Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic wasn’t that bad as most people would say it was. I’m just saying.
Yeah, perhaps the most polarizing season to the Brony community, Season 3 was either liked or despised. Fans everywhere cried out in terror and rage at Alicorn Twilight Sparkle, resulting in fire raining down, forty years of darkness, human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria! But to me, it was just, okay. Was it flawed? Absolutely. Were unfavorable decisions made that I don’t agree with? Again, yes.But seeing as how the season was more likely a mandate by Hasbro to sell more toys, it could have been a LOT worse. Hell, I kinda admire the struggle the production crew went through during the season to please both the fans, Hasbro, and their own creative integrity. The animation was still stellar, the voice acting top notch, and there were still some really fun and entertaining episodes (Personal Highlights being “Too Many Pinkie Pies”, “Magic Duel”, and “Keep Calm and Flutter On”.)
If you don’t like Season 3, I see where you are coming from and can sympathize, but I just wouldn’t cry out “death of fandom” or “worst thing since Spider-Man made a deal with Mephisto”. And for those still complaining about the uber-weak villains, betrayal of character, and an unnecessary introduction to another alicorn; I would just like to remind you that there was a story just right before Season 3 that had all of these problems and more, yet no one cried “screw this”, “death of show”, or “worst thing ever”. In fact, the episode is held in high regard and is considered by many to be one of if not the best story of the show’s run. This, my friends, is what I will be talking about today; the Season 2 two-part finale “A Canterlot Wedding”.
Now, before I say ANYTHING else, I just want to say that if you enjoy this story, more power to you. I am not here to make you feel bad for enjoying it or to troll you by bad mouthing a beloved episode. What I am going to say from here on out is my honest, unfiltered opinion on “A Canterlot Wedding” and you have all the right in the world to disagree with me on this.
With that said, “A Canterlot Wedding” is my most hated episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I will admit that the first time I watch the premier broadcast of the episode (I lie, I slept in and watched it on Youtube), although I didn’t like it, at the least, I liked a few things and from the insistence of some friends, decided that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and never really thought about it. But overtime, I started really thinking about the episodes, and the more I really analyzed the story and writing, the more I began to grow an absolute disdain for it; the story is cliched and chock full of head scratching moments, the characters don’t act like themselves and are regulated to morons for the sake of the plot, and it has one of the dumbest villain plots I have ever seen executed and succeed.
So with all of this bile and ill-will, I guess you are expecting this to be a 100% completely negative review, aren’t you? Well, #RussoSwerve (a phrase I use to describe an out of nowhere twist), there are things in this episode that I genuinely enjoy, however, they are not enough to save the episode from being on my chopping block, but they are enough to save the two-parter from being the MLP equivalent of Doctor Who’s “Aliens in London/World War 3”, which are my least favorite episodes of any show. But, I’m getting sidetracked and ahead of myself. Without any further ado, let’s start the blow-by-blow summary and hopefully I’ll be able to explain my dissatisfaction. This is “A Canterlot Wedding: A Review Part 1”.
So we begin Part 1 with the still awesome animation of the Mane 6 all gathered around for a picnic. But soon, royal messengers of Princess Celestia (Nicole Oliver) send shocking news to Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) that she has been invited to a royal wedding. What’s so shocking about a royal wedding? Well, the bride and groom just so happen to be Princess Cadence (Britt McKillip), Twilight’s former babysitter, and Royal Guard Captain Shining Armor (God Amongst Men, Andrew Francis), who is TWILIGHT’S BROTHER!
