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Another MLP:FIM review thread

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The big movie coming out late this year, and I'm hardly excited about it because I'm expecting it to have the main elements of a 2-parter from this show: princesses who do nothing of importance and a rushed climax. There's likely more, but those are the ones that stick out the most. I've always wanted to see some exciting action and interesting lore from this show with all the powerful spellcasters roaming around, but the show hasn't featured much of those. I don't know if it's to do with the target audience, but I'm sure little girls can handle them. Or maybe there's a lack of interest from the creators.

I've only seen every episode of the show once and no more (except for the premiere which I just watched so I could do this thread), so an entire rewatch will be necessary to refresh my memory. I'm sure I'll forget some stuff that happens as time goes on, though.

For some boring background, I started watching this show in October 2010, though not quite on the day of the actual premiere. Before that, I didn't see much of anything MLP, and what I saw was tacky animation, wooden voice-acting, and boring stories. Thus, I never cared about MLP in any way because there was unsurprisingly nothing in it for me. I did read that Lauren Faust was working on the show, but that still didn't stir my interest. After the first two episodes aired, I read some positive comments. Since I had some free time, I decided to give them a shot, and I actually enjoyed them. With all the magic, mystery, royalty, I thought the show could build an interesting universe. Too bad that hasn't been the case, and if I had known that more than 6 years ago, I wouldn't have bothered with the show. But, here I am only with my hindsight.

Well, that's all for now. I need to sleep, so I'll be posting my thoughts on the premiere later. I don't know who will bother to read any of this stuff, but I'm ultimately doing it for myself so I can have a clearer opinion of the show. Take note that I'm not a critic; I won't put everything under an electron microscope. I'm just someone who's casually watching some television show and explaining why I liked or didn't like something.

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Normally if I comment on something, I tend to type off the top of my head. Since I’m trying to do reviews for episodes, that approach might not be the best one, so please bear with any amateurish mistakes I (will) make. Also, I don’t know how often I’ll be watching another episode, so updates will probably be irregular.

Friendship is Magic, Part 1 and 2

The premiere is often said to be one of the weaker 2-parters of the show. I actually consider this to be one of the better 2-parters of the show, but it’s only decent. Yup, it’s all downhill from here for the most part in terms of 2-part episodes, at least for me.

Good

  • The introduction gives us a piece of Equestrian history in the form of a picture book, and Celestia even narrates the entire beginning. That’s right. The first voice you hear in the show is from Princess Celestia. Admittedly, I’ve always wanted that alicorn to get more screentime and things to do in the show due to the interesting and mysterious air initially surrounding her, but that desire has long gone because she turns out to be one of the most wasted and useless character I’ve ever seen in any media. So from here on out, if there’s something about or relating to her that bugs me, I’m gonna bitch about it. Anyways, as for the introductory scene, we learn that the 2 alicorn sisters ruled Equestria together, but the pony citizens only seemed to enjoy the daytime and disliked the nighttime. I don’t know if that’s really the case or not, but that narrated backstory is all we have to go by. I’ll also admit that while all this is very interesting and wants me to learn more about the history of Equestria, this backstory is also a major problem I have with the episode, but more on that later. 
  • The episode also gives good introductions (outside of the elements) to the main characters of the show including the Mane 6 and Spike.
    • Twilight is initially not interested in companionship due to her studies (which is also why she’s the only one who knows about Nightmare Moon), and that obviously changes, but we also see that she tries to be a nice pony through her interactions and reactions.
    • Spike is Twilight’s snarky assistant, but he’s always willing to help her and wants the best for her.
    • Applejack is nice and values companionship. She’s also level-headed since she had to hold back Rainbow Dash from doing something rash. 
    • Rainbow Dash is immature, but she values her skills and isn’t afraid to show them off, and she’ll help when she’s needed.
    • Rarity prefers the upper class due to her speech pattern and designs, but she doesn’t devalue the lower class since she’s willing to live among them.
    • Fluttershy seemed to be a bit too shy at first in this episode. I don’t think she even had as much trouble conversing with other ponies later in the show as she first did with Twilight, and I doubt it was due to “character development”, but we’ll see in the next few episodes or so. Anyways, she likes animals (probably more than ponies), but she can break out of her shell and talk if motivated to.
    • Pinkie Pie’s introduction is probably my favorite. She first sees Twilight, and since they’ve never met, Pinkie gives a priceless gasp and throws a surprise party. Unsurprisingly, she an excitable pony.
  • One flaw that all (or most) of the two-parters suffer from is having a climax so rushed that the main conflict was resolved too easily. More on that later for this and other episodes. However, this had some actual build-up through the obstacles even if those weren’t executed impressively. At the very least, the obstacles had some connection to Nightmare Moon, so going through the smaller stuff and eventually getting to the big villain felt natural.
  • The time the 6 spent together isn’t too much, but the point of the episode was to give them a reason to join and stick together. Going through the mystical Everfree Forest together and later using some ancient magical artifacts to defeat an evil alicorn sounds reasonable enough. Actually, this is the main reason I enjoyed this episode more than others that have some major villain. When the villain does lose, the defeat will be swift with little actual action, but the threat of the villain isn't the point of the episode. We see the Mane 6 going through the Everfree Forest and interacting with each other (in addition to the previous interactions in the case of Twilight) and also helping others get through different problems. This would reasonably build trust and attachment between the characters.

Bad

  • The obstacles are unimpressive because they are solved as quickly as they are brought up. Since the Mane 6 represent the Elements, the episode has to show that in some way, and showcasing 6 major traits in only 22 minutes wasn’t going to be easy. One solution could’ve been a single ongoing obstacle where each of the Element has to play a role at some point, but I’m not a storyteller, so I don’t know how to execute that idea.
    • Applejack’s line is one of the most awkward I’ve ever heard, and I don’t know how anyone at the recording didn’t bust out laughing. She could’ve simply said that RD and Fluttershy will catch Twilight. Isn’t that straightforwardness also honest?
    • Fluttershy used the word “kindness” after the manticore business. As if the viewer hasn’t already figured things out at this point.
    • Pinkie Pie’s approach is… questionable. Also, how did none of them notice there were only tree trunks in front of them? And what if there were zombie goblins attacking? Would laughing in their faces help? The point of her song seems to be to not get give in to intimidation, but using direct laughter even against tree trunks simply looks weird.
    • Rarity’s display of her element is fine. She saw someone who seemed to be in need, and she didn’t disregard his problem even though everyone else did.
    • Rainbow Dash’s trial was stupidly portrayed. Would it really take that long to tie the bridge and go with the Shadowbolts? That wasn’t meant to be the solution, but the Shadowbolts declaring, “It’s them or us!” tried too hard to give a small situation some gravity, and the overall situation instead becomes silly.
    • Twilight even gets her own trial since she needed to realize that she and her friends were the key to beating NM after trying to use the Elements by herself. This is also done a tad awkwardly since the other 5 for some reason leave her alone when they don’t need to be that far away. Nightmare Moon could’ve just showed up and tried to take the orbs away, but Twilight chases after them and also ends up being teleported away. Also, why doesn't Nightmare Moon doesn't teleport Twilight to a farther location?
      • “A spark will cause the 6th element to be revealed?” What’s her name again? Twilight Sparkle, right?
  • Nightmare Moon doesn’t do much and thus looks unimpressive. The history at the beginning made her seem like a powerful magical pony, but she does little outside of keeping the night around and throwing small obstacles at the main characters. Again, said main characters go through those obstacles with little difficulty. In terms of direct action, she teleports Twilight to a close location, and the two charge at each other. Nightmare Moon also just stands around when she thinks something bad might happen to her. The first instance of this is when Twilight casts a spell on the orbs, and when a reaction seems to be occurring, the villain only gapes in horror. Another example is when Twilight explains how she and her friends represent the elements, Nightmare Moon again does nothing. The second one is common in all forms of fiction, and I am willing to accept that, but all of this doesn’t help Nightmare Moon’s overall image. This will also be important to a special season 5 episode, but I’ll get to that eventually. Some ways of fixing this are for her to destroy the orbs herself, which can elicit the same reaction from Twilight, and NM can shoot a magical blast at the Mane 6 only to be unsuccessful because of the Elements of Harmony being present.
  • As stated before, a recurring problem with these episode is that the climax is rushed, and the main conflict gets solved too easily. This episode is no different. All that happens is Twilight gives a speech, bright light, and voila. The villain immediately loses. Does any of that sound exciting? It sure doesn’t to me, and much of this applies to many of the show’s 2-parters.
  • What’s the problem with eternal night? Yes, I know plants won’t grow without sunlight, for example. The question then becomes: What do the characters see wrong with eternal night? All Nightmare Moon does is declare that she’s keeping the night sky around forever, and ponies simply say, “Oh no, we can’t have that happen!”, and nothing more. Because of such a generic reaction, the characters may know what they’re fighting against, but they don’t know what they’re fighting for. Thus, the conflict of the second episode feels hollow and loses almost all of its tension.

Other stuff

  • When Celestia called Luna her sister, Twilight is surprised. The book she read in the beginning of the previous episode directly stated that there were 2 sisters, so I don’t know what Twilight was thinking.
  • Was Princess Celestia trapped in the sun? That seem to be the case when she made her entrance. So the idea that NM captured Celestia seems true, but it’s too bad we don’t get anymore on this because the alicorns and the Elements could use some real exploration. This leads to my next point.
  • The lore and alicorns get no follow-up. This is more of a flaw of the show instead of this episode, and those were the reasons I was interested in the show. There was magic, epic battles, and mystical figures that could be explored. Too bad there’s little to nothing about the relationship between Celestia and Luna and their history. I keep wondering why the Elements of Harmony were able to restore Luna when used by the Mane 6, but they only sealed away NM when used by Celestia in the past. We can make a bunch of guesses about why this is the case, but without any actual explanations from the show, those guesses don’t mean anything.

Conclusion

Huh, this is more flawed than I thought, but I still enjoyed this episode overall. It stirred my interest in the show, so there’s a bit of fond nostalgia for the premiere. I think I have more to add, but I’m already taking long enough trying just to write this.

Edited by Number539
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A good overview. I always liked it. I think pilots should be given a bit of leeway. Gotta work out the rough edges, after all. ;)

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Good review overall, I'm happy to see another reviewer here.

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On 2/19/2017 at 2:59 PM, RK_Striker_JK_5 said:

A good overview. I always liked it. I think pilots should be given a bit of leeway. Gotta work out the rough edges, after all. ;)

Yeah, I tend to be a bit more forgiving of a show in the beginning since the crew is still trying to work things out.

Also, feel free to make comments on my comments. I know of the other review threads, but I won't read them until I comment on the actual episode because I don't want my thoughts to be swayed.

-------------

Since I want to review all episodes that have aired so far and maybe even the season 7 episodes before the movie comes out, I’ll have to go faster than I want. Hopefully, I won’t get sick of the show.

The Ticket Master

This episode has a rather basic story; Twilight gets 2 tickets to a major event, but her 5 friends all want to go. Her friends are nice ponies, so they are later willing to abandon their desires and decide to let Twilight make the final decision. Since there aren’t enough tickets, Twilight ultimately chooses to give them back, but she gets more tickets at the end anyways because Celestia is (probably) a nice pony.

I’m sure the conflict could’ve been solved very easily, but whatever. At least it’s entertaining even if it’s only decent at best, but there isn’t a whole lot of comment on.

Good

  • The characters are fleshed out a bit more. There isn’t a whole lot, but something is still good.
    • Applejack is cares about her work and family since she needed money to buy necessities (and to help Granny Smith’s hip (though it seemed to be fine anyways). There’s even a display of her own competitiveness with her and RD hoof-wrestling. For whatever reason, they’re tied here when that won’t be the case 10 episodes later.
    • We really see how much confidence RD has in herself and her skills so she can join the Wonderbolts. Did she perform any of those proclaimed moves at some point in the show?
    • Pinkie doesn’t get much, but she had many of the funny parts. She just randomly bumps into Twilight and later throws a direct celebration of her. Also, the “pin the tail on the pony” scene always cracks me up.
    • Rarity shows some vanity and fantasizing. Her hopes of the upper-class are too high.
    • Fluttershy likes animals and plants, though I don’t remember if she does much with the latter as the show goes on.
    • Spike even gets a small one. He may have been thrilled to go when he got his ticket at the end, but he already showed some degree of excitement when the first two tickets showed up.
  • Outside of some small but funny moments in the episode, there isn't much more in the episode.

Bad

  • Again, the story is too basic. Much of the episode was just (admittedly funny) gags with Twilight such as trying to get food but always failing, her friends trying to convince her to give them the ticket, and the chase scene, but all of this ultimately goes on too long. There’s also the obvious solution to her problem when she first gets the tickets.
    • "Only 2 tickets? But I have 5 friends. Maybe I can ask Princess Celestia for more or ask why I could only got 2."

Other stuff

  • There could’ve been some focus on how Twilight sees her friends and how she makes her final decisions, but this would’ve been pointless since all of her friends get invited.
  • How strange that after seeing AJ and RD that the rest of Twilight's friends happen to be close by.
  • I could go over which pony had the best reason to go, but that again ultimately doesn’t matter because they will all end up going. The final episode of season was definitely set up to have the Mane 6 deal with their disappointments.
  • Twilight gets a bit dizzy again after doing her teleportation spell. She's about to spam that spell in the next episode without problem, though it's probably because of shorter distances. I don't remember how long she took to master this.
  • To fill up the time better, there could’ve been a possible exploration of Twilight’s view of Celestia. She could’ve been uncertain about asking for more tickets, which can explain why Twilight didn’t attempt this sooner. From Celestia’s POV, she could personally send the invitation instead of having someone else send generic invitations. There even could’ve been an additional line such as, “Let me know if there are any concerns,” because she wanted to see how Twilight was handling herself with her newfound friendships.
    • The letter invitation sent to Twilight was definitely a generic one. However, after Twilight writes about not having enough tickets, Celestia literally responds, "Why didn't you just say so in the first place?" I have no idea how to take this because this implies that she knew Twilight was only getting two tickets despite having 5 other friends. Maybe this could've been a test and wanted to see what Twilight would do, but we don't see anything like this again nor does it seem like Celestia wanted Twilight to learn something. If anything, Twilight has been writing to Celestia to report what she has learned about friendship and other life lessons. Whether Celestia actually did anything with the letters outside of the season 2 premiere, I don't know.

Conclusion

It was enjoyable and funny at certain points, but it was longer than necessary.

Edited by Number539
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Applebuck Season

This one is better than the previous episode. Again, the story is simple with AJ refusing help when she definitely needs it, and a lot of trouble comes out of that. In this case, however, the time is filled up better. I still don’t have too much to say, though.

Good

  • The episode focused on Applejack, and we get a bit more of her.
    • She’s very reliable and helpful since even Mayor Mare decided to hold a small celebration of AJ after the latter save Ponyville from a stampede.
    • She likes helping ponies. She even diverted some time away from applebucking to help with other promises she made.
    • AJ is also too proud of her abilities, even calling herself “the loyalest of friends and the most dependable of ponies?” in the beginning and absolutely refused any help.
  • The Ticket Master just showed Twilight being indecisive and her friends doing favors, which was a tad repetitive. This episode showed 3 different screw-ups to fill out the time, and the consequences (sort of) escalate from launching RD too far, causing many ponies to be sick after eating making “baked bads”, and causing a bunny stampede.
    • The show’s display of the last disaster deserves a mention. “The horror, the horror!"

Bad

  • Why was Applejack refusing help? The episode likes to say it’s because of her pride, but is it over applebucking or just being helpful in general? We could’ve gotten a bit more exploration of AJ and how she feels about helping others. Do ponies hold her in such high regard that she thinks needing to receive help is embarrassing? Is she so used to helping others that receiving it looks wrong? She’s even willing to lose a ton of sleep just to prove herself, and that’s obviously a dumb move as she quickly saw. In the end, the episode does say that she’s just stubborn in addition to being proud, but that’s very little. There could’ve been more exploration of her feelings or thoughts instead of simply saying that she’s stubborn and proud.
  • How did Pinkie not notice the wrong ingredients? This one is worth a mention since she’s a baker, and I don’t know how any baker would let a mistake like that slide. Didn’t the batter look a little weird before putting it in the oven? AJ gets a pardon since she didn’t know what was being made and was too sleepy. Even though the resulting scene was amusing, the setup was too ridiculous.

