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Recap: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E6 "Power Ponies"
The Power Ponies in all their glory. Humdrum/Spike isn't in this pic, but so what? He's useless anyway.note 

Written by Meghan McCarthy, Charlotte Fullerton & Betsy McGowen

Spike is enraptured with a comic book about the Power Ponies, a team of superheroes who are fighting to stop the evil Mane-iac from destroying the city of Maretropolis with her doomsday weapon, powered by the Electro-Orb! Accompanying the Power Ponies is Humdrum, a character with no powers who is "generally useless". Spike can relate, with the Mane Six cleaning up Celestia and Luna's old castle without needing his help.

After finding a quiet corner to finish reading his comic book, Spike reaches the last page, only to find it blank except for some small writing. Upon reading it, the comic suddenly lights up, causing Spike and the Mane Six to be sucked into the comic book! When Spike awakens, he finds himself assuming the role of Humdrum, with the others in the roles of the Power Ponies. They arrive just as the Mane-iac steals the Electro-Orb, with Spike determining that the only way to get back to Equestria is for them to stop the Mane-iac. The Mane Six, as the Power Ponies, attempt to stop the villain with their new superpowers... with no success, since none of them know how to use their powers, and Fluttershy, whose power requires her to get angry, is too docile to use her ability.

The Mane-iac makes off with the Electro-Orb, and the Power Ponies follow with Spike leading them, muttering about how useless he'll be once they find the Mane-iac. Spike takes the Mane Six to the Mane-iac's secret hideout, an abandoned shampoo factory, where they fight off a group of Mooks. Though dealing with their powers better now, the Power Ponies are frozen in place by the Mane-iac's Hairspray of Doom, except for Spike, whom the Mane-iac says is too "useless" to bother with. The Power Ponies are captured, leaving Spike dejected.

He sneaks his way into the factory, where the Power Ponies are being kept frozen in a cage by a steady dose of the Hairspray of Doom. The Mane-iac reveals she intends to use the Electro-Orb to power a doomsday weapon that will amplify the power of her mane, releasing a blast that will cause everypony's mane in Maretropolis to grow wild. Fluttershy points out that Spike is still free, which the Mane-iac laughs off, once again calling him useless. Twilight, however, says that in their world, Spike always comes through when they need him. Overhearing, Spike is touched, and manages to find it in himself to distract the Mane-iac long enough to free the Power Ponies from the Hairspray of Doom. As they dispatch more of the Mane-iac's Mooks, the Mane-iac readies her doomsday weapon at Fluttershy, swatting away a firefly from her line of sight. That causes the animal-loving Fluttershy to finally get angry, blasting the Mane-iac with her own weapon, tying her up in her own mane with Fluttershy smashing the weapon to pieces.

With the Mane-iac defeated, the Mane Cast are transported back to Equestria. Spike says he's learned that you don't need superpowers to be a superhero, or to be a super friend. When asked how a comic book could have sucked them all in, Spike reveals he bought the comic from the House of Enchanted Comics in Canterlot, thinking the "enchanted" part was just a name. As the Mane Cast walk away, the comic vanishes from the mantle behind their backs.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • Just because you're not always needed, it doesn't mean you're never helpful.
    • Also, you don't need superpowers to be a "super friend".
  • Affectionate Nickname: Rarity's one-time use of "Spikey-Boo" when trying to reassure Spike. Borders on Ship Tease.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Spike uses this to sneak inside the shampoo factory.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Rainbow Dash and Rarity get their powers from enchanted jewelry (a necklace and a bracelet, respectively).
  • Animal Superheroes: By definition.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Fluttershy being Bruce Banner/the Hulk is common in The Avengers and MLP mashups. In this episode, Hulking Out is Fluttershy's superpower.
    • Likewise, Rainbow Dash as a Thor/Storm type.
    • And outside of Avengers mashups, a comparison of Applejack to Wonder Woman.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The hairspray completely paralyzes ponies and takes away their powers, but only lasts a couple minutes. Mane-iac compensates by assigning one of her henchmen to give another dose when it's about to wear off. He uses an egg timer.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Spike as Humdrum, despite Lampshading in excess his physical uselessness, manages to use an elaborate deception to take out half of Mane-iac's Mooks and save the ponies.
    • Among the Power Ponies is Mistress Marevelous, who's essentially a Batman-esque hero except for the lasso that can be controlled by thought.
  • Beautiful Void: Aside from the Mane Six/Power Ponies, the Mane-iac, and the Mane-iac's henchponies, the city of Maretropolis is completely deserted.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt animals in front of Fluttershy, especially when her power is Hulking Out.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Twilight; while her elemental beam powers are cool, her normal magic is far more versatile.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Spike, as is often the case.
    • All the ponies (save for Pinkie) suffer teething problems making their powers work, usually resulting in heavy collateral damage, especially poor Fluttershy, who spends most of the episode powerless until her temper is finally set off.
  • Call Back:
    • The episode, prior to being magicked to Maretropolis, has the ponies cleaning up the Castle of the Two Sisters.
    • In the end, Spike was key to saving the day, with Twilight/Masked Matterhorn lampshading the callback to "The Crystal Empire".
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: The paralyzing hairspray still allows the Power Ponies to move their eyes and talk.
  • Cape Snag: Addressed when Spike attempts to quietly steal the Orb from the Mane-iac and sneak away... only to trip on his cape and fall. It also gets him sucked into Rainbow Dash's tornado.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "pointless red cape" on Humdrum's outfit proves instrumental to... making Spike drop the Electro Orb.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted when Twilight points out that Spike really isn't Humdrum.
  • Clothing Damage: Fluttershy's clothing predictably fails to stretch adequately over her bulkier form, though it fares much better than the Hulk's does.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Yet again, Applejack accidentally ties herself up to something (in this case, a street light).
    • The ponies grabbing one another to keep them from entering somewhere and each getting pulled in in turn, followed by Pinkie gleefully hopping in after them, just like with the Diamond Dogs.
    • Fluttershy once again calls someone a meanie just before demonstrating surprising strength.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Mane-iac periodically reapplies the power nullifying hairspray rather than just using it once and leaving the Power Ponies to their own devices. She's still Genre Blind enough to not bother capturing the underestimated sidekick, though.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Rainbow Dash's magic tornado only sucks up those who touch it or vacuums up those below it. Except Spike, who doesn't miss the chance to get comically hurt.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Hairspray of Doom. No, seriously.
  • Dutch Angle: Several of the action shots use the off-tilt camera view, a common element of the original Batman series.
  • Elemental Powers: Twilight has the power to fire various kinds of beams from her form, mainly manifesting as ice and (briefly) laser magic.
  • Evil Laugh: The Mane-iac gives many good examples of these, to the point of bordering on Verbal Tic.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Mane-iac throughout the entire episode, but especially in her Evil Gloating just before her Thwarted Coup de Grāce.
  • Expy: Per Jim Miller, each of the Power Ponies are based on a specific superhero:
    • Applejack/Mistress Marevelous wields a lasso (which glows when in use), a nod to Wonder Woman and a hint of Batman with a pair of horseshoes she throws around the ankles of a charging mook to stop him.
    • Pinkie Pie/Fili-Second is a stand-in for The Flash. note 
    • Fluttershy/Saddle Rager is very similar to The Incredible Hulk.
    • Rarity/Radiance's power to create "attack constructs" from her jewelry is equivalent to that of Green Lantern.
    • Twilight/Masked Matter-Horn is able to shoot various forms of magical beams from her horn, similar to Cyclops.
    • Rainbow/Zapp controls the forces of weather with her necklace, making her a stand-in for Thor and Storm.
    • Spike/Humdrum's sidekick status (comic relief that makes bad puns and exposition) is based on Burt Ward's Robin.
