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The 'title card' from I Was a Teenage Abomination.

I Was a Teenage Abomination is, on its surface level, another pretty simple episode of The Owl House early on, retreading last episode's familiar ground of Luz seeking a path that comes closer to her expectations of what the Demon Realm ought to be. it's undeniably a pretty important episode, though, as it introduces us to a whole bunch of characters who we're going to keep seeing quite a bit of, and a similarly recurring setting. all that 'who could that be in the credits' teasing is coming home to roost!

first off, though - trash slug. Eda continues her streak as a fantastic mess of a mentor as she brings Luz and King out for a bit of corpse scavenging, and at first it seems like there might be a bit of hidden wisdom in what she has to say about the cycle of life and death they're picking through, but the real spark for Luz's imagination is when she off-handedly mentions that reading scrolls or mixing potions sounds like 'a bunch of magic school stuff'. it's not the hardest thing to discern, especially since she brought it up briefly last episode too when talking about magic staffs, but Eda is not exactly hot on magic schools and how they try to find a proper way to teach a wild, unpredictable force, confirming in the process that she herself didn't actually finish school. like i pointed out back in the premiere, notice the adversarial relationship between educational systems and 'tough students'! it's going to be a thing.

A screenshot from I Was a Teenage Abomination, with Luz spotting Willow in the forest.

Luz proves undeterred, though. she might have trouble in human school, but she's fixated on the idea of attending a magic school, hopefully with all the genre hallmarks she's come to love. on her way back home, Luz stumbles into just the opportunity she's been looking for. i love, love, love the character touch that Luz's immediate reaction to spotting two flesh-and-blood people arguing is to gasp 'witch drama!' to herself - it's a very humanizing element of her character, in a way, that she's still so awestruck by this world. the two students, who have been popping up all over the intro and outro before now, are Willow, who's having trouble learning how to make an abomination, and Amity, the top student in her class, who delights in taking passive-aggressive jabs while supposedly trying to encourage Willow. when Amity finally leaves, Willow vents her frustrations and reveals that while she might struggle with abominations, she's quite adept in controlling plants, and...

...we cut back to King and Eda, because we're ready to start having B-plots like some kind of television show! King notices pretty quickly that at the rate things are going, Luz might end up drifting away from Eda's teaching style, and his immediate reaction is that this is a perfect opportunity for him to become her teacher instead, mostly in the art of how cool demons are. Eda's willing to make a wager with him about how good a teacher he'd really be, and King ends up responsible for a baby trash slug to prove his point. there's not necessarily a ton of meat on these bones until it connects back into the main plot, so i'll just take a moment while it's relevant to say that this B-plot actually helps communicate a lot more about King as a character. he might act like a ruthless leader, but his idea of raising a mighty monster is purely rooted in positive reinforcement (in practice: keep feeding it dog treats constantly). he is, despite all his efforts, always going to end up even more adorable to me.

back to Luz! Willow, in her surprisingly powerful green-eyed plant magic rage, discovers Luz and pretty immediately recognizes her as a human. a short talk later, and the two have come to an agreement that should benefit them both, where Luz will pretend to be Willow's school project, giving her a look into life at magic school and helping Willow secure a passing grade. from here, it's right off to Hexside School of Magic and Demonics!

A screenshot from I Was a Teenage Abomination, with Luz meeting Gus in the halls of Hexside.

Hexside is not the world's most inventive magic school, but i would describe it as squarely 'good enough' with its various hellish props, like the screaming school bell that gets tired. once we're in, we're just as quickly introduced to Willow's friend, Gus, head of the school's human appreciation society. at first glance, this paints a weird picture of how witches think of humans, being aware but wildly misinformed, but then again, Eda was shown selling human realm trinkets in the first episode and seemed to be salvaging them out of the trash slug, so i suppose this all tracks. Gus is a bit one-note here (and, to give you a glimpse into the future, is going to be a bit one-note until season 2, honestly), but he closes the loop on a sort of 'secondary option main trio' and provides a nice contrast to Luz, with a reversed version of her own magic fandom.

anyways, after a brief diversion into the B-plot that i already kind of covered, it's off to abomination class, and oh my god i love their weird little professor so much. he's unfortunately not going to become too much of a recurring presence at the school, but i'll go ahead and tell you his name is Professor Hermonculus, since the show doesn't bring it up until next season, somehow? he's great. now's also probably the best time to talk a bit about what i mean by 'abomination', just so it's written down somewhere in all of these overviews - we're still a few episodes away from a thorough explanation of the various codified tracks of magic Hexside teaches, but abominations seems to basically be halfway between slime magic and Frankenstein class.

