It’s time for another Spike episode, but “Spike at Your Service” isn’t about what it’s like to be a dragon like the past Spike episodes, but rather what it’s like to be everyone’s favorite little helper dragon. With only a 13 episode season this time, I’m surprised we’ve gotten so many episodes focusing on characters that aren’t the main ponies. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, none of the episodes have been bad, but some of them have been a little lackluster. Can Spike change that?
I would say no and I’m really starting to have doubts about the rest of this season and the next. I think that My Little Pony may have ran out of ideas. Too many episodes this season, while not bad, have failed to capture that imagination and spark that made this show so great. Instead we keep getting tried and true sitcom storylines that haven’t evolved since the 30 plus years ago when they were created. Just now with ponies.
“Spike at Your Service” has Twilight Sparkle giving Spike the day off and he has no idea what to do, so he throws himself at Applejack’s service and, through wacky circumstances, gets into a lifedebt. There is absolutely nothing in this episode you haven’t seen done with this storyline in any other show and I found myself bored. The last few episodes have all felt so boring and conventional, not the show I fell in love with.
I remember thinking when I was young that I wished more people just took the characters I loved and put them into more stories. This was before the Internet and the widespread fanfiction community. This season has shown me how wrong I was. It’s not just the characters that make stories great, it’s the culmination of all the elements. Yes, these wonderful characters and their fantastic voice actors still deliver, but the plots have been lacking. Without a good story, characters just exist and while some movies can work on performance and chemistry alone, television is a much longer format.
There was also a lot I read into the world of Equestria this episode that I think was all me and not intended. In “Secret of My Excess” we see the greedy dragon part of Spike take over and he matures into a full grown beast. This week we see his lack of motivation drive him crazy until he becomes the bane of Applejack’s existence with his constant need of work. I think that all dragons have this obsessive-compulsive drive, with more mature dragons it’s for loot and for young Spike it’s helping others.
Of course I’m reading way deeper than intended and revealing the glint of a deep seated mental issues and compulsions driving an entire race of beings in a cartoon made for little girls, so I digress. It’s trains of thought like that that keep me interested in quality shows not intended for me, but lately all of the ones associated with My Little Pony have to do with perfectly good issues that could be tackled and instead are dismissed for shlock. Let’s hope we get a little more next week.