When The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone aired today, I didn't like it too much. It was just okay.
Now, however, I hate it. (Thank you, fanbase.) I've heard enough prattle about Gilda being innocent all along, how the Mane Six goofed up in Griffon the Brush Off, or how it was all a big misunderstanding. Did the Mane Six manage to redeem Gilda this time around? They sure did. Does that mean she was a good guy all along? I THINK NOT.
Allow me to set a few things straight. The whole point of Griffon the Brush Off was the lesson that some folks who pretend to be your friends may not be exactly what they seem. It is one of the most mature issues the show has ever tackled—what to do when you might be hanging with the wrong crowd. For any who might somehow disagree, here is what Twilight Sparkle tells us.
- "...Just continue to be a good friend. In the end, the difference between a false friend and one who's true will surely come to light."
- — Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle
In her first appearance, authored by Cindy Morrow, Gilda is supposed to be a bad guy—the false friend who, though Rainbow Dash has shared some good times with her, has changed for the worse. She is a jerk who boldly steals in broad daylight and bullies complete strangers, and the episode teaches that it is OKAY to say no to that kind of folk, even if the person in question is an old friend. I would be lying if I said I don't find the climax of Griffon the Brush Off one of the show's most powerful moments. Who ever thought My Little Pony Friendship is Magic would tell us that some friends are not worth having?
Just look at what she does.
Is this a friend the audience should want? Of course not. The Season 1 Gilda is a crooked, conniving piece of refuse (Guildmaster still loves her, by the way) who believes that Rainbow Dash's faith is unconditional.
All day, I've seen folks pointing out that Pinkie Pie would have set Gilda straight, had the gang's pranks not gotten in the way. Did the Mane Six goof up? Probably. But that does NOT mean Gilda was any less of a jerk. The last image especially in the gallery above shows that she knew how nasty she was. She alienated Rainbow Dash by herself. The misunderstanding in question was only the stimulus that forced Rainbow to see what her old friend had become.
Now, reader, please bear in mind that The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone is by a different writer than Griffon the Brush Off. Amy Keating Rogers portrays Gilda in a different and somewhat nicer manner than Morrow does. Gilda is not misunderstood at all in Morrow's episode. She may well be a product of her environment, and I cannot speak for Morrow as to whether that is at all true, but nothing in the new episode excuses her from her past conduct.
Most importantly, the new episode should not make you forget the lesson of the older one.
The character of Gilda has changed, but the events of her debut have not. She is rotten back in Season 1, and her rottenness is exactly what makes the moral of the day so moving. Though she may be a mere tightwad in Act I of The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone and a prophet by the end of Act II, she is still a brute in Griffon the Brush Off.
Morrow intended to depict her as a jerk because the story needed a jerk to convey the lesson, so let no one tell you that Gilda did not mean to do anything wrong in her debut or that she just overreacted to the ponies' antics. She certainly did overreact, but as I said above, that was merely the turning-over of the log. Gilda was a menace to Pinkie Pie and others, and Rainbow Dash needed to be shown that.
In Season 1, Gilda is the "false friend" that we are taught to turn down.
Thank you, and remember our first season as you do the fifth.