The Owl House’s Luz Noceda And The Fear Of Disappointing Those You Love
Luz Noceda is stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. The human witchling is desperate to find a way back home while clinging onto the friends she’s made in The Boiling Isles, praying there will be a way to keep them in her life even when responsibility dictates she leaves them behind. But she’s just a teenager, learning about herself, magic, and those around her amidst an environment that embraces weirdos who need to stick together.
So when the ultimatum of that security being taken away stands in front of you, it can be far too easy to avoid it entirely, or make excuses so those who care about you aren’t hurt once the truth finally comes out. This is a rather heavy theme for a show like The Owl House to deal with, but much like its exploration of queer rebellion and behavioral consequences in the past, Follies At The Coven Day Parade is a nuanced dissection of Luz’s character arc in a way that will help her grow and accept help in the episodes to come.
The latest episode begins right where Yesterday’s Lie left off. Luz has returned to the demon realm, and is rocked with the consequences of her actions now her mother is aware of where she’s been these past few months. She chose to leave, running away from family in favour of a place that welcomes her eccentricities. Instead of working through her issues in the human world she opts to throw them aside, a decision that is both understandable and immature. The show often paints how Luz depicts the situation in an almost neurodivergent way compared to those around her and you can’t help but feel for them.
While Luz hopes to keep her recent return to the human world a secret, it doesn’t take long for her girlfriend to get suspicious. After leaving her phone behind at school, Amity Blight is tempted to watch a video on Luz’s phone that will reveal everything to her. But she doesn’t want to break that bond of trust, or have herself face the truth that one day – perhaps even fairly soon – that her partner will return home. But she also wants to help, knowing the importance of family and how being stranded in The Boiling Isles is likely affecting Luz more than she realises. Once a bully, I think Amity’s personality is one more suited to empathy than some might realise, and seeing her confide in a distant friend like Willow to see if snooping around really is the right thing to do feels startlingly real.
Luz clearly isn’t a true zoomer though because she goes an entire episode before realising her phone is missing, but I suppose she has more important things to worry about. Eda enlists her help to sabotage the Coven Day Parade in order to save Raine Whispers and throw a wrench into Emperor Belos’ plan. Our heroine is bursting with enthusiasm to help out, feigning interest in Eda’s romantic past when in truth she secretly wants to project her own problems onto a wider dilemma, hoping a distraction will distance her from a decision she will sooner or later need to make. It's a telltale sign of anxiety, a wish to keep the truth close to your chest in fear of hurting people, even if those involved are already making moves to unearth your strange behaviour.
The way Luz recalls her final conversation with her mother is especially profound. During a flashback sequence to Yesterday’s Lie we see the dialogue from Luz’s perspective:
“Promise me, when you come home you’ll stay with me and never go back to that place!”
Her recollection paints Camila as possessive and overbearing, like she wants to take Luz away from The Boiling Isles to never return. No wonder she has been so rocked with anxiety if she views the event like this, one where she is knowingly trying to avoid her potential mistakes and how her mother is being selfish by seeking to take her away. It’s a miscommunication that will see both of them get hurt if things don’t change, so to see Luz finally confide in those around her when it comes to returning home is so satisfying.
In actuality, the line of dialogue from Camila in Yesterday’s Lie goes like this:
“Come home and promise you’ll stay here. I didn’t mean to push you away. I swear things will be different!”
In truth Camila was sympathetic, tearful, and racked with guilt about Luz’s upbringing and failing to embrace who she is, instead hoping she’d stay inside the societal box like everyone else. She’s a single parent raising a teenager who struggles at school and has few friends, so it’s natural for Luz to view any wish to take her safety net away as an act of hostility. She both wants to keep her mother happy by returning home while also savouring the time she has left on The Boiling Isles with all the people she’s come to love. An acknowledgement of that impermanence is the catalyst to it all falling apart, but ignorance towards its existence will only make the eventual reality that much harder to swallow.
A lot of young people will sympathise with Luz’s situation here. Obviously they aren’t stranded in a demon world, but many of them will approach an age where responsibility becomes a tangible constant. You need to look out for yourself, figuring out how your actions will affect both yourself and those around you. The episode’s conclusion is the reality check Luz needed, delivered by Amity in a way that understands the gravity of losing one another while simultaneously savouring every second they have left.
Amity makes it clear she understands that Luz needs to return home, and that their love for one another could be ground to a halt at any moment. She is taking things one day at a time, knowing that taking a step back and glancing at the complete picture would cause her to crumble. It’s a touching outlook, and why she’s learning Spanish to communicate with her girlfriend and repairing fractured bonds, knowing there is no time like the present to live her life and address past mistakes. But even upon reconciliation, doubts still remain, but that uncertainty is at the very heart of what makes The Owl House so special.
Even as the episode ends you can see that Luz is still unsure about it all, but she knows that Amity won’t push her away for fear of being left behind or disappointed. She has nothing to fear, only a heightened trust to embrace and build upon to make it home and see her family again. Life is filled with moments where we’ll be afraid to be honest with ourselves, and for Luz to confront that dilemma so directly and without compromise is beautiful to see.
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