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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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May
18th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x08 - Frenemies · 4:05pm May 18th, 2019

This is the first episode that leaks this season. There will be more, though, I expect.

  • Chronology markers: Squarely within Season 9 for obvious reasons, but no in-season markers can be observed. In fact, none of the regular cast even appear. Internal statements imply multiple weeks have elapsed since The Beginning of the End. Weather in the episode suggests mid to late autumn as the season, assuming Mt. Evehoof is where it’s supposed to be. The Journal of Friendship is mentioned by an unaffiliated pony, producing an upper bound for Fame and Misfortune, though I’m not sure if it still needs one more or not.
  • “I don’t want to tattle on my good friend Tirek, but… you might like to know he left food out. Again.” Which effectively implies that the League of Evil hangs out in the HQ for extended periods, if they leave at all, not that this would be a surprise.
  • “Are you planning on attacking anypony anytime soon? If not, I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here.” I would say that this implies that prior to this episode, no such attacks took place.
  • “I suggest the three of you come to some kind of accord.”

    • Notice three doors, which would, presumably, lead to three rooms set aside for each of the members – never mind the three chairs hewn out of the rock, rather than otherwise installed. There’s no room for a fourth door for Sombra, nor a fourth chair. See my theory that Sombra conjured up by Grogar was a simulacrum in the first place, and was not intended to survive.
    • A candle lamp is used for illumination. I wonder where does Grogar shop for candles.
  • “I don’t care how, but you must learn to work together!” Grogar uses a distinctive muffling spell. Notice that we don’t see his horn glow or any other visual changes while the spell is in effect.
  • “Only then can we accomplish what you so greatly desire – the defeat of Twilight Sparkle and her friends!” Notice, not Celestia and Luna. Not only Grogar knows where his priorities lie, everyone else seems to be in agreement.
  • “Nothing says ‘teamwork’ like an inspirational banner.”

    • Which is very likely to fall down if you tie it up like that.
    • Wait, where did that painting of Tirek raging during Twilight’s Kingdom come from? None of those present has ever seen Tirek from this angle, definitely not during the events depicted, and neither did Tirek himself. Is this a relic from the first time Tirek turned up in Equestria? Sounds dubious. Did Cozy Glow, Chrysalis or Tirek himself paint it? Really?…
  • “You’re gonna have to exercise a lot to get as big as you were when you absorbed the life force of all those ponies.”

    • So now it’s “life force,” huh?… Which would imply massive loss of life?
    • Actually, where would one get a barbell that size? That’s too big for most ponies.
  • " It’s been weeks, and Grogar’s done nothing!"

    • Chronology evidence.
    • Chrysalis is still talking to her pieces of wood, indicating she isn’t getting any better.
    • And unlike Tirek’s room, Chrysalis’ room appears to be almost entirely bare.
  • “There’ll be cupcakes.”

    • Chrysalis likes cupcakes. Which is more than a bit surprising – I mean, you can’t expect Cozy Glow to provide cupcakes made with love, can you?
    • Cozy Glow can make or acquire cupcakes even in this rat hole.
  • “If we are to trust one another, perhaps inform Lord Tirek to stop trying to absorb my essence!”

    • Not magic this time, either.
    • Notice also that while Chrysalis’ aura is green as usual, the stream of “essence” leaving her horn is flame orange instead. In Twilight’s Kingdom, the stream normally takes on the color of the aura when drained from individual unicorns, and is only any shade of gold or red when multiple unicorns are being drained at the same time. In a later scene, when Tirek drains Chrysalis for extra power to break through the barrier, the stream starts out green, but then abruptly switches to flame orange. The same, but in reverse, is observed when he returns it.
    • Chrysalis is able to reabsorb the “essence” after Tirek spits it out onto a cupcake, which is pretty bizarre on its own.
  • “This time, we’ve got a better way to be bad”

    • Why would the HQ have a tightrope anyway?…
    • Notice the constant reiteration that the entire trio acknowledges themselves as evil. Including Cozy Glow. Chrysalis or Tirek, I could understand, but her?…
  • “You want revenge on Starlight” Which is not a desire Chrysalis has admitted ever since To Where and Back Again, and certainly one she didn’t act upon – deliberately ignored, rather…
  • “Sorry, not any longer!” This is actually the first case of a song being intercepted, isn’t it?
  • “Each of you failed to defeat Twilight Sparkle and her friends!” Grogar casts a restraint spell. This time, we see him while he does it, and yes, he uses horns to do it, and both horns light up – but in addition to them, so do his front hooves and all the bells on his harness. With the next spell, the illusion, only the bells light up.

