My Little Rambling #80 – A Look At “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?”
It’s time to take a look at the one-hundred-and-fourth episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” – the thirteenth episode of the show’s fifth season – involves Princess Luna’s fight to stop a magical force that drifts through ponies’ dreams to make them nightmares. She needs the help of the Mane Six to battle the force before it escapes into their own world. As always, there will be spoilers.
The episode starts off unexpectedly: the Mane Six are rushing through the Castle of the Two Sisters to face Princess Luna, who allows a mysterious force called the Tantabus to transform her back into Nightmare Moon. The Mane Six assume their Rainbow Power forms and fire multicolored beams at Nightmare in an unsuccessful attempt to stop her. Suddenly, the Tantabus escapes, upsetting Nightmare before the Mane Six fire at her again and turn her back into Luna. It’s instantly revealed to just be a dream when we see Luna suddenly wake up in her bed, horrified that her dream had a happy ending.
We then see Carousel Boutique, where a very sleepy Mane Six are holding a grooming day for their pets. They soon learn that they all shared the same nightmares about a “blue smoke monster” (except for Spike, who smugly says that he slept great.) Twilight has Spike transcribe a note to inform Luna of the strange phenomenon: seconds after it’s sent, she bursts in. Luna explains the Tantabus: a parasitic force that escaped her dreams and went to corrupt the Mane Six’s. She adds that it could escape into the real world, turning Equestria into a living nightmare. Luna has the Mane Six sleep together in the same room as she seeks the Tantabus in their dreams. After Spike agrees to stay awake to keep watch over them, the Mane Six go to sleep and Luna uses her magic to connect with all of their minds.
First the Tantabus strikes Rarity’s mind, where it turns a group of flying dresses into monsters. Luna defeats several of the dress-monsters before chasing the force into another dream, leaving Rarity to fend for herself. Next is Pinkie Pie’s mind, where her rapidly switching ideas lead to a room where the Tantabus turns cakes into monsters. Luna quickly defeats them and heads to the next dream, where Fluttershy is being brushed by a giant version of her bunny Angel. It quickly turns evil, so Luna puts Fluttershy on top of a tree before heading into Applejack’s dream. Luna chases the Tantabus into a giant rotted apple to encounter Rainbow Dash in her “favorite” dream of fighting changelings. While a bunch of cutesy sunflowers torment Rainbow, Luna enters Twilight’s dream where flying books turn into bat-like creatures. Luna encases the Tantabus in crystal, but it breaks out and the Mane Six all suddenly wake up.
Luna tells the Mane Six that she failed to catch the Tantabus, which will continue to haunt the ponies’ dreams until it’s powerful enough to escape into the real world. She assures them that it will remain confined as long as the ponies don’t dream of other ponies: Pinkie then informs her that she dreamed of sharing an ice cream cone with all of Ponyville. This means that the Tantabus can now affect the entire town, worrying Luna about the growing power it’s obtaining. Twilight suggests that all ponies share the same dream, so Luna decides to take on the monumental task of making all of Ponyville united in one dream. She successfully links everypony together in one dream, and after explaining her situation, she tries to fight the Tantabus with her magic. Since Luna is already putting forth so much effort to hold the dream together, she needs the Mane Six to help her.
After the Mane Six fight a house-monster created by the Tantabus, they see it attempt to slice its way out of the dream to enter the real world. Thankfully, Twilight stops it with her magic and Luna seals up the tear. The Mane Six tell the Ponyville residents that they need their help by utilizing their dream abilities, so they join in the fight. For example, a beefed-up Spike rides a giant meowing Derpy to cut the Tantabus, Filthy Rich attacks it with flying gold coins and Scootaloo grows giant wings to blow it out of its escape-hole. Rainbow Dash tries to finish it off by transforming into her Power Pony form Zapp and creating a whirlwind, but the Tantabus escapes. For the next attack, Twilight regenerates the Golden Oaks Library to send out book-bats; Applejack becomes Mistress Mare-velous and lassoes the Tantabus; Rarity stitches up the escape-hole and Fluttershy commands monster-Angel to fight. Unfortunately, this fails again when Luna utters a self-loathing remark that causes the Tantabus to get even bigger.
Twilight suggests that the Tantabus is feeding off Luna’s guilt. Luna explains that she created that force to give herself the same nightmare every night as punishment for her misdeeds as Nightmare Moon. She did this so she could never forgive herself for what she did, but as it turns out, it only creates more suffering by creating a giant Luna-shaped Tantabus about to enter the real world. Zapp (Rainbow Dash) suggests that Luna stops feeling bad about herself, which she doesn’t know how to do. However, Twilight tells Luna that since she’s doing a great thing now, she’s now better than her old self. When Luna trusts the Mane Six to believe in her, the Tantabus shrinks and gets absorbed back into Luna’s moon emblem. After Luna thanks the Mane Six, it’s morning in the real world and Twilight wakes up, waking the rest of the Mane Six to tell them that Luna was successful in defeating the Tantabus. Fluttershy shushes them when she sees Luna on the floor, sleeping and having a peaceful dream of sleeping in a fantasy world.
I thought that “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” was a great and highly creative episode that provided an important lesson in the end. It provided a dramatic insight into Princess Luna inner conflict, with the Tantabus (and its ability to feed off guilt) being a powerful metaphor for what happens when we don’t know when and how to properly eject guilt and replace it with trust. Hopefully this development will help Luna function better by not only trusting in herself, but her Mane Six friends. Plus, as I’d expect in a dream-themed episode, there was lots of surreal fun in each pony’s mind and, eventually, all of Ponyville. Overall, it was a great episode to mark the half-way point of Season Five, with the other half to begin airing on an unknown date (yikes) later this year. Here’s an episode review that I agree with:
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