Normally when I review a TV show, I watch a batch of episodes and write about them before continuing to the next batch. Sure, I may have seen the show before, but gives a feeling that I don’t necessarily know exactly what’s going to happen next. Well, that’s not the case for Centaurworld‘s second season. It’s a shorter one with only 8 episodes, but the last one is longer and wraps everything up. And I watched it before I could write my thoughts on the previous 7 episodes. So let me try to sum up my thoughts on the mysteries laid out with as few spoilers as possible, now that I know absolutely all the answers.
Quick recap of the first season, the series follows Horse as she’s transported from her wartorn world to Centaurworld, a land of magic and whimsy. She and her new friends collect the pieces of the Key needed to send Horse back, but in the process they unleash the Nowhere King, the series’ big bad and the cause of misery and strife on both worlds. Horse stays in Centaurworld to raise an army to fight him, which is where season 2 picks up.
Horse wasn’t exactly the friendliest visitor to Centaurworld, so just about everyone refuses when she asks them to join her army. She attempts to recruit the centaurs, who Ched hates more than Horse. Turns out the centaurs may be buff, but they’re foppish idiots led by the crazy Malangella (Mrs. Maria Bamford, who I adore and instantly recognized her voice), who have a history with the finchtaur. It doesn’t go well, but they do manage to recruit some trashtaurs, which are like possums, rats, and such. Next is the coldtaurs, but the gang are abducted by some birdtaurs who are their #1 fans, having watched their adventures from the sky. They’re a parody of fans of the show, but not done insultingly like in Sherlock. They’re led by Mouthpiece (Scott Hoying of Pentatonix) and Crandy (Colleen Ballinger, who is apparently a YouTuber I’m too old to know about), and want to know what happened in the rift, calling it an episode named “The Rift: Part 2,” which is the actual episode title. Horse’s reenactment falls flat, but Zulius gets the birds to sign up by saying if they join, they’ll be a part of the series. Then it’s back to the coldtaurs for real. They’re taurs like walruses and puffins, are vaguely French-Canadian, and have sworn allegiance to the Nowhere King. But Glendale convinces them to join the forces of good through pop psychology. Then it’s off to recruit the moletaurs and the other underground folk, but it’s a goofy song and the promise of a hootenanny that gets them to join, not, Horse. By this point, she personally has had absolutely zero luck recruiting anyone.
But things aren’t all bad, because Horse finds out she has more magic than just a wisecracking tail–she has the ability to enter a person’s memories and see their backstory, which freezes the target in place while she’s doing this. She did this with Wammawink in “What You Need” (season 1, episode 4), but at the time she thought it was the magic of Big Tree. Using her powers largely without permission, she learns that Glendale’s portal tummy may be driving her to steal–and may have sucked up her parents, but let’s not dwell on that–Ched’s bad blood with the centaurs is because they made fun of him when he was a kid, and Durpleton’s parents–voiced by Tony Hale and Wendie Malick–were just awful and abandoned him. We don’t see Zulius’ past, mostly as a gag.
Over in Rider’s wartorn world, she meets the General (Brian d’Arcy James, who was Derek Bishop briefly in Hawkeye) and rescues Waterbaby from the Nowhere King. He’s using the Key to create a new army of hybrid monsters, combining his minotaurs with various animals and people, including one of the birdtaurs. Rider is unable to get the Key, even with the help of her new horse, Becky Apples, who is an unstoppable force of nature and possibly a sociopath. Becky also used to belong to the skeleton in the moletaur jail, so do with that what you will.
Then it’s time for the hootenanny! Everybody in Centaurworld shows up, but it’s only after a group song that they all unite. Horse and her herd meet up with Rider and Waterbaby, but encounter the full army of the Nowhere King. With the General’s army not yet here and the taurs still at the hootenanny, Horse realizes she’s the only one who can delay the Nowhere King, using her backstory powers to enter his mind. To be continued.
I breezed through the story, mostly skipping over what the other characters were doing. Ched didn’t do a whole lot important–can you tell he’s my least favorite character?–while Zulius’ big thing was getting together with Spendib. Glendale got a whole episode to herself, but I just felt like the gag was stretched out too much. She’s way better at smaller things, like when they visit the moletaurs and she pretends to be Hispanic and named “West Covina” to avoid capture, but then it turns out West Covina is a separate entity? They weren’t just Glendale in glasses and a mustache? Everyone is confused and I loved it, not just because it’s probably a reference to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Durpleton got the most story, in part because of Stabby (Dee Bradley Baker), his adopted son. Stabby is lizard minotaur from the Nowhere King’s army who Rider stabbed and was left for dead, until Durpleton picked him up and declared the lizard was his baby boy. Stabby resists being treated like an infant, in part because he’s a 47-year-old mutant soldier actually named Phillip J. Bonecrunch. But over season 2, he grows closer to Durpleton, eventually having a transformation similar to Horse where now he’s a cute and cartoonish baby lizard, fully embracing his Durpledad. Durpleton even reencounters his parents, calling them out for being awful now that he has a “son” of his own and understands how to be a good parent. Stabby is my favorite character this season and has some really great lines… that mostly happen in the final episode. There’s a lot of the best moments in the finale.
Same with songs! My absolute favorite song of the season–perhaps the entire series–happens in the finale. That’s the problem with having watched ahead, because so many great things happen in the last episode that kind of overshadow everything that came before. So I guess my favorite song of these 7 episodes was… um… “Durple-Drop,” when Durpleton drops Horse, at the time frozen in a block of ice, from the upper atmosphere? Uh… Oh! “Becky Apples!” It’s a diss track about how much Horse hates Rider’s new horse, even though they’ve never met. Wammawink also gets in a jab at Sunfish Merguy and his girlfriend, Jeffica, realizing it’s an incredibly one-sided feud. But yeah, there’s a song I’ll talk about next time that blows those out of the water.
So… I know I just talked about how Luca was queer coded all to hell and I don’t want to come off like I see gay parallels in all media, but there’s something more than “just friends” between Horse and Rider. I don’t particularly like the idea of a romantic attraction between a talking horse and a human, but their dynamic is pretty gay. Horse becomes crazy jealous as soon as she finds out Rider is with Becky Apples and that reads so much more like a jilted lover than “my best friend has a new friend.” Minor spoilers for the last episode, but if anything the series finale makes it even more queer coded. Again, not a fan of an animal and a human being in love, but… never mind, I’ll get to that next time.
Is it me? Am I seeing queerness everywhere I look? Or do writers have a hard time creating platonic friendships that don’t draw heavily from romantic tropes?
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