Being a sore loser is never a good look, but being a sore winner can be even worse. In “Check Yourself,” Lunella must confront the consequences of her desire to be at the top.
The Dark Side of the Moon (Girl)
This week’s episode focuses on Lunella Lafayette’s competitive nature, and it is not pretty. She becomes obsessive, aggressive, and loses empathy for the people she’s competing with because she views them as opponents she needs to defeat. It’s so bad that her entire family has to sneak family game night while keeping Lunella in the dark. When she confronts her family, they fearfully admit she’s no fun due to her obsession with winning.
Of course, Lunella doesn’t see it that way, but she doesn’t get the chance to stew about it for long. At school the next day, Principal Nelson reveals that the local university has allowed Intermediate School 833 to borrow a supercomputer called “LOS-307”. LOS-307 is non-binary artificial intelligence that uses “they/them” pronouns and has been programmed to be a chess expert. It’s also capable of feeling emotions.
Lunella eagerly accepts LOS’ invitation to play chess. However, both of them are shocked to find themselves in a draw. Never have Lunella or LOS had an opponent that has lasted this long. Their match lasts until the school closes, and Principal Nelson falls into a traumatized state of BSOD. He snaps out of it, though, and has to literally pick Lunella up and carry her out of the school. Meanwhile, LOS starts gushing over Lunella’s drive and determination, clearly obsessed with the teen.
That Escalated Quickly…
Lunella spends the night/early morning in her lab, running chess simulations until she can’t take it anymore. She needs a rematch with LOS. When Lunella tries to break into the school, the doors spontaneously open on their own. It turns out that LOS anticipated Lunella’s arrival and wants to resume playing as well.
During their match, LOS implies that Lunella’s competitive streak is a side effect of being so intelligent. Everyone expects someone like her to excel in everything, but the pressure eventually turns it into an obsession. The AI also keeps trying to warn Lunella that they can’t play for long while they’re recharging, or else they’ll overheat and turn into a homicidal maniac. Unfortunately for Lunella, she refuses to listen to that last part until it’s too late. Not only is Lunella trapped inside Intermediate School with an unstable AI, but LOS has also figured out her secret identity as Moon Girl.
Unlike their chess matches, LOS is giving Moon Girl a run for her money. They can hack into all of the school’s electrical equipment, turning them into weapons, shutting down Wi-Fi and cellular service. They even send a fake text to lure Lunella’s best friend, Casey Calderon, to school for them to capture her. But Casey is far from helpless. She finds a rotary phone and uses her bare toes to contact Devil Dinosaur.
When Devil arrives, Moon Girl is able to fight back while she enacts her big plan. She hacks into the school’s sprinkler system while LOS is distracted, dousing them in water.
Now that LOS is back to normal, they apologize to Moon Girl and Casey for their behavior. They confess to feeling lonely and envious of Lunella’s friendship with Casey. Feeling bad over what she’s done, Lunella shields LOS with an umbrella as she delivers her own apology. She admits her family was right about her obsession with winning, and says she has “mad respect” for the super-computer. Why? Because Lunella was actually having fun for once.
Together, Lunella and Casey build a wooden box filled with rice to absorb the water inside LOS. Even though LOS has some water damage, their operational systems — and their friendship with Lunella — are at 100%.
LOS tosses the damaged appliances and orders new computer equipment. The local university refuses to take LOS back due to having water in their wheels. Lunella suggests that Principal Nelson hire LOS as the school’s new guidance counselor. The episode ends with Lunella joining her family, Casey, and LOS for family game night. However, judging by the look on Lunella’s face, it’s hard to tell if she really learned her lesson.
Highlights From “Check Yourself”
Here are some of the highlights from the latest episode of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, “Check Yourself”:
- Lunella wins a skate race against Devil, whose feet are strapped to two different cars. How is she able to move so fast? It’s not the only instance of her displaying superhuman abilities in this episode. During a montage of past Lafayette game nights, Lunella is seen supporting the weight of her entire family on one arm and snapping a table in half during a card game. Is it possible that Lunella is a mutant, or even more shocking, an Inhuman like her comic book counterpart?
- Principal Nelson bans students from feeding squirrels anymore because they tried to attack him. What were they feeding those squirrels that made them so aggressive?
- When Eduardo teases Lunella during her first match with LOS, Casey grabs him by the ear and drags him off-screen, all while threatening to send a “strongly worded text” to his mom.
- The song playing during Moon Girl’s battle with LOS in the school’s gym is “I Came to Play (IDKWYCTD)” by Eli “Paperboy” Reed.
- LOS is non-binary, just like their voice actor, Asia Kate Dillon. We even get a glimpse of a human gender-neutral named Tai, who’s voiced by trans non-binary actor Ian Alexander. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of LOS and Tai as season 1 continues.
Make sure to catch new episodes of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur every Saturday night at 8 PM EDT on Disney Channel, or stream them anytime on Disney+.