Warning: This post contains spoilers for Amphibia.
We’re on the penultimate episode for season one of Amphibia! Cue the multiple references to continuity, and the resolutions of minor plot points. And we acknowledge how the status quo has changed. Some frogs, however, are still working on their character development. So are some people.
“Coping with character flaws” is the theme of these two episodes. Unlike certain shows that we can mention, Amphibia is well aware that people grow in increments. We don’t improve on our natural failings all at once, and we can easily regress. Frogs are the same way, apparently. It’s learning how to cope with our flaws that help us grow for real.
Children Of The Spore
Hop Pop is trying to finish a model boat that’s been his pride and joy. The problem is that the kids’ roughhousing keep getting it damaged and are stressing him out with parking tickets. A mysterious frog named Apothecary Gary gives him a potion that Gary promises will help the kids behave. Hop Pop reluctantly tries it, only to be creeped out when everyone acts like mindless robots. When he tries it on night two, he finds out that the potion is actually moistened mushroom spores that put everyone under Gary’s mind-control, and Gary reveals in turn that a mushroom is controlling him. Hop Pop sacrifices his boat to break Bessie’s stall lock so that she can feast on the mushrooms, and apologizes to the kids. They’re angry but also admit they were roughhousing too much. Meanwhile a bug swallows the remains of the spores and gets possessed.
It’s amazing how much the family dynamics have changed. Polly is no longer the baby, due to her saving everyone’s behind back in “Night at the Inn,” but that means she has more responsibility than she did before. That means Hop Pop includes her among the potions’s users unwittingly. Anne and Sprig are also making her part of the team.
We also see Anne’s influence on the other kids. She encourages Sprig and Polly to let loose, albeit by playing a game that Polly will actually enjoy rather than doing another spa day. They’re all compromising and having fun together.
Hop Pop’s flaw is that he always thinks that he knows best. He buried the box without telling Anne why it’s dangerous, and now he uses a magical potion without the kids’ consent to get them to behave for a couple of days. The latter at least has backfired on him badly, which he admits. He has to sacrifice his beloved boat model to save himself.
Points for Gary the mushroom — the frog’s real name is Lloyd — for masterminding a plan that would let him take over Wartwood. He pretty much succeeded in two days! Not even Grime has had a success rate that high. If not for Bessie liking mushrooms, he would have won. Gary also shows he may come back, this time for revenge, and we see that he can play people like a fiddle.
Hop Pop’s inability to admit he was wrong will probably dog him in season two. He’ll have to come clean about the box eventually. But for now, we’ll see what happens with Anne’s growth.
Anne Of The Year
Anne gets voted Frog of the Year, who “best embodies the values of Wartwood,” much to her delight and the Mayor’s consternation. He claims besides her not being a frog, Anne is also very selfish and shouldn’t host her party. Anne in her attempt to throw the best shindig of the year accidentally proves the mayor’s point when she tries to micromanage the decorations, pressure Sprig to confess his feelings to Ivy, and feed everyone chocolate. Unfortunately, Anne’s attempts to party hard set the festivities on fire and she asks for the mayor’s help to save everyone and put out the flames. We learn that chocolate can serve as a fire extinguisher and that the frogs didn’t vote for Anne because she’s perfect but because she’s impacted their lives so much. The Mayor admits (finally) that she deserved the reward, while the town puts on a smaller party to save the night, and Ivy confesses that she likes Sprig and wants to date him at some point. All seems well…until Sasha appears in battle armor at the edge of town. She and Anne share a hug, and Sasha reveals she brought the Toad army, who has an interest in Anne.
Anne has totally deserved frog of the year. She’s done a lot of good in town:
1. Protected them from a tax racket that the mayor instigated and let them keep their possessions.
2. Kept a frog from getting eaten on Freeze Day. And solved the problem of why they were disappearing in the first place.
3. Saved theatre night by showing movies that interested the frogs.
4. Revealed the mayor as an opportunistic frog with her pimple outbreak.
5. Blew up an inn where cannibals were luring guests to their death.
6. Became a crucial Bugball player that helped the farmers win against the Townies.
7. Restored the Plantars’ family reputation using sock puppets.
8. Helped Hop Pop confess his feelings for Sylvia Sundew.
And as we will see in the next season finale, Anne will help overthrow the Toad regime to save Hop Pop and gain the courage to face Sasha. She’s had a remarkable impact on the town, and Hop Pop says that life wouldn’t be the same without her.
She’s also brought out the best in people or their true colors. Hop Pop ran for a local election and inspired frogs to make the change despite unfair odds. Sprig has become more responsible and caring towards the family members in his life. He is also more open with his emotions and engaging in common sense rather than being a reckless pollywog.
Also, Toadstool helped her save everyone from the fire! That cannot be understated since the gesture was selfless in the face of all his selfishness. He seems to have accepted his loss in fair competitions and victories. The Mayor for once has done actual good when she asked! Partly it was due to her intimidating him, but we cannot ignore his graciousness later when he returns her Frog of the Year sash and says she’s earned it.
One important symbolic thing to end this episode: Anne switches from her Jay Gatsby tuxedo and straightened hair to her usual school uniform outfit and messy curls. Sasha, in contrast, has ditched her uniform to wear Grime’s battle armor. While Anne has become a better person and remembered to tone down her arrogance, Sasha revels in her new position. That will dog them both when Sasha and Grime make their move.