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The 'title card' from Hooty's Moving Hassle.

i don't think i'm going to have an awful lot to say about Hooty's Moving Hassle, and that's fine, i guess. after a few episodes of set-up and getting our major plot threads in order, there's now room for some more normal adventures in the Boiling Isles, and that's... really just fine, y'know? as i write this, it wasn't too long ago that i saw some good points floating around on social media about how the word 'filler' has kind of broken out of its original context (very specifically referring to episodes of an anime that were written to literally fill time while waiting for more chapters of manga to adapt) and how that's not been the best for discourse around television. this episode definitely feels like the kind of thing that'd wind up as a target for those types of complaints, and while i'm not exactly super enthusiastic about this one, i do think it's important for long-form stories to have breathing room. it's not terrible or anything. it's fine.

it certainly opens on a strong pun, at least, with Eda in the midst of a game of Hexes Hold'em against Owlbert. (have i mentioned that the owl on her staff is named Owlbert yet? the owl on her staff is named Owlbert. now you know.) it's all literal fun and games until Eda realizes she's getting a bit feather-y, and worse, is out of elixir to deal with her curse. this gives the story a good opportunity to head back into Bonesborough, and to rapid-fire through the relevant stuff - Eda has a guy she goes to for her elixirs and he's fresh out! public transporation in Bonesborough involves getting in a big empty egg! demon hunters are a thing!

A screenshot from Hooty's Moving Hassle, with Amity and her friends picking on Willow and Gus.

conveniently, Willow and Gus are also in town to advance the plot of this episode forward. they're currently being bullied by Amity and her friends over a 'moonlight conjuring', an occult Boiling Isles equivalent to what we would call a slumber party, which just so happens to require a minimum of three people. as Luz puts it, 'I'm three people!', so to get back at being left out of Amity's conjuring, our secondary main trio decides to hold their own. for as light on analyzable content this episode is, it is a good opportunity to see Luz in a more casual plot getting to spend time with her friends. also worth pointing out here is the way Amity interacts with the group, telling her friends to leave Willow alone because 'it's not her fault she was born without talent'. obviously not a terribly nice thing to say, but it'll be sort of important later, so i'm drawing attention to it now.

unfortunately for Luz and friends, Eda needs her pupil to stay home and guard the Owl House tonight, because she's going to have to head to the mysterious 'night market' to get her hands on her elixir. but Willow and Gus don't know that Eda said no, and tonight's the only night the moon will align for the conjuring! oh no, what a wacky predicament!

one thing i did jot down as a note while watching this episode was that, for as much as i put a fine point on Eda knowing when to take it easy on Luz just a few episodes ago, a lot of these early plots do have a dynamic of 'Eda thinks some kind of magic thing Luz is excited about is dumb, actually', and while sometimes that's additive to her larger character arc like how she feels about covens, sometimes it does feel a little one-note and... not necessarily mean-spirited, but not quite the right tone for these two, yet.

A screenshot from Hooty's Moving Hassle, with King being a sleepy little guy.

anyways, feeling the need to help her friends feel accepted, Luz decides to go through with the moonlight conjuring despite Eda's wishes, and oh my god forget everything i've said about this episode because King is in a little baby holster, he's such a floppy little guy, oh my god oh my god oh my god. baby. baby boy. since we're getting a good few bits of Hooty dialogue in this scene, now's a good time to point out that i would say this is the episode where his character starts settling into the niche i actually associate him with. up until now, he's been kind of coy about stuff and a little upset when people don't take him seriously, but "Hooty tries to tell everyone the story of when he swallowed a bird, gets ignored, coughs up entire bird" is the first joke where i've thought 'ah, yes, there's Hooty'.

with Eda and King heading off to this episode's B-plot, Willow and Gus quickly make themselves at home in the Owl House and start trying to decide what object they'll bring to life for their moonlight conjuring, settling on a Beefy Bob action figure, but accidentally bringing the entire Owl House to life since Luz hasn't memorized the incantation. or... maybe the house was already alive? Hooty's certainly alive and he seems to be the house, in a sense, and Luz just pointed out that the walls are breathing. whatever, the house has big giant bird legs sticking out of it now and it's great.

A screenshot from Hooty's Moving Hassle, with the titular Owl House growing legs.

the house's immediate response when given ambulatory function is to start heading off a nearby cliff, but as the trio finds out, they can control it as long as they maintain their conjuring circle (i.e. hold hands) and Gus quickly convinces Luz to take it for a joyride, catching the attention of the demon hunters we saw earlier. they also happen to come across Boscha, one of Amity's friends, who's talking into a crow like a phone and telling her mom that it's 'sad' for her to try and ask to attend the conjuring, which is honestly hilarious. the trio try to scare Boscha into thinking the house is talking to her, but evidently this just happens in the Demon Realm sometimes, so it takes chasing after her with the house's new legs to actually frighten her.

