A case of FASHION EMERGENCY
Were you wondering what the Mane Six were up to while Spike was babysitting? Hopefully the answer to that question is ‘yes’ because you’re about to find out.
Twilight leaves behind Spike with the critters (confusing me into thinking that I’ve opened the wrong YouTube link) and the Mane Six head out on the train to the Crystal Empire. There they will be in charge of the welcoming committee for the Equestria Games, which is basically Pony Olympics. Rainbow Dash tells us the harrowing tale of disappointment she experienced when Phillydelphia was chosen to host over Cloudsdale in the days of her youth. Is this an allusion to Chicago losing out on the 2016 games? Because I don’t think anyone was really that distraught about it.
Doc: I still don’t totally understand how thrones and princessing works here in Equestria, but I guess Cadence and Shining Armour rule over the Crystal Empire now?
Res: I told you, they're the de facto rulers thanks to the fact they liberated the Crystal Empire from Sombre. The Crystal Empire is nothing but an outpost of the Dear Leader's regime, a regional government that is a shadow of its former, independent glory. I fully expect a socialist-driven rebellion within the next two seasons.
Doc: Sure, whatever. I'm too sick to care right now.
The girls wander over to Cadence’s spa, but not before RD torments a random filly from the street. Seriously, RD, you can’t just abduct children in broad daylight. I’m told it’s frowned upon.
Res: After the glorious revolution, there will be no daylight abductions!
Aside: Is it just me, or is something wrong with Twilight's voice? Did the voice actor have a hoarse throat? (Really, no pun intended.) She seemed very... subdued.
Because this is a show intended for young female offspring of the human race, Cadence needs her hair done up all shiny for the welcome event. She attempts to calm down Twilight by teaching her to take deep breaths and get in the mud tub. This is only somewhat effective, because disaster strikes immediately. The hair (mane?) stylist has the flu (I feel that) and while Rarity offers to step up and fix Cadence’s hair herself, the Games Inspector is now slated to arrive much earlier, which is not ideal for the intense laundry list of things that apparently go into this hairstyle.
While Rarity stays behind to dress up Cadence’s mane, the other girls head off to greet/distract the Game Inspector. RD continues to emphasise the importance of this event as they head to the train station. We get it, Dashie, you were very heartbroken about losing the games. Is this where her strange obsession with competition stems from? Discuss.
When they reach the train station in the nick of time, the girls pin down an older mare with floral luggage and welcome her. Though at first she seems suspicious and harsh, she quickly becomes enthusiastic. She looks nothing like how you would expect a game inspector to look: that air of unearned entitlement is not strong enough. (Aside: her cutie mark is a cock. Heh.) (A GAMEcock, maybe?) (Sports puns aren't funny because I don't get them, Res.)
They take her off to the castle, not realising that they’ve left a different pony with floral luggage back at the station. Seriously, was “flowered suitcase” the best and only description you could come up with? And why didn’t they bother to ask her name? This is more contrived than Ocean’s Thirteen, and that was deliberate. You would think that they'd have a photo of the games inspector, her favorite foods and topics of conversation, etc. These are all things The Princess Diaries told us are crucial when greeting officials from whom you want something.
The girls walk their so-called Games Inspector into the castle, where she quickly succumbs to claustrophobia. Though how you can be claustrophobic inside a huge, sprawling castle beats me. They do their welcome cheer, much to the joy of…whatever this mare’s name is. She asks about Princess Cadence, who is still indisposed. Dashie and Pinkie decide that distracting her with a tour is a brilliant plan, despite the fact that they’ve never been in the castle before. Twilight goes off to find out what’s happening with the hair situation.
Actual Game Instructor update: having a miserable time. Her small suitcase is comically heavy, and of course she gets splashed by a cart driving through a nearby puddle.
Meanwhile at the spa, Rarity has utterly destroyed Cadence’s mane by skipping steps on the cartoonishly long scroll. Kids, this is why you always read the directions before attempting strange hairstyles. Rarity freaks out when Twilight shows up and begs for more time. Her whole reputation depends on this! Aside from the fact that she's already easily the most famous designer in Equestria and on a letter-writing level of friendship with the ruler of said nation. The other girls are dragging out a terrible tour of the Crystal Palace while non-Games Inspector has a panic attack over being stuck indoors. Twilight tells them to stall further, and Dashie offers to take her to the castle gym. Not that she knows where that is or anything.
Twilight heads off to find Shining Armour, who is still as bodacious as we remember and actually at the outdoor gym of the palace. He’s apparently been upgraded from “Prince and Protector of Canterlot” to “PE instructor.” At least they all start with P's? Alliterations make things true.
He attempts to reassure Twilight, who is surprised to find she doesn’t need reassuring- her deep breaths have helped her remain calm despite the drama. Before their conversation can continue, they’re interrupted by the “Games Inspector” freaking out and running all around Shining Armour’s course, injuring/irritating all his prospective Games athletes. Things get even more out of control when she winds up with a vase stuck on her head, exacerbating her claustrophobia. Dashie intervenes (though ends up flung halfway across town) and their guest seems very reassured by the open spaces. Shining Armour introduces himself to her, giving her a bit of swoon. This leads to her explaining that she’s just a wild mustang from Mustangia (did you guys even try?) visiting just for funsies. Things get dramatic and Twilight starts freaking out.
The girls rush to the main square or downtown or however castle towns work and come up with a plan to find the real Games Inspector. They decide to break up the city in fifths and each explore part of it- until Pinkie says there’s no point in checking the spa, since that would end up defeating their whole plan anyway. Which obviously means that’s exactly where she is. Indeed, at the spa, the real Miss Harshwhinny is speaking to her inadvertent impostor. Miss Harshwhinny complains that she never gets the real scoop on a city when she tours; her double goes on about how great the Crystal Empire has been. Cadence and Rarity are nearby but unaware that the Inspector is in the very same spa.
The other girls show up just as Cadence emerges, headdress beautifully intact and elaborate. Miss Harshwhinny hears Cadence's name and complains about her lack of welcome- and we all ignore how inconsistent her indignance is, given her statement not twenty seconds previously. The girls explain that they totally botched their whole mission (to be fair, due to an inappropriate lack of coaching or data). Dashie is, again, very upset and confesses to being the driving force behind their mistake.
However, the real Games Inspector has been listening to her imposter, and comes to the conclusion that because she had such a great time, the Crystal Empire is perfect for hosting the games. The voice of the proletariat is the purest, devoid of artifice or design! After the formal announcement the girls head home, mostly happy for Crystal Empire’s winning the honor of hosting the games. The only lingering question is will the newly awakened Empire's economy be able to handle the strain of hosting ponies from all over Equestria for a month at a time? Because London had all sorts of issues holding the 2012 games, and Calgary is STILL trying to figure out what to do with all their temporary housing built for the Winter Olympics they hosted.
We then wrap up with the ending scene from last week’s episode, with Spike, the sidekicks, and the CMCs hiding under the seats. Because if there was one thing missing from My Little Pony, it was continuity and convoluted episode structure. (Oh, Res, it couldn't have been that convoluted, I got it right away and I'm on all sorts of drugs right now!)