Now, I am not gonna criticize the show for introducing an important character out of no where like this without any mention of them previously. It happens all the time in kids shows. It’s annoying, but forgivable. My problem with this is that Twilight proceeds to sing an, admittedly, decent song about how Shining Armor was her “BBBFF” (Big Brother Best Friend Forever). He was her only friend, aside from Cadence, and she looked up to him. Now, if I can get past the emotional pull at my heart strings because I can relate so much to this song, being the eldest child in a family of 5 kids, I must ask; if Shining armor really was Twilight’s BBBFF, couldn’t he have told her himself that he was engaged to another childhood friend a little bit sooner than 1 week before the wedding? For that matter, weddings take a LOT of planning, especially big, royal ones. Are you seriously asking us to believe that with a HUGE wedding like this, Twilight, or as a matter of fact, ANY of the Mane 6 or Spike (Cathy Weseluck) , didn’t know ANYTHING about it beforehand? Think back to the recent Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding, or hell, the Princess Diana wedding if you are old enough to remember. A lot major news stations and papers were talking about it for months before it even happened, talking about the planning, the history, etc. I refuse to believe that the Equestrian news is that slow that they wouldn’t have known about it beforehand.
Naturally pissed off, Twilight and her friends: Rainbow Dash, Applejack (Ashleigh Ball for both), Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman for both), Rarity (Tabitha St. Germain), and Spike head off the capital of Equestria, in order to attend the wedding and give Shining Armor a piece of Twilight’s mind, CANTERLOT! Upon arriving, they see a magical bubble shield placed over the model city and that security has been increased to Orwellian levels. Remember this because I will come back to this in part two and it’s gonna hurt. Oh, how much it will hurt. But anyway, Twilight finds and berates SA for not being a smart person and notifying her ahead of time. SA’s excuse, and are you ready for this crock of crap, is because Canterlot received a threat. What kind of threat? Who knows? But wait, if the threat just happened recently, then that means the proposal happened recently. So wait, Cadence and SA get engaged and have the wedding in less than two weeks? A Princess and a Royal Guard captain get engaged and a huge royal wedding is to be planned, orchestrated, and choreographed in less than TWO WEEKS? In the words of Karl Pilkington:
Back with the story, SA admits he screwed up but tries to make it up by giving Twilight the honor of being his “Best Mare”……ha. However, Twilight still isn’t too sure about all of this, not even knowing who SA is marrying. SA reminds her that it’s Cadence, her old babysitter, and suddenly, Twilight jumps for joy as we get a flashback to when Twilight was just a filly. She and Cadence were pretty close as it seems, having a cute little dance and stuff. We also learn that Cadence’s special ability is to generate an insane amount of love and good feeling. Also remember this. This will hurt less than the other thing, but it will still hurt. But yeah, Cadence is shown to be a nicey-nice, Disney-esque princess who is loving, caring, and all around a good person with no impression of meanness in her. I can not stress this out enough that Cadence is a VERY NICE PERSON WHO WOULD NEVER YELL AT SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING SMALL! SHE IS ALMOST LITERALLY A MELTING POT OF FRIENDSHIP! SHE’S A NICE GUY!
And, speak of the devil.Out from the shadows appears Cadence. Twilight goes to do their little dance that they had and………….. Cadence is a total bitch and brushes her off. Yeah, I’m gonna guess and say that that pony isn’t Cadence. I’m kinda getting into spoiler territory here, but I need to make a point, yeah, it isn’t Cadence who we first see, but merely an imposter. The way it was written, it seems that the reveal that the Cadence is an imposter was supposed to be a big reveal, but anyone can figure that out. Had they not shown the flashback, maybe it would have come off better, but since you already established the character’s history and personality, any change in it will arouse suspicion.
Anywho, Cadence leaves to plan the party, with Twilight accompanying her, and here we get to the meat of why I don’t like this story. All of Twilight’s friends are in someway helping with the planning of the party, Rarity making the wedding dress, Applejack being the head Chef, and Pinkie Pie, being the party animal she is, planning the after-party. And during all of her visits, “Cadence” does nothing but act like an uppity snob who does nothing but yell at people. Twilight sees this and becomes more and more suspicious and disgusted with her former “foal sitter” and friend. And what do Twilight’s friends do? They take the abuse with a genuine smile.
