Sunday, May 11, 2014

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 4 Episode 3

WARNING!  From this point onward, the following reviews will consist of using heavy profanity.  It is advised not to proceed past this point unless you are 18 years of age or older.  Profanity will be used to express personal opinions only, so there can be no one responsible if anyone is greatly offended because you have been warned.  If you can handle profanity and you're ready to proceed, by all means do so.

Yeah, that's kind of how I'm feeling right about now.  So let's get this next review over and done with.  This is "Castle Mane-ia".

First of all, I failed to mention earlier that the opening was changed more drastically for Season 4.  During Fluttershy's segment, you can see Discord in her house.
And of course, Twilight is seen with her new wings and the cast of characters is now expanded.  We don't just see the Mane 6, but also more of the supporting characters as well, including for some reason Snips and Snails.  I don't know why they're there.
And then Photo Finish takes a picture and at Canterlot, both Celestia and Luna see the new photo.  Yeah, they finally decided to add Luna to the opening.  Why didn't they do this earlier?

Goddamn it, DHX!  You're disrespecting my favorite princess in this series when clearly you should be disrespecting sun-butt!

Oh well...  Better late than never, I suppose.  But why the hell is Discord even in the opening?!  He's not reformed!  He's a fucking jackass!

Okay, back to fucking "Castle Mane-ia".  Remember earlier when I mentioned that new seasons get us thinking of change?  Well, besides the new opening, something happens in this episode that changes how friendship lessons are recorded... not that it really matters because they're just as soon forgotten overnight.
But let's dive into the story... or should I say three stories.  That's right.  Season 4 is now presenting us with multiple stories per episode, which means there's that much more shit to keep track of.

First and foremost, we have Twilight and Spike arriving at the old castle ruins that obviously used to be the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, the same place where the Mane 6 defeated Night Mare Moon.
And to Twilight's amazement, she finds an entire library full of books and being the adorkable bookworm she is, she starts diving into them in hopes of finding out more about that mystery chest from the last episode.

But as we all know, or could have figured out, that chest ain't opening until Equestria's eleventh hour in the season finale.  So let's talk about the other two stories.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash are apparently having some kind of dare contest to see who's gonna break first.  Didn't they already have an issue with their competitive natures already?  Why do we need to see this again?  So they're having a staring contest while coated in bees...

...That is until the local apiologist arrives and calls back the bees... 'cause he needs them for his work.  So when Pinkie Pie declares that they still tied for "most daring pony", Rainbow and Applejack decide to head off to the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters to finish what they started.
And look!  They're not alone!  The third story involves Rarity and Fluttershy.  See, Rarity is in search of restoring some ancient tapestries that are said to be at, you guessed it, the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, and Fluttershy is simply volunteering to help because they're best friends and all that.
Of course, Angel returns to his roots of being a mischievous little bastard and decided to run into the castle to deliberately give Fluttershy hell... like he always does.

Back with Applejack and Rainbow, we learn why they came here to finish their dare.  Apparently, Applejack recalls a so-called scary story in which the remaining dark magic of Night Mare Moon still haunts the castle at night.

Yeah, my thoughts exactly, Rainbow Dash.  I don't see anything so-called daring about all this and who in the hell would take Applejack seriously if she makes those exact same gestures as seen in the episode "Look Before You Sleep"?  This is about as bland as those Goosebumps books!

And since we're dealing with three separate stories in this episode, it means we keep shifting back and forth between them.  So Rarity finds an ideal tapestry to restore, but while Fluttershy is trying to get it down, the whole castle wal rotates and she gets stuck behind the folds, causing Applejack and Rainbow to mistake her for a ghost.  Okay, just how vain is Rarity anyway?  She wants to do all this work, right?  So why can't she use her magic to bring down the tapestry, which might be a lot easier than Fluttershy struggling to get it down?!  I don't see any reason why Rarity's magic can't possibly dislodge a tapestry from a wall.  She has fucking magic!  Why doesn't she use it?!
So the castle wall swivels around back into its original position and Fluttershy gets herself out, but when she and Rarity decide to move on, they fall into a trapdoor and it looks like Angel inadvertently triggered it.
Meanwhile, Applejack and Rainbow try to fool each other into thinking they're not scared of ghosts or even this so-called Pony of Shadows.  So they decide that the most daring pony will be the one to stay in the castle all night long.

Okaaay, what the hell was I just looking at?  I don't know why that portrait was able to look the other way like that...
Back with Twilight and Spike, Angel finds them and decides to stay with them while Twilight discovers a hidden passage and finds Princess Celestia's secret diary.  And as you might have guessed, she starts reading every word.
Meanwhile... ooh, I'm getting sick of these transitions already... Applejack and Rainbow navigate a hallway of disembodied pony legs while Rarity and Fluttershy try to figure out where they got themselves stuck into.  Rarity sticks her hoof through a hole in a wall and ends up putting it around Rainbow's shoulder, and...

Rainbow Dash: Applejack, if you're scared, you can just admit it. You don't need to put your hoof around me.

Applejack: Uh, I'm over here.

