|Season episode №:||5|
|Overall episode №:||57|
|Original airdate:||December 1, 2012|
|Written by:||M. A. Larson|
|Storyboard:||Lih Liau and Marshall Fels Elliott|
|credits • transcript • gallery • allusions|
animation errors • statistics • speculation
One Bad Apple
Sleepless in Ponyville
Magic Duel is the fifth episode of the third season of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and the fifty-seventh episode overall. In this episode, Trixie returns to Ponyville for revenge and defeats Twilight Sparkle in a magic duel, banishing her from the town.
Production and development
Show head writer Meghan McCarthy wrote on Twitter on December 5, 2012 that the episode was submitted on January 27, 2011 and was originally intended to be a season two episode. After Equestria Daily reported this, layout artist Holly Giesbrecht clarified on Twitter that "That doesn't mean it takes that long, it means it was originally a script for S2, but things got shuffled & switched." Former producer Lauren Faust wrote on Twitter on September 18, 2013, "Magic Duel was a leftover concept from Season 3. I pulled it because I wanted to do something else with Trixie."
While the location of the alley and curio shop introduced at the beginning of the episode is not specified in the show, one of the show's layout artists who worked on the episode recalls the script identifying it as Canterlot.
In early 2012, a blog titled "phils portfolio" posted production art of the alley and curio shop, each in both sketched and finished forms. The file name of the alley sketch identifies them as being part of Canterlot. The post was taken down from the blog within a few days after the episode aired.
At the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, Hasbro Studios' vice president of development Michael Vogel hinted that Trixie would be returning in the third season, saying, "I think we're not allowed to say, but I can tell you that I would expect, uh, come season three, we'll maybe see some great and powerful stuff" in answer to a question about Trixie and Gilda.
When the episode's writer was asked about the origin of the name "Alicorn Amulet", he replied that it was called the "Unicharm" in all of the episode's scripts, but "someone somewhere along the way changed it to Alicorn".
Material cut from the episode
At one point, Rarity had the line "Madness!" after Trixie turned her dress a combination of army green and neon yellow before Pinkie Pie ushered Rarity away like James Brown. A scene including the line "Stop that" spoken by Mayor Mare was cut from the episode; despite not having a speaking role in the final version of the episode, the Mayor is still listed in its credits. M. A. Larson mentions in an interview that a few of his jokes were cut from the episode, for example Trixie asks to see the "revenge section" of the curio shop and the shopkeeper replies "oh, right over here." Holly Giesbrecht wrote on Twitter that "a few" of her layout scenes were cut.
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The mysterious Alicorn Amulet
One rainy night, a hooded mare gallops into an empty marketplace and enters a darkened curio shop. She begins to rummage around the shop until a small candle is lit. A stallion, who is the shopkeeper, comes out and asks if he can help her. Stepping behind the counter, he surmises that something powerful drew the customer to his shop; she points to an amulet inlaid with a crimson gem kept under glass on the shelf behind him. The shopkeeper identifies it as the "Alicorn Amulet", describing it as one of the most mysterious and powerful magic charms. When she indicates that this is what she's looking for, he warns her that the amulet is far too dangerous, but is quickly convinced to sell when she tosses a big bag of gold bits onto the counter.
- "Would you like that gift-wrapped?"
- — Shopkeeper
The mare walks slowly to the amulet and an evil smile is reflected onto the glass dome.
In Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle and Spike are over at Fluttershy's cottage. Some of Fluttershy's animal friends are there, and Fluttershy tries to tell them not to be scared but gives Twilight a sudden warning if anything happens to them. Spike tries to calm the yellow pegasus, but she is frantic about the safety of her animal friends. However, the animals appear to be excited about helping Twilight with her trick. Twilight assures Fluttershy that it will be okay and uses her magic to lift the animals. The animals glow with Twilight's magic and fly in the air while Fluttershy starts biting her hooves. The animals happily fly around in the air in the shape of an infinity symbol, and safely land on the ground. The magic trick is revealed to be practice in anticipation of Princess Celestia's visit with delegates from Saddle Arabia, and Twilight is in charge of the entertainment.
Suddenly, Rainbow Dash zooms in and crashes into Twilight. She looks frantic about something and asks Twilight to come with her because it's an emergency.
The first duel
- "Alright, Trixie. Let's duel!"
- — Twilight Sparkle
When Twilight races into town, she spots the hooded mare introduced at the start of the episode. The mare zaps Rarity, spawning a brown dress, which Rarity points out that the shades are used for accents. She faints as Applejack catches her on her back and walks away with Pinkie Pie.
As Twilight and Spike enter the scene, the mystery mare removes her hood and reveals herself to be Trixie, with the Alicorn Amulet displayed around her neck. Rainbow Dash begins to mock Trixie's magic skills, but she casts a spell on Dash, causing one of her wings to enlarge and making her lose balance. However, Snips and Snails still remain loyal to Trixie, but that does not move her. She fuses the two colts by the tips of their horns.
