Who Wants to Be Normal Anyway? – Hilda Season 2 Review

Hilda Season 2
Hilda and Alfur use a magic magazine to follow a neighbor back to the past in “The Fifty Year Night”.

I fell in love with Hilda and its motley cast of characters earlier this year, after a visit to Toy Fair New York, so I’ve been eagerly waiting for Hilda Season 2 ever since. The new season has just as much whimsy and charm as the first one, and I think even more outlandish and fantastical adventures.

One thing that struck me about Hilda Season 2 was that we seem to have abandoned any pretense of Hilda trying to be “normal” and just dove fully into the ridiculous. Whereas season 1 had plotlines revolving around Hilda making friends, going to Sparrow Scout meetings, and attending school, season 2 has stories about things like dark magic and time travel. Aside from “The Eternal Warriors”, which has Hilda and her friends on an overnight camping trip, and “The Troll Circle”, which mentions that Hilda entered an essay contest at school, most of the episodes center around Hilda’s various adventures with little indication that Hilda has a life outside of these.

As with season 1, each episode features its own complete story, but a larger plotline involving an egomaniac Safety Patrol member named Ahlberg is threaded throughout, with Hilda and her friends trying to mitigate the damage his incompetence brings upon Trolberg. This usually involves trying to solve the problem before he has the chance to ruin it, and in the case of “The Old Bells of Trolberg” requires a very complex plan for sabotage. This plot arc hit a little too close to home, considering the current situation in this country, but I thought it was a wonderful way to illustrate that just because a person is in a position of authority does not mean they have any idea of what they’re doing.

After several missteps along the way in season 1, the friendship between Hilda, Frida, and David is stronger than ever. I was very proud of the growth Hilda has shown in regards to her friends; she grew up isolated in the middle of nowhere and had never had friends before, so when the show started she made mistakes. But the Hilda in season 2 does not have these same issues. In “The Witch”, she showed genuine joy in the fact that Frida was asked to be a witch – despite her clear interest in becoming a witch herself – and throughout the season, she excitedly assists Frida in her witch training.

Hilda Season 2
Frida is offered the chance to become a witch after a successful quest to retrieve an overdue library book in “The Witch”.

However, Hilda’s relationship with her mother becomes even more strained in Hilda Season 2. Season 1 had a lot of emphasis on Johanna wanting Hilda to have a normal childhood, the way she did, and so we got stories about Hilda going to school and trying to earn Sparrow Scout badges. Season 2, on the other hand, has Hilda repeatedly blowing off her mother to go on another adventure with her friends, and Johanna becoming increasingly concerned about her daughter’s lies. The tension is obvious and is an underlying issue throughout the season.

I loved the relationship between Hilda and Johanna in season 1. As I mentioned before, it’s rare on television for the parent of an eccentric child to be so accommodating of their child’s behavior. Johanna has tolerated Hilda’s quirks for a very long time and appreciates her daughter’s uniqueness, but as time goes on and Hilda continues to endanger herself, sneak out of the house, refuse to listen to her mother, and lie about her whereabouts, Johanna’s patience has started to run thin. I still love their relationship, and in fact, I’m quite pleased about this development. Johanna is an involved parent; she lets Hilda do her own thing and doesn’t try to force her into anything, but she still expects to be respected as a parent. Hilda doesn’t understand why her mother does things like ground her, and Johanna wants Hilda to learn that actions have consequences.

Almost every character gets a chance in the spotlight in Hilda Season 2. Frida gets her own ongoing subplot in the form of her witch training and often saves the day with various spells. David learns the importance of fear after encountering “The Eternal Warriors”. Alfur has the opportunity to be the hero (and possibly gets a love interest?) when his tribe comes to take him home in “The Replacement”. Twig goes on an emotional journey in the oversize episode “The Deerfox”. Johanna gets in on the action when she and Hilda are tossed from the Never Space in the extra-long “The Stone Forest”.

Hilda Season 2
Hilda and Twig share an emotional moment in “The Deerfox”.

Hilda is a series that seamlessly blends light-hearted adventure with heartwarming moments and moral lessons. An episode like “The Eternal Warriors”, which features two warring Viking tribes who are cursed to battle to the death every night, teaches the importance of fear in your everyday life when David becomes literally fearless and loses all sense of self-preservation. Likewise, “The Yule Lads” introduces a group of dwarf-like creatures who hunt down “naughty” children while also imparting the wisdom that occasionally doing bad things – like leaving your teabags on the counter – doesn’t make you a bad person.

There are episodes that are more fun than most – like “The Jorts Incident”, which sees a delivery man get rapidly promoted beyond his station after attracting the attention of a pair of tide mice. And then there are episodes that make you ugly cry, like “The Deerfox”, which features a morose Twig feeling unappreciated and running away into the wilderness. This episode, which gives us Twig’s backstory, was my favorite of the season and included some of the most beautiful animation.

Hilda Season 2 was even more delightful than the first season, because now that all of the primary characters have been established, we can just focus on the charming creatures and enchanting mysteries. I honestly think that by having Frida and David more involved, it made the adventures more exciting. It allowed for an interesting team dynamic to develop and it offered the chance to expand storylines. This show is based on a graphic novel series, but only some of the episodes are adaptations of the books. I love that the secondary characters got to be such a prominent part of the fun; in season 1 it felt like a lot of Hilda doing things on her own.

Hilda Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix. While season 3 is not yet confirmed, we are still due a 70-minute special, which was supposed to release this year.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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