Superstition Ain’t The Way: “Castle Mane-ia” review

People get scared too easily, and by the stupidest things, things that don’t even exist!

I don’t think I should have to tell you that ghosts aren’t real. And even if they were, what the fuck could they do to harm you!? They’re ghosts! They can’t touch you!

I guess they could levitate a knife and throw it at you. But why would they? Are they just dicks?

But for some people, every time something unusual happens, they blame it on ghosts!

A camera malfunctioned. GHOSTS! I hear a creaking noise. GHOSTS! Do you feel a draft? GHOSTS!

I got a better explanation: You live in a shitty house, and you bought a shitty camera!

There is always a better explanation. I’ve been over this before, it’s more likely that a supposed ‘psychic’ is a con artist, rather than some type of superhuman. Just like it’s more likely someone wrapped a sheet around them and decided to fuck with you, rather than there are ghosts around.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m saying it’s highly unlikely, and there’s no evidence.

So why do people get sucked in? Why are they so afraid of something that doesn’t exist?

Well, part of the blame goes to a little thing called ‘confirmation bias’. You hear some strange noise, or some rustling in the bushes, or something you don’t recognise. It’s evolutionarily beneficial to assume it’s a threat, so you can run away and not die.

That’s right, evolution fucked us!

But it seems that even magical multicoloured horses are also susceptible to this phenomenon. As we see on this week’s episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Continuing directly off last week, Twilight’s doing a bit of research, looking for any information on this season’s arc generator.

Or as she calls it, “The mysterious chest that came from the Tree of Harmony.” Can we call it something else, anything else? I got it: Harmony Chest! That works! From now on it’s called The Harmony Chest!

And you know, I should point out, it doesn’t surprise me that Twilight can’t find anything on the chest. It didn’t exist until last week! No one has seen it before!

Twilight, this is your chance to do some original research! Examine the chest itself, see what you can learn from it! Just because it’s not in a book does not mean it’s not real!

Anyway, it’s at this moment, Celestia suggests Twilight visit the old castle ruins in the Everfree Forest, where there’s a library that could help her.

Meanwhile, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are having one of their standard ego competitions, where they find out who’s the most ‘daring.’ The latest round of which involves being covered in bees.

But it’s cut early when the local beekeeper takes his bees back.

They were wearing beekeeping outfits? Girls, I think you missed the point. Though I love the design.

But they still need to finish the competition, and Applejack thinks up another challenge, at the old castle ruins in the Everfree Forest.

Meanwhile, Rarity is on a mission, she heard that the old castle ruins in the Everfree Forest hold a lot of ancient artwork. So she decided to drag Fluttershy along to procure the art for restoration.

So, yeah, that’s the premise. All of our heroes, minus Pinkie, end up at the castle, not knowing the others are there, and hilarity ensues because of it.

Twilight runs across the library, loaded with all sorts of books.

I think she just came.

Also, it seems it’s been a few weeks since she’s suddenly gotten much better at flying.

Both her and Spike start exploring, and…

Okay, what the hell is that!? Because it’s not a pony.

Anyway, the two of them begin their research.

Applejack and Rainbow arrive, the farmer explaining the dare with a shitty ghost story involving the old Nightmare Moon legend.

Of course, Rainbow doesn’t actually buy the story, until a tapestry starts to move and emit a shreeking moan.

Meanwhile, Fluttershy and Rarity run across a tapestry, and Fluttershy starts to get annoyed at her friend’s demands.

In her attempts to get the tapestry down, Fluttershy triggers some type of switch, spinning the wall around.

Once on the other side, she inadvertently scares the hell out of Rainbow and Applejack, before the wall spins around again.

And that’s how the entire episode proceeds, the two groups wandering around, accidentally scaring each other, without knowing the other group is there.

And the castle has everything: Secret trap doors…

…hidden passageways…

…creepy halls…

…dark dungeons…

…mysterious holes in walls…

You get your mind out of the gutter, you.

And after being harassed by a few of them, Rarity considers abandoning her mission. But since Angel got separated from the duo, Fluttershy refuses to leave until they find him. Not knowing he’s safe with Twilight, who’s reading an old diary by Princess Celestia.

Not only that, Angel is actually very good at taking care of himself.

Meanwhile, a random pipe organ starts playing.

It’s Pinkie Pie, and I don’t consider that a spoiler, since she’s not only the only member of the cast not accounted for, but she’s also the only one with cerulean eyes.

Pinkie, stop being creepy.

Anyway, that just freaks our heroes out even more, but why Rainbow assumes the organ is haunted is beyond me. Why not just assume somepony else is in the castle? Why jump to ghosts?

It also seems the organ can trigger traps in the castle, which sends Rarity and Applejack outside.

So both groups are divided. And alone, each of our heroes are scared out of their wits, more so than before.

But they all coincidentally end up in the main foyer, and end up backing into each other. Which triggers four simultaneous panic attacks.

They begin running around like maniacs. Applejack and Rainbow ricochet off the walls; Fluttershy spots a rabbit-like shadow puppet made of rocks before Applejack knocks a column atop of it, triggering a secondary panic attack; and Rarity ends up crying under a tapestry.

Then, Twilight, finally prying herself away from the book, brings her friends back to reality, with a magic freezing spell.

They all regain their sanity, and decide to investigate the organ. Which, of course, is being played by Pinkie Pie. Turns out she didn’t realize she was causing a certain level of chaos in the castle. Likely because she’s thick.

They reconvene in the library, and Twilight explains that she wasn’t scared because she was reading.

I think it also helped that she wasn’t being molested by hidden traps.

Then she gets a brilliant idea, which’ll probably run throughout the rest of the season. Our heroes are gonna write a journal. Wait, one journal? At any rate, this’ll probably take the place of the letters to Celestia from the first two seasons, which went walkabout during the third season. I don’t know whether to be upset by this, because the letters were always kinda stupid. It was actually the one good thing about season three, they got rid of the letters… however inexplicably.

Anyway, this was a great episode. Some may complain that the plot is a bit cliche, which is true. The haunted house storyline is anything but original. But so what!? It’s a great story, extremely well done. And while it feels a bit contrived, it’s entertaining enough that you can look past that. The jokes are quality, the environment is sufficiently creepy, and the circumstances our heroes find themselves in are sufficiently absurd… but not so absurd that it takes me out of the experience.

It might also be Rarity’s finest episode.

Here, she shows a level of tenacity that I wouldn’t normally expect. You gotta respect that. Also, seeing her have a mental breakdown is hilarious.

And just for the sake of posterity, I feel obliged to mention that this is one of those episodes that was accidentally released a few days early. Which makes me happy since it allows me to spend the weekend working on college-related material, and I’ve let too many projects wait until the last-minute.

As for Pinkie’s role, I’ll blame the animators. The ending twist would’ve come as a bit more of a shock if we didn’t see her eye popping out of a painting earlier.

And much like the last Littlest Pet Shop, this episode contains a skeptical bent which I kinda like. Our heroes run around, scared of something that doesn’t exist, and in the end learn there are no ghosts, the castle isn’t out to get them, and it was just an odd series of coincidences that came together.

There was a more reasonable explanation, there was just a normal pony behind the weird stuff, and I think that should be the lesson of the week: Don’t just assume the paranormal. Look for an alternative explanation, there’s always an alternative explanation.

And here I thought Littlest Pet Shop was the skeptical stand out. Nope, now My Little Pony proudly sits alongside it. And I’m really glad they didn’t go the non-skeptical route and end revealing there actually was a ghost. That would have just been ridiculous! I mean what kind of-

Oh, fuck you writers. You were so close!

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