    • The Mane-iac is a combination of a number of different supervillains: The Joker (origin, green hair, and insanity), Doctor Octopus (mad scientist behavior and the distinctive way that he moves around with super-powered appendages), and Sedusa (Prehensile Hair and overall hair theme).
  • Fantastic Aesop: If you ever get sucked into a comic book world, remember that you're still you and don't be chained down by the role of the character you are supposedly playing.
  • Flash Step: Pinkie thoroughly enjoys her new super-speed, using it to do this to several Mooks.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Lampshaded by Spike. The Mane Six/Power Ponies need to defeat the Mane-iac to return to their regular reality.
  • Foreshadowing: As Spike and Twilight talk about Spike's comic, he mentions the sidekick character, Humdrum, being there for just comic relief. Guess which way Spike is treated once they get sucked into the story, not to mention that seconds after he says this, he ends up in a comic pratfall with a bucket on his head.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Cupcakes aren't the only things Fili-Second picked up on her first run around Maretropolis. She also grabbed a pair of novelty glasses and a baseball pennant.
    • During the final battle, shortly after Rarity cages up a group of hench-ponies, you can see Fili-second's streak intercept another one trying to escape. Afterwards, the hench-pony is still trying to escape, but he is covered in pieces of pie.
  • Funny Background Event: While the girls are cleaning the castle, Pinkie Pie scoots around upside-down using her own mane as a mop.
  • Genre Blind: Spike lives in a world where magic is studied as a science, yet he fails to understand that a comic book from "The House of Enchanted Comics" is probably literally enchanted, although to be fair, not everything in Equestria has a literal name.
  • Genre Savvy: In the fictional world however, his knowledge is sound. Spike knows he's the Plucky Comic Relief sidekick in the story and frequently lampshades the fact. Also, he clearly knows his comics and helps the Mane Six figure out their abilities as the Power Ponies.
    • To a lesser degree, Pinkie Pie is the first to really figure out her super powers, which makes sense, since this isn't the first time Pinkie has used super speed.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: During Fluttershy's Hulking Out sequence, including Roar Before Beating.
  • Harmless Electrocution: One of the Mane-iac's mooks is hit in the face with lightning, but it doesn't do much more than singe him and mess up his hair.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Mane-iac is beaten by her own doomsday weapon, and some of her mooks fall prey to the Hairspray Ray of Doom when it's knocked over.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The Mane Six initially don't know how to use their new powers and need Spike's help to tell them how they work. Pinkie Pie figures out her Super Speed pretty well, but never seems to use it practically.
  • Hulking Out: Fluttershy/Saddle Rager has this power.
  • Hurricane of Puns: It wouldn't be a comic book story without them. The Mane-iac in particular has a profound fondness for them.
  • An Ice Person: Twilight's most common use of her beam powers is to fire ice and snow at her opponents.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Rarity's power while in the comic.
  • In-Joke: Lauren Faust has used the screen name "fyre-flye" on deviantART and Twitter. Now we see how Fluttershy cares for a firefly.
  • Instant Expert: Averted for most of the characters. The Mane Six are granted superpowers when they enter the comic, but are completely unable to use them at first. Pinkie Pie is the exception, as she's instantly able to use her Super Speed, but that's hardly something new to her (and she only uses it to get cupcakes).
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Mane-iac tells Spike that it would be "pointless" to bother incapacitating him.
    • This ultimately results in Mane-iac's demise. As the Mane-iac aims her doomsday device at Fluttershy, she finds a cute little firefly blocking her aiming sight. Her reaction is to violently swat the firefly with her mane-tentacles. Fluttershy, as "Dragonshy" and "The Stare Master" taught us, reviles abuse of the weak by the strong, and doubly reviles animal abuse. Cue the Hulking Out sequence.
      Fluttershy: Are you kidding me?! I mean... I know you're evil and everything, but you'd hurt a teensy, little harmless firefly?! REALLY?! Well, you're just a great! Big! MEANIE!
  • Kid Sidekick: Spike's role in the story, compared to the others that are all main heroes.
  • Large Ham:
  • Laughing Mad: The Mane-iac. Even being defeated doesn't stop her from laughing.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Rainbow Dash starts the attack of the shampoo factory before Twilight can set up any kind of plan.
    Twilight Sparkle: So much for the element of surprise.
  • Left Hanging: It's never made clear why the Mane Six are fixing up the old castle. Rarity at least expressed an interest in fixing up the neglected tapestry the last time they were there, and Twilight certainly likes the library, but it's something of a leap to go from that to a full-blown restoration effort.
  • Let Me Get This Straight: Applejack does the honor after she lassoed the out-of-control tornado.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: With the Mane Six's superpowers as the Power Ponies, it should definitely come as no surprise, though special mention goes to Fluttershy/Saddle Rager for Hulking Out.
  • Literal Metaphor: After they've left the book, Rainbow Dash comments on how she was "raining down a storm of justice."
  • The Load: Discussed when Spike describes Humdrum to Twilight, whom he says is not only a totally useless comic relief character, but also helped further the Mane-iac's EvilPlan totally by mistake. It's deconstructed and eventually averted with Spike himself, however; he merely thinks he's this, but the Mane Six clearly don't, and in fact wouldn't even be able to master their powers without his assistance.
  • Magic Carpet: Rarity creates one through her Radiance powers to fly.
  • Magic Enhancement: Within the comic, the Mane Six's powers all resemble more powerful versions of the abilities they already possess in the real world: AJ's roping skills, Rainbow's weather control, Pinkie's Rule of Funny speed translated into an actual power, Rarity's creativity, and Fluttershy's behavior when upset (e.g., the Stare). If anything, Twilight's the nerfed one, as the Masked Matter-horn's Elemental Powers are significantly more limited than Twilight's innate magical ability.
  • Magical Accessory: Rarity and Rainbow Dash get their powers from a bracelet and necklace, respectively.
  • Meaningful Name: Humdrum means boring, ordinary, literally Beneath Notice.
  • The Millstone: Humdrum in the comic ended up telling the Mane-iac about the Electro-Orb by accident. It's averted completely when Spike fills the role himself.
  • Mister Exposition: In a change from the formula, Spike takes this role as he explains the abilities of the Power Ponies and helps them defeat the Mane-iac with his knowledge of the comic.
  • Mundane Utility: Upon learning she has Super Speed, the first thing Pinkie does is run off to grab some cupcakes. It's also the last thing she does before the cast is sent back to Ponyville.
  • My Little Panzer: Spike was able to purchase a Portal Book with zero written or verbal warnings as to its effects, and the only way to escape it is to win the scenario.
  • Mythology Gag: This isn't the first time Pinkie Pie (or at least a version of her) has decided to clean the floor with her head.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Fluttershy is unable to get angry enough to Hulk Out until the Mane-iac hurts a firefly.
    • This goes back even earlier, when she dismisses Spike as a possible threat, and decides he's not worth capturing.
  • No Sell: Fluttershy, after Hulking Out, gets hit with the Mane-iac's doomsday weapon. It just bounces off and hits the Mane-iac.
  • One of Us: In-Universe. Spike's a comic book geek.
  • Overly Long Gag: Everypony trying to keep each other from getting sucked into the comic. Though it's saved by Pinkie's reaction.
  • The Paralyzer: The hairspray of doom paralyzes its victims for a few minutes.
  • Personality Powers: All the Power Ponies have powers related to their talents in the show's main continuity. Even Fluttershy's Hulking Out is triggered by her compassion for a firefly.
  • Pie in the Face: Pinkie does one to a mook.
  • Poke the Poodle: The Mane-iac's Evil Plan is to... screw up everypony's mane? Granted, considering what it did to her when it hit her, it might at least incapacitate whoever it hits, and she intends the Power Ponies to be the first victims. She's also quite insane, so it's not like one would expect a rational plan.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: The first indication of Fluttershy's Hulking Out.
