And so we come to the end of our short thirteen episode romp through Equestria. What a romp it's been.
As a community, it's been challenging sometimes. Not everything has gone according to plan, but it's rare in life that that ever happens; what matters is how you handle it. We've lost things, gained things, and learned a lot. Sometimes we've fought with ourselves, and sometimes we've joined together in creating wonderful things that we can all be proud of. Having been through it all with you, I think I can say that we've come out the end stronger for it all- every triumph, every defeat, and every wonderful thing, and it was because of each other that this is true.
That's what I think this finale was about. It was about the million little things that make the end worthwhile. It may not be what you expected, but accepting changes and learning to live with them is what life is about, and it's even better when your friends can help you along the way.
It's my pleasure to pin silly captions to and make good fun of this episode for you all one last time, because I know the deeper message portrayed wasn't lost on anyone.
One more time. Let's go.
Okay, I'm sorry if I'm ruining a poignant moment here, but all I could think during this scene was, "oh, God, Twilight's discovered coffee. We're all going to die in a horrible magic fire."
|Let's be honest, no one can be this perky in the morning without it.|
In what is one of many, many previous episode throwbacks in this finale, we have sofa and quill pony from Owls Well That Ends Well! Does he have a name? Sofa-king Many Quills? Sorry.
|I'm... I'm not sure horses work this way.|
We're going to play a new game in this followup to keep everyone entertained- it's called 'Count the Chromatic Aberration Lens Flare'. Ready? Here we go:
Note from future Cereal: There was only one more at the end, dude.
I was actually really amused that they interrupted the entire song like this. Like Rainbow Dash does this whenever Twilight starts singing at eight in the morning and she just hates her for it.
New headcanon, filed.
|Raridash? I dunno, insert your own portmanteau here.|
|Close-up cutie mark shots- not just for the CMC anymore.|
|"I'm getting a pair of WHAT?"|
Oh, sorry, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. We have a whole musical to do.
Also, I think Twilight wins best face right here.
I thought it was pretty interesting that Rarity has absolutely no idea that this wasn't her job. She just thought she was extraordinarily bad at it, but had to keep doing it because it felt like it was what she was supposed to be doing.
I spoke to one of our pre-readers about this: CouchCrusader, who you may remember from his fantastic followups this season when I was unable to do them.
We are the pinnacle of intelligent discussion.
|An accurate representation of the result of my insistence that Rarity is a good character. Pretend I'm Rarity.|
This was such a defeated-sounding line from such a strong character. It was kind of cute.
I. Love. This. Song.
When this song was posted as an episode preview on TVGuide two days before the finale actually aired, I watched it, of course. Then I watched it again. And again. I had it on repeat for two whole days and I still watched it again when I was watching the full episode. It was that good. Hold on, I need to listen to it again.
For those wondering, like I was, what exactly Daniel Ingram did at the end of each musical phrase:
It's called a turnaround, and it's a common device in musicals and jazz and pretty much nowhere else, which explains why I had no idea what the hell it was.
Seems like more ponies are learning how to sit like Lyra, too.
|It's like I've seen that dance before somewhere.|
Also, this might just be me, but I think Fluttershy looks okay with Pinkie's cutie mark because it somewhat matches her color scheme, which I can't say for anyone else.
Well, I mean, Dashie's on Rarity looks good, but anything looks good on white.
Hearing Pinkie with a southern accent was very disorienting. Seeing Pinkie with her mane down in good old-fashioned Pinkamena style with a southern accent was very disorienting. Seeing all that with her cutie mark replaced with apples broke my brain.
Also, this didn't occur to me until the end of the episode, but where are the rest of the Apple family, anyway? It's just Pinkie doing all the work here. Did the rest of them run off? Are they in the meat locker somewhere?
It's a Walking Dead reference, I swear.
|Everyone cringe with me.|
I had a hard time deciding whose performance I liked better- Applejack's or Fluttershy's. They were all fantastic, but I think I have to give it to Ashleigh Ball on this one. She hit AJ's high note perfectly.
|Gotta pee, gotta pee.|
|"That doesn't even rhyme!"|
Never change, Twilight.
Oh, hey, look, it's that book from the season premiere again. Looks like everyone who guessed it had to do with Starswirl were correct! Some people have even postulated that the mark on the cover was his cutie mark, which would make sense.
I'll get ahead of myself a little bit and talk about the elements introduced in this scene. So, now we know that writing original magic is very difficult. I can roll with that. I did have a lingering question from this scene that was answered later on, which was why Twilight was able to complete a spell that even a very accomplished magician couldn't. Why didn't Celestia write it? She seems to know a lot, and she taught Twilight everything she knows.
The answer is, of course, Twilight's experience with her friends, which wasn't immediately obvious. I like that explanation- it fits with the show's theme and it's pretty plausible to boot. A+.
Spike references a good number of previous episodes here, like Cutie Pox and Return of Harmony. Actually, just those two, but it's great to see more throwbacks.
|Today I learned that a dragon's scales flop when sad.|
I won't say anything about this segment or this song. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Short and touching. Nicely done.
Hey, isn't that the picture that doesn't actually include Twilight's front legs and tail? I wonder if this was put in as a joke or because it's old and therefore sentimental.
Still can't unsee it.
|Whoa, tone down the bedroom eyes, tiger.|
|"Ha! Ha! Big crown thingy!"|
It is pretty neat that the mane six minus one all ended up with destinies that were so completely outside of their skill range, so they can't even do them a little bit. Good planning.
|"I'm getting a pair of WHAT?"|
|Well, that escalated quickly.|
This is why I kill chickens in Minecraft, by the way. They can't be trusted. Meanwhile, that bird in the background has clearly run out of bucks to give.
