My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.
Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby
We’re back with another episode of Everybody Hates Starlight! She has been a bit of a contentious character, hasn’t she? Some people weren’t happy with her becoming a main character at the end of season five, while others have found her to be the injection of new blood that this series needed. I’m still optimistic, but I’m worried that they won’t take full advantage of what her character can represent and will just try to go the safe route. We’ll have to see as this is the most Starlight centric episode yet! Will they finally make good on the promises of this character, or will she be just as poorly utilized as the Cutie Map from season five? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Twilight and Starlight setting the table for an upcoming dinner with Princess Celestia. Why they’re setting the table a whole day before she shows up, I have no clue, though I’m willing to assume that was Twilight’s idea. Maybe she wants to make sure it’s done perfectly? Nope, because she gets crabby when Starlight sets it immediately (and impeccably) using her magic and I guess Twilight wanted to use the time to lecture her about friendship… or something.
Despite this setback (if you’d even call it that), Twilight is still optimistic about this dinner whose whole objective seems to be for Twilight to show off her prize horse to the one person she idolizes above all others, whether Starlight is ready for this or not. CLEARLY the best teacher out there! Oh, and on top of that she springs an ultimatum on Starlight for no reason. Between now and the dinner (a little over a day), she must make a new friend and have them come to the soiree. WHAT!? How is that in any way a reasonable expectation? Hell, Twilight had AT LEAST two whole days to figure that out when she had first come to Ponyville, and that was ALSO with the help of a prophecy that pretty much made their friendship divine intervention! Starlight doesn’t have such advantages, but rather than tell Twilight to chill out, she goes out there and gives it a shot. First up on the list (with help from Pinkie Pie) is Mrs. Cake. PERFECT! We could really use more of her in the show! What could possibly go wrong? Well… it turns out that she’s a magic-phobe or something because she gets SUPER pissed when Starlight makes a magic cake.
Seriously, why is Mrs. Cake so threatened by Starlight for being able to make a cake out of magic? It’s not like Starlight has a bakery that’s gonna directly compete with hers! Is Mrs. Cake only friends with people who aren’t better cooks then her!? Let’s… move on and forget that ever happened. Next up is Big Mac, introduced to her by Applejack, but this goes south fast as well. Admittedly, there’s a better reason here than with Mrs. Cake (she bewitches Big Mac into having a stronger vocabulary which is a bad thing I guess), but everypony is still REALLY antagonistic towards her! If everypony’s gonna be pissy, then they should take it out on Twilight who’s making her do this stupid challenge!
The rest of the Mane6 don’t seem to be of much help either, and Starlight is about to go all Lesson Zero when she does something that Twilight couldn’t think to do during that episode; RELAX! She heads to the spa to get some R&R and as luck would have it, she starts to strike up with another pony there and they seem to hit it off right away. It just goes to show that stressing out over the little things won’t get you any closer to your goal! At least Starlight managed to learn that before causing a riot! But who exactly IS this new friend of hers that she seems to have so much in common with?
Oh this is just perfect. Not only is this a brilliant idea that I’m kicking myself for not thinking of, it’s a great way for Twilight to be called on her own bullshit; whether it’s about true forgiveness (she doesn’t trust Trixie) or about how she wants to be a great teacher like Celestia. Yeah, her BRILLIANT idea to send Starlight on a friendship quest with a deadline is blowing up right in front of her! See, this is what I felt was missing from the season premiere where Twilight never became aware of her own thoughtlessness and how she barely left Starlight any room to be anything more than a faithful student. Without even knowing it, Starlight has staked a claim in their relationship and Twilight has to find a way to deal with it.
Now I’m a bit fuzzy on the time frame, but from what I can tell this meeting between Twilight and Starlight’s new friend is happening the day of the dinner (meaning we missed some time between the spa scene and this one) so Starlight and Trixie go out until then. Twilight however is shadowing their movements and even goes so far as to try and hook her up with other, less threatening, ponies.
Yeah, that doesn’t go well. Keep trying though! I’m SURE you can force her to take your point of view and have the friends YOU want her to have! While Twilight is losing less and less credibility with Starlight, we also find out why Trixie has dropped by Ponyville for the third time. To make up for the last two times she came to town, she’s going on an Equestria wide tour called the Humble and Penitent Trixie’s Equestrian Apology Tour (the title’s a work in progress) to make up for her previous misdeeds. Sounds good, right? Well… the HPTEA Tour isn’t so much done out of genuine remorse, but more out of spite. She clearly believes that everyone still hates her (not an ungrounded assumption) so she’s gonna kill them with kindness. Not necessarily the healthiest of attitudes, but whatever keeps her from getting cursed pendants and enslaving the masses I guess. Here’s where things get a bit confusing though. So Trixie has this one trick that she wants to do because her idol is the only pony to have ever completed it and she wishes to do the same. Oh, and her idol is Hoof-dini because HORSE PUNS!
