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Episode 103. “Amending Fences”: It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want to...


Sunny Fox

2,286 views

Twilight Sparkle! You old so-and-so! What are you doing here?! - Minuette

Summary
After Spike comments that Twilight was a bad friend before coming to Ponyville, she decides to make a trip back to Canterlot to find her old “friends” so that she can apologize to and reconnect with them. The two revisit Twilight’s old quarters, to “start at the beginning”.

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Apparently, it’s a very good place to start…

I will give the writer a point here, for making a clever simile about how Twilight left her previous quarters and her friendships in the same incomplete state. Treasure that, writers, because you got virtually everything else wrong… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Twilight tracks down Minuette (Colgate to the bronies), and after a brief photo op, they head off to find Twilight’s other old “friends” , Lemon Drops and Twinkleshine. At Joe’s Donut Diner, Twilight apologizes for being a bad friend in the past. The three manage to brush it off while still somehow making Twilight feel worse.

A visit to the school science lab triggers a flashback for Twilight, who asks where Moon Dancer (another “friend”) is. They track her down, but find she isn’t interested in seeing any of them. Twilight follows her for a bit, and sees she’s very isolated. She then finds out from Minuette that there was a time she seemed to be opening up… until the party Twilight blew off in the pilot episode. Twilight realizes that her nonattendance is the reason why Moon Dancer is so introverted and shy now. She resolves to apologize and help Dancer to overcome her past pain.

Oh, the old awkward conversation in the library with everyone going “sssshhh!” bit. Really pushing the comedic envelope on this story, aren’t they? After that, Twilight takes Moon Dancer back to her old quarters, and proffers the key to the library, on condition that that she joins the old gang for dinner.

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Oh, hai, Starlight Glimmer! By the way, how’s your stalker life?

It doesn’t go well. Twilight, desperate to fix her mistake, enlists Pinkie Pie’s help in throwing a party for Moon Dancer. After Twilight again apologizes, Moon Dancer finally opens up and confirms that Twilight skipping her party really hurt her and made her retreat back into her shell. Seeing all the friends Twilight has gathered for her (including her sister), Moon Dancer decides to give friendship another chance. Spike gives her a photo of her friends, and the episode ends with Moon Dancer (now fulfilled) and the others heading out for a game of Calvinball.

The Bugz
I cannot understand why fans are praising the writing in this episode. I think it’s horrendous. Now don’t get me wrong… if you connected emotionally with Twilight and Moon Dancer’s story because you’ve had similar experiences in the past, and you like it on that account, I have absolutely no issue with that. Entirely without sarcasm I can say that I’m happy for you. But I will try to show that the story itself is very poorly written.

The plot is artificially kicked off by a random comment from Spike. It’s not the first time this has happened (Lesson Zero comes to mind) but in this episode, going this route is missing a huge opportunity for the Cutie Map to come into play. Yes, remember that Map? The express purpose of the Map is to highlight situations requiring the magic of friendship. One would think that a pony that isolated, and (ostensibly) made so by the Princess of Friendship herself, would merit a response from whatever is controlling the thing. But not even a blip. Nearly halfway through the season, the Map has been used a grand total of twice. This was a perfect time to increase that count. It would also have been much more effective for Twilight to arrive in Canterlot, not sure why she had been summoned there, and then on encountering her old “friends”, had the realization that her past actions had led to this situation, and that she now had to fix it. Basically, I think it would be cool to have a moment of realization: "I'm not just here to fix the problem... I AM the problem!"

You might have noticed I’ve been using quote marks every time I type “friends”. This is because whatever relationship Twilight had to the ponies she knew in Canterlot before moving to Ponyville, “friends” is not an accurate description. The pilot goes out of its way to establish that Twilight was isolated and antisocial. In the pilot, Twilight is tasked by Princess Celestia with “making friends”. Not “making new friends”, not “making friends in Ponyville”, “making friends”. There are many other lines that imply heavily that the Mane Six are her first set of friends. But perhaps you don’t consider that proof enough. And that’s fair, it’s got some wiggle room. Now how about A Canterlot Wedding? I don’t need the BBBFF song to make the point. Even before she starts singing, Twilight upright states the following: “Before I came here and learned the importance of friendship, Shining Armor was the only pony I ever really accepted as a friend.” There is no wiggle room or ambiguity there. Shining Armor was her only friend before Ponyville. And she didn’t even mention him until that episode. Now much less must she have cared for the “friends” who in Amending Fences are suddenly so important to her? She couldn’t even remember their names!

