Upon finding herself in The Boiling Isles, Luz Nocera soon found herself accumulating something she didn’t have back home: friends.
Out of all of them, one who seemed to be used mainly for comic relief in season 1 was Gus, a human-world obsessed witch whose main expertise was illusion magic.
Continuing the streak of learning a little more about some characters this season, episode 5 chooses to focus mainly on him.
After accidentally getting Willow wounded, Gus begins to question himself and his illusion powers. Things take an unexpected turn when he encounters a group of kids from Glandus High, who invite him along on a quest to help them obtain some ancient relics.
Meanwhile, Luz continues her search to try and find information that may get her back to her own world. A diary in the library might hold the key…and it just so happens that Amity Blight may be able to help locate it.
As Season 2 began, I did hope we’d get to learn a little more about Gus. This episode definitely reveals some more about him, though I was hoping some revelations would have been done alongside his friends like Luz and Willow.
As the “A” plot of this episode, we find out a bit more about what Gus is capable of, as well as just where his knowledge and principles lie. Plus, we get to see him wield glyph-magic (courtesy of Luz, who wishes to help him impress the other kids).
The group from Glandus is led by a girl named Bria (voiced by Felicia Day), and gives us a little more insight into the student body of Hexside’s rival school. Her associates Gavin and Angmar seem to mainly be her followers, making them feel like they are taking up the comedic slack that Gus would have provided.
A most unexpected surprise was the reappearance of Mattholomule, a student we last saw causing trouble for Gus back in Season 1. It turns out Mattholomule has some prior history with Glandus, and we get a little more on his backstory as well (though he’s still a jerk).
For the “B” plot, Luz meeting Amity at the library to try and find more information about a human who once lived on the isles, feels a little odd that it is not the main storyline.
The library sub-story brought back memories of my favorite season 1 episode, Lost in Language. Here however, the journey deeper into the library serves as a chance for Luz and Amity to have some time together, while also continuing a theme of unease between them in regards to recent revelations.
While some feel that Amity is growing into her feelings that go beyond being just friends with Luz, it feels like some of the focus this season may be on what Luz thinks. Last season saw her really wanting to be friends with Amity, but it feels like she is currently struggling with feelings of her own.
There also are some fun minor appearances by Amity’s older siblings, Edric and Emery, with Emery providing some sisterly help when Amity confesses a few things.
Some areas of the episodes storytelling, did seem to get a little sloppy. The opening happens after Willow’s injury, and it feels like a shoehorned “exposition dump” as the episode tries to quickly shift us into our main focus on Gus. There also is a rather convenient way in which illusion magic comes into play, but I wish it wouldn’t have felt as convenient as we see. It seems implied that what Gus excels in, is considered the weakest of the different coven magics.
Luz and Amity’s story also has some rather convenient resolutions, but a lot of what is done here definitely kept my attention. This is their first real interaction in awhile, and it feels like their story is much stronger than Gus’. Much like episode 2 this season, we get a moment with Amity that is sure to be a real crowd-pleaser for the show’s fans, and feels more well-earned than some reveals from this season’s second episode.
Final Grade: B
With each new episode of The Owl House in Season 2, creator Dana Terrace opens up the world of The Boiling Isles even more.
We’ve already learned more about King and Amity Blight, but in this episode, we get a little more insight into The Clawthorne sisters, Eda and Lilith.
While Luz continues to try and find a way back to the human realm, the Owl House is thrown into turmoil when Eda and Lilith’s mother Gwendolyn Clawthorne shows up.
Eda’s mother claims she has found a way to cure her daughter’s curse, but Eda isn’t so accepting of her mother’s good intentions. This leads to Luz taking an interest in helping Gwendolyn, figuring Eda is just being stubborn.
So far this season, the series seems to enjoy hitting us with stuff hard-and-fast. We just got off a major revelation with King regarding his origins, and now we’re leaning into past information about Eda and her family.
Right out of the gate, Gwendolyn seems to be well-depicted as a concerned parent. We get to see what she was like in a flashback, along with her current incarnation as a “mother knows best” kind of witch. There’s something very “real” about the way she’s depicted, especially given how Eda claims she’s been coming around on a yearly basis to try and cure her (I think most will feel like they too have experienced Eda’s “parental frustration”).
