Will Guide

Spoiler S08:E24 - Father Knows Beast

Jeric

Warning, there will likely be spoilers in the Episode discussion threads so venture in at your own peril. 

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Episode Rating  

89 members have voted

  1. 1. Did you like or dislike the Episode?

    • "Suffering will be this episode's teacher" *shoots fire* (HATE IT!)
    • "When I sit down to an episode, I like to have it in tune" *plays out of tune notes* (Dislike it)
    • "This episode is like your father: A Pirate and a Good Man" *The calm neutral waves crash* (Meh)
    • "The Like is Strong with this Episode" *heavy breaths* (Like it!)
    • "I am proud to be this Episode's family!" *Gives a grito* (LOVE IT!)


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I have added a new link to the original post with the version of the episode that premiered earlier today!

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So, all done watching. This was both heartwarming and heartbreaking for Spike.

I loved it, mostly - but it left a raw spot in my heart in that Spike keeps getting his hopes for a reunion dashed.

I think the fact that we got such a realistic sounding origin story for Spike's egg that turns out to be just that - a story - is the biggest problem. Spike ending the episode with his stating (again) that his real family is here is all fine and dandy, but we already knew that from "Dragon Quest."

And it's pretty clear that despite him stating this notion twice now, THE PLANS HE'S BEEN SECRETLY KEEPING MEANS HE STILL WISHES HE KNEW WHERE HE CAME FROM AND WHO HIS BIOLOGICAL MOM AND DAD ARE, EVEN IF HE CONSIDERS TWILIGHT AND THE OTHER PONIES HIS FAMILY.

Spike deserves to know. The fans care enough to know. Clearly the audience reaction to Spike getting his chain yanked again means there is a reason to not let this loose end dangle by the end of the series. So I'm going to hope Spike's origin is still in the plans somewhere next season.

And Spike still needs a father figure in his life. There's no indication Shining Armor nor Night Light filled that role if he made a list like he did. They apparently never did the fatherly things Spike has longed for all these years.

I would say Sludge is pretty despicable for how he used Spike's feelings, but it seems like Sludge has never been a dad and doesn't know what family actually means. That doesn't excuse his actions, but I don't think he was trying to be evil, either. He just didn't give a damn either way because he only cares about himself. At least he did seem to have some empathy for Spike at times, and felt uncomfortable upon seeing Spike's heartbroken reaction to learning he wasn't his real dad.

If he ever wants to redeem himself for what he did in this episode, he can start by going off on his own and searching for the fate of Spike's biological mother and father. :mlp_okiedokieloki:

Edited by Truffles
Removed spoiler box post-DFC airing
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Spoiler

Why spike WHYY..? don't Treat Twilight like that(that Mortal kombat-like x ray showed her pain so clearly though props for that)
i kinda hoped that Sludge would know Spike's real parents and just wasn't talking so he can stay at the castle, but he didn't say anything when he left so i doubt he does
i liked the episode but i don't think there's much more to talk about, it just was, which is ok from time to time, the one thing i hold against it is how anticlimactic it was, after that title, we got to see no one's dad (was secretly hoping for Trixie's dad)
i give it a 6,5

 

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And I'm done.

Sludge may be the most hateable character of the series. While Garble's someone to just hate, you love to hate Sludge. If you watch more than once, this slob knows how to con others. He wants to live the luxury life and make you work for it while tugging the right strings to make you fall for his trick and divide from who you love at your most vulnerable state. While he's fat and lazy, he's not a stereotype, as he always cleans up after himself and trades his laziness for his brains. He's smart, calculating, and very manipulative; despite two slip ups, he catches himself and remains convincing.

There are several clues to his schemes before he became more brazen:

  1. He stopped jogging on the treadmill to chug the fresh cider.
  2. The Wonderbolts held him above them, but he won't fly until Dash lectures him.
  3. He doesn't admit to being his father until after he fully recovers and walks with Spike back inside.
  4. Just by his stops and gestures, you can tell he's making up the story as he goes along, including not answering other questions the RM5 asked, but his tale's canonically logical, and his tears sound real, so it adds a layer on uncertainty.
  5. After his song, he cackles, cutting into Act 3.
  6. The synopsis gives away a very important clue: "dad" and "real" are in skeptical quotes.
  7. Dismisses Spike after being asked if he wanted to do anything with his son and then casually accuses Spike of not being a "real" dragon, cutting deeply into his psyche.
  8. His name has negative connotations related to muck and sewage. Despite being clean, his personality perfectly fits his name.

