Today’s story will hit the spot for fans of the MLP movie.
The Sweet Spot
[Drama] • 15,679 words
The Cutie Mark Crusaders have dealt with all kinds of ponies having trouble finding their true calling in life, but none can compare to the special request they receive from Princess Twilight Sparkle herself, or the shock they receive on discovering who it is: Fizzlepop Berrytwist, possibly the most hated and feared pony in generations. Can a pony who’s spent most of her life rejecting her true calling possibly find it now? Can the Cutie Mark Crusaders help a pony who almost everypony else in Equestria has rejected?
FROM THE CURATORS: Long-running series like My Little Pony often revisit their characters to explore their full stories on-screen. But when a compelling character shows up in a one-shot movie, that offers fertile ground for fanfiction to dig in. “This one is fairly simple on paper: The Crusaders help Tempest Shadow get a Cutie Mark,” FanOfMostEverything said in his nomination. “What follows is one of the best redemption arcs I’ve read in this fandom, if not ever.” Present Perfect was equally impressed back when he first read it: “I homaged it in my own ‘Tempest Shadow gets her Cutie Mark’ story,” he said. “As my first introduction to how that concept would play out (aside from the one in my head), it was a delight.”
And while several curators thought the story could use trimming, it won us over regardless. “Everyone, from the Crusaders to the background ponies, feels perfectly in character, and Tempest’s struggle for redemption fits the series’ best mold,” Horizon said. That characterization came in for repeated praise. “I think that it more than succeeds on the strength of its characterization, and the way that this angle informs the conflict resolution,” Soge said. “It also deserves praise for how it eschews an easy solution to its central conflict, and how ‘pony’ everything felt. And, despite the bloat, it additionally works as a solid comedy in many places.”
Regardless, it was the exemplary show-like approach which we singled out for praise over and over again. “The vision of the ‘Tempest episode’ here is gorgeously realized,” Horizon said, “and while the plot points it hits feel predictable, in a way that’s part of its charm, making it feel less like fanfiction and more like a discarded Hasbro script.” Present Perfect went further: “It gave me everything I wanted, while also being perfectly show-tone and full of solid drama. Not to mention the creative approach to Tempest’s special talent.” In the end, FanOfMostEverything said, that led to a thoroughly satisfying story: “The ending feels earned, the dramatic beats are on point, and the whole thing makes you wish the show could afford to get Emily Blunt back for an episode.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Piccolo Sky discusses dead space, failed coups, and Guard bandwagons.