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About AlexanderThrond

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  • Birthday 12/01/1996

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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    Twilight Sparkle
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    Film, history, television, video games

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    Show Discussion
  1. If the mane six went to a convention together, Applejack would probably be the only one not in cosplay.

    1. AlexanderThrond


      Maybe Fluttershy too, but not for lack of interest.

    2. Sparklefan1234


      Applejack could just say she's a cowmare. :mlp_smug:

  2. She was slightly weird in "Marks for the Effort," really weird in all of her cameos, and I think by "What Lies Beneath" you were supposed to get the hint, because that episode doesn't even try to hide that she's up to no good.
  3. AlexanderThrond

    What if the show ended after S3?

    Yeah, I could have done with her embarrassing herself a bit less in that first episode, but I also think it does a good job of capturing how far she's come. I like that she tries to overcompensate for her insecurities. That's what makes her interesting to me.
  4. AlexanderThrond

    Unpopular Opinions Regarding the Show

    Season 8 / Equestria Girls season 1 update! Everything the show's done with Celestia lately is terrific, and I hope they give Luna the same treatment soon. Luna could use some funny moments after that horrible season 5 episode... While the friendship school is a shaky premise, at this point I feel any sort of gimmick is a net positive, just because it forces the show to try something different at least once in a while. "Surf and/or Turf" is cute but too fluffy and insubstantial. Mudbriar isn't the most charming character but his chemistry with Maud is really quite delightful. Anything which makes Maud smile is okay in my books. Stellar Flare is profoundly irritating. Autumn Blaze is mildly irritating, though so are Fluttershy and Applejack in that episode. This season was really good to Starlight Glimmer, and most of her appearances are contenders for the best she's ever been, but I still wish she would stop doing things like trading away Trixie's cart. I hold both opinions. Not sure how unpopular this is, but I don't know why the mane six hang out with Discord anymore. "The Mean 6" is one of the best episodes of the past two seasons. Spike should hang out with the rest of the mane six more. This show probably isn't a good place for them, but "Yakity-Sax" did have good ideas. I really don't like the idea that Maud just doesn't tell Pinkie her preferences. I also really don't like the idea that Rainbow Dash was pushing Scootaloo too hard to be exactly like her. If Trixie deserved a second chance, so did Lightning Dust. Not reforming her even a little is a wasted opportunity. I don't feel like "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place" does anything surprising or fresh with its premise. I find it strange that, after all of these years, Rarity and Rainbow Dash don't have anything they like to do together. (possibly not an unpopular opinion) "Father Knows Beast" is one of the few episodes of this show which has made me cry. It's not so bad. It's entirely not clear to me what is supposed to be more than mildly interesting about "School Raze." The show still doesn't have enough Cadance. Online shorts are the perfect format for Equestria Girls, and I've been more satisfied with the shorts than with the longer specials. I'd even argue that the Equestria Girls shorts are more satisfying than Friendship is Magic right now. "Forgotten Friendship" isn't that great, though it has a lot of moments. "Rollercoaster of Friendship" is the superior Equestria Girls special. Sci-Twi is way more interesting when she behaves similarly to Princess Twilight. I don't want these characters to be completely different. Sunset Shimmer didn't have much of a personality before these shorts and "Rollercoaster of Friendship." That she has anger issues is great because it links her current personality back to her pre-reformation personality. Sunset's reunion with Celestia was disappointing. Seriously, though, Equestria Girls rules.
  5. AlexanderThrond

    A bit of foreshadowing?

    Could be. Spike has his own mini-throne in the Castle, after all, and he’s as close a friend to Twilight as anyone else. Doesn’t seem the Elements of Harmony are relevant anymore, though.
  6. AlexanderThrond

    FiM's first non unicorn pony villain!

    We need an earth pony next.
  7. Considering that we've gotten an Equestria Girls short about the last day of school, does that mean the girls will have to graduate at some point? 

  8. Season 8 reflections post is now live on my blog. So check that out if you're interested. 

  9. AlexanderThrond

    Season 8 reflections.