Twilight demands Trixie to stop harassing her friends. She refuses and conjures a screen showing her life following her humiliation in the episode Boast Busters. It shows her wagon having been vandalized, dirtied with thrown tomatoes and eggs and the picture of a crudely drawn Ursa minor, complete with baby bottle, as well as an "X" across her cutie mark sign on the wagon. In the next flashback, a group of ponies laughs at her as she tries to perform her "teleportation spell" to run away. Another flashback shows Trixie working on Pinkie's family rock farm just to earn a living. Pinkie interrupts her, stating that she was lucky her family would hire somepony like her. Trixie then uses a spell and removes Pinkie's muzzle, preventing the pony from talking.
Trixie vengefully challenges Twilight to a duel, but the purple unicorn declines. Trixie continues doing unkind things to convince her to say yes, such as turning Spike into a basketball, uprooting Golden Oak Library and throwing Twilight's books out, whom her owl, Owlowiscious, tries to grab. Twilight finally agrees to the duel. Trixie then removes all the spells she made, except Pinkie's mouth.
Trixie makes the first move and blasts a heavy cart loaded with two barrels of apples into the air. Ponies scramble out of the way from where it's going to crash, but Shoeshine trips and is in danger of being crushed.
Twilight takes control of the cart in time and sets it and its contents right again, just as Trixie hurls six large pies at her. Thinking quickly, Twilight conjures a parasprite, which immediately gobbles up the incoming pies. The creature burps up another parasprite, but Twilight removes both of them before they can reproduce again. She has barely recovered from the magical exertion when Trixie drops a large sheet of snow on Twilight and the vicinity. Twilight easily melts the snow and shoots a beam of magic at her opponent, causing a long mustache to grow on her face. Twilight's friends laugh and Trixie haughtily snips her facial hair off with conjured scissors.
She then summons Snips and Snails, who fearfully bow to her. She suddenly zaps them with a helical ribbon of red magic that lifts them into the air. When they fall back to earth, Snips has become a wailing foal and Snails has become a withered elderly pony. Twilight is shocked because only "the highest level unicorns" can perform age spells. She determinedly tries to reverse the age spell, but the power required is beyond her capabilities. Trixie promptly banishes her from town. Before Spike and her friends can join her, Trixie conjures a large glass dome that seals off Ponyville.
Zecora's help and Trixie's rule
Just outside the Everfree Forest, Twilight sweats over a flower, trying to de-age it to budding stage. At first she seems to have succeeded, but the second her magic lets go, it immediately returns to its natural age. Frustrated, she wonders how Trixie could know such advanced magic, and without Spike's magic flame, she can't message Princess Celestia, who is still in Saddle Arabia, for help. Considering who else she knows with knowledge of strange and powerful magic, she seeks the help of Zecora. The zebra promises to teach her more advanced magic so she can evict Trixie. Meanwhile, in Ponyville, Trixie has forced the citizens to become her slaves, and has conjured bad weather inside the glass dome. In the town hall, she forces Rarity to make banners showing her likeness, while Cloud Kicker, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy hang them up. Trixie rudely tells Mr. and Mrs. Cake to hurry up with her throne, which is made out of sweets (which baby Pumpkin Cake is sitting on). Applejack must hoof-press apples so Trixie can enjoy an applesauce facial. When Applejack refuses to do anything until Twilight is allowed back into town, Trixie conjures two feathers that tickle Applejack until she agrees to keep on working, and then hurls her into a pile of bushels full of apples. Trixie also forces Pinkie Pie to dance for her own entertainment. Rarity complains that Trixie's cruel magic is ruining Ponyville; downcast, she loses her concentration and the needle she is using pokes her in the hoof.
In the forest, Twilight is concentrating on levitating three spheres of water around herself as she magically stands on the surface of a pool. Zecora balances herself on one leg as she recites, "No noise, no sound, no din, no fuss, must interfere with your focus. Unlearn what you have learned, only then can victory be earned." Twilight, however, cannot focus because she can't stop thinking about Trixie's victory. She drops the water spheres and falls through the pool surface. Zecora states that Twilight must readjust her thinking before she can learn any of her lessons.
When given the chance, the friends and Spike pour over dozens of Twilight's books, and Fluttershy finds one that has information about the Alicorn Amulet, but because of her quiet nature, she is outspoken by her friends. Finally, Spike takes the book from her and they read about the amulet. The book says that the wearer of the amulet gains amazing magical power, but it also corrupts the user to evil the more he or she uses it. In addition to this, due to a magical lock the only pony who can take the amulet off is the wearer. The friends convince a terrified Fluttershy to sneak out of the dome and contact Twilight. Rarity is inspired to create a "dangerous mission" outfit for her.
