there would need to be some major changes (i.e. the ending) but i think it could work really really well

anonymous asked:

I saw your post about what Jamie telling LJG about the treasure not being true. I'm reading Voyager right now and don't mind at all being a little spoiled. In fact, I love when you explain passages in the book, so would you mind telling what Jamie told LJG vs. what really happened (about/with) the treasure. I know it's the gold/jewels from seeing on another blog. Thanks Lenny!

Hi there Anon and sorry for the delay (it took longer than I intended to put this post together).

This is possibly my favorite aspect of the French Gold plot as it appears in Voyager. LJG specifically starts trying to befriend Jamie in order to find a way to use him to discover where the French Gold has been hidden and when it comes down to it, Jamie lies about what he did with the treasure when he found it––though we don’t discover the full truth about it until a little later in the book.

I’m going to throw this all below a cut not so much for Voyager spoilers as for length.

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What should I do about Youtube?

My Google Youtube rep contacted me the other day. They were nice and took time to explain everything clearly to me, but the message was firm: I have to decide. I need to sign on to the new Youtube music services agreement or I will have my Youtube channel blocked.

This new music service agreement covers my Content ID account and it includes mandatory participation in Youtube’s new subscription streaming service, called Music Key, along with all that participation entails. Here are some of the terms I have problems with:

1) All of my catalog must be included in both the free and premium music service. Even if I don’t deliver all my music, because I’m a music partner, anything that a 3rd party uploads with my info in the description will be automatically included in the music service too.

2) All songs will be set to “montetize”, meaning there will be ads on them.

3) I will be required to release new music on Youtube at the same time I release it anywhere else. So no more releasing to my core fans first on Bandcamp and then on iTunes.

4) All my catalog must be uploaded at high resolution, according to Google’s standard which is currently 320 kbps.

5) The contract lasts for 5 years.

I can’t think of another streaming service that makes such demands. And if I don’t sign? My Youtube channel will be blocked and I will no longer be able to monetize (how I hate that word) 3rd party videos through Content ID.

I told the rep I’m happy with Content ID as it is. Can’t I just continue to participate in Content ID and not be a part of Music Key?

No. The rep said they can’t have music in the free version that is not in the paid version, it would be bad for their users. All music content has to be licensed under this new agreement.

How many 3rd party videos are there? As of today there are 9,696 videos and last month those videos had 250,000 (*1) monthly views. The Content ID robot sucks up more videos every day.

I got started with Content ID a couple of years ago when someone from Youtube reached out to me and I was offered a content management account to “claim” the soundtracks of these videos. The videos are dance performances, documentaries, amateur films, slideshows, animations, art projects, soundtracks to people doing things like skiing, miming, calligraphy or just playing video games. I love the variety of them all. Who knew there could be so many different ways to dance to my music? The video with the most views (1 million) is a demo reel by the Game of Thrones post production team.

In the majority of these videos the creator was really supposed to obtain a sync license from me but I think a lot of people don’t know. It’s daunting and cumbersome and confusing when all you want to do is add music to slides of your art portfolio. I have a licensing agent who handles the big stuff but there is not enough money in these usages for him and I wouldn’t have time to manage all the requests. Content ID feels like an awkward work around (the language the video uploaders see can be very alarming to them), but it solves a problem.

Here’s how it works: I upload my music and the Content ID robot identifies matches. I never block anyone’s videos or stop them from using the music except for special cases, like videos from hate groups or unauthorized product advertisements. Once Content ID finds a video with my music in it I can decide if I want to just track the video, or “monetize” it, i.e. put Dorito ads on it. That doesn’t always seem appropriate but if I do decide to monetize a video, or if the uploader already had ads on it, Google gives the majority of the ad revenue to them and about a third to me for the soundtrack. It really doesn’t pay very much but it does put “Zoe Keating” and a song title in the description of every video…in other words, credit.

