Getting two episodes of Elena of Avalor in two consecutive weeks is something pretty special. With last week’s episode, Olaball, really sticking out to me, I was excited by the idea of getting to know the jaquins better. And while this episode only gave us a glimpse into their mythology as mythical flying jaguars, it gave us a whole lot of character development for Skylar, who up until now has been simply a plucky side character. So spread your wings and fly as we break down this episode, which fans are calling the jaquin’s meow! And by fans, I mean just me.
In many ways, Flight of the Jaquins is very much a coming of age story for Skylar. All the jaquins generally see him as a screw up and when the opportunity comes for them to pick one of their own to train the new recruits, the jaquins generally think Skylar would be the worst choice. Unfortunately for them, the jaquin political system involves a lottery and Skylar gets picked. Honestly guys, if you want it to be based on merit you should give a test or something. The jaquins try to overthrow the ruling but Elena steps in to vouch for her friend and Skylar lands the job. However, when he goes to pick up the recruits, he finds that one of them is his younger brother Nico. Now, Skylar has to learn to put his foot down and choose responsibility over having fun.
While this week’s episode is a simpler story with fewer characters involved than usual, I really liked the premise. After all, even as adults we are often faced with moments where we have to choose to be responsible over having fun. Skylar is given more time with his brother and of course he wants to have fun. But this quickly leads to consequences as his other recruits are kidnapped by an evil coyote named Troyo. There’s a great lesson to be learned about doing the right thing, but the team at Elena takes it one step further.
As Skylar follows after his recruits, he has to find a way to topple Troyo and not fall for his evil tricks. This results in him creating a plan that has some of the responsibility of his own trainer, but also a bit of himself and his trickster ways. I think this is great because it would be easy to say that Skylar simply needs to grow up. But the way Skylar solves his problem is his own way. Through creativity and thoughtfulness, he is able to find a solution that is 100% his own. Elena often preaches the idea that being yourself is usually the best way to solve a problem and this episode grows that theory further. It’s good material given that kids are often peer pressured into being just like everyone else. We all need a reminder to be our self and trust in who we are and this week’s episode does just that.
This week showed a little bit of imperfection on Elena’s part. After discovering that Skylar was messing around instead of fulfilling his duty, she actually scorned him, showing her disappointment in his actions. This is pretty out of character for Elena who always finds the good side in all her friends and sticks up for them until the very end. Yet, I still liked the fact that she showed her lack of faith. It made her seem more real, but also gave Skylar the motivation he needed to get his life together.
If I’ve got one complaint about this episode, it’s that Troyo was defeated so easily. He’s such a cool villain and the animation of him moving like lightning proved to be one of the coolest bits of animation we’ve seen in this show. I actually said “Cool!” out loud the first time it happened. Yet, despite being this mystical creature, he simply gets tied up in a gold vine and that’s that. I would have liked to see a little bit more resistance and a more epic climax to the episode. In any case, he was easily one of the coolest villains visually, and I hope that next season we get to see him again.
Flight of the Jaquins was a light and fun episode of Elena of Avalor with a great lesson and a closer look at Skylar and the jaquins, who apparently live inside a portal in the mountains. We’re going to need some more info on that at some point! With a cool villain and plenty of mythology to keep us wanting more, Flight of the Jaquins was a fun stop in the outer areas, but I for one am excited to get back to Avalor! What did you guys think of the episode? Let me know in the comments!