“Lost and Found” begins with Eugene trying to piece together the map to the Dark Kingdom. Rapunzel gives him a birthday cupcake, prompting him to state that he doesn’t have a birthday. However, Rapunzel thinks that, since they don’t know when he was born, they may as well celebrate his birthday today. Just as he leans in for a kiss, the moment is interrupted by the arrival of Madame Canardist and Vigor. The fortune-teller informs Rapunzel and Eugene that Vigor has an important message for them. Vigor’s reading determines that, for Eugene and Rapunzel, “The path awaits, where the final quarter lies after many dire straits.” Rapunzel believes this to be in reference to the fourth piece of the scroll. In exchange for five silver pieces, Vigor serves as their guide. They come upon the Path of Demanitus, the engineer whose invention stopped the blizzard at the end of season one.
Vigor begins speaking and claims to be Demanitus himself. Naturally, Eugene doesn’t accept this, saying that Demanitus lived 1000 years ago. Demanitus says that he took over Vigor’s body to remain alive and hide from Zhan Tiri. He describes an ancient occurrence that split a heavenly power in two, creating the Sundrop and the Moonstone. The group is set upon by ivory spiders, which Rapunzel says are venomous. She solves a riddle on the wall, and they escape. The next step along the path is a fountain that requires one coin per person to pass. Rapunzel puts one coin in and gives Demanitus one to put in, but Eugene sneakily dodges giving his share. They arrive at a crystal bridge that leads to a lockbox containing the final map piece. Demanitus tosses the key to Eugene, but he doesn’t catch it. He picks the lock with one of Rapunzel’s bobby pins and warily crosses the bridge back to safety. The map is restored, but before any celebrating can commence, a giant stone creature attacks the group because of Eugene’s lack of faith. The three make it into a building, and Demanitus instructs Eugene to find the faith he already has, which proves to be faith in Rapunzel. Just as the creature breaks through the wall, Demanitus reverts to Vigor, his knowledge and wisdom gone forever. Rapunzel’s hair and its power manage to defeat the creature, and they’re free. They return Vigor to Madame Canardist, who gives Eugene the gem from Vigor’s turban, saying that it was meant as a gift for him. Later that night, Rapunzel regales their friends with stories of their trip while Eugene opens the gem to find a message: “At the end of Rapunzel’s journey, one of her friends shall turn against her.”
I was initially afraid that “Lost and Found” would be a side-quest type episode, but thankfully, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was less than pleased to see Carol Kane’s (who I normally like) Madame Canardist and Vigor return to the fray yet again, but it would be an understatement to say I’m happy with what they manage to do here. There’s definitely a bit of silliness to “Lost and Found,” particularly when Demanitus reveals himself, but I think there’s a lot of good present. One thing I’ve been enjoying this season has been the exploration of the Sundrop and Moonstone’s ancient origins. Demanitus’ telling of their creation in “Lost and Found” is beautiful and intriguing, and supplemented by unique visuals and haunting music. I also liked Demanitus’ various booby traps and tricks within the maze. Despite my initial annoyance at yet another adventure with Canardist and Vigor, Demanitus ended up being my favorite part of the episode and one of the series’ best minor characters. Demanitus’ voice instantly sounded like Timothy Dalton, but despite his involvement in a couple of Disney projects (Toy Story 3 and the Tinkerbell franchise), I thought for sure it couldn’t be him. A quick search revealed that it was Dalton, and being that he’s one of my favorite actors, this was a nice little surprise. I really enjoyed the character of Demanitus in general, and the unique perspective he brought to various conversations throughout the episode. It’s a shame he can’t be featured again, except in flashbacks or if they somehow release him from Vigor’s body.
It’s interesting that Cass – and Rapunzel’s other friends, for that matter – are featured very little in “Lost and Found.” In the very end, Eugene’s suspicions turn toward Cassandra as Rapunzel’s future betrayer. This could be a red herring, or it could be that Cass’ anger with Rapunzel and bizarre behavior of late were foreshadowing. Regardless, I’m more than intrigued to see who it is and if there might even be some ambiguity in the situation. Distancing the friends from this episode’s story might even be a way of casting doubt and confusion as to who will be Rapunzel’s very own Judas. It seems strange that they’re going this route with any of Rapunzel’s allies, as they made her friend Varian into a major villain at the end of season one. We also haven’t seen or heard from Varian since then, a detail I’ve found strange; why develop him into a threat against Rapunzel and her family just to never show him again? If anything, I’m wondering if his story will intersect with that of the Dark Kingdom, as his father Quirin is a member of the Brotherhood. Whoever stabs Rapunzel in the back and however it happens, maybe they could even be connected to Varian somehow; the possibilities are endless, depending on how far the writers are willing to go. I eagerly await the conclusion of the season and whatever payoffs and surprises it bears.
“Lost and Found” isn’t my favorite episode of Tangled: The Series/Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, but it isn’t far from it. This episode features a delightful guest star, some decent comedy, a couple of shocking revelations, and a welcome expansion on the Tangled franchise’s worldbuilding. I wish the series could’ve managed this amount of fun and drama throughout the whole season, but I’m glad to get it nonetheless. “Lost and Found” serves the viewer well in setting up the season finale while introducing an enjoyable new character and tons of adventure.