The moment we’ve all been waiting for has come and the great battle has finally arrived in the second to last episode of Amphibia.
We know we’re winding down and getting towards the end of the series, and by now when we see that the opening credits are a little different and in the Earthly setting, we know that this is obviously some kind of flashback. Which it is. Especially since last week left us hanging as Andrias and his army invaded Earth, so seeing Anne, Marcy, and Sasha pulling a prank at their middle school was definitely a throwback to something for a reason. It’s during this flashback that we learn that the school’s principal let off the other two with a warning, but assigned Anne an essay that explains who she thinks she is as a person.
This little segment is the kick off to an extra long episode of Amphibia, and considering everything that happened last episode, that’s a good thing. At the end of the flashback, we learn that that assignment came just before her birthday, when they opened the music box and got transported to Amphibia. But then comes the harsh present moment where we see Anne, Sasha, The Plantars, Lady Olivia, Yunan, and Grime all trapped in Andrias’ castle floating above Los Angeles.
Darcy launches two giant eggs that hatch and reveal two menacing, several-stories tall, herons that begin terrorizing the streets of the city, with Earth’s military trying to take them down to no avail and also at the castle, which is protected by a forcefield. A general makes a phone call and we see Mr. X answer it, turning around to two shadowy figures saying that now is the moment that they’ve been waiting for.
Back in the castle, the trapped group is trying to figure out how to escape, and thanks to a little help from Frobo, they identify a weak spot beneath them that the unrestrained portions of their robot friend can use lasers to destroy. The floor drops out and they are now plummeting through the sky, but fortunately land in some rooftop pools, because Los Angeles. While some of their group is astounded seeing Earth for the first time, Hop Pop is aghast because those two giant herons are the ones that killed Sprig and Polly’s parents and destroyed their family.
Sasha and Anne head to street level to help bystanders when Mr. X’s van pulls up to help everyone and those shadowy warrior clad individuals are revealed to be Anne’s parents, ready to fight alongside Anne and her squad as they have been expecting this to happen for a while. Needing a base of operation, Anne and Sasha suggest their school nearby. There, Anne opens her old locker and finds the essay she started that was assigned to her. Also, Polly found the school’s metal shop and robotics lab….you know, at a middle school…and is set to give Frobo some enhancements.
We then are taken to some kind of digital grid, where we see Marcy solving riddles as doors magically appear in front of her, and she is taken to a library where she meets former King Aldrich and is welcomed to the Core’s inner sanctum. But this is the real Marcy we’re seeing, and she’s being sent on a fantasy game based entirely on her love of books and games, something to keep her in the core, a place where her dreams come true. She also seems to have gaps in her memory, which she says herself is like parts of it were cut out.
Back at the middle school, the new Frobo is unveiled while we are reminded that Sprig is carrying that mystery letter he found, before saying out loud that he can’t wait for things to go back to normal with he and Anne being friends and doing the whole “monster of the week” thing. This made me audibly laugh because not only is the series ending, so this is ironic, but a fun meta way of looking at earlier episodes of the show. Hop Pop explains that Anne might want to go home and stay in her world….so now we know that heartbreak will show up at some point. There, the group explains their battle plan. Sasha, Grime, Yunan and Olivia will fly up to the castle to power down the force fields while Anne, her parents, Mr. X, and the Plantars stay on the ground and help out civilians and those down there.
But hold, another flashback. King Andrias meets Marcy Wu and suggests calling him “Dreus,” which only one person ever did before, and we learned recently that that was his friend from his youth, Leif. We see Marcy jump up into his pocket and give him a little pin as a gift. Though we know what happened eventually, we see this as an immediate conflict between Andrias and the Core, which suggests he killed her instantly but he defends her as just a child and proposes the plan that we all saw play out, luring Sasha and Anne to the castle. The flashback ends and we see Andrias staring longingly at the pin that he still has, as Darcy now stands at his side controlling the invasion of Earth like a video game.
The two see that the group has escaped, but those Herons are there for a reason… and while Anne is outrunning them and heading into a group of robots, Dr. Jan pulls up and helps her escape in her van. Hop Pop, fighting alongside his grandkids comes face to face with the herons and stops in his tracks. The family is clearly traumatized by them. They can’t help but think of everything they’ve lost because of those giant birds. Trapped in their traumatic trance, the group is sure to be destroyed by them unless Anne and Frobo do something. Which they do, and the group is saved but they need to overcome this fear.
