Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 2 Episodes 25 & 26

This is it.  The Season 2 finale.  And of all the things that have made this season questionable, and quite possibly the whole series, this one-hour event tops them all.  Within these last two episodes are events that plunge the entire series into ruination.

It was one thing in the episode "Ponyville Confidential" when Diamond Tiara showed the extent of her dark side by blackmailing the Cutie Mark Crusaders and practically ruining their lives.  On the series wiki, a subtitle for an image calls Rainbow Dash a monster for attempting to soak the Cutie Mark Crusaders a second time.  But seriously, Diamond Tiara's already said one of the most heartless things in the entire series that none of the other antagonists, including the one in these episodes, even considered to say.

Diamond Tiara: Feelings? I don't care about feelings!

Now I tell you, how does this not make her dangerous?  If this were Kingdom Hearts, she'd turn into a Heartless and a Nobody in no time.  So that episode was pretty bad considering how Hasbro shaped Diamond Tiara's character into becoming a monster.  You know, I've come to realize that for some of the Season 2 episodes, I've been doing more discussing on the plots than laying on the critiques.  Perhaps it is because I'm saving my energy for what could be the ultimate rave and rant - these two episodes.  Well, maybe I won't try to rave and rant, but when I speak my mind, I speak my mind.  Now you must understand that I'm well aware that things are done for the sake of plot and drama, but in personal opinion, there is a fine line and in several cases, this series has crossed it.  But these episodes, "A Canterlot Wedding", were even worse.  Not only is the show's continuity completely broken, but friendships are torn apart with no full mending and the episodes themselves fail to meet the standard demographic.  In other words, some of the events are plausible to be considered unfit for young kids, much less young girls.  But before I start, I'm gonna get to the source of all this and explain just what gave Hasbro the brainy idea to put this beast together.

I'm sure many of you, hell the world over, are familiar with the royal wedding of 2011, in other words, the marriage between William and Kate of England.  It was after all the event of the year.
Well, this very promotional image is in fact based off of it.  But really, I don't know why Hasbro would even try to promote this special when it really wasn't all that good.  For one, it pretty much all but defies practically everything in the series so far.  Okay, so three days after my homecoming from my first year at art school, this beast aired on television.  Big whoop.  I've probably said this before, but these two episodes alone are the ultimate reason why I started to do all these critiques on the series to begin with.  Why?  Because I wanted to have everything build up to what caused the series to fall in a ditch in the first place.  And this is it.  So, without further ado, I will now discuss the very episodes that made this series topple over, and if Season 3 decides to keep up with similar shit, maybe forever.  Here we go.

A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1
It all starts with the six main characters having a picnic when Spike shows up and delivers an invitation to Canterlot's royal wedding from Princess Celestia herself, who assigns each of them important roles, with Twilight Sparkle charged with making sure everything goes as planned.  So the bride is someone we don't know named Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, which basically means in Italian "my love cadence".  And the groom, named Shining Armor, who is in fact captain of the royal guards, is revealed to be...

Twilight Sparkle: My brother?!

Really, Hasbro?  Really?!  This is like... what, the Season 2 finale?  The Season 2 finaleAnd now, just now, you want to introduce us to Twilight's brother?!  Like... why now?!  Why did Hasbro keep us waiting?  And what in the hell is this guy's excuse for not being seen nor mentioned in the past 50 episodes?!

Mm, nope.  Ain't gonna cut it.

You know, usually when siblings in a series are not mentioned until a certain point, it's for pretty good reasons.  In the Beetlejuice animated series, Beetlejuice never mentioned his own brother Donny because he's a polar opposite of him and he can't stand him, despite his insecurities.

As for Shining Armor, whose joke name actually doesn't suit him at all, we have no good reason why Hasbro left him out of Twilight's life up till now, despite none of her friends being surprised that she has a brother.  Then again, during my first year at art school when I was living away from home, I mentioned my family all the time and no one was surprised.  But seriously, why now?  Why didn't we see Shining Armor earlier in the series?  Why wasn't he seen in Twilight's flashback sequence in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles"?  Why was he not at Twilight's birthday party in "Sweet and Elite", despite it being moved to Canterlot I might add?  Why in the hell was HE... NOT... THERE?!

To simplify things, Hasbro had no excuses to introduce Shining Armor this late in this series, no excuses whatsoever.  So he is in fact one of three factors that blows the continuity in this series sky-high.  I'll get to the other two later, but let's see if we can find out more about this guy.

