Title: The Magic Coins (Parts 3-4)
Summary: The baby Sea Ponies find a chest full of coins that turn out to grant wishes. They start out harmlessly, by wishing for food and a gigantic bubble (MLP means never having to give context… it won’t help), but then our favourite spoiled brat, Baby Lickety-Split, wishes for it to never rain ever again. And Ponyland dries up. Sadly, the lack of ponds for the (apparently fresh water) “sea” ponies doesn’t stop them SHOO-BE-DOO-ing at everyone.
While they still have coins left to make wishes on, there is a new mechanic in place which means the picture on the coin has to match the wish. Oddly, this wasn’t in place when Baby Lickety-Split made the world-destroying wish. So Team Good Guy have to find Niblick, a troll who apparently owns the coins, to set things right. On their way, they meet an irritation in humanoid form, named Puck.
They find Niblick tormenting a prince and taking his crown as payment for crossing a bridge, and the idiotic Team Good can’t see any harm in blurting out they’ve spent all of his magic coins. The episode ends with him pulling up the drawbridge, leaving Team Good clinging to the edge of it by their fingertips. (Honestly not sure why they didn’t just slide down it, but y’know, TENSION.)
I seem to remember this as being one of the better episodes, though my brain led me to believe that there would be more wishes and more going wrong, so I think once again, we’re at “pretty good concept, pretty terrible execution”. But who knows? These final two episodes might change my mind. It seems unlikely.
I realised as I started this recap that we only have 9 stories to go (18 episodes) in Season 1. I got very excited about this. It feels like we’re finally getting somewhere. 50 episodes is a lot. And that’s just season 1. Despite the loathing for the plotting in most cases, and Megan in every case, I’m still really enjoying working with bat on this. (In other news, I grew up in an emotionally manipulative household, and the previous statement could well be my way of saying, “bat, please don’t leave me alone with MLP.”) [bat: I’m not leaving. I’m in this for the long haul, with you, Dove!]
We open with everyone dangling off the edges of the drawbridge, and I still wonder why they didn’t slide down it. The entire group must have been very precisely positioned for all of them to fall down the crack between the two parts of the drawbridge. Also, it begs the question why are the Pegasus ponies, Hearththrob and Wind Whistler, so scared? You idiots can fly. [bat: Can they? Because it seems that, like Unicorns, Pegasi don’ know what they’re capable of at any given moment.] And a small note for the Discontinuity Awards, Megan’s top keeps switching between pink and white depending on the angle.
Megan offers a treasure of equal value if he lets them back up. Hearththrob adds that actually it will be better. Megan then asks for a caveat – if they provide such a treasure, he must undo the wishes.
Niblick agrees to this and begins to lower the bridge. Which will lead to multiple decapitations, as far as I can tell. No, once the bridge has been lowered an inch, everyone climbs up without issue. Not sure why they didn’t do that in the first place.
They go into his house to hash out the details, so Niblick repeats the terms that were literally just agreed, and Megan asks why he can’t undo the wishes before they provide the treasure. Uh, Megan, you agreed to this. Niblick tells her to come back with something he likes.
This of course leads to a song.
She asks Puck what he thinks. Puck uses irritating gymnastics as (incorrectly used) punctuation as he says that Niblick would like the Heart of Fire, which is a ruby from Fire Mountain. And a bunch of other stuff in various places all over the world. I stopped listening and started hoping that he would break his neck with all the bouncing around. Megan says they should split up and try for all three treasures. [bat: There’s an idol statue and something else. I, too, stopped caring and paying attention in favor of the slim chance Puck would perish.]
We cut to Molly, Danny, Ribbon, Lickety-Split, and the two baby Sea Ponies, who are still dying. [bat: Against all odds. They should be stone cold dead by this episode.] They find a trickle of water, and Ribbon says to get a little water on them. Danny wets a baby Sea Pony’s forelock, then hands it back to his sister. Ribbon then starts troughing the water.
