Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 19) – Heinous / All Belts Are Off
Well, after the last episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil diverted into realms of storytelling that seemed to greatly concern the fate of the universe, this latest episode appears to focus on returning us to the Earth dimension, where Star and Marco have plenty to deal with on their own terms.
So, let’s get this party started, and dive on into episode 19!
Marco and Star are surprised to come home, and find Ms Heinous and her servant Gemini, talking with Marco’s parents!
However, instead of blasting the former head of St Olga’s with narwhals, Star and Marco consent to Marco’s parents request, to find an amicable resolution to Ms Heinous’ woes.
After her very brief appearance in the season 2 segment, Gift of the Card, many of us hoped for more in regards to Ms Heinous’ grudge against “Princess Marco,” for causing an uprising that brought down St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses (in Season 1). Fortunately, this segment manages to give us plenty of Heinous to entertain us.
Most notable during the story, is the tag-team dynamic between Marco and Star. A number of recent episodes, have given us stories that focus on them in separate situations, but here, we see some great examples of how well they can play off each other in a tense situation!
There is also a minor subplot in regards to the character Rasticore Disastorvayne, whom we last saw in Gift of the Card. Not much is revealed regarding his fate, but it almost feels like the information we are provided about him, may just be a subtle hint at another character’s fate…?
How Marco gets out of the situation with Ms Heinous, is a rather intriguing bit of writing, and in some ways, seems to startlingly reflect on some current social and political issues.
The writers even attempt to include a smaller, ticking clock subplot to move the story along (regarding some of the Diaz’s neighbors), but it feels like it wasn’t really needed, with so much other stuff going on.
The entertainment value of the story, reminds me a bit of the mind-bending bits in Mathmagic, crossed with the pacing of The Hard Way. Even with the rather unneeded ticking clock subplot, the return of Ms Heinous made for a very enjoyable story.
However, like most characters this season, Heinous still has some additional information being hidden away, that I hope will be revealed (soon).
Final Grade: B+
The Grand Master of the How to Karate video series, is coming to Marco’s karate dojo, and Sensei is tasked with selecting a student to represent the dojo for his arrival. Surprisingly, Sensei ends up selecting Jeremy Birnbaum over Marco for the honor, causing Marco to try and find a way to show Sensei that he may have made a mistake.
So far this season, we’ve seen Sensei appear in several stories, and have learned a bit more about the master of the local strip mall dojo. Sensei isn’t the most interesting supporting character, but at times, he does provide some humorous insights.
Most of this segment, focuses on Marco observing the rather horrible things that Jeremy likes to do for kicks. The writers try to make his ego and sick jokes humorous, but I rarely found much to laugh at. It reminded me of how the writers attempted to make the character of Rhombulus in the segment Crystal Clear seem funny, given his hair-trigger responses to things. Even there, I just grew tired of the antics.
Star shows up for a quick cameo in this story, but she doesn’t provide much more than a very small observation about what Marco is doing.
While I did try to find ‘the good’ in this segment, it just ended up reminding me too much of the segment, Crystal Clear. Stuff happens, yet the overall structure of the storytelling, doesn’t make me feel compelled to come back and re-watch it anytime soon.
I won’t lie, in admitting that the situation Marco faces, is very similar to something I encountered some time ago, and I can’t help but wonder if the writers may have experienced the same kind of ‘gloss-over’ in their careers/lives.
If there is a saving grace, it’s in some character interaction between Marco and Sensei. Sadly, I wish there could have been more of that, to bump the grade of this episode up a bit.
Final Grade: C+
Much like the last episode, this one seems to have one very entertaining segment, and one that doesn’t hold together so well.
Heinous brings about the return of St Olga’s former headmistress, and involves us in a rather intriguing storyline, where a dispute is attempted to be resolved through diplomacy, rather than violence. There seem to be some hints of future character and story development here, and I do applaud the more mature direction the story goes in.
All Belts Are Off returns us to Marco’s local karate dojo, but seems to meander along it’s path, before coming to the message at the end. It shows Marco realizing how he can be mature without being in the spotlight, as well as his relationship with his Sensei. Unfortunately, much of the story is dragged down by the rather unfunny things that Jeremy Birnbaum does throughout it’s running time.
And with episode 19 of Season 2 out of the way, that leaves us with one more two-story episode, before we have two half-hour episodes to end the Season on! The first segment titled Collateral Damage, deals with Star causing some more chaos around Echo Creek, and trying to fix the damage she’s done. Then, in Just Friends, we get Star, Marco, and Jackie Lynn Thomas, going to a concert for the band, Love Sentence! Just what will happen with Marco and the girls? I’m just as eager to know as most of you! See some of you back here in a few days for analysis!