S2E10 – Secret of My Excess

Written by M. A. Larson
Fan Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Another episode getting much love from all around the fandom.  It can be hard to remember looking around on the internet and seeing nothing but whining about something or the other, but the reason we keep watching this show is because it’s really really good.  This one, in my opinion, will go down as one of the shiner gems in the collection.

This episode is brought to us by Mitch Larson, the writer of both times Rainbow Dash did her little Rainboom thing, the one with the flying Tribbles, the one where Star Trek’s Q tears up the furniture, and the one where Luna made my fanfic canon.  So it should come as no surprise that this episode features awesome, monsters, destruction, and the girls playing off each other in that way they do.  So let’s dive right into the one where Spike steals your stuff.

Our episode starts off with Twilight in SERIOUS BUSINESS mode which, if you’ve been paying attention, means she’s about to do something rather mundane/nerdy.  True to form, she begins reshelving the library.  She puts aside the thrilling title “The Art of the To-Do List” to read (again) when she is distracted by Spike’s giggling, causing her to drop everything.  Twilight demands an explanation for this youthful glee and Spike provides.

As it turns out, next week is Spike’s birthday and he’s got a special snack, a fire ruby.  He goes on to say he’s been aging it for months and now it’s almost ripe, he demonstrates with a tuning fork before having another gleeful laugh at the prospect of gnashing on the precious stone.  Spike slips on one of the dropped books and finally notices the library books tossed about; he approves of her taking is organizational advice.  And there’s the opening credits.

We come back to Rarity visiting the library in search of a book on historical fashion and instead spots Spike polishing his ruby.  Rarity promptly flips out and begins drooling over the thing even harder than Spike.  Spike agrees in her assesment in the ruby’s beauty and adds that it’s delicious.  Rarity is shocked and heartbroken to learn that this fabulous once in a lifetime find of a treasure is going to wind up dinner.  She hides it poorly.

Rarity starts talking about her latest fashion design plans but ends up drifting back to Spike.  She tells the little dragon that she sincerly hopes he enjoys eating this ruby which is the most beautiful thing she’s seen in her life and she certainly doesn’t stand around pouting.  Spike takes the hint that Rarity is full of want and, deciding that giving the pony that he secretly has a crush on a present would be better than a hardy meal, declares that she should have it.  She responds by prancing joyfully around the room and favors her little Spikey-Wikey with a smooch on da cheek.  Twilight compliments Spike on his big pimpin’ skills and he declares his cheek is now a historical landmark.

Fade to next week and Twilight is decorating up the library for Spike’s birthday party, including making sure the ladle is just right in the punch bowl, and Spike declares that everything looks perfect.  Twilight points out the filthy mess his cheek has somehow become in the week following his fateful encounter with Rarity’s lips.  What follows in a nice bit of zany antics as he tries to run off only for her to repeatedly teleport him back to her.  The “chase” comes to an end when somehow Pinkie pops out of Twilight’s teleportation and wishes Spike a happy birthday.  Taking advantage of Spike’s shock, Twilight quickly wipes the dragon’s filthy filthy cheek.

The party begins in earnest and Spike is utterly stunned to see that he’s actually getting gifts on his birthday.  Apparently, up until now, he’s only ever gotten one gift from Twilight each year and that was a book (a tradition she intends to continue).  On the subject of presents, Rarity declares that she’s planning on giving a cape to each of her friends as part of her new fashion line, all inspired by Spike’s generous gift to her and nuzzles the little dragon.

The party in full swing, Spike is giving his heartfelt thanks to the girls for his fine gifts and that he wishes the party could last forever.  Pinkie points out that of course it can’t last forever because he has to go to Sugar Cube Corner because Mr and Mrs Cake have made him a special surprise for him because it’s his birthday!  Spike dashes for the door and Pinkie calls out in protest that she didn’t mean for him to end the party now.

At Sugar Cube Corner, the Cake’s unveil their special surprise for Spike, a sapphire encrusted cupcake.  Spike thanks the pair and sets out on his merry way.  His merry way just happens to intersect with Cheerilee’s merry way and the pair collide.  He apologizes for crashing into the teacher pony and explains that he’s all excited because it’s his birthday.  Cheerilee gifts him a stylin’ hat from the depths of her grocery bag (!?) for his achievment of still being alive.

