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Recap / Star vs. the Forces of Evil S3 E38 "Conquer"

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Star must find the courage to face Meteora alone and make a decision that will change the kingdom forever.


Tropes:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Seeing all that Eclipsa had taken from her, Star gives her back her wand and the throne of Mewni with it.
  • Adult Fear: Eclipsa's situation at the end: having to be the only one who can stop her daughter from doing something monstrous and finding said daughter is too far gone to be reasoned with. Doubly so as Meteora is about to kill Star, who's basically Eclipsa's adopted granddaughter at this point.
  • And Then What?: Meteora tries to tell her mother that they deserve to take revenge on Mewni after stealing the throne from them. But Eclipsa pinpoints that even if Meteora succeeds, she's pretty much destroying the kingdom she so desperately is trying to take back.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After defeating Meteora, Eclipsa falls to her knees and apologizes to her seemingly dead daughter.
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  • Balloonacy: To get into the castle, Tom uses a bundle of soulless Mewmans (and Marco) to get up to the balcony.
  • Bathos: Star pulling a Jellybean Hallucination Mist during her fight with Meteora.
  • Battle Strip: When River decides to take on Meteora, he rips off his royal garb, heading into battle only in his underwear.
  • Beam-O-War: Between Star and Meteora in the middle of their fight.
  • Belated Happy Ending: Eclipsa gets to have everything she ever wanted at the end of the episode. Her daughter she assumed she killed was actually reverted to infancy, so she can now be a proper mother to her. She's once again the queen and in possession of the wand, and seemingly plans to use her regained power to free her husband.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when it seems like Star's final attack has failed, Eclipsa shows up and saves the day.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Meteora is defeated, and the people whose souls she sucked out are restored to normal, but Moon is still missing, and there's still the question of how the people of Mewni will react to Star making Eclipsa queen again, and what Eclipsa plans to do with her crystallized monster husband Globgor.
  • Boring, but Practical: After Meteora's soul-sucking beams fail to take down Tom (due to all the spirits inside him), she later succeeds in knocking him out with a single punch.
    Meteora: That was so much easier than sucking all those souls. Just one punch! Bam!
  • Call-Back:
    • Crosses over with Book-Ends. Star tries to take Tom and the soul-drained Marco to the Magic Sanctuary from "Return to Mewni". When Star tries communicating with the guardian, Tom even has the same reaction ("She's lost her marbles") Star had to Moon communicating with it.
    • River summons the eagles he became king of at the end of The Battle For Mewni to fight Meteora.
    • Tom calling Marco and Star's kiss a bluff is one to "Mr. Candle Cares", where Marco actually did bluff about kissing Star in order to trick the teen demon.
      • Another one to that episode is Tom ending his Rousing Speech with how Marco is dumb enough to never give up, which is a subtle reminder of how Marco put himself in a situation where fighting for his life against Tom was hopeless as it was.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Eclipsa also calls out her spells' names. Unlike Star, who yells them out like fighting game moves, Eclipsa simply speaks their titles in a low tone of voice.
  • Character Development:
    • Eclipsa before was willing to protect her daughter, up until Meteora drained Moon of her soul. This time, after Eclipsa fails to talk her down, she shoots Meteora before she can kill Star.
    • Tom, originally introduced as a jealous ex with anger issues, takes the news that Star cheated on him with Marco fairly well. He performs a Heroic Sacrifice (or a thousand) to protect Marco and even gets worried when he thinks Marco is hurt.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Tom's soul consisting of thousands of evil spirits was the anticlimactic punchline of "Demoncism", but ends up being an important plot point here as it allows Tom to survive Meteora's attacks.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Eclipsa escaped from her tower through the same secret tunnels she used in "Sweet Dreams".
    • The door that leads to Eclipsa's Monster Lover crystal prison could be seen during "Monster Bash".
    • Star uses her Jellybean Hallucination Mist spell against Meteora. It's the second time she uses it since the very first episode of the show. She also uses her "Sparkle Kitten Fireworks Shower" from "Starcrushed"
    • Tad still hasn't moved out of Kelly's hair.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: How Tom explains what makes Marco the Determinator—he's stupid enough not to know when to give up.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The titles of this episode and the preceding one together form the phrase "divide and conquer".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Eclipsa gets her hands on the wand, she effortlessly beats Meteora, aging her back to an infant.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The spells Eclipsa uses against Meteora are definitely much darker than the ones Star uses, right down to their names (Midnight Shriek, Black Velvet Inferno), but she is using them against Meteora to defeat her.
  • Depower: Eclipsa's attack also depowers Meteora and returns all the souls and power she stole to their original persons.
