Title: Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Episodes 1-2)
Summary: Climate change has finally hit Dream Valley! [Dove: “Fake news!” says Megan.] Er, Ponyland? Where ever the hell this cartoon takes place. And, oh wait, it’s not actually climate changing. It’s the work of an evil… penguin? Well, I’ve lived to see dolphins take over Springfield; I guess a maniacal penguin king destroying the Ponies with magic blizzards isn’t that much of a stretch.
Translation of the above: WELCOME AGAIN TO THIS NIGHTMARE CARTOON HELL. Yes, I’m back again, so soon after that very special after-school episode starring Spike. I’m really unhappy to have to write another recap so soon — that last one was absolutely shite and taxed me greatly — but this recap puts us less than four episodes away from the completion of Season 1. Seriously, if Dove and I were in the same country, we’d probably drink in celebration. I suppose the fact we’re separated by the Atlantic ocean and several time zones won’t stop us from drinking in celebration, it would just be more fun it we were together. [Dove: Agreed. And there would be drink!]
Really, honestly, we have this series set up and divided equally so we finish this freaking nightmare by the end of 2019. Can you see it, Dove? THE END IS ALMOST IN SIGHT. [Dove: I knew we were finishing season 1 soon, I didn’t realise we’d finish the whole show before the end of the year. I feel better. Then a bit worse, because there are more MLP shows neither of us know anything about, but have agreed to torture ourselves with.]
I think we have stopped caring about the grading. These are all poorly written episodes and the plot lines are hackneyed and it’s become clear that everyone was “omg how are we going to fill these last four slots on the board?? TODD WRITE US SOMETHING, STAT!” because, truly, Dove and I could write better fanfic than what’s being churned out in these scripts. (No, I am not going to write MLP fanfic. Ask Dove for hers.) [Dove: We did briefly consider trying to rewrite series 1 so that there would be some plot, that magic rules were consistent, and the characters actually had, y’know, character, but we quickly realised we’d be deleting all but the first three entries of the show (movie, Catrina, Nightmare/Midnight Castle). Ain’t nobody got time for that.]
Glancing at the plot summary, this sounds almost like some sort of rip off of the Care Bears’ 1984 television special. Which I know I’ve watched, maybe not in two decades, but you can damn well be sure the Care Bears were something I loved at the age of 3. There also might be a bit of Snow Miser mixed in but those Rankin/Bass specials have always upset something in my brain so I am far less familiar with The Year Without a Santa Claus. (I hate that one with the big-eared Baby New Year.)
Okay let’s just get this crap over with. Then I get a nice long break until mid-July, when my final recap of Season 1 will go up. I’m so excited about Season 1 being finished. I want a goddamn participation ribbon for making it all the way through. [Dove: What we could do is go through our collections, list duplicates and have a swapsies if anything seems suitable? That would be like a prize for dealing with this nonsense.]
It’s snowing! You know, for living in a magical land, the concept of “seasons” has been thrown around so loosely, it’s hard to tell if this is a Westerosi deal (one giant long ass “summer” versus a never ending long ass “winter”) or if the writers just don’t feel that seasons are anything kids care about. [Dove: If so, they’re wrong. I have always loved the Christmas/winter aesthetic. It’s probably why I have such a weakness for Hallmark movies. I’m actually delighted by this opener, because it is nice to see something different on the screen.]
We established it’s winter because we are given the image of Lullabye Nursery (BUY OUR MERCH) being covered in snow, before zooming in on one of the windows to see the clone baby Ponies all sleeping in their matching twin beds. When did they truly graduate to twin beds? Remember when they all slept in square cribs?
Oddly, they all snore and breathe in sync, too.
Panning down the row, Baby Cuddles’s bed is covered in a checkers board, playing cards, and what might be the Candyland game board. Pulling the covers higher, everything falls off her bed, creating enough of a commotion to wake Baby TW. Who immediately goes to the window to watch Truly and Surprise playing in the snow. As one does.
Why Truly is wearing a one-piece snowsuit and Surprise is basically naked only means one thing: BUY OUR FUCKING MERCH.
Someone explain to me why Truly’s snowsuit has her cutie mark on it, in the same place it is on her body? Because we wouldn’t know it’s Truly without that? I mean sure, she basically has pink hair and a white body, so I guess it’s plausible we’d confuse her with Sundance? But their hair color isn’t the same…
Baby TW yells for the other baby Ponies to wake up. Oh god, cue the damn cutesy babytalk! “It pwretty!” she announces, because she can’t actually say “Hey look! Snow!” I guess it’s enough because now Baby Lofty and Baby TW are chasing each other in the snow, not wearing snowsuits or even ear muffs, and they’re not even leaving prints in the snow because that would have inflated the animation budget to unreasonable levels.
