• "The Beginning of the End," Parts I & II: Episode Followup

    It was the middle of the night. Only a few dedicated night owls were still in the Equestria Daily offices.
    Borg was intensely studying a ripped piece of paper in his hands as he entered a dimly lit conference room. “Hey, Seth?”
    A man who has never slept once in his life looked up from the life-sized Sweet Velvet plushie he was brushing. “Yeah?”
    “The premiere’s in two days, right?”
    “Well,” Borg handed the torn spreadsheet to Seth, “nobody’s signed up to do the followup for it.”
    “I thought I stuck this on the bulletin board weeks ago.” Seth hugged his beloved Sweet Velvet plushie a little closer. He broke several laws of physics in the process. “I could swing it, but I’m really busy getting ready to invade Japan.” He thought for a moment, then folded the spreadsheet into a paper pegasus and hurled it at speeds rivaled only by a supersonic jet at the one blogpony foolish enough to be sitting in the same room.

    I’m algernon97. I’ve got an origami pony stuck in the side of my head, but that’s not important. Head on down below the break for the followup to Twilight Sparkle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

    Note: This followup is very long and contains a lot of pictures. This may slow down older computers and some mobile devices.

    The final season is off to a running start. Literally. It sounds like poor Twilight ran the whole way here instead of taking the train.

    And seeing as how her friends are already in Canterlot, Twilight probably did run all the way up the mountain. Nothing like an urgent summons with no explanation to spur some exercise.

    "I just love a good mysterious summit!"

    Pinkie Pie loves cider, games of chance, and mysterious summits.

    Make of that what you will.

    Presented without context.

    Fluttershy has stood on the snout of a dragon and scolded it for being rude, is the beastmaster, has gone on several secret missions, infiltrated a cult and tricked their leader, won fights simply by talking her enemies down, and she travels to the far sides of the world on a weekly basis.

    But the Pink One?

    The Pink One scares the ever-loving stuffings out of her.

    I can't say I blame her, really.

    To be serious for a moment, this joke is great. They even distort the walls of the places they run past just to make it more disorienting.

    Rainbow Dash may have won the impromptu race, but if this was a demolition derby Pinkie Pie would win gold.

    I would also like to express my deepest respect to the crew for not putting a bowling alley sound effect here.

    "That's just it. Nothing's wrong!"

    These are the faces of mares that knew exactly what sending an urgent summons with no explanation would do to Twilight, and did it anyway to have a giggle.

    These are the faces of mares who have just realized that their immortal god-princesses can send them into a panic over nothing just to have a giggle.

    Well, it looks like Twilight's taking the retirement news rather well. Although I'm sure that on the inside, she's just started to scream.

    This is also her first entry for Best Face.

    The music here starts imitating that ticker-tape news music from back in the day. I'd also like to say that Discord would make a great Walter Burns. He's got the rapid-fire delivery and the skewed priorities down perfectly.

    Sorry, Discord, but I don't think you're going to be put in charge of Equestria...well, ever, really. But good on you for keeping your hopes up.

    This is a brief interaction, but it's always nice to see the Princesses and Discord being friendly with each other.

    Also Discord's disembodied claws react with just as much surprise as he does and I can't stop laughing at that.

    Twilight sends in her second entry for Best Face.

    You can actually hear the gears in her head grind to a screeching halt here. Of all the things Twilight expected, this was probably nowhere near the top of the list.

    To answer Spike's question, yes, princesses can retire. It's called "Abdication." In fact, there was a bit of a crisis when Edward VIII abdicated in 1936.

    It's also generally not seen as a positive thing, and it tends to happen when the monarch has really screwed up.

    Your writers for today are Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco. They're the duo behind episodes such as Rarity Investigates!, A Royal Problem, and The Perfect Pear. Like most of their work on the show, this two-parter is pretty darn good.

    Different ponies react differently to news. Twilight had a panic attack, Rainbow "Ego Incarnate" Dash immediately sends in an entry for Best Face and calls dibs on being in everyone's dreams. And as we all know, invocation of the Law of Dibs is a sacred thing protected and enforced by the Intergalactic House of Pancakes and Judges from Monday to Friday.

    Unfortunately for Dash, sub-sub clause fifteen-hundred, paragraph five-thousand of the Interuniversal Law of Dibs forbids one from claiming Dibs on godlike powers. Those must be given.