Oh.  It seems that Twilight has mixed feelings on the situation.  Evidently, she's in a huff for two reasons.  One, her brother didn't pay her a visit to tell her in person.  And two, he's marrying someone she doesn't know.  Oh God, the things wrong with this episode already, and this is only Part 1.  Bad sign.  Okay, so what's wrong with the reasons that Twilight is all pissy?  Well, allow moi to explain things.  First of all, when siblings are at that certain age to get married, they're usually living away from the rest of their families.  And here in the United States, this is much more plausible.  I mean for the record, I've never heard of any family getting annoyed over a family member sending out an invitation over coming to tell said family in person.  Just send out a wedding invitation and they're happy!  I don't think I can use my family as a good enough example, though.  We received invitations to our cousin's wedding and we knew that because he lived elsewhere, as in Ohio, while we're living in Maine, we couldn't possibly be told in person.  Oh, and besides, I almost forgot, it's actually in fact more customary to mail out invitations rather than tell in person.  That's just the way weddings works.  So what I'm basically saying is that Twilight has no real reason to be pissed.
But no, she had to go and make Homestar Junior say "Put down the friggin' sandwich and come ask me in person".  Ugh...
Okay, as for the second reason, it's pretty much the same thing.  I've never once heard of a family get thrown out of whack just because some family member was marrying someone said family didn't even know.  I mean my family didn't know who our cousin's bride was at all and we weren't over the edge about it.  We were just happy to be invited to a wedding, that's all.  So again, no excuses.  The point of me saying so is that Twilight is initially overreacting and taking the situation a little too seriously.  Now her friends make their congratulations, but they can't understand her sudden burst of anger, and rightfully so because she's not supposed to be.  As such, we now have to hear Twilight sing a song over the matter.  Well, let's hope it clears things up for us.
[Twilight Sparkle]
My big brother, best friend forever!
Like two peas in a pod, we did everything together
Evidently not.  Pity.  It actually makes things more confusing for us.  We learn that Twilight misses her brother terribly.  She's in tears over it.  So why does this make things more confusing?  I'll tell you.  For starters, just a minute ago she was complaining that he didn't come to invite her to his wedding personally and have Celestia send out the invitation instead.  So if he's supposed to be this really nice guy and Twilight has claimed to be missing him this whole time, why did she not bring this up at all in the series until now?  She had friends to confide in for Christ's sake!  They would listen!  They would understand!  But no, she had to keep this a secret!  Either that, or this Shining Armor didn't even exist. 
Oh, and now Twilight's back to being grumpy while her friends start whooping it up over being the guests of honors at this "wedding of the century".  Make up your mind, Twilight.  Are you gonna be glad to see him or not?  Let's find out.

During the train ride, we see that all of Canterlot is enveloped in this big shield.  It turns out, the reason for this is that no sooner than the wedding invitations were made that an unknown threat is impeding and no chances were willing to be taken.  We don't find out until later that the shield itself is actually all in vain.
So the train passes through the shield and right out of Turbo:  A Power Rangers Movie, everyone feels the effect.  Now, wait just a second.  It's obviously no coincidence that an impeding threat is made at the same time wedding preparations are starting.  That can only mean one thing.  Canterlot is about to be invaded by terrorists.  This alone is already too much for a kids' show, particularly a demographic of young girls.  God, where is Lauren Faust when you need her?  She may still be a consulting producer, but last I checked she's technically not working on the show herself anymore.  It makes me wonder if things in Season 2 would have been different if she had been.  Well, too late for that.
Applejack: And you've got a big brother to go congratulate.
Twilight Sparkle: Yeah. Congratulate. And then give him a piece of my mind.
So Twilight and Shining Armor reunite, but they don't exactly get to catch up on old times.  Well, the captain of the royal guards does at least get a chance to explain the reason why he had to stay put.  Okay, let's hear it.
Shining Armor: It's not my fault! Princess Celestia has requested a major increase in security. Didn't you see all the guards at the train station?
Twilight Sparkle: Yeah, there's a big wedding coming up. Maybe you heard about it?
Shining Armor: It has nothing to do with the wedding. A threat has been made against Canterlot. We don't know who's responsible for it, but Princess Celestia asked that I help provide additional protection.
This, you need to see.
Shining Armor: The burden of keeping Canterlot safe and secure rests squarely on my shoulders. Staying focused on the task at hand has been my top priority.

Okay, yeah, I guess I can understand that.  No, wait...  Wait just a damn minute here!  Look, I know he's supposed to keep this big massive shield solidified and all that.  But really?  Am I really expected to believe that this Shining Armor is the only unicorn capable of accomplishing said feat?


You stay out of this.  But seriously, correct me if I might be wrong, but personally I think there were a number of plausible solutions to this, never mind that sending out wedding invitations is considered more customary than addressing someone in person.  But say this wasn't the case.  So Shining Armor is this grand, magnificent captain, seemingly the only unicorn capable of projecting this colossal shield soon to be a failure.  Does that really mean that other unicorn guards can't man up and attempt to substitute?  Even if other unicorn guards can't provide half as much power as their captain, who's to say that they can't pool their magic together to do whatever job needs to be done?  Secondly, if Shining Armor is really the only guy capable, it's really not a good thing.  For one, even someone of utmost importance needs a break, even if it's only for 15 minutes.  I know it's duty calls and all that, but from the sounds of things, it's more like beyond the call of duty.  Now let me give you an example of why even the top men can take even the shortest vacations.
In the TV series, Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, the captain of space colony Terra Venture, Commander Stanton, was able to take one day off to spend time with his daughter while leaving his position in the hands of Kai Chen, the blue Power Ranger.  The episode ended at that, but we can assume he managed just fine.  So was there any particular reason why the same couldn't hold true for Shining Armor?  And forget the shield.  This is a cartoon!  Make something happen!  Seriously, can a sole unicorn really be counted on to keep all of Canterlot safe?  Well, not without a price, that's for sure.  Princess Celestia, give the poor guy some time off, will ya?