Truly calls for the baby Ponies to come help her make a “snow pony”. We are again treated to another terrible faux “Southern” accent that is worse than the one that Heartthrob gives us. Yay. [Dove: I love the actual Southern accent, but Truly’s makes me want to hoof her across the glacier.] Galaxy wanders up and interrupts, saying Truly doesn’t understand. Huh? Truly ignores her, calling to North Star, asking if she’s going to play alone. What? HOW DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE? Also, why is North Star talking to the damn baby Sea Ponies (SHOO-SHOO-BEE-DOO) and if everything is covered in snow that deep, HOW IS THE RIVER NOT ICED OVER??
Thankfully we are spared the baby Sea Ponies talking (SHOO-SHOO-BEE-DOO) as they dive under the water and North Star turns around and runs over to the four Ponies building a snow pony. It looks like a fat log with fluffy round balls for legs instead of remotely resembling a horse. Wait, what the actual fuck, North Star flies over, descends, picks up a large snowball with a SUCTION sound effect playing as she does, before maneuvering it into place as the head. YET AGAIN WHAT DO SIZE AND SCALE MATTER??
As soon as she flies away, the damn thing has been redrawn nearly true to size and proportionally correct. Wow, someone on the art team wasn’t drunk and/or high that day!
Galaxy goes and ruins all the fun (honey, after that super awkward and disturbing pass you made at the human boy Alonzo last episode, sit this one out!) by telling North Star she is greatly concerned about the snow, that it is not “natural” at this time of year. WHAT TIME OF YEAR IS IT?? HOW DOES TIME AND SPACE AND SIZE AND SCALE AND LEAST OF ALL MAGIC WORK IN THIS DAMN UNIVERSE? ANSWER ME, GALAXY. [Dove: Pro tip: It’s always easier for the audience to understand the magnitude of wrongness if everything in the show isn’t completely random and as the plot requires.]
She doesn’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but… and that’s when Truly interrupts very rudely to say Galaxy is ruining everyone’s fun and literally (in more polite terms) tells her to fuck off. Wow. You know, yet again I am going to comment that this version of the Ponies were mean girls and rather cruel to each other. It’s amazing I have any “good” memories of this cartoon.
But who cares, plot established! Moving on, we see white lines representing blowing snow move across the screen, as unfamiliar voices hold a conversation. We learn they are Sunny and Edgar, though one is wearing a crown. Huh. They’re basically walking through the snow to a very massive knock off of Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude” though it’s the basic version and not nearly as fancy.
Edgar is a penguin prince and Sunny is a yellow duck with a blue bill and feet and a red stocking cap. (No it’s not Duck Soup.) They march right up to a penguin guard standing outside the door, a giant pointed pole in his flipper, and some weird uniform. So, yet again, there’s a “secondary” kingdom in this “magical land” (I’m seriously done trying to figure out what to call this realm; imagine trying to map this shit out, it would be impossible) where there’s a yet again paramilitary group of soldiers.
We’ve had the bees…er, drones? I guess it was drones. We’ve had that bunch of crab cops. We’ve had… Dove, help me here. [Dove: You mentioned the crabs. I love the crabs. I can’t think past them.]
Edgar demands to see his dad, so they just let him and Sunny in. Yeah. That’s a fantastic bit of guarding there. Even the door has a sound effect, like one of the doors on freaking Star Trek. The boys walk on in and I guess simple layouts are hard because we’re suddenly in a massive room with cracked ice for a floor and a small (then large, what’s size!) dais where there’s a throne. With a big fat penguin sitting on it.
Clearly, from the crown on his head, this is King Charlatan. He’s holding what looks like an “old timey” microphone but instead of talking into it, he’s staring at it, because he casts ICY STARE into the not-microphone and there’s some kind of machine next to it that is spewing out cold winds.
HOW THE FUCK DOES ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY EXIST IN THIS WORLD.
I’m going to point out King Charlatan’s name is “charlatan”, which by definition means “quack”. Though, really, it would have made more sense if he was a duck, but ducks are not generally associated with cold things. Someone really missed the fucking mark here. [Dove: *shrugs helplessly*]
Edgar just marches up to his father and demands to know why Sunny’s land is frozen. Okay. Aren’t you a little impertinent, Edgar. Sunny adds that his family is packing to go south for the winter but it’s still summer. Well, I finally got an answer for once.
King Charlatan tells Sunny to not bother packing, there will be no “south” to go to. Ugh. I get what the writers were trying to convey but unless a child understands that birds fly to warmer southern regions during the colder months in the northern hemisphere, this whole bit is utterly lost on them.
Yet again, another “villain” who wants to take over this whole fucking realm, this time for all of penguin-kind. So that’s witches, bees, a satanic centaur, that octopus thing, that female pig, Grogar the goat, and now penguins. I know I’ve left some out but by god what is so fucking special about this realm that it’s high on the conquer list for everything and everyone that comes along??
Clearly King Charlatan is a shite villain because he literally explains that his “magic power”, aka the icy stare, is too small to manage this take over but with the help of this machine that NO ONE KNOWS WHERE IT CAME FROM OR WHO BUILT IT OR HOW IT FUCKING WORKS but it will magnify the icy stare to the point where it will freeze the world.