Because he's so manipulative, I'm really glad he's not his father; if he was, he'd be a deadbeat. However, as excellent he is at crafting a façade, this leads to a few big problems I have with it, echoing from @Truffles's review, @Sparklefan1234's comment, and conversations with @PathfinderCS.

  1. Spike's hurtful comeback to Twilight is absolutely crushing to her, but I don't know if it has the weight it should. From the beginning of Act 3, the RM6 were already suspicious of him, and they suspected major holes in his backstory previously, but because they can't prove anything, they must give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he doesn't brainwash him. Emotionally, the delivery of disappointment feels stilted.
  2. Spike doesn't truly figure out he was being used until after his conversation with Smolder, and their plan takes place off-screen. Afterwards, everything starts falling into place. But because he figured it out a little late and needs Smolder's off-screen advice for some closure, the pacing feels a little off.
  3. Spike clearly feels disappointed and hurt by how Sludge, but just before it concludes, he starts getting over his disappointment and feels mostly satisfied with the only family he has. But as this and DQ demonstrate, wanting to know his family roots matters to him, and he thought he was so close to actually figuring out who his biological father is. Heck, he revealed his scroll of things to do with them and was so happy to do them.
  4. Sludge's backstory has weight to it. Even with the little holes, it's plausible, and you can fill in the cracks with them. His sobs after telling them his story also feels real. The script even puts in a lot of effort building lore behind it with a very unique art style of its own.
  5. Sludge's reveal was anticlimactic. There were clues he set Spike up, but one big red flag is stating he searched everywhere for him. To them and Spike, they don't know, but for some, it hurts the story. Why? Because he never recognized Spike nor said his name until after he fully healed. It was only a matter of time before he outs himself.

It's no surprise why many feel disappointed. By revealing to NOT being his dad, the episode reverts to the status quo. After all this time, Spike's past remains a mystery. So despite a competent, nicely written story with a nicely song and on of the best non-villain antagonists of the series, the resolve feels hollow. Like more could be done.

At the end, I still feel conflicted. I don't know if I like it or don't. Therefore, I selected the in-between answer. Nevertheless, it's got some big positives.

  1. Spike is very good here. He really wants to do the right thing and tries so hard to impress his "father." Here, we see his vulnerable side and one issue not shown too often: his naiveté. He became so enamored with reuniting with Sludge that he overlooks when he becomes a sleazy slob. Despite telling Twilight off, her worry clearly was on the back of his mind, evident by expressing his confusion towards Smolder. (This is also the first episode to refer to Spike as an orphan.)
  2. Twilight is also well-done in one of her more mature secondary outings of the series. FKB plays Spike's friends out as his family, especially Twilight, and she's very motherly to him. Spike's health and well-being matter to him and will do anything to make sure he's safe. When he revealed Sludge ditched him and wasn't his real dad, she consoled him immediately.
  3. Smolder makes a great representation of dragons being good despite their rough reputation. When Twilight had trouble instructing Spike how to do tricks, she's there to help, and Spike offers a thank-you pillow to her, who doesn't sleep with pillows. Unlike Sludge, she is there to represent authentic dragondom. When he had trouble flying, she fixed the problem. When she realized Spike was being his servant, she knew he phonied everything and worked with Spike to out him. When he fled, she consoled him.
  4. Sludge is a fantastic, competent antagonist. No need to repeat.
  5. Also, this is Dragon Quest done right. How so?
    1. Recall the sexist implications and xenophobic stereotyping of dragons by the Mane Six? These implications are nonexistent, and Haber did a great job dignifying dragon culture. Sludge claims he teaches Spike how to be a "real" dragon, but in reality, Sludge is a false representation of dragondom, while Smolder is. In DQ, the teenage dragons are written to represent dragondom with Spike disowning his identity until Gauntlet of Fire. Guess who's in the right here.
    2. DQ's lesson actively uses racism as a good thing and treats the dragons other than Spike himself as savages. Thankfully, FKB handles a similar moral much better, this time focused on family over individuality, but Spike never forgets or abandons his dragon identity or sees it as a bad thing.
    3. Accusations of xenophobia from the ponies to dragons in DQ are justified, courtesy of their racist and sexist language. In FKB, no one acted like that at all, especially Twilight. She focused solely on Sludge being a bad influence on him, and Spike retaliated by falsely accusing her of racism and nationalism, two of the accusations in which he apologized to her for (the other being a "fake parent").
    4. In DQ, Fluttershy agreed to watch the dragon migration after Dash agonizingly watched the butterfly migration, but stepped on Dash's chest and hightailed it. Here, Fluttershy actively helps him heal and no longer outwardly fears larger dragons.

