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Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 21) – Conquer

If one looks at the Kingdom of Mewni over the course of Star vs the Forces of Evil’s third season, it really feels like it’s non-maagical inhabitants have dealt with quite a lot.

Earlier this season, we watched as the kingdom was taken over by Ludo (under the mind-control of Toffee), with many of the inhabitants forced to accept his rule, or be levitated into the sky.

And now, just as some sense of normalcy might have been coming back to the kingdom, Eclipsa’s daughter Meteora has appeared. Destroying villages and draining mewmans and other creatures of their life essence, could this be the calm before a bigger storm rears it’s head?

Tied into the previous episode titled Divide, we now get it’s follow-up, and the final episode of the season: Conquer.

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– Conquer –

From the start of the episode, it feels like the first half of Conquer, is repeating several things that we saw during the last half of the previous episode. We have Star off in the Realm of Magic, trying to bring her mother home. Meanwhile, Marco, Tom, and several of their friends, are still attempting to slow down Meteora.

One surprise to me during the scenes with Marco and the others, was in regards to Tom trying to re-energize their group after the events at the end of the last episode. For much of this season, when it’s comes to charging into battle or standing up for the rights of monsters, Tom has been mostly silent…except on a few, special occasions.StarEp321-2

Several episodes ago, there was an altercation between Marco and Tom (when Tom forgot Star’s birthday), and I almost expected a major fight to break out between the two of them before the end of the season. However, this episode makes it seem like Tom has been working on getting over his inner, emotional turmoil. He also surprisingly, comes front-and-center for a bit of this episode, making me wish that the writers could have given him a bit more to do overall regarding these last two episodes.

At the beginning of the previous episode, there was a hint that Star is almost in the same position as her mother was, in the earlier Season 3 story, Moon the Undaunted.

Just like that story, Star is looking for answers on how to deal with a dire situation. Her mother was a very powerful and wise figure…and now, it seems that Star is on her own, having to make some very grown-up decisions. What has been most notable about the episodes Divide and Conquer, is that Star is unwilling to repeat the mistakes of the past (unlike her mother, she is not willing to utilize Eclipsa’s magic to try and stop Meteora).

What is also notable, is a subtle bit of character-growth that almost whizzes under the eye of the average viewer, when Star attempts to repeat something we saw her mother do earlier in the season. Unlike Moon however, Star lacks the proper knowledge to do what she did, and has to make a major decision…on her own.

That seems to ultimately be the takeaway from this storyline, that this is another turning point in Star Butterfly’s growth as a character, on her way to one day becoming Mewni’s next queen.

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Sadly, while I did enjoy the little moments of character growth with Star and Tom, they were used rather sparingly, in a story that seemed to meander quite a bit.

I often look forward to these 22-minute episodes, as they have the chance to tell a much more interesting story. The tone of these last few episodes however, has reminded me of the pacing of the episode Monster Bash. That story revealed some intriguing revelations about Meteora’s past, but wasted a large chunk of it’s time fighting Mina Loveberry, rather than focusing on the theme of ‘monsters’ that was part of that episode.

Speaking of monsters, this season looked like it was going to do some intriguing things with this sub-culture of Mewni, as Star attempted to try and bring more attention to them. I would have gladly welcomed a scene at the end, where Star’s faith in the goodness of monsters paid off. I kept waiting for Buff Frog and a number of ‘good monsters’ to suddenly appear near the end, and join in on the battle to stop Meteora…but that moment never came.

In terms of Eclipsa, she ends up having one of the more dramatic bits in the episode, and it almost saved the story. Sadly, her time here is fleeting, and what her actions in the last few minutes, keeps us on our toes as to what she may have in store for the next season, as the credits roll.

Overall, much of the episode’s layout and structure, just feels ‘okay.’ This is far from the emotional rollercoaster that the earlier season three episode Toffee was (and personally, Toffee is still one of the more solid episodes the series has given us!). There is definitely emotion to be had here, but the episode feels like it’s moving so fast through the more interesting stuff, that we don’t really get the chance to feel like it ‘impacts’ us in a proper way.

