Rarity is again throwing one of her “drama queen fits” after her contribution to the Fillies and Foals Festival, a new puppet booth for a local puppeteer, ended up not being what he wanted. To try and cheer her up, Spike ends up raiding the Castle of the Two Sisters and finds a forbidden book called “Inspiration Manifestation” that holds a spell with the power to turn imagination into reality. Rarity tries it out on herself and soon everything she thinks of instantly comes into reality. At first she uses it to instantly make a better puppet booth and new dresses, but on seeing her new power she soon decides to go about “beautifying” Ponyville, and Spike, wanting to make Rarity feel good, supports and praises each change. But although she changes it to suit her imagination and tastes, Rarity progressively grows more corrupt and it actually begins ruining the town. Spike soon notices but says nothing as Rarity seems to now hang on his support and validation, fearful of getting her angry at him and rejecting him as a friend. With Owluiscious’ help, he manages to get the book from Rarity and devour it, only to discover the power it held is now innate to Rarity, and her growing corruption now wants her to remake all of Equestria in her image. On hearing that, Spike finally puts his foot down and tells her what she’s doing is wrong, regardless of the consequences to him. However, as it turns out, the spell could only be broken when Spike told the truth about what he felt of Rarity’s changes, and saying this removes Rarity’s power and restores her to her old personality. Spike writes in the diary about the importance of being truthful with your friends even when it’s difficult, and a sore Princess Twilight Sparkle (tired from cleaning up the city-wide mess) orders him never to take a book from the castle again.
The moral to this episode isn’t necessarily new, even to this season, although it’s a bit different. “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” was all about expressing tough love, and this one is too. But whereas the first was about breaking codependency through tough love, this one is more about saying something to a friend that needs to be said even if the results might be painful.
The main conflict is somewhat forced. The spell Inspiration Manifestation seemed perfectly suited to Spike’s situation rather than simply being a “bad” spell with corrupting consequences. The fact that the spell could only be broken by someone telling the caster the truth about the consequences of the spell indicates that whoever wrote it intended it to be a spell someone would use to try and make someone happy and then would praise them for using it…in other words the exact situation Rarity and Spike find themselves in. That seemed a bit too convenient but I don’t know any way to make it less convenient without changing the plot of the episode…which might not have necessarily been a bad thing. There are lots of situations where someone can persist in doing something stupid or destructive provided they keep getting support from a friend or loved one, and the friend or loved one should call them out on it rather than worry about hurting feelings. It doesn’t have to be a result of an evil spell. The fact that it was sort of makes the focus mostly on the corrupting spell in this episode rather than on Spike’s dilemma.
Another detail is that Spike’s dilemma would have had more punch if it appeared Rarity was returning his affections, but, once again, to Rarity Spike is simply in the “friend zone”. I’m not saying they should have changed it just for that, but it ruined the potential impact a bit.
That said, I think it’s another above average episode. While Spike does something for most of it that’s not terribly positive, it’s not overwhelmingly negative either, and as a “Spike episode” it does better than a lot. We hadn’t had a “Spikeity” episode this season yet, and this one did pretty decent.
Although all members of the Mane Six appear and have lines in this episode, it’s essentially just Rarity (maybe a little Twilight Sparkle).
In a rare appearance, Rarity and Sweetie Belle’s parents are in the opening…which may have been last-minute. In “For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils”, it looks practically like Rarity had the same relation to Sweetie Belle as Applejack, with Sweetie Belle not only living with her but seemingly being raised by her. This might be a reminder: “Yeah, she has parents.”
The return of Rarity’s fainting couch. It’s also the return of a “Spike/Rarity” episode and Rarity’s signature drama queen bits. This one features her gorging herself on tubs of ice cream. Vanilla Oat Swirl, to be precise. 😛
By this point, Owlusicious is kind of Spike’s “voice(er, hooting?) of reason” in episodes like this…like Spike does something that won’t work out and he calmly tries to point out what’s wrong but never listens. That said…the “who” jokes are a bit stale after four seasons. 😦
Why in the world didn’t Celestia or Luna destroy that book rather than leave it guarded by a single easy-to-remove padlock?
Rarity’s attraction to the Inspiration Manifestation book as well as its corrupting influence is similar to the One Ring and Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”, especially how she starts referring to the book as an individual.
The part that really “gets me” about this episode was the part where Rarity turns the mariachi band into a chamber orchestra…clearly switching genders of one of them in the process (namely turning him into the popular background pony Octavia). That…always seemed real weird to me.
Rarity, at one point, turns the streets of Ponyville into gold. The expression: “You’d think the streets are paved with gold” is used to refer to a situation where someone boasts so much about a place that it’s impossible to believe.
At the end, Twilight mentions that Cadance and Luna have better things to do than help clean up the mess Rarity left. A. No they don’t. Well…maybe Luna. B. Celestia is missing from that statement. Sigh…another “Trollestia” moment…
3 Stars out of 5