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"A Matter of Principals" Quickieview

Lately, when Discord is at his best, he's a jerk with a heart of gold. Without his inherent edge, he's a completely different character in his voice. Discordant Harmony and especially The Break Up Break Down handle that side very effectively. But when he's just a jerk, he loses that dimension and becomes antagonistic just because. And that's the case here. Because he's not leading the school, he makes Starlight, established previously and here as a friend, miserable.

His worst moment, very clearly, occurs at the buckball pitch. His scheme with the bugbear put the Student Six and a few others in really grave danger. Had Starlight not scare him off, Yona would've been stung. Recall how Dash's and AJ's selfishness and recklessness nearly caused her to drown? This is no better. Had she be hurt on Twilight's grounds, then the school would be in big trouble. Starlight was absolutely justified to be angry at him, warn him, and blast him away from the school grounds after he continued his defiance. Back to him later.

Starlight and Spike continue their successful roles since Season 7. AMoP is the first episode since The Crystalling to pair them up, and you immediately see their trust and faith for one another after Twilight temporarily promotes her. He's always by her side and helped put in the work to alleviate the stress. When Discord and Starlight didn't see eye to eye, Spike was the middle man to maintain order between them and be as objective as possible.

Was Starlight justified to warn and blast him away from the school grounds? Absolutely. As headmare, it was her job to punish him. But Discord isn't like other beings; he's a god with a love to warp logic. Rather than talking to him what's wrong, Starlight chose a very drastic measure, which Spike rightfully warned would only worsen matters. Why? Because provoking him proved him right, even though he was insufferable. Therefore, he felt justified to raise more hell in the School of Friendship.

Discord has insecurities and sometimes fails to hide them. But the clues, even if subtle, are missing, because that context when Starlight spoke the episode's primary lesson is missing, too. Everywhere he showed up, Discord becomes a destructive brat, and acting like he doesn't know either her or him hurts, too. Was she right to apologize to him? Yes. But by offering him a job, the story lets him off without any level of consequence and rewards him for it. The RM6 return, nullifying the offer, but it's still an unsatisfactory resolution.

On top of that, almost all the jokes fall flat. The ones with Twilight fail, because she's flanderized: Her personality early was reduced to obsessively organizing and pre-planning everything to the point of being redundant and at Starlight's expense. Cranky constantly spitting his drinks (accidentally) at Gallus's direction while being a lazy ass regresses him. One of the only jokes to be funny is Trixie talking on her banana phone.

Despite being rather negative (and not liking it), I won't throw in reactionary hyperbole and call A Matter of Principals bad, awful, or an atrocity, because it's not. At the time of this quickieview, it's the third-worst episode of S8, but nowhere close to the badness of Non-Complete Clause and Fake It; it's watchable mediocrity. 

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I hated how this episode handled discord's character, the show's shown his progression from Jerk to Empathetic Jerk, and then this episode drops him down to Chaotic Jealous Weirdo. I'm sure that the creatures he summoned were illusions, due to starlight ohkoing the bug bear, and he would have reversed any damage done to the students, but i hate how the episode dealt with him.

First of all, to emphasize that discord didn't care about losing his physical form in the school grounds, the animators could have shown him standing smirking whilst being disintegrated, but that's just a nitpick.

Second of all, i really don't get why starlight resolved the issue by saying Sorry, what did she have to be sorry about? Twilight leaving her in charge and not discord? The fact that she can't fight the literal spirit of chaos? The fact that she banished his physical form due to him potentially harming KIDS? 

I have no idea why starlight even tried to banish discord, who is literally god tier, we've seen her learn the lesson "Words over magic" MANY times before, (Every little thing she does, The Cutie Map, No second prances etc.) why has she allowed herself to fall into the same pit AGAIN?

The episode would have ended much better if it was more like the Baby Cakes resolution, starlight being traumatized at the sight of discord's actions and breaking into tears, whilst discord emphasized for her and reversed the chaos he has conjured while apologizing and telling her the reason of his actions.

It would have been nice if discord actually retained a permanent place in the school aswell, especially seeing the abilities of his magic and the possibilities that would bring.

Overall, i thought this episode was one of those Great Idea but Terrible Execution mlp episodes, though honestly it's much better than some episodes like "28 Pranks Later" and "Yakkity Sax".

