Number95

Another MLP:FIM review thread

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Owl’s Well That Ends Well

Spike has been a major character since he lives with the main character of the show, but this is the first episode in which he is the focus. Twilight also gets her pet owl in here, and only Rainbow Dash is left which gets rectified early in the second season.

Good

  • We actually learn quite a bit about the relationship between Spike and Twilight, especially from the former’s POV. They’re obviously quite close as past episodes have shown, but this episode actually gets into the relationship, at least from Spike’s perspective.
    • Spike enjoys helping Twilight and doing the chores around the place, and he even takes pride in what he does. That’s a pretty odd feeling since most would prefer not to do mundane housework, but whatever. He’s so proud that he even tries to get the ponies to compliment him. When Owlowiscious comes into the mix, Spike feels threatened and becomes defensive about his position and his attachment to Twilight. He feels so uncomfortable that he acts very aggressive toward the owl and even tries more than once to make the owl look guilty about something. This resentment is clearly one-sided, and Twilight interestingly doesn’t show more preference toward the owl over Spike at any point. All of those actions speak loudly about Spike’s feelings regarding Twilight that he even felt worthless after she scolded him the second time.
    • I’ve posted previously about getting nothing between Twilight and Celestia even though the former feels anxious around or about the latter. Unlike that relationship, this episode actually gets Spike and Twilight to talk about their feelings so the character with the problem actually gets dealt with.
    • There’s a bit of Twilight’s perspective, too. Spike is a hard-worker, and she thinks that he works too hard. After Owlowiscious shows up and proves to be good company, she keeps him around so he could help with the housework. After Spike admits his jealousy at the end, she also admits that he has been very helpful. She even thinks highly of him when she thinks that Spike wouldn’t feel replaced, and she directly admits her disappointment in him. He may have his immature moments, but he doesn’t spite others.
      • This is not done perfectly, however.
  • Owlowiscious is introduced in this episode. I remember reading comments in the past that put him in a negative light, and I don’t know how that happened after rewatching the episode. Owlowiscious helps Twilight get her paper, gets a book for her, gives Twilight one of his feathers to replace her quill, and helps find Spike even though the dragon was being a dick to him for most of the episode. The worst thing he does is rat out Spike. I guess that’s a bit random, but the story can’t leave that out since Spike made that huge blunder at the beginning, so he’d be called out for it later given how the episode plays out. So the execution of that scene was more weird. There’s also getting a book even though Twilight directly asked Spike, but Owlowiscious just seemed eager to help.
    • The episode does try to make the owl seem mysterious like with the “sinister look” through the window, but all that was just there for, well, mystery.
  • There’s a small touch with Scootaloo wanting to appeal to RD at the beginning. It’s only a small scene, but it’s nice that they continued her feelings even for just a moment.

Bad

  • Twilight was aware of Spike’s jealousy and said so before the latter ran away, but for some reason she does nothing about it except reprimand him. She said at the end that she should’ve been more sensitive, but she wasn’t an insensitive pony even from the start of the show. Not helping is that she didn’t try confronting this feeling of jealousy earlier in the episode. If the 2 tried to deal with this, and Spike continued on with his bullshit, then Twilight scolding him for giving in to his jealousy would make more sense.
    • For whatever reason, she doesn’t really think much of the possibility that Spike might feel threatened. I said in the previous section that she though highly of him even after her friends brought up the possibility of him feeling insecure, but disregarding his feelings or this possibility is still strangely insensitive.
    • In short, Twilight being ignorant and/or uncaring just dragged out the episode. Hell, she would’ve looked better for immediately dealing with Spike and his feelings. This doesn’t reflect well on Twilight, especially when you consider that she is his closest friend.
  • The “who/hoo” joke got old quickly, and being played often doesn’t help. Not much more I can add.
  • I also didn’t care for Spike’s “cliché villainy” act. I even cringed when watching it for some reason. I’m guessing it just went on too long and quickly became stupid instead of funny.

Other Stuff

  • I’ve been on the MLP wikia, and I remember at one point that Spike was classified as being Twilight’s slave, and I’m sure that was a joke. In a way, that’s not very far off since it looks like he does (almost) all of the work. What does Twilight do for Spike anyways? Outside of giving him a place to stay and protecting him, it doesn’t look like much. Or maybe my memory is fuzzy. However, those 2 things are still plenty. She does tuck him into bed and wants to take some of the workload off of him. At least she does do some cleaning like with the books in “Sonic Rainboom”.
  • Twilight needed Spike to get the paper? I don’t know why she couldn’t use a spell.
  • She also could’ve lit the Everfree Forest with her magic. Oops again.
  • How did Owlowiscious come across the burned book?
  • The ponies normally control the nature in Equestria, so they actually got to witness something truly natural with the meteor shower.
  • Spike has a bad case of narcolepsy.
  • Owlowiscious is awake during the day even though Twilight said he’s nocturnal. Maybe he felt like working overtime. I’m pretty sure there are some owls that are awake even during daytime, though.
  • I hope Opal doesn't miss her stuffed mouse.
  • Rarity must love making gem-encrusted bows if she already happened to have one for the owl.
  • I honestly didn’t remember Fluttershy and RD being aware of Spike’s troubles, but it’s still interesting that they were aware.
  • I actually thought Twilight said, “OMG,” at one point, but the transcript on the wiki says, “Oh, and gee.”
  • How does the “Quills and Sofas” store stay in business?
  • Pinkie threw a quail at Spike. He should’ve tried to get a feather from that bird first.
  • Twilight followed the ketchup left from Spike’s foot. It looks dried up, so I don’t know how that worked.
  • Also, when he was first walking though the forest, he even left some red footprints. I also don’t know how they stayed intact from the rain, though.