Spike is wandering across town as the depths of his new found powers of “getting free stuff on his birthday” sinks in to his little dragon mind.  He decides that this must be put to the test; spying a young colt playing with a ball, Spike casually let’s slip that it’s his birthday and that sure is a nice ball you got there.  Cackling wickedly with his shiny new ball, he goes looking for more marks, I mean friends, to hit up for stuff.  Twilight catches him badgering a lady in the streets and scolds him.  Spike realizes the error of his ways and resolves to return his ill gotten goods and everyone learns a valuable lesson.

Or not.

The next morning Twilight goes to wake Spike only to find him under a hoard of junk he apparently swindled out of folks or outright stole.  Oh and he’s more than twice his usual size and generally looking like a gangly teenager.  As the pair freak out trying to find the cause of this sudden growth spurt, Spike is distracted by all this stuff that he notices isn’t yet his.  Twilight is not sure which is more unsettling, his new appearance or his grabby nature.

To discover the secret of this strange change in Spike, Twilight takes him to a doctor.  The doctor’s diagnosis, he’s a dragon, come back with a baby pony.  Moving on down, she goes a vet who’s diagnosis is he’s a dragon, come back with a puppy.  Finally she goes to the only other character who ever knows anything, Zecora.  Zecora’s diagnosis, he’s a dragon and that they have an ability tied into their natural greed to grow along with their hoard which increases their greed.  In other words, the bigger the haul, the bigger the Spike.  Cue him stealing everything not nailed down while they’re talking and running off.

Twilight takes off in hot pursuit and finds the not so little dragon try to wrestle away Scootaloo’s only known worlds possesion, her scooter.  Acting quickly, Twilight lures the greedy beast with a shiny new broom while he continues growing.  Twilight traps him the library and resolves that she won’t let him out until he stops being a greedy jerk.  That doesn’t work.

At Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack has found that some malicious character has stolen all her apples and the leaves from the trees.  Twilight runs up spouting some nonsense that cute little Spike is the wicked evil thief and enlists her aid in capturing the mad beast.  Applejack laughs at this rediculous claim.  Then Spike runs by with her apples and leaves in his greedy claws.  They get her rope.

Trying to rope Spike doesn’t go so well, as Rainbow Dash politely observes.  Rainbow is distracted from her mockery by the sound of Fluttershy shrieking and they all rush to the rescue.  Poor Fluttershy has gotten herself up in a tree because a big scary dragon stole her chicken coop, oh how awful!  No time for sorrows though, now Pinkie’s getting her scream on!

At Sugar Cube Corner Pinkie is fending off the dragon with a full on cake assault.  This grand plan hits a slight bump when he just snatches the cakes out of the air and adds them to his hoard causing him to grow.  Spike then grows to an even larger size and steals eight cakes with one one hand.  That’s as many as four two’s.  And that’s terrible.  Also he destroy’s Sugar Cube Corner and sends Pinkie’s bedroom flying over the horizon.  Let’s presume that Gummy and the Cake’s were elsewhere.

The air raid sirens blare and citizens are panicking in the streets as the great and terrible lizard stomps across town, roaring.  Well, now that Spike’s gone full Godzilla, time to add in a little King Kong as he spies that lovely Rarity in her boutique and adds her to his collection.  Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash try to negotiate for Rarity release; said negotiations consist of Fluttershy asking if he would please, maybe, you know, let her go, if that’s okay while Rainbow Dash makes threats of violence.  Unimpressed, he ties both of them up in Rarity’s cape and lets em fall in a stream.  Rarity is HORRIFIED, her cape is ruined.

BUT THERE’S NO NEED TO FEAR, THE WONDERBOLTS ARE HERE!  The trio of fancy flyers start dive bombing Spike and succeed in driving him out of town.  The trio are somewhat less successful at getting him down from a mountain as he captures them in the remains of a water tower.  Ah well, A for effort ladies.

