We’re back from the show’s three week hiatus with the ONE HUNDREDTH episode of the series! Did anyone think it would get this far? Well yes actually. I mean we’ve got two spin-off films and a theatrical movie coming out soon. This gravy train is gonna keep going until the wheels fall off, and even then they’ll find a way to milk it even further. Still, it seems like the creators are taking this episode VERY seriously and want to make something that is truly memorable for the fans who have kept this series going for so long. Is it a well done celebration of the show’s past and a hopeful look at the future, or is it a bad sign of things to come as the show slowly begins to lose relevance and creativity? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Matilda (Hey! We haven’t seen her for a while!) looking over her scrapbook which has gotten quite a few entries since the last time we saw it.
Cranky, living up to his name, storms into their little house and starts complaining about the citizens of Ponyville who seem to be over eager about their wedding which is scheduled for tomorrow. But wait! They got the wrong date on the invitations! The wedding is TODAY!! WACKINESS!!! Matilda is all in a tizzy about this and Cranky leaves the cottage to go cuss out the big dummy who wrote the wrong date on the invitations.
Oh yeah, not only does Ditsy Doo show up (she’s credited as Muffins and is played by Tabitha St. Germain) but she gets a HUGE chunk of screen time as the focus of one of the many plots in this episode. In fact, this episode seems to be composed of nothing but fan service to celebrate the show’s one hundredth episode. Considering they’re starting it off the bat with Ditzy Doo, then all bets are off as to where this can go. Structure wise, it’s very reminiscent of 22 Short Films about Springfield, though the whole story is a bit more cohesive what with every tangential excursion heading towards the wedding (and the references to 90s movies but we’ll get to that in a second). By the time The Simpsons did that episode in their seventh season, they had cultivated a unique cast of characters who everyone wanted to see more of and gave them a chance to shine. This is especially true of MLP which had crafted an interesting new world even before the fans ran wild with it, so the possibilities here are almost endless for well-done cameos and subplots. So Muffins is all sad about messing up the invitations and is trying to get advice from one of her friends about what to do next.
That’s right! Next on our list of cameos is Doctor Hooves (credited as Doctor) who takes Muffins to his lab to monologue about science and pretty much ignore everyone around him. Needless to say they’re not being very subtle about who he’s supposed to be (he even quickly drops the fact that he’s hundreds of years old). There is one reference though that I think goes well over my head when the Doctor reveals he experienced a tragic event when he was a kid that fueled his quest to be a scientist. I’m not totally caught up with Doctor Who so the only thing I could think of is the Untempered Schism that they mention in season three, and that seems like a stretch even to me.
After parading Muffins through his lab for no discernible reason other than to set up a plot device for later (flameless fireworks that he can’t figure out how to ignite), he realizes that he needs to get his suit tailored for the wedding later today and just leaves Muffins twisting in the wind. Aww… What the hell dude? I thought you were the Doctor, not the Master! Anyway, he heads straight for Rarity’s boutique (because where the hell else would he go) but finds it closed for the time being. She’s probably doing something to save somepony through the power of friendship or whatever. I wonder how much business she loses whenever she’s out hunting dragons or being sent to reeducation camps. Fortunately for the time lord, Vinyl Scratch just happens to be walking by wearing her presumably magic headphones that don’t appear to be connected to any device and yet are still outputting some serious wubs. Despite not hearing a word the guy is saying (maybe she’s learned to read lips for just this scenario) she knows exactly what he’s looking for and takes him to the bowling alley. Confused at first, the Doctor quickly realizes why as the Big Lebowski ponies (told you we’d get back to 90s movies!) show up wearing FABULOUS suits. I distinctly remember them all wearing TERRIBLE clothes in that movie, but whatever. The Doctor finds out they make their own clothes and begs them to fix his suit, but they can’t because they’re busy with a bowling tournament.
The trio decide to help him IF he’s willing to be their fourth member of the team. Wait, if they were short a player then why did they even show up? Were they just hoping to find some guy who desperately needed some clothing alterations? The Doctor is dubious at first (how can a game with so many variables work!?) but eventually capitulates and agrees to play with them. We cut to outside the bowling alley where the Mane 6 are huddled together for some reason and a crowd has already formed to speculate on what they’re going to do. Oh look! The next awesome cameo!!
Octavia’s appearance here is rather brief and just sets up that she’s playing the music for the wedding and doesn’t have a song ready yet. Uh… you only have to nail the wedding march. This isn’t a brain teaser, it’s just memorization. I’m SURE you can do it. Well, maybe she won’t get enough practice in because a GIANT BUGBEAR SHOWS UP TO RAMPAGE THROUGH THE TOWN!!!
