My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Golden Horseshoes

Summary: Mimic comes down with a MYSTERY DISEASE so Megan & the Ponies lie, cheat, and steal their way to collecting 4 MAJIKAL GOLDEN HORSE SHOES that will “save” Mimic. The usual nonsense happens. Stop expecting amazing shit to happen. Set your bar right on the ground because that’s where it belongs.

Grade: It’s complicated. See “Final Thoughts” for reasoning.

Initial Thoughts:

Back to back recaps are killers, you know. Yes, welcome, again, to another one of my miserable attempts to recap My Little Pony ‘n Friends, because either you’re a sadist or a masochist. I’m probably a little bit both, tbh. Dove escapes yet again with just commentary. Lucky, lucky Dove.

No, I mustn’t lie; I asked to recap The Golden Horseshoes because it was one I (seemingly) remember watching when it initially aired. What have I learned on this journey? That my memory is shitty when it comes to this cartoon. Honestly, the only thing I remembered for certain was the hot take on child abuse/endangerment in the entertainment industry, aka Night Shade and his Tale of Woe.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesSo whatever really happens in this episode, I specifically asked to watch it and suffer through it, all based on this particular memory: the deification of Mimic.

Back in the Stone Age of G1 Pony toys, for those too young to remember buying them brand new in Toys’R’Us or KayBee Toys in a mall, Mimic’s toy was released in Y5 as one of the Twinkle-Eyed Ponies, second wave. There were six Ponies in that wave and I can tell you right now, six year old me was not having it with the colours the designers picked. I think I was still very much in my “I wish I was girly but I’m too much of a fucking tomboy” phase and I have always been a very visceral person (part of that is having an artsy brain, part of that is being a Taurus) so the only one of the six I wanted was Locket. Granted, down the line I would come to own Tic-Tac-Toe (I think through a garage sale or something) but I don’t remember ever gaining the others from that set for my collection.

Then this episode of the cartoon happened and I wanted a fucking Mimic.

At that point, finding her was hard. I don’t think, based on the colours, these were very popular with girls. I don’t think they were produced in near the same numbers as the original TE Ponies. Face it, initially, you’re going to see a pea green Pony with a red Macaw as her cutie mark and think “wtf was the designer smoking?” Plus they chose a mold with a pose that was notoriously difficult to make stand on its own. Great going, Hasbro!

Anyway, fast forward some 15 years or so and eBay exists now and someone figures out there’s a ton of collectors who still want a Mimic. So they charge outrageous up-marked prices for theirs, in whatever shape they may be in, and they manage to sell them, because MIMIC. Honestly, I can’t go that far back in my emails (or can I?) (actually, no, I can’t, boo) but it seems I came into possession of a “slightly trimmed mane and tail” Mimic toy somewhere in 20??, uh, early 2000-something. I think I thought paying $25 (or was it $50?) for Mimic was outrageous but 2000-whatever me had not yet met 2010 me, who paid $600 for a piece of nice paper with artwork screen-printed on it, even if it was only 1 of 10 ever made. Whatever, we do what we do to get the things we collect. (I happen to truly love that goddamn expensive piece of paper, where as I’m not sure where Mimic has ended up. I think I last saw her in my garage. My, how fickle I am about Mimic now.)

[Dove: When I first began collecting, my innocent little brain decided that Mimic was the pinnacle of a collection. She was the one that signified that you were one of the powerhouses in the collection community. She proved you would lay down seriously money to collect. And when I got her, I thought I had arrived. And then I realised all I’d done was leave the “vague hobbyist” arena and step on to the entry level tier for collectors. It was quite humbling to step into the bidding war with a brand new credit card attempting to buy an Argentina Sugarberry, only to find the starting bid was above my credit limit. I don’t know how Raven found such a beautiful version of her, but she really is perfect. Her hair is soooo soft. I also have a “Dark Mimic” which I bought at PonyCon 2018. I would love to credit the creator, but unfortunately I didn’t keep a record – if you made her, please leave a comment.]

[bat: Ooo, that Dark Mimic is pretty. Nice find!]

And none of that has anything to do with the recap except to give you context about why I remember this 2-part episode. I mean, I could totally be watching the last three episodes of The Witcher instead but nope, here I am, trying to remember why I liked this episode, beyond MIMIC.

Without further adieu, and more rambling, let’s get to the recap.

Recap:

Part 1:

I just want to say that I love how my computer shortens the file name to: “MyLittlePony’nFriends… hoes(1)”. It doesn’t take much for me to laugh at anything that makes fun of this series, even unintentionally.

Man, we don’t start off with fun music, we start off with intense “something is WRONG” music cues. This bodes well. Obligatory establishment shot of Paradise Estate, which is now on some kind of cliff and has a bunch of trees growing around it (WHAT CONTINUITY) and we pan left to find the source of the obnoxiously and comicly loud horse hoof beats. It literally sounds like some SFX guy smacking coconut halves together to make a clip-clop sound.

It’s not King Arthur, it’s just Sweet Stuff and Spike. Ugh.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
“Spike… use the Force…”

With no pretense what so ever, Spike announces he saw Mimic go “this way” but then turns around and announces he sees her. Sure enough, Mimic stands on a hill, looking quite forlorn against a foul black cloud sky. Only she also looks like she gained Jedi mastery of being one with the Force, because she looks like a ghost.

Oh god. This episode going to be about Unicorn magic, isn’t it. OH NO I HAVE DOOMED MYSELF TO CONSTANT CAPSLOCK RAGE AGAIN, DOVE! [Dove: Around this time I had the same realisation. I thought that we’ll either get answers, or you will tear the world apart.] [bat: I’m gonna bet on the latter happening.]

As Spike calls out to her, Mimic seems to… well, for lack of a better term, fade out. But it’s not WINKING OUT like Unicorns usually do. No, this is like changing saturation to 50% on one layer over top of another in Photoshop. Mimic doesn’t actually disappear in the shot – that would have required effort on the part of the animators – but she “suddenly” appears in front of Spike and Sweet Stuff at half-saturation, aka “just like out of a comic book!

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
When you allow George Lucas to tinker with shit, you get this.

Sweet Stuff actually seems to care about a fellow Pony long enough to ask Mimic what’s wrong, as her friend fades through varying levels of transparency. Mimic, shakily, says she doesn’t know, as Spike puts his dumb little dragon hands all over her just before she collapses.

“What are we going to do?” Spike asks, as Mimic lays unconscious in the dirt.

I DUNNO. GO ASK MEGAN?

Without any explanation, we’re back at Paradise Estate, where Surprise and Sweet Stuff are standing outside the gate in the dark. Sweet Stuff laments how weak Mimic is but Surprise insists that when North Star returns with Megan, MEGAN WILL FIX MIMIC.

Oh, fuck off, Surprise. This is exactly why I hated you. That and how you were a white Pony that always showed the dirt and had chartreuse hair.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Namaste, bitches, I’m here to fix everything again!