The episode also has a habit of showing us stuff that may or may not tie into things later on down the line. This is somewhat frustrating, because it just feels like more stuff we have to juggle in the air and ask ourselves: “did this-or-that mean anything in the grand scheme of this series, or is it just going to be something the writers will never address again?”

In the end, Conquer reminded me of a lot of stories I’ve seen so far this season: the kind of stories that tend to have a good idea and could definitely go deeper with the material, but feel like they just meander for 3/4 of their running time, before a lot of stuff happens in the last 4 minutes. At that point, the episode goes: “Whew…what’s gonna happen next, kiddies? Are you on pins and needles?”

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Best line from episode (sung by Star Butterfly): “Where’d the hair-y la-dy go? I-don’t-know, I-don’t know.”

Final Grade: B

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Meteora): “You’re a smart girl, figure it out.”

For the end of Season 3 of Star vs the Forces of Evil, both Divide and Conquer felt like a storyline that was stretched a little too thin over 2 episodes. It was like they meandered on a very long second act, while jettisoning some nice balance and time for the first and third acts.

The opening of Divide where we see Star dealing with being the kingdom’s ‘acting queen,’ let alone the end in Conquer where things could have gotten more dark and intense, just didn’t hold enough to make me as excited, or eager to write about these episodes as I had hoped.

 

At this point, I will surely delve into Season 4 when the time comes, but I am a little less intrigued by where it all may go (plus, while the show is confirmed for a fourth season, there’s been no word on a fifth).

So far this season, we’ve seen Star show a progressive mindset in trying to change her kingdom’s culture. The season had a number of great opportunities to really make some deep, meaningful episodes about monster/mewman connections, but often squandered them on cheap laughs. For a season that started out strong with it’s Battle for Mewni storyline, I was definitely let down a little in the storytelling department here.

There’s definitely more I want to say after seeing where three seasons has brought us, but I think that’s best suited for a separate Animated Dissection post. For now, I bid you adieu.

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Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 20) – Divide

With 19 episodes under season 3’s belt, here we are, at the second-to-last episode, and the first of a two-part story, that seeks to make this season go out with a bang.

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– Divide –

At the end of the last episode, Queen Moon was severely injured, and disappeared through a multi-colored portal. With Moon gone, Star has now been made the ‘acting queen’ of Mewni, but finds it frustrating how everyone is looking to her for decisions.

With Meteora still advancing on the kingdom, Marco and Star’s friends try to slow her down, while Star attempts to try and find out what happened to her mom.

At the beginning of the episode, the writers try to balance drama and humor, as Star finds out that much of the Kingdom’s decision-making, was done by her mother…and without Queen Moon, most people are unable to think for themselves (making me wonder what happened with previous ruling parties).

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While the stupidity of several of the royal personnel is a bit eye-rolling, it was intriguing to see Star reacting almost identically to her Mom in the earlier Season 3 story, Moon the Undaunted. Just like young Moon, Star is thrust into an awkward position of power, one that she finds herself struggling to work through.

It is also notable how Star is unwilling to take the advice of Eclipsa (who is partially to blame for Moon’s disappearance), or the Magic High Commission (who were found guilty of tampering with Mewni’s past history texts some time ago!). This signals a move that some would probably see as being foolhardy, but it seems that Star doesn’t feel like she can trust ‘the old ways’ of doing things. Much of this season has shown her trying to make changes to a broken ruling system, and this feels like another small step forward.

Most of Star’s time in this episode, is spent outside of the castle in the unnamed, paradise-like place she entered into in the earlier story, called Deep Dive. There is still the danger that Star could be sidetracked in her quest to find her mom, and the writers come up with a neat idea, on trying to keep her mind on her plan.