Other Stuff

  • Rarity notably was left out of a screw-up that AJ had to be involved with, and that’s a good thing since the same joke would’ve been stretched too long.
  • I don’t know if the show ever talked much about the traits of an earth pony. Unicorns have magic, pegasi have natural flight and can walk on clouds without magic, but what do earth ponies have? Twilight quickly picks apart a bunch of trees on her own, but then again Rarity was only shown walking with the buckets, so I guess not all unicorns can do what Twilight did.
  • Notably, Big Mac talks quite a bit here and says more than, “Eeyup.” When did that image of him start, anyways?
  • “Loyalest of friends and the most dependable of ponies?” What does that make Rainbow Dash?

Conclusion

Another enjoyable episode with better comedy this time around, but I wouldn’t call this one of the greats.

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Griffon the Brush-off

“Griffon” is a weird way to spell the word, but I’m more used to seeing the alternative spellings. As for the episode, I guess it was decent? Actually, I’m not sure what to think because there were plenty of things I was uneasy about while watching.

Good

  • Pinkie and Rainbow Dash get some attention and bonding time as there hasn’t been too much on them up until this point. I even liked that RD thought that Pinkie was annoying, and not having one pony immediately and completely accepting another even after being “friends” was a nice touch.
  • There were minor touches that I liked in the episode as well.
    • Pinkie isn’t mindless about her pranking since she checked up on Spike and looked out for Fluttershy.
    • I’m a tad iffy about Gilda’s portrayal, but at least her prank on Granny Smith was noted to be “meaner” as Granny Smith didn’t realize the “snake” wasn’t real. When RD and Pinkie were pranking, the ponies involved learned the truth and got a laugh in the end as well.
    • RD displays her element of loyalty. Gilda was acting like a jerk to the ponies, and RD might have felt compelled to keep up with an old friend for the sake of loyalty. But when she finds out that friend isn’t the one she promised to stick with, Rainbow Dash had no reason to be her friend anymore. So she showed loyalty to her better friends.

Bad (more accurately, things that bugged me)

  • Pinkie should/could have been called out for interrupting the time that Gilda and Rainbow Dash were spending together. These were two friends that haven’t met for a while, so Pinkie was hardly in the right for constantly trying to show up when she wasn’t invited. Thus, the reveal of Gilda being a jerk was too early; she could’ve instead been irritated that Pinkie was barging in on their business and after expressing that to the latter, I’m sure Pinkie would’ve left the two alone. Otherwise, Pinkie would’ve been the dick of the episode.
    • Pinkie finally witnessing Gilda being a straight-up jerk was a little pointless since the viewer already knew this from Gilda’s statement to Pinkie earlier. This scene adds little outside of confirming Pinkie’s thoughts about Gilda.
    • After Pinkie leaves the 2 fliers, the viewer could’ve been kept guessing about Gilda’s true nature.
      • The direction the episode was taking might not have been too obvious as a result, and I don’t recall the show talking much about old friends with new friends much outside of this and “Amending Fences”. Maybe it could’ve been about an old friend being unable to accept someone’s new friend, or it could be a friend learning to accept someone’s old friend.
  • The point of the episode is to show that Gilda was a dick, though the execution is questionable at some points due to the above. Also, I don’t even know if there is much else to her either outside of (initially) respecting Rainbow Dash and thinking they were “cool”.
    • Gilda’s treatment of Fluttershy is over the top, and the scene should’ve been trimmed down a little. I know it’s to show that Gilda was truly an ass, but they tried too hard and could’ve been more straightforward about it. Gilda keeps talking and then mocks Fluttershy stretched the scene too long and ultimately made the whole thing look silly.
    • Gilda’s outburst at the party. This scene is supposed to have Gilda accept or reject RD’s new friends, but there were some details that bothered me. Granted, she does insult Pinkie and the rest of the ponies, but she was suspecting that Pinkie was trying to embarrass her, and embarrassment certainly happens since everyone else in the party laughed at her misfortunes. Rainbow Dash said herself that she set up the pranks and didn’t mind that her friend looked like an idiot, though she did try to check with Gilda earlier. Overall, this feels more like a misunderstanding.
  • “This calls for extreme measures, Pinkie Pie style.”
    • What is that supposed to mean? This almost sounds like Pinkie wanting to hit Gilda back after everything the latter did, but I doubt that’s what she or the episode meant. In a way, that’s what happened since Gilda is unintentionally hit by all the pranks that were set up, and that is also what she suspects is Pinkie’s true intention of the party.
    • Pinkie just saw Gilda being an ass hole to Fluttershy, so what was throwing the griffon a party supposed to do? Supposedly, that was to improve Gilda’s mood. Didn’t Pinkie suspect that she was a dick instead of being cranky? While being a jerk and being grumpy aren’t mutually exclusive, they’re not the same thing, either. Would improving one’s attitude even stop them from being a jerk, anyways? Maybe the point was to make Gilda happy and then ask why she was being a jerk? The episode doesn’t make too much sense in this respect.

Other Stuff

  • After not seeing Gilda again for a long while, I was surprised when she showed up in season 5. I remember liking the episode, but I’ll have to wait and see if it holds up or not.
  • Princess Celestia even makes a small appearance here. I feel it’s worth counting since she is largely and unjustly ignored as the show goes on. Here, she gets some scrolls from Spike, though this was really just a minor gag. Then she gets a letter from Twilight who also sends invisible ink. I guess she enjoys a small prank, too.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this? Maybe to some degree, but it looks like I’m rather mixed about this one mostly due to some questionable execution. I’m hoping I’ll like the next one better.

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Posted (edited)

Boast Busters

I don’t keep up with the fandom very often, but I do remember Trixie being pretty popular among those fans. I didn’t much care for this episode initially, but I also didn’t remember too much about this episode before rewatch. After seeing this, it doesn’t really hold up. There were plenty of things to comment about, but wording my thoughts was a little hard for some reason. Hopefully, the text will make sense.

Good

  • We see more Twilight. She’s still learning about friendship and how she might be viewed. While the episode’s presentation of its moral is questionable, Twilight’s concern especially when considering her background isn’t unreasonable. Though at the same time, her friends and Spike especially were all directly for her showing up Trixie, so even this point has a questionable presentation.
    • And her magical talent gets more screentime. The display by itself says it all.

Bad

  •  “Please! She's unbearable!” –Spike
    • Spike’s complaints are actually more unbearable. And I don’t know about anyone else, but is there some double standard going on? Spike, AJ, RD, and Rarity don’t like that Trixie was trying to show off (more on that later), but they’re (especially Spike) fine with Twilight showing off her abilities? Spike was very irritated when Trixie was being held up as amazing, but why did he take issue with Snips, Snails, or even Trixie at all? The latter 3 didn’t do anything to Spike or Twilight outside of Trixie challenging Twilight. Just based on Spike’s statements, he might even have wanted Twilight to take Trixie’s place
  • Rarity, AJ, and RD don’t do too much in the episode outside of talking about Trixie at the start. They do, or at least the former 2, don’t approve of her bragging, but there are a few problems with the execution.
    • Trixie first exclaims that she is about to perform some impressive tricks, which isn’t much even if you consider delivery. Rarity complains for some reason. Then AJ complains that Trixie is showing off even though the latter is putting on a show. This would make more sense if Trixie wasn’t a performer.
    • It’s worth noting that Trixie was actually being boastful about her talent as she continuously called herself “the best” or “the most magical pony”. She wasn’t above humiliating her challengers, so she’s hardly nice. It’s also worth noting that she doesn’t do what they did better as she initially claimed. Again, she just made fools of them.
    • Trixie actually got into trouble for lying instead of bragging. If she didn’t claim that she could beat an Ursa Major, then speaking highly or her spellcasting wouldn’t be completely wrong by itself since she is talented and knows it. She didn’t show off her magic outside of her performance, so she was hardly causing a problem for showboating.
    • The episode tried to make her look guilty of doing something wrong, but the stuff with the Ursa Minor situation really falls on 2 other characters.
  • Snips and Snails are bigger idiots. These guys are probably the most problematic elements of the episode. They just mindlessly claim and follow the idea that Trixie is the best magical unicorn ever because the latter said so. In other words, they’re just there to clumsily set up the main conflict of the episode. And for some reason, they thought it was a good idea to bring a monster just to have Trixie show her stuff. There’s already an inherent problem with that idea, why did they feel such a need to have Trixie be viewed as special? These two have no actual motivations and could be excluded from the story after some minor changes.