  • Power Up Letdown: Of the Mane Six that got superpowers, only half of them actually got powers they didn't already have — Rainbow Dash could already control the weather, Pinkie Pie's Super Speed just means we see her randomly moving about the area instead of her Toon Physics, and Twilight got severely limited to firing various types of energy blast from her horn, losing all the other magic she has normally. Spike flat got no powers at all.
  • Prehensile Hair: The Mane-iac's a mane and tail act like multiple tentacle-like limbs, a power very likely inspired by Marvel's Medusa of Fantastic Four and The Inhumans, who takes her cues from Medusa in Classical Mythology.
  • Punny Name: The superheroine names "Masked Matter-Horn", "Fili-Second", and "Mistress Mare-velous" play on various horse puns. The villain "Mane-iac" is rather obvious.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: There are a few henchmen with unique designs among Mane-iac's group, though they don't really seem to have any sort of seniority over the rest.
  • Read the Fine Print: While the act of reading the tiny print on the last page of the comic triggered them getting sucked into the comic, reading it also made Spike the only one aware of how they could escape.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Fluttershy/Saddle Rager's eyes turn red when she transforms into her monstrous form.
  • Schizo Tech: The fictional universe within the comic appears to be set in the Silver Age of comics, with Maretropolis being an Expy of Metropolis at the time of the formation of the Justice League.
  • The Scrappy: In-universe, Spike really hates Humdrum. Not least because the bumbling sidekick reminds him too much of himself.
  • Self-Deprecation: After Spike/Humdrum explains that Rarity/Radiance's superpower allows her to create "attack constructs", the first thing she makes is a tea set. To which Spike moans "Something useful!!" Throughout the whole episode she continues to create fancy/girly constructs with her powers, but they prove to be highly effective: a parasol to catch a falling sign and heave it back up at the Mook who knocked it loose, needles and thread to sew another one to the pavement, a giant nail file to cut the bars of her holding cell, and so on.
  • Shout-Out: As this is a Superhero Episode, there are many nods to, well, superheroes. Also see Expy above.
    • The episode features a city called Maretropolis.
    • The color scheme for the city and sky backdrops drips of allusions to Gotham City from Batman: The Animated Series, and likewise the music when introduced.
    • When Spike sees the Mane Six in their Power Ponies costumes, he says, "Holy new personas, ponies!" in a parody of "Holy X, Batman!" from the 1960's live-action Batman series.
    • In the Aesop, Spike refers to being a super friend.
    • A Running Gag is made of Lampshading the uselessness of Humdrum's cape.
    • The Mane-iac resembles Medusa from Greek Mythology. She also uses her tentacle hair to move about in a fashion similar to Doctor Octopus of Spider-Man fame. The Prehensile Hair aspect, as mentioned above, also makes her similar to Medusa of The Inhumans, Sedusa from The Powerpuff Girls, and Scream from Spider-Man. (Prior to this reveal, fans gave the character the nickname "Mare-dusa" due to this connection, and she used to be tagged "Doc Sedusapus" on Derpibooru).
    • The Mane-iac's prehensile hair could also be a reference to Wedgie Woman.
    • Her oversized functioning props is a clear homage to Bill Finger, a major Golden Age Of Comic Books writer of Batman and the original Green Lantern who often had such props in his stories.
    • Spike's line, "Once again, the day is saved, by ...!" is the last line of every The Powerpuff Girls episode.
    • The Mane-iac's origin story bears a strong similarity to The Joker's. Her personality is also close enough, seeing as she has a tendency to laugh a lot and make very bad puns. Not to mention that her Evil Plan to mess up everypony's hair sounds more like a practical joke than a doomsday device, again a common element of the campy 60s Batman show and Cesar Romaro's version of the Joker. Even having themed henchponies (the four unique ones and the regular mooks, all with hair and cutie marks suggesting hair styling) is a staple of that program.
    • Rarity's constructs being pink also alludes to the Star Sapphire Corps or Gwen Tennyson.
    • Applejack lassoing a tornado would make Pecos Bill proud.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Twilight immediately defends Spike when the Mane-iac starts belittling him; this gives Spike the confidence boost he needs to save the day.
  • Stealth Pun: Applejack is perfect for wielding a glowing lasso: Wonder Woman's Golden Lasso makes anyone it lassos or holds tell the absolute truth.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream makes yet another appearance, being uttered by one of the Mane-iac's henchponies during the final battle.
  • Stock Shout-Out: The word "Power" as a superhero name has a long and storied tradition: Power Man, Power Girl, Power Pack, Power Rangers, Powerpuff... Well, you get the idea.
  • Story Breaker Power: The distribution of powers seems rather lopsided, all things considered. The Mane-iac has Prehensile Hair, a paralyzer spray, and a small army of mooks. The Power Ponies have a mish-mash of powers from the Justice League, The Avengers, and the X-Men that would let them steamroll her if they actually knew what they were doing. Of course, given the comic is intended as a form of role-playing, they could easily be labeled Escapist Characters in-universe.
  • Superhero Episode: The second one, after "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", though this one is more explicitly so with the costumes and the city being called Maretropolis. The characters even have superpowers based on things they can do anyway: Twilight has earlier used beam attacks, Pinkie Pie always moves at arbitrarily high speeds, Applejack is already a champion with lassos and throwing horseshoes, weather control is Rainbow Dash's day job, Fluttershy can intimidate a dragon when she's angered, and Rarity is an established artist/designer who gets on a roll when inspired.
  • Super Speed: The Stock Super Power that Pinkie Pie gains as Fili-Second (the name, a pun on "millisecond," should be a tipoff).
  • Tentacle Rope: The Mane-iac in the end, when her own mane is affected by her doomsday weapon.
  • The Heart: Within the comic book verse, Humdrum is this to the Power Ponies.
  • This Loser Is You: In-Universe example. Spike hates Humdrum because his role as the Plucky Comic Relief Millstone hits too close to home for Spike.
  • Title Drop: Done by Spike when he sees the Mane Six's new forms (as well as any character referring to the group as a whole).
    Spike: You're the... Power Ponies!
  • Trapped in TV Land: The Mane Six and Spike are sucked into a comic book world.
  • Unequal Rites:
    • Twilight's experience with magic is no help when she has it replaced with her power beam superpower; she takes the longest to get it right.
    • Likewise, Rainbow's weather-control powers are completely distinct from the normal way pegasi control the weather, so it takes her a few tries to get the hang of Zapp's talisman.
    • Reversed with Rarity, who has no demonstrated experience or aptitude with anything beyond what's considered standard magic for a unicorn. She flubs her new power exactly once and then pretty much becomes Radiance incarnate.
  • Villain Ball: The Mane-iac's plan falls apart because she was cocky enough of Humdrum's uselessness to just let him go.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A quite Surprise Creepy one, as the Mane-iac goes Laughing Mad upon being trapped in her own hair, sounding very different from her typical laughter so that it's clear her mind has snapped.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Spike/Humdrum manages to trap the Mane-iac's henchponies and free the Mane Six/Power Ponies with just his wits and ingenuity.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: One of Mane-iac's henchmen is defeated by having his hair messed up. Justified, since his cutie mark is about hair, and we've been shown repeatedly that if someone fails at what their cutie mark represents, they usually blue screen.
  • Weather Control Machine: Rainbow Dash's necklace allows her to control the weather by blowing into it like a whistle.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Seriously, Humdrum? If that doesn't scream "lack of self-confidence", then the author of the comic just has a bad sense of humor.
  • Win to Exit: The ponies have to defeat the Mane-iac in order to leave the comic book.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Spike assumes that he's just comic relief that only gets in the way. Mane-iac makes the same assumption, much to her undoing.
  • You All Look Familiar: Aside from a few unique designs, all of Mane-iac's henchmen have the same design.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The first wide-span view of Maretropolis includes an airship.


My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E5 'Flight to the Finish"Recap/My Little Pony: Friendship Is MagicMy Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E7 'Bats!"

alternative title(s): Power Ponies
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