    This year, I had an exit strategy. If My Little Pony wasn't entertaining me by the third episode of the season, I'd bail. As it turned out, I watched every episode, so clearly this season was an improvement over last year's wretched showing, and there's actually a lot of trends this season which were pleasant surprises for me. At long last, this show is making some serious changes to its approach which have been long overdue, and as it turns out, this season wasn't half-bad. I mean, it's two-fifths bad, and it retains some of the same issues the show has had for years, but it's a small improvement. What season 8 showed me is this: My Little Pony can improve, I can still have fun with it, and the people currently writing the show have no intention of getting their priorities straight. It's still a show which regularly overextends its reach, and it's still a show which has no idea what to do with its own main cast. But it's a more watchable version of that show this year, and even its failed experiments are a bit less dull and rigid than they were last year. It's still a show mostly made by people who care about telling good stories, and that's ultimately what keeps me watching. I just wish they cared a bit more about which series they were writing those stories for. So, first, the good. Most obvious is that the show has finally adopted a seasonal gimmick in the form of a so-called "School of Friendship," where Twilight and her friends teach all of the lessons that they've learned to students from across Equestria and beyond. It's not a gimmick which makes much sense, admittedly, as the show never explains where Twilight or her friends actually find the time to run the school, and none of them ever really seem to know what they're doing. But it's a breath of fresh air nonetheless, and it allows the show to tell stories which are a bit different from the norm. Say what you will about their respective quality, but episodes like "Non-Compete Clause," "Molt Down," and "Marks for Effort" take advantage of the school setting to explore stories which might not have been possible in prior seasons, and even when those episodes are bad, the change in pace is refreshing. Also refreshing is just how much emphasis this season places on continuity. There are multiple episodes which directly reference the passage of time, and "Molt Down" in particular introduces a notable change which affects every episode afterwards. The character of Neighsay, introduced in the premiere, appears briefly in "Friendship University," and characters from earlier seasons make somewhat more regular appearances this year as well, most notably Chrysalis in "The Mean 6," Lightning Dust in "The Washouts," and Rockhoof in "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place." The seasonal villain, Cozy Glow, makes repeated appearances throughout the season, every time seeming more and more suspicious. Don't get me wrong, there's still no tangible running plot, but there's a clear increase in serialization, which is a marked difference from the tepid experiments of prior seasons. In fact, there's definitely a sense that the show's willing to take more risks this season, and some stories here directly cover subject matter which the show was unable to in the past. For instance, the aforementioned "Molt Down" covers puberty in a very recognizable and obvious manner, while all three episodes featuring Neighsay relate to racism and xenophobia, and "The Hearth's Warming Club" explicitly presents a character as an orphan. It's not that the show has never covered these subjects in the past, but this year it seems to feel no need to hide them. A great example is "Father Knows Beast," which mines a lot of pathos out of Spike's missing parentage, not only for Spike, but also for Twilight, who tries to fill the void but worries she can't. Even more surprisingly, the show has returned a good deal of imagination to its worldbuilding. Whereas last season it paired simple parables with aesthetics ripped from world mythology, here it much more cleverly builds upon already established concepts to greater effect. In "Surf and/or Turf," the hippogriffs' divided identity is given a little more detail. In "The Hearth's Warming Club," holiday rituals and cultural stories from various non-pony species are explored. In "What Lies Beneath," the Tree of Harmony is revealed to be a sentient entity which is capable