  • Deus ex Machina: The only reason Star and Moon are not still trapped in the Magic Realm is because the Firstborn teleported them away because they don't belong there.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Tom tries to shield Marco from Meteora's soul-sucking beams on the logic he has thousands of demon souls within him, but failed to consider that all those souls would just further empower her. He even lampshades it.
    • Star tries to take Marco to the Magic Sanctuary to heal him, but she doesn't actually know how to speak to the alligator guardian, so it just ignores her.
    • Meteora clearly hasn't thought through her attempt to regain the throne, as in doing so she's essentially turned Mewni into a kingdom of soulless husks and thus has nothing to rule. Justified, as she's essentially a little girl mentally, who aren't known for their rational thinking.
    • Star, feeling guilty that her ancestors robbed Eclipsa of her birthright and ultimately forced her to kill her own daughter, lets Eclipsa keep the wand and become queen again. Once she sees Meteora was actually just reduced to infancy, Star feels less guilty and realizes she gave enormous magical and political power to a morally ambiguous person—which is especially worrying once Glossaryck explains Eclipsa is about to reunite with her monster husband.
      Marco: What did you just do?
  • Dramatic Irony: As Meteora points out, she spent most of her earlier appearances (before she discovered her true identity and history) chasing after Marco, while barely noticing Star.
    Meteora: As it turns out, I was chasing after the wrong princess.
  • Escaped from Hell: Tom attempts to trap Meteora in the underworld at one point, but she easily "digs" her way back up.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • Despite Eclipsa directly attacking her, Meteora never once attempts to strike back at her mother, focusing solely on trying to kill Star.
    • Meteora destroys all the Grandma Room tapestries depicting the past Queens of Mewni, except, unsurprisingly, the one depicting Eclipsa and Globgor.
  • Everyone Can See It: Even Meteora is aware of Star's feelings for Marco, mockingly referring to him as Star's "other boyfriend".
  • Face Death with Dignity: At first, it looked as if Marco was going to pull a You Shall Not Pass! to Meteora, so that Tom can escape, Marco decides to accept his fate with no resistance. Of course, Tom still won't allow it and decides to take the bullet. But, since that didn't work for Meteora, Marco still loses his soul anyways.
  • Fainting: Marco's reaction after Glossaryck speaks.
  • Flat "What": Star's reaction to seeing Meteora turned back into a baby is a deadpan "What."
  • Fountain of Youth: After getting obliterated by Eclipsa's Black Velvet Inferno, Meteora is reverted back to a baby. Eclipsa's reaction after casting the spell indicates that it was meant to kill her, so it's left ambiguous what exactly brought Meteora back to life.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Seeing Meteora's apparent death, Star gives Eclipsa the wand to keep, viewing it as the only thing stolen from Eclipsa that she can give back to her. A few seconds later, they both discover Meteora is actually alive and turned into an infant, Eclipsa still keeps the wand, and Star realizes she may have given away too much.
  • The Gloves Come Off: Once she has the wand back, Eclipsa demonstrates why she's one of the most powerful and skilled queens Mewni had. With just two spells she's able to completely incapacitate Meteora.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: Out of respect for their friendship, Marco had to tell Tom about the kiss.
  • Honor Before Reason: Star gives up her throne to Eclipsa as a way to return what was stolen from her, despite her being a sketchy figure the public are unlikely to accept. It doesn't take long for Star to have second thoughts.
  • Hope Spot: There are multiple occasions when it seems that Star and Moon might find a way out of the Realm of Magic but at the end, they never made it at the end (at least on their own).
    • They find the waterfall leading to the Sanctuary under the lake but they leave short afterward.
    • Star has a last pocket phone left with the reminder but she throws it at a magic waterfall before it can finish the message.
    • Star makes herself look like River as a game, but Moon is so far gone she can't remember her husband's likeness.
  • Hub World: The Realm of Magic is connected to other realms through upward streams that lead into those.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Eclipsa weeps openly after attacking her daughter, because it was the only way to save her adopted family.
    Star: What did you do?
    Eclipsa: What I had to.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: In the Magic Realm, Moon claims that she will always take care of the baby unicorn in her hands. As soon as Star gets her to check out the other worlds connected, Moon tosses the unicorn back in the stream and runs off.
  • Internal Reveal: Marco tells Tom he kissed Star, to convince him to go find and protect Star. Tom initially believes this to be a bluff in order to make him leave the battlefield and quickly returns to help, but even after Marco assures him that it wasn't a lie, Tom is still amicable towards him.
  • Ironic Echo: Again Eclipsa replies to one of Star's questions with the words 'what I had to'. Only before it was an admission of her reason to learn dark magic, now it's about her killing her daughter (or so she believed) to save Star and Mewni, an act which clearly devastates her.
