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Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 4) – Toffee

And here we are: the fourth episode, the final part to Season 3’s Battle for Mewni storyline.

Given the title and imagery you’ve seen so far, it’s a good bet that a certain lizard-creature, is going to come into play in this story. So, let’s get on with it!

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– Toffee –

On her own, Star manages to infiltrate her family’s castle, but reveals to Ludo what he doesn’t know…that Toffee, whom he thought was long-gone, is inside his ‘wand-hand,’ and is controlling him!

Needless to say, this doesn’t sit well with Ludo, and he wants this problem taken care of. Star believes she may have a solution…but it soon leads to revelations and much more, than she and her friends could possibly have conceived of!

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Watching the whole Battle for Mewni storyline, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like, if these four episodes had finished off Season 2 (instead of the cliffhanger we received). With this episode, it truly feels like a rollercoaster ride of a 22-minute story…and this is just the fourth episode of the new season!

Going over this story, I couldn’t help but feel that while it had some little ‘filler’ bits here and there, it’s one of the few stories that seems to quickly put aside nonsense, and throws us into the fray. This is one of those episodes where a number of revelations are revealed to us…and it feels like a lot of things that we have been wondering about for awhile, have finally been given some attention!

Since he disappeared at the end of the first season, many of us in the Star fandom have had numerous theories regarding Toffee and his ‘end-game.’ We’ve seen he can be an enigmatic puppet master, but it feels that with this episode, he has (so far) cemented himself as one of the series’ top baddies (sorry, Ludo).

Michael C Hall returns with his calm, enigmatic voice, that just gives Toffee that air of menace that makes him so scarily enjoyable to watch! Most notable is one scene, where he gives the equivalent of ‘three mic drops,’ in under 2 minutes!

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Though Toffee figures into the story, it’s main character is Star, as she braves a number of dangers, and gets in over-her-head, in ways that I’m sure had many fans gasping at the events that unfolded before us!

Star last mentioned that she is not one to come up with plans, and we somewhat see that work both for, and against her in this story. She makes choices one would almost consider foolish, AND does things that show maturity, showing how far we’ve come from that first image, of a girl who conjured up a flaming rainbow in the first episode.

Aside from Toffee and Star, the rest of the cast are there largely as supporting players.

Ludo has a smaller role in this piece, but will probably get one of the episode’s most memorable moments.

Marco Diaz, Queen Moon, and Buff Frog show up for this episode as well, but seem to largely be here for ‘moral support.’ Even so, they play their parts well, with Moon getting probably one of the more emotional moments of the episode.

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It was nice to also see how the previous episode Puddle Defender, brought Moon and Buff Frog together as allies, and makes me hope we’ll get more of this going forward.

This was the first episode I can recall, that while there are mysteries still unfolding, it felt complete (and emotional) enough, to jump to the top of the list of my favorite 22-minute episodes for the series (so far). I remember watching Gravity Falls, and being surprised that Disney was allowing some shocking-yet-amazing storytelling and graphics. It appears that taking of chances, has also been allowed with this series as well.

While there are some moments that seem to slow down for a comedic joke or three, there is more drama and emotion that overrides them, to deliver one of the best episodes the series has to offer!

Final Grade: A

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Best line from episode (said by Toffee): “Poor little butterfly…you’ve lost your wings.”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Ludo): “It turns out you’re dead!”

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Toffee proves to still contain secrets and questions within the world of Star vs the Forces of Evil, but it brings forth enough drama, emotion, and revelations, that it ends up becoming one of the best episodes the series has produced!

Even with some minor comedy moments that seem like ‘speed bumps’ in the overall story, there’s plenty of great stuff going on, to make one forget most of it’s underwhelming moments.

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And with that, The Battle for Mewni is now over…but what other adventures await Star Butterfly, Marco Diaz, and their family and friends in the next episodes of this season? Questions still abound related to some items in the series. Plus…(former) Queen Eclipsa, is still alive!

Sadly, we’ll have to wait until November to find out! Yep, another hiatus, and then we’ll see what happens next. My guess is, given the new opening and closing segments that show more dimensions, let alone Star being back in the Kingdom of Mewni, this season may take place over Star and Marco’s “summer vacation” time.

Starit’s called summer,” Marco told Star in the Season 2 episode, Starcrushed. “And it’s gonna be great.”

It may sound great, but we’ll have to wait a few more months to see just what the rest of this season has to offer.

Until then, expect a few little Animated Dissection posts regarding the series (and the possibility that I may be reviewing the new Ducktales series!).

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 3) – Puddle Defender / King Ludo

Halfway through Star vs the Forces of Evil’s Battle for Mewni storyline, things are looking rather bleak for the Mewmans in their dimension. Not only is the magic power that Star Butterfly and her Mother use failing them, but Ludo has taken control of the Kingdom of Mewni!

The third episode of Season 3, shifts us into more adventures for our main characters, revolving around unlikely alliances, both for Mewmans, and Monsters.

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– Puddle Defender –

After circumstances force them out of their hiding place, Star takes her Mom to Buff Frog’s place. However, while Star seems to be right at home with the monster, Queen Moon seems a bit uncomfortable with their surroundings.

One of the more intriguing character developments to come out of Season 2, was regarding the monster Yvgeny Bulgolyubov, aka Buff Frog. Upon being given some tadpoles by Ludo, Buff Frog gave up (most of) his evil ways, and strove to become a caring and devoted father to his children.

Getting to see Star and Buff catching up like old friends was a treat, and the way the writers threw Queen Moon into the mix, proved to be quite entertaining. It’s also notable in showing how Star differs in thinking from her Mother. Whereas Moon is more confident with a plan in place, Star is more willing to improvise on the fly.

Much like the segment Mewnipendence Day did for Star’s character, it feels like this story works as a ‘growing’ experience for Moon. Some stories like to throw a character out of familiar surroundings to see how they’ll act, which is often a great way to learn more about who they are.

We’ve seen Moon interact with ‘monster royalty’ (such as with Ludo’s parents), but it seems a given that she’s avoided the more ‘common monsters,’ scattered throughout the kingdom. Of course, as we saw in Moon the Undaunted, she may have decided to avoid most monsters altogether, given how they affected her life.

A notable part of the story, is Moon trying to play a boardgame with Buff Frog. The scene is a highlight for me, given it ends up being humorous, but also gets rather serious when we learn a bit more about Mewman/Monster relationships, and each culture’s perceptions of the other on Mewni.

This was an overall entertaining story, and getting to see Star, Moon, Buff Frog and his children interacting together, proved to be a highlight! There was a decent balance of comedy and storytelling, that has made this one of my favorite segments so far this season!

Final Grade: A-

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Best line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “She needs to make ‘boom-boom.'”

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– King Ludo –


Now that he has taken over the Kingdom of Mewni, Ludo attempts to get it’s inhabitants to like him, but finds resistance from everyone. Meanwhile, Marco and King River are locked in the dungeon, with Marco attempting to get them out, and restore River to the throne.

Most of the entertainment value of the story, stems from Marco meeting up with three members of the royal court: the songstrel Ruberiot (whom we know from last season), court jester Foolduke, and a Mime.

I didn’t expect to find myself entertained by them, but their banter and Marco trying to wrangle them together, proved to be very memorable (notably the rather quiet visual reactions of the Mime!).

Even Ludo manages to have some funny moments. His personality can waver between funny and annoying, and here, many of the beats for his childish thoughts on being the Kingdom’s ruler, proved to keep me smiling throughout. I did have to wonder how many of his lines, were improvised by his voice-actor, Alan Tudyk.

Compared to the last Ludo-based segment we saw (episode 2’s Book Be Gone), this one feels a bit more entertaining when it comes to the comedy regarding Ludo. While there was a bit more ‘rinse-and-repeat’ regarding him being abused by the book in the last story, this one lets us see just how unfit he is to rule.

Of all the main characters, it is King River who is mostly sidelined in this story. He has a few more serious moments here than in the Marco and the King storyline, though I felt they could have pulled back on some of his incompetency, in the face of what is going on.

Even with my minor gripes, this story proved to be a surprise, and I’ve found myself watching it a number of times since it came out!

Final Grade: B

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Best line from episode (said by Ludo): “Stop! You’re all hacks…except for the Mime! She’s a genius!”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by King River, in King Ludo): “It’s a dungeon, not a torture chamber!”

So far this season, this episode has offered a very entertaining 1-2 punch of stories, making it a pretty enjoyable viewing experience.