Conclusion

It’s somewhat of a mixed bag, but this episode was fine enough, at least for Spike. He gets put in a negative situation, and we see what he thinks and how he acts. Twilight’s random insensitiveness is quite noticeable, however.

Edited by Number539
fixed some things
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Party of One

When I first read the premise (Pinkie invited her friends to a party, but they don’t want to come), I figured that her friends wanted to throw her a party. I also thought it would’ve been an amusing bonus if it happened to be a birthday party, too.

Lo and behold.

Good

  • We see how Pinkie acts in a negative situation. She likes partying with her friends, and she is reasonably suspicious when none of them are interested and all give the same “ ‘this afternoon’ this afternoon” response, especially when they all complimented her parties just the previous night. She becomes paranoid, follows them around, even gets hostile, and eventually breaks down.
  • Essentially, another side of Pinkie Pie is shown. She loves to have fun through parties, but the parties aren’t just a generic enjoyable event. She has parties because she genuinely loves and cares about her friends and wants them to enjoy themselves. When she thinks her closest friends no longer care about her, she becomes miserable and angry because she doesn’t understand why they acted the way she thought they did. Her mane and body color appropriately follows this change in attitude. She even resorts to making her own new set of friends with random objects and talks for them, stating her thoughts aloud and possibly even trying to emulate her friends. I remember one talking with a high-class accent like Rarity and another talking softly like Fluttershy, so she certainly was very attached to her 5 friends.
  • Pinkie goes through many emotions in the episode. There’s happiness (of course), sadness, confusion, frustration, anger, irritation, hate, and maybe more that I’m missing. Emotions aren’t the easiest things to define outside of definite and obvious ones.
    • Andrea Libman thus deserves credit for her performance, with Pinkie voicing a variety of emotions and also voicing her temporary replacement friends.
  • What her friends were doing was obvious, but this isn’t obvious to Pinkie, of course. Still, the episode does well in displaying how much her friends love Pinkie. The master party planner always does her part well, so they want to return the favor by preparing a surprise party for her, and Pinkie loves (good) surprises. A good bonus is that they decide on a birthday party, so two goals achieved with one event.
  • Some small touches are worth a mention.
    • There’s a small scene with Spike posing in front of a mirror. It’s an amusing scene, but Spike likes to imagine himself being a big dragon like in “A Dog and Pony Show” and “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”, so it’s also another good touch.
    • And Pinkie’s reaction to that is also amusing.

Bad

  • Pinkie somehow forgot about her birthday for the sake of plot. She loves having parties, so I don’t know how she’d regard her own birthday as unimportant or even be unaware of it. Not helping is that her pet’s birthday comes right before her own. Instead of wanting to have Gummy’s after-party, she could’ve wanted to have her birthday party. Her reactions would still be reasonable, and possibly more meaningful. Maybe the resolution could be too obvious, but how many viewers truly believed that Pinkie’s friends would abandon her? However, strange and arguably idiotic flaws like this can work if the story as a whole is very solid. Thus, this isn’t too much of a con.
  • This isn’t necessarily a flaw of the episode, but it’s a flaw concerning Pinkie. She knows all of the ponies in Ponyville according to the premiere, this episode, and “A Friend In Deed”, but almost nothing is done with this.
    • The episode makes a big deal about Pinkie feeling rejected by her 5 closest friends, and her reactions make sense. But then another question arises: Why does her party need to just have her 5 friends? Are they really the only ones who know about Gummy? Why didn’t she ask those her other pony friends? I guess they’re not her closest friends, but it’s still odd.
    • This makes the fact that she’s friends with other ponies pointless, with a few exceptions. And the key words are “few exceptions”.
    • Nonetheless, this episode is trying to show how Pinkie feels about her friends, and bringing other ponies into the mix would just make the episode bloated. So this point isn’t a huge flaw either.

