Sun, Feb 17 2013, 05:16 PM EST
- Original Filename: winter_chills_by_mewball-d5kkpoa.png
Well, I'm disappointed, but not terribly surprised. The episode really kinda felt like a big rush job to try and fit the alicorn thing and some semblance of an explanation into this season BUT also without "giving it away" until the last episode. I'm not going to bitch about Twilicorn, but in trying to nail down what made me dislike this episode I did come up with some specific things. Posting because I'm curious what others might think.
(Should we use spoiler tags after an episode airs?)
Why did they show Twilight's casting of the spell that messed things up as a flashback? The phrase "show, don't tell" comes to mind (obviously a flashback does show, but it's not as powerful), and I think the choice was a mistake. Opening the episode with her receiving the book from Celestia would have been a much more engaging start than her fairly random "Everything is perfect" song.
I was a little disappointed with the presentation of Twilight "creating new magic". Maybe I was just expecting something a little different, but seeing her go around singing wasn't quite in line with the "magic" we've seen before. Even the memory spell she used was her actively casting a spell on the others. This time they just went around and she had the right pony perform their right physical task. And then, at the end, she wrote a bit in Starswirl's book about destinies and friendship, but that didn't seem any more extraordinary than what she usually wrote in letters to Celestia.
The mystical rainbow road of flashbacks. I detested this sequence because I thought it screamed "lazy". Any time a TV show or movie throws characters into an indiscernible misty void, it's never a good sign. The writer either couldn't think of anything better, or the animators didn't have time to create anything more complex. Both are pretty poor excuses, and almost any other location would have been better. Personally I think the oft-seen Canterlot hallway with stained-glass windows would have been a great fit. They could have shown all the different window scenes over the course of the series instead of floating screencaps (or combined with, if they really had to). It could have culminated with them coming to a new window displaying Twilight's winged ascension and that would have been the moment she knew what was about to happen. Personally, I think that would have been much more effective than a misty void.
It seems strongly implied that Celestia caused Twilight's upgrade to alicorn, and this also seemed a little disappointing. It makes Twilight's change stand out as more a whim of Celestia than a result of an innate and intrinsic change within herself to something more powerful. Celestia "pulling" her up isn't a bad thing, but after seeing it I realized I liked the idea of her doing it on her own better.
Others will disagree I'm sure, but I thought the reaction of the other mane 5 to Twilight's change didn't quite fit. Only Rarity really seemed surprised, and that passed quickly. Godmodding a character is always more powerful and more easily accepted when those around them (who are now just mere mortals in comparison) react in a believable sense that the audience can sympathize with. For me at least, I would have hoped for just a bit more questioning uncertainty than suddenly "flying buddy party time" (though Pinkie's costume was hilarious). I was also saddened that Twilight didn't say anything when all her friends bend down before her. Compare that to what I think may be the most powerful scene in the Lord of the Rings: I realize the circumstances are different and that Twilight's also shocked, but still...
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the...
The very end. Having Twilight suddenly fly off like that on her own, perfectly and with no friends? It just seems so out of place and out of character. Why don't we get to see her first attempt at flying? Why doesn't Rainbow get to help her get the hang of her wings? Why doesn't the episode end with her and her friends? Who knows, but I think it's one last sign of the poor writing lack of any thought that went into the characters in this episode.
It was nice to see (a lot of) Derpy again, but seeing her 4-5 times in one episode after an entire season with nothing made it feel like less of a fan nod than an overcompensation for a poor episode, somewhat disappointing season, and an anti-nod to the anonymous poster who revealed all of this months ago. I'd wager Derpy's 100% gone in season 4.
Some last nitpicking:
> "Give me a hand here and help me fix this mess"
> "The towns people are furious"
After two seasons of paying close attention to this, it's like they weren't really even trying.
All that said, there were some really great feels in this episode. I loved how much continuity and back-references they included, including all the background stuff. Did they ruin Twilight? No, but they certainly didn't have her grow as a character either (well, except that 2-3 inch height bump, ha ha) and definitely pushed her further towards a Mary Sue. In the end I was just incredibly disappointed that even after the decision to go with the Twipocalypse they went with a very weak story. Larson has written some great episodes so I can only assume this one was hampered by a lot of management meddling, but who knows. Maybe the show has jumped the shark, or maybe I still just have unrealistic hopes for a cartoon.