Review: Tangled - Cassandra's Revenge

Today marks the last multi-part special on Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure before the series finale on March 1st. I had high hopes that Cassandra's Revenge would resolve Cassandra's heartbreaking betrayal arc once and for all, but it looks like that is being saved for the finale. Though there were some revelations in this special about Rapunzel and Cassandra's powers, they weren't quite as big as I was hoping. The special brought back Varian for a gorgeous new Alan Menken duet with Cassandra. It also progressed the sinister plans of the mysterious blue girl, who is the true antagonist likely has some sort of connection to Zhan Tiri, the show's final boss. It was an enjoyable special in terms of art and music, but I felt let down by the fact that they are saving all the big resolutions for the finale. Cassandra is beginning to feel like a broken record, saying the same things over again until the plot allows her story to progress.

The special kicks off with a new Rapunzel song called "The Girl Who Has Everything," in which Rapunzel channels her inner artist and paints a lovely collage of all the characters and adventures she has encountered over the course of the series. Even though she is a modern princess in some ways, Rapunzel is also very much a classic Disney Princess who knows how to appreciate her blessings and sing about the benefits of staying positive. The opening scene treated us to one of two new Alan Menkens songs in this special. My favorite thing about it was the visuals. Rapunzel's paintings are inspired by the work of Claire Keane, the daughter of Glen Keane, who is responsible for the designs of many classic Disney characters. I love the whimsical flowing strokes of the drawings in Rapunzel's journal that we see during the opening of the show. The paintings she created during this song were so nostalgic and dreamlike that I can't wait to watch it again and try to identify all the little easter eggs and references to previous episodes.

Of course, things can't be all sunshine and rainbows for our golden-haired heroine. We are soon reminded of her woes when Cassandra pulls a Maleficent and crashes Eugene's surprise birthday party on account of not receiving an invitation. Rapunzel tries to reason with her yet again, but it is all in vain when Cass kidnaps Varian along with the famous incantation scroll that was introduced in the second season. Varian discovers two more incantations hidden in the scroll--one for Rapunzel to fight Cassandra's moonstone powers, and one for Cassandra to fight Rapunzel's sun drop powers. Since the original healing incantation is one of the most haunting tracks on the original Tangled soundtrack, and the hurt incantation came with an eerily memorable performance in the season 2 special Rapunzel and the Great Tree, I was hoping for more ethereal chanting. Here, both incantations were spoken. Though they created some powerful explosions and glowing effects, it felt like more of a rehash of the same things we've already seen them do with their powers, especially after the epic season 2 finale. The incantations feel a lot less magical without the music to accompany them.

Cassandra's Revenge showed some more of the mysterious blue girl, but I feel like I know even less about her identity now than I did before. It proved what we knew all along--that she was manipulating Cassandra for her own personal gain. That's why I was hoping we would see Cass switch back to Rapunzel's side after she learned she was being used. Unfortunately, the blue girl's reveal came within the final few seconds of the special and left no time for any sort of reaction on Cassandra's part. When we first encountered her, it wasn't clear whether she was evil or a neutral oracle of Cassandra's past. Once the third season began, however, it became obvious that she is the true antagonist of the show. We all know that Rapunzel's ultimate foe will be Zhan Tiri, but not what Zhan Tiri looks like. I think it's possible that the blue girl is Zhan Tiri, one of Zhan Tiri's followers, or even a younger version of Mother Gothel, but I have heard valid arguments to the contrary. There was so much I was hoping this special would reveal that it didn't. I guess I'll just have to be patient like everyone else and wait another month.

Overall, Cassandra's Revenge had some great songs and lovely art, but I was hoping for a little more in terms of story. All it accomplished was advancing the blue girl's wicked plans in anticipation of the final battle. Cassandra continues to hold a grudge against Rapunzel in spite of the fact that she is clearly being manipulated. There were some cute moments between Rapunzel and Eugene, but they were short-lived thanks to the larger crisis at hand. It looks like everything I really wanted out of this special is going to happen in the series finale, Plus Est en Vous, on March 1st. There are still four more episodes before that, so maybe we'll get some more insight into Zhan Tiri and the blue girl's true identity sooner rather than later. One can only hope.


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