A couple nights ago I saw the weirdest thing.
It was about one in the morning and I wasn’t sleepy at all. It couldn't have been a dream because I was nowhere near tired. Hoping to wind down, I went to the family room and turned on the TV. We have a DVR box through Verizon, and everyone in the family picks a few shows they like to record. Of course, with two and a half bronies in the house, Friendship is Magic was set to record every episode and kept up to seven. I scrolled through to see the ones we had recorded, and picked the one on the very bottom, unwatched: Dragonshy. Dragonshy is one of my favorites.
The teaser, however, was not Dragonshy. Not even close. I’m used to the TV guide saying one episode is airing but it was actually switched out at the last minute, but this was something else. It wasn’t any episode I recognized, and you believe me when I say I’ve watched them all. It wasn’t too surreal, though. It was Twilight Sparkle pacing around her bedroom listing all the things she had to do that day: return a book, visit Fluttershy, yadda, yadda. Then she said, “Spike, are you getting this?” And it showed Spike’s bed, but instead of him it was a cute little Spike-looking rag doll with button eyes and a polka-dot patch in the seat. It looked absolutely adorable. Twilight laughs, and we go to the opening.
To further confuse matters, the opening music was the enhanced Season 2 song, but there was no train or anything; it had the video of the Season 1 opening. So much for placing it in the timeline, unless this was a leaked Season 3 episode and they were done pushing the train toys by that point.
After the opening there were commercials. I fast-forwarded through them, but from the looks of it they were all normal commercials. Then the show came back to show Twilight in Sugar Cube Corner, the Spike doll on her back. The title was “Half-baked Sun Cakes.” Twilight was pacing back and forth, giving some plot exposition about how they were making special cupcakes for Princess Celestia to thank her for letting Twilight stay in Ponyville with all her friends. Pinkie was supposed to be making them, then Twilight would use her unicorn magic to take some sunshine and put them in the cupcakes, making them Suncakes. Twilight was all alone, but she was talking like she was talking to her friends.
Then she started reacting to something that wasn’t happening: from what I could gather, Twilight suddenly realized the cupcakes were missing. She began looking around and asking questions, and it was then I realized that she was talking directly to her friends who weren’t there. She was responding like they were talking to her, too. It made it hard to follow and I can’t remember much of what she said, but it would be like this for example:
Twilight says, “Fluttershy, where have you been all day?”
And normally Fluttershy would say something like, “Oh, I’ve been tending to my animals all day.”
Then Twilight would say, “Oh, well, give Angel my best then.”
Except here she would say, “Fluttershy, where have you been all day?” Then pause for three beats, enough time to register a significant pause but not actually long enough for another pony to say anything meaningful, and then she would say, “Oh, well, give Angel my best then.” Twilight moved and acted like there were other ponies onscreen, and in fact the camera was positioned so that other ponies should have been in the frame, but it was just Twilight.
Anyway, I think Pinkie Pie started panicking because Twilight kept telling her to calm down, that they would find the cupcakes. Then she pulled a magnifying glass out of hammerspace and began looking for clues. The rest of first act was all her looking for clues, asking the Spike-doll to write them down, and questioning other ponies. It would have been an ordinary show, except that Twilight seemed to be the only pony in all of Ponyville, because there was no one there to question.
She began to get flustered, but the cute kind of flustered like at the end of “Look Before you Sleep,” not the creepy flustered from “Lesson Zero.” There were plenty of jokes and cute moments, but I was too busy trying to figure out what I was missing (besides every other pony in existence) to retain any specifics. Finally, it was time to go to Canterlot, even though the cakes were still missing. Twilight looked nervous, she was afraid of what Celestia would say if Twilight arrived empty-handed after promising a surprise.
After the commercial she was already in Canterlot, and Canterlot was abandoned, too. She walked up to the castle and around the palace grounds, stopping to introduce her friends to old guards and palace workers she used to know (again, Twilight was the only pony.) Then when she got to the throne room, her ears drooped, her tail hung, I went “d’awww!” and she went inside. She apologized for not bringing the cupcakes, she promised she tried her hardest to find them after they disappeared, and she was sorry she let Celestia down.
I don’t know what Invisible Celestia was saying to Twilight, but whatever it was, she slowly started to lift her head up, her eyes brightened, and her tail stopped hanging. She looked happy. Then the music changed, like they were starting a musical number. Hot dog! A sneak preview of a new episode AND a musical number? It sounded incredibly familiar, and after the first few bars played I realized it was, no kidding, Schubert’s Ave Maria. Only, you know, if it were arranged by Daniel Ingram.
Twilight was singing, and I swear it was Tara Strong’s voice, not Rebecca Shoichet. The whole song was accompanied by some of the most beautiful imagery I’ve ever seen animated in Flash. It panned over valleys colored with wildflowers, up mountains blowing with wind and a cave belching smoke, down to the ocean waves that, when they broke on the shore, made a faint rainbow appear.
The words were completely different, and all I can remember was what I jotted down:
Birther of the son (sun?)
The beauty of all our nights
And sunless days
When it was over, we faded back to Twilight at Sugar Cube Corner. She was laughing, and I gathered that she had just found the cupcakes. She explained: Mrs. Cake had taken them out of the oven and turned it off, then Mr. Cake, flustered with all the work and their new twins, thought that they needed to go in. So they had been sitting in the oven this whole time. Twilight laughed, saying it was a good thing the oven wasn’t hot. It looked like a gas range, and she flicked the switch on the stove it didn’t light, but she acted like it did.
Then came the letter: “Dear Princess Celestia,” something something, “good friends help you,” because when more people help you, everyone’s share of the work adds up to less than it would have been alone. “And a good friend understands when things don’t always go the way you expected,” and this struck me as sweet that she was calling Princess Celestia a friend.
“Did you get all that, Spike?” she asked the Spike doll. It sort of flopped off her back, and she laughed.
Then, the creepiest goddamn thing happened: She stopped, and her face had this look of complete heartbreak. It was like when Pinkie Pie thought her friends didn’t want to come to her party. It was like your face the first time you finished “My Little Dashie.” She sat down, a look of despair and ultimate sadness on her eyes, now watering. Sad stock music played in the background. The camera puled back, showing her sitting in empty Sugar Cube Corner, then fades to outside, still pulling back to show all of empty Ponyville, into the clouds.
Then: “MY LITTLE PONY!” The credits started and startled the crap right out of me. There was an ad for Pound Puppies, some commercials, the first minute of Family Game Night, then the recording was over. I was so confused and weirded out that I didn't even want think about it, I just flipped channels until I found Will & Grace or something, something that I knew was behaving like it was supposed to, and watched that channel until I fell asleep on the couch.
The next morning when I woke up, I went to the DVR and tried to watch the episode again... only to realize with a sinking stomach that I forgot to mark it “Save Until I Delete,” and this morning’s showing of the Cutie Pox had pushed it off the DVR. It’s gone.
Well, no worries, right? The Brony community is notorious for catching every single episode and going over them all with a fine tooth comb. I was sure since the episode aired, plenty of people uploaded it to YouTube, discussed it ad nausea, and have come to a conclusion that makes a lot more sense than what I thought I saw.
But I found nothing. A Google search for the episode’s title turns up nothing relevant. No one’s marked it on Wikipedia as being an unconfirmed title of an upcoming episode. No mention of it on Equestria Daily. No screencaps on My Little Brony, no spin-off or over-analysis fanfic on Fimfiction.net, no conversation about every little detail on any forum ever. It’s like no one else saw the episode. All I have are the Ave Maria notes.
Someone has to know what I’m talking about, though. Has anybody seen this episode? Somebody has to have seen the episode. Does it sound familiar to anyone? Seriously, I’m getting weirded out over here. Why was Twilight the last pony in Equestria?