My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Power Ponies”

Guys, we need to have a serious talk! The world needs to be warned about the content of this episode! It’s very dangerous. Deadly, in fact. Yes, this episode killed me! And I am giving you this warning from beyond the grave.

Wait… Oh, whew, I’m not actually dead. But damn, was that a close one! This episode nearly killed me! I nearly choked and died from laughter, which is about the highest compliment I can pay to any show that’s mainly meant to be comedic, so you can probably already guess where this review is going: I freaking loved this episode!

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Okay, lets get started. The first amazing thing we see is of course Twilight Sparkle with a nightcap, and she looks adorable. Not that this is in any way important to the story or the episode, but nightcaps on characters either look hilariously stupid or absolutely adorable, and it’s nice to know that Twilight can actually pull off the nightcap look.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

It’s the middle of the night and Spike, being a typical young (dragon) boy, is sneaking in some late night comic book reading. The comic book is called The Power Ponies, and an excited Spike tells Twilight about the Joker’s origin—I mean, the origin of the “Mane-iac”, but there’s no hiding what they were going for here. They’re dangerously close to crossing the line from “tribute” to “rip-off” here, since the origin of the villain in the comic book is basically the same as the Joker’s origin.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

You can even see it in the character’s color scheme, where she has a green mane and purple body. Though, where the Joker has laughing gas, Mane-iac has crazy hair/mane powers, and can do… stuff with her hair/mane.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

Spike also mentions Hum Drum, the sidekick to the Power Ponies, and how annoying he is, and how he’s just around for comic relief. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.

The next day, the Mane Six and Spike are out to restore an old castle, the one Princess Celestia and Luna used to live in, previously seen in the episode “Castle Mania”. However, Spike ends up having nothing to do, and is feeling left out and useless. You know, almost as if he were just a comic relief sidekick character.

I guess they wanted to draw a clever parallel, but, umm… anyone who’s actually watched this show knows that it’s been smart enough not to have Spike be the useless, comic relief sidekick. But I guess for the sake of this episode, we’re just going to forget all those previous adventures where he took center stage. It’s not like he saved the entire Crystal Empire or anything.

Spike is not allowed to help clean the castle, for some reason. You’d think with a castle this size, there’d be a ton of work to do, but nope. Spike is even told to go read his comic book, and frankly, if this were me, you wouldn’t have to tell me twice.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

But Spike is sad about this because he feels useless, much like (cough) a certain comic book character he’s currently reading about. Soon, the ponies comes to check up on him, just as Spike is reading a footnote in the back of the comic book that turns out to be a magic spell, and as a result they all get sucked into the book.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

No, really, that’s what happens! Which is a twist I actually like. I was assuming that Spike was just going to fall asleep and have a dream about the Mane Six being the Power Ponies, which would have been cute, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Instead, the real Mane Six actually get sucked into the book, and are given super powers, as well as outfits that cosplayers all around the globe are most certainly making for themselves at this very moment.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

Twilight is now able to shoot different kinds of beams, though we only ever see her use an ice beam. Rarity basically has Green Lantern’s powers. Applejack has a magical lasso, which is actually a bit more handy than Wonder Woman’s lasso, since Applejack can control it with her thoughts. Pinkie Pie gets super-speed like the Flash. Rainbow Dash can control the forces of nature, just like regular Pegasi in this world. And cute, innocent little Fluttershy can turn into the Hulk.

No, you didn’t read that wrong: this episode has a Pony Hulk. Though, they wisely keep that under wraps until the climax, because it’s the show-stealer, and the thing that nearly killed me.

The villain Mane-iac shows up to fight the ponies. Again, there’s no way around it: she’s really just a female Joker pony with weird hair powers… and it’s absolutely delightful! In her short screen time, the Mane-iac hatches a plot that’s as clichéd as possible, while cackling loudly all through it, and explaining the whole thing to the ponies as well as the audience.

Her energy makes her a far more interesting villain than King Sombra or Queen Chrysalis, both of whom I found kind of generic and, well, boring. Though, I am waiting for the Discord and Mane-iac fan art. They’re both fun villains.