Oh, and that’s a running gag that pretty much negates any and all emotion in the episode. Twilight can’t remember her friend’s names, her friends apparently don’t remember Moon Dancer until she brings her up, and Moon Dancer calls her “Twilight Twinkle” accidentally. Yet we find out that they were all friends before and Moon Dancer was so fixated on Twilight being her only chance to find friendship? Somehow, I don’t find that convincing.

I can guess what you’re probably thinking. “Sunny Fox, didn’t you say in your Tanks for the Memories review that you don’t let continuity negate emotion? Aren’t you backpedaling here?” No. I still think an emotion connection with an episode trumps issues of continuity. But here, the emotional connection becomes unbelievable because what we’re given in the episode runs counter to what has been already firmly and unambiguously established. This is no minor point of fridge logic or a continuity error that can be handwaved; this is a full blown retcon of past events for the basis of creating a plot.

The second major difference is that the emotional connection that is the focus of TftM, between Dash and Tank, has been built up over a few episodes, such as the quick, surreptitious nuzzle in Just for Sidekicks, and involves a pony that we already know very well and can connect with, ourselves. We feel Dash’s emotional pain because the relationship is believable in and of itself, and because the closeness of their relationship has already been established prior to the episode. This is most certainly not the case with Twilight and Moon Dancer. (tl;dr: Emotion trumps continuity, but only if the emotion is convincing.)

Other decisions puzzle me as well. The flashback in the science lab has no real purpose. It doesn’t establish any meaningful backstory, other than to confirm Twilight and Moon Dancer went to school together. It certainly doesn’t help convince me that there was anything worthy of the name of friendship between the two. At best, it serves to remind Twilight that she hasn’t seen Moon Dancer yet… which is also unnecessary, since Spike already mentioned her as one of the “friends” to reconnect with, so Twilight doesn’t really need a flashback to justify bringing her up.

Edit: @@Dark Qiviut has pointed out something I missed regarding the flashback. It establishes that Moon Dancer is very similar to Twilight (a bookworm and antisocial) and would therefore probably feel closer to her than the others, which might help explain why she took Twilight's rejection so hard. Good catch, DQ! :) 

That’s enough ripping the story to pieces. Let’s look now at the characters.

Minuette was extremely annoying with her constant giggling. I previously described her as a “discount Pinkie Pie”. My mind hasn’t changed. And then when all three get together, the giggles have been tripled! She’s not entirely useless, as she is the main source of exposition for Twilight, but she really grated on my nerves the whole episode.

Speaking of Pinkie Pie, she is brought in (rather unnecessarily, I feel: Twilight couldn’t have planned a party on her own?) to set up the party at the end, and to just be Pinkie. I get the feeling gravity has just entirely given up on being able to control her. It’s worth a chuckle, but it’s still reducing Pinkie from a character to a gag machine.

The episode doesn’t do any favours for Twilight, either. She just assumes she’s so important to other ponies that her losing contact with them is causing them terrible suffering. She was right in Moon Dancer’s case but that’s, what, one out of five? She only could be about 20% wronger if she tried (hur hur hur). Her demeanour in the flashback reminded me more of Diamond Tiara than Twilight. How does one reconcile that with the happy filly who leaps around shouting “yes yes yes yes!” in the Cutie Mark Chronicles? This episode doesn’t make Twilight fallible and thereby relatable, since her mistake was made before her character development. I don’t consider her a Mary Sue, like some of her detractors do, but this episode certainly makes me wonder if they might not have a point about her being represented as infallible these days. The previous episode had a similar problem, because her “failure” wasn’t due to her, but rather to the yaks deplorable tendency to make a huge fuss over tiny inconsequential details. I mean, what kind of immature idiot behaves like that? (Ha HAH, self-burn!)

Now we come to the real millstone around the neck of this episode: Moon Dancer herself. Let me start with a question: if this character were to be introduced as someone’s OC, what do you think the response would be? Overwhelmingly negative, is my guess. A minor positive point is that they use the colours of G1 Moon Dancer, but she’s just a Twilight recolour with glasses and eyebrows; two thirds of Groucho Marx, as it were.