Now I'm gonna dig a little deeper here.  Shining Armor is apparently voiced by Andrew Francis, who like many other voice actors working for the show does a bunch of random voices from random animation series.  But to humor myself, let's see if he does any voice work that I'm familiar with.

Hmm, probably, maybe.  Somewhat familiar, I guess.
Yeah!  Definitely familiar with that one!
Ah geez, Andrew.  I feel so sorry that you voiced this bastard.  Now why would I say that?  Well, I'm working my way to it.

Anyways, Shining Armor knows how important Twilight is to him, so he makes her a generous offer, to be the maid of honor, which she accepts, but even so there's still one question that's on her mind.
Twilight Sparkle: But I'm still pretty ticked you're marrying somepony I don't even know! When did you even meet this "Princess Mi Amore Cadenza"?
Shining Armor: Twily, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza is Cadance. Your old foalsitter.
Wait... what?  What did he just say?  Cadance is someone Twilight used to know?  Gimme a break!  This makes two characters Twilight knew in her youth days before coming to Ponyville!
Do you have any idea what this means?  It means that Twilight actually knew something about friendship before learning about it!  Twilight practically contradicted her saying earlier that she knew nothing about friendship before coming to Ponyville when she mentioned her brother was the only animal who ever understood her.
But this...  Cadance in Twilight's life.  As nice as it is, this utterly destroys even more continuity because how could Twilight possibly know nothing about friendship now?
Pardon me for saying this, but it's hard to know nothing about friendship if you have at least one friend in your life already, especially one that you would share a close bond with.  I mean, I learned about friendship back in elementary school and it is possible to know so even if you just have one friend.  Maybe, sometimes one friend is all you might ever need.  Of course, you can never have too many friends obviously.
Okay, so Cadance is the second factor that the continuity in this series is wrecked.  The third factor is obviously the worst of them all, but I'm building up to that.  Oh, and before I forget, Twilight and Cadance apparently share this old chant or something.

Young Twilight and Young Cadance: Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake!
Clap your hooves and do a little shake!

Eh... I don't know why they do that, they just do.  So Cadance is a princess, but she's also apparently of the same species as Celestia and Luna, a Pegasus unicorn.  Not only that, she seems to be some kind of harbinger of love.  And although this is never said in the episodes, she happens to be Celestia's niece.  Like with Prince Blueblood, this means one of two things.  Either she's Luna's daughter, or Celestia and Luna have some secret sibling or relative that we're not aware of.  But of course, that's not important.  And of course, Shining Armor knows her from all those years ago.  So... how long have they been in love?

Now here's something a little interesting.  See this Pegasus?  Her name is Wild Fire and she used to be an original character created by Sabrina Alberghetti, one of the storyboard artists for the show.  She's one of four who worked on these two episodes, so her character got to come to life for a cameo appearance.

So getting back to the episode, Twilight is now elated over the prospect of Cadance becoming her new sister-in-law.  That's when she shows up and although we're not supposed to know this just yet, she's actually an imposter named Chrysalis.  And as much of a good plot as she gives these two episodes, she still pales in comparison to Night Mare Moon.  Because there's one thing about her right from the start that makes her fail to live up to expectations of a good villain.

Twilight Sparkle: Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!
Princess Cadance: What are you doing?
Twilight Sparkle: Cadance, it's me, Twilight!
Princess Cadance: Uh-huh.
BAM!!  There it is.  That's it!  Game over, faker!  This is the one flaw that costs Chrysalis everything.  Never mind that this might have been impossible to achieve, but she failed to copy Cadance's personality and her memories.  All she did was take the form of her body.  So what makes this not a good trait for an antagonist?  Well, let me give you a much better example.

Erim, the Sinistral of Death from the video game Lufia: The Legend Returns, is a much better example of a perfect villain.  Throughout the game up until the end, she assumes the form of a young seer named Seena and pretends to be seeking strong people across the world to defeat these four Sinistrals.  It turns out, she did this only to ensure that there were people strong enough to defeat three of them so that she, as the final Sinistral could rule the world.  Now this may have been her pretending as well to get her former friends to fight her, but the important thing is, she fooled them, all of them, right up until the very end.  No one suspected her.  And that is what I call a perfect villain.

Now because the false Cadance failed to recognize Twilight, she naturally grows suspicious of her, and even more so when Cadance casts her an evil grin...  Wait... wait just a minute.  Does this mean what I think it does?  That Chrysalis deliberately made Twilight suspicious of her just to set her up and lead her into what could possibly be the biggest upheaval in her life?  This is crap!  If Chrysalis really wanted to rule Equestria, she should never have done that!  In fact, she's already failed!  One character is on to her and quite possibly her evil plan.  Of course, since Twilight doesn't know that Cadance is a fake, she thinks that this is still real Cadance, but has changed.  And for some stupid reason, everyone believes that, including Shining Armor.

