I see alot of talk from people saying that FIM should be longer because the pacing feels rushed.
Maybe they need to do a better job at pacing and knowing when to "trim fat", perhaps?
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I've rewatched bits and pieces of the finale and more than ever the set-up was better than the payoff. I just noticed how during the changeling fight scene, Rarity was the only one who wasn't even given a small segment where she is shown fighting her clones. No trepidation of getting her hooves dirty and not even a callback of her saying "OH IT. IS. ON!" Just one PPG-esque cutaway of her slugging a changeling. Maybe a director's cut of the Royal Wedding for this then? Who knows.
Maybe this should've been a 90 minute finale instead of a 60 minute one. Heck it feels like since one of the very prominent complaints throughout the series was how episodes are rushed, we might as well make FiM into hour-long episodes. But an hour-long "Dragon Quest"? ...*shudders*
Extended version of "Love is in Bloom" out!
STILL NOT LONG ENOUGH
Also, it seems that the piano section before the vocal section is part of the actual song. That just makes the song even better.
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
Huh, guess I'm one of the very few who didn't like that song all that much. Mainly because it was just so painfully unsubtle. To quote someone from a different forum...
Oh sure, it's still good aside from that, but yeah, that particular verse is just...The tune to this day is really good, but the lyrics really bug me.
I could care less about the dress
I won't partake in any cake
Vows, well I will be lying when I say
That through any kind of weather
I'll want us to be together
The truth is I don't care for him at all
Those aren't lyrics, they're narration. And obtuse narration at that.
I don't think it's necessarily the worst song, but it's far from my favourite either. Even in the second season alone, I think that Smile, May the Best Pet Win, Love is in Bloom and the Flim Flam brothers' song (in that order) are far superior.
When I listened to "BBBFF" I also felt a small twinge of uncertainty about the song quality that kinda felt the same way as yours I believe. The tune was great but the lyrics were... eh. It actually felt kindof insulting and lame in a way, since here is apparently a perfect sibling relationship in a world that wasn't afraid to show siblings get in conflict with each other. (I'm looking at you AJ/AB, Rarity/SB).
No matter how good this was, some part of me believes that the Royal Canterlot Wedding is an anomaly that should never be mentioned again because of things like above.
The Toon Zone review of the DVD set containing this episode is up.
I must comment that the review is really awkwardly written. It's very self-deprecating, and describes the episodes in negative ways, but then suddenly shifts gears at various points and recommends the show to everyone only to shift back. I could understand if this was due to the reviewer not having seen the show before and grudgingly admitting he liked it, but he specifically states that he was already a brony at the beginning of the review. The goal appears to have been to get people to watch the show who aren't already, and I don't think it did that at all, in particular due to very little description of the show itself, not even to describe the basic premise.
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
But... pretty much every plot in this show has been done by another show. Doesn't make it any less entertaining. It's fun to see their own little takes on things.
Honestly, I'd be amazed if there was an episode with a plot that, on its basic level, isn't typical of a children's show or sitcom.
The only one that comes to mind as a possibility is "The Secret of My Excess".
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
Toon Addict for Life and "gated community" member since August, 2002.
"ph34r t3h cute ones" -Megatokyo
Well, we're finally at the end of my episode reviews. I was planning on having this occur the week before season 3 started, but amazingly, there hasn't even been an announcement of when the season will start. I didn't see that coming.
I have a lot to say about these episodes. So much that I have to break this into segments, and the parts before my coverage of the episodes themselves are longer than a normal episode review. And because this is taking so long to write, I'll be posting the parts I wrote before watching the episode today, and the parts about the episode itself tomorrow.
I'll just note ahead of time that I'll be using the spelling “Cadence” instead of “Cadance” because I don't want spell check yelling at me about it all the time.
Lead up to the episode
There was a lot of confusion and there were a lot of negative expectations about these episodes in the lead-up to it. As I talk about more below, just the fact that we were getting another winged unicorn was already pretty bad, but then it also turned out that Twilight suddenly had an older brother! And the entire story was going to be about a wedding between two characters we've never seen before!
I remember back when we first learned about Cadence and Shining Armor from pictures of an exhibit. No one had any clue what to make of it, and many even thought that it was meant to celebrate a wedding of Hasbro employees, with Cadence and Shining Armor being OCs (original characters) representing them. Alternatively, maybe it was just to celebrate the royal wedding of Will and Kate. In any case, people generally hoped that they wouldn't actually appear in the show. Much later, we had confirmation that Shining Armor, at least, would appear in the show, and later it was known for sure that the Royal Wedding would be the season 2 finale.
A common theory, which even I subscribed to, was that the season finale would involve the main characters being sucked into a storybook, and that Cadence and Shining Armor would be fictional characters within the fictional world of the show. An alternative was that Cadence and Shining Armor were the parents of Celestia and Luna, and the story would involve time travel. These flew out the window when it was revealed that Cadence is Celestia's niece and that Shining Armor is Twilight's older brother. People hoped that these claims were just the marketing team making mistakes, but more and more sources confirmed this information. Finally, people had to accept that there was going to be another winged unicorn in the present setting of the series.
Everything about the episode felt like it was forced upon the crew of the show by higher-ups at Hasbro that really wanted a wedding and another princess toy to sell. People were sure that the crew would try to make something good out of it all, but all of this may just be too much for them to deal with. Surely with the amount of control that Hasbro clearly exerted to bring about the episode premise in the first place, they wouldn't let the crew actually do anything interesting with it! We later learned that the entire wedding thing actually came about when Ms. Faust was still in charge of the show, which alleviated fears that it was forced on the crew last minute, but we also learned that Cadence was supposed to be a regular unicorn instead of a winged unicorn, which aggravated fears of Hasbro being too involved.
We then started getting promotions of the episode. The fact that the first commercial showed the main characters fighting clones of themselves relieved a lot of fears that the story would be excitement-free, and the episode summary combined with Shining Armor having green eyes in some shots brought hope that interesting things would be done with Cadence. Looking back, it's strange that the most common theory about the clones was that Twilight messed up on a spell, instead of there being an invading army, but hindsight and all that.
The sheer amount of effort Hasbro went through to market this episode is amazing. I don't think any single story of a TV cartoon has ever received this much promotion, which is even more amazing when you consider how few people are even aware that the Hub exists. Hasbro clearly wanted this to succeed, and they clearly thought they had a good reason to think it would succeed. This did work in making a lot of fans more excited about the episodes.
On a more personal note, this story got a negative review on this very site by Maxie Zeus, which made me quite worried about it. In the end, I guess it was just a difference between already watching the show and just watching a few episodes, because the majority of people who were already fans, myself included, ended up loving it.
Given how very few people were excited about Cadence and Shining Armor, and that the highest opinions toward them that were very common were, “Maybe they won't be so bad,” and, “At least Celestia will start getting white toys now that there's an actual pink princess to sell,” it's amazing that people came out of the episode liking them as much as they did. At the present, the existence of Cadence and Shining Armor has generally been accepted and most fans who care about the mythos of the setting and continuity have found ways to work around them or even incorporate them. The crew had to go up against a lot of negativity, whether they knew it or not, but somehow managed to come out on top. I would one day like to know the story of what was going on behind the scenes and what the crew thought about the negative opinions of Cadence and Shining Armor before the finale actually aired, if they were aware of them.
In any case, while I'm sure we could have gone without the “another winged unicorn” and “Twilight's brother” drama in the fandom, I think the “it's just going to be a boring wedding” prediction for these episodes was perfect. No one expected it to be as action-packed as it was, and the episode was all the better precisely because of the low expectations for it. However, there was just enough hinting of action to make sure people still had some anticipation for it. Really, in that sense, Hasbro's marketing was perfect for this story.
By the way, Tori Spelling's hosting of the story was amusingly terrible.
Cadence (and Celestia and Luna)
One reason why a lot of people initially didn't like Cadence was that it completely destroyed what appeared to be the mythos behind Celestia and Luna. It used to make perfect sense! A sun goddess and a moon goddess, who were sisters, created the world, but the moon goddess turned evil and had to be sealed away, leaving only the sun goddess to rule the world until her sister could be released. Discord was then introduced, who knocked off the “created the world” part by being around before the sisters came, but he still fit in fine before Luna turned evil. But then “Hearth's Warming Eve” revealed that there was not only a time before the sisters and apparently Discord, but the sun was already being raised by unicorns. All of this still fit in fine with the opening narration of the first episode, which made no claim about the divinity or power of the sisters, but this removed a lot of the specialness from Celestia and Luna: what was so important about the fact that Celestia could make the sun rise? Cadence removing the specialness of them being winged unicorns was the last straw for a lot of people.
