The Dawning of the Age of MacGuffins: A review of the episode entitled “Princess Twilight Sparkle”

It’s been around nine months since, what I would call, The Great Winged Fiasco! When the decision was made to turn everyone’s favourite down-to-earth intellectual, into a princess.

I still don’t think it was a good idea, but none of that matters, since they sorta made it work. Much like the return of Trixie, a terrible idea can be overcome by excellent execution.

Which thankfully, it seems we have. Her Highness’ introduction aside, which I still think was a terrible episode, it seems as if the Princess Twilight thing is being very well executed. Which is great, especially after the unsettling implications of the Royal Wedding (nepotism anyone?) and the underwhelming missed opportunity that has been the Crystal Empire episodes.

Equestria Girls offered us a limited preview of what was to come, and while there were a few missteps, they seem to have been heading in the right direction.

And now that Season Four has had its official premiere, it’s safe to say that’s still true. Which is a very good thing, for multiple reasons. The least of which being: this is the shot in the arm the series needs.

The fact remains that season three was terrible. There’s no way to lawyer that. You can’t do it. Why was this? I don’t know for certain, but I have a theory. They were running out of ideas. The show was getting stale. When they turned Twilight into a princess, it offered the opportunity to inject new life into the series.

It could either be terrible, or excellent.

It’s also worth noting that, according to Meghan McCarthy, this week’s two-parter was the conclusion to Magical Mystery Cure. And I only have to ask: How?

With the exception of Twilight’s transformation, also elaborated on during the film, there don’t appear to be any plot threads whatsoever that are transferring over or being elaborated on. Even though that would be nice. Is it the fact that the elements are in a display case and that Discord’s free? Well that started a few episodes earlier, McCarthy. So I don’t know what you’re on.


Anyway, what’s so great about the new season premiere? Quite a few things. We’re back to establishing Twilight’s nervousness, and discomfort regarding her new position, and her new wings.

Oh, and don’t forget the new title sequence, displaying more of our ensemble cast.

It may seem like a minor point, but I’m glad they did this. The show stopped being exclusively about our six heroes a long time ago, so this is well overdue, but I am a little confused about Snips and Snails’ inclusion. I’m pretty sure Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon deserve the spot even more. Perhaps this means we’ll see more of the supporting cast in future episodes. Maybe even a few episodes dedicated to them.

Anyway, Twilight! Seems as if her coronation got its own stained glass window… why? No I mean it, why did the coronation get commemorated like that? I thought it was reserved for massive battles, or great acts of bravery. Saving the world type stuff! That’s not the case! I’d understand if the cutie mark crisis, and her resolution got commemorated like that, but not the coronation, that makes no sense! Is Cadance’s coronation also included!? Is Celestia trying to fill up her loyalty card for the stained-glass company by the end of the month? Oi!

I’m glad Rainbow said what everyone was thinking, not everyone’s so keen to be a princess, Rarity. Since it was McCarthy herself who said, “Every little girl wants to be a princess.” Yeah, no! And I think she realizes that now!

So, anyway, it’s the eve of the Summer Sun Celebration, and Twilight has her royal duties, while the other five have local duties back in Ponyville. So they have to split up, and they do.

Twilight’s all alone, and Celestia tries to cheer her up, explaining how great this year’s celebration will be. The tone has now changed. Before the celebration was all about Celestia vanquishing her sister, now it’s about her sister’s return. Definite change of tone.

Wait… does this mean what I think it means? Has it only been a year since the series premiere? Only a year has passed!?


Then Celestia leaves, Twilight naps, and it hits the fan.

Celestia and Luna are missing, the sun and moon are locked in place, and… HEY! That was my idea!

Anyway, yeah, bad times. Also, Ponyville’s being invaded by black vines from the Everfree Forest.

Twilight orders the royal guards to continue the search, who are apparently lost without orders from the royal family. Good to know, the Royal Guards of Equestria aren’t only unnecessary, they’re incompetent as well! The military on Revolution have more sense than these twats!

Then, she decides to make her way back to Ponyville, and Spike talks her into flying there, which she sucks at.

Thankfully, the Ford Model-T-wilight comes with seatbelts-what the fuck…

Okay, whatever. After fucking with the laws of physics, Twilight crashes in the library, where her friends are waiting, doing their own research to solve the crisis.

Why is Fluttershy apologizing for accessing a public library?

Anyway, there’s something interesting I noticed about these black vines. They appear to be designed in some way to mess with all three races. The vines themselves screw with the earth ponies. They release a gas that screws with unicorn magic. And finally, for the pegasi, they appear to come in some type of cloud form.

I know what you’re thinking: that makes no sense. But it actually does if you don’t think about it. I’m kidding of course. We’ll assume they’re not actually clouds, but that they’re filled with hydrogen and made of some kind of gelatinous substance produced by the primary organism.

See how awesome sci-fi is?

Anyway, such a designed organism, the fact that the sun and moon are both up, and the disappearance of the princesses. There’s only one explanation: DISCORD!

They summon him using a spell, but he denies involvement.

Okay, here’s an honest question: What’s with Fluttershy’s reaction?

I know I may be nitpicking here, but it just looks odd. Why does she look so uncomfortable around Discord now? I thought they were friends!

Did something happen?

Are they ‘special’ friends?

Oh god!

Seriously, that is an odd reaction. I’m probably wrong on the fuck buddies theory by the way. But still… it deserves an explanation.

Anyway, Discord suggests asking Zecora, who just trotted into town, loaded with wares.

Her solution is simple: A potion that can only be catalyzed with alicorn magic.

Twilight sends a bolt of energy into the flask, and… wait…

Sombra magic!? Why Sombra magic!? That can’t be good.

She drinks the potion like a moron, and has a vision. A vision of Luna causing a solar eclipse, and taking over Equestria, before transforming into Nightmare Moon.

As anyone can guess, it’s a vision of the past, we see what really happened a thousand years ago when Luna was banished.

Meanwhile Twilight’s wondering why Luna would do this again. It’s the first fucking time you stupid-!

Sorry. It’s just that Twilight can be pretty dense. Why is she princess material again?

Nonetheless, I like this scene. We never got to see these world-changing conflicts before, so it’s kinda nice to get some back story.

We also get to see the Elements of Harmony in their original forms!

Including the Element of Magic!


Why does it look like Twilight’s cutie mark? That’s some time paradox shit right there!

Also, you think it would take Celestia a bit longer to resort to using the elements.

Anyway, Luna’s banished, and the potion wears off. So Twilight takes another sip, and travels further back.

This time witnessing Discord’s original defeat, at the hooves of two battle-scarred princesses. Possibly played by John Hurt.

I’ve seen things…

Anyway, I guess the potion has a seizure, because it shows events slightly out-of-order as we suddenly flash further back, and see Luna and Celestia procure the elements from the Tree of Harmony!

Okay, that’s a shit name. No way around that, it’s a shit name.

Anyway, the elements were the tree’s power source, but even without it still had enough energy stored inside it to do its job without a problem. That job being: to contain the Everfree Forest.

Obviously something went wrong.

The team goes in. All they know, or actually, all they suspect, is that it’s in the Everfree Forest. And after nearly getting mauled by a crocodile, five sixths of the group decides to send Twilight back. After all, she’s a Princess.

I’m not surprised Twilight took offense to that.

Their reasoning in that they already lost two princesses, Equestria can’t afford to lose a third.

I think they’ll manage to carry on. Is their society that fragile? And also, Cadance can still take over. I’m sure the Crystal Empire will do fine without her.

Worst case scenario, Equestria becomes a republic.

Regardless, she heads back, where Discord gives her a bit of a sarcastic passive-aggressive bollocking.

You know, it’s a bit of a: Gee, Twilight, I didn’t know you were a bitch.

And basically, it all comes down to the fact that he’s right. The fact that her friends sent her back means they think she’s better than them, and more important; and the fact that Twilight went along with it, means she agrees.

By the way, I love that scepter.

I’m glad they dealt with this. The fact that Twilight’s friends start treating her differently because of her position when they really shouldn’t. It was exactly what I hoped would happen, and it was done in a way that worked. You can’t really complain.

So, Twilight and Spike go back in. And after a bit of walking, and the realization that they can’t find their friends, Spike climbs a tree, and is just too lucky.

But Twilight just isn’t lucky enough.


Spike finds the girls, who, by the way, found the tree.

But they can’t save it. They have no idea what to do. If they only had a super genius best friend they didn’t send off.

Then Spike arrives, crying for help.

The gang saves Twilight, who quickly evaluates the situation, and realizes the solution: They need to sac the elements.

In order for the tree to fight off the vines, it needs the elements. So they have to return the Elements to their original location.

It works, the vines die off, and Luna and Celestia, who were kidnapped by the vines, and held near the tree, are quickly freed.

YAY!!! Victory!

Then something very bizarre happens.

And this is either going to be the greatest thing to ever happen in the series, or the biggest fucking tease I’ve ever seen.

I think we may finally get an arc!

Yeah, we were teased with one last season, but I think this is the real deal. We have a mysterious box that it’s up to Twilight and company to open. What’s in it? I’m guessing a new superweapon. Regardless, we get a new MacGuffin to last the rest of the season, at least. Six keys, six ponies, and 26 episodes to find them.

I’m excited!

But where did the black vines come from anyway!? We still have that plot thread to deal with. Well, turns out Discord planted them over a thousand years ago. He’s just as confused as they are why they hatched now, and not a thousand years ago. Why didn’t he tell them this sooner? Well, he’s still Discord. Also, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know how to actually stop them.

So that’s the episode. And I have to say, it could not have been better.

It feels like a return to form for the writers. After the giant misstep of season three, we’re getting back to what makes the show great: the characters.

I think that’s the best part about the episode, the character development. Twilight learns that she shouldn’t let herself be coddled just because she’s a princess, and her friends learn the same thing!

For a while there, during the episode, I thought Twilight might abdicate, but now, I don’t think they’ll go that far.

Regardless, it’s a new season, and a new era for the entire series. And I also think that’s a good thing.

And most importantly: a new mission for our favourite ponies!! Allons-y!


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