My Top 10 Episodes for The Owl House (Season 1)
When it came to the recent Disney animated series The Owl House, I didn’t know what to expect. It started innocently enough, watching four episodes in one night on Disney+, and soon snowballed into completing the series over the Thanksgiving weekend!
With a start somewhat akin to Alice in Wonderland, Luz Noceda follows a little owl through a doorway, and winds up in a place called The Boiling Isles. It is here she meets a rogue witch named Eda and a demon named King. Rather than return to the real world where her mother thinks she is at a camp to calm her “creative impulses,” Luz decides to stay with Eda, where she hopes to become a witch and learn magic, before she has to return home one day.
Each episode seemed to bring new character revelations and new information about the world of the isles, that soon had me wanting to know more. With a structure very much like Gravity Falls mixed with the strangeness of something like Star vs The Forces of Evil, the nineteen episodes soon wouldn’t get out of my head…leading to me deciding to make a Top 10 list of the episodes I felt were some of the first season’s best. And so…off we go!*
*This list contains my own personal choices regarding favorite Season 1 episodes. It may not be the same as a number of other lists out there, and I have tried to keep most episode spoilers to a minimum.
This is kind of a throwaway episode given those that came before it, but it is nice to see Luz, Willow, and even Amity Blight standing their ground in a Grudgby sports match, after Luz takes a stand against resident Hexside mean girl, Boscha. Plus, given revelations that came to light in the previous episode (Enchanting Grom Fright), Amity has some entertaining moments of awkwardness. The subplot where Eda and her sister Lilith play their own Grudgby game is okay, but felt like the writers were struggling for what to do to bring the two sisters together, before the final two episodes of the season hit them hard in a big way.
This is one of the first episodes that serves as a stepping-stone to Luz understanding a little more about magic and demons. When a dark creature attacks the Owl House during a dangerous storm, it’s up to Luz and King to stop it. The set-up acts like a horror film at times in how it’s paced, let alone revelations and parts for the main players to all have a hand in. It serves as a nicely-balanced story with mood, while also giving us some additional history regarding Eda’s past.
I almost pushed this one down a bit more, but it is an integral storypoint introducing Eda’s sister Lilith, along with revealing more about covens and witchcraft, and how they are set up in this world. We also get some more insight into Amity Blight and what seems to be her dream to one day be part of the Emperor’s Coven, which is the most powerful coven in the land. Most of this moves along well enough, that King trying to snag convention freeebies from the event can be overlooked, though a highlight for many is an action-oriented scene near the end.
This episode is often at the top of most fan-lists for the show given it’s revelations near the end, but while it does bring about some nice and enjoyable moments, I feel the overall story structure can be a bit unwieldly. The main plot involving Amity and Luz worrying about the events of Hexside School’s Grom Night is the superior story, while there is the hammering in of a very minor subplot revolving around King and Luz’s school friend Gus doing Grom Night emcee duties. We also get a reminder that in the human world, Luz’s Mom thinks she’s at camp, and Luz wrestles with her emotions regarding not telling her Mom the truth. This ends up being a nice tie-in to something Luz fears, while reminding us that her time in this world is limited.
While the first episode of the series was okay as an introduction, this second episode was what got me curious as to what was in store for Luz on the Boiling Isles. Being the only human in this world (that we know of), Luz wonders if she may be a “chosen one” figure like in some of the fantasy stories she reads. This episode functions as a nice dose of fantasy vs reality, as Luz goes off on a quest with Eda and King not far behind. Seeing it for the first time, there is the enjoyability factor as we accompany Luz on her quest, before the episode wraps up to a nice conclusion.
With this episode, we get one of the most involved storylines of Eda working to train Luz, in the traditional style of “the master frustrates the student with her weird teaching methods.” The journey takes us to another part of the Boiling Isles, let alone brings us an encounter with Amity and her older siblings. King gets his own solo B-story, using some of Eda’s magic to create minions of his own…until his brash demands end up backfiring on him. Fortunately, the A-story manages to be quite interesting as we see the Blight siblings, Eda, and Luz interact in ways we haven’t before, let alone learn a little more about the isles.
When Amity ends up accidentally damaging Willow’s memories, she and Luz go into Willow’s mind to fix what has happened. The episode is a window into not only showing us some of who Willow is, but that she and Amity have a history before their time at Hexside School. We also get another episode showing how Luz and Amity work together, while also building up new understandings. A subplot about their classmate Gus struggling to find someone to interview for a school project is a little weak, but the main storyline dealing with Willow keeps the interest going.
A trip to the library ends up being a most interesting storyline, that opened viewer’s eyes to see that Amity Blight might not be as bad as we first thought. Along with introducing us to her playful-yet-abrasive elder siblings, the story also gives more insight into Luz, including how she may willingly throw herself into a dangerous situation, even if she isn’t fully prepared to deal with it. The B-plot of Eda and King dealing with an unexpected babysitting gig had its entertaining moments, and fortunately was entertaining on its own terms.
Though the final episode of the season, this one managed to provide a little information about the mysterious Emperor Belos, along with just why Eda’s sister Lilith has been trying to get her sister to give herself over to the coven. Luz and King also team up to try and get Eda out of Belos’ cluthes, showing how much Luz has grown to care for her mentor, and demonstrating what she can do using magic in her own way. These storypoints manage to override what feels like a shoehorning in of a secondary subplot that seeks to turn public opinion on how Belos feels about non-conforming witches (such as Eda). It could have been a stronger concept, but it feels like it suffers from having other revelations revealed, but still, one of the stronger episodes of the first season…but not as strong as…
The season has had little moments of emotion here-and-there, but this episode really amped them up in a number of ways. As Eda’s magical curse becomes more unwieldly, Luz uses a school field trip to the Emperor Belos’ castle to try and find a magic relic that might cure her. Unfortunately, she has the misfortune to run into Lilith, who decides to set a trap for her uncooperative sister. This leads to one of the most action-packed scenes in the season, let-alone gives us probably one of the most emotional moments seen on-screen for the series.
And there we have it.
While not perfect, there were definitely more good things than bad about the first season of The Owl House. The Boiling Isles as a locale is rather grotesque yet fascinating, and unlike my frustrations with Star vs The Forces of Evil, we’re often provided with enough answers to satiate most of the questions I have about the world.
There’s some very entertaining character development that sucked me in, let alone Luz’s adorkable personality and trying to be positive in the face of often overwhelming odds. The optimism ends up being one of her best traits, and the show can often show a nice contrast between creativty and conformity.
Having premiered at the start of this year, word is a second season is currently in production. Needless to say, I have a feeling that this time until the next premiere will be a great way to draw more people into the series, and build even more anticipation regarding what is in store for Luz and her friends coming up.