I cannot believe it’s only been a year since Season 1 of Kid Cosmic was released and it’s already over. 3 seasons doesn’t feel like quite enough – while at the same time, it’s clear Craig McCracken told the story he wanted to tell.
And this final season, despite its short length (only six episodes) – accomplishes a lot; it wraps up all of the plot threads, themes, and ideas that have been introduced over the series’ run with an emotionally satisfying conclusion.
And of course, there are plenty of laughs along the way. I absolutely loved every second of it. If you haven’t watched this show (or this season) yet, turn back now because there will be…..SPOILERS. This is a show that must be watched and experienced, in order to get the full emotional impact.
At the end of Season 2, the local heroes had defeated Fantos and Erodious returning to Earth as celebrities. And with Stones of Power scattered all over the globe – their help is needed to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Or – so we think.
The plot twist of this season is that – the first half of the season actually takes place in a Lotus-Eater Machine. They were never on Earth and they never beat Fantos or Erodious. So now, this time they must do it but FOR REAL and before Erodious destroys Earth.
An intense battle is fought. Secrets are revealed. And sacrifices are made.
Most kid’s shows don’t kill off their characters. They’ll pretend the character died – and then there’s often a lighthearted humorous moment where it’s revealed the character actually survived. Like in the finale of Centaurworld.
This isn’t necessarily a bad trope – but I do think the humor often undercuts the emotional impact of the moment. And this is where Kid Cosmic gets things right.
The reveal that Papa G survived his “Heroic Sacrifice” isn’t done with humor, but with a kind of solemnity. At first, we are led to believe the funeral the characters are having is for Papa G. But isn’t.
Having given up his healing stone, which used to be part of Erodious, he ages to 112 and now requires a wheelchair. The show simply has him roll up in his chair, looking frailer than he ever has so he can join the others in burying the Stones of Power and honoring the lives that had been lost to Erodious.
While there’s a feeling of relief, it doesn’t negate the sadness or seriousness of the scene. I really have to applaud the team for that decision. It feels less like a copout than in other shows – and it feels like the sacrifice was taken seriously.
Likewise, Kid finally coming to terms with his parents’ deaths was handled with dignity and it really showed just how far his character has come over the course of the show. And it helps prepare him for the finale when he has to accept that their superhero days are done…forever.
That isn’t to say the whole season is doom and gloom. This is Craig McCracken we’re talking about – there are plenty of humorous moments as well that are peppered throughout the season.
Kid Cosmic strikes the right balance – it knows what it needs to be and when. And I respect and enjoy that aspect a lot.
There are a lot of other good things about Kid Cosmic Season 3. Despite the short length – the season actually manages to wrap up all of the plot threads quite nicely. None of the big questions are left unanswered. The ending is satisfying.
HEROES HELP, NOT HURT
The show also does a good job of uplifting and continuing the themes that the first two seasons of the series set up. While the “Freaking out? Breathe Out.” idea doesn’t make a return, there is a heavy focus on what it means to be a hero and how they help. Not hurt.
This turns out to be exactly what Erodious needs. The show reveals that Erodious used to be a healing planet, beings of all sorts would go there to get better. But eventually, it fell apart and started devouring other planets in search of its missing piece.
It never needed to be fought – it needed to be helped. Though – Fantos is another story…There wasn’t much the Local Heroes could do for him in the end. He doesn’t get redeemed. Which shouldn’t surprise me.
McCracken has always had a thing for the over-top, non-redeemable, general asshole villains but I grew so used to a redemption arc being practically required in a kid’s show that it was like a breath of fresh air.
But mostly, the season is very much focused on the idea of growing up – and how that often means making sacrifices: like Kid and the others losing their powers, but accepting that; and how it means accepting that the past cannot be changed.
And also how growing up means accepting loss. Even though Papa G survives his sacrifice, giving up his Healing Stone, which was once part of Erodious, means his body ages to match with his chronological age.
He’s 112 – so he likely doesn’t have a lot of time left. But Kid seems to have accepted this and accepted that he’s no longer a superhero. He’s matured into somebody who accepts reality – though not always authority – and realizes that change happens.
It’s not always a good thing – but it happens and there’s not much you can do about it.
And like I said – loss. He has to accept the loss of the stones, his parents, and the eventual loss of Papa G. But at least now he has a community he can depend on.
It’s deep and insightful for a children’s show. And I really appreciate that. This show never talked down to its audience.
Despite its short run – I think Kid Cosmic had a huge impact on its fans and on me. It was a nice throwback to the more “classic” 90’s and early 00’s era of kids’ cartoons. It is genuine in its themes and ideas, even though it’s a deconstruction of the “Kid Superhero” genre.
Part of me wishes it was longer – or at least didn’t get each season dumped in one day -I’d love to see this show on a weekly schedule. It would really help with the suspense and theorizing…But that’s on Netflix, not the crew.
I’m sad that it’s over so soon – but it’s such a wonderful 24 episodes of television that I can’t complain too much. It’s a sign of a larger issue within the streaming industry – the lack of respect towards creators and their works, just wanting to pump out as much content as quickly as possible….
A lot of it – is mediocre. And when you get something amazing like Kid Cosmic or Centaurworld or Infinity Train, it gets rushed or canceled before it can finish. And that just sucks. Cause the show doesn’t have the chance to pull in a larger audience, build a fanbase or make a cultural impact.
But at least, at the end of the day, the show is still here.
And that’s the scoop!
Grade: A –
Year of release: 2022
Length: 6 episodes; 15-23 minutes
Executive Producer: Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti
Producer: Dave Thomas
Creator: Craig McCracken
Developer: Craig McCracken,Fransisco Angones, Lauren Faust
Directors: Dave Thomas, Justin Nichols