Disappointment aside, is it a good episode? I believe it is. Compared to the rest of its streak, it's the weakest of the bunch, but it's still competently written. Hopefully, it'll continue to hold up on its own and age better in the future.

Edited by Dark Qiviut
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Like others have said, this episode was basically exploring the same idea of Dragon Quest, but executed much better. For one, it had a much more interesting antagonist. Sludge is complex, and the most interesting thing I find about him is that his general air of incompetence makes him more believable, he's probably the most cunning antagonist we've seen so far aside from maybe Discord or the Flim and Flam brothers. The other thing that made this episode better was the presence of Smolder. This not only removes the speciesist implications of the original, but also also addresses real concerns for a dragon raised by ponies (odd it took until now to address it as it was shown to be a problem back in Season 2 with Secret of My Excess) and allows her to act as a foil to Sludge. Not only is their the contrast that she's the positive dragon model, but she appears to actually be more opposed to pony stuff than Sludge is. Sludge's terribleness isn't because dragon's are terrible, it's because he's just terrible. 

I was initially miffed like everyone else was with the teasing, but what this episode had me realize by the end is that I really don't care who Spike's parent's are. I'm going to take what Twilight said about the egg being orphaned and assume they are probably dead, and thus irrelevant now. What I really find to be interesting is how Celestia acquired the egg, and while it's probably never going to come up just because it's not important, it's one where we actually have the character who knows the answer. My headcanon is that ironically Sludge's story is actually the truth, it just didn't involve Sludge (who doesn't know it's true either). That is Spike's mother, and ultimately she died while searching for a new migration destination. Spike's father was in turn killed while looking for her, but the egg was plundered. How it got into Celestia's hooves is a mystery, but my headcanon is the egg had died before it came into her possession and the real test was dealing with failure. However, Twilight Sparkle's magic was so great that she brought it back to life. In a way, she is a biological mother to him as she was essential for his birth. 

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1 hour ago, Ganondox said:

Like others have said, this episode was basically exploring the same idea of Dragon Quest, but executed much better. For one, it had a much more interesting antagonist. Sludge is complex, and the most interesting thing I find about him is that his general air of incompetence makes him more believable, he's probably the most cunning antagonist we've seen so far aside from maybe Discord or the Flim and Flam brothers. The other thing that made this episode better was the presence of Smolder. This not only removes the speciesist implications of the original, but also also addresses real concerns for a dragon raised by ponies (odd it took until now to address it as it was shown to be a problem back in Season 2 with Secret of My Excess) and allows her to act as a foil to Sludge. Not only is their the contrast that she's the positive dragon model, but she appears to actually be more opposed to pony stuff than Sludge is. Sludge's terribleness isn't because dragon's are terrible, it's because he's just terrible. 

