MLP – Crusaders of the Lost Mark – Editorial & Food for Thought

So here we are with another episode and this time its a heck of a ride. As I’ve watched the series β€œMy Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”through the years I’ve been witness to its evolution from edutainment to the massive power house that its turned into.

Episodes went from having a lesson to being far far deeper in their addressing issues. From the episode that addresses death (Tanks for the Memories) to hidden gems that address deep psychological issues our mane characters may have (Party of One, Lesson Zero) to the episodes that let us observe elements of the lore we would never see evolve in a normal show (Luna Eclipsed, Slice of Life).

This weeks review is about an episode that is the latter. Its called “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”!

(Those of you reading my previous posts all five of you…will notice I’ve skipped “Brotherhooves Social” This is intentional as I address somewhat touchy subjects and want a read through from a few trusted folks first to ensure I don’t seem offensive. Better safe then sorry! )

We start out with what appears to be a rather deceptive story line involving Pip (you know Pip he’s from Trottingham…and no one else is) wanting the Cutie Mark Crusaders help as his campaign manager. Turns out Pip is running for class president against the only bad apple we know of…Diamond Tiara. At this point we’ve already had a song so the long time viewer will know we’re in for many many more since singing randomly is what we all did just before high school.

Twist-of-Death
“THIS is my episode, shove off!”

This of course also makes one wonder the usefulness of having any democratic process if Equestria already has a monarchy system in place. I don’t recall the peasants voting on anything in what little history I remember of the 1700s.

Quickly we find ourselves moving along at a fast pace…why you ask? Because this 22 minute episode seems to be rushed. It may have been better to make it two parts and ill explain why:

We jump from the class president aspect to how Diamond Tiara is the monster of the week..then we have a curve ball thrown at us when Silver Spoon, Tiaras only “friend” finally has enough of being her Procter and ditches her in front of everyone. Personally I saw this coming a while back…that’s why I’ve got her and rarity in charge of conglomerates in Equestrian City. Its always seemed to me this was destined to start with if you look at Silver Spoons characterization. Though keep in mind the original character sheets were made when Hasbro had no clue how big this show would get or how many cerebral viewers they’d get.

tilf
YOU…are a first class $@#^%!, Diamond Tiara. I say that as an impartial teacher of course..”

Of course Tiara loses by one vote..and all doubt is cast aside on who it was when Silver Spoon admits it was her.

After that little gem we watch as what a great number of us already had figured out unravels in front of us. Diamond Tiara is chastised by her mother in front of others (much like she had been doing to Silver Spoon..see? See how that works? :p) and of course breaks into song to tell us about it. It turns out that Tiara is in fact like so many villains..a product of circumstance. The home environment she was raised in shaped her into hurting others the way she was. I dig that personally.

bitch pony
So..in a world of friendship and understanding conquers all…there’s some sort of upper and lower class system?

After what feels like one song too many finishes the CMC invite Diamond Tiara to their clubhouse. Most of us internally went “whaaaaat?” Me included. The girls show her how many different ways of finding a cutie mark have failed…and for a moment..we see tiara become a person…a decent person…but then..as ANY good villain would she reverts quickly and denies reality for fear of change.

pip
“Why am *I* the only one with a proper British Accent of note…also…isn’t Rarity typically the one with a cow pattern?”

Pip interrupts the flow and reveals there’s no money in the budget for what he platformed on: playground equipment! Now lets stop for a moment:

I’ve touched a couple times on inconsistencies in how the economy seems to work in Equestria. For a society based on sharing, caring, and friendship…we seem to hit this blockade of “payment please” too often. Most Utopian societies have overcome this issue, best example being Star Trek. I believe it was best summed up in Star Trek: First Contact.

The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. They work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity…

Now you’d think this would some how translate in this ideal world where friendship and the lot prevail every 22 minutes wouldn’t you?

Now…back to the episode.

As soon as Tiara hears this of course she goes stone cold again and rushes back to basically tattle tale on Pip in hopes of ejecting him from office and taking his place.

The girls chase her of course and we break into an inevitable song about how what shes doing is wrong and Tiara responds with her own twisted reasoning until they finally make it to the school!

Cliche like a boss
I believe I speak for most when I say “OH COME ON!” this is a little spoon fed isn’t it?

There we watch as..and oddly enough its a surprise even to me…that Tiara does the right thing! She volunteers to have her father donate money (again where is this money? ) to get the playground up and help Pip instead of being adversarial to him.

This of course drops everyone’s jaw and we watch Tiara transform from antagonist to supporting our protagonists after..you guessed it…another song.

After a rather quick but meaningful moment where she stands up to her mother, tiara takes a back seat in the spotlight when she uses the CMC and their purpose as example of the superior decision shes made.

Just as everything clicks into place for Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and most of our viewers he the most substantial moment so far this season occurs.

As the CMC decide that it was far more enjoyable to help others figure out their purpose a sudden and startling transformation occurs: a brilliant flash of light and several dramatic camera angles reveals to us…wait for it…..

GOD LIGHT
CAN IT BE? No..it … it can’t be!

…all three of the CMC bow have their cutie marks!

marks
Five Seasons it took us. Not bad though, not bad at all. Though the colors confuse me.

Yes after five seasons of stagnation the inevitable occurred finally! Having found purpose in life now all three of them embrace and of course break into song with a montage of just how many misadventures they had to get to this point plays.

So everything turns out fine for everyone and we end on a high note! (And possibly a new intro card)

SMILE

I myself find this to be wonderful and maybe not for the reasons most do. From a deeper point I find this near landmark for the series in a whole. Why you may ask?

When these characters were invented by Princess Faust so long ago, they were for..well lets call them a different..demographic and style of show. Now as time went on and Hasbro noticed the more mature fans they seemed to go from laughing behind our backs, to utter confusion to final acceptance with a long term plan of revenue return.

At the beginning these characters,much like all cartoon characters of the genre, had no intention of being changed. Why? Because if you change characters too much you lose your audience in this particular demographic. Children do not like change..hell most adults don’t. The very fact we had a major set of characters basic personal journey advance in a show like this is incredible. It shows great advancement in terms of how we as viewers are being treated. You’d never see this with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 90s. Never. Why? IT was for kids.

This show has evolved closer to being an adult show that kids watch with this step and one more I’ll note in a moment. I find that very hopeful as we reach the six season mark of death that typically hits shows. I’ll be honest the fact that they are slowly closing up story points left open for so long makes me nervous. Most shows do that in the last stretch before cancellation when they KNOW they are being canceled.

The one other element occurs during the wrap up scene with Applebloom and Applejack talking. Applejack finally makes mention of her dead parents and how they would be so proud if they were here. Why is that significant?

Many of you will recall the creator of this generation when she disclosed that Applejack’s parents are dead and furthermore she mentioned that Hasbro would NEVER allow that to be mentioned. No doubt fearing parents having to explain death to the kids (though…you will have to eventually you know? )

The mention of the parents though fate unknown is another step in the right direction. We can hopefully look forward to more progress in terms of maturity in the show. We already had subtle commentary on transgender-ism…but that’s another review.

All in all I’ll give this episode an 8. Losing points only for too many micro songs and wimping out on just coming out and saying the parents are dead. On a personal note destroying an antagonist like Tiara is dangerous..one can only hope that means they have new ones to introduce.

Now onto my next Editorial,

-Think Tank

I would LOVE TO HEAR ANY and ALL comments regarding my thoughts and conclusions, please, by all means sign in or comment πŸ™‚

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