  • I Will Find You: Moon was banished somewhere else in time and space, so Star decides that when it's all over and she survives, she will look for her mother.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Eclipsa faces off against her daughter and defeats her to save Star and stop her reign of terror. For this, Star gives her the wand back, Meteora is regressed into an infant again and she gets a chance to give her a better childhood, and she and her daughter are free to reunite with Globgor, her monster husband.
  • Last Disrespects: Meteora proceeds to rip to shreds every tapestry of the former Queens of Mewni in the Tapestry Room, except for Eclipsa's.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Star pointing out Glossaryck's unexplained voice change.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Tom was unaware of Star's golden Mewberty form.
    Tom: [to Marco's soulless body] Did you know she could do that?
  • Mama Bear: Eclipsa, but this time, towards Star. Eclipsa wasted no time in protecting her from Meteora.
  • Meaningful Echo: Marco asks Star "What did you just do?" after the latter gives away her wand to Eclipsa, just as Rhombulus asked Moon after she defeats Toffee in "Moon the Undaunted". The difference is that while Moon immediately answers ("I did my job."), Star ignores the question altogether, showing that she's still uncertain about the path she's going to follow from now on.
  • Mistaken for Dying: After Meteora deflects one of Tom's fireballs at Kelly, Tad is knocked away by the blast, and believes himself to be dying from his wounds. However, Kelly can see that he's overreacting.
  • Moment Killer: Deliberately invoked by Tom, but in the funniest way possible. When Marco and Star have a little reunion, Tom says he will make this weird and hugs them, perhaps his way of getting even with Marco for kissing Star. Given how they all nearly died, Star and Marco don't seem to mind, and Tom himself is just glad they're all still alive. The moment doesn't actually end until Star's leg starts going numb.
  • Must Make Amends: After Eclipsa (seemingly) kills her own daughter, Star lets her keep the wand and return to being queen to give back the rest of what was stolen from her. It doesn't take long for Star to realize that this attempt to atone for her family's misdeeds could endanger the entire world.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Eclipsa's reactions to having to put Meteora down. While she admits it had to be done, it's clear she's decidedly not happy about having to do it to her own daughter.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Before, Eclipsa fighting with Moon to save her daughter led to Meteora draining Moon's soul. This time, Eclipsa stops Meteora before the latter can hurt Star.
  • The Needs of the Many:
    • Tom decides the safest thing to do is to take refuge in the Underworld and fight Meteora another day. However, too many lives are at stake, so Star declines Tom's offer and tells him to go without her and do what he can to save Marco.
    • Eclipsa wanted to save her daughter, as any mother would. When she realizes that Meteora will destroy all of Mewni as well as its inhabitants, Eclipsa takes down her daughter before she can do more harm. She's not happy about it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • When the Marc-nificent Seven trap Meteora with trees and ropes, Talon's dragoncycle runs off, tearing the harpoon gun rope and rolling Meteora downhill. Luckily, Tom quickly uses his powers to trap her in the Underworld.
    • While Tom taking the soul sucking beam meant for Marco actually gives him time to escape her clutches, the several souls sucked from Tom end up empowering Meteora further. Tom lampshades it.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: When Eclipsa uses the wand, her first spell burns Meteora's shoulder, and the next one is intended to be fatal.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: In the end, it's Eclipsa who defeats Meteora, not Star.
  • Not Quite Dead: Eclipsa obviously expected that spell of hers to kill Meteora, not regress her.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It turns out Glossaryck wasn't reduced to dog-like intelligence, and was simply repeating "Globgor" because that is the name of Eclipsa's monster husband.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Tom's talk about Marco being his best friend makes Marco feel guilty about the events of "Booth Buddies", so he finally confesses to kissing Star.
  • Offing the Offspring: Subverted. Eclipsa clearly knew nothing short of killing her daughter would've accomplished it all, giving her reaction after casting the spell, but Meteora returns as a baby. Played tragically, as Eclipsa clearly didn't want to kill her daughter at all, but Meteora was too far gone into insanity and hate to be talked down.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tom's reaction when he goes to the Butterfly Castle to search for Star, but only finds an angry Meteora instead.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Eclipsa, portrayed as a cordial and eccentric woman who loves her family, takes down her beloved daughter to save Star and the rest of Mewni.
  • Power Floats: While Eclipsa wields the wand, she levitates.
  • Raise Her Right This Time: After Meteora is reverted to infancy, Eclipsa goes off to find her husband, to raise her daughter with her father.
  • Reality Ensues: Star and Eclipsa may have the same potential, but Eclipsa is an experienced, skilled adult who's had a lifetime to reach that potential. While Star fares better than anyone else against Meteora, Eclipsa is still far more powerful and is able to defeat her where Star couldn't.
