I’ll always be mad at Disney for cutting The Owl House short, whether it was planned for more seasons or just a full, 20-episode season 3. At this point, it’s up to the creators to satisfy fan expectations in less than two hours, tying up plotlines involving two villains and several hero characters. Although I would prefer the intended longer season, I’m beyond excited that the season’s midpoint is here. Let’s jump in!
In the wake of “King’s Tide,” “For the Future” shows the havoc the Collector wreaks on the Boiling Isles. King does his best to steer the omnipotent child away from violence and destruction, but when Lilith stands up to him, he turns her and Hooty into puppets. Literally. Meanwhile, Luz wakes up in the portal from Earth. She sees someone else there, but Amity pulls her out into the Boiling Isles. The group gets into their usual shenanigans until Hunter insists they don’t have time. As the heroes head to Bonesborough, the Emperor seeks a new body. Camila asks Willow and Gus for advice about Luz’s decision to stay in the human realm. In Bonesborough, they witness the Collector’s game in action. As he whisks King and numerous citizens back to his house in the sky, Luz and friends encounter some old schoolmates.
Another tragic consequence of the Collector’s reign is the state of Hexside School – overrun by children with no oversight, the place has fallen into disrepair. Bosha has named herself President of Hexside and refuses to aid the heroes on their mission. Belos possesses Raine’s puppet body as Willow locates Luz’s memory of the Titan skull location. The guys are stopped in their tracks as Bosha and her cohorts figure out their plan and arrest them. Belos/Raine confronts the Collector, telling them they’re in danger. Willow loses control of her magic, trapping Gus and Hunter. The Collector learns of King’s treachery and misunderstands his intentions. Luz’s palisman hatches into an orb. The group arrives in the Titan skull, confirming the Collector’s worst fears and stoking their fury.
Naturally, “For the Future” leaves plenty of questions hanging for the series finale to handle. The first such quandary concerns the mysterious person inside the portal; it hadn’t even crossed my mind that someone could get stuck there. Who could it be? I wish I had a cool theory, but I literally have no idea. It would be funny, if anticlimactic, if it was some random background character like Tinella Nosa (whom creator Dana Terrace voices). My mind keeps going to Luz’s father, but I seem to recall him dying of a disease. I don’t think he went missing. In this episode, Camila even references moving to Gravesfield to be near that “fancy hospital.”
I may be reaching here, but I think Hunter’s impatience has two purposes. More than anything, he behaves this way because he’s grieving Flapjack and fears that sacrifice was for nothing. Hunter’s aloofness and short temper return, as his sense of security is now gone. He loved Flapjack more than anything. Speaking of Flapjack, in “Thanks to Them,” Belos calls him “Evelyn.” Evelyn was the witch Philip’s brother Caleb fell in love with, driving the brothers apart. Being witch hunters, Philip couldn’t accept this, killed his brother, and became Emperor Belos. Anyway, I would love an explanation of how Evelyn became a palisman. I assume this isn’t entirely literal, that Flapjack wasn’t in love with Hunter as Caleb reborn. I don’t think we’ll get an answer for this in the last episode, but it’s one of the things I keep wondering about. I take Hunter’s retort that they “don’t have time” for Willow and Gus to enjoy being back home as another swipe at Disney. It reminds me of the end of season 2 when Eda suggested a beach trip to calm Luz down, and Luz replied that they didn’t have time for “20 more adventures.” Oof. Luckily, this sense of urgency serves the story well, especially for the anxious, guilt-ridden Hunter. I’m also sensing a potential relationship with Willow. They’ve been bonding for a while now, but when she touches his hand, he blushes.
Now it’s time for a segment called “random observations that probably don’t matter.” I’m workshopping that title if anyone has a suggestion. I found it funny that someone had scribbled “Where’s ur Titan now” on the town walls. The Titan has been treated as a deity, Belos’ importance coming from supposedly being able to commune with it. The Collector’s game reminded me of Syndrome’s behavior in The Incredibles, particularly once he and the Omnidroid arrive in Metroville. The Collector is endangering everyone in the name of “being a hero,” saving them from horrors that wouldn’t exist but for their own thrill-seeking. Odalia has clearly been demoted under the Collector, working as a babysitter for the puppets. This serves her right for sticking with Belos even after learning his real intentions. I hope she dies in the finale. I doubt she will; she’s Amity’s mom, and that’s kind of dark for a Disney Channel show, even one with themes of prejudice, murder, and societal brainwashing. But it’s what she deserves; otherwise, she would just continue tormenting her husband and children. I love the idea of Belos appropriating the corpses of his grimwalkers to keep going after the last body is worn out. This concept is better than the execution, but I also chalk this up to the show being on Disney Channel. We can’t be scaring the kids, even in a show primarily enjoyed by adults. Eda now only has one arm as a result of “King’s Tide,” in which Raine chopped off the hand plagued by the draining spell. This isn’t surprising; I just appreciate the continuity. It’ll be interesting to see how Eda adapts to losing a hand; I only wish we had more time with her. One episode just isn’t going to cut it.
We already knew Kikimora was the worst. She made a mockery of Luz’s attempts to help her. But really, hiding out in a high school and lording over teenagers? That’s just pathetic. Camila remembering the ice glyph and using it was beyond cool. This lady is one of my favorite cartoon moms that I’ve seen in a while, standing in stark contrast to Odalia. Then, of course, we learn that Hunter has magic now, too, thanks to Flapjack. This show just won’t let me move past this loss! I’m glad it’s having such an impact on the story; it just hurts to be reminded. It’s good to see some real vulnerability from Willow. She started out as the most insecure of the group, but she’s been steady since becoming the mom of the friend group. That’s not counting Camila, who has literally been the group’s mom during their time in the human world. Willow has consistently supported Gus and especially Hunter through the hard times, so it’s sweet to see that reciprocated. This is yet another time I find myself wishing for more episodes to see these evolving dynamics. Finally, Luz’s palisman hatched!! I think it’s a little predictable to make it a shapeshifter (or “snakeshifter,” as she calls it), but it’s super cute. I love the scene where Camila (a veterinarian) snuggles with all the palismans. Truly a pet lover’s dream come true.
“For the Future” is a solid entry in The Owl House’s final season. I wish certain ideas could be taken further and designs could be explored further, but the story and character interactions are good. Most of the problems stem from being on Disney Channel, either in terms of runtime or the limitations of the target demographic, which is very different from the show’s actual fanbase. I eagerly await the finale, even though it’ll be sad when it’s over.
There are built-in issues with "For the Future" thanks to Disney cracking down on how dark the show can be, as well as shortening season 3. However, it deftly juggles characters and subplots nonetheless.
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You and me both on Camilla’s scene with the Palismen. I’ve heard a couple people describe String Bean similarly to the Pokemon, Dratini.