    The concentrated cuteness in this image can be lethal if you are not properly prepared. Always pony responsibly.

    They're all waving at you. Wave back, it's rude to ignore a friendly wave.

    The girls have come a long way since 2010. From ordinary members of a small town to eagerly accepting the position of "Protectors of Equestria." It's beautiful.

    Well, all's well that ends well. Sure, it's going to be a difficult transition, but I'm sure the long transfer process will let Twilight and the gang to adjust to their new positions. And it'll keep Twilight from freaking out, too. Look how calm she is about this. She's got this.

    "Actually we just need a few days to put together a little ceremony."

    Celly what.

    No really, what?

    Are you nuts?

    Even Discord thinks this is insane. 

    The classic Twilight freak out, stage 1. Her friends are so used to it that they just groan when it starts. 

    But really, though, a few days?!

    "How to Rule Equestria, by Nopony McPretendsmith."

    I love this joke far more than I probably should. But you know the best part of it?

    Twilight actually tries to read it. It's a nonexistent book made up on the spot by Discord, she probably knows this, but she's so desperate for a guidebook that she tries to read it anyway. 

    "But I burned every copy of my Glitter Vampire Chronicles fanfic when I was a filly! How did you even find this?"
    "Used bookstore."
    "Chaotic used bookstore."

    Hey, it's the Friendship Journal! I don't think we've seen that thing since Fame and Misfortune. It's nice to see callbacks like that, it really is.

    Twilight has entered stage two of the panic attack. Unfortunately for her, she can't do the coping method Cadance taught her while she's holding something.

    That's some nice composition, there.

    Apparently this is a reference to The Little Mermaid. I wouldn't know; I've never seen that movie. Whatever it is, Discord is a real grump for most of this episode.

    Oh hey, some self-aware jokes about the show. That's pretty neat. I always like it when the show takes a moment to poke fun at itself. But it's usually just small things like this, I'm sure it'll stay that way.

    Applejack picks Twilight up and plonks her in the chair, and Twilight never notices. We've definitely entered the freak out, ladies and gentlemen. 

    "It's an Aqua Velva. You wouldn't make fun of it if you tried it."

    That is exactly the sort of face you make when you discover your name has become a verb.

    And that is the face you make when you hate everything that has led you to this moment.

    "If you think about it, they literally almost never help."

    ...Did they just --




    "There hasn't been a single villain that we couldn't defeat."

    Spike. You fool. You just jinxed them!

    crazy giggle

    Meanwhile, Queen Chrysalis is going completely bugs[parkles] insane in the forest.

    She even has a Wilson-type situation going on. You've reached peak loneliness when you get into a Wilson-type situation. But then, she's poofed away in a cloud of black smoke.

    Oh, Cozy Glow. You may be a sociopath, but you're also one hell of a sculptor. 

    And then, Tirek and Cozy are also poofed away. 

    Then the statue does that one Infinity War joke. You know the one, I don't need to say it.

    I see your problem. You set it to "M" for "Make the dead rise" when you should have set it to "W" for "Wumbo."

    These two have an odd relationship. On the one hand, I'm pretty sure Tirek sees Cozy as an annoyance at best.

    On the other hand, he doesn't seem to have a problem with Cozy hiding behind him for protection.

    Guess who's back.
    Back again.
    Tell a friend.

    "Wait, aren't you dead?"
    "I got better."

    Grogar. The most diabolical goat you ever did see. No trolls bother him when he crosses a bridge, nosiree.

    He comes from generation one, all the way back in the eighties, but I don't know much about him other than that. You'll have to look him up yourself if you want more information. 

    Don't give me that look, doing your own research builds character. 

    That being said, I can tell you that G1 Grogar's voice actor (Michael Bell) actually recorded a mini-speech in-character as Grogar during BABSCon 2017. That's a little funny in hindsight.

    I think Cozy Glow just realized that "in over your head" does not even begin to describe the situation she's ended up in.

    Why does he want to get rid of Twilight Sparkle & Co., I hear you ask.

    The answer is quite simple. To take over the world. The answer is always to take over the world.


    Is that concern I see on Chrysalis's and Tirek's faces?

    What an interesting thing to include in the background.

    "Oh my god is that what it looks like when I consume love? That's disgusting. No wonder ponies hate me. I'd hate me. Did he even wash his hands? What even is that? You don't know where that's been. Why did you have to eat that in front of me?"

