Warning: The following post contains a lot of spoilers from the season 3 finale episode, Magical Mystery Cure. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, this will ruin some of the plot for you. You have been warned.
Well, it’s over. Finished. The season finale has premiered and ended. There have been highs, and there have been lows. Lows and highs! Highs and lows. Like Rarity in Lesson Zero, we looked everywhere, and we found it. Finally, Derpy has definitively returned.
More importantly, we are experiencing a huge change in our beloved series. Please sit down to read this. The mainest of main characters, Twilight Sparkle, now has a pair of nifty new wings. You may stand up from where you fell on the ground now.
In all seriousness, this is an incredibly big change. Just how big of a change? Well, the community has been in an uproar about it ever since they heard about Twilight toys with wings first popping up in stores. There were rumors circulating about the possibility of Twilight getting a pair of wings at some point in the series, but nothing had been confirmed.
The first noteworthy mention concerning Alicorn Twilight came in the form of a notorious post that began to appear on Tumblr, as well as several other forum/imageboard sites, which predicted big changes for the show. The initial reactions to this post were extremely negative; not a single good word was being bandied about for the inclusion of Alicorn Twilight, though the exclusion of Derpy seemed to be pretty hot news at the time as well. This post was quickly dismissed as rumor, however, as it lent credibility only due to the fact that Derpy had been getting phased out during season 3, with the rest seeming like wild assumptions of a man desperate for attention.
Though the Alicorn Twilight rumor mill continued for a while, it was removed from the minds of most of the fandom at this time; most bronies were convinced that Hasbro wouldn’t make such a bold move and potentially sever all ties with a significantly large fanbase. The only guaranteed winged Twilights that we were getting were all just toys, and while it seemed more likely that they would introduce such a change, it was still very unlikely. This perception was finally altered when Hasbro announced that Twilight would be becoming an alicorn in the season 3 finale.
Immediately, the response from the fandom was negative. Of course it would be negative; the main main character was undergoing a drastic change. She was becoming goddess-tier. This would separate her from her friends, and they wouldn’t be able to do things together as friends anymore. It scared the hell out of everybody, despite reassurances from all of the writers, animators, voice actors, and other staff that it wasn’t going to destroy the show.
After the announcement, it seemed like a countdown until the big day. Hasbro began a large promotional campaign for the season finale, which they dubbed “Princess Coronation,” much in the way that the previous season’s finale was known as “Royal Wedding.” In much the same way that they got a guest star to host the Royal Wedding, they had Miss America host season 3′s finale.
Also not helping matters was the series of lackluster episodes immediately leading up to the finale. After Apple Family Reunion, some of the less devoted bronies became more estranged when they heard about the disappointment some others had felt over Spike at Your Service, Keep Calm and Flutter On, and Just for Sidekicks, and a select few deciding that the season finale wasn’t really worth their time after all. Games Ponies Play was considered more successful than its predecessors, but it still didn’t remove the fear from the general population that the coronation would completely bomb.
In the week immediately leading up to Magical Mystery Cure, the hype campaign reached an all-time high. Spoilers were popping up left and right; writers were releasing tiny tidbits of teasers to keep our spirits up; and, due to some devoted fans watching Daniel Ingram, we found that there would be 26 episodes in season 4. Perhaps the biggest news that rattled the foundations since the release of the series, however, was a small excerpt from a magazine handed out at Toy Fair 2013 with news about Hasbro’s next big IP, Equestria Girls. With some rumors having been speculated about humans in Equestria in season 4, this statement detracted from those and more placed humanized ponies into their own universe, separate from MLP. Still, it was a big find, and it shocked fans to a high degree just before a lynchpin season finale for an incredibly popular show was going to air.
Leading up to the finale, some fans had replaced their doubts with optimism, saying that they were hopeful about Alicorn Twilight. Others were still convinced that not even the MLP writing staff would be able to make this good enough to allay their suspicions. A third group also cropped up at this time, something of a neutral party, neither hopeful nor opposed to this change, but rather looking forward to seeing if it could be successful. The fandom began holding their breath and waited for the finale to hit.
And hit the finale did. A 30-minute borderline musical, full of revelation, epic spells, and intrigue. Not to mention that Twilight got wings. It hit the nail on the head for the target audience, being exactly the kind of show parents would be happy with their kids watching. The message was solid, the storyboard was solid, and the delivery was solid. It was all that a 6-year-old could have asked for in an episode.
So, the question then turned to, “What about bronies?” How did bronies like it? Was it received positively? Negatively? Did they even watch it? Overall, those who did watch it responded quite positively, despite how much negative buildup there had been. Those who missed it and checked brony fansites generally felt like they’d actually missed a big event.
The allure? Well, that’s a pretty silly question to ask. The draw of ponies has been discussed time and again, and this episode is no exception. The downsides? Ah, there’s a different story. The main problem with the episode is that it felt too rushed, much like Keep Calm and Flutter On had felt several episodes earlier. The sequence of events that turned Twilight into an alicorn just seemed too easy, and it seemed like the creative talent had been stifled by having to cram such a big episode into 22 measly minutes. Past this, other complaints included too much music, too much Celestia bowing to Twilight, and too much depressing song that gave bronies the feels.
The writing staff, especially Daniel Ingram, were immediately assaulted by primarily positive feedback. Twitter pages suddenly got packed with congratulatory tweets telling the nervous team responsible for creating the finale that they’d outdone themselves. No one was sure how this episode would end, but the writing team seems to have definitively sculpted a season finale that no one was sure they could manage whilst keeping the majority of their fanbase intact.
Overall, there has been positive and negative feedback on the episode in noteworthy amounts. Whether a brony agrees or disagrees with what happened, not every episode can satisfy everyone, and even season finales can miss the mark, especially with something as crucial as a game-changer of the core character. Whether this was your cup of tea or another episode to fall to the wayside, just remember that it’s ponies, and this fandom wasn’t expected in the first place, so we have to expect to tolerate at least some things we don’t want. As they said in the new promo: Stay pony, my friends.