Oh, and he throws in a bit about being genocidal to “those that are unworthy” to live in a frozen climate basically being killed off. So topics in this cartoon have included: slavery, drug use, conquest, and genocide. [Dove: Don’t forget the grooming and abuse of minors in the entertainment industry.] [bat: I did forget, even though there was SO MANY episodes devoted to it specifically!]
Even though we were treated to a vision of King Charlatan’s plan of climate domination which clearly shows rivers and bodies of water freezing over, this does not apply to wherever the hell the Ponies are located, because there’s two Sea Ponies swimming in a clearly not-frozen river. Sigh. But soon they have terrified looks on their faces as what is supposed to be ice freezes every speck of water in a way that makes NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER.
King Charlatan adds that he will rule over this frozen world and expects Edgar to continue said reign. Which, if Edgar had the power of icy stare would make sense but somehow I don’t think this kid is magically inclined.
Thankfully Edgar is horrified and speaks out against his father, saying he doesn’t want to rule the world and even if he did, freezing it wouldn’t be right. Okay, here’s our moral. Watch the writers botch it. In the space of a breath, King Charlatan tells Edgar he may decide what is “right” or not when Edgar is king but currently King Charlatan is king so fuck you, child.
Edgar goes further, asking why should only penguins survive. Sunny chimes in, “what’s wrong with being a duck?” Wow, we’re really going for it here. I’m shocked the writers were coherent enough to cobble this huge real-world plot point together so clearly.
Ducks are “weak”. That’s why they gotta die. Okay. Sunny dares to back talk to King Charlatan and finds himself instantly frozen into a poorly drawn ice sculpture. Edgar is horrified and immediately starts crying bit fat tears. Yet, because WHAT IS CONSISTENCY, in the next frame Sunny isn’t frozen. Sigh.
King Charlatan declares Sunny is a bad influence on Edgar. Edgar just cries.
BACK OVER AT THE LAND OCCUPIED BY PONIES, the Ponies have set up snow banks on either side of the river which is impossible to tell whether or not is has frozen over. Sigh. The Ponies are giggling in this weird, high pitched screech. North Star has a tiny snowball which she kicks with her hind legs, failing to hit Truly in the face. Truly taunts her. She directs Baby TW to give a snowball a good swat just when Galaxy walks up and demands everypony stop.
Galaxy is such a buzzkill. She drones on and on about how wrong the snow is, how the “beautiful” trees are barren and covered in frost. Birds and butterflies are missing. Baby TW just yawns and Truly looks utterly annoyed.
AND THAT’S WHEN THE BABY SEA PONIES (SHOO-BE-DOO) SHOW THE FUCK UP TO INFORM GALAXY ALL OF PONY LAND IS FROZEN. WHICH IS CLEARLY UNTRUE BECAUSE THEY’RE IN THE RIVER, IN THEIR GODDAMN FLOATIES, AND THE WATER IS NOT SOLID ICE. [Dove: *thinks* Is the river salt water? In any other world that would be such a stupid question, but here… *shrugs* why not?]
Of course, just as I point this out, the waterfall begins to freeze over, terrifying the baby Sea Ponies, who jump in the air and dive under water, which disproves the floaties work. North Star, ever astute, notices and announces that the rainbow is freezing over.
Firstly: the Rainbow of Light™ is supposed to be kept in the goddamn heart locket at all times, because it is an actual weapon. So I call bullshit. Secondly, although North Star only calls it “the Rainbow”, it is clearly implied to be the Rainbow of Light™, so again, bullshit. THIRDLY: THE RAINBOW OF LIGHT™ IS NOT A SOLID OBJECT NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE WRITERS WANT IT TO BE TRUE SO IT CANNOT FREEZE OVER FUCK YOU. [Dove: Didn’t the Care Bears slide down a frozen rainbow in their winter special that you mentioned earlier? That’s if we’ve seen the same one, where Auntie/Anti Freeze was the villain. Maybe Hasbro liked that image.]
I feel like this cartoon continually and regularly insults my intelligence and this is just a flagrant example of such.
Galaxy and Truly look utterly terrified that the Rainbow™ is freezing over. Truly admits this is a “worry”, while Galaxy commands North Star to “go fetch Megan”. Because Ponies can’t think for themselves and a human female will “fix” everything. This is not empowerment. This is shifting responsibility to someone else. [Dove: I’m sure “search parties” will sort everything out. It’s Megan’s version of #ThoughtsAndPrayers.] [bat: I’m so going to say #SearchParties now.]
Oh, so the writers brought back the use of the Rainbow™ as the portal to “the real world”. This has triggered a memory in my mind, of a terrifying nightmare I had where I was trapped and trying to get home and had to use a rainbow to do so. But the rainbow was made out of parachute silk and crumpled easily under my weight, and I couldn’t climb it because it wouldn’t support me. I had that nightmare over 30 years ago and still remember it like it was yesterday. But until this moment I could never identify what caused it. THANK YOU, MY LITTLE PONY, FOR CAUSING SAID NIGHTMARE.