One thing I don’t have on Youtube is music videos I’ve made myself. I don’t have a good explanation for why I’ve never made a music video but as I started work on my new album in 2013 I made a few quick videos about my life for my fans, meaning to make that a regular occurrence. I also thought I’d make a couple music videos to go with the new album.

But then my life changed. My husband Jeff was mysteriously and increasingly ill until in May 2014, he was diagnosed with stage IV non-smokers lung cancer. For most of last year I cared for him and our son and was unable to work much, let alone tour. Making videos was the last thing on my mind. When Jeff’s health stabilized in the fall I started working as a TV composer (for a show called “The Returned”, it airs on A&E on March 9). Working on the show has offered a much-needed creative outlet, steady pay and allowed me to stay close to home (his health is still fragile and we’re living in the moment but I am going to try to get that album out this year).

Anyway, a year ago my Youtube rep let me know there was a new music service coming and she sent along a new agreement. I read it and raised my concerns and asked if I could return the contract with those particular terms struck out. Alas no but the product folks seemed genuinely curious about my concerns and I had a phone meeting with them. The meeting was similar to one I had with DA Wallach of Spotify a couple years ago. Similar in that I got the sense that no matter how I explained my hands-on fan-supported anti-corporate niche thing, I was an alien to them. I don’t think they understood me at all.

The catalog commitment is the biggest issue for me. All these years I’ve yet to participate fully in any streaming service although I’ve chosen to give a handful of recordings to a few of them. If anyone wants more and they balk at paying for it, they can always stream all my music for free on Bandcamp(*2) or Soundcloud or they can torrent it (I uploaded my music to Pirate Bay myself many years ago). I’ve heard all the arguments about why artists should make all their music available for streaming in every possible service. I also know the ecosystem of music delivery made a shift away from downloading last year. Streaming is no longer advertising for something else, it is the end product. It’s convenient. Convenience is king. Yup, got all that, thanks.

This is the important part: it is my decision to make.

Is such control too much for an artist to ask for in 2015? It’s one thing for individuals to upload all my music for free listening (it doesn’t bother me). It’s another thing entirely for a major corporation to force me to. I was encouraged to participate and now, after I’m invested, I’m being pressured into something I don’t want to do.

I re-evaluate and change my mind all the time and I might decide to put everything everywhere at some point. But I want to decide what to do when. That is a major reason why I decided in 2005 to self-publish rather than chase after a record deal. I am independent because I didn’t want a bunch of men in suits deciding how I should release my music (*3). For 10 years I have managed to bushwhack a circuitous path around them but now I’ve got to find a away around the men in hoodies and crocs (I’m sorry, that was low, but that story was so funny).

The Youtube music service was introduced to me as a win win and they don’t understand why I don’t see it that way. “We are trying to create a new revenue stream on top of the platform that exists today.” A lot of people in the music industry talk about Google as evil. I don’t think they are evil. I think they, like other tech companies, are just idealistic in a way that works best for them. I think this because I used to be one of them (*4). The people who work at Google, Facebook, etc can’t imagine how everything they make is not, like, totally awesome. If it’s not awesome for you it’s because you just don’t understand it yet and you’ll come around. They can’t imagine scenarios outside their reality and that is how they inadvertently unleash things like the algorithmic cruelty of Facebook’s yearly review (which showed me a picture I had posted after a doctor told me my husband had 6-8 weeks to live).

I’ve been invited to play at Google twice. I went to the World Economic Forum in Davos last year and bumped into Eric Schmidt (not a croc-wearer) in the crowded halls. I was introduced to him a few months later at Google Zeitgeist (where I performed before a talk by Bill Clinton) but I doubt he has any recollection of me. So I might be well-connected but in the end I am a nobody.

What should I do? As much as it makes me grind my teeth, does having all my music forced onto Youtube’s music service really just not matter all that much? Should I just close my eyes and think of England?