I mentioned back in my review of “Hearts and Hooves Day” that a common theory was that the princess shown in the story that acted as the source of the holiday was actually Cadence. However, the fact that she is noticeably younger in Twilight's flashback shows that she probably doesn't age in the same way as Celestia and Luna, and thus probably wasn't alive back then. This, combined with the fact that she shows no sign of being any more powerful than a powerful normal unicorn, indicates that she isn't on the same level of power as Celestia and Luna. So, winged unicorns are not necessarily demigods, and in fact seem to be nothing more than, well, winged unicorns. There is something about Celestia and Luna that makes them above other winged unicorns.
While, ultimately, the episode itself managed to win a lot of people over about Cadence, it struck another blow toward the specialness of Celestia and Luna: Chrysalis was able to defeat Celestia! Sure, Chrysalis was using the power of love against her, and even Chrysalis was surprised by how much power was being provided by Shining Armor's love, but the fact remains that Celestia was defeated in a fairly short sequence.
In truth, there really isn't all that much in the series itself that shows Celestia and Luna as being all that powerful, besides the fact that they've been alive for over a thousand years. I had earlier guessed that back in the days of “Hearth's Warming Eve” that a lot of unicorns were needed to move the sun, but it was just that, a guess. It could be that you just need one or a couple of decently powerful unicorns to do the trick, which does actually match what we saw in the play. Besides long life, the only feats that would place them above Twilight are Celestia canceling Twilight's spell in “Lesson Zero” and Luna summoning storm clouds in “Luna Eclipsed”. Still, it feels really wrong for this to be the case, and it would really weaken the feel of the series; I really liked how the series appeared to actually take place in a mythical time when gods and men (ponies) mingled, which would usually just be the backstory.
Going forward, I am a bit worried about Celestia and Luna, especially with the season 3 villain appearing to be a winged unicorn (still hoping for a pony naga) and a toy for a Princess Skyla (a winged unicorn filly) being made, who is pretty likely to appear in the show given how things went with Cadence. Celestia being defeated by Chrysalis could set a bad precedent, relegating her to being a Worf character in all future action stories, where she's defeated in order to show just how tough the enemy is. I can imagine the season 3 villain defeating Celestia or somehow rendering her unable to take part in the action like in this story, and I can also imagine something similar to the last part of “Baby Cakes” occurring with Skyla except on a larger scale, and I'd prefer for neither scenario to occur.
Concerning Luna, there is the issue that with the season 3 opener, which definitely includes Cadence in a major role and presumably does not have Luna in a major role, Cadence will have more screen time than Luna, even after acknowledging that we don't actually see Cadence herself in the present until the second part of “A Canterlot Wedding”. I can't imagine that the crew would deliberately continue to not have Luna appear very often in the show, after they went through the trouble of shoving her into these episodes when she clearly wasn't in the original script, but there simply may not be enough room for her with all of these other winged unicorns and the necessity of giving focus to the actual main characters. Well, at least the artist for the comic considers Luna to be his favorite character, so we can probably expect a lot of her in the comic.
In the future, I feel that they should do more to establish that Celestia and Luna are really important presences in the world and explain what exactly separates them from Cadence. Having them easily defeat an enemy that the main characters are having trouble with in a gag scene would be nice. Since them being physical gods seems to be out of the question now, I think a good idea would be to reveal that they are actually avatars of the sun and moon goddesses that created the world. Already-existing sun and moon goddesses would also explain their presence on the Equestrian flag in “Hearth's Warming Eve” despite the events of the play probably taking place before Celestia and Luna arrived. This also leaves open the possibility of other god avatars appearing; maybe the season 3 villain is an avatar of Mars! If it becomes god vs. god, then I'd be OK with Celestia being Worf.
Shining Armor (and Twilight Sparkle)
One thing that bothered me a lot when I watched this episode was Shining Armor's magic skill. When it was revealed that he cast the barrier around Canterlot, I was hoping that the barrier was actually being maintained by several guards, but it's shown that he alone was maintaining the barrier. And not only is the barrier huge and powerful, but it's even able to allow ponies (and trains) in while rejecting changelings. This is beyond anything that Twilight has been shown to be capable of without the Elements of Harmony, and this bothered me because Twilight is the Element of Magic and had, up to now, been the strongest magic user we've seen besides the princesses and Discord. She even had a Jean Gray power surge when she was young, and she had been endlessly studying magic ever since! To suddenly introduce someone who is more powerful than her, with no comment from any characters to show that this is unusual, just made Twilight feel a lot less special. Why is Twilight the Element of Magic if there are others in her own family who are better at magic than her?
I did realize something, however: Shining Armor's cutie mark is a shield, so perhaps the barrier is just his specialty spell! While this is something that could turn out to be untrue, so far it appears that unicorns are capable of only telekinesis (which is weak for most unicorns), a light spell that is simply gathering magic in the horn, and a spell related to the unicorn's cutie mark. The fact that this means that Shining Armor is just really good at one spell, while Twilight is good at many, made all this a lot easier to swallow.
Of course, a huge problem that people had with Shining Armor is the fact that he's Twilight's older brother, yet has never appeared or even been mentioned before. Personally, I don't find the fact that Twilight never talked about him before to be all that strange. Plus, the characters show no shock to his existence (though Rarity is surprised that he's the captain of the royal guard), so Twilight could have easily mentioned him off screen. Another problem with Twilight having a brother, though, is that Twilight's backstory of never having had any friends is harder to accept when we know that she had a loving big brother and a great babysitter. Surely they tried to get Twilight to make friends! Given that, it becomes a bit harder to believe that it took until the events of the first episode for Twilight to make friends her age, or that she would have had trouble opening up to people. It can still be worked around, though. However, if you go with the anime cliché that Twilight became too attached to her brother to consider it important to make other friends, it does make more sense, though it also becomes creepy.
So, in-universe, there is no real problem with Twilight having a brother, but his sudden appearance is still a problem out of universe. Few people had problems with Sweetie Belle turning out to be Rarity's sister, so suddenly introducing siblings isn't really a big deal. The problem was that this is a season finale and Shining Armor played a huge role in it, in addition to the fact that Twilight didn't seem like the type of pony to have siblings before this point. They really should have found a way to hint at his existence before this point; I have enough trust in this crew to think that they would have done so if they knew Shining Armor was Twilight's brother earlier. My guess is that the version of the script used was made after the other episodes had their scripts finalized, and they couldn't come up with a natural way to bring him up in the other episodes.
I would have found Twilight having a brother to be easier to swallow if they were on bad or neutral terms, not just because it would have explained her not mentioning her brother before, but also because Twilight didn't seem like she would have been close to any siblings, given how she turned out. At first, this seemed to be where the episode was going with their relationship, but then it revealed that he was her BBBFF and all that, which a lot of people had trouble accepting.
In particular, a lot of people didn't buy that they “never had a single fight”. Every other sibling relationship we've seen for a significant amount of time has contained fighting, so it seemed strange that their relationship would be so special. Plus, there's the way Twilight complained about him at the beginning of the episode, and, when Twilight confronted Shining Armor, he didn't seem to be surprised by the fact that she was arguing with him at all. Because of that, I'm inclined to believe that “we never had a single fight” was actually an exaggeration. I have no doubt that they had a good relationship, given what is shown in the episode, but they must have argued or had bad feelings toward each other at some points. Well, maybe Twilight and Shining Armor have been on bad terms before but never outright got into arguments, which is perfectly realistic and matches my relationship with my sister.
Cadence and Shining Armor
Overall, the episode didn't really reveal all that much about Cadence and Shining Armor's personalities; we really have no idea how either would act in everyday situations. Because of this, the fact that they were expected to appear again, and the fact that they didn't leave quite as much open as Luna and background characters, the fans haven't done all that much with them despite the roles they played in these two episodes. From my experience, the majority of fanwork of them with an actual story focuses on the time when Twilight was a filly, showing them having awkward teenage crushes on each other, and even then, it's Twilight who tends to be the driving force of the stories, by stealing from the cookie jar, building a book fort, etc. The fanwork focusing on them in the present tend to stick to fairly standard marriage jokes.
Hopefully, the opening of season 3 will show a bit more of how Cadence actually acts and, you know, what she actually is. As for Shining Armor, to be honest, I'm not all that interested in seeing him again. While Cadence was in action mode and wedding mode the entire time we've seen her, we've seen Shining Armor while he's calm and he just comes off as boring. Cadence joined Pinkie in her dance, but you don't get the sense that Shining Armor could really be used for comedy, and he comes off as being very out-of-character in the fanworks that use him for that in the present setting. The best thing I see for him is for him to act as Worf against a season opener/finale enemy; unlike with Celestia, I'm just fine with him playing this role.
