And so, we’ve finally come to the episode, that is classified as the halfway-mark for season 3 of Star vs the Forces of Evil.
The last 12 episodes for Star vs the Forces of Evil, have definitely felt like the most thorough line of continuity we’ve had during a season so far. So much has happened, that when one sits back and thinks of what we’ve seen, it’s really quite startling!
So, let’s delve into Monster Bash, and see what we got.
Thanks to the generosity of Rich Pigeon, Star is able to throw a party for the young monsters and mewmans in her kingdom! Also in attendance, are Marco (helping set up the party), and Tom (trying to get Star to just calm down and enjoy the festivities).
Things seem to be going well once the guests start talking, but some unexpected visitors may possibly derail Star’s perfect little party.
One of the themes that has come to the forefront of season 3, is the treatment of monsters in the kingdom of Mewni. We’ve seen Star take small strides to try and understand more, and here, she attempts to try and fix things in her own way.
The party setup feels pretty simple, and it is nice to see some monsters we haven’t seen since season 2 (such as the more peaceful ‘alternative monsters’), but the writing for their attitudes feels a little ‘pedestrian’ at times.
We also see some mild interactions between Star and Tom. Even though they are unofficially ‘together,’ we’ve seen relatively little to support that rekindling of a relationship so far this season, (with only a few scenes in recent episodes, to back this up). It’s notable that Tom claimed a few episodes ago that he wanted to ‘better’ himself, but rather than help Star with her current project, he chooses to just ‘mope’ around at times.
Marco on the other hand, once again shows his skills with trying to keep things ‘neat and orderly,’ as he tries to take care of some behind-the-scenes work at the party. Of course, nothing can stay perfect for very long, and we see both him and Star, having to deal with a few ‘problems.’
Things (surprisingly) begin to get interesting, when we encounter Ms Heinous again! I was afraid this was going to turn into another of her quick in-and-out appearances, but if there is anything that saves this episode from being average, it is the revelations regarding her character (revelations many of us have been waiting for since season 1!). Some questions have been answered, but now, new ones regarding Heinous, have been unleashed!
We also have the return of Mina Loveberry, whom some may fondly recall from her season 2 segment, titled Starstruck. Sadly, it doesn’t really feel like her character is good for much of anything, except expounding a few lines of exposition, and just showing how totally off-her-rocker she is. It felt like there might have been some hope for the former warrior at the end of Starstruck, but it seems the writers just want to keep her as ‘the loose cannon,’ wandering around the kingdom at random.
These full-length episodes are often looked forward to by myself and many fans of the series, as they have the chance to give over more time, and tell a larger story. Monster Bash I feel, could have been a much stronger story with it’s many layers, but it feels a little too ‘loosey-goosey’ in some places to truly become a great episode.
The revelations regarding Heinous are indeed serious, but one has to wonder if Star will take the initiative and reveal this to her mother (or maybe, Eclipsa?). Last season, she tried to hide the fact that she had lost her family’s spellbook and Glossaryck of Terms, before tearfully confessing her shortcomings. Seeing as this season she’s trying to become ‘a better princess,’ I would assume being truthful in matters like this, might be a wise (if shocking) decision, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes next.
Star’s efforts to also bridge the disconnect across multiple species in her kingdom felt like a good way to go, but could have been stronger. The final scene definitely raises some questions regarding her efforts, and how far she still has to go towards unity and acceptance, after generations of animosity towards monsters.
Final Grade: B
In the end, Monster Bash feels a bit like the halfway-mark episode from Season 2, titled Bon Bon the Birthday Clown. Fortunately, this episode’s title makes a little more sense regarding it’s storyline, but struggles a little more to keep itself together.
There are definitely some good ideas to be had here, but it feels like it wasn’t given as strong of a focus as it could have had.
The revelations regarding Ms Heinous are still strong in my mind, though the use of Mina Loveberry in the story, felt like a ‘distracting letdown’ to really making the story much more memorable overall. There could have also been a stronger plotline regarding Star’s trying to bring mewmans and monsters together. The potential is there in a few scenes, but it never seems to rise above little more than ‘set decoration’ in some areas.
And with that, two weeks worth of Star episodes came to an end. But, there are a few more coming before the end of the year, and they happen to be full-length episodes.