The narrative also paints an intersting picture regarding how the Clawthorne sisters were treated by their mother. Most notable is there seems to be a tinge of of jealousy on Lilith’s part, as feelings surface that she feels her mother doted on Eda more than her. I would have liked to have seen some more development on this, but this information gets shoved down into the smaller “B” plot of the episode.
Much of the “A” plot revolves around Luz interacting with Gwendolyn, as the two work together to cure Eda. However, Luz has some misgivings about the methods they are using, leading to an interesting conundrum. Even though this is fantasy, it feels decidedly “real-world” in the depiction of how a parent’s desperation can cause them to lose focus.
After the last episode felt like The Owl House was getting its balance back, this episode feels like it’s a bit lopsided in its storytelling. The introduction of Gwendolyn is notable, but it feels like the episode pushes a little too much on some gags, when it might have used some of that time to give us some more moments between the sisters talking about their mother.
That isn’t to say there isn’t some good stuff given out (just not enough to make the episode better in my opinion). The episode does lean into a bit of horror-style visuals in places (notably where Eda goes mentally when the curse takes over her body). There also seem to be bits of information that may be hinting at things to come in future episodes (notably one that will surely make many persons jaws drop!).
Final Grade: B
With the second season release of The Owl House, each of the episodes we have so far encountered, have filled us in a little more on some characters.
From Eda Clawthorne’s sister Lilith to Amity Blight’s parents, our knowledge has been expanded upon in several ways.
With their latest episode, the show sheds some light on the backstory of one of its main characters.
Hearing King prattle on about his past and being “The King of Demons,” Lilith feels certain that the little creature’s claims are nothing but a story.
Determined to prove her wrong, King takes Lilith, Luz, and Hooty to a mysterious island…an island that might hold an even more terrifying secret.
After his rather low-key appearance in the season two opener, it is nice to see King being a bit more of his typical self, even if some moments feel a little “forced.” Being around Luz has definitely “tamed” him, and while he can be bombastic at times, this episode is so far his most emotional.
Even though this episode is largely King’s, Luz has some notable moments. We see that she has continued to expand on her research of glyph-magic, and how she has even found a way to make new spells. There are also moments where we see how she tries to be a good friend to King, notably in how she can handle his demands and claims.
One exciting thing about the episode is a return to that feeling of exploring some strange new environment like in past episodes. The ruins encountered here feel like there is quite a bit to be deciphered, let alone the acknowledgement by Lilith that her knowledge of the Boiling Isles, mysteriously does not include the island. It is also notable that the creepy atmosphere is helped along by the music played over the scenes.
Speaking of Lilith, The episode also continues our character development with her. From her use of glyph-magic to being chummy with Hooty, she fulfills the Eda role for much of the episode. Hooty also gets some interesting moments, as the episode brings him along for the adventure (with one scene that is quite funny, yet disgusting at the same time).
This is one episode that breaks away from the typical “A/B” storylines, and just focuses on King. Eda even shows up to give us some information about him, though there is one moment that feels a little “too convenient” in some information she provides.
Echoes of the Past feels like the second season has found its footing after some rather over-bloated first episodes. The pacing is good, though some revelations and a few areas feel a little hokey in how some of the material is handled. However, what holds our attention are the characters and the new setting that reveals more information about King’s past…let alone the promise that there are still more secrets to be revealed in the future.
Final Grade: B+
With the second season release of The Owl House, we return to The Boiling Isles to find out what has happened to Luz Noceda, King, and the Clawthorne sisters, Eda and Lilith.
The previous episode showed us what life has been like for the denizens of The Owl House, but this episode brings us up to speed on some other characters, and also explores some new areas.
With both Eda and Lilith now powerless, Luz has taken to teaching them how to use glyph-magic. While Lilith seems to be quite inquisitive, Eda is hardly enthralled to be learning.
Back at Hexside School of Magic and Demonics, Principal Bump is forced to expel Luz, along with her friends Willow and Gus. The reason? Amity Blight’s parents Odalia and Alador blame them for hindering their daughter’s studies. However, Luz is not going to take this lying down, and tries to figure out a way around this accusation.
After a shadowy introduction last season, many were curious as to who Amity’s parents were, and it seems the showrunners waste little time in getting their official introduction out of the way. Of course, this does make me question, if we get everything we need to know about the Blight parents in this episode…or, if they are going to have a character arc as the season progresses.
Most surprisingly, it seems to be Odalia Blight who is calling the shots around the family business. Alador Blight on the other hand, is somewhat of an introvert, but quite skilled with altering Abomination magic with technology.
One area of excitement for this episode was seeing Luz, Willow, Gus, and Amity all back together (for the first time since last season’s episode, Wing It Like Witches), but the episode quickly scatters them after a few minutes together. It also feels rather repetitive that we have another episode wherein Luz is declared expelled/banned, after this declaration was noted in several of the first seasons episodes.
For the episodes “B” plot, we focus on Eda and Lilith studying glyph-magic in Luz’s absence. This is out first glimpse of the two sisters having to really deal with bouncing ideas off each other, and it proves to be quite an entertaining sub-storyline. There’s some humor mined in seeing Lilith become somewhat of a “teacher’s pet,” while Eda struggles with her own ego.
Plus, things learned from the previous episode are carried over, as demonstrated by some scenes showing Lilith and Hooty interacting.
This was an episode that once it got started, I was starting to feel like things were getting back on track with the familiar story structure of the previous season. However, much like the last episode Separate Tides, this story feels like it is a little too overloaded with stuff.
The “A” storyline is where this feeling was most prevalent. There’s stuff dealing with Odalia’s control over Amity, some new information on Willow’s parents, let alone Luz’s friends working together without her, but it all feels quite forced into the story. There even comes a moment near the end that could have had a much stronger emotional impact, if much of what we saw in this storyline had 2-3 episodes to “breathe,” rather than just being forced into this episode.
Surprisingly, the flow of the “B” storyline with the Clawthorne sisters proves to be the smoother-flowing element. It is also notable how the episode helps break down some more information about glyph-magic, let alone the possibilities of mixing them into more powerful spells.
Escaping Expulsion is so far the best episode of season 2, but the fact that it also feels a bit too full of stuff makes me wary for future episodes. Are the next episodes we encounter going to have this unbalanced feeling to a number of their storylines too?
Final Grade: B
Last fall, I was surprised when I stumbled upon the first season of The Owl House on Disney+. Creator Dana Terrace’s story about a human named Luz who has stumbled onto a bizarre fantasy world, definitely pushed my buttons in the same way that series like Gravity Falls and Star vs the Forces of Evil had done.
And now with the start of a new season, I’ve decided to review each episode, and see where the series will take me.
Following the revelations at the end of the first season, Eda Clawthorne (aka The Owl Lady) and her sister Lilith have lost their ability to do magic. Events have also caused the doorway through which Luz entered the Boiling Isles to be destroyed, leaving Eda unable to sell human junk.
This leads to the group turning to bounty hunting to make money. Of the whole group, Luz feels that Eda is doing too much to try and make her comfortable, and sets out with King to capture a creature that will provide a sizable bounty.
Like most series that have a long hiatus between seasons, this episode has the thankless task of playing “catch-up” with its material. This story takes place a few weeks after the events of the last season, and while there is some information given on Emperor Belos and his actions since then, it focuses primarily on our main characters.
The main focus of the episode is on Luz. There are some fun little moments to be had here-and-there, but it feels like something is missing to really make her out-to-sea adventure really stick in the mind (even the attempts to make King act like a parrot feel just…meh). A highlight however, is showing that Luz has been working on upping her game with the use of “glyph-magic” (aka, using drawn symbols in order to do magic), and how quick she has gotten in using them.
The secondary story focuses on Lilith. For much of the first season, she was moreso a supporting character (and always trying to get Eda to join the Emperor’s coven whenever they’d meet!), so seeing her trying to deal with having no powers and being ejected from her place of security is somewhat interesting. One can definitely sense a frustration with herself and her limited abilities, though the episode does mine some unexpected comedy out of Hooty (the sentient entity of The Owl House) taking a shine to her.
The episode also introduces a new character into the mix, with a figure called The Golden Guard (voiced by Zeno Robinson). This character seems to have taken Lilith’s place in Belos’ staff, and the episode manages to give us some notable moments with this mysterious character, leading us to wonder just how he’ll figure into the rest of this season.
Watching the episode a few times, I was trying to figure out whyit didn’t seem to stick in my head. The final conclusion I came to, is that the episode is a little too “busy.” It feels like it could have been better space out over two episodes, but was combined into one, making it feel like we get a lot to process, but not enough time to really hold onto the little moments that should mean something.
With this being the first of season 2’s 20-episode lineup, I’m hoping we’ll get some better episodes soon.
Final Grade: B-
These days, it can be nice when in a world rampant with spoilers, some things can still surprise you.
I remember wandering around Star Wars Celebration in 2019, and seeing people psyched up for The Mandalorian. Even with a prop speeder bike from the show on display, I just dismissed the show as some way to placate the Boba Fett fanboys.
Imagine my surprise later that fall, when I found out how series creator Jon Favreau had something a little different in mind: a series that tapped into the western and samurai tales that George Lucas sought inspiration from, and attempted to tell a live-action story outside the confines of The Skywalker Saga.
Pretty soon, I was drawn into the adventures of Din Djarin (aka the Mandalorian), and his unexpected charge Grogu, aka “The Child.” The show managed to hit me with just enough nostalgia, while taking us off into places that the films would not generally go to.
And now, we find ourselves at the end of the second season, and it’s much-anticipated finale.
With the coordinates to Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) cruiser now in his possession, The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) puts his plan into action to rescue Grogu.
Along with cohorts Cara Dune(Gina Carano), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), Mando recruits fellow Mandalorians Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff), and Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks) to help them out.
After episode 6 of this season, I did wonder if the season finale could do everything it needed to in just 45 minutes. Turns out, I didn’t have much to worry about.
One thing that has been clear over much of season 2, is how the show feels no guilt in reaching back into it’s cast of characters to pull some into the light for various missions. Characters like Mythrol and Miggs Mayfield were definitely a surprise to see play larger supporting roles this season, but I didn’t expect to see Bo-Katan and Koska return before the season ended.
For much of the episode, the action is split-up (with Boba taking a backseat to much of the action). While Mando goes in on his own, it was a nice touch seeing the women of the episode work together in infiltrating the ship. Each of them brings something useful to the fight, and getting to see them interact was a highlight. One highlight for me, was seeing a bit more action given to Fennec Shand, whom I have felt had been rather downplayed since her return to the series.
Seen briefly in episode 6, we also get some of our first full glimpses of Moff Gideon’s nightmarish Darktrooper squad in action. The Terminator-like creations provide some nice tense moments, with an added musical cue from composer Ludwig Goransson to make things seem even more harrowing when our group encounters them on the cruiser.
Like a number of episodes this season, this one attempts to balance out action with emotion, and when it comes to emotions, this episode might hit viewers in ways they never imagined.
Certain revelations given in this episode did push a number of my emotional buttons, but once I had some time to recover and collect my thoughts, I had to judge the episode on it’s overall merits. In fact, one revelation would have probably pushed the episode to the top of my favorites of the season, if certain information hadn’t been given away a few times prior to this episode.
One of the things about the first season of The Mandalorian that I really enjoyed, was that Din Djarin seemed to be a part of the Star Wars galaxy, but quite removed from the previous “lore” that had been a major part of our lives. Seeing Mando encounter characters like Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano I feel is okay, but I often felt that with Star Wars being such a large sandbox to play in, the show could have done a better job of carving out it’s own way in the universe. That to me seems to be the teeter-totter that the series rests on: it tries to make it’s own way, but has a “habit” of diving a little too often into “the familiar.”
The Rescue definitely feels like a turning-point for the series. It draws a curtain over the eight episodes we’ve invested in over the last few months, but much like The Empire Strikes Back, leaves us at a point where we don’t know just where its characters can go. While some mysteries have been solved, new ones have been revealed. It doesn’t feel like there are any easy answers regarding where most of our main characters can go, and that will surely have many of us guessing as we wait once again, for a new season to start up.
I will admit that season 2 of The Mandalorian didn’t win me over as much as the first season, but watching it there were moments where I wished I was watching these episodes with a theater audience. I saw scenes where I could imagine audiences being just as rowdy and enthusiastic as I recall from the opening night of some of the Star Wars films.
If anything, my one hope is when the series returns, we get a lessening of “guest stars,” and focus a little more on developing the cast of characters surrounding Din Djarin, and where his journeys will take him next.
Final Grade: B+
As we near the end of Season 2 of The Mandalorian, it’s been a bumpy-yet-enjoyable ride. There have been quite a few callbacks to Season 1, with some new revelations adding to the story of Mando and his young charge, Grogu. The show has also twisted in ways I didn’t expect, and still it has proven itself to be one of the most enjoyable things associated with the words Star Wars in quite some time for me.