Puddle Defender helped shed a little more light on Mewni’s ‘monster relations,’ showing how Star Butterfly and her Mother interact with Buff Frog and his children. Almost like a nice breath of comedic air to calm us down, it also proves well-written and insightful, in giving some character development to Moon, and challenging her perceptions of monsters.

King Ludo feels a little like Puddle Defender in it’s storytelling, but doesn’t delve into the dramatics regarding character development. This story is largely Marco’s, as we see him interacting with a few members of Mewni’s royal court, attempting to save King River. The inane bantering of Ruberiot and Foolduke may wear thin on some, but there is a method to the madness (and some fun, silent comedy moments with the Mime in their group). King River gets a small chance to shine, but it feels like once again, he serves as little more than comic relief.

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Next episode, the Battle for Mewni comes to an end, with the eerily named, Toffee. Star has headed off to her Kingdom to confront Ludo and Toffee, and circumstances are pushing Marco to step up his game. How did I feel about where this epic 4-parter went? Come back soon to find out!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 2) – Book be Gone/Marco and the King

With the first episode of Season 3 introducing us to a dangerous (and uncertain) new Mewni, along with Queen Moon’s past, I was eager to know what stories lay ahead in the second episode of the Battle for Mewni storyline.

This time, Star and her Mom take a backseat, as we focus on Ludo, Glossaryck of Terms, King River, and…Marco Diaz!?

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Book be Gone

Following events at the end of Season 2, we have Ludo waking up, wondering what destroyed his lair, and why his wand is suddenly a part of his right hand! We also find that Glossaryck of Terms and the wand’s Magic Instruction Book, are still with him.

After being informed by Glossaryck that he took down the Magic High Commission, Ludo eagerly wants to write about this in the book (nevermind that he doesn’t know just how he defeated the commission!), but finds that the tome is somewhat uncooperative, and…it might not ‘belong’ to him anymore…

In this story, Glossaryck is his usual, enigmatic self, though like some other appearances of his, there may be a ‘method’ to his ‘madness.’ Also notable, is that one theory I had regarding how he operates, may have been partially confirmed (regarding his place in space and time).

Much of the story’s focus is on Ludo, and like Wile E Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner, the humor from the segment comes from Ludo trying to get the book to cooperate with his demands. There is the typical humor of using Ludo’s incompetence and childish nature for comedy, but also within the story, is a chance to show us once again that he can be vulnerable, and naive.

The structure of Book reminded me of a few other episodes, where the story tends to be off-the-wall for the majority of the run-time, but in the last few minutes, they suddenly shift from comedy-to-drama. They tried to use this with the segment titled Starstruck last season, but it failed to redeem that story. A better version of this method, was used in a segment titled Collateral Damage, though it’s ending wasn’t quite as ‘heavy’ as what we have here.

With By the Book, that dramatic turn near the end actually worked, as we’ve seen that Ludo has wrestled with his emotions, and sometimes, his snap-decisions and desperation to be taken seriously, can lead to bitter regret.

Rewatching some of the Season 2 episodes recently, I was surprised to see the story had even included some continuity with Bird and Spider, from the end of last season! Those little ‘easter eggs’ are always fun to find.

Final Grade: B

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Best line from segment (said by Ludo): Star was always your favorite, wasn’t she? The cute little sparkles on the cheeks. I’m just a sad little dingus in a chip bag!”

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Marco and the King

With Queen Moon gone from the Kingdom of Mewni, King River tries to keep morale up with constant partying. However, when Marco arrives from Earth hoping to find Star at the castle, River may have to face some harsh realities.

I found this segment surprising, especially in seeing how Marco was sad about Star going away in the first episode of season 3, but finding out here, that he still retained his pair of dimensional scissors from last season (I thought maybe Star had them with her)! Given how he can easily travel to Mewni, that show of emotional depression seems rather out-of-place now (to me, at least).

King River Johansen is our main focus here, much the way Moon the Undaunted focused on the Queen. However, while Moon’s story was intriguing, King River’s modern-day tale just doesn’t feel as wholly entertaining.

Personally, I was hoping we’d get a little more introspection into River’s background, much like what we had with Queen Moon. We have seen in the past that River can seem competent, but it feels like the further we’ve gone on into the series, the more he’s been used largely for comic relief. It’s starting to make me wonder just why Moon married him in the first place (maybe she didn’t marry him for love, but because he was a loyal and caring friend?).

