“Yeah, I’m not using Owlbert to blow up a five-year-old.“
This is a surprisingly important episode, both in regard to worldbuilding and as a new permutation of Eda’s struggle with her curse.
Luz: Aw, what a sweetie! How did you get him?
Eda: Get? I made Owlbert from the branch of an ancient tree. He’s my palisman and we’re bonded for life. I’d annihilate anyone who’d hurt him.
So palismans are basically this universe’s version of familiars: Animals who aid a witch in their magic (and they also happen power their staffs). And they are frequently (but not always) adorable like Owlbert.
Luz: Hey, what’s that?
Eda: That’s his interlock, so he only fits onto my staff. Every palisman has one.
Meanwhile, King’s being a bit of a brat and complaining that Eda won’t smite his playground rivals.
Eda: Oh man, here we go. King’s squeak of rage.
Eda: He’s like a little tea kettle!
I mean, if he throws adorable tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants, that’ll just make Eda want to make him frustrated.
But they cut their outing short when Eda briefly passes out on the bench.
Eda: Look, I know how to take care of myself. I’ve had this curse longer than you’ve been alive.
Luz: So how’d you get it?
Eda: I don’t know…
Luz: You don’t know?
Eda: Somebody gave it to me, I don’t know who, and I don’t care because I’m fine, alright?
She understandably shoos Luz off, because when you’re tired, you don’t appreciate talking about problems you can’t solve with someone who couldn’t possibly help you.
Luz: Don’t spend all night plotting revenge.
King: That drooly-faced heathen will know my wrath.
Luz is off to see her first magical sporting event with Gus and Willow, but they never actually get to said sporting event.
But there are more pressing issues at home.
King: Owlbeast! Stay back! Did you just…listen to me?
King: Well, this is an interesting development. Eda’s only partially transformed, which means she’s totally suggestable.
Eda’s in her beast form, but her beast brain mostly makes her act like a very intelligent dog, not a rampaging beast. So King ropes her into the revenge plot, but before they go, Luz comes back to borrow Eda’s staff in an attempt to travel to the game. King sends her off with it without a second thought.
But she flies too fast and loses control…
…resulting in a cracked head for poor Owlbert. And then he flies off.
Luz: This is Eda’s palisman, Willow. She’ll kill me if we don’t get it back!
Then he runs (flies?) into the Bat Queen (she showed up a couple episodes ago in a side plot).
Bat Queen: To be careless with a staff is very serious. I protect him.
Luz: And thank you for that, but he belongs to Eda the Owl Lady, and you owe her a favor, remember?
Bat Queen: Owl Lady is careless! Her staff left her sight. Taken by human, who steals, hurts, frightens. […] He told me all!
Luz: Owlbert, I never meant to hurt you! Please trust me.
Bat Queen: Trust must be earned! Through trials!
Obviously, it would be a different story if Eda were here, but Luz hasn’t interacted much with Owlbert before now, and then she only really treated him as an object. Even now, she seems more concerned about Eda’s reaction if she loses her staff than about Owlbert’s wellbeing. He’s clearly frightened and confused, not to mention in pain. But Luz accepts the challenge.
Willow: Cut us free! We can get Eda!
Luz: No. I was selfish and hurt Owlbert. I need to do this alone so he knows I care about him.
Meanwhile, King brings the Owlbeast to the playground, and evidently some of the kids ran to their parents and told them about the monster on the premises.
King fed her an elixir when he started getting on her bad side, but to no effect.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Luz has finally completed her trials.
Luz: Okay, Bat Queen, that’s the last one. I’ve done all your chores, and I’ve proved my dedication to Owlbert. I’m so sorry for the pain I caused you, Owlbert. I promise to be more careful. Will you come back home with me?
Bat Queen: No! More trials! Last trial: You must face me! You will never get him back!
She binds Owlbert, and even Willow probably couldn’t do much against the Bat Queen. But then she notices an interlock on the Bat Queen’s claw…
Luz: You were once a palisman, weren’t you?
Bat Queen: Yes. I was once a part of a grand staff. A staff made for a giant! But I was broken, discarded.
Luz: So that’s why you’re so protective of Owlbert.
Bat Queen: I protect all!
Bat Queen: I made home in forest. I’m here to take the lost, the forgotten.
Luz: I understand, but Owlbert is not forgotten! He has someone at home who loves him very much.
Bat Queen: He will not go back with you.
Luz: That’s not your decision to make!
Then Owlbert finally makes his opinion known by standing between the Bat Queen and Luz. And then cuddling with her.
The Bat Queen forgot who her original owner was, and while I have my own theory, the show never gets back around to this subject. I might explain it at a later date, because it’s enough that she let Luz and Owlbert go for the time being.
King: Eda, I’m sorry. I used you for your strength because I felt weak. If only there were some way to remind you who I am…wait a second! Eda loves my rage squeal!
And thus laughter is what triggers her detransformation.
Luz: And now you’re a part of the boo boo buddy club!
Evidently Owlbert attempts to cover for Luz by lying to Eda, but Eda just experienced King’s lame excuses, and she’s tired from being a monster, so she lets them all off the hook.
Eda: The elixir. It isn’t working on the curse anymore. This is bad.
Until next time…