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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Page 2 of 2

Season 2, Episode 2: "The Return of Harmony, Part 2"

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As the Mane Six bicker among each other about everything and nothing, Twilight complains to Discord that it's hardly fair of him to expect the ponies to find the Elements at the end of the Labyrinth when he's taken away the Labyrinth before they can find the Elements at the end of said Labyrinth.

Discord points out the fundamental flaw in Twilight's logic regarding the connection between the Elements and the Labyrinth, in that she totally made that part up herself.

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Discord leaves her to use the magic of friendship (bwahaha!) to sort things out, which is tricky when her friends have turned into bigger nozzles than Rainbow Dash, who isn't even there.

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Twilight concludes (correctly, for a change) that the Elements must be back in Ponyville, which Discord is quickly turning into the Chaos Capital of the World

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As the Nozzle Four reluctantly go into Twilight's library, they each desaturate further, right into Grayscale. Pinkie Pie also expresses my feelings about libraries.

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(That joke is much funnier if you know I just finished my first year of library school. You may now laugh!)

Oh, and before she goes inside and turns gets Grayscaled, Rarity reveals that her diamond-what's-actually-a-boulder is named Tom.

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For his part, Spike is the first to acknowledge the change in the ponies' color, which means the script and animation have finally caught up with each other.

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Despite the best efforts of the Gray Nozzle Four, Twilight and Spike manage to get The Elements of Harmony: A Reference of Harmony, last seen in the pilot.

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The Elements themselves are conveniently waiting for her in the book. Unfortunately, between using a reluctant Spike as a stand-in for Rainbow Dash -- "But what if she finds out I've been impersonating her? That won't end well" -- and the utter disinterest of the Gray Nozzle Four, they fail to vanquish Discord.

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The ponies disband for good ...

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... Twilight Grayscales ...

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... and Discord gloats.

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Y'know who gloats as awesomely as John de Lancie in Q-mode? Nobody, that's who.

Twilight decides that she and Spike are going to leave Ponyville, but Spike is in no condition to move, due to deep gastrointestinal pain from a flurry of letters from Princess Celestia. (Cathy Weseluck's voice work as Spike is heartbreaking -- the poor little dragon's hurting, bad.)

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The letters are all the Shoehorns from the first season, which remind Twilight of how great friendship is -- and that their collective friendship (enhanced and enlarged by the Elements) can defeat Discord, just like it defeated Nightmare Moon.

Twilight regains her color and sets about resaturating the others. Rainbow Dash requires a high-speed chase through the clouds, while Pinkie Pie treats the whole ordeal with the respect it deserves.

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They successfully defeat Discord, and not only does it involve an Akira-esque explosion, the denouement takes a hard left into an homage to the ending of the original Star Wars, complete with an Iris Out into an orchestral theme over the credits. Great character moment, though: As the others are soaking in the accolades, Fluttershy is just looking at the floor, wishing she was anywhere but there.

Though "The Return of Harmony" opens Season 2, it's more a (not wholly necessary) second finale to Season 1. The Graying of the ponies doesn't quite connect the way it should, possibly because we've seen already seen the characters break down from the inside, and that's always more powerful than when it's from an external force.

Their transformations in this episode are also based on their associations to the Elements of Harmony, and as I've observed before, the Elements are tangential at best to who the ponies have developed into as characters. That said, the Elements do make for an interesting narrative fake-out in the Season 2 finale ... but we're just getting started.

Next Time: The show shifts gears as Season 2 begins for real in "Lesson Zero," and Princess Celestia's sister and ostensible co-monarch finally resurfaces in "Luna Eclipsed."

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Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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