I've been meaning to do this for some time. See, I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I typically watch new episodes and post my thoughts on the forums I go to. I figured my thoughts are so long and extensive, I should actually post them on my blog! I probably SHOULD have started doing this as soon as season 4 started, instead of near the middle of season 4, but whatever, at least I'm actually doing it. Plus I'll likely do the same thing for other TV shows I'm watching, like Wander Over Yonder and anything else I feel I'd like to comment on.
ANYWAY, the first episode of this particular series: Three's a Crowd.
Yeah, I liked it alright, I guess... I'm still a little confused and/or conflicted about some things in the episode, which I MIGHT get to them as I come to them, but then again, I'm the kind of guy who tends to forget things I wanted to comment on... Oh well, here it goes. See my incredibly extensive thoughts on this episode after the break! (WARNING, some profanity is in here, use discretion while reading)
First off, some Spike abuse. Really, it's nothing cruel or anything, but I can't help but feel like the writers after deliberately finding ways to mess with him. Spike walks in with the mail and falls over because Twilight yanks the mail from him. Really, if I weren't so sensitive to Spike getting the raw end of the deal this season, I probably would dismiss this, or wouldn't even notice it! Worse yet, Spike is never seen again in the episode after this! Well, not that he NEEDED to be in this episode, but I'd figure since Discord was staying at Twilight's house briefly, Spike could have shown helping out a little bit. Eh, whatever, it's not important.
What IS important is an excuse for why Fluttershy (i.e. Discord's closest, and probably only true "friend") won't be in this episode. Apparently, she's leaving to learn more about... Breezies! ...Well now. Yeah, in case some of you don't know, there will be an upcoming episode this March featuring Breezies (or at least has Breezie in the title), and were formerly in G3, in which they were tiny ponies with insect wings (no, not like the Changelings). We get some teases about what they are, and at first, I thought Fluttershy would be spending all of her time there until that episode, but she comes back by the end of this episode... I have to wonder if this is foreshadowing or just a handy way of keeping her out of this episode. On the one hand, I'd LIKE to think that since this season is supposed to have tighter continuity, it's leading to something important. On the other hand, the season has proven to have a bunch of dangling plot threads that don't lead to anywhere, and are more of a gag then anything. Regardless, we'll see when that episode airs.
Also, Pinkie barges in, and gives a joke I don't find all that funny.
So then Fluttershy leaves on the train, and she looks really adorable in that attire. I get the feeling that there's something in this scene I wanted to mention, but I'm forgetting it... Also, Pinkie does this whole "I'll never forget you" train cliche, then gets distracted by a balloon... Was that supposed to be funny? Well, if it was... I THINK I get what they were going for, but it still kind of falls flat... Like really, this is probably the most confusing joke in the episode. Pinkie's running off after the train shouting "I'll never forget you!" to Fluttershy, even though she's not going to be gone all that long. I don't find it particularly funny, but I get that. In a sense, it's a shout-out to Wonderbolts Academy where she's basically the same way about Rainbow Dash leaving. But then the balloon floats by and... I GUESS we're left to assume that she immediately forgets about Fluttershy? Um, okay, several things wrong here. For one, the original joke was enough, did we really need to add this? Two, this kind of contradicts Pinkie's obsessive behavior about missing her friends, as I said int he aforementioned Wonderbolts Academy episode. Three, even if it didn't... is Pinkie REALLY that simple-minded that she gets distracted by a freaking balloon, to the point where she immediately forgets that one of her best friends are leaving?! I mean, yeah, Fluttershy's not going to be gone for long, but Pinkie is still treating it like a big deal up until that point! I really don't like this kind of random behavior from Pinkie; I prefer when she's off-beat, but her logic is still at least somewhat understandable. ...Eh, maybe this was just meant to set-up a later joke, which I'll get to.
Then another train shows up... a crystal train... Um, last I checked, there was only one train... but then again, since THAT train just left, another train is needed for when Cadance arrives. Still, caught me a BIT off guard, since I would THINK, since we've traveled to the Crystal Empire by train before, we'd see this train... then again, maybe it's a special train, meant for Cadance specifically. Regardless... They really need to make it so that it doesn't screech that much.
