Spike is unhappy that Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are taking their respective pets to the Equestria Pet Show, and he’s being left at home without a pet. On seeing an ad for “Sea Beasts” in a comic book, he quickly orders them, expecting to have a colony of pets of his own. However, much to his displeasure, they’re microscopically tiny when he gets them and grow only slowly. When the girls step out for the pet show, Spike impatiently mixes up a magic growth formula, causing them to enlarge to visible size. Still not satisfied, however, he feeds them even more, making them not only big but causing them to multiply. He goes out to get a bigger aquarium, only to find out on returning that they’ve become amphibious and intelligent, and are now wandering around outside the tank tearing up the books to make themselves a society. As they’re still growing, Spike mixes up another potion from a torn book to try and stop it. It seems to work and the tired Spike takes a break, but before doing so off-handedly splits the Sea Beasts into “vase people” (those on the wall) and “table people” (those on the floor). On waking up, he discovers the potion he gave them to stop growing had the side effects of enlarging their brains, and they have advanced into an “industrialized” society. Not only that, but they’ve developed racism between the two groups and soon begin to war on each other. Spike angrily forces them to stop and wonders what to do, when he spots a mare and her filly talking, and from the conversation realizes that you can’t use magic to get shortcuts to “growing up”. Changing his approach, Spike goes back in, rallies the Sea Beasts, and goes about educating them. Eventually he collapses from the exhaustion of teaching them non-stop, but by that point the Sea Beasts have learned enough to continue to educate themselves while he sleeps. Spike awakens when Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy come back, and is stunned to see the Sea Beasts have evolved to a higher state of enlightenment. They express their desire to go out into the world and continue to learn more, and Spike reluctantly lets them go. Twilight offers to write the letter to Celestia for Spike, and the dragon says to remember to tell her he raised the “best pets ever”.
As Spike stories go, this one isn’t bad. It’s kind of an interesting concept. It’s one that has been done before, probably originally in “The Twilight Zone”…the idea of a normal individual becoming a “god” over smaller ones. It’s been done on “The Simpsons”, “South Park”, and “Futurama”. To explore it in MLP:FIM is more than a bit unusual…but I think, just barely, it managed to keep with the theme of the show. It wasn’t necessarily easy. The Sea Beasts really did look like creatures from a totally different series. And the show rarely has points where it gets violent, such as when they began to war among themselves. But overall, I think it did work out.
I believe this is really superior to most Spike episodes. Spike is usually portrayed in a negative light on his stand-alone episodes. And sure, he screwed up in this one, but in a somewhat-less-negative way, in my opinion. He made mistakes more out of genuine mishaps rather than bad feelings or intentions. Plus, he did learn his lesson, and what he did that ended up “good”; benefiting the Sea Beasts the most in the end by impressing upon them the value of continuing to educate yourself and of living in harmony with one another.
If I had to pick on something negative, it would be Angel Bunny. He’s a bit too mean in this one. Granted, he’s usually spoiled and rotten, and in Season Two’s “Putting Your Hoof Down” he crossed a line, but I don’t think he’s so nasty that Spike should have developed as much animosity for him in this one as he did, and I don’t really see him rubbing his victory in Spike’s face either unless Spike had done something to mistreat him. Even Fluttershy seems to give him a “talking to” in this one.
But, that aside, I think it was an interesting theme with cute artwork, and it did have a good lesson at the end: for some things in life there are no shortcuts.
The “post” Owlowiscious strikes, the “karate colt”, looks like the position for the Crane Kick from “The Karate Kid”.
“Pee Wee”, for those who forgot, was the baby Phoenix Spike got in Season Two’s “Dragon Quest” who was retconned out of the series in Season Three’s “Just for Sidekicks”.
Daring Do seems to have her own comic…unless they normally advertise Sea Monkeys, sorry, Sea Beasts in books.
Angel Bunny mocks Spike’s “Sea Beasts”, earning a disapproving look from Fluttershy.
As in the Comic Series, one of the books is labeled “IDW”.
I’m not sure if this is intended, but the Sea Beasts remind me a bit of “Sgt. Frog”, and their leaving the aquarium is similar to a scene in Hayao Miyazaki’s “Ponyo”.
Among the various books Spike takes off the shelf to train the Sea Beasts is “Flowers for Algernon”. This was a short story that dealt with, among other things, the idea of someone suddenly going from a point of sub-nominal intelligence to genius.
“Po-Neigh Decart” is a knockoff of philosopher Rene Descartes, who said: “I think, therefore I am.” Apparently the pony version is more of a knockoff of Popeye. 😛
3 Stars out of 5