Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 5) – Yada Yada Berries / Down By The River
After a more “intimate” episode, the fifth episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil’s fourth season, attempts to show us more of what is happening to the world of mewmans and monsters.
During a breakfast get-together for local monsters, Eclipsa is almost turned to stone when yada yada berries are found in her oatmeal! Incensed by this attempt on the Queen’s life, Star and Marco set out to find the culprit.
The style of this episode is one of those “whodunit” affairs, with Star and Marco following leads, interrogating suspects, and looking for clues. While there is a little humor mined from Star being overly-dramatic at times looking for the culprit, the whole affair feels a little, ‘meh.’
It is during the end of the episode, that we get into some more storytelling regarding how the mewman population heavily distrusts Eclipsa and the changes she has been making. I wish there could have been a bit more focus on this part of the storyline. Most of the mewman population we see are in general “angry mob” mode like we’ve seen on The Simpsons. We do see Eclipsa making an effort to get to know the local monster population by having breakfast with them, yet one would hope she would attempt some sort of event to try and resolve the issues that the mewmans may have with her, on a more personal level.
An okay story at best, but one where it felt like there could have been a much stronger story to be told instead of the whodunit mystery angle.
Final Grade: C+
When a mewman family known as the Maizley’s find their house repossessed by it’s original monster-owner (thanks to a new decree by Queen Eclipsa), they set out to find a new home. Their journey leads them into the nearby forest, where they encounter (former Queen) Moon Butterfly, and (former King) River Johansen.
The episode wastes little time in turning this into an “annoying neighbors” storyline, as everything the Maizley’s attempt to do, soon begins to grate on Moon’s nerves. This is definitely a new side of Moon we haven’t seen before, but I would have preferred if the story didn’t get so heavy-handed with the “annoying family” gags.
The most notable bit of going overboard, is with the naivete of the Maizley family. They are totally oblivious to the fact that their former gigantic house was once owned by monsters, and the humor of them being unknowingly annoying at times, wore on me as deeply as it did on Moon herself. It was established early in the series that Mewni was not exactly a paradise for the non-royals, but this episode makes it seem like Moon Butterfly’s rule provided for the people, more than we could ever have imagined beyond the early depictions of the kingdom.
What did end up saving the episode for me, was getting to see Moon and River playing off each other. It is rare to see Moon lose her temper (or mind), and we also get to see some nice scenes of her and River cooperating, when the irritation of the Maizley’s brings them closer together.
It was also fun to see a monster from last season reappear as the house’s new owner. Plus, he’s another example of the monsters not showing any sort of malice towards mewmans (even going so far as to pack up the Maizley’s belongings before sending them on their way).
Final Grade: B-
This episode seemed to show us how things are changing for a number of denizens within the kingdom, though sometime not for the best.
In the next episode, we get the return of Flying Princess Ponyhead in The Ponyhead Show, and the return of another of Mewni’s royal families, in Surviving the Spider-Bites. See you soon for the next Star vs the Forces of Evil review.