MLP:FiM Episode Reviews: Character and Story Analysis by Half the Battle

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Episode 138: "Every Little Thing She Does"

Aired 9/24/2016, written by Mike Vogel (his seventh episode)
Quick Take: Hooray for the early 80s shout-out in the title. Starlight has two problems here. First, still traumatized by childhood rejection (which I'm convinced must have involved more than just Sunburst's departure), she's terrified that failure at a mundane task will lead to rejection by her new friends. She's relied so heavily on magic that she doesn't know how to do anything without it. Second, having been a literal cult leader, she has no qualms about just making ponies do things; for her, that's what being in charge means. With access to compulsion spells, who wouldn't be tempted? (Note that we see both problems hinted at when Starlight tries to make frineds in No Second Prances.) Starlight is becoming more willing to confess her problems to Twilight, but only partially. This is all just marvelous character work, and it serves to create a hilariously distrubing mind-control sequence in the second act, complete with a telling nod to The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The episode's strongest point for me is the ending, as Twilight confronts Starlight with unusual (but necesssary) harshness, and as the friends initially resist Starlight's attempt to reconcile. It IS a pretty good apology, but she and we the audience need to hear it expressed just how hurtful and wrong Starlight's spell was. I like that Dash, who's often portrayed as the least friendly of the bunch, is first to acknowledge Starlight's penitence. Everything about this episode is masterfully done, and the conflict reminds us that Starlight's reform lies not so much in her being good as in her desire to be good, and that she still has a lot to learn. I rank this just above Lesson Zero, with which this story has parallels along with important differences.

Every Little Thing She Does armor rating: Crystal Armor
Ranked 6th of 26 season-six episodes
Ranked 24th of 147 stories overall

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