Last time on Princess Gwenevere / Starla and the Jewel Riders, Kale crashed a fashion show at the Crystal Palace and may or may not have obtained the locations of the Wizard Jewels. Who will locate one first? Find out after the cut.
What Do We Remember About This Episode?
JW: This is one of many season 2 episodes I missed the majority of as a kid, and my VHS copy had the first few minutes of it missing. So all I remember is … um … topiaries?
Ry: Crystal animals, mostly.
A Quick and Dirty Summary:
It’s about f’ing time that the Jewel Riders started searching for those stupid Wizard Jewels. Today they ride off to a wizard’s lair somewhere outside Avalon, which just happens to be a garden of some sort. Of course, this garden just happens to be populated by crystal deer and living topiary animals that Tamara can’t communicate with. Also in this garden is an elf gardener who may have some tenuous control over magic. He’s nice enough to help the Jewel Riders locate a place of strong magic in the lair, but only because the girls think he’s some sort of wizard. Hey, name-dropping Merlin has that effect.
After surviving many not-quite-threatening hazards, like a crystal dinosaur and some annoying bats, Archie unfortunately gets turned into crystal and kidnapped by Kale’s dweasels. The elf gardener then explains that he’s not really a wizard. His name is Chance, apprentice to the wizard Mallory. After Mallory got banished by Merlin, Chance spent his time tending the gardens in Mallory’s lair. Yeah, that’s right, he spend a thousand-so years gardening. He decides to help the Jewel Riders save Archie and find that place of strong magic.
Meanwhile, Kale is rummaging through a residence somewhere in Mallory’s lair, trying to find a Wizard Jewel. She’s not having much luck. The dweasels then show up with crystal!Archie, thinking he’s a magic jewel of some sort. Of course, he’s not. Kale has the smart idea of using crystal!Archie to locate the Jewel Riders so they can find the Wizard Jewel for her.
Anyway, the Jewel Riders finally find the place of strong magic: the Wizards’ Playground, which is hidden behind some sort of magic barrier. The girls dispel the barrier and discover a hedge maze with moving hedges that can turn creatures into shrubberies. After navigating the maze — which involves making the hedges bloom for some reason — the Jewel Riders finally locate the Wizard Jewel! Of course, Kale does, too. There’s some fighting, and Chance making a crystal shrubbery dragon that scares off Kale, but eventually the Jewel Riders obtain their first Wizard Jewel!
Oh! And Chance discovers that he can make crystal shrubbery creatures that can talk, which is proof that he’s a wizard or something. He promises to make Merlin proud someday.
* Okay, I’m not as high on season 2 as I once was. There’s lots of limited animation in this episode, and the plot in this was kinda weak. Chance’s arc, where he discovers that he had the confidence and power to be a wizard all this time, was OK, I guess.
* Stupid childhood story: I used to call this episode “Wizard of Gardena”. And yes, I thought that was the funniest thing ever because Gardena wasn’t far from where I used to live.
* How Fallon casts Detect Magic: “Let the Moon Stone be our guide to powerful magic far and wide.”
* I noticed a goof in the videos I watched for this recap: Archie calls Starla “Gwen” at one point.
* Bad quote: “Merlin is everywhere!”
* Sand seas are apparently common where Shadowsong comes from.
* Ugh, I hate Shadowsong’s voice actor. He’s not very charismatic.
* I will admit that the platforming puzzle the girls have to navigate to cross the sand sea, along with the aerial battle later in the episode, were pretty cool.
* How Tamara casts Sleep: “From heart to Heart Stone, reverse this trap: return this creature to his nap!”
* Gwen isn’t sure what she’s casting here, but it does something at least: “Jewel of magic, jewel of the sun, these creatures need to learn the meaning of fun! … It’ll have to do.”
* So why was Mallory banished from Avalon? He seems like a pretty swell guy, if this garden is any indication.
* OMG THE BAD CGI SNAPDRAGONS OMG. SO BAD.
* Kale apparently learned how to track magic this season. She uses her Dark Stone as a dousing rod.
* How Fallon casts Dispel: “Moon Stone, with your magic bright, help us see into this light!”
* How Fallon casts Find the Path: “Moon Stone, knower of ways, unravel the secret of this maze!”
* Morgana mentions that Mallory was her friend. Hmm, now I kinda want to learn more about their past. Too bad that’s never going to happen.
* Worst quote of the episode: “I’LL GET YOU FOR THIS, JEWEL RIDERS!”
* Chance says that the Jewel Riders will see him again someday. Guess what? That never happens — at least, as far as I know.
* Despite this being the first Wizard Lair/Wizard Jewel we actually see this season, “The Wizard of Gardenia” is IMO one of the weakest S2 episodes overall. Not much plot, nothing feels terribly dangerous, and it all ends with a kind of lame duck resolution.
* Favorite line this episode, courtesy of Archie: “Princess, this man is a lunatic!” He doesn’t even lower his voice or disguise the fact that he’s talking about Chance, who is standing right in front of him.
* I do like the crystal animals/topiaries. The dinosaur hidden in the sand and the dragon at the end are particular favorites.
* First time we see the Jewel Riders use their glider wings outside of the Wild Magic! (Or at least Fallon anyway.)
* This episode actually has some interesting tantalizing bits: Shadowsong’s mention of Sand Seas, the two-second glimpse of Mallory’s tree-house Wizard Lair, Chance being around since the Wizards were banished 1,000 years ago, and the possibility that he’s the first new Wizard in ages.
* I’ve always wondered why it was called The Wizard’s Playground. Was it like the Danger Room for Wizard training?
* UGH. Definitely agree with Jacquesworth that those Snapdragons are ROUGH CG. They can’t have actually saved money making those CGI instead of using traditional animation…
* I always thought Chance would come back at the end of S2, but NOPE. Never heard from again.
* Honestly, this episode feels like a giant pile of wasted potential. It could have been amazing but just never really came together.
* Kara gets lost in the Ravenswood hedge maze in All That Glitters.
* The Ravenswood topiaries come to life when Orenda possesses them in Ghost Wolf.
GIFs will be up shortly.
Gardenia and the Wizards’ Playground are outside of Avalon, so they’re not on the map.
Next time: “Vale of the Unicorns”, in which Moondance gets some serious character development.