Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Part 1-2)
“Look! It’s Malibu Stacey! And she’s wearing a new hat!” When your merch begins to drive your story lines, you have a problem. Speaking of, look! There’s Princess Ponies! And they all wear hats! And each has a Bushwoolie slave servant! I don’t even care what the plot line is at this point. BUY OUR MERCH! [Dove: Literally the best summary of this show I’ve ever seen.]
My break from the land ‘o Ponies wasn’t long enough but what can one do, especially when one is so very much wanting to be free of this series yet there’s still *checks notes* 13 episodes to recap? (Yeah, see there’s technically 15 but Dove and I already recapped Escape From Catrina in the order in which the specials aired, because tacking the specials onto the ends of the seasons was bullshit.)
Yeah. So. 13. Normally that’s my family’s lucky number but this just feels… the opposite.
Let’s see, 13 is a huge drop in episodes, down from the 48 “original content” episodes in that first season. Y’know, that was just a godawful amount of episodes. Dove and I are still traumatized by that 10-part “the movie flopped so here’s an entirely rehashed account of it” Flutter Valley nightmare. There is nothing that epic in season 2. Nope. Mostly two-part episodes. I can’t say any of them are any good; I only remember some of the titles and that doesn’t mean I remember plots.
I can, however, say that I clearly remember when the Princess Ponies were released as toys. Oh my god, that was huge. They had tinsel in their manes and tails, they had resin wands, they had pointy damsel hats that princesses wear, raised metallic cutie marks, and (in the US at least) they came with the first physical incarnation of the Bushwoolies! I specifically remember when my mom and I came across them in Toys-R-Us and she was liked Princess Tiffany the most. Until the Carousel Ponies came along, these were my mom’s favorite release. I also had Princess Serena from the first release, and when the second wave of Princess Ponies was released, I got Princesses Moondust and Pristina. Those little crown/tiara clips were one of my favorite accessories.
TIL that the UK got baby dragons with their Princesses, which explains why Dove never had Bushwoolie figures.
[Dove: We not only got different slaves/companions for the ponies, our ponies had completely different names too. I can’t be bothered to look them all up, but I remember that Princess Tiffany is Princess Pearl over here. I have no idea why. Also, it’s fairly easy to get Bushwoolies in the UK, but people will fight to the death over the dragon pals – I’ve seen them go for over £50 per dragon. (But, to be fair, I’ve seen the same dragon sell for half that in the same week, so part of that is people who can’t walk away from a bidding war.) I don’t actually remember these guys being released over here. Looking at the years, I know I was still young enough to unashamedly stand in the MLP section of a toy shop for hours, thinking about which pony I wanted next. So either: they didn’t get a huge release in the UK; or they did, but a large amount of shops in Kent never bothered to buy them in. Maybe the latter, because I had Strawberry Fair (or Sugarberry, to the US audience), who was released the same year, and she was the most beloved and cherished of all of my ponies ever. Behold my obsession. So yeah, tl;dr: I don’t remember these ponies being around at all.]
Now that I’ve been reminded that the Princess Ponies each had wands, I can foresee a lot of MAGIC: HOW DOES IT WORK ranting in my future. You’ve been warned. Also, wait, if Majesty was a queen… HOW DOES THE ROYALTY SYSTEM WORK IN PONYLAND??? I don’t even know if MLP:FiM ever addressed that. Dove? Did it? [Dove: Not exactly, but the most recent season seems to imply that it’s not a bloodline royalty, but a title bestowed on the most worthy candidate, chosen by the current monarch. Possibly in reaction to Majesty being superbly absent, and the Princess Ponies being incapable of thought?]
Already this shaping up to be a fucking nightmare. What did I expect…
Wow, no mincing about this time! We are crashed right into the thick of the action. Princess Tiffany is flying over what I’m assuming is an icy sea (?) only that wasn’t remotely ice, it’s just a sea and whoever drew it sucks.
She’s flying (we can see it but also that helpful wind sound effect?) towards a white castle that’s surrounded by a high white wall. It’s also located in some kind of desert… but also a desert island? WTAF. I would take the time to sit down and draw a map of Ponyland but I would never be able to complete it, let alone start it, because GEOGRAPHY MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE IN THIS CARTOON.
I’d like to point out that the animation in this episode has greatly changed. It subtly changed over the first season — those first few episodes were poorly drawn and quite static and the Ponies looked very different than they eventually did — and now it’s like super animation comical-looking how does anatomy work Ponies. [Dove: Also, if you watch this era straight after watching a FiM episode, you realise how unwelcoming Ponyland is. I would love to go to Equestria, where things are bright and inviting. Ponyland is mostly — even when they’ve made an attempt to making it lush and beautiful — a bit of a wasteland, filled with idiots.]
As Princess Tiffany flies over, we see various other Princess Ponies using their wands to spruce up the castle grounds. One is decorating the wall with pink stars, another is making shrubbery grow to ginormous heights. Princess Tiffany is distracted by the latter, until she crashes into and gets stuck in one of those ginormous bushes.
I’d like to point out, only because I just noticed while looking at the toys, that Princess Tiffany is a Pegasus and there is only one unicorn in the toy line, Princess Sparkle. But in this cartoon, all the other Princess Ponies shown are Earth Ponies. Which explains the fucking wands.
Anyway. The four Princess Ponies are busy magicking decorations onto the brick wall when Princess Tiffany lets out a disgusted cry. Oh shit. She’s a fucking drama queen. She’s crying because her hoof got dirty.
Oh fuck, great, now the series is going to once again ruin another of my favorite toys for me. Just great. [Dove: *head in hands* I’m sorry. I guess I’m glad Sugarberry never gets an episode. But Tiffany was such a pretty toy.]
MY BAD. Apparently it’s not dirt! It’s her hoof polish. (WTF?) It’s chipped. (???) The four other Princess Ponies ran over because they thought Princess Tiffany was hurt but nope, just chipped hoof polish. I CAN’T EVEN, I’M NOT EVEN A MINUTE INTO THIS EPISODE AND THIS IS WHAT I GET??
Wow, this dissolves into MEAN GIRL PRINCESS PONIES RAPIDLY. The purple one calls other Princess Tiffany for her dramatics, while the yellow one says she gave the ANCIENT RECIPE (???) for hoof polish but apparently Princess Tiffany didn’t use it. Princess Tiffany immediately blames Princess Starburst (yellow) because she did use the recipe but she slams P. Starburst by saying some Ponies don’t know what they think they know.
DAMN! THIS IS LIKE REAL HOUSEPONIES OF DREAM VALLEY! I’m glad I don’t remember this at all!
So this argument boils down to one of the Princesses needs to be Queen and clearly every Princess Pony feels she’s suited for the job. Ugh. Also, whoever was drawing/animating this, it was multiple people, because the eyes on the Ponies are sometime huge anime-esque and other times they look like the Ponies we’re used to. WTF.
Princess Royal Blue wanders up and greets the others and the five other Princesses yell, simultaneously, “I’M GOING TO BE THE QUEEN!” Yeah, this whole episode is going to be a non-stop nightmare.
None of this exchange matters because we SMASH CUT to Spike and a bevy of Bushwoolies walking over what I was assuming to be a sea but it’s not actually water but… it’s not ice? It’s not… I don’t know what the fuck it is, to be honest. It’s sparkly, as indicated by the shine marks dotted across the background. Perhaps it’s the crystal sea? Fuck this goddamn landscape that makes no sense. [Dove: Maybe Porcina got bored again, but this time nopony cares?]
ANYWAY. Spike is dragging, panting, yet the bevy of Bushwoolies are bouncing and bandying about like it’s nothing, that walking clear from (where ever the fuck) Dream Valley has been no big deal. Spike stops and asks yet again which direction Dream Valley is.
Oh my god. How the fuck did you get lost in the first place, Spike? And why would you ever trust Bushwoolies to give you directions?? Don’t you remember they spent most of their lives underground as slaves in a illicit drug production facility??? [Dove: Also, these sassy little furballs live to agree with you. If you ask them something, they will agree. Then they will agree if you say, “Are you lying?” Also, where did they start walking from? Where were they going to? Has every bit of Ponyland been discovered by some idiot getting lost going to or from Dream Valley. Because that’s just sad. Does nobody have the wanderlust? (Oh. Wait. Yeah, the Big Brother Ponies.]
Of course the answers range from this way to that way to “what the fuck are you all the Moochick now??!” (that would be me yelling at the screen.) Spike is exasperated but a beam of light (??) pings his cheek and draws his attention to that weird desert island in the middle of this… crystal sea (???) and all I can do is notice that AN ANIMATOR LEFT AN EYEBALL OFF ONE OF THE BUSHWOOLIES WHAT THE HELL?? You can literally see the blue Bushwoolie is a fucking cyclops!! Holy cow, why wasn’t he made into a figure???
Instead of being wary about this strange castle on a desert island, everyone races off towards it. Because that’s what one does in this cartoon.
Upon arriving in the courtyard, Spike is all THIS ISN’T DREAM VALLEY and honey, I got news for you, how the fuck didn’t you realize that ages ago?? Do you even remember what Dream Valley looks like at this point or are you suffering from selective amnesia? Because AT SOME POINT DURING THE PRIOR SEASON EVERY PONY FORGOT DREAM CASTLE (and subsequently Majesty) EXISTED. WHICH IS WEIRD BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT’S A PLAYSET SO WHY WEREN’T THEY SHILLING IT?? [Dove: *sighs* Oh, you sweet summer child, batty. It’s because Dream Castle was £50 and Paradise Estate was £100. You’ll note they’ve never shown the Grooming Parlour, which was £20. Coincidence? Also, it’s a shame. I loved my Dream Castle so much. It was in every story I played. Also, behold my lovely ComicCon Majesty. Sorry, I keep getting overexcited about all the new Gen 1 repros we’re getting at the moment.]
This series has given nothing but millions of questions.
