The magical princess from another dimension continues her third season, and here are the best episodes from her second season.
With new episodes of its third season set to premiere this week, I’d like to take a look back at the past two seasons of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil and list my favorite episodes. Since we’ve already looked back at the first season, let’s take a look at the second.
If the first season was an experiment to see what random nonsense the series could get away with, the second season was surely an experiment to see how dramatic it can become while still retaining its overall random nature. The results of the experiment? More than successful!
The drama really picked up by the first half of the season, with Ludo not only regaining his strength, but learning to wield his new powers to the point where he successfully stole Star’s book of spells and Glossaryck. Things only took a turn for the worse when it was revealed that Toffee was possessing him all along, and the end result was a season finale that left everyone hanging until the third season.
The only thing more dramatic than the overall plot was the relationship between Star and Marco, which became quite the emotional roller coaster this season. Their relationship started out as just friends, and by the end of the season…they were still just friends, though Marco’s new relationship with Jackie and Star’s hidden (later, revealed) feelings towards Marco made things between them much more complicated.
So how will things turn out by the third season? Will Star and Marco remain “just friends”? Have we seen the last of Ludo and Toffee? And what of this mysterious Queen Eclipsa? We’ll have to wait and see. Until then, here’s a look back at the best episodes of the second season:
#10: Star on Wheels
As I said in my previous list, sometimes the most entertaining episodes have the simplest premises. And what could be more entertaining that watching Star dodging obstacles on an out-of-control bike?
How about watching Marco try to rescue her in a car with absolutely no help from the incompetent Oskar and even more incompetent Glossaryk?
This episode goes all out with this premise, presenting a high-octane car and bike chase that provides one high-octane comedic moment after another.
If you’re not laughing at Star trying to dodge every obstacle she runs across, from oddly-placed road signs to a woman carrying a baby (or rather, the portrait of a woman carrying a baby), then you’re probably cracking up at Marco and the others leaping over a sinkhole in their car like Thelma and Louise leaping over the canyon. (Only, in this case, they all survive!)
Everything eventually culminates into the epic payoff at the end, and while I won’t give that away, let’s just say that it involves faith, trust, and giant invisible goats. (Yes, that’s a running joke that eventually pays off!)
Also, while Oskar and Glossaryk prove overall useless in this endeavor, they do succeed in tossing out a sick and sweet impromptu song…before tossing their cookies from their sickly-sweet meatball sub and chips combo.
With this series being an homage to magical girl anime, it was only a matter of time until they introduced a character who was a parody of the mother of all magical girl anime. And what a character Mina Loveberry is!
Take all of the characteristics of Usagi Tsukino (or Serena, for those who grew up watching the English dub), focus specifically on her obnoxiousness and hyperactivity, ramp them both up to eleven, add some senility and the uncontrollable temper of the Hulk, and you have the perfect Sailor Moon parody character.
The only thing more hilarious than watching her bumble around the real world is watching Star fawn over her as the epitome of the skilled warrior while Marco and the other human characters see her as the obnoxious maniac that she really is.
The only thing that puts this episode lower on the list is all of the jingoistic preaching about how “perfect” America is because of its commitment to “democracy” and “representative government” through “the radical process of voting.”
While the episode’s patriotic heart seems to be in the right place, following the outcome of the 2016 election, you really have to wonder if the average American has a better grasp of these concepts than Mina. (The obvious answer is, no, they don’t!)
#8: Starsitting/On the Job
These two episodes are tied together because they work in conjunction with one another to create a single coherent storyline. The first episode involves Star and Marco taking care of Buff Frog’s tadpoles while he’s away on a job, while the other episode involves him working said job.
The first episode contains all the adorable cuteness one would expect from an episode about baby tadpoles (so much so that you’d assume this episode was created specifically to pander to the side of Tumblr obsessed with kitties and puppers), all while everything that can go wrong with Star babysitting said tadpoles does go wrong.
The second episode deals with Buff Frog as he tries to tackle his new job, only for him to discover that his new life as a father has made it harder for him to return to his old evil henchmen ways.
Both episodes are heartwarming, with one being about cute little tadpoles, while the other involves a father overcoming his evil past in order to make a better future for his new children.
Together, they provide an overall heartwarming experience that will leave anyone feeling all sorts of fuzzy emotions. (And if you don’t feel such fuzzy emotions, you clearly have no soul!)
If this episode seems similar to “Blood Moon Ball”, that’s because it is, only with Tom trying to take advantage of Marco instead of Star.
Tom tries to impress Marco by taking him to a movie marathon of his favorite action star, Mackie Hand. On the way, the two manage to have a good time together, sharing movie trivia, singing along to their favorite pop songs, splurging on cereal, and even getting the upper hand with two jerky dudebros in another car. (BTW, Who doesn’t want to try that trick in real life?)
Of course, as can be expected, Tom was merely using Marco to earn an anger management graduation badge — and he would have succeeded had Marco hung out with him for another four and a half minutes!
As I mentioned in my previous list, this three-way relationship with Star, Marco, and Tom reminds me of a similar scenario in real life regarding a close friend of mine and a former boyfriend of hers. As he’s tried to impress her in an attempt to show that he’s changed, so to has he tried to impress me with the things that we like. So I can really relate to this situation.
What makes this episode work is that, even though we all know that Tom isn’t being completely honest, we can tell that he and Marco are genuinely bonding, even if it’s under false pretenses.
Even after Tom reveals that it was all a ruse, he still manages to prove that it wasn’t all completely fake, and that he and Marco were really forming a sliver of a good friendship.
If the song they share together near the end doesn’t solidify this, then Tom bringing Mackie Hand back from the dead to make amends with Marco does.
BTW, no, I don’t support the TomCo shipping. Can’t two men share an emotionally bonding moment together that’s strictly platonic and not romantic? Can’t it be a simple bromance with “no homo”? (Not that there’s anything wrong with the homo, of course! It’s the current year!)
Star invites her classmates over to a slumber party for typical sleepover fun: styling hair, baking brownies, playing a game of truth and dare where life is on the line. (Okay, so perhaps the last part isn’t “typical” sleepover fun, but it is for Star and her friends!)
A game of truth or dare where not telling the truth has dire consequences makes for an exciting premise, even though the questions for such a game, from “what’s your favorite color?” to “did you enjoy Star’s brownies?”, are not as exciting. However, even though these questions are mundane, the consequences for not answering them truthfully remain dire, to the point of being destroyed by a deranged truth or dare game machine.
Aside from this ridiculously dangerous game of truth or dare, what makes this episode exceptional is two-fold: first, it finally gets Marco to confess his love for Jackie Lynn Thomas and sets the ball rolling forward for their relationship.
Most impressive of all is how this game manages to reveal the true nature of truth. We often view truth as being black or white, true or false; but this episode revels that the very concept is much more complicated, being more akin to “a rainbow of colors” that’s always changing.
Sometimes we lie to ourselves. Sometimes we change our minds. And sometimes we doubt what we really believe. As Star herself said, “Sometimes you don’t know what you think. Your head and heart disagree. You think you know how you feel about something, but then it changes.”
Honestly, this episode tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what we really know about the truth. And that’s no lie!
#5: Into the Wand
As far as plot goes, not much really happens in this episode. Star enters her wand, goes on an acid trip, visits the Haunted Mansion stretching room to learn more about her family history, and finds a finger before exiting through Glossaryck’s eye. (You know, a normal episode!)
Though there’s not much of a plot, sometimes you don’t really need one. Sometimes you just need an interesting scenario to place a character in and see how they experience it. And boy is this quite the surreal experience!
With the setting taking place inside Star’s memories, the episode has a string-of-consciousness flow to it, offering an overall atmosphere that wavers between surreal and creepy. Even creepier is the implication that Star could end up getting “lost” in her old memories, replaced by her new memories, and never knowing the difference. In fact, some fans have even speculated that the “old” Star didn’t make it out of her wand!
Most interesting is the “Grandma Room” section of her memories, which offers a glimpse of her family history and highlights a few interesting ancestors, even offering a little backstory involving her mother and Toffee — a backstory that would inevitably be fleshed out in the episode, “Moon the Undaunted.”
Overall, this episode offers a surreal and bizarre experience that makes Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole seem like a trip to the store in comparison.
#4: Just Friends
First, kudos to the song writers for writing a song that manages to parody modern-day pop songs while actually sounding like a genuine pop song. Love Sentence actually sounds like a boy band that you’d hear in real life, and their song, “Just Friends”, does sound like a song you’d hear on a Top 40 station. I wouldn’t even mind adding this song to my personal playlist. (In fact, I wonder if they have this on iTunes…)
Aside from being a genuinely good pop song (and of course, by “good”, I mean something that Todd in the Shadows would tear to shreds in one of his reviews), “Just Friends” manages to put into words the feelings presented in this episode, especially the conflicted feelings that Star has for Marco; and if the song doesn’t spell it out for you, then her casually blowing up the concert’s promotional billboard will.
We’ve all been in an experience like this before. We’ve all had friends that we’ve enjoyed individually and that we’ve wanted to hang out with together so that we could enjoy each other’s company, but for some reason, things don’t work out as we expected.
Maybe our friends don’t get along well with each other. Maybe we have a hard time finding something that we all can enjoy together. Or maybe, as is the case in this episode, we end up spending more time with one friend than we do with the other, something that both Marco and Star struggle with in this episode.
Also, kudos to Disney for including their first same-sex kiss in an animated cartoon in the concert scene. Of course, it doesn’t help that they would eventually censor this episode to placate the homophobic backlash this episode received. Or that they had censored another same-sex kiss in a previous cartoon. But at least they’re including a same-sex relationship in one of their live-action teencoms. Progress?
#3: Running with Scissors
As I mentioned in my previous list, what I really love about this show is how it’s an equal opportunity offender when it comes to the “fish out of water” storyline. Not only does it reveal how out-of-touch Star is when it comes to the real world, but how Marco is equally out-of-touch when it comes to magic. And boy does he really learn that lesson the hard way in this episode!
Many would probably consider Marco’s punishment to be harsher than it really needs to be, though you can also understand why Marco needs to be taught this lesson to begin with. Being able to use dimensional scissors that allow you to travel to other worlds is a great power for one person to wield — and as they say, with great power comes great responsibility! So it only makes sense that only the most deserving should be able to wield it.
What I love most about this episode isn’t necessarily what we see, but rather what we don’t see. There’s a time lapse of 16 years from when Marco began his challenge to when he finally completed it. We only know from Marco’s brief conversation with Hekapoo about the ordeals he faced during that time, and everything else is left to the imagination.
You have to wonder what it was like for Marco to go through something like that, especially as a teenager. He spent 16 years of his life trying to hunt down Hekapoo, which is practically his entire life! What thoughts were running through his head during that time? Would he ever see his loved ones again? If he did, would they remember him? And what if he didn’t make it back? What if he spent the rest of his life running this fool’s errand? Would he continue his interdimensional journey from there?
Eventually, he does complete his challenge and return home, only to revert back to his previous form as a teenager. You really have to wonder if he retained any of his memories during his interdimensional quest, or if his mind reverted back to that of a high school student upon his return. How awkward is it to live your life all the way to adulthood only to get a hard reset on your life like that?
It’s little things like that, things that are unseen rather than seen, things that really makes you consider such existential contemplation, that make an episode like this truly extraordinary.
#2: Bon Bon the Birthday Clown
Perhaps the genius behind this episode is the title, which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual episode itself. Sure, there’s a Bon Bon the Clown that eventually shows up, but…well, I’m not going to give anything away. Let’s just say it’s a real surprise like his trick candles!
The whole of the episode involves Marco and Star learning to have fun without each other, with Marco going on his first date with Jackie and Star attending a séance for Bon Bon with Janna.
In each scenario, both characters struggle to enjoy their evening without the other. Marco has to struggle with the awkwardness that comes with every first date, while Star struggles to enjoy her own special evening without Marco, even going so far as to constantly message him to ensure that he’s doing okay.
Their relationship with each other has been somewhat of a catalyst within this series, and this is the very first episode that we actually see that catalyst start to weaken, only to further weaken in future episodes like “Just Friends.”
Making matters worse is the return of Ludo, who wants to steal Star’s magical book of spells. While this battle does prove that Star and Marco’s relationship remains strong, with Marco rushing to the aid of Star in the nick of time, the outcome…well, again, I don’t want to give anything away, but it does leave Star with a loss that certainly ends up sending the series in a different direction. But no as drastically as…
#1: Face the Music/Starcrushed
These two episodes together to form one coherent storyline, so it only made sense that they would be tied — and considering how epic that storyline was, it only made sense to tie them at first place.
Let’s start off with the best part of the first episode: the music. I had no idea who Patrick Stump was before, but after listening to “The Ballad of Star Butterfly”, I’ve since become curious about his other work. His song does an excellent job of reflecting Star’s personality through music, not to mention it’s an overall good song to rock out to — even if the second half is cringeworthy.
What makes these two episodes work is how they handle the relationship between Star and Marco. Throughout this season, their relationship has been quite the emotional roller coaster, which has only become more out of control with Marco’s new relationship with Jackie combined with Star’s secret feelings towards him — which is promptly thrown through a loop once those feelings become less-than-secret.
What’s not-so-secret is that every fan has some stake in where their relationship eventually goes. Some fans ship Star with Marco. Others want either one to be shipped with another character, whether it’s Marco with Jackie, Star with Tom, or whatever other shipping they consider to be OTP. These two episodes by no means provide any clear answers of where their relationship is heading, but they do everything to make things even more complicated. Both episodes leave us all hanging because, inevitably, both Star and Marco are left hanging.
And of course, there’s the actual storyline involving Ludo and Toffee, which is especially improved now that Queen Moon has decided to intervene. Having previously been an under-developed parental figure, Queen Moon has received a lot of character development this season, and especially in these two episodes. She wants to do what’s best for Star and her kingdom, yet she feels the burden of carrying that responsibility alone, having convinced herself that she has everything under control. She quickly learns that it isn’t, and…well, no spoilers here.
These two episodes don’t take us on a wild ride. They continue the ride we’ve already been riding and makes it wilder, especially when it comes to preparing us for the inevitable twists and turns to come in the next season.