Now I’m wondering how many fucking rainbows there are in this universe, because clearly this is not the Rainbow of Light™ but is the Rainbow Portal™.
Fuck you and fuck your being “cold now”, Baby TW. I’m trying to process a traumatic nightmare I had when I was a child, clearly created by this goddamn episode I have zero memory of!
Truly and Galaxy cuddle and nuzzle Baby TW, reassuring her everything will be okay. Firstly, Truly still has that damn snowsuit on and Baby TW and Galaxy are “naked”. So, maybe put some clothing on the baby Pony? Secondly, TIME FOR ANOTHER STUPID SONG TO MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD.
“We’re not going to end up frozen!” So this is the precursor to actual Frozen?? “We’re not going to freeze / that isn’t the death we’ve chosen.” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK WHO PUT THESE LYRICS IN A SONG FOR A CHILDRENS CARTOON???
The song is apparently a siren song to the pegasi, because suddenly a whole bunch of them appear out of no where as Galaxy sings about not dying in the snow. Sure. North Star attempts to fly “over the rainbow” but becomes covered in snow and ice, sliding down the rainbow into the still unfrozen water where the rainbow ends. I HAVE QUESTIONS.
Next, Heartthrob and Paradise attempt to cross the rainbow but fail. As the song ends, Surprise makes an attempt and ends up sliding down the other side of the rainbow, which is frozen. Wherever the hell Megan is, it’s covered in snow. God damn, Surprise is annoying.
Megan just happens to be standing outside in a fuzzy pink snow suit. (BUY OUR MERCH. [Dove: I think I’m broken. I saw the snow suit and thought, “Oooh, I would buy that.”]) She counters Surprise by saying she’s been terribly worried since the rainbow frozen over. I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS. If it’s snowing where Megan is, does that mean that the magic is like a virus and just spread to reality via the rainbow? WHY ARE THE WRITERS BEING ALLOWED TO ABUSE THE RAINBOW LIKE THIS??
Surprise admits she’s not sure she can get herself and Megan back to Pony Land because her wings are “so cold”. Megan runs to the house (where are the other humans? Molly? Danny??) because she’s got a surprise for Surprise: fuzzy pink wing warmers.
Now look, those fucking things would totally inhibit flight. And there’s no fucking way those are knitted [Dove: With faux fur trim too!]. And how the fuck are you climbing on Surprise’s back when you are clearly twice her size, Megan?
And there goes Surprise, galloping up a randomly placed because plot says so hill, jumping off a cliff, and clearly flying with those damn wing covers still on. WHERE THE FUCK IS THE RAINBOW?? YOU JUST RUINED YOUR OWN PLOT LINE BY FAILING TO PUT IN THE DAMN RAINBOW.
Back in Ponyland, it’s now a proper… okay, nope, can’t say it’s a proper blizzard because conditions aren’t white out. You can still see Galaxy, North Star, and what I guess is Truly sans snowsuit (??) huddling together beside the river. North Star is so cold her head is an entirely different color from her body. [Dove: A common problem. Behold my Whizzer collection to see.]
They see Surprise descending from the heavens with white girl savior Megan on her back. I can’t wait for Dove to rant about how Megan’s long legs failed to make Surprise crash land. [Dove: If there was a drinking game for this series, one of the triggers would be me ranting about Megan riding ponies that are too small for her.] Megan tells the Ponies Surprise has filled her in on the problem. But, because plot says so, Megan realizes the situation is MUCH MORE SERIOUS than she thought. I doubt she had any thoughts at all but that’s me.
Yet again Megan doesn’t know what to do. Shocker. But by virtue of being there, Galaxy suddenly exclaims they should head north. Surprise gets super sassy and sarcastic about the plan. Galaxy explains that up north has to be where the cold is coming from. Wonderful powers of deduction there, Galaxy. I’m glad Megan had to show up for your brain to work.
“The cold has to come from somewhere!” Megan shrugs. Fuck me, fuck this show, fuck everything. I’m so over this whole nightmare. North Star announces that north is…. that way and tally ho! Oh god please stop. Megan mounts Sundance, giving poor Surprise’s back a rest. I guess it wasn’t Truly. I guess Truly did her part to shill the Pony snowsuit so she’s inside carrying for the baby Ponies. [Dove: It’s cold, it’s hard to move in deep snow, get the fuck off the tiny pony, Megan.]
A blip later, Surprise is complaining they went north, what the fuck are they doing and/or looking for. Megan councils patience and to continue on. Sure, that from someone riding a horse and not walking like the Ponies are.
Surprise falls down on the frozen river, only to realize that the baby Sea Ponies are under the ice… or rather in the ice? I dunno. One of them keeps weakly waving a fin so how could they be stuck in the ice? Either way, Surprise calls Galaxy over to look at the problem. The baby Sea Ponies become agitated and Galaxy interprets it as them wanting to lead Megan and the Ponies somewhere. Because plot fucking says so. [Dove: I thought (hoped?) they were dying and this would be a race to save them, but nope. They can breathe under all that ice, even though most of the time their heads are out of water. Whatevs.]