Apart from her lackluster design, her fixation on Twilight is one of the least justified elements of the story. Apparently, Twilight hurt her by not attending the party she organized, thereby causing her to give up on friendship. There are a number of problems with this. First, she never actually invited Twilight to her party, or made it clear in any way that it was important to her. Twilight was given an off-hand, second-hand invite by Twinkleshine. Second, why was Twilight so important to her in the first place? That flashback indicates that their similarlity might have caused that. But oh-so-similar Twilight wasn’t the one who started to bring her out of her shell. Moon Dancer literally credits the three of them (Minuette, Lemon Heart and Twinkleshine) for making her think she might want to be more social, and as far as we’re aware, everypony but Twilight was at the party. Their support and friendship apparently wasn’t worth anything in Dancer’s eyes; it was Twilight or nothing. Third, as Spike mentions, Twilight was given an assignment by Princess Celestia, and so couldn’t have attended the party even had she wanted to. Princess Celestia knew she needed to send Twilight to Ponyville to stop Nightmare Moon (she as much as says so at the end of the second episode), so the assignment would have given to Twilight regardless. Because of these points above, her reaction to Twilight’s absence from her party becomes an overreaction, and Twilight shouldn’t be blamed for that. All in all, I personally don't find Moon Dancer's reclusion and subsequence outburst at Twilight was justified, which really rips out the heart of the emotional conflict the episode is built around.

What moral are we meant to take from this? "Attend every event you're invited to, just in case someone's self esteem relies on you being there"? "It's okay to shut yourself off from society because one person snubbed you once"? "Focus on one person and if they won't be your friend, give up on people entirely"? Or just maybe, it might be "Be careful of what you do, because even the smallest action may have consequences"? Yeah, let's go with that one. My point here is that the moral is kind of confused. They may have been going for something like the last one above, but I don't think they did a very good job of it.

The Shrugz
It was interesting to see Starlight Glimmer stalking Twilight. I admit I was not observant enough to notice her for myself when I watched the episode, so I only found out by reading the episode's thread. It has to be deliberate, and I'm glad to see that the writers are trying to build a continuing story arc. It doesn't make the episode better or worse, but it's definitely worth mentioning.

I found this entire episode to be in a sense unnecessary. Going back to a single scene, that in all likelihood was there just to establish Twilight's credentials as a antisocial bookworm, and expanding on it, doesn't really contribute to the story of Twilight and the Mane Six learning good lessons through friendship. It's going back and revisiting your past, not improving yourself for the future. I want to see Twilight moving forward, not going back and trying to fix every mistake she's ever made. Let her make new mistakes and learn from those.

Fancy Pants and Fleur de Lis appear to be a couple again. So much for my Rarity x Fancy Pants ship, huh? Or is Fancy Pants just a two timer?

Yeah, I call shenanigans on the idea that Spike's tail can perforate and crush a present, disemboweling a teddy bear in the process, yet leave the picture (which generally would have been placed on the bottom of the box with the teddy bear on top) untouched. Minor nitpick, though, so it's a neutral rather than a negative.

And what's up with the title of the episode, anyway? "Mending Fences" would have been just as accurate a title, with the added benefit of actually being an existing expression. Why "amending fences"? It just comes off as trying too hard to make the title some kind of pun (not a new problem with FiM...)

Twilight can invade Flatland, if only for a few minutes. I find it somewhat amusing that some fans have praised this idea for showing a limit on Twilight's magical power. She can go from three dimensions to two and make herself into a sentient line drawing, and because it's a temporary effect, that makes it a restriction?! Do tell.

The Hugz
As I've mentioned in the episode discussion thread, there is a lesson to be learned here, about how a single act of thoughtlessness can lead to hurting someone, and that one should be careful of that. It's somewhat mired in the poor writing, but I think that's what they were going for.

Spike at least got a little screen time that didn't involve him getting dumped on by the universe. He also showed his more thoughtful side, by presenting Moon Dancer with a present. Which she apparently treasures, even though it didn't come from Twilight.. *cough*... bullshit... *cough*

Pros: An interesting premise, and there is a good moral in there somewhere, trying to get out.
Cons: The premise is poorly executed, the central conflict is based on one pony's obsession with Twilight, the characters introduced are nowhere near as likeable as our Mane cast is, the moral is rather unclear.

