PathfinderCS

S06:E16 - The Times They Are A Changeling

What did you think of the episode?  

196 members have voted

  1. 1. Did you like it?

    • Times are changing, and I do not approve!
      6
    • Eh, not really.
      2
    • Times have changed. MEH!
      11
    • Could've been better
      36
    • Times are changing, and THAT WAS AWESOME!
      141


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Wow, someone make a thorax fan club. And this has the first Spike song like ever and it was awesome.

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Making it a 2-parter would have done the ep good. The way it was, the switch from "changelings are all eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevilllllllllllll!" to

"We're buddies now, have a cider with us" happened to suddenly. I wonder who decied to name the new character (whom we might never see again) after the medicinal term for chest

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It was a refreshingly good, enjoyable episode. I do think that his acceptance was a bit too quick, but you can only do so much in 20 minutes.

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Another thing I liked was that the Royal Guards were actually kind of, you know, effective this time around (though their portrayal in Sombra's S5 AU was still #1, IMO).

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a character having a physical flaw is actually more interesting than them not having it though.

I'm ok with further delay on the wings.

 

Yes, Spike is fine just the way he is.

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It was a refreshingly good, enjoyable episode. I do think that his acceptance was a bit too quick, but you can only do so much in 20 minutes.

 

Indeed, but it was Twilight being the first to step forward and speak on Spike and Thorax's behalf as the Princess of Friendship that convinced her sister-in-law, B.B.B.F.F., Sunburst, Starlight, and the Crystal Pony Royal Guards to overlook Cadance and Shining Armor's past trauma with Chrysalis from A Canterlot Wedding and welcome Thorax with open arms. If Twilight did not speak up for Spike after seeing how he put everything on the line to defend Thorax: His fame and his friendships with her, her family, and her friends, who would?

 

And if that failed, what else could Spike do? Self-exile himself and find refuge with Ember, waiting for Twilight, Cadance, and Shining Armor to have a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment and come find him to apologize and give Thorax a chance? Or same scenario, but with Spike telling them off since he's become prejudice of them because of what happened with Thorax, thus continuing a never-ending cycle of hate?

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And if that failed, what else could Spike do? Self-exile himself and find refuge with Ember, waiting for Twilight, Cadance, and Shining Armor to have a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment and come find him to apologize and give Thorax a chance? Or same scenario, but with Spike telling them off since he's become prejudice of them because of what happened with Thorax, thus continuing a never-ending cycle of hate?

Or have Spike provide a strong defiant argument that would sound convincing enough to persuade them to at least give the Changeling a chance. 

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After watching this episode, a part of me wants Queen Chrysalis to return as the antagonist for the Season 6 finale.  Only have her come closer to winning even more so than "A Canterlot Wedding."  

 

-Defeat the Mane 6's Rainbow Powers

-Dismantle the Alicorn Princesses

-Drain the love of Princess Flurry Heart

-And as a extra precaution..capture Discord.

 

Oh, and turn the Crystal Empire into a new hive.

Edited by SaburoDaimando

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Or have Spike provide a strong defiant argument that would sound convincing enough to persuade them to at least give the Changeling a chance. 

 

Yeah, I forgot to consider that as well. If Spike provided a strong, defiant argument regarding Thorax, it might be enough to convince Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance to give Thorax a chance after all. Thanks for reminding me of that option for Spike.

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Spike's destiny is to be an ambassador to non-ponies.

 

Yes, going all the way back to the bison in "Over a Barrel". And he almost had the yaks until they learned that "music is a lie!" And if dragons had cutie marks the map probably would have sent him to Griffonstone.

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I know right? E:D

 

I love Spike but too many of his episodes I don't think are very good. We've been getting awesome ones lately and this one even gets honors for one of the best of the series overall. One of the great things about Spike that we got to see here was that he didn't need anyone else to tell him what he should do. He knew he was lacking and decided to fix it all on his own. He risked everything for what he felt was right. Now that's character!  :D

 

Yes I completely agree. Too many of his episodes deal with greed to an extent that makes him unlikable while doing it. But here he screwed up and made a very mature adult decision to fix it without Twilight or the others correcting him first. I don't know many adults who would even attempt to give up their status for what was right unfortunately, so kudos to Spike! I want more of this moral faithful Spike. This was a character having a flaw and fixing it done exactly the right way. 

