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[Where I Watch] My Little Pony 9: Trampling the Status Quo

sun_tzu

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OK. I have now watched the final three episodes of the season - nay, the final three episodes of the show.

My thoughts:

Spoiler: Show
It's fitting that the final villainous plot involves turning earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi against each other - effectively, undoing the very founding of Equestria. ...And we now have confirmation that the windigoes are, in-universe, real.

Wait, Grogar was Discord, acting on a (well-intentioned but stupid in the way only a cunning chaos spirit can be stupid) plan to give Twilight an Ultimate Victory? Mind. Blown. ...A little disappointed we don't get to see the real Grogar, but it was one hell of a twist in a series that isn't usually all about the clever twists.

It's impressive how, even though we've technically seen threats that were greater in scale (hello, season 5 finale Starlight), this still managed to feel like the biggest crisis in the franchise.

"The same thing we do every time Pinkie. Try to save the world!"
MY. GOD. How many years have the writers been chomping at the bit (pun fully intended) to use this joke?

And then the cavalry arrives. ALL THE CAVALRY. The villains are defeated and it's all extremely satisfying. If I must make a complaint, it's that they didn't include Sunset Shimmer.

You know, I really, really thought they were going to go in a direction of Tirek, Cozy and Chrysalis learning to appreciate each other in a manner that, while not necessarily getting them to accept friendship and redemption, would at least suggest they might head that way in the future.
Instead, nope. No redemption story here. The last we see of them, they're imprisoned in stone. Sure, Discord was eventually redeemed after a similar fate... but, you know, that was after over a millennium.

And then, like in season 4 of Buffy, the big actiony two-parter is right before the final episode.

And what a final episode it is. I mean, not a lot happens in it... and that's fine. I think this quiet, nostalgic, optimistic look at Equestria's future was exactly the right way to end the show.

Non-ponies everywhere. Looks like Gallus got a job in the guard. Looks like Sandbar and Yona are together. Looks like the CMC are teaching at the School of Friendship.

And... Oh wow. Looks like, much like Legends of Korra, the show is using its final episode to imply a lesbian relationship! ...Applejack and Rainbow Dash aren't my ship, but I don't care, I'm happy about it. It also looks like Pinkie got together with Cheese. And while I'm not clear on whether Fluttershy and Discord's relationship is platonic or not, it has clearly only become closer.

This is wonderful and amazing and I'm happy.

I was surprised by how emotional I felt when the book closed. I feel emotional typing and thinking about it.


So, that was it. For me, at least, and no doubt for many others, this was the defining cartoon of this decade. It's played one heck of a role in my life. I have too many things to say to say them all right now... So today, at least, I'll say only this:

Over the hour following my watching the finale, I contacted some of my friends, and told them how glad I was for their friendship. And while I'm at it? I am very, very glad for this thread and its predecessors, and for the people who have posted in them.

Rock on, everyone, everybody, everypony, everycreature. May friendship, inner goodness, and the elements of harmony light your way.
 
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Capeträger

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They are not just implying a lesbian relationship. The newspaper that Twilight reads at the beginning of the flashback clearly say that Lyra and Bonbon got married.

I like everything about the last episode. I would love to see more (like, what about Maud and Mudbriar? Still together?) butthe episode already had a lot.

I didn't like the ending of the two-parter, though. Turning the villains to stone had no practical purpose, it was purely to make them suffer. The characters even say so. It's vindictive and just feels wrong.
 

sun_tzu

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Spoiler: Show

They are not just implying a lesbian relationship. The newspaper that Twilight reads at the beginning of the flashback clearly say that Lyra and Bonbon got married.
*rewatches*
Why, you're correct!
Seriously, there are so many details densely packed into this episode that would be worthy of spawning a discussion on their own.
 

Egyptian

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There's a lot to unpack in that finale.

Spoiler: Show

Twilight ended up huge. I can only assume that wearing magic crowns does that to you.

Spike turned out exactly how he always imagined he would. Man, he was right about really unlikely stuff a LOT.

Of course Rarity is showing her age on the most stylish was possible.

Pinkie and her kid Little Cheese was a smart move. They needed to show the Mane 6 were starting families of their own, and who better than Pinkie. The fact that she couldn't find a babysitter was a great callback to Baby Cakes. Clearly the twins just aren't responsible enough to take care of a foal! I also get that they didn't want to have this scene swarming with kids, so it makes sense that Pinkie's child is the only one we see, even though I suspect there are others.

Discord and Fluttershy surprises nobody, right?

I think I read the whole bit with Rainbow Dash and Applejack differently than you guys did. The vibe I got was that despite the years nothing had changed and their rivalry was as strong as ever. Those two will be racing wheelchairs in the old folks home.

My headcanon is that Celestia and Luna got bored with Silver Shores, and now operate a little eatery. Celestia works the counter and Luna's in back slaving over a hot stove and complaining the whole time.

