Amphibia Season 2, Episode 14 Review
You know what I love about my generation? The fact that we tend to wear our love of the pop culture we grew up with on our sleeves. And Matt Braly makes it no secret his love of video games and RPG’s like The Legend of Zelda. I’m not that big a fan of Legend of Zelda, but I appreciate its importance to video games. And with the quest to find the temples to recharge the music box about to begin, this episode’s going to have plenty of Legend of Zelda oozing out of it.
Let the Legend of Zelda Quest Begin!
Picking up not long after the events of “After the Rain,” Marcy finally arrives in Wartwood. She proceeds to go ga-ga over the Plantar’s home for a while. And this happens.
Hilarious, but that’s besides the point. The group of five arrives at the first temple, and, like any good ancient temple, it’s filled with traps and puzzles. Said traps are meant to test a person’s intelligence to ensure only the worthy can recharge one of the gems, Marcy dives right into the whole thing and aces it. However, it’s here that we see the negative aspects of Marcy’s intellect and ability to focus on a single task.
The show previously established that Marcy Wu’s a badass. Her intelligence and RPG knowledge helped her to thrive in Newtopia. At the same time, though, she can be very absent-minded and unable to pay attention to what’s around her. Case in point, we got this montage reminding us of what happens when Marcy gets in the zone.
In addition, we’ve seen that while Marcy’s smart, she’s lacking in emotional intelligence. When we last saw her, it led her to insist on Anne staying with her instead of going with her adopted family like she clearly wanted to. She figured it out before it was too late, but the problem still remains. Worse, it’s on full display here, as Marcy’s either oblivious or brushes off the simmering tensions between Anne and Hop Pop.
Anne vs. Hop Pop
Last episode, Anne learned that Hop Pop lied to her about hiding the music box for months. Needless to say, she took the news poorly. While the two seemed to patch things up by the end of the episode, the temple quest proves otherwise. Anne’s still upset with Hop Pop over his mistake, and it doesn’t help that Hop Pop’s trying too hard to make amends and return things to what they were like before.
A lot of story-driven cartoons in the last decade have dealt with stories where bad decisions led to lasting consequences. DuckTales had Louie getting punished for almost destroying time. Steven Universe had Steven and Connie’s brief falling out over his decision to turn himself over to Homeworld. And I can’t even begin to count all the times in Adventure Time where the characters suffered trauma because of bad decisions. The point is, I like how these shows realistically show that things won’t return to normal when someone makes a bad decision. That trend continues in Amphibia, with the episode making it clear that Anne’s not going to forgive Hop Pop so easily. And the fact that Marcy’s too focused on the quest doesn’t help.
Things come to a head in the third act when Marcy leads everyone to play in a rigged game of Amphibia’s version of chess. This leads to Anne and Hop Pop being on opposite sides and finally forced to confront their issues, with Anne admitting that she can’t forgive Hop Pop so easily. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but also realistic. No matter how much we may want to, it’s no easy to forgive someone over something like what Hop Pop did. But it’s better to deal with the problem now and not let it fester into long-term issues. In other words, I think Anne and Hop Pop will eventually make up. They just need time.
Marcy Learns Humility
Concurrently to Anne and Hop Pop dealing with their issues, Marcy has to confront her own problems. She looked very upset about the fact that she didn’t recognize what Anne was going through. Marcy’s shown to be supremely confident in her abilities. That’s not a bad thing, but it can be if it gets to your head. Fortunately, Marcy’s aware that this is a problem and wants to work to overcome it. And one of the first steps to doing that is learning humility; admitting that she can’t do something, which leads her to throw the game.
Turns out, this is the true lesson of the Temple, which leads the group to the place where they can recharge the first gem. One thing to note, though: when they recharge the gem, that green glowing eye thing that Marcy’s eyes do seems to drain out of her and into the gem. Remember, glowing eyes=superpowers? This moment reaffirmed that the music box has magic powers that transferred to Anne, Sasha, and Marcy when they first opened it. And if there’s one thing I know about anime and RPG’s like Legend of Zelda, it’s that this has a bigger purpose.
But it may not be for a good cause.
Andrias: Friend or Foe?
Many fans have suspected that King Andrias has a darker motive to helping Anne and Marcy. The clues have popped up throughout the season, and this week gave us one of the biggest. In the final moments of the episode, we see Andrias speak to some sort of eldritch entity in the bowels of his palace. He calls it his “Lord”, and mentions something about a prophecy and revenge.
I wanted to give Andrias the benefit of the doubt, but after what I saw, I’m convinced that he can’t be trusted. We already know that the music box allows travel between worlds, but that Amphibia got cut off from Earth for some reason. There has to be a good reason, and we’re still trying to learn what. What I do know, though, is that things are about to get far more dangerous for everyone.
In short, I really liked this episode. I loved the Legend of Zelda references, the emotional development the characters showed, and how this connects to the over-arching mystery of the show. Amphibia is one of the best cartoons currently airing, and if you haven’t watched it yet, then I think now’s the time to do so. The mystery’s about to get even bigger, and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.
I Give “The First Temple” a 4.5/5
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