The thing is that it’s not really that hard of a trick to pull off. From the explanation, she needs to launch herself from a canon into a Manticore’s mouth and then appear in a nearby sealed box. Gee. IF ONLY UNICORNS WERE ABLE TO TELEPORT. In fact, that’s the solution that Starlight provides which is to have her offstage and then just zap her into the box. That’s not much of a trick if you ask me and it seems PRETTY unlikely that no other magician since Hoof-dini has been able to think of that. Now I’m aware that there’s actual magic in this world, but there’s still room for MAGIC! (not the band; the stuff magicians do) as there’s clear distinctions between the two. We know that MAGIC! doesn’t actually exist, but we can buy into it because of the misdirection and surprises that it can create. If that can work WITHOUT real magic, then it should still work in a world where there IS magic. This stunt though doesn’t seem to incorporate any of that as it’s simply an escape trick which loses a lot of power when teleportation is the solution. If Trixie could pull this off without teleporting, then THAT would be something! Anyway, Trixie jumps on the chance to have Starlight be her Great and Powerful assistant, but the problem is that the show is set for that very night; the same night as the dinner with Celestia! Wait a minute. Did they not already arrange this? Does Trixie not even know that Starlight is supposed to bring her there!? Well it looks like Starlight will have to make a decision. I wonder what she’ll do…
What’s worse is that for no apparent reason, she’s invited the citizens of Ponyville that she was trying to pass off onto Starlight (DJ PON3 wasn’t the only one) and for no clear reason; especially Cranky who is very much living up to his namesake. Unable to take the tension anymore, Twilight heads out to find Starlight and HOPEFULLY doesn’t burn the whole castle down on her way out.
It’s not hard to find her though considering the kind of production Trixie puts on. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack if the needle was the size of an I-beam and covered in sequins. That’s a good thing though! Who wants their magicians to NOT be outlandish and flamboyant!?
An argument breaks out backstage between Twilight and Trixie where both start to show their less than perfect sides, and Trixie blurts out something thoughtlessly about beating Twilight at her own game (friendship) which hits Starlight like a ton bricks and has her storm off into the night; thinking that Trixie’s friendship was predicated on how much it would hurt Twilight.
Once Starlight is gone, Trixie starts yelling at Twilight and blaming her for what just happened before going on stage to do her show. Twilight realizes her own mistakes (even if Trixie hasn’t yet) and goes to find Starlight who’s watching the performance from a distance. She apologizes, Starlight accepts, and they watch as Trixie does something COMPLETLEY INSANE to… I guess try to win Starlight back? She goes ahead with the super trick where she’s supposed to get eaten by a Manticore, and I guess she’s just hoping that Starlight isn’t going to let her die despite their argument. Okay… that’s either some strong faith in her or its extremely manipulative. Let’s say… both?
Of course this convoluted cry for forgiveness works and Starlight manages to teleport her out of the Manticore’s digestive system and into the nearby box; saving her and confirming their friendship! It looks like Twilight has learned her lesson about being an overbearing teacher, and Starlight is learning to make real friends for herself instead of as part of an assignment. Trixie probably didn’t learn anything, but I’m actually fine with that. Don’t’ mess with success. Oh wait! There’s still the dinner party… that I guess they forgot about.
This was EXACTLY the kind of episode we needed to firmly establish the relationship between Starlight and Twilight. The season premiere didn’t capitalize on this considering they barely had any time together and that Twilight’s dumb plan somehow worked out in the end, but both of those issues are fixed here. Twilight needs to learn to be a teacher just as much as Starlight needs to learn not to be a tyrant, and while I hope this isn’t the first time they butt heads, it accomplishes its goal of at least ADDRESSING Twilight’s inexperience which will help inform whatever episodes we get about this relationship. While I may have my criticisms of Twilight’s methods, we didn’t really get confirmation that the writers were aware that she had any limitations in that area until now and I’m glad they finally acknowledge it. Not only that, but Trixie is still the best (or at least one of the best) and manages to be a likable character while still being a total jerk. I guess it’s not surprising considering they managed to pull that off so well with Discord, but then I thought they completely failed to do that with Starlight’s turn at the end of last season. It’s such a perfect pairing for these two to find each other and I like that neither one are perfect in a way the show feels needs to constantly fix whatever flaws they have (like they do with the Mane6). Trixie is (hopefully) not gonna stop being a narcissist and Starlight has her own hang-ups about other ponies, but then those flaws don’t preclude them from having friends. While there may be a bit of weakness in the writing towards the middle (and honestly it only affects the plot device), this is probably my favorite episode of the season so far! Let’s hope that their friendship isn’t just for this episode and that it becomes a permanent fixture of the series going forward!