Final Thoughts
I had hoped that on reflection, I would find a few more positives in this episode. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. The more I think about this episode, the clumsier and more nonsensical I find it.

Final Ranking:
Rarity’s Cutie Mark Rank – A scintillating story! Sure to be rewatched frequently.
Rock Candy Rank – A highly enjoyable episode, but it couldn’t avoid a cavity or two.
Tom Rank – Average. While it looked like a diamond, it turned out to be just a rock.
blogentry-2257-0-17689000-1436392322.jpgBoulder Rank – Below average. Take it out once or twice, and then leave it in your pocket.
Rock Farm Rock Rank – A terrible episode. Leave it where it lies.

Wow. What has happened to me? Have I become jaded? I've spent most of a day typing up a scathing condemnation of a simple story about righting past wrongs. I blame Slice of Life... it all went downhill from there...

Stay sunny side up, or whatever.

  • Brohoof 3

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The one thing I have to say on your idea of the Cutie Map, although while I agree it has definitely been underutilized contrary to its setup in the season premiere (which would pretty much be par for the course with story arcs in this show only coming up once or twice, or 6 or 7 times if you're lucky enough to have the key arc), it's been sort of symbolic of a change in this show that reaches into episodes where it's not involved. The Mane 6 have transitioned from students to teachers, (IMO one season too late) moving on from learning the slice-of-life lessons to sharing their experiences with others. This was another one of those episodes, even if the symbolic physical device wasn't there.

 

I see your point with the other ponies not being friends with Twilight, as it were, but they damn well wanted to be, and in very recent situations, I found myself in the position the three unicorns plus Moondancer found themselves in. It's when you're sure you might be making a strong friendship but end up taking a simple situational rejection like a personal slap to the face. I'm sure that, even if Moondancer wasn't friends with Twilight as it were, Moondancer showed a genuine interest in wanting to make a connection with Twilight and had genuine admiration for her in shared talents, interest, personality, etc. The same thing I see in many of my friends on this site, the real world, and elsewhere on the Internet, and even if I have great, supportive friends, one rejection can really strain that relationship.

 

You make some very good points about Moondancer's characterization in the episode. Everything about her fixation on Twilight did come off as forced when connections to the backstory are to be made. I mainly criticized Moondancer's implementation into the plotline as another obvious Twilight foil (the fourth one in the show). All of these characterization flaws seem to be related to the fact that Moondancer was written as a mirror image of Twilight Sparkle, not an independent character in and of herself. I do agree the conflict would have been more believable if it had not been so Twilight-centric, possibly instead casting the other three in a more negative light by adding more backstory or developing more traits for Moondancer than to just be another extreme mirror image of Twilight.

 

I do appreciate the story's premise, roots in continuity, and relatability that I've found even through these continuity gaps and Moondancer's characterization issues. In tone, the episode handled itself well, unlike weaker episodes that don't take their issues seriously enough. Even though Moondancer was a thin character, I still felt for her because I projected my own experiences onto that conflict.

 

It's good to read reviews like this to open up to things I may not have picked up on in my own viewings of the episode.

  • Brohoof 3
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It makes so much sense for Moondancer to react the way she did. The initial flashback is made to prove the audience how much she and Twilight are alike: studying first, friendship second. Both of them were nearly the same person sans the cutie mark, horn aura, and fur color.

 

Like Twilight, MD was just as much an introvert. Studios with less perspective of friendship. So it would've taken a ton of prodding just for her to be a part of a gathering, much less set up for one. Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, and Minuette had to really convince her that there might be someone who really understands her position, sympathizes with her, and wants to be her friend. Just from the flashbacks, she had to really be convinced that it was a good idea to plan a party for Twilight, herself, and the trio of friends.

 

Instead, TS blows it off in favor of studying. Later on, when Spike told her about the crushed gift, she said they had no time for it. This happens very often in real life: You plan a party for specific people or a big gathering, only to find out that none of them bother to show up. This can be really crushing for the person who planned it or set up the party for their loved one. Here, Twilight never said goodbye and considered her reading about the Elements of Harmony to be more important than spending time with companions despite being on a break. (Twilight didn't know about the Mare of the Moon's escape until after arriving in her studio.) Moondancer set up the surprise party specifically for Twilight, only for Twilight to not be there, ignore it, and forget about it. Moondancer is already very vulnerable; for this to happen makes a devastating moment even worse.