So neither Spike nor the Bushwoolies have any fucking clue as to their location. Good to know. How they got here, why they got here, what triggered any of this? NO CLUE.
Sloppy “plot says so!” story telling, that’s what this is.
P. Royal Blue trots out and is all duh this isn’t Dream Valley, you twits. Spike is just as hostile, demanding to know where they are and who she is. Diplomatic relations never go well in this cartoon, do they.
Okay, I seriously do not remember this episode. P. Royal Blue explains this is “Royal Paradise” (??) and only “royalty” lives there. (THEN WHERE IS MAJESTY???) She also gives away what is clearly going to be the huge maguffin of this episode: the MAGIC WANDS. Because HOW DOES MAGIC WORK.
Spike and the Bushwoolies are impressed by this reveal for some reason. I’m not.
P. Serena shows up to confirm P. Royal Blue’s information dump but for some reason, the animators just shoved P. Sparkle into the shot WITH NO WARNING OR ACTUAL VISIBLE ENTRANCE and she’s insistent that Spike and the Bushwoolies come and judge “the contest”.
Oh god. No. NO.
The Bushwoolies are ecstatic (“What’s a contest???”) while Spike HAS CONCERNS. He even asks “What contest??” And without showing it, suddenly ALL THE FUCKING P. PONIES ARE IN THE SHOT AND P. TIFFANY IS UP IN SPIKE’S FACE, SHOUTING. Like, how bad was the animation budget that you had to just shove Ponies in the shot without rhyme or reason?
P. Tiffany informs Spike and the Bushwoolies they will be judging the contest that determines which P. Pony will be Queen. OH GOD THIS IS A NIGHTMARE AND A POTENTIAL TRAVESTY IN THE MAKING.
P. Tiffany even makes a pass at Spike, insinuating that he will pick her as Queen. Um. Spike immediately blows it and is all, why? Which INSTANTLY OFFENDS P. TIFFANY AND SHE’S YELLING AGAIN.
Which, in turn, sets off the rest of the Princess Ponies, who are all moving in some kind of freaky unison. Dramatic animation budget cuts, man.
AND NOW A FUCKING SONG, BECAUSE.
I would like to know where, when not in use, the P. Ponies stash these wands. They’re not small objects. Is it some kind of pocket universe? Because they do not wear clothes and no way those wands fit in those damsel hats! [Dove: They are Pinkie Pie’s ancestors? They hide things in their hair.]
Basically the song is full of demonstrations of what the fuck the P. Ponies do with their magic wands. Which isn’t anything particularly useful or helpful to matters of State (I mean, is there even actually matters of State in Dream Valley??) P. Tiffany manipulates the weather (just as pegasi do in FiM but without magic), one grows flowers from the desert sand, another turns “red” robins” into “blue” jays (that’s… not right), another one manipulates the “North Wind”, another literally clones a bird into two (also NOT RIGHT) [Dove: Sooner or later, cloning leads to Helena.], another yet again manipulates the weather (this is bordering on playing gods now), and of course the Bushwoolies are all so madly influenced by this show of power. Hell, there’s a rainbow in the mix, but I don’t think it’s The Rainbow™.
Oh, and then there’s a huge golden crown and every P. Pony is fighting over wearing it. Ugh.
I’m pretty sure the fact they are using the magic wands to manipulate shit and using magic against each other is some massive ethics violation and NONE of them are fit to be Queen.
HOLY SHIT. SPIKE, YOU’RE A DEAD DRAGON. He literally just said he thinks none of the P. Ponies are fit to be Queen but then backpedals so fast by saying “because you’re all SO GOOD!” and now I wanna skin a baby dragon alive.
And that’s when Spike makes a fatal decision: “LET’S LET THE BUSHWOOLIES DECIDE!” [Dove: I may love them, but I would not trust them with a bigger decision than, “Would you like another glass of water?”]
So Spike is suddenly standing in a lava-filled hole? Nope, it’s actually a pool of lava that is being used as a scrying glass? Like Hydia and her cauldron? I don’t know how to explain it??
And now there’s some blobby man-like villain made of fucking lava. Oh god. It got worse.
After the standard evil villain laugh™, he announces that the time has come. What time? Time to order pizza? Turning and yelling, a blob of lava with a big nose and feet comes through a doorway and blows. Ugh. This is just going to be so bad and I can’t do anything but suffer through it.
Okay, evil lava king dude is Lavan (the writers aren’t even trying anymore) and he demands his slave lava blob go and prepare for attack because he wants the magic wands.
I have a lot of plot-related questions but I know answers aren’t to be had so let’s see how long before Megan shows up.
Back over at Royal Paradise, the P. Ponies are at each others’ throats and insulting each other (“dirty hooves”, “I can fly and you can’t!”) which seems to be par for the course. All Ponies regardless are Mean Girls. Spike, meanwhile, is sitting with the Bushwoolies and name drops Paradise and how she told them the legend (oh god here we go again) of the P. Ponies and how they GUARD THE MAGIC OF PONY LAND.
I HAVE A LOT OF FUCKING QUESTIONS AND I WANT ANSWERS DAMN IT
Spike is shocked they’re all bitches and even the Bushwoolies are appalled by the P. Ponies’ behavior. But it doesn’t matter, none of us will get what we want, as the earth begins to shake and a huge rift opens between the crystal sea and the desert sand (??) where a tidal wave of lava spews forth from. Um. Not sure that’s how lava works….
King Lavan literally surfs (on a rock surf board?) out of the ground, followed by henchmen? also on rock slab surf boards. I guess this is where the story writers got creative? But not really? Anyway, the P. Ponies, who all have their magic wands in their mouths, look terrified.
“It’s Lavan! Ruler of the Lava Demons!” Okay, well, good, you’ve identified the threat. And there they go, fleeing. Called it.
Somehow, it’s not shown what so ever, Lavan has gotten a hold of two of the wands. What the actual fuck? I don’t get this. So much of the action is not being shown that it’s literally upsetting me. Like I don’t care how badly animated it may be, SHOW THE FUCKING THING HAPPENING.
Lava encircles P. Serena and Sparkle, they go from gasping in terror to the magic wands back in their mouths, from which one of the lava demon hench blobs takes them. Okay.
P. Tiffany tells P. Royal Blue she will take her wand and fly both of theirs out of reach. OKAY WAIT, WHO THE FUCK
LOST THEIR WANDS? P. Tiffany flies away but Lavan just shoots… I dunno… is it like a heat beam? I can’t even begin to guess at this point… he shoots something out of his hand and hits P. Tiffany and she loses the wands. The surfing hench blob easily collects them, carrying 4 of the wands now. Okay, where’s the two Lavan had?
And that’s when Spike screams at Lavan, telling him he “can’t do that!” At least the Bushwoolies have enough sense to look terrified of anthropomorphic lava beings. Spike is so pissed off he blows fire at Lavan’s leg.
Lavan just laughs and shoots that heat beam from his hand, which evaporates all the water in the fountain, which creates a huge cloud of steam, WHERE IN LAVAN AND HIS HENCH BLOBS DISAPPEAR. The Bushwoolies literally are yelling “where did they go?!” THIS IS NOT ONLY SHITTY ANIMATION, THIS IS CRIMINALLY BAD STORY TELLING. [Dove: This is so bad that Trixie (FiM) does the same exit all the time, just to lampshade how bad it is..]
I really want to be appalled and outraged but this is basically what we’ve come to expect from this series. There is no hope. There is no chance of change.
All that stupid steam had a purpose because now Lavan and his hench blobs are gone. Like, somehow (aka poor story telling) the P. Ponies, Spike, and the Bushwoolies failed to see giant, talking blobs of lava get away. I said there was no hope and I meant it. The P. Ponies are quite upset because Lavan took the magic wands. P. Serena points out that if Lavan attempts to use the wands he could very well upset that, I want to quote this because it’s so important: “he might upset the MAGICAL FOUNDATION OF PONY LAND”.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MAGIC FOUNDATION AND WHY ARE WE JUST NOW HEARING ABOUT IT? LET ALONE BEING INTRODUCED TO THE PRINCESS PONIES WHO WERE CLEARLY TOYS (BUY OUR MERCH) BEFORE THEY GOT WRITTEN INTO THIS CRAPTACULAR CARTOON SERIES
Nope. No answers. Just a fancy sideswipe wipe back to Lavan’s lava-filled volcano hideout. Ugh.
To move the plot forward, the hench blob asks Lavan what his intentions are involving the wands. Lavan explains the wands have the power to turn him into a “crystal being” of “enormous power” to “do anything”. That is precisely not what I was expecting. Also, how vague. I keep wondering if this is where the seeds of the Crystal Kingdom that pops up in G4’s FiM series but I don’t remember it well enough to know off-hand. (Like, I watch the episodes once and that’s about it.) (I actually spent time checking but nope, no Lavan-esque character transfer and the only time lava came up was Rockhoof, so…) [Dove: The Crystal Empire was a vanished kingdom, and it was tied into Sombra. But I’ve seen people theorise about the Twinkle Eyed Ponies becoming Crystal Ponies, but this also seems a likely inspiration too – especially since they live separate from the other ponies, unlike the TEs who live with them.]
Apparently the hench blob thinks being a crystal creature would be beautiful and he actually tries to touch one of the wands but Lavan slaps his hand and calls him a fool. Then rants about how beauty doesn’t matter, only power. Ugh. This is so one-note.
Place your bets now that the hench blob will totally come over to the P. Ponies side and help them defeat Lavan. Because THIS IS A CONTINUAL TROPE IN THIS SERIES.
Grabbing up the wands in both hands, Lavan yells about transformation and it’s clear he attempts to use the wands. But it’s not like there’s an on/off switch and I’m certain there’s no instruction manual, so of course the wands fizzle out and do nothing.
Oh wait, I’m wrong. They do something: they spit out what looks like psychedelic rainbows and Lavan starts screaming that something’s wrong, while the hench blob flees. The weird rainbows are strong enough to knock Lavan on his back while tunneling up through the dirt. I know that sentence makes zero sense but I don’t know how else to describe what the hell just happened.
Meanwhile, the P. Ponies, Spike, and the Bushwoolies are still standing around talking about what happened. Oh no, the P. Ponies are fighting again. Sigh. P. Tiffany is calling out P. Lilac (???) and that’s when the ground starts to shake and a rumbling noise fills the air. Out in that weird crystal sea the psychedelic rainbow magic beams shoot up and cause a shock wave that turns some bushes onshore into crystal.
But even weirder is we suddenly smash cut to Paradise Estate, where Megan is outside probably lecturing Ponies or doing fuck all, when the sky above the Estate (and some helpfully painted in background mountains that normally do not exist) turns a riot of rainbow colors.
Sure, Fizzy, cry to Megan. Because Megan knows everything. Ugh. Galaxy’s horn lights up and she senses it’s “bad”, whatever it is. Great. Fizzy’s horn also glows and bubbles begin to stream out. And not just steam out but literally stream out in a jet force which sends Fizzy flying backwards. Okay. It’s enough to send her smashing into a conveniently-placed wooden water barrel. Uh huh.
Megan is utterly horrified. For once. Oh no wait, she actually has the fucking audacity to tell Fizzy “THIS IS NO TIME FOR JOKES!” even though A) it’s clear Fizzy isn’t in control of her magic and B) might be fucking physically hurt after crashing into a barrel.
Fuck you, Megan. [Dove: Agreed. I was just astounded. A friend starts crying in fear and pain, and Megan’s like, “STFU and stay still, dickhead.” Friendship is Magic, y’all.]
Paradise, who’s been observing all this, finds herself in some magic quicksand. For no reason. What the hell. She barely manages to pry herself free and fly away. That’s when tornado-like winds begin to blow and Megan screams “it was warm a second ago!” implying the cold air is rushing into Dream Valley.
“I FEAR SOMEONE OR SOMETHING HAS UPSET THE MAGICAL BALANCE OF PONY LAND.” WELL THANK YOU FOR THAT STUNNING COMMENTARY, GAL-‘CAPTAIN OBVIOUS’-AXY.
Well, is it still a search party if Megan demands that Paradise go towards where the lights came from? A solo search party?
Back in the volcano, Lavan orders the hench blob – Sludge is his name, the first time it was pronounced correctly and slowly enough for me to understand – to ready his “lava board”. Well he just threw the wands down in disgust so I’m pretty sure Lavan is pissed. Sludge is hesitant and Lavan grabs and shakes Sludge, explaining he needs the P. Ponies so they can teach him how to use the wands’ magic. Um.
Fuck. Back topside, Spike is yelling and P. Serena explains that Pony Land’s magic is breaking down. BUT WHY. HOW THE ACTUAL EVER LIVING FUCK DOES MAGIC WORK. HOW CAN YOU HAVE A WHOLE STORY LINE ABOUT IT BREAKING DOWN WITHOUT HAVING GIVEN IT A FOUNDATION OR RULES?? THIS EPISODE IS GOING TO BREAK MY BRAIN.
[Dove: I feel for bat here. She’s spent the past year and a half raging about this very subject, and now she has an episode that laughs in the face of her questions. It bugs me too, but this is the hill bat will die on.]
Spike puts on his big boy pants and demands that someone has to find Megan and tells P. Tiffany it’s her. Not because she’s a decent pony; it’s because she’s the only available pegasus. Like, there’s a unicorn standing there but I guess using magic wouldn’t help with the current deteriorating situation. But before P. Tiffany can argue or take off, Lavan comes screaming back into the scene, riding a wave of lava.
As the lava encircles the P. Ponies, Spike, and the Bushwoolies, Spike picks up the purple Bushwoolie and puts him on P. Tiffany’s back. She’s outraged. Spike orders her to head to Paradise Estate to find Megan and the Bushwoolie will show her the way. UM, THE POOR DIRECTIONS OF THE BUSHWOOLIES LANDED YOU HERE, SPIKE. THEY ARE NOT NATURAL NAVIGATORS.
At the last second P. Tiffany and Purplewoolie fly away, as Lavan rides over and yells how everyone is his prisoner and the screen fades to black. That was a weird cut off. I can’t tell if this happened during the original run or during the DVD production but that was real bad.
As I said, FADE TO BLACK.
Why does this have to be two parts, let alone four? (It’s the only four-part episode in season 2.) I think I would feel better about it being two parts if, you know, there was some actual honest and exciting writing going on. But there isn’t. Because that’s too much to ask.
We open on P. Tiffany and the Purplewoolie, flying across the crystal sea. P. Tiffany is actually yelling at the Bushwoolie, complaining that he’s holding on too tight and choking her. Um. YET AGAIN IN A TOTAL DISREGARD FOR SIZE REGULATION I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT TINY-ASSED BUSHWOOLIE COULD CHOKE A PONY. [Dove: True. But I’d pay to see a solid attempt.]
If anything, this recapping series has made me face facts that the Ponies (all of them) are Mean Girls and utterly useless, stuck up bitches, and failures as role models. I’m only glad I seemed to skim over this while watching as a child and it didn’t ruin my own imagination games I played with my MLP toys. [Dove: Same. I only saw a smattering of episodes – the movie and a few eps released on a single VHS tape. My games were far better. And my ponies were less bitchy.]
The Bushwoolie actually apologizes and says he just didn’t want to fall. Well, gee, if you were small and had no visible feet, and were shoved onto the back of a snotty talking Pony, your survival might be top priority, too.
P. Tiffany demands directions. Purplewoolie complies but because he has to point (ugh) he falls from P. Tiffany’s back and lands on a shrub (??) that is quite quickly overtaken by the advancing crystallization. Which, you can guess, means Purplewoolie is also instantly turned to crystal. Woe to thee, Purplewoolie. [Dove: Um, Porcina already did this storyline.]
SMASH CUT to the underground volcano lair, where Lavan is holding the other P. Ponies, Spike, and the Bushwoolies hostage. He demands the P. Ponies tell him how to, quote “drain the magic from the wands for his own use”. Seems rather specific for a two dimensional cartoon villain.
P. Starburst says that’s ridiculous and would cause the utter and complete destruction of Pony Land. (WHY? HOW?? WHERE ARE MY ANSWERS??) Lavan doesn’t care (and for once I’m totally in agreement, let Pony Land die!) and instead of… I dunno, cajoling?… he orders them all to be taken to the lava pits. Every Pony, Spike, and the Bushwoolies gasp at this cruelty before we fade into the next scene. So the budget for scene transitions went up but everything else suffered animation-wise. Got it.
Nothing matters because the next scene is P. Tiffany very nearly crashing into Paradise and both Ponies gasping at the appearance of another white pegasi existing. I know that the P. Ponies are apparently legends, since Spike or a Bushwoolie mentioned that Paradise told them the fairy tale about them (?????? SO MANY QUESTIONS) but I still don’t understand how the Ponies just accepted that they were legends and not real. [Dove: Does Megan know about it? No? Legend.]
The introductions go about as well as you can imagine. Lots of “who are yous” and P. Tiffany going on about being a keeper of the wand and Paradise exclaiming “you’re a legendary Pony!” and bleh. This is… dumb.
P. Tiffany begins to explain their predicament but NOPE. Nope, Paradise insists she stop and come and tell the story to Megan. BECAUSE MEGAN HAS TO KNOW SO SHE CAN WIN. [Dove: Megan. Elizabeth Wakefield. Zoey Passmore. Can we stop having irritating blondes endlessly save the day (especially by doing nothing)?]
Back over at the volcano, the prisoners are being marched to what looks like a hot spring pool of lava (in that I mean it doesn’t look that dangerous) and P. Primrose (whose cutie mark is growing and shrinking as she walks, wtf) is saying how they can’t be thrown into lava, it would ruin her complexion. WHAT THE FUCK HOW WERE THESE PONIES CHOSEN TO BE PRINCESSES THEY’RE ALL STUPID AND TERRIBLE.
Right then, Spike yells (but is supposed to be whispering) to a pink Bushwoolie that they should break out now. Which goes about as well as you can imagine because the other Bushwoolies all stop and start yelling in agreement. Tucking into their fuzzy ball form, they start bouncing around the tunnel walls and annoying the hench blobs while Spike “hides” behind a rock formation. I guess the P. Ponies are totally oblivious to the chaos behind them.
(Please tell me you were equally terrified of that weird scene where the Princess Ponies roll their eyes in synchronized fashion, Dove.) [Dove: I’m shocked you didn’t gif it.]
The P. Ponies attempt to use the Bushwoolie distraction as a means to escape but totally forget they are triple the size of the Bushwoolies and cannot make it past the hench blobs, who stop them. Meanwhile the Bushwoolies stop ricocheting off the walls and join up with Spike, excited. I don’t know why Spike just screamed “QUIET!” at them, when he’s doing the opposite, but whatever. He insists they have to rescue the P. Ponies. Dude, I would leave them to boil in lava. We also go from 3 Bushwoolies to 5. Animators can’t count.
That’s when some we see some weird-shaped crystals step into frame and Spike gets all sweaty and says they’re the ones who need rescuing. Um.
Back over at the lava pit, someone mismanaged the audio track and gave Lavan’s line to Sludge the hench blob. That’s deeply unsettling. He’s informed the P. Ponies they can jump or be pushed into the lava. There’s another earthquake and the hench blobs all fall into the lava pit and get stuck. Uh huh. Sure. Considering the P. Ponies are standing right there on the edge next to where the hench blobs were, I don’t know how they physically didn’t fall in but PLOT SAYS SO.
“All right everyone, run!” P. Serena yells and the P. Ponies bounce away. No, I’m serious, they don’t gallop, they fucking bounce out of the scene.
SIDEWIPE SMASH to Spike and the Bushwoolies, who are surrounded by Crystal… goblins? I don’t have a word. Let me look… oh god it was worse. They’re called “ICE ORGS”. Maybe that’s supposed to be ice OCS? Because I know my go-to reference site is full of terrible errors and misspellings. Well, we’ll find out.
Spike is of course being a fucking fool and screaming at the Ice whatevers, who simply take a step forward, but it’s enough for Spike to follow through on his screamed warning. He “breathes” (lol) fire and the Ice whatevers take a step back. “He must be a lava demon! Our hereditary enemies!”
SO MANY FUCKING QUESTIONS
“I think I just made a tactical error,” Spike whines as the Ice whatevers move back in and shoot ice beams from their hands, forming a very poorly constructed cage made of… short icicles. WELL WE KNOW THAT WILL COMPLETELY STOP THE HEROES BECAUSE IT’S A CAGE. This is batting a thousand for all our angry trope tags to be used.
Spike screams that he’s a dragon and not a demon, and one of the Ice whatevers who sounds suspiciously like some voice actor off G.I. Joe: All American Hero asks if he would be willing to undergo a test to prove that. What the fuck.
Spike heartily agrees because Spike is a giant fuck up.
Ice whatever grabs Spike’s forearm and some fake ice spreads over his flesh, making Spike’s teeth chatter. WHAT A FUCKING TEST! And that’s good enough for the Ice whatevers, who explain that ice whatevers cannot stand the touch of a lava blob and vice versa. This is terrible writing.
Also terrible is Spike breathing fire and melting two of the “ice bars” of the poorly constructed cage, before he screams about the Ice whatevers needing to help them rescue the P. Ponies. Boy that news sends shockwaves (holy shit, one of the voice actors probably did voice a Transformer, now that I think about it!) through the Ice whatevers, who are just totally stunned that Lavan has captured the P. Ponies. One of the Ice whatevers pledges to help and he and Spike walk off and someone forgot to animate the Bushwoolies, who are perpetually frozen.
OVER IN DREAM VALLEY, the other Ponies have gathered around Megan as though she’s giving a sermon, while Megan waves in exaggeration as she spots Paradise. Paradise introduces P. Tiffany and OH MY FUCKING GOD, MEGAN AND THE PONIES JUST BOW TO HER WITHOUT QUESTION. FUCKING MEGAN. [Dove: But-but-but… she’s supposed to be a legend?!]
Megan asks for an explanation about these “terrible happenings” and P. Tiffany gets fucking dramatic and says it’s a “long, terrible” story. Thankfully, though, she skips the drama about picking a queen and goes right to when the P. Ponies lost the magic wands.
NOT THAT IT MATTERS BECAUSE WE SMASH CUT TO THE VOLCANO LAIR, where the rest of the P. Ponies are walking through a tunnel and complaining about mud. AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR A GODDAMN SONG ABOUT MUD. OR SOMETHING.
That was your life lesson, kids. Even when it’s dark and yucky, keep on slogging through the muck. You might find a magic wand! And that line about it being hard on the P. Ponies but them not raising a fuss? BULLSHIT.
I don’t see how, in this giant underground lair at the heart of a volcano, that THERE ARE NO LAVA HENCH BLOBS to find them and stop them. Seriously. The Bee Queen had fucking drones. Is there just a huge cutback in jobs under Lavan? Or not enough magic to animate the lava? There were more Ice whatevers than hench blobs!
WHO CARES because plot just said HERE’S FUCKING SPIKE AND THE BUSHWOOLIES. The P. Ponies say they are excited to see Spike; Spike is skeptical. He introduces Gnash, the Ice whatever, who explains there’s tunnels that Lavan doesn’t know about. Uh huh. Plot says so. And so the giant search party goes off in search of the fucking wands.
Top side, P. Tiffany has apparently finished her dramatic tale, finishing with “and so we need your help to get the magic wands back!” Because MEGAN. Paradise adds that the “jeweled desert” is spreading (I like crystal sea better) and that it will reach Dream Valley soon. (Oh boy, I’m calling it now, that will happen during Dove’s part of the recap!)
Megan announces that as their White Girl Savior™, she will return with P. Tiffany and bring The Rainbow of Light™, as it is the only
plot device magical object that can restore the magically balance.
HOW THE FUCK DOES MEGAN KNOW THAT WHEN WE DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW MAGIC WORKS IN THIS FUCKING UNIVERSE [Dove: … because it was more likely to work than shifting to UTTER FLUTTER or the SHOO-BE-DOOING of the Sea Ponies?]
Throwing a leg over P. Tiffany, Megan climbs aboard, P. Tiffany clops a few steps, then flies away. I await Dove’s angry comments. [Dove: You all know the drill. She was not invited. And Princess Tiffany is a Princess. I have repeatedly explained that Megan is doing the equivalent of me saying to bat, “Let’s go to Starbucks.” Followed by me jumping on her back, assuming she would be delighted to piggy-back me there. Except in this case, bat is now royalty so mythic, that until five minutes ago, pretty much everyone thought bat was a legend.]