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On the other end of the ‘divide,’ we have Marco staying behind on Mewni, trying to work on slowing down Meteora. This leads to the grouping of a number of characters we’ve seen him interact with over the season, as he attempts to put several plans into action.

While there is plenty that is good about the episode, Divide feels like it focuses a bit too much on gags in some areas,  almost like in splitting the final story for the season in two, the writers had to ‘pad it out’ in a number of places.

One highlight is when we see Star and Marco talking over things before everyone splits off into their separate quests. Plus, we get to see how their fighting skills have improved over the last season. It’s probably one of the most productive conversations Star has in the episode.

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Best line from episode (said by Marco Diaz): “No Star, my abs are not back.”

Final Grade: B

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Tom Lucitor): “Oh, well I’ll just take the bait here. Where did you get that sword, Marco?”

When watching Divide, I couldn’t help but feel that many of it’s events, were largely just to set-up the events of the next episode. However, it does have some memorable moments.

Much like seeing Moon Butterfly in her younger days, we get to see Star trying to deal with being thrust into the spotlight as an ‘active queen.’ Her working through a number of emotions, helped make this story pretty enjoyable, though I was hoping for a little more drama during the second part of the episode for her.

Marco’s attempts to stop Meteora, helped give the episode some action, and prove just how ruthless Eclipsa’s daughter is (using magic-draining powers that may remind some of what Toffee was capable of in season 2).

Overall, if the episode had felt a little more ‘complete,’ I probably would have given it a higher rating. Still, it did prove to be entertaining.

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And then…there was one left.

Come back soon, when I review the final episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil’s third season: Conquer.

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 19) – Bam Ui Pati! / Tough Love

The last episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil gave us some rather startling revelations, making it one of the most enjoyable episodes this season.

Episode 19 of the third season, manages to tie into that episode, in several ways.

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– Bam Ui Pati! –

Following events from the episode 18 story Skooled, Ponyhead has locked herself in her room, watching Korean soap operas. Star is contacted by a few of Ponyhead’s sisters to help break her out of her lethargy, but things may be more complex than they seem.

By now, most of the series’ fans are probably used to things going a little weird at times. In this case, Ponyhead’s story is tied into her watching the Korean soap opera, Bam Ui Pati (aka Party of the Night), in which a famous singer is stricken with a horrible illness, that may affect her life…forever.

I could almost see this story as being the yang to the ying that was the earlier Season 3 story, Scent of a Hoodie. While Ponyhead worked to try and bring Star out of her crazed lethargy there, Star almost seems to be returning the favor here. However, that storyline was a bit more entertaining in it’s main character going through some crazy stuff.

For this story, the writers try to use the soap opera to mirror Ponyhead’s ‘journey,’ as she tries to come to grips with what happened to her, and move on. It sounds like a good concept, but the execution of it feels disjointed, as the story tried to throw all sorts of obstacles in the way of Ponyhead trying to watch her show.

It was a little surprising to see several of Ponyhead’s sisters again, though it didn’t feel like they added very much to the story. Personally, I was more enamored with the return of Ponyhead’s ex-boyfriend (last seen in the Demoncism episode), whose salesperson persona, provided some much-needed comic relief at times.

Overall, this felt like ‘filler.’ It ties into events from a previous story, and tries to push us forward…but it’s attempts to be a little kooky with how it does that, just didn’t do it for me.

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Best line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “Oh, sorry, Cloudy was a lot further down than I thought he was.”

Final Grade: C+

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– Tough Love –

After finding out information about her past in the last episode, Meteora (formerly Ms Heinous) returns to Mewni, intent on claiming the royal throne. Unknown to her, Queen Moon and Eclipsa (Meteora’s mother), are hot on her trail.

Seeing Moon and Eclipsa play off each other over season 3, has led to some very entertaining moments for me. It feels like as time has gone on, Moon’s stance on the former queen of Mewni has softened a bit, though Eclipsa still tries to assert herself in some situations, irking the current queen.