Other Stuff

  • Twilight was visibly concerned at the mention a potentially stronger magical unicorn. However, I don’t think this became an issue in the show.
  • Rainbow Dash shrieking when she was surprised by Trixie’s lightning got a laugh out of me. A good way to show her inner softness even with the tough exterior.
  • At the beginning, Spike and Twilight discuss unicorn magic with the former saying that a unicorn’s magic is mostly limited to their main talent, likely relating to their cutie mark. Then Twilight says that a unicorn’s talent can be in magic and spellcasting. I don’t remember if this element is talked about more often in the show.

Conclusion

A confused episode. It wasn’t too good at showing the negatives of bragging.

Edited by Number539
some typos
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I'd like to offer a couple of points in the Boast busters review of yours. Would that be permissible?

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Feel free.

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19 hours ago, Number539 said:

Boast Busters

I don’t keep up with the fandom very often, but I do remember Trixie being pretty popular among those fans. I didn’t much care for this episode initially, but I also didn’t remember too much about this episode before rewatch. After seeing this, it doesn’t really hold up. There were plenty of things to comment about, but wording my thoughts was a little hard for some reason. Hopefully, the text will make sense.

Good

  • We see more Twilight. She’s still learning about friendship and how she might be viewed. While the episode’s presentation of its moral is questionable, Twilight’s concern especially when considering her background isn’t unreasonable. Though at the same time, her friends and Spike especially were all directly for her showing up Trixie, so even this point has a questionable presentation.
    • And her magical talent gets more screentime. The display by itself says it all.

Bad

  •  “Please! She's unbearable!” –Spike
    • Spike’s complaints are actually more unbearable. And I don’t know about anyone else, but is there some double standard going on? Spike, AJ, RD, and Rarity don’t like that Trixie was trying to show off (more on that later), but they’re (especially Spike) fine with Twilight showing off her abilities? Spikee was very irritated when Trixie was being held up as amazing, but why did take issue with Snips, Snails, or even Trixie at all? The latter 3 didn’t do anything to Spike or Twilight outside of Trixie challenging Twilight. Just based on Spike’s statements, he might even have wanted Twilight to take Trixie’s place
  • Rarity, AJ, and RD don’t do too much in the episode outside of talking about Trixie at the start. They do, or at least the former 2, don’t approve of her bragging, but there are a few problems with the execution.
    • Trixie first exclaims that she is about to perform some impressive tricks, which isn’t much even if you consider delivery. Rarity complains for some reason. Then AJ complains that Trixie is showing off even though the latter is putting on a show. This would make more sense if Trixie wasn’t a performer.
    • It’s worth noting that Trixie was actually being boastful about her talent as she continuously called herself “the best” or “the most magical pony”. She wasn’t above humiliating her challengers, so she’s hardly nice. It’s also worth noting that she doesn’t do what they did better as she initially claimed. Again, she just made fools of them.
    • Trixie actually got into trouble for lying instead of bragging. If she didn’t claim that she could beat an Ursa Major, then speaking highly or her spellcasting wouldn’t be completely wrong by itself since she is talented and knows it. She didn’t show off her magic outside of her performance, so she was hardly causing a problem for showboating.
    • The episode tried to make her look guilty of doing something wrong, but the stuff with the Ursa Minor situation really falls on 2 other characters.
  • Snips and Snails are bigger idiots. These guys are probably the most problematic elements of the episode. They just mindlessly claim and follow the idea that Trixie is the best magical unicorn ever because the latter said so. In other words, they’re just there to clumsily set up the main conflict of the episode. And for some reason, they thought it was a good idea to bring a monster just to have Trixie show her stuff. There’s already an inherent problem with that idea, why did they feel such a need to have Trixie be viewed as special? These two have no actual motivations and could be excluded from the story after some minor changes.

Other Stuff

  • Twilight was visibly concerned at the mention a potentially stronger magical unicorn. However, I don’t think this became an issue in the show.
  • Rainbow Dash shrieking when she was surprised by Trixie’s lightning got a laugh out of me. A good way to show her inner softness even with the tough exterior.
  • At the beginning, Spike and Twilight discuss unicorn magic with the former saying that a unicorn’s magic is mostly limited to their main talent, likely relating to their cutie mark. Then Twilight says that a unicorn’s talent can be in magic and spellcasting. I don’t remember if this element is talked about more often in the show.

Conclusion

A confused episode. It wasn’t too good at showing the negatives of bragging.

One thing that I would like to make mention is that one thing that I didn't like of the episode was Twilight Sparkle's conflict. It felt like it was created for the sake of just giving something for Twilight to worry about in the episode as she worries of her friends calling her a braggart but these lines here:

 

Spike: What we need is another unicorn to challenge her. Someone with some magic of her own.

Rainbow Dash: Yeah! A unicorn to show this unicorn who's boss.

Applejack: A real unicorn to unicorn tussle.

 

At that point, I just don't see how can she have such issues with using her magic as they all but asked her to. Just felt unnecessary and just rather pointless in the end. 

 

Another thing was how Trixie was unfairly cast as a villain. While she wasn't exactly nice, she had reason to retaliate as she did as Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack were being very rude to her for simply doing her job as an entertainer. Without any security to remove the belligerent audience, she chose to humiliate them or so to not only punish them for their actions but to also show off her skills to entice the crowd as it's part of her job. 

 

Those are the points I feel I like to add here.

 

Thank you once more.

 

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On 3/3/2017 at 5:05 PM, Nuke87654 said:

One thing that I would like to make mention is that one thing that I didn't like of the episode was Twilight Sparkle's conflict. It felt like it was created for the sake of just giving something for Twilight to worry about in the episode as she worries of her friends calling her a braggart but these lines here:

 

Spike: What we need is another unicorn to challenge her. Someone with some magic of her own.

Rainbow Dash: Yeah! A unicorn to show this unicorn who's boss.

Applejack: A real unicorn to unicorn tussle.

 

At that point, I just don't see how can she have such issues with using her magic as they all but asked her to. Just felt unnecessary and just rather pointless in the end. 

 

Another thing was how Trixie was unfairly cast as a villain. While she wasn't exactly nice, she had reason to retaliate as she did as Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack were being very rude to her for simply doing her job as an entertainer. Without any security to remove the belligerent audience, she chose to humiliate them or so to not only punish them for their actions but to also show off her skills to entice the crowd as it's part of her job. 

 

Those are the points I feel I like to add here.

 

Thank you once more.

 

Yeah, Twilight's concern was kinda pointless. Having that concern made sense on paper since she was still learning about her friends and how they might see her, but her friends were practically begging her to do something about Trixie anyways. Honestly, the double standard in the episode bothered me more.

Snips and Snails were the ones who actually caused more trouble, and no pony noticed that for some reason. So yeah, Trixie wasn't the biggest troublemaker in the episode. I read your comments in your thread on this episode, and I don't agree with the idea that AJ, Rarity, and RD were heckling Trixie since they were talking to each other instead of her, and Trixie later overheard them. But that's beside the point. Just based on Trixie's statements alone, she was more interested in looking good than entertaining the audience. And if I saw a performer humiliating an unkind viewer, I'd have to wonder if they were actually more interested in striking back.

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1 minute ago, Number539 said:

Yeah, Twilight's concern was kinda pointless. Having that concern made sense on paper since she was still learning about her friends and how they might see her, but her friends were practically begging her to do something about Trixie anyways. Honestly, the double standard in the episode bothered me more.

Snips and Snails were the ones who actually caused more trouble, and no pony noticed that for some reason. So yeah, Trixie wasn't the biggest troublemaker in the episode. I read your comments in your thread on this episode, and I don't agree with the idea that AJ, Rarity, and RD were heckling Trixie since they were talking to each other instead of her, and Trixie later overheard them. But that's beside the point. Just based on Trixie's statements alone, she was more interested in looking good than entertaining the audience. And if I saw a performer humiliating an unkind viewer, I'd have to wonder if they were actually more interested in striking back.

