Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 24: Magic Duel + Sleepless in Ponyville

Introduction

< Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 >

Season 3, Episodes 5-6

Pointless trivia: I worked on my review of Magic Duel entirely within my own house, whereas I worked on my review of Sleepless in Ponyville entirely within a hotel room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Pandemic restrictions or not, I’m happy to report I had a great time at MAGFest 2022 (though as of this post’s publication, it already ended a few weeks ago).


Season 3 Episode 5: Magic Duel

In five words: Boast Busters’ much better sequel.

Premise: After getting brutally owned in Boast Busters, Trixie returns to Ponyville with a desire for revenge and a special magical amulet.

Detailed run-through:

The intro portion of this episode teases viewers with loose hints of a familiar face. A hooded figure goes to a shop to obtain a dangerous magical amulet, and while she’s denied it at first, she gets it after giving the shopkeeper a big bag of money. Trixie is a fan favorite character, so it makes sense that her return would start off subtle.

After this, we get a scene of Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills much like she did at the start of Boast Busters, showing that she’s sharpened her magic prowess since then. She uses a magic spell to levitate Fluttershy’s animals in a gentle looping formation, keeping them calm and happy despite Fluttershy’s extreme nervousness. Again like Boast Busters, this scene shows that Twilight takes great pride in her magic skills. Twilight then mentions Celestia hired her for the entertainment in an upcoming special event. She’s clearly referring to magic tricks here, and that was the one thing Trixie thought she was so good at.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 3: Boast Busters + Dragonshy + Look Before You Sleep

Introduction

< Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 >

Season 1, Episodes 6-8


Season 1 Episode 6: Boast Busters

I’m going to analyze this one a bit differently from prior episodes. Specifically, I will be discussing spoilers for later seasons (up to season 6), where Trixie becomes a recurring character instead of a one-off (two-off, rather). If an episode’s title is colored red, that means my review will contain spoilers for later episodes!

In five words: Twilight begins irrational Trixie grudge.

Premise: A boastful magician named Trixie visits Ponyville to perform a magic show, and Twilight Sparkle develops a gnawing urge to one-up her and prove she’s full of nonsense, because clearly the entire point of magicians is to tell the truth and never deceive anyone, and also to never make up an exaggerated fictional backstory to immerse the audience.

Detailed run-through:

The episode begins with Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills by giving Spike a mustache, which she gets rid of once he starts thinking about impressing Rarity. This scene makes it clear that magic is a skill that Twilight is very proud of and holds in high regard, setting up her rivalry with Trixie, who is more skilled in the illusory kind of magic.

Spike: 25, Twilight. 25 different kinds of tricks and counting! I thought unicorns were only supposed to have a little magic that matches their special talents.
Twilight Sparkle: True, for ponies whose talents are for things like cooking or singing or math. But what if a unicorn’s special talent is magic?
Spike: Like you, Twilight! And you know a ton of magic.

This passage comparing Twilight Sparkle against your usual unicorn suggests to me that she’s probably a magic elitist who makes a sharp distinction between true magic and bogus magic and is aggravated when people conflate the two. Even though Twilight responds with modesty, her passion for the field of magic is undeniable, and she always gets annoyed when people misunderstand things she’s passionate about.

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