Down in the volcano lair, Lavan whines about the wands — there’s only five on that table and we know there’s more, someone can’t count — and decides to use his own powers to release their magic. This whole plot line seems unnecessarily complicated. Grabbing a wand and using his… heat power? Lavan gets all excited and screams that it’s working and that’s when his arm turns to… is it ice or crystal? I’M SO FUCKING CONFUSED!
Sludge pops in and gets yelled at for interrupting and someone in the animation department forgot that Lavan’s hand was also turned to ice/crystal so that’s just odd to look at. It’s back to ice/crystal when Lavan is roaring at Sludge for announcing that the P. Ponies have escaped. In fact, Lavan uses it and shoots a rainbow out of his newly-transformed hand right into Sludge’s face… seemingly knocking Sludge out or killing him. Either or.
Back in the tunnels, Gnash is leading the search party and one of the P. Ponies is bitching about going around in circles. Gnash tells her to hush as they’re inside Lavan’s chambers. Speaking of, Lavan is using the wands to turn himself completely to ice/crystal, which is disturbing.
He’s screaming something about power within and sharpened senses. Admittedly, I’ve checked out, there’s only a minute or so to go. And that’s when one of the Bushwoolies sneezes and Lavan totally hears it. Sure. PLOT SAYS SO.
Blasting the wall with his new rainbow powers, Lavan breaks it open and all the P. Ponies, Gnash, Spike, and the Bushwoolies spill out. “I THOUGHT SO!” Lavan roars. What the fuck. A hench blob gets into a heat/ice beam battle with Gnash. Until two more show up and blast Gnash and he’s down for the count.
“Our magic wands!” One of the P. Ponies yells. As they start to walk over to them, Lavan blasts them with his rainbow… beam… and for no reason at all now Spike yells, “we’re trapped!” and that made ZERO SENSE WHAT SO EVER. That was just fucking sloppy. [Dove: I’m so confused right now.]
Yeah it’s ICE ORC. Someone on that website can’t spell. Lavan finally notices the Ice Orc and threatens to melt Gnash into a puddle right there. Sludge tries to say there’s no need but Lavan yells at the soon-to-turn-against-him hench blob, who clams up, as the P. Ponies and company are marched off to the dungeons. Uh huh.
P. Tiffany is crying about how tired she is and Megan is demanding she fly them back to Royal Paradise, (okay why is P. Tiffany speaking in Megan’s voice??) as The Rainbow of Light™ might be Pony Land’s only hope. Okay wait, you just said it was the one thing that would work, now you’re only half certain, Megan?? FUCK YOU, MEGAN.
Suddenly there’s thunder sounds and shiny circles on the aurora borealis and P. Tiffany says magic is going crazy again and she swirls around in the air and MEGAN DROPS THE LOCKET BECAUSE SHE’S A STUPID TWAT WHO TOOK IT OFF AND WAS HOLDING IT IN HER HAND
AND FADE TO BLACK
Damn, what a cliffhanger. Dove gets to finish this sloppy mess. [Dove: Must I?]
Damn, this was a hot, sloppy mess. Bad animation, inability to count, poorly constructed cages, MAGIC IS THE MAIN CONCERN BUT NO ONE KNOWS HOW IT WORKS. All these questions that I have continually asked for 52 episodes yet have still not received any answers.
It’s weird because, in general framework, the bones are there. This could totally be the episode where magic and how it exists in Pony Land could be explained. But I know that the writers will botch it in the final two parts of the four-episode arc and I will never get answers. At least not an answer that would satisfy. Because face it, there’s no answer. There’s no show bible, no explanation, magic is taken for granted.
The P. Ponies being stuck up, bickering twats is also a drastic disappointment. If they’re the guardians of magic, why are they all insufferable bitches? And Spike is such a poorly written character – compared to G4 Spike – that I hate every second he’s on the screen. And why are we continually relying on Paradise to be this font of knowledge yet it only comes out through fairy tales and legends??
It’s hard to do this but I’m giving this part a D. Because like I said, the basic bones are good but the ways in which the story is built upon it is what’s disappointing. And don’t get me started on the bullshit “villain of the week” crap. Lavan is another cookie cutter villain with a bare minimum “I want magic!” motivation. We’ve been here how many times??
I’m going to stop before I change my grade to an F.
[Dove: Season 2 opens with a bang. Start as you mean to go on, and all that. This was one of those episodes where I completely forgot what happened right after I watched it. And we’re talking maybe 20 minutes between me finishing watching it and coming here to comment on bat’s recap. In that short period of time, my brain just completely deleted all memory of the episodes. Whenever bat mentioned some of the more WTF moments, I went back and re-watched it.
With that in mind, I’m going to give this a D as well. It hasn’t offended me or angered me, neither have I found a way to make the narrative fit a pressing issue now (we’ve had grooming children in the media, disability, and something else that escapes my recollection). It was just same-old, same-old. Bad guy wants magic to take over Ponyland + songs + BUY OUR MERCH = every other episode from Flutter Valley onwards.]