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Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 15) – Doop-Doop / Britta’s Tacos

Well, after a rather emotional high-point with last episode’s coronation, we return to our regular, two-segmented episode format.

So now, what are those crazy kids gonna do next?

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– Doop-Doop –

Following the events of Eclipsa’s coronation, a number of our main characters have decided to scatter to the winds.

While Marco and Janna return to Earth, Star and Tom decide to take a little vacation. However, Star claims she wants to say goodbye to all her Mewni friends before they go…which seems to take awhile.

This story almost feels like an extended “cameo” segment, wherein we get to see Star and Tom interact with all sorts of characters she wants to say farewell to. The writers also throw in a few that we haven’t encountered before.

What ended up saving the story from falling into “C-grade territory,” was a bit between Tom and Star at the end. What the writers have done with Tom’s character still impresses me, given that it seems he truly has matured beyond his more volatile temper from the beginning of the series. There are some things that are bugging Star, and Tom actually chooses to tackle these issues…by talking!

An okay storyline, but one that feels like it could have used a much better set-up, to get to it’s conclusion.

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Best line from segment (said by Star Butterfly): “Mm, that’s good mewman.”

Final Grade: B-

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– Britta’s Tacos –

Star goes along with Marco and his new baby sister Mariposa, to Britta’s Tacos. Marco is eager to finish his punch-card from the place and get their mystery prize, but as he attempts to complete his card, he runs across a number of people he hasn’t seen in awhile.

This story almost feels like the yang to Doop-Doop’s ying. While that segment showed us a number of creatures Star knew, this episode becomes a veritable cavalcade of characters we haven’t seen in awhile, associated with Marco and Echo Creek. Notable among them is StarFan13, who is almost like our “in-the-know” narrator about what has been going on in Marco’s absence.

This story is pretty much Marco-centric, with Star just finally allowed to “relax” after the last year(!?) of craziness on Mewni. One bit of emotional craziness Marco finds himself second-guessing himself on, was his treatment of Jackie Lynn Thomas when they were dating some time ago. The ‘was I a bad boyfriend’ vibe that Marco deals with, is something that is very real, and I do wonder if the show’s writers brought that element out of their own pasts, and put it up on the screen for all to see.

Much like Star’s emotional ennui in Doop-Doop, it is Marco’s own questioning of his feelings that keeps this an okay storyline.

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Best line from segment (said by Star Butterfly): “If we’re gonna do this, Mama needs a horchata.”

Final Grade: B-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Seahorse, in Doop-Doop): “If I go outside, I’ll explode!”

As is the norm, when we come back down from a 22-minute episode, the 2-segment episode that follows usually doesn’t succeed in outdoing it.

Doop-doop unfortunately feels like a story that could have been much more entertaining regarding Star’s emotional baggage. Britta’s Tacos on the other hand, deals with Marco’s pasts in a number of different ways, and causes him to wonder about his past actions.

In the next episode, it looks like Star and Marco are finally going to have their Beach Day. And in Gone Baby Gone, baby Meteora and Marco’s little sister accidentally go through a portal, leading to our teen couple to rescue the two, before it’s too late. See you back soon!

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Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 14) – Coronation

When it comes to 22-minute episodes of Star vs the Forces of Evil, the showrunners usually reserve these rarities for something big.

And with a title like Coronation, it looks like this could definitely fit the bill.

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– Coronation –

Star has helped Eclipsa to put on an official, royal coronation. All seems to be going well…until it’s revealed that someone has unfrozen Globgor from his crystal imprisonment!

When it comes to her relationship with Eclipsa, Star has often seemed a bit more open-minded than most in the kingdom (including her Mom). While she has strived to help Eclipsa, there have been a few times this season where she has found herself questioning the former Queen’s motives. While this is Eclipsa’s coronation episode, Star does most of the “heavy-lifting” story-wise.

It is a little surprising that we are shown Globgor so soon after the last storyline. I had expected that maybe we’d get a little time to catch our breath, but here he is! There are also some embellishments made to his monster powers that we saw in The Monster and the Queen segment, and we get to see a number of persons freaked out by Globgor’s imposing form. However, if you saw his previous, un-crystallized appearance, you’ll see plenty of familiar touches to his character here.

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What is notable about parts of this story, is how there are several threads from episodes we’ve already seen, that actually get tied into this one. That has been a saving grace for a number of stories this season, given how it seemed fairly common in previous seasons to be shown stuff that would never be resolved, or simply go nowhere.

We also get a small sub-plot in regards to Moon Butterfly, as well as the small mewman colony she and her husband River oversee. While Moon strives to just provide a safe-haven for displaced mewmans, the centuries-old thought that “monsters are evil” still has not totally washed away with Eclipsa’s taking back the throne (let alone the thought that she’s favoring monsters over them). This is something one rarely sees in an animated cartoon series, and the show has decided to not just wave a magic wand and make everyone see logic or reason, but prove that this is something that may take awhile to be resolved in this world.

There is also a rather mild sub-story, wherein during the emergency crisis, Marco, Tom, and a few others from the castle attempt to distract the coronation crowd with a talent show. I will admit it’s okay for a few laughs, including one scene that just feels like something that teenagers would totally do when performing.

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By the time the episode ended, I was surprised to realize how satisfying I found the entire thing! There was not only drama, but emotion, action, fun, and a number of callbacks to various characters and plot-threads we’ve seen over the last few seasons. While I felt there were a few story hiccups here-and-there, the overall story was strong enough, that I found myself giving it one of the highest grades so far for season 4 episodes yet.

Coronation is definitely one of those “turning-point” episodes, and one can only wonder how the actions of what takes place within it, will shape the last seven episodes of Star vs the Forces of Evil.

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Best line from episode (said by Janna): “Nice job, Eclipsa. I get it now.”

Final Grade: A-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by random coronation attendee): “I don’t know how to respond to this shift in the paradigm!”

I wasn’t sure just what to expect with this episode. To me, it could have ended up as another Bon Bon the Birthday Clown, but instead, came out on top with a revelatory tone and feel, that made me as emotionally-involved as I was with last season’s episode, titled Toffee.

The next episode sees a return to the two-segment episode format. First up is Doop-Doop, where Star and Tom decide to take a little trip. Then, in Britta’s Tacos, Star goes back to Earth, and attempts to help Marco with a little quest of his own there. See you soon!

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 13) – A Boy and his DC-700XE / The Monster and the Queen

The last episode of Star vs the Forces of Evil, seemed to lead us off the beaten path with some side-stories, that were sort of…meh?

This week, we get a story with Tom and Marco, and…one with Eclipsa and Globgor!

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– A Boy and his DC-700XE –

Marco and a number of other dragoncycle riders are going on the annual Kill Devil’s Pass event. This year, Marco has invited Tom to join them, but he seems to be having some troubles with his new dragoncycle.

This story seems to be follow in the foosteps of the Junkin’ Janna segment, in that we see Tom away from Star, trying to socialize with others. When it comes to his dragoncycle, the writers seem to have combined the general storylines of getting a new pet, and learning to ride a bicycle.

Marco comes across as the voice-of-reason here, trying to quell Tom’s frustrations. It has been awhile since the two shared some time together, and while it is an okay outing, it isn’t as memorable as some of their past ones.

There was also a story element regarding Marco and Kelly a few episodes ago, that I had hoped would lead somewhere…but this segment slams that door of possibilities shut in a manner of seconds.

While it does give us a break from the Eclipsa storyline, it feels like it struggles to keep us entertained at times.

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Best line in segment (said by Quirky): “Oh thank goodness. He ain’t nothin’ but bruises!”

Final Grade: C+

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– The Monster and the Queen –

While Star is shocked to find her fragment of the Book of Spells missing from her secrets closet, Eclipsa is off on a secret rendezvous…with Globgor!

What really got me excited about this segment, was getting to see and hear Globgor for the first time. Mexican actor Jaimes Camil gives the monster an accented voice that seems to almost run counter to what one would assume him to sound like. However, after awhile, the voice ends up working for the character.

Though Eclipsa did tell others that her husband was a vegetarian, there are some instances where we see Globgor get a bit angered and somewhat vengeful when it comes to mewmans. This does make one wonder if Eclipsa was telling the truth about him being reformed.

The concept of truth-telling also works into a small conversation between Eclipsa and Star. We had Moon in a previous episode say she didn’t trust Eclipsa, and now it may seem Star could be following in her mother’s footsteps, given certain elements we see here (including some dialogue that makes her sound very mature for her age!).

Stories that give us a peek into a character or characters, are incredibly entertaining to me. Season 3’s Moon the Undaunted (telling of Moon Butterfly’s actions following the death of her mother) is still one of my favorite segments, and this one feels like it may have cracked my Top 10.

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Best line in segment (said by Globgor): “Ooooh. That’s creepy, Boo.”