Next up is the episode called Stump Day, which seems to be about Mewni’s version of Christmas. While the previews have shown plenty of ‘festive fun,’ I’m curious if some of the revelations from Monster Bash will make an appearance in the storyline. See you back here soon, to talk about where the next half of season 3 will (or may) take us!
In the last episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil, a few more doors were opened to the neighboring kingdoms in the world of Mewni.
This episode returns to focus on our main characters, and and a few issues that are affecting their lives.
Wanting to do something else with his time on Mewni, Marco begins secretly hanging out with Hekapoo. With dimensional portals popping up unexpectedly, she needs all the help she can get to close them, and Marco feels like he’s well-suited for the job.
Last season, I found Hekapoo to be one of the more interesting new characters we were introduced to. The forger of all dimensional scissors, she has a rather abrasive wit about her, that plays much better than that of Pony Head. Plus, most of her humorous moments just hit better!
We also get some great references back to the segment Running with Scissors from season 2, and find out a little more information about the dimension she lives in.
Marco seems to be trying to branch out and do things that don’t concern Star (seeing as how she seems to trying to deal with some of her own problems), making it feel like this story ties into a few revelations at the end of the segment, Lava Lake Beach.
We do get some friction between both Star and Marco, notably in how Marco claims he wants to help Star, but isn’t there for her a few times. Plus, it feels like there may be a some straining on their friendship, and…a tiny hint of jealousy, perhaps?
The storytelling on display here, is the kind that I really enjoy. We get a sense that something is going on, and while we don’t get all the answers, we get enough information to feel like the time and effort put forth was adequately used to not only entertain us, but push the overall story forward!
There is a subplot about secrets and lies, and it manages to weave it’s way through the segment in a very enjoyable way. One revelation proved to be a bit ‘heartbreaking,’ but still, this is definitely a segment I’ll come back to in the future for repeat viewings!
Final Grade: B+
At night, Star is still finding herself transforming into her 6-armed, ‘golden butterfly’ form, once she falls asleep. However, it seems that there is a pattern to her nightly activities.
Wanting to figure out more about what is going on, she enlists Marco’s help, and brings her friend Janna from Earth, to monitor her.
It was quite a surprise to see this segment tie into the previous one in several ways. Rarely do we have that ‘one-two punch’ of storytelling happen in this series. Plus, the information from that last segment is still fresh in our minds, as this one takes off.
I kept wondering if Janna would come to Mewni (given her appearance in the new season 3 opening animation), and it looks like this segment finally allowed it to happen. One could see this story focusing moreso on Star and Marco, but it feels like Janna was brought in as a ‘buffer’ regarding where their paths go during the story. Plus, Star probably feels that since Janna is used to the ‘strange and unusual,’ she might be able to help figure out what is happening to her.
This turns out to be another story whose roots seem planted in the events of The Battle for Mewni. We’re introduced to some new characters, places, and concepts, that have sprung up since that event. This also raises a few new questions regarding what Star went through at the end of the ‘battle,’ as well as leaving us to wonder if there may be more to ponder about what we glimpse here.
We also get some brief, but startling revelations regarding Marco, who does something that I don’t think any of us could have foreseen…and consequences that are now making us ask, ‘what just happened there?’
The mood and mystery of this story really sticks in my head, but even with it being entertaining, it feels a few steps shy of reaching the levels of enjoyment that permeated through the previous segment. It’s not without it’s charm, but just needed a little extra ‘oomph’ to have reached the levels of enjoyment I had with Night Life.
Final Grade: B
And that, is how you do an enjoyable 1-2-punch of a 2-segment episode!
Night Life shows us Marco trying to do things on his own away from Star, but finding out that that might not be so easy to do. This story was also a welcome return to see Hekapoo in action, as well as learn a bit more about her character, and the way the dimensions in this universe seem to function.
Deep Dive provides a nice complimentary segment, as Marco and Janna are tasked with figuring out what is going on with Star when she falls asleep. There’s a bit more mystery here, but we are introduced to some new, and intriguing questions. Plus, there’s some new information about Marco that will surely have many fans eager for answers in future storylines!
And that concludes the dual-segment episodes for now. Next up for review, is a full-episode, titled Monster Ball. Star decides to go forward with holding a party for all young monsters and creatures she knows. Of course, no party can just go off without a hitch. What happens? Well, we’ll see you next time to find out more!
Over the last few episodes, we’ve been given more information about some of the different kingdoms and species that populate Mewni.
In this episode, we get a little more information about one we were introduced to in the first season, and a new one that recently came to light.
Wanting to bring unity among the different creatures and kingdoms on Mewni, Star, Marco, and Pony Head, journey to the Pigeon Kingdom. It is here, they hope to get Rich Pigeon, to join their cause.
This is another precarious situation for our trio, though it quickly turns into one of the most action-packed segments we’ve seen yet. Sugarcube studios definitely shows they have the skills to do action scenes right, though the segment feels like it’s a bit too full on filler, and less on the reason for Star’s being there.
We do get some more information about the Pigeon Kingdom, let alone learn more about the recently-introduced Rich Pigeon, and his family’s legacy. When he was first introduced during the Silver Bell Ball, I just figured he was going to be a one-off character, but given what we are shown here, he might have more to offer coming up this season.
While Death Peck accomplishes some stuff in the course of it’s storytelling, it just mostly feels like ‘action-movie filler’ for most of it’s run-time, with only a few well-placed gags here or there.
Final Grade: B-
Pony Head invites Star to her family’s castle for dinner. However, Star finds that her best friend’s family, may be a bit more dysfunctional than she imagined.
Star and Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension actually had a section about Pony Head’s sisters, and we finally get to see some of them in action. However, with so many different sisters, there are only a select-few that we focus on, and the others are just treated as background fodder. Plus, it feels like when it comes to the birth-order of the sisters, one has to have the Guide to figure this out (sorry, newcomers).
Most surprising about the storyline, is how Star almost acts as our ‘innocent’ avatar to what is going on. She enters this dinner knowing very little about her best friend’s homelife, and we’re along for the ride with her, trying to figure out just what is going on.
It felt like out of all the recent storylines that have dealt with Pony Head so far this season, this seemed to shuffle her all the way back to her first season’s appearance, where she’s downright ‘abrasive’ for the entire length of the segment. I guess we can hope that when we see her again outside of her home, she’ll be a bit more palatable.
We also get a minor cameo from King Pony Head, who also gets in one of the funniest lines of the segment. Of course, it may lead some to wonder just where Queen Pony Head is (maybe she just had enough of the girls, and left?).
This episode is kind of like digging through dirt to find some gold. There are some moments that manage to save the storyline, but it feels like the storytellers missed the chance to really give us a memorable first impression of the Pony Head Kingdom.
Final Grade: B-
This episode managed to open up the world of Mewni a little more, but felt like we were only allowed a taste, before being thrown into a crazy set of events, before we get some closure at the end.
Death Peck takes us to the Pigeon Kingdom, and manages to show us that there’s more to Rich Pigeon than it seems. However, much of the segment is taken over by an action sequences, which keeps it from feeling like a more fully-formed story.
Star attempts to guide us through the craziness that is Ponymonium, but it seems to be a way to distract from the rather blase story going down regarding Pony Head and her sisters. This was a segment that had potential, but felt like it just…happened.
Next episode, it looks like the return of our favorite fiery redhead, when Marco and Hekapoo team up in the segment, Night Life. Then, we get a little more introspection into Star’s late-night journeys, with Deep Dive. See you soon!
Well, it’s two days in a row where we seem to have a segment for Star, and one for Marco!
Last episode dealt with Marco having to deal with telling ‘the truth,’ and Star trying to heal a rift between the inhabitants of her kingdom.
Today, their stories become a bit more…difficult.
Star is surprised to learn that after falling asleep, she ends up flying off to other dimensions (without using dimensional scissors to travel!), but doesn’t know the meaning behind it.
Not wishing to worry her parents, Star asks Marco to help her figure out what is going on, which leads to some rather unexpected surprises.
Sweet Dreams feels like one of those ‘first step’ storylines, where what we see, could possibly lead to further information down the line. It strings along a number of gags, though some of them end up feeling a little ridiculous.
There isn’t a whole lot explained in this story, and it feels like it just coasts by on it’s visuals for much of the storyline, leaving me wishing we could have gotten some stronger story moments in certain places. Even so, the story does give us some rather ‘freaky’ imagery, that almost feels on par with what was seen in the segment, Rest in Pudding.
Probably the one place where the segment seemed to get really intriguing, was with the brief appearance of Eclipsa. We also get some surprising information about part of Star’s room, that has had some people asking questions since season 1.