Up at the castle, Sasha and her group make their way inside, but first let’s check in in Marcy’s fantasy world as she’s being taken into the core. She points out that this can get kind of lonely without friends, and Aldrich has the faux Sasha and Anne appear, which are built entirely on memories and fantastic versions of them. Down on the street, it's Anne’s parents who are now endangered and threatened by the Herons, who have trapped them on a city bus. Luckily, this is just what the Plantars need and they are able to trap and take down the Herons and use their special family hunting dance to make them submit and perform as the Plantars wish.
Darcy sends Andrias out to retrieve Anne and bring her to her, but elsewhere in the Castle, Sasha and Grime have made their way to what they think is the forcefield generator but is actually the Core and Darcy. Darcy appears and tries to out manipulate the queen of manipulation and enters into battle with Sasha and Grime. Andrias, now battle ready, comes out of the castle and calls for Anne, saying that he’ll call off the whole invasion if she just comes to him and beats him in one-on-one combat. Anne reaches into her pocket and finds the essay page from earlier and has a bit of a moment of self-reflection, sharing her appreciation and love for the Plantars, explaining what she has to do.
Everyone is behind her, and she heads up to take on Andrias one-on-one. After a bit of back and forth, Anne lights up into her cool Anime powers and fights Andrias. Inside, Sasha and Grime are fighting Darcy (in what has to be some of the best character animation in the series) and Grime sacrifices himself, well, his arm at least, to save Sasha. The two have a moment themselves, and Grime gives some words of wisdom, as well as the rage needed for Sasha to take on Darcy alone. Outside, Anne is still fighting with Andrias, who tells Andrias she pitys him because he locked himself away, afraid of making friends and burying feelings. Of course, this is right on the nose so it enrages him. Anne is already fading because of her powers, but Mr. X kicks on a massive sound system and plays some music to inspire her. We are then treated to a montage of both battles taking place with the K Pop soundtrack.
Darcy attacks Sasha viciously, but inside her head and her fantasy world, the truth comes out just a bit as Sasha and Anne are so agreeable and want Marcy to do whatever she wants and they’ll join happily. Marcy realizes that this isn’t real because of that, and now Aldrich has had enough and leaves her in perpetual eternal darkness since she decided to reject the core.
As Anne has the upper hand, her powers start to fade and Sprig is ready to help. As he checks his pocket for boom shrooms, he drops the letter he found and Mr. X picks it up. Since he is wearing spy glasses, he can see that is encoded with a message and it’s a letter to Andrias. Sprig takes the glasses and reads it, and jumps aboard one of the (now-trained) herons and flies up to Anne and Andrias to read it to him.
The letter, from Leif, stops Andrias dead in his tracks. As the voiceover of the letter plays, we see the evolution of Wartwood, and a glimpse of Marcy, the only other person he let into his life and considered a friend. The letter reveals that even though Leif took the music box, she never actually stopped thinking of Andrias and Barrel, and hoped that one day he would learn of her love for him as one of her greatest friends. After 1000 years of suppressing his thoughts and thinking he was the only one that thought that way. However, after all he’s done and all the pain he has caused, there’s no going back. Darcy realizes that he is giving up though, and takes over. While Anne is recharged and ready to take Andrias down, Sasha now has a sword once again and viciously attacks Darcy, who laughs and seems unscathed. Except for that lone wire that is connecting her to the Core, it has now been severed and she powers down. What does this mean for Marcy though?
Andrias thinks of the letter that said “Don’t close yourself off, open your heart” and in doing so, literally opens up all of his armor and as Anne attacks, blasts right through him, revealing that he himself has had some robotic work done on him to last 1000 years. The castle’s forcefield is down, but Andrias knows Marcy is in trouble and tells Anne to get up there and help. As she and Sasha cry over Marcy’s lifeless body, she awakens and the three are united once again. The squad comes together again and Darcy’s helmet comes to life and scurries away, and they return to Amphibia to end the battle taking place outside of Wartwood, proclaiming themselves successful. However, in the distance Anne and Sprig notice the red moon that’s on approach. Oh yeah, there’s still another episode.
The credits roll and it’s just the approaching moon with the theme as played (poorly) on a music box.
This episode of Amphibia is now available on Disney Channel and the DisneyNOW app. You can catch up with earlier episodes and past seasons now streaming on Disney+.
You can also get a closer look at the series and the lead up to the final episodes in my interview with Amphibia creator Matt Braly below: