• "Viva Las Pegasus": An Episode Followup

    WeAreBorg here, back once again for my 2nd and last Followup of season 6. This week’s episode features the an all new locale, all new ponies, awesome cameos, and the crushing realities of gambling addiction lesson of helping those you think don’t deserve it.

    Join me below for an episode about Equestria’s “City of Sin,” Las Pegasus, and resorts completely devoid of bit exchange.

    (title source)

    Before we begin I just wanted to get one little thing out of the way. Ever since those fateful days in February 2013, I knew my cutie mark was telling me it wasn’t quite over and one day I would relive the magic of the perfect con ponified and be swept up once more. That’s right ladies and gentlecolts, I’m talking about the once and only Las Pegasus Unicon. For those of you too young or too new to know what I’m talking about please, Ctrl-T this link here and read more about the darker history of a young fandom. It’s just one fantastic con in both senses of the word.

    Let’s begin.

    Viva Las Pegasus Unicon, the floating City of Sin in Equestria. It wasn't until this episode that I realized how awesome of a story mechanic the Map Quest Table actually is. Sending a pair of ponies to deal with a situation, gets ponies out of their comfort zones, dispenses with exposition a 22-minute show can’t afford, and lets worldbuilding occur wherever a fancy pun might exist.

    So, if you didn’t notice, Applejack and Flutters are being sent to a floating cloud city like Cloudsdale. We’ll touch more on that later but it may not be obvious right away. In the Table’s totally-scale-model of Equestria, we see 4 buildings, one of which resembles Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower, one that I refuse to believe is anything other than the Riveria, the odd-one-out Leaning Tower of Pisa, and another which could be inspired by Excalibur.

    This was a fun scene transition. I’d like to see more just like it. I like the tension set up between the two and their environment because of just how out of place these two are. I expect more awkward moments to come.

    Right away we are introduced to new ponies for a new locale that rush past us in the blink of an eye. Let’s slow it down...

    From top left to bottom right we have: Young Ralph Lauren, Tough Love, Nic Roldan, Ashley Madison’s mascot, and Nicholas Cage’s NightMare. I’m not sorry for any of those name

    Behold, the city of Las Pegasus! A foalless wonderland of adult entertainment. We’ve got takes on iconic Vegas casinos, including Luxor, Excalibur, Paris, Stratosphere, New York - New York (or in this case Manehatten - Manehatten), High Roller, and Circus Circus. There’s even a sideways sign that looks like the classic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. The animators went all out in the detail and I love every pixel. I will say though, there’s a need of warning signs everywhere because one wrong step and your flightless pony buddies are doomed. I want to imagine there is a giant carriage parking lot below and a sky elevator.

    [insert intro here]

    I don’t know who’s vain enough to put their likeness on a gold door but I have a nagging feeling it’s a reference to the large gold mural inside the Trump Hotel lobby in Las Vegas, and while that mural does not have a depiction of Trump himself, it does have naked men shooting birds. I just thought you should know. And remember kids, chasing girls and gambling is rated TV:Y.

    So right away we see that the Equestrian counterpart of our own City of Lights, looks to have a lot going for it. In a land ruled by a matriarchal diarchy, I imagine that gambling isn’t a lawful form of primary business income. Instead, we have the fun side attractions like rides, games, shows, and food. We’ll talk about all the new ponies as we go on and as they get closer to the “camera”.

    Speaking of which...

    So right away we are treated to a cameo of a ponified Vegas personality. And the cameo has been doubled! To the left behind the rockstar Derpy look alike, we have none other than the pony versions of Penn and Teller, famous magicians and entertainers of, honestly, your parents’ generation. We also have our 3rd heart-related pony for the episode whose is probably the embodiment of “What happens in Pegasus, stays in Pegasus.” I’ll let you take that as you will.

    More new ponies! Okay bear with me while I whip up some names: Off in the top-left we have a pony with a lampshade on her head. After 20 minutes of Googling, all I can tell you she could be Sia, but we’ve already seen what her OC would look like. We also have another polo player, this time, Facundo Pieres judging from those eyes. In the top center, we have the retired ponies Grandpa Grey and Golden Fields, next to them, Peggy Basket (Good luck figuring that one out). Top right is the adorable Green Sprout. Bottom-right is Old Couple #2, moving left is Fire Ring, Green Star, and what some people are calling a ponified version Pearl from Steven Universe as evidenced by her hair design and hearts-and-rose cutie mark, which could be a reference to fan shipping of Pearl and Rose Quartz. It’s an interesting theory especially since character designer Charmaine Verhagen is a fan of Steven Universe.

    So if you’re like me, and you knew this episode would contain Flim and Flam, at this point you were trying to figure out which of the two this guy was. Luckily, it wasn’t the case but hey, new ponies. Lots of new ponies, along with Penn and Teller once again. We’ll focus on those guys later. Let’s talk about those posters though...

    It actually took me longer to make this graphic than it did to find the posters they had copied. I’ll give you that the Cirque Du Soleil poster isn’t exact but it’s pretty darn close. I love these references and the detail that went into recreating them with pony, is unbelievable. Well beyond a show for little girls, these references were definitely for us to find.

    Who puts a gold statue of themselves in their own building? That is some straight up vanity right there. Is there another Donald Trump joke in this shot somewhere? Maybe, but I’m more qualified to joke about email servers, honestly.

    So here he is in the flesh, voiced by blues musician Jim Byrnes, the “Friendship Connoisseur,” Gladmane. The first personality crammed into that roomy body of his that hits you in the face, is Elvis. With a “Thank you, Thank you very much,” it was inevitable to get an Elvis somewhere in the episode. If you travel to Las Vegas, you can see them everywhere. Speaking of traveling everywhere, recognize the ponies behind Gladmane? That’s right, it’s Chargrill Breadwinner and Orange Slice from “Spice Up Your Life” off on another vacation. Also with hair like that, Gladmane has got to be a little Trumpy secretly evil.

    Wait... a vain, well dressed, evil pony with big hair? Could it be?

    For those who haven’t watched pre-gen 4 ponies for research purposes, this is Knight Shade from the "Bright Lights" arc from Gen 1 that aired 30 years ago. The resemblance to Gladmane is there, I assure you, from the big hair, fancy threads, rockstar vibe, winning personality, and secret villain status. In his episodes he was helping to steal souls as shadows from foals. The ‘80s were a glorious time. But back to the present...

    First stop on Gladmane’s tour brings us backstage at Cirque Du Soleil PonetFantastique. Miss Acrobat here is super adorable. I’m not sure if it’s the stretching in spandex, the smile and blushing, or her dexterity, but I’d really like to get to know this pony...

    OW Osdfj….STO… Don’t….Cynder!...Its for...OW...the...article!….adsfffffffaf...It’s...just.. Owey...pandering!

    Wifey is making me move on…

    We are introduced next to the show’s director. To hammer in the French-Canadian feel of Cirque du Soleil, our Director here carries a French accent. Just like Miss Acrobat, Monsieur Director thinks only good things of Gladmane, which as AJ points out, doesn’t hint at any friendship problems.

    Yep. Fluttershy is giving me diabetes. Pink prairie dogs. What will she squee over next?

    Now, I know some viewers were freaked out by the eyes but Siegfried and Roy here absolutely fabulous. Strong cheek bones, tiger stripe clothing, white tiger cutie mark, chain and chest hair, over the top German accents, the little details go on. These are the best cartoon versions of the magicians since Father of the Pride, but it kills me we don’t get to see any magic performed by these two.

    That country grudge! Applejack does not always forgive and forget. Imprison and brainwash her for a week or turn her entire orchard into a floodplain, she’ll forgive you, but swindle her twice? Nah, fam. You on her list.

    Here they are, 6 minutes in. If you read the synopsis for the episode you knew this was coming. Also, that doorway wasn't there in a previous shot.

    Wow, they are really into it. If at this point in the series you're still having trouble remembering which one is which, remember: Flim is skin and Flam is man, as in Flim has no moustache and Flam has a manly moustache, like the wonder that adorns Dustykat. Also, notice the background ponies? They are in the exact spot they should be based on the previous angle. You might say that’s unremarkable but back in the season 1 and 2 days we would have 3 Lyras alone standing next to all sort of non-Bon-Bon ponies. I love how much skill the animators have gained over the series.

    AJ is not the element of Loyalty nor the Princess of Friendship. She’s honesty and she is keeping it real with how much she isn’t about to help Flim and Flam. Fluttershy apparently, still doesn’t have any sort of credibility as the element of anything and AJ runs from her like the doormat she is. As we see later, it’s all by The Map’s design.

    Two brothers fighting! Really the fastest way to solve this is with friendship lubricant. Whenever I fought with my brother, a handle of rum later and we’d have already made up, watching fail videos on Youtube, and started to make our own rum video. We need a bearer of the Element of Friendship Lubricant. Make it happen people! EQD reminds you to lubricate responsibly.

    So a lot of people were saying how much the resort was like a Chuck-e-Cheese. Well, it’s not. It’s not a child bodily-fluid desease hole full of bad food, trash games, and employees that would rather be garbage collectors. Also, scary animatronics that inspire games about killer animatronics are thankfully absent. Nope, this is a Dave & Buster’s; adults only with better everything, but what game is that pony trapped in? Probably, The Panic Attack 3000. This shot has 3 new ponies I’ve yet to mention thus far, Outlet Shopper, and Retired Couple #3.

    I know this shot is just a few seconds later, but man that booth employee needs a hug. I love the continuity in the plushes. I want to believe a marketing person researched the exploits of a famous new princess and made relevant merchandise: Parasprites, Ursa Majors, and Phoenixes. Also, that Jackalope. More new ponies as well; we’ll call them Lucky Streak and Morning Dew.

    Update: This booth pony is the same concession pony from the Daring Do convention. Thanks Scope!

    AJ’s quest proves fruitful as she uncovers the acrobatics show ponies going at it over the inclusion of magic in the act. Honestly I’m siding with Miss Acrobat here and not because she’s the cuter of the two. Also, that bunny didn’t really say “Tadaa” as much as make a tadaa noise. I’ve seen more talkative dogs on Youtube honestly. Regardless, the rabbit is named Bernard and voiced by Andrea Libman.

