Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 20) – Collateral Damage / Just Friends
Here it comes. Every day, it draws nearer. Pretty soon, it will be upon us, and then, everything will go black.
I speak of course, of the ending of the second season, of Star vs the Force of Evil. Sure, the crew headed by creator Daron Nefcy is hard at work on the show’s third season, but we still don’t know when that’ll start!
Well, we got a few more episodes left until ‘the dark times.’ So, let’s review episode 20!
While cleaning up trash around the school, Star accidentally destroys Otis, the school’s possum statue/mascot. At first, she doesn’t see what the big deal is, but soon finds that the destruction of Otis, has sent the entire school into a depressive funk!
Watching this segment, I suddenly found myself thinking: “when was the last time we actually had a full-on story take place inside Echo Creek Academy?“
For the die-hard fans of the show, there are some callbacks/shout-outs to some characters we haven’t seen in awhile (even the snarky Brittney Wong has a few lines!), and a few more background characters are given a little screen-time.
Interspersed through the story, are remembrances of Otis the possum, as well as some humorous, historical flashback bits, narrated by Marco with a southern drawl.
This style of ‘reminiscence humor,’ feels strangely like some instances I’ve seen in episodes of The Simpsons and South Park. Even the over-the-top reaction by the entire school, seems to resemble the dynamics from the citizen of both Springfield, and South Park.
In a turnabout way, just as Marco became a ‘voice of reason’ to the students at St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses, Star has her moments here, inside the walls of Echo Creek Academy.
The overall theme of the story is about overcoming grief and loss, and we see Star has been trying to work through some of that as well (given her feelings about losing her family’s spellbook, as well as Glossaryck of Terms). However, just like in the story Brittney’s Party, we see how she is willing to set aside her own issues, and try and do what she does best: perk up those around her, who are having a not-so-good time.
The story feels almost like a reversal of the segment, The Banagic Incident, only instead of Star going off-the-wall, the entire school is, making her the only sane person left to talk some sense into everyone. That kind of storytelling can get pretty annoying, though unlike Banagic, this segment has enough momentum to keep it’s silly premise chugging along.
That pretty much becomes the story’s crutch: it’s a passably-okay segment that gives us a bit more history regarding Echo Creek Academy, but it feels a bit too off-the-wall at times.
Final Grade: B-
Star and Marco are eager to attend an upcoming concert, featuring their favorite band, Love Sentence! However, Star shocks Marco, when she tells him that she has invited Jackie Lynn Thomas to come along with them as well!
Even though Marco is getting along well with Jackie, he still feels nervous that he’ll find some way to mess up the evening. However, Star keeps trying to break him out of his funk, and make Jackie feel included in their activities.
It’s been awhile since we last encountered Jackie, and aside from a minor cameo in the story Mathmagic, this is her first full-on interaction with Star and Marco, since the Bon Bon the Birthday Clown episode.
The trip to get to the concert feels like it meanders, in trying to give us some decent entertainment value. The writers seem a bit too preoccupied in trying to make Marco uncomfortable, and throw all sorts of little things in his way.
A positive is that even after how we saw Star look at Marco and Jackie interacting in the Bon Bon episode, she still makes an effort to not alienate Jackie, and supports Marco’s attempts to be with her. I really love that aspect of the writers showing what an awesome friend Star can be. It was that same kind of characterization, that I felt made the segment Naysaya so good.
Though in essence, maybe the whole inviting Jackie to the concert, was Star’s way of seeing if she could handle seeing Jackie and Marco together? It should be noted that Star acts pretty excited about the whole thing, but maybe she’s trying to gauge her feelings about the two of them.
Of course, where most of the fans who watch the story will probably be most transfixed, is at the concert portion at the end.
Brian H Kim helps give us a new song by the group Love Sentence (with lead vocals by Nick Lachey, formerly part of the boy band, 98 Degrees), as well as a small reprise of one of their songs we’ve heard before.
Of course, it all leads to some moments that, if you’re an emotional person, may leave you unsure just how to feel.
Of the segments that have hit in the last few weeks, this was the one I was most interested in seeing. Sadly, it is punctuated with a fun opening, a meandering middle, and gut-punching ending. However, the beginning and ending bits, manage to override the middle, and pushed my final grade up a bit.
Final Grade: B
Well, that was a pretty okay episode.
Collateral Damage gave us a humorous take on school spirit, and working through grief. More kooky than dramatic, but somehow, it’s one of the few off-the-wall storylines that just clicked with me.
Just Friends looked to be laying on the drama regarding emotions surrounding Star, Marco, and Jackie. It elevated itself slightly above Collateral, but mainly on the strength of what happens in the third act.
And with episode 20, we are officially out of 2-segment episodes for Season 2! Next week, we’ll get two 22-minute episodes back-to-back. There are still plenty of questions still unanswered so far this season, and we’ll have to wait and see if we get any answers.
The next episode I’ll be reviewing, is titled Face the Music, and it looks like Brian H Kim will be giving us some more of the good stuff, as Star will have a Princess Song made, and sung in her honor.
Of course, after the way Bon Bon the Birthday Clown was structured, I think we’re all expecting to find some surprises beyond just the song. See you all back here real soon!