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Recap / Tangled: The Series S1E20 "The Alchemist Returns"

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The sundrop isn't the flower anymore... It's Rapunzel!

Rapunzel returns to the castle (directly after the events in the previous episode), hurt and upset about her father lying to her about the black rocks. The scroll she found in the Graphtyc shows the Sundrop Flower, but its significance isn't clear yet. Desperate to find the answers she seeks, Rapunzel accepts help from Varian to find the Sundrop Flower that is the origin of her magical hair, in order to save her kingdom from imminent danger. She goes against the Kingdom of Corona's rules doing so.

Meanwhile, Eugene and Cassandra notice something is causing everyone to tell only the truth, and there is more to it than what meets the eye...


This episode provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Varian went all out to find the magical flower, only to find out it's useless. Turns out, its magic has been transferred to Rapunzel.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Varian, this time around. He keeps the facade of his former Nice Guy personality, but if what Rapunzel dreamed is anything to go by, his betrayal of her was inevitable.
  • Brutal Honesty: The cookies laced with the truth serum cause those who eat them to compulsively speak the truth.
  • Call-Back:
    • Rapunzel uses Herz der Sonne's journal from "Under Raps" to access Corona's underground tunnels
    • The portrait of King Frederic Rapunzel sees when stealing the aforementioned journal is the same one Frederic wanted to show Rapunzel in "The Wrath of Ruthless Ruth"
  • Calling the Old Man Out: At the beginning of the episode, Rapunzel calls Frederic out for his deceit and his orders in the previous episode, even going as far as to compare him to Gothel.
    Rapunzel: You know, you are not the first person to lie to me and tell me I am not ready for the real world.
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  • Captain Obvious: When the walls are closing in on Rapunzel and him, Varian utters the totally obvious "We're gonna get squished!". It is already totally obvious from the visuals alone what is happening, though.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • This episode continues from where the last episode left off, when Rapunzel is angry at her dad for lying to her. This episode is also a continuation of the "mystery of the black rocks" Story Arc.
    • For those who were shocked at Varian's Break the Cutie moment at the end of "Queen for a Day", this episode fully confirms he's gone From Nobody to Nightmare and becomes the Arc Villain for the remainder of the season.
    • Remember Cassandra’s description about Varian in "What the Hair?!" that he "isn't good" and some say he's "dangerous"? It turns out the rumors were true after all, and it is proven by the climax.
  • Cliffhanger: Rapunzel is hurt by Varian's betrayal and knows this wasn't the last she'll be seeing him. Meanwhile, Varian realizes the flower has lost all its magic, and it now exists inside Rapunzel.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: Varian gives this speech to Rapunzel when it came to his concern for the welfare of Corona.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rapunzel apologized for what happened in "Queen for a Day" and explains what happened. Varian understands that she had her kingdom to worry about. Except he doesn't forgive her, he desperately asked her for help but she broke her promise.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: At the climax of the episode, Varian reveals his true colors and betrays Rapunzel by taking the flower and leaving Corona to its fate as revenge.
  • Evil Gloating: Varian throws it in when he explains how he made a truth serum to get the location of the flower and how he used Rapunzel, before giving his "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Eye Awaken: Rapunzel has one when she wakes up from her nightmare about Varian and finds her hair glowing and waving all over the place.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Varian's sinister words to Rapunzel in her nightmare warn her of what she's about to face.
    • Varian tells Rapunzel she doesn't have to worry, because the guards all have their hands full...and how can he possibly know that? Turns out he deliberately caused that with his truth serum.
    • Varian accidentally lets it slip that he's concerned about saving his dad more, which worries Rapunzel. At the end, he fully betrays her.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Had Rapunzel taken a closer look at the flower, and had she known the flower no longer has its magic properties, she wouldn't have had to worry about letting Varian take it.
  • Hope Spot: Looks like everything is going to be fine between Varian and Rapunzel after what happened during "Queen for a Day", as they work together and are trying to help each other, right? Nope.
  • It's All My Fault: Rapunzel says this near the end:
    Rapunzel: I let the most powerful object in all of the land fall into the hands of...I don't even know what he is anymore! But I know we haven't seen the last of him...
  • It Was with You All Along: In the final scene, Varian realizes the Sundrop Flower has no more magic, and all of it has been transferred to Rapunzel. In other words, he had it the entire time, he just didn't know it yet.
  • Last-Second Chance: Rapunzel gives one to Varian, convincing him to give her the flower so they can work together, but he ignores her. After all, she broke her promise once, why should he believe her this time?
  • Mood Whiplash: Like the past two episodes, there's a rather shocking ending scene, and then it cuts to the cheery end credits.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the promo, in the scene of Rapunzel’s nightmare when she runs to Cassandra and Eugene as they are imprisoned within the rocks, her hair is glowing; in the actual episode, it isn't.
  • Not So Different: Rapunzel compares King Frederic to Gothel.
  • Plot Hole: Rapunzel somehow knew the name of Varian's raccoon Rudiger, despite not having met him in past episodes nor did Varian tell her his name.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Varian gives one when the Sundrop flower's magic fails to free his father, leading to the ultimate realization below.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Rapunzel and Varian went through a lot of trouble trying to get the Sundrop Flower that saved the Queen, which Rapunzel needs to save Corona, and Varian needs to save his dad. The flower turns out not to have its magic anymore, so all the questionable things they did were for nothing. Unfortunately, Rapunzel doesn't know that. Plus, the flower's magic now exists inside Rapunzel, so it also means Varian is going to come back for her...
  • Slasher Smile: Varian gives Rapunzel an evil, rather frightening smile as he betrays her, solidifying his From Nobody to Nightmare status.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Varian gives one to Rapunzel about how he came to her for help, she and her people turned their backs on him, and worst of all, adds in how badly she keeps her promises.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: One of the few darker episodes (after "Queen for a Day" and "The Quest for Varian", though on bigger terms) within the generally more lighthearted series, and it ends with Varian callously betraying Rapunzel.
  • Wham Line: "The sundrop isn't the flower anymore... it's Rapunzel!"
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: A pretty brutal one at that; just as Rapunzel was starting to have real hope for Corona, she finds out Varian, a friend she trusted her life with no less, betrays her and steals the Sundrop Flower for himself. Needless to say, Rapunzel's faith in whom to trust and her self-confidence take a beating. It's pretty brutal for Varian too; the Sundrop Flower he thought would save his dad is useless because it hasn't had any magic since Rapunzel was born. They both went through a lot of trouble for a useless MacGuffin trying to accomplish something important to them. However, it's revealed in the final scene that the flower's magic has been transferred to Rapunzel.


Example of: