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YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E26 "The Cutie Re-Mark Part 2"

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Some interpret Starlight's friend Sunburst as being a jerk for seeming to just ignore her after getting his Cutie Mark. Part of this is due to the fact it's an actual event, not a flashback, and Sunburst never said a word to Starlight before running off after saving her.
    • On the other hand, it could have been Starlight that ignored him and rebuffed any attempt at trying to continue their friendship. As the below quote implies.
      Starlight: He got his Cutie Mark and I didn't. He moved on, and I didn't.
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    • With how quick her town was to forgive Starlight, it's possible she was a genuinely good pony when she founded it who Jumped Off The Slippery Slope by the time we meet her. Relatedly, was her Freudian Excuse all there was to it? Or did something additional happen that made her go as far as she did?
    • The episode tries very hard to make Nightmare Moon look worse than Sombra and Chrysalis, but with the fact no one's (openly) resisting her rule, two of the main characters have sided with her, none of the freezing over or destruction of plant-life that should've happened ever did, and that her onscreen decisions clearly have pragmatic motives behind them rather just needless cruelty, can make Nightmare, while certainly more egotistical and ruthless than Celestia, come across as a perfectly reasonable ruler who's dealing with a time traveler who just threatened to, by any means necessary, remove her from power.
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    • Rarity and Rainbow Dash are shown working for Nightmare Moon in her castle. Did they come to Nightmare Moon of their own volition, or did they prove so good at their respective jobs that it caught the attention of Nightmare? Did they decide to serve her out of fear, or do they see some noble quality that convinced them she was worthy of their loyalty, or are they just so desperate for work their willing to put up with whatever Nightmare does simply to have a roof over their heads?
    • Rarity and Rainbow Dash's harsh attitude towards Twilight and Spike. A sign they Took a Level in Jerkass, or perfectly understandable given Twilight and Spike are trespassing on the private property of royalty?
  • Awesome Art: The barren wasteland Bad Future is amazingly animated, just like the clockwork time travel spell. We certainly have come a long way since being impressed by a mane blowing in the wind in the third season.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Most everything about Starlight Glimmer, including if her backstory is good or not and if she should have been redeemed or not. Some feel her Freudian Excuse works and justifies her actions and her Heel Realization works, others think her excuse isn't good enough. Another problem is the fact that she's the latest villain to get reformed - some feel that there needs to be one villain that gets to show up from time to time and not either get redeemed or killed. Still others feel it's too early to call either way and it's best to wait until Season 6 to see how they handle it.
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    • Some are fine with Starlight Glimmer becoming Twilight's pupil while others felt that honor should have gone to Sunset Shimmer, Moondancer, or Trixie.
    • Many fans feel that Starlight's Person of Mass Destruction-level power just stretches their Willing Suspension of Disbelief way too much, especially since she's just a Unicorn (and not even an Eldritch Abomination one like King Sombra) and doesn't even have the excuse of using an Amplifier Artifact/Artifact of Doom like the Alicorn Amulet or the Inspiration Manifestation to get so powerful. Other fans, however, think that it's actually quite a clever way to ultimately force Twilight to look into a nonviolent solution, and that said power will eventually get a valid explanation anyway.
  • Cry for the Devil: Starlight's Backstory of losing a friend after he earned his Cutie Mark is clearly meant to make Starlight's desire for a world where Cutie Marks couldn't come between friends more sympathetic to the audience, despite the implications in a magical world like Equestria.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: A lot of fans latch on to Nightmare Moon's timeline as being the most pleasant to live in, when this clearly wasn't the intention at all, as the episode considers it worse than the Sombra and Chrysalis timelines. Part of this is due to the fact the episode completely glosses over whatever consequences Nightmare's rule has had on Equestria and the ruthless actions we do see her commit are mild compared to what other villains did to Equestria and its citizens. Also, no one is seen openly resisting Nightmare's rule and Rarity and Rainbow Dash are shown working for her without complaint. This can make it a little too easy to overlook that in Nightmare Moon's timeline, Celestia has been banished to the moon, Nightmare herself is at best obsessed with maintaining her power and is only protecting Equestria for her own benefits, Rarity and Rainbow Dash are much meaner then they used to be, everyone is clearly scared of what Nightmare will do when Twilight and Spike simply say Celestia is the rightful ruler over her and going by the Cutie Map many locations from the original timeline are gone.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Starlight may have Twilight-level magical potential, but the only reason that she was so powerful against Twilight so suddenly was because Starlight was still siphoning extra power from the Map/Tree during her Time Travel spell.
