Saturday, November 8, 2014
Cartoon Network: Over the Garden Wall "Into the Unknown / The Unknown"
Before I get into the last two parts of "Over the Garden Wall" I need to note that I was watching Cartoon Network earlier in the day (My son loves "Teen Titans Go") and I saw a piece on the show with Elijah Wood explaining the soundtrack to it. This kind of made me realize that as much as this show is musical in that it mixes elements of music into the story flawlessly, it also has just some really solid songs in it on the whole and, yes, I would be in line to buy a soundtrack for this without question. It is just that good.
So this ninth part, "Into the Unknown", takes us back to the beginning and in theory these minutes should have come before the first part aired on Monday but it would have taken away from a lot of the mystery in that sense so you can understand why it was done as such. For one thing, we learn that Wirt and Greg end up in the woods- The Unknown- on Halloween night, which is why they are dressed the way that they are. (Wirt is probably a garden gnome, while Greg wears the teapot on his head because he is an elephant) Wirt has a plan to give a mix tape he made to a girl he likes named Sara and as he is sort of chickening out, Greg goes and gives it to some other kids and eventually she gets it. Through a series of events you will have to watch yourself, Wirt and Greg end up climbing a wall in a cemetary and enter The Unknown. So the answers as to why they were lost in the woods to begin with begin to come to light, and what's more so is that it is all explained so well. Wirt revealed in an earlier episode he was in high school (The one with Aunty Whispers I believe) so you know this has to kind of all stem from that sort of high school drama, but it does so in a way that doesn't make you want to gag yourself.
As "Into the Unknown" ends, Wirt finds himself in the safety of the nest of Beatrice's family, as he then goes out into a mighty snowstorm to find Greg. Greg however has been bargaining with the monster and is about to become his latest victim. Beatrice and Wirt reunite, while the Woodsman fights the beast. As the battle comes to a head, the beast explains to Wirt that he can put the soul of Greg into the lantern in exchange for his death but Wirt declines and says he doesn't want to wander around the woods his whole life. Wirt figures out that the souls being fed to the lantern are only as such as so to keep the beast himself alive, so he gives the lantern back to the Woodsman and says this isn't his fight anymore and takes Greg home.
The show itself puts it best about how everything ends in a way that makes everyone happy and I couldn't agree more. Aside from the fact that I absolutely love cassettes and this show uses one, there is a bigger message here that needs to be addressed. Wirt and Greg saw a lot of strange things in the woods and some of them were even fairly frightening. But with a little nudging from Greg, Wirt managed to overcome his fears in The Unknown and it made things in his real life seem a lot less scary. I truly feel that no matter what you do in life, no matter what your means of escape is that helps you overcome your fears you need to have one. If you can help Aunty Whispers, or whatever your version of her might be, then there is nothing which you cannot do.
In a lot of ways, "Over the Garden Wall" (at its conclusion) reads like a forgotten Grimm Brothers fairytale. Based upon that notion, the "and they all lived happily ever after" clause that comes with it, I feel satisfied with the end in the sense that "Over the Garden Wall" does not have to continue to please me but rather I would just request a DVD release so I can watch its genius repeatedly. At the very least, this should be viewed every Halloween (and it will become a tradition as such in my house!) but to try and go off into other adventures of the various creatures in The Unknown (perhaps learning more about Beatrice and her family or how exactly The Woodsman and his daughter first met the beast) would be nice but isn't as necessary as I had wanted before because this all just ended so perfectly. Don't get me wrong, I'd watch more episodes of this show without hesitation but if this is all we ever have to show for "Over the Garden Wall" (plus the comic book and hopeful toy release) then I really couldn't possibly ask for more. "Over the Garden Wall" has accomplished in a mere week what other shows could not in decades.