LAST last episode

episode guide

next episode NEXT

The 'title card' from Something Ventured, Someone Framed.

with Something Ventured, Someone Framed, we've reached roughly the halfway point of this first season, and as many shows would do, The Owl House is taking the opportunity to shake things up. perhaps the oddest thing, then, is that the way it's choosing to shake things up isn't really going to surface for several more episodes. for now, we're left with a bit of a weaker installment, but also with an opportunity to peel back the curtain a little bit on some of the ways this show takes the shape we're familiar with.

speaking of peeling back curtains, this is my second time writing this overview! it existed on this site for maybe around 48 hours, and then i accidentally pasted over the page's code with the next episode's and overwrote the whole thing and didn't even notice until maybe a week or so later! whoops! i bring this up only so that you have some frame of reference if it seems like i'm playing things a little fast and loose.

A screenshot from Something Ventured, Someone Framed, with Mattholomule pushing Gus's 'human treasures' aside.

one of the biggest things to note about this episode is that it's pretty much the only 'Gus episode' we get in the first season, much in the same way you could call Lost in Language an 'Amity episode'. as i've mentioned before, Gus tends to get the short end of the stick on character development amongst the primary cast, so it's nice to have some insight into his world, as we get with our introductory scene in the human appreciation club. the core conflict here - where newcomer Mattholomule challenges Gus's authority over the club with his laissez-faire approach to letting everyone handle his (very clearly fake) human treasures - might fall a little bit flat because we don't really have the context of Gus being so uptight about these rules, but i'd say it's at least carried by how charmingly smug Mattholomule is.

the obvious play then is to bring Luz in to settle the matter, but given she's still got a standing ban from Hexside, that plan seems like a no-go until Gus lies about pulling some strings as H.A.S. president to lift the ban. the thing that really stands out to me about this scene, though, is how much of an interesting benchmark it is for where we're at in the season, being the most openly confrontational we've seen Luz and Eda get about the matter of her education, with King adorably being kind of a bad person and rooting his friends on to fight about it. i wouldn't say it feels out of character, necessarily, and i get where they're both coming from. it's just interesting to note that this is the most we've gotten to see this issue getting hashed out, which i suppose makes sense given the last few episodes have kept Luz and Eda mostly separated.

Willow objects to the whole idea, on both an ethical and practical level, but Gus is already fully committed, getting Luz a neat cowl and taking down all of her wanted posters around school. unfortunately, her previous 'invasion' of the school has led to the implementation of some terrifying school guards that lead Gus to rushing Luz around the school, including straight into an encounter with Mattholomule where taking the opportunity to boast about his expert human (it's true, she's been a human for years) friend is what leads his rival to realizing that something's afoot with Luz.

meanwhile, over in the B-plot, Eda is actually having a pretty earnest struggle with herself about how to handle the whole Hexside thing. up until now, she's had nothing but contempt, but when she's alone (or, at least, functionally alone since Hooty's not being helpful), she's oddly pretty even-handed about things, noting that all her hang-ups are her own business and that she does have some level of responsibility to be a good role model/teacher/de facto guardian for Luz. it's a bit of a hard turn, but i don't hate it, especially coming off a bit of confrontation - now more than ever, it does feel important to establish that underneath it all, Eda does care about being a good teacher, even if that means swallowing her pride. it's also important to establish how much Hooty loves eating lots of bugs! yum!

A screenshot from Something Ventured, Someone Framed, with Eda visiting Principal Bump's office.

so, Eda heads to Principal Bump about seeing if she can get Luz enrolled, and after a bit of fun embittered banter between Hexside's former biggest problem student and her authoritative foil, it turns out Bump is actually surprisingly receptive to the idea of having a human exchange student attending his school, albeit taking the vindictive route of making Eda clean up several of her old problems before allowing Luz to enroll. it's a fun plot beat that leads to an okay gag or two (i like the 'magic graffiti' that considers Eda its mother and begs her not to wash it away), but it also feels perhaps a bit... strange, given that our previous experience with Bump was that he was willing to dissect a suspected intruder and put the school in full lockdown to catch her. not that we've had a lot of opportunities to get inside Bump's head about the whole thing, but it's another hard turn, and it's a little harder to feel completely sold on. hold onto that feeling for later, maybe.

still trying to keep Luz away from any guards until he gets to deploy his coup de grace at the H.A.S. meeting, Gus gives us a bit of a tour of Hexside, showing off things like their Grudgby court or a few different coven homerooms. during this little montage, we actually get our second big fact about Gus outside of his human fandom - it's always been pretty clear through context clues that he's younger than the other Hexside students, but we get confirmation that this is because he's incredibly talented at illusion magic, enough to be moved up by a few grades. i do wish this maybe informed his character a bit more outside of the places this particular episode's character struggles are heading, but it's nice to actually know more about him.

