Friday, May 2, 2014

S02 E01 : "The Return of Harmony" Part 1


Oops, I accidentally took a break! No, seriously, it was accidental. I was planning to do this one last week, but I ended up having to postpone it because of work-related exhaustion. But I'm back now, and ready to watch MLP until my eyes bleed (not really)!

The title indicates that we might actually see, and get this, THE ELEMENTS OF HARMONY! You know, the things that saved the day in the pilot and were never seen again for no particular reason? I vaguely remember these two episodes because Adam was watching the premier at the time while I was probably playing a video game or something, I dunno.

The only thing that I clearly recall is that John De Lancie had a role as the villain Discord, which was basically Q as a tiny lil' dragon-thing. I love me some John De Lancie as Q...but how did he fare as Discord? We shall see...

S02 E01: "The Return of Harmony - Part 1"

As if the CMC weren't generally annoying enough, their "antics" went and awakened an ancient evil! Lovely. Discord is implied to have been freed by their negativity, and after the credits we see Ponyville assaulted by chocolate milk storms from candy cotton clouds, Applejack's trees wither and her corn pops into popcorn,  while Fluttershy's animals mutate and go all Biblical plague on Applejack's crops. The six ponies cooperate to stop the chaos, and are immediately summoned by Princess Celestia to Canterlot. 

Once there, she explains who Discord is and how he was stopped last time with The Elements of Harmony by Celestia and Luna. Turns out they were sealed away in the castle after the pilot episode, and that would have been great to know earlier so I wouldn't have spent time bitching about it. Celestia assigns the main 6 to track down Discord and seal him away again since they're the ones currently linked to the Elements...or she would have if they hadn't been stolen. 

Turns out, surprise, Discord took them. He demonstrates that he knows who the main 6 are, and he's decided to have a little fun with them by making them find the Elements. He gives a cryptic clue that Twilight Sparkle deciphers to mean that the Elements are hidden in Canterlot's hedge maze. The six take off, and just before they enter the maze, Discord takes their wings and horns to make sure that none of them use their natural abilities to cheat.

They enter the maze anyway, and Discord seperates them by summoning new walls into the maze. Twilight tells the others to regroup in the center, which everyone agrees to sans Fluttershy, who is too busy freaking the fuck out. Applejack is lead down her path by some apples which turn into living piles of apples. They taunt AJ by showing her a vision of the six ending their friendship, breaking her spirit. This gives Discord the opening he needs to brainwash her. When she is reunited with Twilight, she lies about what happened.

 Pinkie Pie is up next, and Discord convinces her that her friends laugh at her, not with her. Once she's distraught, Discord takes the opportunity to force her under his thrall, just before she's found by Twilight and AJ. This continues with the remaining ponies; Discord appeals to Rarity's greed by making her think she's found a giant diamond, Fluttershy is so good natured and resistant that he just cuts the shit and straight up brainwashes her out of frustration, and Rainbow Dash is tricked into flying away from the maze after being shown the destruction of Cloudsdale.

With that, the game is over-- Dash technically broke the rules by flying away. Discord declares victory and says that a new age of chaos will reign throughout Equestria!


So what did you think? one was good! Like, legit entertaining! I haven't liked an episode this much since A Dog and Pony Show. I actually laughed more than once, out loud. Them's is LOLs, fuckers! 

There were quite a few humorous moments stemming from character interaction, and while that isn't doing much to make me give a shit about the non-Rarity ponies, they are at least entertaining to watch in this episode. Discord himself I was indifferent to, but that's because John De Lancie's performance was about what I was expecting. They have reached the lowest of bars once again, which is to say that I wasn't bored. I sincerely hope that bar is raised at some point.

"Hold on a second! Eternal chaos comes with chocolate rain!"

  Worth it. 

The animation was good, and there was one moment in particular where Discord reveals himself in a stained-glass window that was very well done. Backgrounds, facial expressions, all as good as usual. Say what you will about the show (I sure fucking do), but it ain't ugly, and this premier episode was a reminder of that.

Overall, it's a great start to the season, and I'm going into the next episode A LOT less apprehensive than I've been since The Episode That Shall Not Be Named. Don't fuck it up, show!

- Apathy Pony

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