Edited by StitchandMLPlover
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Omg, the feels with this 'ssode. Hated how the ponies painted Changelings as evil,when their very life needs to be sustained by love. Speciesist ponies continue to be speciesist, like they we were with Zecora, mules, Griffons....

 

Princess of Friendship not being the first to be friendshippy with Thorax continues to make me think a certain pony doesn't deserve the title....

 

Spike's song....OMG YES, FINALLH A REAL SONG/SSOLO FOR SPIKE!!! About tjme!

 

And the feels from that song...omg. Little Spiky Wiky is more mature than the whole empire combined (though he gets a few points taken off for betraying Thorax at first)

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D'aw, Thorax was so cute! :wub: Although I was hoping his voice would've been more...insect-like, but whatever. I really enjoyed this episode! Spike was excellent; it's great to see him treated with more respect as a character. He's been one of my favorites for a long time (even back in Gen 1, haha) Nice to have more lore on the Changelings too and I have a feeling the finale will involve them in some way. I love a good redemption but I'm still not sure how I would feel about Chrysalis being reformed if they go that route...we need some villains to stay villains.  :huh: The song was really nice on it's own but felt a little forced given the tension in the scene. Man these ponies change their minds easily. XD Just like how quick they were to forgive Discord after the Tirek incident I find it hard to believe that EVERY pony is magically okay with accepting a Changeling just because of Spike's heartfelt song. Especially Shining Armor and Cadence. That just felt kinda rushed...but oh well, friendship is magic! :derp: Seriously though, any minor nitpicks I have with this episode don't take away from how awesome it was. A favorite for sure! 

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This is an interesting episode.

But to short,

this is my only critiscm now,

but sadly it's a mayor criticsm.

So I have to rant around this in my newest review.

https://youtu.be/o9lZnFGpocY

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The voice work on him was great, he didn't ever come off as a Gary Stu (the fact that he had natural urges he had to fight, and even reacted angrily at Spike's earlier dejection in the last third of the episode, definitely ensured that), and the animators and storyboard artists did a WONDERFUL job really conveying his emotions and what made him different from the rest of his kind in his body language.  Ward Jenkins (who did storyboard art on this episode) mentioned earlier today that they had to be very expressive with his head/face and body in order to convey his emotions properly, because his eyes can't convey much emotion since Changelings don't have pupils like ponies do.  I was very impressed with the job they did in that regard, and it never felt like the show was reaching either or being forced any time he got very emotional to the point of tears.
What does Gary Stu mean? Is that like Mary Sue? As to the body language thing, the same method was used for Stitch in "Lilo & Stitch" because Stitch has solid black eyes and I really thought the MLP staff nailed this technique. I love when body language is used in that way.  
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What does Gary Stu mean? Is that like Mary Sue? As to the body language thing, the same method was used for Stitch in "Lilo & Stitch" because Stitch has solid black eyes and I really thought the MLP staff nailed this technique. I love when body language is used in that way.  

 

Gary Stu is the male version of Mary Sue, yes. #TheMoreYouKnow  :D

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There's one part i can't help but tease, a lyric in Spike's song :P

♪ No two snowflakes ever match their desiiiggggnnnn.. ♫

...

You know, apart from, these 4, these 3, these 3, those 2.. :lol:

 

Ah yes, the pitfalls of Spike living in a Flash-based virtual reality where the true powers are budgets and asset reusability.  :lol: 

 

 

Since literally right after Canterlot Wedding, one of the many items on my wishlist has been either A.) We meet a changeling who's good, OR B.) They develop Chrysalis to be not entirely bad.  Note that I'm not in favor of a Chrysalis reform, but just making her complex, perhaps like Magneto in that she believes she's good,

 

If Chrysalis does have to go through some sort of reformation at the end of the season, I like your idea of making her like Magneto. It's different from how Discord is now, and we'd get a mix of her being the antagonist and a partner with the Mane 6 in future(?) seasons. Or maybe the movie.

 

One thing that always bothers me is why characters don't just tell others what's going on in a clear, direct manner.

 

Agreed. Spike went right up to those guards and told them, and the result was very believable - they thought he wasn't being serious. Then Shining came around and pretty much shot down that notion. (Which, he had good reason to since Chrysalis pretty much mindraped him in their first encounter...) The chain of events that followed worked out in a perfectly plausible manner: Spike's plan B first getting ponies to like him in his disguise and then doing the reveal. I knew that problem he has with going all feral when presented with a sudden burst of love would come back to bite them both in the end.

