LAST last episode

episode guide

next episode NEXT

The 'title card' from Sense and Insensitivity.

earlier in these overviews, i touched on the idea of 'filler' - how that word's use has propagated in media discourse, and namely, how it might be deployed a little too quickly when it comes to giving serialized story some breathing room. Sense and Insensitivity is an episode that'd be pretty easy to write off that way, but i honestly find it to be one of the more memorable episodes of this first season, in some ways? on a base level, sure, we know these characters pretty well by now and we're not receiving any groundbreaking new information that's going to change how we think of them, but sometimes you just need a good chunk of characterful writing, and this episode's got it in spades.

there's a book fair going on in the Bonesborough marketplace, and more importantly to the plot of this episode, a competition to potentially get published. Eda and King aren't too sold on the whole thing, but Luz says that her dream has always been to be a writer - or, at least, it was her back-up dream before she learned that magic was real - which... yeah, 100% tracks with how much i already relate to her. what gets King hooked on the idea is seeing Boiling Isles superstar Jon De Plume (he's here for a joke or two, don't worry if you're wondering if you missed this guy all along) and, more specifically, how devoted his fans are. it's a recurring theme throughout this first season, but i really enjoy the way King's desire for authority over people surfaces in such different ways. the little guy doesn't care what context he gets his respect in, as long as he gets some kind of dominion over people. it's as cute as it is maniacal!

meanwhile, Eda is looking for a quick scam to pull in a market full of impressionable nerds, but quickly finds herself hiding from her sister, Lilith, who's negotiating with a weaselly (literally, literal weasel man) merchant for a map to the mysterious Bloom of Eternal Youth. her lovable Coven lackey, Steve, questions whether chasing this particular wild goose is more important than hunting down the Owl Lady, but Lilith assures him that serving the Emperor comes first and that, either way, Eda's curse leaves her too frail to evade capture. you should know by now that i love a good Lilith plot, and as i'll make clear later, this one ends up being even better than usual, as Eda decides to look for the Bloom herself, mostly out of sheer spite for being called frail.

A screenshot from Sense and Insensitivity, with Luz and King high-fiving as they write together.

back at the Owl House, Luz and King are putting their heads together to write a great novel. Luz, clearly, has already thought this through deeply, but King is learning about the power of imagination for perhaps the first time as he realizes he could write as much violence as he wants. their contrasting styles make for some really good comedy - i think, so far in my rewatches, the montage of Luz teaching King her understanding of storytelling basics got one of the biggest laughs out of me - and it also gives me an opportunity to touch on the fact that, man, this episode makes it clearer than ever that this show is absolutely being written by people who have been steeped in the internet and fan culture and know exactly what they're doing. it's weird to hear Luz and King argue about the merits of shipping, and like, they say the word 'shipping' and everything! Luz wants to draw sparkly anime tears! one of the things at the book fair was a 'zine-making workshop'! these writers are nerds, and it's great!

Eda calling Luz down to say she'll be 'popping out for a few days to an undisclosed place to do undisclosed things' (and being met with some very funny nonchalant 'okay!'s) gives King all the time he needs to take control of the book, killing off Luz's self-insert for the sake of a big violent twist. with his friend decidely unhappy with how he's writing the book, King ends up left on his own to find a publisher, stumbling into Grimgrub's Pub and meeting the head of the writing competition, Piniet. it's clear pretty quickly that Piniet is bad news - he's a literal snake man, although with a rad third eye for reading books incredibly fast - but King's tempted by being told his book is great, and by once again seeing Jon De Plume's command over people. with a punch-soaked paw, he signs a contract, and overnight, Piniet turns him and his book into a huge success.

A screenshot from Sense and Insensitivity, with Eda preparing to get the drop on Lilith.

out in the wilderness, Eda is hot on the trail of the Bloom of Eternal Youth, showing off some fun new magic in the form of a fireball and conjured sword when she realizes she's being followed. when it becomes clear it's just Lilith, the two end up bantering back and forth, once again playing into what i've talked about before. despite any criminal record or deep-seated ideological disagreements, they really do wind up in low-stakes sibling bickering quite often, and it's a character trait i really like for both of them.

Luz does her best to give King the cold shoulder in the wake of his success off their failed collaboration, but still, she can admit to herself that she doesn't really like staying mad at her friends and decides to attend a meet-and-greet being thrown to celebrate Ruler's Reach: Enter the Bad Boy. unfortunately, by the time she's arrived, Piniet has already put the pressure on King by insisting on a sequel and laughing off his solo-written draft, meaning that when Luz catches up, King is desperate to enlist her help again, carelessly saying that his style only works when 'rebelling against your gushy fantasy slop'. Luz, understandably, doesn't like being talked to like this!

unfortunately, Piniet now knows the secret to King's talent, and has Luz captured, revealing the darker side of his business when King tries to own up to the fact that he doesn't think he can write Ruler's Reach 2 on his own. when his clients aren't meeting his rigorous standards and making him money, he encases them in shrinking magic boxes - sidebar, i only noticed now on a second viewing that he says stuff like 'fame can really box you in' earlier and chuckles to himself, what a perfect heel - and puts them under very literal crunch time. Luz's response is, uh... pretty pointed about how 'that's a toxic mentality that contributes to burnout and unrealistic expectations'. like, hm! interesting relationship with how publishers treat writers there, huh!

A screenshot from Sense and Insensitivity, with Luz and King stuck inside Piniet's cube.

anyways, with King and Luz trapped inside Piniet's crunch cube (which won't actually kill them, as we see with Jon De Plume, who's been shrunken into an adorable little cube man and put in a suitcase with dozens of other past clients), they have no choice but to hash out their disagreements, with King admitting that on some level, he's been motivated by jealousy here. Luz hasn't been in the Demon Realm that long and she's already on the path she's always dreamt of having, going to magic school and learning to be a witch. King, on the other hand, doesn't really know how to pursue his dream, and being a famous author was the closest he'd been able to get. you could argue we went through some similar beats back in The Intruder, but personally, i enjoy any episode that gives King the opportunity to be a bit vulnerable like this, and i think the conflict here feels like a natural response to how Luz has progressed throughout the season.

over in the B-plot - which has been weaving in and out this whole time but whatever, we're 11 episodes deep, i think you know that sometimes i talk about things slightly out of order for the sake of analytic flow - Eda and Lilith have managed to begrudgingly watch each other's backs long enough to reach the Bloom of Eternal Youth, and hey, it turns out the second-most untrustworthy animal archetype after snakes is weasels! the Bloom was fake this whole time, and our unnamed merchant seems to believe he's easily lured the Clawthorne sisters into a deadly trap.

not to linger on it for too long, but the ensuing back-and-forth snarking between Eda and Lilith is one of my favorite little character moments in this show so far. i've already pretty extensively covered how much i enjoy their adversarial dynamic, but showing the two working together, dropping all pretense of being enemies and just earnestly making fun of this silly weasel man and his dumb scam and his dumb little shoes, is a really clever bit of writing. without resorting to flashbacks or informed character attributes, we get a pretty immediate glimpse into how things could be for these two if they could solve their differences somehow. it's funny, and it's cool, but it also seamlessly gets the gears turning in your head and makes you root for Eda and Lilith to mend things somehow.

it would have been cool to see the two actually in action together, but i do think it's better for the episode's pacing that we cut away from the ensuing beatdown to see Luz and King get out of their tight situation. we get some very clever usage of the light glyph again to stun Piniet when he reviews their new draft, Piniet retaliates with a pen that expands into a battle axe, but our fight gets cut short when Tiny Nose (you remember, from the Conformatorium?) rushes in. she's been fangirling out for Jon De Plume and King all episode, and now she's inexplicably made her way backstage, effortlessly trampling a guard to present Piniet with her own story. with the publisher fixated on his newest client, Luz and King are able to just kind of waltz right out. i'd say they were leaving Tiny Nose to a pretty rough fate, but after that display of strength, i think everything'll work itself out.

A screenshot from Sense and Insensitivity, with Eda and Lilith standing over the defeated merchant.

one off-screen beatdown later, and Eda and Lilith have some time to talk things over now that their quest has come to a dead end. Lilith admits her sister is less of an easy target than she implies to her co-workers, but she also opens up a bit when Eda assumes this means she's getting dragged off to the Emperor right away. despite an even more guaranteed win than what we've seen before, Lilith still refuses to capture Eda, because she still somehow believes that there's a chance she might be convinced to join willingly. we also finally get a bit of understanding as to what Belos has promised her, as she says the Emperor might be able to heal Eda's curse. Eda declines, noting that even if that was possible, she wouldn't want to be in any sort of debt to the Emperor, and the two manage to peacefully part ways.

we, of course, get a fun bit of Eda returning home to break up that emotional tension, but it definitely puts an interesting cap on this episode's stakes, huh? we, at this point, have a pretty clear understanding of the tense situation between Lilith and her sister and an example of what that bond could look like if they weren't pit on opposite sides of the Emperor's law. it'll be a minute before we see Lilith again, but this episode does a lot to help bring these character arcs to a simmer so we can watch them boil over later.

maybe it's just because i'm a sucker for that particular character arc we're seeing, but i really do like Sense and Insensitivity overall - the A-plot might not be as conducive to deep reads, but it does foucs in on a lot of elements of these characters i enjoy - like 'King will take any kind of authority he can get' or 'Luz is a very accurate depiction of a big nerd and it's interesting to see how that influences her perspective on the Demon Realm' - and tells a fun story with them. it turns out that sometimes, all you need are characters i enjoy seeing and interesting situations for them to bounce off of! who could have guessed!

next time on The Owl House - Luz heads to the mountains!

LAST last episode

episode guide

next episode NEXT