My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 2, Episodes 3 & 4

Categories: My Little Pony, TV

Episode 4: "Luna Eclipsed"

It's Nightmare Night in Ponyville! Twilight Sparkle's painstakingly accurate Star Swirl the Bearded costume does not receive the respect she feels it deserves -- though, in fairness, Pinkie Pie's chicken suit rocks.

In the town square, Rainbow Dash (dressed somewhat obscurely as a Shadowbolt) is using her lightning-creating abilities for evil rather than good, much to Twilight's disapproval ...

... Applejack is the latest pony to not get Twilight's costume ...

... and Derpy doesn't get how bobbing for apples works.

The main event for the evening, however, is Zecora's recitation of the story of Nightmare Moon.

Also, hi, Zecora! It's been a while since we've seen you. This is your first Nightmare Night in Ponyville, I'm guessing.

Basically, Nightmare Night gets back to Halloween's pagan roots: Ponies wear costumes to avoid being recognized and thus eaten alive by Nightmare Moon, while they also leave an offering of candy at a statue of her in the Everfree Forest, just to make sure she doesn't get too hungry in the first place.

Because she doesn't know it's going to happen, Zecora leaves out the part where the real Nightmare Moon arrives.

Hi, Princess Luna! It's also been an even longer while since we've seen you.

Between her still-spooky appearance, loud echoing voice, and unfortunate use of the word "feast" on a night associated with pony-eating, the citizens are more terrified than ever.

And Pinkie-Chicken Pie doesn't help.

Not understanding why everypony is still terrified of her ("Very well, then. Be that way!"), Luna retreats to her statue.

Only Twilight Sparkle is brave enough to follow Luna. While Luna recognizes Twilight's costume -- finally, somepony does! -- she also recognizes Twilight as the pony who smacked her down with the Elements of Harmony back in the pilot ...

... which Luna is grateful for, though it is not immediately apparent from her delivery.

Twilight suggests Luna might want to tone it down a little, that the royal Canterlot voice (which is probably out of date by a thousand years or so) might be a big part of the problem.

After diction lessons partially from Fluttershy -- who is terrified enough of Nightmare Night, let alone of Nightmare Moon shouting at her -- but mostly from Twilight, she and Luna return to town and ask Applejack to show Luna how to have fun. The stuffed-spider toss is plenty fun, but she discovers that the pumpkin catapult (pumpkin catapult!) is twice as much fun.

I frequently use "The fun has been doubled!" in daily conversation, and you should too.

The ice is breaking, so much so that Princess Luna decides to drop the formalities ...

... just in time for Pinkie-Chicken Pie to return and raise another panic. Luna herself makes things worse when she transforms the stuffed spiders into a swarm of large, real spiders, some of which gruesomely overwhelm ponies in a sequence which as probably caused a few nightmares.

Oh, and the best pony costume, even better than Pinkie's? Robert Shaw in Jaws.

Princess Luna declares that because the ponies refuse to accept her, she'll just take her Nightmare Night (which is to say, cancel it) and go home.

She takes the "moping along the bridge" way back to Canterlot, and Twilight convinces her to not leave juuuust yet. Twilight then corners Pinkie-Chicken Pie, makes her promise not to freak out ...

... and brings in Luna to meet her.

It's going well, at least until Rainbow Dash derails it with an ill-timed (or well-timed, depending on your perspective) lighting crash.

Twilight tackles the panicking Pinkie-Chicken Pie, insisting that Luna is not evil or scary, and has no intention of gobbling her up. Pinkie counters that duh, she of course knows those things. But it's fun to be scared!

Twilight figures it out: Luna's new role is to be scary ... a harmless kind of scary, making it the fun kind of scary.

This week's Shoehorn (delivered by Twilight, because habits die hard) is similar to the one from Zecora's first episode -- don't judge a book by its cover, if somepony seems scary, be friendly to them anyway, and you might be surprised.

Of course, while Zecora proved to be not scary at all, while the key to Luna becoming accepted was for her to own her scariness. Speaking as someone who's been known to scare children without trying, I think that's a darned fine message.

Next Time: It's a Cutie Mark Crusader twofer when Sweetie Belle feels neglected by Rarity in "Sisterhooves Social," and Apple Bloom takes a Cronenbergian shortcut in "The Cutie Pox."

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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Just a big THANKS for writing these BTW. "Lesson Zero" is one of those episodes that's handy for showing non-bronies that the show isn't all rainbows and luvy-wuvy characters. 

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