Final Grade: C+
Star, Marco, their friend Kelly, and Tom decide to go down to the beach in the Lucitor kingdom (where Tom lives), to watch the ‘soul rise.’ However, as the group tries to enjoy the rather abrasive atmosphere, Marco notes that something seems to be on Kelly’s mind.
We were given a little bit of information about the kingdom Tom lives in, in the book Star and Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension. However, we are only shown what seems to be a small portion of the ‘underworld’ dimension here (and Tom seems perfectly fine just being a regular demon on the beach).
This segment is notable, as we get a little more information on Kelly, and see her having relationship issues with her boyfriend, Tad. However, it seems that she may finally be tiring of the constant cycle of breaking up and getting back together with him.
The story revolving around Kelly, feels like the high-point of the segment, as Marco goes to talk to Tad, and gets probably the biggest emotional slap-to-the-face one could get!
This episode pretty much becomes for Marco, what Just Friends last season was for Star (seriously, I could hear Love Sentence’s song Too Little, Too Late in my head during a moment in this segment!). Sadly, it feels like the story’s attempts to help drive this realization home, get a bit ‘hokey,’ and one scene that probably could have been as emotional as Star seeing Marco kiss Jackie Lynn Thomas in Just Friends, doesn’t ‘hit hard enough’ in my opinion.
The interactions between Marco and Kelly here, is what keeps the story from just falling flat. Marco is the kind of guy who wants to help others, and we see that on display here in full-force. Plus, we see that while Kelly can be a bit weird at times, she’s just as understanding when it looks like Marco needs someone to perk him up.
Final Grade: B-
This episode had some decent information/revelations folded into it’s stories. However, they didn’t hold up so well in the long-run.
Sweet Dreams shows Star going through changes in her life, but decides to keep the vagueness of the new mystery open. It does salvage itself at the end with a revelation courtesy of Eclipsa, but it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion to become a really good story.
Lava Lake Beach is a storyline, that deals with coming to terms with something you maybe didn’t want to consider. It plays well off of both Marco and Kelly dealing with relationship issues, but the filler bits with the beach’s fight-obsessed inhabitants in the Lucitor kingdom, felt a little too ridiculous for my tastes.
Next episode, it looks like we’ll look at a few of the other kingdoms on Mewni. Death Peck sends Star to the Pigeon kingdom, while Ponymonium takes us to the Ponyhead kingdom. See you back here soon, to see how these two storylines play out!
Another week, another 4 days of Star vs the Forces of Evil!
The last four episodes brought us back to the worlds of Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz, and how the early events of the season have sent their lives off in directions, some of us never fathomed.
But enough chit-chat, let’s get onto the reviews!
After he helped liberate St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses, Marco’s princess persona has become a beacon of hope for dimensional princesses everywhere! The girls who have taken over the old school, wish to honor Princess Marco Turdina for inspiring them, but Star thinks that Marco should tell the truth, and reveal who he truly is.
Ever since Marco donned a dress in the season 1 episode about St Olga’s, there has been numerous fanart (and theories) about him, let alone some very interesting sub-stories (and perks) that have resulted from his time in a dress.
The segment’s storyline is a bit rickety at times, as Marco strives to not let down the princesses that he’s inspired, and also struggles with his own feelings and thoughts about the truth. While he did strive to tell the girls to rebel against the school’s conforming ways, it feels like some may have taken his words a little too far out of context.
Like a few episodes in the last week, I did like how Star strives to act as Marco’s ‘conscience’ in this segment, while Pony Head seems to be perfectly fine with him trying not to tell the truth.
We even get a surprise return from Miss Heinous and her assistant, Gemini. Of course, they happen to drop in at a most inopportune time, and as is customary with authority figures, simply want a return to their old normalcy, with no concessions given to the student body.
The writers actually choose to end the story in a way I didn’t expect. However, it just continues to raise more questions about Heinous, while trying to make her predicament humorous, courtesy of her assistant.
There is a good message in Princess Turdina, but it just feels like the writers chose to focus their attention in a few areas, that could have been scaled back for a stronger story here.
Final Grade: B-
While out shopping with Tom, Star is taken aback by the way monsters are treated in the kingdom of Mewni. When she finds out that her kingdom has a Royal Monster Expert, she inquires if something can be done about the current situation, and meets Dr Jelly Goodwell (voiced by the very funny Carol Kane!). It turns out that the doctor has been studying monsters for some time, and invites Star to observe them with her.