Maybe after writing this blog Google will make the choice for me. They will block my channel and I will have to decide whether to block those 9,696 videos….and anger 9,696 fans. The usual people will talk about it for a day or two (*5) and then it and I will be forgotten.

Anyone starting up a new video service?

Footnotes:

(*1) I know it is not the same thing but it’s interesting that my monthly number of Pandora spins is also about 250,000. I’m allowed to talk about how much that pays, about $324 (sound recording + artist payment combined). It’s a violation of my agreement to say how much a comparable number of Youtube plays pays.

(*2) Here is something weird. Until yesterday a search for “Zoe Keating” would yield a Google Knowledge Graph box on the right with all my info, including links to listen to my music. It always bugged me that those links were only to Google Play, Rhapsody and Spotify, all services which have hardly any of my music in them. If the metadata about me is really pure, why not link to the only services that actually have all my music? i.e. Bandcamp, SoundCloud and iTunes? I know the links were there yesterday because I searched to get the list for this blog. As of today, there are no music links whatsoever. Ideas?

(*3) Real things said to me by men in suits in 2004: “This could have potential if it had vocals.” “I don’t see a market for this”. “We need a sexy photo of you naked with your cello on top of you.”

(*4) I came of age in San Francisco working at a software startup during the dot com boom. The cyberpunks and the geeks were my friends. We worked together, we lived together, we raved together. Yes, a lot of what motivated us was the golden handcuffs (i.e. a salary of stock options only good in a future IPO) but I remember being motivated by the idea of technology changing the world for the better. Sometimes it felt like we were revolutionaries. Unfortunately a lot of those ideals, if they still exist, have become…corrupted is too strong a word….subsumed. The revolution has been corporatized.

(*5) Now commence the usual commentary about stupid artists and their entitled attitudes ;-)

UPDATE: 24 Jan

I’ve been in the midst of a medical crisis. It’s been horrible, an MRI found 25+ new mets in my husbands brain yesterday. It’s the first time the cancer has grown since it was discovered last year and we need a new plan.

I didn’t realize until late last night how widespread my blog went. Some people are saying that surely I must have misinterpreted what Google said to me. I based what I wrote off the transcript of our conversation ( after 9 months of dealing with the health insurance company I’ve gotten good at taking transcripts).

The rep said Google would “have to block my channel” if I didn’t sign the new music services agreement. They went on to say that if didn’t sign the agreement and wanted to keep my videos up I would have to unlink my channel so that it is not connected to the music agreement and then make a new channel under their regular non-music partner terms. In other words if I wanted to upload my own videos to youtube i would have to create a new account so my own music could be treated not like a partner account but like 3rd party videos (who would get the soundtrack share of the revenue I wonder?)

“the music terms are outdated and the content that you uploaded will be blocked. But anything that we can scan and match from other users will be matched in content ID and you can track it but won’t be able to participate in revenue sharing.”

"All music content has to be licensed under this new agreement. We can’t have music in the free version that is not in the paid version”

I had them explain it again to be sure.

“Wow, that’s a bit harsh,” I said.

“Yeah, I know,“ they said.

Complete Bryke Live Q&A

Ok, my question is, is there anything Avatar related happening after Korra ends? I know this probably won’t be asked because of contractual obligations, but is there anything after Korra at all? Comics, new avatar, video games, it doesn’t matter. I don’t expect Bryke to say anything specifically, but a simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice for me. I can’t believe this is happening! It is so awesome that I get to, maybe, ask Bryke a question!

Bryan: OK, here goes nothing! There are more ATLA comics in the works with Gene Yang writing, Gurihiru illustrating, and Dark Horse publishing. There are also the third and fourth Korra art books coming out. There may be some other little things, some products here and there, but other than that, nothing major in the works, and there probably won’t be for a long time. We’re moving on to other projects. But we thank you for your continued interest and enthusiasm in ATLA/LOK!


Is combustion bending genetic, or can the ability be learned by any fire bender?

Mike: It’s a pretty rare ability. I don’t think most Firebenders could learn it. Plus training is pretty dangerous! 


Will we learn anything else about Zuko’s daughter before LoK ends? Like her name or who the mother is?

Mike: You will get to meet her briefly in an upcoming episode. Her name is Firelord Izumi. Mother ????

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All right, so let's talk about Hans! (And Elsa & Anna by extension.)

luciferofthesouthpole had a pretty interesting post about Hans, and I said I’d join in, so here goes!

Meta is one of my favorite things, but I’m not sure how meta this post will get. I just really have to talk about Hans from Frozen.

I feel the need to clarify right now that I’m not an expert on films nor am I a film major. This post is coming from someone who mostly analyzes literature (creative writing & memoir); my free time is mostly spent on writing. ;)

I also want to get this outta the way: I don’t really ship Hans with anyone. I just want to talk about him as a character, because I think he’s really interesting!

So, I really liked how Hans was introduced; he’s a stranger to Anna and to us, but he’s actually really cute and charming. We can assume he didn’t hit Anna with his horse on purpose, and that he didn’t recognize her on sight. He falls all over himself to apologize when she introduces herself, too. And his horse is a sweetie.

(More under the cut.)

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“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

Right, so I’ve been up in total Harry Potter land all weekend, which you can blame for the title. Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about how this whole 5A arc is going to end (aside from us drowned in a flood of our own tears, because that is a given) and what it means for us. So, gird yourselves.

  • First, we know that the Merlin/Nimue and Killian/Emma parallels are coming. We also know that the reason Merlin got turned into a tree is because he wasn’t willing to kill whatever was left of his love (Nimue) to end the darkness. Red flag number #1. Second, we’ve known all along that Emma is going to have to save herself, that she’ll have to pay a price for being the DO, and that she (or at least so we strongly suspect) gave into it fully in the first place to save Killian’s life. I.e. she’s trying to get what she wants, and avoid paying the price, with dark magic, even telling herself it’s for the sake of someone she loves. This is never going to work. Ruh-roh.
  • I can’t remember who it was ( @mediumsizedfountain maybe?) who made a post recently about thinking there was going to be a “Buffy kills Angel” moment at the end of 5A, but, although I admittedly have not watched BtVS, I’m starting to think this is what happens. Remember, Emma is both Nimue (the Dark One/the last Dark One in parallel to the first) AND Merlin (the savior, the ultimate light magic, the most powerful force for good). She is going to have to fulfill BOTH their expectations and succeed where BOTH of them failed. This means destroying the darkness by making a conscious choice to reject it in herself…. and, welp, killing the person she loves to pay the ultimate price for it. She has to be both villain and hero. And in this framework, if Killian takes on some of the darkness for her (after all that talk about sharing the burden, and our thought that he might be LITERALLY sharing it) killing him would destroy the darkness permanently as well and save Emma. He will almost certainly willingly offer up his life (again, can we take a moment to appreciate that he’s been trying to kill the Dark One, and not die himself, for 300 years, and now he’s potentially willing to become the DO AND die for the sake of saving Emma. Ouch) and hence, Killian will ALSO be the villain and the hero. Their names are both on Excalibur. They are both villain and hero. They are both Merlin and Nimue. Their love has to succeed where the other one failed, and allowed the darkness to continue to exist for centuries.
  • So we’re in, IMHO, for a rough 5x11. Epic and incredibly romantic and setting up for many, many good things… but “buy an extra blanket, three bottles of wine, two bars of chocolate, and watch it alone with a box of tissues” rough. Emma is going to be saved and destroy the darkness, but she will have to kill Killian (a willing sacrifice) for it, with the idea of then saving him from the underworld in 5B, because of course she will.