A screenshot from I Was a Teenage Abomination, with Professor Hermonculus catching Amity in a fit of jealousy.

Luz puts on an admirable performance as Willow's abomination, but unfortunately does a little too well, earning Willow the top student spot and some intense scrutiny from Amity. her complete and utter commitment to this bit, maintaining full eye contact while walking backwards and doing a dramatic leap onto a lunch table when she spots the 'abomination' eating, is some really fun melodrama. i appreciate that for all her cold sharp wit earlier, Amity's go-to response to being taken down a notch is to fully take matters into her own hands and become a terrible little gremlin. as you can probably guess by her presence with Willow and Gus in the intro, Amity's going to be another character who keeps showing up pretty often, and i feel like this episode does a solid job of introducing us to her - high-strung intense emotional outbursts are going to remain a staple of her character, one way or another.

back in the B-plot, Eda has realized that King might be onto something, given she hasn't seen Luz all day, and Hooty points her in the direction of Hexside. to quote my own notes here - "Eda having a breakdown over how much school sucks well into her 40s... goals". it's maybe a little heavy-handed and silly, but it does reflect a lot of feelings i remember having as a frustrated student, so it's at least authentic. it's scenes like these that help us move past the initial archetypes these characters are introduced to us as and start digging deeper. we already know Eda is pretty strongly defined as an outsider, but scenes like this, silly as they are, start getting viewers inside her head a little, and might encourage you to start wondering about questions like how she ended up in her current position or why she has such a distaste for mainstream society.

A screenshot from I Was a Teenage Abomination, with Principal Bump preparing to dissect Luz.

back inside Hexside, we're introduced to Principal Bump, who might have one of my favorite designs in this entire show, with an entire imp sort of stretched over his head like some sort of Batman cowl. thanks to Amity, he's quite curious about Willow's sudden improvement with abomination magic, and ends up wanting to dissect Luz, although his reaction when she makes a hasty escape implies that he probably already figured she was some kind of interloper. Hexside has a pretty extensive set of Phantom Menace-style shields, and not making this escape sequence any easier, Bump and Amity both have some actual expertise in abomination magic, showing off how a walking mud minion can be quite the stubborn opponent.

Eda's advice about being resourceful comes full circle as Willow identifies a 'slime ball' in Luz's pocket as a seed she can use to unleash some powerful plant magic, and she insists Luz uses the opportunity to escape, pointing out that 'I may get detention, but you'll get dissected'. Luz retreats to the Owl House - where, as the B-plot wraps up, King's trash slug has gotten out of control and needs to be defeated with a comically large barrel of salt - but ends up followed shortly by Willow and Gus. Bump, in a surprising bit of practicality as a teacher, has decided the only thing Willow needs is a transfer to plant magic classes (as denoted with a magical uniform palette swap), but the bad news is that Luz is banned from Hexside premises, which Eda takes in stride. then the episode just... kind of ends, on a bit of a Gus goof? it's really abrupt.

if you're reading these as i make them, you may have noticed that i fell behind a bit with I Was a Teenage Abomination. to do a bit of inside baseball, so far i've generally watched two episodes at a time before going to bed, taking notes and then extrapolating those into the posts you see before you. this is a case where that format didn't exactly serve me well, for two main reasons - my notes were very frontloaded because there's not a lot to add in the back half of this episode aside from the literal beat-for-beat happenings, and the next episode is so good that it's a bit distracting from this one?

A screenshot from I Was a Teenage Abomination, with Eda snatching Luz's wanted poster from Gus.

that might all sound a bit harsh, but i don't think this is a bad episode, it's just a tough one to write about without digging into where a lot of these characters are heading. as the ending solidifies, Willow and Gus are still going to be very much present in Luz's life even if she's not supposed to go to Hexside. it's laying down the important foundations of who Luz's new friends are so that we can then deconstruct those notions later. it's gotta happen at some point, and for what it is, this is hardly a bad way to do it all.

as i touched on, this is also a surprisingly good episode for showing us a bit more about Eda and King, giving them room to breathe as characters while Luz is off making new friends. it's the type of stuff you can sum up in a sort of dismissively brief way - King is a little nicer than his demeanor might let on, Eda has hang-ups authority and school - but these are pretty foundational building blocks of why i grew to love these characters. for as much as this episode is about bringing Luz's peers together into her life, it's also really good at fleshing out her Owl House roommates.

next time on The Owl House - Luz learns about demons!

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