Other Stuff

  • When “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” first aired, I’m pretty sure some were questioning whether Pinkie’s story was true or not. I figured it was since it’d be a waste of time if we had to go through a bunch of nonsense just to get to a punchline. With Pinkie’s temporary regression resembling her younger self, this episode confirmed her backstory to be true.
  • There could’ve been a lesson about not needing or wanting to go to a party. Or they can still be her friends even though they do not want to go to a party. But with the way the episode played out, I’m not sure there’s room for this.
  • I liked the transition to the next pony when Pinkie was singing out her invitation.
  • Pinkie’s birthday happens to come right after Gummy’s. Interestingly, I’ve read one about headcanon suggesting that Pinkie got Gummy as a birthday present, and she just guessed that Gummy was born on the day before. That actually makes sense, but it never gets confirmed in the show. Not that it needs to be confirmed.
  • There should also be a competition for fasted Earth Pony. I’m sure Pinkie can easily take the win if this and “Griffon the Brush Off” are taken as examples of her speed.
  • I still enjoy the scene with Rarity spitting punch at Pinkie, and the latter not reacting.
  • Honestly, neither of the two parties shown seemed impressive. I guess it’s because they were small parties. I’m also surprised there weren’t more ponies at Pinkie’s birthday party.
  • Spike was at Pinkie’s birthday party, so he did know it was meant to be a surprise. Too bad he didn’t warn her friends about her strange behavior.
  • He probably could’ve said that her friends were busy with something, and Pinkie probably wouldn’t break down as a result. The episode might not be as meaningful if it took that route, though.
  • Also, he didn’t seem to be aware of Pinkie’s condition and attitude. He saw what happened to her and then went to AJ’s barn.
  • Then again, Pinkie’s friends weren’t aware of her hairstyle and color. So is this transformation just for the viewer? This isn’t the only case of characters not noticing a physical change, with the next one coming up soon in “The Return of Harmony”.
  • Does Pinkie throw other kinds of after-parties?
  • RD drew a watch at one point. I think this is the only time we get a direct reference to a watch.
  • I also liked how the music stopped when Twilight shushed Mrs. Cake.
  • Pinkie threw down a can to eavesdrop on Twilight and Mrs. Cake. I’m surprised none of them saw it at first even though the can wasn’t high above them. Twilight later catches it, though.
  • Rarity’s tail was used to hold a box. I don’t think that’s happened in another episode.
  • Amusingly, Fluttershy and RD easily saw through Pinkie’s hay disguise. Then again, a stack of hay with a Groucho Marx disguise is already conspicuous.
  • I also find it amusing that even after Pinkie was deflated, she still gave Spike the gems like she promised. It’s really how the scene plays out that sells it.
  • RD could’ve said she wanted Pinkie to see something (and leave out the word “surprise”). Still could keep the party a surprise, unless they really want it to be a surprise.
  • I don’t see “Happy Birthday, Pinkie Pie” written on the cake. Maybe the calligraphy is different for those.

Conclusion

Another classic season 1 episode, and this one gives some insight into Pinkie Pie.

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The Best Night Ever

We finally make it to the end of season 1 with the Grand Galloping Gala, an event the Mane 6 was looking forward to since episode 3. There was sort of a build up to this episode, but I don’t mind episodic storytelling. It’s interesting that one of the points of the episode is that an event that seemed so wonderful at first ends up being a disappointment, which can be seen as a parallel to the early fans who watched the show and finally got to see the mentioned GGG at the end of the 1st season.

Good

  • The Mane 6 all share meaningful screentime, albeit separately until the end, but this episode doesn’t exclude the other main characters like later season finales. Their activities and behaviors make up pretty much the majority of the episode. They were all hopeful and excited for the gala, and things seemed fine at first, but their situations quickly worsen when the experience doesn’t meet their expectations because there wouldn’t be a conflict if everything went smoothly. Unsurprisingly, this all plays out simply and predictably, and that’s is fine as we see the characters just being themselves and how they deal with their respective negative situations which just makes the episode an overall fun one.
    • Applejack wants to sell apple-related foods to make money. Her motivation suddenly sounds more selfish when I typed that out, especially when “The Ticket Master” suggested otherwise, but whatever. She quickly makes a first sale to a Wonderbolt named Soarin, but that turns out to be dumb luck as no one else wants her food no matter what she tries to stir interest. One good touch is that she willing gives Rarity and her partner food for free. She later attempts to sell a cake, but this instead becomes the start of a disaster.
    • Pinkie simply wants to have fun in the gala like with any other party. However, her rambunctious methods don’t agree with the formalities of the guests and overall event. She refuses to go against her plan, so she tries again with a song and even believes that the guests want her to be even more excited. This escalates to her diving off a stage and unexpectedly into AJ’s cake.
    • Rarity wants to meet Prince Blueblood and even marry him. Of course, the prince is actually a petty dick. She tries to give him more chances in hopes that he’ll eventually show his royal side, but he never comes through and later uses her as a shield from the flying cake. Rarity finally snaps and shakes the cakes onto him, which causes Blueblood to fall next to a(n unstable) statue.
    • Rainbow Dash wants to meet with the Wonderbolts, and she does, but she doesn’t get to talk with them as they’re too busy talking with other ponies. RD repeatedly attempts and fails to catch their attention. She tries to get their attention by catching a statue that Blueblood accidentally knocks over, but the statue is too heavy, and she crashes onto other parts of the ballroom.
    • Twilight wants to meet Celestia and talk about her experiences in Ponyville. Back when Twilight cared about that alicorn… *irritated sigh*. Anyways, too bad Celestia is stuck greeting guests, of which there are too many of. Twilight tries to speed up the process by also greeting the guests and getting her hooves tired. Honestly, not much happens with Twilight, so her story was the least interesting. The two eventually arrive at the wrecked ballroom, with Celestia even looking astonished, but we’re not done just yet.
    • Fluttershy wanted to meet the animals in the royal gardens, but the animals are revealed to be afraid of her. Given her main talent, she’s understandably frustrated and takes more extreme actions to attempt to interact with even one animal. This ironically and appropriately drives the animals farther away from her. I personally enjoyed her “cliché villain” act more than her sudden outburst, but the latter is still noteworthy. She even delivers the finishing blow of destroying the gala.
    • I would like to note how one disaster unintentionally but naturally leads to another instead of the 6 creating their own disasters that all happen at the same time.
  • Spike even gets his own moments. He wanted to just spend the event with his friends and even wanted to show them certain parts of Canterlot. This is a nice contrast with the Mane 6 as they have individual reasons for attending the gala, and Spike just wanted the group to hang out together as friends. He does get his wish at the end when the Mane 6 arrive at the donut shop to relay and reflect on their experiences, so one can say that he helped bring the entire group closer together and reminded them to cherish their friendships with each other.
  • “At the Gala” is another notable song in the show, and kudos for giving it a grand feel and tone in such a grand setting. It’s there to remind older viewers or inform newer ones about the goals and desires of each pony, and having a catchy song is still one way to convey the info. One nice touch is that the instrumental changes when featuring a different main pony.
  • Pinkie’s “Pony Pokey” song is also fun and catchy. It appropriately matched whatever the rest of the Mane 6 were doing.

