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Synopsis:

Discord shows up for his regular tea with Fluttershy, but she and the rest of the Mane Six are headed for an overnight goodwill visit to Yakyakistan. Instead, she suggests that he hang out with Spike and Big Macintosh, although she doesn’t mention what it entails. At first, Discord is standoffish when they officially invite him, but when he hears it’s a “guy’s night” he decides to come along. His enthusiasm soon dims when he realizes that “guy’s night” means a night of playing the tabletop RPG “Ogres and Oubliettes”. He’s less than enthused about the game, especially when his actions in the game end in bad outcomes for him, and tries to teleport Spike and Big Macintosh to a jazz club more suited to his style. When they aren’t interested and suggest that Discord just watch them play if he doesn’t want to, he gets angry and brings the game to life: initially enthusing Spike and Big Mac but soon turning sour when the pain and danger to life-and-limb is real in that version. When Spike blows up at him, he also ends up revealing the only reason he brought Discord along was because he felt sorry for him as, without Fluttershy, he literally had no one else in Ponyville to hang out with. This causes Discord to suffer a truly painful blow to his ego; and he brings Spike and Big Mac back, apologizes for his behavior (even managing to say “sorry”), and then shows himself out. However, after he leaves, Spike and Big Mac feel pity for him again, and end up inviting him back and even suggest that his live-action version of the RP would be fun to do again if it was “toned down”. Cut to the next morning, as the girls return and see Spike, Big Mac, and Discord still LARPing and in character. Twilight Sparkle moves to excuse them, but Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash think it looks like fun and join in.

Review:

There’s a leading complaint going around about Discord episodes, and it’s somewhat merited. Discord’s character itself is usually the prime motivation for an episode. The idea of someone who’s “not really reformed” and has absolute power going around and making life Hell for the normal characters. The problem with this is that MLP:FIM is a show not only about learning about friendship but also one where characters overcome their own negative qualities and grow beyond them. Yet to keep the type of character Discord is, his personality needs a “cosmic reset” after every time something happens with him, so that he’s the same guy at the beginning of each new episode.

This episode is no exception, but it’s not quite as bad as it could have been. These aren’t characters in the Mane Six, so it’s understandable that the self-centered Discord wouldn’t really see a connection with them and would still play his own twisted version of a “game”. Yet aside from that, this one goes a step above from most Discord episodes, where Discord ends up counter-trolled or learns a lesson that should be someone obvious to most people. As another reviewer pointed out, Discord obviously thinks very highly of himself, and he even says in this episode that simply having him around makes things more entertaining and fun. Yet at the climax of this episode, Spike confronted him with the truth: he literally had no one else in Equestria to hang out with that night. The two individuals that he pooh-poohed as being losers and nerds had invited him out of pity. Far from being the life the party, the only reason he was at this “party” was out of sympathy. The experience is more than a little humbling for him.

But this was also a good episode for Spike’s character. After all, he was the one who invited Discord in the first place. And after Discord took things too far, he still was understanding enough to bring him back and give him another chance. This is one of Spike’s better moments, even if I’m not sure if it’s technically a Spike-themed episode.

Aside from that, this episode is wild with all of its normal Discord antics, and now it gives nerds like me something to cheer about with its tabletop RPG knockoff. Even more wild was that this was something from the fandom feeding back in on itself, coming from the IDW Comic.

The one bad part, which I mentioned at the beginning, is that Discord pretty much goes back to his old personality after this, as in “To Where and Back Again” the only one he cares got abducted was Fluttershy; not Spike or Twilight Sparkle. Still, this was an entertaining episode and, even if you dislike Discord, you have to appreciate how he got the business handed to him.

Fun Facts:

As if it wasn’t obvious enough already, the title is a takeoff of “Dungeons and Dragons”, probably the most infamous tabletop RPG of all time.

“Puerto Caballo” means “Port Horse”.

So now we know what the monster was in “Party Pooped”: a pony-eating yeti. 😛

It’s true the girls spend a lot of time out of town, but…usually Spike is with Twilight. He must not get many chances to RP. 😦

As a nod that Discord and Princess Celestia might be closer than it appears, Discord has a nickname for Celestia. 😛

This episode is the first instance of something from the IDW comic canon becoming show canon. In Issue #11, Shining Armor’s flashback reveals he and his friends played a tabletop RPG called “Oubliettes and Ogres”, an obvious takeoff of “Dungeons and Dragons”. Since then, the game has made frequent reappearances in the comic universe. Although Spike calls it “Ogres and Oubliettes”, inverting the names, there’s little doubt in the fandom minds that it’s the same thing.

The writers made additional contacts for this episode to make sure that “Ogres and Oubliettes” would be as close to an authentic tabletop RPG as possible…and they did a good job. When Discord won’t decide on a class, Spike rolls for one at random, which you can do in DnD. Also, you can indeed do almost anything in the game, which is the main edge tabletop has over, for example, video games, but you have to usually pass a skill check of some sort and roll, more often than not, a 20-sided die. Pretty sure “Transform into Root Vegetable” isn’t in the Character’s Compendium, though…although maybe I don’t have the latest version. 😛

Spike’s character Garbunkle resembles Gandalf the Grey slightly, but Big Macintosh’s character Sir McBiggun is a Dragonborn from Skyrim.

Discord teleports Spike and Big Mac to the Roaring 20s. Who would have thought he was a fan of zoot suits and jazz?

Big Macintosh gets to live his fantasies again. First in Season Five he got to be an alicorn, now he gets to be a unicorn black knight. 😀

The living versions of the Squizzard and skeleton knights move stilted, as if they’re done with crummy animation of only a slow frame rate.

Discord’s character Captain Wuzz looks like Legolas. On the second viewing, I realized one of his hands has turned into parsnips. XD

Pinkie Pie appears to turn into a bard class while Rainbow Dash turns into a rogue class. Good choice…rogues are versatile. 😀

I’m a little surprised Twilight Sparkle didn’t want to join in. What kind of nerd is she supposed to be if she doesn’t like RPing? 😛 (In the IDW comic, she plays the game regularly.)

One of the few episodes this season where Tabitha St. Germain doesn’t have a voice, although Rarity is in a number of scenes.

As more support for my theory that even the show writers don’t want to write for Starlight Glimmer if they don’t have to, Starlight neither accompanies the girls to Yakyakistan nor appears at the castle…nor is mentioned the entire episode. Maybe she was in a sound-proof room all night. 😛

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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