 

Now that Twilight understands friendship's importance, what she did is totally justifiable. She had friends there (SA, Cadance), but possibly more. But she didn't see others like Minuette as friends despite THEM seeing HER as one. She wanted to right a wrong, and the audience saw the terrible consequences. Moondancer devolved into a recluse out of bitterness because she can't cope with the painful rejection any other way, and it's very believable. The anger and hurt MD unleashed upon Twilight at the new party was a long time coming; as painful as the lesson is, Twilight had to learn it. Even though her decision turned out for the best, what she thought would be a little action had a really negative impact on MD.

  • Brohoof 5
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The one thing I have to say on your idea of the Cutie Map, although while I agree it has definitely been underutilized contrary to its setup in the season premiere (which would pretty much be par for the course with story arcs in this show only coming up once or twice, or 6 or 7 times if you're lucky enough to have the key arc), it's been sort of symbolic of a change in this show that reaches into episodes where it's not involved. The Mane 6 have transitioned from students to teachers, (IMO one season too late) moving on from learning the slice-of-life lessons to sharing their experiences with others. This was another one of those episodes, even if the symbolic physical device wasn't there.

 

I see your point with the other ponies not being friends with Twilight, as it were, but they damn well wanted to be, and in very recent situations, I found myself in the position the three unicorns plus Moondancer found themselves in. It's when you're sure you might be making a strong friendship but end up taking a simple situational rejection like a personal slap to the face. I'm sure that, even if Moondancer wasn't friends with Twilight as it were, Moondancer showed a genuine interest in wanting to make a connection with Twilight and had genuine admiration for her in shared talents, interest, personality, etc. The same thing I see in many of my friends on this site, the real world, and elsewhere on the Internet, and even if I have great, supportive friends, one rejection can really strain that relationship.

 

You make some very good points about Moondancer's characterization in the episode. Everything about her fixation on Twilight did come off as forced when connections to the backstory are to be made. I mainly criticized Moondancer's implementation into the plotline as another obvious Twilight foil (the fourth one in the show). All of these characterization flaws seem to be related to the fact that Moondancer was written as a mirror image of Twilight Sparkle, not an independent character in and of herself. I do agree the conflict would have been more believable if it had not been so Twilight-centric, possibly instead casting the other three in a more negative light by adding more backstory or developing more traits for Moondancer than to just be another extreme mirror image of Twilight.

 

I do appreciate the story's premise, roots in continuity, and relatability that I've found even through these continuity gaps and Moondancer's characterization issues. In tone, the episode handled itself well, unlike weaker episodes that don't take their issues seriously enough. Even though Moondancer was a thin character, I still felt for her because I projected my own experiences onto that conflict.

 

It's good to read reviews like this to open up to things I may not have picked up on in my own viewings of the episode.

Thanks for the comment. I think the episode relies too much on generating that “I know that feels, bro” reaction. The reaction itself is valid, and seems to have hit home for many fine fans like yourself. And that’s okay, I don’t think less of a person for thinking that way. I just found the way the writers went about it was so confused and clumsy, and Moon Dancer herself to be so emotionally immature that the sentiment just rings hollow to me.

 

 

It makes so much sense for Moondancer to react the way she did. The initial flashback is made to prove the audience how much she and Twilight are alike: studying first, friendship second. Both of them were nearly the same person sans the cutie mark, horn aura, and fur color.

 

Like Twilight, MD was just as much an introvert. Studios with less perspective of friendship. So it would've taken a ton of prodding just for her to be a part of a gathering, much less set up for one. Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, and Minuette had to really convince her that there might be someone who really understands her position, sympathizes with her, and wants to be her friend. Just from the flashbacks, she had to really be convinced that it was a good idea to plan a party for Twilight, herself, and the trio of friends.