of learning. If there's any quality of this season which is an unambiguous leap forward, it's this, which finally puts the show in a world which lives up to its original groundwork. And then there's the absurd bloat of the cast, which is handled way better than it could have been. Six new characters are introduced in leading roles, and although all of their episodes are together, this ultimately bloats the main cast up to no fewer than 14 characters. That's a lot to juggle, and the show doesn't quite manage to make the balance work, but these "student six" characters get a handful of genuinely charming episodes mostly to themselves without taking attention away from the main six. Alas, this doesn't actually leave them much room to develop individually, so most of the episodes they appear in take a somewhat forceful approach to establishing their personality. "Non-Compete Clause" has Rainbow Dash and Applejack act poorly seemingly for the sole purpose of making the students look better, and "What Lies Beneath" contrives an adventure scenario to explore each character's greatest fears. I found myself rather fond of these characters, but their development could have been handled better. That's a recurring trend in season 8. A lot of the general trends of this season imply the show moving forward, but none of them are executed quite as well as they should have been. For instance, another character who I surprisingly enjoyed this season was Starlight Glimmer, whose caustic personality has been expanded upon while her seeming ignorance of social norms has been greatly reduced. Several episodes, especially early in the season, find her doing nothing worse than speaking somewhat tactlessly, and each of those instances is either reacted to accordingly or actually pretty understandable. But the writers can't resist having her make extreme impulsive decisions, like in "A Matter of Principals," where she casts a weird banishing spell on Discord, or "On the Road to Friendship," where she trades Trixie's cart without bothering to ask first. The thing is, this season has done enough work with her to make her lapses fit in with those of the mane six, and they're at least more interesting than what the mane six actually do this season. If there's anywhere that the school gimmick falls short, it's in giving the mane six something new to do, because season 8 falls back on bickering more than ever, reducing formerly nuanced relationships to irritating bickering that makes you wonder why these characters are friends in the first place. "Non-Compete Clause" and "The End in Friend" have characters act without even the slightest bit of consideration towards each other, and even that is less baffling than "Fake It 'Til You Make It" and "Yakity-Sax," which both have characters behave in ways which are completely inexplicable in the grand scheme of things. In a season which has more direct continuity than ever before, those lapses are all the more noticeable. There are other cases, too, which are more justifiable but still irritating. "Sound of Silence" is another episode which relies partially on bickering, and while at least those arguments are comparatively important and thematically justified, the characters still come across as overly stubborn. Meanwhile, "The Maud Couple" and "The Washouts" make heroic efforts to justify their central characters' behaviour, but can't keep those characters from seeming unreasonably insensitive. Even a genuinely funny episode like "Friendship University" is dragged down by implying that Twilight can't handle anyone making a competing school. The problem is implications: Pinkie Pie is implied to be so fragile that Maud needs to lie to her, and Rainbow Dash is implied to not be willing to accept Scootaloo taking any path other than what she chooses. These implications are appropriate for those episodes' morals, but they reflect poorly on those characters, and create a sense of distance which the show didn't have even as recently as season 6. These don't always feel like the same characters I fell in love with all those years ago. As with last year, I really do think the problem is that the writers come up with ideas for morals first and try to fit the characters into that, and while the results are at least somewhat less dreary this year, they still feel at best like a pale imitation of what the show is supposed to be like. One of the biggest tells