Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Magic Duel Review


This is the best episode in the series thus far. I know it’s kind of early to make that call, and we still have eight more episodes to go, but until something better comes along, this episode is officially my favorite.

This was clearly a brony episode. Not only did it feature a favorite character in the brony community, but it also featured callbacks to earlier episodes ("Swarm of the Century"), memes popular within the fandom (socks, hoodies, bunny ears), and references from other popular media (Gremlins, Star Wars). This is clearly a shout out to the older fans, and we’ve heard it loud and clear!

Here is the episode and my thoughts on it. As with last time, I’m going with my new review format.

Magic Duel



Thoughts

• The backgrounds in the opening were previewed about a year ago.
• The store owner is clearly a parody of the shop owner in Gremlins.
• The term “Alicorn” is officially canon now with the “Alicorn Amulet.”
• The reflection of Trixie’s grin in the amulet’s case = Priceless!
• It’s a shame that I knew ahead of time that Trixie was going to reappear in this episode; otherwise, I would have been genuinely shocked.
• I would take Fluttershy’s “threat” as a joke, but considering what she’s capable of doing to a bear…
• Twilight’s blush = Priceless
• There is more than one white bunny in the group of animals. Wonder which one is Angel?
• Fluttershy is so cute when she’s overtly nervous.
• Saddle Arabia? Of course! Every place has a horse pun.
• The dress Rarity gets stuck in looks like Photo Finish’s dress with the colors inverted.
• Rainbow Dash has one wing larger than the other. Something tells me there’s an inappropriate joke in there somewhere.
• Snips and snails get stuck at the horns. Now there’s definitely an inappropriate joke in there!
• You saw this joke coming: “For-EH-ver!”
• Unicorns can cast projections of past events from their horns. (Convenient for flashbacks!)
• Trixie worked on the rock farm of Pinkie Pie’s family.
• Owlicious appears when Trixie magically turns over the library.
• Apple Jack is comforting Rarity. (Adding fodder for the AJxRarity shippers!)
• Pinkie suffers a fate worse than death: she can no longer enjoy her own cooking!
• Everyone is returned back to normal except Pinkie!
• The duel wasn’t exactly as I expected. I always imagined unicorn duels along the line of DBZ Budokai. But hey, it’s a kids show, so of course it’s more like Merlin’s magical duel in Sword of the Stone.
• Ponies are capable of the Wilhelm scream.
• Twilight the snowmare!
• Look at Snails’ cutie mark after he ages: it’s just as old and wrinkly as he is!
• Age spells are for high level unicorns.
• Zecora stars in this episode. Yet another reason why it’s my favorite!
• Gee, Twilight is such a klutz! She spills Zecora’s tea—twice!
• Trixie’s silhouette looks like the Mysterious Mare Do-Well’s.
• Apple sauce facial? Really? Something tells me this would be a real thing. But even then, why not have the Sauna twins handle it?
• Trixie has her own statue. Of course!
• I know Fluttershy is supposed to be meek and timid, but somehow, I feel that this far into the series, she should be a bit more assertive, what with her past episodes developing her character. Here, it seems as though she’s more timid and cowardly than ever. Or is that just me?
• No Rarity, Trixie does not have a magical force field. Twilight makes magial force fields. Shining armor makes magical force fields. Princess Cadence makes magical force fields. Trixie makes giant glass domes. (And how are they getting any air?)
• Of course, Rainbow Dash, oh bravest pony in Ponyville: just volunteer Fluttershy for the most dangerous missions. How very brave of you!
• Trixie’s chariot seems like that of the White Witch’s from Narnia.
• Fluttershy’s outfit: Socks, hoodies, bunny ears, goggles. A combo of pretty much every brony fandom possible!
• A black cloud gathers within the glass jar over Ponyville. Possible side effect of the amulet?
• Twilight chooses Apple Jack and Rarity (Yet more fodder for the AJxRarity shippers!)
• No sign of Derpy, but Lyra and BonBon are in the background, and apparently unamused by the magic duel.
• Trixie’s magic glow changes from red to pink once she switches amulets.
• Trixie’s magic tickles Rainbow Dash. Does that mean…Trixie has a giggle ray?!
• Trixie wanted Rainbow Dash to writhe in agony. Does that mean the Cruciatus Curse exists in Equestria?
• I really love how the Apple Family and Sweetie Belle helped to save the day. It shows that they are useful and not just background characters.
• How ironic that Trixie, a show pony who specializes in magic tricks, is bested by magic tricks!
• Something tells me that the Saddle Arabia delegates are a nod to the “Arabian Nights” horse show. (Living in Florida, I’ve actually seen it!)

