Star Vs. The Forces of Evil Review: Standing Up

As I said last week, Star Vs. The Forces of Evil isn’t afraid to get into the nitty gritty, and this week is no different. In the last couple of episodes, Eclipsa’s trial was approaching, and now the fated day has finally arrived.

This is where we start off in “Butterfly Trap,” Queen Moon and the rest of the Magical High Commission are holding Eclipsa’s trial, and they seem a bit too eager to find her guilty. This comes as no surprise, since all of Mewni believes Eclipsa to be a traitorous, evil queen. However, as the events of the trial unfold, we learn that the Commission’s reasons are much more dark.

When a massive stack of evidence is presented against her, Eclipsa asks for a trial by box. What is that, you ask? Well, we previously saw it in “Sleepover,” when star used it to play “truth or punishment.” The Box of Truth is activated and each member of the high commission asks Eclipsa a question that she answers truthfully, though the truth does not help convince the High Commission that she is good. Again, the episode does a good job of making us ask why, not just by making the trial feel off, but by showing Star’s frustration with the Commission’s decisions.

Just when the Commission is ready to declare Eclipsa as “evil,” she intervenes, requesting to ask her own question for the Box of Truth. Eclipsa asks what happened to her daughter and the Commission pleads ignorance. The Box of Truth knows they are lying and is ready to crush everyone in the room until they tell the truth. On the verge of death, the truth comes out.

Eclipsa learns that her daughter’s place on the throne was given to a peasant child by order of the King. This confession confirms the suspicions of Star, Moon and Eclipsa, who used the trial as a set up to get a confession out of the Magical High Commission. After learning that she and her mother are not actually part of the royal bloodline, Star frees Eclipsa and storms off, marking the end of the episode.

Once again, we have an episode that delves further into the world of Star, one that is also a shining example of one of the show’s biggest strengths, fitting a TON of story into just 11 minutes. So much happened and so much was revealed, and though there might not have been much in the way of themes and symbolism – aside from the overarching them of Eclipsa’s story; bigotry, standing up for what you believe in, corruption of power, etc. – this was easily one of the best episodes of the season. The big reveal that Star is not a princess is HUGE, and shows the series’ ability to keep things interesting and dynamic.

As per usual with Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, after a big climactic episode like “Butterfly Trap,” we get a much more lighthearted, but still thematically and morally dense episode, episode as a palette cleanser of sorts. This time around, it was “Ludo, Where Art Thou?” which once again brings Ludo back into the picture.

There’s a lot of good that comes from this episode, both from its individual theme and from what it sets up. The episode starts with Ludo’s brother, Dennis, going through his Ludo’s mail to find his dimensional scissors. After unsuccessfully attempting to use the scissors to find out exactly where his brother went, Dennis’ mother and father scold him for looking up to Ludo, crushing his self esteem and confidence like the horrific parents they are.

As he’s about to give up, Dennis gets some help from Spider, who leads the way to the dimension that Ludo has been living in. Dennis finds Ludo living in a house made of garbage, complete with fake parents he’s made. Dennis tries to get Ludo to leave this charade behind, but clearly something deep and dark has taken ahold of him,. very time Dennis tries to leave, Ludo puts the fake parents in his path, until Dennis finally has enough and stands up to them.

Dennis punches through all the fake parents made of garbage and rids Ludo and himself of the weight that their parents put upon them, expressing an impressively deep theme for a kids’ show. This episode was basically talking about standing up to those who push you down, even when its by people who claim to love and care for you. Ludo and Dennis’ parents are the worst (they’re represented by literal garbage, after all), anyone who doesn’t show them obedience is a good-for-nothing, and Dennis and Ludo have to push past that.

After “practicing” on the trash parents, Dennis is ready to face his real parents and go of on his own adventure, but Ludo stays behind, he still has some stuff to deal with. After Dennis portals away to a new life, Ludo opens his closet reveal dummies of Star and Marco made of trash. This most likely sets up Ludo’s return as the main villain of the series, which is something that is definitely needed. Although the Eclipsa storyline is fascinating, there has been no main antagonist since Toffee’s defeat, and bringing a crazier and more determined Ludo back as the bad guy could bring something interesting to the series.

I’m not always a fan of these side-story episodes, but “Ludo, Where Art Thou?” surprised me. The deep themes and tease of what’s to come made for an exciting step away from the saga of Eclipsa, a distraction that turned out to be packed dense with intrigue and meaning.

Star Vs. The Forces of Evil: Season 3, Episode 16
  • Butterfly Trap
  • Ludo, Where Art Thou?
4.5

Summary

In this weeks episode of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, royal conspiracies are revealed and two brothers bond in the strangest of ways.

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