I was initially miffed like everyone else was with the teasing, but what this episode had me realize by the end is that I really don't care who Spike's parent's are. I'm going to take what Twilight said about the egg being orphaned and assume they are probably dead, and thus irrelevant now. What I really find to be interesting is how Celestia acquired the egg, and while it's probably never going to come up just because it's not important, it's one where we actually have the character who knows the answer. My headcanon is that ironically Sludge's story is actually the truth, it just didn't involve Sludge (who doesn't know it's true either). That is Spike's mother, and ultimately she died while searching for a new migration destination. Spike's father was in turn killed while looking for her, but the egg was plundered. How it got into Celestia's hooves is a mystery, but my headcanon is the egg had died before it came into her possession and the real test was dealing with failure. However, Twilight Sparkle's magic was so great that she brought it back to life. In a way, she is a biological mother to him as she was essential for his birth. 

Agreed. This episode while not as good as the previous 5 or the finale, is still a good one due to the amount of heart present.

Also, Smolder is now best Student!

8 out of 10.

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What was your guys' take on Spike making amends with Twilight? Was it satisfying? too short? etc.

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Just now, Theanimationfanatic said:

What was your guys' take on Spike making amends with Twilight? Was it satisfying? too short? etc.

 

Spoiler

 

I'd have preferred a little more even just a proper aknowlegement that she's his mother given how badly he hurt her with his "I finally have real parents."

 

 

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1 minute ago, Senko said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

I'd have preferred a little more even just a proper aknowlegement that she's his mother given how badly he hurt her with his "I finally have real parents."

 

 

I feel like the way they it's handled works well enough. They did a good job of getting across that she is his maternal figure without explicitly spelling it out.

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I really like Smolder being like an older sister to Spike.

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31 minutes ago, VG_Addict said:

I really like Smolder being like an older sister to Spike.

She was the best part of this episode and Molt Down. Overall, I'd say that Spike got two good episodes this season.

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Sludge is such an awful individual that represent the worst trait of the dragon kind. That guy repay ponies's kindness with his lies, disgusting.:mlp_wat: And he got his pillow in the end, damn.:mlp_wat:

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I'm sure Ember's gonna LOVE hearing all about this. :okiedokieloki:

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36 minutes ago, ggg-2 said:

I'm sure Ember's gonna LOVE hearing all about this. :okiedokieloki:

I'd  like to imagine that he was banished from the Dragon Lands for his laziness.

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Am I the only one who thinks Sludge's voice sounds like Mr. Krabs's?

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12 hours ago, Truffles said:

So, all done watching. This was both heartwarming and heartbreaking for Spike.

  Hide contents

 

I loved it, mostly - but it left a raw spot in my heart in that Spike keeps getting his hopes for a reunion dashed.

I think the fact that we got such a realistic sounding origin story for Spike's egg that turns out to be just that - a story - is the biggest problem. Spike ending the episode with his stating (again) that his real family is here is all fine and dandy, but we already knew that from "Dragon Quest."

And it's pretty clear that despite him stating this notion twice now, THE PLANS HE'S BEEN SECRETLY KEEPING MEANS HE STILL WISHES HE KNEW WHERE HE CAME FROM AND WHO HIS BIOLOGICAL MOM AND DAD ARE, EVEN IF HE CONSIDERS TWILIGHT AND THE OTHER PONIES HIS FAMILY.

Spike deserves to know. The fans care enough to know. Clearly the audience reaction to Spike getting his chain yanked again means there is a reason to not let this loose end dangle by the end of the series. So I'm going to hope Spike's origin is still in the plans somewhere next season.

And Spike still needs a father figure in his life. There's no indication Shining Armor nor Night Light filled that role if he made a list like he did. They apparently never did the fatherly things Spike has longed for all these years.

I would say Sludge is pretty despicable for how he used Spike's feelings, but it seems like Sludge has never been a dad and doesn't know what family actually means. That doesn't excuse his actions, but I don't think he was trying to be evil, either. He just didn't give a damn either way because he only cares about himself. At least he did seem to have some empathy for Spike at times, and felt uncomfortable upon seeing Spike's heartbroken reaction to learning he wasn't his real dad.

If he ever wants to redeem himself for what he did in this episode, he can start by going off on his own and searching for the fate of Spike's biological mother and father. :mlp_okiedokieloki:

 

 

A father-figure for Spike? My answer has not changed: SCORPAN! If he truly found Spike's egg and knows of Spike's purpose, then maybe he's been looking after him and nopony knew! After all, since he is the prince of the gargoyles it takes alot of responsibility that he never has time to meet Spike in person, nor has the courage to have face his brother which could be another reason why doesn't want to go back to Equestria. But maybe he looks after him through some kind of magical object or something Starswirl taught him. 