 

This isn't at all specific to FIM.  This is a TV trend since the dawn of time.  I guess if characters actually explained things, the episode would be over at the start of the second act.

 

I guess the nice thing about this episode having so much ground to cover in so little time is it allowed them to write Spike taking the most sensible, straightforward approaches to everything and still have plenty of story to tell.

 

I think it's great that they finally gave Spike a solo song.  He deserves it.  Poor guy hasn't even had a cameo line in a group song!  The best he's gotten was Cloudsdale's "national anthem" at the games.

 

He's actually done some background singing, most notably in Twilight's famous "Failure Song" in S3's "The Crystal Empire, Pt. 1":

 

 

and then later that season he got to sing a quick solo... in "Spike at Your Service". -facehoofs- It's my favorite part of the episode, which doesn't say much.  :lol:

 

Edited by Truffles
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The ponies still haven't found a method to defend themselves against changeling infiltration? It should be a piece of cake to kidnap both Cadance and Shining Armor. And now changelings can turn into objects like rocks, too?

Changelings are overpowered. Please nerf!  :derp:

Being drained of love can't be that bad either, if they all foolishly trust Thorax in the end and even let him near the baby.

There is a 180° change of mind like in the Maud Pie Episode again because friendship, no matter how unrealistic it is. Maybe my Rainbow Dash bias is speaking now, but please give me Newbie Dash and 28 Pranks Later every day instead to such forced endings.


This show has become another "The Simpsons" for me. It went so many directions i dislike, so many characters in the focus i don't care about. Even if they would do the best Princess Celestia Episode ever, i still would be bummed out at this point.

Time for calling it quits is overdue for me anyway. >.>

Edited by Swifty

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After watching this episode, a part of me wants Queen Chrysalis to return as the antagonist for the Season 6 finale.  Only have her come closer to winning even more so than "A Canterlot Wedding."  

 

-Defeat the Mane 6's Rainbow Powers

-Dismantle the Alicorn Princesses

-Drain the love of Princess Flurry Heart

-And as a extra precaution..capture Discord.

 

Oh, and turn the Crystal Empire into a new hive.

 

I'm very curious about what happens to a kingdom defeated by the Changelings. There was some preview of that in the Starlight time travel episode, but not enough of one IMO. Does... being drained of love kill you? Does it turn you into a Changeling? Or does it just temporarily drain you and allow them to use you as a steady supply of love? How does any of that work?

 

Are they Borg, vampires, or mosquitoes?

 

I look forward to future Spike episodes. He needed a friend. I mean, he has friends, but they are kind of like aunts, and Twilight is basically his mother. That's cute when you're little, but Spike is really intelligent and grows in character (if not in stature) every season. It's time for him to branch out of his comfort zone and this episode really shows what he's capable of.

 

A dragon and a shape shifting pod-pony, imagine the possibilities!

 

The only thing I wouldn't want to see is Queen Chrysalis reformed. Her whole life up to that point has been about looking after her kingdom and seeking out sources of food. She may be "evil" in method, but her methods work and she genuinely loves her children. Without her methods, famine and tragedy could be the result, and we can't fault her for not wanting to take the risk.

Edited by Regent

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This was amazing! I loved everything about the episode, the song, Thorax was a great character, and Spike had some more great characterization. One of if not the best this season has to offer.

 

 

You guys are high.
Completely unnecessary. Also, Chrsyalis being in would have felt incredibly shoehorned. And no, the moral was fantastic.
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This was amazing! I loved everything about the episode, the song, Thorax was a great character, and Spike had some more great characterization. One of if not the best this season has to offer.

 

 

Completely unnecessary. Also, Chrsyalis being in would have felt incredibly shoehorned. And no, the moral was fantastic.

 

 

Absolutely. I said this earlier on in the thread but I'm gonna say it again: this is the Spike I've always wanted to see. His characterization was superb! And Thorax is an instant favorite side character for me.

 

As for Chrysalis, you're right that she was unncecessary. No need to fit her in when the antagonists are the Crystal Ponies and Spike's friends. Just because it's a Changeling episode doesn't mean the leader of all Changelings needs to be the villain.

 

And the moral was so touching. Bridle Gossip had a somewhat similar lesson, but this was executed much better and the writers completely nailed it from an emotional standpoint.

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Princess of Friendship not being the first to be friendshippy with Thorax continues to make me think a certain pony doesn't deserve the title....

Somehow she gained the title despite having basically had to learn friendship the hard way. Makes me think that the expectations that stuff like princess titles and elements of harmony bring with them aren't particularly reasonable. 

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Overall, this episode was pretty "meh" to me, and didn't have what I think was the intended emotional impact. The biggest problem is probably that there are too many believability issues for me to really get into the episode. There also seems to be a lot of clunky dialogue stating (and re-stating) the obvious, particularly in the first part of the episode, and I think the episode is rather ham-handed in how the moral is delivered.

 

To start, this episode involves the whole idea that Spike "saved the Crystal Empire" twice, and is a hero and celebrity among the crystal ponies. I've never liked this idea, and to me, it feels like a one-time gag that the show is inexplicably committed to, despite it not being believable or even entertaining. Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance (and even others) all played significant roles, some arguably even more so than Spike, in stopping Sombra's return. And at the Equestria Games, Spike might have saved some ponies from injury and/or death, which was laudable, but that was not "saving the Empire", and is something that presumably others have done without getting the celebrity treatment. For example, the Mane Six have "saved Equestria" several times, and are not being mobbed or fawned over wherever they go. It seems like even the show can't decide whether we're supposed to take Spike's hero/celebrity status seriously. On the one hand, Spike is shown to be egotistical about his hero status, leading other characters to roll their eyes and leading to Spike being humiliated after not living to his hype. But on the other hand, this episode wants us to believe that Spike is making a real sacrifice by risking his fame/reputation in the Crystal Empire by defending Thorax. The latter, to me, rings hollow, since Spike's fame/reputation seems overblown and at least somewhat undeserved, anyway. That's probably a big reason why this episode didn't have the intended emotional impact on me.

 

Another big part of this episode is that the Crystal Empire is supposed to have increased security looking out for changelings and protecting from them, but many times that security seems lax and incompetent. To give an example, I'm not sure that the "sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake" thing with Cadance near the beginning of the episode is necessarily a foolproof means of making sure that it's the real Twilight. That might have worked back in "A Canterlot Wedding" because it was something that Twilight and Cadance did many years ago and presumably hadn't been done or talked about since then. But now it's basically become Twilight and Cadance's standard greeting whenever they meet each other, and they don't seem to be trying to keep it a secret. Anyone who has observed Twilight and Cadance meeting since "A Canterlot Wedding" might know how their greeting goes. Also, even if Twilight were confirmed not to be a changeling, that doesn't necessarily mean that Starlight and Spike aren't changelings. I would think that they would at least have to ask Twilight, say, whether Starlight and Spike ever left her sight or went somewhere else and came back, such that a changeling might have taken one of their places. But in the episode, it seems to be assumed after it's "proved" that Twilight isn't a changeling that Starlight and Spike aren't changelings, either.

 

Another example of lax security is that Thorax's story about being born different than the other changelings, seeing true friendship during the Canterlot invasion, leaving the other changelings, and wanting to find love to share is just unquestioningly accepted by Spike, and later, everyone else. If there is legitimate fear of changelings infiltrating the Crystal Empire, wouldn't it be plausible that one of them might give such a false story in order to get inside to the Royal Family and spy on them, find out weaknesses in the defenses, discover and/or sabotage their plans, etc.? Even saving Spike from falling into the abyss would be part of this plan, getting Spike to trust Thorax even as Thorax is using Spike to get access. Yet none of the characters even bring up, let alone act on, such a legitimate possibility. Maybe Spike is too young and/or naive to consider this, but then wouldn't at least one of the others think of it and bring it up? Or did everyone assume that Spike (especially after his "heartrending" song) somehow confirmed that Thorax isn't a spy when Spike had really done no such thing? I couldn't help thinking about this issue the entire rest of the episode, and even after the end of this episode, Thorax's being a spy is still a possibility, even if the episode never gave any indication of it.

 

Another believability issue is that after Spike failed to get the guards and Shining Armor to warm to the idea of befriending a changeling, Spike's plan is to...have Thorax take the form of a crystal pony and enter the Crystal Empire, then win everyone over before, at some point in the future, revealing that he's a changeling. But why couldn't Thorax have just done all of that himself, especially if, as he claims, he's starving? Presumably Thorax had reason(s) not to attempt that earlier, so how did Spike make that plan viable when it wasn't before?

