Oh, dear. “A Canterlot Wedding.” In my opinion, this is by far the most flawed episode in the series to date. (Yes, that includes “Magical Mystery Cure”, which I didn’t find to be as bad as all that. But I’ll talk more about that at another time.) In fact, there is so much that is unclear or plain doesn’t make sense in this episode, that I felt compelled to write a fan-fiction trying to provide some justification for it. Maybe I'll even get around to posting it here on Running the Gamut some time.
The episode starts with the Mane 6 having a picnic (Spike was apparently not invited, poor guy) on a beautiful day. Spike crashes the party to deliver the news of the upcoming wedding in Canterlot, where each of the Mane 6 is given a task. Poor Twilight then finds out that the groom is none other than her brother. A brother whom she is apparently very close to, but has never once mentioned, even in passing, an entire 50 episodes into the show. If you want to talk about “coming out of nowhere”, this is the quintessential example. Avatar: The Last Airbender did it much better. Although Princess Azula is only introduced towards the end of the first season, we are given a sneak peak of her half-way through, during a flashback to why Prince Zuko was banished. We even get an early hint to her character when we see her smirking smugly at what is happening to her brother. In FiM’s case, what makes this sudden addition even more egregious is the fact that during the BBBFF song, we see that Shining Armor saw Twilight off on her journey to Ponyville. This is the script-writing equivalent of Spike taping himself into the picture from “Sweet and Elite”.
Speaking of the BBBFF song, and on a more positive note, as it were, it’s a very good song. Tara Strong manages to put a great deal of emotion into this performance. As for the visuals, any time we get to see a member of the Mane 6 as a cute little filly is fine by me. I also suggest checking out the Sim Gretina remix of the song, it’s awesome.
After the song, we clearly see Twilight is upset with her brother for not telling her about his impending marriage. Not that she seems to have made much effort to keep in touch with him, either. Still, her feelings are understandable. The reaction of her friends to how vociferous she is about it should be kept in mind for later.
So the group is off to Canterlot to help organize the wedding, with Twilight still peeved and determined to confront Shining Armor. And this is where the major question marks start appearing. Shining Armor states that a threat was made against Canterlot, but they don’t know who is responsible. As a direct result of that, Shining Armor has been asked to provide additional protection with his shield spell, and by increasing the number of guards. Chrysalis’s plan to replace Cadence was necessitated by the shield, which never would have been set up if not for the threat she made. Or is there some other reason why she had to im-pony-ate Cadence? What did she get in exchange for giving up the element of surprise? The only way I can think of to resolve this issue is if the threat was made by a third party, who has their own reasons for revealing the danger Canterlot is facing. But such a third party is never introduced. Secondly, if they don’t know the identity of the threat, why is Shining Armor’s spell apparently keyed to changelings? Is it designed to allow through only ponies who have been invited to the wedding? How does it judge that, since they apparently are not carrying invitations when they enter? Has Shining Armor memorized the identity and appearance of every single wedding guest, in order to incorporate them into the spell? None of this is ever explained or addressed.
Twilight forgives her brother, accepts her role as Best Mare, finds out her future sister-in-law is her old foal-sitter (which was called baby-sitting in “Baby Cakes”, so yay for inconsistent terminology) and then finds out her foal-sitter doesn’t remember their greeting ritual, and is acting very differently to how Twilight remembers. Understandably, Twilight doesn’t realize she is an imposter, but instead thinks that her personality has soured.
Another thing to keep in mind – the others of the Mane 6 don’t get to see this interaction, or how Twilight reconciles with her brother. She also is never shown telling them anything about it later. All the Mane 6 sees is Twilight sulking, apparently still annoyed at the whole situation and making snide remarks about Cadence. In light of this, I don’t agree with fans who say Twilight’s friends should have given her the benefit of the doubt, due to the lesson from “Lesson Zero”. Apart from the aforementioned, it should also be remembered that this episode takes place after “It’s about Time”. That episode featured Twilight freaking out over something that turns out to be a false alarm, even getting the entire town of Ponyville to help her, including a full sweep of Equestria via pegasus surveillance. I don’t blame them for doubting her in the slightest.
Having no luck convincing her friends, Twilight goes to talk to Shining Armor, who is wearing his favorite uncle’s clothes (even more family members from nowhere). Before she can raise her concerns, Chrysalis interrupts and takes issue with Shining Armor wearing the outfit. Of course, she doesn’t care about what he is wearing. More important to her is the fact that he is acting against her wishes, a sign that he is escaping her control, which apparently is causing his headache as he struggles internally. So she recasts the spell, making the eavesdropping Twilight realize she is evil.
Having no one to turn to, Twilight confronts Chrysalis at the wedding rehearsal. Her apparently irrationality and Chrysalis’ crocodile tears lead to everyone in the Mane 6, Spike, her brother and even her idol and mentor (who has never once doubted her, as said in the pilot) abandoning her in disgust. For Twilight, this is the lowest point she could reach, as she is forced to consider her own actions, and even she begins to doubt herself. A dark reprise of her earlier song really hits me in the feels here…
Keep chasing… you know what? I’m not even going to bother this time. I’m just too depressed.