    I don’t see the logic so far.

  • Thousands of moons ago, the self-righteous Gusty the Great, unable to best me face-to-face, stole my Bewitching Bell. A talisman containing much of my own magic. The Bell cannot be destroyed, so Gusty hid it in a place it has taken me millennia to discover – an enchanted cave high atop Mt. Everhoof, protected by magical winds that prevent anypony from reaching its peak. There, the Bell has remained until now.

    • Thousands of moons. Gah. Well, “between 8900 and 12000” is thousands, I suppose. Notice that Grogar’s illusion illustrates this with showing phases of the moon – all of them different stages of crescent moon. But one of them emits what has to be rays but looks most like teeth. Notice also that this timespan is equated to “millennia,” which would mean multiple thousands of years if Equestrian chronology made any sense. The longer is the period between settling Equestria and crowning the Sisters, the more unicorns die to magic exhaustion.
    • Gusty appears to have been a female unicorn, potentially of the otherwise nearly extinct curved horn type, and her cutie mark is five leaves over a gust of wind. I can’t tell you for sure what plant do the leaves come from.
    • Grogar’s artifact is called “Bewitching Bell,” which would normally imply mind control, rather than any other function.
    • Artifacts that explicitly cannot be destroyed and described as such? That would be a first, why don’t they make the entire plane armor out of it?
    • Mt. Everhoof, from other sources, and the official map, is supposed to be somewhere north of the Crystal Empire. And it is also supposed to be a rather frequently visited location as per Friends Forever #36 – precisely because of the winds that prevent anypony from reaching its peak.
  • “Well, it sounded easy.”

    • This does not look like any other depiction of Mt. Everhoof.
    • Notice also the patchy winter.
    • So how did they even get there?
  • “As if anything on this mountain is scarier than I.” But what exactly was it that she scared off?…
  • “There ain’t been ponies around here in I-don’t-know-how-many moons!” Well, there certainly have been some recently enough to have provided this guy with a metallic bucket that his helmet is made from, and a Journal of Friendship. Notice that this would also imply Fame and Misfortune is multiple moons in the past, not that this is any help in estimating the length of a moon.
  • “I’m the guardian of this here mountain. It’s my job to keep ponies from heading up.”

    • Is this a job someone assigned him, or something he elected to do himself?
    • Notice that this would contradict Friends Forever #36 instead.
  • Chrysalis has no issues transforming into random forms as she pleases, like regular changelings, including creatures of much higher mass. If no costs to this ability are established, this is so broken…
  • “It’s, like, my thing! Okay?!” Notice that Rusty Bucket is not worried about Cozy Glow’s survival at all here.
  • “This is not the real me!” I could twist this phrase so much:pinkiesmile:
  • “Mmmm… So much love. I haven’t eaten this well in ages.” This is a strange statement to make, as well as something I don’t think we have previously seen in primary canon – a changeling feeding on love.

    • So an apparently non-sapient animal’s love is also good enough to feed a classic changeling? Or is it just Chrysalis? All those obnoxious HiE protagonists trying to diffuse the changeling situation with puppies were right, then?
    • The source of the love being extracted appears to be the heart rather than mouth as in depictions in FIENDship is Magic #5.
    • That is rather a lot of love this “ophiotaurus” – as the transcript calls them, though I suspect it’s more of a bullfrog – experiences towards someone he has never met before.
  • “You cocoon all of your… meals?” “Of course.” What she said.
  • “Until that sow Starlight Glimmer freed them, corrupted my subjects, and stole my hive!” First use of “sow” as an epithet, and also, first admission by Chrysalis that she hates Starlight that I can remember.
  • “Discord was really something until friendship ruined him.” So how exactly would Chrysalis know? Asking for a friend.
  • “All magic was a little excessive, don’t you think?” This statement by Tirek, as well as his interactions with Cozy Glow throughout the episode, do make the whole “pen pals” story feel strange, don’t you think?
  • “I can only absorb magic from living beings.” Good to know. Notice also that this is the first case of an invisible barrier.
  • “You failed to retrieve the Bell?!” Now here’s a problem. They didn’t put the bell back where they found it, and didn’t even go to any particular lengths to hide it, it’s right around the corner in the HQ, which Grogar has built himself, and knows much better than any of them do. What’s to stop Grogar from finding the bell now, considering that this search would be a lot easier than the last time? Why wouldn’t he check where the bell is?