If season 3 was the normal length, I would have been all for Cadence and Shining Armor appearing in a slice-of-life episode, but if both the opener and the season finale are two-parters (which looks to be the case), there's barely going to be enough room for individual episodes for each main character and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, so I'd prefer not. Luna needs another slice-of-life episode first. Maybe season 4, if all this Crystal Empire stuff doesn't make having slice-of-life stuff with them difficult.
Tomorrow, my commentary on the episode itself.
Last edited by SigmasonicX; 10-06-2012 at 01:58 PM.
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
Wow, I ended up having more to say about this episode than I thought! I'll have to split the discussion of the actual episodes over two days.
The actual episode (part 1)
The episode starts with everyone relaxing at a picnic, which is always a nice way to preface a season finale. I thought it was pretty clever to have Spike deliver the messages out of order, allowing for information about the wedding itself to be delivered while naturally having the reveal of the groom act as a cliffhanger. It was cute how Twilight just cleaned up the mess Pinkie made without looking (and I suppose when they eat with their hooves, a hoof-print on a cake isn't a sanitation issue), and I liked how the roles most of them are assigned to play at the wedding call back to their roles in the first episode. It was also nice to see confirmation that Rainbow Dash is, in fact, able to repeat the Sonic Rainboom, which some had doubts about even after “Lesson Zero”, and Rarity fainting out of joy is great. I absolutely love the way Twilight reacts to discovering her brother is the groom, with her shock matching the fandom's shock that she has a brother in the first place.
As I noted in my previous post, the way the other girls react seems to imply that either they already knew she has brother or don't consider it a surprise, so Twilight possibly did talk about him off screen. Twilight mocking him with a sandwich is great, along with her imitations of “Mi Amore Cadenza” before she realizes who that is. Her confusion and anger about who she is also seems to be a nod toward the fanbase, who had the exact same reaction.
I like the conflict of Twilight being upset that she only learned about the wedding from an invitation, considering it a sign that she and her brother are growing apart, but I don't think the episode really ever gave an adequate explanation for why Shining Armor didn't tell her. I can buy that after Shiny and Cadence got engaged, Chrysalis took her place and sped up the entire process to get the wedding over with, which, combined with the threat to Canterlot, left Shiny no time to send a message until the wedding came, but the episode never stated the assumption I made about Chrysalis.
This is the first point that we can clearly see the barrier around Canterlot, and I liked that you're able to see it all the way from the beginning of the episode. Still, this does make it strange that no one makes any note of it until they actually pass through it.
I already talked about my feelings toward Shining Armor's sudden introduction.
Personally, I didn't like the acronyms in this episode, as they felt just a bit too cutesy—and yes, I know what show this is. In particular, everyone going, “Oh!” together when they learn the meanings of them reminded me of clips of G3 cartoons I saw, particularly that one where the ponies follow a trail of “riddles” to locate their friend on her birthday, when she was just in the backyard, which I actually saw the entirety of.
And now we reach the first of many songs in this story, “BBBFF”, which many assumed to be the Twilight solo song the crew hinted at—little did we know we'd get two! Or three if you count the reprise. I wasn't particularly a fan of it at first, but it has grown on me a lot. Even the first time through, though, I just loved the, “We shared our hopes / We shared our dreams / I miss him more than I realized / it seems,” part, and the end of the song that sonically foreshadows the reprise. Despite the seemingly upbeat nature of the song, there's a feeling of somberness throughout it that really got you to feel for Twilight, especially in the lines I mentioned. I didn't particularly like the part of the song between those two lines, with the others joining in, though. As a cute extra detail, the composer intentionally included both authentic cadence and deceptive cadence in this song. Don't know enough about music to say what that really means, though, but it's neat that it was intentional.
Of course, it's always nice to see Twilight as a filly, and the way she bumps into Shiny and jumps around him is just adorable, also evoking her jumping in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”. We also see an echo of this scene later in the episode. Shining Armor rearing up in reaction is also cute. Of course, the other scenes with them are cute too, but I really liked the parts we see during the lines I mentioned in the previous paragraph, with Twilight struggling to lift a book and Shiny saluting. We also see that, yes, they were still interacting during the time period of the first episode, as we are shown him seeing her off as she leaves for Ponyville.
At the end of the song, we get a size comparison between Shining Armor and Twilight, and egad! He's huge! As big as Big Mac? I hope not, because I like Big Mac being the biggest male character. I'm sure Big Mac is physically stronger, anyway. Perhaps the start of season 3 can show some honeymoon pictures, one of which is Big Mac trouncing Shining Armor is a hoof-wrestling match. Well, actually, Shining Armor is shown to be a lot smaller in the rest of the episode, so I'm not sure what's up with his size here.
At the very end, Twilight sheds a tear, making it clear that this is hurting her a lot. This makes sense when you consider how new she is to friendship, and how worried she has been in the past about losing her friends, as shown by “Boast Busters”, how she reacted in “Winter Wrap-Up” when Applejack called her out about using magic, and “The Return of Harmony” when she turned gray, for instance. She has been deathly afraid of breaking the friendships she has made, and now she fears that her oldest friend is drifting away from her. In the second episode, she chose to stay in Ponyville without a second thought, but perhaps she worries that she had taken the strength of her relationship with Shining Armor for granted. She shows anger at Shining Armor, but I imagine she is also disappointed in herself for not trying to stay in touch more.
I didn't like the use of the PFF (pony friends forever) gag after the song, which lightened the mood in a bad way. Rarity fainting again is amusing, though, and it does make sense that Twilight would bring up her brother to them without saying what he actually does. Spike's confusion about the bachelor party is funny, and it's interesting that they were able to get away with it. People have expressed sympathy with parents that have to explain what bachelor parties are to their children, but really, all they have to say is that the groom has a party before the wedding—no need to talk about what actually goes on in them. “Why the long face?” being targeted toward a horse is also a cute gag. Rainbow Dash covering up a part of her when going through the force field is also strangely amusing.
While it's good to see Applejack talk to Twilight about her brother, it doesn't seem quite right that the other main characters don't try to cheer up Twilight more, but I imagine they thought that they're going to Canterlot anyway, so it's best if Twilight just goes ahead and confronts her brother.
So... the guards sure do all look alike, huh. I'm sure fans have come up with an explanation, but I'll just say it's because they're all redshirts. In any case, if someone watching missed the promos with the main characters fighting clones, all these guards should be a clear sign that there's a lot more to this episode than just a wedding, along with Celestia mysteriously looking out of a telescope.
Pinkie sneezing confetti in response to Rarity saying that royal weddings bring out the strangest ponies is a great gag. I also liked the detail of the guards smiling at Twilight until they heard what she was saying; I guess the ones that point spears at her right after are new recruits.
Shining Armor mentions that they've received word of a threat, which is the reason for all the extra security, but they never explain what the source of that information was. My guess is that it was actually Chrysalis, precisely so everyone would be looking for a threat from the outside instead of looking for a threat inside. Normally, Celestia would have noticed Cadence acting differently, but the threat shifted her focus to outside the barrier. Sure, this kept all of the other changelings out, but this allows her to better take out the biggest non-princess threat there and drain all of his love energy.
With what Shining Armor says when he demonstrates that he's controlling the energy shield, I'm inclined to think that this is the first time he has ever created one this big while Twilight was around. Notably, we see his migraines for the first time here. Twilight claims that only he can conjure this force field, but she has clearly created her own force fields in “Ponyville Confidential” and “MMMystery on the Friendship Express”; I imagine she's just referring to the size of the force field.
I did like the way Twilight and Shining Armor interacted, which did do a decent enough job at showing that yes, these two grew up together. Albeit, it seems to show that they're experienced enough with being frustrated with each other to talk things through relatively calmly, which makes it a bit hard to believe that they never had a single fight.
I admit I'm not too familiar with weddings, so maybe it's fairly common for the groom to have a best woman instead of a best man, but I find the fact that Shiny has Twilight be his best mare to be interesting. If best women aren't common, then this is another sign that Equestrian society is more matriarchal than ours.
