Welcome back everypony to another "Batbrony Reviews." This week, oh gosh... so Discord finally had his "Lesson Zero" moment. One would've thought that it might've been in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" before this episode, but nope, this was definitely it. Poor dude went off the deep end from almost the first minute to the last. And ya know what...
I didn't just like it, I LOVED it! This episode... oh my goodness, this episode. My one complaint is that it wasn't longer, just because I would have liked to get to see more of the Gala a second time around. But really, even as is, this episode is pretty much perfect. The pacing, although whirlwind-fast from start to finish, was outstanding, and they somehow managed to not only fit in an actual plot with a well-delivered message, but A LOT of little subplots and nice little aesthetic touches as well. Without further ado, let's begin.
So to start, let's talk the main character, Discord. First of all, it's very much worth noting that this is the first time, in my opinion at least, that he's been the SOLE main character of an episode. He's been a main character before, but here, it was clear from start to finish that he was the primary subject. No one else had to actually learn a lesson, it was him alone, and while we've seen his chaotic nature before get him in trouble, this time things, although still similar, were also quite different. Discord did not cause trouble entirely because of his penchant for causing chaos; instead, he caused trouble because he was actually worried about his dearest friendship he has, that being with Fluttershy. That illustrates a remarkable amount of character progression for Discord; it's quite clear, now, that friendship, at least his friendship with Fluttershy, is the most important thing in his life. At the same time, the episode also handily illustrated how much he still has to learn about friendship, seeing as the entire conflict was driven by his possessiveness of Fluttershy, jealousy of Tree Hugger, and inability to understand 'sharing' Fluttershy with other friends. Granted, that might seem a bit confusing seeing as Fluttershy has been friends with the Mane 6 since she befriended Discord, but she was friends with them before she even met Discord, so perhaps that makes it easier for him to accept those friendships. Overall, him making a mistake like this makes a lot of sense, and Fluttershy knocking some sense into him at the end was a great delivery of the message and lesson he had to learn. Besides that, he was a riot, as Discord always is; from his insane house in Lord-only-knows-what-dimension (speaking of which, I'm impressed the mail pony even managed to get to his house in the first place) to the crazy antics he kept doing from start to finish, not to mention that terrifying puppet-dimension he opened, John DeLancie brought his A-game as always to this role and most certainly did not disappoint! All in all, this was a fantastic episode for Discord, and it was great to see him not only being hilarious in his chaotic, crazy way as usual, but also learn such a lesson as he did here.
Next, let's talk about... well, everything else, since, as I said before, there was A LOT of other stuff in this episode. I loved seeing Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack bringing their sisters/surrogate sister as their plus-ones to the Gala, there were some really feel-good and cute moments in that little story-thread and it was one of the things that I would've loved to see more of if this were a two-parter episode. Twilight and Princess Celestia were very cute together as well, though I was awfully disappointed that Luna didn't even make an appearance. Ah well, at least Celestia was channeling her inner-Trollestia this entire episode, that was fun. For not really enjoying Maud in her initial appearance, I actually really liked seeing her here. I don't know, maybe she's actually grown on me since she first showed up, maybe it's that I actually really like some of the fan work she shows up in, but she was really funny here and it was cool seeing her brought back, even if she wasn't in it that much (she did manage to get a wicked burn in on Discord, after all). It was great seeing the Grand Galloping Gala again as well (though was it just me, or did it seem a little... empty, at times?), and I absolutely adored some of the dresses and suits, whether worn by main or background characters. Discord was swagging in his orange-suit-and-top hat, the Mane 6 and Celestia all looked lovely and I can't wait to see some fan art of their dresses, and even minor/background characters like Maud, Tree Hugger, Raindrops, and Lyra looked great. Overall, you know that all the little things in this episode worked splendidly when my biggest complaint about them is that I wanted to see even more of them!
LOL, you do suck at flying Twilight!
Soooo... how's your night been? Having a good time?
Pinkie, what are you doing? Pinkie, stahp.
I do so love bucking up state events! Especially that time I invited Chrysalis and her changelings to Canterlot.
