Sunday, December 2, 2012

Magic Duel Episode Review

Subtlety be Damned!
Come one, come all!  Be amazed, astounded, and awed as you witness the triumphant return of the weekly review column!  Stare in stunned appreciation as you watch me spout my opinions for those who care to hear them!  Gasp in shock as I let my final verdict echo throughout the hallowed halls of our hectic home page!  Once you’ve seen the greatest show on earth once, you’ll never settle for anything less!  So click carefully past our boisterous break, and behold the review of a lifetime!

Whew.  Showboating can really take a lot out of you.  I have no idea how someone could make a living off of something like that...  Heck, even Trixie couldn’t manage.  But speaking of Trixie, the episode to have most recently graced our retinas is none other than her triumphant return episode.  While she may be a bit of a controversial figure among fans, there’s no denying that this was one of the most heavily anticipated episodes among fans, myself included.  So how does this episode hold up among the rest?  Really, really, well.  But if you’re hungry for more than a three word answer, by all means, keep reading.

Pretty please?

This was an episode that was surprisingly plot heavy.  Rather than having a storyline designed to tell jokes or teach a lesson, the main focus here was on the story itself.  Initially, I went into this episode expecting another enjoyable episode with predictable ending, but it surprised me by having an ending that was not only unexpected, but surprisingly realistic and mature.  To be perfectly honest, I expected a scenario where Twilight would beat Trixie using Zecora’s amulet, only to find out that it was a fake, and she had the power within herself all along.  Instead, Twilight opted to use her friends and a healthy amount of trickery.  What really stood out to me about this ending was that Twilight didn’t overcome Trixie’s voodoo amulet by simply working super hard.  On the contrary, her solution was both smart, and realistically accounted for her own limits.  It showed that when it comes to doing good, you don’t always have to play fairly.  Not only does this lesson tie into the real world exceptionally well, it also fits into the theme of friendship and togetherness.  Here, Twilight didn’t only rely on her own talents to overcome a threat, but instead opted to ask for her friends’ help with overcoming a common enemy.  It was smart, realistic, and even opted to go without the cheesy letter to Celestia at the conclusion.  Overall, I felt that plotwise, this episode really hit it out of the park.

Also, Yoda.
Humor, despite this being a slightly darker episode than usual, was also handled extremely well.  In fact, where humor is concered, I have one word for you: Fluttershy.  She had a hilarious return to top form in this episode, and between her expressions, her attitude, and just... being herself, there was certainly a lot to like.  There were also some truly creative sight gags (trash bin, anyone?), and the final scene gave one of my favorite gags the show has done so far.  While the humor may have been the icing on the plot cake, it was pretty damn good icing.

Pictured: Damn good icing
This episode was definitely my favorite of season 3, and one of my favorites overall.  It was an example of all of the different elements that make good pony episodes not really overpowering each other, but working together to make an even better whole.  If you haven’t watched this episode, you probably should.  Like, now.  But for everyone who did, what did you think?  Tell me what you thought in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to reply.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get to it!