Final Grade: A-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Star Butterfly, in The Monster and the Queen): “Are you seriously worried about what I think? Eclipsa, why don’t you ever worry about what your people think!?”

I guess this could be considered a better-than-average episode, given what we have to work with here. A Boy and his DC-700XE proved to be an okay diversion, while The Monster and the Queen delivered one of those most entertaining and entrancing segments in awhile!

The next episode to be reviewed, is titled Coronation. It’s a full 22-minute story, where Eclipsa will officially be crowned as Mewni’s Queen. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 12) – Junkin’ Janna / A Spell with No Name

So far this season, we’ve seen Star vs the Forces of Evil’s narrative jump around to a number of different people and locales.

With the 12th episode, we get an unlikely pairing, and a return to the inside of the magic want.

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– Junkin’ Janna –

While Star and Eclipsa are off at an urgent meeting of the Magical High Commission, Tom is hanging out with Janna. However, their fun times are interrupted by a very persistent crow.

The main focus of the story seems to be on Janna and Tom. While Janna just wants to have fun hanging around a junk yard, Tom is texting with Star. There’s attempts made to mine humor out of Tom’s incessant back-and-forth with his girlfriend, but I think my face largely mirrored Janna’s when it came to the “humor” here.

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Magical High Commission, and the sub-story here once again shows us how boring bureaucracy can be. We do get the return of the security officer named Sean, who is the comedic element for Star and Eclipsa’s side of things. Unfortunately, the humor here also feels rather “meh.”

I at first thought this was a self-contained story, but there are certain elements related to a subplot in this season, that soon rears it’s head. If only the overall segment could have been as intriguing as those final few minutes.

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Best line from segment (said by Janna): “We all have a purpose, Tom.”

Final Grade: C+

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– A Spell with No Name –

Star’s magic spells are in the middle of a pancake breakfast, when Eclipsa’s spells invade their territory. When Spider with a Top Hat is put out of commission, Narwhal is tasked with finding out what is going on.

We’ve had a few stories already that showed us Star’s magic being alive, but this takes us a step further. It is revealed that all the magic spells created by the Queens of Mewni exist in a pocket-dimension, and co-exist with each other. I found this to be a rather intriguing embellishment. Plus, the spell of the title proves that magic can be just as dangerous inside a wand, as it can be outside it.

Spider with a Top Hat is generally our guide through stories like this, so it was surprising when Narwhal was tasked to go on this adventure. This episode is an intriguing mystery, that to me, did it’s job much better than Queen-napped (or even Yada-Yada Berries). There’s a spooky atmosphere, helped by both light-and-shadow play, as well as Brian H Kim’s score.

It is a rather interesting way to subvert the typical “inside-the-wand” stories we’ve seen before, and give another of it’s members a chance to shine. However, this will probably be the last time we get a peek this deep into the wand, so we’re left to wonder what else is inside this pocket-dimension. There is a very intriguing cliffhanger as well, that makes me wonder if it will be paid off before the season is finished.

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Best line from segment (said by Narwhal): “You can’t just blow up the whole dimension! My kid’s still got to eat his pancakes!”

Final Grade: B-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Flying Pig, in A Spell with No Name): “Shame on you, Richard.”

Well, another okay episode by my standards. Junkin’ Janna felt like a struggle to make it’s story entertaining, while A Spell with No Name offered some intriguing mystery and atmosphere. Stuff seems to be in motion as we head towards the finale, though we’ll have to wait and see if any of the revelations in this episode will make it that far.

Next episode, we get Marco going dragon-cycling with A Boy and his DC-700XE. Then, we get a story with both Eclipsa & Globgor, in The Monster and the Queen See you soon for the next review.

 

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 11) – The Knight Shift / Queen-napped

With episode 11 of Star vs the Forces of Evil, we have officially hit the middle of the series’ final season.

While the last episode focused on talking about the past and future of Mewni by focusing on the youth of it’s adult mewmans and monsters, this episode returns us to focusing on our main cast of characters.

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– The Knight Shift –

Under the new rule of Queen Eclipsa, Marco has now become a knight! However, upon finding out that such a role can lead to permanently serving the kingdom, he begins to have second.

It’s rather shocking that the writers returned to this small subplot that was part of last season. I had almost forgotten about it until this story reminded me.

