Tiana, Thai, and the Frogs on New Amphibia
Amphibia S3 Episode 4A/4B Review
I may sound old when I say this, but I still remember when The Princess & The Frog came out in theaters in 2008. That film was my first introduction to Keith David, and Anika Noni Rose owned the spotlight as Tiana. Now, for the second time in her career, Tiana gets to work with frogs. This time, it’s on Amphibia.
Fight At the Museum
Anne’s been back for more than a week, but she’s desperate to find a way to get the Plantar’s home, rescue Sasha and Marcy, and stop Andrias. However, this leads her to neglect her well-being to the point that everyone’s concerned for her. To help her de-stress, and make up for lost schoolwork, Mrs. Boonchuy has Anne and the Plantar’s spend the day at the local museum. It’s there that they end up finding a vase that appears to contain an image of someone from Amphibia.
Enter Dr. Jan, AKA Tiana, AKA Anika Rose. Right away, I grew to like Dr. Jan. Anika Rose brings so much energy to the character. She’s dorky, smart like Tiana, and open and understanding towards the weird and unknown. Which comes in handy when Anne rashly decides to steal the vase, only for the frobot assassin to pursue her once more. Worse, at the very end of it, Dr. Jan sees everything, which is what the gang’s been trying to avoid. However, Jan covers for them, and helps Anne realize that her burning both ends isn’t going to help anyone.
This leads to Dr. Jan learning everything that Anne went through, and vowing to help her. As a result, Dr. Jan’s not going to be a one-off character, but will likely have continued importance as the season progresses. Which is good, because I loved hear Anika/Tiana again.
Shortly after the museum incident, Anne gets word from Dr. Jan of a discovery that she made. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Boonchuy need her help at the local Thai Temple manning their stand, to her dismay. For the second time in a row, Anne’s haste to get back to Amphibia’s clouding her judgement, causing her to revert back to how she was at the start of the series. She even tries to ditch the temple and meet up with Jan instead of asking her to come to her. As she goes to collect the Plantar’s, though, she sees that they’ve already befriended the other Thai people.
Polly demonstrates an advanced knowledge of Thai language.
Hop Pop’s theater skills help him win over a group of dancer’s.
And once again, Sprig’s athletic prowess impresses everyone when he joins a volleyball game.
One of my favorite aspects of season three has been that Matt and his team are able to show off Thai culture to all their viewers. In the past, Matt has spoken about how important his family heritage is to him, and it’s clear that he wants to share as much of it as possible in the final season. And I thoroughly enjoy it; it’s very fascinating to learn about different ways of living, and helps to broaden younger viewer’s perspectives early on. Too bad the frobot assassin sends out an army of dragonfly drones to kill Anne, leading to a fight with them and the Plantar’s exposing their secret.
In another heartwarming moment, though, everyone present agrees to keep the Plantar’s a secret out of gratitude to how they helped Anne. What makes it even more heartwarming is Mrs. Boonchuy’s earlier reveal that, while Anne was missing, everyone stepped in to help look after her family. It just shows how much loyalty and family means to these people. Why can’t more people be like this in real life?
Two Big Plot Points
As much fun as it is to hear Tiana’s voice again, this episode also gave us two major plot points that need to be discussed.
How Long Can Anne Keep Her Secret?
Firstly, there’s the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of Anne’s return after being missing for months. While a lot of them truly care about Anne, though, others don’t. Chief among them, we have Anne’s classmates from school. At the start of the second segment, we see two students spying on her and trying to get photo’s of the girl who went missing for five months, to her irritation. And she’s right to worry.
Anne went missing for five months, only to suddenly return without any explanation. Considering how she may be homeschooled for the foreseeable future, this only heightens the mystery. Sasha and Marcy are still missing, and Anne’s the only one who knows why. Sooner or later, people are going to look for answers, which is why she’s so hesitant to tell everyone the truth. They may think she’s crazy, or worse, capture the Plantar’s like she fears. But how long can she keep them, and what she went through, a secret?
Furthermore, the Thai Temple shows how she’s barely able to keep the whole story of what happened in Amphibia a secret from everyone, including her parents. Sooner or later, she’ll have to tell them everything, and when that comes, she’s worried her parents will not let her do what needs to be done.
How the Calamity Box Came to Earth
Both segments also give us a big clue regarding the connection between Earth and Amphibia, as well as how the Calamity Box came to Earth. It’s long been speculated that the frog seen with Andrias in the past stole it and hid it on Earth, and this episode all but confirms it.
If you’ll look at the vase seen in the museum, you’ll see a frog that looks a lot like the one from Andrias’ past showing the Box to a group of Vikings. It basically confirms that this frog hid the box on Earth where Andrias couldn’t find it. In addition, the vase contains Amphibian writing found using a blacklight:
“Seek the Mother of Olms. She will guide you to your destiny.”
We have no clue what any of this means, but understanding it is going to be the key to stopping Andrias and his dark master, even if Anne doesn’t know it yet.
The Season’s Kicking It Into High Gear
For it’s final season, Amphibia is really stepping up on its storytelling, and I’m just eating it up. The mystery surrounding the Box and what Andrias has planned. The struggle to keep Anne’s journey a secret from everyone. Not to mention the representation of Thai culture. It’s all so much fun to watch. I honestly can’t wait for the rest of the season to come out.
I Give “Fight at the Museum” a 4/5 and “Thai Temple” a 4.5/5
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“Alms…..?” Is THAT what that thing Andrias is taking orders from is called? I’ve had this theory for a few days now that that thing is like Polly- a Pollywog. Or maybe even in a lesser state like a tadpole.
My theory is that something’s going to happen to “accelerate” his growth- probably another power of the Calamity Box or a device powered by it- and become that Giant Toad monster with the Jewel eyes we see behind the title card. Just a thought I had.
I’m typically not the biggest fan of character regression- it can really hurt a good character. But I don’t think that happened with Anne- at least; not without reason. Aside from the impatience to stop Andrias and save her friends- it’s like…….her “old self” WOULD come out a little bit being back in her home environment. She’s not “regressing-” just “readjusting. At least; that’s how I take it.
I’m kind of surprised they did Shiny Frobo back to back this week- but I guess it makes sense. Especially with him losing his arm, which may or may not be the arm we saw on that scientist guy Sprig was fighting against in the trailers for this season.
Wonder what next week has in store for us. Whatever it is- I can’t wait to see it!!
No that thing is called the Night