How to participate in the liveblog chat: Option 1: Whenever you watch the episode, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting! Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! Since the finale is a two-parter, we’ll be watching two episodes of MLP there starting at 1:00 p.m. EST. That is one hour earlier than normal!
Next week we’ll resume Yurikuma and Penguindrum.
After the chat, I will update this post with the log.
ETA: Chatlog below the cut!
[13:00] <@Sylocat> I notice Cutie Marks are becoming more and more of a theme the last couple seasons
01[13:00] <Froborr> Yeah.
[13:01] <@Sylocat> I’m surprised Twilight can’t memorize a speech, but maybe it’s just her anxiety
01[13:01] <Froborr> Yeah, this is her neurotic perfectionism tripping her up.
[13:02] <@Sylocat> Aww, she’s using the CMCs as the slide example
01[13:02] <Froborr> Oh my god, she’s presenting a study on the CMCs.
[13:02] <@Sylocat> And Moondancer is there… continuity
[13:02] <@Sylocat> Ahahah… Spike makes a bad TA
01[13:03] <Froborr> ???
01[13:03] <Froborr> What’s bothering her?
[13:03] <@Sylocat> Starlight Glimmer was there
01[13:03] <Froborr> Oh, I missed that.
01[13:03] <Froborr> She was the one from the season premiere, yeah?
01[13:04] <Froborr> Ah. Yes.
[13:04] <@Sylocat> Yep
[13:04] <@Sylocat> Spike is more optimistic than Steven Universe
[13:05] <@Sylocat> Does this look familiar?
01[13:05] <Froborr> No, should it?
[13:05] <@Sylocat> I can’t remember if it looked the same last time this spell was cast
[13:06] <@Sylocat> Oh, Pinkie…
01[13:06] <Froborr> Hmm, this has been running long enough that it’s starting to look like a very Twilight-focused episode. That’s unusual, finales are usually
01[13:06] <Froborr> Oho, time travel ep.
01[13:07] <Froborr> Anyway, I was saying, unless I’m forgetting something all hte other finales were ensemble eps.
[13:07] <@Sylocat> This implies that Starlight is actually more powerful than Twilight
01[13:07] <Froborr> Oh shit, the spell from MMC?
01[13:07] <Froborr> Not necessarily. She could have been preparing this for a long time.
[13:07] <@Sylocat> Aww, nostalgia ep
[13:08] <@Sylocat> Butterfly Effect…
01[13:08] <Froborr> Yep. No cutie marks for them.
[13:08] <@Sylocat> So yeah, they’re doing Back to the Future
01[13:09] <Froborr> I think Starlight’s special talent is probably using magical items/other people’s magic.
01[13:09] <Froborr> Eeyup, History Is Changed.
01[13:10] <Froborr> Oh shit, did altering history mean Sombra conquered a bunch of stuff? Innteresting.
01[13:10] <Froborr> I would’ve expected something with Nightmare Moon, especially with the mid-season finale focusing on her.
[13:10] <@Sylocat> Did Spike just say the “I have a bad feeling about this” line?
01[13:10] <Froborr> Yeah, he did.
01[13:11] <Froborr> Oh hey, I remember shots like this from the previews for S3…
[13:11] <@Sylocat> Yeah… the previews for the S3 finale
01[13:11] <Froborr> *tilts head* Bwah?
[13:11] <@Sylocat> (this whole episode has a lot of callbacks to MMC come to think of it)
01[13:11] <Froborr> Without Applejack, the Apples industrialized?
[13:11] <@Sylocat> Even WITH her, turns out
01[13:11] <Froborr> I mean w/out Applejack-as-we-know-her.
[13:12] <@Sylocat> Flutterdash? Did she just say the name of my second-favorite ship?
01[13:12] <Froborr> Yep, Sombra.
01[13:12] <Froborr> And yes, she set Flutterdash.
[13:13] <@Sylocat> Been following the comics? Sombra is the villain of the current arc
01[13:14] <Froborr> No, I think the last I read was last arc or two arcs ago.
01[13:14] <Froborr> Whatever it was I put in the book.
01[13:14] <Froborr> Lol, ponies slap-fighting.
[13:14] <@Sylocat> On the plus side, Rainbow Dash joined the Wonderbolts after all (shame she had to do it to fight Sombra)
[13:14] <@Sylocat> MAUD
01[13:14] <Froborr> Hah, Pinky and Maud rock-destroyers!
01[13:14] <Froborr> ALL HAIL MAUD
[13:15] <@Sylocat> And since Pinkie never left the farm, she was able to hone her own rock-breaking skills
01[13:16] <Froborr> And so the Time War began.