is the rise in ambition, which after all of these years still hasn't been accompanied by an actual rise in nuance. "The Washouts," for instance, recognizes how authority figures' actions can push children away, but Rainbow Dash's actions often come across as an exaggerated caricature of such behaviour, making her less sympathetic in the process. On the other end of the spectrum, "Surf and/or Turf" has such a fluffy take on being divided between homes that it barely feels like a real problem, and doesn't resonate with any of the thornier issues it's superficially similar to. This is a regular problem with the season, and even episodes which transcend that, like "Father Knows Beast," suffer from exaggerated character behaviour and overly simplified morals. This show has proven time and time again that it can't live up to its ambitions, so it really needs to scale them back. Moreover, this show tends to be very predictable, so focusing too much on the big ideas doesn't offer enough to distract from that. A good example is "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place," which orients itself so completely around the main idea of Rockhoof feeling out of place in the modern world that it has nowhere to go but to repeat itself for several minutes. If the early seasons got surprising depth out of their simple themes, the new seasons aim so high that they forget that subtlety. Everything is telegraphed at the start, and then repeated several times before getting resolved in obvious fashion at the end. The worst example is perhaps "The Parent Map," which creates a mildly clever parallel and then repeats it every five seconds, because it doesn't trust kids to get the hint. A lot of the topics this show has brought up these last few years beg for a more sophisticated and poetic treatment than what they get here, but a children's show like My Little Pony might never be able to offer that. Still, this season was much less constrained by moralizing than last season, and some episodes clearly have other priorities. "Marks for Effort" and "Molt Down" seem way more interested in character development and creating relatable scenarios than in communicating a grand thesis, and "The Mean 6" has such a simplistic moral that it might as well not be there at all. Stuff like this makes me wonder what the show would be like if the writers approached it like a sitcom, or even a soap opera, because whenever it finally decides to relax a bit, it can still accomplish great stuff. Other episodes, like "Horse Play" and "On the Road to Friendship," find an ideal balance, telling simple stories with simple morals while spending most of their time veering from one gag to another. Ultimately, I guess the biggest issue is that a lot of season 8 still wasn't much fun to me. Here, all I really have to offer is raw numbers: I enjoyed 63% of episodes this season, and my average rating was 64/100. That's a huge leap over last year, but it doesn't even meet the heights of seasons 4 and 6, let alone 1 and 2. The even-numbered seasons are the good ones, but there's been diminishing returns ever since the second season, and this year, the charms simply weren't enough to overcome my increasing boredom and frustration with this show. I should be happy. It's done a lot of the things I've been demanding for years now, and even if the show's still in decline, few shows decline as ambitiously and weirdly as My Little Pony has. But watching this show has become a bit of a chore for me, and at this point it doesn't seem like that's ever going to change. My Little Pony season 8 was alright, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm done with this show. 6/10 Here's how I rank every episode of this season, with scores included beside the title: 1. Horse Play (100) 2. The Mean 6 (85) 3. Marks for Effort (83) 4. The Hearth's Warming Club (83) 5. Molt Down (80) 6. The Break Up Break Down (78) 7. Road to Friendship (78) 8. Grannies Gone Wild (75) 9. School Daze (75) 10. Friendship University (73) 11. What Lies Beneath (70) 12. Father Knows Beast (70) 13. The Maud Couple (68) 14. A Rockhoof and a Hard Place (65) 15. The Washouts (65) 16. School Raze (58) 17. Surf and/or Turf (55) 18. Yakity Sax (53) 19. The End in Friend (43) 20. A Matter of Principals (43) 21. Sounds of Silence (43) 22. The Parent Map (35) 23. Fake It Til You Make it (35) 24. Non-Compete Clause (25)
  10. AlexanderThrond