Trixie is next seen riding a large wooden sleigh, which Snips and Snails (their ages back to normal) are laboriously pulling through the grass. Trixie even has a whip that she isn't afraid to use, and she is angry that somepony set off the magic force field. Snips points out that pulling the sleigh would be easier if it had wheels, to which Trixie says, "the Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't trust wheels," and Snails comments that Trixie is getting "weirder and weirder." They come across three irritated beavers who are whacking the dome with their tails. When Trixie asks them what they are doing, one of the beavers angrily chatters, emphatically gesticulates towards a log, and then the dome: they're trying to bring the log home, but the dome is in the way. Trixie rolls her eyes and lifts the dome so they can leave with the log. She then transforms the wooden sleigh to an elaborate golden bed, which Snips and Snails have to drag back. Making sure that Trixie is far enough away, the beavers drag Fluttershy out of the hollow log. Fluttershy, who is wearing the "dangerous mission" outfit complete with bunny ears, is petrified at the prospect of having to look for Twilight in the Everfree Forest. It takes half a dozen birds to drag her away from the safety of the log and towards the forest.
The second magic duel
After Fluttershy reunites with Twilight at Zecora's hut and informs her about the Alicorn Amulet, they discuss ways to beat Trixie at her own game. Zecora says that while she has learned all of her lessons, Twilight needs to "use the six". After figuring out the meaning of Zecora's words, Twilight writes a letter and sends Fluttershy back into Ponyville.
Twilight and Zecora arrive at Ponyville's outskirts, where she meets up with Trixie through the glass dome. Twilight states she knows about the Alicorn Amulet and that Trixie cheated, but Trixie denies her accusation. Twilight then reveals that she was given a green amulet of her own from Zecora, bragging about how her amulet is "from beyond the Everfree Forest" and "way more powerful" than the Alicorn Amulet. Trixie scoffs at this claim, so Twilight preposes a rematch to prove it. Trixie points out that there's no need as she already beat Twilight, but Twilight casually baits her and says that she'll never get to see the "totally awesome magic from beyond the Everfree Forest" as she and Zecora begin to walk away. Unable to stand not knowing, Trixie dispels the giant dome and teleports over to them, begrudgingly accepting the challenge.
Trixie performs yet another "simple" age spell, as she would call it, on Snips and Snails, transforming them both into foals. Twilight calls forth Rarity and Applejack, casting her own age spell on them. She continuously makes the two ponies different ages, between young and old and back again, and Trixie gapes in awe, declaring it as impossible. Then, Twilight creates a duplicate of Rainbow Dash, and "grants" Pinkie Pie the ability to simultaneously play ten instruments. She even turns Applejack into a stallion.
Completely defeated, Trixie can do nothing but stare on in horror, with no way of making a comeback. When Twilight brags that her amulet is stronger than Trixie's, Trixie uses her magic to snatch it. Declaring that with it she'll rule all of Equestria with it, she takes off the Alicorn Amulet, its evil magic sputtering out, and puts on the green one. One of the Rainbow Dashes then nabs the Alicorn Amulet. Trixie at first protests, then remembers that she has Twilight's amulet now and fires a beam at Rainbow to make her writhe in agony, but it only tickles her. Proclaiming the new amulet to be defective, she demands the Alicorn Amulet back, but Rainbow says that the amulet is going back into hiding where it belongs, placing it in a small lock box held by Zecora.
Twilight then reveals that the amulet Trixie stole from her is merely "one of Zecora's doorstops", just as it falls to the ground and shatters. Twilight explains to Trixie that all of her "advanced magic spells" were actually common magic tricks and illusions. In a flashback, Fluttershy gathers her friends and their families to read out Twilight's plan. In another that takes place in Carousel Boutique, Applejack begins to paint Apple Bloom orange to recreate her filly self as Pinkie Pie paints Big McIntosh and gives him Applejack's cutie mark to produce a stallion version of Applejack. Rarity dyes and combs Sweetie Belle's hair to make her look like Rarity as a filly. Fluttershy adjusts her Rainbow Dash wig in a mirror and exchanges a smile with Granny Smith, who has also been painted and disguised to look like an elderly Applejack. When Twilight was "casting" her spells during the duel, the different ages of Applejack and Rarity hid behind a nearby statue and revealed themselves in turn, creating the illusion of an effortless age spell. As the flashback plays, Twilight tells Trixie how she used a different kind of magic – the magic of friendship – to take on the Alicorn Amulet. When Trixie confusedly inquires about the pony with the ten instruments, Twilight cheerfully states it was not magic, but rather it was just Pinkie's sheer skill as performer, not unlike her one-pony band role in Swarm of the Century. The ponies then cheer at Twilight's victory against Trixie as the dark clouds looming over Ponyville disappear.