    E X P O S I T I O N

    The weird thing is that Cozy Glow has gone from sociopathic villain to audience stand-in for a few scenes in this episode. She's the one that's in the same boat as you and I, which is the S.S. I Know Nothing About This Guy. So she gets all the information the audience needs to understand who Grogar is and why he's a threat.

    Hey, Chryssy.

    This might sound crazy, but maybe, just maybe, taunting the eons-old "father of monsters" isn't such a good idea.

    Cozy had to learn that lesson, too.

    I also can't stop giggling at this frame. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm writing this around midnight. Who knows?

    Sombra gettin' cut off by Chryssy. Even when he's brought back from the dead, the guy isn't allowed to talk.

    "I'm just a kid, so..."

    Well. You're not wrong. And you're closer to the truth than the others.

    "I don't do 'ours.'"

    Sombra confirmed to not be a communist. 

    King Sombra's impressive knowledge of show tunes did little to endear him to the rest of the Legion of Doom.

    I'm only half-joking, by the way. Look at everyone's face here and then tell me they don't hate Sombra. 

    Please send help, I've been laughing for five minutes straight and I can't stop. Just look at Sombrero's face, it's priceless. Smear frames, man. They're a gift.

    That is one strong flick. I think Cozy hit Mach Two, there.

    And Starlight sends in an unexpected entry for Best Face. That's going to be a hard one to top. 

    "So much to do, not enough time, I already did that WAIT, NO, I DIDN'T."

    I have never related to a character as much as I do with Twilight right now. That exact phrase must go through my head about five times a day.

    "Oh, sweet Celestia."
    "It's good, right?"
    "I'm surprised the paper didn't burst into flame after you finished the first paragraph."
    "Oh, so am I. That pen must've been moving at the speed of light! It's so inspiring, Twilight."
    "Starlight, Hoof Salt's speech has been going on for thirty bucking pages. If it doesn't end in the next five, I am going to leap over this desk and strangle you."
    "So... you do like it?"
    "I swear by all that is literary I will end you."

    "Well EXCUSE me!"

    The stream I was watching glitched at this moment, and it sounded exactly like that infamous Link quote. All that's missing is the "princess!" at the end. 

    It's glorious.

    The utterly flat and fast delivery make this one of my favorite moments from the episode.

    As for what I think, well, Twiggles, I think we need to go to DEFCON 2 and find some way to defuse you before you explode.

    And also that you've sent in a wonderful entry for Best Face.

    Twilighting, meet Starlighting. I'm sure you'll get along just fine.

    "You've got this!"
    "We got this together~"

    That fake laughter is amazing. No matter how many times I see it it gets a giggle out of me. It's all in the delivery, I'm sure of that.

    Meanwhile, the Crystal Empire is in a situation that is Very Not Good.

    This is probably the biggest fear of most parents. You don't know where your child is, and a very bad person is in your home.

    That's just terrifying to think about, and I don't have any kids. I can't imagine how much it would scare a parent.

    Flurry Heart says her first word ever in this scene.

    The word is "Mama."

    And she says it while this psycho is dangling her over the floor. 

    I don't know about you but this is what I consider to be A-class family entertainment.

    Flurry Heart refuses to kneel. Flurry Heart don't give a f[eather]. Flurry Heart is silently planning her revenge while staring at Sombra with white-hot hate.

    "I thought the Crystal Heart dispelled him into the aether!"

    Well, I thought it disintegrated him into nothingness, but I guess we're both wrong, Rarity.

    That is one evil looking Twilight, there. Could that be foreshadowing?

    Maybe. Your guess is as good as mine, really.

    Presented without context.

    Flurry Heart's hatred grows stronger with each passing minute. You see those eyes? Those are the eyes of someone that sets out on a vengeance quest eighteen years down the line.

    Welcome to the land of Twilight's greatest fears.

    It is not a pleasant place to visit. We saw it years ago with Sombra's door, but now we get to see what it's like when he's able to put you there personally.

    You don't want him to put you there personally.

    But you wanna know Sombra's big mistake?

    He forgot to put in any ladybugs.

    The Elements of Harmony. It feels just like old times, man. Just like old times.

    He pulled a sneaky on ya.

    Flurry Heart's rage has been unleashed. None shall be spared.

    Cadance came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And she's all out of bubblegum.

    Too bad Sombra's already been Friendship Rainbow Lasered to oblivion again.

    Presented without context.