Throughout the first episode, once Twilight remembered Cadence, I had thought something similar to an event from the anime and manga Fairy Tail was going to occur. At one point in that series, a character called Mest suddenly appears and everyone acts like he was always there. It is revealed, however, that he had actually infiltrated the group and placed false memories of his past presence in everyone. With the way Twilight didn't recognize a “Mi Amore Cadenza” but suddenly remembered Cadence once she got to Canterlot, I thought for sure that Cadence was implanting false memories into everyone and that, like Mest, she was actually an infiltrator and there never was a “Princess Cadence” before this point. In particular, I thought that the force field around Canterlot was being used to implant these memories, especially with the face Twilight made after going through it. The fact that “Cadence” didn't recognize Twilight's memories disproved this, but I didn't consider this until later.
In any case, giving Cadence two names, one of which Twilight didn't recognize, was a strange move in my opinion. The goal of this was to make Twilight come to Canterlot angry yet still do the plotline where she knows the bride well enough to realize that she's acting strange. Yet despite Twilight knowing Cadence so well, she is quick to assume that Cadence herself is evil instead of assuming that “Cadence” is a fake. I wonder if it would have been better to remove the entire “Cadence was Twilight's babysitter” part.
To be honest, it does feel like the babysitter connection was something that was added in later, since for most of the episode, they seem to treat each other as strangers, with any past relationship only briefly being brought up. Without it, you would have Twilight becoming happy about meeting Shiny's bride after talking to him and calming down but then coming to think that “Cadence” is a jerk. The only problem would be how to get the real Cadence to convince Twilight that she's real, which wouldn't be too hard to work around. Perhaps Shining Armor tells Twilight that he told Cadence about how great a sister she is, and while “Cadence” doesn't recognize Twilight, the real one does and recounts what Shining Armor told her. Twilight and Cadence not having this past connection would have also made Twilight's eventual acceptance of her as a sister-in-law better, I feel.
In any case, once again, more Twilight as a filly is always nice. We get a cameo of Ms. Smarty Pants at the beginning of this sequence. I have to say, I actually prefer Cadence's hairstyle in these flashbacks to her hairstyle in the present; hopefully it will be revealed that she still wears her hair like that when casual. Of course, their dance is adorable.
Many people have wondered exactly what a princess is doing being a babysitter, with some suggesting that Celestia forced this upon her in order to teach humility, but I'm inclined to think that she just likes taking care of young ponies. A princess as Twilight's babysitter and Shining Armor being able to reach the rank of captain at what must be a relatively young age have led people to believe that Twilight actually comes from a high-ranking and rich family. People also wondered if it really is just a coincidence that a princess babysat Celestia's future star pupil. It could just be that Cadence babysat even for commoners and Shiny achieved his rank solely through merit, but at this point there's really no way to know for sure, though I don't think these issues will ever actually be addressed.
At this point we get a cameo from an original character created by storyboard artist Sibsy, named Wildfire, which is pretty awesome. Notably, after this episode, Sibsy actually did draw fanart shipping Wildfire and the colt she appears with in this scene. For the record, Sibsy did not provide the voice of Wildfire.
After “Lesson Zero” and “Hearts and Hooves Day” showed how dangerous forced love can be, many people found Cadence's ability to create love and Twilight's praise of it to be quite strange. I'm inclined to think that as opposed to creating love, the spell that Cadence casts here actually augments existing love or reminds the targets of the love they have. This spell has been a common target of jokes, typically with Cadence casting it on arguing siblings thinking that they are a couple or casting it on random characters for fun.
Many have made a connection between Cadence's spell and Twilight's “want it need it” spell from the first episode I mentioned, which does make sense. In that episode, Twilight claims that the spell always works but appears to have never actually used it before, given how easily it goes out of control. She could have made the assumption that it always works if it always worked when Cadence used it; perhaps she tagged along when Cadence took care of some babies, and Cadence used the spell to get the babies to try a new toy.
If you go with the idea that Cadence's spells remind people of their love, then she could also be used as the source of the memory spell from “The Return of Harmony”, and once you make that connection, then you can also link Twilight using the memory spell to break Discord's brainwashing and Cadence snapping Shining Armor out of Chrysalis's control.
Notably, when Cadence casts the love spell, Twilight calls her a unicorn. Is this a remnant of an earlier version of the script where Cadence was a simple unicorn, or are winged unicorns generally just referred to as unicorns?
Back in the present, we get Twilight jumping around Shiny while he rears up, like in “BBBFF”, which is adorable. “Cadence” makes her first appearance, sounding very annoyed right out of the gate. Twilight “doing a little shake” here has been the subject of a lot of jokes, especially the shot right after. You'd think Chrysalis would do a better job of keeping track of any past acquaintances that Cadence might have, but I imagine that she thought she could get away with being a jerk if everyone chalked it up to wedding nerves. The music here makes it clear that we're supposed to think that something's up with Cadence, and I already said what I thought was going on.
In the next scene, we see that Applejack brought one of her relatives to help with the baking... and that Applejack is good at making ice sculptures. Twilight sulking but then perking up after eating Applejack's snack is cute. I found the running gag of Spike playing with the figurines of Shining Armor and Cadence to be a pretty weak joke.
Here, you can see that “Cadence” is using green magic while the Cadence in the flashback used blue magic that matches her cutie mark. The scene of her using telekinesis in the flashback is short, though, which explains why I and a lot of others missed this hint the first time through. Her magic also makes a different sound than all the other unicorn magic we've seen in the show.
Notably, in the scene with Rarity, Lyra speaks, which thankfully caused no issues. At first, I suspected that Cadence's bridesmaids were the same group of ponies that tried to talk to Twilight at the beginning of the first episode, but the only shared pony between those two groups was Colgate/Romana/Minuette. I imagine that the bridesmaids talking back to “Cadence” is what caused her to brainwash them and stick them on guard duty in the caves. If we assume that she placed them there at this point, then that possibly means that she was planning on sending Twilight down to the caves already.
Pinkie showing off her plans for the reception is amusing. Six years would be the equivalent of mid teens for a horse, which wouldn't be much of an insult by “Cadence” or really match Pinkie's plans, so I guess we have confirmation that ponies age roughly the same way as a human. Or maybe I'm overanalyzing a gag... nah.
And here's Luna! Who barely appears, and when she talks to people, no one responds. I was quite amused at how obvious it was that she was added in to the episode late in the process. I'm inclined to think that no one had any clue that Luna would become so popular up through the script writing stages; in fact, I imagine they expected the response to “Luna Eclipsed” to be, “Wow, I never expected the villain to appear again except good!” rather than, “It's about ****ing time! What took so long!” With no real expectation of popularity and the forces against Luna appearing often that I already talked about in my review of “Luna Eclipsed”, the thought that they must include Luna in the season finale or any episode that did not focus on her probably simply didn't occur to them in the scripting stage. Voice work is done before the actual animation in this show, and the fact that no one responds to Luna makes me think that her addition to the episode occurred late in the voicing process.
People complained about Luna doing so little in the episode, especially her non-presence during the changeling attack, but I think people severely underestimate just how long it takes to do things in a cartoon. I'm inclined to think that by the time the crew became aware enough of Luna's popularity to realize that they should try to include her more, there was no way to put her in a major role in any episode besides the one already focusing on her. Given that, it's nice that the crew went through the effort of putting her in this one, with a speaking role at that.
In any case, people have wondered exactly what Luna was doing outside of the shield. Does she actually stay on the moon in the morning, and is that because all of her stuff is still there and she was too lazy to move it down to the castle? Is she staying in that castle in the Everfree Forest? Was she out patrolling? I'm inclined to think that the show or the comics will eventually address Luna's living arrangements in the future, so I don't think these will be open questions.
Some people have complained about the other main characters not taking Twilight's complaints seriously, pointing out that that was part of the lesson of “Lesson Zero”. Of course, the audience knows that something is wrong with “Cadence”, but everyone knows that brides get antsy and turn into jerks when setting up the wedding. Twilight seems to just be blowing a perfectly normal thing out of proportion and comes off as being overprotective of her brother. What exactly were they supposed to do? Help Twilight accuse “Cadence” of being evil? It's one thing to help Twilight write a friendship report, it's another thing to cause grief for another person just because a friend is suspicious about actions that are completely normal and expected in this situation.
In any case, Fluttershy's off-key bird is amusing, along with Twilight rolling her eyes at herself for expecting Pinkie to notice how “Cadence” was acting. It makes sense that Rainbow Dash would pay no attention at all to the way “Cadence” was acting, if they interacted at all.
I liked how Shining Armor noticed that something was wrong with Twilight. We also get what appears to be a sure sign that “Cadence” is brainwashing Shining Armor here. Given that “Cadence” didn't fully close the door and stayed in character even while casting her spell, I wonder if this was intentional in order to get Twilight to take action too early, and make her excuses during the rehearsal about the mind control spell more believable to Twilight.
The bridesmaid dresses for everyone look nice, but I wonder why they weren't the least bit suspicious about why Cadence chose ponies she barely knew. I guess they thought they made really good impressions when she checked up on the wedding preparations. Like “Cadence” leaving the door open, I think she did this to get Twilight to act too early. If she were more level-headed about all this, she would have followed her own advice from “MMMystery on the Friendship Express” and searched for more hard evidence. In any case, I liked Rainbow Dash complaining about the dress not being aerodynamic.
Strangely, Twilight doesn't act on all this until the next day. I'm guessing that it took the night to convince herself that this confrontation was a good idea, and this was also why she arrived late. It's also a bit strange that they started the rehearsal without noticing Twilight's absence. When Twilight declares “Cadence” to be evil, I liked that they actually showed the guards' reactions. It's also amusing to see Twilight take so much joy out of her actions.
Twilight crashes into Shiny, just like in “BBBFF”, but this time it's far from happy. I liked how both Twilight and Shining Armor acted out the mind control eyes, and how Shiny actually hurt himself doing it. The explanations provided here are perfectly reasonable, which just goes to show that just because something is reasonable and makes perfect sense doesn't mean it's the truth.
Twilight has gone through an emotional rollercoaster throughout this episode. She starts out content, then confused and angry, then happy, then back to confused and angry with added concern. Then she seemingly gets proof that something terrible is going on and just tries to help by attempting to reveal it, only to anger everyone she loves. You can really feel for Twilight in this sequence, especially with even Celestia angry at her and the face she makes in response. Celestia, who she spent an entire episode trying not to disappoint. Some people felt that it was out of character for everyone to just leave her, but honestly, if a friend did something like this happened at a wedding I attended, I'd avoid that person until after the wedding too, if only to wait for him or her to cool down.
I loved the dark reprise of “BBBFF”, especially with the art shift using the style of the cake decorations. It does a great job of making you sympathize with Twilight even more.
After all this, I imagine a lot of people were starting to doubt their own suspicions of Cadence. Maybe the second half of the story would be about Twilight trying to make amends? But then she steps on the Twilight figurine and the creepy music starts up again. But then the music becomes a bit more happy.
But then Twilight gets pulled down to Hell. That is a visual I don't think anyone expected from this show and made for an amazing cliffhanger. I really wonder how things would have turned out in the fandom if this story was split across two weeks; I imagine a lot of screaming. Anyway, this adds more to Twilight's emotional rollercoaster as she is proven right, but now doesn't have anyone to support her.
And cue the happy end credits.
Strangely, I've found this episode to be a lot more enjoyable after my overanalysis. In particular, considering Twilight's fears of a weakening connection with Shining Armor in light of previous episodes and realizing that Chrysalis had intentionally been goading Twilight into acting without thinking things through made the episode more interesting to watch. In the initial viewing, I was annoyed by the attempts to justify the presence of Cadence and Shining Armor which gave me a more negative impression of this episode at the beginning, but I was fine with it by the end. Still, in my first viewing, I definitely considered this to be the weak link of the two-parter.
Final episode tomorrow.
Last edited by SigmasonicX; 10-07-2012 at 01:55 AM.
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
The actual episode (part 2)
And now the epic conclusion.
I admit, I was a bit disappointed that Twilight wasn't in a more Hell-like area, but a dark cave is nice too. With all the reflections of Twilight, I thought that this was going to be the source of all the clones seen in the previews. In any case, I like how “Cadence” so gleefully mocks Twilight during this scene.
Chrysalis claims that the caves used to be mined by unicorns but have long been forgotten. Perhaps the unicorns realized that any random surface rock in Equestria contains gems. One does wonder why Chrysalis knows about them; perhaps information was passed down from her ancestors or via hivemind.
The fact that Twilight's first spell bounced off the gems made me think that the gems were somewhat magic-resistant, which is why Twilight didn't just teleport out. In my first viewing, I had also misinterpreted what “Cadence” said as meaning that greedy unicorns used to be imprisoned in the caves, which strengthened the gem idea. Twilight was then able to break the gems with more power, hence the “somewhat” part.
Many have wondered why in God's name Chrysalis would send Twilight down there, not only because Twilight probably wouldn't have tried to stop the wedding at all if Chrysalis didn't send her to the caves, but because she sent Twilight right to where the real Cadence is. A common theory is that Chrysalis fully expected Twilight to kill the real Cadence or at least badly injure her, which might be exactly what Twilight would have done if the real Cadence hadn't acted in time. Chrysalis assumed that Twilight would completely hate Cadence, and did not consider the previous bond they had to be of any significance.
If Twilight either injured or killed Cadence and tried to bring her along, she would have still been delayed enough to miss the wedding ceremony. If Twilight left her there, then she'd just embarrass herself further at the wedding, desperately trying to convince friends who won't believe a word she says. And that's just on the off chance that she'd be able to navigate the maze-like caves. As for why Chrysalis would be willing to let Cadence die now when she just imprisoned her before, she might have needed Cadence alive before, but not anymore so close to the wedding.
It's interesting how, even with the previews featuring clones, very few people actually seemed to expect “Cadence” to be a copy, probably because everyone was hoping for the pink princess toy that Hasbro was hyping up to actually be evil. Indeed, I actually was surprised, and a bit disappointed, when the real Cadence appeared.
In the lead up to this story, people were really afraid that Cadence would turn out to be a Mary Sue character (explanation too long, look it up yourself). Indeed, she does fit a lot of the criteria, but when we see the real Cadence in the present, we see her dirty and defeated. She depends on the main character to escape, as opposed to the other way around. Regardless, she doesn't come off as a weak useless princess. It really is remarkable that even with all the forces against Cadence, she did actually turn out to be likable for much of the fanbase, including myself. I mostly blame the upcoming song.
I wonder how long Cadence has been stuck down there. Had Chrysalis even been giving her food? And even if she was, a popular fan assumption is that Chrysalis was taunting her with what she has been doing and particularly what she has been doing with Shining Armor. It's a wonder that she's even running around after Twilight rescues her.
I like the scene of Cadence showing that she's the real one, especially the weak grin she makes after the dance. The first time through, I thought there was something sinister about the sparkle of light that appears here and through the following song, and was a bit disappointed when it turned out to just be the exit.
And HOLY **** VILLAIN SONG! If there was one song type nearly every fan wished for from this show, it was a villain song. To think that many were becoming content declaring “Super Speedy Cider Squeezy” as the show's villain song and moving on! Yes it's a song sung by villains, but it's nothing like what one typically expects from a villain song. The ignorant fools! If only they knew what was to come!
The song really reminded people of Disney's The Little Mermaid, particularly Ursula's short song to herself in the mirror. It's interesting that such a short scene from that movie stuck in everyone's minds, but that's Disney at its peak. This also led people to the realization that the story of this episode is a lot like the last part of that movie, where Ursula brainwashes Prince Eric with Ariel's voice and tries to marry him in place of Ariel. It's no wonder that people were saying that this two-parter felt like a Disney movie!
I do have the complaint that usually a villain song is used to demonstrate what the villain plans on doing, while this does no such thing. In the song, Chrysalis just hints that she's going to do something sinister. Perhaps Cadence could have explained to Twilight about changelings before the song, but this would have led to a repeated story beat at the wedding. Really, Chrysalis's lines in the song are generally quite weak, especially the use of, “I could care less,” which is only excusable because she's a villain.
In any case, chalk me up as one of those people that loves this song. Just when you think the fact that we're getting a villain song is brilliant enough, it turns out to be a duet with the real Cadence! The singer did a great job differentiating the two Cadences, yet still making it clear that it's the same voice. The way each Cadence's lines mirrored each other was also brilliantly done.
The visuals in this song are great too. For some reason, I really like how Chrysalis twirls and looks at her hoof at the beginning. Cadence running while surrounded by gems then slowing down is an amazing scene too, showing the confusion of the caves and both Cadence's exhaustion and persistence. It's odd that Chrysalis would randomly mess up her room, but I guess she feels she can unleash this close to the wedding. Her silhouette on the ceiling irks me a bit, since it's clearly meant to foreshadow her true appearance yet it doesn't really look all that much like her, except for the antennae. Instead, the veil causes the shadow to look more like Nightmare Moon. Earlier design? Some people consider the fact that Chrysalis looks at the audience with an open eye yet the mirror shows a closed eye to be an animation error, but couldn't it just be that she has one eye open and the other shut?
Chrysalis's line that this is the kind of day of which she dreamed since she was small has sometimes been taken to mean that she's not all that bad and maybe even actually did want a wedding. The reprise makes it clear that she's referring to taking control of the kingdom, though.
