Saturday, July 21, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 2 Episode 10

It's one birthday after another.  First there was Gummy and Pinkie Pie in the same episode, and then there was Twilight Sparkle's birthday and now we got Spike's birthday in this episode.  Two birthday episodes back to back.  Makes you wonder is Hasbro is running out of ideas involving friendship lessons.  But perhaps not.  Anyways, this episode is somewhat different than the others, as it creates a turning point regarding Spike's crush on Rarity.  No surprise if the outcome got the fans wondering about what's next for them, but with the continuity in this series in disorder as is, it hardly matters.  So fans mark the shipping of Spike and Rarity as... "Sparity"?  Oh, please.  Spare me.

Secret of My Excess
The episode starts with music similar to that of The Sorcerer's Apprentice as Twilight concentrates like crazy to re-shelf every book in the library.  That's when Spike shows up and boasts over his own personal birthday gift, a fire ruby that happens to be in the shape of a heart, which he's apparently been longing to eat for years.  Now while there's no harm in getting birthday gifts for one's self, the questionable thing in this episode is if it'll ever be safe for Spike to have future birthdays.  Observe.

Rarity shows up early in search of books on historical fashion while Spike gets all prepped up for his birthday meal, and of course the fire ruby catches her eye.  Now Rarity expresses how fascinating this one jewel is and looks disappointed upon hearing that it's expected to be eaten.  So Spike begins to get second thoughts before he can tuck it away for another week, which is when his birthday commences.
Now it seems that Rarity is charming Spike into giving her his prized snack, although for all we know, she could simply just be turning on the charm not on Spike, but rather on the rareness and magnificence of the fire ruby.  But in any case, Spike forfeits his would-be tasty treat out of the goodness of the heart to Rarity, even saying.

Spike: This beautiful gem was meant to be with you.

And in exchange, he gets a kiss on the cheek.  Wow, never would have expected that.  So Rarity seems to forget about her errand and leaves while Twilight compliments Spike on his own generosity.

Rarity: Oh, my little Spikey-wikey!

Spikey-wikey?  Really?  Besides, last I checked, the first character to say this was Pinkie Pie back in Season 1.  A week later, Spike's birthday arrives, and we learn that this one is different from all his previous birthdays, considering that this is his first in Ponyville and all of Twilight's friends have at least one gift for him, as in the past he's only received one book from Twilight each year.  Based on what's been said in all the previous episodes, what are the chances that Spike has read any of these books?  As usual, the ever random Pinkie is all for parties.
Now Rarity's generosity is once again shown when she reveals that she made fashion clothes for everyone, not just Spike, and then openly expresses his generosity as one of the kindest acts towards her, showing that she made the fire ruby into a necklace for herself.
Soon we see early signs of what becomes Spike's greedy side when he immediately dashes off to the Sugarcube Corner for a treat made for him, a sapphire cupcake.  Can you say happy dragon?
He eats the cupcake and encounters Cheerilee, who decides to present Spike with a gift of her own.  And it isn't long before being in possession of these gifts causes him to lose his own self-control, making him grabby for other things that denizens just happen to have.

When he meets up with this pony named Junebug, Twilight stops him immediately and sends her on her way.  Spike pretends to snap out of his state and manages to see Twilight off and we see that Spike has no intention of stopping.
This one birthday where he receives more than one gift has brought out his inner greed, which makes him grow bigger the following day.  Twilight tries to figure out what could be wrong with Spike, so she eventually brings him to Zecora, who is obviously able to explain everything... the way she does best, in rhyme.

Zecora: He is starting to mature. Of this fact I am quite sure.

Zecora: A dragon's heart is prone to greed, a steady diet to make growth speed. Then, the resulting bigger size only makes their hunger rise. If this trait should go unchecked, if Spike continues to collect more growth will certainly occur – he is going to turn into a monster.
Zecora: If his monstrous ways you wish to impede, you must prevent him from practicing greed.