Oh man, Dove is going to go off on North Star not only carrying Megan while flying but landing and abruptly stopping on her front hooves just so Megan can VAULT OVER NORTH STAR’S HEAD AND RUN RIGHT TO THE GATES OF PARADISE ESTATE! Holy shit that is one of the worst things this cartoon has ever let Megan do to the Ponies. [Dove: I seethed. But I’m touched that you anticipate my rages. It’s worth noting that Megan is particularly huge in comparison to the ponies in this shot. Think of a toddler sitting on a Doc Marten boot. Too big.] [bat: We’ve been through enough episodes to know I hate the blatant abuse of the “It’s MAGIC, duh!” and that you hate the animators daring to put an obvious human on the back of a sentient Pony. Plus I enjoy that you can break down exactly why that is abusive not to mention totally unrealistic.]

Megan at least inquires after Mimic’s status but North Star insists they hurry inside… only for the cartoon to show five random Ponies, Sweet Stuff, and Spike, grimly marching at a slow speed towards where Mimic is laying on what can only be described as a Pony bean bag? Cupcake shoves a pillow under Mimic’s head, asking if she’s more comfortable. [Dove: Oh, it’s Cupcake. I thought it was Gingerbread and was ready to cut a bitch because she wasn’t twinkle eyed.]

I DUNNO, BITCH, BUT IF I WAS AT 50% SATURATION AND HAD NO FUCKING CLUE HOW MY OWN MAGIC WORKED, I WOULD BE GREATLY CONCERNED AND NOT REMOTELY COMFORTED BY THE APPEARANCE OF MEGAN, SOMEONE WHO KNOWS SHIT ABOUT MAGIC BUT WAS GIVEN POSSESSION OF YOUR ONLY WEAPON AGAINST EVIL, AKA THE RAINBOW OF LIGHT™

Like, considering how many times we’ve seen the Ponies be catty to one another or neglect their offspring, maybe the writers finally realized they should show the Ponies caring for one another? A little too late, perhaps?

Megan is just suddenly kneeling in front of Mimic, rubbing her hands all over Mimic’s head and chin, while Force Ghost!Mimic lays there and takes it, looking miserable. Spike wails that the twinkle has left Mimic’s eye.

OKAY HOLD UP HAVE WE EVER DISCUSSED TWINKLE-EYED PONIES? DO THE TWINKLE EYES MEAN ANYTHING? HAVE POWERS? GRANT POWERS? MORE SO THAN JUST BEING A UNICORN AND HAVING UNTOLD POWERS THAT ARE ALSO LIMITED TO BASIC UNEXPLAINED PONY MAGIC?? DOVE???

[Dove: Oh boy. You really want to unpack that one, presh? Ok, let’s do this.

In the days before Megan, Applejack went for a mosey and found herself in a cave where a Jewel Wizard kept ponies as slaves, mining for jewels. Applejack was forced to join them. While mining for jewels, a pony comments to her that they’ve been in the cave so long their eyes no longer work. Applejack says she needs to run for help, and takes off. She bumps into the Jewel Wizard’s throne so hard it shatters and he falls off a cliff to his death. Applejack leads the ponies to safety, and we realise… when the throne shattered, the shards went into the ponies’ eyes and now they are the Twinkle Eye ponies. Yep.

That’s fucking cannon. Though I don’t know if there’s anything that gives them powers.

While we’re at it, read A Mighty Demon Slayer Grooms Some Ponies. It references the story, which is how I know it. Much as I loved the comics as a kid, I haven’t read them since.]

[bat: ….I….I-I never knew that. Any of that. What the actual… and wow. More slavery. Seriously, what was with this brand and enslavement plot lines?!]

I did it. I found the episode that would not only give me grief over basic Pony magic, but add another goddamn unexplained layer on top of it. Gold star, me!

Wow. So not only is Mimic basically ceasing to exist on this particular plane of reality  AND the twinkle has left her eyes, but Cupcake announces that Mimic has not eaten anything in three days. Maybe Ponies die? Maybe Mimic came down with an unfortunate bout of Pony cancer? (I… will let Dove explain… Pony cancer.) [Dove: How odd Mimic got it, when we all know that Sweet Stuff is the TE prone to pony cancer! (note the brown dots on the image I linked – it’s a kind of mold known as “pony cancer”.)] Maybe this episode was written by George Lucas’ nephew’s son three times removed via marriage ‘s bastard child who had just seen Return of the Jedi and was really enamored by the concept of Force ghosts??

Does it matter? No! Because MEGAN.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Oh, I can’t make out a heartbeat.

“No cough, no fever!” OH MY GOD WHEN DID YOU GO TO HOLLYWOOD UPSTAIRS MEDICAL COLLEGE, MEGAN?? HOW EVER DID YOU HAVE THE TIME? Her tongue isn’t coated and her throat isn’t sore (what the fuck?) but… ACCORDING TO DR MEGAN, MEDICINE WHITE GIRL, MIMIC IS AWFULLY PALE! [Dove: Megan basically duplicated the mum-check when she’s not sure if you’re faking a cold because you don’t want to go to school.]

I would sit here and cry at how truly awful this scene is but I am all out of tears.

HOLD THE PHONE! MEGAN ANNOUNCES SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH MIMIC. HOLY CRAP, MEGAN IS ACTUALLY BEING HONEST FOR ONCE.

Cupcake agrees, and while her neck grows larger than her head twice in the frame, she announces that the Ponies don’t know either and none of them have ever half faded out of existence before. They might do a shit job at WINKING but they’ve never desaturated to the point of dying.

I want to applaud whoever decided to make this episode so splashed full of psychedelic colours. Like it feels like I’m watching some weird fever dream.

“Could it be magic?” Sweet Stuff asks, innocently. [Dove: “Could this be magic, at last?”] [bat: I clicked that link. I am unfamiliar with that reference.] [Dove: Yeah, Take That never really made it over the US, did they. They were the boyband of the 90s. And for Americans: they did the theme song to Stardust.]

“MAGIC YES I TOTALLY CALLED IT IT’S MAGIC RELATED!” Megan screams, covering up the fact she just stole the answer from Sweet Stuff. And with that Megan demands the Ponies form search parties go see the Moochick…. oh my god not this shit again. [Dove: Dude. The pony has gone transparent. How is that not magic, you mooks. Or, you know, the glitter/sparkle body line.] [bat: …that was a weird line.]

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
That looks like it hurts, Wind Whistler.

Wait, wait, why are like four Pegasi needed to go see the Moochick?! Plus why does Paradise instantaneously offer to carry Megan?? And why does Megan overstep her bounds and tell Spike to hop on, to which he mounts Wind Whistler?! LIKE WHAT THE HELL WHO IS GOING TO STAY AND CARE FOR MIMIC?

Oh I guess it’ll be Cupcake and Sweet Stuff. Because they just there and don’t get a say.

Landing just outside the Moochick’s mushroom abode, we can hear comical howling as though a pack of wolves are nearby. Wind Whistler takes time to let Spike off her back before Megan is screaming they need to flee to the Moochick’s mushroom to escape the wolves.