 

Instead, TS blows it off in favor of studying. Later on, when Spike told her about the crushed gift, she said they had no time for it. This happens very often in real life: You plan a party for specific people or a big gathering, only to find out that none of them bother to show up. This can be really crushing for the person who planned it or set up the party for their loved one. Here, Twilight never said goodbye and considered her reading about the Elements of Harmony to be more important than spending time with companions despite being on a break. (Twilight didn't know about the Mare of the Moon's escape until after arriving in her studio.) Moondancer set up the surprise party specifically for Twilight, only for Twilight to not be there, ignore it, and forget about it. Moondancer is already very vulnerable; for this to happen makes a devastating moment even worse.

 

Now that Twilight understands friendship's importance, what she did is totally justifiable. She had friends there (SA, Cadance), but possibly more. But she didn't see others like Minuette as friends despite THEM seeing HER as one. She wanted to right a wrong, and the audience saw the terrible consequences. Moondancer devolved into a recluse out of bitterness because she can't cope with the painful rejection any other way, and it's very believable. The anger and hurt MD unleashed upon Twilight at the new party was a long time coming; as painful as the lesson is, Twilight had to learn it. Even though her decision turned out for the best, what she thought would be a little action had a really negative impact on MD.

Thank you for the comment; you certainly give a good reason for why the flashback was included, and its importance to the story. If you don’t mind, I’d like to edit that in (I'll credit you for it, of course). However, my opinion on Moon Dancer remains unchanged, if not lowered. Her being similar to Twilight makes her reaction less justifiable, because she should have understood that an introverted pony like Twilight might wish to spend an evening quietly studying alone over socializing at a party, much as MD herself might prefer that. She’s allowed to be introverted, but Twilight isn’t? That’s a blatant double standard. It also shows MD putting her needs and desires ahead of Twilight’s. Not cool at all. Speaking of which…

 

Another damning aspect is that MD is unfairly projecting her own insecurities and feelings onto Twilight, without Twilight even knowing about it. If she wants to attach expectations to Twilight without so much as making an attempt at cluing her in, then it’s her own fault if Twilight doesn’t meet those expectations. The writers, and even Twilight herself, are too quick to attach blame to Twilight for MD’s own neuroses. Twilight even says at the end “Back when we were in school together, you invited me to a party. I was so focused on my studies that I didn't show up.” Which is a blatant contradiction of what we saw in the pilot and the flashback based on it. MD herself never invited Twilight anywhere. Twilight got a backhanded invite from a different pony. MD set up the party for Twilight, but she didn’t actually invite Twilight, and made no effort to ensure that Twilight knew that it was important to her. So it’s utterly unjustified for MD to get upset when Twilight doesn’t show. To which I also have to add: an invitation in no way obligates the person to accept, no matter how much you want them to. Twilight did nothing wrong in declining the invitation. Had she previously agreed to go, and then not shown up, it might make me feel MD has a right to be upset. As it stands, no.

 

The ponies whom MD credits with making her more social in the first place (notably, she doesn’t include Twilight in that group) did show up, but their support and friendship apparently meant nothing to MD; only Twilight's presence was important. Isn’t it just a little bit unfair of MD to treat the other three like that? They even tried to invite her out afterwards, but she turned them all down. Don't they have just as much right to be angry at her for her rejection of their friendly overtures?

 

Moon Dancer's hurt feelings and resulting isolation are entirely self-inflicted, but she blames Twilight for it, and (this is the part that really annoys me) Twilight accepts the blame, rather than pointing out that she couldn’t reasonably have been expected to know how important it was to MD. I remain convinced: Moon Dancer is a horribly written character, and this is a horribly written episode. 

  • Brohoof 2
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Actually for the Twilight Twinkle part I'm sure Dancer didn't seriously think it was her name.

 

Since she seems pretty angry and has a grudge against Twilight for what she caused in the past to crush her and make her more introverted than before after ditching the party, she most likely was jokingly or sarcastically calling her Twilight Twinkle to give her a hint that she didn't wish to be bothered.

 

A lot of people who act saracastic sometimes or seem annoyed could act as such and do something like pronucing someone's name wrong or getting the name wrong. And Dancer sure seemed annoyed with Twilight.

 

Also, it's a clever reference to the development of the show. Twilight orginially was going to be named Twilight Twinkle however before the first episode it was changed to Twilight Sparkle.

 

Still a good review overall and you for sure changed my opinion on the episode. I'm starting to dislike this episode now for this. You did a well job on this review!