The episode isn’t bad by itself, but it effectively robs the villains of any menace they have previously exhibited. All of them, including Grogar, who, I suspect, will not find the bell. This feels much more childish than it should.

Eh, oh well.

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Comments ( 20 )

Pet peeve: a legitimate, permitted broadcaster airing an episode at the time they were scheduled to air it is not leaking an episode. It's doing what it's supposed to be doing. Even if that air date is earlier than other viewers in other countries whose schedules are keyed to other broadcasters might expect.

5060454

Only, I saw the English original a few hours before the US airing, with something blurred out in top right corner. It’s not the Italian dub, and I don’t think that was aired in the UK…

Chrysalis is able to reabsorb the “essence” after Tirek spits it out onto a cupcake, which is pretty bizarre on its own.

I would posit that feeding upon emotions and feeding upon life force are similar enough in practice -- both cases can be construed as eating what's essentially an abstract part of someone's soul -- that a being specialized for one can manage the other, especially if the life force is already, uh, "pre-digested".

Why would the HQ have a tightrope anyway?…

Perhaps it doesn't and Cozy hung one up for the occasion?

“Sorry, not any longer!” This is actually the first case of a song being intercepted, isn’t it?

I recall a gag in "Somepony to Watch Over Me" where Apple Bloom starts to launch into a musical number and Scootaloo shushes her mid-intro because Applejack's coming and there's no time for a song.

And it is also supposed to be a rather frequently visited location as per Friends Forever #36 – precisely because of the winds that prevent anypony from reaching its peak.

This does not look like any other depiction of Mt. Everhoof.

Notice that this would contradict Friends Forever #36 instead.

Huh. I'd forgotten about that issue.

Oh well. Tiers of canon, show takes precedence, etcetera etcetera we know the drill.

So how did they even get there?

Depending on where the lair actually is? I'd assume either Grogar teleported them partway to save time or they just hoofed it. Pun intended.

“As if anything on this mountain is scarier than I.” But what exactly was it that she scared off?…

(Tongue goes into cheek)
Common Equestrian Shadow Lurkers. Very common in the Everfree, but also found in most undeveloped forest areas. You don't usually see anything but the eyes, so some people theorize they're actually composed of living shadow rather than flesh and bone. Nobody's quite sure what the darn things eat, mind -- I've seen proposals of them being ambush predators or emotion eaters that feed on fear and/or paranoia.
(Tongue leaves cheek)

As for the love the ophiotaurus generated, I assumed Chrysalis was feeding off of an animal's raw lust for a potential mate rather than actual romantic love. Of course, that raises a whole host of questions in its own right.

“Discord was really something until friendship ruined him.” So how exactly would Chrysalis know? Asking for a friend.

I'd assume by reputation. Discord was kind of a big deal before he reformed -- taking over Equestria as thoroughly and quickly as he did to turn reality into his personal playground would have been hard to miss, at least.

5060540

I recall a gag in “Somepony to Watch Over Me” where Apple Bloom starts to launch into a musical number and Scootaloo shushes her mid-intro because Applejack’s coming and there’s no time for a song.

Which would be a song interrupted. There are one or two more occasions of that, but someone actually taking a song over and continuing it would be the first.

Depending on where the lair actually is? I’d assume either Grogar teleported them partway to save time or they just hoofed it. Pun intended.

So when they came back, holding the bell, he teleported them with it and didn’t notice?

Of course, that raises a whole host of questions in its own right.

See puppies.

5060546

So when they came back, holding the bell, he teleported them with it and didn’t notice?

True, that rules out Grogar handling transportation at least on the return trip. So perhaps they just walked? We don't know where Grogar's lair is, so we can't really tell how realistic or unrealistic it would be to go from there to Mount Everhoof by hoof.

I loved this ep, even with some of the obvious plot holes.

Did Cozy Glow, Chrysalis or Tirek himself paint it? Really?

Cozy seems pretty good at crafting, she's been shown doing it to befriend Tirek before, and Grogar seems willing and able to grant small requests like summoning painting supplies.

  • So now it’s “life force,” huh?… Which would imply massive loss of life?

Blame my D&D origins, but I would picture it a bit more like level draining, Tirek absorbed a portion of their souls but no one actually died.

  • Actually, where would one get a barbell that size? That’s too big for most ponies.

