Alicorn Priest was kind enough to volunteer an alternate perspective on “Magical Mystery Cure,” specifically the “anti” or “con” position on the episode.
Hey, everyone! I guess I’m doing a guest post while Froborr is taking a break. He wanted me to do a retrospective on Magical Mystery Cure to share my take on the whole alicorn debacle. And believe me, I was pretty upset! I mean, they really should have kept it the way it was. I know there’s this mindset to give the fans what they want, but this was uncalled for! They had used the term “princess” this whole time to represent a winged unicorn, and then they just go and have Rarity use “alicorn” out of nowhere. That’s just indefensi–
Wait, what’s that? Nobody cares about that? Oh, my bad.
No, you wanna know about the angry response to Twilight becoming an alicorn. That I can do as well. I think the best way to go about it is to talk about the effects we expected from such a monumental change. (In hindsight, not so monumental, but still.) Those can be roughly sorted into four categories:
- How will this change affect Twilight specifically?
- How will it affect her friends and the other main characters?
- How will it affect the setting of Equestria?
- How will it affect the structure and theme of the show?
I think Froborr did a pretty good job of explaining why all of these things would be fine, but let me try to explain what we were seeing in the naysayers camp. Looking back a year later (has it really been that long?), all of these fears almost seem ridiculous. Back then, though, they seemed all too real.
First, Twilight herself. Remember, we knew nothing about what would happen to Twilight other than a picture of her with wings at first. All we had was the precedent of Celestia, Luna, and Cadance (who we considered a last-minute change). What would Twilight become if she became an alicorn? Well, a goddess. Her magical powers would increase significantly, she would have to rule over a kingdom as the other princesses do, and she would become something different and separate from the rest. This is sort of bleeding into the other categories, but Twilight would lose much of what made her character interesting and relatable. She was a young student trying to balance her schoolwork with interacting with friends. She frequently got flustered and had to go to her princess for help. If Twilight becomes a princess, we asked, what then? Who would she be? Even before the season 3 finale, Twilight was getting the ignominious title of Mary Sue thrust upon her. What would she be if she became a goddess solely because of how awesome she was? On another token, what would be left for her character to explore now that her fundamental question had been answered? The second episode told us that her goal was to learn about friendship and the magic within it. But “Magical Mystery Cure” stated without a doubt that all of that was over. All that could possibly be left for her would be reveling in how awesome she is now. What kind of story is that? (Watch everything after the “Princess Twilight Sparkle Cometh” to see what I mean.) A lot of us like Twilight a lot; would becoming a princess mean we wouldn’t see her as much any more? Would she go the same way as Celestia, Luna, and Cadance?
But that’s not enough. Raising Twilight, by comparison, lowers all of the other characters as well. Twilight may be my favorite (mane 6) character, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the other characters or appreciate their place in the story. What makes Twilight so special that her studies are what propelled her to godhood? Not Rainbow Dash, the mare who performed the mythical Sonic Rainboom? Not Applejack or Fluttershy, who run huge businesses without any assistance? Not Rarity or Pinkie Pie, who bring joy to an entire town? Why does Twilight get her arc wrapped up when there are so many other interesting characters worth exploring? Twilight was the bond keeping them all together. What happens when she becomes a princess and leaves to take on her destiny? And that’s not even getting into the other characters. Creating yet another alicorn cheapens the total effect of the other alicorns. One wonders what Mayor Mare actually would do, considering Twilight would be the highest-ranked official in Ponyville. Who else can I pin through Twilight’s change? It wrecks Trixie’s position as foil. Nope, I’m out of ideas.
I’ve sort of already talked about the setting. I’m writing this before “Twilight’s Kingdom” comes out, but as Equestria Girls put it, Twilight’s probably going to have her own area to rule like Cadance and the Royal Sisters do. …Where, exactly? But along with that, being able to achieve apotheosis brings up some very strange questions. So few ponies actually pull this off, despite pursuing one’s special talent being the entire focus of the society? Twilight and Cadance can do it basically on accident, but hundreds of thousands of ponies can’t do it despite pursuing their personal talents just as ardently? Or is it just ponies with vague concepts like “love” and “friendship” for cutie marks that can get it? And, Celestia forbid, it makes Celestia and Luna even more bizarre. Did they achieve apotheosis too, or are they some greater version of alicorn? If the former, why are they immortal, then? Seriously, it’s such a bizarre thing that nobody would have pegged for this society had this episode not come out. It’s borderline antithetical to the very idea of “do what you do to the best of your ability.” Clearly, a lot of ponies are slacking off.
Lastly, the meta-argument. I don’t remember who said it exactly, but someone said once that “Magical Mystery Cure” would have worked pretty well as a show ender, since it wraps up the critical question of the entire show. But season 4 had already been confirmed by that point, so the show has to keep going from there. But where is there to go when the guiding idea is gone? “Friendship is Magic:” that’s what Twilight was trying to understand that. In “Magical Mystery Cure,” she outright says that she understands it perfectly: “From all of us together, / together we are friends. / With the marks of our destinies made one, / there is magic without end!” So… what then? Where do you go from that? With Twilight a princess, what will the stories be about? How can they be the same if Twilight is so much more powerful? Or what if she’s gone entirely? What kind of show would it be without Twilight Sparkle?
No, to all the haters and nay-sayers, it was clear that things couldn’t be for the better. Twilight would finally be a Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues, and she would leave all of her old friends in the dust. The setting and the story would be broken into a gazillion pieces. Anything they did to explain it would only prove that it was ruined. And then Equestria Girls happened, and it showed that Twilight wasn’t perfect. She still had questions left to answer, and she was still trying to be modest and personable. But Equestria Girls wasn’t perfect, and we still thought that there wasn’t much hope. No matter how much she pretended, Twilight was still a princess, and that meant she was inherently better than everypony else, right? And then “Princess Twilight Sparkle” answered that exactly. Discord outright forced her to consider that position, and she rejected it. The rest of the season, from “Castle Mane-ia” and “Three’s a Crowd?” to “Twilight Time” and “Trade Ya!” kept up the precedent. Looking back, all of the fears I had seem ridiculous now. Of course Twilight would still be Twilight. Of course she’d still stay with her friends in Ponyville. Of course they’d come up with a concept like the diary to keep the characters thinking about friendship and magic. But before season 4, we had no idea the writers had it all under control. Perhaps we should have had more faith.
Alicorn Priest writes: Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope I gave a good insight into the cynic’s perspective to “Magical Mystery Cure” and season 4. PLUG: If you like my writing style or my analysis, check out my reviews here. I’m not nearly as good as Froborr, but I do have some good ideas here and there. END PLUG. Anyways, by the time you read this, “Twilight’s Kingdom” will be come and gone. Crazy how it goes, huh? Fingers crossed that it was good. And then we get another long break, with only Rainbow Rocks to tide us over. Hey, at least it’s not as bad as Sherlock and Doctor Who, right? 😛