Monday, July 15, 2024

Kipo And The Age of Wonderbeasts Comes To Sensational End

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In just ten episodes, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts came to a sensationally fitting end and is even more of a masterpiece than the first two seasons! Including yet another season of incredible music. Luckily Netflix ordered the thirty episodes together so creators Radford Sechrist and Bill Wolkoff and team crafted the show as thirty episodes that run together. Almost like a thirty section film.

When we last left off with our favorite teens, Kipo and team had stopped Scarlemagne from turning everyone into gold in his quest for revenge against humans and the other mutes who he hated. I ended my review of the first two seasons with the following questions:

How will Kipo and her friends stop Emilia from turning the mutes back into “regular” animals? What happens to Scarlemagne now that he’s held by the Timbercats? Will Benson and Troy get together? Is Jamack going to join the group?

Well, we definitely got those answers. Scarlemagne actually ends up helping Kipo and even apologizes to the mutant groups! Benson and Troy do indeed get together and it’s super wholesome and lovely. Jamack did in fact join the group. And for the first question? Well…

What made this season so incredible is the team’s dedication to leaning into the “oh crap the world as we know it will END IF WE DON’T STOP EMILIA” while still providing everything that made the first two seasons so great. There’s comedy and romance and action and adventure and Kipo being incredibly charming even when you think she’ll totally fail and so much more.

We even got K-POP NARWHALS!

The third season follows the group trying to stop Emilia from creating a cure to turn the mutant animals back to regular animals. Jamack joins the Thea Otters to spread news of Emilia and the humans far and wide and to solicit members to Kipo’s newest and brightest idea. The Human Mute Ultimate Friendship Alliance!

It’s not a spoiler to say that of course Kipo makes the HMUFA happen, but only after some hard discussions and realizing that just because she wants everyone to get along and be best friends, it won’t automatically happen.

Scarlemagne says "the secret handshake didn't fix two hundred years of malcontent?"
Kipo and Scarlemagne speaking when she brings him food.

This moment between Kipo and Scarlemagne is a perfect representation of the entire season and frankly a great commentary on everything going on this year. Not only did Scarlemagne oppress people the whole time we’ve known him, Emilia has absolutely zero interest in getting along with the mutants.

Elsewhere, the different mutant groups have an endless list of reasons to not want to band together or with Kipo and her friends, even if independently Kipo has helped them all out before.

Kipo and Good vs. Evil

Kipo is after all a kid’s show and it’s important to portray characters who support other people (or mutants) to change and characters who do change, but the show never feeds us a lie that everyone will change.

Emilia for example, is given a backstory that fleshes out why she’s so hellbent on getting rid of the mutants. The writers toe the fine line between an abused person (Emilia by her father and his intense expectations) abusing others (Scarlemagne and everyone else). However the show is incredibly clear that people must choose whether they want to be good or bad and it serves as a lesson for Kipo too that again, just because she wants to give everyone a second chance at redemption, not all of them deserve it or will take it.

Along the way, Kipo changes the mind of Doag and some other humans who realize that they’ve got a common enemy in Emilia and it all comes down to the last two episodes when Kipo holds a PRAHM! (Prom)

It’s exactly the type of thing we expect from Kipo at this point and though there’s chaos and drama, Kipo prevails even after Emilia TURNS HERSELF INTO A WALRUS MEGA MUTE.

It’s a choice…

Turning yourself into the thing you hate doesn’t quite map onto our world for obvious reasons but if her killing her BROTHER didn’t show how obsessed she is with her goal, well…this sure was a good entry into the list of worst things a kids show villain has done.

As Wolkoff explains:

Dr. Emilia just seemed perfectly poised to occupy the opposite side of that spectrum as somebody who wanted to fight against change at all costs. That felt like a recognizable villain, a larger force to push against.

AV Club

Sounds like a lot of people we know in our own world…

Still, Kipo tries to give Emilia one more chance after giving her the cure and Mandu stops Emilia from slicing Kipo with some glass and pushing Emilia into her old burrow. Where none other than Fun Gus lives! A fitting end (?) to Emilia who will now forever be stuck with Fun Gus and a reminder of all the things she’s done. Especially if we all envision him taking on the form of her brother.

Even as a kids show, the writers don’t shy away from consequences and in the fight against Emilia, we sadly do lose a number of mutes to regular animalhood. It’s as depressing as it sounds but the mutes continue to watch their family even after their changes. There’s another allegory to our real world in there somewhere…

I won’t spoil everyone who gets turned but Wolf’s “sister” Margot and her brother Robert do make an appearance and for their troubles are turned back into animals by Emilia. The scenes between Wolf and Margot are some of the best the whole series especially because Margot is still wearing her flower bracelet.

So is the truce between Wolf and Scarlemagne that ultimately saves Kipo and shows that some people can change, but only if they choose to. Even if they do, it’s not on everyone they harmed to forgive them. Great lessons for the kids and adults watching.

Thankfully we get a flash forward to five years with a glimpse of how Kipo and the others are doing in the future.

Benson (and Troy) have a restaurant! Humans and mutes are coexisting. Kipo has an undercut! Lio and Song are still the most adorable parents EVER and now they’ve got two daughters.

The only characters we don’t get quite as much time with as I’d hoped for are Asher and Dahlia, but I know they did have to cut quite a bit to fit all the time limits and such. There’s hope though because if we ever get the movies that the team want to make, we will hopefully get to dig in more! Especially with all of the teens as adults. Imagine the other mutant groups we still haven’t met.


Images courtesy of Dreamworks

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