Sure enough, the baby Sea Ponies swim off in some direction, Galaxy yelling for the others to follow her.
A few second later, we see King Charlatan’s faux Fortress of Solitude Ice Palace knockoff as Galaxy thanks the baby Sea Ponies for their aid in leading the Ponies to the source of the problem. Apparently in addition to freezing the entire realm, the cold also shrunk the baby Sea Ponies to the size of Micro Machines while simultaneously enlarging the size of the Ponies but still shrinking Megan’s legs to stumps.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EGREGIOUS ERRORS IN SIZE AND SCALE THIS CARTOON HAS EVER MADE. I’VE HAD IT.
[Dove: Also at some point during this scene, Megan is randomly riding Galaxy instead of Surprise, and Galaxy doesn’t have a horn. So this whole section is a big old fail.]
Galaxy tells the baby Sea Ponies the ice is too thick for them to swim under, so they just leave, while the Ponies gallop over to the entrance to the ice palace. Or, according to North Star, it’s a fucking maze. Made of ice. Sigh. She and Surprise will fly overhead and guide the rest through it. I HOPE THEY ALL GET LOST AND FREEZE TO DEATH.
The pegasi try to fly but both crash land in a snowbank. Megan and the Ponies gasp and actually run to their aid. North Star, in her faux posh English accent, apologizes to Megan, saying it must be too cold for them to fly. Well, Surprise has those damn “knitted” wing warmers on, it’s no wonder.
A close up reveals North Star’s wing is covered… coated… in something that decidedly does not look like ice. Wow, that’s questionable. Megan tells the pegasi it was a nice try but they’ll just rely on Galaxy’s intuition. SO WAIT, HOLD UP. GALAXY’S MAGIC IS INTUITION? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT A POWER. I HAVE THAT ABILITY ALL GODDAMN DAY. I CAN TOTALLY INTUIT THIS CARTOON WAS WRITTEN ON THE FLY AND MAKES NO SENSE. [Dove: The moment Megan uttered that sentence, I knew bat would hit the roof.] [bat: I have become… predictable.]
Walking into the maze, Megan and the Ponies wander a bit before hitting “another” dead end (how many have they hit?) and Galaxy is just totally ashamed she’s such a failure. Surprise can’t believe Megan and Galaxy are quitters. The shot moves overhead to show the maze and a creature asleep in it. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be an Abominable Snowman, or a Yeti.
Either way, Surprise’s annoying laugh awakens it. Surprise takes lead and North Star decides they have nothing to lose by following her. Wow, catty. And that’s when they round a corner, everything starts to shake like it’s an earthquake and there’s the Abominable Snowman. Who pops his claws awkwardly before roaring in their faces. [Dove: Jurassic Park did this better.]
FADE TO BLACK.
Imagine, if you will. Megan and several Ponies dead at the hands of the Abominable Snowman. (Snowcreature is more accurate.) Winter conditions envelop and destroy the natural populations of Ponyland. Penguins rule for eternity. No one remembers the Moochick exists. Bushwoolies rise up in anger, protected by the natural fur coats, and overthrow the penguins. The Bushwoolies destroy the machines and whatever the hell survived coexists in peace and harmony. The end.
Shit. I just totally wrote My Little Pony fanfic. [Dove: I want that. I want Bushwoolies.] [bat: We need a Sasswoolies cartoon series.]
Of course none of that happens. Fuck no, we have part two of this bullshit to finish, which means more Megan-centric nonsense until everything is “solved”. Ugh.
At least this time they don’t rehash the plot climax they left off on, they just get right to it. The Abominable Snowman shouts something about how invasion of King Charlatan’s kingdom is forbidden, making Megan and the Ponies gasp as it swipes a huge paw/hand at them. Duh, it misses, because if the Abominable Snowman got a hold of them this story would be over.
Fleeing, the Ponies and Megan make a run for it, pursued by the Abominable Snowman. We are treated to an odd bit of animation where it’s Surprise’s hindquarters moving mechanically, but missing her cutie mark. Great job, guys.
Galaxy slips and slams into a wall of ice. The Abominable Snowman stops to grab her but she winks out. OKAY IF SHE COULD DO THAT WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T SHE WINK TO THE TOP OF THE NEAREST WALL OF ICE AND SEE HOW THEY COULD GET OUT OF THE MAZE. FLAGRANT MISUSE OF HOW UNICORN MAGIC WORKS YET AGAIN.
It doesn’t even make sense that the Abominable Snowman stops as soon as Galaxy winks, only to look over and see her running in step with Megan and the other Ponies. Sigh. The Abominable Snowman breaks off an icicle, which is randomly placed and isn’t attached to the ceiling because there is no fucking ceiling. Megan and the Ponies come to three poorly drawn doors, the perspective of which is giving me fits.
Unsure of which to take, it doesn’t matter. The Abominable Snowman catches up and throws the icicle like a spear, making the Ponies and Megan dodge being impaled. Some head into one doorway… tunnel? Others head into a different one. The Abominable Snowman picks up two icicles, since this is a cartoon and the original didn’t shatter like actual ice, it just split into two pieces. Sigh.
If this was a movie, I would have asked for a refund by now. I know I complain about the one-shot filler episodes but this is like two of them stuck together over a plot stretched so thin I’m not sure how it hasn’t snapped, and the major plot point is annihilation. After checking the dictionary, genocide is too specific, and King Charlatan is out to kill anything “weaker” then penguins. So annihilation fits better.
Because this is a shit plot, Galaxy and North Star race into one tunnel. Galaxy is nearly impaled by an icicle but escapes. Megan, Sundance, and Surprise pop out of the other tunnel, only to see Galaxy and North Star down the path from them. THIS IS SUCH BULLSHIT. I FEEL SO INSULTED.
Megan and the Ponies run towards the other Ponies. Galaxy screams for Megan to stop. She does, just before the Abominable Snowman throws an icicle, which lodges itself into the ice wall. The group escapes but pulling the icicle out of the wall (fucking thing should have shattered) the Abominable Snowman somehow dislodges a giant ball of ice. Picking it up, the creature runs after Megan and the Ponies.
Who, of course, find themselves trapped at another dead end in the maze. Yet, somehow because PLOT SAYS SO, Galaxy magically appears on top of the ball of ice, which the Abominable Snowman still has raised over its head. That doesn’t remotely count as winking.
Galaxy stamps her front hooves on the ball of ice and it starts to crumble. I CALL BULLSHIT. She winks out as it falls to pieces on top of the Abominable Snowman, which makes him crash into a wall of ice, which immediately shatters. BULLSHIT.
Leaving the Abominable Snowman dazed and trapped in a pile of ice, Megan’s like whatever, peace out, and leads the Ponies into the newly-opened space. Which is where the King Charlatan’s army is waiting. With some of the absolutely worst weapons I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. What the fuck, are those stakes loaded into bows that are being held sideways? What, are the Ponies now vampires? Also, I’m gonna take that back, this is more like a navy than an army. Those are fucking toothpicks, they wouldn’t hurt anypony.
And of course no one argues, they’re just taken prisoner. Seems a little odd, since usually Megan starts ranting and yelling and forcefully explaining how she and the Ponies have only come to help and/or stop whatever’s going wrong. [Dove: Even the writers are fed up with her bullshit? I like to believe there was one super important Hasbro exec, who constantly said, “Oh, we need more Megan. Market research shows that little white girls like little white girls, so put more of the white girl in there. And make her save the day.” — “Uh, sure Bob, but we’ve already drafted this episode and she doesn’t save–” — “Well, just have all the other characters say she saved the day then. Jeez, do I have to think of everything?”]
Over in the dungeon, which is a poorly rendered chamber of ice, full of creatures that have been frozen into solid blocks of ice, but the color of ice is different than the background painting because who the fuck cares, there’s a lot of cell doors but the prisoners are out in the main chamber.
NONE OF THAT MAKES ANY FUCKING SENSE.
There’s rabbits and squirrels, Bambi, a chimpanzee (???), and Sunny the duck. The camera even zooms in and pans right to show us all these poor frozen critters. Sure. Terrify children even more. A door opens and in creeps Edgar, carrying a down puffy jacket and a pair of ear warmers. Edgar laments the predicament that has befallen his friend and wonders aloud where he can take Sunny to “thaw out”. Just then, as Edgar walks behind Sunny, the admiral penguin directs Megan and the Ponies into the same chamber. THIS IS A POORLY RUN PRISON SYSTEM.
The admiral penguin slams a gate door shut but when you look at the screen, THAT GATE ISN’T ATTACHED TO ANYTHING.
North Star, in her shite posh accent demands they be freed this instant. Ugh. Now I remember when I hated North Star more than Wind Whistler. Edgar observes this from his hiding spot behind Sunny. Why the fuck are you pawing your hoof at the ice, North Star? No shit you won’t be able to “tunnel through the floor”, not that you could anyway, since you’re HORSES and not GROUNDHOGS.
Galaxy is almost in tears as she informs Megan they can’t squeeze through the bars – MEGAN ACTUALLY TRIES TO, POORLY – and also no winking through the walls (this is a touchy subject for me) BUT OH MY GOD “MY HORN! WHEN I MAKE IT LIGHT UP IT GETS WARMER!”
Which she immediately does. Tiny bits of ice flake off the bars like so much dandruff. Megan is pleased. (FUCK YOU, MEGAN.) Edgar pops out, startling Surprise (ha ha ha, no.) and he warns them to be quieter, or else the guard will come.
AND WITH THAT MEGAN WALKS OUT, FREE OF THE ICE CELL, WITHOUT US EVEN SEEING THE BARS MELT. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
Megan instantly demands to know what Edgar is doing in the ice jail. He talks about thawing Sunny. Surprise is aghast that what she thought were ice sculptures are actually (were actually) woodland critters, and that random chimp.