 

Was Thorax unable to enter the Crystal Empire with the form of a crystal pony earlier because security would have stopped him and demanded identification, and he had no good identification or verifiable backstory to provide? If so, how did Spike solve that problem? Did Spike really just vouch for Thorax and get him in (without even having a name for him, since Spike only came up with a name for him when introducing him to Twilight)? If so, then that's another case of lax and incompetent security. I would think that the identities of everyone who leaves the secure borders of the Crystal Empire would have to be re-verified before re-entering, considering that they could have been replaced by changelings while they were gone. Although, considering Thorax seemed to get away pretty easily after initially revealing himself in the throne room, and got back to the throne room later without being detected, maybe the best explanation is that the Crystal Empire security just isn't very good.

 

And if Thorax didn't enter the Crystal Empire as a crystal pony previously because he feared prematurely outing himself as a changeling, then again, how would Spike's presence solve that problem? Considering that both Spike and Thorax were well aware of Thorax's revealing his changeling tendencies when love is around, did they even have a contingency plan for such a situation? There didn't seem to be one when exactly that situation occurred in the episode.

 

When Spike goes to find Thorax after betraying him, Thorax initially doesn't help Spike up from dangling into the abyss, which might be more of a moral dilemma than it appears. Should Spike's betrayal of Thorax really be punishable by death, by allowing Spike to fall into the abyss and most likely die? I'm inclined to think not, that Thorax should have helped Spike up regardless of whether Spike was still his friend or apologized sincerely enough. But there are at least a couple of other considerations. For one, what would the ramifications of Spike's betrayal have been? By not verbally and/or physically defending Thorax in the throne room, was Spike essentially allowing for Thorax to be killed? What would have happened if Thorax had been caught? Second, Spike's betrayal aside, could it be argued that Thorax caused Spike to be in the predicament of possibly falling to his death? And if so, would Thorax have the moral responsibility to try to save him? It doesn't appear that Thorax, say, directly pushed Spike off the cliff. But Thorax's appearing next to Spike and yelling and hissing in his face naturally scared Spike, leading to him backing away and off the cliff, although one could say that maybe Spike should have been more aware of his surroundings. So, again, while I'm inclined to say that Spike's friendship status shouldn't be a factor in deciding whether to save him, this whole situation might be more morally complex than it first appears.

 

Shining Armor's over-the-top line that "there's no such thing as a nice changeling" is an example of this episode's ham-handedness.  Have ponies actually observed changelings at any other time than the Canterlot invasion? If not, then Shining Armor's line would be like saying that everyone from X country is bad based solely on observing X country's soldiers in a battle. Even then, one couldn't preemptively say that every single soldier in an enemy's army is evil - maybe that's the assumption that's operated on, but of course there might be some individuals who defect, are unwilling to actually fight, etc. Shining Armor might be more correct to say something like "We don't know what the changelings are up to, so we have to treat any of them as potential enemies until we have very good reason to believe otherwise", but then that kind of nuance might interfere with the intended message of the episode.   

 

Finally, there's the whole scene with Spike's song. In the song, Spike repeats "Why can't we imagine a changeling can change?", but didn't Thorax say that he was born wanting friends and being different than the other changelings? In other words, if we're to believe him, Thorax didn't "change", he was different all along. (If that's true, then I would think that would be a big obstacle to Thorax taking knowledge of friendship back to the Changeling Kingdom and reforming it.) Also, Spike sings that "this changeling, it seems, knows the real me and would stay by my side 'til the end", but how is Spike able to make such a claim when they've only known each other for, what, a few hours? And of course, the idea that everyone changes their minds after Spike's single (supposedly) tear-jerking song, and Twilight's statement of belief, is yet another believability issue that diminishes the emotional impact of the episode and its moral.

 

Now for a few other miscellaneous observations:

 

Starlight says on the train that doesn't want to fall behind on her friendship lessons back home. So are Starlight's friendship lessons like school assignments, given on a regular basis and with set due dates?

 

Sunburst just so happened to be the one to perform Flurry Heart's crystalling, since Twilight was busy with casting the spell to restore the Crystal Heart, and now Sunburst appears to be Flurry Heart's caretaker. Is that a job he really wanted, or thought he was signing up for when he agreed to do the crystalling under extraordinary circumstances?

