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Recap / Star vs. the Forces of Evil S1 E19 "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses"

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It's Flying Princess Pony Head's birthday, but when she gets in trouble Star begs Marco's help in busting her out of St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses.

First half-hour episode.


  • Accidental Hero: Marco starts the princess riot initially to just cause a distraction, saying "It's not criminal to be an individual." After suffering the girls' torture and seeing the princesses repeat his Battlecry, he takes on the cause for real.
  • Action Girl: All the princesses sent to St. Olga's, and why they were sent there. They get to show off their stuff when Marco rallies them to fight back.
  • Adult Fear: The idea that people who claim to have your child's best interests at heart are only after your money and are abusing their charges to force them to conform and obey. From a teen's perspective, the idea that your parents and other authorities don't care about your thoughts, feelings, and wishes and just want someone who will blindly obey them, and will go to any means to accomplish this.
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  • Air-Vent Passageway: Star and Pony Head use one to rescue Marco from the brainwashing room. Ironically, the introduction video claims there are no pipes to crawl through.
  • Anti-Magic: Part of St. Olga's security includes a series of magic-detecting alarms and a "Tramorfidian crystal" that blocks use of dimensional scissors on school grounds. Thankfully, these countermeasures don't keep Star's wand from actually working.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Whenever St. Olga's is mentioned, Star screams and hides, which then cuts to a long shot of her room with Star's legs kicking from beneath a carpet. Star then emerges from a different location. When Marco questions the legs, Star can't provide an explanation except a warning not to step on them.
  • Battlecry: "It's not criminal to be an individual!"
  • Becoming the Mask: Marco, after being subject to brainwashing and having it nearly work, helps the other princesses fight for their freedom as a Rebellious Princess. He even starts to refer to the princesses as his fellow sisters, and when he and Star have to leave leave he asks if he can keep the dress.
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: Star under Marco's advice doesn't use her magic to help Pony Head escape St. Olga's. When she sees Miss Heinous torturing him, however? She sets a giant butterfly on Miss Heinous and her butler, and angrily frees Marco.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Pony Head invokes this when she talks about being confined to St. Olga's on her birthday.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Amidst the Nightmare Fuel, this episode pokes fun at the Disney-style idea of princesses, including making girls conform to an ideal of elegance. Considering that a lot of Disney's merchandising relies on this ideal, the writers delivered a few low blows.
  • Blah Blah Blah: St. Olga's introductory video has the narrator describe the functions of the building's construction, with pop-ups appearing along with it. The screen quickly gets swamped with pop-ups, many of which just say variations and mixes of "BLAH BLAH BLAH", "RAMBLE RAMBLE RAMBLE" and "GIVE US YOUR MONEY MONEY MONEY!".
  • Blood Knight: Marco only agrees to help bust out Pony Head because he likes the idea of reenacting a Great Escape like in the movies he's seen.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Star and Marco finally visit St. Olga's in this episode, and it certainly lives up to its reputation.
  • Bottomless Pit: The introductory video claims the school is surrounded by a bottomless moat, though this doesn't factor into the plot.
  • Call-Back: We finally see St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses in the flesh.
  • Carrying a Cake: Star shows off a dozen cupcakes to Pony Head for her birthday. She then drops them in fright when Pony Head mentions "St. Olga's School".
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • St. Olga's used to be a Running Gag that Star and Pony Head feared being sent to it as punishment for being disobedient. Now we see that they are Properly Paranoid about it.
    • Remember the previous princesses that were sent to St. Olga's, like Monster Princess and Pony Head? Even if they had their Jerkass moments, they didn't deserve this.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Miss Heinous invokes this when she discusses that because princesses have a royal lineage they have to live up to their roots.
  • Character Development:
    • Marco gets over his reasonable animosity towards Pony Head to help bust her out, as well as the other princesses, though partly because he wants to imitate a jailbreak from all the movies he's seen.
    • Star as well for busting into St. Olga's to rescue Pony Head despite her fear of it.
      Star: So I've overcome my worst fears and became a better person, blah, blah, blah, now let's get out of here!
    • Pony Head, after snapping out of her brainwashing, Took a Level in Kindness to rescue Marco from the torture machine.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Marco tells Star to keep her scissors after it's revealed that they don't work within the school grounds, knowing that they'll be useful for a quick escape if they can destroy the Anti-Magic crystal disabling them.
    • One frog-like princess blows a lot of bubbles when she enters St. Olga's. In the climax it turns out that she can weaponize them to take out the guards.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the princesses is from Pixtopia and there's also a cameo of Princess Smooshy, the monster from "Sleep Spells".
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The brainwashing machine in the Solitary Conform-Ment Chamber, which is a slideshow of various Victorian images showing how princesses ought to behave. The "torture" part is that Marco is strapped into a chair with his eyes forced open.
  • Cry Cute: Star does this when she's trapped with a brainwashed Pony Head in the laundry room.
  • Cutting the Knot: Star keeps asking to use her wand to blast her way out of St. Olga's, but Marco insists they take the quiet, stealthy approach. When Marco is captured, Star finally loses her patience and uses her magic to free him, then blows up the Tramorfidian crystal that blocks dimensional scissors.
  • Darker and Edgier: One of the darkest episodes so far. Counts also as an Unexpectedly Dark Episode.
  • Dean Bitterman: Miss Heinous, the cold and ruthless head of St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Star constantly says "birthday day" throughout the episode.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Marco gets captured and it looks like Star is trapped in the laundry room with a hopelessly brainwashed Pony Head, she rages against some St. Olga's propaganda and breaks down in tears. Thankfully, this finally snaps Pony Head out of her brainwashing.
  • Did Not See That Coming: Miss Heinous had magic detectors and a Tramorfidian crystal, but she didn't have anything that could disable Star's magic wand.
  • Disguised in Drag: Star dresses Marco as a princess in order to sneak into St. Olga's. Marco isn't too happy about it initially, but by the end he asks to keep the dress.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Pony Head is smiling the whole time while brainwashed, and the other princesses start to do so as well as they succumb to the curriculum at St. Olga's.
  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: One of the lessons at St. Olga's involves singing along with woodland creatures. Princess Monster gets scolded for eating a bluebird whole; they'll keep replacing them with new ones until she gets it right.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Take away the magic, and the Solitary Conform-Ment Chamber displays conversion therapy. Marco when sent to it is brainwashed to abide by a certain societal role, and it's implied that he is suffering physical pain from resisting.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Marco wanted a guard disguise, but he gets a poofy dress instead.
  • Face Your Fears: Averted; Star doesn't conquer her fear of St. Olga's, but she managed to survive the living nightmare thanks to Marco and Pony Head.
  • Facial Markings: It turns out Miss Heinous has these, in the shape of club symbols, when she finally loses her cool. She subjects herself to her own brain-washing to get rid of them again.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Star's disguise on Marco worked extremely well, since Miss Heinous never realized that Marco was a boy. Justified since most of the princesses that arrive have Bizarre Alien Biology, and a fourteen year old boy can still pass for a girl without much trouble.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: A few of Miss Heinous's attempts at being ominous are ruined by her fussing over her choice of words. "Someone hand me a thesaurus!"
  • Foreshadowing: During their escape, Star and Marco stumble upon an eerie chamber with odd astrological symbols on the floor. One is a symbol resembling Star's wand, and the rotunda is covered with pictures of Toffee-like demons. Aside from Marco cryptically drawing attention to it by asking "What is this place?", by episode's end it's completely unexplained.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A commercial for St. Olga's has a list of increasingly rapid informational pop-ups listing features of the school. It eventually degenerates into things like "Blah Blah Blah", "Such a Lot of Information to Take In", and "Give us your money, money, money!"
  • Genre Savvy: Although Marco doesn't like Pony Head, he decides to help her break out of "princess jail" and invokes every prison escape movie that he has watched. In fact, if not for his disguise causing him to get left behind, the escape would have worked perfectly.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the Solitary Conform-ment chamber, the slideshow mentions "Better that she is fussy, than to be called a hussy". One definition of hussy is "a lewd or brazen woman".