The baby Sea Ponies are dehydrated, you mooks. Wetting their hair is not going to save them. Let them fucking drink. Danny says they’ll have to go back to Paradise Estate, but Molly says what if there’s no water there. Ribbon says there must be.
- Why wasn’t Paradise Estate their first port of call? They have a fucking swimming pool. The Sea Ponies have been shown frolicking in there before, they could live there temporarily, and I would hope that when the drought hit, someone had the foresight to fill up all the bathtubs and containers with water. [bat: Remember when the Bushwoolies fell in the pool? Maybe it’s too contaminated and/or full of Bushwooly fur clogging the filters, so it’s currently empty and awaiting decontamination?]
- Why don’t they just take the baby Sea Ponies home? I mean to America? The USA is probably not having a drought. And the kids live on a farm with a well. Surely there’s a pond nearby. Even if there’s not, they can borrow water from home. [bat: Imagine if they tried and it instantly killed the Baby Sea Ponies because… magic failure… something something… Besides, that would be an easy way out. Plus the viewer is supposed to forget Megan and her siblings are from… earth? California?] [Dove: *sigh* I suppose if they did that, it would only piss me off that they did something like, “Only the humans can travel home”, when we’ve seen proof to the contrary. But still, my grumbles are valid.]
Cut to Spike, Magic Star and Hearththrob at the Haunted Garden. Magic Star has a bad feeling about this, but Spike reassures her it’s all in her pretty little head. I’m calling no more than 30 seconds before those topiary animals come to life and scare the shit out of them. Also, this place must have water, look how green it is.
Hearththrob says she thinks the hedge animals are alive. And they all open their eyes and glare at the oblivious ponies and dragon. That was 15 seconds since my prediction. [bat: You’re getting good at this, Dove.]
Spike spots the Golden Rose, and I’m pretty sure that once he touches it, those hedges are going to fuck their shit up. Magic Star says pretty much the same thing. Again, Spike tells her to leave the thinking to the men. He grabs the rose and is immediately proved wrong.
They run away and Spike uses his fire breath to clear a path. He says that Niblick will love it.
Gilligan cut to Niblick saying he hates it. Hearththrob tries to tell him that he loves it. Spike shoves the flower in his face, telling him to give it a try and Niblick tries to respond that he has – and then sneezes so violently, he flies across the room. Once he has landed in a suit of armour, he finishes that he has rose fever.
Cut to Galaxy, Gingerbread and Puck, questing for the Emerald Idol outside some… building thing that seems to be entirely made out of columns. Puck warns them that it is surrounded by traps. Galaxy expresses a complete lack of surprise over that. I’m personally shocked that Puck stayed still while explaining.
We cut to a corridor lined with columns and at the far end is the Emerald Idol on a plinth. Galaxy says she’s taking no chances, she’ll just wink straight to it and pick it up. Yeah, I’m sure that’ll keep you safe.
She winks in front of the plinth, and the space around her moves downwards, y’know, like springing a trap, but Galaxy just gives a “that was weird, oh, whatevs” shrug and moves on. Then a net falls from the sky. [bat: AGAIN WITH THE NETS.] The weight of a few bits of rope that do literally nothing to bind her is clearly enough for Galaxy to crumble to the ground completely unable to move, even though there is no reason I can see that she can’t just shrug it off. I mean, it’s not as if it’s a 15 tog duvet on a drizzly Monday morning, Galaxy. Move yourself.
Gingerbread tries to gallop forward to save her, but Puck catches her tail and tells her to be careful, the floor is booby-trapped. Not very well, as she and Puck bounce across the floor with only a moment of concern when a piece of the floor falls away. Gingerbread starts ripping bits of the net right off with her mouth. So, a non-magic pony can tear rope, but a Unicorn can’t find the energy to crawl out from under it?