The repentant magician
In the next scene under the starry night sky, Princess Celestia and the two delegates from Saddle Arabia are watching Twilight's magic performance, in which she once again levitates Fluttershy's animal friends in an infinity symbol. Fluttershy finds it nerve-wracking and Spike tries to comfort her as Twilight puts on her show for the delegates. But as she places the animals down, she realizes that Trixie was adding fancy fireworks to the background. As Trixie puts her cape and hat on, she says that it was the least she could do after treating Twilight's friends and neighbors so horribly, recognizing that the amulet had been affecting her behavior. She then sincerely apologizes to Twilight for her vengeful ways, and Twilight accepts her apology. Trixie proudly asks her if "the Great and Apologetic Trixie" is the "most magnificent humble pony" she has ever seen. Twilight just smiles and shakes her head and Trixie leaves in a puff of smoke. As she canters away, she trips and falls, then gets up and keeps running. Before the iris out swallows the screen, Pinkie breaks the fourth wall again by jumping through the iris out and gesticulating towards her still-sealed mouth. Twilight uses magic to open a slit in the black screen and restore Pinkie's mouth. As Pinkie inhales deeply to speak, the credits immediately start playing.
- For more quotes, see the episode's transcript.
- Shopkeeper: Uh, ah- I'm afraid this is... far too dangerous.
- [bits clinking]
- Shopkeeper: Would you like that gift-wrapped?
- Fluttershy: Don't be scared, little friends, Twilight is wonderful with magic. [to Twilight] Anything happens to them, Twilight, so help me...
- Spike: Don't worry, Fluttershy. Twilight's magic has gotten a lot better since she accidentally crushed me and Applejack with a giant snowball.
- Trixie: I even had to take a job on a rock farm just to earn a living! A rock farm!
- Pinkie Pie: Hey! You're lucky a rock farm would take the likes of you!
- Trixie: [removes Pinkie's mouth]
- Rainbow Dash: Trying to sneak past the force field would be impossible without help, but I know who's got the goods to get into those woods!
- Fluttershy: [quietly] It- it must be-
- Rainbow Dash: Fluttershy!
- Fluttershy: Whaaat?!
- Trixie: The Great and Powerful Trixie doesn't trust wheels.
- Snails: Gah, why is she so mean to us?
- Snips: Yeah! I miss the days when she was just a fraud!
- Fluttershy: Oh, this is me being brave! I wanna be brave at home, locked in my closet, with my teddy bear!
- Twilight Sparkle: Oooohhh, one more! I can turn a mare into a stallion!
- Rainbow Dash: [laughs] Stop it! Tha- That tickles!
- Trixie: Tickles? That was supposed to make you writhe in agony! This amulet is defective! Give mine back!
- Rainbow Dash: Sorry. This is going back into hiding where it belongs.
- Twilight Sparkle: By the way, Trixie, the amulet around your neck? It's one of Zecora's doorstops.
- Trixie: But what about the pony with the ten instruments?
- Twilight Sparkle: That's not magic, that was just Pinkie Pie.
- Trixie: Oh, good. Don't you think the Great and Apologetic Trixie is the most magnificent humble pony you have ever seen?
- 'Big' Jim Miller (2012-12-08). Tweet. Retrieved on 2012 December 8.
- Meghan McCarthy on Twitter (2012-12-05). Retrieved on 2012 December 5.
- Holly Giesbrecht on Twitter (2012-12-06). Retrieved on 2012 December 6.
- Lauren Faust on Twitter (2013-09-18). Retrieved on 2013 September 21.
- In Topic: S3, Ep 5 Magic Duel. The Allspark Forums (2012-12-01). Retrieved on 2012 December 2. Archived locally.
- curio shop alley.tif. Retrieved on 2012 December 4.
- curio shop mod.tif. Retrieved on 2012 December 4.
- canterlot alley.jpg. Retrieved on 2012 December 4.
- curio2.tif. Retrieved on 2012 December 4.
- San Diego Comic Con 2012 - My Little Pony Panel (2012-07-15). Retrieved on 2012 November 8.
- (Cell Cam) Comic Con 2012 My Little Pony Panel Part 2 (2012-07-14). Retrieved on 2012 November 8.
- Twitter / M. A. Larson replying to a query about the origin of the term Alicorn (2012-12-27). Archived locally.
- Magic Duel script excerpt from M.A. Larson's Twitter (2013-01-11). Retrieved on 2013 January 18.
- Magic Duel script excerpt from M.A. Larson's Twitter (2012-12-26). Retrieved on 2012 December 28.
- Interview With M.A. Larson. Celestia Radio (2013-01-27). Retrieved on 2013 January 29.
- Holly Giesbrecht on Twitter (2012-12-02). Retrieved on 2012 December 4.
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