Bad

  • Celestia’s choices here. What the Hell. They bother me more after rewatching this. Before, when this episode first aired, there was still a chance to get into her character, so I was fine with what she thought. But with everything that has happened, her decisions are even more questionable now. This is really more of a flaw of the show instead of this episode, but my complaints are still relevant to this episode.
    • So Celestia thinks the GGG is awful with the snooty citizens. Fine. Has she tried fixing or changing part of the event herself? If so, what did the citizens think? What exactly does Celestia think of the Canterlot citizens and their behaviors and actions in the gala, and why does she think it’s so terrible? We haven’t gotten the answers to that question. Most likely, she thinks their formal and quiet way of celebrating is unexciting, but I’ll get to my problems with that in the next bullet.
    • What made her think the Mane 6 could improve the gala? That they have more informal backgrounds? Actually, the “livening up” was a complete accident as the 6 just wanted to spend time their own way. If they got what they wanted from the gala, it would’ve been another boring night for the alicorn. Also, I doubt destroying an area is the best way to bring excitement.
    • So she likes cutting loose at a party. That’s also fine. But this becomes questionable in season 5 when she’s OK with Discord potentially bringing down the place. Good thing Fluttershy was there to save everyone’s asses.
    • Really, her not liking the gala is one thing, but wanting a disaster to happen just to make it more interesting is hardly the way to approach the problem. This doesn’t sound like a kind and caring ruler.
    • Ultimately, we don’t truly know what Princess Celestia thinks of all this, which is why I find her actions and decisions in the episode so questionable.

Other Stuff

  • There are the obvious Cinderella shout-outs, and it’s definitely the Disney version. I haven’t read the original version of the story, but I wonder if they lifted anything from that one.
  • A mention to the strange animation error at the start when Rarity approaches male ponies.
  • Rarity’s approach to reach the gala is more practical than Twilight’s.
  • Spike was thrilled about going to Canterlot. Too bad he and Twilight don’t go there often. Aren’t they free to?
    • For that matter, Twilight wants to hang with Celestia. Couldn't she do that any time?
  • Rarity’s eyelashes are confirmed to be artificial.
  • Pinkie’s old hairstyle makes a quick return, and unexpectedly soon.
  • Spike mentioned the golden apple tree. I don’t think it’s been referenced again.
  • Why would Rarity or any pony wear heels? It actually looks silly, and I don’t know how a pony would walk in them. The heels even disappear in some shots.
  • “With all that we've imagined, the reality of this night is sure to make this... The Best Night Ever!“
    • They need to recheck their understanding of “imagine” and “reality”
  •  “All your dreams will come true” according to the song.
    • So is the point of the gala to make a wish?
  • Why does Celestia randomly fly into the sky during the song?
  • The Wonderbolts were too slow to catch pie. I guess this could count as a second screw-up from them since RD was able to catch the pie while being just as athletic as them.
  • It never occurred to Rarity or Blueblood to walk around the spill.
  • And why are they too lazy to open a door? Yes I know there are manners, but it’s still weird.
  • Blueblood is such a dick that I have to wonder if anyone else cares about him. If he can’t be bothered to use his own magic to open a door, I also have to wonder how he gets anything done.
  • How did AJ make a cake?
  • “You, sir, are the most uncharming prince I have ever met!”
    • I think Blueblood is the only prince Rarity ever met
  • Fluttershy caught an animal in her mouth toward the end, but she didn’t take long in coming back to her senses.
  • Fluttershy also wanted to see the plants in the gardens according to “The Ticket Master”. Looks like her obsession with the animals caused her to forget.
  • The pony Fluttershy encountered in the garden doesn’t have a cutie mark. The CMC would’ve been thrilled to know that even some adult ponies don’t have their marks.
  • Where was Luna in all of this? She didn’t appear in the season 5 gala, either.