Oh yeah, Flash Sentry. He's there, he doesn't say anything, he doesn't impact the plot at all (just like he did in Equestria Girls, ba-dum-tish), and that's it, move along nothing to see here.
Nice to see Twilight's princesshood is acknowledged, even if it was just mentioned in passing. In a season which, so far, has treated Twilight like she hasn't changed at all, it's nice... no, it's NECESSARY to be reminded that a big, status quo-changing event occurred at the end of the last season. Also, I like Cadance. I know there isn't really much to say about her other then being generally nice, but I dunno, i just like her. Not as much as Shining Armor, though.
...OH SNAP, I just realized while writing this, Twilight and Cadance didn't do their "sunshine sunshine" dance in this episode! How do we know she's not Chrysalis in disguise now?! ...You know what, it's probably not her; if it was, she's acting WAY too competently this time around.
And then there's Discord. I feel like there are a lot of questions surrounding Discord in this episode that SHOULD be answered or at least addressed that are either glanced over and ignored, but I probably won't get to all of them, nor do I currently have enough thinking juice to really ponder all of it at the moment... The one major thing that really got to me, throughout the episode, though, was where the Hell does Discord live?! I kind of assumed he was living with Fluttershy, but since Rainbow Dash tells him to "go home" and since Fluttershy writes to him, it would seem that that's not the case... So where DOES he live?! Seriously, Discord was this big-time villain, capable of turning all of Equestria upside-down; even IF he has Fluttershy as an anchor to keep him from going completely diabolical, you'd THINK they'd keep a closer eye on him, ESPECIALLY since they don't have the freaking Elements of Harmony anymore! I mean GEEZ, as if Keep Calm and Flutter On being a bad set-up to this (yeah, sorry people who liked that episode, I'm still not convinced) and Meghan McCarthy playing the "who's side is he REALLY on?!" care, adding FURTHER confusion to people who actually enjoyed that episode, this just begs so many questions! One of many that this episode raises...
Anyway, Discord's sick with the "blue flu", and wants Fluttershy to take care of him, apparently "forgetting" that she left that very day. BTW, the reason why I'm putting those words in quotation marks is, since Meghan McCarthy is really pushing the "who's side is he REALLY on?!" card, I find every action he does questionable, and not in a good way. Rainbow Dash ditches, and Pinkie Pie... apparently annoys Discord? Um... okay... that's a little weird. I mean, you'd think Discord would be happy to have Pinkie as a playmate/someone to take care of him. I mean, he's all about chaos and nonsense, and you don't get anymore chaotic and nonsensical then Pinkie Pie (at least until next week). Again, I feel like this was a wee bit of a forced excuse to set up the main premise of Twilight and Cadance taking care of Discord, and thus, they use the balloon joke from before to have Pinkie Pie go away. Applejack and Rarity are left, and they agree amongst themselves to take care of Discord so that Twilight and Cadance wouldn't be bothered... to which Discord overhears them and "accidentally" infects them with his sickness. ...You know, I have to wonder how they got better after that... Again, will get to that later.
BTW, forgot to mention, apparently there's a traveling "Starswirl the Bearded" exhibition visiting Ponyville. It's nice to know that despite Ponyville being a hick town completely unaware of such an important historical figure to their country, SOME ponies are giving him the respect he deserves. I really have to wonder how much Cadance actually cares about this, but likely is just glad to be hanging out with Twilight... although she DID recognize that candle holder, which... wasn't real, I think, since it turns into Discord.
Also, Cadance knows an anti-sickness spell? Her and barriers... I thought that was Shining Armor's thing. Then again, she IS an alicorn, which... well, at first I thought that meant you were a being with a LOT of magical power, but ever since Cadance and now Twilight have been introduced as alicorns, I have to wonder if that's really the case. It's all very confusing. Some WOULD say that the ambiguity is a good thing, since it means there's a lot of wiggle-room, but for me personally, I'd prefer to get some concrete answers...
