My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle/Firefly's Adventure
Evil Overlord Tirek requires four ponies to use as demons to pull his chariot to bring in The Night That Never Ends in order to Take Over the World. He sends his henchman Scorpan to carry out the task. The special actually begins with the ponies enjoying themselves in Dream Valley until Scorpan and his subordinates attack. Two ponies are captured in the attack.In light of the first assault by Scorpan and his army of stratadons, the rest of the ponies panic and hide in Dream Castle, pulling up the drawbridge. Fearful that anyone can be next, Firefly goes off for help and decides to ask it of the very first human she happens to come across. The human is Megan, a cowgirl who lives at a ranch at the other end of the rainbow. From there, Firefly basically kidnaps Megan to go back to Ponyland with her despite the girl being about ten years old and without a single means of helping them. ...Yeah, Firefly's plan needed more thought.Just as Firefly and Megan arrive at Dream Castle, Scorpan returns for another assault, having only attained two on the first run, and proceeds to grab the other two while at it. Thus, Megan and a party of ponies set out to stop Tirek, but first they stop by the Mushrump to meet with the Moochick, a strange gnome wizard with a terrible memory and a mushroom motif, to ask how to defeat Tirek. He gives Megan a locket called "The Rainbow of Light" and they are on their way.Once at Midnight Castle, they break in and confront the evil overlord, himself, and the Rainbows of Light and Dark clash in a surprisingly epic finale in which Tirek is torn and ripped into shreds by the former.Originally untitled, this special was known as Rescue at Midnight Castle in repeats and Firefly's Adventure on VHS.
My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina
The Little Ponies prepare for a "Welcome Back" party for their human friend, Megan. Strangely, absolutely none of the original ponies from the first special appear in this follow-up, so it's anyone's guess why they're welcoming her back. Meanwhile, little furballs called Bushwoolies are the slaves of a drug-addicted Catgirl named Catrina and are watched over by a shape-shifting lizard-man named Rep. When they escape, she tries to make the Little Ponies her new slaves to keep her drug brewing machine working nonstop.She and her companion manage only to grab one, Baby Moondancer, and they are pursued back into their lair by the other ponies and Megan. There, she gives them the choice: serve her or Baby Moondancer takes a dip in the witch weed potion, which would be presumably fatal. It's around this point that Rep has had enough of Catrina's increasingly violent tendencies and strongarms her into breaking the habit.
Action Girl: in Midnight Castle, there are three of them: Megan, Firefly, and Bowtie.
In Escape from Catrina, we have Megan and, to a certain extent, Sundance.
Adult Fear: Both specials involved a girl who couldn't be older than fourteen. In the first, she is essentially being kidnapped by a talking pony and almost murdered. This might cause some viewers to wonder what her parents thought when she was gone. The second special involved the antagonist nearly murdering a filly.
An Aesop: In Catrina, the witchweed potion is apparently a metaphor for drugs, and as most people know, Drugs Are Bad.
Another Dimension: Not outright stated, but it is heavily implied that rainbows are passage ways between our mundane Earth and the ponies' Ponyland. Plus, had Megan lived in the same reality as the ponies, that Firefly could speak and fly would not have come as a surprise to her.
Another explanation is that they do live in the same reality but the Ponyland ponies live far in an area from "normal" places.
Anti-Villain: Scorpan in the first TV special, Rep in the second.
Artifact of Doom: Tirek's Rainbow of Darkness. Normally is contained into a pouch, where it throbs like a heart and shines with an eerie, creepy glow. Also, Catrina's Witchweed potion, to which she is completely addicted.
Badass Adorable: "Danger is my life!" says Firefly, who later kicks a dragon in the face.
Bowtie also counts. She frees herself from being picked up by the dragons by kicking her way free and she's the best jumper of the land-walking ponies.
Badass Boast: "We have a power of our own, Tirek. Take this!"
Badass Normal: Megan, who begins the series by fending off a dragon empty-handed and finishes the first special by killing Tirek.