Inside the mushroom, the Moochick is performing a spell or an experiment, take your pick, while his helper rabbit stands at the ready. Pounding on the door, Megan demands to be let in. The Moochick tells her to go away. Rude. The rabbit, silent as ever, goes over to open the door but doesn’t get a chance, as Megan, Spike, and the Ponies burst in.

Megan bothers to apologize but justifies that it’s an emergency, they were being chased by wolves. Nope, no they weren’t, it was just a goddamn music box of wolf howls the Moochick had sitting open on the table. (As Wing would say, NEEDS MOAR WEREWOLVES!) The wolf howl music box was supposed to scare everyone away, according to the Moochick.

Remember how the Moochick is really a jerk? Here’s yet another example.

Instead of being indignant, Megan goes ahead and explains they’re barging in because Mimic is sick and likely due to magic. Spike, who has no boundaries or respect for personal space/objects, picks up a wand from the table. The Moochick snatches it angrily from the dragon’s hands, while I applaud. Also, there’s something about sick unicorns in some book.

Which means the rabbit knows exactly which book and where it is.

“PONY LEGENDS AND HISTORY”, holy shit there’s an actual physical book with this info written down?!? You mean I could have acquired this book from the Moochick and solved my greatest issue with this show??? ALL THIS TIME????????

Oh no, nope, the Moochick just opens the book to a random image of what looks like a cross between Majesty and Firefly, only a Unicorn and not a Pegasus, and starts to relate the story of the “Four Golden Horseshoes” to Megan and co.

FUCK ME, ARE YOU KIDDING?? WHAT A DEUS EX MACHINA THIS IS.

Mimic is allegedly descended from this exact Unicorn, who allegedly lived “long ago” in the land of “Argite” four fucking stupid magic horseshoes were created out of “mystical star light” and given to a “very special” Unicorn. The horseshoes each held an individual power that was granted to the Unicorn wearing it. Okay, so what if they were only wearing one or two or three of the shoes? Did the Unicorn still get the powers? Or did they have to wear all four at once???

The Golden Horseshoe Powers:
Front Right: shows the future
Front Left: “power” of blazing light (???)
Back Right: “the thoughts of others sound clear and loud” AKA telepathy
Back Left: wearer “floats like a cloud”

With zero explanation, a magical purple and pink tornado sucks up said ancestral Unicorn and manages to remove all four Golden Horseshoes, before spitting her out one dawn into Dream Valley, where she basically founded the Ponies single-hoofedly. Sure, Jan.

Megan wants to know what the fuck this has to do with Mimic’s disease. The Moochick repeats that Mimic is a direct descendant of this stupid Unicorn and that the magic of the Horseshoes flows in her veins. But the Horseshoes have drifted farther and farther apart over the…. centuries? and that has weakened their magic.

“THAT’S WHY MIMIC IS GETTING WEAKER!” Megan deduces and I CALL ABSOLUTE AND UTTER BULLSHIT ON THIS PLOT LINE. Honestly, FWIW, the general concept of “Pony X gets ill and the village of idiots has to SAVE them” is fine, if a little dry and repetitive. Throwing in a !MAGICAL component, when you have UTTERLY FUCKING FAILED at establishing HOW MAGIC WORKS in your universe, that’s where I will CAPSLOCK RAGE at you. [Dove: Uh… whut? Because it’s not like the horseshoes were genetically attached to that pony, right? She wasn’t born with them, they’re just accessories that she had at some point in her life? So… what difference does it make? This is like saying my depression is linked to the fact that my great-great-great-gran didn’t pass down her favourite scarf through the generations. It’s just utter piffle.] [bat: I love that you used the word piffle. It’s so fitting for this!]

But none of my rage matters, because OF COURSE the Moochick knows where to find these Golden Horseshoes because a BOOK just happens to have an Ankh symbol, some Cyrillic-looking letters, and an… eye chart? Well, the Ponies, Spike, and Megan were sure blinking themselves to death in that prior scene.

We’re off to Sqreerah! Okay, I honestly do not know if that’s how it’s spelled, I am going off the internet telling me that’s what it is but the source is known for being riddled with misspellings, so. Personally, based on the fact the peoples creatures of this region of Ponyland use their Golden Horseshoe to view the future, I would have guessed Scryia, based on scrying, because that’s the kind of shit the writers of this cartoon think they can randomly insert because no 5 year old will know what scrying is.

Oh gee, the Moochick has informed Megan and company that he and the mute rabbit will look after Mimic while they go on their quest. Guess it doesn’t matter there’s a couple of Ponies back at Paradise Estate looking after her. Don’t put yourself out, Moochick. He also gives Megan that stupid music box of howling wolves, because apparently it is YET ANOTHER MAGICAL ITEM that Megan needs to use. Ugh.

As soon as Megan and the Ponies leave, WE KICK INTO A SONG because YES A SONG IS NEEDED RIGHT HERE AND NOW WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT SONG-CENTRIC PLOT ADVANCEMENT

Something something, traveling through the night is frightening (wow, spitting mad rhymes here) and they’re flying through purple clouds filled with lightning (apparently managing to never be struck by it?!) they’re going to keep going and even though Wind Whistler and Spike are attacked by “cloud hands” it’s fine, they’re going to make it. Because “we and the rest of us” won’t let “our fears get the best of us” OH MY GOD THIS IS AWFUL.

I love that even though there is no actual map of Ponyland and Megan has ZERO information on which direction Scryia is, they just oops! we totally flew in the correct direction and totally reached our target without getting lost or any issues!

At least in FiM they had a rail system and clearly the writers realized that the Ponies randomly heading in some direction and “happening” upon their correct destination would not fly with modern day audiences.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Welcome to SCREEEEEEEEEEE

Oh god they’ve landed in a purple-hued desert with a bunch of fucking magical ostrich-like inhabitants that are the Scree. AND FOR SOME UNKNOWN AND UNEXPLAINED REASON “FLEET FOOT” THE SCREE KNOWS NORTH STAR. HOW THE… WAIT… I WANT ANSWERS DAMN IT! [Dove: My guess? North Star walked six paces in any direction, got lost and made a new friend. And now I’ve just summarised at least half the episodes in this show.]

Fuck me, they call the Golden Horseshoe in their possession the “crescent of visions”. Ugh. I mean, really, what would an ostrich do with a horseshoe, so I guess a point for creativity but ugh.

So the Scree used said Horseshoe to see that North Star would come back, but it didn’t tell them why, and I’m pretty sure Fleet Foot just glossed over the fact that North Star returned with friends and not alone. Doesn’t matter, Megan immediately tosses a word salad explanation that is (blessedly) side-swiped into where ever the fuck the Scree keep the “crescent of visions” (I feel like that is going to be a joke phrase that Dove and I run for the rest of our lives) which is in a nest, of course. Yadda yadda, fell from the sky, yadda yadda, it’s our, blah blah blah.

