Review: The Owl House “I was a Teenage Abomination”

 

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

After hearing about a magic school nearby, Luz ditches Eda on scavenging a giant sea monster and meets Willow, a student at such a school who is on the “Abomination Track” despite being adept in plant magic and being VERY not adept in Abomination creation. Not to mention her classmate Amity Blight often rubs in her face how bad she is at it. So Luz makes friends with Willow and they make a deal: Luz will pretend to be Willow’s abomination and then she’ll be able to learn stuff at the school. Luz also meets Gus, Willow’s friend who is fascinated by humans and human culture (so basically Arthur Weasley). Willow’s demonstration wows her teacher and confounds Amity, but that only brings in Principal Bump, who sees right through the ruse and traps them inside. Willow makes use of her plant magic to get Luz out of the building, but while she’s banned now, Willow has showed her talents and been given the chance to join the Plant Magic track. Just as well, as Luz is perfectly fine with learning magic outside the system with Eda.

Meanwhile, Eda worries that Luz might end up going to the school, which she has unclear issues with regarding structure when she thinks magic should be without that, and has a bet with King that ends with a giant slug on the rampage. So, typical Friday.

OUR TAKE

Owl House continues its first season with expanding its world and adding a bunch of new characters! And with each passing episode I start to get more and more concerned this show might have been overhyped. I do appreciate the introduction of a magic school to better layout the culture of the Boiling Isles outside of Eda’s front yard, though this seems a bit too close to YA novel from the mid-2000’s. Only even less creative than Divergent in terms of the classes students get. But underneath all of that seems to be a story about students like Willow being able to follow their passions and stuff they’re good at instead of what society has told them they HAVE to do. Which is always a nice lesson!

Only, we don’t ever learn exactly WHY Willow had to do something she was bad at like Abomination creation over something she was good at like Plant magic. The most we get is a passing mention of “better opportunities” on that track of learning, but we never learn what those are. Best I can tell is that maybe being able to make living soldiers of goop means more free labor, which could be useful, but then it seems like giant vines could do the same job if controlled right. Not to mention I’m surprised Willow wasn’t suspended for trying to so blatantly cheat on her assignment OR that Amity was seen as the bad guy here when she very clearly saw through the cheating and was understandably upset when her hard work was being overlooked by someone who was taking a shortcut. But hey, she looks EVIL and has an EVIL NAME so she’s EVIL while Willow looks NICE so she’s good! Right? That’s how it works, right?

Then there’s some nudges towards the idea of whether a standard school system is better than learning magic (or any given skill like say art or science) on your own. Eda has been shown to want to work outside this for…reasons, while Luz seems really excited to learn magic wherever she can, even at a school. Sounds like a great ideological conflict! Except that we never get to see the real pros or cons of using either method and Luz throws away much of a chance of even getting to try the school option because she snuck in and caused a big messy incident and is now banned. So on top of the lying to her mom about being at camp (which I can’t believe hasn’t been addressed yet) and this, she’s not looking to great on the likability meter, especially with all these bad things that didn’t need to happen.

Also, maybe we can have an episode where Luz and Eda actually spend most of the time together? We haven’t really gotten that since Episode 1.

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

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