Yunno how there are some stories where a mother raises the son alone because the father left? Well that could be a sensitive subject to tackle on, but in subtext, that could be what Scorpan is! Forget the fat cabbage from this episode, Spike's real father is Scorpan! Not the biological father, but his adoptive father... that he never met yet. Makes ense?

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The episode felt underwhelming and made me feel very sorry for Spike. 

Spoiler

I don’t want to go in detail about this episode’s similarities with Dragon Quest, but I think most people saw them. It’s not the first episode of the season that feels like a repetition of something we had seen a long time ago. The best moments for me were Spike’s interactions with his future wife Smolder, Twilight’s heartbreak, and Starlight in the bathtub falling from a window.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Spike’s biological parents, and don’t think we ever will. *Sigh*

All in all, I’m glad that Spike learned the lesson about who his real family are… once again, and that Smolder continues to make meaningful contributions to the story.

 

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10 hours ago, Theanimationfanatic said:

Agreed. This episode while not as good as the previous 5 or the finale, is still a good one due to the amount of heart present.

Also, Smolder is now best Student!

8 out of 10.

While I was more disappointed with the episode than the one before it, I actually think this was the better episode, it’s just a matter of expectations. But either way we’ve been on a strong streak since The Road To Friendship. 

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Wow, I've been here all day re-writing this multiple times because the editor keeps eating it when I switch pages. :yuck:

 

Also, too lazy to go and spoilerize everything, so have some old-school line breaks instead and beware....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 8/27/2018 at 2:51 PM, Will Guide said:

It's official to me: Smolder's the much better expert on Dragon Culture.

In fact, after having seen everything except for the finale this season:

Smolder > Ember - in terms of character development and who is a better tutor to dragon customs.

I can't fault Ember for being more stubborn than Smolder, however, when it comes to forming relationships. She was raised by her dad, and her dad is very much an old-school dragon who still has much to learn in how modern dragons should look and behave. Spike and Thorax are doing a good job of bringing her around, however, so (dragon politics aside) I can see her coming around to Smolder's level of empathy at some point during her reign.

 

Also, I'll just throw this out there for everyone to consider, as the implications are becoming pretty clear from the anecdotal evidence presented to us in this and previous episodes:

Scootadragon's parents > Scootaloo's parents. :V

Seriously, if I had to choose between which parents I'd rather have, I'd take Smolder's dragon folks who seem to be nurturing their child - despite the fact that I'd get thrown out due to the Molt Effect once I hit puberty. That seems preferable to Scootaloo's who never seemed to take seriously the amount of involvement in being a parent from the very start. :(

 

On 8/27/2018 at 4:08 PM, Dark Qiviut said:

He's literally belittling Spike for being raised by a pony, but does it so casually and so sneakily. This is COZY GLOW-level manipulation!!

That vile, repulsive BASTARD! :angry:

I had the same impression that Sludge was a scalier version of Cozy Glow. I think Cozy is still the master, however - when she flubs, she's perfectly smooth in covering it up or changing her story, as witnessed back in "Marks for Effort." With Sludge, he has several tells that he's making this stuff up or outright lying. Still, Equestria would be much worse off if these two ever joined forces as a sort of Bonnie and Clyde of con artists.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 4:22 PM, Will Guide said:

With me, I rather be manipulated by Cozy Glow than Sludge. At least she can look cute while being a little bitch.

Eh, I'll take the latter. It's easier to expose someone who looks like he could be a con artist than a girl who hides behind a coy, innocent exterior.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 5:26 PM, bigbertha said:

It would've been much more entertaining if they slowly started to catch onto Sludge's scheme during act 2 and tried to convince Spike. I think Smolder should've been cut from the episode entirely as she didn't add that much.