Now what I have to say next could very well rock your world, especially to bronies, but the truth has to come out.  What really makes the Season 2 finale really, and I mean really, unsettling is this.  Every single other character besides Twilight, is really dumb, including Princess Celestia.  Why?  Because everyone else foolishly decides to pay more attention to their stupid duties at hand instead of a Canterlot crisis, they pass off the way "Cadance" is acting, particularly to Twilight's friends, as nothing.  That same issue from "Lesson Zero" returns, in the sense that Twilight's friends shrug her off completely.  Did they not learn that important lesson?  Where's the continuity?  Where is the continuity?

Rarity: The princess is about to get married. I'm sure any negative behavior she might be displaying is simply the result of nerves.

Rarity, you IDIOT!!  Nerve or not, aren't you mature enough to know by now that there's absolutely no excuse for rudeness?  Or has your own narcissism clouded your judgment?!
Applejack: Think maybe you're being just a tiny bit possessive of your brother?
Rest of main cast: Uh-huh.
God help me for saying this, but... Applejack, you're an Applejerk, you know that?!  In fact, all of Twilight's friends are jerks!  They're obviously failing to see the bigger picture here!  Looks like the incident from "Lesson Zero" taught them nothing.  The continuity has failed yet again.  This is ridiculous crap that shouldn't even exist.

Twilight Sparkle: You're all just too caught up in your wedding planning to notice that maybe there shouldn't even be a wedding!

And by the time they do acknowledge their sorry mistakes, it's too little too late.  Twilight tries to talk things through with her brother, but the fake Cadance does not want Twilight to catch on to her just yet, so she manages to lure him away and he falls for it.  Bad, bad, bad.  And I'm talking about Shining Armor because he chose to put his bride-to-be in front of his own sister.  Sheesh, some brother he is.
While Twilight listens in on a private conversation, she learns that Cadance is starting to be rude to even him, but then she hypnotizes him with... green magic.  Yeah, last we checked it's supposed to be blue.  Something's definitely amiss and due to the stupidity of Twilight's friends, they don't give a shit.  God, this episode just keeps getting worse all the time!  This sucks!  This blows!  This both sucks and blows!!
While Luna keeps watch over the night, Twilight tries to beseech her friends to help only to discover they've become bridesmaids, which is in fact another cover-up by the fake Cadance to lure them into a false sense of security.  Since they refuse to listen to her, Twilight decides to take a chance and expose the false Cadance on her own.  And when she shows up at the wedding rehearsal, things go awry.

Twilight Sparkle: She's been horrible to my friends, she's obviously done something to her bridesmaids, and if that wasn't enough, I saw her put a spell on my brother that made his eyes go all...

The fake Cadance, knowing full aware that only Twilight suspects her, decides to pull off the ultimate stunt.  After Twilight correctly accuses her of being evil, she runs out of the chapel in crocodile tears as she throws curses at her.
But while she thinks she's done the great service of saving her brother's life, it turns out he doesn't like it.  None of her friends like it either.  Hell, even Celestia doesn't like it!  But seriously, how in the hell can Shining Armor cover up for this imposter?  Let's see what petty excuse this bastard can come up with.

Shining Armor: You want to know why my eyes went all...
Nuh! Because ever since I started having to perform my protection spell, I've been getting terrible migraines. Cadance hasn't been casting spells on me, she's been using her magic to heal me!

WRONG!  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  Okay, the headache thing I'll probably buy, but healing?!  Really?!  Has he really been suckered in by that bitchy bride?  He just nearly had a row with her earlier and he still think that she's doing him a great service despite telling him what to wear?!  Twilight is buying her bastard brother's lies!  And there's more...

Shining Armor: And she decided to replace her bridesmaids because she found out the only reason they wanted to be in the wedding was so that they could meet Canterlot royalty!

"Well, that doesn't sound very comforting, but considering what I've heard so far, this has to be another one of that imposter's lies!  Believe me, those bridesmaids would have a lot to learn about rising to power.  Besides, how is just wanting to meet royalty a bad thing?"

Shining Armor: And if she hasn't been on her best behavior with your friends, it's because with me being so busy, she's had to make all the decisions about the wedding!

Wait, what?  What?!  How in the hell does this cover up for rudeness?  It doesn't!  This makes zero sense!  What else could this asshole possibly say next?

Shining Armor: She's been completely stressed out because it's really important to her that her big day be perfect!

