Saturday, April 15, 2017


Today was the premiere of Season 7 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Standard disclaimer: if you're gonna be catching this on DailyMotion or some other online service later, there will be spoilers of the story.

I have to say I'm not disappointed. I'm still waiting to see where the series goes the rest of the season, but once again, it serves up morals that adults can relate to - in fact, perhaps, adults (or at least, this adult) relate MORE than children.

First episode: Starlight, Trixie, Thorax, and Discord are being given medals for their saving Equestria from the Changelings (well, Thorax probably deserves extra honor for teaching MOST of his hive a new way of being, and turning them into pretty butterfly-like creatures as a result).

But the point is: Starlight Glimmer is fundamentally "graduating." She isn't Twilight's student any more, apparently (the last time something like this happened, though, there were wings involved. I am not rejecting the possibility of Princess Starlight as a later-season plot development).

Twilight is agonizing. She doesn't know what to do. There are two issues she is fighting with: (1) she doesn't know what is best for Starlight and is feeling performance anxiety and (2) she really doesn't want Starlight to leave because she cares about her.

Someone (perhaps Spike?) suggests she should talk to Celestia about it. So she does.

And Celestia reveals that she felt the same way about Twilight. (Many sentimental-pony tears in this episode). That she, Celestia, agonized over what to do in the way Twilight was agonizing - and that she feared "not being needed any more" after Twilight found friends. (Ouch. I have felt that as a friend branched out, or got married, or had some other life change). Of course Twilight still needs Celestia. (And in a way, there's perhaps a tiny hint of "we don't outgrow our 'parents'" (for however you define parents: birth parents, adoptive parents, mentors, religious leader we look up to).

But for me, the truly striking thing was the idea that Celestia - who is essentially the god-princess of Equestria - worried and didn't know if she was doing the right thing. (Therefore: maybe not *god*-princess because not omniscient). The lesson, at least the lesson I should take from it is this: even the person who looks like she has it totally together and knows everything, still sometimes worries and doubts herself ("You see your own blooper reel but everyone else's highlight reel").

Most of the rest of the episode was devoted to party planning (And Pinkie has a magic-party-vacuum to clean up afterward. I want one of those) and to Twilight's "what-if"-ing about places she could have Starlight go and how things could turn out badly for her.

(Dangit: I really am more like Twilight Sparkle than I like to admit to myself).

The second episode used the standard MacGuffin of "The Mane Six (or part thereof) are called away to something and those left behind have to deal" - this time, though, it was the entire Mane Six ("Friendship Retreat," and it makes me slightly sad that they have those silly work-related "retreat" things in Equestria, but at least they're not sitting in a room being talked at or asked to create a mission statement). The left-behinds are Trixie and Starlight Glimmer (who, from here on out, I will refer to by the fan nickname of "GlimGlam," for brevity).

Oh, and Spike, though he tries to keep himself out of the way of the spells.

Trixie has the idea that she can up her magic act (she is really a very insecure Little Pony....*) by having GlimGlam teach her spells. The idea is, unicorns vary in their magic-talent levels: Twilight is kind of God Tier (that's how she got her wings), it's implied GlimGlam is not that far below her, and then there's Trixie, who is fundamentally a BS artist....

(*Could that be why I don't like her so well? They say we are often rubbed the wrong way by traits in other people we suspect we have ourselves. I know I am insecure, I have lots of impostor syndrome, I really would love for people to make a bigger deal of my abilities....but I swallow all of that because I know acting out one's insecurity is unattractive)

Anyway. GlimGlam wants to teach Trixie a teleportation spell, because on stage that reads as a "disappearing" spell. But spell casting is complicated and Trixie has a bit of ADHD along with perhaps being a bit of a spiritual descendant of Mr. Skimpole....and she doesn't pay full attention to what GlimGlam is telling her....and she teleports the magic-map table somewhere, rather than the apple she is supposed to be aiming at.

This is bad. This is REAL bad, and GlimGlam knows it. (Trixie seems not to care. I can't quite decide if she's so monumentally self-absorbed that problems like that roll off her, or if her attention span is so short, or what). GlimGlam tries to get Trixie to tell her what location she was thinking of last, because apparently you work a teleportation spell by focusing on the object you are teleporting, and then a place, and the object goes there. (Seems simple enough. And it suggests that in Equestria, for a unicorn to tell another being "Go to Tartarus!".....well, it would be even worse than a human telling another human to go to H-E-double hockey sticks, because there's the implied threat that said unicorn could actually carry it out)

But Trixie - either she's incapable of taking stuff seriously, or she's to self-absorbed to let stuff matter to her, and she drags GlimGlam from pillar to post because her brain ricocheted around in the moments after the spell, including a jewelry store, the cinnamon-nuts stand (and there's Bulk Biceps again), and Sweet Apple Acres.

(Minor gag in the episode: Some ponies have to work more than one job to make ends meet. Poor Bulk Biceps....)

Anyway, in all of this you'd expect Starlight Glimmer to be peeved. And she is, except she cast an anger-bottling-up spell**

A LITERAL anger-bottling-up spell. Because she fears if she expresses anger at Trixie, she will lose Trixie's friendship.

The outcome of this - which was part of the moral of the episode - hit home for me. I have a friend who has told me more than once that I tend to bottle up my anger too much, and it will ultimately hurt me. Probably true, but I do have a hard time expressing anger at people for exactly the same reasons that GlimGlam expresses: I am sure it's because I spent my childhood having few-enough friends that I am afraid to risk losing one over something where I can just sigh, swallow my frustration, and go, "No. Really. It's okay"

Anyway, as the spell works (again, and again, because Trixie is, again, either a monumental screwup and almost tragically stupid, or she's so self-centered she needs to be dope-slapped multiple times), GlimGlam looks more and more tired and worn.

Ouch. And yes, that's kinda how it works when you bottle up anger.

Eventually, the bottle containing her anger breaks, the anger infects Jewelry-Store-Pony, Granny Smith, and Bulk Biceps - and they act as GlimGlam's anger-proxies, expressing the anger and telling Trixie the ways she messed up that GlimGlam did not.

(Confession: I wish I could have an anger proxy sometimes)

Ultimately, it all gets worked out. And GlimGlam and Trixie are friends again. (But dangit, Trixie is exactly the kind of person I would have a VERY HARD TIME being friends with: there is no indication that she's even aware how much she hurt GlimGlam and that she wants to try to be better....)

A neat little side note is that we see bits and pieces of the "friendship retreat" and so we see the Mane Six and their teamwork contrasted with the conflict between GlimGlam and Trixie. (Hm. I wonder if we're gonna see more of the - let's call them the New Two - and less of the Mane Six, because there are fewer adversarial situations the Mane Six can be gotten into after seven years? I hope not, because really there's only so much Trixie I can take, unless they do some heavy duty redemption on her. They kind of had at the end of Season Six, but Trixie seems to have backslid.)

But at any rate: I liked the episodes. I'm sure there's subtle stuff I missed - I will be waiting for the usual EqD "episode recap" that they publish.

(**Aside: the summarization service that my cable company uses screwed it up, they claimed that the spell was worked on Twilight in order to stop her from being angry about the missing table)

Edited to add: After these episodes I like GlimGlam better but Trixie less.

No comments: