Television Reviews

REVIEW: Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure – Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18, “You’re Kidding Me!” and “Rapunzeltopia”

"The mirror failed, the top failed. But I promise you, Master: I will keep the Sundrop in this house... forever."

*SPOILERS*

In “You’re Kidding Me,” Rapunzel and her friends wake up in Matthews’ inn and find that the door has disappeared. They wander around for a while, looking for another way out. The group stumbles upon a room full of toys, and Lance quickly becomes distracted. Cassandra finds a top similar to one she had as a child, and when she spins it, she and Lance are turned into kids, and Shorty is turned into a baby. Rapunzel and Eugene try asking Cass and Lance how it happened, but Cass runs around making a mess as Lance showers Rapunzel with questions. Mr. Matthews comes in and remarks that they must have found the top of time. He tells Rapunzel to spin the top in reverse to undo the curse, and that she only has one hour to do it. Rapunzel and Eugene have opposing views on how to deal with their shrunken friends, and this causes tension: Rapunzel tries to be supportive and a good listener, while Eugene is as stern as a general. When they finally locate the top, both of them are forced to compromise to get everyone restored to their true forms. In the end, Matthews remarks that the mirror and the top failed, but promises his “master” that he’ll keep the Sundrop in the house forever.

In “Rapunzeltopia,” Rapunzel finds herself in Corona with short hair. Cassandra is also in her handmaiden outfit, and she – as well as Eugene – know nothing of the Dark Kingdom. This confuses Rapunzel, but she decides to go along with it because everyone seems happy and everything is perfect – that is until she sees herself outside the window when her father is discussing her coronation. The double comes inside, revealing that she has long blonde hair and Rapunzel’s travel outfit. She tells her to remember the rocks and her destiny. She says they’re still in Matthews’ house and that real life is never this easy and informs Rapunzel that if she doesn’t return to the real world, she’ll be trapped in the house forever. Meanwhile, in the house, Lance, Eugene, and Cassandra are looking for Rapunzel. Cassandra wanders into a mysterious room, and Lance and Eugene find Rapunzel asleep in a bed. The blonde Rapunzel is revealed to be her own subconscious mind trying to rescue her from being trapped in the dream world. Matthews also shows himself to be a demon and tells the men that he’s a follower of Zhan Tiri. In the dream world, Rapunzel starts to question whether she should stay. She accepts Eugene’s proposal this time, and her mother again gives her the journal. But this time, the French inscription says “be satisfied” instead of ”there’s more in you.” Rapunzel asks Cassandra if she’s happy, and her response is an uncharacteristically bubbly “Yes.”

Back in the real world, Eugene tries to wake Rapunzel up, and her coronation is about to happen in the dream one. She smacks the crown out of the priest’s hand and decides to find and touch the black rocks, leaving the dream world. Matthews doesn’t like this, manifesting in the dream and turning it into a nightmare; Cassandra shows her mangled hand and says it’s Rapunzel’s fault, swinging her sword at her. Rapunzel dodges Matthews, and Cass and jumps out the window, but this brings her up against Lady Caine, a giant monster-Pascal, and other acquaintances. Rapunzel’s subconscious fights the obstacles off and encourages her to run to the rocks. In an instant, Rapunzel is transported to her tower, where a vision of Gothel gloats that she’ll always get the best of her. Realizing that she’s inside her own mind and can control the situation, Rapunzel wills herself to the location of the rocks and leaves the dream world. Matthews and his house disappear, with the exception of the door Cass went in. Luckily, she comes right out, but pulls her hand away from Rapunzel, remarking that they should all get going.