When first hearing about this segment, I grew excited, hoping that this would be a very introspective and progressive storyline. However, Starfari chooses to dwell a bit too much in comedy, and therein lies my biggest issue with it.
The segment had a real chance to delve deeper into the rift between mewmans and monsters, but instead, chooses to try and milk comedy out of Dr Goodwell’s ideas and studies (I could see the writers trying their best to make her amusing and funny). However, as the story went on, I got a very chilly vibe, like I was seeing a rehash of last season’s story, Starstruck.
Goodwell reminded me so much of Mina Loveberry with her rather twisted view on things, that I felt we had wasted another good character opportunity here. It’s easy to see that her name is derived from famed primatologist Jane Goodall, but maybe this character concept could have been used better elsewhere. Then again, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a Goodall-inspired character depicted as ‘a looney’ in a cartoon.
The highlight of the story, was seeing a brief return of Buff Frog and his family (along with a monster or two from Ludo’s gang, that I had thought to be long gone). Personally, I couldn’t help but wonder why we couldn’t have had a more thorough story about monster/mewman relationships, with more of Buff Frog in it!
When it comes to episodes this season, I’ve been hoping to see Star and her mother invite him and his family to the castle to try and go over some things (though Star’s monster-hating father might prove an interesting foil to those plans).
Final Grade: C+
Going over the stories, it felt like Star vs the Forces of Evil’s 9th episode this season, got a bit political with it’s storylines. Sadly, they never seemed to rise up to the challenge of taking those stories in exciting directions, and came off a bit muddled and…dare I say it, ‘mediocre.’
Princess Turdina focuses on Marco having to deal with telling the truth, but afraid as to what that will mean to his alter-ego’s fans. The message about ‘truth’ in this storyline could have been stronger, but gets worn down by a number of gags, let alone what seems a very quick cameo and ‘tease’ for the future.
Starfari had a great concept about trying to understand more about monster/mewman relationships, but sadly chose to focus more on comedy, than something that could have been a bit more heartfelt and genuine. Even a minor cameo by Buff Frog and his family, couldn’t save the rather mediocre plotline of this story.
Next episode, we deal with Sweet Dreams, in which Star may have some rather questionable night time sleeping habits, that warrant a second opinion. We also have Lava Lake Beach, where Marco hangs out with Star, Tom, and their friend Kelly…who may be having some relationship problems of her own to deal with. See you back here real soon for the next review!
Well, after the last episode, it looks like the rest of Star vs the Forces of Evil’s 3rd season is going to be focused away from the Earth dimension.
That seems to be the case with the stories for this episode, that give us more of Marco Diaz and Star Butterfly, dealing with some weird and wild situations.
Marco Diaz returns to the Kingdom of Mewni, but is surprised when it turns out King River’s offer of becoming a knight if he ever came back, was little more than some ‘kind praise.’ Star attempts to help out her friend, and decides to make him the squire of Sir Lavabo, who manages the royal wash. Naturally, Marco is not very pleased at this arrangement.
Going into this story, I wasn’t prepared for what it would entail. However, as it goes along, The Lint Catcher becomes like a present, that gets more intriguing as it’s further unwrapped!
Most notable, is seeing Star a little surprised that Marco has decided to stay on Mewni…and, it is also possible that her and her ex-boyfriend Tom’s relationship, may be growing beyond ‘just friends.’ The awkwardness between Star and Marco, is most notable in a scene, where the two catch up on what each has been doing since the Battle of Mewni.
Plus, we also get to see them taking on a creature, making me wonder when the last time it was, that we saw them do this (I think near the end of season 2?)
A fun cameo was to be had, when Eclipsa reappeared, and Star just unloads her feelings about Marco’s surprise reappearance on her. This is another questionable scene, as Eclipsa seems to be somewhat intrigued by Star’s emotional ‘spill,’ making one wonder if she’s storing that information away for a later time (plus, it seems that Eclipsa knows something about Star now, that even her own parents don’t).
This is one of those segments that toes the line between character development, and a bit of a throwaway storyline. Even so, it’s bits with Marco and Star, proves that it may very well be a key story for season 3’s development.