Puck grabs the emerald, despite Galaxy’s much-too-late protestations, and then bounces around idiotically until he lands on another trap, which causes boulders to rain from the sky. Gingerbread tells Puck to get the emerald outside, and she’ll free Galaxy, who comments she sure wishes she could wink through the rope, which is a surprising bit of continuity. This is quickly balanced by the screen cap which shows that the plinth Galaxy winked right next to is now vanished.
Once free, Galaxy winks to safety, leaving Gingerbread to nearly be crushed by the ceiling as she has to run for her life as it lowers. Improbably, she ends up doing a continuous forward-roll to get out.
They take it back to Niblick, where it promptly cracks and dissolves into dust. I personally blame Puck and his constant twatting about.
So we cut to Megan, Fizzy and Wind Whistler climbing a mountain in search of the Heart of Fire. Actually, once they reach the top, you realise it’s a volcano. And the ruby is on a tiny plinth in the middle of lava. Fizzy asks how on earth they’ll get it. Uh, Wind Whistler can fly. But I bet she’s got a “right click > synonyms” reason for why she can’t do it.
Ok, she tries and the thermal updrafts make it difficult. I don’t know anything about science, let’s just assume this is correct, but with the caveat of “I really can’t be arsed to think about it, the writers probably didn’t either.”
They decide to get Fizzy to use a bubble to collect it, which goes off without a hitch, but once the bubble has the ruby in it, it becomes hard to control. Ignoring everything said seconds ago, Megan hops on Wind Whistler’s back and demands she fly, while Saint Megan will catch the bubble. Despite the bubble being made of lava, Megan catches it in her hands without any issue.
Wind Whistler finds it hard to fly (y’know, Megan, because she specifically told you that was an issue even before a human plunked itself on her back), and they end up on a rock ledge below Fizzy. Fizzy apologises for the situation, even though it’s completely Megan’s fault.
Megan says no worries, she and Wind Whistler will just fly back up. DO YOU NOT FUCKING LISTEN, YOU STUPID COW? Wind Whistler politely reiterates she finds it hard to fly.
And that’s when the ledge they’re on starts to crumble.
All in all, things don’t look good, but thank god none of them have realised that lava is supposed to be hot, so really all they’re facing is warm orange water, rather than burning to death.
We pick up where we left off. The bubble containing the ruby still hasn’t popped and is now clear, despite being made of lava. Wind Whistler says she wishes she had an idea, although as per fucking usual, she uses too many words.
Megan’s like “OMG! WISHES! LET’S DO THAT!” Then drops the coins over the ledge, but catches them again before they hit the lava. So that was pointless. Megan looks at the pictures on the coins (handshake/friendship or feather), and wonders which one will work. Wind Whistler tells her to hurry the fuck up. Or “urgency the fornication above”. See, I can right-click > synonyms too.
Megan picks the feather coin and wishes they were as light as a feather. I hope they float into the sun and die. Wind Whistler sees the folly of that wish and adds “but only momentarily” to the wish. I’d have gone with “until we are safe” because it would serve them right if they were weightless for a second and then the wish was over.
But, of course, it works perfectly, and the ledge crumbles, while Megan and Wind Whistler float upwards and are deposited safely on the edge of the “mountain”. The ruby, still in the now-clear lava bubble, floats upwards, the bubble bursts and it lands in Megan’s hands. “Bet you Niblick’s never seen a treasure like this one,” she comments smugly.
Gilligan cut to a whole chest full of rubies over at Niblick’s house. He says they’ve had three chances and that’s all they get. But he’ll let them live as long as they leave now. That’s a lot more generous than I’d anticipated. On his end, he’s been screwed. He lost his treasure, they said they’d used it, they promised him something of equal value in order to get him to let them cross the bridge and reverse the wishes, and they have failed. So they got to cross the bridge for free. Twice. So that’s something.
Puck offers to guide them home. Megan worries about the baby Sea Ponies. I guess we don’t care about the adults. Or we know they’re dead. [bat: DEAD AS DOORNAILS.]
Cut to Paradise Estate, which is now in a rocky desert. I mean, the backdrop doesn’t even look like the regular backdrop – or, y’know, one of the many usual backdrops. It’s not the valley one, it’s not the hill one, it’s just a brand new background. In orange.
The baby Sea Ponies are in a tin tub, and Shady walks up with a bucket of water and pours in… a single drop of water. She apologises, but it’s all she could find. The baby Sea Ponies are resigned to their death.
Baby Lofty says there must be water somewhere, she’ll find it. Only in baby-talk. She flies off with a glass jug in her mouth, and bumps into a bird, which causes an improbably long bout of in-air forward-rolling, which culminates in her dropping the jug. She gives up and flies home.
I was about to comment on how pointless this was, until it cut back to the broken jug, which is amplifying the sun’s rays and starts a fire.
Back at Paradise Estate, Danny wets a cloth and uses it to soak the Sea Pony’s forelock. For fuck’s sake, Danny, wetting their hair isn’t going to help.
Hearththrob gives us a great moment: “I say, look there!” she says. It cuts to a fire making its way towards them. “I do believe that’s a fire,” she adds. Thanks for that, Hearththrob. Whizzer feels the need to investigate. Investigate what, Whizzer? It’s a fire! “It is a fire!” she reports moments later.
Ribbon says they must evacuate the nursery. Baby Lofty, for some reason, is now in a crib. Ok, fine. She put herself to bed after causing the fire? The idiotic baby ponies decide “it’s fun!” to be in a world that lacks water and is now on fire. Honestly, Megan should just stay home and let them go extinct through their own stupidity. Eventually, we’ll get to somepony as smart as Twilight Sparkle. [bat: It amuses me that it took decades for Ponies to be smart enough to A) stop listening to Megan or any humans for that matter and B) grow smart enough to produce Twilight Sparkle who’s saved their pony asses more times over than Megan ever did.] [Dove: *weeps a little* The final season starts today (as I type this, not as it publishes). I will miss FiM.]
They set about digging fire breaks – and to be honest, they get shit done, in literally the next frame, there is a trench that would put the LA drainage canals to shame. (I fucking love the LA drainage canals. I get a little jolt of joy every time I see them in the movies. T2 started that obsession.) [bat: Fun story – one of the first times I flew alone to LA, someone was looking out the window and kept asking what the weird concrete waterways were. I, under the age of ten, had to explain it was literally the LA River, to a grown adult.] The ponies prepare to abandon Dream Valley.
[bat: The rest of the inhabitants of Dream Valley are already ecstatic about this. They will be free of the goddamn little Ponies and their weekly shenanigans that continually threaten the peace and safety of the realm!!]
Cut to Megan and co arriving on the other side of the fire. For some reason, Megan sees the fire and yells “Come on!” and runs towards it. Then again, she was fine against lava. What can fire do to harm her? She’s got plot armour.
Oh. She’s going around the fire. I suppose that’s fair. But it looked bloody stupid the way it was framed.
Hearththrob says that Megan has to try the last coin, maybe she can wish the fire away. She uses the handshake/friendship coin to wish “the fire was out”. I’m just imagining this backfiring (unintentional pun) and having a very fabulous fire that proudly announces its sexual orientation. But no, nothing happens at all.
Megan sinks to the floor in desperation, surrounded by fire. Now this is a gif that bat throws at me at least twice a month (usually when we’re encouraging each other through the recap). I always assumed it was photoshopped – probably by bat herself – and she had layered a Megan and some fire together. I had no idea this was real. But part of me still thinks bat made it, regardless. [bat: Sorry, no, this was not made by me. Someone else who hates Megan created it. I just use it. A lot.]
Wind Whistler obviously saves Megan from a fiery death. Megan’s like, “OMG, I can’t believe you saved me!” (Really, Megan? Really? You and Wind Whistler are the BFFs of the show.) Wind Whistler comments of course she would, Megan is their white saviour her friend and friendship is the most important treasure there is.