Wind Whistler challenges Fleet Foot to a race, with the winner getting the “crescent of visions”. Fleet Foot is down, if Wind Whistler agrees that upon losing she becomes his servant forever. Look, let’s just call a spade a spade and point out that this cartoon is BIG ON CHARACTERS ENSLAVING OTHER CHARACTERS.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
The Tortoise & the Hare (1987)

“DONE!” Wind Whistler states and we immediately side-swipe to a race track? Where in the Scyrian desert was that kept?! Fleet Foot and Wind Whistler walk to the starting line, Spike loudly commenting that Wind Whistler looks so embarrassed, and you would too if your wings were tied to your sides for some unknown reason.

Y’know, I’m embarrassed on behalf of everypony because not only was this part of the story half-assed, this contest was shoe-horned into the last… four minutes give or take… of the episode. How the average viewer ages 5-7 would be able to infer from the tiny build up that the Screeeeeeeeeeeans are totally gamblers and bet on shit willy-nilly but only because they fucking cheat by using the CRESCENT OF VISIONS to know whether or not the outcome will be in their favor, basically that’s impossible. Not to mention that we’ve never heard of these fuckers until this moment in the show, nor do we know why they’re ostrich-esque, or why they live in a fucking purple desert that APPARENTLY NORTH STAR KNOWS ABOUT AND HAS VISITED ENOUGH TO BEFRIEND THE LEADER.

Fuck North Star. And fuck Wind Whistler, while I’m at it, because yet again we have another situation where Pegasi know shit but don’t bother to tell anypony else. Oh, and fuck you, too, Paradise, you started that shit.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Whoa, that sudden growth spurt really hit Megan hard.

BACK TO THE RACE. Fleet Foot and Wind Whistler are “racing” while Megan, Spike, the Ponies, and the other SCREEEEEEEEANS cheer from the sidelines. That is quite a bit of interesting animation, folks. Like, wow, what are proportions and what do they mean? [Dove: The cap to the side? They ran that for ages, just the same minimal animation over and over with no attempt to make it match any sound.]

Wait, what? For a second Wind Whistler pulls ahead, then Fleet Foot, then Wind Whistler, you get the idea. BUT. Suddenly North Star announces in the most annoying whiny voice, “OH WIND WHISTLER!” and we never see them cross any official end point of the race track. Nope. We just see Fleet Foot and Wind Whistler standing in the general area of a backwards sign that reads SINIF and Wind Whistler looks dejected and exhausted, which is quite a combo. [Dove: Also, WW’s wings are no longer bound. Fuck continuity.]

Some of the other Pegasi wander over to comfort Wind Whistler, while Fleet Foot laughs in that stereotypical evil villain style. But then suddenly Megan is standing behind a randomly placed wall with caution tape around the edge (??) and some other random SCREEEEANS are also laughing maniacally in the same way where she overhears (while expressing extreme shock like some sort of mime) that the CRESCENT OF VISIONS told the SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEANS that Fleet Foot would win.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
NO, MEGAN, USE YOUR WORDS, NOT YOUR FISTS

WTAF. Anyone with 2 brains cells would have called that before the race even started.

Megan gets angry, balling up her fists and looking like she’s already been on the losing end of several rounds — seriously, who the fuck drew this and how drunk were they and what’s anatomy!? — and then we hear the strangest voice over which is meant to be the viewer hearing Megan’s inner thoughts NO I DID NOT SIGN UP TO HEAR MEGAN’S INNER THOUGHTS! And suddenly she has that stupid howling box in her hand and opens it BUT NOTHING COMES OUT so clearly she broke it in transit or one of those purple lightning strikes hit it.

Oh wait, my bad, the howling IMMEDIATELY starts but it blends in with the laughter of the SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEANS

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
When it’s your first day and you don’t know how to draw a Pony face.

and I couldn’t tell it apart. The howling promptly sends the bird twits into a panic and they shove their heads into the ground and immediately turn into rocks. I shit you not. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Megan runs to the poorly drawn/painted “winners circle” display where the CRESCENT OF VISIONS is sitting, unguarded. Plucking it from the stand, oh FUCK YOU NORTH STAR comes into the shot and instantly calls attention to Megan stealing the Golden Horseshoe. Megan claps back that she knows the bird twits cheated but I’m still trying to understand why North Star has her ass backed up against Megan while Megan is talking to her. I’m going to go with “what is LAZY ANIMATION, Alex?” for $2000, because of course Megan jumps on North Star’s back. For a split second frame, it looks like North Star is in pain when it happens. GOOD.

The Pegasi, Spike, and Megan fly away without notice and end up in a random meadow because nothing in this cartoon makes a fucking lick of sense at this point. Megan, of course, has the Golden Horseshoe, because none of the Ponies or Spike would/could be trusted with it. Without knowing how the damn thing works, she asks it “where is the Horseshoe of light?” and, of course, it fucking shows her. BECAUSE OF COURSE.

“THAT’S BLARKLAND, I’VE BEEN THERE!” FUCK YOU NORTH STAR HOW DID YOU BECOME THE PONYLAND WORLD AMBASSADOR WHO’S BEEN TO ALL THESE DIFFERENT PLACES BUT NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT IT

That’s it. I’m making a new tag(s). [Dove: Not gonna lie, I love it when bat gets so cross she takes it out on the tags.] [bat: I hope, in future, that I get to use those tags again. I have a feeling they will be used for the last handful of episodes. I’m just sorry I didn’t think of them sooner.]

Since we don’t see much from the CRESCENT OF VISIONS beyond a palm tree, yet ANOTHER desert-type landscape, and what looks to be a mole/muskrat/meerkat/ROUS popping out of a hole in the sand, we IMMEDIATELY find ourselves in a underground hole/cave, where some kind of king-type ruler of these… Blarkians? is gruffly asking rhetorically (?)  that the Ponies want the Golden Horseshoe to save Mimic. I spy that Paradise is now wearing GH #1 around her neck. I’m shocked Megan let it out of her hot little grubby hand.

Fun fact: the Blarkland creatures are known as BLARKS. (How… original.) They deal in junk and riddles (that’s… oddly specific.) and he notes that Megan has no junk so he wants a goddamn riddle he quote “doesn’t know”. Once that’s supplied, he hands over GH #2.

Yeah, just suck up to him and call him generous, Megan. Do you honestly know any riddles? Because I’m guessing no. Megan strikes out. Paradise steps up to the plate and… holy shit! SHE ACTUALLY KNOWS A RIDDLE. AND NOT ONLY THAT SHE KNOWS A RIDDLE THE HEAD BLARK DOES NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO.

I should point out there’s like roughly a minute left in the episode, so we’re on a fucking time crunch to get GH #2 secured.

“What crawls on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three at sunset? HUMANS! LIKE MEGAN!” Oh fuck you, Paradise. Also, not all “very old” humans use canes. Some use canes well before that or never at all. Some babies don’t crawl. And some adults can’t walk. OKAY THERE’S A LOT WRONG WITH THIS RIDDLE. [Dove: Not to mention the most glaring one: humans aren’t from Ponyland. Why on earth should someone be familiar with the generalised life stages of a species that’s not even native to their world?] [bat: PLOT SAYS SO!]