As for the final fate of Tirek, Chrysalis, and Cozy Glow...I get it. There's no death penalty in Equestria of course, so what else do you do with them? Any one of them is dangerous enough to destroy Equestria, and likely the three would work together again. Tartarus couldn't hold Tirek in the past, so they can't really trust it to work this time. Chrysalis flatly refused to be reformed, even when Changeling Evolution proved to be superior. Cody's world view is so out of kilter I don't know that she CAN be reformed. I don't think they had much choice other than Statue Time. I mean, I guess Discord could have sent them to the Puppet Dimension... :D

 

sun_tzu

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Holy smokes, something just occurred to me.
221 episodes, plus all the specials and movies...
This show has actually totaled more screentime than classic Sailor Moon.
 

sun_tzu

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I'll have more pony thoughts to post later, but for now, I just want to share this little thing from the official MLP YouTube channel:


...You know, I think this might be the first time Megan's surname is actually given in an official capacity. I mean, it was there in the script, but never actually said.
 

sun_tzu

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Some more thoughts. Some spoilers, some not.

I like to think that, in a loose sense, the seasons of FIM have had their "arcs", with their own themes.

Seasons 1-3 were the "Twilight's ascension" arc. They gave us the cast, the world (both of which were going to get plenty of expansions over time), the themes. They saw Twilight move from being a near-shut-in from Canterlot, to the one who weaponized friendship to defeat Nightmare Moon, to the one who overcame Discord with a season's worth of moral lessons, to finally ascending into a living avatar of friendship - and with that final move, the show told us to tighten our seatbelts, because there was no eternal status quo in this here show.

Season 4's theme was "what happens when simple answers no longer work?". The Elements of Harmony - the simple solution - is removed from play at the season's start. Each pony finds their element tested in situations where simple answers aren't enough - generosity in a world of ungrateful cheats, honesty in the face of comforting lies, kindness where tough love is needed, and so on. In the end, it's only when armed with the more mature answers that the power of Friendship is able to win.

Season 5 was all about cutie marks and the individuality they represent. We start with Starlight's individuality-erasing cult. We see the CMC help Troubleshoes figure out who he really is. We get a good look at the countless background ponies, who are clearly leading their own, significant lives. We see the CMC finally conclude their 5-season arc and get their cutie marks. And we conclude with the finale telling us that, no, a group of friends can't just be replaced; remove one, and the world becomes a worse place for it.

Season 6's theme was "anyone can be a hero, even former villains". In large part it involves Starlight's slow, season-long journey into building up a moral compass, but it also involves Flim&Flam helping take down a bigger baddie, Trixie learning a lesson, Thorax, Discord, and of course our four ex-villains saving Equestria in the finale.

Season 7 was in no small part about exploring the world in general and the past in particular, giving us a season-long arc about the Pillars of Equestria... along with the past of the Apple parents, more Yakyakistan, Ember meeting Thorax, the village of Somnambula... and of course, the movie itself, which took our heroine on a journey across previously unexplored lands.

Season 8 had the School of Friendship as its arc, and with that came a stronger focus on the ever-present theme of different people coming together. In the face of Neigh-Say's xenophobia, the School and the Student Six unite very different kinds of people and creatures. This theme appears again every time the Student Six appear, until they finally defeat both xenophobia and an evil mastermind in the finale.

Season 9's theme, meanwhile, has been about moving forward. Not just with Celestia and Luna retiring while Twilight ascends to rulership over Equestria, but with endless plot threads reaching their conclusion: From Gargle to Daring Do to Trixie to Big Mac, everypony who is anypony (and several who aren't ponies) move on with their lives, and nowhere is this more apparently than with the final episode. Big things end. Life goes on. You hold on to what good you can, and embrace new good things as they come.

Just thinking.

And for some final episode thoughts...

Spoiler: Show
Dawn Luster, as Twilight's number one student, obviously continues the trend of powerful unicorns with the same naming convention (Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer, Starlight Glimmer...). I notice, however, that her appearance, name and colors seem very close to Miss Shimmer. So, in a way... this episode shows us that Twilight has already surpassed her mentor (as Celestia no doubt hoped): Her Sunset didn't turn evil.

Speaking of the ever-delightful Sunset Shimmer, notice how she is among the people silently appearing in Twilight's epic background during the song. I believe this is the only time Sunset has ever appeared in the show proper - every other appearance was in the Equestria Girls movies, specials and shorts. This is the first confirmation that, yes, she belongs to the same continuity as the show.

Speaking of, listen closely to that song. Not only do the Mane Six sing in the order Twilight met them, their words also echo their lines from the theme song and/or thei respective elements.
 

Egyptian

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You mentioned the episode count being in the same range as Sailor Moon, but let me go one better. All In the Family, Home Improvement, How I Met Your Mother, Naruto, and the Cosby Show all wrapped for good before they got to 221. Not too shabby.
 
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