 

What's Spike's excuse for repeatedly coming and going from the Crystal Empire in order to talk to Thorax outside?

 

I think there are far too many failure points for the whole illusion with Spike seeing his "reflection" to have gone on as long as it did. First, I want to ask "His reflection in what?" - what natural formation would create such a perfect mirror? And besides, we see just a minute later that there's nothing there - Thorax goes right through where the "mirror" would have been. So when Spike reached out his claws to touch the "mirror", he would have been touching Thorax's claws instead. And all of this is besides the obvious fact that there's no way that Thorax would know how to mimic Spike's random movements in real time.

 

Why is it that Crystal Hoof, and Thorax later in the episode, must be summoned and shown the baby, simply because he's a friend of Cadance and/or Shining Armor? I guess it's part of the culture around babies that some parents feel the need to show off their babies to everyone they meet, but I find it rather pointless and silly. In fact, if Crystal Hoof hadn't been summoned and shown the baby, then he might not have blown his cover.

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To start, this episode involves the whole idea that Spike "saved the Crystal Empire" twice, and is a hero and celebrity among the crystal ponies. I've never liked this idea, and to me, it feels like a one-time gag that the show is inexplicably committed to, despite it not being believable or even entertaining. Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance (and even others) all played significant roles, some arguably even more so than Spike, in stopping Sombra's return. And at the Equestria Games, Spike might have saved some ponies from injury and/or death, which was laudable, but that was not "saving the Empire", and is something that presumably others have done without getting the celebrity treatment. For example, the Mane Six have "saved Equestria" several times, and are not being mobbed or fawned over wherever they go. It seems like even the show can't decide whether we're supposed to take Spike's hero/celebrity status seriously. On the one hand, Spike is shown to be egotistical about his hero status, leading other characters to roll their eyes and leading to Spike being humiliated after not living to his hype. But on the other hand, this episode wants us to believe that Spike is making a real sacrifice by risking his fame/reputation in the Crystal Empire by defending Thorax. The latter, to me, rings hollow, since Spike's fame/reputation seems overblown and at least somewhat undeserved, anyway. That's probably a big reason why this episode didn't have the intended emotional impact on me.

 

Personally, I'd like to see the show acknowledge the Mane 6's contributions more often. We've seen it twice this season so far, and I'd like it continue - at least to a degree that is doesn't become a distraction. As for Spike's fame, he only seems to get this recognition when he's in the Empire, and frankly for all the crap he's gone through I don't mind seeing his ego getting stroked at all.

 

I think the Crystal ponies see Spike as us people see real-life heroes - they magnify the good and ignore the bad or unimportant. To them, it doesn't matter that Spike didn't necessarily save the entire empire during the games, it was enough that he saved some pony lives and it all gets swept up into his legend as a hero, making him larger-than-life even if from a truly objective standpoint it isn't as impressive as it really is.

 

Finally I think his sacrifice of his status was real. Even if the Crystal Ponies are overblowing his fame, that fame would fall away if they weren't convinced Thorax was the real deal. All the perks Spike has grown to enjoy during his visits would stop, and I imagine that would probably make him feel pretty bad.

 

 

Another big part of this episode is that the Crystal Empire is supposed to have increased security looking out for changelings and protecting from them, but many times that security seems lax and incompetent. To give an example, I'm not sure that the "sunshine, sunshine, ladybugs awake" thing with Cadance near the beginning of the episode is necessarily a foolproof means of making sure that it's the real Twilight. That might have worked back in "A Canterlot Wedding" because it was something that Twilight and Cadance did many years ago and presumably hadn't been done or talked about since then. But now it's basically become Twilight and Cadance's standard greeting whenever they meet each other, and they don't seem to be trying to keep it a secret.

 

I tend to dismiss security unrealities in this series, or a lot of series for that matter. There's so much Hollywood fakery going on when it comes to stopping crimes that the ponies not actually being effectual in keeping things safe is a minor issue for me. But I see your point - the guards could have done more, and Shining could have conjured his big shield spell again if he really felt there was an impending invasion.

  

 

Another example of lax security is that Thorax's story about being born different than the other changelings, seeing true friendship during the Canterlot invasion, leaving the other changelings, and wanting to find love to share is just unquestioningly accepted by Spike, and later, everyone else. If there is legitimate fear of changelings infiltrating the Crystal Empire, wouldn't it be plausible that one of them might give such a false story in order to get inside to the Royal Family and spy on them, find out weaknesses in the defenses, discover and/or sabotage their plans, etc.? Even saving Spike from falling into the abyss would be part of this plan, getting Spike to trust Thorax even as Thorax is using Spike to get access.