Much of the story is based around the two women trying to track down Meteora, while also encountering the angered denizens of Rich Pigeon’s kingdom, and an angry mob of villagers. The encounters are good for quick bits of comedy, but it definitely feels like the writers missed the opportunity to make this a stronger, more emotional storyline, by shortening these scenes a bit more.

The meeting between Meteora and her mother sadly, is something I felt would be a bit stronger. It does have it’s moments, though it does seem that Meteora may also have become mentally unstable from years of repressing herself at St Olga’s. It’s also notable that Meteora uses green ‘dark magic,’ which we haven’t seen used since Toffee had overtaken Ludo at the end of last season.

It is in the last few minutes, that the story gets really eye-opening. However, some shocking events happen so quickly, that by the time the credits roll, your brain is still trying to process what you just saw.

A good episode for sure, but one that I definitely feel, could have been great if it focused more on the dramatic tension at the end.

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Best line from episode (said by Eclipsa): “Well, some terrible, terrible people, locked me up in a dingy old crystal, deep down in a dark dungeon. They were a rather backwards, maladjusted people, especially that old queen.”

Final Grade: B

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Happy Villager, in Tough Love): “She gave me this neat hat…I like it.”)

Well, that was an episode that was okay, but definitely could have been better.

Bam Ui Pati‘s storyline could have held up a bit stronger in it’s storyline of Ponyhead coping with a crisis, but it’s attempts to parallel the soap opera she was watching, felt like a fun concept that just didn’t work for me.

Tough Love brings us the encounter we’ve been waiting for, between Meteora, her mother, and Queen Moon. The opening comedy beats of the story somewhat take away from the more interesting and serious bits, and while the story does have some serious moments, it feels like a much stronger story could have surfaced here.

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And thus, the last 2-story episode of season 3 is over.

The final two episodes of this season, will be full 22-minute stories, with some rather ominous titles. The next episode is titled Divide, and the final season’s episode…will be titled, Conquer.

I’ll be reviewing each of the episodes separately, so see you back here soon, when we take a look at episode 21: Divide.

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 18) – Skooled! / Booth Buddies

Time is ticking away, as only a few episodes remain for the third season of Star vs the Forces of Evil.

Last week’s episode brought about revelations for Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz, both on Mewni, and back on Earth. Things are definitely changing around them, with some of those changes, being things beyond their control.

This week’s episode, brings about some more unexpected surprises.

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– Skooled! –

Princess Ponyhead decides to return to St Olga’s, to continue her education. However, her attempts to get a handle on the new curriculum are thrown for a loop, when former headmistress Ms Heinous returns to the school, with an agenda of her own.

The previews for this episode definitely did a good job of masking the inclusion of Ms Heinous (also known as Meteora, the daughter of Queen Eclipsa, and her monster husband). After the reveal of Heinous’ heritage in the episode Monster Bash, this story attempts to fill us in on more of her backstory.

There is definitely some emotional storytelling at work here, but sadly, much of it seems truncated for time. It feels like the chance to go much deeper into Heinous’ past, was sidelined by the inclusion of the Ponyhead subplot.

There is even some time given to showing the other princesses around the school, but even here, it just feels like more ‘filler’ that doesn’t quite hit some of it’s comedy beats.

The last few minutes of Skooled may be some of the most shocking stuff we’ve seen in awhile (probably since the episode Toffee!). I think it’s fair to say that the ‘kid-gloves are off,’ and that the kingdom of Mewni may be facing a major threat, very soon.

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Best line from episode (said by Princess Ponyhead): “If I don’t make it out of this, I want you to know…I hate you.”

Final Grade: B

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– Booth Buddies –

At a wedding for royal servants Ruberiot and Foolduke, Star is ecstatic to see that Ponyhead (though not currently in attendance), has dropped off the old Bounce Lounge’s photobooth for the festivities!