This song did a great job at making me feel that yes, Cadence does actually love Shining Armor, and yes, this is something worth caring about, especially with the, “For I oh so love the groom” section. I love how Cadence tries to push the minecart despite lacking energy and how Twilight reacts with an understanding and accepting smile. For some reason, I also like the fact that she does actually fear that she'd lose Shining Armor to Chrysalis as opposed to knowing true love will win through—the fact that she says, “I'd be lying if I say,” before saying the opposite, that she does not fear that she will lose him, obfuscates this point a bit, though.
And now the one time the fact that she has wings actually matters! I was actually hoping that she'd never end up using her wings in the episode, to be honest, as an act of spite by the crew against being forced to make her a winged unicorn.
Before the episode aired, a preview of the real wedding sequence was released. For some reason, the fact that we were seeing a wedding now had me convinced that the crew of the show specifically made a fake wedding sequence to act as a preview and I was really impressed that they would go through the effort. I don't know why I didn't think it'd just be from later in the episode.
Now why are the Cutie Mark Crusaders the flower girls? It didn't look like they came on the train with everyone else. Perhaps there was a big off-screen adventure where they decided to become CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS FLOWER GIRLS YAY and pulled some strings to become flower girls for the wedding. Regardless, they make for adorable flower girls. Incidentally, while they are more obvious in the real wedding, we can see Twilight and Shiny's parents briefly here. I wonder what they thought of Twilight's actions.
Hey wait, Lyra was in the crowd at the wedding (clearly seen right after the song) yet she's one of the brainwashed bridesmaids! Maybe changelings are already inside! Or maybe it's just an animation mistake. I'm going with the latter. Also, it takes a while to get a clear look, but it's a nice detail that Shining Armor isn't wearing the shield buckle that Chrysalis had objected to in the previous episode.
One wonders why Twilight came in without Cadence. The explanation I have is that Twilight rushed ahead to stop the wedding and Cadence simply couldn't keep up. I like how Rarity reacts to this with a facehoof, and Shining Armor's vacant expression during all this is amusing. Cadence defeating the bridesmaids with a bouquet that was randomly there was cute, though I wonder how exactly Chrysalis expected the bridesmaids to slow them down when nothing so far has indicated that they're particularly powerful.
My first reaction to hearing Cadence's description of a changeling is that it's clearly supposed to be a TV-Y version of a succubus, which impressed me. It's a bit disappointing that this isn't how the changelings of myth actually are, though—in myth, changelings are the children of fairies (of the fair folk sort) and such, which adult fairies switch at birth with human babies, so the changelings can be raised by humans until adulthood. This was used to explain babies with deformities. Granted, the affiliation of changelings with shapeshifters isn't new. Succubi, meanwhile, are monsters that take the form of beautiful women and feed off of the lust men show toward them during sex.
It sucks for Equestria that there are beings that feed on love and also beings that feed on hatred; they're in trouble no matter which way they go. Windigos appear to be ethereal, though, unlike the very kickable changelings, so love seems to be the better path.
The reveal and design of Chrysalis's true form is amazing. It manages to be very creepy yet strangely beautiful—the latter aspect being what the fandom most strongly latched onto, of course. The front shot of her opening her eyes reminded me a lot of Aku from Samurai Jack. I particularly love all the holes, which provide creepiness in an art style that can't help but make things cute, along with the squishy noises she and the other changelings make. The other changelings have neat designs, too, and I liked how they were just crashing into Shining Armor's barrier.
A common joke among fans is that all the copy-pasted background characters are actually changelings, which largely replaced the earlier joke that they were all taking advantage of The Doctor's generosity in letting them go with him on time travel adventures. Oddly enough, a number of fans have made this serious speculation. In the end, I feel it's best to use the Doylist (out of universe) explanation instead of attempting a Watsonian (in-universe) one for the repeated background characters.
The fact that Chrysalis is doing all this to feed her hive seems to mean that she has a good reason for doing all this, even if she is acting like a jerk about it. A common theory, however, is that Chrysalis is an extremist among changelings and most changelings are perfectly content silently feeding on the ambient love of a community. Even if I object to the idea that all of the repeated background characters are changelings, I do like the idea that there are some good changelings that were already hanging around Equestria.
Now why didn't Chrysalis just use her mind control to make Shining Armor take down his shield? I suspect his willpower in keeping the shield up was just that strong, or perhaps the nature of that spell makes it so that Chrysalis can't force him to take it down, which forced her to wear him down over time.
Why did Chrysalis want to marry Shining Armor in the first place? I suspect that the bond of marriage would have provided a substantial boost to her power and she wanted to wait until after it before confronting Celestia. The power boost from the ceremony itself took Chrysalis completely by surprise, in addition to boost from the real Cadence's presense.
Throughout Chrysalis's speech, I wondered what Celestia was doing, but finally she takes action! Finally we'll see her unleash her full power! Except there's a lot of the episode left, so she's definitely going to play the Worf. And yes, she played the Worf. I already wrote my opinion on that. I did like how Chrysalis was struggling and was surprised that she won, though. From the way Celestia didn't seem to be making an effort, I suspect that she was holding back a lot in order to make sure she didn't just vaporize Chrysalis (and part of the castle) and was completely caught off guard by the power of Shining Armor's love. By the way, it's a nice twist that the villain defeats the hero using the power of love.
Rarity gathering the dresses was a cute gag. I loved the sequence of the changelings crashing into the ground like meteorites.
The entire fight sequence with the changelings was great, of course. Well, to be fair, there's nothing too special about the fighting itself, and I imagine people would be pretty disappointed if something like this happened in an action series. But that's just it: this is not an action series. This is the first time we've seen the girls get into a physical fight with enemies and this is a TV-Y show aimed at little girls, and the girls are completely kicking ass. That's what makes this scene great. Also, it's an interesting variation of the cliché of shapeshifters taking the form of the heroes: here, we can see that it actually helps the heroes more than it helps the enemies.
Here we have the infamous scene of Rainbow Dash helping Fluttershy up and apparently kissing her. I'm pretty sure it's just a “picking up” sound by chance occurring right when their faces are close together. Or it could have been an intentional in-joke among the crew. In any case, I imagine that if a kiss actually did occur in-universe, there would have been some sort of reaction.
I liked how Twilight was able to develop a spell to revert a changeling to its true form right in the middle of battle. That's our bookworm! The scene of Pinkie and the changeling is very amusing, and seems to show that changelings are, in fact, individually intelligent and not just a hivemind; of course, her using Twilight as a machine gun is even better. Though it's a shame that we don't get a specific scene for Rarity, seeing her smack changelings in the face while smiling makes up for it. Pinkie using parties as a weapon is also great, as is the final shot of them all in silhouettes blowing all the changelings away.
It was nice to see that things weren't just solved with the Elements of Harmony for once. It's a shame that the main characters end up not playing a direct role in defeating the villain, but at least they went down fighting.
I liked the shot of Celestia in a cocoon, both for the unexpected creepiness and Celestia's expression. It was good to see Applejack apologizing to Twilight on behalf of everyone, even if their reactions were perfectly understandable given what they knew, which Twilight does seem to acknowledge given how she responds.
Why did Chrysalis leave Cadence alive at this point, and right next to Shining Armor at that? Well besides the entire children's show thing, I imagine she thought Cadence's presence would boost the amount of love that Shining Armor was emitting.
The reprise of “This Day Aria” really should have been longer. Given that the changelings feed off love, why are they attacking everyone? To feed off their concern for others is a common theory, which does seem to be what we're supposed to assume given the shot of what appears to be a family cowering from the changelings. Of course, the fans would never accept that group as a family when the “father” is Doctor Hooves (whose only real wife is the TARDIS), the “mother” is Golden Harvest (generally considered to be single), and the “daughter” is some random filly. By the way, with so many guards around, you'd think they'd be the least bit effective, but nope, redshirts.
Now what did Twilight intend to do by releasing Cadence? I imagine that she was banking on the off chance that Shiny would be able to reactivate his shield when broken out of the mind control, but even if that failed, wanted Cadence to be with Shiny in the end.
Why did Chrysalis scoff at the idea that Cadence's love would do any good when she herself used love to defeat Celestia? I imagine that she thinks only changelings can receive any benefit from love and just considers it something that changelings consume, not understanding or caring what it actually means to those that create it. The idea that love could be used by anything but changelings is something she simply didn't consider.
The music that plays during the sequence of the changelings being defeated is amazing. Seriously, they really hit it out of the park with this. I really hope this appears again, perhaps in a flashback to Celestia and Luna defeating Discord.