Body Horror: The first three ponies being transformed by Tirek can be seen at a kind of halfway stage midway through, still crying and whimpering in fear.
Busby Berkeley Number: The seaponies song is accompanied with a dance number that is very reminiscent of one in an Esther Williams movie.
Cats Are Mean: Played with Catrina on the second TV special. The trope is inverted before she became addicted to Witchweed Potion, and is played straight during this phase. She subverts it again after she finally kicks the habit.
Chekhov's Skill: Firefly attempts her "double inside-out loop" early on in "Rescue at Midnight Castle", but fails and crashes into Applejack. She attempts it again to save Megan and later during the final battle to help defeat Tirek.
Similarly, Twilight's teleportation. We see it once early on to know she can do it, and then it comes in handy during some MacGuffin Keep-Away. (This is before the show would make it so that every unicorn could do that; in the special it's Twilight's thing only.)
Covers Always Lie: The European covers◊ for both specials relate to the actual content very little. The Rescue at Midnight Castle cover shows many ponies who aren't even in the episodes, and for some reason Spike has wings and is big enough to be ridden by Megan. The Escape From Catrina cover shows a prototypical version of Danny with pretty much nothing from the special in it.
Cute Kitten: Twinkles the cat (who came with the original Pretty Parlor playset) can be seen in "Rescue at Midnight Castle."
Dark Is Not Evil: Scorpan. He looks pretty Satanic, but he couldn't be less like the original angel of darkness if he tried.
Disney Villain Death: Subverted, Catrina nearly falls into a pit at the end of the special, but the ponies and Rep save her after she agrees to destroy the Witchweed Potion machine and thus the source of her insanity.
Distressed Damsel: In Midnight Castle, we have five of them, including Applejack. Actually, especially Applejack, who almost drowns, later is kidnapped by Tirek's henchmen and finally is turned into a monster after she takes a direct hit of the Rainbow of Darkness.
Baby Moondancer in Escape from Catrina.
The Dog Bites Back: Scorpan and Spike against Tirek in the first special, Rep against Catrina in the second.
Drugs Are Bad: The subtle-as-a-brick Aesop of the second TV special.
Drunk on the Dark Side: Catrina's addiction to the witchweed potion and the power it brings. Her only friend Rep laments how it has warped her personality.
'80s Hair: Even though they're horses, several Ponies in the pilot have hair in this style.
Empathic Environment: At the very beginning, it's sunny and pleasant out, but the instant Scorpan and the other riders show up, it becomes cloudy, windy, and ominous immediately. It's also permanently overcast over Midnight Castle, but that's possibly justified, since its master controls of the power of darkness.
Even Mooks Have Loved Ones: Tirek really shouldn't have threatened Scorpan with decapitating Spike, since this is what finally made Scorpan rebel against him.
An interesting case in the second with Rep, who's loved one is Katrina herself, namely the person she used to be before getting Drunk on the Dark Side. He still cares about her now, but laments how she's changed.
Face Monster Turn: The ponies transformed into demon-dragons by the Rainbow of Darkness.
Family-Unfriendly Death: Megan's Rainbow of Light tears Tirek apart, almost destroys Midnight Castle (with the good guys still on it) and finally drags Tirek to the sky, where he is killed on a giant explosion. But frankly he deserved it.
Fantastic Aesop: Also from Catrina. Remember kids, stay off drugs, or else you'll become a lightning spamming giant that tries to enslave pastel-colored hairballs and ponies! After a while, even your long time shapeshiftingLizard Folk enabler will grow tired of you, turn into a bull, and knock you into a pit of the stuff to drown in your own habit!
Furry Confusion: Megan has a horse. A non-sentient horse. Though admittedly she lives in the human world while the ponies live in Dream Valley.
Genius Ditz: The Moochick. He always knows exactly what the ponies need to do to fix whatever apocalypse they're in the middle of now, but he has a terrible memory and a tendency to misplace very important items and tools.
Genki Girl: Firefly. She abducts Megan within minutes of meeting her and listens to precisely none of Megan's (reasonable) arguments that she's not qualified to be their savior.
God Save Us from the Queen!: Catrina, after her addiction to Witchweed potion drove her insane. After she kicks the habit, she inverts this trope.
Good Hurts Evil: It only took a few seconds of struggle for Megan's ridiculously tiny Rainbow of Light to absorb Tirek's Rainbow of Darkness and brutally kill him.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Completely averted as far as those lizardman creatures that serve Tirek are concerned. That they're actually good at their job makes Megan and the ponies' victory more impressive.
Last-Second Chance: Catrina is offered this, and she actually accepts it to reform herself.
Lighter and Softer: Everything after the first TV special was this. The first special was pretty dark and grim for a kids show, included ponies set on fire, considerable violence, threatening beheading, and the Big Bad was brutally killed at the end.
Ironic in that this was how the My Little Pony show began, as possibly the most hardcore TV cartoon of its time, yet its second and third generations created such a powerful reputation as a little girl show that it was difficult for many to believe My Little Pony could ever be anything else even when Friendship is Magic came along to change the show's style again.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Scorpan in the first special; a fundamentally ape-like body and limbs, a lion's tail and mane, bat-like wings, pointed bestial ears, and a face that can be described as a mixture between simian and crocodilian.
Morality Pet: Spike is this for Scorpan on the first TV special; Rep tries to be this for Catrina in the second.
In the toyline, Megan is a frilly Barbie princess doll◊ type character, a stark contrast to the rough-and-tumble cowgirl of the show. At the end of Escape from Catrina, she's wearing the doll's dress at the party, the only time we'll ever see it.
Megan's normal, non-sentient horse TJ is based on the original "My Pretty Pony," the predecessor to the franchise.
Noble Demon: Scorpan was like a father for Spike and tried to spare as much people as he could from falling into Tirek's hands. Subverted in that he is really an enchanted human prince and the rightful lord of the lands seized by Tirak.
He also warned Megan not to interfere.
No Ontological Inertia: After Tirek is killed, his entire kingdom reverts to a pleasant countryside, and everyone he transformed goes back to normal.
Off with His Head!: Tirek threatens Scorpan with making heads roll- Spike's head if he fails at bringing him the final pony before midnight. This was the last drop for Scorpan, who allies with the ponies and turns against Tirek.
Power Echoes: Tirek's voice, two sentences out of three, has an echo under it. Why? 'Cause he's evil.
Or he's mostly in a castle with flat stone walls and probably isn't the type to decorate with tapestries or chandeliers.
Power Source: Catrina's power depends of having a constant supply of Witchweed potion. When she is about to run out of it, she completely snaps, which kickstarts the TV special.
Punch Clock Villain: On the second TV special we have Rep, who's a pretty decent guy. He's just (initially) too much of a sap to stand up to the power-crazed Catrina.
Recycled Premise: The plot of the second special is near identical to the first: Big Bad wants to kidnap ponies to serve their purposes and they have to be stopped. Oh, and Tirek and Catrina both have Anti-Villain employees.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Firefly plays Red Oni to everyone else in the special, but especially Medley and Twilight.
Tagalong Kid: Averted with Megan. The ponies are tagging along with her.
Played straight with Ember and Spike, though.
Team Mom: Medley. She is always the soft spoken voice of reason in the group.
Tempting Fate: The last two lines of the Rescue at Midnight Castle intro theme are "No sign of trouble in sight/May all your days be bright". Not thirty seconds later, giant dragons appear and wreck havoc on Dream Valley.
Would Hurt a Child: Tirek. The only reason he doesn't turn Ember into a dragon is because she's too small to pull his chariot.
X Meets Y: Rescue at Midnight Castle could be aptly renamed My Little Pony meets Dungeons & Dragonsnote The latter series was also animated by Marvel Productions. Heck, it even had both dungeons and dragons!