True it is pointless for Twilight to have such a conflict. I also agree that Snips and Snails and how they escaped punishment and left Trixie out to be fried by the town for their actions was worse as well.

 

I believe they were heckling as they were talking bad about her loud enough for Trixie to hear it and Rainbow Dash yelled this remark at her:

 

Rainbow Dash:  Eh, I mean, yeah, uh, magic shmagic. Boo!

 

It was not just Rainbow Dash she calls out, she called out Rarity and AJ whom she clearly heard were bad mouthing her too in their conversation. Trixie had ample reason to respond to them as she did as they were bad mouthing her and considering how her reputation as an entertaining performer was at risk, something she cannot afford to have damaged, she decided to teach them a lesson while at the same time look good doing it. As I said, I did not saw any real bad thing she did, especially compared to how RD, AJ, and Rarity were busy talking crap about her in the audience. 

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15 hours ago, Nuke87654 said:

True it is pointless for Twilight to have such a conflict. I also agree that Snips and Snails and how they escaped punishment and left Trixie out to be fried by the town for their actions was worse as well.

 

I believe they were heckling as they were talking bad about her loud enough for Trixie to hear it and Rainbow Dash yelled this remark at her:

 

Rainbow Dash:  Eh, I mean, yeah, uh, magic shmagic. Boo!

 

It was not just Rainbow Dash she calls out, she called out Rarity and AJ whom she clearly heard were bad mouthing her too in their conversation. Trixie had ample reason to respond to them as she did as they were bad mouthing her and considering how her reputation as an entertaining performer was at risk, something she cannot afford to have damaged, she decided to teach them a lesson while at the same time look good doing it. As I said, I did not saw any real bad thing she did, especially compared to how RD, AJ, and Rarity were busy talking crap about her in the audience. 

I suppose RD's comment was more directed toward Trixie. I'd say Rarity and AJ's comments were to themselves or each other, but whatever.

It looks like Trixie's response to her "naysayers" is something we might disagree on. I still think Trixie's priority was to boost her own ego, and putting on a show is her way to do so. It's been a while since I've seen "Magic Duel", but that episode for now is inconsequential. Maybe her retaliation was reasonable, maybe not, but that wasn't my point. To reiterate: if I saw a performer humiliating an unkind viewer, I have to wonder if they just wanted to strike back with putting on a show as a front.

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3 hours ago, Number539 said:

I suppose RD's comment was more directed toward Trixie. I'd say Rarity and AJ's comments were to themselves or each other, but whatever.

It looks like Trixie's response to her "naysayers" is something we might disagree on. I still think Trixie's priority was to boost her own ego, and putting on a show is her way to do so. It's been a while since I've seen "Magic Duel", but that episode for now is inconsequential. Maybe her retaliation was reasonable, maybe not, but that wasn't my point. To reiterate: if I saw a performer humiliating an unkind viewer, I have to wonder if they just wanted to strike back with putting on a show as a front.

 

Aye, I hear ya. I'll admit and say that Trixie isn't exactly innocent in it, but I stick by her side considering that they were calling her out and normally you would have security to throw the hecklers out that Trixie couldn't afford. To me it was her way to punish them for being rude and to show how good of a performer she is.

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Posted (edited)

Dragonshy

We get a journey up a mountain to deal with a dragon that is causing trouble for Equestria. Now that sounds like a pretty adventurous episode, and it’s not a 2-parter. I don’t think we’ll get much more of these in the future, but I’ll find out eventually. It could’ve been more action-packed especially with the dragon, but the final product is still solid.

Good

  • Fluttershy was a bit exaggerated in this episode (more on that later), but it was an overall good story for her. She’s not the bravest pony around, so the show is likely to help her along with this problem. We’ve seen her deal with more intense situations like with the Manticore and Nightmare Moon in the premiere, which is even mentioned in this episode. But we didn’t see how she’d handle something that might be too much for her, so this episode presents the dragon, which she is afraid of despite being an animal-lover and even tries to leave in the beginning. Though she does mention that dragons don’t look too friendly. Fluttershy goes through some hardships because of her fear which slows down the expedition, even showing shame for that, and she’s even too ashamed to admit her fear. Fluttershy was able to power through her fear when seeing her friends in danger, and she even gave a pretty good scolding to the dragon. This is a good first step to seeing Fluttershy become more assertive, though she’ll unfortunately regress at some points in the show.
    • Fluttershy’s stare even makes its unannounced first appearance here.
  • The adventure aspect, while there isn’t too much of it since it was mostly traveling and dealing with Fluttershy’s trouble of climbing up the mountain, was a welcome change from the more ordinary and everyday-life stories from previous episodes. With all the magic, creatures, and mysteries, there’s plenty of room to explore the inner workings of Equestria.
  • The other main characters don’t do too much, which is fine since there’s only 22 minutes to tell the story, but they get their share of screentime. Twilight is the leader of the group with her connection to Celestia and making plans for and during the expedition. AJ helps other ponies in trouble during two notable scenes: helping Fluttershy up the mountain and during the avalanche scene where she helps Twilight, and I don’t imagine such situations occurring to alicorn Twilight. Rainbow Dash doesn’t take too kindly to Fluttershy slowing down the trip, and is too brave for her own good. Pinkie Pie and Rarity do the least in the episode, but Pinkie gets to help Fluttershy at one point with a song, and Rarity is a fashionista.

Bad

  • Rarity was a bit questionable during her scene with the dragon, though. She was definitely more interested in the jewelry than the goal of the mission if the resulting scene was anything to go by, and it made her look a bit selfish. The element of generosity doesn’t always need to be giving, but she seemed too selfish when her conversation with Twilight revealed that she wasn’t interested in getting rid of something dangerous.
  • There are a fair number of cheesy moments with Fluttershy in this episode. She’s meek and well – shy – but the episode tries too hard to express this. She wasn’t afraid of her own shadow at any point before this, and her constant squealing got old.
    • Fluttershy’s confrontation with the dragon is indeed a good moment, but having the dragon actually break down and cry was a bit much. I’m not always big on these overly sentimental moments because they can come off as insincere and trying too hard to draw out a response instead of trying to tell a story, not that overly sentimental moments are bad, but they can be annoying if done poorly. In this episode, I actually groaned at some points.
  • Minor compared to the previous point, but RD’s exasperation with Fluttershy was repetitive. While having a pony being irritated about a teammate who seems useless isn’t unreasonable, her complaints got old since they were essentially the same statements. There could’ve been other ways to express her displeasure.

Other stuff

  • Twilight made a plan just before visiting the dragon, but none of it actually came into play. And I doubt the dragon would feel the apples unless they were launched into its eyes.
  • There’s more of Angel in this episode, and we see he’s not the nicest bunny around. He even throws a carrot at Fluttershy after the latter finally noticed the smoke in the sky. Though he wasn’t terribly nice either in “The Ticket Master”, but there’s more interaction between him and Fluttershy in this episode.
  • Celestia gets mentioned in this episode outside of the ending letter. The dragon’s smoke covering Equestria for 100 years is a pretty big deal, so I have to wonder why she didn’t try to take care of this herself or if she had a backup plan in case the Mane 6 failed.

Conclusion

This was a noticeable step up from previous episodes with the adventurous feel and Fluttershy’s confrontation helping with that. Still need to do something about the cheesy stuff.

Edited by Number539
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Look Before You Sleep

I didn’t much care for this episode when I first saw it because the 2 characters in question, Applejack and Rarity, just complain about each other for the entire episode with nothing insightful other than, “I don’t like how the other does things.” After a rewatch, it still isn’t that good.

Good

  • AJ and Rarity being at odds with each other is a good concept given their immediate traits. Like in “Griffon the Brush-Off”, two ponies from the Mane 6 only know each other through Twilight, but they aren’t too familiar with each other. They’re get to interact and despite being “friends” in some way, they have to take a while to warm up to each other.
    • Rarity being detail-oriented makes sense given her profession.
    • AJ does a lot of physical labor, so it makes sense that she doesn’t mind getting dirty, which AJ herself even points out.
    • Interestingly, AJ has restrained RD such in the premiere and “Boast Busters”. In this case, AJ is much less restrained around Rarity.
  • The weather control at the beginning was a nice touch. The premiere and the next episode feature the Everfree Forest, and according to the ponies, the forest is unnatural since the ponies aren’t the ones controlling it.