  • Gilded Cage: Marco notes that despite the heavy security at St. Olga's, the dormitories look comfortable and are very nicely decorated.
  • Great Escape: Star and Marco hatch a plan to bust Pony Head out of "princess jail", as St. Olga's was described in "Party With a Pony".
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Marco brings along a hairpin for locks because that's how it's done in the movies. It gets him through Pony Head's door, but he proves less successful when trying to pick the cuffs on the brainwashing chair using his mouth, dropping the pin.
  • Hey, Wait!: Inverted. While examining the princesses during orientation, Miss Heinous takes the time to pinch Star's cheek with her Blush Sticker while mentioning Mewni. She seems to believe that Star's parents have sent her to St. Olga's, like they have threatened so many times.
  • Hidden Depths:
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Miss Heinous invokes this when she uses the brainwashing machine to erase her Blush Sticker. It also allows her to find Marco's hairpin and trace it back to Earth.
  • I Choose to Stay: Pony Head decides to stick around St. Olga's to help other princesses that have been brainwashed.
  • The Igor: Gemini, Heinous's second-in-command who monitors the princesses, has a hunchback and only one eye.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Because Star gave Marco a poofy dress, he has trouble fitting into the laundry vent.
  • Jump Scare: Pony Head's post-brainwashing reveal is shown like this. A Scare Chord plays, and the episode cuts immediately to commercials.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: All the princesses get large individual rooms with windows, a fireplace, "enough velvet to swim in" as Marco puts it, and ornate decoration.
  • Made of Explodium: Star's cupcakes explode like fireworks when she drops them.
  • Madness Mantra: "Keep your pinkies at 90 degrees. More tea, please.", as said by the princesses that have been brainwashed.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Star's disguise ups the goth factor on her usual attire including an eyepatch, while Marco's disguise is a giant puffy dress complete with a pony tail and eyelashes.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The guards at St. Olga's are actually robots.
  • Mind Screw: For some reason there seems to be a double of Star hiding under the rug in her room.
    Marco: What's that under your rug?!
    Star: I have no idea. But I do know one thing; never, ever step on it.
  • More Than Mind Control: St. Olga's, in addition to having the Solitary Conform-ment chamber, also forces the princesses to abandon hope by revealing the Anti-Magic crystal and demanding the girls give up their inter-dimensional scissors. This could possibly explain how Pony Head only got brainwashed after three strikes of "expressing an emotion".
  • Mundane Utility: Pony Head's horn can be used as a screwdriver and a drill.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Star giving Marco an Impractically Fancy Outfit as a disguise causes him to get stuck in the laundry vent and subsequently caught.
    • Marco leaving the hairpin behind, accidental as it was, allows Miss Heinous to trace him and Star back to Earth.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Miss Heinous choosing to torture Marco and make him conform allows Star and Pony Head to find him.
  • Nothing Is Funnier: There's a visual gag involving Star running offscreen in a panic to hide at the mention of St. Olga's. It cuts to a wide shot of the room with Star's legs kicking from beneath a rug… only for Star to emerge from a different location. The second time this happens, Marco questions the legs, but Star's response only raises more questions.
    Marco: What's that under your rug?
    Star: I have no idea, but I do know one thing. Never ever step on it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Star and Marco when they see the brainwashed Pony Head.
    • Marco when he gets stuck in the laundry chute, allowing Miss Heinous to catch him.
    • Miss Heinous when Star reveals that she has a wand that can be used within the school grounds. It gets worse when her Blush Sticker appears.
  • Parody Commercial: A commercial for St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses plays after Star and Marco infiltrate the group of new arrivals.
  • Robotic Reveal: Star blasts the head off one of the St. O's mooks, conveniently revealing that Miss Heinous's goons are Mecha-Mooks.