Final Grade: B
Marco and Star find themselves at Quest Buy, for the annual Squire Blowout Sale. There are also a number of other knights and squires from Mewni also taking part in the sale of some limited-quantity items, but it soon becomes apparent that “all is fair, in blowout sales.”
We get to meet a number of other Mewnian knights and their squires, with particular attention paid on a young squire named Higgs (voiced by Lauren Lapkus). At times, her attitude towards Marco reminded me of how Pony Head acted around him, in season 1’s Party with a Pony episode. On one hand, it feels like she could just be giving him guff because he’s a ‘newbie,’ but on the other hand, Marco’s becoming a squire for the royal family, was beyond the normal approach (hence, a feeling that he is getting preferential treatment, may be getting under Higgs’ skin).
While there are some fun moments between Star and Marco here, a highlight is seeing Marco’s ‘laser-guided focus’ getting to be a little too much, and Star having to calm him down at times. I was surprised in one scene, where Marco seems to have gone too far, and Star takes some initiative to say, “ok, this has to stop.” We’ve been hearing of Star in this season, striving to be ‘a better princess,’ and it feels like she is sticking to it at times. Of course, this doesn’t mean she is totally giving up on her playful nature.
Since the segments are only 10 minutes long, it truncates a lot of the blowout sale and going through Quest Buy. Then again, this could be the equivalent of a Black Friday ‘doorbuster’ sale, where the deals they are looking for, only last a few hours.
There isn’t as much character-building going on here as in The Lint Catcher, but this is our first story this season, where we have Marco and Star working together throughout a segment. Plus, I just know that squire Higgs, with her shiny green eyes and freckly face, is probably already being paired up with Marco for numerous fanships out there (but not from me…I’m still in mourning).
It also feels like the segment may have been ‘economized,’ as we only see a select-few knights and squires trying to get in on the specials. I could have imagined this being a larger animated tour-de-force, with Star and Marco trying to get through dozens of other knights from Mewni and other dimensions (might have been fun to see some non-normal knights charging down the aisles).
Final Grade: B-
Overall, the stories for this episode, were pretty good.
Lint Catcher brings us back to the Marco and Star as friends dynamic, while also plunging Marco into some new challenges, and Star having to wrestle with her own feelings. It’s notable that we get some return appearances from some other side-characters, but the highlight for many fans, will be the little moments between our two lead characters (and possibly, the brief scene with Eclipsa!).
Trial by Squire brings our dynamic duo back together, trying to stock up on supplies. While it is a great way to show the characters playing off of each other, in the end, it’s overall concept feels somewhat futile, when some information is revealed near the end of the story.
Next episode, we start with the story of Princess Turdina, which was Pony Head’s nickname for Marco when he was in a princess dress…meaning a possible return of Princess Marco (and maybe, Miss Heinous)? Then we’ll have Starfari, where Star tries to understand more about the rift between mewmans and monsters in her kingdom. Both sound very interesting, and I hope to see you back here soon for the next review!
As the first season of Batman: The Animated Series carried on into the fall of 1992, many like myself, quickly became regular viewers. The Tim Burton films had introduced a number of new fans to the mythos, and the animated series was showing us another medium in which the caped crusader could play in.
Of course, this wasn’t the Batman’s first foray into television. One need only think back to the 1960’s, and the first time Batman appeared on TV. Actors Adam West and Burt Ward became the live-action faces of Batman and Robin for many years, until the film series came along.
In the summer 2017, Adam West died, and many were quick to remember and honor his legacy. Of course, when it came to Batman: The Animated Series during it’s first season, the show’s creators were not just fans of who Adam was, but sought to find a way to give him a small tribute role in their show.
Thus, Mr West found himself in the 32nd episode, Beware the Gray Ghost, which premiered on November 4th, 1992.
The show starts with the opening to The Gray Ghost television series, and a title card for the episode: The Mad Bomber.
We soon see a young Bruce Wayne, watching the show with his father. On the TV screen in their living room, a plastics plant is rocked by an explosion, and the fragments of a ransom note are found.
We then cut to present-day Gotham, where a number of buildings are being leveled by massive explosions (one of them also a plastics plant). Commissioner Gordon finds a ransom note after the last explosion, and shows it to the Batman. It’s message is very similar to a note on the Mad Bomber episode, jogging the caped crusader’s memory. Even with this revelation, Batman is stumped: the current events seem to be tied to the Gray Ghost show, but he isn’t sure exactly how.