But Spike gets the disappointment of his life when, surprise surprise, it turns out that he gets to be Hum Drum, the one character without any powers. I guess we’re supposed to forget that he’s able to breathe fire, and even transport scrolls using his magical fire breath.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

And now it’s time to get to the plot and today’s lesson, which is of course Spike and his insecurities about not being useful. Though, this never seemed to be an issue before. But first, we get to see the ponies fighting evil henchmen while figuring out their super powers, and it’s a lot of fun to witness.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

Eventually though, the ponies get captured by Mane-iac, leaving it up to Hum Drum, er, Spike to save the day in spite of not having any special powers of his own. Don’t worry about it, Spike! When Batman had his own episode of Justice League about him not having any powers, the episode might as well have been called “Everyone But Batman Can Suck It!”

Mane-iac has soon frozen the ponies with her Hairspray of Doom. Yes, that’s the actual name of the thing. She also has a giant blow dryer, which I think is supposed to be a gigantic doomsday device. She’s then compelled to make a longwinded, clichéd speech, which as we all know is the greatest weakness of all comic book villains. With all the evil henchmen distracted by the speech, Spike sets up a trap and saves the day by freeing the Power Ponies.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

With that, it’s time for some good old fashioned superhero butt-kicking, where the ponies have finally gained full control over their superpowers and they just go nuts.

That is, all but one: Fluttershy, who it seems just can’t get mad. Except for when cute animals won’t do what she wants, I guess. Anyone remember “The Best Night Ever”? The episode that showed us that Fluttershy has a severe case of repressed anger issues, rivalling John Watson’s bottled up anger at Sherlock?

I guess that makes her a perfect Hulk after all, as she sees an innocent little firefly get hurt and that ticks her off and… oh my freaking god…

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

This.. this is what nearly killed me. I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s just way too ridiculous and way too hilarious! Where’s the comic strip where Tony Stark says, “You may have an army, but we’ve got a Fluttershy!”?

It’s too good. I don’t know how other people out there feel about it. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much about people’s reactions to this episode, but I love it. They defeat Mane-iac, thus solving the plot of the comic book, and get spat back out into the real world again. Spike learns his lesson, which is not to buy comic books from a store called “The House of Enchanted Comics”.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

The keyword of this episode is “fun”. This is a fun episode, even though Spike’s lesson and the story are pretty weak, and they don’t make much sense in terms of what we know about his character. Usually, he’s pretty overconfident in his abilities, and we already dealt with this issue far better in the season one episode “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”. But that’s okay, as Spike’s lesson is just an excuse to get the Power Ponies plot going, and give the Mane Six superpowers, and I think it was worth it.

I love the villain Mane-iac. She too is a lot of fun, and I would love for this episode to have a sequel or two. Maybe they’ll be dragged into another comic book, or maybe the characters of the comic will escape into Ponyville to get revenge on Spike. Both could be a heck of a lot of fun, and I sincerely hope that happens.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Power Ponies"

Unfortunately, due to the weak Spike plot, I have to take a pony away from the final score of this episode, but I still had so much fun with it that I still find this to be an above average episode. So that’s four out of five ponies for “Power Ponies”.

TV Show: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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  • Muthsarah

    *sigh*

    I guess I should give the show another chance. EVERYONE keeps talking about it, afterall. And if the show’s doin’ stuff like this….

    So what’s a good second pilot episode? Or is it the type of show you can just jump in anywhere if you know basically what the main characters’ deals are (which I think I do given all I’ve heard)?

    • This kind of out there, adventure style is something that a lot of bronies have said is a detriment to the show, particularly this season. I for one like a bit of a different take, but the more down to earth (Or Equestria in this case), character developing, slice of life style is what brought a lot of people to like the show so to have these less than subtle nods to pop culture adventure plots being put into the mix is putting some fans off. I don’t see what the big deal is, I think the writers and crew are just having fun and that’s what this show is about anyway!

      If you’re going to give the show another chance (which is cool but if you don’t like it the second time, that’s fair enough. It’s a show you either get really caught up in or just end up not caring for it at all, in my experience at least), I’d say Return of Harmony, the season 2 pilot with Q from Star Trek (no seriously, John de Lancie is a villain in My Little fucking Pony!), Dragonshy, the episode where the Mane 6 go to take on a dragon but having to climb a dangerous mountain first (Insert Hobbit joke here) or Sonic Rainboom which is probably many fan’s favourite all round episode featuring one of the most awesome moments in terms of character and animation in the whole show.

      From your humble editor.

    • The first episode and/or two-parter of each season tends to set the mood for the season. That said, more specific character development (in terms of things that define the characters and how they will react in the future) takes place in the first season, whereas in the rest it’s a bit more general situational things. From there, it all depends on your specific tastes as to what you want to watch, though it’s easy to watch all four seasons on Youtube.

    • Sofie Liv

      Muthsarah, you don’t HAVE to like every-thing, and you don’t have to like this.
      Entertainment is there to entertain you, and if this doesn’t entertain you, you are perfectly allowed to just avoid it, it’s fine.

      I myself just enjoy it, I think it’s calming and fun, it’s nice to me just to have a un-prentencious show like this around that just like to have fun with itself, and because it’s not really trying to do any-thing, actually pretty neatly avoid all the traps that usually happen for supposed “Girls shows.”

      But well, for recommend episodoes to give a watch.

      I would like to recommend “Swarm of the century.” which is a clear parody of the “Trouble with tripples episode.” from Star Trek Tos.
      In my opinion, the first episode that really managed to capture the fun of it, and how fun this show is capable of being when it just goes.. well kind of insane.

      • Muthsarah

        I know that, but I still think I don’t like ENOUGH. It’s wearying constantly finding myself in disagreement with others about seemingly everything popular. And kinda like how so many of my favorite songs these days are ones I didn’t care much for – or didn’t like at all – the first time I heard them, I’d like to give more things second tries rather than try them once, be disappointed, and retreat back into my cave to sulk and occasionally snap at people that actually like stuff.

        I’ll watch Swarm of the Century first, then. I’d like to see a silly modern take on Trek that isn’t goddamn blas–

        Think positive. POSITIVE….

        EDIT: OK, I saw Swarm and Rainboom. Fun. Much better than the pilot. I’ll see a few more sooner or later.

      • Cristiona

        Personally, I’d recommend Hearth’s Warming Eve. I don’t know why, but that’s probably my favorite episode.

  • Arturo Garza Flores

    -I want to call this the best Spike episode of the series so far, but for a while, I’ve been thinking that if the show was going to have a truly great Spike episode, it needs to be one where he gets to stand out more than anyone or anything else. Then again, the series may not NEED an episode like that.
    Since the beginning, and even in his most standout roles, Spike has always been the sidekick, letting others take the spotlight while he occassionaly lends a hand to help the heroines move in the right direction. The best example of this is “The Crystal Empire”, where he plays a key role in the defeat of King Sombra, but in the end, it’s all about Twilight passing Celestia’s test. I’ve been waiting for an episode where Spike truly gets to steal the spotlight, but maybe he can still be a great character while sticking to his sidekick role.

    While previous episodes have shown Spike’s support to other individual ponies, “Power Ponies” is the first time that his role as sidekick is put in the context of the entire Mane6. Putting the characters in a comic book superhero setting, with his friends having awesome powers and him being stuck without any as a helpless sidekick, helps reinforce that dynamic between Spike and his friends. Even when Spike knows more about his friends’ powers than they do, they still have a better chance at defeating Mane-iac. Even though his friends do value him, the episode is about Spike learning to have confidence in himself and that he can still do great things as he is. In the end, he gets to do what every great sidekick should do: make the heroes look good.

    As for the rest of the episode:
    -The girls’ costumes look great!
    -I’ve heard complaints that it’s dumb how the episode takes a well-known attribute of the girls and turns it into a superpower because the girls are already able to do extraordinary things. First of all, I think the dumb thing to do would’ve been to give the girls powers and NOT have those powers relate to them somehow. Second of all, that complaint is pretty boring, anyway.
    -Best Power Ponies: Fillisecond, Radiance, and Rage Saddler.
    -Even after all the buildup and teasing, nothing could prepare me for Fluttershy’s transformation. It’s easily one of the Top 10 MLP moments ever.
    -Applejack lasso’d a frakking tornado!
    – I like that all of Mane-iac’s henchmen have fabulous hair.
    -Thanks to Mane-iac, the competition for Season 4’s Best New Character will be very steep.

