So then, Trixie. The so-called "great and powerful" Trixie, the unicorn who made her debut in "Boast Busters". What strikes me most about Trixie as an antagonist is that, despite clearly opposing the main cast in some way, she never really did anything that bad in her initial episode. True, she boasted the hell out of her abilities at the time, but she wasn't responsible for anything really bad that happened in that episode. If anything, Snips and Snails did something far worse than she did by unleashing the ursa minor on the town, but I suppose some of the blame could be thrown at Trixie considering it was her aforementioned boasts that led those two to commit this grievous mistake.
Trixie, as a character, is a stage performer, so in many ways her boast and bragging of her talents could well be viewed as simply her doing her job. Let's be fair to her here, the whole point of performers and actors and people like that is that they're meant to entertain the crowd. As such, exaggerating one's own talents and achievements is well within their rights as performers. If she were, for example, to present herself as simply being "Trixie", and not "the great and powerful Trixie", chances are she wouldn't have got much of a crowd. Still, I will freely admit that she tends to go overboard with it, even going so far as to humiliate the members of the main cast in order to cement her position amongst the people of Ponyville.
Her tendency to refer to herself in the third person can get rather grating at times, but as we'll see, that actually plays into a very important part of her character, which I'll be discussing later.
Also of note with regards to Trixie is the fact that she's the only minor antagonist of the first season that gets mentioned more than once. In the episode "Ponyville Confidential" she's reported as one of the many ponies talked about in the CMC's school newspaper. This could be interpreted as a sign that the show's writers were already planning to bring her back and gave us this little teaser to wet our appetites for it. Although that's merely speculation on my part so don't quote me on it.
And so, after a few years of this show, Trixie finally came back in "Magic duel" to challenge Twilight to a battle of magical talent. This return, technically speaking, makes Trixie the first recurring antagonist in the show's history. I'm not entirely sure why they chose her to have this honour. Perhaps it was due to demand by the fans. But whatever the reason I think it's a good idea that the show's first recurring bad guy was a regular pony and not some supernatural creature or centuries-old tyrant. The reason for that is that by having this villain be a pony, it shows that this is not a world of perfect people. Sometimes these ponies can go bad. Now true we've been shown many times how this is the case, but this return of Trixie really drives that point home.
As for her voice actress, Kathleen Barr, who also provided the voice for Queen Chrysalis by the way, did a great job on both her appearances. She was able to deliver a very convincing attitude, condescending, arrogant, boastful, and at the end even remorseful feel to her character. Plus, I'd be lying if I said there weren't moments when I found the voice she gave Trixie to be quite sexy. THERE, I SAID IT!
Now before I go into my thoughts on Trixie in her second appearance, I want to share what I feel is her defining personality trait. Consider this. Trixie, as we've seen from the first episode, is an incredibly talented user of magic, able to perform many feats and spells that other unicorns cannot, even going so far as to out-do the magic of main character unicorns like Rarity. It's also established many times in this show that those with exceptional magical skill go on to do great things and become renowned for their ability.
So ask yourself this? Why is it that Trixie, an undoubtedly talented unicorn, spends her life showing off as a performer, an entertainer? The answer to this is that it's symbolic of not only her defining trait, but perhaps her biggest failing.
Trixie is an incredibly prideful pony. She is so confident of herself and so sure of her abilities, that not only is it something she holds dear, but something she wants other to feel the same way about as well. She believes she's the best. That's why she does what she does. It's not enough that she thinks she's great, she wants others to think it as well. And if there's one thing we know what pride can lead to, it's arrogance. Many times a confidence in one's abilities can easily become an arrogant belief that they can do no wrong, and that others are to blame for their ills. That pride and arrogance goes a long way towards explaining many of her actions later on.
But still, her second episode, "Magic duel", had her challenging Twilight to a battle to see who is the better practitioner of magic. Now at first I was finding it difficult to see Trixie's reasoning for thinking of Twilight as the one responsible for her disgrace. While it may have been true that Trixie was publically revealed to not have the skills she once claimed to have, Twilight was not at fault for doing that. She merely cleaned up the mess made by Snips and Snails. Not once did she ever directly challenge Trixie or go out of her way to make her feel bad. In fact, the one time Trixie directly spoke to her before that, Twilight backed down immediately. So while I can understand Trixie's need to feel better about her previous visit to Ponyville, placing all of the blame on Twilight felt just ludicrous to me.
But, as the episode sank in and I began to really think about it, I finally got why Trixie placed all of her blame on Twilight, and once again this goes back to her prideful nature. Trixie it seems has gone to a lot of trouble to create an image of herself that she wants other to see, so much so that she herself has herself begun to believe her own boasts that she is indeed the best unicorn there is. So when another unicorn, someone not as famous as her, comes out of nowhere and does something she could not, that image was tarnished. It's clear from that first episode that Trixie did indeed feel some guilt at allowing her boasts to lead to this, but the thing about a strong sense of pride is that it will very rarely allow someone to admit to being at fault for anything, so she had to place the blame on someone else. And since Twilight was the one to ultimately prove, however unintentionally, that Trixie was not as great as she made herself out to be, the blame was placed on her.
As for her actions in her returning episode, we get yet another example of her trying to create an image around herself as the best user of magic. Think about this for a moment. It's made very clear that with the power of the alicorn's amulet, Trixie was easily able to simply remove Twilight from Ponyville at any time she liked. So why then would she even bother with the challenge to begin with? The answer, again, is centred around her desire to have others see her as the best. If she'd merely exiled Twilight right then and there, that wouldn't have accomplished anything. Trixie needed to be seen doing it. She wanted an audience for her victory in order to make that past image of "the great and powerful Trixie" prevalent in the ponies' minds once more.
As for her actions overall in that episode, I found it nearly impossible to defend what she did like I did with her first episode. Not only does she exile a pony from her home and friends, but she also makes an entire population into her unwilling servants, punishing even the slightest hint of insubordination. Those other ponies never did anything to her, never did anything to deserve this kind of treatment, so her behaviour towards them pushed her from mere antagonist into full-on villain for me.
Now many people at this point will be pointing out that Trixie's actions were not her own, rather that it was caused by the amulet making her more aggressive and corrupt. While I'm sympathetic to that opinion to a point, I still feel that she deserves the blame here. The reason being is that while she may not have been in control of her actions while wearing the amulet, it was still her initial decision to wear it in the first place. So all of the negative things she did in the episode stemmed from a conscious decision she made in order to get back at Twilight. A decision she made with a clear and uncorrupted mind.
Top draw a comparison, I was once involved in a debate with some friends of mine about the subject of things people do while their under some altered state of mind, such as being drunk. The question was posed, if they weren't themselves when they did those crimes or terrible acts, should they be blamed? Or should such blame only be placed on them if they're of a clear head when they commit the acts? I argued in favour of the former option, because while they may not have been in control of themselves while under that altered state, the decision to enter that state was still theirs. All the terrible things they do can all be traced back to their own choice that nobody forced them to do.
And it is for that reason that I cannot absolve Trixie of the things she did whilst under the influence of the amulet. And if you still don't agree with me on that, let me remind you of when she was freed of it's power. She takes the amulet off, it's power leaves her and then, completely free of the amulet, she still continues to boast about how she's the greatest and how she'll "rule Equestria". If that's not proof enough for you, I don't know what is.
And speaking of her removing the amulet, I felt that I was of two minds towards that scene, both with the plan itself and Trixie's reaction to it. On the one hand I think that Trixie's willing removal of the old amulet once more played right into her strong prideful nature, as she saw the new amulet to be the new best magical object and would therefore, seeing herself as the best, want to replace her old amulet with it. On the other hand the plan was a big risk on Twilight's part. It all hinged on Trixie removing the amulet willingly to put on the new one. But what if that hadn't been what happened? What if instead of removing the old amulet, she destroyed the fake on to remove any potential threat to her? I know the plan worked out but that was still a big risk.
And finally we come to Trixie's apology scene. As I said in my review of the episode I felt that this part was a bit rushed. It felt as though there had been more planned for it but that it had to get cut for time or something. But what bothers me mot about it is that we have no idea whether or not Trixie was truly apologetic for what she did. Not only do we have that pouting face she makes, which gives the impression of someone faking sadness, but her nature as a performer means that the whole thing could easily have been an act.
Still, in the end we have to go on what the episode gives us, and if Twilight was willing to accept her apology, I suppose the rest of us do too. However, I do think it's interesting that this is the first time in the show that we've had an example of forgiveness for the villain. Most major villains of this show, of which I am now counting Trixie by the way, have met quite a horrific end. This is the first time a villain has been forgiven for their actions. While I still have my doubts over how remorseful she truly was for the things she did, I think it's nice that show has done this.
Overall I think Trixie's two episodes provide a brief but effective character arc for a very interesting antagonist. Her sense of pride gave her a very, for lack of a better term, human failing, and the episodes themselves were very entertaining. I don't know if she'll be making future appearances, but I would certainly look forward to them if she did.