    • And/or, her magical prowess rivals Twilight's because she trained intensely in magic ever since Sunburst left, in hopes of making it into the Canterlot School of Magic and seeing him again.
    • The universe where all of Equestria is a barren wasteland is the one where the parasprites won.
    • The universe where the Flim Flam Brothers are deforesting Equestria is them kickstarting the Industrial Revolution, with all its attendant pollution and destruction of nature.
    • Combine them together! Having deforested Ponyville, the Flim Flam Brothers expanded their logging operation to the Everfree Forest. The parasprites' natural predators became extinct due to the destruction of their habitat, causing the parasprites to reproduce out of control...
    • Or else the Wasteland Future is the result of Starlight Glimmer's "equality" victory; the Earth Ponies are no longer talented at working the land, the Pegasus Ponies are no longer talented at maintaining the weather and the unicorns no longer have the magic to right what goes wrong... In the season's opening, we saw what the result was of just a few dozens of "equalised" ponies trying to maintain a society... imagine what would happen if the whole of Equestria was just as inept...
    • Discord lost to Tirek in the Tirek timeline because he was able to talk him into helping him, then betraying him and taking his magic. Discord didn't try to take over Equestria again during the Flim-Flam brother's timeline because he thought that the changes that they were making could cause more potential chaos then he could.
    • The universe with the Flim Flam Brothers is actually the living nightmare created by the Tantabus.
    • The Wasteland Future is one where none of the villains were stopped and the resulting war on multiple fronts left no winners... or life... left on Equestria
    • Alternately, the wasteland isn't directly caused by the battles between the villains but a result of Celestia ending her people's suffering at their hands/hoofs/paws by bringing the sun down to earth.
    • Some have theorized the wasteland could have been a future where Celestia turned into Solar Flare/Daybreaker and incinerated everything.
    • The sunset of the wasteland timeline, high winds and dry air suggest a tidally locked world - no one is there to move the sun. A 2012 supercomputer-simulated weather modeling experiment showed that exactly this would happen - the hot side would top 140F just downwind of high noon equator position and the cold side would drop to -20F at midnight position. Convection from this would cause up to hurricane force winds across the world, and storms would permanently brew in the twilight ring as glaciers melt from warm air entering the night side.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • We see just enough of the many alternate timelines to get authors thinking. One potent source in particular: what was each timeline's own version of Twilight doing?
    • The way actual time alterations work in the MLP universe also has a lot of potential.
    • Outside the alternate timeline possibilities, there's the matter of Sunburst's innate magical talent, which makes him the performer counterpart to both Twilight's and Starlight's technical mastery of magic. The consequences of having such talent practically coming out of your flank demand further exploration. Not to mention how there's potential to explore his role and potential reunion.
    • What caused the lifeless world?
    • What was Tirek blasting at?
    • How were the other Arc Villains (and the Flim Flam brothers) able to be stopped?
    • Timelines for enemies and/or threats that didn't get them in the episode. (Such as the plunder vines, the Tantabus, any of the Equestria Girls villains, and Starlight Glimmer herself.)
    • What if Twilight ended up in a timeline that was positive?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the many changeling stories in the fandom, there was usually some spell to reveal a changeling being recently invented for the sake of the plot. This episode comes along, and we learn that Zebras (or at least Zecora) have developed a mud mixture for such a purpose.
    • A villainous unicorn who serves as a foil for Twilight goes through a redemption arc, becomes friends with the Mane Cast, and moves to Ponyville to learn about friendship. Now, does this describe Starlight Glimmer, or a very popular fanon depiction of Trixie? And this very similarity causes them to become friends the following season.
    • The joke in The Stinger to Friendship Games is if anything even funnier, now we know just how crazy Twilight's adventure was and could still consider meeting her counterpart more surprising, and that the two protagonists have gone through a very similar event.
    • When Twilight became an Alicorn, a minor—but still common—complaint was that the distribution of pony races in the Mane 6 was now unbalanced; one unicorn with two of each pegasi and earth ponies. Now the balance has been restored with Starlight joining the group.