    Another cameo, this time Scooter from The Muppet Show, reprising his role as stage manager and source of backstage info to continue the plot. It’s an old reference to be sure, but unmistakable and very welcome.

    I love the acting between Brian Drummond and Peter Kelamis here. It’s one of the best moments of the episode for those who love Sigfried and Roy. If you do get a chance to visit Las Vegas, be sure to check out their Secret Garden (no, I’m not referring to the chest hair).

    As a hard working farm pony, Applejack is all about a getting a job done, and when she finds that not one, but two problems need to be fixed, she’s as happy as a hog in a pecan grove. It’s probably the wrong emotion to be feeling but it’s nowhere near Twilight needing to make a friendship problem.

    Ah another staple of Vegas: Glorious buffets. Lots of great food, of various styles, sometimes served up by notable chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay up there. Yep, that’s him dishing out soup with his Hell’s Kitchen cutie mark. While we’re here, let’s point out another new pony, bottom-left, who can only be The Most Interesting Man Stallion In The World.

    While the humble and calm Ramsay serves our saviours of Equestria, the pair discuss the likelihood of Gladmane behind all the friendship problems. Plot twists are nice, but really it’s nicer to see experts in a field cooking up a plan and executing it. Also, look under Applejack’s tail (heheheh) and you’ll see Svengallop, former manager for Coloratura.

    Here are a few more new ponies: Money Talks, Bryl le Mane, and #1 Trixie Fan. Have fun with those.

    Managers like Gladmane really exist. They spread equal amounts of lies and compliments in order to keep people exactly where they want. They build up the loyalty so that the truth would never be accepted. Also, it looks like Plaid Stripes’ spoon holders have caught on. Where have all the magnetic hooves gone?

    This is why the The Map sent Flutters: To converse with the pink demons. They make a great team in this episode; AJ’s determination and Flutter’s guile.

    This shot has a few new ponies in it that refuse to get closer. From the cabaret girls, the tourist with the cap who’s probably playing Pok√©mon Go, to that one pegasus drinking from the fountain. The little gags like that are the best.

    Fluttershy’s faces in this one scene are amazing. She’s working every bit of the irresistible charm she possesses and ends up a winning pony as Applejack finally agrees to help Flim and Flam’s friendship problem. AJ’s faces are good too, but come on, she’s just an Earth pony.

    “You never lie!” Technically she’s just really, really bad at it, but still it’s great to see background characters know something about the mane characters. So strongly in fact, that it’s this realization that makes them do a 180 in their relationship with each other. Also the “couldn’t sell heat lamps to yaks” line was great.

    I like how Flim and Flam were quick to come up with a con to con the conman. It’s like the show Hustle or better yet, Leverage. Like Gladmane though, this fooled me for all of about 10 seconds. That shade of yellow is very recognizable even with that Rarity-will-scream-if-she-sees-it green mane. I really like Yellow-Quiet’s acting ability however. Also, “Applejack-iest.”

    All ruthless businessmen growl like dogs. It’s the ruthless business women that you never hear coming. The bait is set. Also, I love how Flim and Flam are so into the idea of revenge that they skipped right past the angry-with-Gladmane phase.

    Now this meeting wasn’t in Flim and Flam’s plan but it’s interesting nonetheless. Gladmane using more stick-than-carrot in this scene, let’s us know our protagonists are right and know exactly what they are doing. Also, sweet map of the strip. I didn’t notice the water park in the establishing shot. Wanting to own all of it though sounds like an Ocean’s movie plot.

    Gotcha. Gladmane wasn’t even upset. He was absolutely thrilled with himself that he caught them and didn’t even fire or throw them out on the spot. A villain way too full of himself to see the next move past his own small victory.

    These ponies need hugs. Granted, we find out in a few minutes they were all acting, and this was all part of the plan, but dang man, my heart broke in this scene.

    Triple the Gladmane! I know the gloating villain is an overused trope, but he was in the security of his own office. Just goes to show, you can never trust a pony with a money butt.

    Fluttershy has a dark, adorable side. A cute evil she doesn’t usually get to express. You go girl.

    Busted! Your HR department is going to hate you for making that many openings. And look at how pleased Flim and Flam are with themselves. These two can’t be reformed because conning is what their cutie marks are tell them.

    That AJ face! That’s her “loving” face. As in, she loved serving up a heaping plate of justice with extra sauce. She will never make those eyes for you...

    Cynder says that pony needs to be wearing eye protection. I want to believe this wasn’t ordered by anyone but is actually the resort’s maintenance crew revolting. I like the symbolic rope around his neck.

    Like I said, never to be reformed. I bet they’ll say the resort is too big to fail, then run away into the horizon with all the money, as it shuts its doors halfway through the day.

    Overall, It was a good episode, I think Flim and Flam needed another song, but not sure where it could have gone. Maybe when they were arguing with each other? I give it 4 jackpot payouts out of 5. Let us know in the comments what you thought of it!

    “So dance pony dance...”