Recap: MLP: Friendship Is Magic S1 E10 "Swarm of the Century"
Zecora: Tales of crops and harvests consumed. If these creatures are in Ponyville... you're doomed.
Written by M.A. LarsonFluttershy is wandering around near the Everfree Forest, picking flowers to present to Princess Celestia for her upcoming visit the next day. However, as she's about to head back to Ponyville, she's startled by a tiny, adorable, fly-like creature. She offers it an apple, only for it to eat an entire bucketful in an instant. Her reaction? Fawn over its adorableness and take it with her to show off to her friends.Meanwhile, back in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle is overseeing preparations, making sure everything is proceeding flawlessly. Which, barring a few details, seems to be going quite well. However, when she checks on the progress of the food over at the Sugarcube Corner, she is dismayed to find Pinkie Pie devouring everything under the pretense of taste-testing. Twilight's about to give her a piece of her mind when Fluttershy barges in. Fluttershy shows them her new pet, only to find that two others like it have shown up out of nowhere. Twilight's more than happy to adopt one, but Pinkie is surprisingly intolerant:
Pinkie Pie: Ugh! A Parasprite? Are you kidding!?Confused, Fluttershy and Twilight ask why she doesn't want one, only for Pinkie to declare "Now I have to go find a trombone!" Twilight dismisses this as "typical Pinkie Pie" behavior.Moving on, Twilight checks in at Rarity's shop to see how the outfits are coming along, and finds Rainbow Dash there, reluctantly modeling. Twilight's new pet shows itself and...wait a minute; there's three of them again! Fortunately, Rainbow Dash and Rarity are more than willing to each take one for themselves. Pinkie bursts in, asking for help in finding an accordion, but leave in a huff when the girls are too overwhelmed by the creatures' inherent cuteness to give her any heed.Nothing major happens for the rest of the day, and everyone goes to sleep for some well-deserved rest for tomorrow's celebration...However, the next day, everyone's in for a rude awakening when they find that their new pets have greatly multiplied overnight. They proceed to make a mess of Twilight's room, get a little too affectionate with Rainbow Dash, and gross out Rarity by showing her how they reproduce. Pinkie shows up again, but soon runs off after remarking that she's going to need a lot more instruments. Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash soon meet up; they head to Fluttershy's to see if she could help keep them under control, only to find her under a flood of parasprites.
Fluttershy: I've tried everything I know! I've tried begging, and pleading, and beseeching, and asking politely, and...Twilight begins to panic, fearing the worst if they can't get the bugs under control before Celestia arrives. Applejack then shows up with a cart full of apples (which gets promptly eaten), and soon joins their cause. They manage to herd the swarm into the Everfree forest, only to find another swarm at Fluttershy's because she had secretly kept one for herself. Rainbow Dash generates a tornado to whisk them away, but it gets interrupted when Pinkie's new cymbals get sucked in, raining the insects over Ponyville. Tensions escalate when Pinkie Pie is obsessed with finding instruments instead of helping the others, resulting in the herd outright ignoring her due to Princess Celestia's impending arrival.Over in Ponyville, the bugs have descended and are eating every food and crop, causing Applejack to run back home to protect her farm. Twilight casts a spell on the creatures to get them to stop eating the food. It works, but now they've started eating everything else instead... buckets... tents... lampposts... everything. Panicking, the ponies break off to defend their homes, only to find themselves helpless against the horde. Twilight snatches a parasprite and rushes to Zecora for help, but the zebra can only tell her that they're doomed.As Twilight rushes back to Ponyville, she spots the Princess already on her way from the castle. The town itself is a wreck, and the ponies are too panicked to be able to do anything about it. Just as Twilight starts to completely lose her mind, she hears a musical procession start up, and at its source is... Pinkie Pie!?Before she can admonish Pinkie, Twilight notices that the parasprites have become entranced by the music, and begin to fall in line marching behind her. Meeting up with the rest of the team and following Pinkie, Twilight and the others rush ahead to greet the Princess, who just landed outside of town. Celestia is nonplussed to see Pinkie marching with the parasprites behind her, but is touched that they're holding a parade in her honor. Unfortunately, Celestia has to cut her visit short due to some sort of infestation in a nearby town. After Twilight gives her weekly report (that the answer to your problems may come from an unlikely source, even if it doesn't seem to make sense), Celestia heads off. The team checks with Pinkie, who finally tells them that she did know about the parasprites and their weakness to music from the beginning, but no matter how hard she tried to warn everyone, nobody paid attention to her. After Twilight and friends apologize to Pinkie Pie, they all head back to Ponyville victorious....or not, as the town is still a huge mess. WAH-WAH-WAH-WAAAAAH
Tropes present in this episode (YMMV tropes can be found here):
- Adoring the Pests: In this episode, Fluttershy finds a cute parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville.
