So, once again, another episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has aired, and so I decided to review it.
Season 2, Episode 3: Lesson Zero. Technically, this is the real season premiere, The Return of Harmony was produced during last season’s production cycle. So it’s only now we get a feel for the future of the show without Lauren Faust’s direct involvement…and that feel is, the show might be better off without her.
I know, blasphemy. Sorry, folks, but it’s what I do. The episode was fantastic. Best ever? Hard to say, but if the season averages out at this level of quality, it will certainly trump last season. Which shocked me because the episode synopsis that was posted online, earlier in the week, didn’t seem like the premise of an amazing episode.
“Hyper-organized Twilight panics when she can’t find a lesson about friendship for her weekly letter to Princess Celestia.”
Not really an exciting premise, or at least that’s what I thought at first. I forgot that when Twilight panics, she really panics. Case in point, Swarm of the Century, which was the last time Twilight lost her mind. In this episode, she does it again, only instead of a moment where she proposes the entire town be rebuilt five feet over there in less than a minute, she spends half the episode out of her fucking mind, which results in the entire town fighting over a fucking doll. After she scares the living shit out of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, she tries to get them to fight so she could try to resolve their differences to gain some information about friendship to report to Celestia. You know, for someone as smart as she is, Twilight is really fucking stupid.
I’m glad the Cutie Mark Crucaders got a good size role this episode, so far this season, these three have made an appearance in two out of three episodes, and considering what we already know regarding the next three episodes, it looks like they are getting a bigger role throughout the entire season. Moving out of the background, so to speak. I love these three, and to see them take their rightful place as, basically, part of the main cast, seems right, seems like it fits. I was hoping they would have a bigger role in the season premiere, but c’est la vie.
The coolest part of this episode was the fact that this is the first time the show’s premise (Twilight Sparkle is living in Ponyville to study friendship and needs to make regular reports to her teacher, Princess Celestia) actually has an impact on the main plot, rather than simply being a reason to shove an Aesop in at the end. This episode also throws in a twist at the end: Twilight’s friends are now asked to send similar reports to the Princess, which might mean Twilight might take a bit of a back seat in future episodes. She’s the only character to have a role in every single friggen episode during the first season, and in some of those episodes, Twilight’s role felt a bit shoehorned in. Take any of the Cutie Mark Crusader episodes, such as the Show Stoppers and Stare Master, the latter of which she spent the majority of as a statue. A role that could easily have been accomplished by any of the other characters, or an actual statue. But they needed her there to make the reports to the princess. This new development means she can take a break every once in a while, and it’ll make the show more rounded, character wise. It might also manage to make Applejack a halfway interesting character. But I doubt it.
There are a few visually interesting moments in the show. Such as Rainbow Dash wearing sunglasses, which begs the question, what’s holding the glasses on her face? I ask because the ear hooks (which usually do the job on humans) are below her ears.
Call it artistic licence I guess. I’d also like to give mad props to whomever had the ideas of Rainbow Dash’s Nuclear Rainblast-
-and Fluttershy as a ninja-chiropractor.
These two scenes made my week, thank you. Don’t worry, the bear’s fine.
But there’s more I’d like to talk about. I’m sick of the fan community saying that some character is “breaking the fourth wall.” In the past it was Pinkie Pie, but in this episode, we have people saying it was Spike. In a way, they are right. Popping thought bubbles, moving lighting effects like there are mere set pieces, and pushing open iris wipes are certainly cases of “breaking the fourth wall” (there’s gotta be a better word for that). The problem is, most of the fan community interpret this an indication that these characters are aware that they are in a cartoon. I think you are projecting. It’s merely an indication that My Little Pony isn’t really a serious drama, but a non-serious cartoon where consistency and logic are reasonable sacrifices for the sake of a good gag. Faust once said this outright, with regards to Equestria’s technology, but I think it’s reasonable to apply it to stupid visual gags as well.
I’m actually sick of a lot of things the fan community have said are gospel, when there actually is no evidence on the show for it to be true. Like Derpy’s love of muffins, which can be attributed to a clip where she say’s “muffins”. But if you look carefully, that voice could easily be from the mouth of either the unicorn standing between BonBon and Colgate, or Colgate herself. But no one says they love muffins. While we’re at it, all those names are also made up by the fans. Many of the names are based on the character’s cutie marks, which makes no sense, because the two should be completely unrelated. It could be a coincidence, but that’s unlikely with the frequency the fan’s project in this manner. But I digress.
There’s a few things that kinda bug me about the latest episode, for one, the new title sequence. Not a big problem, primarily because it’s only a minor change. They added a train going through the middle of town, meanwhile in the show proper, we never see a train anywhere near city limits. The only time we see a train is in Over a Barrel, which has absolutely no scenes taking place in or around Ponyville. When I heard they were going to redo the show’s title sequence, I thought they meant they were going to completely redo it all, not just re-record the theme song and add a train. The song is probably fine, but some new scenes with the main characters during the title sequence would have certainly been appreciated.
Other problems: Twilight’s stupidity. After 28 episodes and so many years working directly under the Princess, she has failed to notice that Princess Celestia is pretty laid back. Twilight acts like she works directly under Ming the Merciless, not…well…Princess Celestia. I can’t think of any monarch quite like her. Anyway, Celestia has never done anything cruel in the history of the show. Okay, fine, banishing her sister to the moon, but we can assume she had a really good reason in that case, like her sister was possessed or something. Yet, Twilight panics every time there’s a possibility of Celestia getting upset. Always obsessing over protocol, meanwhile, at the end of the season one finale, it’s revealed that Celestia hates protocol, and merely tolerates it. So why does Twilight obsess over this shit. My best guess: She’s crazy.
While we’re talking about Celestia, there’s also the problem with Celestia’s reaction at the end of the episode. Where she makes it clear that Twilight never needed to send a letter every week, just when she learned something new about friendship. However at the end of Swarm of the Century, when Celestia asks for Twilight’s latest report, she sounds disappointed when it seems that Twilight didn’t learn anything that week. So, is it any wonder why Twilight thought Celestia expected a report every week?
Finally, we rarely saw Twilight use her teleportation outside of emergencies throughout the first season, then, this episode she teleports over a dozen times…I think, I didn’t count. It’s probably a side effect of her insanity. Also, Twilight overreacting to uneven icing on the cupcakes, I’m not sure if I’ve seen her do anything similar in the past, but it feels out of character for some reason.
So, the season is off to a good start, and we can assume the quality will only go up from here. I’m mostly excited for the next episode. A proper Halloween episode, featuring everyone’s favourite hotter Princess: Luna! It’s been a year since her introduction, and the last time we saw her. So this is certainly exciting. However you know for a fact that after this episode, most, if not all, of those Luna FanFictions in the digital aether will be Jossed (contradicted by canon). We’ll finally get a good look at Luna’s actual personality, and that’s likely to contradict whatever most fans have come up with. But still, I’m excited to finally see her on the screen. Get to hear her voice. Perhaps she will get a chance to explain why she never responded to my letter!