A screenshot from Something Ventured, Someone Framed, with Mattholomule gloating over his victory.

ultimately, when the time comes for the H.A.S. meeting, Mattholomule takes the unexpected approach of apologizing for his lies, explaining that he felt intimidated being the new kid at Hexside and wanted to fit in... only to turn heel once the rest of the club has left, having already called the guards on Luz ahead of time. honestly, as much as i find this episode a little on the weaker side, i do think Mattholomule is one of my favorite low-stakes 'villain of the week' characters we've gotten so far, with his particular smug sense of superiority and his plan to essentially play out the kind of sentimental ending you might expect for this story ahead of time to get on everyone's good side. in his own words, 'I want power, and I want drama, and I got one of those right now.' sometimes you just need a real terrible dude who just wants to cause problems on purpose like this!

unfortunately for Mattholomule's scheme, Gus gets both of them hauled off to detention (which, with this being a magical school, means a giant fanged pit with Matrix-esque pods to contain bad students) to save Luz, and after a fun little misdirect where Mattholomule's detention expertise proves to be entirely useless, we start peeling back some layers on Gus and why he started this whole mess. it's not the deepest material in the world, but the way he talks about feeling intimidated as the youngest student in his class and how being president of the H.A.S. helps him feel like he fits in - and, moreover, has the power to help other people fit in - is at least a solid way to give Gus some interiority as a character and weave him a little closer to some of the overarching themes we've seen about the nature of being an atypical student and 'weirdos sticking together' and all that.

A screenshot from Something Ventured, Someone Framed, with Luz and Gus (and an unconscious Mattholomule) escaping detention.

with any hard feelings patched up, Luz and Gus manage to free Mattholomule (sidebar: Luz noting 'Oh, wow, he's so little' when she hoists him up is one of my favorite lines in this entire episode) and successfully escape detention with the use of some illusion magic... only to stumble right into Principal Bump, who's just been convinced to finally let Luz enroll and is now livid enough to double down on banning her. ultimately, though, Gus steps up and takes responsibility for the whole incident and, in taking the ensuing punishment of being removed from his own club, ensures that Luz will be able to attend Hexside next semester. one thing i do really like here is Eda's little aside with Luz, about how she's willing to take this step only because she trusts that Luz is too clever to let Hexside break down what makes her unique. it's a nice affirmation, and it goes a long way in making this big shift sit right.

oh, right, and then we end with like, a Breakfast Club bit? like with a faux-Don't You Forget About Me? okay, whatever.

normally i'd be wrapping things up right about now, but there's still a bit more worth talking about with this episode. throughout the whole thing, especially in Eda's B-plot, there's been this pervasive sense that i've noted here and there that something's a little bit off. not strictly bad, just a bit off. characters are making a lot of big decisions that don't necessarily line up super well with how we've come to understand them. like i said, we're not going to really start unpacking the consequences of these decisions until Luz actually starts attending Hexside in a few episodes, but now seems like a good time to touch on a bit of behind the scenes knowledge.

in my time in the Owl House fandom, i've seen a pretty bold claim get thrown around a lot, that Hexside 'wasn't supposed to be part of the show'. i knew this, going into these overviews, but i also knew that for as often as i've seen people say that, i'd also never seen a source. thankfully, thanks to some conversations with friends about the matter, i was finally able to pin down where this statement came from - an interview with the Negative Space podcast. as i kind of expected, the original claim is a more complicated story than what people in the fandom throw around. the direct words from creator and showrunner Dana Terrace are -

Originally, the first season of Owl House wasn't gonna take place at the school, as much. But they loved the school setting, and that was one of our first big fights at the beginning of the season, was 'gotta bring 'em to school, gotta, y'know, do a lot of the school set-ups', and initially it pissed me off that they would - they were like, refusing to let the show move forward unless we gave them a little bit of that? And that is a compromise I regret a little bit, even though there are some episodes that I love that came from that compromise, so, silver lining, I suppose.

- Dana Terrace, from 'The Negative Space Podcast'

so, clearly this isn't quite the flat-out 'Hexside wasn't originally part of The Owl House' smoking gun evidence that some people have bought into, and it leaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation. even in concept art and early test footage, it does seem like characters such as Willow and Gus did exist, and on a broader scale, it does seem like Dana Terrace has more than a few things she wants to say about general 'magical school' tropes, whether it's quick jabs or using them as a narrative device to parallel Luz's experiences in her own world. so, overall, my personal take-away from this all seems to be that Hexside as a concept wasn't thrust upon this show, but perhaps the choice to have Luz end up attending as a student was?

all of this isn't even to say that i think this is all strictly bad. right after this quote within the podcast itself (which i would highly recommend sitting down and listening to), Terrace notes that she's not huge on the idea of lingering on the idea of whether or not this change makes the show better or worse, just that it exists as it does, as the end product of a collaborative creative process that sometimes involves compromise. i, personally, have not be a huge fan of a lot of the Hexside material, but i also think that for what it's worth, this episode does do a decent job of establishing Eda's willingness to put faith in Luz's individuality coming out on top of any sort of complacency to the school's systems. of course, this episode just marks the enrollment, so we'll have to revisit all of these thoughts when the next semester actually starts in a few episodes.

on its own merits, though, yeah, i will admit i find Something Ventured, Someone Framed to be one of the weaker episodes of this series. there's a lot of good elements i can point to, whether it's Gus getting some much-needed character development or Mattholomule being a very enjoyable low-stakes antagonist, but i do think the plot ends up coming across as a little flat and predictable. maybe it's just me and my curse of knowledge both into the show's future and behind the scenes, but i also think it's not exactly hard to spot the places where the direction of this show has to bend a little bit to get the results that Disney seemed really, really invested in seeing, and it can kind of take you out of the episode a bit. not a terrible watch, but far from peak Owl House.

...and now that i think about it, did anyone really get framed in this episode? and like, i'd hardly call what anyone's doing here venturing. why's it called that? i change my mind, clearly this is the nadir of not just The Owl House, but all animated television in general. all sequential visual media, really. what were they thinking, etc. etc.

next time on The Owl House - Luz gets familiarized with familiars!

LAST last episode

episode guide

next episode NEXT