- Acquired Error At The Printer: The welcoming banner.Twilight Sparkle: You can't hang a banner that says "Welcome Princess Celest". Take it down and try again.
- Big Eater:
- The parasprites, to the point where magically ruining their appetite for food will cause them to go after objects and buildings instead.
- Not to mention Pinkie Pie, who devours an entire cake in one bite. After having eaten nearly all the sweets and cakes meant for the next day's banquet in honor to Celestia.
- Big Entrance: The parasprites are eating Rarity's life's work and she screams for help. The door bursts open, revealing a glowing Pinkie Pie, ready to save the day. Who promptly recovers a recorder/flute from a table and leaves. Rarity breaks and screams even louder.
- Bittersweet Ending: Pinkie leads all the parasprites out of Ponyville...but they still have to rebuild it due to the damage.
- Brick Joke: The trombone that Pinkie Pie originally went in search for wasn't part of her marching band, but instead was used at the end to close out the episode over a ruined Ponyville.
- Call Back: Rainbow Dash's headgear was first seen on Twilight for a split second in the first episode.
- Cannot Spit It Out: A lot of trouble could have been averted if Pinkie Pie had simply explained why she was looking for musical instruments.
- Cartoon Bug-Sprayer: Part of the equipment mustered for the abortive defense of Sweet Apple Acres.
- Chekhov's Gun: Applejack's herding skills, though it's not what ultimately solves the problem.
- Clueless Aesop: Probably not entirely clueless, but as more than one viewer has noted, the aesop of this episode, if taken as the face value "you should listen to what your friends have to say instead of dismissing them", almost falls flat when one remembers that Pinkie Pie hardly ever actually tried explaining that she knows what parasprites are and how to get rid of them. It is true that at one point Pinkie does try to explain but fails because the others won't listen, but it doesn't change the fact that most of her "attempts" are simply her asking for this random instrument or that, never trying explaining that music can lead parasprites away. Or the fact that the very first time Pinkie Pie and a parasprite appear on screen, she disgustedly proclaims that now she has to find a trombone and trots off, completely ignoring Twilight asking Pinkie Pie if she knows anything about the strange creatures, having been the only one present to recognize and name them. Considering all things, of course, this could more or less lead to a Double Aesop, as Pinkie pointing out at the end how she tried to tell them when they wouldn't listen makes it evident that she did learn the importance of explaining herself properly.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Pinkie Pie, of all ponies, was the only one in Ponyville who knew of the parasprites, and how best to get rid of them.
- Cuteness Proximity: Everyone's first impression (except for Pinkie Pie and Zecora) of the parasprites is to fawn over their adorableness. Even Rainbow Dash goes all girly, basically the only time ever.
- Didn't See That Coming: Uttered by Applejack when the parasprites descend upon Sweet Apple Acres... and eat the barn thanks to Twilight's spell.
- Distracting Disambiguation:Twilight Sparkle: Will you forget about your silly instruments for one second? You're ruining our efforts to save Ponyville.
Pinkie Pie: Me? Ruin? I'm not the ruiner, I'm the ruinee! Or is it ruiness? Ruinette?
- Dramatic Irony: "No woodland creature is gonna eat the Apple Family's crop!" Oh, Applejack, how right you are. They eat the house instead.
- Explosive Breeder: Parasprites are shown to reproduce in a quick and disgusting way. Although Fluttershy only kept one in her house for a few minutes, it was able to produce at least a hundred more.
- Extreme Omnivore: Use magic to inhibit their appetite for real food? The parasprites will simply eat everything else instead.
- And we mean EVERYTHING else. They even start eating the words from Twilight's books!
- Eye Scream: A newborn parasprite is shot right into Rarity's eye.
- Facepalm: A Double while Rainbow Dash is being fitted for her outfit with Rarity.
- Foreshadowing: When Pinkie Pie plays the harmonica, you can see the parasprites in Rarity's bag react to the sound.
- Friend to Bugs:
- Fluttershy and Twilight each find parasprites endearing when unaware of the devastation they cause… and even after that, Fluttershy in particular still decides to keep one.
- Rarity deserves special mention as well; not only does she not seem particularly freaked out to have so many in her house all of a sudden (although, we never actually see her waking up to them like we did the others) she somehow even gets them to start helping her around the shop. She only stops liking them when she finds out exactly how they multiply.
- From Bad to Worse: And how!
- G-Rated Sex: Parasprites reproduce (presumably) asexually by coughing up fully developed offspring.
- Gone Horribly Right: Twilight casts a spell to stop the Parasprites from eating the food. It works. They eat everything else instead.
