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Synopsis:

While getting ready to entertain a group of delegates from Saddle Arabia being brought to town by Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle learns the “Great and Powerful Trixie”, apparently now actually “great and powerful”, is tormenting and torturing citizens in Ponyville. On running up to her, Trixie reveals after she was proven to be a fraud in the incident with the Ursa Minor, her career was a wash, and she blames Twilight for all of her misery and wants revenge in the form of a “magic duel” in which the loser has to leave Ponyville forever. To Twilight’s amazement, Trixie can actually outperform her now and, on losing the duel, is thrown out of town. Trixie then seals it up and immediately becomes a tyrant, enslaving the town into serving her and gradually becoming more malicious and cruel. Twilight, meanwhile, goes to Zecora and trains with her in the hopes of increasing her magic power, but in spite of everything she learns isn’t able to be on Trixie’s level. The rest of the Mane Six discover that Trixie’s new power is coming from an object she’s wearing, the Alicorn Amulet, which gives her alicorn-level power but corrupts her a bit more with each usage. Worse yet, only Trixie can remove it from herself. Fluttershy is “smuggled” out to give the message to Twilight, and Zecora suggests that Twilight “use the sixth” to defeat her. Getting a plan from that, Twilight sneaks Fluttershy back into Ponyville and then calls Trixie out, wearing what she claims is an even stronger amulet that is superior to Trixie’s, and challenges her to a second duel to prove it. Trixie agrees and is stunned to see Twilight performing magic even more advanced than hers. When Twilight boasts of her victory, Trixie steals her amulet and discards the Alicorn Amulet in favor of it…only to find out the “amulet” is just Zecora’s doorstop. The “sixth” meant to use Twilight’s Sixth Element of Harmony, Friendship, which she did by having her friends arrange a series of common parlor tricks to make it appear she was more powerful than ever, and tricked Trixie into removing the Alicorn Amulet herself. The delegates arrive and Twilight entertains them with her show, only to find additional fireworks in the mix, as a result of Trixie. She finally apologizes to Twilight for everything and asks for forgiveness. Twilight hesitates for a long time but finally accepts. Trixie runs off again, saying how “The Great and Apologetic Trixie” is the most humble pony in Equestria.

Review:

Since the fans would only be getting “half a season” this year, I assume that the writers wanted to do some fanservice in the episodes, hence why this episode came up.

On its own…it’s a bit off. Oh, there have been dramatic episodes before, but, seriously, in this episode Trixie is escalated to “villain-level”. Even though her outrageous demands and behavior are so over-the-top they’re wacky, none of the standard after-school-special villains come close to her. Still, there’s a good number of laughs in this episode as well as some real drama.  So, overall plotwise, I’d say it’s a pretty good episode.

Nevertheless, this episode managed to somehow irritate fans on “both sides of the fence” regarding Trixie. I always thought she was a repulsive character, but this pushes her way over the edge. And, in my opinion, unlike in other episodes where they bring characters back from the brink…they went too far in this one. I actually think every line in this episode that refers to the corrupting effects of the Alicorn Amulet was thrown in as “gloss” at the last minute, because the writers realized they had gone too far with Trixie; that there was no way the audience could possibly buy her apology at the end. And, frankly, I still can’t buy it even then.

What we end up with is a portrayal of Trixie that is radically different from her first appearance and alienates both sides. Fans (like me) who always thought Trixie was rotten to the core couldn’t swallow her at the end when she’s surprisingly penitent and apologetic…even trying to do Twilight a favor. In “Boast Busters”, Twilight was never out to show up Trixie for a moment and never boasted of her own talent even once, and she saved Trixie’s life. Her only response to that was to sneer at Twilight and “spit” in her direction without the least bit of humility or gratitude. And now, after having been directly ruined, she’s actually sorrowful? To fans like me, Trixie’s evil behavior really wasn’t that much of a stretch from her first appearance. She really did seem like the kind of character who, if she had enough power, would grind everyone underneath her hooves and make them wait on her hand and foot. The only shock was at the end. I’m not really buying that Trixie couldn’t control herself while using that object, especially since she made the point of saying why she was so angry at Twilight to begin with.

Yet this episode failed the Trixie fans too because, to the fans who do like Trixie, she went over the edge. Where before she was just a snob and a braggart, in this one she’s positively cruel and vile, prompting complaints that they “manufactured a villain” for this episode by warping her so much. They too didn’t seem to buy into the corruption argument, instead seeing this as Trixie’s own mean nature.

So…if this episode was meant to be fanservice by bringing Trixie back, it really didn’t work out too well in spite of being a pretty nice episode all around. Ironically, people may have gotten more of their “Trixie-fix” from the one line humanized Trixie has in “Equestria Girls”.

Lastly…I find it impossible to swallow that Trixie DIDN’T GET PUNISHED AT ALL. AGAIN.

Fun Facts:

“Boast Busters”, Trixie’s first appearance, was one of the first episodes to not feature all of the Mane Six. By comparison, all of them show up in this one and seem to recall her from last time.

In spite of being one of the more popular bit part characters, this was Trixie Lulamoon’s second appearance (and currently only other one) since “Boast Busters”, a staggering 51 episodes ago.

The opening segment is similar to the opening to “Gremlins” with the Chinese shop. I guess the writers had “Gremlins” on the mind this season. On a high definition television, you can actually make out Trixie’s face under the hood in a few shots.

“Saddle Arabia” is yet another nod to a country outside Equestria, this one the first takeoff of a Middle Eastern country. The delegates look rather odd compared to the ponies we’re used to, but this might be a side effect of locality. Pipsqueak was from “Trottingham” and he looked different from all the other foals.

The rock farm that Trixie was forced to work at was owned by Pinkie Pie’s father, in a rare cameo. She actually uses her magic to provide the flashback.

There’s a “soft” Wilhelm Scream right before the barrels are about to land on a background pony.

As another throwback to Season One, parasprites cameo.

M.A. Larson, who seems to be one of the bigger “sci-fi” fans among the writers, has the training sequences with Zecora similar to those between Luke and Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Twilight mentions that she can’t get in touch with Princess Celestia without Spike because she’s presumably in another country, possibly across the ocean. However…forgetting Princess Luna yet again? 😛

So much for Fluttershy being assertive, eh? 😛

At one point, Applejack laments: “She wants me to grow apples with no peels!” It could just be a silly joke, but it may be an allusion to the Bible and “The Ten Commandments”, when Pharaoh demanded the Israelites made bricks without straw.

Not only does Pinkie manage to play all the instruments at once…she does so unable to breathe or blow. 😛

So…not one citizen of Ponyville wanted to punish Trixie? :/

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5

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