See painting. I think Grogar makes a habit of granting his minions small requests to get them to leave him alone.

  • Chrysalis is still talking to her pieces of wood, indicating she isn’t getting any better.

And from the strange purple color of that piece of wood, that's the former Twilight Sparkle clone.

In a later scene, when Tirek drains Chrysalis for extra power to break through the barrier, the stream starts outgreen, but then abruptly switches to flame orange.

I think the idea is that when Chrysalis is controlling the process, it's green, when Tirek controls it it is orange.

I don’t see the logic so far.

They're probably not being very consistent about it, but my guess is that those bells are magical batteries that Grogar can tap into when he wants. The more glowing things we see, the more effort he's putting into things.

Also, wow, Starswirl's bells must have been copied off of Grogar, right?

The longer is the period between settling Equestria and crowning the Sisters, the more unicorns die to magic exhaustion.

Based on a lot of season 7 and season 8, there were still ponies in Equestria prior to the settlement. I would take this as more evidence Grogar was defeated long before the settling of Equestria.

That would be a first, why don’t they make the entire plane armor out of it?

The traditional answer is that it's made out of rare unobtanium, and that's all the amount they have.

Well, there certainly have been some recently enough to have provided this guy with a metallic bucket that his helmet is made from, and a Journal of Friendship.

If Muffins can deliver mail to Tartarus, she can do mail-order deliveries to this guy. That said, how many moons does a guy with a bucket on his head remember? 3?

  • Notice that this would contradict Friends Forever #36 instead.

He's not exactly doing a good job at it.

If no costs to this ability are established, this is so broken…

Yup. If not for the idiot ball, she could have just turned into a burrowing creature and gone all the way up the mountain and into the cave herself. That said, I'm pretty sure Grogar is juicing her the way he gave extra power to Tirek and Sombra.

So how exactly would Chrysalis know? Asking for a friend.

Like Tirek did. Discord was getting around in the old days.

This statement by Tirek, as well as his interactions with Cozy Glow throughout the episode, do make the whole “pen pals” story feel strange, don’t you think?

Yup. It's hard to get a read on them.

“I can only absorb magic from living beings.” Good to know.

Feels pretty obvious they had to say that so no one would ask why Tirek doesn't just immediately absorb the bell himself.

What’s to stop Grogar from finding the bell now, considering that this search would be a lot easier than the last time? Why wouldn’t he check where the bell is?

I'll go one further. What do we see Grogar doing every second of his spare time? Staring into that magical eyeball scrying thing, looking at visions of distant places. Then he assigns his minions a task of critical importance to retrieve a huge amount of his own power, and they stand around in the open discussing how they should betray him. Realistically, he should have been scrying on them the entire time. And for an evil overlord, he's really tolerant of failure.

I would say all of Grogar's behavior this episode makes a lot more sense if he's really just Discord running an elaborate con to teach these 3 friendship, that really explains a ton. But I feel like the writers would never go for that, so I hesitate to insist on it.

  • A candle lamp is used for illumination. I wonder where does Grogar shop for candles.

Mail order.

Wait, where did that painting of Tirek raging during Twilight’s Kingdom come from?

Mail order.

Actually, where would one get a barbell that size?

Mail order.

  • Cozy Glow can make or acquire cupcakes even in this rat hole.

Mail order.

“There ain’t been ponies around here in I-don’t-know-how-many moons!” Well, there certainly have been some recently enough to have provided this guy with a metallic bucket that his helmet is made from, and a Journal of Friendship.

Mail order.

5060697

Grogar seems willing and able to grant small requests like summoning painting supplies.

Mail order.

I don’t see the logic so far.

They're probably not being very consistent about it, but my guess is that those bells are magical batteries that Grogar can tap into when he wants. The more glowing things we see, the more effort he's putting into things.

Also, wow, Starswirl's bells must have been copied off of Grogar, right?

This may actually be the most significant thing to take from the episode: the thought that Grogar may have given Star Swirl the idea of magical repositories, and that's what allowed him to become as powerful as he was.

5060697

The traditional answer is that it’s made out of rare unobtanium, and that’s all the amount they have.

The correct answer for a plane is that a plane would be too heavy to fly. :)

Still, that’s some strange unobtainium, other artifacts achieve their resilience through other properties – see the Elements of Harmony, for which existing as a material object was not required in Episode 1.

Realistically, he should have been scrying on them the entire time.

From which it follows that he has been scrying on something even more important than this. I wonder what it is.