Naturally, Star is eager to get some pics with one of her best ‘besties,’ Marco! However, as she looks over the snapshots, Star can’t help but feel that something isn’t right about them, and is determined to get an ‘acceptable’ souvenir…soon leading to the two friends being trapped in the booth!

One thing I’ve really enjoyed in some of my favorite Star stories, is when characters actually have candid, quiet moments. This can allow the writers to slow down, and give us some character introspection outside of the monster fights, and daily whirlwind of madness these characters find themselves in. We definitely get that here, as the storyline takes a deep breath…and starts tackling some stuff that these two ‘friends,’ haven’t really discussed over the season!

The story also introduces a new supporting character, in the form of Ben Fotino (voiced by Gravity Falls creator, Alex Hirsch!). Ben is the goblin handyman of the photobooth, and surprisingly, I couldn’t stop laughing at every little thing he did! He almost has a ‘trolling complex’ much like Roy the Goblin Dog vendor, only here, his jovial old-man routine is highly-entertaining (to me, at least).

Buddies manages to mix together drama and comedy in a very enjoyable package. Where it falls a little flat for me, is in some of the repetitiveness of the booth’s picture-taking moments. To me, I always come for the emotional content, and Booth Buddies had me yearning for a little more, than what we ended up with.

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Best line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “These aren’t photos…they’re travesties.”

Final Grade: B+

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly, in Booth Buddies): “Well I like our adventures. And I thought you liked them too.”)

And there you have it… an episode with two stories that proved to not only be pretty entertaining, but also seemed to lay some groundwork for revelations further on down the line!

Skooled! pulls ‘the ol’ switcheroo’ when it comes to it’s storyline’s subject matter. Ponyhead’s subplot eats up valuable time, that could have been better utilized, focusing on Ms Heinous/Meteora’s dramatic backstory.

Booth Buddies was a pleasant surprise overall. The story of Star and Marco trapped in a photo booth managed to not only be humorous, but also poured on the drama, and confronted some topics that I think have been on the minds of many loyal viewers, for much of the season!

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And with episode 18 down, we have one more 2-story episode, before two full-length episodes finish up the season.

Next episode, we find Ponyhead enamored with a Korean television drama, in the storyline titled, Bam Ui Pati! Then, in Tough Love, it’s a meeting of three characters that has me so excited, I don’t want to reveal their names! Needless to say, I am eager to see what’s coming in less-than-a-week’s time, and I hope you’ll return to read what I have to say about it!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 17) – Is Another Mystery / Marco, Jr

Last week’s episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil, was one of those one-two punch episodes that I often long to see more of. The stories that give answers to some questions, and bring about some new questions, without going overboard.

This week’s episode was somewhat of a ‘grab bag’ of ideas, when I heard the plot for both stories. So, let’s see what we have to work with.

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– Is Another Mystery –

Upon finding a note left by Buff Frog saying that he is going away, Star and Marco are eager to find out where their monster-friend is. However, Marco steps aside on this trip when Star’s boyfriend Tom, quietly requests Marco excuse himself from the investigation, so Tom and Star can have some time together.

The absence of Marco from the story did have me perplexed once it got going, but then again, we haven’t really had a full-on Star/Tom adventure story (Marco already had one of those with Tom in Season 2’s episode, Friendenemies). There are also a few interesting moments in this story, where Tom may have some issues with Star and Marco’s friendship.

The revelation regarding Buff Frog and his decision to leave, definitely felt like it came out-of-nowhere. After promoting Buff Frog to the role of Royal Monster Expert in Starfari, I was seriously hoping that there would have been an episode showing Star and Buff Frog working to revamp the royal agency, but it seems that was something the show’s writers didn’t feel was worth exploring.

So far, most of the monster-related stuff has fallen on Star’s shoulders, with the events of the episode Monster Bash, seeming to be what pushed Buff Frog to leave.