  • Room 101: The Solitary Conform-ment Room.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Interestingly, this episode plays with Marco and Star's usual roles. It is Gender Inverted to an extent because Marco is thrilled at the idea of performing a Great Escape, and thus he is more excited and adventurous than usual. Conversely, Star is naturally terrified of St. Olga's, and so she is unusually cautious and dubious. However, it is still played straight in the sense that Star just wants to blast her way out of the place and get things over with, whereas Marco wants to handle it more subtly.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Pony Head claims that Marco screams like this when she hears him screaming from the brainwashing chamber.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signs of Disrepair: As she snaps out of her brainwashing, Pony Head rips up a propaganda poster reading "Embrace a Princess Mentality — Wash Away Your Individuality". It ends up reading "Embrace Your Individuality".
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Although St. Olga's could simply tame princesses that are Axe-Crazy — like Pony Head and Monster Princess were — they find it more important to stamp out individuality rather than to make the princesses better people.
    • Miss Heinous finds it more important to control her Blush Sticker than to grab the "rabble" princesses that are running loose in the school.
  • Snobs Vs Slobs: Inverted. "Slob" Marco takes the time to appreciate St. Olga's Gilded Cage nature, including the room space, velvet and design, while "snob" Star sees the school for what it is. The tea-drinking lesson snaps Marco out of it.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Miss Heinous always maintains a low voice, and she is ruthless in maintaining order in St. O's, quickly stamping out any form of dissent or individuality with impunity.
  • Spanner in the Works: Marco, for St. Olga's Reform School. Boys are kept out, and Marco manages to incite a revolution that is not easily "quelled" (and that is the apt word, despite what Miss Heinous thinks). By the end of the episode he's led all the princesses to rebel and refuse to accept their imprisonment.
  • Spot the Thread: Averted. Although Miss Heinous pinches Star's cheeks when talking about Mewni, she doesn't intuit that Star is there to bust out Pony Head. That's because Star's parents have threatened many times to send their daughter to St. Olga's.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Instead of enacting a Great Escape, Star suggests merely cutting a portal into Pony Head's cell and busting her out of there. She then has to go with Marco's plan when it turns out the inter-dimensional Scissors don't work on the school grounds.
  • Stepford Smiler: After her treatment in Solitary Conform-ment, Princess Pony Head turns into one of these, maintaining the same vacant smile for most of the episode.
  • Teleport Interdiction: The Tramorfidian crystal blocks the use of dimensional scissors on school grounds. Star eventually blows it up to facilitate their escape.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Pony Head when she snaps out of her brainwashing and helps Star rescue Marco. She then chooses to stay at St. Olga's so that no one ever has to suffer the same brainwashing she did.
  • Transformation Sequence: Done by Star when she uses the "Radiant Shadow Transform" spell to change into her disguise.
  • Truth in Television: Most real-life princesses (heck, most girls of nobility, wealthy, and upper class backgrounds) really were expected to embody strict standards of etiquette and decorum to distinguish themselves from the common rabble. Strict boarding schools for girls were also notorious for employing harsh disciplinary methods to enforce blind obedience and conformity to all its charges.
  • [Verb] This!: While stuck in the laundry room during her Heroic BSoD, Star sees a propaganda reading "Embrace a Princess Mentality". Star snaps "Embrace THIS!" and flails at it with a washing dolly.
  • Villain Has a Point: As Marco lampshades, a lot of the princesses at the academy are wild troublemakers, if not outright menaces to society (as we see one princess monster from a previous episode), and could use a little shaping up. That said, even he is horrified by the sadistic lengths the school goes to Mind Rape all individuality out of all its charges.
  • We Need a Distraction: Marco riles up the princesses during the tea drinking lesson so they'll distract a guard with their disobedience.
  • Wham Episode: Miss Heinous is revealed to have Facial Markings like Star's family and discovers from a hairpin Marco left behind that Earth is where she should focus her revenge. An eerie chamber is also found that is covered with symbols, one of which resembles Star's wand and there is a depiction of monsters resembling Toffee in it.
  • Wham Shot: Miss Heinous has a Facial Markings of clubs, which implies that she's related to the Mewni royal family.
  • Zerg Rush: This is how the princesses defeat the St. Olga's guards, with Marco leading them. They manage to hold off the guards long enough for Star to destroy the Transmorfidian Crystal.

Alternative Title(s): Star Vs The Forces Of Evil S 1 E 19 St Olgas


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