    And so, once again the day is saved thanks to the Powerpuff Girls The Elements of Harmony.

    All's well that ends well. The day is saved, Sombra's been sent back to the aether, and everything is just fine.

    OR IS IT?

    Well, that...

    That can't be good.

    Oh, shit.

    The Tree of Harmony is gone. The Elements of Harmony have shattered.

    Hey, remember when What Lies Beneath revealed the Tree of Harmony was a living being capable of communication and intelligent thought?

    You know, this thing?

    It's dead now. Shattered to a million pieces by a giant crystal.

    This is how Part I ends. Everything just went to hell in a handbasket in a matter of seconds.

    Buckle up, because we've still got Part II to get through. If you just scroll past these things to copy-paste walls of text (and/or forgot to just click the "comments" button), well, you've still got a long ways to go. For everyone else, thanks for reading this far. You're awesome.

    Anyway, on to Part II.

    For those of you who missed seeing this live, this is pretty much what was going on in the chatrooms.

    "It can't be!"
    "BUT IT IS!"

    I don't know if that was meant to get a laugh out of me, but it did. Then again, I've always been a fan of dark comedy, so that might be the major factor there.

    Here's Twilight trying to put the thing that has defined her life over the last however many years back together again, even though she knows it can't be fixed.

    I don't have a bad joke for that, it's just a depressing little moment. This episode has quite a few depressing little moments.

    Remember when I said the answer is "always take over the world"?

    Well, Sombra's plan is "take over the world."

    Oh, that's terrifying. They don't even cast shadows. Are they shadows? The shadows aren't safe. Don't trust them.

    This situation is so bad that it is impossible to giggle at the ghosties. That is the lowest point you can reach on the scale of Good to Not Good situations. In fact, it might just break the scale entirely.

    The last time Pinkie broke out the Drill Mane was Not Asking for Trouble. You can add digging to that list of things Pinkie likes to do.

    As for the digging sequence itself, I haven't been so inspired by digging since McQueen did it back in '63.


    Well, Rarity does like being covered in mud.

    "Were we supposed to take that left at Albuquerque?"

    Meanwhile, Pinkie has overcome her funk. Things might not be so hopeless after all.

    I think I spoke too soon.

    Welcome to the fantasy world of My Little Pony. Where technicolor ponies go on fun adventures around the magical land of Equestria, have cute interactions with each other, and watch their loved ones be forced into mindless slavery while being unable to do anything about it. 

    You know, the usual family fare.

    It's an E V I L cake. Made out of black licorice fruitcake, crystals, and green frosting. Just in case any of you want to make that monstrosity.

    Pinkie says it's the ugliest cake she's ever seen, and it's pretty high on the list of ugly cakes I've seen in my lifetime.

    Applejack is having a 'Nam flashback over there. Even in a fictional land of magical talking horses, you still have 'Nam flashbacks.

    "Could anything else possibly go wrong?!"

    Dammit, Twilight, everyone knows you never ask this! It's like asking the universe to ruin your life.

    When the Pink One is scared, well, things are pretty f[udged].

    I wonder if anyone has ever done the whole "grab someone's head to get them to look at the thing" move in real life. It can't be a very common occurrence.

    The Everfree Forest is threatening once again. It's been, what, four years since it was last presented as a dangerous place?

    However long it's been, it's wasting no time in reminding everyone why it was feared back then.

    A British Home Guard Unit drilling defense tactics against a possible German invasion. 1943, colorized and restored.

    Meanwhile, The Horde is invading.

    Right after the guard had a moment to shine in the season eight finale, they're back to being easily defeated. They didn't even get to raise the alarm.

    Hey, remember the time Big Mac dragged a house while barely trying? That guy is strong. I'm surprised the doors lasted as long as they did.

    Sombra has a nice evil laugh. Just the right amount of maniacal energy and mean spirited cackling.

    I think you made the plants angry, Applejack.

    [Insert overused joke here]

    Fighting nature. It's a tough thing to do, especially when nature is actively trying to kill you.

    Fortunately for our heroes, a blast of magic comes out of the sky and clears away a lot of the killer vines.

    It may have also flashbanged Twilight, but I'm not entirely sure about that.

    But just who could have done this incredible feat?

    Well, it's about time you two showed up.

    Suddenly, Starswirl.

    "I felt it, when it happened. Like part of my essence just ceased to be."

