The Story of the Calamity Box Revealed
Amphibia S3, Episode 14A/14B Review
We thought that the appearance of the Mother of Olms was going to be a big reveal on Amphibia. However, that episode ended up paling in comparison to what happens this week! We saw bits of it in the final trailer for the series, but it’s not until now that we learn the whole story. The story behind how the Calamity Box was stolen finally gets revealed. And it. Is. Epic!
Also, we get another tie-in back to the first season of the show.
The Root of Evil
While out recruiting citizens to join the rebellion, Hop Pop laments how no one shares his love of agriculture. While returning the base, the Plantar’s (and Loggle) end up crashing and end up in this secret village of Gardenton (I hope I spelled that right). On the surface, it looks like an agricultural paradise, filled with massive plants and crops. However, it turns out it’s led by Apothecary Gary, AKA the sentient mushroom that tried to take over Wartwood!
One of my favorite aspects of the final act of Amphibia is that Matt and his team have gone out of their way to tie everything they can back together. Events and characters from one-off episodes are returning in time for the final act. While I had hoped that Gary would be back for a Halloween episode, seeing him return here was just as fun.
Despite Gary holding a grudge against the gang for almost getting him killed, the two sides (the people of Gardenton willingingly serve Gary) realize they have to put their differences aside. The threat that Andrias poses to Amphibia is too great to ignore. So, Gary and his followers join the Rebellion, adding yet another group for the upcoming final battle.
Now, time to get into the meat of this episode as we take another look at Andrias, Darcy, and the Calamity Box.
The Core and the King
In Andrias’ Castle, we see the Core-Possessed Marcy, now calling itself Darcy, with King Andrias. Despite claiming to have Marcy trapped in her own mind, Darcy’s inherited many of her quirks and mannerisms. It’s something that’s equal parts chilling and funny at the same time. It only gets even more chilling as the episode goes into flashback mode.
We turn back the clock to Amphibia a thousand years ago, when Newtopia was a technological metropolis, and Andrias was still a Prince about to become King, alongside his best friends, Leif, and Barrel. Firstly, Zeno Robinson deserves a shoutout for getting to voice young Andrias. Between that, Hunter on The Owl House, and Remy in Big City Greens, he’s becoming a big deal at Disney. Secondly, in a nod to the legacy of its predecessor, Gravity Falls, Barrel’s voiced by Jason Ritter, the voice of Dipper Pines himself.
The three friends all share a close bond, but the big standout is Leif, who is all but confirmed to be the ancestor to the Plantar’s. There’s not just her appearance that suggests it, but the fact that she came up with their family hunting dance. Alas, their friendship begins to crumble when Leif touches the Calamity Box and recieves a vision that’s the stuff of nightmares.
Motive for the Theft?
Fans have spent time in the show’s run piecing together the mystery surrounding the Calamity Box. We know that Leif stole it and brought it to Earth to prevent Andrias from using it, but it isn’t until now that we learn the exact motives. It turns out, the gems in the Calamity Box gave her a vision of an apocalyptic future, part of which we’re now seeing unfold as Amphibia’s stripped of all it’s resources. That alone is scary, but it’s not until the final moment that things become truly terrifying. Leif sees what appears to be the moon of Amphibia crashing onto their world, destroying it outright. When Leif pleads her case to Andrias’ father, though, it falls upon deaf ears.
It’s at this point that the evil of Andrias’ family and the Core becomes apparent. When faced with the idea that continuing down their path will lead to their world’s destruction, what does the old King do? He denies it, saying it’s nothing more than a vision. The Core would rather risk the safety of all existence than give up a fraction of its power. Left with little recourse, and with Andrias under his family’s abusive thumb, Leif has no choice. Thus, she steals the Calamity Box and spirits it away to Earth.
This whole thing plays out like a tragedy on multiple levels. Firstly, there’s the fact that Leif’s forsaking her beloved friends for the good of all. Secondly, such an act dooms Newtopia to revert to the medieval society we first see. Worse still, this perceived betrayal hurts Andrias so badly that it leads him to impose the unfair hierarchy we see throughout the show. All of these problems stem from the corruption and greed of the Core and its puppet, King Andrias.
Hope for the Future
In keeping with the show’s tradition of ending important episodes without the traditional outro, the end credits are replaced by the sight of Andrias burning the portrait we saw in the dungeons. The whole flashback revealed it to be of him, Leif, and Barrel, working together as one. Thanks to the greed of the Core, though, their friendship tragically fell apart. In a way, it mirrors the dark fate that nearly befell Anne, Sasha, and Marcy. If they’re not careful, that fate could still befall them.
Anne may be the main heroine of the show, but her friends have garnered just as much importance. Amphibia is their journey as a whole, one which could lead them to decide the fate of not just Amphibia, but all of reality.
Remember when this show used to be a light-hearted Western Isekai? Those days are long gone, giving way to Matt Braly’s brilliant masterpiece and endgame. And I cannot be more excited about what’s to come.
We have less than a month left of new episodes of Amphibia, a show that I’ve covered from the very beginning. This will be a bittersweet pill to swallow, but given how much hype the staff has built up, I’d say that this is going to be a finale on par with that of Gravity Falls. My only regret at this point is that I didn’t start writing fanfics for the show until it was too late.
I Give “The Root of Evil” and “The Core and the King” a 3/5 and a 4.5/5 Each
- Loggle’s posing looks just like Alex Louis Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist!
- The Moss Man Anne and Wally saw was the one Leif used to escape. Neat.
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Man…….. this show is DEEP. I can foresee 2 possibilities of how they get Andrias to betray the Darcy. Because THAT- Is Happening. Either Anne- as someone who’s been manipulated and pushed around- will relate to Andrias and help him see through Darcy’s BS and see what Leif saw. OR: Sasha- as a Master Manipulator herself- will see through Darcy and prove the Core’s toxicity to Andrias. Either way you splice it- Andrias is going to be key in defeating Darcy.
Speaking of: HILARIOUS. You can see the “Marcy-isms” in small moments, but then you can get moments where she/they/it are……… Genuinely Scary. From the Christmas specials brief look, to this, to the Intro, to the end of this episode and everything else; I feel like the Core itself is a little more “fractured” than they think.
I KNEW Barrel sounded familar!! Young Andrias, too!!!