“The Owl House” Ends With a Gloriously Gay Sendoff

When The Owl House premiered on The Disney Channel back in January 2020, JK Rowling was still a good six months away from beginning her rapid descent into becoming the face of violent transphobia; Florida governor Ron Desantis hadn’t even floated the country’s first “don’t say gay” bill; and, frankly, most LGBTQ+ people were just relieved Donald Trump was out of the White House. We were taking a real breather for the first time in a long time.

That’s the real world Luz “the Human” Noceda left behind when she stepped through the portal into the Demon Realm. Over the course of three seasons, Luz got herself an enemies-to-lovers lesbian girlfriend, came out as bisexual, discovered that her pseudo-mom was queer and in love with a nonbinary witch, got herself a queer shape-shifting basilisk sister who fell for a nonbinary human, met her best friend’s gay dads, chatted with a genderqueer Titan, redeemed a he/they baddie, studied under her aro/ace adopted aunty, and beamed as her mom became the greatest ally of all-time.

Amity kisses Luz on the cheek

The series ended this weekend, triumphantly and unapologetically queer, just like its creator, Dana Terrace. And it did so as LGBTQ+ youth and trans people of all ages are under cultural and legislative attack in the United States like never before. “Watching and Dreaming” would always have been a triumph — to close out a story with so many beloved characters, and such deep mythology, in a truncated final season mandated by spineless Disney execs is no small task — but doing so in a time of so much violence aimed at gay and trans kids feels like the firm planting of a beacon of hope. Over the past three years, The Owl House has soared, while the U.S. has plummeted even deeper into anti-LGBTQ hysteria.

The plot of the series finale is probably a little too dense for folks who haven’t watched the show. Like I said: This lore is enormous! But the emotional beats are really what makes “Watching and Dreaming” one of the best finales of one of the best shows ever made. When Luz arrives on The Boiling Isles in the pilot, she feels so alone and so misunderstood. Immediately she finds a home with Eda the Owl Lady, a practitioner of forbidden wild magic, and her monster son, King, who seems like kind of a dog and kind of a demon with grandiose visions of ruling the world. A cuddly little boss guy who actually happens to know exactly who he is.

Willow's dads kiss while hugging her

Luz makes outcast friends at the magic school. She accidentally falls for her nemesis, who falls right back at her. It seems like your typical ragtag magical band of pals holding up The Chosen One — Luz’s best buddy is even named Willow — but actually The Owl House is about choosing yourself, a theme driven home hard in the final episode. Every character has a moving coming of age arc, most of them punctuated by some kind of trauma, and in the end they win not because they’re more powerful, or more clever, or because good always triumphs over evil. No, they win because they just refuse to give up. Beaten, broken, bloody, scarred, devastated, depressed, grief-stricken, surrounded by puritanical baddies and literal puppets. But they’re not alone anymore. They fight for each other.

Queerness isn’t some peripheral happenstance on The Owl House. It is a formative part of each gay and trans characters’ lives. It informs who they love and how they love, and also how they contextualize themselves in the larger world. It also gifts its audience with a vast palette of experiences to paint with. Queerness, like wild magic, goes against the tyrannical leanings of Emperor Belos because queerness, like wild magic, seeps into the cracks of rigid, binary thinking and busts “normal” apart with a song and a smile. Belos can’t control Eda because she doesn’t want to be normal. She’s the leader of the Bad Girl Coven and she wears her differences like a Titan-given cloak of many colors. She is proud to be a weirdo and she’s raising kids who are proud to be weirdos too.

Lilith chats with Hunter and Willow

Everyone gets a huge individual win in “Watching and Dreaming,” as Luz saves the day. And the epilogue is a slice-of-life low-fi hip-hop Hooty beat of unabashed celebration. I cried watching it. I’m crying right now just thinking about it. And before too long, I’m sure the whole thing will be seared onto my heart, forever, like a Flapjack tattoo.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. the fact that this finale was so good and powerful and addressed so many hanging threads despite the three-episode-final-season raw deal is a true testament to the creative team! that being said, i am still so mad we didn’t get the full season version of this. so many emotional beats didn’t get time to breathe because there was simply not enough time in the special!

    anyway if anyone wants to fund an interstitial series that takes place during the time skip and is all about rebuilding the isles and recovering from eight kinds of trauma at once

    • If you want a rabbit hole of comics, MoringMark does almost daily one-offs in a visual style that is nearly identical to the actual show. There are sometimes also cute chibi-style ones, too.

      And sometimes angst. Terrible, wonderful angst.

  2. I could gush for tens of thousands of words about how awesome Owl House is, from the thorough and rich representation to the layers to the story and symbolism. But I’ll leave that for tumblr.

    It’s not just a YA story about a squad of plucky gay teens defeating (not) god, nor a coming of age story, nor a subversion of the chosen one trope, nor a meditation of how a neurodivergeant twice-exceptional child is coping with her father’s death. It’s all of that, and more. And it’s awesome.

    I wish there was more, but I am grateful that I got to share it with my family. After I introduced my niece (5) to the show, she demanded the whole family dress up as Owl House characters for Halloween before she finished the first season.

  3. I love this show. I also wanted to say how beautiful the animation was in the final episode- I mean throughout the show the visuals have been stunning but I especially loved how gorgeous and visually dense and vibrant the final battle scene was while still being coherent. Something rare!!
    Also the ending fed something deep inside me that I didn’t know I needed. Probably my favourite show of all time

    • I think Dana Terrace was shoving it to disney and giving a fans a really good animation master piece. I think she thought well if you are only giving me 4 episodes I am going to spend as much if not more money on these episodes than I would a whole season.

  4. I loved the owl house. I love cartoons with long over arching stories and character growth going all the way back to dragon and dragon ball Z, Reboot, beasties(only called this in Canada, it was called beast wars in america, sailormoon, monster rancher, digimon, daria, x-men and x-men evolution, teen titans, gargoyles etc . We have been really lucky these past few years to have so many female, especially queer female character at the forefront of these shows such as steven universe, she-ra, Amphibia, Kipo, carmen sandiego, arcane. The owl house was executed really well especially with the shortened last season. The only thing that would have made this show perfect is that they had gotten a longer last season, and more seasons. I would have loved to see all the events that were teased when Lux and her friends were trapped in the human realm, and how the others faired hiding from the collector. I hope we see more from Dana Terrace and more shows created by other people like this even though my expectations are low because networks and streaming services seem to be moving away from cartoons with long arches because they think kids are dumb.

  5. Thanks for your recap !

    I cried also. So hard. Especially when they showed Flapjack grave. It was such a great show ! They went all in at the end ! Good for them (and for us).

    I think I’m gonna go watch a little bit of She-ra to pick me up…

  6. I cried when it ended, it sends out such a positive message to just be yourself and love who you wanna love! Just the way Luz and Amity fell for each other is so cute! Would recommend the show to kids 9+!

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