  • Brohoof 2
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Actually for the Twilight Twinkle part I'm sure Dancer didn't seriously think it was her name.

 

Since she seems pretty angry and has a grudge against Twilight for what she caused in the past to crush her and make her more introverted than before after ditching the party, she most likely was jokingly or sarcastically calling her Twilight Twinkle to give her a hint that she didn't wish to be bothered.

 

A lot of people who act saracastic sometimes or seem annoyed could act as such and do something like pronucing someone's name wrong or getting the name wrong. And Dancer sure seemed annoyed with Twilight.

 

Also, it's a clever reference to the development of the show. Twilight orginially was going to be named Twilight Twinkle however before the first episode it was changed to Twilight Sparkle.

 

Still a good review overall and you for sure changed my opinion on the episode. I'm starting to dislike this episode now for this. You did a well job on this review!

Thanks for the comment! While I agree that "Twilight Twinkle" was probably just Moon Dancer being facetious, I still think it's more a red herring than anything. After all, Twilight wasn't being sarcastic when she admitted she couldn't remember the names of her "friends", and the others weren't being sarcastic when they couldn't at first remember who Moon Dancer was. Given the previous two instances, putting it in (even as a mythology gag) gives a false impression of Moon Dancer not remembering Twilight Sparkle, even though she is the pony who broke her heart in the past.

 

I also don't think you should reverse your position on the episode based on what I've pointed out here. Just acknowledging that there are problems with the writing is all I could ask. Whatever you liked about it in the first place should still be relevant, so like it if you like it. I don't mind if people like it, but when they declare it flawless, I have to disagree, because it certainly isn't flawless. But then, what episode is?

  • Brohoof 2
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I tend to enjoy this episode about up to the ending, partially because I respect its ambition, partially because the continuity is appealing, but mostly because until the ending it reads just as easily like Twilight's overreacting to her supposed misdeeds. I really thought that this episode was going to have a message about how friends drift apart and how some people just don't want to be friendly and extroverted, but then it goes into its ending and, despite how many strong emotional tricks the episode pulls out, just about every single one of the issues you've listed here becomes hard for me to ignore. 

 

Moreover, the fact that Moondancer's reclusiveness is a bitter defense mechanism doesn't really ring true, and as a result, I find Twilight bothering her so much to border on stalking. It's hard enough to get behind Twilight when the episode grants her zero flaws, but then her actions become difficult for me to justify despite the episode clearly thinking they're downright necessary. Maybe if we saw how Moondancer's actions were harmful to her, it'd make sense, but they leave that exclusively for recollections, flashbacks, and the ending. It seems like she's just an introverted person who doesn't want annoying ponies bothering her all the time with stuff she doesn't care about. 

 

In addition, I can't help but feel that Twilight being the cause of Moondancer's reclusiveness only serves to justify Twilight's paranoia, which is doubly frustrating because Twilight doesn't learn anything.  Anything you could see as this episode's main lesson is something she already knows from the past four and a half seasons.

 

Season 5 frustrated me because of episodes like this and "The Mane Attraction," where a main character only exists for us to see a completely new character who we have no reason to care about. Moondancer is probably the worst example, because at least Coloratura has an understandable issue even if she lacks personality. I can't be invested in Moondancer if I've only known her for half an episode, and if her issues are only explored for half of that. 

 

Usually, I'd comment that it's good this wasn't a map episode, because I think the map is a really lazy plot device which only exists as a storytelling crutch, but it honestly wouldn't be all that much worse than the actual setup of the episode, where Twilight neurotically feels she needs to fix a previous mistake based on an offhand comment from Spike. Again, justifying Twilight's neuroses doesn't feel like the correct course of action for this episode. Still, I guess I'm glad Larson tried to have a character-relevant reason for Twilight to go to Canterlot. 

 

Part of the issue, I think, really is length. There's obviously more behind Moondancer's issues, but they're explored at such a surface level that, without an intrisnic emotional connection, they don't even make all that much sense. The episode might have been much more understandable if we knew more about Moondancer and why she was reacting this way, but all of this stemming from Twilight Sparkle - Twilight Sparkle of all ponies - not attending a single party isn't particularly believable for me. 

 

I appreciate the review - it's so cathartic to find someone who shares my thoughts on this one, when everywhere else I turn I see heaps of adoration for it. 

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