    Would you say you felt a disturbance?

    Starswirl is OP as f[eathers]. Remind me to never piss him off.

    Starswirl will also, until the end of time, be forever known as "Beardy" thanks to Rainbow Dash. Or maybe that's just going to be me. Either way, I'm going to call him that from now on.

    And now, as Pinkie Pie points out, we're back to having only one problem.

    It's a big problem, but it's just one problem.

    Even Derpy has been Sombra-fied. This is truly one of the darkest hours in Equestria's history.

    "I immediately regret this decision."

    Dash's decision to rush into the air also made her a sitting duck. It's a good thing she's the best flyer in all of Equestria, otherwise she'd probably be zapped like a moth.

    Using Fancy Pant's bow tie as a blindfold is actually pretty clever. That's some nice thinking on your hooves, Rarity.

    "Fluttershy, let's play some chicken with these Crystal suckers."

    "Alright, I'm with you."

    The chicken method. Gets 'em every time.

    "All we have to do now is defeat King Sombra!"

    Well, when you put it like that it does sound rather difficult, Pinkie.


    Ah, I see. You've been creating artistic masterpieces.

    Carry on, then.

    "Ah, poodles!"

    Well, at least she didn't say "peeved."

    Presented without context.

    "I don't know what we'd do without you, Discord!"

    His facial expressions here could be some foreshadowing for what he does a little later on. I say could be because, well, it's Discord. He's not really the predictable, foreshadow-y kind of guy.

    Pictured: The MVP casually canceling out every attack Sombra throws at him.

    Until he takes a hit for Fluttershy.

    They cut to a commercial break here when this aired on TV. To say that people were losing their minds on the streams would be the understatement of the week.

    I tried to come up with something for this little moment, but I honestly don't have the heart to do it. It's just a nice little character moment and I like it very much.

    The absolute smugness this guy radiates is astounding. No wonder the other villains hate him.

    I don't care if the speech was Discord just faking an injury to motivate them. I don't care that the speech is over the top, cheesy, corny, or whatever other term is used for this sort of writing.

    This was a beautiful little moment. Probably one of the best in the show's long run. And you don't have a heart if you weren't moved by it.


    Also: Hell yeah.

    They said the thing!

    Quick, somebody throw confetti!

    Well, I wonder how the beam of friendship's going to affect Sombra this time. Probably just do what it did last time, I'm sure.

    Holy shit I think you can actually see bone. 
    He's not just dead, he's super dead.
    They pulled a Raiders melting face on us.
    I don't know how that got cleared, but that is amazing.

    Dr. Fauna's just mildly pleased to not be a zombie anymore. I aspire to one day reach that level of indifference.

    I'm not entirely sure, but I think the music quoted the opening to "Glass of Water." If that's the case, then it's a nice touch.

    "I totally had you going for a moment, didn't I?"

    You've got a wide range of reactions to Discord's reveal that he was faking the whole time. Applejack's not surprised at all, Fluttershy is genuinely hurt, Rainbow Dash is angry as hell, and Twilight is somewhere in the middle of all of this.

    He really does care about Twilight, in his own way. His very, very odd way.

    "It's been years since we've gotten to do what you girls do."

    ...Did you ever do what the girls do, though? I know Celestia fought Chrysalis, but outside of fighting some winter weather I don't think Luna's done all that much.

    Group hugs make everything better. This is a scientifically proven fact.


    To be honest, I'm mostly wondering how Cozy convinced them to hold hands/hooves and do this exercise in the first place.

    So yeah, Sombra's deader than dead. And I'm pretty sure Grogar threatened to kill these three as well if they don't go along with his plan.

    I'm willing to bet that they'll betray Grogar the first chance they get. They might not get redeemed, but they're all definitely scared of the evil goat. Whatever happens, we now have our villain lineup for the rest of the season. I don't know about you, but I'm interested in seeing where this goes.

    Your cast for today.

    Season nine is off to a great start, if you ask me. Sombra was a love-to-hate villain, we got a nice setup with Grogar, and the main story line with Twilight and the gang was pretty darn good.  I'm excited to see where it goes from here. It's the final season, yeah, but it looks like it's gonna be a fun ride while it lasts.

    So, what did you think? Did you like the premiere? Hate it? Got a twenty-paragraph essay about it you've been dying to copypaste into the comments? Head on down and discuss this thing!

    See you later in the season.

    algernon97 is exhausted