    Spoiler Which is the best Season Finale? (SPOILERS)

    Sombra also had a much less direct presence in those episodes. He only had a couple short lines, and mostly just hung around as this approaching wall of darkness. The mane six spent more time fighting his legacy than him directly, and that's what makes him such an unnerving villain to me.
  11. AlexanderThrond

    Vote for the Best and Worst Episodes of Season 8!

    I decided to stick to my scoring system and vote all episodes rated 78 or higher for "best," and all episodes rated 48 or lower for "worst." I think that accurately reflects my levels of enthusiasm towards those respective episodes. That's a higher score range for "worst" than "best" mainly because I don't use the lowest 20-30 scores on my scale much; this show just doesn't get that bad very often. So for me, that means my least favourites were "Non-Compete Clause," "Fake It 'Til You Make It," "The Parent Map," "A Matter of Principals," "The End in Friend," and "Sounds of Silence." I have specific issues with each of these which you can find on their respective threads, but mostly I just found them either boring or annoying. I don't want to spend too much time on negativity at this point; for now, all of these episodes are in the rear view mirror to me. My favourites, then, are as follows: Horse Play - Has most of the things I ask for in this show: sympathetic but misguided focus character, creative humour, a lighthearted tone, and an undercurrent of anxiety. It's a lot like my favourite season 2 episodes, but it also updates those elements in smart ways that make the characters feel like they've internalized many of the lessons seen in previous episodes. This feels a lot like what the show might have been like in an alternate universe where it successfully expanded upon and refined the tone of those earlier seasons. And Celestia is just SO CUTE in this, I love her, and I'm so glad she got to do something down-to-earth for once. The Mean 6 - Just an inspired concept all-around. Chrysalis is perfect as a comic relief villain, as this Wile E. Coyote-style ironic failure is perfect for her brand of hotheaded arrogance. The "mean 6" themselves, while reminiscent of the "Discorded" mane six from season 2, are also different in ways which are always really funny, and the mane six's reactions are consistently funny. Even the part where they jump to conclusions feels sensible and consistent, rather than just tiresome bickering. Marks for Effort - Something about the CMC helping Cozy Glow pass her friendship test is just plain adorable, but although they essentially fall into a mentor role here, they're still the ones who learn the most. It's not like they even do anything wrong, but the experience of teaching someone else makes them realize just how well they understand friendship, and how they can share that understanding with others. It's a character arc which doesn't call attention to itself, and yet it resonates all the more strongly because of it. Also: best Starlight appearance ever? The Hearth's Warming Club - I like some of the student six more than others, but they're all charming in their own ways, and this episode combines that with this season's much-improved worldbuilding to great effect. I think all of the stories here are funny and cute, and there's just a nice, low-key atmosphere of warmth to the entire thing that the show so rarely achieves anymore. Sometimes, people can learn something about friendship without yelling at each other. All of that might have been enough to win me over to this episode's side, but then it pulls that twist at the end. It's genuinely inspiring that, after all of these years, even in this decrepit state, this show is still capable of such displays of maturation. Molt Down - Speaking of which, for all its repetition, I think this is a really clever and inspired take on puberty. I like how it represents the "Molt" as something which is in some ways familiar to human puberty, but also way different in other ways, and Spike's reaction to each of the symptoms remains sympathetic and funny throughout. I liked that this episode gave Zecora a little more personality and a little more to do, I thought all three of the mane six included here had some great funny moments, and Smolder's matter-of-fact attitude towards the sheer horror of dragon puberty is a total blast. The Break Up Break Down - I had to watch this twice to look past the rote misunderstandings plot, but I'm glad I was able to come around to it. The banter here is just delightful, especially between Discord and Spike, but also between the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who never seem to run out of witty replies to their side of the misunderstanding. And I gotta say, Sugar Belle truly is adorable, and I'd be happy to see more of her and Mac's relationship. Hopefully the rest of it is less rocky. I'm still hesitant to call it one of the show's most inspired episodes, and it takes too long to really reveal its depth, but the moral about being honest with your significant other is a good one. On the Road to Friendship - I do have issues with this, but the "road trips are crazy" moral was enough for me to look past them, and this won me over almost immediately with Trixie and Starlight's fantastic magic routine. Barring some bickering around the midway point, their chemistry has never been better, and this just never stops piling on the charming moments. Delightful song! Ponies inspired by delightful song! Awkward friendship chant! And the jokes, even when the context is less fun, never stop being clever. The second half lags a little, but it starts strong, remains strong for several minutes, and then ends strong.
  12. AlexanderThrond

    Rank the episodes of S8.

    (with scores out of 100) Loved 1. Horse Play (100) - like an alternate universe where this show didn't go off the rails 2. The Mean 6 (85) - closest thing to a great pure comedy episode this show's offered yet 3. Marks for Effort (83) - sweet and charming, with the best Starlight appearance ever 4. The Hearth's Warming Club (83) - cute until it's suddenly heartbreaking 5. Molt Down (80) - unexpectedly mature and funny puberty story 6. The Break Up Break Down (78) - funny character interactions in this one 7. Road to Friendship (78) - immensely charming even with its problems Liked 8. Grannies Gone Wild (75) - funny Golden Girls homage 9. School Daze (75) - kind of a mess but won me over with sheer charm 10. Friendship University (73) - dubious Twilight characterization, but very funny 11. What Lies Beneath (70) - a bit forced but cute and funny 12. Father Knows Beast (70) - clumsy but emotionally evocative 13. The Maud Couple (68) - goes on a bit long with the shtick but pretty funny 14. A Rockhoof and a Hard Place (65) - simplistic and repetitive but charming 15. The Washouts (65) - might have loved this if Dash weren't so obnoxious Meh 16. School Raze (58) - cookie-cutter MLP finale; still better than "Shadow Play" 17. Surf and/or Turf (55) - cute but lacking in drama and not particularly comedic 18. Yakity Sax (53) - borderline inept but well-intentioned and interesting. Didn't like 19. A Matter of Principals (43) - weirdly lacking in creativity for a Discord episode 20. The End in Friend (43) - totally screws up an underutilized pairing, and for what? 21. Sounds of Silence (43) - lots of irritating dialogue 22. The Parent Map (35) - seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of subtlety 23. Fake It Til You Make it (35) - sort of dull and perversely inept 24. Non-Compete Clause (25) - how did this even happen
  13. AlexanderThrond

    EqG Digital Series: Season 2 - Discussion

    Yeah, for a while there wasn't really anywhere here for Equestria Girls shorts discussion.
  14. AlexanderThrond

    Early Seasons vs. Newer Seasons?

    Look, I'd watch a show all about Cadance. I want more Cadance. And I dunno, I like what they've done with Celestia lately.
  15. AlexanderThrond

    Spoiler Which is the best Season Finale? (SPOILERS)

    "The Best Night Ever" - consistently funny and creative while summarizing all six of the characters' arcs to that point, and eventually also the evolution of their friendship. Much more conclusive than it gets credit for, and still stands out as unique among the other finales. Iconic. "Twilight's Kingdom" - Also iconic. Does the self-serious suspense thing way better than any of the finales after it, partially because it was novel, but partially because it actually has some character depth throughout. I don't care what Twilight's place as an alicorn is, but I do care about her rediscovering the purpose in her life, and I do care about the contrast between confused but empathetic Twilight and self-centred, friendless Tirek. "To Where and Back Again" - The most character-focused finale since season 1, if you ask me. It's incredibly contrived in ways which are sometimes kind of a bummer, but all of the focus on character interactions, and especially on the protagonists' anxiety, mark it as closer to the Platonic ideal of a two-part finale than any of the others. And it's also really funny! If it were cleaner, I'd probably favour it over "Twilight's Kingdom." "A Canterlot Wedding" - The second half does ass-kicking better than the other two-parters, but the first half is kind of a drag. On one hand, I'm not certain why nobody else questioned Chrysalis' disguise, but on the other hand, watching Twilight be jealous and accusatory is no fun at all. But then "This Day Aria" happens, and everything after that is quite fun. "School Raze" - Kinda dull, but mostly inoffensive. I would have been more bothered by this were it not for the stuff in Tartarus, which is pointless but entertaining. Otherwise, this just seems overly familiar, and as usual, takes itself much too seriously for my tastes. I don't think it actually does anything interesting or exciting enough to justify the tone, and it's too predictable to be all that suspenseful. "The Cutie Re-Mark" - See above, but subtract some of the plot coherence. This maybe has more interesting isolated moments, but as cool as the bad futures are, none of them get enough time onscreen to be satisfying, and the idea that only the mane six are keeping Equestria from disaster strikes me as downright absurd. The way Starlight Glimmer was redeemed is relatively poignant to me, but season 6's "A Hearth's Warming Tail" hits all of the same notes more successfully. "Shadow Play" - This one is particularly pretentious and joyless in my eyes, and the first half is entirely pointless. Moreover, there's character behaviour in this which just doesn't seem right to me. Why wouldn't Twilight realize the limbo spell would be dangerous? Why wouldn't she try to stand up to Starswirl more? Maybe it would make more sense if we got her perspective, but instead we get Starlight at her least interesting. And all of the worldbuilding is just so expository and bland. "Magical Mystery Cure" - Exhausting, overstuffed structure + incomprehensible narrative + unjustified major change = an genuine disaster.