I agree with most of your points though,and Twilight's personality has dropped since season 4, from an interesting character to some pony who's obsessed with organizing and planning and just about nothing else.

 

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@Dark QiviutThanks god, you don't put this ep in the category with Non-compete Clause, ANYTHING BUT THAT EPISODE:mlp_wat:

5 hours ago, twichlove said:

I have no idea why starlight even tried to banish discord, who is literally god tier, we've seen her learn the lesson "Words over magic" MANY times before, (Every little thing she does, The Cutie Map, No second prances etc.) why has she allowed herself to fall into the same pit AGAIN?

You don't know how far you could go when you are pissed or desperate to doing something right. Starlight can take the lessons to heart but she wont follow it blindly, even the Princess of Friendship herself didn't follow her learned lesson just to make people happy. Why did she try to banish Discord even she knows he's a God of Chaos? When Starlight Glimmer pissed or desperate, she is willing to do ANYTHING, even lead a rampaging monster to the hive, switch cutie marks of two powerful ruler of Equestria, challenge Princess of Friendship, mind control just to avoid the test... Banish the God of Chaos is just another Starlight's Monday, you can add to her records.

5 hours ago, twichlove said:

The episode would have ended much better if it was more like the Baby Cakes resolution, starlight being traumatized at the sight of discord's actions and breaking into tears, whilst discord emphasized for her and reversed the chaos he has conjured while apologizing and telling her the reason of his actions.

Yes, I think this idea will make the episode much better. I hate Discord in this ep and what I hate the most is how he's rewarded for whatever he has done. Starlight has to apologize that guy just because he's unstoppable force of nature so she has to make him feel better so he wont ruin anything.

Quote
Spike: How? No offense, but I don't think magic is the answer against Discord.
Starlight Glimmer: This time, I'm not using magic.

Look at her face when she said it.

 

5 hours ago, twichlove said:

though honestly it's much better than some episodes like "28 Pranks Later" and "Yakkity Sax".

Thanks god.:love:

Edited by Lambdadelta
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As I said before, I actually enjoyed this episode (due to its humor and such)... but I still agree with a lot of what you said. Discord's actions in this episode were indefensible, especially that most of his actions were towards a group of kids – I'd say he was worse than in "Make New Friends but Keep Discord", which was also due to his jealousy and after which he has had significant character development... And I really agree Starlight shouldn't have rewarded him.

It's interesting –  while I liked this episode much more than "Yakity-Sax", the thing I found that episode's main strength was the worst thing about this one – the moral...

Edited by Tacodidra
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11 hours ago, Lambdadelta said:

@Dark QiviutThanks god, you don't put this ep in the category with Non-compete Clause, ANYTHING BUT THAT EPISODE:mlp_wat:

You don't know how far you could go when you are pissed or desperate to doing something right. Starlight can take the lessons to heart but she wont follow it blindly, even the Princess of Friendship herself didn't follow her learned lesson just to make people happy. Why did she try to banish Discord even she knows he's a God of Chaos? When Starlight Glimmer pissed or desperate, she is willing to do ANYTHING, even lead a rampaging monster to the hive, switch cutie marks of two powerful ruler of Equestria, challenge Princess of Friendship, mind control just to avoid the test... Banish the God of Chaos is just another Starlight's Monday, you can add to her records.

Yes, I think this idea will make the episode much better. I hate Discord in this ep and what I hate the most is how he's rewarded for whatever he has done. Starlight has to apologize that guy just because he's unstoppable force of nature so she has to make him feel better so he wont ruin anything.

Look at her face when she said it.

 

Thanks god.:love:

I am decently sure that during the Return of Harmony twilight didn't blindly use magic on discord, sure she acted foolish and tried to assemble the elements of harmony, but she didn't try to use some banishment spell that only banishes physical bodies. She right there could have endangered the entire school by pissing discord off more, her desperate acts hasn't gotten THIS stupid, when she lead the molewurf to the hive it was due to she thinking Pharynx could handle the monster alone. (Which to be fair he should have just transformed into the thing, but plot.) Honestly, the morals in the stories are becoming common sense or just plain wrong, in Horse Play celestia said herself that a Truth is always better than a Well meant lie, which is completely false. 

It's sad how discord's character development has been great until this episode, where he acted like a complete and utter annoyance.

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