Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Parts 3-4)
Summary: A bunch of mean girl Princess Ponies can’t figure out who should be their queen, and the villain of the week steals their magic. You know, I’d call that problem solved, but the writers don’t agree, so behold the next thrilling instalment and two completely off-key songs.
My most important thought is: NINE EPISODES TO GO! [bat: Amen.]
I’ve really loved the experience of having shared pain with bat. I feel like our friendship is now utterly fireproof. This is a trauma we have endured together. I’ve also really liked the feeling of having recapped the MLP episodes, because nobody else has.
I’m also well aware of why that is. They suck. I genuinely believed that the series would be fairly mediocre, with a few highlights. And I suppose I was right. I just didn’t realise the song “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze” was one of three highlights (the other two were the specials, Catrina and Nightmare/Midnight Castle) and “fairly mediocre” is a bar that is way out of the writers’ reach.
Basically, I am fed up with this stupid show, and I can’t wait to reach the end.
On the other hand, the princess ponies are so cute. And I do love the Bushwoolies.
We pick up in the dungeon with Spike, the Bushwoolies, and the Princess Ponies. Spike says surely one of the caves leads out of the dungeon – clearly he’s wrestling with the concept of imprisonment and has missed some of the finer points, such as when imprisoned, you’re generally put somewhere that doesn’t have an exit. Gnash, the Ice Orc, confirms there’s no way out.
The door flies open and a shadowy figure lurks… for all of half a second before it’s revealed to be Sludge, who’s apparently had a face turn. [bat: Like that plot twist wasn’t visible from OUTER SPACE.] Not that anyone else notices that when the flunky tip-toes in and holds a finger to his lips, that’s the cue to be led to freedom by someone who’s had enough. Instead, Spike throws him around the room in some bad 80s wrestling moves. We’re talking the crap movie wrestling, not the hardcore awesomeness of wrestling.
Finally Gnash inexplicably holds Spike still and asks Sludge why he’s here. Sludge says he’s here to help, and the Mean Girls immediately say, “Yeah right!” and “We really believe you”, like the vapid valley girls they are. Sludge explains that if Ponyland is destroyed, he suffers too. Gnash says that despite the fact Ice Orcs and lava demons have been enemies for ever, he believes him. Because the plot told him to. [bat: Thousands of years of bitter enmity matter not when faced with PLOT SAYS SO.]
Spike apologises and he and Sludge shake hands. He recoils, Sludge’s hand is so warm. Sludge says that’s one reason they can’t get along: they’ve never been able to shake hands and be friends. Spike shakes both their hands as an intermediary. It’s actually the first time in about a dozen episodes that anything has raised a smile on me. It’s meaningless bollocks, but it does sound like the kind of legend that Twilight would have read when she was a young filly.
Cut to Megan and Princess Tiffany. They’re calling off the search for the Rainbow of Light locket as it’s getting dark and Tiffany is exhausted. Probably because she’s carrying someone that’s far too big for her. Megan says there’s one other option, they can go to the Moochick. He’s right over there. Well, that’s just fucking convenient, isn’t it? [bat: What the fuck, this has become nothing but PLOT SAYS SO, this is one of most egregious abuses I’ve ever seen. Hell, imagine what we could do if we tried to rewrite this episode, Dove.] [Dove: I think that should be the topic of any podcast we do – what happened in the show, and how we’d have done it. We can’t be any worse than this is.]
If you’ve seen one Moochick conversation, you’ve seen them all. He’s irritating and vague. Things are not crystallised over at the Mushromp, but his magic is misbehaving. Megan sits down to explain everything.
Thankfully we cut away from White Girl Saviour to Lavan who is making everything crystal and doing a Bad Guy Laugh. Some of his flunkies walk in and ask what’s going on, and he says he’s the most powerful thing in Ponyland.
This, naturally, requires a song.
While all that has been happening, Sludge, the Princess Ponies, Spike, the Bushwoolies and Gnash (maybe I’ll just call them “the prisoners”) have used their time to walk halfway across the room they’re locked in. This is a fucking fast-moving story. Hold on to your damsel hats, people.
As they walk through the caves, some dust lands on Princess Primrose, and Spike politely wipes it off. She tells him to stop, she doesn’t have time for that. And that’s probably a good thing, because she would lose her shit if she knew her tail went from red to blue, depending on the frame.
Princess Serena says that they all now know there are more important things than their looks. Since it took getting kidnapped and the looming apocalypse for that lesson to be learned, I guess it must be a really important lesson.
Princess Royal Blue says they’ve all grown up since the start of the adventure, but she should still be queen. Cue a load of petty bitching about it.
Back at the Mushromp, Megan is still talking, and Tiffany’s whining, and the Moochick is without magic so he can’t kill them both. [bat: That’s when you use your hands, Moochick. Gouge some eyes out, crush some windpipes!] When they finally finish, he agrees that’s what’s making magic go wonky in Ponyland. Then his armchair eats him. The team yank him out, but the armchair sets about eating everything else in the house. Megan asks the Moochick to stop the armchair, and he fires magic at it. This makes things worse (I don’t know how, nothing seems to change, but the reaction implies it’s worse), and he says he was afraid of his magic going wrong.
Uh… so why try it then?
Concede the house to the armchair, fix the root problem, and fix the Mushromp when magic is working again. Obvious, right?
Not to anyone present. The rabbit then tries to get Megan’s attention. Despite the fact he’s yanking at her wrist and gesturing to something off screen, Megan has no idea what he wants (Follow the white rabbit. It’s a fucking trope, Megan) [bat: EVEN NEO GOT THAT REFERENCE, FFS!!], and Tiffany says he’s going to feed Megan to the armchair.
Nobody animates anything for a few seconds, and we just have atmosphere and static images, then the animators come out of the daze and remember to animate the Moochick. He says that the bunny wants Megan to look in the Book of Lost Answers.
Which is unfortunately in the house they just gave to the armchair – which everyone is calling a plant. It’s a carnivorous armchair with tentacles. I’m not calling it a plant.
The bunny runs off and this time Moochick has no idea what he wants, and Megan understands perfectly: he wants them to go around the house. They peer in a window and the Book of Lost Answers is sitting in a pile near the armchair. How do they get to it? Oh, the Moochick executes flawless magic, making the other books float around the chair to distract it and zooming the one they want out of the window.
How did his magic work? FUCK YOU FOR ASKING. THE FUCKING PLOT SAYS SO. AND MEGAN IS RIGHT THERE. THAT’S A TRIFECTA OF REASONS FOR IT TO HAPPEN, AND FUCK YOU FOR WANTING A PLOT TO MAKE SENSE FROM MOMENT TO MOMENT.
There, I saved bat from exploding. I figure she’s probably tired of having the same rant over and over. Maybe in the next recap, she’ll rage at heavy humans riding teeny ponies.
[bat: Thank you, Dove. You captured exactly my reaction to this “how does magic work” bullshit we’ve suffered through for over 50 episodes now. I would be more than happy to rant about humans abusing talking ponies by riding them on your behalf.]
Moochick reads the book and says they need the wands back, and they “must seek the Heart of Ponyland”. If the Heart of Ponyland is Megan, I’m throwing my vintage Megan doll out of the window of my three storey house. Fuck her.
Apparently, I’m angry tonight.
The Moochick adds that they must all work together, “nobody can save Ponyland alone”. I think he’s forgetting Megan. She can save whatever she wants. But here are the hints that Friendship is Magic. Hints. I doubt we’ll get much progress beyond that.
As the armchair lunges again, he tells them to go. Megan hops on Tiffany’s back. Huh. I guess she’s no longer exhausted, because they soar off into the night.
Back with the prisoners, they’re at the throne room and have found their wands, but they’ve been drained. Maybe because Princess Starburst is standing next to herself in this scene? [bat: Wow, magic is so fucked, it’s randomly cloning Princess Ponies!]
Lavan corrects them, the magic is not gone, it’s right here. And I’m sure one of the writers or animators just pointed to their junk when writing this line. He hits them with a beam of rainbow light and we’re left with another terrifying cliffhanger.
We pick up right where we left off: Lavan is hitting the ponies with a Rainbow beam. And I suppose now’s a good time to mention that it looks like they’re being tickled by the Rainbow of Light. After eight billion episodes showing the Rainbow of Light is the answer to all problems, it’s hard to be worried about something that looks very like that.
The Rainbow beam causes a hole to appear in front of the ponies for a single frame, before the animators got drunk and forgot to add it in to all the others. He fires again and Gnash conjures an ice block to shield them.
Then in flies Princess Tiff and Megan. Megan grabs a large pink blanket that was inexplicably hanging on a jut of the cave wall near the top and throws it over Lavan’s head. As everyone knows, the most powerful creature in Ponyland has only one weakness: pink blankets.
He flails helplessly, tormented by its evil embrace. One can only assume that this pink blanket was taken prisoner because they knew it was Lavan’s weakness, and his flunkies stored it high up on the cave wall with a snotty, “That’ll teach you!”
Megan bossily snaps that the prisoners need to leave now, and they do. Leaving Lavan, who has now defeated the pink blanket, calling after them that no matter where they run, he will find them.
Dude, no need to look for them, they’ll be at Paradise Estate.
Cut to Paradise Estate.
Wind Whistler and some pony that looks like a Pegasus version of Galaxy (bat… this never happens, but I’m at a loss here, who was that pony? I used my own ID machine for pink pegasi of Gen 1 and my best guess is Glittering Gem) [bat: That’s Locket, a Y5 Twinkle-Eyed Pony. I know this because I vividly remember the day I brought her toy version home from Toys R Us when I was visiting my grandparents. She was released in the line that contained Mimic, one of the most-sought-after TE Ponies. I was amazed at how curly her mane and tail were. It’s hard to tell by the shitty animation but they did at a tiny bit of “twinkle effect” to her eye as Wind Whistler is rambling away.] are flying above and seeing how close the crystal is getting. Not!Galaxy says it looks bad, then Wind Whistler says the same, only she uses half a dozen words. Got to pad that runtime.
Cut back to the prisoners. They’re walking out of a cave, and the Princesses have their damsel hats on again. Were they wearing them before? [Note from the future: Yes, apparently they were.] Megan rides Tiffany, who still hasn’t rested since complaining of her exhaustion at the beginning of the previous episode. Megan senses my hatred and hastily jumps off. She says they need the heart of Ponyland.
The Princesses say they’ve heard that legend, it’s a relic that lies beneath Lavan’s kingdom and is allegedly the source of their wands’ magic. They all decide that if they bring the wands to it, they will recharge. [bat: OKAY LET’S REVIEW! THERE’S AN *ACTUAL SOURCE* OF MAGIC FOR PONY LAND. THEY’VE BEEN LYING AND/OR HOLDING OUT ON ME FOR A YEAR NOW. Watch this all be a lie or some kind of stupid half-assed metaphor.]
One of the flunkies approaches Lavan and says they can’t find any trace of the prisoners. Lavan calls them incompetent fools.
I can’t disagree, because we cut to the prisoners, who are still walking through a cave. They’re literally still on Lavan’s property, and his flunkies can’t find them? Ok then.
To be fair, I can’t say that’s unrealistic. Someone in my team at work sat doing nothing for 30 minutes last week because someone told her the file was on “G Drive” and she didn’t know what that was. So her plan was to do nothing… I have no idea how she thought that would resolve things.
Spike asks the Princesses how they’re doing, and… holy crap, are we really breaking out the song this early? Has creative truly got nothing for you? (Megan rides a pony again during this. FFS.)
This song only exists to pad the run time. The “tl;dr” version is: wow, we sure have had some character growth in these three episodes. What with us being vapid mean girls to start, and now we’re vapid mean girls with dirt on our hooves. Gosh dang it, aren’t we super for enduring such trauma.
After the song ends, we cut to an opening in the cave with steps down and RIGHT OPPOSITE THE STEPS is the Heart of Ponyland (a gem with little blobs on it). [bat: Oh shit. It was literal. But it’s not shaped like a goddamn heart. So LIES.]
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IT’S RIGHT FUCKING THERE? THAT’S NOT A FUCKING QUEST! THAT’S MORE LIKE TAKING A MINT ON YOUR WAY OUT OF THE RESTAURANT. YOU DIDN’T QUEST FOR A MINT, IT WAS JUST THERE AND NOBODY WAS STOPPING YOU TAKE IT.
GO FUCK YOURSELVES EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS. [bat: What Dove said.]
Princess Starburst says that now she remembers. They have to put the wands in the crowns on the jewel and they will be restored. Apparently those blobs on the gem are crowns. [bat: Ohhhh so that’s where the tiny crown-shaped hair clip thing comes in. BUY OUR MERCH.]
As Spike holds the wands aloft, Lavan rainbow-beams them out of his hand. The ponies make no move to pick them up, and then Lavan starts blasting. The ponies are forced to take refuge behind a rock. Megan and Spike are bigger than Tiffany and Royal Blue in this shot. God damn, animators, does scale mean nothing to you?
Cut back to Wind Whistler and, still guessing, Glittering Gem – no sign of her cutie mark, so god only knows whether I’m right about that name. Wind Whistler for some reason flies around a tree that is crystalised, and the branch breaks and lands on her neck. This results in the greatest screen cap in the history of this website. (Sorry, bat, it even beats the Megan burns gif.) [bat: Never have I enjoyed a screen cap as much as this one!]
Oh, and the pink pony flies down and I finally see her cutie mark and it’s Locket! Of course it is. (Note to self: buy a better copy of her at PonyCon next month.)
Locket can’t move the branch off Wind Whistler’s neck, and Wind Whistler tells her to get help. Locket says she won’t be back in time, they eyeball each other as Locket trails off ominously.
(Nobody will miss Wind Whistler. Take your time, Locket.)
Back at the “plot”, Lavan is still firing beams at them. Royal Blue tells Sludge she has a plan, she’ll distract him and… then she makes whssh-pshhs-whsssh noises at him. That is a trope I am glad died out. It’s irritating.
Royal Blue strolls off, while Sludge fires magic (how does it work?) at Lavan’s feet. He falls into a conveniently placed pool of lava that wasn’t there in the last frame. The Bushwoolies, despite being unaware of the plan, jump into the fray. Uh… wasn’t Royal Blue going to distract him?
The Bushwoolies throw the wands to the princesses who walk to the Heart and stick their wands in.
Lavan breaks free of the ice block Gnash trapped him in, and Tiffany announces they must work together. Which they do by huddling up and pointing their wands together. He explodes into rock pieces.
“He’s gone!” Megan says, because I guess if she announces it, she gets credit.
The Princesses put their wands together to fix Ponyland’s magic. A shimmery glow is seen moving around – kind of like the shimmer of the Rainbow of Light, only without the Rainbow in the middle of it – and we cut to Locket and Wind Whistler. (Side note: the Rainbow of Light is still lost in the desert. Nobody gives a shit.) [bat: Was there ever a literal piece of merch for the Rainbow of Light locket? I can’t remember there being one. Thus, not having merch of it to shill, fuck it.] [Dove: Oddly, no, I’ve not even heard whispers of its existence.]
Wind Whistler moves feebly around and then says, “Wind Whistler, look!” I guess in times of stress, she accidentally uses Locket’s voice. When the crystal branch turns back to a branch, Wind Whistler stands up and says, “What does it mean, Wind Whistler?” to Locket. Locket then replies, “It means that everything is all right now, Locket.” No, I didn’t fuck that paragraph up. The animators did.
