Disney The Owl House season 3 episode 2 For the Future understands the importance of being understood in general and also for LGBTQ

In Its Penultimate Episode, The Owl House Knows How Important It Is to Be Understood

This article contains spoilers for the truncated The Owl House season 3, particularly episode 2, “For the Future.”

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It came as a bit of a shock earlier last year when it was announced that Disney would not be renewing its popular Peabody Award-winning show The Owl House for a third full season. While it has compromised by offering three 45-minute episodes to tie up the show’s loose ends and answer its audience’s many questions, this decision feels short-sighted, rushed, and frankly somewhat bigoted. What the show accomplished in its first two seasons was remarkable for not only innovative storytelling with a tight script and nuanced themes, but for putting LGBTQ characters and canonical representation of queer relationships at the forefront of a Disney-produced property.

Created by Dana Terrace, The Owl House follows the story of Luz Noceda (Sarah-Nicole Robles), a human who enters the Demon Realm, comes under the tutelage of Eda Clawthorne (Wendie Malick), and battles against a rigid oligarchical dictator, Emperor Belos (Matthew Rhys). It’s heartwarming, funny, creative, and scary, and above all else, it embraces the weirdness of monstrosities as if it were revisiting the most beloved of ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia.

This nostalgia goes as far as to draw some comparisons to the Harry Potter series, with some episodes even poking fun at the dumb nature of the Quidditch scoring system, or a more creative house system at the show’s school Hexside. This similarity also appealed to a number of LGBTQ fans who had felt deserted by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and her slew of controversial anti-trans rhetoric. Thus, The Owl House fans have found it even more unfair that this show is already getting cut short.

Disney The Owl House season 3 episode 2 For the Future understands the importance of being understood in general and also for LGBTQ

Per Terrace herself, the frustrating reason for the truncation is just that a single high-powered Disney executive felt The Owl House didn’t fit the Disney “brand.” But despite setbacks, Terrace and her crew are rising to an impossible challenge. Against all odds, “For the Future,” the second of the three final episodes, is able to fit nearly an entire season arc’s worth of character development for four main characters into 45 minutes of television.

“For the Future” capitalizes on every small moment, providing an emotional roller coaster of team victories and character low moments. The episode starts with brief glimpses at what happened to those who were left on the Boiling Isles during the Day of Unity, where we see short but effective glimpses of Eda and Raine (Avi Roque) fighting for their lives, Lilith (Cissy Jones) and Hooty (Alex Hirsch) failing a counteroffensive, and the Collector (Fryda Wolff) retooling the world with his innocent yet horrifying child’s eye (think “It’s a Good Life” from The Twilight Zone).

While an entire season’s worth of getting to know the Collector and the state he’s keeping the Boiling Isles in would have been great, the episode gives short glimpses that are just as effective at communicating the new dangers the team must face.

When Luz and the Hexside co. arrive, the character arcs set up just as quickly. Willow (Tati Gabrielle) puts on a brave face despite her fears. Hunter (Zeno Robinson) is remorseful with grief and feeling isolated from Flapjack’s death. Gus (Issac Ryan Brown) is finally starting to understand he can provide more comfort to his friends than just with jokes. If the central themes from previous The Owl House seasons were freedom and fighting against oppression, “For the Future” is about counting on your found family to understand what you need.

Disney The Owl House season 3 episode 2 For the Future understands the importance of being understood in general and also for LGBTQ

And at the center of this theme is Luz, who has been misunderstood from the start of the show. From episode one, Luz was bringing mythical creature dioramas and live snakes to school, resulting in a slew of fellow student gross-outs and reptile bites. But this same well-intentioned effort has alienated her, caused her to keep secrets, and made her believe she no longer even belongs in a world that seems catered to her exact personality. The many failures Luz has faced over the show are adding up. To Luz, everything she does seems pointless, but she fears her good actions and their negative consequences will never be forgiven, let alone understood.

Through the episode, the other characters also have their own realizations. Willow finally confronts her fears and realizes she should be open and honest with those trying to help her. Hunter realizes that not only is Flapjack still spiritually with him, but his newfound family is here to help him escape the trauma Belos inflicted upon him. Gus is able to reach out and help others be understood through acts of kindness, advice, and genuinity.

And the episode ends with the birth of Luz’s palisman, the adorable snake shifter Stringbean, but this only happens once Luz’s mother Camilla (Elizabeth Grullon) convinces her that she is passionate, caring, loving, and above all else understood. And Luz isn’t just understood for being goofy and weird. Camilla instead addresses Luz’s intentions, and it’s Luz hearing from her mom that she is appreciated, and that her efforts are well intentioned and for the greater good, that Luz is able to gain the confidence to fully become a witch of her own.

The most shocking thing about fitting all of this incredible character development into a single episode is how much time “For the Future” still takes to spend on fun small moments. There are plenty of belly laugh-inducing moments when the team revisits Hexside as we see how characters like Boscha (Eden Riegel), Kikimora (Mela Lee), Mattholomule (Jorge Diaz), and plenty of other tertiary characters have grown (or remained emotionally stagnant) in the apocalypse.

The episode also provides several sweet sister moments between Eda and Lilly, plus a typical hauntingly hilarious one-liner from Hooty. And while King (Hirsch) functions more as a plot mediator this episode, enough small moments and mysteries were left to suggest he’ll have an equally engaging resolution in the show’s final episode.

For as few resources as the Owl House team was given to wrap up the show, “For the Future” is as perfect as it needs to be. But what’s maybe most refreshing about The Owl House’s penultimate episode is simply that its themes are in many ways addressing its own audience that it has cultivated over the past few years.

In a world with ever threatening conservative legislation and growing misinformation and hatred directed towards the LGBTQ community, The Owl House creators have chosen not just to create an incredible final curtain call. They’ve also chosen to take a stand by reassuring their audience that they, like the characters they’ve come to love on screen, are also understood.


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Jeff Levene
Jeff Levene is an avid lover and writer of games, film, and theatre, who plays a little too much DnD in their free time. You can follow them on Twitter at @jefflevene498