  • The Reveal:
    • After much debate in the fandom about Eclipsa's monster lover's name and whereabouts, this episodes reveals both. His name is Globgor and he was crystallized behind the wall of Meteora's nursery in the temple of monsters. Quite possibly, this must've been what Rhombulus was trying to keep from Star in "Monster Bash".
    • The above ones come through another: Glossaryck can talk just fine and never had his mind regressed.
    • As it turns out, the Realm of Magic is a world between worlds.
  • Sadistic Choice: Eclipsa ends up in one: Star, a girl she has grown to care for and Meteora, her daughter who had been taken away from her are in a battle to the death and Meteora is too far gone to ever listen to reason. Eclipsa can either let Meteora live and kill Star, or kill Meteora to save not just Star's life, but the people of Mewni. Eclipsa ultimately chooses the latter.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • After Marco's first plan to capture Meteora fails, Hekapoo suggests hiding out at her favorite tavern until the whole mess blows over.
    • Though it's more of a strategic retreat so they can fight Meteora another day. After Star fails to access the Magic Sanctuary, Tom opens up a path to the Underworld for him, Star, and Marco's comatose body to hide from Meteora's rampage.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Exactly what happens inside the barrier Eclipsa's Black Velvet Inferno spell creates isn't shown (as the barrier is opaque). However, a burst of light projects Meteora's silhouette, twisted in anguish and coinciding with her deathly wail, suggesting it is very deadly and very painful.
  • Shoot the Dog: Eclipsa has no choice but to put Meteora, her own daughter, down. Fortunately, she wasn't completely destroyed, just reverted to an infant, but that wasn't what Eclipsa was expecting.
  • Shout-Out: Eclipsa flies away with her umbrella wand like Mary Poppins.
    • Tom walking in on the dilapidated Mewni Castle, filled with floating corpses, only to meet giant-monster Meteora and experience his Oh, Crap! moment, and then be promptly curb-stomped sums up Dark Souls pretty accurately.
    • Eclispa whispers her dark-themed spells, just like Sailor Pluto.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Averted with Star. She tries to imitate Moon's alligator speech to reach the healing temple, but it just ignores her. Quite possibly, Star wasn't doing it right.
  • Stunned Silence: Meteora's rebirth leaves Star incoherent: She lets out an "uh..." when she first hears the crying, a Flat "What" when she sees the baby, stutters an acceptance to Eclipsa's thanks, and tries to ask her something—most likely for the wand back—only as she's already flying away and doesn't respond.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Eclipsa accepts that Meteora is too far gone, and tries to kill her to save Star and the rest of Mewni. Then she discovers Meteora was reborn as an infant, letting Eclipsa raise her daughter as she always wanted.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Star outright tells Meteora she completely understands why she's so angry and shows sadness at her apparent death at her mother's hands.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Meteora has one when Eclipsa attacks her, reacting like a frightened and confused child who can't understand why their mother is hurting them.
  • Wham Episode: A doozy of a season finale. Star gives the wand back to Eclipsa, makes her queen again, and it's revealed that Eclipsa's monster husband has been imprisoned in the monster temple.
  • Wham Line:
    Glossaryck: No, no, no! Eclipsa's monster love, Globgor! She's going off to be with him. I've been trying to tell you for months!
    • A minor one done by Star, who permanently passes the wand to Eclipsa:
    Star: No... keep it. This wand was yours. It belongs to you. Things haven't been right since my family took the kingdom. The best thing I can do as queen is return what my family stole from you.
  • "What Now?" Ending: Eclipsa defeats Meteora (seemingly fatally), and Star lets her keep the wand and become queen again as an act of contrition. Eclipsa then discovers Meteora was regressed to infancy, and takes the wand and her child to her imprisoned monster lover, her ultimate goals unknown. Glossaryck reveals he's regained his coherence and follows after her. Moon is still unaccounted for.
  • The Worf Effect: Ever since embracing her true nature, Meteora has destroyed everyone and everything in her path, including Star and Moon in their Butterfly forms. Yet Eclipsa effortlessly defeats her with two spells. Justified as Meteora doesn't want to harm her mother and is hurt that her mother is attacking her.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Eclipsa easily defeats Meteora, but being challenged by her clearly causes Meteora to have an emotional breakdown and Star's final attack clearly did significant damage to Meteora beforehand. While still extremely impressive, Meteora obviously wasn't at full strength.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Marco decides that Tom needs to get to safety while he holds off Meteora to cover Tom's escape. Tom refuses to let Marco undertake this suicidal endeavor, but Marco insists because he knows Star's life is more important than his own. Unfortunately, Marco assumes Meteora will savor the moment longer than she actually does, as she no longer views Marco / Turdina as her personal Arch-Enemy.

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