Spike goes on a journey of self-discovery by joining the "Great Dragon Migration," but a raucous gang of teenage dragons might hold the key to the questions Spike has about his identity.Spike goes on a journey of self-discovery by joining the "Great Dragon Migration," but a raucous gang of teenage dragons might hold the key to the questions Spike has about his identity.Spike goes on a journey of self-discovery by joining the "Great Dragon Migration," but a raucous gang of teenage dragons might hold the key to the questions Spike has about his identity.
"Dragon Quest", an episode where trusted fellow fans had little good to say about it, is one of the disappointments as far as the Spike-centric episodes go. To me, it's even one of the worst of the disappointments. The potential was quite sizeable but "Dragon Quest" turned out to be a big missed opportunity. Spike comes off quite well compared to almost everything else (there are moments), but two big flaws in particular (though this is full of them) not just significantly down the episode down but they actually ruin it. Also consider it one of Season 2's worst episodes by quite some way, bottom 3 easily, and one of the few episodes of the season to be mediocre at best.
It is not a completely unwatchable episode. Mostly the animation is fine, bright and colourful with nice, ambitious backgrounding. The music is dynamic and with the right amount of character. "Dragon Quest" has a lot of huge failts, but Spike again is not one of them. Actually found him quite likeable and he is the only character to show any signs of learning from mistakes.
Rarity has her moments too, her showing affection towards Spike making the by far the most tolerably written Mane 6 character here, even if a little overdone. Did like the symbolism with the moonlight egg and the mirror scene is the individual scene highlight. The voice acting is good, though it has been better in a vast majority of previous and succeeding episodes.
However, "Dragon Quest" is a failure from a storytelling and characterisation standpoint. Beginning with the characterisation criticism, the Mane 6 are completely out of character and not in a good way, with the sole exception of Rarity having her moments they were very shallow and obnoxious with any negative personality traits exaggerated. Don't know who fared the worst. Worse though, and they were one of the two main things that ruined the episode, were the other dragons. Stereotyped as overly-brutish bullies with very little personality and no character development at all (no discernible reason for why they act this way). Jerky animation at times on them too.
The story never really got going properly and sadly gets duller, more predictable and more pointless once the other dragons entered the picture. It never worked as a quest or an origins story, never seemed to know what it wanted to be out of the two and doesn't really succeed as either. It didn't feel like a quest, with Spike managing to deviate from what he set out to do in the first place and there is not really much of a back-story or enough development or engagement with the characters to work as a character story. The moral was actually a good moral but to me the execution of it bordered on preachy. Tara Strong, sounding oddly deeper than usual, is off form.
Nothing is funny here in "Dragon Quest", the jokes are way too few and they are over-shadowed badly by the lack of heart and mean-spirited characterisation. The other one of the two primary things that ruined the episode is the ending. It is easily the worst ending of Season 2's and one of the show's most frustrating ones. It is far too anti-climactic with no tension at all and nothing is gained from it with not much really that happens. Don't think up to this stage of the show the characters were ever this useless during an episode's climax.
Concluding, a misfire. 4/10
- Apr 27, 2020