Like many other episodes this season, this one gives us plenty of callbacks to things we’ve seen in the past (including a costume-change for Star that we haven’t seen since the first season!). One of the strangest character appearances, is in the form of a knight named Sir Crandle…who looks suspiciously like Echo Creek’s guidance counselor Mr Candle!

Star takes more of a backseat to this storyline, though there now seems to be a new story-point that Marco wants to return to Earth! The use of this as a plot-point feels a little rushed (why weren’t there some signs leading up to this?), though it does give Star some quieter, “thoughtful” moments where she is struggling with her feelings on this…and just when we seemed to have gotten over the “Blood Moon Curse!”

There’s the spark of an emotional storyline that could have made this story much more entertaining in my eyes, but it’s sidelined with the knight-based subplot that feels like it just doesn’t work that well.

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Best line from segment (said by Marco Diaz): “If you so much as singe a single thread on that patchwork, I swear your face will hit every surface in this room, and when you wake up, you’ll be in the belly of that dragon.”

Final Grade: B-

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– Queen-napped –

Eclipsa has been queen-napped, and is being held for ransom! While Star and her friends wish to find her as soon as possible, Ponyhead takes great delight in broadcasting the search to as many mewmans and monsters across the kingdom as possible.

It feels like only yesterday we had a mystery on our hands (with the Yada Yada Berries segment), but it seems we’re onto a new one now. This story does seem to be a little more interesting…but not by much.

Much like her last appearance, Ponyhead is once again the most abrasive thing about this segment, with her being more concerned about the appearance of the whole search. The set-up is more of an adventure than a film noir-style mystery, so we’re taken to a number of different locales throughout the storyline.

The ending to the segment is only slightly better than Yada Yada’s resolved plot, but not by much. The story has it’s moments, but there just wasn’t enough to really make me fully enjoy it like I was hoping to do.

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Best line from segment (said by Azniss Ponyhead): “We never discussed this!”

Final Grade: C+

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Lady Higgs, in The Knight Shift): “There’s nothing left for me here.”

Well, this episode…just didn’t entertain me in the way the last one did. Knight Shift had a chance to really get into some emotional territory but didn’t go far enough, and Queen-napped was just a marginally-okay storyline to me.

The next episode, sees Janna and Tom off on an adventure of their own in Junkin’ Janna. Then, we return to the inside of the royal wand, where we find Star’s magic spells meeting Eclipsa’s. See you for the next review real soon.

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 10) – Cornball / Meteora’s Lesson

Watching the fourth season of Star vs the Forces of Evil, it has felt like there’s often some inter-connective themes when there are two segments for some of the 22-minute episodes.

For their tenth episode of the season, it feels like the writers have chosen to focus on the next generation of monsters and mewmans on the planet Mewni.

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– Cornball –

As a continued way of showing social barriers being broken, Mewni is holding it’s first monsters-vs-mewmans Cornball game. Star Butterfly eagerly invites Buff Frog and his family to watch (and hopefully return to Mewni), but the family frog has his doubts that things have changed.

It was a disappointment to me when it looked like a possible character development for Buff Frog was sidelined in Season 3, but I was very excited to see his return in this story. Along for the ride are his children, who have grown since we last saw them. His daughter Katrina I felt could have some great potential, and she does have a few fun moments here.

We also get some fun in the form of Kelly and Marco in the announcer’s booth. voice-actress Dana Davis really sounds like she’s having fun in this episode,  and voice-actor Adam McArthur also adds some humor to Marco trying to understand the rules of Cornball.

Overall, it’s not so much the game of Cornball this story is attempting to tell, as to show some elements of “generational acceptance.” Some can probably guess where the story is going to go half-way through the segment, but it led to a somewhat predictable storyline, that still left me with a smile on my face in the end.

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Best line from segment (said by Buff Frog): “One day, she will surpass me. I am…so proud.”

Final Grade: B

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– Meteora’s Lesson –

While Eclipsa has a meeting with the Pigeon Kingdom, she has Janna babysit Meteora. However, Glossaryck has other plans, and sneaks the little monster off for some one-on-one time.

At the end of last season, voice-actor Keith David took over voice duties for Glossaryck. He brings something a little different to the character, and it has felt like so far, he controls his vocal range a bit more than the previous voice actor. Glossaryck as a character has also seemed a bit more subdued this season as well. Then again, most of the last season had him going around just saying “Globgor.”

A surprise for this story, was Meteora! I had originally thought she was just going to be “the cute monster baby prop” of the season, but it seems she has a stronger connection with Glossaryck than I had originally thought. Though she can’t fully speak, we do get to see some minor character development given over to her (even if she is now a baby).

