Amphibia: Fight at the Museum/Temple Frogs
October 23, 2021 7:12 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Fight at the Museum: The search for information to return the Plantars to Amphibia takes our heroes to the museum, where they meet potential ally Dr. Jan, and definite enemy, the frog robot. Temple Frogs: The day following the museum trip, Anne gets a message from Dr. Jan, but before she can follow up on it her mother pulls her into helping out at the local Thai Temple. The frogs fit in surprisingly well there, but their robotic pursuer is less welcome.

Fight at the Museum
  • The first of this week's stories is directed by Steven Universe alum Joe Johnston, aka Joseph D. Johnston. This is not the Joe Johnston that directed Honey I Shrunk The Kids, The Rocketeer and Jumanji. He often worked with fellow alum Jeff Liu, and then directed many of that show's later standout episodes, including When It Rains, Mr. Greg, Bismuth, Off Colors, and, the linchpin episode of the entire series, A Single Pale Rose. He also directed several excellent second-season episodes of Amphibia.
  • If you've been watching the new show open, it is kind of a preview of the the first half of Season 3 of Amphibia. This story is the one where Anne and the Plantars sneak around the museum; the next one shows Anne and the Plantars on a moped running away from police and government agents in an ice cream truck; then, dragonfly drones flying over a Thai temple (events that occur in the second story in this episode). After that, there's Sasha, Grime and the citizens of Wartwood fighting the robot carrier from an earlier episode; a number of human characters in one shot, including the Boonchuys, Dr. Jan, the agents from the earlier scene and some others we haven't met yet; King Andrias and the alien being he works for guarding Marcy in the rejuvenation tank; and finally, Anne powering up and destroying frog robots by hurling one of their missiles back at them.
  • As the story opens, the Plantars are asleep. Notably, Polly is curled up with Domino. Anne however has been awake two nights in a row searching for information on interdimensional portals, on Doogle ("Portals to other worlds"), WooHoo! Queries ("Hi does anyone know how to travel to other worlds?"), Big Ol' Wiki (article on "Multiverse"), and Toob ("Amy - Chan's Ultimate Guide to Writing REALISTIC Isekai Fanfic," followed by "Amy - Chan Apology Video"). Anne's user name is bananner81, and her avatar icon on WooHoo! Queries is a smiling frog.
  • The books resting by Anne as she searches the internet: String Theory: A Beginner's Guide and Wizards & Wormholes.
  • When Mrs. Boonchuy calls Anne down for breakfast, she's about to post on "UFO FORUMZ" asking people who've been to other planets to get in touch via phone. Fortunately, she doesn't have the chance to send it. Anne considers aloud the possibility that there may be a second Calamity Box out there, and plans on visiting other curio shops to look for it.
  • Anne's mom is amused that Anne is researching ways to get the Plantars home, and is so focused on it. It's another sign of how far Anne has come.
  • The question of Anne's missed schoolwork is broached. She's been back on Earth for at least eight days now, but she hasn't returned to school yet. On the table are dusty textbooks: "Science: It Is What It Is," "History And Such," and "Ew, it's Math" with a sticky note reading "READ pg. 102."
  • Mrs. Boonchuy notes there's slime everywhere in the house, and she's right. The frogs have been shown to be naturally slimy in earlier episodes, and I was wondering if that would be a factor on Earth; I guess it is.
  • What has the frog robot been doing? Apparently searching for the energy sensor of Anne's Calamity powers. Since she hasn't been using them, it hasn't been able to track her, so it resorts to checking local broadcasts.
  • After Anne and the Plantars leave the car, you can catch Mrs. Boonchuy putting on sunglasses and playing loud electric guitar music before the scene changes.
  • Sprig, pointing at dinosaur skeleton: "Woah! Looks like you guys used to have a monster problem too!"
  • Hop Pop, at the museum: "See? We can have a fun one-off just like we did in Amphibia!" Meta humor!
  • Anne has difficulty focusing on the museum displays, until she spots a pot with Amphibian reliefs on it! It shows a frog floating before a portal, and bearing the Calamity Box, before a group of Vikings in a boat, possibly exhibiting Calamity powers. It is the first Earth-side example of anything to do with Amphibia, aside from Marcy finding a reference to the Calamity Box in a library book in a flashback in True Colors, and the Calamity Box itself.
  • And now we meet Dr. Jan, who likely plays a role in later episodes, who helpfully introduces herself with a "Didn't expect to see frogs here, eh?" She's a curator at the museum and a cryptid enthusiast. (She has UFO earrings with greys in them--no one tell Peridot!)
