Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for
February 9, 2013

In "Magical Mystery Cure," the Season 3 finale of the hit pop culture phenomenon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, lavender series protagonist Twilight Sparkle takes the next step in her growth as student extraordinaire of the magical arts, and, in so doing, becomes a princess. To commemorate this landmark event, The Hub, cable's fastest growing destination for kids and their families, pulled out all the stops and honored their pony heroine with a special "Coronation Concert" in support of Children's Hospital Los Angeles one week prior to the episode's national debut. This unique tie-in was hosted by reigning Miss America Mallory Hagan and attended by Twilight's voiceover actress Tara Strong, head writer Meghan McCarthy, series composer and songwriter Daniel Ingram, fans who had won tickets through assorted promotions, members of the media, and friends of the network.

The special invitation-only event featured an interactive screening of the highly anticipated season finale, an inspirational speech by gold medal Olympian Carmelita Jeter, and in-costume stage performers and USC's championship a cappella show choir, the SoCal VoCals, leading a singalong of some of the most beloved tunes from Friendship Is Magic's diverse musical repertoire. After kicking off the celebration with the extended version of the show's opening theme, the cavalcade of singers went on to perform "At the Gala" from the show's debut season and Pinkie Pie's "Smile" song, a rousing showstopper that garnered applause for its status as a fan favorite, which, like Beauty and the Beast's introductory number "Belle," begins as a single character monologue before building up into an epic production that involves an entire town.

While fans may be disappointed over the third season's shortened run (13 episodes, compared to the 26 of its predecessors), they will be pleased to know that the finale represents one of the stronger stories of the year, heavily loaded with musical performances and series mythology.

After a bit of magic goes awry, Twilight discovers that the cutie marks (unique symbols representing each pony's true calling) of her five friends have been switched. The accident sets the stage for some amusing "what if?" comedy as the ponies find themselves stuck in jobs for which they were never meant: Rarity gets Rainbow Dash's cutie mark but struggles with controlling the weather; Rainbow Dash gets Fluttershy's cutie mark but doesn't have the patience or empathy to wrangle a cottage full of critters; Fluttershy gets Pinkie Pie's cutie mark but dismally bombs in making the citizens of Ponyville laugh or even crack a smile; Pinkie Pie gets Applejack's cutie mark but unhappily stumbles through physical farm labors around Sweet Apple Acres, resulting in a re-appearance of her flat, deflated hairstyle; and Applejack gets Rarity's cutie mark but fails at the creative rigors of fashion design and running Carousel Boutique.

The end product is a story about being true to oneself and fulfilling one's own destiny. While the series has touched upon those themes in the past, "Magical Mystery Cure" raises the stakes and proposes some major changes to the Pony universe going forward. It also marks the first time a season has ended with a cliffhanger, and fans will no doubt be counting down the days to the show's return to find out what ultimately becomes of Twilight.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's third season finale, "Magical Mystery Cure," will make its debut on Saturday, February 16 at 10:30 PM EST and close out a five hour marathon highlighting Twilight's magical journey through the show's first three years.

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