Conclusion

This is a great episode since it gives each of the Mane 6 something meaningful to do. The episode didn’t give deep insight into the characters, but it didn’t need to because the story didn’t ask for it. If anything, the episode would’ve become overstuffed maybe even in multiple parts, so this episode is proof that you can have a very good story even if it isn’t “profound”. I did enjoy this episode on my first viewing, but I didn’t think it was one of the season’s best for reasons I can’t recall. One reason the episode was  more enjoyable on my second viewing is probably because I hate the rest of the season finales (except “Magical Mystery Cure”, but my memory is only fuzzy instead about that episode for some reason), and that caused me to appreciate this one more. I don’t know. I just don’t understand my reactions sometimes. Though I’m still very, very iffy about Celestia’s actions in here.

As for season 1 as a whole, it wasn’t as good as I remember, but I’m not surprised I feel that way. Actually, I was expecting that reaction, so I don’t know if my expectations had any influence. How appropriate, huh?

My personal favorite episode of the season is “Green Isn’t Your Color”. “Feeling Pinkie Keen” still sucks ass and continues to be my least favorite episode of the season. If anything, I dislike it more than when I first saw it. I don’t have a favorite character because favorite characters are often hard for me to choose from, but I will still say Princess Celestia is wasted.

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The Return of Harmony, Part 1 and 2

We start the second season with a 2-parter, which will be the norm until season 7 along with a 2-parter being attached to the ends of most seasons. Anyways, the Elements of Harmony make a return for first time since the premiere. I’ve always wondered what became of them.

In my review for the premiere, “Friendship is Magic”, I said that I like those episodes better than most, maybe all, of the other 2-parters, and this is no exception. I hated these two episodes even after my first viewing. Just to warn you, I won’t be very kind in this review, and I capitalize at some points because I was just that irritated.

By the way, I’m also indifferent to Star Trek.

Good

  • Even if I hate something, I still try to find things I liked just to prove that I’m trying. In this case, Discord was a fun villain. However, this is the only genuinely positive thing I have to say. He’s smug, confident, and even cunning until the end. When the Mane 6 tried to enter the maze together, he split them up so he can hit each of them 1 at a time, and he already made sure the Elements couldn’t be used against him after corrupting Twilight’s friends. He just likes to mess with others and cause chaos because he finds amusement in them. There didn’t need to be a deeper motivation than that because his antics would consequently become less fun to watch.
  • Celestia doesn’t completely suck, but but that isn't saying much since she still doesn’t look that good in here. At least she wasn’t as useless here than in later 2-parters. So this point is still extremely minor, but I still want to try being fair. During her exposition, Discord shows his face, and she interacts with him. She shows other emotions during the exposition and later her dialogue with Discord like worry and anger, which pretty much says her thoughts about the villain.
    • She also sent letters to Twilight since she noticed that the Mane 6 was in trouble. I’ll admit that was a clever way to use the letters that were stuffed into the end of almost every season 1 episode, but it’s too bad they didn’t serve a better purpose. I figured in my head that Celestia wanted to use them to help herself reconnect with Luna, but that’s a different topic. Anyways, she somewhat contributed to Discord’s defeat, but since Twilight restored her friends and promptly beat Discord all within a very short time, this point is still very minor.