    • Sofie Liv

      Obviously I can’t really agree with it being the best Spike episode, as I feel like the episode. “Owl’s well that Ends well.”

      Deal with this issue of feeling being useless, in a much better way.

      And ones again, knowing Spikes Character, he is an character who is more often over-confident, little a little arrogant when it comes to his own abilities, than he is timid or afraid of being useless.

      Just look at the episode coming right after this. “Bats.” where Spike does jack-shit, but takes some credit any-way, and then just relaxes about it.

      That’s Spike, a slightly overconfident little dragon, I don’t view him as a person who has these kinds of issues a lot. And wel, the issue presented in this episode, is not really an issue I could imagine this character having that much.

      He of cause deserves his own episode, and a good one. They tried last season with. “All that side-kicks.” unfortunately that Episode simply just didn’t turn out so well.. though it’s an episode fitting more with Spikes all-ready existing slightly arrogant personality, as his over-confidence is what gets him into trouble that time around.

      Though there is a vast difference between being overconfident and just plain stupid.. it’s a thin line to walk, and I guess the reason why so many writers have difficulty giving Spike a solo episode.

      He gots plenty of good atributes though. He is caring, incredible loyal, hard-working (for the most part, he is a baby dragon some-times he just need to plummet down and sleep.)
      So yeah, there are things here you could work with. I’ll guess we’ll see in the future.

      oooh! That was, what was up with the henchmen designs! I did notice they all had scissor cutie marks and so on, and I did like it. But I didn’t get the connection before you said it.
      Well that’s brilliant!

      • Arturo Garza Flores

        Spike isstill pretty young and a little naive, and tends to jump into situations without thinking. Also, there’s a very real sense that Spike is proud of his position of assistant/sidekick, whether to Twilight or any other friend, and when he feels he can’t do anything to help, he feels like he has no purpose. This is the Spike we usualy get when a story focuses on him. When he’s just a supporting character, he tends to be snarky, maybe a little sarcastic, and even sometimes a bit of a scaredy-cat.

        What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think I’ve really perceived Spike as over-confident. I think a more appropriate description would be “reckless”

  • Hey, Disqus is finally working for me again!
    Anyway, I felt like this was rather underwhelming. Rainbow Dash as Storm was funny, but only because I was picturing her in a white dress the whole time. As you mentioned, her superpower isn’t far off from what RD does on a daily basis…maybe making a team of superheroes into a team of superheroes isn’t as impressive as it may seem. I’d have loved to see Twilight as Doctor Strange, or even Marvel Girl, maybe some other creative things based on the characters’ personalities, but instead we get analogues of well-known superheroes. As for Spike, I actually didn’t mind that part, because he is a young boy and this is the kind of plot you would expect him to go through. He wasn’t entirely rational about it, but that’s realistic, and his friends never treated him like crappy comic relief (although the thing with cleaning did strike me as a bit odd. He could have helped Derpy in the kitchen 😉 ).
    I do feel that this episode probably made the least strange character decisions of any so far this season starring the Main Six, which is a relative plus.

    • Sofie Liv

      I don’t know, I just thought this was a very fun idea, and with a fun competent execution like this, I just highly enjoyed it through and through.

      Yeah maybe the ponies regularly have magical powers and stuff all-ready, but we changed the entire enviroment here, and removed them from a magic kingdom, into a comic book, which are two compleately different enviroments, thus made the episode feel fresh, though on the same time true to the show, so it didn’t feel compleately removed.

      I really liked it.

      But yeah.. you can’t tell me you are cleaning and entire castle and there is nothing for Spike to do.. really?

      By the very least he can fetch you snacks and prepaire a tea-tray or some-thing.

  • mamba

    Anyone wonder why Twilight gets spike to go to bed early (instead of letting him read the book) specifically because they have a “busy day” tomorrow, and almost immediately they tell the eager Spike they have no use for him right now to help in the cleanup?

    Sooo, if they didn’t need him, why the big deal the night before about the reading? No wonder he was a little upset, he could have read late AND slept in had they just told him up front. They basically told him to save room for dessert and not eat too much dinner, then told him there was no dessert so he loses out on dessert and dinner.

    Besides, they couldn’t have given him a mop or something at least?

    Otherwise hilarious episode, and lots of fun! We need more Mane-iac though, she was awesome!