As we also saw in Monster Bash, Tom has largely been on the sidelines regarding his girlfriend’s efforts to bring mewmans and monsters together. Surprisingly, he does actually seem to take a small interest in trying to get several monsters to believe that things are getting better in this story, but one has to wonder if he really is going to do anything in the future to work towards this goal, or if he was just saying those things to look good for Star.

There is definitely some emotion put into this story, and while I did like the writers giving Tom some more screen-time, there were plenty of places I felt the story could have been stronger in it’s execution.

Final Grade: B-

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Best line from episode (said by Star Butterfly): “Ok, I don’t know what I just did, but I think it was pretty awesome and I am very proud of myself for it!”

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– Marco, Jr –

At the request of his parents, Marco returns to Earth, only to learn that his mom is pregnant, and a baby shower is taking place!

Realizing that he didn’t bring a gift, Marco and Star make a mad dash to Quest Buy, where they enlist the services of a magical painter, to make a portrait of Marco (on a very short timeline!).

Walking into this story, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a title like Marco, Jr. My first thought was that we’d see a return of the character Naysaya, though Mr and Mrs Diaz quickly explain where the title of the story comes from (and why they would name their unborn second child, after their first one).

I was pleasantly surprised when Marco’s Mom became one of the entertaining highlights of the story as well. Over the course of her time on the show, it feels like the writers have enjoyed steering Mrs Diaz to be the more thoughtful of Marco’s parents. Mr Diaz is made out as the more ‘kooky’ of the two, and even gets a few humorous lines here too.

Most surprising, was the story taking a sudden sharp turn, and going off on an unexpected story tangent! This reminded me of Bon Bon the Birthday Clown, where that episode’s title alluded to one thing, and then the subject matter went down a surprising path.

This was also another story where Star is there as a ‘supporting character’ for Marco. This proved to be quite entertaining, both in her proactive nature, and in her knowledge regarding just ‘who’ Marco is these days.

I am always up for a good Marco-centric storyline that proves to be ‘weirdly entertaining,’ and this one hit a number of the notes that made me enjoy it more than I had any right to.

Final Grade: B

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Best line from episode (said by Mrs Diaz): “…I spent 37 hours squeezing you out of my body, and this is what I get?”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Mr Diaz, in Marco, Jr): “No, I think stealing one of our sons is enough for now, Star.”)

I will admit that overall, this episode was pretty good, though definitely not as intriguing as the last one.

Is Another Mystery gave us a Star/Tom team-up that we hadn’t experienced before, but the subject matter felt like it could have used an extra episode of storytelling, to make the emotional moments really hit home.

I have a feeling some people may not enjoy Marco, Jr as much as I did, but I have a soft-spot for Marco-related stories, and the weirdness that was on display here, just worked for me!

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Next episode, we see Princess Pony Head return to St Olga’s Reform School for Wayward Princesses, in the storyline Skooled! Then, Star and Marco supposedly end up in a strange situation, in Booth Buddies. See you back here in a week for another review!

 

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 16) – Butterfly Trap / Ludo, Where Art Thou?

Season 3 of Star vs the Forces of Evil, returned last week, with an episode that just felt…underwhelming.

This week’s episode however, covers two subjects that had me much more intrigued.

Join me in reviewing them…won’t you?

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– Butterfly Trap –

It’s finally time for Eclipsa to stand trial for her past actions. While Queen Moon and the Magic High Commission preside over the trial, Star is also on hand to watch the proceedings.

This is one of those stories where it feels like a lot of talking goes around, but buried within the conversations, is some interesting information. Naturally, the Magic High Commission proves to be just as ‘overly-verbose’ as they have been in previous appearances, and it is largely up to Queen Moon to wrangle them in.

One of the highlights of the story, is the Box of Truth being used for the trial. This definitely streamlines the storyline, and manages to provide just the right mix of drama and comedy.