I have to disagree on both counts. Having the episode turn into a "Spike vs. the Mane 6" trope is something I really didn't want to see, so I applaud the episode for not doing that. It was enough that Spike rebelled against Twilight, and that it didn't go on too long. Besides, the Mane 6 just learned the lesson about going up to someone and telling them to stop doing something outright in "Yakkity Sax." If they had done that to Spike about seeing and doing stuff with his dad, he would have rebelled against them in an even worse way.

And Smolder was an integral part of the plot. She foreshadowed the need for Spike to have a dragon influencing his life. She's the one who stepped up and helped him get out from under Sludge's spell. While Spike may have eventually figured it out on his own that he was being used, why make him suffer for more than the day he did as a slave? Without her, there wouldn't be anyone to back up his account of how some dragons live and Twilight would have to send a delegation to Ember to find out the truth.

Besides, this episode was a showcase for Smolder's character development. We knew she's tough and can be blunt, and yet could be compassionate when it came to her circle of friends. We didn't know that empathy extended to Spike, however. Sure, they've interacted, but not at the same level of intimacy as the rest of the Student 6.

 

On 8/28/2018 at 11:36 AM, VG_Addict said:

And all the Crystal Ponies.

Heh, if he made rabid fans like them his family, they'd probably be like the typical annoying little brothers and sisters who are always getting in the way of getting things done. :mlp_laugh:

 

On 8/29/2018 at 7:16 AM, R.D.Dash said:

Begs the question why they just never asked Princess Celestia where the egg came from.

Knowing how inquisitive Twilight is, I image both she and Spike asked this very question way back when they still lived in Canterlot. The answer is she just doesn't know who his parents are. It would be nice to know how his egg came into the possession of the School of Magic, however. There's no good reason for the show not to at least reveal that bit of info.

I suppose one could infer that now Spike's orphan status is finally official, the simplest explanation is Celestia or somepony working for her found his egg lying around by itself. A dragon egg alone in the wild likely wouldn't last long, so it was brought back to the school to be studied.

Another possibility is his parents left it with her for safe keeping. I would think, however, if that were the case, she'd have told them by now - they're both old enough to know such truths.

 

23 hours ago, Senko said:

Its possible the molt is the equivilent of teething for dragons.

The episode was pretty obvious that it was an analog for puberty, though. Also that's a really rough society if they throw their babies out for the equivalent of teething. :twismile:

 

23 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

And Amethyst Star's and the pony's reaction to Sludge and Spike walking together around Ponyville's really funny.

I'm glad someone else besides me caught that. It was only fitting for the ponies to have that reaction to a big, green, dragon casually walking down one of their streets. :laugh: It's little touches like that that make me love this episode, despite it not answering the big questions we all desire.

 

22 hours ago, Sparklefan1234 said:

 Twilight's reaction/heartbreak after Spike's "*real* family." comment didn't sound nearly as impactful in the English version, IMO.

I'm kind of curious about that now, because I did get the impression she wasn't that surprised Spike would come back to her.

 

19 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Sludge may be the most hateable character of the series. While Garble's someone to just hate, you love to hate Sludge.

I still have to reserve that spot for Suri Polomare. She's utterly detestable. She's so slimy. But that's why I love hating her. Sludge comes in at a close second - though I'll have to see what happens in the finale before I include Cozy in that notable little group.

 

19 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Spike's hurtful comeback to Twilight is absolutely crushing to her, but I don't know if it has the weight it should. From the beginning of Act 3, the RM6 were already suspicious of him, and they suspected major holes in his backstory previously, but because they can't prove anything, they must give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he doesn't brainwash him. Emotionally, the delivery of disappointment feels stilted.

This is the catch-22 of the way the episode is presented: Do they (as you pointed out) completely hide Sludge's lies so this scene has more emotional impact, risking the bait-and-switch reaction the audience would have to his true intent being revealed all at once late in the episode? Or do they do what they did and leave the audience underwhelmed, knowing that Spike and Twilight will have patched things up by the end of the episode? It's a tough call.

Maybe if they had shown Twilight worried about the amount of control Sludge was having over Spike, it would have helped? Perhaps if they had her indicating to the audience she wanted to open up and tell him she didn't trust his new dad but bit her lip each time and kept quiet until the moment she did (and got blasted by Spike as a result), maybe that would have been more satisfactory?

