Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 18) – Crystal Clear / The Hard Way
While the last few episodes of Star vs the Forces of Evil have had stories that focused on Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz handling some problems of their own, episode 18 of the second season, zeroes it’s focus back on Season 2’s larger, universe-altering storyline.
But enough talk about doom and destruction, let’s dive right into our analysis of Episode 18!
Late one evening, Star and Marco end up being trapped in crystals, and taken by a snake-handed creature named Rhombulus.
The over-reactive Rhombulus, brings them to Chancellor Lekmet of the Magic High Commission, on suspicion that Star, is behind the alarming draining of magic within the universe.
Just like the segments Running with Scissors and Mathmagic, Crystal Clear gives us some more insight into a few more members of the Magic High Commission (as witnessed in the segment, Page Turner).
Unfortunately, the segment’s focusing on Rhombulus and the Chancellor, proves to be one of the least-entertaining character explorations so far this season.
Rhombulus’ erratic nature, put me in mind of another crazy character we’ve seen earlier in the season: Mina Loveberry. Both of these characters seemed intriguing at first, but their stories just meander…and not like the intriguing ‘meandering’ that we get from a story with someone like Glossaryck of Terms.
The Chancellor is also a rather blase character. He’s in a high position of power, and yet Rhombulus is one of the only creatures that can understand him(?). There is a small addendum that Rhombulus is Lekmet’s caretaker, but it feels like it’s glossed over pretty quickly.
Star is the only other character, who gets the most conversation time with Rhombulus during the story. What is most interesting, is that when faced with a rather over-reactive being like Rhombulus, Star acts as a pretty calming ‘voice of reason’ (maybe this could be something she’s learned from being around Marco?).
In a way, the story feels a bit like Page Turner, in that we’re given some information that may make this story a bit more relevant in future episodes, but for now, it just feels like a lot of stuff is being thrown at us…boring stuff.
Final Grade: C+
Now that Ludo has Glossaryck of Terms, and Star’s ancestral spellbook in his clutches, he is dead-set on learning how to properly use his wand. At first assuming he’s going to have to use force, Ludo is surprised at Glossaryck’s willingness to teach him!
It feels like it’s been awhile since we’ve seen Ludo operating within the world of Mewni, and there’s quite a number of revelations to be had here.
When it comes to Ludo, Glossaryck has no qualms about teaching him magic from the book. It feels like there’s no strings attached, as Glossaryck gives Ludo plenty of positive reinforcement to his wand usage…though, is there possibly more to what the little blue man has in mind?
This story feels a bit like Crystal Clear in how it gives us little tidbits of information, though unlike that story, there’s enough ‘open space’ in this story, that the information we are given, ends up sticking in our heads.
We even get a little more information on Ludo’s past. We’ve seen scant information about his past up til’ now (with a weird little bit in the Season 1 story, Marco Grows a Beard), but the items revealed here, makes me wonder just how old Ludo really is. When you think of how he has reacted, he acts like a spoiled child at times, who just wants to be taken seriously.
The directors manage to do a lot with such a simple story idea, and it makes The Hard Way, very easy to go back into, and watch over and over again!
Of course, like most stories this season, the final few minutes are where the writers drop a house on us…and not just any house, but a 3-story mansion of eye-popping revelations!
Final Grade: B+
Both segments in this episode, feel like they are giving us some very important information going forward, though they each have their own ways of doing so.
Crystal Clear attempts to give Star (and us), some more information on the Magic High Commission, as well as what is going on in the universe, regarding the draining of magic. Unfortunately, the rather erratic nature of Rhombulus, doesn’t really make him as interesting (or endearing) as the last few High Commission members we’ve met. Star also seems to be included out of necessity here as well, but does show her ability to listen, and show compassion to those who are somewhat erratic.
The Hard Way ends up being the more interesting, and better-structured story of the two on hand. Getting to learn more about Ludo, as well as Glossaryck’s teaching ‘methods,’ ends up making the story just fly by. There are also plenty of new revelations, and one major bit of information, that definitely makes the story stand out in a big way.
With episode 18 down, that just leaves 4 more to go for Season 2 (including two 22-minute stories at the tail-end!). Next episode, we finally get the proper return of our favorite club-cheeked taskmaster, Ms Heinous! Plus, Marco intends to prove his worth to his Sensei, against the rich and snobbish Jeremy Birnbaum. Word is these stories are both Marco-heavy in their content. Will that be the case? Come back in a few days, and we’ll see!