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 Unbearable Starlight-ness of Being! It seems like the show kind of forgot about her for a while there despite her becoming Twilight’s student seemed to be the overarching theme of the season. It’s probably a bit too late at this point to turn that into a reality, but it is always nice seeing her do something, especially with No Second Prances being such a high point for the season. Can they recreate that magic here, or will this latest effort prove to be a non-starter for Starlight who will be relegated to the background like so many other ponies in this show? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Twilight and Starlight in the Friendship Doom Fortress, seemingly having pulled an all-nighter considering how tired they look and getting ready to test their spell casting prowess against each other in what I can only assume is what Unicorns refer to as a horn measuring contest. It’s not clear if Twilight is holding back, but Starlight has no problem keeping up with her moves which is unfortunate for the library once things start to escalate.
Starlight clearly has been keeping up with her magic studies, going so far as to develop the Shadow Clone Jutsu, but she must face her greatest challenge yet! FRIENDSHIP!! Wait, what? Didn’t we already get this resolved? Well I guess she IS due for a bit of practice considering we haven’t really seen her do anything since No Second Prances (even Twilight points this out), so while this unfortunately isn’t going to be another Trixie episode, maybe they can find something for her to do to do that takes advantage of her unique position in the group.
So what does Twilight have planned? Well, being the hands off teacher that she is, she gives her one day to solve a friendship problem while she and spike are at the Celestia’s school giving another lecture (if she spends any more time up there, she should be up for tenure) and leaves it at that. I’m pretty sure Twilight should have learned by now the detrimental effect that a deadline can have when trying to find friendship problems to fix, but whatever. I’m certain that things won’t turn out EXACTLY like that episode did! At least this time, Starlight has the semblance of a plan; namely try to hang out with the rest of the Mane6 at once… for some reason. Okay, I get that she doesn’t want to be doing these friendship lessons which is conflicting with her desire to impress Twilight, but I’d figure that would be an excuse for her to coast or find a creative solution instead of doing five assignments at once. Oh wait! She learned that cloning technique, so maybe she’ll use that to burn through all five of them and get Twilight off her back for a while! Wait, that’s NOT what happens? THEN WHY DID THEY BOTHER SHOWING US THAT BAD ASS NEW SPELL!? Instead, she just calls them all to the castle and assigns them each to a room so that she can duck in and between them. Pinkie Pie will bake a cake, Applejack will work on her scrapbooking, Rarity will make a dress, Fluttershy will help the woodland critters, and Rainbow Dash will chillax which is a concept that somehow escapes Starlight.
Things obviously go pear shaped immediately as none of them feel comfortable with this arrangement, and when the complaints start to pile up Starlight runs off to the library to come with a solution. Again, this would be the perfect time for the Shadow Clone Jutsu, but instead she crafts a mind control spell from scratch so that the other ponies will stop complaining about there not being enough sunlight or the eagle needs to go to the roof, or that a castle SOMEHOW has no suitable places for chillaxing. Still trying to figure that one out (maybe Rainbow Dash was just being a jerk). Now this is starting to get into some… uncomfortable territory, what with the whole mind control spell and all that. Hell, shouldn’t that be considered a forbidden spell like it is in Harry Potter!? It’d be one thing if she tried and failed being in multiple places at once (similar to the Pinkie Pie episode only with a much lower chance of ending in mass genocide), but this feels like an unnecessary slide backwards for her character who has already done enough, at least in opinion, to show she’s not the same pony she was before… at least to the extent that she’s not going to try and take over the world again. Sure, she’s still kind of a jerk which is why she gets along with Trixie so well, but that doesn’t mean she should be casting the Imperius Curse!
For some reasons, the writers didn’t think how HORRIFYING this is and instead decided that the bulk of this episode is going to be shenanigans! First up is Pinkie Pie who’s ready to bake a cake with Starlight, but can’t seem to do anything without expressed permission from her master. I’m SURE that’s what Starlight intended with her spell. I wonder what OTHER side effects there could be!
Sadly Starlight is slow to pick up on this little quirk, and just leaves Pinkie Pie to follow the instructions on her own. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!? While that time bomb is tick-tick-ticking away, Starlight visits Rarity and Applejack who aren’t doing much better. THEY’RE JUST SITTING THERE WAITING FOR INSTRUCTIONS! Starlight can’t be SO dense as to think this is still a good idea, right!? For whatever reason she still goes along with this and orders Rarity to make a dress while ordering Applejack to tell her an endearing family story. How charming!