[13:16] <@Sylocat> Yep…
[13:16] <@Sylocat> And now it turns into Primer
01[13:16] <Froborr> Yeah, I really think her special talent is adapting other magic for her own use, where Twilight’s is her own innate magic.
01[13:17] <Froborr> lol
01[13:17] <Froborr> Dude!
[13:17] <@Sylocat> So Starlight left the scroll there just to make Twilight watch her mess up history?
01[13:17] <Froborr> Yes.
01[13:17] <Froborr> Also, pretty sure she just tried to MURDER Twilight and SPike.
[13:17] <@Sylocat> Yep
01[13:18] <Froborr> I think that’s the first time we’ve ever seen a pony go that far?
01[13:18] <Froborr> Like, even Sombra wasn’t KILLING people.
[13:18] <@Sylocat> Ahahah… Starlight stops the rainboom by stopping the bullying that prompted it
01[13:19] <Froborr> Yeah, that’s brilliant and evil.
[13:19] <@Sylocat> The one trick she knew Twilight couldn’t prevent
01[13:20] <Froborr> So Twilight challenges her to a race herself, yep.
[13:20] <@Sylocat> But now she tries to get it on track by playing up Rainbow Dash’s ego
[13:20] <@Sylocat> Surprisingly it worked
[13:20] <@Sylocat> I mean, didn’t work
[13:21] <@Sylocat> Notice how the map has changed a different way this time…
01[13:21] <Froborr> Hmm, time is different again.
01[13:21] <Froborr> Yeah.
01[13:21] <Froborr> Ohh.
01[13:22] <Froborr> So this time around it altered things differently.
[13:22] <@Sylocat> So that’s why they picked Sombra… turns out it’s a different villain every time
01[13:22] <Froborr> Wonder if they’ll bother explaining WHY it’s different this time.
01[13:22] <Froborr> Probably not.
[13:22] <@Sylocat> Well, I promised not to spoil it…
01[13:23] <Froborr> Yeah, that was me wondering aloud, not asking for answers.
[13:23] <@Sylocat> I assumed it was just a Butterfly Effect thing
[13:23] <@Sylocat> And Zecora is the leader of the resistance
01[13:23] <Froborr> Oh hey, Zecora doing something different for once!
01[13:23] <Froborr> Neat!
[13:24] <@Sylocat> So Zecora figures it out with her truth-telling makeup thing
01[13:24] <Froborr> Yep.
[13:25] <@Sylocat> They did explain it, turns out
01[13:25] <Froborr> Oh hey, they actually are giving a bit of an explanation.
[13:25] <@Sylocat> Knothole Village!
01[13:25] <Froborr> Yeah, that’s cute.
01[13:25] <Froborr> Hmm, so they did get their cutie marks eventually.
[13:25] <@Sylocat> This brings back SatAM memories
[13:26] <@Sylocat> Oh, the fanfic writers are going to have a lot of fun with this episode
01[13:26] <Froborr> Wait, was that Cheese Sandwich?
[13:26] <@Sylocat> It was? I didn’t see him
01[13:26] <Froborr> The tall skinny pony with curly hair.
01[13:27] <Froborr> Ha, ready for her this time!
[13:27] <@Sylocat> But of course, so is she
[13:28] <@Sylocat> I like how they stop the Rainboom a different way each time… and Twilight is an accidental participant
01[13:28] <Froborr> Yep.
01[13:28] <Froborr> Ah, skipping Discord and going to Nightmare Moon I’m guessing?
[13:28] <@Sylocat> Gee, I wonder who’s the villain this time
[13:29] <@Sylocat> I assumed they’d save Night Mare Moon for last
[13:29] <@Sylocat> (or Tirek)
[13:29] <@Sylocat> Ooh, Rarity is still a fashionista
[13:30] <@Sylocat> I kind of like that they wound up having the same Cutie Marks… it shows that yes, it really was their destiny after all (except for Twilight’s, presumably because of her insecurity)
[13:30] <@Sylocat> Rainbow Punk
[13:31] <@Sylocat> “Never mention Mufasa’s name in my presence!”
01[13:31] <Froborr> Haha, yep.
[13:31] <@Sylocat> I’m surprised they didn’t throw her off by just calling her Luna, and she’d shout, “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT NAME”
01[13:32] <Froborr> Boom.
[13:32] <@Sylocat> We already saw Starlight break out of that
01[13:32] <Froborr> Tirek world.
[13:32] <@Sylocat> Ah, so they’re going into a montage
01[13:33] <Froborr> Discord world is… made of plushies?
[13:33] <@Sylocat> Tirek, Discord…
01[13:33] <Froborr> Who else is there?
01[13:33] <Froborr> Oh shit, that was cool.
