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 the Discord Diaries! Now the last season used John de Lancie’s iconic character a whole bunch, so maybe the thinking on this season is to not overload us with his presence; lest he end up overtaking the show which can happen when side characters get to popular (*cough* Jack Sparrow *cough*), so saving Discord for when the show really needs it might be the right move. Does this new strategy pan out as we get a REALLY great Discord episode for the sixth season, or is this just another mediocre romp for the season’s mostly disappointing second half? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Discord acting all pissy (as is his nature) because Fluttershy has to go to Yakakistan (ugh…) on some sort of goodwill trip with Princess Celestia and the other protectors of Friendship. Discord obviously can’t go because he’s not known for his tact and grace… and I’m pretty sure that brining a destructive God of chaos sends the wrong message on a peacekeeping mission. That and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has arrest warrants all over Equestria; not just for enslaving everyone thousands of years ago, but for shit he’s done recently.
Instead, Fluttershy suggests that he spend the evening with Spike and Big Mac who are having a Guys’ Night and would probably appreciate a third wheel. YEAH! It’s an episode about MANLY MEN doing MANLY THINGS! I can only assume that means hookers and blow, but then again we’ll probably have to wait for the gritty reboot on Adult Swim in ten years before we get episodes like that. Whatever the evening of debauchery and testosterone entails, it will have to wait until after the Mane 6 board the train for Yakyakistan (they already have a railway system?); all of whom seem very patronizing of what the men have planned.
At first, Discord doesn’t seem interested in hanging out with them, but he seems to get in the spirit of things when his mind starts racing with the possibilities that the evening will entail. Of course, he doesn’t bother ASKING them what they have planned (probably not gonna be hookers and blow) but still agrees to meet them at Twilight’s castle at sundown which is when the fun begins. Wait, Starlight Glimmer didn’t get on the train with the rest of the Mane 6, so wouldn’t she be at the castle? Maybe Spike and Big Mac paid her to go away for the night so they can have their He-Man Women Haters Club meeting.
While these two seem particularly excited to get their man date started, neither of them can match Discord’s enthusiasm and I’m starting to think that the creators are writing him more and more to be like Roger the Alien from American Dad; mostly due to his seemingly infinite supply of goofy characters, odd costumes, and elaborate props.
Sadly for Discord, he finds out the shocking truth about Guy’s Night and is not too pleased about it. If you couldn’t guess from the title, these two play Dungeons and Dragons… I mean Ogres and Oubliettes, and they’ve invited Discord to join their campaign. THAT’S RIGHT! THEY’RE NERDS!! OH THE HORROR!! Well, okay. Horror might be a bit much, but it’s hard to disagree with Discord who are looks at these dudes and wondering how lame this adventure must be; not because they are playing O&O, but because… well there’s only TWO of them. I’m no expert on tabletop gaming, but I’ve never seen a campaign in real life or even in depictions of popular culture that had only TWO people, one of whom is somehow pulling double duty as a dungeon master as well as a player which I would think would be against the rules. Would it have been that hard for the writers to add a few extra people to the group? Now personally I would have brought in Shining Armor as a nod to the comic books and I’d probably even add Starlight Glimmer to make a joke at the Boys Only theme of the evening (and also avoid having to come up with an explanation as to why she’s not there), but then I’m not the writer of the show and I guess it’s unfair to complain that an episode isn’t what I would have done rather than how well they did what they did. Still, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that a two person campaign seems odd a bit lackluster.
So what’s the backstory behind this campaign that Discord is clearly waiting to tank? In the land of Spiketopia, the evil Squid Wizard (THE SQUIZARD!) has taken over and has kidnapped the beautiful Princess Shmarity (have I mentioned that Spike is the dungeon master?) for… reasons. I guess once you take over a kingdom, there’s not much else to do BESIDES kidnap the princess. The only two who can be bothered to try and save the day are the magician Garbuncle (Spike) and the black knight Sir McBiggen (Big Mac) which I’m sure bodes well for the citizens of Spiketopia. So they’re on a quest to save the world and score Garbuncle a date with the princess; the latter not being explicitly stated, but HEAVILY implied.