OH COME ON!!!!  Look, I know this is all good for plot and drama, but this is really going too far!  Everything's getting seriously screwed up and there's just too much audacity at this point.  Okay, let's go over the cold, hard facts so far.  First of all, it doesn't matter how stressful any wedding is nor does it matter if only the bride and groom make all the decisions as to who does what.  There is absolutely, and I mean really...  No.  Excuse.  For rudeness.  Ever.  Under no circumstances.  You know this and I know this, cartoon or not.  I mean, little kids are watching this stuff, right?  What do you think they're gonna make of this beast?  And another thing.  Twilight seems know Cadance better than anyone and although some people change, it's not like it happens overnight.  In fact, even if the real Cadance was oh so stressed out, she still wouldn't be rude or anything.  She'd be so happy to see Twilight, she'd forget about being stressed and knowing that Twilight is making sure everything goes according to plan would soothe her and if she did get stressed, they'd work something out.  But the sad but true fact is that everyone fails to acknowledge Twilight being in the right knowing her former babysitter better than anyone and then they just assume she's up to no good.  But before we get to that, the final blow from Twilight's so-called petty-excuse-for-a-brother has to fall.

Shining Armor: And you can forget about being my best mare. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't show up to the wedding at all.

Wow... that's...  Man, that's harsh.  That bastard!  Am I now still to believe that this creep is really Twilight's brother?  Or he is just a total stranger pretending to be?  I really wish it was the latter, seriously.

So Twilight's just been practically disowned, but look at this.  None of Twilight's friends sympathize with her.  They don't think Shining Armor came down too hard on her or anything.  They just walk away like she deserved it.  And listen to this.

Princess Celestia: You have a lot to think about.

THAT'S IT!!!  This series is officially finished forever!!  Hell has frozen over.  In other words, Celestia no longer trusts Twilight nor does she welcome her any longer as her faithful student.  Even this god-like eternal ruler of Equestria has shown her unkindness for the very first time.  Celestia, you witch!!

This is the third and final factor, and this one permanently destroys the continuity of this series.  Why?  Because the magic of friendship itself... has... been... broken.  It doesn't matter if the second episode fixes everything up.  It's no use!  It's too late!  The simple fact is that it has happened and it will be around forever.  Why?  Because this much is now obvious.  In spite of everything Twilight's friends have been though, all the lessons they ever learned, their experiences... taught... them... nothing.  That's right.  Zip.  Squat.  They didn't learn jack.  No dice.

I mean...  Look at Twilight.  Look what everyone did to her.  She's emotionally devastated!  How can this possibly be justified?  Like I said, it doesn't matter if things get repaired in the next episode, which they do.  This one action has happened and that's all it took to send this series to its doom.

Okay, it was bad enough to introduce Shining Armor as Twilight's brother (he might as well not be) and Cadance as Twilight's close friend.  This alone damaged the continuity pretty badly, but after Shining Armor making his debut 50 episodes too late doubled up with disowning Twilight is more than crossing the fine line.  I mean, what are we supposed to think of this captain of the royal guards now?  That he's a detestable jerk who seems to care more about his significant other than his sister and family and quite possibly his own well being?


Look, if I was getting married and my little sibling was trying to stop me, the first thing I would do is take her aside, maybe in private, and ask her why.  Or rather in this case, ask her, "Is there something you know that I don't?"  Because I for one would be extremely pissed off if my wedding was just something to set me up and I was being played for a total sap.  I love my family.  Shining Armor just as assuredly does not.  No questions asked.

But really, the magic of friendship breaking apart here and now is the last straw that makes everything come crumbling down.  This is the numero uno reason why the series is now ruined.  And again, patching things up isn't going to make a difference.  It's too late.  It's already happened.  It can't be completely fixed.  Let's see... how many friendship lessons did this one action defy?

1.  Twilight Sparkle: My friend Applejack is the best friend a pony could ever have, and she's always there to help any pony.

2.  Twilight Sparkle: Just continue to be a good friend. In the end, the difference between a false friend and the one who is true will surely come to light.

3.  Twilight Sparkle: This adventure has taught me to never lose faith in your friends. They can be an amazing source of strength, and can help you overcome even your greatest fears.

4.  Twilight Sparkle: It's a good idea to stop and listen to your friends' opinions and perspectives...

5.  Rarity: I learned how important it is to keep your hooves on the ground, and be there for your friends.

6.  Twilight Sparkle: Being a good friend means being able to keep a secret, but you should never be afraid to share your true feelings with a good friend.

7.  Twilight Sparkle: Friendship is a wondrous and powerful thing.

8.  Twilight Sparkle: Always expect the best from your friends and never assume the worst. Rest assured that a good friend always has your best interests at heart.