Wow. The helper Blaker is called CRACKER. I was going to not mention the fact that it seems as though we’re two for two in thinly-veiled references to Middle Eastern inhabitants but now the head Blaker just called his servant CRACKER so I’m totally confused. What a swerve.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Oh wow what a crazy random happenstance that I’m standing directly on the object you seek!

Down into another tunnel of junk piles, Cracker CAN’T FIND GH #2 EVEN THOUGH HE IS CLEARLY SHOWN TO BE STANDING ON IT. Cracker actually states that he doesn’t know where GH #2 could be in the pile. So FUCK YOU PARADISE pipes up that GH #2 has the “power of light” — NO SHIT YOU DON’T SAY EVEN WHEN THE PRIOR FRAME SHOWS IT GLOWING RIGHT UNDER CRACKER’S FOOT — and that’s when Lofty is all “YOU MEAN THE ONE BY CRACKER’S FOOT??” and I knew there was a reason why Lofty was one of my most favorite Ponies ever.

Spike completely overreacts and dives headfirst into Cracker’s foot while picking up GH #2, which causes the junk piled against the tunnel walls to avalanche. Apparently these tunnels are so tall the Pegasi can fly over and pick up Megan, Spike, and Cracker in their teeth and fly them out of harm’s way. PHYSICS, SPACIAL RELATIVITY, WHAT DOES THAT MATTER

Because they saved Cracker — disregard that Spike caused the avalanche in the first place — the head Blark orders worker Blarks to dig a tunnel to the Goblin kingdom where GH #3 is. Y’know, I’m all for speeding along the plot but this is too fast and too loose. You have a whole other 10 minute episode to fill with plot before Mimic is (duh) saved!

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Oh no! A net! We’re doomed!

Walking along the tunnel that is super long but was instantly dug by the Blarks (who are long gone) Paradise notes that the GH she wears is glowing brighter. WAIT A MINUTE. YOU WERE WEARING THE CRESCENT OF VISIONS WHEN DID YOU SWITCH AND WHICH PONY IS WEARING THAT ONE AND WHO DIDN’T KEEP TRACK OF SHIT OH LOOK FUCK YOU WIND WHISTLER IS WEARING GH #1 [Dove: MEGAN WEARS WHATEVER IS MOST IMPORTANT AT THE TIME, BAT. YOU KNOW THIS.] [bat: …but Megan isn’t wearing them, Dove. For once in this show, Megan ISN’T wearing the magical muguffin d’jour.] [Dove: She isn’t? Then I’m really confused. Megan always gets the best swag.]

And look. It’s a goblin with a net, enter stage left. Oh and another goblin with a bag! And a third one, random. “WON’T MA BE SURPRISED!” one announces before the screen fades to black, ROLL CREDITS.

Part 2:

Well, there are credits because these are split but instead of waiting for the second half to air the next afternoon, I am living in the future where I just pull up the next video file.

We pick up right where we left off, Megan & co staring down three large goblins who are trying to capture them. Megan tell everyone to “run for it!” because clearly the Ponies would not come to this idea/conclusion for themselves. That is some janky animation of them “running”, to be sure.

Dove, I’m trying to remember, how long has it been since there was a “nets/cages/bags” plot line? It feels like it’s been a while but there was probably one in the last episode I recapped and I just blanked it out because at this point it’s traumatic. [Dove: The tag says Quest of the Princess Ponies, so about five episodes ago. Which is a really long time, in all honesty.]

Chasing the Ponies means the goblins trip and fall into a goblin pile. This causes them to immediately start fighting among themselves, each blaming one and/or two of the other(s) for mutual failure. Look, these goblins aren’t the Three Stooges (which, really, were old by the time this cartoon came out and are probably barely known if at all by today’s children) and the fact that one of them screams, “I’ll tell MOM!” is also awful.

The Ponies manage to put enough distance between themselves and the goblins but Megan orders them to hide, quickly, so half of the Pegasi fly into the rock caverns while Megan and Spike, and the other Pegasi run off-screen. Yet another shinning example of Megan saving the Ponies again.

OH FUCK YOU, WIND WHISTLER! She points out that the “illumination” of GH #2 “will reveal our place of concealment”…. oH MY GOD USUALLY I AM ALL FOR LARGE VOCABULARIES BUT MY GOD THIS IS WHY I ABSOLUTELY HATED WIND WHISTLER IN THIS CARTOON. All you had to say you stupid bitch was FUCKING COVER UP THAT HORSESHOE, PARADISE!

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
She’s wishing, not pooping.

It’s not even glowing for a real and decent reason, either. (I… I may have had to scroll up to reread the powers of said horseshoe.) It’s glowing to be a goddamn nuisance.

Wind Whistler tells Paradise that she should try to “wish it off”, i.e. wish the GH #2 to stop glowing. Paradise scrunches up her features and suddenly GH #2 stops glowing.

AND THEN I WAS GREATLY INSULTED BY THE WRITERS OF THIS CARTOON. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. AFTER 56 EPISODES YOU STILL HAVE NOT EXPLAINED HOW PONY MAGIC WORKS, YOU GIVE MAGICAL HORSESHOES TO PEGASI WHO AREN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE POWERS, AND SUDDENLY ONE OF THEM CAN MAGICALLY WISH A GOLDEN HORSESHOE TO “TURN OFF” TO SAVE THEM FROM DISCOVERY BY AN ENEMY??

Yep. This is the episode that broke me. [Dove: I give up. This makes no sense.]

One of the goblins runs into the scene and (because plot says so) calls out for the “little Ponies” while the second and third goblins run in and announce they can read the Ponies’ minds. Then promptly accuse the Ponies of thinking [the goblins] are “ugly and mean”. We know that GH #3 grants the ability to read others’ thoughts but none of the goblins are wearing the GH so how ??? And that’s when one of the goblins catches North Star in a butterfly net. THANK YOU FOR POINTING OUT THE OBVIOUS, WIND WHISTLER.

Although I would argue how the fuck did they catch Spike? That wasn’t shown at all on screen.

Wow. Paradise doesn’t know what “intuit” means.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
It’s a two-for-one sale on blondes!

Another of the goblins “reads two more minds” and finds Lofty and Megan, announcing that “Maw” is going to be so proud of him. Lemme guess, Maw wants slaves and will take whatever the goblin sons find in the way of other beings because SLAVES IS A CONSTANT HOT TOPIC IN THIS CARTOON SERIES. Dove, why isn’t this a tag? I feel we should have had a tag for this. [Dove: Happy to add it, but it requires going back and tagging old entries. I think the reason is: we are tired!] [bat: I went and added us a “bat and Dove are so very tired” tag.]

