“Vigor the Visionary” begins with Rapunzel and Eugene planning a special date until they hear magical chimes in the distance. They follow the sound to a wagon containing Vigor, a monkey who tells the future. His fortune for Rapunzel says, “If you see someone fall, pick them up.” Rapunzel is naturally enchanted by the experience, but Eugene is very annoyed and vows to prove that Vigor is a fake. However, they discover that he’s been taken and decide to find him and bring him back. Vigor was taken by Angry and Red, the young girls Eugene befriended in season one.
When questioned, the girls admit that they stole Vigor because they believe he knows where Angry’s family are. They decide to follow Vigor to a house with a couple in it. Angry tells the woman what she believes, and they agree to take in both girls. However, Eugene and Rapunzel quickly realize that the couple are famous crooks known as the Daylight Thieves. The man cuts a bridge, sending Rapunzel and Eugene down into a cavern. By the time they make their way back to the house, the girls have already defeated the thieves and tied them up. Angry is disheartened by the outcome of her quest, but Eugene points out that Red is her real family and has always been there for her.
The original Tangled had an early draft where Rapunzel and Eugene would have met a psychic monkey, and you can still see artwork of the monkey in the film’s credits. Even his keeper, Madame Canardist, looks like a similar character who was deleted from the movie. Using scenes and concepts that didn’t make it into the initial film is common among sequels and spin-offs, and in this case, maybe it’s something they should do more often.
“Vigor the Visionary” isn’t amazing but it is entertaining and, unlike several episodes this season, it didn’t make me question why they’re making this show to begin with. Eugene and Rapunzel are a little more in-character in “Vigor the Visionary” than they have been in the past few episodes, though I found it annoying when they argue about Vigor. After the first movie’s events, I’d expect him to know and accept Rapunzel better than that. But she wasn’t really right either, making fun of him for not believing in the mystical monkey. The episode makes nothing of this anyway, as they bicker throughout but it’s simply dropped in the climax.
I do like that they make Madame Canardist and Vigor’s actions somewhat ambiguous. She’s a greedy old lady, but there’s no sure way of knowing what the monkey’s intentions are in taking them to the Thieves if he’s capable of having motives. He only does readings when paid, but this could be training on his keeper’s part. “Vigor the Visionary” doesn’t give any kind of resolution to whether or not he really is a psychic, and I think that’s probably for the best.
“Vigor the Visionary” doesn’t feature any of the supporting cast, save horses Maximus and Fidella. It’s nice going a whole episode without listening to Cassandra moan, groan and try to control everybody else. I don’t dislike Hookfoot or Lance, but I didn’t miss them during the episode either. I think this speaks volumes about Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure as a whole. Other than Rapunzel and Eugene’s animal friends from the first movie, you really can have this show without most of the minor characters. Most of the new friends and enemies they’ve introduced in this series just don’t work. It almost feels like having the characters we already know and love go on kooky adventures every week would have better results. Lance and Cass especially were created to give the leads platonic friends to interact with, but it doesn’t work when Lance mostly makes fun of Eugene and Cassandra’s an all-around nightmare.
I like that they brought Red and Angry back, and while the solution to Angry’s problem isn’t what I expected, it’s very sweet. I still sort of wish more could have been done with Angry and her fake parents, though. It’s nice when she embraces Red and gives her the leaf necklace, but it feels like they should have parents. It’s strange to have the little girls simply accept each other as all they’ve got and stay on the road together; they’re capable of taking care of themselves, but they shouldn’t have to. I mean, they look like they’re each about nine years old. It was also a little too obvious that Petunia and William either weren’t really her parents or that something else would go wrong. It all went so smoothly and happened so quickly that it was clear something else was going on.
It’s also frustrating that “Vigor the Visionary” begins when the leads are trying to think of something fun they could do on a date, then everything with Angry and Vigor happens, and at the end, they’re still planning the date. Their date could be an episode on its own, but I’m sure it won’t. I did like the line where Eugene says he doesn’t want to spend the day looking for some monkey but ultimately decides to do so because he finds the comb he gave to the girls by Vigor’s wagon. This is a funny moment; it feels like they wanted to avoid doing the obvious by having this crazy adventure with the girls rather than a traditional date like Rapunzel and Eugene were talking about, but for the most part, this episode is pretty obvious anyway. Although I liked “Vigor the Visionary” more than, say, “Freebird” or “Forest of No Return,” it isn’t perfect, and I still have questions for the showrunners. For example, what are they trying to achieve with Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure? Why sacrifice the characters people loved in the first movie for characters like Cassandra?
Overall, I liked “Vigor the Visionary,” but not a lot. It’s better than other recent episodes, and I enjoy that it seems to be inspired by a deleted scene from Tangled, but Rapunzel and Eugene’s bickering is silly, and I’m not sure the resolution with the girls is a satisfying conclusion. They should take concepts like this more often and just let the leads run with them, as my enjoyment was bolstered by the absence of Cassandra and unaffected by the absence of pretty much everyone else. I look forward to seeing what they do with the show from here.