 

Yeah, a lot of folks are wondering about this. If this weren't subtitled "Friendship is Magic", I could see Thorax being a ploy by Chrysalis to take over the kingdom. But so far this show has been pretty transparent when a character is good and when a character is evil most of the time. Chrysalis, for example, didn't even try to really blend in all that well when she took over Cadance - she was clearly a baddie (at least to Twilight and the audience.)

  

 

Another believability issue is that after Spike failed to get the guards and Shining Armor to warm to the idea of befriending a changeling, Spike's plan is to...have Thorax take the form of a crystal pony and enter the Crystal Empire, then win everyone over before, at some point in the future, revealing that he's a changeling. But why couldn't Thorax have just done all of that himself, especially if, as he claims, he's starving? Presumably Thorax had reason(s) not to attempt that earlier, so how did Spike make that plan viable when it wasn't before?

...

 

And if Thorax didn't enter the Crystal Empire as a crystal pony previously because he feared prematurely outing himself as a changeling, then again, how would Spike's presence solve that problem?

 

I'm thinking having Spike around - the hero of the Empire - gave him the confidence boost to pull it off. Maybe Spike's love itself was enough energy to allow him to sustain his Crystal Hooves form long enough for it to work now?

 

 

When Spike goes to find Thorax after betraying him, Thorax initially doesn't help Spike up from dangling into the abyss, which might be more of a moral dilemma than it appears. Should Spike's betrayal of Thorax really be punishable by death, by allowing Spike to fall into the abyss and most likely die? I'm inclined to think not, that Thorax should have helped Spike up regardless of whether Spike was still his friend or apologized sincerely enough.

 

I think he would have saved him even if Spike hadn't pled his case. The cries of Spike falling are probably what brought him to his senses and his moral code reasserted itself.

 

 

Shining Armor's over-the-top line that "there's no such thing as a nice changeling" is an example of this episode's ham-handedness.  Have ponies actually observed changelings at any other time than the Canterlot invasion? If not, then Shining Armor's line would be like saying that everyone from X country is bad based solely on observing X country's soldiers in a battle. Even then, one couldn't preemptively say that every single soldier in an enemy's army is evil - maybe that's the assumption that's operated on, but of course there might be some individuals who defect, are unwilling to actually fight, etc. Shining Armor might be more correct to say something like "We don't know what the changelings are up to, so we have to treat any of them as potential enemies until we have very good reason to believe otherwise", but then that kind of nuance might interfere with the intended message of the episode.

 

Shining Armor didn't seem to think rationally when it came to changelings. He had more reason than most to be bitter with them and I could understand his openly stating he hates every one of them. His unwillingness to judge each one on an individual basis is part of the moral of the episode - overcoming prejudice - and I felt they handled it as well as they could in the time restraints they had.

  

 

Starlight says on the train that doesn't want to fall behind on her friendship lessons back home. So are Starlight's friendship lessons like school assignments, given on a regular basis and with set due dates?

 

I think they are, and I think this might be foreshadowing for an upcoming episode. But we'll see! =)

 

 

Sunburst just so happened to be the one to perform Flurry Heart's crystalling, since Twilight was busy with casting the spell to restore the Crystal Heart, and now Sunburst appears to be Flurry Heart's caretaker. Is that a job he really wanted, or thought he was signing up for when he agreed to do the crystalling under extraordinary circumstances?

 

Considering his old job was an unknown (it seemed like he was on welfare or something in "The Crystalling") I thought he'd be happy to get any job, especially one as important as that. I imagine they kept Sunburst on because of Flurry's magic issues and he knows a lot about spells that can keep her powers in check. I thought it was implied that was the case, so I wasn't surprised to see him with the baby.

 

 

What's Spike's excuse for repeatedly coming and going from the Crystal Empire in order to talk to Thorax outside?

 

Potty breaks? Maybe dragon excrement isn't compatible with Crystal Empire plumbing? XD

 

Seriously, though, he probably proclaimed he was "heroically" going outside again to be on the lookout for more changelings and the local fanatizens simply accepted his explanation.

  • Brohoof 3

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