Ohhh PLOT TWIST! North Star, Lofty, Megan, and Spike get captured but the goblins cannot read Wind Whistler and Paradise’s minds because the Golden Horseshoes clearly protector the wearer from the power of the unseen third Golden Horseshoe. Maybe it’s more a plot hole (HOW DOES MAGIC WORK) but anyway, the goblin brothers are upset the third brother caught more soon-to-be-slaves then they did.

And what Wind Whistler regurgitate exactly what I just said. Paradise decides this means they can safely follow the goblins and save the others. Sure. Why not.

Over in what is apparently the “home cave”, Maw Goblin is shown to be wearing GH #3. She is arm wrestling another male goblin who is wearing Popeye’s sailor hat. He probably ate Popeye. Maw beats him, announcing it’s her 39588939 win of the day and all I have to say is WHAT THE FUCK IS THERE NOTHING ELSE TO DO IN THIS CAVE SYSTEM?

The goblin sons arrive and announce their captures and bicker about it before throwing Megan, Spike, and two Ponies into a handy hanging cage that looks a little more stable then what the Bees were using back when Flutter Valley was on the eve of its destruction. I mean there is an actual functioning lock and key, so let’s see Megan walk through the bars on this one.

…wait, why did that goblin throw the key somewhere off screen?

Maw isn’t happy with her sons. She bellows at them before saying she likes their presents and they will make “good little slaves” (DRINK!) and they really need slaves (DRINK!) but really she and their Paw want them to stop fighting. All the goblin sons kneel and apologize and swear to be good. Yeah, this will last.

I’m wondering and I know this is just sadistic of me, but how does the telepathy extend to the sons if the mother is wearing GH #3? BECAUSE PLOT SAYS SO, BAT, STOP TRYING TO GET THE RULES THERE ARE NO FUCKING RULES.

Maw goblin starts sobbing and asking why her sons can’t get along and immediately breaks into song. BECAUSE MUSIC IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO FAST FORWARD A PLOT AND/OR CONCEPT FOR CHILDREN

Maw goblin can’t understand why goblins can be nice with all things identified with “beasts” or “monstrous” but they can’t be nice to each other, which makes her cry. I think this is the shortest song in the history of this show. And it was entirely unnecessary.

The goblin sons do their impression of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, only in terms of “how sorry” they each are, more so than the previous. Yawn. Maw even punches Paw in the head because this faux contrition pisses her off even more.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Shut up, you fucking scold.

AND THAT’S WHEN MEGAN INTERRUPTS.

Megan informs the goblin mother that her sons are fighting because the GH Maw goblin wears allows them to read each others’ minds. Again, explain to me how Maw wearing it means the brothers can read each others’ minds but she can’t read theirs? Or anyone else’s for that matter? [Dove: That was my thought, like why isn’t Megan reading Lofty’s mind?]

MEGAN THEN GOES ON TO SAY THAT IF THE GOBLINS FREE HER AND THE PONIES THEY WILL TAKE GH #3 “FAR FAR AWAY” FROM THE GOBLIN’S TUNNELS. WOW. HOW MAGNANIMOUS OF YOU, MEGAN.

“Goblins don’t give things away!” Maw screeches at Megan. Sounds like goblins and those Blakers should be on Hoarders: Buried Alive and have a lot more in common than first glance. After slapping Megan down, Maw informs the boys she and Paw are “going in the back to count our treasures”. Is this a metaphor for goblin sex? Wait, what?

Since everything seems bleak inside that hanging cage, with gaps in the bars that grow at will to show prisoners wtf, Spike wonders how Mimic is. Y’know, the reason they’re on this fucking quest I’ve been forced to sit through and recap. LET’S FIND OUT.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
“Don’t have a cow, man!”

I cannot believe the scene opens and that goddamn jerk Moochick has his hand shoved into Mimic’s face, which looks even worse since she’s at 35% opacity. The Rabbit also has no mouth. The other Ponies stand around as the Moochick pronounces only the Golden Horseshoes can help her now. This is honestly one of the worst plots ever on this show. As Dove has pointed out, Mimic was not born with the GH on her hooves. She’s just some ninety-ninth generation descendant who “allegedly” has a genetic problem and requires magical muguffins to sort her out.

JUST IMAGINE IF A LITTLE THOUGHT AND CREATIVITY HAD GONE INTO THIS STORYLINE. JUST IMAGINE. IMAGINE IT. I SWEAR IF I EVER THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MLP FANFIC, THIS WOULD BE THE CATALYIST. No, no, it isn’t happening, please don’t get your hopes up, Dove.

Oh fuck me. Cupcake steps up and asks why the Moochick can’t just make some magic horseshoes for Mimic. And the dumb bastard thinks this is a brilliant idea! But he’d have to return to his workshop and it would take too long. ENTER PLAYER: WHIZZER! Talking a literal mile a minute (and voiced by Nancy Cartwright) Whizzer insists she’s fast enough and continues to brag about being the fastest flyer. Wait. I thought all the Pegasi in this episode went with Megan and Spike??

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
MIMIC ACTUALLY DIED AND NO PONY NOTICED

DISCONTINUITY AWARD goes to: the animator who completely forgot to put Mimic in the in-between frame during the transition from one scene to the next. RIP MIMIC! [Dove: Also, everyone else looks stoned off their tits.]

Over in ye olde goblin cave, Wind Whistler and Paradise finally come upon the three goblin brothers and a cage full of demi-heroes. More shitty animation follows. I love that random mangled rib cage and femur bone painted into the background.

I don’t know how to describe what Wind Whistler does, since the animation is so jacked up, but she apparently spits a rock at the goblins and it hits the middle brother, so he thinks the other two have hit him. Okay. It dissolves into a poor imitation of a Three Stooges skit (called it) and the goblins are so distracted they don’t see Wind Whistler fly up to the cage directly over their heads.

Just then, Maw and Paw goblin wander back in. “The slaves are escaping!” Maw screams (DRINK!)

(There is 5 minutes left on the clock for this episode and ONE damn Golden Horseshoe left to find and steal from whatever/whomever posesses, and Megan hasn’t walked out of the cage yet and stolen GH #3 what is this why has my life taken such a drastic turn)

There is a weird cut and the goblin brothers are beating each up other just as Maw goblin races into the shot and points out that Megan & co have escaped the hanging cage. WHERE WAS THE KEY I DAMN WELL KNOW WIND WHISTLER DID NOT HAVE IT IN HER MOUTH HOW THE ACTUAL FUCK

Randomly, seriously this is so random, North Star yells at Lofty to “keep going” while she doubles back and somehow (miraculously) gets up close enough to Maw goblin to pull the string up and off Maw’s neck, thereby securing GH #3. And while Maw screeches about being robbed, Megan (riding Paradise) and the other Pegasi sail on through the tunnels without issue. Sure. Sure, why not.

Now that GH #3 is gone, the goblin brothers are crying and apologizing to one another and this is all too much for Maw, who runs in along with Paw for a GOBLIN GROUP HUG! THE END!