Under the guise of Bruce Wayne, he visits a film collector, looking for episodes of the show. Sadly, the collector says that the studio that made the series, burned down some time ago, along with the original negatives stored in their film vault.
“So the Gray Ghost doesn’t exist?” asks Bruce.
“Not anymore,” says the collector.
Bruce then goes to the Television Actors Guild, where he manages to find information on the actor who played The Gray Ghost: Simon Trent.
Unfortunately, Trent has fallen on hard times since the days of his show. He is late paying his rent, and his agent is not able to get him any new roles, with those who remember Trent, typecasting him based on his most famous role.
Desperate for money, Trent sells off some merchandise and all of his props from the show (including his original costume!) to Ted Dymer, the owner of a vintage toy store called Yestertoys. Trent has done the same in the past, but Ted tells the actor that as the last stuff he sold to him isn’t moving, he can’t pay much for the latest offload.
“I’ll take whatever you can give me,” says Simon.
Returning home, Trent gazes at his empty display shelves, and falls asleep. Awakening some time later, he is shocked to find that all of the items he sold, have been returned! Nearby is his costume, with a note, requesting he meet ‘a friend’ at The Gotham Art School.
He does as requested, but is shocked when out of the shadows, emerges the Batman!
Fearing for his life, Trent takes off running, but Batman catches up to him, and gets him to listen. Batman explains that the recent bombings that have plagued Gotham, are similar to what happened on one of the Gray Ghost episodes. Even with this information, Trent just demands to be left alone.
Suddenly, a strange whirring sound is heard, causing Trent to stop. A few moments later, the Gotham Art School explodes! Trent takes the chance to run, and gets back to his apartment…only to find the Batman waiting for him!
Batman noticed how Trent recognized the whirring sound, and reveals that at the Art School scene, he found another note, this one claiming the Gotham Library is next.
“Help me,” he pleads.
Trent finally relents, and goes to his closet, which contain his personal copies of the show’s episodes. Pulling out a film canister labeled The Mad Bomber, he hands it to the Batman.
“Here’s your answer,” he says, angrily. “Take it and go! Please!”
Batman does as requested, but before he leaves, he turns back to the old man.
“I used to admire what The Gray Ghost stood for,” he says.
“I’m not The Gray Ghost,” responds Trent.
“I can see that now,” says Batman, a tinge of hurt in his voice, as he vanishes out a nearby window.
Returning to Wayne Manor, Alfred runs the film through a projector, and Bruce sits down to watch it.
When Bruce had originally seen the episode as a boy, he fell asleep before it ended. Now, he gets to see the rest of the story. As he does so, the same whirring sound is heard. On-screen, he sees that it is coming from a small, remote-controlled car.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” says Bruce, as the small car drives toward a building, that then explodes in a giant fireball!
Batman then reports his findings to the Commissioner, and the Police set up positions around the library.
Suddenly, three cars just like on the show appear, streaking through the barricades and cops milling about!
Batman and a rifleman manage to stop two of the vehicles. The third one takes off, but doesn’t get far, overturning in an alley nearby. Opening it up, Batman finds no explosives inside.
“A decoy?” he ponders, as suddenly, two more cars streak out of the darkness toward him!
Just then, a rope is lowered down from the building behind him, and Batman grabs for it. As he does so, the cars hit the nearby wall and explode, the force of which throws him up onto the building’s rooftop, where he meets his savior: Simon Trent, clad in his Gray Ghost costume!
“Hey, I owed you,” say Trent, “you got me my outfit back.”
As Batman looks over the toy car he obtained, he offers Trent the chance to come along with him to check it for fingerprints.
Trent is in awe as he gets into the Batmobile, but is soon assisting the Batman, when several more remote-controlled cars give chase. The two manage to trip them up, and arrive at the Batcave (with Trent having been blindfolded before they entered). Looking around, the TV star is surprised how much it resembles the Gray Ghost’s lair.
Batman even shows him a small shrine to his character (complete with the hat and cape Bruce wore as a young boy, when watching the show!).
“As a kid, I used to watch you with my father,” he says, happily. “The Gray Ghost was my hero.”
“So it wasn’t all for nothing,” mutters Trent, amazed that what he thought was just a ridiculous TV show, actually inspired one of the city’s greatest heroes.
