The Crystal Empire Pt2 (S3E2)

S3E2

Watch Twilight sacrifice herself for the greater good as Princess Cadence learns the true meaning of her cutie mark.

Twilight has learned that an artifact called the Crystal Heart, stolen by King Sombra, is how the crystal ponies protected their empire.  With Cadence revived enough to cast her protective love spell and a piece of Sombra’s evil eating away at the city, Twilight must find where the ancient tyrant hid the Heart.  But Celestia has implied that Twilight’s test is that she herself must save the empire.  She reluctantly allows Spike to accompany her when he agrees not to lend a claw to help her.  The clock runs out while the rest of the Mane 6 fight to keep the crystal ponies focused on the faire and to keep their spirits up so they can power the Crystal Heart. Sombra’s magic rapidly encroaches.  Worse, Sombra has not left his Achilles heal unguarded.

This second episode is more tightly focused, both in it’s humor and in the story of Twilight’s unknowing graduation from student to something far greater.  Inheriting from part 1 the flimsy plot device of the Crystal Faire, the humor nonetheless really shines, especially with Fluttershy jousting and with Rarity’s astringent delivery under stress.  Twilight’s odd magical unlocking of Sombra’s castle, how the stairway trap must be disarmed, even Twilight’s glee at being able to use her gravity spell rings powerfully true to character and demonstrates growing maturity.  The resolution of the threat has gravitas that is enhanced further by the first epilogue and the wonderful song, Twilight’s Success Song, a reprise of Twilights Failure Song in part 1.  That said, don’t miss—as probably most people did—the huge significance of the second, final epilogue.

What to watch for (and comment upon):

  • Watch Twilight stop her fall. Positioned upside down she looks kinda bald; a reminder that a mane is crest of hair.  Note how styling gives characters human-like appearance.  From certain angles take that away and it makes the ponies non-human.  This is especially true of Pinkie Pie in profile (okay, she is an alien).  Seeing Rarity, in 1/4 profile showing her horn, make her look like someone with a half-shaved head.
  • What was Twilight prepared for?
  • Manes are heavily animated in this episode.  Notice how nice they are.
  • Princess launch.  Watch Cadence’s cutie mark when she lands. “The Crystal Princess”, indeed.
  • Notice what Luna conjures as the Mane 6 take the train to Ponyville.
  • Freeze-frame the Mane 6 in crystal pony form. Who looks best?  (I think Pinkie Pie with RD second. )
  • Until this episode unicorn magic has never been depicted as lethal. (It’s all about rainbows, right?)  Sombra is shown with magic white eyes and his evil horn flying away. Is he dead? Discuss.
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