Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pony Recaps: Power Ponies

Yes, I know I'm late with these recaps. But rest assured, I expect to be catching up with them all shortly. First is this episode recap; tommorow, the recap for Bats!

This was an interesting episode to say the least, though one that left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was fun to see all our favorite ponies dress and act like superheroes, and especially fun was spotting the many superhero references and tropes.

With that said, on the other hand, this did make the entire episode seem trite and cliche--not to mention that many of the superpowers seemed rather superfluous. Are superheros who can manipulate weather and wield magic that awe-inspiring in a world where pegasi and unicorns can already do those things?

Also, the moral seems to have been done better in previous episodes, especially Spike episodes like Owl's Well That Ends Well. But overall, this was a fun episode to watch, and it is one of the few enjoyable episodes this season.

With that said, here are my thoughts on this episode:

So the Mane-iac was once a normal pony who, through a tragic accident, was transformed into an insane super villain? That sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. Bizzaro! (Kidding. I meant The Joker, though the way she manipulates her hair is like Sedusa from the Powerpuff Girls.)

Being the bookworm that she is, and realizing how irresistible it is to put down a good book, Twilight allows Spike to finish reading his comic book.

Apparently the castle restoration is an ongoing subplot this season. Why are they renovating Celestia and Luna’s old castle? My guess is that it’s going to be passed down to Twilight Sparkle for her to rule from.

Leave it to Apple Jack to hang pictures of her own farm in someone else’s home. (Oh, and three writers wrote this? Huh! That's a record!)

“Are you sure you don’t need any help?”
“Nawh, that’s okay!” (Seriously, considering how much you “helped” me last time, you really don’t have to insist!)

How much of a decrepit old building can only six mares renovate in one day? Seems like you would need much more helping hands, or rather hooves, even with Spike’s help.

A sidekick who is only there for comic relief? Spike is acting rather meta in this episode.

“Humdrum is in the way again while the power ponies are doing all the hard work. I guess I know how that feels like.” Again, Spike is acting very meta in this episode.

Did magnifying glasses exist thousands of years ago? (Then again, in this world, apparently electric street lights existed thousands of years ago in an ancient civilization.)

Figures! Pinkie is too random to be phased by a magic book sucking in everyone in sight.

Mare-tropolis. Mare-tropolis. That name rings a bell. Sounds a lot like…Townsville!

“Holy new personas, Batman…I mean, ponies!”

And now it is time to run down the obvious superhero references:

The Masked Matterhorn? Okay, I’ll be honest. I’m stumbled over who Twilight is supposed to be. And I’m not the only person alone here. A few bronies have speculated that she’s supposed to be Cyclops, what with the power to shoot beams. Then again, considering how most unicorns are able to shoot magic beams from their horns, that seems like a rather moot superpower—as are most superpowers in this episode.

Filly Second? A super fast super hero who can run super fast? Obvious Flash reference is obvious. (Though she actually looks like E-Male from the Powerpuff Girls.)

Zap? With the power to manipulate the weather? I want to say Storm, but the way she uses her lightning bolt amulet to summon lighting is akin to Thor.

Radiance? She can construct things from pink light, almost like the Green Lantern (or rather, their female counterparts, the Star Sapphires, especially with the color pink).

Mistress Mare-valous. Yellow magic lasso says Wonder Woman, but the costume design screams Electra.

Saddle Rager? Ah, I’ll leave that a secret until later.

Defeat a deranged super villain? Meh! These ponies have taken down more malicious foes. They can easily defeat her in their sleep.

I doubt those pretzels were very…soft! (Hey, the Mane-iac can’t be the only one making bad puns here!)

Yeah…this scene right here has been taken advantage of by a lot of fan artists…and not the kid-friendly kind. (Same goes with Mane-iacs mane, for obvious reasons...well, obvious to those familiar with Japanese culture.)

Again, the Maked Matterhorn can shoot magic beams from her horn—just like every other unicorn!

Zap can control the “mighty forces of nature!”—again, just like every other pegasus!

Seems like she just got back from Monster’s University.

Not sure why she doesn’t just take this time to…oh, I don’t know…get away!

Getting mad wouldn’t be very polite? Oh, I don’t know, Fluttershy. Seems like you have no problem going into an uncountable rage as your normal self.

Well, that was easy. How could this possible go wr…

...of course!

I think Spike would know by now he’s Humdrum. Unless there are any other superheroes in his comic.

Pecos Bill couldn’t have rustled up a twister any better!

Figures Rarity would protect herself in a dainty cake stand…

…and dusts herself off with a feather duster.

Of course the villain’s secret hideout is out in the open for all to see? Where else would you expect it to be? Hidden?

"Maybe we should come back later"? And where are you all going to go? You can’t go home until you defeat her!

I’m sorry, but even ignoring the fact that all unicorns can cast magic from their horns, shouldn’t Twilight be better than this? She’s a freaking alicorn princess who’s elevated to the highest level of magic. She can do better than this!

Like a boss!

Is it anymore embarrassing for princess alicorn Twilight that the others have a better handle on their powers?

Dude, you just got zapped with electricity. You hair should be the last thing that you should worry about.

Again, it’s not like Fluttershy ever had a problem getting angry in her world, especially when her friends were in danger.

And what is Mane-iac going to do when she destroys the city. How exactly does that benefit her?

Villain has a hairspray that can freeze you in your tracks? Clearly you should charge right at her. What could possibly go wr…

…Never mind!

Oh yes! Don’t even bother hair spraying the last person. That couldn’t possibly backfire!

“What’s going on?” Pinkie, you’re being taken prisoner by a deranged supervillian. Seriously, I haven’t heard a more stupid question than “Is he dead?” in The Room.

Well, if it was funny the first time…

Clearly, you feel you’re so useless that you’re sneaking into the factory anyway in order to save them.

Well, at least these henchmen are competent enough to keep spraying the superheroes with the freezing spray to keep them frozen.

Oh no! The evil cannon will give everyone bad hair days! How will people survive having their photos taken!

Sheesh! Even sidekicks like Robin served some purpose. Sounds like Humdrum is that incompetent employee who gets fired on the first day.

And obviously, the super villain is too distracted by their “monologuing” to notice the plan being foiled.

Not sure if giant nail file filed away bars, or burst right through them.

I take it these guys don’t know how to use a door.

So you’re friends being in mortal danger doesn’t make you mad, but a tiny firefly getting zapped does?

Well, at least it allows for the most epic scene in this episode:


Once again, the day is saved, thanks to The Powerpuff Girls…er, I mean Power Ponies.

So, wait, there are enchanted comics in this world? Well, that raises a lot of questions. How common are they? Are they rare enough that only a few exist? And if so, how much would they cost? Clearly a comic book with such enchanted powers would be much more expensive than a child like Spike can afford. And how does personal safety factor into this? I mean, it’s fairly risky for regular individuals to enter a world where they can be physically harmed or even killed. One would wonder they wouldn’t be as readily available to minors like Spike if they posed such a risk.

Personally, I felt a better plot device would be for Spike to fall asleep or even become unconscious and dream that he and the ponies were in the comic book. It would be cliché as dirt, but far more plausible.

And in case you wondering, no, this ending is not hinting at something bigger this season, and sadly, that goes for the rest of the previous episodes. That’s disappointing. What seemed like ingenious writing building up to something big just turns out to be a cheap writing ploy. Sad.