrior caught up with her, and fractured her psyche? Well, it’s largely left up to interpretation, since the most we get, is word that she’s been ordered by her doctor to take a vacation.
Some had originally assumed she was another Mewnian Princess, but Mina lacks the cheekmarks we’ve seen in regards to female royalty, making us wonder just ‘where’ she belongs in the world of Mewni…and that’s just one of several things that just make the mind wander during Starstruck.
For most of the segment, Star willingly follows whatever Mina tells her to do, while Marco largely watches from the sidelines, not wanting to get his hands dirty. This makes the episode one where Star has to learn and observe, and draw her own conclusions about how far she’ll go to follow her idol.
This was an episode like several others, I really had high hopes for. However, its meandering plot and use of Mina, just made it feel as flimsy as Pixtopia, from Season 1.
The writers try to milk out Mina’s crazy personality, but it gets tiresome pretty quickly. It feels like there are plenty of more entertaining paths the segment could have gone down (we even get a Super Saiyan reference at one point!), but it just seems to dissolve into flimsy-whimsy as it goes on. There’s also a subplot about freedom vs anarchy, but it seems to be more of an afterthought near the end of the piece.
The last few seconds seem to hint at something ‘more’ in regards to Mina’s personality, but it feels too brief to properly make for a satisfying ‘what if’ of an ending.
Final Segment Grade: C+
The Diaz family goes on a camping trip, with Marco eager to show Star the famous geyser, Old Youthful.
However, the two are surprised when Star’s father shows up, behaving somewhat erratically.
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a full-on encounter with the King of Mewni, and much like how Mina Loveberry seemed to wander into the story in the previous segment, the King does so here, in an entrance reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, from The Terminator.
His erratic nature and babbling voice, quickly put us in mind that he’s suffering from some sort of midlife crisis, though just what sent him into the wilderness (and zeroed in on his daughter and Marco), is largely left to our imagination.
Unlike Starstruck, this segment actually feels a bit tighter when it comes to the story, though it can get a tad irksome with how the King bounces from different situations.
What saved this segment from also falling into ‘C+’ territory like Starstruck, is that there actually seemed to be a bit of character development, let alone some father/daughter moments, and a fun scene near the end, as Star, Marco, and the King try to get to Old Youthful in time to see it erupt.
One thing I had noted in previous encounters with the King, was that when Marco was present (like in the segment Royal Pain), the King never mentioned him by name. Here, he does so a few times (and even thinks it’s possible that he is Star’s boyfriend at one point), which was rather enjoyable, seeing as the King has never addressed any Earthling we’ve seen, by name.
Final Segment Grade: B-
So far, it sadly feels like episode 5, is the ‘weakest’ one so far this season.
I was hoping Starstruck would have given us a more entertaining story with Star’s meeting of Mina Loveberry. However, it just devolves too much into a crazy romp that becomes a bit too off-the-handle to enjoy properly. There are a few things at the end that make one think the segment could have been developed a bit further, without leaving us hoping a future segment might give us a little more understanding on Mina.
Camping Trip is an okay segment, with some more time spent with Star’s father. It ran the risk of also seeming too crazy like Starstruck, but some of the quieter moments, and a little more character development for the King of Mewni, made it rise a little further above, and prove a decent viewing.
*Well, here’s hoping that with a rather blase episode 5, episode 6 will be a bit more entertaining. Next week, we get the return of Ludo’s former henchman, Buff Frog, who has become a father. “Starsitting” will find Star and Marco babysitting Buff Frog’s babies, while the second segment, “On the Job,” is said to deal a bit more with Buff and his children. Just what will happen? See you guys back here in 7 days.*