It is annoying how after subverting the use of the Elements of Harmony, the villain ends up being defeated by a Deus Ex Machina anyway. There really should be a two-parter that ends with the main characters defeating the villain using pure teamwork. Still, this isn't a series-ruiner: only 3 out of 49 stories in the show so far have had this sort of ending.
People have compared this to the Sekiha Love Love Tenkyoken from the end of G Gundam, amusingly with there being fanart of that even before this episode aired. Concerning this attack itself, I liked how it really was just Shining Armor's force field being supercharged as opposed to being a unique attack created by their love. I also love how Chrysalis is defeated by the greatest defenestration of all time. The animation of this sequence is great, though I did think Cadence and Shining Armor contorting their bodies into a heart shape was a bit weird. Apparently the member of the crew that animated this scene posted before this episode that he animated a creepy scene and later admitted that this is what he was referring to. I also liked how the two looked around confused before smiling at each other at the beginning of the attack.
I do wonder if this is repeatable or if it's just for weddings. I would say that it being repeatable would be broken, but then I remembered that even before this we had Celestia and Luna around, Twilight would probably be considered overpowered if this was an action series, and that this isn't the sort of series where being broken in a fight really matters that much. In any case, I doubt we'll actually see this move again.
Unlike with the Elements of Harmony, the changelings are defeated in such a way that they could easily return, since blasting off again rarely kills people in cartoons. In fact, we know for a fact that they will return in the comic, which is nice because I do feel the changelings would be good for other stories.
It was nice to see the real Cadence going through the wedding preparations, especially her dancing with Pinkie, though it's impossible to unsee the fact that her tail just stops bouncing up and down once her body goes off screen. I also like the music during this scene.
Now we reach the wedding clip that was released before this episode aired. It's funny how the clip ended literally right before Twilight started talking about what happened. Twilight adjusting Shiny's buckle is cute, and we get a better look at Twilight and Shiny's parents here. You can also see Shiny's groomsmen; I'm surprised the fans haven't really tried to do anything with them. Shining Armor's line that Cadence married him because Twilight would become her sister has also become a subject of shipping jokes from fans. Applejack sneaking her hat on is amusing, especially with the Liarjack face she makes. The fact that the bride and groom are “mare (adult female horse) and colt (juvenile male horse)” is also the target of jokes concerning Cadence's age.
The moral segment was quite forced in my opinion, especially since Twilight trusting her instincts really didn't help her much at all. They really should have just gone with a moral about the power of love if they were going to do an explicit moral. In any case, I liked how Rainbow Dash left behind her non-aerodynamic dress and showed how much she improved by actually performing an upward Sonic Rainboom.
I absolutely love the piano part of “Love is in Bloom”, which is confirmed to be part of that song by the official extended version. The main part of the song feels like it should be incredibly generic and painful, but somehow, it really really works. The piano segment is a big part of what makes the song great, but even the main part by itself is a joy to listen to. I think it's due to the actual quality of the singing and the fact that it just feels right for this episode. After all Twilight, Cadence, and Shining Armor went through, it's great to see everyone enjoying themselves with a nice cheesy song. Many fans have suggested this this would work as a legitimate song to play at a wedding, but the unfortunate short length of even the extended version and the reference to ponies in the extended version kills that idea.
Despite the fact that they're basically just shoving each other, there's something sweet about the way Cadence and Shining Armor dance together during the piano part. Luna suddenly appearing to ask if she missed anything is great, even if it frustrated people who wanted her to kick ass during the changeling invasion. I personally like the idea that she was asleep during the entire thing. She does work the graveyard shift, after all, and from what I understand, people who do are typically dead to the world during daytime.
Pinkie pulling DJ-PON3 / Vinyl Scratch out of nowhere, obviously from her DJ stash that she keeps around Equestria in case of DJ emergencies, is great both on its own and as a fan shout out. The fact that she had indigo eyes in the few frames you can see her eyes created some ire among the fanbase; I imagine the crew simply wasn't aware that her having red eyes was an established thing among fans. I also loved the way everyone danced to the song, including Celestia nodding her head, Luna rocking out, and Applejack pulling off some fancy moves. I also loved how everyone mouthed along to, “A handsome groom!”
The photos of the wedding are quite neat. In particular, it was nice to see cameos from Fancy Pants and Soarin', the former of which I talked a bit about in my review of “Sweet and Elite”, and latter of which showing him in a new costume that shows that his cutie mark is the same as the normal Wonderbolts logo. I'm not sure what the implication of that is. We also get Spike and Sweetie Belle dancing together, which led to people joking that Spike couldn't get with Rarity, so he went for her sister.
The gag with Rarity catching the bouquet was cute, and I thought ending the episode with Spike's bachelor party joke was a great move, if only for Twilight's weary but happy expression. Like I said, it's nice to see her enjoying herself after all that happened.
I like to think that once Cadence and Shining Armor arrived at their room, they just crashed on the bed and immediately fell asleep. Cadence was stuck in a dungeon and Shining Armor was both keeping a shield up and under mind control for an unknown amount of time, after all.
Some say the story should have been longer to better introduce the new characters, but I feel that there isn't really much this story could have done in that regard. The only way to solve that problem would have been to introduce at least Shining Armor earlier. Outside of that, and the way the changelings were defeated, I feel that the length of the episode was just fine.
Going back to our Maxie Zeus's review, one of his major complaints was that the non-Twilight main characters didn't do much and little was done to really distinguish them. I imagine a big reason why fans liked this episode more than he did is that they were largely able to overlook this. For fans, the lack of focus was fine because previous episodes already focused on those characters and it was understandable for the season finale to not focus on them. I think that Maxie was viewing this more as a sort of TV movie that would be, and, to be fair, was, shown to people watching this show for the first time, and was disappointed that this story didn't showcase what he felt to be one of the show's better qualities for the new viewers.
Overall, I actually found that while in overanalysis mode, I didn't enjoy this episode quite as much as the first. Quite the reversal of how I felt the first time through and not in overanalysis mode! In any case, when I first watched these episodes, I was left with a giddy feeling that just wouldn't go away the whole day, and I was left with a similar feeling this time around. It's a shame that I wasn't able to finish this right before season 3, but at least now we have November as the confirmed month.
In the end
Throughout these reviews, I've been vaguely addressing two issues: is season 2 worse than season 1, and what is the best starting episode. I admit, I've been slacking in considering the latter issue, so I won't have a very good answer to that. As for the former, while season 2 did have what I felt to be a relatively long slump in the episodes surrounding “Putting Your Hoof Down”, perhaps largely due to me reading contemporary forum posts and experiencing the Derpy slump again, I felt that the highs were higher than those of season 1. So, I suppose that on average, there is no significant quality difference. It was still the same great show.
As for the latter, I actually have an interesting idea: “It's About Time”. The episode has a premise that you wouldn't expect from a show for little girls and it doesn't require knowing how the characters normally act to really appreciate it like “Lesson Zero”. Twilight acts crazy, but it's the sort of crazy you'd expect from a situation like that, unlike with “Lesson Zero”. The only real issues are that Spike's dream makes for a confusing start for a brand new viewer, which can be solved by skipping over it, and the use of Pinkie Sense.
In the end, it really is remarkable that a show about candy-colored ponies would get me to write so much. What has this show done to me? Well, I enjoyed myself, so it's something good.
Last edited by SigmasonicX; 10-12-2012 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Added a bit toward the end about Maxie Zeus's review
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
Great jobs on these reviews man! I rewatcng recently and man those episodes were a lot of fun, even if the sequence of Twilight confronting 'Cadence' at the wedding rehersal was pretty painful to watch again... poor Twilight.
"I'd be lying if I say
That I don't fear that I may lose him"
I guess it is a bit complex for little kids but still clear to me.
"People who meddle with secret identities get their memories erased."
"You murdered your own alter ego? Sounds socially awkward."
Wow, I didn't expect this to get long, but here it is...
I don't know if I posted this statement in my comments for the previous 2-parters, but I will anyways. I enjoy the show quite a lot, but the 2-parters are never among the best for me (for reasons I've stated in another thread, which caused me to feel like posting comments for these specific episodes because I didn't want the comment to get too long). Anyways... I greatly dislike this episode (not as much as The Return of Harmony, but that's hardly a complement).
For the first part... Yeah, two ponies who happen to be closely associated with Twilight were introduced this late, and while that was somewhat annoying, I could've forgiven it if the episode was good, but more on that later (and on Cadance as an alicorn).
