FimFiction Link - Short ID: 515286/help-is-needed
Published: Apr '22
'Help is Needed' is a two thousand and five hundred-word oneshot. Luna goes to a therapist.
I really like the concept of this story. A malicious and even somewhat abusive psychologist is such a great base for writing a horror or tragedy story, but I feel like to really accomplish that the author has to be very nuanced and careful at building the character up, because otherwise it'll feel very forced. This fic suffers from this.
Before I rip into the plot, however, I do want to mention that the actual prose itself is quite quaint. The author uses a variety of expressions and turn of phrases that make the story surprisingly colorful and evocative. It's just a shame this doesn't help the actual narrative.
In the first fifth of the story it is already made clear that the therapist isn't what it seems like, but because Luna acts so dazed and confused, all it made me feel was frustration instead of tension. I mean, goodness, it doesn't even try to mask its ill intentions by immediately telling Luna "Oh you have voices in your head? Totally listen to them, it's cool. Oh also, you should hate your sister and all of your subjects fear and loathe you." And she just goes with it! I understand this is depicting her at her lowest point after suffering a memory loss, but still, if she'd at least try to resist the attempts at manipulation, most of my complaints would melt away immediately. She doesn't even feel like Luna in the story, just some random, wimpy pony who's jerked around for a bit and because she's so completely inactive in the entire story, I don't feel invested. So when the big reveal comes and the therapist turns out to be Nightmare Moon I didn't feel surprised, I just thought "well duh, who else?" Though I do have to give a bit of praise to the story here I like the way the two are depicted once NMM reveals herself. Luna's optimism and need for love contrasted with the other acting as a manipulative "friend" is fairly nicely done actually. Too bad the story already ends before this could be explored in detail.
Overall: 4/10 I truly wish I could give this story a higher score, because again I like its base idea and the author has clearly shown that they can write nice prose. But the execution of the plot is sloppy and far too obvious, so ultimately I can't recommend it.