The Smooze itself did not disappoint, not in the slightest. It was simply a riot (not to mention a bit adorable as well in a... smoozy sort of way), and you could tell the writers were having a lot of fun with this guy. I loved that he wasn't actually a malicious, he's just a hungry... well, smooze that simply can't help itself, and that made for some hilarious gags. My particular favorite was when he got all over Rarity and Discord vacuumed off the ooze and her dress, IDK, it may be an old gag, but it was fairly hilarious given that Rarity would literally be the only pony at the Gala who would be so self-conscious of suddenly being "naked" in front of everypony. In fact, I'd even say that it might have been hearkening back to her line in the Season 1 finale when she didn't want Spike coming in while they were getting dressed for the Gala. Either way, it was a fun gag, and there were tons more with the Smooze, which I think we all expected but nonetheless was still great to see.
I seriously loved this gag SO MUCH!!!
I ship it
The one thing I didn't actually really care for in this episode was our new character, Tree Hugger. Now don't get me wrong, she wasn't anything for me like what Maud was when she first showed up; seriously, Maud did NOTHING for me when she first appeared and I didn't care about her in the slightest back in Season 4. Tree Hugger was entertaining, to say the least; it was pretty funny seeing the writers run with the hippie-caricature like they did, her voice actress did a nice job in the role, and I'm fairly sure she was high-as-a-kite at the Gala (pretty much confirmed when she told Discord she didn't remember him). I can also totally see Fluttershy befriending somepony like this, so that worked fine as well. What I didn't like was that she was sorta Mary Sue-ish, and not just in her mannerisms. Fluttershy kept saying really weird stuff like "Oh my gosh, that's the funniest thing I've heard!" to reinforce how wonderful Tree Hugger was, and that felt off for both Fluttershy and the writers. For one, I highly doubt from what we saw that Tree Hugger is that funny, so I really didn't believe what Fluttershy was saying, and secondly, this was literally the writers telling instead of showing us that Tree Hugger's alright. Now yeah, we got to learn about her as well, but she didn't seem as amazing as Fluttershy often described her. My beef with this Mary Sue-ishness was only amplified when she stopped the Smooze. Not only did it seem like a terribly obvious plot-device to only make Discord hate her more and everyone else love her more (ZOMG GUYS, NOT EVEN CELESTIA OR TWILIGHT CAN STOP THE SMOOZE, WHATEVER SHALL WE DO?!?! Wait, here comes Tree Hugger to save the day! OMG, YOU SO COOL TREE HUGGER!!!... see what I mean?), but... come on, even for an episode as bizarre at times as this one, the bucking noises she made to calm it down were just WEIRDDDDDDDDD. I mean, seriously, what the buck was that? What the buck was she actually doing? And, I know her talent is supposed to be with rare animals, but she seriously figured out in 5 seconds what to do to stop the Smooze? I'm sorry, but she was such a Mary Sue at times that there were a lot of things I didn't like about her in execution. It just felt like the writers were trying too hard to both convince the other characters AND the audience that she's cool, and they didn't really need to; like I said, I found some of her lines enjoyable enough, so they just should've let her traits speak for themselves instead of having her save-the-day for no reason other than the plot demanded it. OK, rant over. I hope the length of this rant didn't suggest I hated this character, I really didn't. I'm just disappointed in her and the writers, is all.
Seriously, though, HOW THE BUCK DID SHE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT SHE HAD TO DO THIS?!?! Was it all the drugs? Be honest, it was the drugs, wasn't it??
Overall, however, this episode was a treat. Like I said, this was Discord's "Lesson Zero" and man-oh-man was it as crazy as that sounds. The humor was great, the pacing phenomenal, the animation superb, the main and minor story threads both simply splendid, and it was cool seeing how far Discord has come as a character, but also how far he still has to go in learning how to truly befriend others. It makes you wonder about more disturbing questions, like how is Fluttershy going to teach him to accept losing friends; I mean, yeah, we're never gonna see that in the show, but we all know that Fluttershy is going to die someday. Well... she'll have to at some point before then teach Discord how to accept that seeing as he's an immortal being and all, and that's... kinda tragic to think about, seeing as, despite his age, he's so new to this. Just goes to show how much great character there is for even a guy as seemingly whacky-on-the-surface as Discord. Anyways, fun episode, wonderfully put together episode, I loved every minute of it. Season 5 continues its roll of good episodes with a real bang-up one this week, and I couldn't be happier. That's all I got everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*
This was such a blast, and everypony had the time of their lives as I indirectly ruined their evening! I sure am glad nopony important got to miss out on all this fun!