Things aren’t any better with Fluttershy whose animals ran away (Starlight didn’t tell her to stop them) and so SHE has to go out and find some animals for them to take care of, and Rainbow Dash is up to… something, which seems to be a lot more labor intensive than you’d expect from somepony trying to find a way to chillax. Whatever it is they have planned, it’s clearly going to take a bit more time so I guess it’s back to Applejack for more folksy stories and family photos!
Things finally start hitting the fan as everyone’s problems start snowball into one giant disaster; mostly with Pinkie Pie cooking EVERY recipe in the book (Starlight didn’t tell her to stop!) and Fluttershy dragging in all sorts of creepy crawlies into the castle. Admittedly, neither of these scenarios are what you’d call outside the realm of possibility (hell, we’ve seen the Mane6 screw up the castle when they still had their free will), but it’s clearly not a good sign for Starlight’s friendship mission; let alone of the cleaning bills.
How could things POSSIBLY get any worse!? Well apparently SOMEPONY left the oven on which I guess is the same thing as starting a fire (the kitchen’s only been unattended for five minutes!) which now means their very lives are at risk! In comes Rainbow Dash (who we still have no idea what they were doing up until now) to take an order from Starlight to get some water. Naturally, she brings upon a flood by way of a shit load of rain clouds RIGHT into the castle! I’m beginning to think that the spell Starlight cast must have had at least a hint of Monkey’s Paw in it.
Now I’m not quite sure what happens next. Presumably the fire is no longer an issue, but the rising tide is. Then… I guess the water starts to spill out the windows and therefore ALL the water is out of the castle. Because that’s how water works. You fill a glass, put a hole in it halfway up, and the entire glass empties in half a second. Well maybe an Alicorn did it considering that Twilight walks through the door not a minute after the place has been drained. Needless to say that the Royal Princess is ROYALLY pissed (hee-hee-hee) and demands an explanation for the excess levels of shenanigans.
Starlight has no other choice than to come clean to Twilight about not being all too thrilled with her friendship assignments and instead tried to use her magic to get solve everything. I mean, she still has that ONE spell that MIGHT have worked if she tried it, but whatever. Starlight is sentenced to the most horrible punishment of all for her crimes against pony kind. APOLOGIZING!! She has to go see the rest of the Mane6 who have since been dispelled and sent along their way, but I guess they didn’t get too far considering they have the kids show friendly version of a hangover from the spell and are resting at a restaurant.
Oh you know that everything is gonna work out fine! After a heartfelt apology and an angry outburst from Rainbow Dash, everypony gives her another chance and they all go to help her clean up the castle which is full of bugs, water damage, and burnt cakes. Throughout the montage of cleaning up Twilight takes diligent notes on Starlight’s performance, and once everything is ships shape she informs Starlight that she completed her friendship assignments by simply spending time with her friends! Well isn’t THAT convenient! And so the episode ends with everypony doing that one thing that seems to have eluded them this entire episode. They finally have a chance to relax! No wait, chill! No wait, it was something else…
This episode could have been a solid one for Starlight’s development as Twilight’s student, but it has one unavoidable flaw that makes everything uncomfortable and drops the quality of this episode several notches. Using a mind control spell on her friends is crossing the line, and has some VERY horrific implications; especially combined with the cheeky hangover imagery of the Mane6 afterwards. It’s just an unpleasant premise that someone should have realized early on was not the direction this episode should go in. What kills me though is that the show itself gave us an alternative that would have been MUCH better if a bit reminiscent of other episodes. You could argue that using the Shadow Clone Jutsu spell to make copies of herself would be too much like Too Many Pinkies (cloning shenanigans) as well as Sweet and Elite (trying to do too much at once), but when you look at the alternative, I’d have definitely taken that over mind slavery. Outside of that, there’s some good material here with Starlight and I loved the scene with her and Twilight trading spells which is something we don’t see too much of in this show outside of special occasions like season finales. Hopefully we’ll get better Starlight episodes in the future, but this is certainly not going to be remembered as one of them.