*ATTENTION: POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE LEAKED SYNOPSES.*
Episode 19: To Change A Changeling
Starlight Glimmer and Trixie try to get Thorax's brother Pharynx to accept the new way by sharing love and transforming so he doesn't undermine Thorax's leadership, and that the hive will ultimately accept him
When this synopsis was revealed, one thing I noticed was so many people expressing confusion over its revelation that Thorax’s brother, the most common question, “Aren’t ALL the changelings Thorax’s brothers and sisters?”
This is referring to the popular fan headcanon that Chrysalis follows the literal biological role of a Hive Queen in that she breeds all the children of the Hive. It would make sense if the writers wanted to follow the rules of a hive society to the eusocial letter, and there hasn’t been anything to really disprove it in the show’s canon.
That being said, the synopsis seems to indicate that the writers are actually not going to go in this direction. Why else would the synopsis highlight that Pharynx is Thorax’s brother if they were all meant to be brothers and sisters in the first place? It’s a rather specific nugget of information to include. Not to mention, Thorax only said he was “RAISED by an Evil Queen”, which is itself a rather specific choice of words.
Honestly, I think the mammalian approach might be for the better if that’s what the writers intend to do, as it can allow us to get to know individual changelings better through their relationships, not just friends but family too.
This concept is ripe for potential, not just the conflict of ideology within the hive, but Thorax and Pharynx’s relationship and dynamic alone. Outside of the Flim Flam brothers, we don’t have any other brother-brother relationships. As you can imagine, I’m having a fun time envision how similar or how starkly different they are from each other, Thorax being shy, timid and considerate, while Pharynx is bold, outspoken and harsh, not to mention pretty embittered by the events of the last season.
And if the writers do go down the non-eusocial route, here’s what I’m picturing for their origin. If Chrysalis didn’t lay the eggs herself but raised Pharynx and Thorax, maybe that means… she took them away from their biological mother as eggs to raise them, as the rest of the army and guards, in order to instill absolute loyalty to her and the state above their own family from birth.
Wow, the ’Force Awakens’ vibes are stronger here than they already were in ‘The Times They Are A Changeling’.
So while Thorax grew up to be one of many soldiers who would be deployed to Canterlot, perhaps one reason for Pharynx’s devotion to Chrysalis and the old ways besides a genuine belief in them is because he himself flourished under the Queen’s old system and rose through the ranks to a position of high authority and power. He may have become a five-star General, the Captain of the Guard or, if he was directed into hive politics, one of Chrysalis’ chief advisors or even her Prime Minister. This would make sense for the stronger, more ruthless personality I’m picturing for him.
This could also explain his and Thorax’s presumably estranged relationship today. Think about this: how was Pharynx affected by Thorax’s decision to leave the Hive? Whether or not he was in a high position, think of the embarrassment and dishonor that would fallen upon Pharynx and their whole family for being related to a ‘traitor’. If he was of high standing, I’m imagine Pharynx having being forced to resign because of the backlash. Thorax’s short-sighted decision may have wrecked both his brother and his entire family’s lives, at least under Queen Chrysalis’ reign.
Now imagine his disgraced brother coming back, overthrowing the Queen and becoming the new leader of their entire species, completely flipping their lifelong dynamic in one fell swoop. Who could honestly blame Pharynx for feeling so bitter? I’m half-imagining him at some point launching an attempted putsch against his brother.
So maybe it’s not so much his ideology (though it may be a large part of it), but also the personal pain at having been ‘betrayed’ by his brother that is motivating Pharynx.
When the two brothers reconcile, cuz c’mon you know they are, Pharynx could (re)assume a position of authority in this new regime and play an important role as the Yang to Thorax’s Yin. Thorax is the gentle touch, while Pharynx is the firm hoof. By working together instead of against each other, they can give the right balance of leadership the changelings’ need to move forward.