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Synopsis:

Spike’s first birthday in Ponyville is coming up, and his present “to himself” is a precious Fire Ruby. However, when Rarity drops by and expresses her interest in it, he gives it to her, preferring to see her happy than him having it to himself. When Spike’s birthday arrives, he’s surprised to get so many presents as the only one who ever gave him presents before was Twilight, and they were always books…which he hated. When he sees that other ponies are giving him gifts because it’s his birthday, he begins to use that as an excuse to extort them. The next day, Twilight is shocked to see a pile of stuff around Spike as well as him suddenly both larger and taking everything he can find without asking. After taking Spike to numerous specialists, Zecora finally informs her that Spike is manifesting his true greedy nature as a dragon, and the more things he gets, the larger and greedier he will become until he turns into an adult dragon and a monster. Twilight and the girls’ attempts to stop Spike end up failing badly, and he continues to grow until adult size and monstrosity, eventually kidnapping Rarity to get the cape she’s wearing and taking her up the same mountain the dragon from “Dragonshy” went up. Once there, he notices Rarity’s Fire Ruby around her neck and wants it, and Rarity, not recognizing him, ends off going on a tirade about how it was a gift from the “sweetest, most generous” dragon she knows. Saying this stirs Spike’s memory of his act of generosity and causes him to instantly revert back into his young, innocent self, and the girls catch both from going splat after he and Rarity “share a moment” when they fall down the mountain. In spite of the destruction he caused, Rarity kisses Spike in gratitude for saving the town “from you” when he remembered his generous side. Spike writes a letter to Celestia about how it’s better to give than to receive.

Review:

Like I said before, pretty much every episode that features Spike prominently tends to portray him in a negative light. A pity since he’s one of the only male characters on the show as a regular. However, this episode left me feeling nervous about him ever after. You have to wonder now if the next time he gets a present if it will “spark” his greed to start rising again and make him turn back into an adult dragon and, if so, if they’ll be able to “stop him” next time. Plus…it shows the cute little dragon is going to grow up to be very ugly. 😦

Again, this episode is not terribly big on laughs given the dramatic turn of the second season, although it has more chuckles than most so far, especially at the flimsy attempts to stop the rampaging Spike and his reactions to the doctor and vet.

The biggest “impact” of this episode was the relationship between Spike and Rarity. Until this episode, Spike’s feelings had been shown to be mostly “one-sided”. He had a crush on Rarity but nothing really came from it. Rarity seemed to be either non-responsive or even manipulative. However…that brief moment in which both of them are falling down off the mountain…that was a rare look that Rarity actually may have feelings for Spike as well. It may have been nothing more than her seeing him as a “dear friend”, but the fandom seized on that. It’s one of the biggest scenes of this series and probably inspired most of the emotional parts of the “Nightmare Rarity” arc in the IDW comic. (If you haven’t read it yet…do so now. I think I’m not the only fan crossing their fingers that it gets adapted to be part of the show.)

So, that alone gives the episode more brownie points, and while it may not be overall more entertaining, it has at least a few endearing parts and some decent humor.

Fun Facts:

The title of the episode is a knockoff of “The Secret to My Success”, a Michael J. Fox film.

When Twilight Sparkle organizes her books, a song similar to that from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from “Fantasia” plays in the background.

The Fire Ruby plays a major part in this episode. So major, in fact, that it figured prominently in the “Nightmare Rarity” arc in the IDW comic, debateably the best arc in the series, as well.

It’s hard to tell if Rarity is trying to seduce Spike into giving her the gem at the start or not.

The “I’ll never wash this (insert body part) again” gag was done in an earlier episode of “The Simpsons”. (Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!)

This episode established that ponies don’t actually know anything about dragons. Not surprising as they’re greedy, vicious monsters. 😛

Monstrous Spike grabbing Rarity and the sequence that follows is obviously a parody of “King Kong”.

The brief moment where Spike is about to admit his feelings and Rarity stops him, as if to say: “I know”, is, to me, the most romantic moment in the entire series (far more than anything Shining Armor and Princess Cadance have ever done), and pretty much lodged the “Spikity” shipping in the minds of the fandom. I get the impression few fans consider any shipping other than Spike and Rarity to be possible.

The first episode where Spike writes the letter to Celestia…at least, for himself. 😛 Although technically he learned the lesson in “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”.

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5

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