Batman then runs a diagnostic on the car, but both he and Trent are shocked when they find the only set of prints on it…match Trent’s!
Trent pleads with Batman that he isn’t behind the bombings, but Batman notes how he (Trent) had the only copy of the show, and the bomber followed the episode’s plot to the ‘T.’
Trent claims it couldn’t have been him, as all of the remote control cars from the show that he owned, were sold to Ted Dymer at his collectibles store some time ago…leading to a sudden conclusion!
Batman then goes to Dymer’s store, where he finds the owner in a control room, filled with monitors, knobs, and dials.
Like any delusional villain with an audience, Ted starts monologuing, claiming that he loves toys, but in order to satisfy his collecting habit, he needs money. Remembering the Mad Bomber episode of The Gray Ghost, gave him the idea.
“And then I remembered what else a toy can do,” he claims. “It can carry a bomb. It can hold a city for ransom. Oh, the power of the toy. It can earn millions…millions for the little ol’ toy collector: me!”
However, Ted is so caught up in his monologuing, that he is shocked when the Gray Ghost bursts in through a window, knocking him into some shelves, that wreck his control panel that quickly catches fire!
Batman scoops up Ted, and he and Trent rush from the building, before it too explodes, the blast destroying Ted’s store, and his precious collection.
Following the events, Ted Dymer is locked away, and Simon Trent allows for his copies of The Gray Ghost series, to be released as a home video boxset. Trent now has a new source of income, and is also surprised at the massive lines that greet him at a signing event at a local Gotham video store.
One of the men in line is Bruce Wayne, who kindly asks Simon to make the signature out, “To Bruce.”
“You know, as a kid I used to watch you with my father,” says Bruce, repeating what he told Trent in the Batcave. “The Gray Ghost was my hero.”
“Really?” says Trent, recognizing the wording, before turning his attention to another fan.
“And he still is,” smiles Bruce, walking away.
And that was Beware the Gray Ghost.
Up until watching the episode, I had no idea who Adam West really was. While I would watch the old 60’s TV show when it popped up on reruns, it never really electrified my brain the way the 1989 film did.
Over the years, I’d often see Adam West in a number of smaller roles (like a crooked cop in the 1987 film, Zombie Nightmare, which was skewered on the show Mystery Science Theater 3000), but out of all his parts in the last couple decades, his role here as Simon Trent, is still the one that stands out the most to me.
I did wonder what may have gone through West’s mind, when there were scenes of Trent frustrated that he could not escape the shadow of his biggest role. Word is that showrunners Bruce Timm and Paul Dini had the idea to have West voice Trent, but would not have made the episode if he hadn’t agreed to play the character.
The episode really felt like the show writers getting the chance to build up their own mythos for the Animated Series. Also, the emotions that both Trent and Batman go through, are a bit more ‘adult’ in nature. Most kids probably wouldn’t get Trent’s frustration, or the tone of disappointment Batman feels, when Trent seems to want to bury anything to do with his character.
The episode even manages to combine elements of the 30’s serials, notably in how the Gray Ghost seems to be an homage to the radio character, The Shadow
Even Ted Dymer (voiced by the show’s co-creator, Bruce Timm), has a plan almost worthy of the 60’s TV show’s bad guys (though much more explosive than anything those bad guys ever did!).
The story starts out pretty strong, but it seems when it comes to the conclusion with Ted Dymer, it is wrapped up incredibly fast, with the bulk of the storytelling being focused on Batman, and Trent. Dymer just monologues, is knocked out, and his place goes up in smoke in about 2 minutes of screen-time!
Over the years, West was often ripe for parody, but with his role here, he is given a wonderful ‘thank you’ by some great Bat-fans.
Most notable looking back on it now, is the ending in which Simon Trent gains a new lease on life as the Gray Ghost. This comes about when he is able to release the series on home video.
The same feeling came about in the last few years, when the 60’s TV series of Batman, was finally able to be released to consumers. It also brought forth a number of merchandising items honoring the show, from Mattel action figures, to a massive LEGO set that combined Wayne Manor and the Batcave from the show!
Speaking of merchandise, I was genuinely surprised in recent years, when the Batman Animated Series got a line of DC Direct action figures. With new molds and following the show designs more accurately, I was disappointed that even with the line making some figures that were never released, we never did get a newer molding of The Gray Ghost (who has had a few different figures released over the years!).