01[13:33] <Froborr> Because capitalism is the biggest villain of MLP of course.
[13:34] <@Sylocat> Yep
01[13:34] <Froborr> Well, that’s not good.
01[13:35] <Froborr> Ah, going into a different past now.
[13:35] <@Sylocat> Ghost of Cutie Marks Past
[13:36] <@Sylocat> I’m surprised we’ve never seen Sunburst before
[13:36] <@Sylocat> And he was a colt, no less
01[13:37] <Froborr> At least Starlight didn’t turn out to be a time-traveling Twist in disguise.
[13:37] <@Sylocat> I kind of like how Starlight’s villain speech turned out to be more small-scale and intimate than the other villains
01[13:38] <Froborr> Yeah.
[13:38] <@Sylocat> Sort of keeping along with the “It’s the little things that matter” theme
[13:38] <@Sylocat> They could only raise the stakes so far, after all
01[13:39] <Froborr> Yeah.
[13:40] <@Sylocat> That’s a pretty clever metaphysical allegory statement too
01[13:40] <Froborr> *nods*
01[13:40] <Froborr> I dunno, though, Starlight’s issues just don’t ring true the way Fluttershy’s or Pinkie’s do.
[13:41] <@Sylocat> I kind of think it does… the whole “my best friend moved away, it’s not fair” thing
01[13:41] <Froborr> No, I get that, abandonment is a huge thing, especially for kids.
[13:41] <@Sylocat> She was obsessed with cutie marks because deep down she wanted to remain an innocent blank-flanked filly forever
[13:42] <@Sylocat> And wanted everyone else to as well
01[13:42] <Froborr> And it definitely can give you lifelong issues, I know about that firsthand.
01[13:42] <Froborr> But… I think it’s the one-and-done-ness of it.
01[13:42] <Froborr> Like, Fluttershy and Pinkie have been slowly improving for seasons and seasons. This was too pat and simple.
[13:43] <@Sylocat> Ah… good point
[13:43] <@Sylocat> Though when she saw the consequences, that helped too
01[13:43] <Froborr> True.
01[13:43] <Froborr> Still.
01[13:44] <Froborr> Leaving out “Galloping Gala” because it’s not so much a season finale as an episode that happened to be the last one of the season, I feel like this was probably the weakest finale.
01[13:44] <Froborr> Which is too bad, because it was a very solid season.
[13:45] <@Sylocat> Well, it had a tough act to follow
[13:45] <@Sylocat> I mean, after Tirek, there’s only so many places left to go
01[13:46] <Froborr> Honestly, I feel like trying to top Tirek is the wrong direction–that was already about as action-heavy as ponies should really go. So I’m glad this wasn’t, like, the Great Pony War or something.
[13:47] <@Sylocat> Exactly, so they went in the other direction… Starlight was in many ways the “smallest” villain so far, but they lent emotional stakes to that too
01[13:48] <Froborr> Yep. Definitely a good move.
01[13:48] <Froborr> I dunno, I just don’t think Starlight ever did it for me. IIRC I wasn’t a huge fan of the premiere, either.
01[13:49] <Froborr> It’s not that I object to small stakes villains at all, I think that’s absolutely the right direction.
01[13:49] <Froborr> I just don’t think the execution here was that great.
[13:49] <@Sylocat> Was it just the abruptness of her transition that bothered you, or something else?
01[13:51] <Froborr> That, the usual issues I have with “don’t change the past” storylines, and the general aura of Great Man Theory surrounding the whole thing.
01[13:52] <Froborr> Which last they clearly recognized was a problem and tried to hedge against with the whole “Equestria’s magic was weakened by a single friendship being missing,” but… ehh.
[13:53] <@Sylocat> I was just about to point that part out
[13:54] <@Sylocat> IMO, it was also hedged by the fact that, in spite of all that, they got the SAME Cutie Marks and had the same interests, it was just their coming together as a team that was the sticking point (though I doubt that was intentional)
[13:55] <@Sylocat> And Chrysalis and Sombra weren’t even defeated by the mane six directly, come to think of it… it was Cadance, Shining Armor and Spike
[13:55] <@Sylocat> (mostly Cadence)
01[13:55] <Froborr> I’m not sure invoking destiny is an effective way of hedging against the depiction of your main characters as THe Chosen Ones
01[13:55] <Froborr> Kind of counterproductive.
[13:56] <@Sylocat> I’ve always been puzzled by the conflation of cutie marks with “destiny,” to be honest… I think they represent something completely different
01[13:57] <Froborr> I do too.
01[13:57] <Froborr> They’re not destiny, they’re purpose, and as we saw in “Crusaders of the Lost Mark” it’s when you CHOOSE your purpose that you get yours.
