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Recap / Star vs. the Forces of Evil S2 E15 "Game of Flags"

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Star and Marco attend the annual Butterfly-Johansen family picnic in Mewni. After getting assigned to the kid's table and wanting to prove that she's an adult, Star decides to participate in the Game of Flags against her mother’s orders.


  • Almighty Mom: Moon shows that while she doesn't have the wand anymore, she is still leagues ahead of Star when it comes to "Dipping Down". And in the process shows that the form Star took during Mewberty is something that can be controlled.
  • Annoying Arrows: River has an arrow stuck in his beard/chest, yet is too delirious to notice.
  • Badass Family: It turns out being a badass runs on both sides of Star's family.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Star explains Flags to Marco, he at first thinks they have to go up a small hill. Then Star points to the real goal, a huge mountain full of dangerous obstacles next to the small hill.
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  • Barbarian Tribe: The Johansens are portrayed in this manner, a tribe of bloodthirsty Proud Warrior Race Guys.
  • Bear Trap: Star's uncle is caught in one shortly after tricking Marco.
  • Call-Back: Moon shows that she can "dip down", the way she tried to explain it to Star at the beginning at the season, if her daughter is in danger.
  • Chiaroscuro: When Marco tries to talk Star out of the game and she runs ahead, leaving him behind, her half of the screen is sunlit, while Marco is left behind in the dark, clouded area.
  • Continuity Nod: Marco's pet peeve of wet socks in "Royal Pain" comes up again when Star pulls him into the rain.
  • Convection Shmonvection: The hill has a lava pool that the participants are expected to traverse via stepping stones. Nobody who crosses it is bothered by the heat.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Marco ends up winning the Game of Flags when Moon and Star distract the others.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Moon has some epic snark regarding Star's "twin sister", the decoy made out of corn.
    Moon: I don't even remember giving birth to her. River, did I ever give birth to a corn baby?
  • Decoy Getaway: Star makes corn dummies of herself and Marco to sneak out of the kids table.
  • Dog Pile of Doom: All the adults pile on top of Star when she takes all the flags. They are all blown away by Moon's magic.
  • Dysfunctional Family: That's the nicest word to say about Star's family as they are willing to viciously hurt each other to win a game. Uncle Lump is definitely one such victim of it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even the Barbarian Johansens did not take kindly to Star embarrassing them on the table.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Queen Butterfly is heavily implied to have a colored past during a conversation with Star.
    Star: You played Flags when you were my age?
    Moon: I did a lot of things you won't be doing.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Marco convinces Star that the Game of Flags is ridiculous, and she's hurting the ones she loves by taking the game too seriously. At the end of the episode, Marco interrupts the tender moment between Star and Queen Moon by using his hoodie as a flag to claim victory.
  • Jerkass Realization: Star realizes how stupid it was for her (and her family) to perform ruthless actions in their game after Marco calls her out (see What the Hell, Hero?).
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Played for laughs when Star's uncle decides he'll have to gnaw his legs off to escape a bear trap. He settles for having a servant carry him up, bear trap and all.
  • Losing Your Head: Star's Uncle Lump was decapitated during the previous year's Game of Flags. Not only is he still alive, but he uses a horse body to move around. He loses it again near the end of the game, still fine.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Uncle Lump treats decapitation as an annoyance. It's happened to him before, after all.
  • Mama Bear: Definitely don't attack Star if her mother is anywhere around.
  • My Beloved Smother: Moon's Aunt Etheria still nags Her about her husband, and Moon has heard the same speech over and over again.
  • No Accounting for Taste: With how embarrassing her husband is, it's quite interesting to ponder just how Moon and River got married. Aunt Etheria certainly thinks she should look into a new husband.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Despite being more preoccupied with dinner etiquette and finery than the Johansens, the Butterflies are just as fierce and cut-throat during the Game of Flags.
    • After convincing Star that the Game of Flags is stupid and just further divides the family, Marco runs to the top of the hill and declares his victory (using his hoodie as a flag) while everybody else is distracted by Star and Moon.
  • Not So Different: Star realizes that her mother was right about the Game of Flags and had more reason than just being overprotective for banning her from participating. Then Marco suddenly declares himself the victor, and Star's expression mirrors Moon's own embarrassment with her husband.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The Butterfly family doesn't seem to think much of King River and his clan. The Johansens seem to have similar contempt for Queen Moon and her side of the family. That being said, Flags is the only way they can settle this.
  • Only Sane Man: Queen Moon is the only adult to not get sucked into the family feud or Game of Flags.
  • Overly Long Gag: After Star tosses River down the hill, his praise for her while still rolling cuts Marco off several times.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: A case of trying to stop her daughter from repeating her mistakes. When Moon forbids Star from playing flags, Star points out that she played flags when she was Star's age.
    Moon: I did a lot of things you won't be doing.
    'May be Harsher in Hindsight when we learn how young Moon was when she became the queen. Its possible that she considers Star not participating a privilage she herself didn't have.
  • Patchwork Map: The mountain used for the Flags game is a patchwork of different environments; one part is covered in rocky terrain, another is cloaked in a perpetual rainstorm, another is covered in snow, and the final bit before the top has lava.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Moon understands Star's frustration at being the oldest at the kids table, and when she proves her maturity allows her to sit with the grown-ups.
  • Serious Business: As Marco points out, the Game of Flags is just King of the Hill turned Up to Eleven.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: The Johansen and Butterfly clans are slobs and snobs, respectively. The animosity between them appears to turn homicidal on a regular basis.
  • So Proud of You:
    • River tells Star he's proud that she's playing Flags to begin with, then congratulates her again when she betrays him and throws him off the mountain.
    • Moon tells Star this after Star reveals that she had realized how stupid the flag game was, and how Star tried to turn it into something that brought the families together.
  • Super Mode: Queen Moon takes on the form of a giant butterfly-woman to stop the Game of Flags. One of the powers this gives her is the power to make everyone float above the ground so they can't fight each other effectively.
  • Take My Hand: Star's uncle offers Marco a hand up when they're climbing the first section. When Marco takes it, an entire servant slides out of his sleeve and drags Marco down.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Marco ends up winning the Game of Flags by taking advantage of Moon's Mama Bear moment.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Marco calls out Star more than a few times for being so ruthless trying to win the Game of Flags.


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