Fake Cadance was obvious; I wasn't sure initially what the reason was for that, but I never guessed that it was shapeshifting, so I guess that surprise was pretty good. I don't know why a wedding would be held when a "threat" was made (also, since the Changelings were already blending in, why make a threat?); I'm sure it's easier to hold a wedding when Shining Armor doesn't have to go through the trouble of maintaining a barrier, but I went with it.
Twilight obviously become suspicious of Cadance, but the others aren't because they think it's reasonable for Cadance (after this, I'm using Chrysalis) to be worked up with the wedding quickly coming up. A situation like that is plausible, but Chrysalis' behavior was so blatant (a problem I have with the queen, she's not very subtle, and not in a good way) that their reasoning ends up not being credible (though Pinkie Pie's reaction was actually reasonable though, and amusing); ultimately, I just accepted all that.
Twilight later finds something suspicious with Shining Armor and later gets ready to accuse Chrysalis... in the dumbest way possible. How was barging in and making a bunch of claims she can provide absolutely no evidence with going to help? Even ignoring the episode right before this bone, Twilight (and no one else I'm sure) wouldn't that do something as stupid as this. Even the lines and delivery sounded dumb. And Shining Armor finally does something important... I think. He does chew her out, but I don't know if that was himself or Chrysalis controlling him (sure it wasn't directly shown and there was no glow, but that'd spoil the reveal), so I don't know if this act here counts as anything. Chrysalis didn't even need to banish Twilight given the consequences, but I still just went with it.
The second part was where everything crumbled because the solution to the problem is too unsatisfying. In fact, I don't think Chrysalis' defeat could ever be done satisfyingly because between Twilight and her friends (though only Twilight does anything of significance), the wedding couple, and Princess Celestia (and possibly Luna), only one of those choices can resolve the episode, making the other two options seem pointless to the story. Maybe they could all team up or split up and solve different problems, but there was only one major villain doing one thing and a bunch of good guys, so there's no room for anyone to do anything of real significance (or maybe making Chrysalis omnipotent actually could've worked).
Obviously, the Mane 6 aren't the ones who save Canterlot. Even if they were the ones to do so, they'd only have to pull up the Elements again, and Chrysalis would boast about how she can't be defeated so easily only to end up being defeated easily. Basically, an unexciting rehash. The fight with them against the Changelings was actually pretty good though, but I'm not sure struggling greatly through them would've provided good build-up for the Elements to beat Chrysalis. Ultimately, I suppose the Mane 6 did have an active enough role (or at least Twilight does) even though they do fail. It's just that if they succeed, then everyone else would be useless. But there's still a feeling of uselessness in this episode for me.
The real Cadance is only in the second episode, and she does almost nothing for the rest of it. She does free Shining Armor, but that's the only other important thing she does. Shining Armor also did almost nothing until this point (or maybe absolutely nothing if he was mind-controlled in the entirety of the first part). Then, two characters who aren't too different from background characters are the ones who save the day. In fact, they have to be the ones to beat Chrysalis since the episode is about their wedding. If they weren't, then they'd just become bystanders, and there would be no reason for the episode to include some wedding. Even with what's given, the defeat was still anticlimactic with a lack of build-up being another reason. The couple is in the same room at one point, but Shining Armor is just freed and the queen quickly gets blasted away immediately after. Not even some struggle before getting hit or even around the time Cadance approached her groom.
Princess Celestia is also not allowed to beat Chrysalis since she isn't a main character. One of my biggest problems with the show having episodes with a big villain is that Celestia (and by extension Luna) never get to play their roles as protectors of Equestria. I suppose Celestia not doing anything in the premiere was fine since it was something relating to her sister (and I would like a full story of Luna becoming Nightmare Moon and later getting banished. The sequence in the S4 premiere is still too little). Discord is also stronger than the alicorns, so the princesses are forced to do almost nothing, but at this point it's gotten ridiculous. Sure Celestia tried, but she was quickly knocked down. If Luna stepped in, she would've been beaten as well. If both were there to try, then they'll both still lose for the same reason. And Chrysalis can't be beaten right on the spot because her appearance will be rendered pointless. Maybe Princess Celestia could've recovered and tried again later, but that still can't happen because the wedding couple will be useless (already explained this). In essence, I doubt I could ever be satisfied with the handling of Chrysalis' defeat.
The role of the princesses until this point (except Cadance) has been one of my biggest problems with this show, and it shows too well in these 2-parters. Again, they're not the main characters of the show (or any episode), so they can't be the ones to resolve the conflict since that'll make the actual main characters pointless to the story. I'm sure there's a story to tell where they can show their power and beat the bad guy while still giving the main characters something to do. Maybe an alicorn isn't like an absolute high god or whatever, but they're not wimps either. They're still pretty tough since moving the sun and moon takes plenty of power (yeah, only a group of unicorns had to do it, but if only one can do it, then that single unicorn has to be something special). And for some reason, Luna isn't important at all. I guess the sister of a major figure that is also closely associated with a main character doesn't matter, especially since the sister herself is also a major figure and was introduced in the premiere. I don't even know why her appearances had to be prevented in the first place, so her existence feels near-pointless. Also not helping my case is that with such powerful sorcerors existing closely with the main characters, I feel like watching an action show. I prefer action shows to comedies, but that doesn't mean I dislike comedies, otherwise I wouldn't even have started watching this show. Or even if there wasn't going to be "epic" fights all the time, at least a few would've been good. Hell, at times I even find myself less interested than whatever the Mane 6 is doing in Ponyville and more interested in the mythology of Equestria, the alicorns, etc. And the premiere of S4 only gave that a small drop. To repeat myself from another thread, sometimes I wish the main characters weren't connected to princesses in any way so those more "epic" episodes don't have to exist and fall flat on their faces. The alicorns can still exist as powerful defenders or whatever, but they're just distant figures who can fight off evil spirits if needed, and the show can still stick to the slice-of-life stories like it almost always does. I doubt I'd be as demanding of somepony to blast something into oblivion.
As for Cadance herself, I don't see the point of having to make her an alicorn. Yes, I do feel it ruins the specialness of such as status (and I feel that way about Twilight too, but I've accepted both of them). If alicorns aren't omnipotent, then there needs to be more of an explanation behind their status because that means that almost anypony can be an alicorn if they prove themselves. Yeah that's difficult, but not impossible, and no extremely special process is even needed for the transformation to an alicorn. Or maybe I'm wrong about that since only Celestia and Luna have flowing manes. I'm hoping that S4 will explain more about alicorns and anything else, and it might look like it, but I'm not holding my breath given the lack of explanation for too many other things.
It'll be a while before I actually get to The Crystal Empire and Princess Twilight Sparkle, but I'll say that Crystal Empire was ok while Princess Twilight Sparkle was actually quite good.
Sigh...this episode! I know a lot of people like it, but I just can't stand this episode. It's probably one of, if not the worst, episode of the series.
Cadence and Shining Armor in this, and all future appearances have no personality, no character whatsoever outside of being nice, and they are the most blatant "Buy us!" this show has ever done, and that's saying a lot. It doesn't help they were added and introduced as Twilight's closest ponies she knew in fillyhood, and never bothered to bring them up once? Cadence is obviously evil right away, and we're supposed to be surprised that there's a good one? Also, why didn't Cadence, who I assume was stuck in the caverns for weeks, think to herself, "hmm, maybe there's a way out of this place?" Why is Luna completely absent throughout the entire episode, minus some random cameos done for some pathetic fanservice? Why is the final battle between the newlyweds and Chrysalis so weak? It's just "the power of love", and that's it. Little to no build-up, just a lame deus ex machina done to rap things up.
And Chrysalis' motivations make no sense either. She wants to take over Equestria; why? Because the script told her to. Her using her army to take it down makes no sense either. Her species requires love to survive; that's their food source, so why invade, which will cause terror and fear? An easier way would to just do what you done already; allow you and your changelings to shapeshift as ponies and blend into society, and feed upon the love of a significant other, or someone next to you, like a married couple, or a group of friends. But because...she's just evil, she just tries to take over the world. The Ask Fluffle Puff Chrysalis is more competent.
Now, there are things I like. The music is some of the best of the series, it was funny at parts, and the animation was, as always, very strong. But they can't save this overhyped fanfiction from staying afloat. If you like it, good for you, just don't talk to me about it.
Looking back at my review... wow, Princess Skyla really did amount to absolutely nothing, didn't she? Also, it's amusing seeing me talk about the huge controversy of Princess Cadence when Princess Twilight turned out to be a much bigger deal for everyone.
Reality is only for those who can't handle Star Trek.
|toonzone quick jump|