For this story, Marco serves as a ‘cheerleader’ for the troubled King, oftentimes trying to put things into perspective. We’ve seen Star can take after her Father when it comes to uncontrolled recklessness, and much like Marco oftentimes talking sense to her, he does the same to River here. Of course, it isn’t so hard to see Marco doing this, given that his own parents seem a bit ‘childish’ at times as well.

We do get some more information about the lower-levels of the kingdom, and some of it’s denizens. At times, the low morale and ‘everyone in a state chaotic quandary,’ reminded me of when Echo Creek Academy went haywire in the Collateral Damage storyline last season.

Overall, it feels like the show’s crew tried to give us a little humor before the story ends on a cliffhanger, but I still feel like they missed a golden opportunity to explore more regarding River.

Final Grade: B-

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Best line from segment (said by Foolduke): “WHERE’S MY MONKEY!?”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Ludo, in Book be Gone): “Book, I demand that you let me write in you this instant, or I’ll turn this car around so fast, it’ll make your head spin!”

Compared to the first episode’s segments , the second episode’s feel a bit less exciting. There is information to be gleaned here, but it’s buried within stories that feel like a small gag, stretched thin.

Book be Gone brings us back into the story of Ludo and Glossaryck, and seems to act as a form of ‘comic relief’ from the rather heavy storytelling of the last episode. While there is humor derived from Ludo trying to make the book obey him, it’s final moments get rather dramatic, in ways that I don’t think anyone expected.

Marco and the King brings Marco back to Mewni, as we see him observe the King in action. The story has it’s moments, but it feels like King River has sadly begun devolving moreso into ‘royal comic relief’ for the show, making me wish the storyline could have given us more information about his past.

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Whew! Well, we’re halfway through The Battle for Mewni.

Next time, we’ll review Puddle Defender, where Star and her Mom seek help for their predicament, from an unlikely source. Plus, in King Ludo, we’ll see Mewni Castle under new management, and Marco trying to find a way to help King River, with some very unlikely Mewmans. See you back here in a few days!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 1) – Return to Mewni/Moon the Undaunted

Wow…has it really been almost 5 months already!?

When last we left our inter-dimensional cohorts in Star vs the Forces of Evil, Toffee had officially returned, and was in possession of Ludo’s body. The Magic High Commission of Mewni had been taken out, and Queen Moon found herself facing off against one of the most powerful foes she had ever encountered!

Things were also in a precarious place for her daughter, Star Butterfly, who was forced to leave Earth, but not before confessing to her friend Marco Diaz, that she had a crush on him.

There was so much left open (even some threads from the first season!), that we pondered just what the world of the show would look like, when it returned to us. However, I don’t think any of us could have fathomed the Battle for Mewni event that was announced on the DisneyXD channel.

This event combined the first four episodes of the season into a ‘movie,’ that was released on July 15th, 2017. While I originally considered reviewing the episodes as if they were a movie, I felt it best to focus on each of them by episode, just as I’ve done with in previous reviews.

And so, let’s see what the first episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil’s third season, had to offer.

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Return to Mewni

After the events at the end of last season, Queen Moon is faced with several daunting tasks. These include reviving several members of the Magic High Commission and keeping her daughter Star safe. However, Star feels that they need to confront Toffee, and feels that her Mother is purposefully avoiding her duties.

Ever since seeing Star have some personal moments with her Mom in the Season 2 segment Game of Flags, I had been hoping for some more mother/daughter interaction, and that’s what we get here.

We see a bit of a personality clash between the two, notably in how Moon is struggling to do (what she thinks is) the right thing, and Star not quite seeming to fathom how dangerous things have become (possible shades of her Father).

There’s also a small scene with Marco and his parents, showing how they’re handling Star’s absence on Earth. It’s a nice little moment, before we are fully plunged into the more serious (and dangerous) world of Mewni.

While the story is integral to the Battle for Mewni storyline taking place, it felt a bit uneven, as we see Mother and Daughter struggle with their different viewpoints. We see Star falling back on wanting to use her wand multiple times, even though her Mom cautions her that the magic coursing through it is ‘tainted.’

