Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 4 Episode 23


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.

"I used to wonder what friendship could be; until I surpassed those who first showed it to me."

- Russet Burbanks, Fanfiction.net

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Hey guys, this is The Thunder.  Today we're gonna look at a very interesting episode.  And by interesting, I mean that it was written by an unlikely pair of writers.  Corey Powell and Meghan McCarthy.  Very interesting indeed.  As you may have guessed by now, I almost can't stand most of Meghan McCarthy's work on this series.  There are some episodes such as "Dragonshy" and "The Crystal Empire" where I think she did okay.  Actually, in my opinion, I think "Sweet and Elite" might be her best episode.  But there are episodes and such that I absolutely despise such as the creation of the irredeemable Diamond Tiara and writing the batshit crazy two-parter, "A Canterlot Wedding".  And as many of you know, Corey Powell's first written episode for this series was "Sleepless in Ponyville", which was awesome.  But then she wrote "Just For Sidekicks", and it sucked.  Then she wrote "Rainbow Falls", which didn't suck, but didn't have nearly as much worth as "Sleepless in Ponyville".  So seeing how both these two writers put together this episode, "Inspiration Manifestation", it should be very interesting to see what I think of it.  Let's take a look.


The Ponyville Foal and Filly Fair is set to commence and Rarity is looking forward to contribute a little something... a puppet theater.  Interesting choice.  Unfortunately, for some reason it doesn't end well.


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So this puppeteer pony called Claude, voiced by Jay Brazeau, is completely unsatisfied with the final results for apparently not being mobile and not having enough room.  Spike, for some reason, is just too nice to Rarity by saying that he likes her creation, but Rarity takes Claude's criticism far too seriously and decides not to contribute anything to the fair.
And judging on all the ice cream and Valentine's chocolates she's been eating, she's probably lost her creative motivation altogether.


So Spike, wanting nothing more than to bring Rarity back to her senses, decides to take a trip back to the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, without consulting Twilight by the way.  What, was he afraid that Twilight wouldn't help him because she knows about his fetish for Rarity and would assume he's being selfish or something?  What a bitch.
By the way, why is Owlowiscious constantly keeping pads on Spike?  He's just looking around.  I know it's because Spike accidentally uncovers a passage that contains one book apparently filled with dark magic, but before that, wherever Spike looks, whenever he takes a book from a shelf, there he is.  What is he trying to tell him anyway?  Turn back around?  At least Spike is courteous to put the books back.  This is the one episode in which I think Owlowiscious is just getting in the way.  I know Spike chose not to consult with Rarity's friends first, wanting to help her himself, but does Spike really take them for granted?  Or did it just not cross his mind?


Anyway, Spike takes the book filled with dark magic, which is name Inspiration Manifestation, hence the episode's name, completely obliviously to the passage collapsing and becoming unusable, and gives it to Rarity.  She chants the spell, including the apparent words that nullify the effect if you pay attention.

Rarity: "From in the head to out in the world, every thought to action. Hold close this book and through its spell, you'll start a chain reaction. Projecting forth whatever beauty you see. Only when true words are spoken will you finally be set free."


So Rarity instantly creates a better puppet theater for Claude and impresses him, but the dark magic begins to take hold of her when she decides to keep the book for herself.  And Owlowiscious is constantly following Spike around, apparently trying to tell him that this isn't a good idea.


And by the time Spike does decide to take the book back, Rarity is even more consumed, deciding to spread her creative touch throughout Ponyville, which is apparently turning everything into high class, including a birthday party.  And poor Spike becomes a sycophant because he's afraid of losing Rarity as a friend, having previously been affectionatey called her "favorite dragon".


I'm not gonna go into too much detail of the things that Rarity does because each scene is just the same formula over and over and over again.  Rarity makes Ponyville worse, Spike is a sycophant, and Owlowiscious is trying to make the Spike get the hint.  It just goes on and on!  And I don't wanna talk about that.


So instead, I'm gonna get right to the important part.  Spike realizes that Rarity has changed for the worst, so he manages to get the book from her and... eats it.  Weird.  But that turns out to be in vain, as Rarity has completely memorized the dark magic and is completely consumed by it.


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But Spike finally musters up his courage and does the one thing he realized he should have done right from the very beginning.

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And the spell releases Rarity from its grip, bringing the madness of the Inspiration Manifestation spell to an end once and for all.  I guess the truth really does set you free.


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I guess the episode was kind of good, maybe more mediocre, but I just didn't understand Owlowiscious at all, particularly during his first scenes.  What exactly was he trying to tell Spike in the beginning?  Consult with Rarity's friends first?  You know, if Spike does take the other ponies for granted, it wouldn't surprise me, considering that he sometimes exists to be the victim of butt-hurt.  So personally, I can't pin much of the blame on him, whether he gets off Scot-free or not.  And having a lot of scenes just present the same exact thing again and again did get a bit tedious.  Oh, well.  At least Rarity and Spike still have their moment in the end.  I'm sure if anything, Spike is trying and having Rarity appreciate it probably a little more fondly than Twilight and not necessarily taking advantage of him is at least heartwarming to--
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Jesus, Twilight!  Of course he doesn't!  Give him a break!


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I'm gonna be brutally honest.  That ending just killed the episode for me.  To Spike's credit, I'm convinced that Twilight and the rest of Rarity's friends would rather let her drown in self-pity instead of actually help her out because she's a 'drama queen'.  That and for some odd reason, Twilight isn't too fond of Spike's fetish for Rarity.  Spike gets little to no credit as a character, he's under-appreciated, his fetish for Rarity is just given a sideways glance when it's actually just like an innocent child crush, and he is intentionally given butt-monkey moments like the Cutie Mark Crusaders, so the little guy definitely deserves way better than what the writers give him.  And I mean more than just being the savior of the Crystal Empire.  At least he got the last laugh in this episode.

Furthermore, why is all this dangerous stuff in Equestria just being kept out of harm's way instead of being demolished?  Okay, Spike gets props for eating the Inspiration Manifestation book, but what about everything else?  The Alicorn Amulet currently resides at Zecora's place where anyone can steal it from.  Even Lord Tirek in the series finale isn't killed off!  He's just imprisoned in the pits of Tartarus and everyone just thinks he's learned his lesson!  What a load!  And really, Twilight?  You think a locked cage that needs only a key can keep anyone from stealing that book?  Actually, whose idea was that anyway?!  Not only is it cliched, but it's not very protective, especially against unicorns who can use magic to easily slip past a locked cage!

Welcome to Equestria, ladies and gentlemen, where friendship trumps!

And like I said before, I'm pretty sure the reason Spike didn't consult Twilight about Rarity is either she would do nothing because of his fetish or that it never crossed his mind, but I'm leaning more towards the former.  After all, who's to say that you can count on others to help you out in a jam?  How else did I pass art school?  I counted on only myself to do work that other students are expected to help out with and just as I expected, in a couple of classes, doing all the work saved my skin.


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Learning to work together on a project is one thing, but another very important lesson to learn is to be prepared to do all the work.  From my personal experiences, it got me through art school.  What's this have to do with Spike?  If you didn't read this review thoroughly enough, kiss it.


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