— Disney/ BBC

If someone ever took a survey of what percentage of Bluey viewers were over the age of 18, it would be larger than anyone expected. This popular Australian cartoon aimed at kids has amassed an enormous fanbase beyond its target, including parents and adults living carefree without children like the Magic Claw. It’s one of the reasons we like Bluey so much, with its universal appeal and ability to influence a person no matter what their age.

On January 12, 2024, the last episodes from Bluey’s third season arrive on Disney+, bringing ten more adventures with the Heeler family before the very special 28-minute-long finale arrives later this year. The new episodes are an eclectic mix, ranging from laugh-out-loud funny with “Cubby” to the emotional “Dragon,” but there are two episodes from this lot that adults will immediately identify with.

“Relax” and “Stickbird” occur back-to-back in the Bluey timeline, and bookend each other as a pair of connected stories that will sound very familiar from a parenting perspective. We’re unofficially dubbing it “The Holiday Two-parter”, and we think adults will be unprepared for how seen they’re about to feel after watching these inspiring fourteen minutes.

What Are “Relax” and “Stickbird” About?

Spoilers ahead.

This pair of episodes takes place away from the Heeler home, with the family enjoying a trip to a picturesque beachfront resort. The first part of this mini-series is titled “Relax,” and is all about Chilli’s inability to do just that. She’s doing her best to wrangle everyone and keep them on track with her busy itinerary, reading her book on “How to Relax” on the seashore as her endgame.

Meanwhile, Bluey and Bingo are ecstatic about every small discovery they find in the hotel room, from coat hangers to toilet bowls. Impatient and frustrated, Chilli demands the kids get ready to go outside, but Bandit steps in and suggests his wife heads to the beach without them. But, once she’s on the sand, she finds it impossible to loosen up.

In a moment that feels too real for many couples, Chilli retreats to her husband’s embrace, lamenting how she doesn’t know how to relax. She’s echoing a dilemma many parents consistently face, becoming so wrapped up in responsibilities that it’s hard to know how to take a mental pause and reset. Inspired by the kids, Chilli realizes all you have to do is “go about it,” soaking in the small wonders around her and finding that happy escape she was searching for all along.

In “Stickbird,” the family finally makes it down to the beach for some fun in the sun. The focus switches to Bandit, distracted by some untold problem. Even as he plays with Bingo, it’s clear he’s going through the motions. The daddy-daughter team builds a stickbird in the sand, but while searching for more twigs, a group of kids unknowingly grab Bingo’s branch and run away to play with it elsewhere.

Bingo’s emotions start to mirror Bandit’s state of mind, upset and angry over the situation she was powerless to stop. Bluey shows up and teaches Bingo a trick she learned from her pre-teen pal Mia, last seen in season two’s “Barky Boats,” where you collect all your bad feelings in an invisible ball and throw them away. Bandit gives it a try too, emptying the unpleasantness eating at his soul and rejoining his family in vacation bliss.

We never find out what problem was eating at Bandit, but it’s not important. Chances are, it was something minor that kept gnawing at him until it grew to a disproportionate size inside his mind. Does this sound like a familiar thing to you? Especially for men, talking about their problems is tough, and Bandit was doing what he thought was right by holding his feelings in, but pretending things are okay when they really don’t help.

The answer here is similar to what Chilli taught us in “The Show,” where Bingo uses her mum’s checklist to encourage herself to keep trying after failure. For Bandit, this is his reminder to dust himself off, forget about problems that are out of his control, and get back to living his life genuinely for himself and his family.

What’s The Hidden Message in “Relax” and “Stickbird?”

Vacation should be a time to decompress, but let’s be real – it isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers when you’ve got kids. For many parents, a trip away means an endless whirlpool of stress, a maddening spiral of traveling, scheduling, and keeping an eye on the budget while realizing your plans are ultimately futile after your kid gets a tummy ache or has a meltdown. Mentally taking a break from the worries of everyday life can be a struggle when you’re at home, but factor in going someplace different and it has the potential to become an even bigger battle. By the time you’re starting to feel the weight of the world ebb away, you’re on a taxi headed for the plane ride home on a respite that suddenly became too short.

“Relax” and “Stickbird” are, perhaps, episodes intended more for parents than kids, connected by the central theme of letting things go. Whether it was Chilli’s exhausting attempts to unwind or Bandit spacing out while digging a deeper mental hole, their resolutions added up to the same answer. To escape a prison of the mind, a person (or anthropomorphic dog) has to realize they can’t control every single thing that happens in their lives. Sometimes, we spend more time agonizing over an insignificant problem that grows because we fester over it longer than how long the upsetting incident occurred. As the saying goes, did you have a bad day, or a bad five minutes that you complained about all day? Allowing yourself to move on, even if it’s temporary, is a start to healing that pain.

It’s easier said than done, but that’s where Bluey and Bingo come in! Kids can be a handful, but they’re also a daily reminder of what’s most important. In both episodes, the girls are the ones sharing a valuable life lesson with the adults. We’ve seen the roles reversed before in episodes like “Takeaway” or “Rug Island,” but it’s always a welcome reminder that, sometimes, children are wiser than we give them credit for.

Bluey Season 3C has plenty of spectacular and emotional episodes, including one that solves a mystery that fans have asked about since the series debuted. But, this interconnected tale tells a complete story that shouldn’t be overlooked, with a message just as impactful to parents as it is for kids. You don’t need to go on a weekend trip to start implementing these useful tools into your life, so take a note from this wholesome family of talking dogs and take a minute to breathe and view your troubles through a better perspective.

Bluey is available to stream in the US on Disney+.