Star Vs. The Forces of Evil might be on hiatus after the fall finale, but Disney XD still treated us to an awesome holiday special. Up first, we have “Stump Day,” a signature Star approach to the holidays; goofy, fun, and just a bit frightening. It’s winter in Mewni and there’s a celebration going on in Butterfly Castle, but it’s not an Earth holiday, it’s Stump Day! This is Star’s favorite holiday, and oh boy does she take it seriously. She takes part in the festivities with glee, looking on with bright eyes as her father recounts the tale of Stump Day’s origin.
Long ago, mewman explorers arrived at the shores of Mewni, only to be hit by a great storm. The explorers took shelter from the storm behind a giant stump. They survived and carved thier initials into the stump to commemorate the day. Every year after, they celebrated the day by honoring the stump for all it has given them. They must celebrate and honor the stump – creating a replica of the stump in their home – for 24 hours, or else.
As we mentioned, Star takes this incredibly seriously, and she believes in The Stump as though it weren’t merely a tale to make kids behave during the holidays. However, she seems to be the only one her age who still believes in The Stump, as well as the threat that looms if it is not honored.
Because of this, Marco, unknowing of both Star’s belief in The Stump and of the holiday in general, throws Star a surprise quinceanera. Turns out that Star’s birthday always falls on stump day, but she never celebrates it, for it would dishonor the stump. Star is not happy with Marco’s surprise and freaks out.
Star’s freak out causes drama throughout the party. Tom says he warned Marco not to throw the party, but Marco thinks it’s because Tom forgot Star’s birthday altogether. Marco calls Tom a bad boyfriend and they fight, prompting Kelly and Janna to argue as the latter claims Kelly is just mad that Marco and Tom aren’t fighting over her. The party erupts into arguments, which only makes Star freak out even more.
In order to bring everyone together in the spirt of Stump Day, Star opens the windows to let the cold in, hoping everyone gathers around the castle’s stump for warmth and shelter, and it works… sort of. Janna ends up throwing the castle’s stump in the fire, which makes Star freeze in terror.
Suddenly, lightning strikes and things turn very dark, very fast. The Stump, the original stump, a monster/spirit of the holiday, shows up in the castle and terrorizes those who dishonored it. Star was right all along, The Stump was real, and not even her parents believed. The Stump grabs all of the party-goers in its roots, ready to destroy the non-believers.
As they are on the verge of death, everyone holds hands, coming together as they should have all along. Suddenly, The Stump is gone and they are safe. Was it that they came together? No, The Stump was still going to kill them, but because the clock struck midnight, it disappeared, as Stump Day was over. Star thanks Marco for the surprise party and they all celebrate making it out alive.
This episode is so incredibly dark, but it still has that Star charm. A very real, very disturbingly scary monster attacks them for not appeasing it, and they are almost killed in the process (something that surprisingly happens a lot in this show). Yet, despite how dark the latter half of the episode is, there’s still a ton of goofy moments. Even better, this holiday special sprinkled in some of that sweet, sweet romantic drama that we’ve come to love about season three. Overall, “Stump Day” was a great first half of a holiday special.
The second half of the holiday special is the aptly named “Holiday Spellcial.”
We haven’t seen the spell crew since “Spider With a Top Hat” back in season two, but Spider himself has been showing up a lot of online Star content. However, as interesting as it is that Star’s spells have minds and lives of their own within the wand, the character’s themselves aren’t quite as interesting. These characters have wonderfully creative designs, but episodes focusing on the spells definitely feel like filler episodes.
That said, “Holiday Spellcial” might be a filler, a somewhat obligatory second half to the more story-driven first half of the episode, but it was still a heck of a lot of fun. There was a lot of love put into this story and it has some wonderful lessons in the end.
We begin with Spider and the other spells setting up for a party. Turns out, they also celebrate Stump Day, and the festivities are about to begin. This year, however, the spells are joined by a new addition to the wand, the All-Seeing Eye spell, one of Eclipsa’s spells that Star used. The other spells aren’t too fond of the All-Seeing Eye, in fact, they find it to be weird and creepy.
But, the spells realize the holiday is about inclusiveness, and invite him to the party. However, when the party finally starts, the All-Seeing Eye kind of ruins everything. The Eye reveals all the terrible things everyone has done at the party, licking all the cupcakes, drinking straight from the punch bowl, and worst of all, bad-mouthing the guests. The latter is exactly what Spider With a Top Hat did after getting frustrated from his guest’s actions, thanks to the All-Seeing Eye.
But, the All-Seeing Eye manages to save the party by showing how hard Spider worked to make it fun and to keep everyone happy. The spells welcome the Eye into their family and all is well in the wand.
Like we said, the episode is mostly filler, but it’s not without fun and meaning. The lessons of coming together and bonding over each others’ quirks is a truly great moral, something we could all use a little more of during the holidays. The episode might feel like a bit of fluff, something to satiate us until the season’s hiatus is over, but it does its job well. A very light, fun, and enjoyable end to the holiday special.
Well, that’s all of Star for a while. Check back in a bit to see out reviews of the second half of season 3!
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