9.  Twilight Sparkle: Friends have a way of making even the worst of times into something pretty great.

Fluttershy: We learned that you should take your friends' worries seriously.
Rainbow Dash: Even if you don't think that she has anything to worry about.
The fire of friendship lives in our hearts
As long as it burns we cannot drift apart
Though quarrels arise, their numbers are few
Laughter and singing will see us through (will see us through)
We are a circle of pony friends
A circle of friends we'll be to the very end
It's true, some days are dark and lonely
And maybe you feel sad
But Pinkie will be there to show you that it isn't that bad
Pinkie Pie: ...today I learned that it is not good to jump to conclusions.
Pinkie Pie: This could hurt their feelings, and it can make you look really foolish.
And there's one more.  Twilight learns an important lesson to listen to your friends as they may be right in a magazine comic named "Rain, Rain Go Away!", so if you count that, this is a total of fourteen friendship lessons all defied.  Badda bing, badda boom, there goes the series.  Down the drain.  Flushed down the toilet.  And even if things are mended, the continuity of this series itself has been destroyed forever, due to the inclusions of Shining Armor, Cadance, and of course the factor that upsets the balance of the show's purpose.  And what's with all the lies in this series?  Well, I for one am sick of lies, at least the kinds that are told just to make people feel better.  It's happened one too many times in the show and everyone knows it.  Doesn't it bother viewers?  In real life, I consider them one of the worst kinds of lies anyone can tell, and believe me, I've had that experience the hard way.  In the TV series Phineas and Ferb, of all the characters, the evil scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz makes a reference to this numero uno cultural reference in American society.  He even sings about it.

Well, I've strayed from this episode long enough, not that there's much left anyway.  So Twilight's feeling sad that everyone's turned their backs on her and laments over her brother disowning her.  And by lament, I mean she sings about it, and it's a reprise of the same song from earlier.
Twilight Sparkle:
He was my big brother, best friend
And now, we'll never do anything
And the episode ends on a sour note when the fake Cadance somehow returns and imprisons Twilight in some kind of underground catacombs.  Now, is anyone else confused as to how the imposter got back so fast or somehow slunk back into the room without anyone noticing her?  Or why wasn't anyone suspicious that she might have not been in her room?

Okay, that was Part 1.  And since I pretty much explained everything bad about the episode with other references to back up my opinions as I went along, I guess I don't need to explain everything a second time.  But simply put, this two-part finale is what sends the entire series down in flames.  The fact that everyone abandoned Twilight simply because they were more fixed on a character who's nothing but smoke and mirrors is just about one of the most awful things to happen.  To be honest, I really couldn't bring myself to watch this episode entirely, yet still know everything about it, and the same went for "Ponyville Confidential".  But it's not because I'm a coward.  It's because I ended up saying to myself, "I can't watch this anymore".  And it's because so many characters are ignorant, it's not funny.  Even if it's only a cartoon, the very themes that are exemplified will never make a good influence on the intended demographic and that's seriously bad.  And I say screw the continuity because as this point it obviously doesn't exist anymore.  In fact, I hardly think it ever did.  Okay, fans and bronies pretty much have two options at this point.  One, they can accept the truth of this series and hope for improvement in Season 3, although I personally don't think there's much of a chance at this point.  Or two, they can cover their ears and refuse to face the truth in hopes of saving the series from destruction.  Either way, unless this series improves, it will lose sight of the gist of the bigger picture, which I have reason to believe is something that bronies may never hope to understand.

Now before I go over Part 2, allow me to share a little something known as fan art.  Even though it's made up, it's something that in personal opinion should have been in the series, maybe not too much farther beyond the pilot episodes, but wasn't.  It's sort of a breather between all this dark stuff that's currently going on in these hellholes.

Kinda reminds me of an old song from The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water, "No One Has to Be Alone".

Well, it's time to resume my critique on "A Canterlot Wedding", but Part 2 of this beast really isn't any better than Part 1.

A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2
So Twilight awakens in these underground catacombs where she for some reason is consistently tormented by apparitions of the Cadance imposter.  Having lost everything at this point, Twilight is driven and consumed by insanity and rage and her magic is now for the first time used as a weapon.
By blowing away a cave wall, she exposes the real Cadance, who had been imprisoned by the fake just like Twilight.  Of course, since Twilight is undergoing the impression she has nothing left except anger and hatred, she takes it out on her, mistaking her for the imposter.  And that's when Cadance proves to Twilight that she's the real deal by repeating their old chant from their babysitting days.
Princess Cadance: Sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake. Clap your hooves...
Twilight Sparkle and Princess Cadance: ...and do a little shake.
And it works!
Twilight and Cadance reunite and with new-found hope begin to seek a way out of their underground prison.
And that's when the next song starts up, which could very easily and potentially be the darkest song in the entire series.
[Queen Chrysalis]
This day is going to be perfect
The kind of day of which I dreamed since I was small
Everypony will gather round
Say I look lovely in my gown
What they don't know is that I have fooled them all!
Things get really tense at this point.  While Cadance and Twilight practically struggle to find a way out of their mess that I should say Twilight's ex-friends have gotten them into, Chrysalis pulls a complete rip-off from the Disney film The Little Mermaid.
But really, look at this.  Does no one in the audience notice that Shining Armor's eyes are not normal?  Does no one notice the fake Cadance's evil grin as she walks down the aisle?