Spike roars his triumph but is interrupted by Rarity’s condemnations.  Rarity lists the dragons many crimes, but says she can let all that slide, what with him being a dragon and all.  But, she says as she pulls off her ruined cape, a crime against fashion is just too much to forgive.  This succeeds in one thing, getting his attention on that purty fire ruby.

Rarity notices his attentions and declares that he will not be taking that as it was a gift from Spikey-wikey and it’s far too precious to her.  This awakens feelings from deep within the beast’s heart.  We are treated to a Spike-o-vision reremembering of his giving that ruby to Rarity, complete with first person kiss to the cheek.  That sound you just heard was all the Rarity fans jamming their face against their TV.  Anyway, this totally reawakens Spike’s sweet nature and causes him to revert to normal.

There’s a bit of a double edged sword to Spike coming back to normal.  On the one hand, Spike-wikey is back and won’t be stealing anyone’s stuff or destroying the town.  On the other hand, he and and Rarity are now falling to their death.  Fluttershy and Dash are flying to the rescue, but Spike decides that now would probably be the best time to unburden his soul to Rarity about his feelings.  She silences him and gives Spike a tearful smile.

The pair is rescued from out of the air by our two flyers using Rarity’s ruined cape.  By coincidence, the Wonderbolts also get loose and quickly depart before they make themselves look worse.  Back on the ground, Spike is feeling pretty bad about what he’s done.  Rarity comes up and tells him how proud she is of him for overcoming… um, himself.  She calls him her hero and favors him with another mwah.

Dear Princess Celestia, today Spike learned that it feels a lot better to give than receive.  Also the girls get capes!  The End!  Let’s just assume Twilight has a “Put Ponyville Back Together” spell.

This was a very awesome little episode that gave us grand action, cool set pieces, some pony fashion, and our first creature feature since Discord!  Last season by episode 10 we’d had a manitcore, a river serpent, a big ol’ dragon, a sexy griffon, a giant space bear, and a bunch of hungry flying mouths; this season’s been a little sparse in comparison.  Still, grown up Spike had a pretty cool design and I enjoyed the iguana kinda way he moved on his path of mindless destruction.  There’s actually been more than a little debate over his lack of wings, but oh well.  Who says all dragons need to have wings anyway?

The other big point of contention in this episode is, of course, Rarity.  Some folks are accusing her of swindling Spike out of his birthday dinner which he had spent months preparing.  The way I see it, she saw something and she wanted it, that’s normal.  Another thing to keep in mind is that to Spike gems are a delicious food while they are artistic inspiration for Rarity.  That said, she did pretty much stand over him pouting.  So yeah.  While this wasn’t, ya know, a good thing for her to do, it’s not that bad.  He most certainly enjoyed the kiss he got much more than a snack and Rarity really DID appreciate the ruby and Spike for his thoughtfulness.

This actually bring up the other BIG thing that folks are talking about and that’s Rarity/Spike OTP shipping.  Yup, he’s had a crush on Rarity since he laid eyes on her, but this is the first episode to do anything with that.  She kisses him twice and talks about how wonderful he is and when he’s confessing his wub she gets all teary.  Some folks are calling this the start of a proper romance, but I think that’s really unlikely, what with him being a baby dragon and her being a young adult pony.  I think it shows more that she’s aware of his feelings and appreciates them and, being Rarity, why wouldn’t she appreciate someone fawning over her and doing stuff for her?  That was a bit of a joke, but I seriously think we’ll see a memorial for the ponies killed in Spike’s rampage before we see an actual romance among the main characters.

Speaking of the mains interacting, that was one of the big highlights for me this week.  Twilight acts very motherly or big sisterly towards Spike, such as when she scolds him in the street and takes him to the doctor.  The girls get in some good moments too like Rainbow Dash kinda forcing Fluttershy along on the the rescue missions or when Applejack respectfully drags the distraught Pinkie out of the remains of Sugar Cube Corner.