Bad

  • Twilight is a moron for almost the entire story. She saw her friends acting obviously different, already starting with the second pony she found, but she brushes this off and thinks they were just cranky about being in the maze. Crankiness doesn’t equal arbitrary jackassery. If they were cranky, they’d just get emotional more easily. Twilight doesn’t even wonder why such major changes in their personalities occurred and simply eats all of their shit for no reason. Even when they do become a major problem for her, she never does anything about it other than get annoyed or complain. Twilight even gets angry at some points, but this is still her accepting the situation without question.
    • Twilight even forgot that the big weapon is called the Elements of HARMONY.
    • “Discord's trying to distract us from what's important. He knows how powerful our friendships are, and he's trying to keep us from seeing it.” NO. SHIT.
    • And that wasn’t even dramatic irony. Her friends’ new behavior was flaunted, dangled, and shoved into her DAMN FACE.
    • After Twilight reads the letters, she easily and quickly cures her friends. What?! If it was that easy, why didn’t she try this sooner? Nothing was stopping her physically, mentally, or emotionally. Her realization wasn’t even difficult to arrive at, and not helping is that there was a “spirit of chaos” who’s definitely stronger than an alicorn roaming around while the 6 were trying to find their Elements of Harmony.
    • In fact, so much time has been wasted with Twilight being dumb that they can’t even show her friends fighting to regain control of themselves. Thus, the restorations felt unfulfilling instead of being moments to rejoice. This also leads to another huge problem with the episode.
    • Twilight is the only one pony that does the heavy-lifting, which still isn’t much considering my earlier comments. Her friends’ most noteworthy roles include being corrupted, then getting cured, and then standing with Twilight to beat Discord. And I still have more problems with how her friends were handled, which I’ll explain further in the next point.
  • I could’ve accepted a story with some idiotic moments or decisions if the overall story still has enough good elements or if the characters were still handled well. Well, that’s not what happened here.
    • In addition to Twilight acting like an idiot, her friends generally do nothing. To reiterate, her friends were corrupted, cured, and then dealt with the villain. They don’t do anything, while corrupted or not, that tells you something important or interesting about them.
    • And her friends’ corrupted states weren’t even entertaining to watch. They’re plain one-dimensional bitches. Screw that, they’re zero-dimensional or even negative-dimensional because of their overlong, repetitive, and easily tired gimmicks. They all do exactly and only one thing: act like generic dicks. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon weren’t that interesting because they’re just 2 generic dicks in an episode. Here, we have to put up with FIVE generic dicks over TWO episodes. Do the math.
    • The episode also touches on the possible cons of each element: the truth can hurt, being laughed at is no fun, being too kind means others can walk over you, and dealing with multiple loyalties is hard. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything the story did with generosity. These problems are all interesting and worth showing to kids and even adults, but they’re dropped as soon as they are brought up.
    • Therefore, there’s no real exploration of the negatives of their respective Elements. When Twilight finally deals with her friends, their respective traits weren’t used in any manner. In addition, none of the corrupted states were even different sides of any of her friends even though the episode tried to imply this. Again, reinforcing this is that Twilight’s friends only act like common ass holes. They don’t say insightful or do anything meaningful.
    • Wanna know how much time was wasted with the main characters? Eight minutes in part 1, and about eleven minutes in part 2. Almost the length of a full episode total, meaning that the stuff actually dealing with conflict could’ve been solved in one episode. This explains the rushed pacing during the third act of Part 2.
  • The episode tries to leave the message that “you have to fight for friendship.”
    • What is that supposed to mean? Intuitively, making friends isn’t easy, and you have to seek them out yourself or be proactive about it because friends don’t randomly come to you. Well, that’s not what this episode is about, so Twilight didn’t come to this conclusion.
    • What if the one you want to be friends with is a definite enemy? This can also refer to someone you previously got along with but became distant or even hostile for some reason like in this episode. Should you really continue to try getting along with any of those kinds of people if they become unpleasant or even harmful to hang around with? Well, the episode doesn’t deal with that either, not that it can since it was just her friends being touched by magic.
    • Twilight curing her friends is could count as a literal “fighting for friendship”, at least on paper, but it ultimately doesn’t as they already loved her deep down but only acted like bitches due to Discord’s influence. Maybe they meant that Twilight had to fight to get her friends back, but the episode also didn’t show that. She didn’t fight or even struggle a little; she just went up and fixed her friends. The chase with Rainbow Dash is the closest we get to that idea, but “closest” doesn’t count.
    • Maybe the episode is trying to say that “friends are worth fighting for”, as in one should help a friend no matter how difficult it might be. This happens all the time in the show, so that idea is redundant, and it wasn’t even done well in this episode.
    • To summarize, the lesson and “development” makes no sense, the path leading up to them also doesn’t make sense and is therefore unearned, and hence the lesson and development don’t exist because this episode doesn’t convey those ideas, or any other themes, in any way
    • Since her friends were so inactive in the episode, this lesson, or any other lesson, can’t apply to them. Nothing noteworthy is shown about their friendship or relationship with each other. It’s just another display that (generic) friendship can overcome big problems, which is something we already know.
    • By the way, this 2-parter will also be the last time their friendship, or “friendship” of any kind, is used to beat a villain. As in, the Mane 6 being friends and doing something as friends. And it wasn’t even done well. How disappointing that it had to go out like this.
  • We have another anticlimactic showdown, and this is the norm in case anyone forgot. The only build-up we had was just Twilight restoring her friends, which was ridiculously quick and easy. When they confront Discord, he pulls everyone (except Twilight for some reason) to him. Twilight rescues them, makes a speech, then they make a bright light, and Discord is beaten while yelling, “Nooo!” This isn’t very different from the premiere, but it’s much worse for reasons I’ve already stated.
  • Celestia still mostly does little to nothing. She provides exposition, sends letters, and holds a celebration. Not much screentime was actually given to her at all. She doesn’t even accompany the Mane 6 as they leave to try finding the Elements of Harmony. One could argue that she was held back in the episode because she was powerless against Discord anyways, but so are the 6 without their Elements, so this still doesn’t reflect well on the alicorn.