A saving grace of the segment, comes near the end, when Moon begins to give more information regarding her past, causing Star to take pause. We’ve seen that some times she can respect her Mom, and there comes a rather touching moment between the two, as Star soon realizes some shocking information regarding her Mother, and Grandmother.

The segment is a nice lead-in to the following one, in that much like in her past, Moon is struggling with how to do the right thing…which I think almost any adult with a child can attest to.

Final Grade: B

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Best line from segment (said by Star Butterfly): Oh, looks like ol’ Hekapoo is gonna be an Auntie!”

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Moon the Undaunted

“I did a lot of things you won’t be doing” – Moon Butterfly (Season 2, Episode 8)

This line always stuck out in my mind when I heard Moon say it, and it almost feels like it foreshadows this story, which is what (I assume) Moon tells Star, continuing the storyline from the previous segment.

After her mother is killed by a rogue monster general known as “The Lizard,” Princess Moon is thrust into the role of Mewni’s new Queen. However, as she grapples with the responsibilities and having to make grown-up decisions, she decides to try and seek help from an unlikely source: former Mewnian Queen, Eclipsa.

Like many, I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the unknown backstory regarding Star’s parents. A young River Johansen (aka Star’s future Dad) also figures into the story here, but in a very minimal fashion. However, it shows that even at this young of an age, it may have been a friendship between River and Moon, that led to their eventual marriage. We even get to see young River verbally showing support for Moon, as many of the ‘adults’ around them, doubt her competence.

What is also notable, is that part of the story’s plot actually answers a question I had, regarding issue 2 of the Deep Trouble comic series based around the series’ characters. However, given what is transpiring within this story, it’s safe to assume that comic issue’s story, takes place after the events we see here.

There are a number of other familiar faces that show up in this segment as well. I was very surprised to see Mina Loveberry in the story, though not as off-her-rocker as she was in the segment Starstruck last season. There’s also a new relation introduced named Count Mildrew, who seems to be rather ‘dramatic’ about certain things. We haven’t seen him depicted in the series yet, and one wonders if he may resurface further in the season.

Of course, one of the more exciting moments, comes when we finally get some time with Queen Eclipsa (voiced by Esme Bianco). Her appearance here feels like a subtle hint of things to come in this season. Eclipsa comes off as being a bit off-kilter, but somewhat serious. However, I can’t help but feel she is hiding something sinister (her cheekmarks are spades after all…which represent ‘death’ in fortune-telling).

With the story being an intriguing character study of a preteen Moon Butterfly, I will say the moments with her dealing with the monsters, feels like the weaker part of the story. Some may note that it doesn’t quite go the way we saw in the Grandma Room tapestry from the Into the Wand segment, but I feel this is the writers saying how history, often isn’t like how it is depicted by artists, after-the-fact.

It is also notable, seeing a number of little character moments the animators give young Moon. Notable is her curling up into a ball, or gripping the long strands of her hair in a nervous fashion, similar to some things that we’ve seen Star do on occasion when she is frustrated, or fearful.

By the end of the story, I couldn’t help but find myself feeling sorry for Moon. She had to grow up before she was ready, and assume an air of nobility and seriousness, that she seems to wear at times almost like a mask. It is also clear she may have made some mistakes during the events we see, leading to some scars that have affected her, well into her adult life.

Episodes that give us introspection into characters usually press my buttons, and this one is definitely one I intend to keep coming back to.

Final Grade: A-

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Best line from segment (said by Moon Butterfly): Oh, ‘apology meat.’ What am I going to do?”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly, in Return to Mewni): “It’s behind the dog food Marco, stop being so dramatic! Why do you have to be such a cute…idiot?'”

With the first episode of Star’s third season, we have a pretty good two-segment lineup.

Return to Mewni helps show a comparison/contrast between Star and her mother, Moon. Mewni has become a much more dangerous place, as we see Moon struggling to make Star realize that magic may not be able to save them. That struggle is integral to the storytelling, but at times, it feels like it doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should.

Moon the Undaunted finally gives us a look into Moon’s past, one that is informative, yet sad. We see how Moon as a pre-teen, is thrust into a world of responsibility she’s not yet ready for, and makes some mistakes along the way. I hope this opens up the possibility of more backstory for Moon and her husband River, telling about their lives before Star was born.

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With 4 episode released at once, the episode reviews are going to be flying by over the next week or two. In the second episode, we’ll catch up with Ludo, following the events of the end of Season 2, in the story segment, Book Be Gone. Then, we’ll check in with Marco, as he journeys to Mewni, and encounters King Butterfly, in Marco and the King. See you back here soon, to discuss the next episode!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 22) – Starcrushed

And here it is. The big one. The final episode, of a season that changed the rules of the game, for the series known as Star vs the Forces of Evil.

Well, enough with the cute quips. Onto the review!

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-Starcrushed-

After the events at the end of Face the Music, in which Mewnian songstrel Ruberiot publicly declared that Star Butterfly likes Marco Diaz, things have been a little odd between the two friends.

It also doesn’t help that Marco’s parents are throwing an end-of-school-year party, and Jackie Lynn Thomas is cozying up to Marco, every chance she gets.

Star’s girl friends decide to take her out, as a way to get her mind off her problems. At another end-of-the-school-year party across town, Star bumps into Oskar Greason (whom she claimed to have a crush on), and the two quickly strike up a conversation.

Meanwhile, Moon Butterfly, and the rest of the Magic High Commission (composed of Hekapoo, Omnitraxus Prime, Rhombulus, and Lekmet), break into Ludo’s castle and confront him…only to have a familiar presence, materialize before their very eyes!

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When it comes to final episodes in a season, I think many of us have certain expectations.

In the case of Starcrushed however, much like most of the storytelling this season, the writers of the show weren’t willing to just bow down, and spill all their secrets.

In a perfect world, this episode would have tied up a number of loose ends that we’ve seen so far this season (and carried over from Season 1). As it is, much like Storm the Castle last season, Starcrushed leaves even more loose threads open for us to wonder about!

This could be both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, you have those people that are frothing at the mouth for closure, while there are those, in our current ‘mystery box’ era of visual storytelling, who welcome the chance to keep speculating as we go forward.

Star’s storyline here, is a bit stronger than in Face the Music. Storylines about her emotional state have been a part of several stories this season (including one of my favorites, Mr Candle Cares), but here, it meanders a bit too often, as we try to bring to light her uneasiness, being around Marco and Jackie, as well as trying to socialize at the other party across town.

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Returning for probably his biggest role since the story Star on Wheels, Oskar Greason (voiced once again by Napoleon Dynamite’s John Heder), acts as a counterpoint to Marco, in Star’s portion of the story.

While the writers do try to give him a bigger presence, his appearance feels more forced than natural. While Marco pursued Jackie Lynn Thomas over the course of these two seasons, Star’s liking of Oskar seemed a bit more of a visual infatuation (I guess it has to do with his eyes?). Of course, Oskar did figure into Star’s Mewberty storyline back in Season 1, but it was never made clear just ‘how.’

We also get a number of cameos from several of Star’s inter-dimensional girl friends, and it was neat to see how she has friends across multiple dimensions, who are there for her when she needs them.

Marco Diaz also has a slightly more significant role in Star’s story as well. Also reeling a bit from what happened last episode, he is also feeling a little uneasy, ping-ponging throughout the episode between Star and Jackie, whom we see several times, trying to get him to unwind.

I can imagine some people wondering why the characters are reacting as they do, but I think these reactions were written by those on the writing team, who may have had real-world experience. I have heard of some people feeling a bit uneasy, when they find out someone they called a friend, may want to be more than that…and as illustrated in Starcrushed, it can be a situation that is not easily remedied.

Much like the structure of Face the Music, this episode focuses on parallel storylines, and just like in that episode, Moon Butterfly’s storyline proved to be the more intriguing of the two.

Most notable, is the chance to see the Magic High Commission in action, though it doesn’t last nearly as long as I wish it could have (plus, Hekapoo’s use of dimensional scissors here, is probably going to earn her even more fan-followers online!).

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To me, the highlight of the episode comes when Moon and the High Commission find themselves in a fierce battle, that is probably one of the most intense so far in this series!

Let’s just say that stuff happens, that had me wide-eyed for a number of minutes…and wondering what the ramifications will be, going beyond this episode.

We also get some additional character development for Ludo in this piece. It feels very brief, but the information we’ve gleaned from this episode and the previous one about him, feels like it could lead to something important later on.

Much like the previous episode, this one has a rather somber/serious tone throughout. Even when the show staff attempt to inject comedy into Starcrushed, I rarely found myself laughing. There’s a lot being thrown at us emotionally, and I found myself really trying to process the more serious stuff, rather than the funny stuff.