But enough of all that dumb character stuff, we got background ponies to look at.  As we all know, they are the true stars of the show.  The named ones that get attention this week are Cheerilee with her fond birthday wishes for Spike and grocery bag full of pimp hat, and Mr and Mrs Cake with their strange birthday concoction. In addition to giving each other ever loving looks, this episode actually makes the first time we see Mr Cake from the front.  We have a couple of new one’s get some prominence with June Bug, a somewhat timid girl with a fondness for flowers, and Lickety Split, a boy who likes his ice cream and his ball.  On top of that we get two unnamed physicians, a doctor who makes me think fanon will be calling him Twist’s father, and a plucky vet with a cute pony tail, er, two of them.  We also got a lot of our beloved unnamed ponies running around and nearly being killed by Spike, let’s give em’ a big hand folks.

The Wonderbolts also get a nice little feature here playing the role of attack planes to Spike’s King Kong.  We get to see the one who looks like the g1 pony and proto-Pinkie Pie, Surprise, one that looks like a muted colour Spitfire, and a new curly haired one.  They come off pretty cool at first, driving Spike out of town and giving his spines a good trimming, but then they get ole’d and sealed up like a bunch of bees in a jar.  They get one last amusing moment where the water tower falls off the mountain and we see them shivering in fear only to quickly compose themselves into heroic poses and take off.  I’m going to go ahead and call these the “B” squad.  These are the guys they’d send in first to zombie filled mansion so that Spitfire and Soaren can find their bodies later.

For me though, the real show stealers are that much beloved pair, Lyra and Bon-Bon.  They show up for maybe seven seconds in the background after Spike gets his hat.  Bon-Bon’s making eyes at Lyra, the kinda eyes you usually find in screencaps of them mid blink to give them a “romantic” look.  They start to lean in and “HEY GUYS WHAT’S GOING ON HERE” Derpy pops out of the well and in between them.  In other words, the three, by all appearances, did an interrupted kiss gag.  I’m not saying there’s going to be a wedding episode or anything, but someone, somewhere on the line of production decided to make a shout out to a pairing of lesbian horses.  If I find that person, I’m buying them a drink.

This weekend, we got us a Christmas Holiday Hearthwarming Special.  I’ll try to be faster on the write up because it sounds like we’re going to find out for reals-ies how Equestria was made and that’s sure to shake a few fan hornet’s nests.

  • InfinityDash

    Nice review! Though it took me almost as long to read as watching the actual episode! :D I think this may be my favorite episode this season. It was fun and hilarious, and, well all the stuff you mentioned in the review.

    I also loved the WTFness of Cheerilee pulling that pimp hat out of her bag. Cheerilee, despite being a teacher, might not exactly be the best role model :P

    And I loved the Derpy cameo as well. My reaction upon rewatching that scene was "oh my god, Lyra and Bon-Bon – are they — Nope! It's just Derpy!"

  • Chip Unicorn

    I'm sure that Cheerilee, like many teachers, has a life that she Does Not, Under No Circumstances, No Way No How tell her students about.

    (That's what I've found from too many teachers…)

  • Anonymous

    I didn't think "pimp hat" until all the fan art started flooding in…

    All I thought was: "Oh cool, a fedora. I think my sister has one that looks like that…" XD

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I've gotten into the habit of not wanting to ever know what a teacher's private life is… case in point: Butterscotch sundae

  • Anonymous

    Pacce, you and your many mustaches have once again made my day.

  • Luna-tic Scientist

    Excellent review, great fun to read.

  • Anonymous

    Did nobody else notice that all the stuff Spike supposedly suckered people in to giving him was already at his birthday party BEFORE he left and started asking people for stuff? I thought it was strange all sorts of random items were laying around at the party like a tennis racket and kitchen sink, and Twilight Sparkle didn't notice all that stuff laying around until the next day? Very sloppy.

  • Anonymous

    If MA Larson leaves the show's fucked, plain and simple. Of the remaining writers he's the only one who consistently puts out grade A stuff.

  • Pacce

    I disagree Anon above me. I think there's plenty of room for new writers, they just have to care about the characters and have an amusing idea. Still, I do agree at Larson delivering the goods time and again.