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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?
    • In the Chrysalis timeline, when the titular villain has revealed that she has practically won by discovering and overwhelming Zecora's resistance, she offers a chance to surrender. Twilight, of all ponies actually considers her offer and tells Zecora to accept, despite knowing her track record of keeping the truth is practically nil. Was the situation so hopeless that Twilight would actually consider that offer or did her brain cells take a dive in that situation?
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  • 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.
    • 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 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.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Many were disappointed to learn Starlight Glimmer's Start of Darkness was caused by her friend Sunburst moving away to Celestia's magic school. Besides invalidating the realism, complexity, and legitimate issue raised that made Starlight well received as a villain, it also raised new issues (why didn't Starlight try to stay in contact with Sunburst or also get into the magic school given her prodigious talent?) and the same thing Apple Bloom and Moondancer went through without resorting to villainy making Starlight's quick forgiveness feel rather undeserved given how rushed the resolving of her problems were.
  • 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: Every previous arc villain (and the Flim-Flam Brothers) makes a return, each ruling their own Alternate Universe Equestria, but Nightmare Moon and Chrysalis are the only ones to get speaking parts.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some felt that this episode was rather rushed with its writing, including the alternate timelines as they could've been a bit more explored like how the villains came to power because of Starlight's interfere with time. Plus, some also thought that Starlight's Heel–Face Turn is rushed and forced, and wished she remained a villain for at least a few more episodes.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The critics of Starlight Glimmer's Heel–Face Turn found her Freudian Excuse to be too underwhelming to justify her actions, especially when compared to how Moondancer and Apple Bloom handled their similar situations without resorting to villainy, as she created a cult that forced ponies to lose their cutie marks and almost unintentionally doomed Equestria over petty revengeon the Mane Six, all started because she lost her friend once he got his cutie mark, and she was almost barely talked out of it despite Twilight showing her what her actions would cause making her look even more unsympathetic. Even those who otherwise approved of it felt it only proved her villainy was fueled by utter selfishness, yet was still Easily Forgiven despite her crimes being arguably worse than other redeemed villains since she almost ruined the lives of countless ponies in Equestria. Even until the end of the series, she is still the main representative of the show's Base Breaking Characters.
  • 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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