Nuggets of Wisdom

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pony Recap: Crusaders of the Lost Mark

Five years. It has been five years since My Little Pony first premiered. And it was on the exact same date that the series premiered, October 10, that this episode premiered, finally providing closure for a series-long story arc. And really, with this entire season focusing on cutie marks, was this episode even remotely a surprise?

Since the very start of the series, the fandom has speculated about when and how the Cutie Mark Crusaders would finally receive their cutie marks. Which one would receive theirs first? When would they receive it? How? What will their cutie marks look like? How will it affect the group once they receive their marks? Would they even receive their marks at all? Well, after five long years, all of these answers have been sufficiently answered.

Honestly, I could not think of a more fitting way for the CMC to receive their marks and close their story arc which the entire series has been building upon. For five long years, these three fillies have strived to find their place in life and discover what their cutie mark will be. Not only did this episode provide just that, but so much more.

Not only did we see them receive their marks, but we also saw much-needed character development for an otherwise much hated character. I’ll still stand by the fact that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are my least favorite characters, but this episode managed to make me develop some sympathy towards them. Not only did Silver Spoon finally diss Diamond Tiara after being on the receiving end of her abuse, but we finally receive some insight into Diamond’s personal life. I’m not going to excuse her past behavior based upon her upbringing, but at least we have better understanding of it.

And how apropos was it that this episode was a musical? Of course such a major development would call for one. I would say that this episode is on par with Magical Mystery Cure, if not better; and as that episode showed that there was more for Twilight in the future even after becoming an alicorn, there is still more in store for the CMC, whose new sworn duty will be to help other ponies discover the true meaning of their cutie mark.

It seems as though past episodes, especially this season, have been providing closure to many character arcs within the series. Twilight has become the alicorn princess of friendship. Rarity has received her Canterlot boutique. The CMC have received their cutie marks. The only thing left is for Rainbow Dash to become a member of the Wonderbolts, and at this part, she’s at least unofficially one. This all begs the question: with so many arcs wrapping up, is the series itself coming to a close, or is it as the last song in the episode claims that this is where one journey ends and another begins?

Most of these talents were attempted by the CMC in previous episodes: bowling (The Cuite Pox), singing (Show Stoppers), writing (Cutie Mark Confidential), and many others.

What I really love about this first song is how it reflects the overall optimism of the CMC, which is the trait that I most admire about them. Even after five years (in our time) of them trying everything and everything, they do not allow their past failures to prevent them from preserving towards their goals.

An episode centered around elections and campaigns. Gee, you'd almost think we were approaching an election year or something. /s

Well, at least we're not going down the tired route of having one of the CMC run for president, only to allow the power to get to their heads.

Pipsqueak truly is a pipsqueak. (Also, Sweetie Belle is improving in her levitation spell.)

Wait, the school still hasn't repaired the damage left by the battle between Twilight and Tirek? Shouldn't that have been long addressed along with the other damage the town suffered?

Gee, the spoiled rich pony with the money to back her campaign is the one serving political power. There's a real-world allegory in there somewhere.

Aside from the fact that this window is ugly as Tartarus, shouldn't the school window have been returned back to normal when Discord was defeated? He pretty much used magic to make everything go topsy-turvy, and when he was defeated, everything affected by his magic was simply reverted to normal. No repair necessary.

Diamond Tiara's mother is Spoiled Rich, and her father is Filthy Rich. With parents with names like that, can you expect a child to be raised any other way than into a spoiled brat?

No, no, no, Diamond Tiara. If you want to win support, you don't promise to build a statue. You promise to build a wall to keep out the changelings and have Queen Chrysalis pay for it.

"A vote for Pip is a vote for the playground."
"A vote for Diamond Tiara is a vote for more Diamond Tiara."

One candidate wants to repair broken playground equipment. The other wants to erect a statue of themselves. Was it really a no-brainer who voters were going to vote for?

Not too enthused about this song. It's your typical election song that is too typical in many other election-themed episodes. Also, a vote for Pip is a vote for change? As in Hope and Change? Why do I get a feeling that he's going to be given a preemptive award for a Nobel Peace Prize only to blow up a hospital with sick and dying patients sometime within his term.

Why do I get a feeling that this is Flash Sentry's little brother.

Whoa. Forget Big Mac. This little filly can lift an entire house on her own! Who's the strongest pony in Ponyville now?

Gee, he almost has teeth like a horse.

I think Diamond Tiara forgot that campaigning outside of a polling place is an offense, as is bribing voters, of course!

Someone's gonna make a Sonic reference using this.

"Hey Tiara, perhaps you would win more votes if you showed you actually cared about pe..."
"Shut up! Empathy is for poor people. If Trump and Clinton proved anything, is that you don't need no stinking empathy to have people voted for you!"

And then the other pony did what every other prick of a kid on the playground and let go of the other side of the teeter totter to send Pip plummeting down painfully on his rump.

Again, one candidate ran on a platform of erecting a statue of herself. Was this really surprising?

And like every other sore loser, Diamond Tiara demands a recount. At least it didn't take weeks as with the 2000 election.

Silver Spoon disses Diamond Tiara. It only took five years, but it was worth the wait.

From the looks of the sign, Spoiled Rich either runs a hair salon or a powdered wig store.

Well, you can always get a refund.

"You lost to one of those blank flanks." Well, it's clear that she inherited her prejudice from her mother.

What Fancy Pants is secretly thinking: "Oh Celestia, I can't believe that I have to associate with these insufferable plot holes."

Well, this song managed to accomplish two things: 1) show that Diamond Tiara's VA can sing, and 2) make me empathize with my most hated MLP character. Congrats, song writers!

This will be the first time that Diamond Tiara visits the tree house...with the CMC's consent, of course, unlike last time.

This is actually an interesting concept. Diamond Tiara was raised in an upper-class environment where her position in life was hoisted upon her without her say, while the CMC have the "privilege" to decide what they want to do with their own lives. It seems like the higher ups, even with all of their advantages, have much fewer options that the lower classes.

Yeah, it's really hard to keep your feelings a secret when you're belting them out in a musical number. This really makes me wonder if the characters are even aware that they're even singing.

The school board denied pipsqueak's request for new playground equipment. It's almost as if one of the members is the parent of the losing candidate and is taking out there loss on the winning candidate.

No funding? If only they had a super-popular winning sports team that the school district could throw money at in order to fund elaborate sports stadiums and facilities, just like in the real world. Then the school would have enough money.

This is a rather decent song. Not only does it have a tempo for a really good chase song, but as a reprise for Diamond Tiara's song, it does reflect the inner conflict that she is having right now over her identity.

And we have a bunch of rich ponies congregating in the town square for...reasons! Because the song demands it. Is that a good enough reason?

Does Spoiled Rich have magic teleporting powers? Well, stupid question. All unicorns have magic teleportation powers. But even then, it doesn't explain how she had the ability to attend the board meeting and the random rich hoity-toity get together in the town square at the same time.

She doesn't want her daughter to associate with "low lives", yet she sends them to a public school? Well, that does raise the question of why Diamond Tiara is being sent to a public school rather than a fancy boarding school or charter school like most other rich offspring.

"These are the CMC, and they are my friends."

Okay, a land of talking horses, I can suspend my disbelief over, but the worst character in the entire series calling the targets of her aggression "friends" is something I have trouble believing to be real. This is a real canon episode, right?

Diamond Tiara ran all the way to school to give her mother a note to give to her father? Well, that was pointless. Also, I'm surprised Spoiled Rich is willing to cater to her daughters demands after she called her out as a friendless bitch in front of the whole school.

I don't know about you, but for some reason, that elaborate playset is causing a military-style march being whistled to play within my head. Seems like this will be an excellent place to have a Recess.

Interesting development. The CMC finally get their cutie marks when they absolve to focus on others rather than themselves.

I really do love the deigns here. Not only do they have the designs most of us were expecting (apple, song note, wing), but they have the shield that has been used with the CMC emblem since day one. They literally are Cutie Mark Crusaders now.

Why do I get a feeling that the season finale is going to center around the Cutecinera of these three, thus making them a central part of the story arc?

"If mom and dad WERE here." Applejack's parents death confirmed.

So, where are Sweetie Belle and Rarity's parents? Scootaloo gets a pass because we've never seen her parents, but we have seen Sweetie Belle's. Apple Blooms's family came out. Why not Sweetie's?

"We're these cutie marks worth waiting for or what?" It's almost as if she's asking the audience at home that question. And the answer would be a resounding yes, yes it was!

Obligatory clip montage is obligatory.

"A journey that never will end." Just in case you feared that they would not longer play an important role in the series now that they have met their main objective, they remind you that the end of one goal is only the beginning of another. I can't wait to see what the series had in store for them from here on out.

And like any other nearly perfect episode, this Persian Rug has one flaw, and that is the unnecessary use of opening theme footage.