I consider myself a reasonable person. Who doesn't?
SPOILERS for 3rd Equestria Girl Short. STOP NOW if you don’t want them. I’ll remove this WARNING when the episode airs.
Starlight Glimmer was introduced, among other reasons, to help be new viewer’s guide to the show. I get that. It’s a great idea. Bravo. The more the merrier. More people means more ratings. More ratings means more episodes. Maybe even Equestria Girls the series.
I recently had the chance to watch the 3rd Equestria Girl short, and I was pumped. I was hoping we’d have Twilight Prime or Celestia run into Sunset. Maybe have that wonderful heartfelt “I was wrong!” “I know” moment we all in one way or another, envision!
I was extremely disappointed. Not because I didn’t see any of that. I’m fine with that. More suspense the better.
First. Lets recap Starlight Glimmer.
I’ve said in my early reviews when we first met Starlight Glimmer that my first impression was that of joy. Starlight was presented as a veiled homage to both Socialism and the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union. I loved that. She had no regrets about what she was doing. She thought she was doing the right thing. Most well rounded villains do. She used a Plot Device to steal Cutie Marks and make everyone Equal. Because when everyone’s equal, no one is better. That's the problem with socialism and communism however, it’s never that easy. There’s always someone in charge. Corrupt most often than not, who keeps the status quo with the help of devoted brainwashed minions. The same was true in Starlight’s village.
When the whole thing comes crashing down around her, she does what any good villain does: she runs. When cornered, she tries to flat out KILL the Mane 6. If Twilight hadn’t had her barrier spell, she would have succeeded. Then came the moment of truth. The moment I might add that Sunset Shimmer (who I’m convinced was a prototype for Starlight) choked at. When classically our villain should have a small breakdown and repent, and be accepted and not executed for their crimes, Starlight does not.
I was overcome with hope that we’d finally gotten on the right path of balancing realism and cartoonism lessons.
Starlight vows REVENGE.
She does, quite frankly, what I would have done. For the rest of the season she spies on Twilight and her friends to find out just HOW they beat her, and what she can take away from Twilight to make her feel as awful as she does. Thus making all things equal again. She then waits for the proper moment and tool to strike with: The Time Spell we all but forgot existed from seasons past. Using it, she does, again, what I would have done: she goes back and stops the Rainboom that began the lives of all the Mane 6 from happening. Problem solved. The final part of any revenge plan is to make sure your target knows who destroyed them. Often a pitfall of villains, but still important. What goods the work if no one knows? So Starlight does in fact, let Twilight know who is responsible. Then the moment I personally was waiting to find out: What horrific event made this monster?
Villains aren’t born. They are made. Something tragic usually. Personal, and always life altering.
Starlight gives us her backstory, finally, and despite the fact it kind of resembles what I thought was going to happen to the Cutie Mark Crusaders when one got their mark (by the way, what a cop out :P) it was comic book perfect. We learn that unlike the wonderful happy friends that the Mane 6 are, Starlight didn’t get her Cutie Mark when her best friend did. When he did (which apparently was for being able to sort by the dewey decimal system I guess?) his family showered him with enough praise and uplifting that anyone would be upset, let alone our villain. He quickly disappeared out of her life, leaving her alone. The most important thing to any pony, had made HER the most miserable one.
She didn’t want that to happen to anyone else. So she started (with Maud’s help it seems) her plan for the village. Then it was destroyed by Twilight, making it extremely personal. Bringing us to the end of that season where Starlight is literally inches away from winning, and she chokes. Somehow, the Magic of Friendship wins, making her an instant friend. I’m all for the lesson that “why make enemies when we can make friends” don’t get me wrong. It’s something that needs to be instilled more and more each generation. But, we can’t be so naive to let the lesson be that if you try hard enough it will ALWAYS happen.