01[13:58] <Froborr> Which is why I don’t think all the characters having the same cutie marks in the altered timelines helps, it just makes everything more destiny-y.
[13:58] <@Sylocat> Uh huh… in fact, the whole point of the CMCs’ arc was that they had to learn that Cutie Marks are about finding out what you WANT to do with your life, rather than what you are MEANT to do
01[13:58] <Froborr> Yep. Active, rather than passive.
01[13:59] <Froborr> And I think ultimately that’s the real problem.
01[13:59] <Froborr> The whole last quarter of this season was laboring under the shadow of “Crusaders of the Lost Mark.”
[13:59] <@Sylocat> The shadow?
01[14:00] <Froborr> Almost every episode, my reaction has been, “Okay, that was good, but it wasn’t ‘Crusaders of the Lost Mark’ good.”
[14:00] <@Sylocat> Well, true
01[14:00] <Froborr> (The exceptions have been the ones where I didn’t think it was even that good.)
[14:01] <@Sylocat> Which, IMO, plays into a bigger theme of Starlight Glimmer… she represents the stagnation that Crusaders of the Lost Mark was about breaking free of
01[14:01] <Froborr> I can see that.
[14:01] <@Sylocat> Because, the 6-to-9-year-old girls who started watching in 2010 are 11-to-14-year-olds now
[14:02] <@Sylocat> (is 6-to-9 the offical recommended age group, or is it 6-to-11? I can’t remember)
01[14:02] <Froborr> I think it’s younger than that, actually.
[14:02] <@Sylocat> I’ll look it up at some point
[14:03] <@Sylocat> The point is, they’re starting to grow up now, and Starlight Glimmer is the fear of growing up and losing touch with what you loved as a kid… she’s the nostalgia trap
01[14:03] <Froborr> Hmm, I can see that.
[14:04] <@Sylocat> Crusaders of the Lost Mark would be where she proclaims that the show officially jumped the shark, as ’twere
01[14:05] <Froborr> The toys are recommended for kids ages 3+
03[14:05] * Sylocat changes topic to ‘Welcome to Rabbit Cube! Current weekly liveblogs: Mawaru Penguindrum; Yurikuma Arashi I. (upcoming series: Psycho-Pass vol. 1)’
[14:07] <@Sylocat> Of course, by a convenient coincidence, season six will now have a regular character who just happens to fill the same character role as a certain other phenomenally-popular character who is currently stuck in a different universe so she can only appear in the movies
01[14:07] <Froborr> Yep, I noticed that.
01[14:08] <Froborr> Although given the events of the last movie, her role is more similar to EG!Twilight than Sunset Shimmer.
[14:08] <@Sylocat> True
[14:08] <@Sylocat> So, is Josh Haber the lead writer now? I notice he also wrote Friendship Games as well as this
01[14:09] <Froborr> No idea.
01[14:09] <Froborr> Possibly?
[14:10] <@Sylocat> I think Larson was credited as the story editor this season, since McCarthy is basically running Hasbro’s animation department now so she doesn’t work on individual shows anymore, or something
01[14:10] <Froborr> Yeah, he was, and yes, that’s what happened.
[14:10] <@Sylocat> (and Larson being story editor explains the increased focus on continuity and world-building)
01[14:10] <Froborr> Yeah, which I remain uncomfortable with.
[14:11] <@Sylocat> Well, his own episodes this season were amazing
01[14:11] <Froborr> Which were those again?
[14:11] <@Sylocat> Slice of Life, Rarity Investigates, and… hang on, lemme look it up
01[14:12] <Froborr> Okay, Rarity Investigates was brilliant.
01[14:12] <Froborr> Slice of Life was pure pandering to bronies, and while I enjoyed it at the time, I remain deeply uncomfortable that that is a thing the show does now.
[14:12] <@Sylocat> Oh… Rarity Investigates had pretty much the entire writing team credited under Story By
01[14:12] <Froborr> I mean, tossing in background characters the bronies like is one thing, building entire episodes around it is another.
[14:13] <@Sylocat> Larson wrote Amending Fences
01[14:13] <Froborr> Which one was that?
[14:13] <@Sylocat> Eh, I think doing it once every five seasons is okay
[14:13] <@Sylocat> Amending Fences was the one with Moondancer
[14:13] <@Sylocat> AKA, the other alternate-history version of Twilight
01[14:13] <Froborr> Ah, yes. That one was all right, not really a standout for me.
01[14:14] <Froborr> BTW, I’ve been looking around, and it looks like in their own press releases regarding the show, Hasbro makes a point of mentioning the 2-11 and 6-11 demographics. So I think 2-11 is the kid audience we’re looking at.
[14:15] <@Sylocat> Ah… okay