Monday, February 6, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode 37

It's catch-up week!  That's right, I'm finally going to get up to speed with all the aired episodes of MLPFiM.  If all goes according to plan, I'll be posting one episode per day this week.  To start off, the pony version of Christmas...
Hearth's Warming Eve
As snow flakes fall and jingle bells chime in the background, the Friendship Express makes its way up the mountain, carrying the mane six ever closer to Canterlot.  Once at their destination, the ponies take in the sights and sounds of the city at Hearth's-Warmingtime.  But they aren't just there to sightsee.  Princess Celestia personally picked the six of them to perform the lead roles in this year's Hearth's Warming Eve Pageant.  As they prepare backstage, Fluttershy gets stage fright, and Rarity tries to help her out by telling her that ponies all over Equestria are putting on their own pageants, but she ultimately fails when she mentions that Canterlot's pageant is the biggest, most well-attended of all the pageants.  A cold wind suddenly begins to blow, and Rarity asks Applejack to shut the window, but the earth pony gets distracted by Rainbow Dash envisioning all the cheers she (and she alone) will get.  Meanwhile, Twilight and Pinkie Pie try to get Fluttershy out of hiding, just two minutes before the start of the pageant!
Fortunately, none of the mane six of in the very first scenes, and so the pageant begins with Spike as narrator, telling of how, long long ago, before Celestia and Luna, even before the discovery of Equestria, ponies lived in disharmony.  Ponies divided themselves into three tribes, the earth ponies, the unicorns, and the pegasi, caring only for their own.  In exchange for food from the earth ponies, the pegasi took care of the weather and the unicorns brought forth day and night.  However, each group resented the others, and their alliance was tremulous at best.  The story truly begins when a mysterious blizzard arrived, though not of the pegasi's doing, leaving the earth ponies unable to farm.  Even the unicorn's magic didn't effect the blizzard, which seemed to grow worse as the ponies' hatred of each other grew stronger.
At last, a summit was held to get to the bottom of the strange weather, with the leaders of each tribe in attendance: Princess Platinum (daughter of the Unicorn King), played by Rarity; Commander Hurricane, played by Rainbow Dash; and Chancellor Puddinghead, played by Pinkie Pie.  But there was no debate, only more arguing.  Commander Hurricane accused the earth ponies of hoarding food, which  Chancellor Puddinghead countered by blaming the pegasi for the storm.  Hurricane insisted the storm was not pegasi doing, and must be unicorn magic, though Princess Platinum was offended by the very idea of magic being used for something so uncouth.  In the end, the ponies could not agree to a thing, not even who would leave first.  As the blizzard raged on, high above the bickering ponies sat strange horse-like creatures, blowing a chill wind.
Following the failed summit, Commander Hurricane complained to Private Pansy (played by Fluttershy) about the lack of respect the other ponies showed her, concluding that they must go it alone.  Similar scenes occurred with Princess Platinum and Clover the Clever (played by Twilight Sparkle) and Chancellor Puddinghead and Smart Cookie (played by Applejack), each leader deciding to go in search of someplace new to live.  And so the two pegasi headed off, Hurricane ready to conquer a new land, starting with some clouds.
Meanwhile, Princess Platinum found getting to a new land to be harder than it sounded, especially considering how she refused to do anything that would get her gown dirty (what's the use of finding a new land if you look like a bedraggled earth pony or a rough and tumble pegasus when you get there?), and eventually took to riding Clover the Clever.  Not that the earth ponies were having an easy time of it, either, what with Chancellor Puddinghead wearing the map upside down.  It was only the quick thinking reverse psychology of Smart Cookie that lead to them getting anywhere at all.
Eventually, all three groups found a new and wondrous land.  Commander Hurricane approved of the clouds and proclaimed it to be Pegasopolis.  Princess Platinum found jewels aplenty and declared the new land Unicornia, and Chancellor Puddinghead fell in love with the fertile soil and named it Dirtville, until Smart Cookie suggested Earth instead.  It looked like everyone was going to be happy, until the three groups realized that they were all in the same place.  The three leaders argued over who planted their flag first and who was trespassing on whose land, and a cool wind began to blow.  The three aides called for everyone to calm down and talk, but as Commander Hurricane called for a battle to decide who would get the new land, snow began to fall, brought by the mysterious horse-like creatures.
Here Spike pads his part, describing all the ways that the new land could have been paradise, but no longer was, to the extent that the audience calls for him to get on with it.  So he continues on, telling of how the only shelter to be found was a nearby cave, and how none of the leaders relished sharing it with the others.  When Princess Platinum asked for her royal space, indicated by an invisible line, Commander Hurricane responded by having Private Pansy draw a real line to show their territory.  And the other two leaders responded by having their aides drawn their own lines.  However, things came to a head when Private Pansy chose to go around a rock, and Commander Hurricane demanded she include it as part of their territory.  Princess Platinum immediately insisted it was part of her territory, and even Chancellor Puddinghead got in on the it, actively taking the rock.  The three leaders got into a scuffle over who got the rock, and suddenly the cool wind returned, causing ice to cover the entrance of the cave.
As the leaders fought over who'd been fighting who more, they failed to notice that they were slowly being covered with ice.  With the ice closing in, the three aides noticed the horse-like creatures causing the snow and ice, which Clover the Clever identified as Windigoes.  Having heard about them from her mentor, Starswirl the Bearded, Clover told the others that they were spirits that fed off fighting and hatred, hence why the blizzard followed wherever they went.  The three aides, however, realized that they didn't hate each other specifically, and Private Pansy pointed out that she actually hated her commander more than she hated the other two aides.
This lack of hatred was enough to create a strong magical reaction from Clover the Clever the likes of which had never been seen before.  The magic manifested as a heart, and kept the Windigoes at bay.  Clover attributed this to the friendship the three of them had just shown, and so the three ponies stayed up through the night, chatting and singing.  Eventually, the leaders thawed out, both their bodies and hearts.  They all agreed to share the land, and dubbed it Equestria.
With the pageant over, the mane six and Spike take a bow, and lead the audience in a winter carol of friendship.  After the performance, Twilight decides that Princess Celestia chose them because they exemplify good friendship.  Just then, the wind starts to blow, and Rarity blames Applejack for not shutting the window earlier.  Applejack points out that Rainbow Dash should have done it, since she has wings and all, which Dash resents, as Twilight could have done it with her magic.  As the ponies argue, they suddenly hear a groan in the wind that sounds suspiciously like the Windigoes from the play, and Rainbow Dash decides to just close the windows.
So even though Hearth's Warming has the trappings of our Christmas, the reason for the holiday is pretty different.  Which is to be expected, I suppose.  Overall, this episode was fun, though one wonders how accurate the play really is.  One theory that I like is that the play is partially improvised, with the leaders being caricatures of various local leaders.  I can easily see Twilight adding the line about Starswirl the Bearded to try and raise interest in ancient pony history.

Misc. Screenshots
Crown Upside Down
About to be brilliant
Puddinghead and Smart Cookie
This is bad

No comments: