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luz looking concentrated while amity looks over her shoulder Image: Disney

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The Owl House finally returns

The stakes — in show and IRL — are higher than ever

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

It has been over six months since the last episode of The Owl House. On Saturday, the newest episode quietly premiered on Disney Channel, though word’s still out when it will be available to a larger audience on streaming. Even though the premiere may slipped under many people’s radars, the eager fans were ready and waiting for it — and now, perhaps, more than ever, with the show’s fate hanging in the air.

Even though some plot details may’ve gotten dusty in the back of my own brain, the world is so vibrant, the characters so dynamic, that I fell right back into the story. Throughout the run of the show, creator Dana Terrace manages to thread a deeper, darker plot through the light-hearted episodic adventures. And if this first episode back is any indication, there is a lot waiting on the horizon. The show is set to end with an abridged season 3, though Terrace has said that supporting the show may help some executives change their minds. So if there is a time to catch up on this wickedly wonderful series, it’s ahead of season 2b.

[Ed. note: This post contains light spoilers for the newest episode of The Owl House]

Amity and Luz ready to battle in The Owl House Image: Disney

The Owl House premiered on Disney Channel in early 2020. It follows Luz, who accidentally stumbles into a realm full of witches and demons, where she decides to learn magic and eventually makes friends — and also starts dating formerly aloof overachiever Amity Blight.

“Follies at the Coven Day Parade,” picks up right where the mid-season finale left off. After finally reuniting with her mother — albeit through weird mirror-dimension hijinks — misfit human Luz is torn between staying in the Boiling Isles and learning the magic she has always dreamed of, or returning to her mother once she is able to make a portal and never coming back to the Isles. Meanwhile, renegade witch Eda is determined to reunite with her former lover Raine, who was captured in a rebellion against the tyrannical Emperor Belos gone wrong ... but judging by what Eda has heard, Raine seems to be doing just fine and is, in fact, performing in an upcoming parade.

So much of The Owl House is centered around Luz finding the place — and more specifically, the community of people — where she belongs. A misfit back in the human world, she has finally found a group of people who support her and defiantly learned how to practice magic despite not being from the Boiling Isles. But after the reunion with her mother in the mid-season finale, she is torn between these two worlds and wants to know if there is any way she can have a foot in both of them. More than ever, Luz struggles between her love for her mother and her newfound place in the Boiling Isles. It is a poignant coming-of-age metaphor, as Luz figures out what she wants from life. But it is also a high-stakes fantasy adventure, with the stakes becoming even more urgent when Emperor Belos reveals that he has some grand plans for the Boiling Isles — which involve wiping out wild magic (aka the type of unbound, non-specific magic that Eda wields and that Luz has learned to commandeer).

“Follies at the Coven Day Parade” still has its share of funny moments and sweet interactions between the characters — Amity goes to her old estranged friend Willow for advice about Luz; Hooty and King commandeer a giant puppet of the emperor, among other things — but it ends on a bleak note. If the season 2 mid-point finale was the turning point, then the back half premiere is collecting all the shattered pieces and preparing us for what is to come.

luz being sucked back into a portal Image: Disney

It’s sophisticated storytelling like this that has made such ardent fans of The Owl House. Not only did it have that, it had actual LGBTQ characters in a time when animated shows on Disney Channel were shying away from such plot lines. With the endings of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Steven Universe, The Owl House became the perfect show for fans of fantasy adventures who hungered for actual representation instead of snippets. In the first season, it was revealed that Amity had a crush on Luz in the episode “Enchanting Grom Fright,” marking the first main LGBTQ character in a Disney Channel animated series. When the two officially got together in season 2, Terrace and Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch, who also voices a couple of characters on the show, talked about how hard the uphill battle for representation had been just a few years prior. This was prior to the revelation that Disney had been supporting Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

But while the show is massively popular, this second season will be the last full one. The upcoming third and final season will instead be three 44-minute episodes. Terrace explained in a Reddit post that The Owl House was cancelled because it “did not fit” Disney’s brand.

“At the end of the day, there are a few business people who oversee what fits into the Disney brand and one day one of those guys decided TOH didn’t fit that brand,” wrote Terrace. “The story is serialized (BARELY compared to any average anime lmao), our audience skews older, and that just didn’t fit this one guy’s tastes. That’s it! Ain’t that wild? Really grinds my guts, boils my brain, kicks my shins, all the things. It sucks but it is what it is.”

The first season — and the first half of season 2 — of The Owl House are available on Disney Plus. The new episode can be watched on Disney Now via your cable provider. New episodes air on Saturdays at 9 a.m. EDT.