How is everyone holding up after watching Hollow Mind? Still crying and filled with anxiety-ridden dread like the rest of us? If so, don’t worry. You’re in good company.
The Owl House’s latest episode wasn’t afraid to tear your heart out, throw it against the wall, step on it a few times, and then set it on fire just to make sure you definitely got the message. It was heavy, with major character development for Hunter, Luz Noceda, and Emperor Belos as we caught a sinister glimpse at what’s the come. We’re in the endgame now etc.
It was only a matter of time until we saw Hunter’s redemption arc, but I didn’t expect it to emerge in such a grim yet melancholic way. He’s a character who has spent his entire life brainwashed by a toxic system, raised to believe that fascist ideals are the future and how friendship is little more than weakness to hold us back from greatness. Hollow Mind’s multiple narrative revelations mean there is now no turning back, and Hunter will need to deal with the consequences of his upbringing and join a rebellion that is slowly forming from within his own ranks. Raine Whispers, Darius, and Eberwolf are turning their backs on authority, realising the value of wild magic and taking hold of one’s own destiny.
As Season 2B approaches its climax in the coming weeks, we will see enemies transform into friends, while hard decisions surrounding the very fabric of magic amidst The Boiling Isles must be made. We can expect love, loss, sacrifices, celebration, and the grasping of destiny from our main characters as everything comes to an explosive crescendo. I’m not ready for the Day of Unity to rear its head, but show creator Dana Terrace and company have done a fantastic job crafting a worthwhile story in the face of a shortened order and abrupt cancellation. Hollow Mind felt like a new high for The Owl House, largely because it wasn’t afraid to be all about drama in a dark, pervasive way that truly mattered.
The episode follows Luz Noceda and Hunter as they find themselves in the mindscape of Emperor Belos. His mind is reflective of his own experiences and filled with memories that chronicle decades of triumph, trauma, and loss. This tyrant has spent decades rising to power in a foreign realm, using his prejudice against witches to create a Coven system that grants power through the illusion of restraint, compartmentalizing magic and placing everyone into neat little boxes that prevent their identities from ever blossoming.
It becomes clear that the illustrious portraits and curated memories of Belos’ picturesque mind are all a lie, quickly falling away to unveil his inner subconscious. He is a battered, broken man dealing with a festering resentment towards witchkind, believing himself to be a righteous man in the face of immense guilt. The charred remains of pictures across the episode hint towards a deeper backstory, one lined with tragedy that points towards The Golden Guard’s true identity and why exactly Philip Wittebane developed a lifelong fascination with magic. Fans are already delving deep into theories and it’s great to see.
Luz and Hunter soon give chase to a young boy, who can be interpreted as Belos’ collective guilt manifesting in a singular identity. It’s a child, so of course the duo follow him in the hopes of procuring items, all while a monstrous spectre chases them throughout the mindscape and threatens to strand them in this place forever. It’s a twisted setup that forces our main characters to confront their own internal ideas of Emperor Belos and come to face a bitter, uncomfortable truth. The child they’re chasing isn’t a representation of innocence, but Belos luring them into a trap. He was present all along, and seeks to eliminate the aforementioned monster and all the unfortunate Palisman held within his grasp.
Hunter is revealed to be a Grimwalker, a clone or manufactured being based on a very old friend of Belos. Their familial relationship is a smokescreen, a lie so an obedient servant can be reproduced again and again until they inevitably betray their own creator when true intentions come to light. It’s a cyclical nightmare that Hunter was always meant to discover, but for the first time, he is in a place to fight back and work alongside his newfound friends to usurp this tyrant forever. This episode goes to some tremendously dark places, with Hunter breaking down as he glimpses the graves of past Golden Guards, with nothing but shattered masks and fading portraits hinting that they ever existed at all. He dooms himself to the same fate unless he runs away and turns his back on everything he’s ever known. What breaks my heart is that beneath all the memories sits a version of Emperor Belos who was once a sweet, loving person. Yet circumstances saw the world turn against him and his heart surrender to darkness. Some people are just beyond saving.
With the help of Eda and King our heroes escape, now a mess of tears, injuries, and bearing a forbidden truth they have no choice but to accept. Emperor Belos is Philip Wittebane (we all called it), and Hunter is the latest in a long line of pawns who only exist to perish. He isn’t able to deal with this, filled with anger and paranoia as he comes to realise there is no turning back. Belos will come for him, and most likely kill him, so he runs away into the night and towards the unknown. Hollow Mind leaves us here, to stew on an episode that upends the entire narrative and thrusts it into a new direction. The Owl House only has five episodes and three extended specials left, so it feels like every moment now is crucial. No more filler, no more wacky hijinks, just a rollercoaster ride to the end. There's also The Collector for us to worry about…
I have no idea where things are going from here aside from a few obvious conclusions, and given how few episodes we have left that ultimatum is so exciting. Dana Terrace please expect my next therapy bill in the post soon.
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