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YMMV / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S6 E17 "The Times They Are a Changeling"

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  • Applicability: The episode's theme can be used as a metaphor for many real world prejudices.
  • Awesome Music: "A Changeling Can Change", Spike's first solo song.note 
  • Broken Base:
    • A straight example would be Spike's musical number. Some think it was Awesome Music and a major step-up from his failure of the Cloudsdale anthem in "Equestria Games", while others thought it was cringe-worthy, largely unnecessary and some even consider it to be an Anti-Climax.
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    • Everypony's vehemence that a changeling can't be good, as well as their hostility and panic in regards to Thorax, can seem painfully excessive to some viewers, especially considering the well-known reformations of villains like Discord and especially Starlight Glimmer, who makes an appearance in the episode. On the other hand, Shining Armor and Cadance in particular have pretty good reasons to feel the way they do considering their last encounter with changelings, so other viewers argue their reactions are realistic.
    • In direct contrast, the anti-climactic ending has many viewers wondering if the ponies fully accepting Thorax (to the point that Cadance brings Flurry Heart right under his nose) after nothing but a quick song was in any way reasonable. Others feel that having both Spike "The Brave and Glorious" and Twilight "The Princess of Friendship" being willing to give Thorax a chance carried enough influence to have it make sense, especially for Cadance and Shining Armor due to their own past experience and Twilight being family.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Thorax is pretty much the changeling equivalent of Princess Ember in terms of this.
  • Epileptic Trees: Thorax's statement that he was raised by an evil Queen is an implication that there is more than one Queen in the Changeling Kingdom or at least a confirmation to the existence of Proto-Queens in the species.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Granted, friendly changelings who wanted to defect from Chrysalis was a pretty common fan idea since their introduction in season 2. But now that we have a canon one, this is ripe for exploration to how other defectors will react to finding out that one of their own managed to cross the barrier and if they have a chance to legitimately live in pony society. Thorax wanting to spread what he has learned and hoping that changelings can find alternate means to feeding on love (another common fan idea) only adds more fuel to the fire.
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    • Likewise, what exactly was Thorax doing after Chrysalis's invasion failed, before he reached the Crystal Empire?
    • Thorax also revealed that changelings are capable of transforming into non-living objects like rocks.
    • New insights in changeling culture and behavior — such as how they live in insect-like hives, hatch from eggs, and have distinct larval and adult stages — while not necessarily fanfic-worthy by themselves, are sure to provide excellent material for anyone writing changeling-based fics in the future.
  • Fourth Wall Myopia: While it's very easy to call out the ponies, especially Shining Armor, remember that only the audience and Spike is aware that Thorax is good. After what the changelings did in the Season 2 finale and how personal it was to Twilight's family, any In-Universe characters would have acted the same way.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • When one recalls "The Cutie Re-Mark", it occurs that in the Queen Chrysalis time lines, poor Thorax is either forced to watch potential friends suffer at the hooves of his fellow changelings, or even lives on the run from them. Or worse, because he never witnessed the Mane 6 and their friendship, he lives out the rest of his life never knowing there's a better way to live than under Queen Chrysalis' rule.
  • He Really Can Act: "A Changeling Can Change" being Spike's first solo song in the series, who would’ve thought that Cathy Weseluck could sing such a moving and emotional ballad so well?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This picture was made three years before the episode back in 2013.
    • There's also this picture, which has the exact same name as the episode, posted back in June 2014!
    • There's also some notable similarities to The Changeling of the Guard, first posted in March of 2014...
    • Vavacung, a prominent fanartist from Thailand, is one of the biggest changeling fans in the MLP fandom who believes in good changelings since "A Canterlot Wedding" and has a lot of fanworks portraying changelings in a good light. She finally got her wish with this Episode.
    • This video was made three years ago back in 2013 which featured changelings transforming into non-pony beings.
  • Ho Yay: The fandom immediately put on the Shipping Goggles when promos revealed that Spike's new changeling friend was a boy and when the episode came out there were a few small but noticeable moments between them that could be interpreted as "shippy". Perhaps most noteworthy, the way Spike gently touches Thorax's face during his song.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "RACISM!!", in regards to everyone's behavior to the reveal of Thorax.
    • On a lesser note and a somewhat Never Live It Down, "Shining Armor is so racist".
  • Moe: Poor little Thorax. He's so shy and awkward, and so delighted to tour the Crystal Empire and make friends.
  • Narm
    • The montage of everyone gasping at Spike calling Thorax his friend goes on a tad too long and starts to enter parody territory.
    • Spike's song is either meaningful or overly sappy and feel-y for this show.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Changelings can, in fact, turn into inanimate objects. Sleep tight. Or not; how can you trust that your bed is actually a bed?
  • Tainted by the Preview: After the trailers were released, fans started accusing this episode of being a rehash of "No Second Prances". Spike befriending a changeling to the dismay of Shining Armor and Princess Cadance has the same premise as Twilight's suspicions when Starlight Glimmer befriends Trixie. However, it's mitigated by the fact that there has been nothing since "A Canterlot Wedding" that would suggest Shining Armor and Cadance would be any less distrustful towards changelings. Twilight seemed to forgive Trixie at first in "Magic Duel", which cast her hostility in "No Second Prances" in a hypocritical light. Shining Armor and Cadance also have much more understandable reasons for distrusting Thorax — namely, the only other changelings that the royal couple have any personal experience with launched a full-scale invasion of their nation's capital, sabotaged their wedding, kidnapped Cadance, and brainwashed Shining Armor (all of which Shining Armor himself brings up during the episode).note 
  • Ugly Cute: We finally get to see what baby changelings look like, and they're actually quite adorable.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The three-dimensional animation as Spike slides through the cave.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • With the Crystal Empire under Emergency Authority due to a suspected changeling spy in their midst, the premise sounds a lot like the ethnic and religious conflicts in many parts of the world throughout modern history. Americans in particular might be tempted to see parallels to anti-Muslim rhetoric and Deep Cover Agents that have pervaded some political spheres since the beginning of The War on Terror (especially since the main reason for the hostility was due to a terrorist attack during the Season 2 finale).
    • Go back further in history and you'll find the Red Scare (before and during the Cold War), the anti-Japanese atmosphere of World War II America, the pervasive anti-German rhetoric of World War I....
  • The Woobie: Thorax, natch. It's heavily implied that he's endured All of the Other Reindeer from his own kind, and that social status doesn't exactly improve when he tries to live among Ponykind — at least not until the ending, thanks to Spike.


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