Luz has had enough conjuring fun for one night and tries to get the group home before Eda gets back from the night market, but seeing Amity pretty much directly taunt her on social media is enough to convince her that they need to head to her conjuring and get one over on her. i forgot to mention it earlier, but this episode does introduce the concept of 'Penstagram', a pretty transparent social media stand-in for the Boiling Isles accessed through smartphone-esque scrolls. i could ponder about the nature of social media and how it's probably difficult to write #ContemporaryYouthFiction without some kind of analogy for this very real social function, but i'm not here to do that, i'm here to talk about how this particular episode of my favorite witch show was kind of mid!

A screenshot from Hooty's Moving Hassle, with Tibbles scamming Eda.

meanwhile, in the B-plot, Eda has found the potion seller she's looking for, a diminuitive pig demon named Tibbles. he does have the elixir she needs, but is blatantly overcharging for it, which leads to this exchange -

EDA: What kind of game are you playing?

TIBBLES: Capitalism! Where everyone wins, except you.

- and in the interest of this not taking up the entire back half of this overview, i'll just say that's... a pretty loaded line, huh!!! we do live in a society! Eda sure is straight-up getting overcharged for essential healthcare she needs! lots to think about, which doesn't necessarily form the backbone of where this show is going but certainly fits into a broader picture about manipulative systems! luckily, though, Eda has an ace up her sleeve. ha. card humor. she challenges Tibbles to a game of Hexes Hold'em for the elixir, and he accepts.

meanwhile, we almost get a glimpse at Amity's home, the enticingly named Blight Manor, but those demon hunters have caught up with the Owl House and capture it using a giant crossbow, intending to quite gruesomely strip Hooty out of the house and sell him as 'exotic meat', throwing the kids off a cliff to get rid of them. for as thin as the plot has been, i do have to admit there's a lot of very good jokes in this episode, like when Gus tries to appeal to one of the hunters' sense of decency and he gleefully admits he loves his line of work and has dreamt of throwing kids off cliffs since he was a boy. light on plot, but good on bits.

with the gang perilously dangling off a branch, Willow finally admits why this whole ordeal has been so important to her, explaining that she and Amity used to be friends but drifted apart when Amity's magical abilities developed faster. see, this is why i drew attention to Amity's choice of words earlier - not that she was right to say it, but there is some history there informing all that. it's an interesting cinching of narrative threads that admittedly could have come up sooner than now, maybe, with Gus even pointing out now might be a weird time to talk about it, but it's character information nonetheless and something that we'll see brought up a few more times throughout this first season.

A screenshot from Hooty's Moving Hassle, with Willow using plant magic to defeat the demon hunters.

with that important character context acknowledged and a bit of affirmation from her new friends, Willow manages to pull off some impressive plant magic to get everyone back up to the house, handily defeating the demon hunters and trying to rush home before Eda can find out. meanwhile, Eda cannot rush back home before them, because Tibbles has won at Hexes Hold'em and not only taken King as his prize but revealed his intentions to turn Eda in to the Emperor's Coven, and with her curse acting up, Eda can't perform magic to escape. again, another good bit here when King is chained up and shows that he can totally get out to try and help whenever he wants, but doesn't do so until Eda admits she has a gambling problem, going so far as to eat a card to prove it.

our A and B plots conveniently converge before King can do much, though, because the Owl House walks right through the night market and crushes Tibbles's shop, although he does swear revenge. despite seeming to make it home in time, Eda and King are, through the all-powerful force of comedic timing, already behind the door, ready to scold Luz for breaking her promise. ultimately, though, Eda does seem more positive on the whole moonlight conjuring thing and wants to join in next time, and more notably, it's actually King who stops and points out that animating an entire house probably speaks to some serious magical potential in these three.

it's interesting that whenever i say an episode doesn't have much to it, i end up spending so much time conveying the lack of content that the overview still ends up about this long? ah well, something to work on in the future. Hooty's Moving Hassle is, as i emphasized at the top, fine. it's an inoffensive little bit of television. it is, in a sense, default Owl House for this phase of the show's lifespan, operating without much pretense of overarching plot and focusing more on characterizations and jokes. it accomplishes those tasks at a solid baseline rate. i like when they put King in a baby holster, that's good. looking forward to better times ahead of us.

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

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