For those of you who don’t know, a Bugbear is basically like the Boogeyman. A creature used to frighten disobedient children in some cultures, though they USUALLY aren’t depicted as literally a bug crossed with a bear. While the Mane 6 are fighting for the fate of Ponyville, Matilda is still worried about the wedding and is trying to gather up whichever random ponies she can to keep it from becoming a total disaster. Muffins eventually runs into her and Matilda enlists her to get the flowers while she gets her hair done at the spa. Of course, she has no luck there either.
Okay, so Muffins isn’t getting much done and Matilda is probably gonna stress herself into a heart attack. That doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING is going wrong though! Lyra and Bon Bon are the ones in charge of setting up the town hall which is where the wedding is supposed to take place and they seem to be doing a bang up job. What, no church of Celestia? Oh, and the writers take FULL advantage of how these characters are seen in the fandom.
It’s actually a bit surprising to see them go THAT overt with the possible relationship between the two. It’s up there with the Korrasami ending, though played more for laughs than in that example. Hell, I’ll take it. Keep pushing that envelope! All is not good in the world of best friend horses though because Bon Bon completely loses it when she finds out that the Bugbear is in town. Apparently Bon Bon is a secret agent (real name Sweetie Drops just so the show can be THAT much cleverer) who was part of an anti-monster task force in Canterlot before they disbanded once the Bugbear got loose. Wait, wouldn’t that be the ONE TIME you want an anti-monster agency around? For some reason they had to close up shop (Celestia needed complete deniability for something) and they all lead new lives in different cities just because this ONE dude got away from them.
I think this requires MUCH more explanation. Granted, everything in this episodes needs a decent follow up episode, but Bon Bon being a secret agent in hiding (which is an ingeniously clever way to explain the various random appearances of her in crowds) is absolutely amazing and I want to see much more of it. Unfortunately we don’t get more of her backstory but we do get more of the Doctor which is always nice! It’s the final frame of the game and the Doctor has a seven ten split. If he can knock down both pins, they win the game. I’m sure a first time player can pull that off.
Muffins bursts in and ruins the game but that’s of secondary concern when she tells him that she’s gonna use his FIREWORKS as replacements for FLOWERS. Wait, she’s gonna put potentially explosive materials right next to the bride and groom!? The Doctor knows what could happen if something were to trigger the flameless fireworks, so he goes after her to hopefully prevent a wedding massacre. That might be a Sisyphean task however considering Matilda is wound up to the point of causing mass slaughter herself if things get any more hectic. At the spa though, she has a chance to relax as she finds Cranky’s best beast preparing for the wedding as well.
For an episode as high energy and hectic as this one, it’s nice to have a scene that kind of slows everything down long enough so that when things go nuts again, it will at least have a bit of impact. Matilda’s been great throughout the little moments she’s had in this episode and having a couple minutes here for her to take a breather and remember why any of this is important is a great way to give us some emotional investment in the upcoming wedding. That is until Stephen Magnet turns out to be a HUGE dick for seemingly no reason. When she comes to the conclusion that the her and Cranky getting married is much more important than the wedding, Stephen sets her straight and tells her that NOTHING is more important and that she needs to get back into panic mode RIGHT NOW!!
This seems like a REALLY odd turn for the episode to take. I guess it might be a joke on the whole “learn an obvious lesson” thing that happens in almost every episode, but it still feels pointlessly mean of the guy to lay it out for her like that. What does she get by being completely stressed out? Is it going to be a better wedding if the bride is a mess but the streamers are up correctly? They cut to commercial right after he says that so I guess it’s to keep the audience hanging during those three minutes, but it feels unnecessary and only there because they couldn’t think of a better way to pace the episode out to fit with the commercial breaks. When the show comes back, we’re at Octavia and Vinyl’s place which looks like something out of a Batman comic.
This is by far the most fan service-y and imaginative portion of the episode. It’s an official and canonized version of the countless pieces of fan art, fan music, and fan fiction which depicts the two of the jamming out, but that’s not the only thing that makes this scene special. It’d be one thing if the show was just copying something that had already been done in the fandom several times at this point, but the artistry involved and subtle character moments in this makes it easily the highlight of an episode that’s already amazing.
It doesn’t stop there though. Octavia realizes she’s going to be late and the two of them hop on the plot convenience wub-mobile that somehow manages to grab everyone in town along the way.
The madness doesn’t stop there though. Oh no. There’s still ONE more bit of fan insanity they had to throw in.
The speaker car trips over the cane and all of its occupants go flying through the air. Does the insanity end there? OF COURSE NOT!!! GUMMY HAS AN INTERNAL MONOLOGUE ABOUT THE EXISTENTIAL QUANDARY OF BEING AN ALLIGATOR WITH NO CUTIE MARK IN A WORLD OF PONIES WHO ARE ALL PART OF A PREDESTINED ORDER TO THE UNIVERSE!!
The ponies that fly through the air with the greatest of ease all somehow make it through the windows of the town hall and land in their chairs, ready to begin the ceremony and without questioning anything that had just happened. The wedding can finally begin soon now that everyone is there and everything is ready. Well… ALMOST everyone is there.
Before the ceremony begins, we get to see Celestia and Luna bicker about forgetting the wedding gift, Lyra and Bon Bon make up for their argument earlier about keeping secrets, and Shining Armor once again losing it at a big public event.
The wedding ceremony is about to begin and everyone takes their seats. It looks like TWO ponies in particular aren’t too happy with their seating arrangement at the moment.
Wow. I’m sure a Windigo would get the chills sitting between those two. I actually really like that they’ve started to humanize (or pony-ize I guess) the Alicorn Princesses. I understand that at least in Celestia’s case that she’s SUPPOSED to be a neigh untouchable and perfect goddess mother figure, but they’ve started to turn that around in other places (the () arc in the comics is a great example) and it’s starting to spread to the show as well. The two of them are fascinating just based on their role in this world, so giving them some relatable characterization (being pissed as a sibling) can only make them that much more interesting. Anyway, the wedding goes off without a hitch and Cranky and Matilda finally get to tie the knot. While sharing their kiss, their love I guess radiates throughout the room and it turns out that LOVE is the key to setting off those flameless fireworks that have been hanging over the episode like a brightly colored and flashy Sword of Damocles. Don’t worry though. Fireworks aren’t all that dangerous, so all it does is make this wedding all the more magical!
While everyone inside is celebrating the now happy couple, the Mane 6 are crowding around a nearby window so they can witness it as best they can. And so the episode ends with Twilight waxing nostalgic about the wonderful town she lives in, all the ponies that make it great, and the many memories that have been made and will be made.
WOW was this episode great. To get the obvious stuff out of the way, yes it was awesome to see so many references to movies, fan canon, and previous episodes. I enjoyed seeing them finally give characters like Lyra, Bon Bon, Octavia, Vinyl Scratch, and Muffins some extended screen time and great characterization that lines up with what fans have wanted from these characters. There’s a sense of payoff when something you really like finally gets a chance at the spotlight, and this episode does a masterful job of bringing it all together. I’ve never been much of a comic book fan (at least super hero comics) but I imagine it’s similar to when a Guardians of the Galaxy reader got to see Star Lord on the big screen, or when Robert Downey Jr played Iron Man as well as he did. Even with the stuff that doesn’t tie directly to fan canon and simply refers to things we’ve seen in the show before works really well. I though the subplot with the Lebowski ponies (while a bit anemic what with Walter and Donny not having any lines) was a great little addition and gave the Doctor a chance to do something that’s outside his comfort zone with rather humorous results. Even if we take away the stuff that is there to get fans to squeal with glee, the episode does work on its own. Season five, with the exception of the spectacular season premiere, has been operating at about 85%, which is a bit of a shame considering where the show COULD be going at this point but doesn’t seem to want to. I started to resign myself to thinking that the creators didn’t have an interest in exploring those aspects and that my expectations that they would were unfounded. Here though? There is almost nothing that isn’t firing on all cylinders. The show is moving at a nearly flawless pace with new things showing up every couple of minutes, and the individual scenes go the extra distance to make everything as memorable as possible (an example would be looking inside the Doctor’s mind as he tries to figure out bowling)! Are there flaws? Sure. I think some of the scenes are a bit underdeveloped (though with the running time, not much more could be done) and the scene with Stephen Magnet in the spa almost stops the episode dead in its tracks. Fortunately, that scene is the last one before the explosive finale which brings everything together into a five minute stretch of non-stop excitement and imagination. The fireworks thing was a weird tangent (why would Muffins use fireworks to replace flowers?) and the ultimate conclusion there was a bit sappy. It’s a wedding though, so you can usually get away with sappiness in that situation. This episode was just a joy to watch and is definitely one of the best of the series so far. My only concern is that this is clearly an event episode and it’s almost certain that things will slow down significantly after this. That’s okay I guess, as long as the show can remember to keep things creative and to not do the same things over and over again. The writers need to continue to use the immensely likable cast to its fullest instead of always focusing on the same ponies overcoming the same problems again and again. It’s one thing if the show can’t keep up with the sheer spectacle and scale of an episode like this every week, but I just hope that the smaller episodes to come don’t go back to the 85% we were getting for most of this season. They may have knocked it out of the park here, but I don’t want that to be an excuse for the rest of the season to rest on its laurels. Until we find out if that’s the case, rest assure that episode 100 is a total blast and further proof that the incredibly talented creators of this show still know what the heck they are doing!
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