I feel if the trial had been a bit heavier on the drama of the situation, I might have given the story a higher grade. However, I was pleasantly surprised and very satisfied, to find that this story actually managed to not only be entertaining, but dropped some very important information about the Kingdom of Mewni (information that may very well affect it’s future!)

My one hope is that the episode’s ending revelations don’t just get shoveled under the carpet (seriously showrunners, there’s some good stuff to explore here before the season ends!).

Final Grade: B+

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Best line from episode (said by The Box of Truth): “We need to talk-ALRIGHT LADIES, ARE YOU-PREPARE, FOR, JUDGEMENT!! ”

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– Ludo, Where Art Thou? –

In the wake of Ludo disappearing after the events of The Battle of Mewni, almost noone has given his whereabouts a second thought…except his younger brother, Dennis.

With a little help from Ludo’s former cohort Spider, Dennis soon tracks down his older sibling…but is not quite prepared for what he finds.

Near the end of Season 2, we were introduced to Ludo’s family. Not only was it revealed that he was one of several children of Lord Brudo, and Lady Avarius, but he was also ‘the runt’ of their dysfunctional royal household. Also, there seemed to be noone who really cared about him, except for Dennis (whom Queen Moon met in the episode titled, Face the Music).

I was very pleased to see that Dennis’ minor appearance at the end of Season 2 was not merely a red herring, and that he had quite a substantial role here.

As for Ludo, it seems that the events earlier in this season, may have pushed him a little further than many of us assumed he could go. As we learn what has become of him, the story manages to slowly build up the ‘creepy’ factor, and I think many people’s expressions will mirror those of Dennis during these scenes.

This episode felt more like a ‘learning experience’ regarding both of the brothers, and how their oppressive home life weighs heavily on their personalities. At times, this story reminded me of last episode’s The Bogbeast of Boggabah, only this story takes it’s ‘crazy character,’ and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome with that plot-point.

The ending hints that we haven’t seen the last of Ludo, but I do hope we will get some more information on Dennis, and how this story may shape his future.

Final Grade: B

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Best line from episode (said by Ludo): “Dennis? Oh how long has it been? Last time I saw you, you were ‘this tall.’ And now you’re exactly as tall as I am!”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Queen Moon, in Butterfly Trap): “Hey!…sit down.”

Well, compared to last week’s episode, this week’s two stories actually had me very entertained, and intrigued by what had been revealed!

Butterfly Trap showcased Eclipsa’s trial, which happened to be entertaining, insightful, AND set up some new questions as we barrel our way to the end of the third season.

Ludo, Where Art Thou brought back Ludo’s younger brother Dennis, and also showed us that Ludo’s psychological underpinnings may be harder to mend than we originally thought.

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Next week, I have a feeling that the stories may not be as intriguing, but hopefully just as entertaining.

First up, we have Is Another Mystery, in which Buff Frog disappears, and Star and Marco attempt to find him. Next, there’s Marco Jr, where Marco ventures back to a place we never thought he would return to so soon: Echo Creek! See you back here in a week for another review!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 3, Episode 14) – Stump Day / Holiday Spellcial

Before we enter 2018, the DisneyXD series Star vs the Forces of Evil, had one more episode to give us. This 14th episode, is considered a Holiday Special with it’s content, and appeared a few days after the start of December, 2017.

So, what are holidays like on Mewni? Let’s take a peek!

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– Stump Day –

On Mewni, Star Butterfly and her family are celebrating Stump Day, a holiday that celebrates the unity of the kingdom’s first settlers.

Star’s birthday also happens to falls on Stump Day, and Marco eagerly throws his friend a surprise party/Quinceanera. However, Star’s reaction is definitely unexpected.

For a few months now, some in the Star fan-community had heard some rumblings about Stump Day (there was even a revised print of Star and Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension, that had a cover-image related to the event!).

