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The Owl House

The Owl House season 3

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Tsiao

TV Series Review

Fourteen-year-old Luz Noceda is a bit different from other kids her age. While other kids are content to put their book reports on paper, Luz reenacts them with action figures and live snakes. And instead of doing backflips for cheerleader tryouts, Luz flips her eyelids inside out.

Luz doesn’t mind being a “weirdo,” but unfortunately, her love of all things strange and fantastical has caused a lot more trouble than it’s worth, especially with her exasperated mother. Hoping to encourage a bit of normalcy in her daughter and with no other options, Luz’s mom arranges for her to go to a “Reality Check” summer camp, hoping that it will help Luz learn the distinction between fantasy and reality.

However, before she can even board the bus, Luz is waylaid by an owl stealing her favorite book. She follows the owl through a mysterious door and finds herself transported to the magical realm of the Boiling Isles.

Reality check? Check reality at the door.

WELCOME TO THE OWL HOUSE

The Boiling Isles, located in the Demon Realm, are full of magical creatures: vampires, griffins and especially, witches. It’s everything Luz ever dreamed of.

After meeting Eda, a witch who sells novelty human toys such as googly eyes and retro television sets, Luz started training to become a witch herself (something that no other human had ever done before.

Since then, she’s made friends with other young witches; helped stop the evil Emperor Belos from draining all the witches in the Boiling Isles of their power (which would have killed them); and even reconciled with her mom (who is now in the Demon Realm, too, helping her daughter tie up some loose ends).

Those loose ends, unfortunately, have completely unraveled into chaos.

Luz may have stopped Belos, but it came at a terrible price. The only being strong enough to stop Belos’ spell was the Collector, a godlike entity who was imprisoned by Belos his entire life.

Granted, that life has been rather short: The Collector is just a kid, after all. But once he was set free, the Collector took over the Boiling Isles, turning the inhabitants into literal toys for him to play with.

Luz and her friends escaped because King (Luz’s dog-like titan companion) saved them, subjecting himself to the Collector’s fury in the process.

Luz is back now to return the favor. But stopping the Collector is going to be somewhat akin to stopping a toddler from throwing a tantrum.

CLEARLY NOT A PG FANTASY WORLD

Luz is at first frightened by the monster-filled world of the Boiling Isles, and it stands to reason that some kiddos will be frightened, too. Some monsters are big. Some are small. Some have fangs and claws. Some have too many eyes, and some don’t seem to have enough. (And a defeated Belos transforms into a creature that gives off Spirited Away meets Fern Gully monster vibes.) But Luz’s desire to become a witch and finally belong helps her to overcome her fears. And that, of course, comes with its own set of problems.

Luz, Eda and King often team up with other “weirdos” to defeat the dastardly forces that would like to see them conform (or destroyed—they really don’t seem too picky). And though the magic used by Eda is mostly harmless in this show, it still carries the taint of being demonic. (Hexside states quite plainly that it’s a school of demonics and Eda and the other witches bear a distinct resemblance to vampires with their tapered ears and fanged teeth.)

Additionally, the show has multiple LGBT storylines. Luz befriends Amity, a rich girl at Hexside, and the two eventually start dating and even share a kiss. One of their friends has two dads. And an ex-paramour of Eda’s uses “they/them” pronouns (and is voiced by a transgender, nonbinary actor).

And all of these factors feel like a lot of content for a TV-Y7 show. So while The Owl House carries the message that being different is a good thing, it celebrates this by going down a troubling path into a realm of magic—as well as embracing the LGBT worldview and agenda—that many parents would probably rather their youngsters didn’t explore.

Episode Reviews

Jan. 21, 2023 – S3, Ep2: “For the Future”

Luz and her friends seek a way to reach King at the Collector’s palace. Not knowing Luz has returned from the Human Realm to save him, King conspires with Eda to defeat the Collector (who knows of their betrayal).

The Collector uses his powers to turn people into toys. He then forces them to act out stories from King and Luz’s adventures together. Elsewhere, Belos’ spirit takes over the bodies of corpses, allowing him to travel throughout the world. However, those host bodies quickly decay, so he eventually possesses the toy-body of one of the Collector’s victims, using it to manipulate the Collector against King. Witches use their powers for a variety of tasks. We see a variety of monstrous beings. Some characters use their powers to save or help others.

Characters use their powers to duke it out (and some have powers that let them blast lethal holes through several hundred feet of landscape). Luz’ mom is horrified to learn that skulls are a normal phenomenon in the Demon Realm. Belos’ lair is covered in the skeletons of bodies he previously possessed. We see that a woman lost her arm in a battle. A butterfly is squashed by a monster. Luz’ mom wields a baseball bat and whacks a girl in the face when she attacks Luz. We hear many violent threats. Teens taking refuge in a school tell the story of how their teachers saved them from death and disaster before being taken captive by the Collector. These same teens express that the kindergartener witches are violent and out of control. Baby monsters are taught to tear their enemies apart (and a stuffed animal is ripped to shreds in a demonstration). A demon bites a witch’s hand. A boy is stuck in a full body cast from previous injuries (he fell in a well).

King tells the Collector that he can’t send people to the moon, since they won’t be able to breathe (and the Collector responds they should learn to hold their breath). Soon after, however, we learn that the Collector has actually been quite merciful in his deeds since his race normally kills anyone who resists them.

Luz and her girlfriend, Amity, share several tender moments. Luz’ mom sports a rainbow heart badge to support her daughter. We hear that a girl has two dads and see a picture of the family together.

A girl learns that she doesn’t have to pretend to be fearless in front of her friends. A boy gains the courage to tell his friends how much they mean to him. Luz’ mom impresses upon her the lesson that messing up is OK, and the mother-daughter duo find new understanding between each other.

Someone exclaims, “Oh my titan!” We also hear uses of “gosh” and “heck.” The insult “loser” is lobbed several times, too.

Jan. 10, 2020 – S1, Ep1: “A Lying Witch and a Warden”

After accidentally getting transported to a magical realm on her way to summer camp, Luz meets Eda, a witch who needs her help. Luz agrees to help Eda retrieve King’s crown from the devious Warden Wrath in exchange for help getting back home.

Several monsters inhabit the land of the Boiling Isles, including a troll-like creature that enjoys eating its own eyeballs and witches with pointy ears and fangs. Warden Wrath wears a creepy mask with a pointed beak and button eyes throughout most of the episode, and when he removes it, he is revealed to be a fire-breathing monster with lots of large, sharp teeth.

Eda flies on her staff like a broomstick. She uses her magic to light fires, fight Warden Wrath and create portals to other worlds and places. She is also able to remove parts of her body without dying or even bleeding (at one point, her head is cut off and later reattached). Warden Wrath can morph his hands into hammers and scythes, which he uses to smash and slice things. We also see mysterious flashes of light and items moving on their own because of magic.

Several characters are beaten up with magic and brute force. One character is blown up (offscreen) with fireworks.

People are attacked by snakes. Luz creates a taxidermized “griffin” using the bodies of a pigeon and a squirrel and filling the mouth with live spiders. In a school play, she uses real animal guts to make her character’s death more realistic. She also flips her eyelids inside out to gross out her classmates. King talks about drinking the tears “of those who mocked us.”

A prisoner at the Conformatorium shows a drawing of two characters from her fanfiction work lovingly embracing. Another prisoner spews her conspiracy theory about being “playthings for a high being.” Someone blows a raspberry in Warden Wrath’s face.

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Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.

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