  • Anne has come a long way from the early episodes, but she rashly still plans on coming back to the museum after closing and stealing the pot to check it out. She doesn't know if she can trust Dr. Jan, which is on the one hand a reasonable precaution (discovering frog people could be a career-making find), but on the other hand, as Hop Pop says later, there's really no way Anne can do all this alone. Calamity powers or no, she's still a thirteen-year-old girl, and randomly searching the internet is not going to be useful here.
  • Dr. Jan, about the frog in the relief: "It must have been some kind of deity. Maybe it's a frog-shaped alien, right? From another dimension?" Jan is a good theorist.
  • Hop Pop distracts the guards by making himself up as a very Cats-like cat. Guard A (Mitchell): "Hey, my shoe!" Guard B (Rodney): "After that fabulous cat!"
  • The star of the break-in is Polly, whose jumping, small size, and unexpectedly lamprey-like ring of teeth gets her into the ventilation system, through the electric eye beams, and through the glass to the pot. Sprig does take care of the security cameras though with his stretchy strong tongue.
  • BUT... the camera signal does catch an image of Sprig, and a certain robot has been watching signals. (But wait, aren't the camera closed-circuit, not broadcast? And doesn't this mean human security could also see him?) The robot recognizes Sprig from the photo King Andrias gave it (presumably from Marcy's cell phone), and leaps to attack.
  • The gang manages to hold off the robot without using Calamity powers. Dr. Jan catches them, but she and the guards also see the robot, which escapes. Seeing the frogs without their hoods up gives up the game to Dr. Jan, who offers to help investigate the pot and help them.
  • Dr. Jan checks the back of the pot with a blacklight, and there is a message written in it in the Amphibian frog rune alphabet. It reads: SEEK THE MOTHER OF OLMS SHE WILL GUIDE YOU TO YOUR DESTINY
Temple Frogs
  • This episode is directed by Jenn Strickland, another frequent Amphibia director, whose work on the show began back in Season 1. She previously worked on the series reboot of Ben 10. According to her Tumblr, Strickland animated the wonderful ending credit sequence we've seen so far in Season 3!
  • Anne is Thai, but other than a couple of references it didn't come up much in the first season. (In Lily Pad Thai, she helps Stumpy revive his restaurant with Thai food, and she and Polly practice Muay Thai martial arts moves in Ivy On The Run.) But now in Season 3 it matters a lot more to the story: the store they go to in The New Normal sells durian, the Plantars own a Thai restaurant, and in this episode they go to a Thai temple. I really like how it's presented to kid viewers, the temple is a really cool place, and the community presented there is awesome.
  • At first, it seems like another slice-of-life episode. Anne is contacted by Dr. Jan to tell her the message she found on the pot, but before she can go Anne's mom tells her she needs her help at the temple.
  • Aaah; kids in the bushes, wearing the same uniform that Anne wore for most of the first two seasons, are taking pictures of Anne! It's gossip bloggers from school.
  • The Plantars (in disguise of course) fit right in: Polly has basically mastered the Thai language from watching Mrs. Boonchuy's romance dramas (she's a natural, showing off that neuroplasticity!), Hop Pop's acting bug is triggered by Khon dancing, and Sprig's athleticism helps him out playing Sepak Takraw, a.k.a. kick volleyball.
  • Anne telling Dr. Jan that she's on her way, unfortunately, alerts the frog robot to her location. It still shows the damage (broken eye, severed arm) it took in the previous story. Because of the damage, and also so as not to be spotted, it sends out a group of dragonfly-like drones to attack Anne this time.
  • It is revealed how Anne's parents managed to get along without Anne during her absence. It was with help from the Thai community, who cooked them meals, took care of them and helped out at the restaurant. It's a heartwarming moment, right up until the evil robots attack. Uh-oh.
  • Anne and the Plantars are used to this kind of action by now, but the other people at the temple also help fight off the dragonflies! The Plantars' disguises are spoiled (there's a great realistic still of their froggy faces!), but the people there just assume they're really ugly people, and the robots are explained as... being paparazzi from Anne's school? I think Anne's mom senses something is up. Fortunately the dragonflies, while great in number, seem to be of limited damage-causing potential.
  • Dr. Jan comes by to tell Anne what she found, which I've already printed above. While momentous, none of them yet know what to make of it.
posted by JHarris (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"energy sensor" in the above should have been "energy signature," argh. I was half awake when writing some of the above.
posted by JHarris at 10:52 PM on October 23, 2021

I was tempted to play with the alphabet to figure out the message but it was simply revealed in the next episode which was a relief.
Was also nice that the frogs weren't the ones causing the most mischief in this double.
posted by Marticus at 4:08 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

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