Jewel Riders, Episode 14: Morgana

Last time on Princess Gwenevere / Starla and the Jewel Riders, the Jewel Riders saved Avalon and vaporized Kale, but couldn’t bring Merlin back to Avalon. Will they ever be able to save Merlin? Find out after the cut.

What Do We Remember About This Episode?

JW: New Jewel Armor! Morgana! Gwen’s new voice!

Ry: 90s CG in abundance!  The Hall of Wizards and the Guardian return!

A Quick and Dirty Summary:
So, two separate plot threads go down in this episode, so let’s try to cover them separately.

First off, we meet our new Big Bad, Morgana! She actually appears in her badass lair, and she retrieves her Dark Stone from the Wild Magic. Now she can return to Avalon! Or she would, if Kale didn’t materialize in her lair and reveal that the Dark Stone is now tuned to her. United only by their mutual hatred for Merlin, the two team up to take over Avalon. Well, actually, Kale’s just Morgana’s errand bitch, since Morgana can’t leave her lair. Kale is sent off on a fetch quest to retrieve a book of magic from the Hall of Wizards in Wizards’ Peak.

Meanwhile, the Jewel Riders try to deal with a Wild Magic outbreak that moved a river out of its bed. And by “try,” I mean “they fixed the river, but trashed the nearby village.” It turns out that, after the events of last season, the Jewel Riders’ jewels now channel all of Avalon’s magic. So now they have stronger magic and new Jewel Armor. Queen Anya decides to send the Jewel Riders on a fetch quest to Wizards’ Peak so they can find some way to return Merlin to Avalon.

The Jewel Riders learn the hard way that they can’t ride the Wild Magic with the Travel Trees, since their new magic makes them ride the tunnels too fast. So they end up having to blast out of the tunnel into the Wild Magic and use those annoying Gliders for navigation.

Kale manages to reach the Hall of Wizards first, even after a detour to pick up Grimm and the dweasels from the tree house they’ve been living in since the end of last season. Thanks to a timely illusion from Morgana, she convinces the genie guardian of the Hall of Wizards to help them find the book of magic. The Jewel Riders drop in on them, which leads to a massive, rather kick-ass battle between the girls and the genie. The battle ends when the girls tell the genie that they’re Merlin’s students.

So the Jewel Riders chase after Kale so they can get the book, but Morgana (via illusion) shows up and uses her magic to imprison the them. Luckily, the genie saves the girls … but gets trapped in a magic mirror because he attacked a wizard. The Jewel Riders free the genie, allowing him to take the book from Kale. Kale ends up blasting the book, which has the not-so-awesome effect of zapping her back into the Wild Magic.

After the battle, the genie explains that the book was about the Wizard Jewels, the jewels that belonged to the great wizards of Avalon. Without their jewels, the wizards can’t return to Avalon — which might be a good thing, since Merlin banished them to the Wild Magic a thousand years ago. The girls decide to retrieve the jewels, since they might help bring Merlin home.

Of course, the dweasels listened to this entire conversation….

Stray Observations
* Hey, look! New opening animation! I actually like this more than the first season intro. Ending animation is still the same.

* Fun things we learn from the intro: everyone gets new Jewel Armor, and Tamara finally gets a mount!

* Am I the only one who prefers the Jewel Riders’ new armor? Well, except Gwen’s. Hers is too boring.

* Hey! There’s new badass music for Morgana! Come to think of it, all the badass music shows up in this episode. That’s how you know it’s good.

* Okay, I think that Morgana designed the Dark Stone so that she can discreetly flip the bird every time she uses it.

* WTF happened to Gwen’s voice?

* All the Jewel Riders seem to have new athletic abilities in this episode. Is it magical or what?

* Hey, look! It’s the jewel reactor again! And somehow the girls learn they have stronger magic by blasting it.

* Grimm and the dweasels seem to be living a rather decent life without Kale.

* Kale actually cares about Grimm! The dweasels, not so much.

* How the Jewel Riders activate the Travel Trees: “Trees of magic and wood so grand, gathered here as friends we stand. Share with us your most precious gift as we start our journey, sure and swift. For times to come and times that have gone, let’s ride the Wild Magic for Avalon!”

* A funny quote from the Travel Trees: “WARNING. WARNING. YOU ARE ABOUT TO REACH CRITICAL SPEED.” Are they robots from a bad sci-fi movie now?

* The Gliders’ names are Muffin (I think) (Ry: I always thought it was Nubbin), Drifter, and Floater.

* Wait … there’s a main entrance to the Hall of Wizards? Why didn’t the Jewel Riders use it last time they came here? Oh yeah … because a) the Crown Jewel of Burning Ice was messing with the landscape, and b) Drake sucks at reading maps.

* Archie gets some character development! “Merlin told me about the Hall of Wizards, but I always had to stay home. Clean the clock, wash the duck, dust the books! He never took me anywhere!” Man, Merlin sounds like a dick.

* Was there a major animation bump in this episode? The girls actually get transformation scenes while in the Hall of Wizards.

* The genie turns into some weird combination of an AT-AT and K9 during the battle.

* OH HEY WE FINALLY GET A SWORD FIGHT IN THIS SHOW.

* The genie’s reaction when he learns about the wizards being banished: “SO THAT’S WHY I HAVEN’T SEEN THEM IN A THOUSAND YEARS!” Wow, news travels slow in Avalon.

* Wizard Jewels are attracted to places of strong magic — not necessarily Avalon. So there’s other places or worlds outside of Avalon?

Ry’s Comments

* Sigh, season two. In case that wasn’t overly dramatic enough, let me reiterate: I’ve always preferred season one.
S1 has its problems, of course, but I feel S2 is just much more inherently cheesy.

* So new transformations!  I generally prefer the old ones, but I think its mostly due to the helmets reminding me of some cross between Gatchaman and Megaman.  I miss the visors.  The S2 costumes are also pretty devoid of anything even approximating a piece of armor.

* Jewel Riders practicing with their new powers = hello again raining flower animation from “Wizard’s Peak!”

* Also, Tamara just totally jumped from the ground to the roof of a house without any apparent magical aid.  Is she secretly Spider-man now or something?

* Love seeing Morgana’s lair from the outside this time!  But is it just me, or did it get a whole lot brighter inside this time?  Did Morgana get a skylight installed during the season gap?

* Queen Anya shows up as the girls’ sort-of mentor and manager of the jewel keep, a role she fills through most of the season.

* Why could the Guardian be the cool version instead of the stupid hat version?  Still, nice continuity that he remembers the dweasels and how they faked him out!

* Interestingly, the girls use their jewels much more like Green Lantern rings in S2 – lots of constructs – vs S1 which was mostly beams.  This episode alone has chutes, rockets, swords, surfboards, lassos, trampolines, baseball gloves, etc.  The fight with the Guardian seems to have been tailor made to show all of this off.

* This episode brings up how old Archie is – as old as Merlin?  He remembers the Hall of Wizards, which had apparently been forgotten the last time the gang came through.

* Also, I absolute love the line “wash the duck, Archimedes.”  There has got to be a story worth telling there.

* Sadly, the Guardian never shows up again in the series – he could have brought some serious magic firepower in later conflicts.  Maybe he’s bound to the Hall of Wizards?

* And Wizard Jewels, the mineral macguffin for S2.  While I think they’re cool, I kind of wish the creators had gone some route other than “finding more jewels!” for the driving force behind the season.

* Overall though, Morgana is a pretty strong opening with some nice continuity throwbacks and a good light show for the girls’ new powers.

Avalon Connections
* The Dark Sorceress and the Spider Witch have a villain (well, fallen hero) team-up during the second half of Avalon.

* Adriane (and Emily, temporarily) gets enhanced athletic abilities from her jewel. This assumes that the Jewel Riders’ athleticism in this episode is also magical in nature.

* The party experiences a similar mishap as the Jewel Riders the first time they attempt to ride the Magic Web.

* Early on in the series, the Dark Sorceress is interested in taking the party’s jewels, just like how Morgana wants to take the Jewel Riders’ jewels and use their magic.

* Avalon is just one of many magical (and non-magical) worlds on the Magic Web.

* The Power Crystals, like the Wizard Jewels, are attracted to places of strong magic.

GIF-a-palooza!
GIFs will be up shortly.

Map Mania!
I’m going to hope you all remember where Wizards’ Peak is.

——————–

Next time: “Shadowsong”, in which Tamara finally gets a mount.

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One comment

  1. The ancient wizards could have been such a great plot device, if they’d been separate characters with personalities who’d been banished for interesting crimes, instead of the generic be turbaned men we see briefly in a later episode. (just thinking about it makes me want to write fanfic!)

    I preferred the visored helmets too. They were a little dorky but they were unique, and practical.

    I never noticed “wash the duck.” Now I imagine Merlin having a pet duck that needed to be walked on a leash as well as washed periodically because for some reason it wasn’t self-cleaning like most ducks.

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