Thanks to some help from Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Mando manages to spring a mercenary named Migs Mayfield (Bill Burr). A former Imperial, Migs is Mando’s key to finding Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who is now in possession of Grogu.
With an assist from Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the group head to the planet Morak, where Mayfield can hopefully put his former skills to good use.
It feels like just when our momentum was building up in relation to the closing of Season 2, the series once again puts us in a “holding pattern.” The Believer is another “heist” storyline (directed by show alumni Rick Famuyiwa), but with a few tricks up it’s sleeves.
When it comes to Mayfield, I think like many of us who saw him in the season 1 episode The Prisoner, we figured he wasn’t ever going to be seen again. Much like the character of Mythrol a few episodes back, Mayfield is a reluctant part of the crew. While abrasive and a bit of a motormouth (he feels like the Joe Pantoliano of the episode!), the writers manage to give most of his ramblings a purpose to the story. A highlight comes during a transport scene, where he attempts to engage Mando in conversation.
For much of the story, Mando’s companions take a backseat as he and Mayfield are front-and-center on their mission. It almost becomes an impromptu buddy storyline, and even gives us some further insight into just how strictly Mando is willing to stick to his Mandalorian code given where his journeys have taken him.
In terms of new worlds on the show, Morak is one of the first jungle environments we’ve seen, and one that manages to give us callbacks to Rogue One in terms of the types of troopers we see. There’s also an action-scene involving a turbo tank-style transport vehicle, that definitely feels like it could have been plucked right out of a video game. The planet stop-off gives us another glimpse into the remnants of The Empire working to rebuild in the shadow of The New Republic, and offers a brief glimpse into Imperial ideologies, in the form of an officer named Valin Hess (Richard Brake)
Unlike typical Imperials, Hess’ drawl seems a little out-of-place coming from the mouth of an officer. Even so, the character manages to be quite intriguing given his limited appearance. The show has done a commendable job so far making even the post-ROTJ Imperials interesting characters to watch.
Overall, The Believer feels like previous Season 2 episodes The Passenger and The Siege: it gives us a chance to catch our breath, before plunging us into what will hopefully be an even more exciting episode. Even so, it might be one of those episodes that may age better with time, given some of what is discussed and revealed regarding its characters, and their ideologies.
Final Grade: B-
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.
We’ve now reached the 75% mark for Season 2 of The Mandalorian, and the episodes have tended to bounce back-and-forth between great and good. With the last several episodes delving into The Clone Wars series, the latest episode catches up on a real blast from the past.
After their encounter with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (formerly known as The Child) head to Tython, where there exists a place that can possibly help them contact other Jedi who might help them give Grogu safe haven.
Shortly after touching down, things don’t go as planned when Mando finds himself facing off against stormtroopers, a foe he once thought dead, and a bounty hunter with a familiar ship.
Following last week’s events, the opening moments show some further understanding between Mando and Grogu, though it is soon after this that their latest adventure becomes like a video game level. Ever play video games where you have to keep the enemy from advancing on a specific target? This is the episode-equivalent of that very game level!
One thing I was largely on the fence about as soon as it was announced, was hearing that Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones) would be appearing as Boba Fett this season. I’ve long been of the thought that while he looked cool, Boba had served his purpose and perished in Return of the Jedi. However, the reappearance of his armor and the final shot of the Season 2 premiere episode The Marshal, piqued my interest.
For this episode, Jon Favreau manages to write Boba as being much more interesting than just the cool-looking guy standing around in the original trilogy (even giving Boba a small callback to his father). We can believe Fett knows his way around blasters and jetpacks, but going into action without these things was most unexpected. A highlight was seeing Morrison wield a gaderffii stick like a Maori warrior, causing me to get drawn into the character for the first time watching him onscreen.
We also get the return of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), whom we last saw on Tatooine in the first season. Much like that appearance however, she’s mainly just along for the ride, making me wonder if the show is just saving her for a much more interesting bit later on (maybe she’ll get her “moment” like IG-11 in the first season?).
When it comes to the arrival of the stormtroopers (coming in some pre-Episode VII troop-transports), this is where the video game-style feelings of the episode begin. Pretty soon, the standard white of the trooper armor gives way to several different varieties, making it feel like a group of online players are mounting an assault on the show. There’s even the appearance of some troopers that play into what was shown at the end of the last episode, making me develop some ideas regarding what the villainous Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) wants Grogu for.
