Yeah, yeah, I know I just did an article centered around My Little Pony, but my anticipation for season four has my pony-loving fangirl fangasms reaching new heights that I previously wouldn’t have found physically possible. So, before Disney Month takes over my life, I’m going to talk about what is without a doubt my favorite episode of the show that, sadly, gets a lot of hate and negative reviews. Well, this will probably be more of a rant than a review, so enjoy.
“Magic Mystery Cure”, the season three finale, certainly had a lot of stuff to swallow in a twenty-two minute period. Does that make it bad or fast-paced? Not at all. In summary, *spoiler alert* “Magic Mystery Cure” opens with an awesome Twilight musical number, only to be interrupted by a rain cloud pouring several gallons of water on her. Then, we see that Rarity has Rainbow Dash’s Cutie Mark, and is trying to control the weather, and failing at it miserably. Along comes another song, where it’s revealed that, apart from Twilight, the same fate has befallen the rest of the Mane Six. Fluttershy gets Pinkie’s mark, Rainbow Dash gets Fluttershy’s, Pinkie gets Applejack’s, Applejack gets Rarity’s, and Rarity gets Rainbow Dash’s. In doing so, their lives and “destinies” are switched around. I’ve written an article that analyzes the usage of the word “destiny” in MMC in detail, so I’m not going to bother with it here.
After Twilight realizes that casting Starswirl The Bearded’s spell on the Elements of Harmony is what caused the switch, she comes up with a new plan: help her friends rediscover their talents by letting them help each other. Ultimately, her plan is a success (and gives birth to the best fucking song in the entire series, “A True, True Friend”), and Twilight is transported to an ethereal plane where Princess Celestia reveals to her that she’s done something no other unicorn has ever been able to do, due to her knowledge of friendship, and Twilight is transformed into an alicorn princess.
Yeah, like I said, that’s a lot to swallow in one episode; hell, I think even “A Canterlot Wedding” had less involved in it, and that was a two-part episode. However, I think the episode is flawlessly paced. Let’s be honest here: what actually is wrong with the pacing? Everything is settled through music. Here, I’ll link every song in the episode here, and it literally summarizes the entire damn episode.
We have our opening:
The main conflict is established:
Twilight mopes a bit:
The conflict is resolved:
Twilight becomes an alicorn:
A satisfying ending:
So… what is the problem here? Yes, “Magic Mystery Cure” doesn’t waste any time and just jumps straight into things, introducing the conflict in the first five minutes, but what is bad about that? For a moment, let me bring up the pilot episode of MLP, “Friendship Is Magic part one”. So, here’s what we learned in this episode:
1. Equestria is a monarchy
2. The weather is controlled by ponies
3. The Elements of Harmony are the most powerful artifacts in the universe
4. Twilight is a student to the princess, has no social life, is a bit of a shut-in and is a very intelligent book worm
5. The name of the capital city is Canterlot
6. Ponyville is rural
7. Pinkie Pie is insane, knows everyone and loves parties
8. Applejack is a farmer and has a huge family
9. Rainbow Dash is full of herself, fast, works as a weather control pegasus, and wants to join the Wonderbolts
10. The Wonderbolts are the best fliers in the kingdom and perform in shows
11. Rarity loves fashion, considers herself high-class and dreams of living in Canterlot
12. Fluttershy is quiet, loves animals, hates attention, but can come out of her shell when something interests her
13. Dragons aren’t common in Equestria
14. Spike is a dragon, and Twilight’s assistant
15. Princess Celestia often appears for special events
16. Ponyville has a mayor
17. Rainbow Dash is violent
18. Nightmare Moon wasn’t just a legend
I’m sure I missed some, but here’s my point: info-dumping and being fast-paced isn’t a bad thing when the episode comes full-circle by introducing a conflict, than ending it with either a cliffhanger or a conclusive ending. Fast-paced doesn’t necessarily mean bad, but, if I’m perfectly honest here, I don’t think “Magic Mystery Cure” is fast-paced.
Sure, it could have been two-part, with part one centered around the Cutie Mark switch, and part two about Twilight’s coronation. But… what would we have other than that? As much as I love alicorn Twilight, I think a full episode about her becoming a princess would be way too slow and, admittedly, boring. It would have to be drenched in filler scenes and comic relief to get twenty-two minutes out of that, which would just ruin “Magic Mystery Cure”.
