Sunday, January 20, 2013

Keep Calm and Flutter On Episode Review

Now that the hiatus is over, Discord won't be the only one freed from his slumber.  The nice folks who compose the Blog(6+3) have decided to unfreeze me from their underground bunker so that I can give my humble opinion on the new, hearty helping of pony.  So how does it hold up?  Stay tuned to Discord's Domain to find out, and we'll be right back after the break.

With a name like Discord's Domain, it shouldn't be any surprise that the Blog>6 loves the guy.  The villain who made perhaps the largest impression upon the fandom, Discord has always engaged us with his unconventional approach to villainy.  Ol' hornhead is a villain who approaches evil as a rollicking good time, rather than an unceremonious power-grab.  Not only that, but he pulls off his schemes with a healthy dose of humor and charm.  Now, while a Discord episode is all well and good, there was some buzzing among the fans about Discord's true identity being revealed in this episode. That...didn't happen.  It certainly doesn't mean it was a bad episode, however, nor should it be thought as being lesser for it.  The episode was a refreshing return to everyone's favorite villain, and easily propelled itself to one of my favorites of the season, if not ever.

But does this mean he can be a recurring character?  Please?
When talking about a Discord episode, there's always one thing that the team especially excels at, and that's the visuals.  A character like Discord certainly invites some crazy imagery, and the writers pulled out all the stops here.  Without any pesky logic to tie them down, Discord's antics are at once hilarious, wildly creative, and a little creepy.  But that doesn't mean the rest of the writing wasn't up to snuff.  The jokes worked well, the characterization was extremely well done, and despite the moderately rushed ending, it maintained a relatively good pace. One of my favorite aspects of the episode was how  Fluttershy was handled.  Instead of being blindly trusting, she was fully aware of what Discord was doing behind her back.  But she still tried to give him unconditional kindness at all costs, to show him what friends were capable of.  Rather than being overly exaggerated, she showed a depth of character, and a real warmness that helped drive the episode.

When she wasn't throwing awful dinner parties, anyway.
But while Fluttershy played a large role, the very core of the episode was Discord's morality.  After all, a large part of Discord's charm is that he's not truly evil.  He isn't driven by a want for power or revenge.  He runs on selfishness rather than malice, making the world his own without any regard for the needs of others.  But perhaps a large part of this is that Discord doesn't understand the nature of sacrifice. Throughout the episode, he tried to provoke Fluttershy through his madness, but was instead shocked to find her accepting of his differences.  When he found a friend willing to make sacrifices to on his behalf, it lead him to question himself.  In the end, he stepped out of his own, personal world, and chose to live in a world with others.  It doesn't mean that his trickster nature will be gone, per say.  I think it means that he's finally willing to look at things from another person's perspective, and to respect the needs of others. One can certainly be a good person, and yet still be a prankster (With Pinkie being a good example).  He may be a bit more harmless in his jokes, but I don't think it marks the end of the character we love.  It just marks a new period of growth for him.

Overall, my verdict is...

Did I like this episode?  Oh, yeah.  It had it all: strong characterization, excellent humor, and a great plot.  Season 3 keeps getting better, and having this episode after a long break only makes it sweeter.  But, on the other hand, if you disagree, or you just want to chat, make sure to sound off on the comments below.  Until then, I wish you a nice stay at Discord's Domain, and I'll be seeing you next week!