Losing parents at a young age is never easy. When it comes up in conversation, you're always met with apologetic sympathy, asked if everything is okay, or how it happened, as awkward smiles and playful glances fill the unusual silence. Grief is a hard thing to dance around, so you laugh it off and bottle up feelings not yet ready to be explored.
People like this mean well, but so many of us grew up in a society where the family unit was so established. You had two parents, a couple of siblings, and maybe a dog to tie it all together. Anything outside that was considered an oddity, a problematic background where you didn't have access to all the faculties that help you grow into a healthy adult.
Such preconceptions are nonsense, and I like to think my fruity ass is living proof of that alongside so many other people. Not having two supportive parents in your life sucks, but it isn't the end of the world and is something you are strong enough to persist through.
The Owl House's most recent episode was all about the role fathers play in our lives. Whether it's those who want the best for us, those who fail to understand who we are, or those we lost years ago and continue to mourn. All these perspectives are valid and are slowly unearthed across 'Reaching Out' as Luz and Amity tackle individual problems that are more alike than they first realise. Our protagonist is stuck in The Boiling Isles on the anniversary of her father's death, unable to lay flowers at his grave with her mother.
Amity on the other hand wants to grow closer to a father figure who is very much alive and supportive, but so wrapped up in his own vision of righteousness that he fails to see that Amity has dyed her hair, has a girlfriend now, and is no longer interested in the Emperor's Coven. These are wishes thrust upon her by a toxic mother, while deep down she wants to be more like her Dad. A chaotic yet free spirit majoring in Abominations and breaking free from the shackles of authority. Amity clearly loves her family, but like so many queer teenagers she must tear down barriers of understanding in order to find common ground.
By the episode's conclusion, this relationship has begun to repair itself, but Amity isn't ready to accept a hug or reveal her insecurities to a family who still doesn't quite get her. Her parental relationship is flawed yet adorable, and something she almost takes for granted until Luz's own circumstances come to light. Following a spat that causes Amity to lose her place in the Bonesborough Brawl, she runs away from Luz and sits beneath a tree as she ruminates on why her girlfriend is keeping secrets, like she isn't trustworthy enough to help. Other shows might have turned this conflict into a lovely slice of melodrama, but here the conclusion is bitingly honest in how it unfolds and teaches us a valuable lesson.
Luz comes clean, telling Amity that today is the day of her father's passing and she isn't there for her Mum. She's failed her, she's failed herself for failing to acknowledge the emotions of others and how gallivanting across The Boiling Isles once again has brought forth consequences she wasn't ready to consider when this adventure first began. But this grief also recontextualizes so much about her character arc and personality.
All this time Luz has been expressing a rebellious attitude likely spawned from grief, an emotion that is inherently irrational in how we process it as human beings. There is no right or wrong way to lose someone, and dealing with the aftermath as a little girl is one of the hardest. A once happy family was torn to pieces and Camila Noceda was left to raise and provide for a daughter all on her own with nobody around to help.
Luz acting up at school, her mother wanting to send her off to camp, and the both of them growing apart is a circumstance of their collective loss. The Nocedas are far from a broken family, but they are certainly fractured, seeking repair as the two of them do everything they can to stay together and construct a life worth fighting for. It's why their separation is so impactful, and the reasoning behind Luz's immense guilt at leaving her mother behind when in reality she has nobody else to turn to.
It also speaks to Luz’s upbeat personality and drive to see the best in everything and everyone. Those who have been down the darkest roads are often the first among us to see the light, and know the positives in life are well worth savouring. Luz has known substantial loss, so it’s understandable that she doesn't want to lose all the bonds she's made across The Boiling Isles even if leaving these relationships might become a necessity.
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