And for an evil overlord, he’s really tolerant of failure.

That one’s an obvious consequence of the emphasis on teamwork though.

5060719

Mail order.

So basically, the most effective way to go to Equestria is a box with a stamp on it?

Shame none of those HiE protagonists know.

Bells as mana batteries, and an old (G1? G2?) bell containing old Grogar's primary store of power.

So lets talk magic tech. Starswirl seems to have this tech. Luna/Celestia have to at least know of it. But they did not teach anyone else, and the knowledge did not survive from Starswirl's time -- so what's the drawback? Why did the tech fall out of favor?

Note that Grogar is apparently down in power from his peak, which implies that at least some of what you put into storage does not come back, and losing your storage or draining it might result in you losing power.

Hmm. Does it actually take enough XP to lose a level to make a mana bell?

As to Grogar and his minions: I do believe that Grogar is expecting, and prepared for, his minions to join up and turn on him -- only for him to slap them down, show them that he is still on top, and get them to use their teamwork to aid him. That battery contains HIS power, right? So, when they try to use it, does he just take the power back even as they have the physical bell?

The parts with the dolls at the beginning was too hard for me to tell which doll was which. Once I can get it from YayPonies, I'll see about getting a better resolution and slow-motioning that scene.

Oh yea -- am I the only one that looks at these three, and thinks:

Tirek: Earth Pony
Cozy Glow: Pegasus
Chrysalis: Unicorn

Chryssie is using magic/transformation. Tirek is being big and strong. Cozy is Cozy.

5060893

Why did the tech fall out of favor?

For example, because more efficient spells were devised that didn’t chew up as much energy for doing the same thing.

So, when they try to use it, does he just take the power back even as they have the physical bell?

No consistent logic behind this has been established by any level of canon so far. We don’t know.

5060697

The traditional answer is that it's made out of rare unobtanium, and that's all the amount they have.

Another possibility -- not a rare one in fantasy by any means -- is that indestructibility or near-indestructibility is a property of the magical artifact itself, not of the material it's made of, and impossible or impractical to replicate on something else. D&D and Pathfinder artifacts tend to work this way, for example, and so did the One Ring.

5061134
That's a good point. Grogar poured the majority of his magic into the bell to make it indestructible, it probably requires a ton of magic to pull that off.

something I don’t think we have previously seen in primary canon – a changeling feeding on love.

I just realized this minutes ago while browsing through old pictures, but what Chrysalis did in this scene is visually identical to what she did when she started draining away Thorax's love in "To Where and Back Again".

5061166
In which case, I wonder what the bell being permanently taken out of the picture would do to him (of course it's indestructible, but there's always a "but" -- and in any case there are more ways to neutralize evil artifacts than physically destroying them). At the very least, it'd be a lot of power he won't be getting back.

There’s no room for a fourth door for Sombra, nor a fourth chair. See my theory that Sombra conjured up by Grogar was a simulacrum in the first place, and was not intended to survive.

Or that none of that stuff was made until after they had agreed to join him. Grogar didn't see a need to put in the effort to make stuff for villains he wasn't sure would go along with his plans.

Actually, where would one get a barbell that size? That’s too big for most ponies.

Minotaur lands?

Cozy Glow can make or acquire cupcakes even in this rat hole.

She was at the school long enough to learn from The Pink One.

Why would the HQ have a tightrope anyway?…

The visiual's during a musical number are always very hard to treat as literal.

Which is not a desire Chrysalis has admitted ever since

She did in The Mean 6, during her rant while creating the Mean 6.
"Of course I haven't forgotten Starlight Glimmer! She stole my hive. Turned my subjects against me! So I'll take her friends away while she watches! And then, I'll destroy her! "

Sorry, not any longer!” This is actually the first case of a song being intercepted, isn’t it?

Hmmmmm, might make a case for the election song from Crusaders of the Lost Mark being a case of DT and the CMC stealing the musicla number back and forth.

I don’t see the logic so far.

Might depend on what exactly he's trying to do.

The longer is the period between settling Equestria and crowning the Sisters, the more unicorns die to magic exhaustion.

Even more, since this was how things worked even long before the three tribes settled Equestria. Still get the feeling Grogar's time was before the events of HWE.

Well, there certainly have been some recently enough to have provided this guy with a metallic bucket that his helmet is made from, and a Journal of Friendship.

Unless he takes trips on his own to a nearby village for supplies.

something I don’t think we have previously seen in primary canon – a changeling feeding on love.