    • She also knew what was happening to them or else she wouldn’t send the letters to Spike, so it still doesn’t make sense for her to not be a more active helper. One might argue that Discord might intervene, but we don’t know what happened to the alicorn while the Mane 6 were busy doing nothing. Discord may as well have been indifferent to her activities.
    • “Although Luna and I once wielded the Elements, it is you who now control their power, and it is you who must defeat Discord!” In other words, the rulers of Equestria (mostly Celestia) exist to make the Mane 6 (or just Twilight) do their dirty work.
  • According to Celestia, Discord was to remain a statue forever until the spell no longer worked. And the spell no longer worked when the 2 alicorns lost their connection to the Elements of Harmony. When was that, exactly? I’m guessing the premiere since the Elements were transferred to the Mane 6, so he should’ve broken out then. Or maybe his breakout took time, but Celestia wasn’t proactive or smart enough to prepare for or deal with his eventual return, which is another strike against her character.
    • Though the question of whether Celestia herself could use all of the Elements during her solo 1000 years still remains, but I’m guessing the answer is no since this episode confirms that all of the users need to be present and in harmony. Then again, Luna disappeared, so Celestia could simply have been the sole user instead. I also don’t know how Celestia not being the user of the Elements makes the statue spell less effective because that just makes the Elements ineffective despite possessing the most powerful magic in Equestria. Yeah, I’ve got nothing, so this whole “losing connection to the Elements” thing makes no sense.
  • Even Discord was an idiot at the end. He saw the Mane 6 coming up to him, but he thinks nothing of this. Even if you disregard the coloring of the ponies, they’re clearly working as a team again. How he didn’t notice this still confuses me, and I doubt it was due to overconfidence.
  • Since I’m so petty and happen to be in a nitpicky mood, I’ll list out some more stupid moments. There are already a ton of stupid moments in “The Return of Harmony”, some of which I already mentioned, but these other ones (not in any particular order, and some more than others) stood out the most.
    • The beginning, including the teaser, is so random. First we see the CMC, their classmates, and Cheerilee, but they disappear for the rest of the episode. Then the Mane 6 all happen to gather at AJ’s farm, and Twilight happens to find a spell that “fixes everything” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). This obviously doesn’t work because else the episode would already be finished, and all that wasn’t even past the 5 minute mark.
    • Applejack converses with demonic apple piles. She apparently deals those kinds of things at her farm every day. She says she has “a really bad feelin' about this feller Discord.” Well, he can warp reality, Princess Celestia already said that he’s a troublemaker, he doesn’t even seem trustworthy even in person, and you’re finding your Element to get rid of him. Why was that statement necessary again? Then she asks one of the stupidest questions I’ve ever heard in fiction while noting that she “don't trust this place”: “What's gonna come of this mission we're on?”.
      • First, if you don’t trust the place or the talking apple piles, why ask them any kind of question?
      • Second, WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF QUESTION IS THIS? You find the Elements, beat Discord, return Equestria to normal, and continue with your life as usual. That’s it! What makes you think there’s more? Celestia’s recount of her experience with Discord didn’t imply any extraordinary consequences. Compounding the stupidity of the situation is that AJ somehow buys the idea that she and her friends will break ties with each other after beating Discord. That’s not what happened after the fall of Nightmare Moon, so what did AJ expect here? She doesn’t even ask how that could happen, either.
      • It’s really just a poor attempt to sound “intelligent”, but this instead makes AJ look stupid.
    • The gray color may be meaningful to the viewers to show that certain characters have been infected, but does it mean anything to the characters? Spike and Pinkie noticed them, and Spike even asked Twilight about this. She responded, “Don’t ask.” This means that they did notice, and this only emphasizes and aggravates Twilight’s stupidity throughout the episode and Discord’s at the end.
    • Twilight, use your magic to get your book back or restrain the others, you fucking idiot. Even Rarity remembered to use her magic when getting the book. Why the other 4 suddenly decide to help each other when they were being hostile to each to other moments before is also a good question.
    • Twilight also complained that Discord didn’t play fair. Really? Why the Hell would he be interested in doing that? Did he look like some sincere and honorable angel from heaven to you?
    • Rainbow Dash chased her “element” in the maze, which was a cloud with a rainbow lightning. First, that’s her cutie mark. Second, the Elements are represented as crystals. Even she couldn’t avoid being dumb.
    • Discord taunts RD about conflicting loyalties, but he immediately corrupts her after, which makes his former act pointless.
    • Discord is also classified as a “draconequus” in the beginning. That would imply that there are others like him, but we haven’t seen any more, so classifying him like that would be pointless since I doubt there’s more than 1 spirit of chaos. He also has the “head of a pony”, but it hardly looks like a pony head.
    • There’s a gratuitous and pointless chase with Rainbow Dash. They obviously wanted some action, but what a bad idea since so much time has been wasted. Too bad it wasn’t even exciting, either. Also, according to this episode, Fluttershy can fly almost as fast as RD, even though the latter practices regularly. Even considering determination, this makes no sense. Then again, we’re talking about “The Return of Harmony”.
      • RD also flew away on a cloud. Why? Wouldn’t holding onto something, even a cloud, slow her down?
    • Fluttershy had to ask, “Um...I'm just wondering if it's okay if I hold you down against your will for a little bit?”
      • Is this supposed to be funny? They’re trying to fix Equestria, and Rainbow Dash is not herself, so Fluttershy chooses to be an idiot at the worst time. Even her friends thought poorly of her, which doesn’t make the problem better.
    • Also, the episode for some reason makes a big deal about catching Rainbow Dash since there had to be a chase scene, and 4 other ponies had to restrain her so Twilight could apply her spell. I still don’t get it.
    • Pinkie goes off to drink chocolate rain before dealing with Discord. Again, is this supposed to be funny? Her obsession with chocolate rain now becomes stupid.
      • Also, she seems to love destructive chaos, including the dangerously extreme ones that Discord conjures because she was much more focused on the chocolate milk rain as the scene with Celestia and the final showdown demonstrate. It seems she couldn’t care less about the safety of Equestria or other ponies including her friends because all she wants is to drink chocolate milk for the rest of her life.
    • Where was Princess Luna during all of this? She gets mentioned but doesn’t show up for whatever reason, not even at the celebration.