- Hand or Object Underwear: The parasprites seem to form this briefly on Rainbow Dash when they cling to her body. Lampshaded by the "Equestria Girls" commercial.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: Horde of Impossibly Cute Locusts
- Idiot Ball: Most definitely Fluttershy for keeping one of the parasprites even after their devastation was clear, thus thwarting Applejack's herding attempt, which otherwise would have worked.
- Imagine Spot: Twilight has one, where she envisions Princess Celestia being forcibly whisked away by the parasprite swarm.
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Fluttershy's reaction to parasprites, even after the devastation they cause is clear.
- Literal Genie: Twilight casts a spell to make the parasprites stop eating all the food in Ponyville. They stop eating the food, all right…
- Losing Horns: At the end of the episode, courtesy of Pinkie Pie.
- Magical Negro: Subverted wit Zecora. Twilight visits the African-themed zebra for advice. Zecora quickly identifies the name of the troublesome species and, just when it seems like she will reveal a key bit of ancient tribal wisdom, she tells Twilight "...you're doomed".
- Mythology Gag: Rainbow Dash is made to dress in style.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Twilight Sparkle uses her magic to stop the parasprites from eating all the food in Ponyville. It works, except that the spell makes the parasprites ignore the food and start eating the TOWN instead.
- And Fluttershy holding onto just one of the parasprites while Applejack is leading the others out of Ponyville with a cartload of apples. As soon as she opens the door a tidal wave of parasprites come out of her house.
- And Rainbow Dash's tornado seems like an effective way to control the parasprites, but Pinkie shows up at the wrong time with a pair of cymbals, which get sucked up and behave as flying buzz-saws, causing Dash to lose control. This in turn results in the tornado flinging the parasprites right into Ponyville.
- One-Man Band: Apparently the best way to get rid of parasprites.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Zecora is so miffed when Twilight disturbs her concentration that she doesn't rhyme.
- Poor Communication Kills: Goes both ways here. If Pinkie Pie had bothered to explain more about the parasprites before rushing off to find the instruments from the beginning, or if her friends weren't too caught up in their business to listen to her during the times she did try to explain, the damage wouldn't have been nearly as bad. So infamous that the first episode of Friendship is Witchcraft mined a lot of material out of reversing the dynamic, with Pinkie completely upfront about what she's trying to do while the others insist she's making no sense.
- The Power of Rock: Or in this case, oompah music.
- The Pratfall: When Twilight disturbs Zecora's meditation, the latter falls on her plot. She's so annoyed she forgets to rhyme.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Rainbow Dash: "Time to take out the adorable trash."
- Riddle for the Ages: How does Pinkie know about parasprites?
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The parasprites.
- Sanity Slippage: Briefly occurs to Twilight during the climax. May count as Foreshadowing; "Lesson Zero" reveals that Twilight becomes very unstable when faced with the prospect of disappointing Celestia.
- Scenery Gorn: The parasprites reduce Ponyville to this.
Twilight: We need to build an exact copy of Ponyville right over there. We've got less than a minute!
- This entire episode is essentially a Whole Plot Reference to "The Trouble With Tribbles" from Star Trek.
- The parasprite at Twilight's house starts multiplying when Spike feeds it after midnight.
- And this line:
- The idea of using music to lure all the pests out of town comes straight from The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
- Have tuba, will travel.
- The parasprites reproduce by eating and then vomiting up new parasprites.
- When Spike tries to gather the parasites in the library, he trips and shouts "D'oh!"
- Part of Applejack's roundup music sounds a lot like the theme from Bonanza.
- Snapback: The town has been destroyed, but all other episodes begin with it perfectly intact, as if nothing had happened.
- Sudden Anatomy: A parasprite projects a "nose" and nostrils to sniff at an apple.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: Celestia mistakes Pinkie Pie's leading the parasprites away as a parade in her honor. Twilight runs with it.
- Tempting Fate:Twilight Sparkle: The decorations, the banquet, I really hope everything comes together in time for tomorrow.
[Spike and the parasprite are sleeping peacefully]
Twilight Sparkle: [yawns] What's there to worry about?
- This Is No Time for Knitting: Pinkie's hunt for musical instruments amid the infestation crisis had a practical point after all.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: This is how Rarity discovers how the parasprites reproduce.
- "What Now?" Ending: The Mane Six have this realization when despite driving the parasprites away, the town is still in a huge mess and needs a lot of time to be fixed together again.
- You Make Me Sic: Twilight notices that Celestia's name is misspelled on one of the banners (it says "Welcome Princess Celest"). When asked why, Carrot Top replies: "We couldn't fit it all in." Twilight promptly tells her and Berry Punch to take it down, clearly irritating them both.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Applejack's herding seems to work, but everypony's back at square one thanks to Fluttershy leaving one parasprite at home.