What’s your real fear, Luz?
The episode begins with a reminder that Luz’s mom still thinks she’s at camp.
Luz: What am I supposed to say? Hey, Mom, not at camp actually. I’m in the demon realm learning to be a witch! Also, did you know demons and magic are real? She will end me.
King: Nah, she’d be freaked out by our world anyway. So actually, by keeping the truth from her, you’re doing her a favor.
Luz: Hm. The demon at my shoulder makes a good point.
But the main event of the episode is Grom.
Luz: You guys have a weird version of prom on the Boiling Isles? I was kicked out of my last school dance for dressing like an otter, but maybe here, I could be your Grom Queen!
Willow: That’s, uh, not something people usually sign up for…
Then Amity is announced as Grom Queen.
Willow: You might want to give her some space. Being Grom Queen is a tough job, even for Amity.
Because it turns out that Grom is more than a school dance.
Amity: That’s Grom – short for Grometheus the Fear Bringer. It’s a monster that lives under the school. Every year, it tries to break out, and a student has to defeat it before it invades the town. Ever the optimist, Bump holds a party and calls it tradition. The worst thing is that Grom can read minds and shapeshift into your worst fear, and mine is very embarrassing…
So Grom is basically the same concept as the boggarts from Harry Potter, except Dana Terrace actually explores the idea of confronting your fears with more than “just laugh at them”. Because sometimes, fears need to be taken seriously, even when they’re seemingly trivial.
Luz doesn’t really understand why Amity’s so scared, but she naturally wants to help her. But of course Eda laughs at her.
King: Maybe you were too hard on her. She’s saved you from multiple monsters, remember?
Eda: Facing Grom means facing your worst fear, King, and I don’t think Luz knows what that means yet.
And now that Amity knows where she lives, she’s evidently popping in to visit all the time. Or at least when she’s facing a conundrum.
Amity: I’m Grom Queen. Unless I can find a replacement, and who’d want to switch with me?
Luz: I would. […] Amity Blight, I’ll do it. I’ll take your place and face Grom in the arena. I’ll be your fearless champion!
She’s clearly not so fearless as she likes to admit, but she’s just so cute when she’s acting all heroic like this!
Luz is determined to face Grom, so Amity and her siblings pitch in to help simulate Luz fighting her fears (via illusions).
Amity reminds her of the real stakes to the fight (if she fails, Grom will escape and make everyone on the island live out their worst nightmares).
Amity: The reason I can’t face Grom, it goes deeper than things that just gross me out. What’s your real fear, Luz?
Luz: My real fear is that Eda thinks I’m too fragile to do this, and if she’s right, I’ll never be a real witch!
Close, but not quite…
Eda: Luz, you always go overboard and I end up bailing you out! What’s the fun in watching a kid get eaten by a monster if it’s my kid?
Empathy isn’t exactly Eda’s strong suit.
While Luz is preparing for battle, Willow is making her own fun by distributing flowers to one and all, Gus and King are emceeing the fight, and Eda’s a chaperone/concerned about Luz.
Have I mentioned before how adorable these two are? Because starting from this episode, I will. Frequently.
Amity: Thank you, Luz. Honestly, I’m kind of amazed with how fearless you are. You’ve done things I could never do.
Luz: Yeah right! You going soft on me, Blight?
Amity: In your dreams!
And so Luz enters the arena to face her fear-monster, and at first it’s a lot like the training, but then Grom hones in on her real fear.
Grom!Mama Noceda: Luz, what is this terrible place?
She thought she was afraid of Eda’s disapproval, when she knew all along that she’d support her in her endeavors. But the big question was what her mom would think, especially since Luz has been deceiving her for months.
Grom!Mama: Mija, have you been lying to me?
Luz was prepared to fight a monster, but not her own mother. Even if she knows on some level that it’s not real, there’s still a “maybe” in there: Maybe she’ll really be mad at me for lying, or worse, for choosing a life in the demon realm over the “real world”.
So she runs away.
Luz: I can’t do it! I can’t face my fear!
And who should leap in to save the day but Amity?
Amity: Stay away from her! I’m sorry, Luz, I should’ve fought my own battle.
Then Grom (evidently in the form of another student) rips up the note that Amity has been conspicuously protective of the whole episode…
Luz: You were afraid of getting rejected! Amity, it’s okay. What if I went to Grom with you instead?
Luz: That’s what friends do.
Amity at least managed to avoid the embarrassment of a public revelation of this fear, as the other students have yet to show up (although they were following the action…).
Amity: Well, then, if that’s settled, may I have this dance?
And then they proceed to defeat Grom by combining their powers: Amity’s abomination acts as a vessel for Luz’s paper glyphs, and the monster explodes into a tree?
The important thing is my babies are happy!
Luz: So, who did you want to ask out?
Amity: Oh, it’s- it’s not important.
It turns out that LUZ was the person she was so worried about asking out, and I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, of course, they ended up going to Grom together anyway, but only as “friends” – Amity didn’t have the opportunity to confess her feelings to her. But they’ve both come a long way since the start of the series, and there’s still another season or so to work out their feelings toward each other.
Also, the tux combo is a great look for Luz
Then Luz gets another text from her mom, and she finally opens up a bit.
Luz: I won’t lie. Today was kinda hard, and I don’t always feel like I’m supposed to be here. But when things get tough, my friends help me out. I think you’d like them. Te extraño también [I miss you, too], Mami. One day, I’ll tell you all about this.
Luz: Aw, that’s a cute way of saying “texts”.
…but it turns out that her mom has been receiving physical letters from someone at camp claiming to be Luz. But that’s a mystery that will have to wait until Season 2.
I will not apologize for all the pictures.
Until next time…