Yeah, how could everyone be so simpleminded, idiotic, and naive all at once?  It's really disturbing.  So the wedding carries on with no one giving a rat's ass about where Twilight is because they revealed themselves to be overinflated gits in Part 1.
Fortunately, Twilight interrupts the wedding at the last minute and brings in the real Cadance, proving that she was in the right this whole time.
The imposter has no choice but to reveal her true form as Queen Chrysalis, the leader of a group of strange, black creatures known as Changelings.  She's the eighth antagonist in this series, or should I say ninth since Diamond Tiara has clearly shown visible signs of being a nasty one herself.  Chrysalis reveals that her plan was to have herself and her minions feed off the power of love from everyone in Canterlot and take over Equestria.
And because no one even tried to stop her earlier, even Celestia is no match for her.  Can't say we didn't see this coming.  Take that, you ungrateful bitch!  Celestia then tells the six main characters to retrieve the Elements of Harmony in order to stop Chrysalis.  Yeah, I'm sure that will work.
Let's think about this.  First and foremost, only Celestia has the power to gain entry to the elements and she's in no fit condition to accompany them.  Second, even if they get the elements, there's really not much of a chance that they're going to work.  The Changelings are strengthened by the power of love, so what are the chances that mere elements of harmony can stand up to one of the most powerful emotions on Earth?
And it doesn't matter because when they arrive at Canterlot Tower, it's been overtaken by the Changelings, thus leaving the main six characters no choice but to surrender.  So, has anyone seen my Keyblade?
When they get escorted back to the chapel, they find that Celestia has been imprisoned in a cocoon (good riddance) and Cadance has been glued to the floor.  Chrysalis then orders every one of her minions to terrorize Canterlot and capture the civilians by force.  Definitely a terrorist attack, not suited for the demographic.  Not cool.
She then points out something that proves undeniably that everyone save Twilight was really, really dumb by stating that only Twilight suspected her and everyone else refused to take her seriously, just like in "Lesson Zero".  Now this is definitely saying something here.  Usually antagonists aren't that bright.  Chrysalis even made a few mistakes herself.  The first and foremost mistake was failing to turn into a perfect copy of Cadance, never mind that it would have been impossible anyway.  Secondly, she casted an evil grin at Twilight which aroused her suspicions to begin with.  Thirdly, she imprisoned Twilight in the catacombs to begin with, although she might have done the great service of saving her life by doing this because there's a high chance Twilight could have died of a broken heart otherwise.  Fourthly, she leaves only herself to supervise her captives in the chapel.  So yeah, the queen of Swiss cheese herself pointing out the flaws of these so-called heroes of Equestria is a very bad thing.  And that's not all.  Listen to this pathetic excuse for a followup.
Applejack: Sorry, Twi. We should've listened to you.
Twilight Sparkle: It's not your fault. She fooled everypony.
Great.  Just great.  NOW you apologize right when Canterlot is facing its eleventh hour and all hope is lost!  And that's ALL you can SAY?!  And Twilight, why?  How the hell can you possibly be so forgiving?  You weren't fooled yourself!  If it were me, I would not be so soft on them.  Not their fault?  Oh, yes it is!  Twilight's friends haven't learned a thing about true friendship!  Believe me, I know what true friendship really is, and this series failed.  Well, at least Applejack is the one to apologize, but still...  I'm gravely disappointed.

"You know, somehow, 'I told you so' just doesn't quite say it."

So Chrysalis now gloats in her apparent victory over Canterlot and sings a reprise of the same song from before as the now ex-heroes of Equestria can only helplessly sit back and do nothing.  As far as I'm concerned, it's their fault Canterlot has fallen.

[Queen Chrysalis]
This day has been just perfect
The kind of day of which I've dreamed since I was small
Everypony I'll soon control
Every stallion, mare and foal
Who says a girl can't really have it all?
I'm gonna be brutally honest at this point.  Things have just been so bad as far as every character save Twilight being an airhead is concerned, that I really couldn't care less if Chrysalis won, which of course she doesn't.  But the only reason for that is because something's gotta give to make up for the heroes being dickheads.  So of all the characters in this series so far, the two characters who messed up the continuity of the pilot episodes to begin with get to be the heroes who save the day. 
Twilight gets Cadance unstuck and she then frees Shining Armor from the queen's evil spell.  It turns out, Shining Armor really was lying to Twilight when he said that the false Cadance had been healing him.  Chrysalis had been doing the exact opposite the whole time - draining him of his life force energy.
Cadance then uses the power of love to re-energize him and help reestablish his shield, sending the Changelings and their queen packing to God knows where.  I don't believe this.  The ex-heroes of Equestria couldn't do jack because they were morons, so Shining Armor and Cadance of all the characters get the honor to replace them this time around.
*sigh*  This is really just too much.  I seriously wanna puke.  In fact, I... *sigh*  I... I really don't wanna go into how this all ends.  There's absolutely no point!  All that's ever happened in these two episodes has practically ended all desire for me to continue with this mess.

So the wedding resumes, Shining Armor and Cadance are married (their kiss could have done without those sound effects just fine), Luna returns for the reception, and the season finale ends with one final musical number sung by Twilight Sparkle while photos are taken reminiscent of the series finale of Providence.

[Twilight Sparkle]
Love is in bloom
You know, I really just can't express how disgusted I am with how these two episodes turned out.  Seriously, I thought I was gonna get sick to my stomach working on this critique.  At least the animation is still on top as always, but everything else pretty much sucked.  The only thing good about this is that Applejack is seen playing a fiddle to go along with her country vibe and Fancypants makes a brief cameo.  Well, as long as I'm still at this, I might as well go over the last bit of dialogue and say what I have to say about it.

Princess Celestia: The power of their love, undeniable.

Hmph.  Too much if you ask me.  It all but blinded Shining Armor from the truth and put the fake Cadance in front of Twilight regarding the level of importance.  Some brother he is.
Princess Celestia: Learning to trust your instincts is a valuable lesson to learn.
WHAT?!  She started this!  It's her fault that Twilight faced doubt and had to learn this lesson in the first place.  Now she just made it sound like she set Twilight up for this!  Celestia, you monster!!

Rainbow Dash: Best wedding ever!

"Best wedding ever?!  More like worst wedding ever!!"

Princess Luna: Hello, everypony. Did I miss anything?

Nope.  Nothing special.  In fact, I'm glad Luna had to miss everyone being empty-headed jerks.

Well, I can't say anything more about these episodes from hell.  Thanks to one course of action made by Twilight's friends, including even Celestia, the continuity of this series is now officially ruined forever.  Nothing's gonna fix that.
It's not too late to save the series itself from disarray, but overall, I'm just saying the whole Season 2 finale could have been made a whole lot better.  For starters, despite everything getting patched up in the end, I'm never gonna be taken in to believe that Shining Armor was destined to be a worthy brother to Twilight.  Because there were a lot of things he could have said and done differently that never even crossed his mind.  Add on that he was brought into the series 50 episodes too late (Cadance as well) and he says just about the meanest thing any sibling can say to another, so I can't imagine why no one would ever think that he leaves a pretty bad impression afterwards.
For the record, I'd say things would have been better if Shining Armor was only just captain of the royal guards and Twilight wouldn't even have a brother.  Same goes for Cadance.  Neither of them had to be characters Twilight knew in her youth and to make up for them being total strangers, Celestia could just introduce Cadance as her niece and chances are, Chrysalis then would have made a more calculable villain.  But of course, she still doesn't surpass Night Mare Moon because of her obvious flaws, so that factors into how bad these two episodes ran, despite the intense plot she gave them.

Now regarding the continuity screw-over, the one caused by Twilight's would-be friends, let me put it to you in a way you might understand, by using a metaphor (screw you, Andy Fox, for your cynicism).  Let's say you have a window, and it breaks into pieces.  My guess is that your first impulse is to simply get a new window to replace the broken one.  Yes, in the literal sense this would work, but if the window represents friendship, it's a completely different matter.  You see, if this window breaks, it means that your friends have emotionally damaged you somehow in some way, which is plausible.  But you still have two options.  You can either replace the window, which would mean replacing your old friends and starting anew with some new friends, or let's say you can fix the old window.  Even if you fix it and put it back into place, the cracks will still be visible.  In other words, the emotional scars will still be there, quite possibly for the rest of your life because the very fact that your old friends emotionally damaged you to begin with exists.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Well, this is exactly what I can surmise has happened to Twilight Sparkle.  Her window was broken and damaged at the end of Part 1 of this horrendous special and during Part 2 it was fixed.  Instead of starting over, Twilight patches things up with her friends, but there's no doubt in my mind that her own emotional scars are still inside her heart, possibly for life, and with Queen Chrysalis's terrorist attack nearly overtaking Canterlot, I'd say this is plausible grounds for Twilight to possibly develop posttraumatic stress disorder.  This would be more liable if the same old window was to keep breaking again and again.  Each subsequent time it would be harder to repair and even more cracks would be left behind.  Quite gradually, the effects would soon become irreversible altogether.

At this rate, it doesn't seem like Season 3 can even begin to make up for this.  The magic of friendship has been broken once and can never be fully repaired because it has happened, Celestia is no longer a character who can be highly respected, and the continuity has been wrecked forever.

Based on the sneak previews so far, the animation seems to get even better, maybe even beyond perfect, and there may be more songs instead of just having some episodes miss out on them.  I will of course be doing critiques on each of its thirteen episodes when they come around, because as much as you think I wouldn't admit it, there is still room for improvement, so this is where all we can do is just push on through and hope for the best.

Spike: But I wouldn't hold your breath...

Right, of course.  I can't count on anything being too promising, so the only reason I can hope is because it would be a shame to waste perfectly great animation on a series that really could do a whole lot better than what it is.  Well, until then, this is The Thunder, signing off!  Till next time!


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    1. You stink. I have nothing to say to you. "this show's main audience are not young girls, but adult men" Really?! Come on! Don't be an idiot.

    2. Well said. Besides, I may have to agree that in this episode, it was 100% clear that they DID forget the lesson they learned in "Lesson Zero" about taking your friends concerns seriously, especially when Chrysalis points out this folly in part 2 and Applejack apologizes on behalf of everypony for not believing Twilight.

    3. Thank you! Yes, this is why I fume every time I think about these God-awful episodes. I found them the worst of the worst.