Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Star vs. the Forces of Evil Season 2: Heart vs. Mind


Last night Star vs. the Forces of Evil culminated its second season with an emotionally powerful finale that left a lot up in the air for our main characters, Star (voiced by Eden Sher) and Marco (voiced by Adam McArthur). While the first season focused on Star acclimating to life on Earth, regularly battling the hapless Ludo (voiced by Alan Tudyk), and dealing with the sly and cunning Toffee (voiced by Michael C. Hall), this second season focused more on a battle of the heart and mind for Star as her dynamic with Marco was altered in such a way that required her to re-examine everything she thought she knew about their friendship. This internal battle all took place while a silent evil toiled in the background only to surface in the finale in a shocking and balance altering conclusion. Before moving forward, please note that there are spoilers. If you have not completed the second season of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, please go do so now on Disney XD!

In seeing Jackie and Marco together,
Star begins to realize feelings of her own.
The second season is a brilliant exploration of the confusion and excitement of new love as well as the aggravating confusion that one experiences when they realize they feel something more for their friend. In this season, Marco finally confesses to Jackie (voiced by Grey Griffin) about his crush on her which eventually leads to the two of them becoming a couple. This confession is the impetus that drives Star to re-evaluate her friendship with Marco and come to the stunning realization that she, in fact, has a crush on her best friend. From the moment that she sees Jackie and Marco having fun on their first date, Star is thrown into an emotional flux that creates tension in her friendship as she seeks out the reason behind her jealousy and annoyance with these two becoming a couple. It isn't until a night out for the three of them at a Love Sentence concert that everything comes full circle for Star wherein she fully realizes her feelings for Marco upon seeing Marco and Jackie kiss during her and Marco's second favorite song. When her world is once again thrown upside down by the return of Toffee, Star hurriedly confesses her feelings to Marco in front of all their peers before abruptly departing back home to Mewni with her mother in order to defeat one of the greatest evils their universe has ever known.

"It's a bunch of different colors, a rainbow
of feelings that's always changing."
This narrative is beautifully played out and develops Marco and Star's relationship in an organic and complex manner that is both admirable and relatable. One of the greatest aspects of Star's journey to realizing her feelings for Marco is shown in the episode, "Sleepover". In this episode during a game of Truth or Punishment gone horribly wrong, Star states the following in an effort to win the game and prove that the truth isn't always black and white: "Sometimes, you don't know what you think. Your head and your heart disagree. You think you know how you feel about something, but then it changes." This statement becomes the over arcing theme for the latter half of the season because Star's mind begins to realize and accept what her heart feels in regards to Marco. It is a battle of the heart and mind, and while initially her mind is resistant she cannot ignore the truth with it all coming to a head in the finale.

An old adversary returns leading
to a showdown of epic proportions.
While all this heart vs. mind narrative was playing out, in the background Ludo worked diligently in order to regain his power and exact revenge on Star and Marco. At first look, it appears that is all that is occurring. However the later episodes of the season, especially after Ludo obtains Star's spell book and Glossaryck (voiced by Jeffrey Tambor), reveal that Ludo is merely a puppet to a larger and more dangerous evil. That evil is revealed to be Toffee, now more powerful and dangerous than ever indicating that his destruction at the hands of Star's wand was all part of his plan. In this season we also learn that Star's mother, Queen Moon (voiced by Grey Griffin), was the primary adversary of Toffee. A Toffee controlled Ludo and Queen Moon battle it out in one of the most epic action sequences of the entire series with Queen Moon realizing just how powerful he has become and how much danger she and her family are now in. The season ends with Queen Moon whisking Star away back to Mewni in order to protect her and prepare her to face their greatest enemy, Toffee.

Daron Nefcy and crew have truly created a wonderful and compelling series that does wonders with a story driven narrative rather than an episodic narrative. With subtle developments and poignant moments, not to mention a contagious energy and invigorating optimism, this is a series that we hope will last a long time at Disney. How much longer until Season 3?





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