Easier said than done of course, but this does explain the previous two dragons in the show, both monstrous in size and surrounded by treasure.  So Twilight tries to stop Spike from getting greedy, but obviously to no avail.
When she gets Applejack to help out, they somehow tie themselves to a tree out of sheer incompetence.
They soon learn that Spike is going after each of the main characters, one after another, eventually finishing with Rarity.  Spike grabs her like King Kong and then we see him fully grown, complete with a Godzilla roar.  The original title of this episode was to be called "Attack of the 50-Foot Dragon", but I guess that would be almost too easy.
Spike tears Ponyville apart, climbs up a mountain like King Kong, and traps the Wonderbolts against the mountainside.
Rarity has had enough and starts reprimanding Spike the best she can until her fire ruby catches his eye.  Going through a memory lapse, we see an earlier scene from Spike's point of view in which he gave his precious gem to her, but the dialogue is different, as he instead says this.

Spike It would mean even more to see you happy than to eat it myself.

This causes Spike to somehow revert back to his old self and only then does Rarity recognize him.
Rarity: Spike?! You're the rampaging dragon?

Okay, so no one told Rarity that the dragon was Spike.  But never mind that.
Spike decides at this moment on the off-chance that he and Rarity should die, to tell her of his crush her, but she cuts him off, as if say no sentence needs to be exchanged.  The animation of Rarity shedding tears reminds me of a similar scene from the hit film Spirited Away, which I'm sure many of you know so I don't have to explain.  So Rarity knows.  Big deal.  We've known this since Season 1.  It was that obvious. 
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy save them both using the remains of Rarity's cloth and the Wonderbolts get free when the water tower falls off the mountain.
Spike assesses the damage and realizes the monster he became, but despite all the destruction he caused, Rarity for some weird reason commends Spike for stopping himself from making things worse and kisses him on the cheek again.
Spike writes the friendship lesson letter to Princess Celestia, his second in the series, and the episode ends with the viewers seeing that he had framed Rarity's kiss.

Quite a number of things can be said about this episode in general, but some Spike and Rarity fans probably think nothing of the whole giant dragon mess and fixate on the development in their relationship.  But here are my thoughts.  First of all, these series of events obviously lead me to believe that Spike future birthdays could be problems for him.  Secondly, since Zecora mentions that dragons grow based on their greed level, does this mean that as long as Spike doesn't do this again, he'll stay the way he is and not grow up?  You really have to wonder that.  Hm?  What's that you say?  You... you want my thoughts on Spike and Rarity?  What do I make of it?  Hmm...  Well, I hate to disappoint fans, but to be brutally honest I think this is as far as they're ever gonna get.  After all, this series is about lessons in friendship and it's not meant to fixate on the development in their relationship.  Mind you, this episode does make their chances of becoming an item much more probable than in Season 1.  And whatever happened to that blue gem that Rarity gave to Spike as a gift for helping her in the episode "A Dog and Pony Show"?  This is as far as they go in Season 2 and with only thirteen episodes planned for Season 3, it's highly unlikely that they're gonna go the whole nine yards.

They do however remind me of a would-be pairing from the Bone graphic novel series by Jeff Smith, Fone Bone and Thorn.  Much like Spike and Rarity, Fone Bone is this short white Bone creature and Thorn is a human girl, either in her late teens or early 20's, so Fone Bone's crush, like Spike, more or less exists for comedy relief... well, at first anyway.  Fone Bone develops a crush on Thorn upon their first meeting and their relationship builds within the friend zone, although it is possible that Thorn at least acknowledges Fone Bone's crush on her, but seems to take it in stride, considering that she counts on having him around as a close friend.  Eventually Fone Bone's crush gradually develops into him showing genuine care for her and vice versa.  Since Fone Bone in the end chose to leave with his cousins, they don't exactly become an item, but they vow never to forget each other.  And Thorn was secretly hoping that Fone Bone would actually stay with her.  I was impressed by the development in their relationship and was pretty much satisfied with the way it was, but it still wasn't exactly the main focus of the series anyway.

So as far as I can tell, regarding Spike and Rarity the doors have just been left open, that is for endless possibilities of fan stuff.  But for the time being, this episode will just have to make do.  Besides, I can think of much better pairings in other shows, movies, video games, and such.  But... Spike and Rarity?  Uh, I'm kinda failing to see the sense in that.  Well... at least, for now.

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