Chyssi trying to suck out all of Thorax's love in TWaBA

“ophiotaurus” – as the transcript calls them, though I suspect it’s more of a bullfrog

It's a legit creature from Greek myths, if a very obscure one.

So how exactly would Chrysalis know? Asking for a friend.

Could just be by reputation.

What’s to stop Grogar from finding the bell now, considering that this search would be a lot easier than the last time? Why wouldn’t he check where the bell is?

The same reason Xykon could never scry for his keys while sitting in Azure city? He put enough anti-detection spells up around the Fortress of Doom to not be able to? Or they are just counting on him never thinking to check the couch cushions in case that's were he lost it?

Now my question is, if the Bell is indestructible, why did it look so cracked and ready to break?

Maybe it's a liberty bell? :)

The election song with DT and the crusaders never seemed to me to be a case of "Stealing the spotlight" / "stealing the song"; rather, harmony songs seem to be able to be shared by different ponies for their own views of what's being sung about.

So what is the meaning of DT's mark? Was she a Diamond, never breaks? Did she have a light that would allow her to yield to benefit another? Or did her real talent turn out to be management and fund raising ?

So basically, the most effective way to go to Equestria is a box with a stamp on it?

Only if someone at the other end knows the spell to eject you out of the box. And, you still have to worry about having a "Dashie" relationship at the other end -- last time we saw someone in a box cross worlds.

oh dear, I'm now thinking of a really bad idea for a crossover -- Calvin and Hobbes and their big cardboard box :-)

Alright, a bit late to this one. Have avoided spoilers. Let's see...
*GASP* Grogar episode?!
Okay, villain episode. I still think this whole 'the villains realize the value of cooperation and seek to use it for evil' plot is pretty neat.
Where did Tirek get that picture? Where did Cozy get banner supplies, for that matter?
Can Chrysalis get stolen essence back by physically eating it?
Oh my gosh is Cody Glow gonna get a song?!
Amazing.
The new expressions work pretty well on Cozy Glow.
A display of actual shapeshifting competence from Chrysalis!
Cozy Glow is clearly all but out of patience after dealing with these two. Nice to see Twilight's lessons are spreading. Surprised Rusty Bucket didn't even try to push her out of the way of that snowball, though...

Cowsnakes. Sure. But these are villains. Can't Tirek just kill them?
Oh that one is Chrysalis isn't it.

Just to be clear, I didn't save you because I like you. Baka!

Okay trapping that giant monster in a chrysalis made me laugh. I feel like this is instinctive changeling queen behavior and Chrysalis can't help it.
Seriously though I hope she gets some of her marbles back now that she's eaten.
Have to wonder how she was starving so badly if she could steal love from monsters in the everfree, though.
'Love'. It's an animal. Isn't it just lust? Or does everything in Equestria feel love?

This scene is just great, aside from the fact that Chrysalis probably didn't care at the time about making Twilight suffer when she relates that anecdote. Of course, she's had plenty of time to form resentment now...

Intriguing direction for this to go. I'm going to count the bell's hiding place as cartoon resolution, obviously they'd be cleverer than to leave it out where Grogar can see it, but the viewers needed to see it and that was a quick way of showing it.

Overall, fun, good episode! I really liked it!


Dunno about the barbell, but after the banner I figure that Cozy Glow has a weaker version of Pinkie's ability to just have stuff.

I feel like they didn't really decide on Cozy Glow's true motivations until they wrote this episode. It could have been she wasn't what she seemed, or was being manipulated by an extradimensional invader... in the end, she just wants the most powerful ponies (Twilight and friends, since everyone knows the Princesses never do anything) to bow down to her.

Stuff about songs moving between characters

It's Gonna Work moved between Pinkie and Rarity despite their taking completely different and even opposing approaches to solving the problem, although that's not quite the same thing.

Pen pals

Not that the writers think about it, but perhaps Tirek was just so happy to help anyone get back at Twilight Sparkle that he went along with it and their correspondence was all business, magic theory rather than getting to know eachother as people at all.

Everything about Starswirl and Grogar and magic bells

That is really neat!

Also I continue to support the 'Sombra was a fake' theory more and more.

oh dear, I'm now thinking of a really bad idea for a crossover -- Calvin and Hobbes and their big cardboard box :-)

Someone write this

Notice the constant reiteration that the entire trio acknowledges themselves as evil. Including Cozy Glow. Chrysalis or Tirek, I could understand, but her?…

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