Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney and today, we continue our look at Tangled: The Series. This next episode that we are about to look at is perhaps one of the darker episodes in the series that we’ve seen but not without merit as this episode is a direct follow-up to Queen for a Day as we see Rapunzel grapple with the choices that she had to make in that follow-up. Something of interest to note here is that this is the only episode in the series to start with a Previously On and in many ways, this episode feels like an epilogue to that episode. With that outta the way, let’s begin
There’s a quote from Ursula that sums up this episode so much so that it is said by the villain of this episode.
Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?
And this episode’s major theme is just that as Rapunzel is still reeling from the consequences of the choices that she made in “Queen for a Day”. Now, before we get into the review, TV Tropes mentions about this episode that I somewhat disagree with.
I will agree that this is a bit of a breather episode but it is one of the darkest episodes of the series. The episode starts as King Frederic has asked his daughter to paint a mural for the new art gallery that’ll be opening up in Corona. Rapunzel is elated at this idea but finds that she cannot get any ideas and Cass suggests that she is experiencing painter’s block. So, Rapunzel heads out to the village to try and get some inspiration but nothing is coming to mind but she then comes across, an art teacher that is new to Corona, Mrs. Sugarby and as this is where we get our first hint that is something just amiss about Mrs. Sugarby. Sugarby’s class is interesting as it includes other citizens of Corona such as Lance Strongbow, Feldspar, Freidborg, and one of the pub thugs. I can’t remember which, I apologize for that. And this is where we notice one of the more interesting things about this episode as Sugarby has her class paint this rather generic looking tree that she needs to use to free her master. And as the episode goes on, one by one, the students start to disappear until Rapunzel is the only one in the class. And we get a repeating of the line that I opened the plot section with. And this is what happens, when one of her students hears those lines.
There is also a bit of a subplot with Cass trying to find the missing members of the art class and all it pertains to the painting of the tree.
A little later in the episode, Cass and Eugene take this information to Xavier and they find out that there is a problem afoot that comes straight from the machine that was used to stop the snowstorm in the previous episode.
Though, I want to rewind a bit to one of the biggest moments in this episode and it was a point, where both I and the characters felt not deflated but perhaps heartbroken.
That’s right, Rapunzel is wearing shoes. Now, as of all the sites that I have been using for sources correctly pointed out, this is not the first time that Rapunzel has worn shoes as she is seen in shoes in the pilot movie and in the previous episode. And she is even wearing shoes on various Disney Princess merchandise.
This may seem minor but I look at Rapunzel wearing shoes as her cutting off ties as Rapunzel not wearing shoes was part of her free spirit nature and this small act shows her conforming to norms of society and that’s not who Rapunzel is. Granted, the real reason Rapunzel is barefoot is because Mandy Moore did her voice-over work for the movie barefoot.
The character of Rapunzel is constantly barefoot, something she shares in common with her voice actress Mandy Moore, who loves to perform barefoot.
Sure, it’s a minor thing but I do like and the IMDb trivia page does bring up something else interesting up about barefoot characters.
Bare feet are also symbolic of innocence.
And this most certainly applies to Rapunzel and this comes back to what Rapunzel is going through. I won’t say that she lost her innocence but it does show her questioning everything that she has done up to this point and this brings to the moment, where Rapunzel releases her feelings that she had been keeping bottled up as Eugene uses that oft-repeated line from this episode.
“Part of life”?! Really?! Is me turning my back on Varian when he’s desperately begging for my help part of life?! Is deciding if Pascal should risk his life a tough call?! Tell you what, Eugene. The day you have to choose whether to put the entire fate of a kingdom in the hands of a fairytale is the day we can chat about difficult choices!
Now, TV Tropes list this as “The Reasons You Suck” speech and that is a fair enough way to address this argument but that is a bit of a shallow way to address this as while yes, this is directed towards Eugene, I look at this more as “Reasons I Failed” speech with Rapunzel projecting her insecurities onto Eugene. It is perhaps one of the more heartbreaking moments of the show but also one of the more realistic moments in the show as so many of us have had, where frustrations have boiled up in us for so long that we get to a point, where it just comes out and we lash out at someone that is trying to be there for us and that is exactly what Eugene was being. Granted, it makes the most sense that it would be Eugene here as there is no way that Cass would put up with this.
Now, I’m sure that there are other characters that have gone through a moment like this but for someone like Rapunzel, it is rather shocking.
We later see that Sugarby has hypnotized all of the art students and brought them to the location of Janus Point to continue to paint the tree as that’ll release her master and this is when we learn that Sugarby was just a vessel that this evil spirit took on as she is truly Sugracha the Eternel and was there to free her master, Zhan Tiri but Cass and Eugene after solving this mystery come to the aid of everyone there and Eugene is able to snap Rapunzel out of the trance that the students had been placed under and with this, Rapunzel destroys the painting and that is what is takes to defeat this villainous woman.
It was a hard fought battle but in the end, our heroes pull out and win and we end the episode by seeing that Rapunzel has decided to paint a mural with the citizens of Corona for the gallery.
There are really only two characters that we need to look at.
Rapunzel voiced by Mandy Moore