Bad

  • Twilight’s obsession with her slumber party book is ridiculous. There’s a strong implication that she knew Applejack and Rarity weren’t getting along, but she decides not to do anything about it for some reason, or maybe she didn’t care. She wanted to move on from “Truth or Dare” when the other two ponies were decided to verbally attack each other instead, and Twilight opted for bedtime when the pillow fight got out of hand. So there’s definitely proof that Twilight noticed the two not getting along, and how does she feel about this?
    • Twilight: Enough! It says right here that the number one thing you're supposed to do at a slumber party is have fun, and thanks to you two I can't check that off!
    • So she’s more focused on finishing the checklist than the well-being of her friends? She wasn’t an uncaring pony before coming to Ponyville. For example, she didn’t want to disappoint the Apple family in the premiere.
    • This gets truly ridiculous when part of a tree destroys tumbles into the library, with the rain and wind compounding the problem. And Twilight thinks this is part of a usual slumber party. Really? This isn’t funny. It’s stupid.
  • Rarity and AJ’s arguments became uninteresting because they repeat the same statements. Rarity only complains about AJ being messy and blunt, and AJ only complains about Rarity being too neat and fussy over small details. Their complaints aren’t unreasonable, but that’s not much of an idea of how one sees the other outside of the immediate trait they don’t agree with. The two are even a bit childish at times, especially with the bedtime scene with the blanket.

Other Stuff

  • Couldn’t AJ and Rarity have hurried home?
  • I know Twilight lives in the Golden Oak Library, but I haven’t heard the name of the place so far. When was it first stated within the show?
  • Spike off on “royal business” sounds so random, but the reason he isn’t here is obvious. Still, what could he possibly have been needed for?

Conclusion

  • A lackluster episode due to its rather repetitive nature and Twilight’s idiocy. We get some nice interactions between two ponies, but they don’t have much to say.
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Posted (edited)

Bridle gossip

I’m sure most people who watch the show will know this episode as the one that first introduces Zecora. By the way, why haven’t we seen more of Zecora or zebras in general? Why haven’t we seen other equine species? There’s mules which was mentioned in “Applebuck Season” and Cranky, and I remember others in “Magic Duel”. Anyways, this episode attempts to talk about prejudging, though why exactly the characters felt the way they did is still a mystery.

Good

  • Zecora has always been a fascinating character since she’s always portrayed as a mysterious foreigner. She speaks in rhyme and lives in a hut with Tiki masks in the Everfree forest. She also makes potions, which is a pretty nice contrast to unicorns directly casting spells. I don’t know if potions have been used that often in the show, though.
  • Apple Bloom gets more screentime, and It’s also before forming the Cutie Mark Crusaders. This young pony is interestingly more open-minded about Zecora than the “adult” ponies. She even felt responsible for the poison joke problem and helped Zecora make the potion to treat the ailments. A sign of maturity, which makes AJ’s treatment of AB a bit strange in this episode. Apple Bloom even gets tired of this condescending treatment.
    • I remember disliking the episode “Somepony to Watch Over Me” because Applejack’s behavior toward her younger sister was too much, but it even started all the way back here.
  • Twilight is also open-minded about Zecora, or she was initially. She points out that the problems her friends had made little to no sense, but this doesn’t last.

Bad

  • This episode makes no damn sense.
  • The Mane 6 except Twilight are afraid of Zecora since she lives in the mysterious Everfree Forest, digs at the ground, and some minor stuff. So they think she’s weird or something’s up. But different problems accompany this.
    • The Ponyville citizen (or the Mane 6 at least) somehow know her name. They can’t know it without directly talking to her, which literally no pony has ever tried for some reason. Or Zecora could have declared it aloud when all of Ponyville stayed indoors, but why didn’t she also say that she wanted to buy something?
    • Twilight’s sudden turn against Zecora. She quickly converts to the other side after seeing a few things in Zecora’s home. I’d like to ask her, “How are any of those things bad?”
      • Why didn’t she check out her book? That wouldn’t have taken a long time, and she’s a bookworm.
  • One big problem: we don’t know why exactly Ponyville is so afraid of Zecora. We only get minor descriptions from the Mane 6 sans Twilight, but Twilight herself points out how ridiculous their claims are. This ties into the biggest problem with the episode.
    • Biggest problem with this episode but also present to some degree in previous episodes: the show wants to teach kids (and adults) everyday-life lessons. They’re more focused on telling the moral than the actual story save the premiere, and the stories are quite thin as a result. I’m not saying that the episodes need to be extremely dense or profound, but there isn’t much going on. The characters may learn something, but we don’t learn too much about the actual characters.

Other Stuff

  • The poison joke looks magical since they have pretty specific effects on the Mane 6, but this doesn’t seem to be confirmed.
  • Twilight used magic to lift her brush right before seeing her horn, but she is unable to or doesn’t use magic after for whatever reason.
  • Doesn’t a curse still involve magic? I don’t remember if curses were used often in the show.

Conclusion

We get some relatively funny moments and Zecora, but it’s another unimpressive effort.

Edited by Number539
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Swarm of the Century

We get parasprites in this episode. I don’t think they show up again after this, but that doesn’t matter.

Good

  • Twilight gets some amount of spotlight in this episode.
    • Her spell against the parasprites doesn’t work. She may carry a lot of raw power, but even she couldn’t do anything about the infestation. She even made things worse.
    • She breaks down at one point. Not nearly as much as “Lesson Zero”, of course, but it’s still worth noting.
    • The above stems from feeling the need to appeal to Celestia. Back when the alicorn of the sun actually meant something to the show. Too bad there isn’t much about their relationship as the show goes on, but at least this was a small glimpse of it.
  • There is a small moment of Mane 6 sans Pinkie working together to try fixing the problem. We don’t see that often anymore.
  • Amusing moments with Pinkie and the parasprites, especially with the latter later destroying Ponyville.
    • Pinkie looks for instruments while there’s an infestation. We know why she’s doing this, but her seemingly skewed priorities is still fun to watch. One notable scene is when Rarity feels helpless in her shop with the critters, and Pinkie only shows up to grab an instrument.

Bad

  • The episode’s moral may state that one should listen to what their friend has to say, and that’s not a bad moral. But Pinkie makes no attempt to explain herself or her knowledge about the bugs. She’s the only one in Ponyville who knows about them, and she doesn’t say how or why the instruments could help. The lack of effort to explain is the only reason the episode plays out as it does. If Pinkie said that parasprites are big eaters that easily reproduce and can be lured away with music or instruments, her friends could’ve helped.
    • Or maybe her friends might think she’s crazy and ignore her, which would make the presentation of the moral more reasonable. Though they’d need a good reason to find her input unhelpful, and I can’t think of any since no one else knows anything about parasprites, and demonstrations of the descriptions are easy.
    • On the flip side, her friends don’t question Pinkie Pie about the parasprites, but the more of the blame lies with Pinkie.
  • The ones below are minor compared to the above
    • Fluttershy keeping the parasprites. She saw what those bugs could do, so why did she feel like keeping one around? That’s pretty dumb for an animal expert, too.
    • Zecora’s scene was pointless. It was a nice appearance for her, and she even appeared in the previous episode, but her input wasn’t needed. We already know the parasprites can/will eat anything. She offers nothing outside of what we already saw.

Other Stuff

  • Hah, that imagination scene with Celestia. They unintentionally foreshadowed that alicorn’s ultimate fate in the show: being useless against threats.
  • I honestly don’t know what to make of the scene when she does meet up with the Mane 6. I find it hard to believe she wouldn’t know anything about parasprites. Some say that she was aware of the trouble plaguing Ponyville, but nothing more ever came out of this scene, so the various guesses mean nothing to me.

Conclusion

Amusing, but it's yet another average episode of the show.

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One other point to make Pinkie Pie look worse in the episode imo was that she actually caused Rainbow Dash to lose control of the tornado when it looked like she was about to corral the 2nd parasprite infestation and have it flung to Ponyville, thus the ponyville infestation of it can be blamed on Pinkie which the episode completely glosses over with it's moral. For me, Pinkie Pie more or less was fixing her screwup than helping to stop Ponyville for that which as you mentioned she didn't told anyone about the parasprites.