NOPE! Now we’re over to the Moochick, who just asked for BAT’S WING for his witches brew oh my god I am insulted [Dove: Also, didn’t we have a great discussion about this last time, whether it was “bat’s wing”, “bats’ wing” or “bats wing”, inspired by Raven?] [bat: Yup. Yup, we did.]. The potion explodes and it’s powerful enough to break a table but the cauldron is still standing there in the magic fire, bubbling like nothing has happened, while Whizzer and the Rabbit crawl out from under the broken table and the Moochick has not suffered any visible damages.

“The magic is just too powerful for me to control,” he explains. HOW DOES MAGIC FUCKING WORK. So I guess that avenue is a dead end, since we just jump right back to Megan, the Pegasi, and Spike, all landing on some sort of cliff set among a rainbow sky. Lemme guess, North Star knew how to get here, too!

BTW, North Star is wearing GH #3.

So GH # is glowing and “tells” North Star that the last GH is “near but up high”. Uh huh. You’re on a fucking cliff. Dear GH #3, be more specific. And also, does this mean that the prior GH glows like some sort of GH detector when the next GH is close by? IT STILL DOESN’T EXPLAIN HOW PARADISE WISHED GH #2 TO STOP GLOWING.

“Look up there!”

“OH I’VE BEEN HERE!” FUCK YOU, LOFTY. Sure enough, the high peak with the tipsy and not remotely livable “castle” is the home to the Green Mountain Elves™. Why did Megan AND Spike just climb on Lofty’s back???

Oh god. I am so broken, this episode has broken me.

Apparently, the air is so thin and the altitude so high around the Green Mountain Elves™ castle that Paradise cannot hack it and immediately passes out. I see the cartoon animates some sort of “here’s North Star and Wind Whistler pressing Paradise between them but let’s just jump cut to every Pony landing and every Pony is FINE!” bullshit. I know, I know, the episode is running out of time, it’s just ridiculous.

The oversized doors open and some blonde elf woman with antennae wearing a green dress floats out and greets Lofty by name and welcomes her and her friends. SURE SURE. She is Kara (Cara?) keeper of the gate to the Green Mountain Elf Kingdom™. I didn’t know elves were bugs. Seriously, what’s up with the antennae??

Megan explains they need GH #4 but Kara (Cara?) explains back that she cannot give it to them. GH #4 belongs to the child Princess Mayve (??!) and ELVEN LAW™ states no one may take something from a child, unless the child surrenders it “willingly”. [Dove: Can’t see that going well.]

OH BOY SOMEONE EXPLAIN ALL OF ELVEN LAW™ TO ME JUST LIKE YOU EXPLAINED HOW MAGIC WORKS

Megan’s plan? ASK child Princess Mayve! Watch, this will fail.

Well, I already hate child Princess Mayve. (I also keep typing Maybe, ugh.) We are introduced to her riding on a cloud, using GH #4 as a steering wheel. She is startled by the arrival of Megan & co, dropping unharmed to the ground, and immediately asking if they’ve come to play. Kara (Cara?) says no, Megan has a favor to ask of you. Oh yes, this will go well, dealing with a spoiled and probably petulant child princess in possession of a magical muguffin.

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
The moment Megan realizes that she miscalculated when dealing with a child.

Christ, Megan, seriously, that was over dramatic and wordy for asking a goddamn magical toddler for a magical object. AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN SAY PLEASE! Of course child Princess Mayve freaks out and resorts to baby talk babble (oh joy, here we go again, Dove!) to explain GH #4 is hers and fuck you very much!

But not one to deal strictly in words, child Princess Mavye summons the magical cloud again, this time large enough to transport Megan, Spike, and the Pegasi as well, and they float out through the dangerously open and not remotely child-safety-proofed window in the Green Mountain Elves™ castle tower. I love how it’s now two towers unlike the original background painting.

Unfortunately, the episode already blew its song allotment, so all we get is child Princess Mayve explaining in horrendous baby talk that she likes GH #4 because it does all kinds of cool shit. Child Princess Mayve is just about to take Megan and co underwater (oh that would be fun, let’s watch Spike drown!) but Megan cuts in. Because, Megan.

“We’ve seen why you want the Horseshow, now let’s go to Dream Valley so you can see why we need the Horseshoe!” YOU’RE DEALING WITH A MAGICAL TODDLER, MEGAN. Oh, never mind, child Princess Mayve likes this idea and immediately orders GH #4 to Dream Valley.

WHAT THE THIS MAKES NO DAMN SENSE HOW ARE THEY OUTSIDE PARADISE ESTATE, LET ALONE A WINDOW WITH BARS, THAT IS DIRECTLY ALIGNED WITH WHERE MIMIC IS LAYING ON PILLOWS FADING OUT OF EXISTENCE YES I KNOW PLOT SAYS SO FUCK YOU PLOT THIS IS EGREGIOUS

Child Princess Mayve takes one look at the near-invisible Mimic, who manages a few rattling breaths, and starts crying. Wow. Way to guilt trip a child, Megan. Child Princess Mayve immediately hands GH #4 over to Megan, who puts it around her arm like some goddamn cheap dollar store bangle, before she picks up child Princess Mayve and crushingly hugs her while thanking her.

For no reason at all, they could have just gone through the glass-less window, Megan and company fly the cloud around to the entrance of Paradise Estate (we don’t see it, I’m assuming) while the Moochick starts yelling “Megan?!” just before our White Girl Savior runs in with two of the GH. The Moochick demands them and Megan just hands them over. And please note how shockingly tiny child Princess Mayve becomes in that group shot. WHAT DOES SIZE CONTINUITY MATTER

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes
Heal! Heal! HEAL!

The Moochick slaps the Golden Horseshoes onto Mimic’s hooves (like ANYONE could have fucking done) and child Princess Mayve dramatically gasps and we get the strangest reaction shots where every Pony is washed out by yellow paint to indicate the MAGICAL MAGICAL-NESS OF THE MAGICAL GOLDEN HORSESHOES HEALING MIMIC. There’s a sound effect that belongs more in an episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and lightning bolts and BOOM MIMIC IS HEEEEAAAAALLED PRAISE JEBUS HALLELOOOOJAH AMENS

WHOOOOOA NELLY THE GOLDEN HORSESHOES JUST ZAPPED THEMSELVES OUT OF EXISTENCE??? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

Why is Spike the first to ask Mimic if she’s okay? Why you gotta steal Megan’s thunder like that, you stupid little purple punk! Mimic prances around on the bean bag before pronouncing she’s “all better” and actually thanking every Pony. Wow. A lesson in manners.

Everyone cheers. Mimic nuzzles child Princess Mayve, who makes a really terrible noise of joy so disturbing my ear drums ruptured; Megan hugs the Moochick while Spike twirls around, child Princess Mayve gets in on that as well, and Mimic shoves her big fat head into the group hug. Screen fades to black.

THE END

Final Thoughts:

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, this is the episode that broke me. Y’all witnessed it. It doesn’t matter what happens from here on out — there’s 6 episodes left to recap — I am broke and cannot recover. I can only yell “DRINK!” every time enslavement is mentioned.

