Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to want a few things from Elena of Avalor. I wanted more magic. I wanted to see our young wizard Mateo once more. And I wanted Esteban to not be an annoying jerk wad anymore. Seriously. It’s hard to have this guy around when he’s constantly undermining everyone. This week’s episode, Island of Youth, came packed full of all these things, along with some pleasant surprises.
This week’s episode dealt primarily with Esteban, which was great as he is easily the character we need the most convincing to like at this point. Esteban is feeling his age as his birthday arrives and no one seems to notice. Of course, little does he know, the whole kingdom is planning a massive surprise party for him. In order to keep him out of the way, Mateo and Elena offer to take him sailing with the use of a magical map they have found. It just so happens that this map outlines the location of the Island of Youth, a magical Island that holds water which allows the drinker to become young again. Esteban, feeling the weight of his age, thinks this sounds like a great idea.
The island, however, holds some dark secrets and while drinking the water does make him young, drinking too much makes him continue to decrease in age until he is a child and then a baby. Luckily, Mateo finds a special flower which gives the eater back their age. Unluckily, the island will disappear at sundown so time is of the essence.
Meanwhile, Isabel has invented a new musical instrument and is competing with her grandfather over who will get to play the birthday song at the party. Once again, I love that Isabel is an inventor. I can’t emphasize enough that this is one of my favorite parts of the show. I also like that she uses that ability in the end to make the song less about the competition and more about making something new and special together.
The show continues to really speak to the importance of family. As the three heroes tried to escape the vanishing island, Esteban was given a choice of saving the last of his youth water or saving Elena. Of course he chooses Elena but this might prove to be a pivotal moment for his character. After all, Esteban is vain and thinks he is always right, but this scene goes to show that he actually does care deep down for his family. It’s a great way to make us root for him despite his shortcomings.
I really love Mateo as a character. The fact that he does magic is a fantastic addition to the show and I love the Latino design of his wand. I hope that a future episode will have him, Elena AND Naomi teaming up once more as I like them best as a team.
I also loved not only the island but the map which seemed to have some sort of geo location. It was really neat to see from a visual standpoint, but also I think it shows that this team of creators is eager to give us something familiar, yet with a fun twist. Adding the magic to the map really elevated its piece of the story to new heights. Although in the end Mateo lost the map, which makes me wonder if it will show up again later down the line.
The last time I reviewed a kid’s show like this was The Lion Guard and sadly I got to a point with that show where it just wasn’t interesting enough to keep on with. Elena of Avalor continues to be a cute and fun way to spend a Friday night. It’s good moral values, as well as pleasingly complex characters and a fun world that I just want to know more about have made it a fun part of my weekly schedule and I can’t wait for more. Also, am I the only adult who can’t wait to meet Elena next time I’m at Disney?