So as you can imagine, Rainbow mistakes Rarity's hoof for a ghost and on the other side, Rarity isn't too thrilled that she might have touched a zombie pony or something.  But, to their credit, they don't know that they're all in the castle together, but I guess that's what supposed to make it humorous.  Pretty cheesy for a ghost story, really, if that was the intention.
But anyways, Rarity and Fluttershy somehow escape the pit by triggering another revolving wall, but Fluttershy starts to fear the worst for Angel... 'cause that's what happens when she's separated from her precious animal friends for too long.

Then we're treated to seeing a mysterious hooded figure playing a pipe organ, which for some reason also scares Applejack and Rainbow.

Okay, here's something that's so strange and so bizarre, it's... so strange and so bizarre.
Spike: Uh, Twilight? Did you hear something?
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, Spike. Quit being such a scaredy-dragon. This castle is thousands of years old, and half of it was destroyed by Nightmare Moon. Of course it makes strange sounds. It's practically falling apart!
*sigh* All right, I'm at a loss here.  I'm seriously at a loss.  If Twilight is fully aware that this ancient castle is crumbling all around them... why in the fuck is she still hanging around reading those fucking books?!  Why doesn't she just hightail it out of the castle along with Spike before the whole goddamn place falls down on top of them?!
What, does she think that it's safe to a certain degree or something?  How can she calmly say "It's practically falling apart"?!  That...  I'm sorry, that just doesn't make sense.

So Rarity and Fluttershy find the old throne room while Applejack and Rainbow navigate a hall of empty pony armor.
This times Rarity tries to removed the tapestry herself, but apparently whenever that not creepy pipe organ plays, a trap is triggered, so Applejack ends up separated from Rainbow and Rarity ends up separated from Fluttershy.  Hell, Rarity is tossed out of the castle.

Eventually, they all get so spooked that they start running amok while Fluttershy thinks her precious Angel got crushed by a pillar.

Well, I wouldn't mourn his loss.

So finally, Twilight hears them all panicking and stops them with an immobilizing magic spell.  Gee, I guess the others really are lost without Twilight.  How was I to know?
So Twilight and her friends follow the sound of the pipe organ and find the hooded figure still playing it.  Twilight removes the cloak and discovers that none other than Pinkie Pie was playing the organ the entire time.  And she explains it all.

Pinkie Pie: Hey, you guys! Did you know I can totally play the organ? Because I didn't!

All: Pinkie?!
Pinkie Pie: Check it out!
[plays sports "Charge!" theme]
Rainbow Dash: You're the Pony of Shadows?
Pinkie Pie: [continues playing light melody] The pony of what?

Twilight Sparkle: See? What'd I tell ya?

Applejack: I thought you went to ring the school bell all week!

Pinkie Pie: Oh, yeah! I only had to ring it for, like, five minutes! They said that was good enough! Eh, can't imagine why...
She was ringing the bell... with her head.  For five minutes.  How does she not get headaches from doing this kind of stuff?  I mean... ringing a school bell, using her head, literally, for five minutes!

Pinkie Pie: So then, I decided to throw a "finish ringing the school bell" party! But I didn't have any bluebells, and you can't throw a "finish ringing the school bell" party without bluebells, so I went to Everfree Forest to pick some, but it started to get so chilly.
[plays happy organ music]

Pinkie Pie: I had to wrap myself up in the tarp I was gonna use to gather flowers, and then I saw Fluttershy and Rarity. But they went into the castle before I could invite them to my party. Luckily, I followed them inside so I could help you all with your party!
[stops playing]

Rarity: What party is that?

Pinkie Pie: Uh, the "everypony come to the scary old castle and hide from each other while I play the organ" party? [plays note]
[sproing, thud]

Pinkie Pie: Duh!

So, after all that excitement, Twilight decides that after reading Celestia's diary that she and her friends should start writing their own journals to record their experiences, learn from each other, blah blah blah...
So there's the Season 4 transition for you.  Since Twilight's a princess, not only has she officially stopped with the fucking friendship reports, but so have her friends.  So they decide to write in fucking journals instead.  They then leave the castle, believing that the Pony of Shadows was just an old folktale.

...Or is it?

You know, I personally found this episode more weird than bad and I'm still wondering if that's a good thing.  An episode with three different stories going on at once, watching these Mane 6 just scare the living hell out of each other, not knowing that they're all wandering around the same castle.  I just don't know what to make of it.  Maybe I'm just feeling ambivalent, I dunno.  I'm gonna move on to the next episode.  Keep up if you wish.  I'm far from done with these reviews... unfortunately.


  1. The fact that (in a later episode) they are renovating this castle and that the supposed Pony of Shadows seems to be real made me think both of those would come into play for the finale.

    They don't. Both are red herrings, along with at least two or three other things that stand out during some episode endings.

    Another thing this season did, starting with this episode, is exaggerate Pinkie's craziness to the point where it sometimes looks like she's being an insensitive asshole on purpose. I mean, really... I hated her in "Filli Vanilli" for what she did to Fluttershy.

    1. I think the supposed "Pony of Shadows" was a recuperating Lord Tirek waiting for the opportune moment to come out of hiding.

      Yes, I did hear of what Pinkie did in "Filli Vanilli" and "Trade Ya" and I'll be sure to point them out.