REVIEW: Amphibia Season 3, Episode 18, “The Hardest Thing”

"Would you believe that after 10,000 years, you're the only individual to use that power for good?"


In “The Hardest Thing,” Lady Olivia’s proclamation of victory is underscored by the Core initiating its endgame plan, the plummeting red moon. Mother Olm tells Anne that if it comes down to it, she can connect directly to the power within the gems. She warns that doing so would result in death. Sasha, Anne, and Marcy encounter Valariana inside the castle. She helps them tap into the powers within the Calamity Box. They charge at the Core’s weapons and eliminate them quickly in their strengthened state. However, Aldrich speaks to Andrias and pleads for help, prompting him to send in Frobots. They help the trio against the Core’s moon, to everyone’s surprise. It’s not enough, and the moon accelerates. Anne tells her friends about the spell, and they reluctantly give her their gems and return to the planet. The gems’ powers combined are enough to plow through the Core moon, but Anne is destroyed in the process. Anne wakes up in a mysterious place with a computer on which the stones contact her. They transform into a Domino lookalike to better communicate with the girl, asking her to be their replacement watching over the multiverse. Anne turns this offer down, at least for the time being. The entity returns Anne to Amphibia to continue learning. She finds shards of the Calamity gems in her pocket to go home. After tearful goodbyes, the girls go through the portal to Earth, and the Calamity Box disintegrates. After a time skip, Polly is no longer a pollywog, and the denizens of Wartwood prepare for a grand unveiling. The town erects a statue in Anne’s honor. Ten years later, on Earth, Anne works as a herpetologist, Marcy is a comic writer, and Sasha is a counselor. 

Amphibia The Hardest Thing

Before I get into the nitty gritty of “The Hardest Thing,” I want to say that I’ve absolutely loved this show from start to finish. Some episodes have been better than others, but I love the world that Matt Braly and the Disney Television Animation crew have created. I can only guess that this show would be wonderful for kids, in that it’s upbeat even in its analysis of dark, difficult issues. There’s always hope in Amphibia; you can become a better version of yourself, whether that means Anne becoming more assertive and self-sufficient or Andrias finally doing the right thing and standing up to Aldrich and the Core. Amphibia is fun, well-animated, touching, and clever. I will miss this show, and while I’m sad to see it go, I’m glad Matt Braly got to end it on his terms and leave a great series on a high note. I was very surprised by where in this episode I lost my cool. It wasn’t when Anne “died,” when she got her second chance, or when the statue in her honor was unveiled. I was a little misty-eyed by that last one, but not quite. I openly sobbed after the time skip when it shows what the girls–now women–have been up to on Earth. I think the combination of the credits signaling the show’s end got to me and seeing what Anne has chosen to do with her life. Although Anne won’t see the Plantars again, they still influence her life in significant ways (working with amphibians) and small ones (naming the frog at her job Sprig). This show is special, and I’m glad I got into it before this final season aired. Thank you, Matt Braly, and everyone who worked on Amphibia

Amphibia The Hardest Thing

I usually try not to lay all the cards on the table this early in a review, but I loved this episode. I say that with the sole caveat that “All In” is more exciting and climactic. Like the two-part Bad Batch finale, I think these two episodes would work best as a pair, and I might even watch them back-to-back soon to test that theory. What I like about “The Hardest Thing” is its emphasis on relationships, even in the face of such dire choices and circumstances. Of course Anne is willing to die to finally defeat the Core because it’ll protect her friends, both human and Amphibian. I love the scene when she defiantly tells the Core that the stones aren’t Amphibia’s greatest treasure. A lesser show would give her a big speech about friendship here, but the artists and writers of Amphibia know to let the visuals tell the story. Anne is surrounded by visions of all the friends she’s made in her time here, communicating the same message instantly and without fluff. “All In” was about integrity and personal growth, while “The Hardest Thing” is a story about the love we share with our friends and community. And despite where Anne came from and what she looks like, the frogs have been a community and a family to her just as much as her Thai-American community back on Earth. Sprig’s desperation to help his best friend and Hop Pop calling her his granddaughter are perfect testaments to how close they’ve grown in the show’s run. Another favorite scene of mine comes when Anne tells Sprig that nothing can change the bond they share, echoing her sentiments to Marcy last week. 

Amphibia The Hardest Thing

Some fun little moments in “The Hardest Thing” include Olivia and Yunan getting together, Sasha’s car ornament (which looks exactly like her and Anne’s swords), and Marcy’s Naruto keychain. I’ve gotten hints of a deeper friendship between Lady Olivia and General Yunan. It makes sense that, after time has passed and the war is over, something more would emerge. I think this was sweet and an infinitely preferable pair-up to the fan-demanded AnneXSasha or AnneXMarcy. Sasha becoming a therapist is funny but very fitting. Someone who’s been through a lot can offer wonderful guidance to those with similar problems. I would have liked to know more about Marcy’s webcomic, but I know that’s not the most important thing. Anne’s job is perfect, and this reveal was one of the episode’s most touching moments for me, along with all of the goodbyes when the girls go through the portal. The idea that these bonds will always affect those involved, even though they may be separated by literal planets and/or dimensions, is perfect. I dare say season 3 has been the best season of Amphibia, and the final two episodes are among my favorites in the series.

