• Editorial: Subtle Double-take: What Copies?



    Chrysalis came back in the Mean 6! And she’s got some new magic tricks to seek vengeance on that kingdom wrecker Starlight Glimmer. Perhaps in a move of complete desperation, Queen Chryssie makes copies of the mane 6 hoping to steal the famous Elements of Harmony and use them to enact revenge.

    No surprise the plan doesn’t work, but what is surprising is Chrysalis and her minions are never detected. In fact, the so-named Mean 6 are able to talk with and influence the real Mane 6 without raising any serious alarm bells.

    If paler coat colors and upside-down cutie marks weren’t a dead giveaway, their lackluster attitudes should have been, right? If you're open to character theories, then join me below!

    So I finally got the time to sit down and watch the rest of the season (Yes, it’s really been a busy month), and I was more than excited to see everyone’s favorite villain Chrysalis. What didn’t thrill me all that much was that she made copies who acted exactly like the discorded mane 6.

    Ever watch MLP and get that creepy deja vu feeling?
    I figured this was just to help move the plot. We don’t need to waste time getting to know these meanies because we already have a reference to go back to in Return of Harmony. This also set the stage for a tidy wrap up with the Tree of Harmony recognizing the threat.

    But there was something Chrysalis did that made all my original assumption moot:

    Queen Chrysalis all the time dances like this.
    She bounced liked Pinkie Pie. Why is that important? The changeling was under the belief that her spell would create perfect, loyal copies.

    The whole scene with Chryssie talking to her future tree minions wasn’t just for points of exposition (or the rants of a raving loner), she was speaking with the trees to continue grooming them to act like the ponies they would look like.

    This adds a whole new meaning to the expression Friend of the Forest.
    Chryssie didn’t design a spell that made opposites, she was making copies. A copy would have few distinct characteristics of its own (aside from animators making the copies look different so kids could tell which pony was which). The meanies were made with hair directly from the mane 6 so everything within them came from somewhere in the mane 6 (because they are magical copies NOT genetic clones).

    Did the spell backfire? I don't think so.

    Afterall, we know the mane 6 all have weaknesses that seem to counter their elemental good traits, and I think that's why our favorite ponies were so quick to believe the fakers they saw were real.

    For example Twilight:

    Pinkie: Was I supposed to answer in the form of a question?
    Here we get this scene where Pinkie is chatting with mean Twilight and party horse doesn’t seem to notice Twilight's not quite acting like herself. Pinkie just assumes Twilight must be playing trivia games and she continues to speak and interact with the faker without any hint this isn’t her longtime friend.

    This wasn't entirely out of character because Pinkie has come to know Twilight to obsess over schedules and facts.

    We're gonna need a montage!
    Because this retreat was high in importance to Twilight, Pinkie wasn't wrong in assuming Twilight might have gotten carried away again. If the princess can enchant an entire town with a Want It Need It spell, why not freak out over perfect friendship time.

    Or Rainbow Dash:
    I'm still surprised that Fluttershy doesn't think to also fly over the canopy and find home.
    Fluttershy too accepts that her fillyhood friend would just leave her alone in the woods. Flutters doesn’t question this seemingly new behavior in the usually loyal Rainbow Dash.


    When things aren't interesting or going the way she wants, RD bails. Fluttershy probably didn't think RD hated her so much as didn't value the fear Fluttershy was feeling. Rainbow Dash has been known to be insensitive too.


    Exaggerated for the sake of the cartoon, all of the meanies stayed true to the ponies they represented. They were just copying character traits we don't always appreciate in our little ponies.

    The Mean 6 are acting just like the Mane 6. The only trait the fakes seem to be missing is a general sense of friendship among each other.

    Does their behavior still sound too extreme to accept? Consider this-
    “We’ve all been so busy teaching, we’ve hardly had a chance to hang out with each other.” -Twilight
    The mane 6 haven’t been spending a lot of time together lately.

    With their full-time jobs, friendship ambassador duties, classes, and families, it’s not unreasonable to think the mane 6 don’t hang out as much as they use to. This is the second time they’ve had to specifically plan a friendship retreat to just be friendly with each other with no Equestria-saving strings attached.
    Rarity: I blame Applejack's lack of frizz control for all this bad behavior!
    It’s possible the mane 6 have spent so much time apart they’ve forgotten what those rough edges of their personalities look like. They all know their friends have these bad traits and, in the heat of an argument, they are quick to believe what they think they see.

    They all know their friends have these shortcomings, why wouldn't it be possible for them to act on them?

    Rarity:


    Rarity was trying to pack light to show how much she’s learned from camping with friends in the past, but she really isn’t enjoying it. Rarity Likes Stuff!

    All the others know about Rarity's love of creature comforts and that she tends to be overdramatic. Rarity's greedy double was only showing the internal conflict Rarity was having in packing light. Everypony, even Rarity in the end, was convinced overdramatically hoarding was something she would do.

    Applejack:

    AJ wants Starlight to experience the great outdoors in all its glory. An opinion Starlight doesn’t share.

    Opinions aren’t fact or fiction, but when somepony treats their personal opinion like fact and other’s like fiction, well, let's just say liar is the kindest term they'll be called. For being such a lover of truth, Apples has a knack for being stubborn in what she believes.

    The others didn’t find it odd when she started grandstanding about how great she was at roughing it. Rarity and Starlight saw their friend trying to 'honestly' enlighten them.


    Pinkie’s trying to embrace all of Twilight’s planned fun, but Pinkie’s getting bored. So bored that rolling around in the thorns of a rose bush sounds more appealing.

    Pinkie has a bad habit of forgetting the feeling of others around her in her pursuit of fun. Mood swings and running off alone are also not new to Pinkie's character as her friends surely remember her Party of One attitude.

    If this retreat pressing passed Pinkie's boredom threshold, it makes sense for her to call the whole thing lame. It wouldn't be out of character for her to express a mood of discontent and then rush off to be alone, and she's made Fluttershy cry before too, so that's normal.

    Fluttershy:

    Fluttershy wants to be connected to and respected by her group, but it's still hard for her to express herself. When Fluttershy disappears, it is noted by Rarity that her behavior is odd and that's about it. Mean Flutters doesn't interact with the rest of the group, but with her recent episode Fake It Till You Make It, I think if she had interacted with the other they would have called her on it but not because she was faking.

    They would have thought she was just expressing herself incorrectly again.

    Starlight:
    She's cute in this shot; I must include this in my editorial!
    And Starlight was there.

    The last thing to consider is the apology everypony gives at the end.

    Look at that group of jerks. So mean to each other!
    Why would they apologize for actions they don't believe they have the capacity to do?

    It's because the mane 6 know in their hearts how they really felt. They weren't really happy and somehow their friends picked up on that vibe. Even if they hurt their friends unintentionally, they love their friend too much to not say sorry.

    To the mane 6, they feel like they did do some of these mean things because of their negative feelings about the trip. So the mean 6 were just physical manifestations (and very extreme ones) of the mane 6's thoughts about the retreat.

    I think it adds to the overall dynamic of these characters. These ponies aren't always excited about the behavior/opinions/feelings of their friends but they still work so hard to accommodate each other. So what do you think? Are the mean 6 honest copies of our heroines?

    And since we're on the topic of double-takes:



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