    • The next season gives a hint of why Flim and Flam are depicted as more dangerous than everyone else: they're the show's first recurring villains (even including Sombra in the comics!) who actively reject an attempt to get them to do a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Starlight Glimmer initially believes that Cutie Marks are bad, having previously created a cult obsessed with removing them. Starlight's reason for doing this is because her close childhood friendship with Sunburst ended with him moving to Canterlot after he got a very special Cutie Mark in magical talents, which led to her believing Cutie Marks only ruined friendships by creating differences between each other and left Starlight being to afraid to make another genuine friendship. Starlight's cult was ruined by the Mane Six's intervention and in response she tried to permanently destroy their friendship in petty vengeance via time travel. Twilight then proves that her plans for revenge will negatively affect all of Equestria, not just them, and herself included. Starlight is so distraught by the unintended consequences of her selfish actions that she gives up her revenge completely and readily accepts whatever punishment Twilight sees fit to give her.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Starlight's Sarcastic Clapping rapidly caught on as a reaction image.
    • The fandom joke that Trixie somehow caused the barren wasteland Bad Future.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Some felt that the alternate timelines were rushed and could've been explored a a bit more, like how the villains come to power. Plus, some also thought that Starlight's Heel–Face Turn is rushed and forced, and wished she remained a villain for at least for a few more episodes.
    • Speaking of Starlight's Heel–Face Turn, a full episode involving her trying to earn forgiveness from the village she tried to brainwash in "The Cutie Map" would have been an interesting source of character development.
    • Some people also feel like her Start of Darkness was a wasted opportunity. Her reason for becoming evil is simply because her friend gets a Cutie Mark before she did and not anything capitalizing on the implications regarding Cutie Marks and the pseudo-class warfare that was demonstrated from Apple Bloom's constant victimization.
    • Twilight is known to copy spells she sees others perform so she theoretically could use Starlight's Cutie-Mark removing spell. Their stalemate battle would be a perfect excuse for Twilight to use it, both to make her easier to handle and also to make her realize how horrible it feels to lose one's cutie mark. This would provide greater empathy for her victims and thus add more to her Heel Realization. Twilight could then give it back to contrast Starlight trying to escape with Twilight's at the start of the season.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • After Twilight's Kingdom brought an epic finish to the previous season, some felt this 2-Part Finale was comparatively anti-climactic and weak end to the fifth season, with the whole 2-parter basically amounting to being a quick time travel vacation for Twilight and Spike, a big Friendship Is Magic history lesson with no spectacular twists, and none of the other Mane 6 involved. Then there's Starlight Glimmer, who is already a Base-Breaking Character herself. Not that the stakes were lower per se, but stopping a revenge-driven unicorn from altering time (for petty revenge) just by showing her the consequences of her recklessness doesn't seem to hold as much levity as battling a real wide-scale threat like Lord Tirek, Discord, or Queen Chrysalis, villains who didn't listen to reason and were willing to cause mayhem and destruction, as opposed to Starlight who... was just petty and extremely short sighted. Others also didn't care for the old "Bad guy turns good" formula that was already done quite a few times (with mixed results) before.
    • To the climax of Friendship Games, as well. While the motivations were different and had alternate risks to their dimensions, the resolutions are similar enough that have comparisons drawn between Midnight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer, where Sunset's talking down to the former was felt by the movie's fans to be more impactful and a better variation on the hero redeems their evil counterpart that's destroying time/space and joins her respective groups.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The critics of Starlight Glimmer's Heel–Face Turn found her Freudian Excuse to be underwhelming, especially since Moondancer went through the same thing without resorting to (depending on how one views Alternate Timelines) dooming Equestria multiple times over out of petty revenge, and even when confronted with this, was barely talked out of it. Even those who otherwise approved of it felt it only proved her utter selfishness, yet got her more Easily Forgiven then other villains despite her crimes being arguably worse.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Continuing from the previous episode, which had a full-blown war, this one has guerrilla camps, heroic sacrifices, timber wolves killed on-screen, lifeless after-the-end wastelands... and hardly any comedy to brighten it up. However, just like the previous episode, it doesn't go too far and still manages a TV-Y rating. So it is completely left up to your own interpretation.

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