Try that the next time you are mugged at gunpoint
So, thus Starlight joins our merry crew of ponies and despite the fact she’s new and knows she makes mistakes, she’s able to learn fast! She learns in half a season or so what it took us 4 seasons to teach everyone else, and THEY are supposedly the elements avatars. Starlight is not. Yet there she goes, excelling.
The unthinkable happens: the 2 demigod like sisters, Luna and Celestia, and everyone else that actually matters to the world, are replaced in a two parter that I loved as a callback to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The Queen who was in the finale of season 2 came back and hatched an evil scheme, and unlike Starlight, actually did something right. Gathering the best of our backdoor favorites: Discord, The Great and Powerful Trixie, and Thorax who gets the silver medal one becoming the fastest friend we EVER pick up, form a Suicide Squad to get everyone back!
Because if a seemingly immortal alicorn, her sister, and her student, her student’s hand chosen friends and the rest of the royal family can’t, clearly what we need are Jobbers But I’ll be damned if they don’t pull it off, thanks to STARLIGHT’S plan. Which looks like she’s making up as she goes along.
Let's quickly summarize: Starlight enslaves a town in such a way they thank her, she’s thwarted by Twilight and company, she then escapes without reforming. She then returns and execute a perfectly timed plan using time travel to undo her opponents before they even become, celebrates her victory in front of Twilight. Twilight gives a speech, Starlight see’s the errors of her ways and all is forgiven. She then turns into the 7th pony in half a season. She then saves the entire kingdom of Canterlot, neigh say, the world, with the help of tertiary characters and her wits.
This sounds remarkably like a literary trope I was once warned about.
Now, all that behind us. Let's go to the Equestria girl short #3. Sunset goes through the portal and meets the only person apparently minding the castle, Starlight Glimmer! She then returns with Sunset (because who's going to steal a castle!?) and adapts way faster than Twilight, who for all intents and purposes, is third in line for wisdom at this point, and has just an awful set of jeans. Sunset and Starlight hit it off, I can honestly forgive this given their similarities. What happens next is the issue.
So the Monster of the Week, Juniper something or other, has trapped Sunset’s friends in a mirror. Seems villainy enough, right? Ok, so then Sunset goes to confront her, and knowing very well how dangerous magic can be, and having beaten three CLASS A supervillains across as many movies, is sucked into the mirror as well. Starlight is now left alone in an alien world with no magic and only her wits.
The two square off and play an amusing game of round and round we go, followed by the most atrocious thing I’ve seen since they let Sonic SatAM just STOP with a cliffhanger: Starlight pulls a card from the bargain bin of solutions and does exactly what Sunset did to SciTwi. She tells her that there’s another way and let me show you, paraphrased of course, but that's it. THAT'S it! We get a Darth Vader moment where the villain proclaims it’s too late, but then that's it. NO FIGHT. No CONFLICT. Not even danger.
Starlight singlehandedly comes to a world she literally knows NOTHING about less then two hours ago, gets some ice cream, fights a resident villain of that world on their own turf, and simply TALKS THEM DOWN..and then makes them a friend!
Starlight has been able to do all these things and we’ve known her, what two seasons MAYBE? 5 seasons it took the mane cast to get to the point they are, Starlight takes course by mail and she’s surpassing them after less than HALF the time it took the best of the best?
This is a Mary Sue. As close as you can come to one without everyone having romantic relations with her. (which seems to be happening. Go check Rule 34’s site)
Yet everyone I see talking about her for the most part just loves her. I can either conclude two things: Characterization has taken a great fall in the minds of this latest generation or they don’t know it’s an awful character.
If the rest of the show was as poorly written and executed as Starlight, I could see that as no issue. But it’s not. It’s a rich show, with excellent writing. HOW this happened and WHY more people aren’t seeing this, is beyond me.
So I end this with an open friendly, mind you, challenge. If you care enough to get to this point in the article, you’ve no doubt got a very well thought opinion of this one way or another.
Am I looking at this character the wrong way? If so, please, PLEASE, I welcome constructive input in the matter to help me see it another way. I don’t want FLAMES. I want civil discussion.