As the episode comes to an end, it’s final moments seem to pass by in a blur, as events force a number of things to happen in seconds, leading to an even bigger cliffhanger than the previous Season!

Let’s just say, I wasn’t quite prepared for what happened, and found myself rewatching the final scenes, multiple times.

Given where it ends, Starcrushed feels like we’re now caught in the middle of a much larger story. That fast-paced, 8-bit sounding intro that originally brought many of us into the series, feels like a far cry from where we are now. Have we truly moved beyond simply talking about rainbows, and puppies?

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Best line from episode (said by Mr Diaz): “What could be weird? Two teenagers, sharing a home. One boy, one girl. Oh…oh no…”

Final Grade: B+

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Princess Pony Head): “So, yeah, those are basically all of the reasons why I would be the most reliable, non-flaky girlfriend ever-I gotta go, sorry.”

Starcrushed ends a 22-episode season, that took Star vs the Forces of Evil, down a much different path than it’s 1st season offered us. It played with story structure, secrets, and challenging our perceptions when it came to characters and their personalities. While it wasn’t perfect, the experimentation that went on following the exploits of Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz, still kept me intrigued over the past 7 months.

While reading this review, you may have seen my constant references to the previous episode, Face the Music. It feels like both that episode and Starcrushed, are linked in a way, where one cannot function without the other.

This episode also has a theme running underneath the main action. It seems to be how some of us wish for things to go back to what they once were…but sometimes, we find that life can’t be so simple.

The attempts to deal with Star’s emotions, let alone the growing threat to the universe, has built the show’s story arc up in a big way. This does make me wonder if going into Season 3 (when it finally does come out), if it can appease or satisfy many of us, who surely know that serious ramifications and consequences, may be on the horizon for Star, her parents, and the Kingdom of Mewni.

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And, that’s it!…for now, anyways.

It was recently announced that Star vs the Force of Evil has been renewed for a fourth season, and that Season 3 will start up sometime this year (either in the summer, or fall).

In the meantime, I hope to do some more Animated Dissection articles on Season 2, some of the show’s characters, and much more. There’s plenty to discuss regarding this season, plus, I’ve been sitting on an analysis piece for the character Toffee, for over a year now.

Speaking of much more, the Star vs the Forces of Evil comic book series is still in production, and I intend to review issues 5-8, once they are released.

Plus, next week sees the release of Star and Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension. At over 160 pages long, I am already making plans to pick it up, and let you fine readers out there know what it has to say.

I just hope the book can shed a little more light on the world of Mewni, as well as some dimensions, we’ve only had a fleeting glance of.

Farewell for now, for we shall meet again soon.

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 2, Episode 21) – Face the Music

The dual-segment episodes are over…now, nothing ahead (for the rest of the season), except full-length episodes!

With Season 2 of Star vs the Forces of Evil winding down, many of us are eager to see if a number of loose ends that we’ve been privy to, will be neatly tied up by the end of episode 22.

But, that episode’s review is for another day. For now, let’s dive into episode 21, the second-to-last Season 2 episode!

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-Face The Music-

At the behest of her Mother, Moon Butterfly, Star allows Mewni’s official songstrel to compose a song about her, for the upcoming Song Day celebration on Mewni. However, upon meeting him, Star has a few opinions about this royal tradition.

Meanwhile, Moon undertakes a small quest of her own, to find and retrieve the Butterfly Family’s spellbook, and Glossaryck of Terms. Her journey leads her to Lord and Lady Avarius (aka Ludo’s parents!), and some additional information about Ludo himself.

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The structure of both Star and Moon’s stories, almost feels like they could have been two separate story segments. However, within the episode, director Giancarlo Volpe chooses to intercut between the stories of Mother and Daughter, while giving them time together at the beginning, and the end of the episode.

For Star’s portion of the story, we find her trying to get out of her Song Day obligations, by giving the run-around to a new songstrel, named Ruberiot (voiced by Patrick Stump).

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Like most things that hint at her destiny as the future Queen of Mewni, Star tries to buck her obligations to work with Ruberiot on the song. Fortunately, the shirking of her duties, manages to not overstay it’s welcome in the overall structure of the story.

