Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 9) – Sleepover / Gift of the Card

When it came to this week’s episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil, many online got very excited upon seeing a teaser clip, posted by DisneyXD.

Past clips usually just give some weird blurb about what may happen, but the clip for this week’s episode, posited a portion of a question within the show, leaving many (most of them fanshippers) to speculate like mad on what was in store. Anticipation continued when a few people who worked on the show, tweeted that the segments included in this episode, were some of their favorites!

So, enough chit-chat. Let’s dive in!

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– Sleepover –

Star throws a sleepover party with Ponyhead, Janna, Jackie Lynn Thomas, and StarFan13 in attendance. When Ponyhead notices Marco trying to put the moves on Jackie (whom he has a secret crush on!), she decides they should all play a game called “Truth or Punishment.” Pretty soon, everyone is eager to tell the truth…at first.

One of the strong suits of any segment of Star, is to twist around the ordinary into the extra-ordinary, and that’s definitely the case here. We’ve all heard the stories about slumber parties and girls playing “truth or dare” before. Of course, in the case of this sleepover, we get a party with some inter-dimensional twists and turns.

These days, it feels rare to find a segment in Star’s Season 2 that feels satisfyingly balanced regarding its humor, and advancing some underlying story threads. In the case of Sleepover, the showrunners give us one of the most entertaining segments since Mr Candle Cares!

Sleepover also continues adding more development to supporting characters like Janna, but also opens the door further with others like Jackie Lynn Thomas, and StarFan13 (though one has to wonder if Star may need to get a restraining order on her soon). Much like Goblin Dogs, this is an ensemble story, where the majority of the segment depends on everyone participating. Fortunately, this thread of using multiple characters doesn’t get as messy as some past segments, such as Interdimensional Field Trip.

Personally, I was very satisfied that Jackie and Marco got a bit more interaction, that extended beyond just a few seconds here or there in previous segments this season. Plus, we get a few fun scenes of Marco trying to impress her (in a decidedly retro way at one point).

The “Truth or Punishment” ‘game’ I found to be a fun, manipulative foil, almost on the same level as the Monster Arm from the Season 1 episode of the same name. From the beginning, one figures that things will spiral out-of-hand, but like most segments, what it leads to can never fully be expected.

While most of the story works really well, the resolving of the main plot thread, gets a bit flimsy…though for many who watch Sleepover, they’ll probably sear the final moments into their minds for a very long time, and remember little else about this very entertaining segment.

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Best line from segment (said by Janna): I just hate contributing to gender stereotypes.

Final Grade: B+

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– Gift of the Card –

While going through Marco’s wallet(!), Star finds an unused Quest Buy gift card, and pressures him to use it right away. However, upon going to the inter-dimensional department store, they find that the purchase of the card, contains some very specific fine print. And to top it off, Marco is very choosy about what he wants to use the gift card on.

At the same time, the former head of St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses, Ms Heinous, assigns a bounty hunting lizard-creature named Rasticore, to track down Star and Marco.

During my review of the segment Quest Buy in Season 1, I had wondered if we’d ever see the store again, and this segment surprised me with the return to its maze-like aisles…though much like the Season 1 episode it was showcased in, there’s little time to show Star and Marco getting lost in its labyrinthine structure.

Like previous segments, the writers again take on an Earth-dimension custom (in this case, the giving and use of a gift card), and manage to twist it into a story idea that I don’t think anyone really saw coming. Some will probably find what goes into the Quest Buy gift card a bit hard to fathom, but I found the unraveling of just what Star had purchased, to be the gift that kept on giving regarding plot twists.

Much like Marco’s irritation with wet socks, his indecision on what to buy is something I could definitely relate to. Many a Christmas or Birthday-related gift card has often sat untouched by me, until I deemed something worthy of its value. In fact, Marco’s line that he uses to defend his stance, is something I intend to start using soon!

While the Quest Buy portion of the segment stays entertaining, the subplot regarding Heinous and Rasticore, felt like a letdown.

With his imposing voice and physique (not to mention a chainsaw variation on dimensional scissors!), Rasticore looked to be a new fan-favorite character (heck, he shows up in the new Season 2 opening title image!). Pretty quickly however, it is shown that he’s little more than the Boba Fett of this segment (if you’ve seen the original Star Wars trilogy, you can probably figure out what I mean by that).

The segment almost approached the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ levels of story-jumbling, by adding Heinous and Rasticore to the plot, but where that side-story just feels tacked on, the questing and ticking-clock mechanism of Gift of the Card, makes it more entertaining than it probably should be.

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Best line from segment (said by Marco Diaz): I’m not picky! I’m just…highly selective!

Final Grade: B

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Marco Diaz, in Gift of the Card): GET OUTTA TOWN!!

With episode 9 of Season 2, I found myself very surprised, and highly entertained! So far, this is the first episode that had two segments, that I felt I could largely enjoy back-to-back. So much of this season has felt like I get one good segment, and one ‘meh’ segment per episode.

Sleepover brings together multiple characters, in a twisted slice-of-life tale, that manages to be fun, while also advancing certain traits regarding a few of our characters.

Gift of the Card returns us to a familiar Season 1 location, and has some fun with the relatable dilemma of decisions and gifting. However, its subplot tying into the St Olga’s Reform School episode from Season 1, feels like it should have been its own story, rather than used as extra filler/pieces for this segment.

On a final note, I was surprised to see Janna appearing in both segments! After three segments in a row (including last week’s titled Girls’ Day Out), are we due to see Janna even more often than before? I guess we’ll have to see what next week will bring.

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Left poster by Sabrina Cotugno, Right poster by Becky Dreistadt

(Next week’s episode, returns with some familiar faces, and yanks at some loose plot threads. In the first segment titled “Friend-enemies,”  Star’s ex-boyfriend Tom returns to our dimension, but is looking for Marco this time! And, in the segment “Is Mystery,” Buff Frog sets out to investigate the forcefield hole left in the Mewman’s cornfield, as seen in the segment, “On the Job.” It’s probably a sure thing Buff will have an encounter with a familiar face…the big question is, what will happen next? See you guys back here in 7 days!)

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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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