So another episode of Helluva Boss decided to come around again, and I had apprehensions, probably because they hadn’t exactly nailed what they had set out to do in the first two episodes. It was the Deus Ex thing again, if you make a sequel to something that was just fine, without improving anything, you get all the annoyances again without the novelty. Fortunately, my qualms were put to rest rather quickly because Helluva Boss episode 2 is actually quite good.
I think what held back the first two episodes of Helluva Boss was a lack of focus. The Pilot felt rather spread thin, like it was trying to cover everything it could without the time to do so. Pilots are generally like this, however, since you want to appeal to as broad an audience as possible so that the largest group of people come back for more.
The aversion really only started to kick in when the Halloween episode came out, mostly because it was inconsistent, wasn’t terribly funny, and had several tonal issues. I think I said at the time that it felt like they could do a lot better, and this felt like a product that was rushed out to meet the Spooktober deadline. Turns out I was right, and I’m not just saying that to keep the Tumblr legions from breaking all my windows.
The main focus this time around is on Stola, the owl that you may have seen floating around art accounts of the aforementioned Tumblr legions. He made the fanbase moo a bit, I don’t know why, no one knew anything about him up until now, and he just came across as Angel Dust, but without the complexity.
Anyway, he’s the main focus, and I have to say that I’m honestly impressed, not only because of the team’s willingness to touch upon a really quite depressing issue, but to make it come across as mostly human, which is more than can be said for Borat. That being said, I do think that the other side of the argument is being kind of ignored here. Everything’s wrapped up so neatly at the end without any sort of aftermath, when in reality there would be significantly more negative emotions involved.
I should probably tell you what’s actually going on in the arc. It’s got a mostly new cast of characters who are characterised tremendously well right off the bat. They make good use of what little we had seen of him at that point, and it never comes across like the writing was rushed at any point.
Okay, plot now. Stola’s family life is falling apart like the Trump White House, and he wants to try, and make amends with his daughter, unlike the Trump White House, which isn’t making amends with anyone. He decides to take his daughter to a theme park called Loo Loo Land, and as a partly British man, I can’t help but laugh at a theme park being named after a toilet, twice. Stola then decides to hire Blitzo to be his bodyguard, and the imps play out the role of the comedy B plot.
I’ll admit that the imps B plot was probably the one I was least invested in, but I think that’s mostly because the main plot was actually fascinating, as opposed to any inherent awfulness present in the side adventures.
Stola eventually comes to terms with his estranged daughter, and they make up, and it’s all tied up with a bow. Now, I know I’ve just spent the last page, and a bit talking about how good the episode is, but I have to qualify that praise now.
The whole conflict with his family that I mentioned was depressing revolves around Stola being a cheater, and his house basically being as toxic as a cookout on Venus. The problem with the ending is that I feel as though what he’s done isn’t given the weight it should have been. In my opinion, they should have had him try to ma keup with his wife and apologise, not just make up, and forget about it. I’m guessing a lead writer or two had some bottled up daddy issues they were working through.
So where does that place Hazbin Hotel on the good/bad spectrum? It’s a hell of an improvement, no pun intended, paced well, decently funny, and with some much better visuals to spice it up, I just have a problem with the fact that it ends so unrealistically. Maybe they’ll continue on with the next episode, but we’ll just have to wait, and see.