WHICH LEADS ME TO:

  • For BOTH Snowing and RB, their wedding was directly preceded by a “defeating death” moment. For Snowing it was the sleeping curse; for RB it was Rumple’s actual death followed by resurrection (and HMMM, he sacrificed himself for the town in 3x11 and married Belle in 3x22. My opinions on RB are well known, but that is a fact). The point is, TL/major couples ALWAYS have to defeat death in some way before they can get married: hence the title of this post, “the last enemy that will be defeated is death.” I’m not interested in whether you personally think CS should get married this season or at all; the pattern stands (and they ARE going to eventually). Neither Snowing nor RB’s stories ended because they got married, so why would CS’? They have the most time spent on their defeating death arc because Emma is the main character of the show and they’re the central couple, but the fact is, that is what follows this plot progression: a wedding.
  • Think of it this way. We already saw CS being an adorable couple in s4. Now they’re going to have both died for each other in some way, defeated the darkness, overcome hell itself, and you’re telling me that they’re just going to…. continue being an adorable couple? That will be their reward and their development for going through all this? When Emma was so hesitant to tell Killian she loved him in case it changed something? Well, now EVERYTHING has changed, and once she gets him back and they’re safe and together and the underworld has been defeated, why are they going to waste another moment apart? Yes, we could (and probably will) get a TLK. But that will just be a validation of everything we’ve seen on screen already, and not necessarily a relationship step forward. There needs to be something else. Possibly just an engagement, but IMHO more likely a wedding.
  • We also had that tease from A&E about “can’t say, love to but can’t say” if there’s going to be a wedding. Now, obviously they’re trolls and you can’t trust everything they say, and sometimes “can’t say” actually ends up meaning that it doesn’t happen but they didn’t want to say so. However, if there WASN’T going to be a wedding, they could have just said no. “Love to” sounds like something they WANT to tease but can’t just yet, and which is more likely a yes.
  • When the s3 wedding scoop came out, most people guessed it would be RB just because they were “due,” and indeed it did end up being them. However, there was a CRAPTON of CS wedding foreshadowing in the same arc, to the point where those of us who were very skeptical about a CS wedding had to admit and think it was possible because the narrative had hinted at it so heavily. Well, the next couple to be “due” is CS. They’ve been together as many seasons as RB, they’ve gone through as much shit or more, and they’ll be in the place (after having an ENTIRE SEASON focused on their love and saving each other) where it’ll be justified for them to be rewarded with it, the same way it was for RB. We had Emma with the ring in 3x22; we’ve had all these bridal/wedding imagery for them in 5A. Are you really telling me we have this epic season centered entirely around them, and then they DON’T get married at the end?
  • Because I don’t think so.
  • Hence: death.
  • It’s been real, guys, but no really, we’re fucked.
Pardon me while I rant on season 4

I hate doing this. I almost never write about MLP, despite being closely tied to the brony reviewer community. And every time I write anything, it’s usually negative. But Equestria Games is the third episode in the entire series that made me genuinely angry.

The first episode that made me angry was Feeling Pinkie Keen, because it deliberately misrepresented and misconstrued the scientific method and scientific practice in order to deliver the generic message of “you just gotta have faith in something”. Not only were they insulting my intelligence, but they attacked something that I’m investing a career into, so my anger there is understandable. Apple Family Reunion made me angry on a gut reaction, and I can’t really explain to anyone why that happened. The episode is largely indifferent from other episodes I deemed to just be “disappointing” but haven’t made me angry. Now Equestria games, by contrast; I can tell you exactly why it made me angry. And this has been boiling over for a while now.

Not only myself, but a good number of reviewers in the brony community have identified ongoing writing trends in season 4 that were not present in previous seasons. I said that Rainbow Falls was, for me, the culmination of all of the bad writing habits the writers have recently developed. It gave every piece of exposition through contrived expository dialogue between the characters, it misrepresented the rest of the Mane 5 for the sake of adding weight to the conflict, the conflict itself was poorly represented by the moral, some of the characters did incredibly stupid things for no reason, and the episode itself wasn’t as well thought out as a lot of preceding episodes before it.

There are some episodes in the show when while watching I’ll feel like the writing staff (or whomever) came up with the premise before they had any idea of what they wanted to do with it. The best example I can give from an earlier season is probably Too Many Pinkie Pies. The premise of this episode is: “Pinkie Pie gets cloned a bunch of times.” But there is no value to the story in the episode. It doesn’t add anything to the overarching world of MLP for any of the characters, locations, or pieces of lore. And it isn’t a fun episode in its own right. You can see in the execution that the episode was most likely the half-assed product of a dull brainstorming meeting. i.e.

“Hey Bob, what’s another idea for an episode?”

“How about Pinkie Pie gets cloned and the clones run a muck, so she has to get rid of the clones?”

“Yeah, that’ll work. Write it down and get the writers to make something with it later.”

Season 4 seems to have been choc-full of these kinds of episodes. You can see an episode which was initially thought of as simply a premise by how easily you can extrapolate the story and the themes from the premise itself. A lot of season 4 episodes don’t do anything beyond their premise. Most egregiously, Power Ponies.

“Hey Bob, how about we turn the characters into superheroes?”

“Sure thing, Gary.”

Power Ponies set up a superhero-themed episode. But instead we got an episode centred around Spike being a klutzy sidekick. It seems to me that when they came up with this episode premise they didn’t really think about what they were able to do with it. The superhero theme is nothing but window-dressing for the moral. And we can’t really enjoy it for what it is because the majority of the episode focuses on Spike being a klutzy sidekick and overcoming his writing-induced disability. Sure, we get to see Fluttershy hulk out, but that isn’t much pay-off when you consider that the entire episode was supposed to be about superheroes.

So with that set-up, here’s the zinger for my rant:
Equestria Games is a double-whammy culmination of every bad habit the season 4 writers have developed, plus the attitude of half-assedly coming up with a premise before the story.

So not only does Equestria Games open with contrived expository dialogue, have Spike do an unforgivably stupid thing, wasn’t well-thought out, and misused some of the characters, but it takes a premise that was built-up big time since the end of season 3 and uses it… to tell a story about Spike… being a complete idiot.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I saw that the episode was about the Equestria Games, I kinda wanted the episode to be about the Equestria Games. We saw all of two events: the aerial relay and the ice archery. And those only had like 3 minutes of screen time combined. The rest was given to Spike’s personal conflict about being disappointed in himself. And the Games didn’t really need to exist in order to deliver that narrative. Spike dealing with disappointment could be done in any other situation and it probably would have been better.

The Best Night Ever was another episode that had a build-up, but at least when we saw that episode it was actually about the Grand Galloping Gala. The crux of the episode, as everyone is probably already aware, was a subtext deconstructing the fairytale notion of “the one night that changes your life for the better forever” often seen in the likes of Cinderella and other old fairytale nonsense. The GGG was necessary for the delivery because it embodied the very thing the episode was deconstructing. And the build-up over the course of season 1, portraying the GGG as this grandiose event to end all events was necessary to set audience expectations. The audience’s expectations were then used to properly deliver the message of the episode. If the GGG hadn’t been built-up, then it would’ve felt contrived to just have this random event at the end of the season, and the subversion wouldn’t have been received so well. Much like in season 2, when the wedding wasn’t properly set up, the audience felt it was contrived and the episode was harmed as a result.

By contrast, Equestria Games had an even greater level of build-up, however the audience’s expectations this time work against the episode. The audience’s expectations going in were that this was going to be an EVEN MORE grandiose event to end all events, but the event itself in the episode is barely seen. Instead we are treated to a typical Spike episode in which Spike is incompetent AGAIN, does something incredibly stupid AGAIN, and then redeems himself through the most contrived means possible AGAIN. Unless this is a self-commentary on how the writers are now just content to give us more of the same and not expand their boundaries, I don’t see why this was necessary. While The Best Night Ever needed a grandiose event like the GGG to tell its story, Spike didn’t need the Equestria Games to undergo an arc about overcoming disappointment in one’s self. It feels like the writers just slapped this story into the episode when they realized they didn’t have any ideas for a story that actually fit into the Equestria Games as a concept.