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On 3/12/2017 at 2:12 PM, Number539 said:

Bridle gossip

I’m sure most people who watch the show will know this episode as the one that first introduces Zecora. By the way, why haven’t we seen more of Zecora or zebras in general? Why haven’t we seen other equine species? There’s mules which was mentioned in “Applebuck Season” and Cranky, and I remember others in “Magic Duel”. Anyways, this episode attempts to talk about prejudging, though why exactly the characters felt the way they did is still a mystery.

Good

  • Zecora has always been a fascinating character since she’s always portrayed as a mysterious foreigner. She speaks in rhyme and lives in a hut with Tiki masks in the Everfree forest. She also makes potions, which is a pretty nice contrast to unicorns directly casting spells. I don’t know if potions have been used that often in the show, though.
  • Apple Bloom gets more screentime, and It’s also before forming the Cutie Mark Crusaders. This young pony is interestingly more open-minded about Zecora than the “adult” ponies. She even felt responsible for the poison joke problem and helped Zecora make the potion to treat the ailments. A sign of maturity, which makes AJ’s treatment of AB a bit strange in this episode. Apple Bloom even gets tired of this condescending treatment.
    • I remember disliking the episode “Somepony to Watch Over Me” because Applejack’s behavior toward her younger sister was too much, but it even started all the way back here.
  • Twilight is also open-minded about Zecora, or she was initially. She points out that the problems her friends had made little to no sense, but this doesn’t last.

Bad

  • This episode makes no damn sense.
  • The Mane 6 except Twilight are afraid of Zecora since she lives in the mysterious Everfree Forest, digs at the ground, and some minor stuff. So they think she’s weird or something’s up. But different problems accompany this.
    • The Ponyville citizen (or the Mane 6 at least) somehow know her name. They can’t know it without directly talking to her, which literally no pony has ever tried for some reason. Or Zecora could have declared it aloud when all of Ponyville stayed indoors, but why didn’t she also say that she wanted to buy something?
    • Twilight’s sudden turn against Zecora. She quickly converts to the other side after seeing a few things in Zecora’s home. I’d like to ask her, “How are any of those things bad?”
      • Why didn’t she check out her book? That wouldn’t have taken a long time, and she’s a bookworm.
  • One big problem: we don’t know why exactly Ponyville is so afraid of Zecora. We only get minor descriptions from the Mane 6 sans Twilight, but Twilight herself points out how ridiculous their claims are. This ties into the biggest problem with the episode.
    • Biggest problem with this episode but also present to some degree in previous episodes: the show wants to teach kids (and adults) everyday-life lessons. They’re more focused on telling the moral than the actual story save the premiere, and the stories are quite thin as a result. I’m not saying that the episodes need to be extremely dense or profound, but there isn’t much going on. The characters may learn something, but we don’t learn too much about the actual characters.

Other Stuff

  • The poison joke looks magical since they have pretty specific effects on the Mane 6, but this doesn’t seem to be confirmed.
  • Twilight used magic to lift her brush right before seeing her horn, but she is unable to or doesn’t use magic after for whatever reason.
  • Doesn’t a curse still involve magic? I don’t remember if curses were used often in the show.

Conclusion

We get some relatively funny moments and Zecora, but it’s another unimpressive effort.

 

Didn't like the racist implications they seem to be hitting off with the episode either considering how Zecora seems to be the designated minority character in the show and they chose the laziest narrative to highlight it.

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Nuke87654 said:

One other point to make Pinkie Pie look worse in the episode imo was that she actually caused Rainbow Dash to lose control of the tornado when it looked like she was about to corral the 2nd parasprite infestation and have it flung to Ponyville, thus the ponyville infestation of it can be blamed on Pinkie which the episode completely glosses over with it's moral. For me, Pinkie Pie more or less was fixing her screwup than helping to stop Ponyville for that which as you mentioned she didn't told anyone about the parasprites.

That's true, too. RD's tornado might even have been able to send away those pests.

 

11 hours ago, Nuke87654 said:

Didn't like the racist implications they seem to be hitting off with the episode either considering how Zecora seems to be the designated minority character in the show and they chose the laziest narrative to highlight it.

I think an episode like this might've always unintentionally carried some racist undertones due to its nature (Zecora being an equine like the main characters doesn't help), but the real question is more "how much" rather than simply "yes or no". For me, I say there's little to none since the characters weren't condemning zebras as a whole, though Rarity's reactions to zebra stripes can still count in some way. Twilight doesn't count because she was fine with zebras, but Zecora's decorations and activities got to her. Even then, the episode tries to shoot down the idea of judging others.

I doubt the writers and producers meant to insult some faction of people, so the real complaint would be more a poorly told story about not prejudging. And I fall into the latter.

Then again, there's also the possibility of a story being so poor that it feels insulting.

Edited by Number539
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12 hours ago, Number539 said:

That's true, too. RD's tornado might even have been able to send away those pests.

 

I think an episode like this might've always unintentionally carried some racist undertones due to its nature (Zecora being an equine like the main characters doesn't help), but the real question is more "how much" rather than simply "yes or no". For me, I say there's little to none since the characters weren't condemning zebras as a whole, though Rarity's reactions to zebra stripes can still count in some way. Twilight doesn't count because she was fine with zebras, but Zecora's decorations and activities got to her. Even then, the episode tries to shoot down the idea of judging others.

I doubt the writers and producers meant to insult some faction of people, so the real complaint would be more a poorly told story about not prejudging. And I fall into the latter.

Then again, there's also the possibility of a story being so poor that it feels insulting.

Aye.

 

True. 

 

What I meant to say was that the narrative used in the episode was essentially a lazy attempt to try to explain the moral of not being a racist shithead by writing everyone ooc where all of a sudden folks are not liking this one zebra character in a not so thinly disguised racism at the zebra pony. I'm not calling the writers intentions racist, I'm calling out how lazy they wanted to write the moral against racism is.

 

However, ty very much for your response and please continue writing these reviews man.

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Winter Wrap Up

Now this is more like it. After a string of OK episodes, we get the show’s first big musical number. It’s my favorite song from the show, and I’m not exactly sure why. I’m guessing this episode coming around a time I was more into this show helps the song.

Too bad we didn’t see what down in Ponyville this winter, or at least not this season. Another notable point is that the autumn episode “Fall Weather Friends” came after this one, which is weird, but I’ll have to go with it.

Good

  • Winter Wrap Up is a very good song. It’s upbeat, explains the event, and what ponies are needed to do. It’s essentially exposition in song form, which isn’t a bad thing. Why make generic statements taken from some random document when you could make it into a catchy song instead? The instrumental that played after Twilight lead the ponies is great, too.
    • During the song, Twilight expresses reasonable concern at trying to find something to do without magic. Unsurprisingly, completing various tasks without it becomes difficult since she can’t use her greatest asset.
  • Twilight’s journey is a simple one like the rest, but it’s done effectively because the episode shows her trying to find a task to complete only to keep failing. We also see Twilight interact with her friends and react to her failures. Being a Ponyville resident only motivates her to keep trying. Eventually, we get to a disaster with AJ, and Twilight doesn’t take this final failure too well with the use of magic not helping her outlook.
    • Rarity again shows that she’s cares about minor details when working only on Twilight’s nest when she could’ve just made more instead.
  • Twilight wasn’t shown with organizational skills before this episode, but she didn’t get that much spotlight until now. So this episode was just showing another skill she had. Still, she has a checklist in the beginning, and she also arranges the nest items that Rarity gave her.
  • There are some good touches with the rest of Ponyville being disorganized. Rarity is the only one making nests, and Pinkie was ice skating by herself. Though more ice skaters later appear. Even then, the skaters and field-plowers move in random directions. This culminates in a scene with AJ, RD, and Fluttershy deciding when the snow should melt. No pony put much actual thought into the tasks that needed to be finished. Though I do have some problems with the revelation itself, but I’ll get to it a bit later.
  • Equestrian nature gets featured again. We’ve been given hints that these ponies don’t do things the same way we do, and now we get to actually see these ponies approach their ideas and how they feel about it. Since they feel the need to start spring immediately, they can’t or shouldn’t have too much snow and ice left the next day. Being in charge of the natural processes (or at least the feeling of it since nothing exists in a vacuum and I’m sure some snow and ice could melt away on their own with sunlight) means that screw ups like this or not having rain at one point in “Look Before You Sleep” can be problematic. In other words, the ponies have certain customs and belief, so their concern isn’t a small one.