Much like Ghost of Butterfly Castle, this segment also delves into Mewni’s back-story, and we even get a surprising cameo appearance by a dark figure (though sadly, it doesn’t explain as much as I would have wished about this figure).

There’s also a journey through time, with a new character by the name of Reynaldo. There is a startling revelation about him, but it feels like he’ll just be another throwaway character as the season barrels towards it’s inevitable conclusion.

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Best line from segment (said by Glossaryck of Terms): “This might take awhile so-AGH you know what? Nevermind! He’s here!”

Final Grade: B-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by unnamed monster child, in Cornball): “This is for you, David! I’ll always love you!”

While both stories had their faults, the through-line about focusing on the next generation of mewmans and monsters, was a good combination. Though it stands to reason we may be left to imagine if they can get over the mistakes their parents and past generations made.

Our next episode will delve into a return to Marco’s knight subplot in The Knight Shift, and a royal emergency regarding Eclipsa, in Queen-napped. See you soon for our next review.

Episode Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil (Season 4, Episode 9) – Princess Quasar Caterpillar and the Magic Bell / Ghost of Butterfly Castle

After a 22-minute storyline messing with it’s incessant fan-shippers, Star vs the Forces of Evil returns to it’s regular two-segment format.

What is most notable about this episode, is that it’s segments push Star and her friends to the side, and focus on a few characters we haven’t seen in awhile.

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– Princess Quasar Caterpillar and the Magic Bell –

After failing to claim another magical artifact, Ludo doesn’t know what to do with himself. However, his younger brother Dennis attempts to help him…by dredging up things from Ludo’s sordid past.

The title for the episode is a little misleading, as it starts out with a very interesting alternate-dimension version of the Bon-Bon the Birthday Clown episode…for a few minutes, anyway (there’s even a tiny reference to the segment Ludo in the Wild).

The main focus of the segment is Dennis trying to break his brother out of his funk…though I do question Dennis’ methods in dragging Ludo back into his ‘old ways’ as a source of helping him move on. This doesn’t feel so much like Dennis trying to help Ludo, as it is “enabling” him. We even get to see the return of some of Ludo’s monster henchmen (some of whom I thought had been destroyed in the Season 1 finale!).

Where the story did get surprising, is when something happens that really shows just how much Ludo cares for Dennis. We haven’t really seen anything this strong from Ludo before regarding his family, and it ends up being the saving grace that lifted up the story in my eyes.

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Best line from segment (said by Ludo): “This feels better than I’d like it to.”

Final Grade: B-

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– Ghost of Butterfly Castle –

Moon Butterfly and her husband River have welcomed a number of the mewman population to live near their new home, but Moon grows annoyed when they can’t seem to agree on basic things.

Going back to the ruins of Butterfly Castle to find something that might help, she comes across some unexpected surprises.

This is Moon’s story, and we actually get some wonderful mood-filled moments, as she explores the castle. It’s like she is combing through the ruins of her previous life, and trying to figure out what she should do next. It’s a subtle “crossroads” segment, but what she decides to do going forward, will make one wonder if she will stick to her convictions.

Much like Moon’s previous appearance, the writers attempt to mine comedy out of the helplessness of the population, but it still doesn’t feel humorous to me.

An unexpected appearance is also made by Mina Loveberry. Mina’s appearances in the past felt as irritating as most of Ponyhead’s, but this may be one of the few times where a segment actually has her stop being over-the-top long enough be intriguing…and make us realize that she may now be one of the most dangerous beings on Mewni. This was most interesting in how we saw a revelation tying into a segment a few episodes ago.

There are areas of the segment that also tie into some Star-related books from Disney Press, and I could just imagine the surprise on some of the fan’s faces, as they hear some of Mewni’s history being discussed in this story.

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Best line from segment (said by Day-Planner Thief): “That’s anarchy for you!”

Final Grade: B-

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Best honorable mention line from episode (said by Ludo, in Princess Quasar Caterpillar and the Magic Bell): “Let’s say his heart is in a better place now.”

This episode seems to show that Ludo can’t quite escape his past, while Moon attempts to move on from hers. Both stories also make us wonder if this is the last we’ve seen of the two (most notably Ludo).

In the next episode, we get to see some of the popular Mewnian sport Cornball in the episode of the same name. Glossaryck also attempts to teach Meteora a thing-or-two, in Meteora’s Lesson. See you back here soon for the next review.