The Owl House Has Absolutely Stuck The Landing
So, here we are: The end of The Owl House. Perhaps my all-time favorite animated series. I wish the third season had been more, had been an actual season, but this is the next best thing. I covered the first few episodes when the series was first released and then later talked about how good the second season was. So, it’s only fitting to give these three specials—but especially this final one—their well-deserved praise.
And I have so much praise to give. The Owl House had phenomenal worldbuilding, a lovable cast, wonderful relationships, and stellar character arcs. It’s a triumph for fantasy narratives and should be in the same breath as other beloved animated series like Gravity Falls and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
There’s So Much Good Stuff In This Show To Enjoy
Let’s start with the animation (massive spoiler warnings throughout this article) because they brought everything to this finale. The final magic battle is worth watching repeatedly (and I’ve done just that). The subtle facial expressions alone pay off whole arcs. Eda can finally teach Luz how to cast spells like a witch. Willow (voiced by Tati Gabrielle) and Amity (voiced by Mae Whitman) show their fixed friendship with a small smile after Willow saves her. The budding/rekindled relationship between Raine (voiced by Avi Roque) and Eda comes across in physical gestures. And the scene where Luz stares with open anger at Belos (voiced by Matthew Rhys) and then looks away as the rain burns him is so poignant. The dialog during that scene is perfect. Honestly, the entire story of Belos is one of the best villain arcs I’ve seen in not just a kid’s cartoon but any show. The fact he’s based on actual murderers in our actual history has a lot to unpack, but he makes for an ultimate threat in a world of witches. And what’s almost surprising is The Owl House doesn’t shy away from the parallels between early Luz’s mindset of being a hero and Belos’s. Go rewatch episode two of season one after you finish the finale; it’s fascinating to compare them. Luz became a true hero by being kind. Belos didn’t have the same epiphanies, never treated witches as people, and quite literally rotted. You could write a dissertation on how the series manages to explore the metatextual aspects of fantasy narratives with minimal dilution of its own storytelling. I was especially floored by the conversation between Luz and Tarak (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) about morality. The moment Tarak simply swept aside Luz’s worries and got to the heart of Belos’s cruelty was quite possibly the most important moment in the episode. It effectively tied a bow on so much in so little time and did so with maximum impact. And to have moments like that in a show with such a limited runtime and so many subplots and characters is… masterful storytelling.
The Owl House Has Extremely Efficient Storytelling
Speaking of characters, the cast is, of course, incredible. I don’t have the pages necessary to explore how cool Gus, Willow, Hunter, Amity, King, Raine, Alador, and more are. They feel like people. Most could carry their own shows and have unique designs communicating so much about them in so little space. The voice acting, then, took all of that and elevated it further. And I must give particular praise for the sheer range of Wendie Malick as Eda and the emotional acting of Sarah-Nicole Robles as Luz. I’d gladly give almost any animated show a chance if these two are involved in the project.
But, if you’ve read a lot of articles by me, you already know which character got my attention: The Collector (voiced by Fryda Wolff). I’m a cosmic horror fan, and a story having a being that can effortlessly move a celestial body and cause mass destruction without understanding the implications was amazing. Then adding another eldritch-style species, The Titans, and connecting them both so heavily into the core worldbuilding is just… it’s so cool. I wish The Collector wasn’t brought around to Luz’s side so quickly—and nerfed by how Titan magic interacts with them—but it was still amazing for the brief time they were in the series.
The Collector Was A Terrific Addition To The Series
But, as I’ve alluded to a few times throughout, the stuff that stuck with me as an older viewer the most is the writing. Children’s media should be honest with its audience and respect them, and I feel like The Owl House cares. It wanted to give its audience a story that would resonate with them and not talk down. The Owl House doesn’t ignore real emotions or understate peril. What Luz goes through feels real. The scenes involving her guilt and emotional turmoil are presented with a level of seriousness that not even shows for adults will always attempt but are feelings kids might experience. That anyone might experience. The moment Camilla (voiced by Elizabeth Grullon) sees her child back after so long (both times) is so raw and honest, and then the moments of her trying so hard to support her kid even when the world was writing Luz off is heartbreaking. Like I also mentioned above—this story isn’t really about escapism, even if it succeeds at that, too. The monsters and villains might often have magic but manipulate and hurt others in real ways.
The Owl House Handles Its Antagonists Differently
But it’s also not dour for the sake of it. There’s so much joy as well. Kindness and friendship despite all is kind of the point of the story. Luz cracks jokes during life-or-death battles and strikes battle poses, and it’s so in character, and it’s fun. King (voiced by Alex Hirsch) is cute, Hootie (also voiced by Alex Hirsch) is weird, and Lilith (voiced by Cissy Jones) is endearingly dorky, and it all adds to the story. The Owl House is ready and willing to tell an epic, well-thought-out fantasy story with a solid understanding of its themes, and I’m so happy I found it. I will promote it to whoever I can and sing its triumphs from the rooftops.
If you haven’t yet seen The Owl House, you should. Flat out. I hope that’s resoundingly clear. Just because I spoiled things doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing. The magic system is inventive, interesting, layered, and could make for a whole book series. The romances are adorable, charming, and allowed to grow without lots of time-wasting plots. The animation, especially the magic fight scenes, is magnificent, and the backgrounds clearly had so much thought put into them. The Boiling Isles feels like a place you could visit, a place worth visiting, populated by creativity and a love of art. If you like cartoons or fantasy at all, then you owe it to yourself to give The Owl House a watch.
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