The episode is short on revelations, and feels moreso like the kind of action-oriented fare we saw in The Siege. Director Robert Rodriguez (known for his El Mariachi trilogy) never keeps the action from getting dull, and there are some moments that really pushed my buttons emotionally (including one that made me sense a great disturbance in The Force). There are a few times where I did question some things he made Mando do that were somewhat repetitive. It might have been meant to make it seem humorous with each attempt he made, but it felt like it was merely a way to stretch the run-time out a little (this episode clocks in at just 33 minutes, the shortest chapter of the season so far).
The results of The Tragedy, feels like we are entering the Empire Strikes Back portion of Season 2. not that the first 5 episodes weren’t hard on Mando in their own right, but this episode ends in probably one of the most tense cliffhangers yet. It isn’t on the same high shelf that I place Season 2 episodes The Marshal and The Jedi, but it manages to make due with what it has to offer. I do hope that with the final episodes, we get a return to stories that have been longer than most of what we’ve encountered this season.
Final Grade: B
When The Mandalorian first started, it felt like we were going to see a world where most of what we had learned via the Star Wars films, would take a backseat. Series creator Jon Favreau, looked to be shifting his focus to the grittier side of the galaxy we had glimpsed just briefly in George Lucas’ films.
With The Child showing a resemblance to Yoda and possessing Force-based powers, there was a hint that the Jedi might be showing up in the series…and now, it looks like that time has come.
Going on information given to him by fellow Mandalorian Bo-Katan, Mando takes The Child to Corvus, where he hopes to find a Jedi that will accept his young charge.
It is here that he encounters the walled city of Calodan, presided over by the cruel Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), and her lieutenant Lang (Michael Biehn).
Elsbeth requests Mando’s help to take down a Jedi named Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), who has been attempting to breach the walls of her city.
It just so happens, that Ahsoka is also the Jedi that Mando is looking for.
While the series has shown us a galaxy following the aftermath of the events of Return of the Jedi, this season has also shown us that the series is not afraid to reference things from the prequel films, let alone The Clone Wars animated series.
With The Jedi, writer/director Dave Feloni gets to bring one of the characters he created to life, showing us Ahsoka Tano far removed from what has been seen. Rosario Dawson disappears into her character, showing us someone who seems to have chosen her own path, but still remembers much of her days before the Jedi Purge. The way she is portrayed here, it’s a good bet that current fans of hers will be pleased, and a number of new fans for Ahsoka will be joining them soon.
The episode also gives us some of the most intimate moments with Mando and The Child we’ve seen yet. It feels like it has been awhile since we saw them connect like this, and Ahsoka acts as an intermediary to help Mando better understand the little one (even revealing it’s name!). Though much like his seeking out Mandalorians in the episode The Mistress, Mando’s search for a Jedi does not quite provide him with all the answers he seeks.
In terms of antagonists, Morgan Elsbeth is more of a low-key villain this time around, a figure who stands calm-and-collected in many situations, but is willing to fight if the need arises. A surprising guest appearance was seeing actor Michael Biehn as her lieutenant. Much like Timothy Olyphant earlier in the season, he just blends in surprisingly well for his brief appearance.
For the theming of this episode, the stylings of samurai films are on full display. From the high walls surrounding Caloden, to the barren stalks of trees silhouetted against the moonlit sky, Feloni is tapping into some familiar theming. Even the opening that introduces Ahsoka feels like it has Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s fingerprints on it. The episode overall feels more like an exercise in quietness and contemplation, than the pulse-pounding action we’ve seen in recent episodes.
This is definitely an episode that requires multiple viewings. Much like how George Lucas would layer in details for the prequels, Filoni does the same here, making me think even a few viewings may not be enough to catch a number of the details included here.
The Jedi will surely provide those with fond memories of Ahsoka Tano, an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Its story swings more towards a samurai tale than a western, but it helps act as a nice change of scenery, where we get to slow down and learn more about our lead characters, without having a major threat to contend with. This may also be one of the most emotional episodes we’ve had in the series so far, but we should be wary as dark clouds still loom on the horizon, and the journey for Mando and The Child, may be a ways off from coming to its conclusion.
Final Grade: B+