Why can’t I give this a letter grade? I have managed to do so in pretty much every prior recap, even when it was difficult to land on what felt right and proper. This one? Oh god. I’m going to have to break it down.

On the positive side, you have a basic plot that is beyond the basic “villain of the week” bullshit My Little Pony ‘n Friends usually produces. And not only it it a basic plot, it’s a plot that ties itself to the very fabric of Pony TIME and MAGIC, because it deals with a magical muguffin (four, actually) that comes from the very beginning of Pony Existence. And not only that, said muguffin(s) have been lost to TIME and SPACE but are now vitally needed to save a life. This requires an adventure to find and recover said lost magical muguffins before time runs out!

That is all well and good, a major improvement over, say, Spike finding out grown up dragons are assholes and, um, Woebegone getting a whole episode devoted to his bullshit. I would even applaud the writers for coming up with a generally solid story idea in the middle of season 2, because season 2 of anything is usually tricky and can unfortunately go bad very quickly. (Cougar trap, anyone?)

If in fact I was basing my letter grade solely on the above, I would have given this episode a solid B. Because, face it, if you’re a child of the 1980s, you were weaned on adventure / fantasy films and that will never fail to catch our attention.

Here’s where everything falls apart and that solid B grade is lost.

A yellow pegasus Pony, Masquerade, sitting on her hindquarters, with a defeated expression on her face, with the words 'fuck this shit I'm out' over the top of the image.The magical muguffin(s), while pretty well explained power-wise, lose their edge because it is blandly tied to the BEGINNING OF PONY TIME and while some might argue how exactly it was lost should be included (I’m on the fence about whether that matters in this case) it was lost and said object(s) have landed in the hands of various races of creatures that have A) never been shown or acknowledged to have existed before this episode and B) it’s undermined by the fact that the writers have never given us a real answer to HOW MAGIC WORKS IN PONY LAND.

Like, seriously. There are no rules, no guidelines, shaky evidence that only Unicorns can “do” magic (we witness Pegasi doing magic with the Golden Horseshoes but HOW and is it only BECAUSE OF the Golden Horseshoes?) and on top of that Unicorn magic seems to have a generic “everyPony” component as well as a specific “thisPony” component but no explanation as to WHY. Go through any of my prior recaps and you will see HOW MUCH I CAPSLOCK RAGE ABOUT THIS ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Plus: why the fuck is magic tied to four Golden Horseshoes? That would mean magic is finite, in a way, and in a physical form, not… free floating like, oh, the Force. And how can the Moochick have magic if he’s not a Unicorn and/or descended from the original Golden Horseshoe Unicorn? How do any of the other creatures that wander around Pony Land have magic??? [Dove: Also, where does Majesty feature in all this, because she has the shoes in the playset. I know that’s probably not cannon, but it’s another example of things not being thought through. (Note from the future: bat mentions this in the next paragraph or so.)]

Why is Mimic specifically affected but not any other Pony? Wouldn’t it have been cooler to have ALL Unicorns fall mysteriously ill? Terrifying for children but hell, we all watched Artax drown in the Swamps of Sadness, so we’re used to high stakes gambling involving lives. (Well, we were in the 1980s.) Actually, something like that happened in an episode of Fraggle Rock, where all the Fraggles fell under a sleeping spell/curse and oH MY GOD THAT EPISODE TERRIFIED THE FUCK OUT OF ME SO BAD AS A CHILD that to this day I haven’t watched it ever again but that’s the profound shit that sticks with you from childhood. That’s when you realize the world of fiction and reality blur but fiction means there’s usually a nice, neat outcome while reality… not so much, not always.

Okay, the magical muguffin(s), you don’t really think of horseshoes but it makes sense in context. I remember Dream Castle came with four plastic “golden” horseshoes for Majesty to wear. Goddamn it, after this episode, I was obsessed with those horseshoes. So okay, that part worked. Add this part to the positive pile.

Does it matter who/what ended up with them? Probably not. It might have been better had this been a four-part episode but there were only two so exploration was nixed. That’s to the detriment of this plot line, because imagine all the things that could have been discovered about other civilisations in Pony Land. Maybe we would have learned more about how magic works in Pony Land on a general level. Fuck, it would have been perfect to go back and recycle some villains! Or villains-turned-friends were forced to help the Ponies recover the Golden Horseshoes! Imagine the Penma returning! Or Dove’s favorite Crab Cops! [Dove: Yes!] SO MANY MISSED OPPORTUNITIES!

By the time you cut through the “this dragged out far too long” crap involving the Goblins, you get the truncated visit to the stupid elves (why it always gotta be elves??) and some half-assed Sesame Street-esque “sharing is caring” moral tacked on and QUICK WRAP IT UP RUN TIME IS OVER Mimic LIVES! ending that is deeply unsatisfying.

Because if I grade on its faults, it gets a big fat F. And I don’t want that. Because I can objectively see the positives alongside the faults and this episode not only broke me but is tearing me apart on that fact alone.

So. No fucking letter grade. I refuse.

Also I’m giving my brain a big F for failing to remember any of this beyond it involving Mimic and magic horseshoes. Damn, I mean I’m glad I didn’t remember it because it was generally awful and clearly anything I imagined while playing with my collection of Ponies was way better then the cartoon ever was, but geez brain. Maybe I just forgot because it was so terrible.

I dunno. What did you think, Dove?

[Dove: How do I expand on that? bat’s right, and there’s no point in repeating it. And while I tend to just pick a letter grade off the top of my head on finishing an episode, usually based on how much I enjoyed it or, failing that, objectively whether it had merit of any kind, if bat doesn’t grade, I don’t grade. I think that’s fair.

One thing I can appreciate, though this is not down to the writers of this episode, is that I think this provides the groundwork for the Elements of Harmony. I feel like Lauren Faust remembered what she enjoyed of the original run, but didn’t let herself get stuck to the “original” way of doing things, and Friendship is Magic was much stronger for that choice. So basically, the merit of this episode was that it inspired someone to do something far better with the source material. And as far as compliments go, that’s pretty low.] [bat: Just imagine how much we’ll have to discuss when we finally get to FiM and the 98% of it that is extremely well done and how MAGIC is defined and it will be a paradise more often than not to recap those episodes.]

So, for now, I’m signing off and letting Dove step up to the plate. She gets to do some back-to-back recaps while I take a sorely needed (and well deserved) break. Back at in a few weeks (or more? or less?) with… BIG BROTHER PONIES!! [Dove: Strawberry Fair/Sugarberry is on the front cover of that episode artwork. But she is not in it. Fuck the big brother ponies.] [bat: “LET’S PUT POPULAR PONIES ON STUFF ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’RE NOT REMOTELY IN THE EPISODE!” “YEAH, THAT’S THINKING, LARRY!”]

(For anyone wondering, I did finish Witcher and damn, why you gotta make me wait so long for S2? I NEED more “Hmm…” and “FUCK!” in my life. Off to drink some apple juice!)

Ponies. Vampires. Weird little films no one remembers. Much snark.

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