Yeah, get a load of this; everyone else except Twilight just thinks that “Cadence” is one of the most amazing people on Earth and that her little “moments of frustration” are just stress from planning the wedding and it apparently excuses her of everything. Now, I know a wedding is a VERY stressful thing depending on how big it is. BUT! But, I don’t think that allows someone the right to become an uppity bitch, a “bridezilla” if you would, and completely chew someone out if nothing is done to complete 100% satisfaction. This is an old, tired cliche known as “The Cassandra Truth”: Only one person is smart enough to put two and two together and the rest won’t listen or don’t believe them. And that’s the thing that really miffs me, these characters are smarter than this. Out of almost all animated shows on now, MLP:FiM has some of the smartest characters of any of them. I’m not talking book smart, but actually behave like human beings. Their personalities feel natural and everything they do is in character. For 5 of the main cast to completely ignore “Cadence”’s behaviour because they are too wrapped up in the “majesty” of Canterlot, well, Mr. Pilkington?
Thank you. Also, we will be getting back to that “Cassandra Truth” thing in a bit. So, anyway, the rest of the Mane Six try to convince Twilight to lighten up and apologize to “Cadence” for not really opening up to her new awful persona. Twilight thinks that they’re right and goes to the home of SA and “Cadence”. Upon arrival, Twilight looks through the window and finds that “Cadence” has SA under a spell! In Twilight’s own words:
“She’s just not mean, SHE’S EVIL!”
Insert obviously overused joke……… here:
Ah, expectations, gotta love them. So the next day, Twilight crashes the dress rehearsal of the wedding and goes into accusatory mode, talking about how much of a twat “Cadence” has been and is casting a spell on SA. Of course, SA begins to berate Twilight when “Cadence” starts crying on the floor, saying that “Cadence” has been under stress, that the spell she cast was to help his headaches (a plot point I forgot to bring up), and that if Twilight can’t understand that, she isn’t welcome at the wedding. Blah, blah, blah, expected drama. Then, SA leaves the room in a fit of rage, and in tow, the rest of the Mane 6, as well as Princess Celestia, Twilight’s personal teacher and mentor who has been teaching Twilight her entire life, leave with him also in a fit of disappointment and disgust. I think I can get a visual representation of this…. yes, hold on, AH! Here it is:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!? SA leaving, I can get. Celestia leaving, irritates me, but that could be justified. But how in the name of Kenta Kobashi can you justify the fact that the other 5 ponies walked out on one of their best friends, who not only saved their lives one more than one occasion, but with them, saved the freaking world twice? Once more, they are leaving Twilight for a pony who they barely knew for a week and did nothing but treat them like trash! This goes beyond character retardation. It’s like a freaking wrestling show and we just witnessed a MASSIVELY stupid heel turn. I can’t say anything else but……..Karl?
So Twilight is left in the throne room, crying her eyes out, abandon by her only friends, when “Cadence” comes up to her with a smile. Twilight, thinking that she was entirely wrong this whole time, starts apologizing from the bottom of her heart. “Cadence”’s eyes glow green, and she summons a hell pit that swallows Twilight into a dark abyss as the episode fades to black and the credits roll with the jarringly upbeat theme song!
In the words of Vince Russo: Now dats a freakin’ swerve!
And that ends part 1…………………….GAH! I HATE THIS EPISODE! Aside from the usual great things about the show, this episode had little to no redeeming quality whatsoever. I want to see most of the characters get heart punched, the story and writing is cliched as hell, and the #RussoSwerve Cadence evil reveal can be seen from a mile away. This is coming from a show that was able to expand it’s demographic into teenage and adult males. It shouldn’t be this cliched or obvious. Listen, if you want to do this story, why not have Cadence act all nice and stuff and get Twilight to trust her and have the other 5 be the suspicious ones. Twilight has a better reason to completely trust Cadence than the other 5 do, so why not take advantage of this? Oh, it frustrates me. But we aren’t done just yet. Because now, we have Part 2 to cover, and while things do pick up a little, we have barely scratched the surface of how stupid the story can get. So check in to part 2, coming out whenever I feel like it. Until then, I have one more thing to say: Karl?
God I love that image.