"You're Kidding Me!" and "Rapunzeltopia"

One thing I really enjoyed about “You’re Kidding Me!” is that it explores what Rapunzel and Eugene would be like as parents, and how their seemingly contrary approaches can actually be complimentary. I also liked how this episode plays more into Eugene’s soft side, such as his remark that he doesn’t like to see kids cry and it might make him cry. The concept of the top itself is also really cool, and I think it’s clever how it turns you younger depending on your age. For example, Shorty is really old, so it turns him into a baby, while the relatively young Cass and Lance are turned into children who appear to be between the ages of 7 and 10. I appreciate that, unlike “Freebird” for example, only some members of the team are transformed. The comedy is also much improved in “You’re Kidding Me!”; in addition to showcasing the characters’ contrasting personalities, the transformation provides plenty of opportunity for good one-liners and funny situations. I liked a visual reference to Jurassic Park, as well as a humorous exchange between Cass and Lance regarding swords. Eugene is absolutely on fire this week, and he’s more in-character too. That being said, I have a nitpick with the episode. It just doesn’t make any sense for Matthews to help them with the top, telling them how to fix the situation. If his goal is to trap Rapunzel, why not lie to her or play dumb? Why show up at all during the commotion? I’m also annoyed that Eugene has picked up Cass’ habit of calling Rapunzel “Raps” of late. I hate this nickname, and it just seems out of place. But overall, “You’re Kidding Me!” is a funny episode with a good concept and consistent use of the characters.  

I quite like “Rapunzeltopia” too. Again, I think they have a good concept here. It reminds me of an episode of Justice League Unlimited, “For the Man Who Has Everything,” which in turn was based on a comic of the same name. In it, Superman similarly gets trapped inside a dream of a perfect life. I really liked how they tie in moments from the series premiere “Tangled Before Ever After,” but with appropriate changes made to entice Rapunzel to stay. It also interests me how some of the changes ultimately backfire, such as having Queen Ariana tell Rapunzel to be satisfied. They do a pretty good job at showing why Rapunzel would want to believe the lies and stay, especially with things like how well Eugene and Cassandra get along. The comedy is also pretty strong in “Rapunzeltopia;” one of my favorite parts of the whole episode is when he says there’s probably a horrible monster behind Cassandra’s door; when she comes through, he remarks that it’s worse than he imagined. Perfect. I’m intrigued to find out what was behind Cassandra’s door, and how it brought back her anger toward Rapunzel. I’m kind of glad, though; as I mentioned with “Rapunzel: Day One,” I’m relieved they’re not just forgetting such a major development in her character and their friendship. Overall, Matthews’ inn has proven to be an intriguing setting with a lot of interesting possibilities, but I’m glad that he showed his true colors and the group is departing. I thought the island introduced earlier in the season overstayed its welcome, and it’s good to see the creators won’t be going that route again. These episodes have felt more connected to the overall narrative as well, complete with “previously on” segments and a villain who at least works for the main antagonist. That being said, the ax we saw at the end of “Mirror, Mirror” still hasn’t been explained. This might be dealt with later, but it feels like that should have been paid off once the group left Matthews’.

"You're Kidding Me!" and "Rapunzeltopia"

“You’re Kidding Me!” and “Rapunzeltopia” are two pretty good episodes of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Similarly to Star Wars: Resistance, it’s a shame we had to get so close to the season finale for the story to kick back into gear, but I’m happy it got here nonetheless. It was also good to hear Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel again, even if only for a moment. Pat Carroll’s (known for voicing Ursula in The Little Mermaid) character from season one, Old Lady Crowley, likewise appears for a moment in “Rapunzeltopia” These episodes are much funnier, more exciting, and consistent at representing the main characters than many have this season. It looks like the next two episodes will be the season finale, and I look forward to seeing what they do with them. It’s just a shame so much of this season didn’t advance the plot or even develop the characters; heck, at times, it felt like Cassandra and Eugene were regressing.

Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure - "You're Kidding Me!" and "Rapunzeltopia"

Plot - 9.4
Acting - 10
Progression - 9.5
Production Design - 9
Comedy - 10

9.6

Outstanding

“You’re Kidding Me!” and “Rapunzeltopia” are two pretty good episodes of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. Similarly to Star Wars: Resistance, it’s a shame we had to get so close to the season finale for the story to kick back into gear, but I’m happy it got here nonetheless. These episodes are much funnier, more exciting, and consistent at representing the main characters than many have this season.

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