So, wait, why does this episode exist? What reason is there for "It's About Time", an episode based on the character with "smart" as a characteristic acting stupid, to exist? Sure, it has quite a few clever jokes, but that doesn't make up for the fact that this is an episode about the smart character acting stupid without much of a reason.
Yeah, sure, Twilight has blown things out of proportion in the past, and sure, she was tired from a lack of sleep, but these are still huge leaps of logic. Indeed, the fact that she seems to have forgotten how her train of thought worked can be blamed on the lack of sleep. However, then the question becomes thus: Why are we making Twilight an idiot here? And to that, I have no answer. Sure, the episode gives a lesson about not making a big issue out of nothing... but that's a rehash of "Lesson Zero".
Indeed, the episode seems very interested in rehashing "Lesson Zero", complete with a moment of Twilight freaking out. To be fair, this scene is executed a little differently, and is fairly unsettling, but it's there without any of what made "Lesson Zero" so great. Nothing new is revealed about Twilight, because she's freaking out about some perceived threat to Ponyville in the future rather than her own insecurities, it's no longer fresh, and the episode never takes Twilight seriously. "Lesson Zero" worked because Twilight's freakout was shown as a serious problem despite how over-the-top it was, and sympathized with her, but was still filled with enough fast craziness to be funny. "It's About Time" wants us to laugh at her growing frustration, but whenever there's slapstick potential, it's taken seriously to move the plot forward. As a result, neither work.
That's especially annoying because all the other jokes are really funny. Pinkie Pie, Spike, Rainbow Dash... All of these characters deliver really funny lines, and even Twilight has a moment of humour when she paces a groove into the floor of the library. On top of that, there's a lot of opportunities to take this episode to new, adventurous places, and the introduction of Tartarus is a fascinating expansion of the show's mythology. Yet, the episode is single-mindedly focused on pursuing its tired, stupid main story.
Then, the episode has the GALL to end with the exact same scene from the beginning. It's not even from a different perspective, it's effectively just the exact same scene copy and pasted. Dialogue is repeated in the same way, and it's clearly just the same scene played out in its entirety for a second time. They don't cut a second of it, it's just copy and pasted there lazily to fill space. I'm certain that idea seemed much better on paper, but in execution, it feels like a waste of time. For the episode to already be so terrible and then end so horribly feels like a slap in the face.
"It's About Time" has long been one of my most hated episodes, and it's good to see that it still earns my contempt. It's stupid, it's shallow, it's lazy, and it's ill-conceived. Some interesting lore additions and quite a few funny moments can't save something that's at its core so absolutely infuriating. I'll be glad to have this disaster behind me, and the season only goes up from here. Thank goodness for that.