Amphibia Season 2, Episode 9A/9B
Hey, my fellow fans. It’s that time of the week again when I deliver to you another review for a new episode of Amphibia. This week, we see Hop Pop go on his own Noir-style adventure, and Anne and Sprig compete in one of the most brutal sports ever created: shopping cart demolition derby! Let’s get started, people!
In this first segment, Hop Pop takes the kids to Sal’s Sandwich Shop, run by an old friend of his from Wartwood. According to Hop Pop, Sal makes the best sandwiches with the best sauce in Amphibia. However, all the kids care about is the arcade next door, and proceed to bail. Hop Pop, on the other hand, finds the shop ransacked and Sal nowhere to be found. So he comes to the logical conclusion that someone kidnapped Sal for his famous sauce and goes full on noir detective to get to the bottom of things.
I’ll be honest, guys: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a legit noir film in my life. However, I’ve been a fan of noir parodies ever since I saw the Rugrats do it when I was a kid. From the dark and smooth jazz to the internal monologue of the main character, it’s just so much fun to watch. And the best part of this segment is that it knows not to take itself too seriously. At several points, it even lampshades how over the top Hop Pop’s antics can be, including the monologue.
The best part, though, has to be the surprise guest appearance of the legendary Maurice LaMarche as Sal. I didn’t even realize that it was him at first, which is a testament to how good a voice actor he is. Oh, and Sal also gives HP an important lesson of not letting nostalgia keep you from moving forward. Otherwise, you’ll get left behind.
On a side note, I found Anne’s frustration at not getting into the arcade hilarious. I can’t believe they tased her!
In the second half, the Plantars head to an open air mall to get souvenirs of their trip. So, Anne’s determined to find a gift to bring back to her mom when she finally returns home. She settles on this fancy, butterfly themed teapot that’s being used as the prize in a local competition. What’s the competition, though? Shopping cart demolition derby! Combining the danger of shopping carts with the fun of demo derbys! That, and the other competitors look like they’re straight out of Mad Max, including reigning champ Priscilla the Killa.
As someone who worked at a store and had to shunt carts for years, this segment hit close to home for me. Trust me when I say that there are few things scarier than a runaway shopping cart! Luckily, Anne’s time spent at the mall on Earth serves her well, and ends up securing her and Sprig’s victory.
As it turns out, that teapot was made by her late mom; the last thing she ever made, really. So, Anne ultimately chooses to give up the teapot to Priscilla, knowing it means more to her than it will for Mrs. Boonchuy. Priscilla’s daughter gives her this cute little butterfly she made in exchange though.
I was not expecting this episode to hit me in the feels, but I need to talk about that ending. Back at the hotel, Anne and Sprig stay up as Anne reminisces about her mom. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but Anne’s love for her is clear to us when she starts crying over how much she misses her. It’s what happens next, though, that really tugs as the fans.
Fans have long suspected that Sprig and Polly’s parents are dead, but in the episode’s final moments, Sprig confirms that his mom died when he was very little. He can’t even remember her face, let alone her voice. And Anne just comes over and hugs her like the surrogate sister she is, and like how we all wanted to.
Amphibia Hit us in the Feels
As if that all that wasn’t enough, the show gives us a special outro, with a softer, piano-version of the end credits music playing. The whole thing just hit us all in the feels.
For better or worse, at some point in our lives, we’ve all had to deal with loss. It never gets any easier. However, there’s one line that Sprig says that really struck at fans hearts: “Is it possible to miss someone you don’t even remember?” I don’t how many people will agree, but I think that the answer is a resounding yes.
That said, this additional info makes me curious about something: was this an original concept that the staff of Amphibia came up with? Or is it a case of fiction based on real life? Like, did one of the staffmembers lose their parents at a young age? I don’t know, but I hope not.
Now, after next week, the show seems to be going on break until next year, save for a Halloween episode. So I’m hoping that the next episode helps to advance the plot of the show forward.
I Give “Little Frogtown” and “Hopping Mall” a 4/5 Each.
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