Rapunzel Is Back!

At long last, today marked the return of Tangled: The Series or Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure or whatever they've decided to call it this month. This show has a history of taking long breaks with no rhyme or reason. It's a shame because it's such an engaging series that surpasses some of Disney's previous movie spin-off shows by miles. The last episode to air until now was "Happiness Is..." which was over six months ago! Today's episode, "Peril on the High Seas" finally saw the main cast escape from the weird island they were trapped with the silly talking German leaves. After leaving its audience stranded at sea for so many months, Disney has finally thrown Rapunzel a bone. Instead of just one episode a week, most Sundays in March will boast two new episodes of the show, allowing us to quickly catch up with the rest of the second season. I assume this is due to their production schedule being so far ahead of the episodes that have actually aired. Believe it or not, the writers have already submitted the final script of the series, which is still another entire season away!

The release schedule for the Tangled series is even more frustrating than Once Upon a Time, which also often went weeks between new episodes when it was at the height of its run. Today's episode reminded me of just how much time has passed between airings by featuring throwbacks to villains that have shown up throughout the course of the series and all the way back to the original film from 2010! In "Peril on the High Seas," Eugene and Maximus find themselves stranded at sea on a prison ship with nearly all the foes they had ever faced in the past. Lady Caine from the series premiere led the group of misfits in their attempted mutiny. As pleased as I was to see her again after all this time, it felt too little too late for me to welcome her back into the story after hearing no mention of her for so long. When the show came out, I had already concocted some theories about her character that went nowhere because we heard about her again for over a year. The same thing applies to the Stabbington Brothers from the original film. They were a far more minor threat than Mother Gothel that feels almost irrelevant now. I would have preferred more than a B-plot villain reunion after going so long without Rapunzel's adventures, but I suppose beggars can't be choosers.

Noticeably missing from the group of fallen nemeses was Varian, who was last seen riding away in a prison cart at the end of the spectacular first season finale, The Secret of the Sun Drop. Varian was a particularly complex villain because he started out as a friend to the group and was forced to lash out against them due to circumstances behind Rapunzel's control. He was also quite young and naive compared to most cartoon villains. As much I would have loved to see him return on the prison ship, his presence would have probably stretched the episode out beyond its 22-minute run time. Still, I doubt we've seen the last of him if even Maximus's horse nemesis could make a comeback. Leaked summaries of other episodes airing this month include hints of even more throwbacks from both the movie and the series, including Hook Hand (the series has only featured his brother, Hook Foot), Stalyan (Eugene's Ex-Fiancée from a previous episode), and an amnesia spell that will revert Rapunzel to her less adventuresome movie persona. The fact that many of these episodes will be airing two at a time throughout March will hopefully make it easier to keep track of references to things that happened earlier in the show without falling off the radar again.

Even though the Tangled series has better continuity overall than some of Disney's older cartoons, the episodic formula has been pretty strong this season. We've gotten to meet lots of colorful characters and explore new locales outside, but I do miss the precious moments of bonding that Rapunzel shared with her parents, King Frederic and Queen Arianna. The show is all about her enjoying her freedom now that she's no longer trapped in a tower, but the fact still stands that she never knew her real parents for most of her life. It's a shame for her to have to leave them so soon after their beautiful reunion at the end of the film. Most of this season has also had surprisingly little mention of the mysterious black rocks that Rapunzel journeyed out of her kingdom to track. It could be that they are saving all the biggest reveals for the third and final season, but that makes us fans feel even more anxious, especially after waiting so many months between episodes. Hopefully, we'll see a lot more story and character growth this month now that its schedule is getting back on track.


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