Ruberiot, for the small amount of screentime he has, manages to not be as much of a throwaway character as I had originally thought. Though he seems to be another in a long line of songstrels from Mewni, he soon shows that his views are of a newer generation, yearning to do things a little differently…leading to some interesting choices later on in the episode.

Marco does figure into the story, but unfortunately, he seems like set-dressing for most of it. I had hoped there would be a bit more for him to do, but I guess the writers may have been constrained by time.

To me, the highlight of the episode, is Moon’s journey into The Forest of Certain Death on Mewni, where she meets with Lord and Lady Avarius. We’ve seen evidence that Moon has been less-than-regal in her past, and to see her throw off her regal accoutrements and let her hair down (literally), is something that I and many others have longed to see for awhile now.

There were a few scenes in Season 1, that had me wondering about Ludo’s real age. He often seemed like a petulant child, given how he would whine and yell out loud, in his mad quest to get the royal magic wand.

Of course, given what transpired at the end of the first season, my first question is why Moon and River didn’t try to assist the Avariuses previously. However, in considering the affairs of Mewnians and Monsters, my guess is there is still a social divide between their factions, and Mewmans don’t meddle in the affairs of Monsters on Mewni.

The makeup of the Avarius family, reminded me a bit of the Gaunt household, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Though luckily, Lord Bludo seemed less likely to lay a wing on most who come to call at his door (though as some have pointed out, there may be an abuse issue that Lady Avarius may be trying to ignore, as seen by her right eye in the picture below).

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One of the more intriguing characters we are introduced to, is Ludo’s younger brother, Dennis. Of all the siblings that Lady Avarius names, Dennis feels like an important figure, that I am hoping to see more of once Season 3 comes around.

The overall theme of Face the Music, seems to be about telling the truth, and getting past the sugar-coating of certain elements.

The writing of the Princess Song, is a minor item in the story, that follows this train of thought. The songs for Mewni’s Princesses, are not meant to be anything more but ‘happy fluff,’ filling people’s heads with good vibes, but tiptoeing around more important things that the people of Mewni should know about their ruler.

Composer Brian H Kim, fresh off his music work on the segment Just Friends, brings forth a musical piece that attempts to be traditional, yet energizing for the younger citizens of the kingdom. However, given some of the content that Ruberiot sings about, I think I found myself cringing just as much as some of the characters in the show. This is not a knock on Kim’s music skills, but moreso the content of what is contained within Star’s Princess Song.

By the end of the episode, a lot has come tumbling out, and there is a tumult of emotions swirling around both Star, and Moon! It seems both Mother and Daughter, have dealt with secrets they felt they could handle, but unfortunately, the final minutes show turmoil engulfing both of the Butterfly women.

Final Grade: B+

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Best line from episode (said by Ruberiot): “Why did I drop out of lawstrel school? Goodbye, aspirations. Hello, flipping cornburgers.”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “Hugs!…he’s uh, he’s staring at us, isn’t he?”

Face the Music is the first full-length episode we’ve had since Bon Bon the Birthday Clown.

Moon Butterfly’s quest into The Forest of Certain Death, along with additional information about Ludo’s family, proved to be the highlight of the episode. I hope we’ll be able to get more information about them in future episodes.

Star’s Song Day storyline, feels a bit trite when compared to the more important stuff Moon is doing. However, it does show that she is willing to compromise, if she can find common ground with some people.

By the end of the episode, don’t be surprised if you feel a little uneasy for both Star and Moon (as well as Marco).

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Even though episodes 21 and 22 appeared back-to-back recently, I felt, much like with Bon Bon the Birthday Clown, it would be better to give each full-length episode, it’s own review.

However, you won’t have long to wait for my review of episode 22, Starcrushed. See you in a few days, when I give my opinions, on the final episode that Season 2 of Star vs the Forces of Evil, went out on.

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!

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-Collateral Damage-

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-

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Best line from segment (said by Star Butterfly): Ferguson! Alfonso! I haven’t talked to you guys all year, but you are always there in the background, doin’ your thing!”

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-Just Friends-

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

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Best line from segment (said by Star Butterfly): “Oh, don’t be silly! I just wanted to be down here by the stage so I could feel their sweat spraying on my face!”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Marco Diaz, in Collateral Damage): “Others just stare and wonder, ‘what’s a possum?'”

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.

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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!