• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
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Sprocket Doggingsworth


I write horse words.

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Dec
3rd
2021

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony - The End in Friend · 3:56am Dec 3rd, 2021

Last night, I finished watching "The End in Friend". This was the Season 8 episode when Rarity and Rainbow Dash discovered that they had nothing in common, and fought bitterly (and publically) about it, setting a bad example for the Young Six, who were supposed to be learning about friendship.

For those who don't remember - and I can't blame you - the episode starts with Twilight giving instruction to her students on how friends with very little in common (Rainbow Dash and Rarity) can still form strong bonds. This lesson collapses as these two friends predictably start bickering. That remains the crux of the story for 20 solid minutes.

A common complaint about "The End in Friend" is that it ignores characters' past progress. It recycles conflicts better suited to a Season 1 or 2 plot.

It's a fair criticism, but I find now, several years later, that it doesn't really matter.

A. Old friends fight. It's a thing that happens in real life.
B. There's something delightful about watching a story that is crafted specifically around the moral. Even bluntly. In a lot of ways, that was the charm of MLP:FIM in the first place.
C. Last but not least, in a show full of episodes about personality conflicts, how many stories have we really seen pitting Rarity directly against Rainbow Dash? Surprisingly few.

Anyway, the squabbling friends are sent to guidance counselor, Starlight Glimmer to sort out their problems, which, on its own, is worth noting. GlimGlam got a rough start in the series, first as a villainess, then as a reformed villainess whose entire personality was feeling bad about her former misdeeds.

She eventually grew, however, to become the show's moral center - a voice of reason. This episode is a major milestone in that arc that zipped by us pretty much unnoticed.

Starlight Glimmer went from being Twilight's student of friendship to a trusted dispenser of friendship advice to two of the Mane 6. That's pretty remarkable!

Anyway, GlimGlam advises Rarity and Dash to read one another's favorite books to better understand one another, but neither of them actually do the reading assignment, (which escalates the conflict further).

Eventually, they are forced to band together as one of Twilight's magical amulets goes missing, and it's on them to find it. Throughout the quest, Rarity's love of mysteries, and Rainbow Dash's love of adventure both come in handy, and through a series of minor, quiant little obstacles, they develop respect for one another, and rekindle their friendship.

In the end, they follow a trail out of the swamp, (where they'd searched for the amulet), and they find a secret passage that, for some inexplicable reason, leads right to the Friendship School.

It was all a set up!

Okay, so what's the take home here?

Mostly, it's weird to come back to Generation 4 after spending so much time picking apart "A New Generation," especially to jump into "The End in Friend" - a flawed episode that is hardly a classic or fan-favorite, and yet...not terrible either. Somehow, it encompasses so much of what I fell in love with about MLP:FIM in the first place. Just watching these characters bounce off of each other - the purity of its moral, and its pedantic form - it was all so incredibly wholesome, and delightful to experience through fresh eyes.

I find it weird to look back, and reflect on the fact that this quaint little show about colorful ponies completely took over my life for an entire decade. It motivated me to compose several albums, countless essays, and a fanfiction the length of a six-book adventure novel series.

Yet after all this time, I can still find new delights in Friendship is Magic - even in episodes I didn't think twice about when they first aired.

Discuss.
-Sprocket

If you enjoy essays like these, please consider supporting my work on Patreon. You can also follow Heart Full of Pony on Tumblr

Comments ( 4 )

Subtlety has never been G. M. Berrow's strong suit, but she does love her tidy little quests. And Twilight basically designing a scavenger hunt to make these two look for reasons to get along is pretty great. As is how unicorn field medicine can make a breath freshener out of random swamp plants.

And, as you noted, Dash and Rarity really don't interact much outside of stories involving the whole group. It's pretty much this, "Sonic Rainboom," and their team-up in "Twillght's Seven."

Thank you for your thoughts. :)

5613523
"Rarity Investigates" is another one.

5613523
Yeah it's super seldom. The only other prominent example was in the Parasprite episode, when she was making Rainbow model a really weird outfit. My criticism of this episode is just that the premise feels like something that would have fit in several seasons ago. Like someone has been holding out hope to write it for so long, and FINALLY got the chance when it doesn't feel relevant compared to everything else that's occurred around them. This is exactly what I felt with the CMC being teenagers for an episode. (Among other things).

I could at least get the urge to want to write a rare pair bouncing off each other, but it felt so awkward for characters point it out as a deficiency, and make it some kind of reveal. Especially buy their own students. They could have just told the students "we've saved the world together like, 6 times."

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