I’m relieved to see the trend of quality My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episodes continue. I’m over the lackluster premiere and ready for the rest of the season to entertain me just as season 2 did. This week we get the return of the Great and Powerful Trixie, not to be confused with Oz, The Great and Powerful, as Oz has some actual power and ability. Trixie is back to take her revenge on Twilight Sparkle for revealing her to be a sham and an attention hungry pest.
I like Trixie, she’s a fun character and it’s good to see her return. As much as I wanted to get a Rarity or Fluttershy episode, a well done Twilight centric one works just as well. Trixie has found an amulet of magical power and is using it to do magic no one should be capable of. She rides into town, calls out Twilight and challenges her to a duel. She bests Twilight and banishes her until she can win the duel. Trixie also casts a bubble spell around Ponyville that will instantly warn her in anyone attempts to leave and aid Twilight.
Twilight sets out to determine exactly how Trixie has massively increased her power and Zecora gives her the edge to defeat Trixie. While the duel was happening I wondered how exactly Twilight could pull of those feats. The deceit she pulls, using magic to simply cover up switching ponies in disguises, was genuinely clever and really drives home the whole point of the show. The subtitle is, after all, Friendship is Magic. Twilight had to rely on her friends to pull her through this one.
The same reasons I like this episode are why I didn’t care for the premiere. “Magic Duel” focuses on the power of friendship and working together whereas “The Crystal Kingdom” was more concerned with telling an epic tale. We were duped along with Trixie about Twilights power level because even though I should have known Twilight would have used friendship power, the clever writing still kept me guessing.
Everyone had a moment this week without forcing it and they were the best and biggest laughs. I got a kick out of seeing Applejack ‘turned’ into a boy and even knowing it was just clever trickery, it doesn’t detract from the joke. There was even a subtle lesson of how power can change people, though it probably went over most kids’ heads and they just thought: “evil amulet corrupts.”
“Magic Duel” was a nice treat. It’s weird that this is the second of five episodes so far that the main plot point was a mystical, legendary what’s-it. Regardless, it was fun to see the Great and Powerful Trixie again and I loved that she tripped as she ran off. It was a nice touch that really shows how detail oriented the creative team is. It’s the little things that make My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic what it is and keep the quality flowing. Bring on next Saturday.