I look forward to many rewatches, and I hope Matt Braly gets many more such opportunities to explore interesting characters, exciting themes, and the invisible bonds connecting us to each other. 

Amphibia Season 3, Episode 18, "The Hardest Thing"

Plot - 10
Acting - 10
Progression - 10
Production Design - 10
Animation and Character Development - 10



"The Hardest Thing" is a great episode of Amphibia. It ties the show up well and for me, the hardest thing is saying goodbye to these characters.

Comments (3)

May 15, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Yep, I’m going to miss this show. It’s one of the best Disney Channel shows along with Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, and Gravity Falls and it definitely won’t be the last. The way the episode goes reminds me of the atmosphere to the finale of Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, how we have some very high stakes and some close calls and then the rest of the episode goes with a calm demeanor and the feeling of breathing after all that.

Olivia and Yunan have been demanded by fans too, I’ve seen the fanart. This show’s been big on the LGBT community with specific side characters, and there’s a lot of ambiguity with the three girls. Reminds me of Sheeta and Pazu from Castle in the Sky. I like ambiguity, yet I would like some clear evidence about their mindscapes. Yes, I was born to where romance was big in Disney movies and most of the cartoons I’ve watched, and I know that romance doesn’t define who you are. Well, I guess there’s confirmation of Sasha being bisexual.

Anyway, can we say that this show executed better than Tangled? The characters, their growth, relationships, how the story plays out. We even have a road trip in both the second seasons, but I’d say the Amphibia road trip was handled better like we’re not on the road for the whole season and we return to our main setting later on and the finale for that was way better.

I like that there isn’t a character that creates frustration with the audience like Cassandra during the third season or Glimmer from She-Ra where they’re being told over and over about what they’re doing is wrong and it takes pretty much the whole season for them to change better. Okay Sasha started off as somewhat of an antagonist but begins to regret her actions even before the second season finale. Go on and say that it’s like Zuko’s case because it is. And Andrias starts regretting his actions too. That’s something we didn’t see in Cass or Frederic.

I also can’t help but think that the second half of the third season reminds me of Digimon Tamers. Unlike the last two season where it’s mostly set in the digital world, it’s set in the human world and then the characters go to the digital world in the middle of the season and then back for the final episodes when the new threat comes to the human world if that makes sense.

Some of my favorite episodes include Cursed and Turning Point for being my personal favorite character-focused episodes. Wax Museum is pretty much a love letter to Gravity Falls. The Shut-In was full of laughs, chills and some legitimately terrifying monster designs. Escape from Amphibia is a culmination of the gang’s time in California and bringing in most of the human friends they’ve made to help them get back and some sweet family moments especially the store scene. The temple episodes were great, but “First Temple” is the start of it and we continue the turmoil of After the Rain even though Anne forgave Hop Pop.

Now there are more which were mostly funny, but let’s not get into that. Of course I mentioned how funny Mother of Olms was with the gross humor, Whoopi Goldberg guest starring, and some more lore with the prophecy.

If I was to rank these episodes, Hardest Thing would be at number ten since it’s a series finale, All In would be number two for its awesomeness, but True Colors is the best one of the series period.

    May 16, 2022 at 7:12 am

    Wow, thank you for the thoughtful and well stayed comment! I love all the Disney shows you mentioned, especially Gravity Falls. I’ve loved the Easter eggs in Amphibia such as the Wax Museum episode you mention. That was hilarious. I’m going to agree with you about the Tangled series. I love Tangled so much and really enjoyed the show, but season 2 squandered what should have been an amazing story. The season 2 premiere was so strong and then they wasted most of the season on nonsense. I still like that show, but Amphibia has it beat. I agree about Cassandra too, I never liked her. There’s nobody like that in Amphibia thank goodness. I haven’t seen Digimon, so I’ll take your word on that. I think Amphibia may join Avatar TLA and Gargoyles as a yearly rewatch for me. Great series.

May 16, 2022 at 7:09 pm

You know I could see Cass as a psychologist, hehe.

Digimon has good stuff. Not expecting you or anyone to watch them so it’s fine. I’ve only seen the first four seasons and don’t care about the more recent ones. Kids befriend monsters made out of data and are able to change form due to the bond they have with their partners. First two seasons are connected while the next two are not. Season 3 which is Digimon Tamers I’ve mentioned is the darkest and more realistic of the four, but they all have some pretty cool moments, character growth. It does get repetitive with the transformation sequences, seriously. But it’s better than Pokemon, but I don’t hate that.

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