Questions

• Why am I now curious about Twilight almost crushing Spike and Apple Jack with a snow ball? I would like to know how such a situation would come about.
• How did Trixie know Snips and Snails’ names? Furthermore, why do these two still worship her, considering she was revealed to be a phony last time?
• Why does Trixie create a glass dome over Ponyville? We’ve seen before that unicorns are capable of creating force fields, so why not create that? I can only assume that force fields deplete unicorns of energy (as has been shown before), so rather than waste her energy, Trixie just creates a giant glass jar to encase Ponyville. (Though one has to wonder what they do for air. Does the jar have holes?)
• We know that Twilight can’t contact Princess Celestia, but Spike still can. So why didn’t he? He had no problem asking help from the princess in “Lesson Zero.” So why not here?
• How is Trixie able to take over the entire town so easily? In a world where an entire race is capable of magic, surely there would be legal checks and balances in place to make sure one unicorn doesn’t abuse their power and overpower everyone else into submission. For example, the Harry Potter universe has the Ministry of Magic. What does Equestria have? Apparently magical anarchy!
• Why is the Cake family making Trixie’s throne? I guess Trixie wanted an edible throne. Why not? Rarity has emergency edible boots!
• “It’s like Trixie has gone from high and mighty to mean and nasty!” Um, Twilight, when wasn’t this the case with Trixie?
• Why did the other mane six and Spike put their hands together? They’re not the ones going on the “dangerous mission.” Fluttershy is.
• Seriously, why is Fluttershy such a pussy in this episode? She’s clearly capable of being much braver than this. Has her character regressed after the last season?
• How is Pinkie capable of playing the tuba if she doesn’t have a mouth?

Quotes

• Shop owner: (Upon Trixie requesting the amulet) I’m afraid that’s this is far too dangerous. (Upon Trixie tossing him the bag of money) Would you like that gift-wrapped?
• Fluttershy: (To animals) Don’t worry, little friends, Twlight is wonderful with magic. (To Twilight) Anything happens to them, Twilight, so help me…
• Trixie: And now it is time for you to leave Ponyville…FOR-EH-VER!
• Apple Jack: She wants me to grow apples with no peels. Now how in the hay am I supposed to do that?
• Snips: Wouldn’t it be faster if we had wheels?
Trixie: The great and powerful Trixie doesn’t trust wheels.
• Fluttershy: Oh this is me being brave. I want to be brave at home, in my closet, with my teddy bear!
• Zecora: If Trixie’s ticks has you in a fix, you must nix your magic and use the six.
• Twilight: By the way, Trixie, that amulet around your neck? One of Zecora’s doorstops!
• Trixie: But the pony with the ten instruments?
Twilight: That wasn’t magic, that was just Pinkie Pie!

Gags

• Fluttershy biting her nails (or rather, hooves).
• Trixie’s glowing red eyes.
• Spike getting bounced around like a basketball.
• The magic arrow dragging and dropping Pinkie’s mouth into the recycle bin.
• Parasprites!
• Twilight’s wet mane.
• Trixie growing a mustache. (Callback to original Trixie episode!)
• Twilight’s “GRR!” face.
• Apple Jack getting magically tickled.
• Pinkie Pie dancing.
• Rarity getting her hoof pricked.
•Twilight balancing on the water with bubbles while Zecora balances nearby. (Star War reference! Another reason this is my favorite episode.)
• More wet mane Twilight!
• Fluttershy’s clenched nervous expression.
• Twilight’s age “spell”
• Double Rainbow Dash!
• Pinkie Pie’s one-man band.
• Applejack turns into a stallion. ("My Little Colt" is cannon now!)
• The lightning flash behind Trixie.
• The Apple Family and Sweetie Belle (Rari-Belle) dressing up.
• Spike comforting Fluttershy
• Trixie leaving like she did in her first episode, only stumbling!
• Pinkie Pie showing up at the end in the black screen and getting her mouth back, only to be cut off before she could say anything!