 

19 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Spike doesn't truly figure out he was being used until after his conversation with Smolder, and their plan takes place off-screen. Afterwards, everything starts falling into place. But because he figured it out a little late and needs Smolder's off-screen advice for some closure, the pacing feels a little off.

The confusion I have with the scenes of Spike and Smolder executing their plan is it's not clear (until Spike shows his disappointment) as to whether he still believes this is his dad or not. For the first few moments, the upbeat statements he makes about moving into a cave and making sure there are "no comfortable rocks" sounds like he was now just playing along with being his son, as per Smolder's possible off-screen instructions. When the truth comes out, Spike is shocked, but I wonder why he would be since it seemed obvious by the negative reaction he was getting from Sludge to the idea of moving out of the castle?

I have to agree with you, some scenes where we see Smolder hatching her plan to test Sludge's sincerity would have been helpful. Maybe she never even confided in Spike she doubted the veracity of Sludge's claims and simply told him real dragons love caves, hoping Spike's enthusiasm for living like a real dragon would carry her test to fruition? If that's what she did behind the scenes, then she's one clever girl. :mlp_icwudt:

But you're right - I can't really say like I did last night the episode is structurally perfect. It's still not too bad, though.

 

19 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

At the end, I still feel conflicted. I don't know if I like it or don't.

For now, I'm putting it in the love category. Some episodes this season I've liked that I've later moved to "meh", so this one could move down to "liked" at some point.

But for now, there's the great Smolder characterization and moments where she's really the hero of an episode for the first time ever, Spike being absolutely happy in a way that we've never seen him before, learning about the private pain he's been feeling ever since he learned he's an orphan, (the orphan status confirmation being a great bit of canon in itself), the ponies of Ponyville coming together again like they did for Rainbow Dash back in season 4 to help Spike work the items off his list, the Mane 6 reacting perfectly to Spike and Sludge, Twilight being confirmed(!) as raising Spike and implied as being his adoptive parent(!!), and probably a couple other of things I can't remember until I watch the episode for a second time. :-D

 

19 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Also, this is Dragon Quest done right. How so?

  1. Recall the sexist implications and xenophobic stereotyping of dragons by the Mane Six? These implications are nonexistent, and Haber did a great job dignifying dragon culture. Sludge claims he teaches Spike how to be a "real" dragon, but in reality, Sludge is a false representation of dragondom, while Smolder is. In DQ, the teenage dragons are written to represent dragondom with Spike disowning his identity until Gauntlet of Fire. Guess who's in the right here.
  2. DQ's lesson actively uses racism as a good thing and treats the dragons other than Spike himself as savages.

If you don't know already, I actually like that episode. :) I'm with you, however on some things - I do absolutely hate that scene with Rainbow Dash - its one of the scenes that made me initially hate her character early on when I was zipping through all the S1 and S2 episodes. For Rarity, it's to a lesser extent because I have to agree with her - Spike is undeniably cute. :D Oddly, in S1E1, he was OK with being called cute by Fluttershy, so I have to assume he was going through some kind of phase at the time of DQ of wanting to be more bad-ass.

And I really hated for a long time how the dragons are portrayed without any contrasting examples besides Spike. Even at that early stage of me getting to know the show, it felt like a cheap way to keep Spike a prisoner of the ponies so he could be subjected to more physical abuse. =P

But I absolutely love how Spike stood up for himself. While he did get a little help from his friends in their Crackle-relative disguise, he was the one who decided he was going to face the lava jump, and he was the one who decided to defy Garble to smash Peewee's egg. And he did it all with resolute determination. Also, Spike did get the character development he needed, and learning he wasn't supposed to be with ponies as part of a design or some exchange program was a big revelation at the time for me.

Anyway, good discussion!

Edited by Truffles
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wasn't impressed. It's Dragon Quest 2.0, and that already ripped off of g1's "Spike's Search."

 

I really do feel like they've run out of idea at this point

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3 hours ago, Truffles said:

 

Deleted the text as its not spoilered and the parts I'm responding to aren't episode related so I don't need it in there just wanted you to know someone was  responding to you.