ORLY? Where was this insight earlier, Wind Whistler? Well, to be fair, she has no idea what she’s said, but MEGAN FIGURES IT OUT. OF COURSE.
Wind Whistler lands and Megan hops off. She orders the ponies to keep fighting the fire, and then hops on Whizzer (without asking, obv), and tells her to fly faster than she ever has before. That’s a totally reasonable request of a pony that’s dehydrated, breathing in smoke from a raging fire and carrying a person that is far too large for her. (This is my hill. bat’s hill is over there. It’s the one labelled “Unicorn Magic Rules”. We wave to each other from our hills. We will die on them.) [bat: HILLS! WE HAVE HILLS!!]
Halfway through flying, Whizzer asks where they’re going. Pay attention, Whizzer. Megan never tells anyone anything, she just hops on backs and you just know. But Megan says they’re going to Niblick’s house.
She arrives there in record time and hops off Whizzer and runs to the door, calling Niblick’s name. She says she has the perfect treasure for him. She wishes…
… ugly side-swipe transition to Paradise Estate, where the ponies are running for their lives. Sweet Stuff and Galaxy are carrying two baby Sea Ponies, so I guess the white/red one is dead. Usually I’d look up their names, but I really don’t care for Sea Ponies of any age. (Except the HQG1C glitter bases. I am all over them. I would love a Sugarberry custom from Pandabear… just as soon as I pay off the current batch of customs that she’s doing for me.)
And ugly side-swipe transition back to Megan, where another dude has appeared. He and Niblick immediately start arguing. New Dude slags off Niblick’s house off, opens the windows and starts tidying up. Says this is all Megan’s fault. She says it seemed like a good idea at the time. Niblick says it was a great idea. He’s so lonely, and he really needs someone who likes cleaning.
Whizzer asks what Megan wished for – even though she was there at the time – and Megan smugly says “The greatest treasure of all: a friend.” It’d be so nice if she was a friend to the ponies, rather than their bitchy queen who rides them like they’re beasts of burden, rather than sentient equals.
Niblick says it’s terrific to have a friend, so Megan can name her price. She asks for the spell to be undone, starting with the weather.
Cut to Paradise Estate, where there’s a big old storm raging. We’re back to having three Sea Ponies, so white/red didn’t die. They immediately start SHOO-BE-DOOing, and everyone wishes they’d died.
We then cut to a long shot of Paradise Estate, where it’s all lush and green… and still FUCKING NOTHING like it should be. Goddamnit, how hard can it be to have a default backdrop for the central hub of all stories? This would be like if the Golden Oak library kept moving between Canterlot, The Everfree Forest and Yak-Yakistan.
Niblick is there, and he’s utterly delighted to have a friend. Friend, by the way, is still nameless, and is currently sweeping the grass. Megan patronisingly pats him on the head and tells him that friendship is a dream come true.
Life lesson? Check. Story wrapped up? Check. 2 minutes left in the show? Check.
You know what this means? Tiresome song time.
I’m going to leave the grading at a C. Megan is tiresome as fuck, but you’ve got to be grateful to the episode that says goodbye to Molly. It was a good premise, but a tiresome execution. I’d kind of like to see what FiM could do with that pitch idea. I think the wishes going wrong would be epic, especially if it destroyed Ponyville, and to have the issue resolved with friendship would be right up their street. Of course, Twilight Sparkle would kill the story progression because she’d figure it out immediately.
I really hate Megan. I’m really tired. I don’t think I have any more words left in me. bat? Say something cool now, ok?
[bat: Something cool? Uh. Well. We got rid of Molly. I hope Danny is up on the chopping block soon. Actually, I do know that the Sea Ponies are eventually phased out, so that’s something to look forward to. It seems to me that with this 4-part episode we’ve hit a turning point. The stories, from what I remember about the episodes we’ll be recapping soon, seem to get better in concept — not necessarily execution — and my favorite of favorites, there’s a whole episode with Big Brothers just down the road. SALTY TUG, AHOY!!]