I have to wonder why Twilight bothered helping Discord out... Purely in the name of "friendship"? Again, this begs the question, why would Twilight want Discord as a friend... I mean, yeah, reformation, making sure he doesn't turn back, blah blah blah, but wasn't that Fluttershy's job? I know she's not here, and I know her reasoning for being friends with Discord is questionable (sorry people who liked Keep Calm and Flutter On, it is), but still, it feels a bit strange... Then again, I suppose Twilight DOES want to uphold herself as someone who has a good grasp on what being a friend is about, and usually, to show that you want to be a good friend, you're going to have to give a little bit, to show that you care (even if you don't). I guess she probably realizes that Discord still needs to learn about what it means to be a friend, and she's doing this to show that she's willing to help him in his "time of need"... even though she still doesn't seem to trust him all that much... I really don't know where I'm going with this. Perhaps I'm overthinking it, but then again, this episode feels so strange to me, and I want to know why...
So we cut to Twilight's home, Discord is in Twilight's bet, looking through and reading her stuff, taking advantage of Twilight's kindness, which is pretty much the point of all of this... Yeah, I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying this, by this point. What follows is a song that's entertaining, strange, and goes by WAY too quickly for me to fully grasp what's going on. Seriously, half, or even two-thirds of what's in that song sequence went by so fast I couldn't even process it! ...This is also a very weird song in the sense that, unlike other songs in the show, I can't see it being remixed all that much, nor does it feel like a traditional song this show is used to. It feels more like a song from the likes of [i]Adventure Time[/i], or shows that aren't musical by nature... It's hard to explain, it just feels really unique. It's not catchy, it doesn't really have a "beat" to it, it doesn't "sound" all that appealing, but dang if I don't want to listen to it again just to hear/see all the things I missed.
Incidentally, this is the moment where I realized Discord wasn't truly sick. Someone who can still do all he managed to do can't be THAT under the weather... He then decides to reveal that there is a cute for this "blue flu", and that Twilight and Cadance can lead him there... while dressed as Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? I haven't seen that movie, so can anyone tell me if this is specifically referencing anything?
So anyway, Twilight and Cadance make it to the flower, only to find out that the flower is gigantic. They combine their magic to get the flower out of the ground, and then a giant worm attacks them...
...Yeah, that happens. Like, I don't even know what else to say, it just came right the fuck out of nowhere, and the fight with it isn't really that exciting. Cadance gets caught, "let go of my sister-in-law", TWILIGHT gets caught, "let go of MY sister-in-law", they both get eaten, then make it out, they bury it, the end. Yeah, sorry if I sound unimpressed, but... well, I wasn't impressed. :-\
The carry the big flower to Discord, who SURPRISE SURPRISE isn't blue anymore. Yeah, turns out he faked it to get Twilight to do what he wanted. Now if it had ended there, or if it had skipped the following part, I'd kind of be okay with this episode. Discord still doesn't understand what it means to be a friend, takes advantage of someone's kindness in the name of "friendship" (again, kind of like what he tried to do in Keep Calm in Flutter On, but didn't go through with it because... friendship, I guess. Once again, sorry people who liked that episode, still have a hard time buying that Discord would even WANT friendship, especially after what's about to happen), then suffers some karmatic justice. But instead, we get treated to Discord pulling a excuse right out of his ass to save face about putting Twilight through all this... you know, when he "manipulated" Twilight in Princess Twilight Sparkle, it was done excellently, because you couldn't tell if he was genuinely trying to help Twilight out or if it was part of some grander scheme of his, and he played off of it very naturally, to the point where you could believe either way. See, THAT is how you do "who's side is he REALLY on?" properly (except for the whole Fluttershy bit, but whatever). Here, he's not even trying to hide the fact that he really was trying to take advantage of Twilight, to the point where he has a special amulet depicting him putting a thumbs up in Twilight's face. You know, subtly can be pretty nice every now and again.
But that's not the problem I have with this... The problem I have is what follows. See, Discord, in full-on dick mode, goes on to say he probably ruined Twilight and Cadance's time together, to which Cadance, surprising Twilight and Discord (and me as well), says it didn't. See, it turns out she DID enjoy their time together, because it was so "exciting" and "unexpected" compared to her routine royal duties in the Crystal Empire... Um, yeah, sorry Meghan McCarthy and Josh Haber, I don't buy this in the slightest. In this very episode, it was pointed out that the last few times Twilight and Cadance hung out, disaster awaited; at least two of those times involved the fate of Equestria, as well as their very lives, just like this time! I mean, I know Cadance is trying to see the positives in this situation, but saying she had a great time... yeah, you're pushing it. Or maybe she was just saying that to not let Discord's jerkiness get to Twilight, or to show up Discord himself, who... seems genuinely upset by this. Okay, THIS is the biggest confusing moment of this episode. Yeah, forget the Pinkie Pie balloon thing, this really confused me... why does Discord seem so upset by the fact that Twilight and Cadance still managed to have a good time even while taking care of him? Was he disappointed that he didn't get more attention or everything he wanted? Or was he trying to put a wedge in-between Twilight and Cadance by doing this? ...Actually, a very cruel, uncomfortable thought just came to me... Celestia originally said that Discord ruled over Equestria, and all ponies under his rule were miserable... What if... he made them miserable for his own amusement? Yeah, that would make sense, seeing as he did the exact same thing to the mane 6 in Return of Harmony! And now he's trying to do the same thing here, and seeing Twilight and Cadance staying positive about it got on his nerves! This is kind of a bad thing, because it further proves that I don't think Discord has any interest in wanting friends, and instead, would rather many other ponies miserable then trying to share joy and happiness with them. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it does make me both uncomfortable and fascinated at the same time...
Then the worm shows up again and sneezes on Discord. ...Yeah, it happened about as suddenly as the first time... But what's more confusing about this is that a.) Discord clutches onto Twilight, yet is the only one affected by the sneeze and b.) Discord seems legitimately shocked by the worm's presence. Surely he must have heard it roar a little while ago. Not to mention, I had originally assumed that Discord picked out this flower BECAUSE of the worm, but then again, maybe he's not THAT cruel... or rather, that's not his style (he'd rather mess with ponies then have them eaten by giant worms). Either way, the worm, who's somehow sick, gets Discord IMMEDIATELY infected. You know, that's another thing about this episode, things go by so fast, you can't keep up with them.
So the episode ends with Discord being treated for by Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity... somehow get better (I guess it wore off after Discord dropped the act), and Twilight is completely hesitant on doing anything for Discord, even getting him... a glass of water. :P You know what, I actually kind of like this ending. Having Discord ACTUALLY sick and actually needing care may just show him how fortunate he is to have somepony willing to take care of him. Or not. I'd prefer to think that maybe he'll learn something from this, and you know, be one step closer to being actually reformed? Really, this is something that probably should have been done with Keep Calm and... no, you know what, the problem with Keep Calm and Flutter On was that it was a one-episode deal. When you're dealing with an important character like Discord, and something as big as reforming one of the biggest villains the mane 6 have ever faced, it NEEDS to be a multi-episode deal. KCaFO might have worked better as a jumping off point, something that establishes that Discord is willing to give friendship a shot, rather then having it seem like he's reformed at the end. Eh, whatever, I feel like I ragged too much on that episode in what was supposed to by my thoughts on Three's a Crowd, but then again, you can't really mention Discord and how he fits into the show without mentioning that episode, since that episode's the whole reason why we have Discord here at all.
ANYWAY, upon writing this out, I feel like this episode's actually pretty good. Discord is definitely the best part; if not for the humor, then for the insight I came to while thinking about his role in the episode. Everything else was okay, not much to say about them.
But now that we have that out of the way, next week's episode guest stars Weird Al Yankovic, bring it on! :D