Spike is incompetent AGAIN: It’s been noted by too many people that this season has seen Spike turn from a funny and goofy sidekick character into an absolute klutz with no redeeming value, which is ironic because the earliest Spike episode this season focused on how he isn’t just a klutzy stupid sidekick character. This detail makes Equestria Games more of a culmination, at least in my eyes, of the bad writing habits of season 4. Not only is it stewed in everything Rainbow Falls was stewed in, but the crux of the episode involved the misrepresentation of Spike that was rampant in season 4.

Spike does something incredibly stupid AGAIN: Believing he can light fires with his mind… really? I mean, fucking really?

Equestria Games is the ultimate example of an episode of MLP in which the premise was thought of before the writers realized that they couldn’t think of anything to do with it.

“Hey Gary, the bronies were complaining about how we didn’t set up the season 2 finale properly. What should we do?”

“Hmm… Well Bob, how about we parody the Olympic Games and begin setting it up in season 3 and then continue to set it up in season 4?”

“Sounds good, Gary.”

It’s all well and good to parody the Olympic Games. It’s certainly an ambitious feat for the animation team, I’ll give them that. But nobody on the staff stopped to think about how they could manage their parody of the Olympics, especially since their target audience has only experienced watching the Olympics twice at the very most, and they probably didn’t understand most of it. Hence, they decided they were going to dedicate a good chunk of the episodes to building-up the Equestria Games, but then when it came time to write the episode they realized that spending an entire episode watching ponies run around in circles while Pinkie shouts exposition about how many medals Ponyville has won is probably not the most substantial episode, even if it would be a spectacle.

Single episodes that weren’t given any thought are able to be brushed aside. They’re inevitable, especially when you are contracted to make 26 episodes per season. But season 4 had a season long story arc that was poorly thought out. In fact, season 4 has two season long story arcs. Celestia help us if the magic box two-parter is as poorly executed as the games.

“Hey Bob, I have an idea. In order to address the concerns for seasons 2 and 3 having epic game-changing finales that came out of nowhere, how about we have TWO epic game-changing finales in season 4 and spend the entire season setting up both of them?”

“That’s a brilliant idea, Gary. You’re a genius.”

“But guys, if we have two season-long story arcs that we set up big time, won’t that leave less room for self-contained stories that can be appreciated in their own right, like some of the best episodes of the series thus far?”

“Shut up, Andy. Nobody asked you.”

I’ll admit that season 4 has contributed some of the best episodes thus far to the series. As much as I could try, I can’t argue against the quality of Pinkie Pride, Maud Pie, or Pinkie Apple Pie… [hey, those are all Pinkie Pie episodes…] but the trends surrounding the degrading of Spike’s character, the exposition-laden dialogue, and the poorly thought-out parts of the season that make it seem like the premise was thought of and finalized before they knew they could write it make this probably the most disappointing season of MLP for me so far. And I was one of the schmucks who liked season 3 and even enjoyed Twilight’s transformation.

Equestria Games is not the culmination of the Equestria Games story arc of season 4. It’s the culmination of the Spike-is-a-stupid-klutz story arc of season 4. Seriously, Spike-is-a-stupid-klutz is now a complete and concise narrative. We have the rising tension (Power Ponies), the narrative body (the rest of season 4), and the climax (Equestria Games).

So with the Spike-is-a-stupid-klutz season long story arc finally complete, I look forward to the Twilight-was-sleeping-with-Flash-Sentry-the-whole-time season long story arc to be wrapped up in the final two-parter, “Twilight’s Kingdom”.

See you then. ;)