Bad

  • Spike wasn’t being helpful to Twilight. All he did was condemn Twilight’s failures, and he didn’t try to help outside of suggesting magic. He mocks Twilight’s attempt to make a nest, also mocks her attempt to ice skate, and even makes a disapproving expression when he sees Twilight trying to physically move a plow. He even had the balls to shoot Twilight for using magic right after AJ scolds her for it, and remember that he kept making the suggesting the use of magic. He even sucks at trying to comfort Twilight after the latter hides in a bush out of embarrassment. Yeah, he was practically doing nothing for almost the entire episode until he helped Twilight organize the event. Even so, he was only using a clipboard.
  • Kind of minor, but Mayor Mare sucks at her leading the ponies, and I’m sure leading is one of her main jobs. After years of failure, she should’ve found a different approach. If winter can be cleaned up in one afternoon and night, and the ponies were continuously failing after being given 24 hours, that’s one hell of a disorganization. Apparently, all the mayor does or can do is make speeches. I guess Celestia isn’t the only incompetent authority figure.
  • Also relatively minor, but unicorns not being able to use magic doesn’t make much sense if only Earth ponies have cleaned up winter. How could they move the clouds if they couldn’t fly? They’d need Pegasus ponies as the episode showed, and flying is as inherent to them as magic is to the unicorns. Also, all kinds of ponies have been living in Ponyville, so their tradition would probably need to adapt. Still, the episode does make clear that the lack of forward thinking is what screwed them over the most.
    • Earth ponies have physical strength since Twilight couldn’t move the plow, though AJ calls her small even though they’re exactly the same size. Also, I don’t remember the show saying much about the physical capabilities of Earth ponies. Then again, there are only male Earth ponies that were moving the plows.
    • Rarity used magic, then again it was just to move a basket.

Other Stuff

  • So is every pony in Ponyville supposed to help with the wrap up? If so, why wasn’t Twilight already assigned a role?
  • Ponyville has been around for hundreds of years, but an episode in the second season later shows the town being founded by AJ’s family. Either non-alicorn ponies can live a long time, or this is a retcon. One that I can accept.
  • Twilight said she was good with animals, but that’s obviously not the case as we shortly see later. Maybe she was just trying to convince herself that she had a place in the wrap up.

Conclusion

A simple episode like with the rest of MLP, but it’s one of the better episodes since Dragonshy. This time, there’s plenty happening as building up Twilight’s frustration is necessary since giving up after one attempt doesn’t make sense. And the episode continues to build on her character.

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Call of the Cutie

I don’t remember the previous episodes mentioning the term “cutie mark”, but this is the first one to actually get into it. The Cutie Mark Crusaders has been founded, and they’ll get their own set of episodes with some of those dealing with their ongoing cutie mark struggle.

 Too bad the CMC don’t know that it’ll take about 5 years to get their marks, but nevermind that for now.

Good

  • This show has introduced a fair amount of characters in addition to the Mane 6, but this episode introduces the Cutie Mark Crusaders as a group. I’ve always wanted to see other sides of Equestria and its activities because I’m sure there’s more going on outside of whatever problem the Mane 6 has to deal with, and this is one way to go about the idea. The attempts to get cutie marks can be repetitive, but there are thankfully other good stories featuring the 3 fillies or at least one of them.
    • See, writers? You can have good episodes that focus on secondary characters.
    • Apple Bloom had one line in the premiere, and “Bridle Gossip” shows her wanting to be seen as a pony instead of just a filly. This can gives her desire for a cutie mark more weight. Strangely, this desire wasn’t mentioned in “Bridle Gossip”, but then again it wasn’t a problem until this episode came about. We also get to see other sides of her including being passionate and even a bit hyper.
  • The importance of cutie marks wasn’t mentioned until now. This is a nice touch because all the ponies, including ones in the background, have different images or symbols over their behind. I’m pretty sure this is just to help with toy sales and collecting, but since this is in the show, they might as well acknowledge it instead of pretending that symbols around the rear don’t exist.
    • “When she discovers that certain something that makes her special!” –Twist
      • That’s a little different from later explanations, which is a pony gets their cutie mark when they find their passion or talent. I suppose Twist’s statement isn’t wrong, but it’s a little weird. It seems that the creative team was still figuring things out.

Bad

  • The adults in this episode aren’t very helpful, and we even see this in the beginning. Cheerilee (whose name we don’t get this episode) sees Apple Bloom getting a note from Diamond Tiara, but only the former gets a scolding. Immediately after, DT remarks that AB doesn’t have a cutie mark, which causes the other students to snicker. Must the authority figures always be useless in this show? This element is even carried over to the Equestria Girls movies.
    • Later in this episode, AJ shows up at the party, and she just assumes that DT and SS are AB’s friends. Then again, Apple Bloom probably never mentioned them to her family, but this is also jarring.
  • Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Flat assholes can easily overstay their welcome, and these two, especially the former, are no exceptions. What do we know about them besides their snobby and repetitive attitude? I don’t know, either. And I’m not against asshole characters because entertaining ones can be made.
    • Compounding this problem is DT’s negative declaration of not having a cutie mark. I don’t exactly see the problem of not having a mark, and DT doesn’t elaborate. And she even wants to throw a party to celebrate her mark. I also don’t see the point of this other than she’s vain. And I also wonder why any other pony would want to go to a party like this (as in celebrate getting a cutie mark since every pony gets one at some point). Interestingly, most of the other ponies in the party even join these 2 in mocking Apple Bloom.
    • DT does get special spotlight in a season 5 episode, but I don’t recall her getting anything else before that. Also, that mother kinda came out of nowhere, but it feels that way because it was such a long time.
  • Relatively minor, but Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle come to AB’s rescue. Wanting to stick up for another is never bad, but the other 2 weren’t shown in the classroom with Apple Bloom. However, the 3 are together in the Cheerilee’s class during later episodes. It’s also weird that the CMC were huddling in the premiere, but I guess they’ve never interacted after that. Maybe the 3 fillies are supposed to be from different schools, but I already shot down that idea.
    • Also, Scootaloo shoots down the idea of “blank flanks” being worthless, so why was she hiding with Sweetie Belle?
    • In short, a bunch of questions can result from this.

Other Stuff

  • Twilight sending a letter is obviously out of place in this episode, but I’m sure that element was from the higher-ups. I suppose that’s why I never minded the letters in the first season, but it’s still jarring.
    • Celestia also makes a short appearance to admire her flank. There are too many reminders even this early that this alicorn has been wasted.
  • Apple Bloom doesn’t interact with Twist again after this episode. I guess the latter getting her mark drove them apart.
  • “How could I have forgotten the time? How could I have forgotten Pinkie Pie was hosting the party? How could I have forgotten it was at Sugarcube Corner?”
    • Because the episode never mentioned this. It’s a funny but still a strange transition.
  • RD’s suggestion to Apple Bloom was a terrible one since the CMC will be following it for quite a while.
  • Apple Bloom also forgot that magic can’t help with cutie marks since she tries again in season 2.
  • Sweetie Belle is later revealed (and poorly) to be Rarity’s sister. It seems that Rarity and AJ haven’t interacted too often to introduce their sisters to each other, but they only had one major episode together before this.
  • AJ must’ve been very surprised with AB’s eventual cutie mark not being related to apples.
  • Diamond Tiara wanted to show off her cutie mark, but her dress was covering it. Oops.
  • So Cheerilee’s cutie mark has flowers with smiley faces. That could also mean that her talent was planting flowers or gardening if she enjoyed it enough. So does every pony figure out their cutie mark as soon as they get them? Even if she wasn’t into plants, how did she know her cutie mark referred to fillies? I’m sure this can be applied to other ponies, but even though the episode talks about cutie marks, those pictures could mean a bunch of things. Then again, if the ponies know themselves, figuring out their cutie marks might not be that much of a problem.

Conclusion

I’m surprised at my lengthy comment. It wasn't great, but I did enjoy the episode overall. We get the birth of the CMC to tell other kinds of stories and more mythology from the show. However, the episode also has elements that bug me.

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