Everything that is needed is established through music. MMC took a very different approach than most other episodes, sacrificing jokes for songs, which make up the bulk of the episode, and gets the emotion across flawlessly. I’ve always wanted to see a musical MLP episode (which, with this show’s soundtrack, was epic in every way). This was not meant to be funny or hardhearted. “I’ve Got To Find A Way” is easily the saddest and darkest scene in the whole show; for My Little Pony, which is almost always bright and cheerful, it’s like a slap in the face. And you know what? It works. We don’t need dialogue to see that everyone is miserable and unhappy, and Twilight blames herself for it. See what I’m getting at? Comic relief would absolutely destroy the atmosphere that MMC established. This isn’t fun; it’s the ending to Twilight’s character arc, as far as being a student is concerned. For a kid’s show, this is surprisingly dark.
Going back to the idea that there isn’t enough serious plot here to spread among two episodes, let me reference the season three pilot, “The Crystal Empire”. This one is rather infamous, being considered by the majority of fans to be the worst season premier out of them all. While I agree, that doesn’t mean I dislike “The Crystal Empire” – I just think that it’s fate almost befell “Magic Mystery Cure” as well.
The basic gist of “The Crystal Empire” was that a kingdom called The Crystal Empire has re-appeared after one-thousand years, and Shining Armor and Cadence are there investigating, and protecting the city from King Sombra, who enslaved the Crystal Empire years ago.
Twilight and the Mane Six are summoned to help Cadence and Shining Armor. She eventually finds the Crystal Heart, an artifact the crystal ponies use to banish Sombra for good, and it’s revealed that Cadence is the Crystal Princess…? How that works, don’t ask me, especially since Cadence is apparently only a few years older than Twilight, and the Crystal Empire has been gone for one-thousand years.
So yeah, lots of plot holes, lots of questions, almost no answers and the plot was really weak. There’s a reason people don’t like this premier. Honestly, it was unnecessarily long, and had the pacing of a constipated guinea pig. If MMC had done this, I honestly believe it would have been a pretty bad season finale.
Now, for my next point: alicorn Twilight.
Where do I start with this one? Well, I suppose I should have a little chat with my fellow “bronies” that threw such a colossal bitch-fit about this plot element. To be blunt, if you’re part of the fandom that feels this will ruin the show, you’re not a true brony. Not only are you not a true brony, you’re also frighteningly unperceptive, and have clearly not paid any damn attention to the entire show.
Fact: This was a plot point from the beginning. It wasn’t a ploy by Hasbro to make more money; Lauren Faust, ya know, the one that created Friendship Is Magic, originally planned for Twilight to become an alicorn. She didn’t have a set way to do it, but it was her intention before leaving the show. The writers merely completed Twilight’s first character arc. Yes, I’m saying that Princess Twilight Sparkle was hinted at though the entire show. Ever notice how the Element of Magic is a tiara, vs Generosity, Kindness, Loyalty, Honesty and Laughter being necklaces?
I know, I know. I’m just great at mindfucking people with things that are totally
not obvious and secret.
This isn’t going to ruin the show. If anything, you should want Twilight to be rewarded for her trails and all the challenges she faced. I mean, she saved the world four different times. She deserves this, and I’ll admit: in the song “Celestia’s Ballad”, when Celestia says the line “And all the ways you’ve made me proud of you”, I get goosebumps and tear up. Every. Damn. Time.
But wait, Ashley, doesn’t Twilight achieving her goal mean that this is the end of Twilight? And if it’s the end of Twilight, does that mean the show is over? She is the main character, after all… No. Twilight’s character arc is a sub-plot at best, what with the other characters and their stories.
And while I’m on the topic of writing, a lot of people like to think this episode is poorly written and out-of-character. I disagree, and analyze this in detail in my other MMC article.
There are so many other things for the writers to expand on now. Will Rainbow Dash become a Wonderbolt? If she does, will she find its not what she expected? Will we see more of Discord? How will the Cutie Mark Crusaders get their Cutie Marks? What will they be? What kind of a princess will Twilight be?
The possibilities have just begun.