All around Ponyland everything is fixed.
Back with the Princesses, they say they wouldn’t have been able to save the day without the Bushwoolies, so they would like them to have the crowns, so they can protect them as the Princesses protect their wands. I bet Megan’s gnashing her teeth that she’s not their saviour. I’d sleep with one eye open, Princesses.
So, now the Bushwoolies look like their toys, so all’s well that ends well, right?
Well, no, there appears to be two more minutes to go. Please not another song.
Tiffany says she will keep this last crown to honour the Bushwoolie that was lost in the jewel desert.
YOU KILLED A MOTHERFUCKING BUSHWOOLIE? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? AND WHY WASN’T IT SHOWN? [bat: It was. I have a screen cap of it in my recap.] WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED? FUCK THIS FUCKING EPISODE. YOU KILLED MY LITTLE SASSWOOLIES.
Oh, wait. The Rainbow of Light is missing too. Both will show up. Never mind.
Spike doesn’t give a shit about the lost Bushwoolie, and immediately changes the subject to how are they going to get home. Fuck you, Spike. I have never hated you more. [bat: G1 Spike is a serious arsehole.]
The princesses say that’s easy, and Megan, the entitled brat that she is, immediately climbs on Tiffany’s back. The princesses make a kind of Rainbow flying saucer to carry them home.
Gnash and Sludge tell them to come back soon and visit. Yeah, I’m sure that’ll happen, since they’ve been so good about keeping in contact with all the other side characters who aren’t Flutter Ponies.
Cut to the Princesses having a picnic, where they decide that nobody will rule, they’ll all take turns in being in charge.
(Side note: I’ve seen a lovely fan theory that Majesty was such a kind and just ruler that no pony wanted to take the title of Queen, and that’s why every other royal figure in the main pony line have only ever been princesses. I mean, we’ve never seen Majesty, so she might be a monster, but it’s a sweet theory.)
Spike evidently heard my displeasure earlier and says that it’s a real shame about that lost Bushwoolie. Megan is more pissed off about the missing Rainbow of Light than a living creature. Goddamn, that’s her power. How can she be white girl saviour if she doesn’t have her McGuffin.
Right on cue, just like I knew it would, the Bushwoolie rocks up carrying the Rainbow.
Megan takes the locket with a great deal of indifference. The Bushwoolie eats some food. Tiffany puts a crown on his head. He burps.
CUE HYSTERICAL GIGGLES!
We pan out and see that Wind Whistler and Locket are here. And they’re smaller than the Bushwoolies.
That was so stupid. How was that a quest?
I still hate Megan.
Scale is ridiculous.
I’m rating this a D-. I’m not even sure why. I guess because it wasn’t offensive, it was just boring and obvious. Even Megan’s phoning in her appearances. She looks bored out of her mind, and she seemed really snappy during this episode. [bat: I looked and she only appears in the next two episodes, then MAGICALLY DISAPPEARS. FOREVER. We might have to celebrate, Dove.] [Dove: We shall have a Goodbye Megan party.]
The high points were how tiny ponies kept getting, and Locket and Wind Whistler having the wrong voices. And that’s my actual feeling about this. The best part was the fuckups.
Not a good sign.
[bat: I agree with the D-. The P. Ponies did not grow up or really change; they were put through “minor hardship” where they had to actually walk around in caves and face “villains” and I guess they got dirty from the caves but still. Actual growth did not occur. Plot just said it did. Megan did not truly save the day; no one really did. Imagine Twilight Sparkle in this episode, she would have had a stroke trying to deal with these Mean Girl Ponies and the shitty “plot says so” moments. And yet again, everyone conveniently forgot Majesty exists. This is another rocky episode that could have been concluded in 2 parts instead of being stretched to 4. Thankfully, it’s literally the last time we we’ll have to recap a 4-part episode.]