The episode plays a bit like a combination of the story Mewnipendence Day, mixed with Hungry Larry. On one hand, it gives us some more information about the kingdom and it’s origins, and in another way…it attempts to try and give us some scares in a very Krampus-like fashion.

We do get a nice little grouping of Star’s friends (including a re-introduction of StarFan13), though the whole event just quickly spirals off into chaos. There are some attempts at humor, but it feels like it goes a bit too far in a few areas. There are also some ‘relationship issues’ that come to light, but are quickly glossed over as the story moves into some darker territory.

Overall, the story could have been a bit stronger regarding it’s message of unity, but seemed to just want to focus a bit too much on wanting to watch Star freak out about Stump Day.

Final Grade: B-

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Best line from episode (said by King River): “Ha ha ha ha! You don’t tell me what to do!’”

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– Holiday Spellcial –

Inside Star’s magic wand, a number of her spells are preparing to also celebrate Stump Day. Spider with a Top Hat is eager for the festivities to begin, but several of the spells are a little unnerved by a new spell that has come to live with them: The All-Seeing Eye spell!

When Spider with a Top Hat got his own episode last season, it was a surprising revelation on how the magic of Star’s wand worked (even though there are still plenty of unanswered questions).

Unlike some of the other spells within the wand, All-Seeing Eye is definitely one that makes some uneasy. With the continual purple-flame encircling his yellow-orange eyeball, it definitely makes one want to watch their back when he’s close by (plus, he has that ‘silent-sneak’ bit down-pat!).

All-Seeing Eye is also a rather intriguing spell, given that he never speaks, except by showing things he’s seen, projected onto his huge eyeball. One thing I realized after viewing the story a few times, is that he’s the equivalent of that quiet person at a party, doing more observing than mingling.

The story seems to be a melding of one of those ‘he said/she said’ stories, mixed in with the idea of trying to be all in-clusive at a family gathering, where not everybody may be on the same level.

It was nice to see some of the more recent spells added to the wand since the last time we were inside of it, though one almost wonders what happened to the spells during the events of The Battle for Mewni (if the magic within the wand is unable to be used, are they able to still exist?). Plus, All-Seeing Eye is actually a spell created by former Queen Eclipsa, leading us to wonder just how these spells ‘materialize/appear’ in this world.

Steve Little returns to voice Spider with a Top Hat, and much like his last big episode, here he’s once again struggling to be the glue holding everything together. Of course, we also see the strain of the events (as well as All-Seeing Eye) wear on him as the story goes on.

Much like the gags revolving around Star’s party in Stump Day, the gags used in this story regarding the things that All-Seeing Eye sees (and shows), gets a bit overblown, in my opinion.

In regards to the way the episode wraps up, it feels like they could have given over a little more time (also like with Stump Day), to tell a stronger story than what we have here.

Final Grade: B-

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Best line from episode (said by Warnicorn ): “This, is your fault, alright? Instead of taking responsibility for MY actions, I am gonna blame YOU, for recording them, and then I, am gonna pummel you!”

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Pony Head, in Stump Day): “Happy Birthday Star, it’s the ultimate gift: two boys are fighting over you!”

Watching Christmas-related specials over the years, I’ve found many are often struggling to find an entertaining balance, and this episode feels like it just manages to be decent, but like most of my feelings on some of the shows episodes…it could have been a bit stronger.

Stump Day pulls us into another tradition regarding the Kingdom of Mewni, but falls back a little too much on comedy, when the time could have been better-used to focus on the day’s meaning.

Holiday Spellcial shows us another side to Stump Day celebration, giving us a glimpse of how Star’s spells celebrate the holiday. It’s story about inclusion and truth-telling is passable, but feels like it just gets too filled up with what All-Seeing Eye has seen regarding the other spells.

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And that’s all Star has for the year 2017. My guess is we’ll get another dropping of multiple episodes sometime in the first half of 2018, possibly with Season 4 coming around next summer.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and I hope to continue reviewing Season 3, when those episodes appear next year!