See what I mean about the skill level? Dash didn't even have the presence of mind to feed the animals under her care. Even I could remember that, and I own cats. They kill their own food if I forget.
Here's another fun game you can play with these memory sequences- pause on a random frame and see what you get. I had to try three times to get something that wasn't funny.
|Dashie now in second place for best face.|
|"Or maybe I'm still having it."|
Perfect line delivery. Thank you, Tabitha.
|Reminds me of something I saw in a game this year.|
See? Like, where did those three even go? Did Pinkie scare them off somewhere, or is Applejack really that indispensable to the farm that it falls apart without her?
The latter, I guess. Points for you, AJ.
Careful viewers will note that Twilight's got a sparkle in her eye. Ha ha, see what I did there? Sorry.
It's the same sparkle that we saw in the second part of Friendship is Magic, right before she brought back the Elements of Harmony. How's that for another callback?
|"Ha! Ha! I can book."|
Twilight seems awful calm about this sudden turn of events right now, considering her confusion later in the Land of Floating Videos. Maybe she knows what she's about to grow a pair of now.
Note the cutie-mark shaped scorch mark on the ground. Didn't catch that until my second viewing. Rarity is also sparkling for some reason, but that's probably because she's fabulous.
|"Please help me. I think I'm lost."|
Alright, let's slow down a bit and put on the serious hat. Let's take this one section at a time, since a lot happens in these next two scenes. I'm going to pose some questions I think are worth asking, and then end with a word from one of the episode's writers on those questions. Indulge me for a moment and you'll see where I'm going.
It's alicorn time, everybody.
|"You did something today that's never been done before, something even a great unicorn like Star Swirl the Bearded was not able to do, because he did not understand friendship like you do."|
This line confused me a little because I wasn't sure what Celestia was referring to.
Twilight both wrote original magic and finished Starswirl's spell. If Celestia is referring to creating magic, then this makes no sense, since a unicorn somewhere had to write all the magic that these two know. If she's referring to finishing Starswirl's masterpiece of a spell, all she did was create a counterspell for it. I can only assume, therefore, that Celestia is referring somehow to creating a complete spell that deals with friendship, which Starswirl was only able to do halfway.
Fair enough! Next bit.
|"You have proven that you're ready, Twilight." *FLAP*|
This next section, song included, infers quite a few things that I still have questions about.
Clearly Twilight is being promoted to being both a princess and an alicorn, and it's all Celestia's doing in which this occurs. Do all alicorns get promoted this way? Do you have to be an alicorn to be a princess? Is this what happened to Celestia and Luna? If so, who did it to them, and where are they now? What about Cadance? Is she just special, in the sense of being born a natural alicorn, or is there something about her and the Crystal Empire we don't know yet?
This stuff doesn't really get in the way of the conclusion of the episode, and I would argue that it might have muddied the ending and rushed some parts to make room for itself (which you might recognize as a common problem in episodes with a lot of exposition), but I was still expecting at least a few answers here. We're left to guess at a lot of it.
This also raises the question as to what happened to Discord, anyway. Why did they need to redeem him if they didn't need his powers to transform Twilight?
That's even less important, though, so let's move on. Just thought I'd mention it.
|This actually happens every time she opens her wings. She's a great nightlight.|
|Unconcerned by uncontrollable limb growth, Rainbow Dash gains a flying buddy.|
Another minor thing, but it does appear that Twilight grew a few inches, disregarding her wingspan. It's a subtle thing, but here you can tell pretty easily. I kind of like it.
|"Why, you've become an alicorn. I didn't even know that was possible!"|
This is why I listed those questions above, by the way. Everyone involved but Celestia seems to not understand exactly what's transpired here, and only Rarity vocalizes it. Right here would have been an excellent opportunity to explain things if they had the time. Moving on, though...
|Unconcerned by uncontrollable limb growth, Pinkie remains Pinkie.|
Oh my god, she's wearing fake wings and a party hat horn. My life is complete.
|"That's because she is a princess!"|
In these next two lines, Twilight asks two very important questions which lead me into that final quote I mentioned earlier.
|"But... does this mean I won't be your student anymore?"|
|"Not in the same way as before."|
Clearly Twilight is concerned about how this is going to change her dynamic and her relationships with everyone around her, Celestia being paramount. So, I would argue, is the audience. This is a good question for her to ask, because it demonstrates that DHX is quite aware of what they're doing here and will take that into account in the future.
|"But... what do I do now? Is there a book about being a princess I should read?"|
|"There will be time for all of that later."|
|And then this stuff happened.|
Firstly, this is a very Twilight thing to say, and it was cute.
Secondly, it segues very nicely into that quote, which I will put here.
What this says to me is that this little story arc isn't done yet- by a long shot. Fitting it all into one episode would likely have been problematic, so my gut instinct is that they cut out the exposition and just let things happen in the musical fashion that they've been developing the whole time. My reaction to this is the same as it was when we were presented with Twilicorn in the first place- we're just going to have to wait and see what happens.
Unfortunately, that does mean we're going to have to wait until season four to get these questions answered. I'm not overly worried, though, and it gives us all something to look forward to.
For now, though, this is the end of our stay in Equestria. There will be a day that more pony will come, but it is not this day. One does not simply walk into Canterlot, after all. I had better stop before I get an arrow to the knee.
Cereal signing o-
Oh, wait, we're not done yet. I have a little surprise for anyone who missed it.
Well, well, well.
I don't know how this happened and I don't frankly care. It's about time you showed up, Derpy. We missed you. Come see us next time, won't you?
For now, though... Cereal, signing off.
Thanks, M.A. Larson. For real.