Discord isn’t impressed, but doesn’t have anything else to do, so he’s gonna be an asshole player who complains a lot and will argue every point with the dungeon master. Wasn’t it a great idea to invite him!? Discord gets an Archer named Captain Wuzz and gets snippy right off the bat when it turns out he can’t cast magic spells because his intelligence is set at Dim. The trio is stuck in a prison (I guess we had to be there from the beginning to understand the rich continuity up to this point) and Discord wants to turn the guard into a vegetable. However, his role goes badly and he reacts like any asshole player would when they don’t get their way.
Enough is enough! The lord of all things outlandish can no longer be cooped up in this castle with all the funny dice! It’s time to PAR-TAY!! Discord teleports them all to… I guess a real place, though it could be a construct of Discord’s magic. Either way, it’s some really awesome thirties inspired lounge that’s so ostentatiously retro that it makes The Coco Bongo look like a dive bar.
Sadly, Spike and Big Mac don’t see the value in jazz bands, hot babes, and children appropriate bar beverages (just like Spongebob, they go with ice cream) and would rather get back to their game. I’m still sort of Discord’s side here as far as how not fun the game was turning out, but fair enough. Discord’s not gonna budge on the game being stupid and these two don’t want to do anything else this evening. None of them will have fun if they stick together, so they might as well cut their loses now and go their separate ways. Discord however does not admit defeat very easily and instead decides to retaliate against the two by… transporting them into a fantasy world based on the gam they were playing? Oh no… what a horrible punishment…
Okay, Discord DOES have something up his proverbial sleeve as the adventure begins as a fun romp but quickly turns into Dark Souls once the two get overwhelmed by the Squizard’s army of the undead (all of which is depicted as illustrations on little paper playing pieces). Discord is clearly in his element as the sadistic DM, but the other two aren’t having as much fun now that they’re getting in the middle of a siege without proper equipment or status buffs, and they want out before the Squizard ACTUALLY kills them. It’s at this point that Spike and Big Mac reveal that the only reason they bothered asking Discord to join them is because they felt sorry for him. Okay…
This seems like an odd direction for the episode to go in. So we’re supposed to feel sorry that Spike and Big Mac’s attempt to take pity on someone ended badly? Well that shit didn’t work out for Frodo! Why should it work out for YOU? I just have trouble sympathizing for their plight considering they didn’t have any genuine interest in hanging out with Discord; going so far as to call him a weirdo. Charity and being a genuinely good person is one thing, but pity has a certain degree of condescension to it that muddles this entire evening, especially considering how little they bothered to try and get Discord into their game and instead snickered at him whenever he failed. Discord starts to leave in a huff, but instead decides to apologize to them for being such a jerk (no such apology comes his way however for that WEIRDO comment), and I guess the game is back on. Not only that, but Discord also brings back the fantasy world so that they can continue to play as their OCs, only with the difficulty scaled to Medium instead of Go Fuck Yourself which I believe is the only option available in From Software games.
And so their friendship has been saved from the forces of condescension and boredom! Not only that, but they play so long into the night that the Mane 6 come back to the castle to find them still playing their game! Wait, they were only going on an overnight trip? Is THAT how quickly they can establish a peaceful presence in the Yakyakistan kingdom!? Oh well. The Mane 6 not only let them finish up their game, but Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie decide to join in on Guys’ Night, and the episode ends with the dramatic splash page that I’m sure we’ll be seeing recreations of by various artists over the next few months!
This was probably one of the better episodes of the season, due in no small part to the presence of John de Lancie, but it felt like something was missing. I didn’t find the game itself all that engrossing, and I feel it was a big mistake to only have two people in the group rather than say three or four to not only round out the table (it’s painfully noticeable how empty that room is) but to add a bit of personality to the proceedings. As it stands, Spike is really the only one Discord is able to interact with and bounce jokes off of as Big Mac barely mumbles his way through scenes (no surprises there) and having someone else around would have done a lot to give this episode some more punch and personality. Also, I find it kind of odd that the episode doesn’t address what jerks Spike and Big Mac were for intentionally inviting someone they don’t like and wasting their time under false pretenses. It felt a bit off that they didn’t even apologize for the name calling they did at the end, but that’s not a huge quibble in an episode with so much creativity and energy which I attribute entirely to Discord’s presence in the story. It’s probably not the best Discord episode we’ve gotten so far, but it’s still one of the better episodes since the show came back from its mid-season hiatus.