Sunny wants to use Galaxy’s horn to thaw Sunny but suddenly — with no warning other than “quick, the guard is coming!” — the guard is coming, which causes Edgar to tell Megan and the Ponies to pretend to be his prisoners and obey his commands. The admiral penguin is hardly a guard but that’s who we get. He’s shocked to find Edgar in the ice jail.
Edgar announces that his father, King Charlatan, has ordered “these creatures” into his custody. Sure, penguin child, sure. Megan is visibly shaking, complete with corny sound effect, to show how cold she is. Odd, since the Ponies aren’t doing the same. Megan and North Star share a surprised glance. The admiral doesn’t even question this, just salutes and leaves. Edgar orders the Ponies to “bring along the duck.”
Without any decent explanation, we’re moved to ice tunnels, where Sudance and North Star are left to carry Sunny, with Surprise bringing up the rear. I love that Galaxy is complete forgotten. In no shocking turn of events, Megan walks way ahead of the Ponies and chats with Edgar. Like, again, WHO THE FUCK VOTED MEGAN THE PONIES’ REPRESENTATIVE?
Edgar tells Megan they have to get to King Charlatan and convince him to reverse the power on the magnifier. This all sounds so ridiculously technical. Edgar also drops the info that the castle is full of booby traps so they all need to be careful.
Cue Surprise falling, Edgar walking over and telling her to be careful, then we watch Surprise walk past a giant blinking red sensor in the floor THAT WASN’T THERE THREE FRAMES AGO. It’s not a button or some sort of trigger but WHAT THE FUCK MATTERS PLOT SAYS SO so the ceiling opens up and there’s huge icicles of DEATH AND DOOM that start to fall. One just misses Surprise, and again it should have shattered but PLOT SAYS SO so it just embeds itself into the ice floor.
Really, this episode should have been entitled: “BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE BECAUSE PLOT SAYS SO”.
A bunch more icicles fall from the ceiling but they’re not even in the covered slot that contained the others, wow way to totally fuck up your own continuity, and of course they just miss Megan, Edgar, and the Ponies. Everyone RUNS AWAY and some how they don’t shatter Sunny in the process. Edgar calls them to go a certain way but the Ponies run a different way? The more giant icicles fall and crack the floor? WTF?
For no reason, everyone finally catches up to each other. Edgar is now carrying Sunny, which makes no sense because he is basically the same size and the Ponies had to do it earlier. This is one of those episodes that fails consistently and repeatedly. I’m so done.
A red… well it’s a pipe but it’s also sort of laser-like… I don’t know. It starts lighting up and runs along the top of the ice walls. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be something hot or just a signal. FAIL.
Everyone is panting and out of breath. Edgar tells them not to relax, they have a long way to go. That’s when a huge snowball starts to roll down the tunnel at them. WHO FUCKING BUILT THIS ICE PALACE??
As they run, someone says “it’s gaining on us!” But I can’t tell who, and I also can’t tell if that’s a reference to the giant snowball or the red laser/sensor thing, or what. Suddenly there’s a whole in the floor that’s filled with… dry ice? Wow, someone did some actual research! I am honestly shocked!
Although the Ponies and Megan stopped at the edge, and the pit widens in length massively, they step back a few paces then manage to jump it WITHOUT FALLING IN. This is complete and utter fantasy.
Oh my god. Oh my god, seriously. You can’t… WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. Surprise orders Edgar to put Sunny on her back then she leaps across the dry ice pit. HOW DID YOU FORGET YOU’RE A FUCKING PEGASUS?? YOU HAVE HAVE FUCKING WINGS. AND YOU’VE LOST YOUR WING WARMERS SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY. I CANNOT.
Just as Surprise lands, everyone looks at Edgar, trapped on the other side of the dry ice pit. The giant snowball hits him as he jumps, smashing him into the pit. The Ponies cry out and look sad. Their faces also morph into some of the most human-looking faces I’ve ever seen Ponies sport.
But there’s Edgar, climbing out of the dry ice pit, unharmed. Because CHILDREN’S CARTOON. [Dove: For clarity, they didn’t even bother to show him dangling off the ledge to avoid being speared on shards of dry ice. They just did the death shot, then he climbed out right as rain. It’s such a lazy trope in its own right, but when they can’t be bothered to animate half of it, it’s worse.]
“We made it!” he announces, after telling everypony they had a long way to go. Whut??? Everypony and Megan cheer. I die a little more inside. [Dove: One day we’ll get to Friendship is Magic and we’ll have a wonderful time. Even the awful episodes are better than this, and there are few bad ones.]
Edgar walks up to the door to the throne room, bangs on it. Megan acts shocked it’s lock. “Let’s break it down!” Surprise yells, turning around and kicking it open with her back legs, like she’s Apple fucking Jack or something. Yeah, no.