At least Scootaloo has Rainbow Dash on her side and she really seems to be stepping up to the big sister role as we saw in the second camping trip. One of the few times Dash willingly walks rather than flies and she's doing it so she can put a comforting wing over Scootaloo's withers.

Perhaps but to me horrible uncontrolled smells and all does sound more like a teething, pooping baby than a teenager but the stone scale does support puberty along with the wings. Just a problem with the undefined dragon aging rate. Though I will point out they are a rough society from all we've seen Ember's the first dragon lord to not go the "Big, strong and might makes right" route as a dragon lord.

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I managed to watch this episode for a second time, and there's both good and bad aspects to report upon seeing it again:

Spoiler

The great thing is there were a lot of jokes I missed in the initial viewing because I was so wrapped up in the emotional rollercoaster ride Spike was on. Being able to sit back and enjoy the visual gags during the musical number and montages was a real treat. Also Pinkie Pie gets big bonus points for being the pony who figured out an effective way to rehabilitate Sludge from his injuries. I did not expect her to be the one to solve that problem.

And everything up to and including Spike doing the things on his list hold up really well. It was an absolute joy to watch all of that for a second time.

But things go south after Sludge (effectively) kicks Spike out of the castle, and it has to do with Spike's naivete.

First, don't get me wrong - I still agree with @Dark Qiviut and I don't think it's OOC or stupid of Spike to believe anything other than his new "dad" had his best interests at heart. He just finished being overjoyed at doing several of the things on his list he always wanted to do with his birth parents, so he was still feeling the euphoria over that. (As an aside, perhaps the episode should have emphasized Spike's euphoric feeling more explicitly instead of implicitly to drive the point home?)

But because Spike pointedly raised the question of how Sludge knew he was going to be a boy dragon when he was still in his egg, it showed us Spike's brain was still working - despite just having been told his origin story and having to take all of that in.

So I guess where I'm coming down on this is while it's not a plothole, it's not particularly satisfying to have Spike going along with everything Sludge asks of him and never question him again until he bumps into Smolder outside at the end of the episode.

Maybe a better way to handle it would have been to have Spike feel disconcerted the whole time he was doing these tasks for Sludge, and instead of him accidentally bumping into Smolder, he actively seeks her out for advice due to his gut telling him something is wrong but his heart doesn't want to believe it? His argument with Twilight might even be the motivating factor that causes him to want to get a second opinion from another dragon?

The only problem with that idea is if Spike is suspicious all along, then the fight with Twilight doesn't make sense - and I really wouldn't want to lose that scene. For the fight to happen, Twilight would probably have had be be a lot more of a jerk to him for him to get angry with her. But like I said in my previous comments, the reactions by the Mane 6 and how they carefully avoided ruining this momentous occasion for Spike was perfectly portrayed.

 

So I'm at a bit of a catch-22, unless someone can come up with a better idea.

I wonder if Josh  Haber went through this while he was editing his script? lol.

 

Also, while I'm  thinking about it, if I'm comparing this episode to the other episodes this season where Spike was either the focus or had a major role, "FKB" is not as good as "The Breakup, Breakdown" or "Molt Down." However, it's still less problematic in it's last act than all the issues there were with Discord in "A Matter of Principals."

 

7 hours ago, Senko said:

At least Scootaloo has Rainbow Dash on her side and she really seems to be stepping up to the big sister role as we saw in the second camping trip. One of the few times Dash willingly walks rather than flies and she's doing it so she can put a comforting wing over Scootaloo's withers.

Indeed, and in fact I would go further and say Rainbow Dash and her parents Bow and Windy make for a better family for Scootaloo than her real parents do.

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The episode was okay. I did like the idea of the episode showing that you shouldn't pretend to be someone else just because someone tells you to. Though the dragon guy was pretty annoying to be fair.

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While the did the villain reveal too early, the interactions between Twilight and Spike made the episode heartwarming and enjoyable for me. 4/5 on this particular scale. 

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I love how Sludge basically has the dragon equivalent of a dad bod. 

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