Apparently the throne room got a make-under, because the machine is gone, as is the microphone, and the dais is tiny, and there’s a tiny throne. King Charlatan is surprised to see Edgar. The two penguins bitch about disappointing each other. I’M DISAPPOINTED BY EVERYTHING. King Charlatan demands his son move aside, his eyes beginning to glow blue, he’s going to deal with Megan and the Ponies.
Megan and the Ponies bolt out of the way, except Galaxy who fucking winks (I can’t) and King Charlatan’s ice laser eye beams hit Edgar in the beak, knocking his crown off. Although he doesn’t turn to ice in front of us, Megan gets to scream “No!” and the Ponies look shocked. In the next frame, the admiral and the rest of the penguin guards run in and yes, Edgar has been frozen into ice like Sunny.
King Charlatan looks kind of stunned he froze his own son but he demands the admiral and company arrest the Ponies. The admiral doesn’t budge, clearly shocked his king froze his own son. “He shouldn’t have tried to interfere!” King Charlatan stammers. “He knew the risks!”
TIME FOR A FUCKING SONG. AND NOT JUST ANY SONG. MEGAN IS CALLING YOUR COLD ASS OUT!
It’s weird seeing a full-sized baby penguin in a diaper being handed to the King like he’s a fucking newborn or something, by a penguin nurse. I know what it’s supposed to imply but my god what a weird image.
Yet again, a slap dash attempt at a moral lesson. Forgiveness, emotions, feelings feelings feelings. A LITTLE TOO MUCH TOO LATE, GUYS.
King Charlatan, either overcome by being chastised by Megan and the Ponies or genuinely upset at Frozon’ing his son, cries over Edgar. His tears, of course, begin to dissolve the ice. I’m really sick of tears / kisses / “love” being the MAGICAL FUCKING KEY that undoes shit. Yeah, I’m jaded and bitter but c’mon.
Weirdly but not out of character for this show, no one notices Edgar thawing. King Charlatan goes on and on about blaming himself and how the effects of the magic (and completely missing) machine cannot be undone. And then Edgar yells something and King Charlatan starts to yell at him before realizing hey my son is alive again. Yay.
“Only you could break your own cold spell!” Edgar announces. Um.
“BECAUSE YOU LOVE HIM AND YOU PROVED IT WITH A TEAR THAT MELTED THE COLDNESS OF YOUR ICY STARE!” THANK YOU FOR FUCKING SUMMING IT ALL UP, MEGAN, WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT YOU.
Oh and there’s the bigger dais with the machine. Just randomly shows up. I cannot. Galaxy walks over to it, aims her horn at it, and I GUESS SHE’S SENDING HEAT OUT BECAUSE SUDDENLY SUNNY IS THAWED OUT.
That makes no fucking sense. Edgar just said his father could only break his cold spell but here’s Galaxy, zapping heat into the machine, DISREGARDING EVEN THE VAGUEST OF LAWS OF MAGIC IN THIS CARTOON. I fucking hate this.
We watch a “magic heat wave” blow through various scenes and thaw out the various regions as well as critters, until it thaws the waterfall and OH LOOK, BABY SEA PONIES (SHOO-BEE-DOO!) Megan looks out of the ice palace through a telescope, giving Galaxy all the credit for thawing Ponyland. Ugh. [Dove: If you’ve seen any adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, this is the Aslan-saves-everything scene. Only with significantly less money behind it.]
Outside the palace, Megan is sure quick to thank “good king Charlatan”. Double ugh. Both Surprise and North Star fly away, while Megan jumps on Sundance and rides off, with Galaxy running along side them. Like, WINK THE FUCK HOME, GALAXY.
AND THAT’S IT. IT’S OVER.
This was hard. So hard. I keep hoping, because some small part of me is a ridiculous optimist, that things will get better but they aren’t. And the first season is almost over — thankfully — so I should stop hoping but I apparently can’t.
Like, I know giving something an “F” means it’s a fail. Even a “F+” isn’t great. I think that plus is deceptive; the “+” is there because as a concept (the realm being frozen; the general moral concept of acceptance and forgiveness), it’s in relation to shit that started out as solid but ended up mishandled (AGAIN) and shoehorned in (AGAIN) in a haphazard fashion to the point where children aren’t going to know what the fuck they just watched and what the fuck they were supposed to learn from it.
I don’t think this would have been a two-part episode if they didn’t have space to fill. It didn’t need to be. Yet again writers couldn’t remember how the rainbow portal worked, and HOW DOES MAGIC WORK is still screwing up my life every time I have to write one of these recaps. I’m kind of sick of it.
Honestly I haven’t any more to say. I will see you all again when the furnishings of Paradise Estate begin to talk and form a revolt. Maybe that’ll be a fun one?
[Dove: I want to give this a D-. As bat said at the very beginning, the ratings are meaningless. Everything in this show (aside from the first three) is so awful that you really can’t discern one set of awfulness from another. So you have to rebuild the grading system. The reasoning for the D- is that I like snow. I love a nice winter aesthetic, so for the simple reason of snow, and me being so very broken that I wanted some of the merch, this gets a higher than F grade. As a story, I can do nothing but sigh tiredly.]