Other Stuff

  • I think this is the only episode in which we see the “world famous” Canterlot Sculpture Garden.
  • Scootaloo saying, “What are you? A dictionary?” was uttered in a later season 2 episode, but I don’t remember which.
  • This is also the first episode we see Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle with Cheerilee.
  • Special mention to Rarity “hearing” about AJ’s trouble, which is weird when you consider Rarity arrived shortly after the weird weather started at AJ’s place.
  • Still, couldn’t the episode just be more straightforward and have Celestia send the Mane 6 a letter immediately?
  • I guess a lasso could work on the clouds? But this was on cotton candy clouds, so I don’t know if they’d still work on regular clouds.
  • I would like to see Discord’s rule over Equestria and Celestia’s and Luna’s struggle dramatized, but I doubt the crew can pull this off competently. There was a small scene in “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, but I’ll get to that eventually.
  • The first spell Celestia casted to protect the Elements from Discord didn’t work since he’s more powerful than her, so the alicorn later used another spell that does work. I’d ask why she didn’t use the second spell in the first place, but then again I’m sure that was done so the problem from this episode didn’t need to be rehashed.
  • What’s the difference between the Mane 6 and the alicorn sisters using the Elements, btw? I guess having “ownership” over the Elements means not just anyone can use them.
  • Twilight thinks Spike can wield and Element even though the Elements aren’t associated with dragons. Makes sense to me. Thus, I still don’t know how Twilight expected them to work with Spike.
  • Shame that Discord doesn’t get any meaningful interactions with either of the alicorn sisters at any point in the show.
  • How does he know anything about the Mane 6 despite being trapped for a long time?
  • Discord took away the horns and wings but left AJ and Pinkie alone, so this still implies that the Earth Ponies are inferior.
  • There’s also the ending referencing the very first Star Wars movie. I still don’t care.
  • There’s also a large crowd at celebration, but I doubt they know anything about Discord. It’s also shown that none of the other ponies were aware of the Mane 6’s business. At least, not for a long time.

Conclusion

These episodes were a chore to watch again, and I really hate them as my lengthy comment can attest to. I said that “Feeling Pinkie Keen” was my least favorite episode before this point, and now that honor goes to “The Return of Harmony” mainly because I had to sit through 2 episodes of crap instead of 1. Compared to “Friendship is Magic”, the villain in here is better, but everything else is worse.

Like I said, I could accept the story not making complete or perfect sense (not that all stories of any kind make complete or perfect sense, but whatever) if something meaningful was done with the characters. But that’s not what was given.

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Lesson Zero

Starting with this episode, Twilight was no longer tasked to be in an episode to deliver the moral of the story. They do drop the moral delivery in season 5, but it looked like the executives still wanted a verbal confirmation somehow.

It’s also hard not to compare this to “Party of One” considering that the main character of the episode suffers from a breakdown, and the two episodes being so close together in production order doesn’t help. I will make comparisons because although I liked this episode, “Party of One” still works better.

Good

  • Spike is actually very supportive like a close friend should be like suggesting Twilight to meet her friends at their picnic. Twilight was paranoid throughout the episode about the consequences of not sending a letter, but he keeps reminding her that Celestia is kind and wouldn’t give any kind of punishment. See, even he gets the alicorn. He even wrote to Celestia about Twilight’s increasing troubles, and this makes sense since he had more direct exposure to Twilight’s paranoia than her friends and thus found a reason to tell Celestia, the pony Twilight was concerned about, about this problem. Too bad Spike and Celestia don’t interact directly onscreen throughout the show, or at least not much.
  • Most notably, this episode fixes problem of the lesson delivery for almost all of season 1. Since Twilight was the only on onscreen to be given this task, she had to be shoehorned into most if not all of the season 1 episodes to deliver some kind of moral even if it’s not through a letter. There’s also always something new to learn everyday in life, and even “experts” will learn something unexpected at some point, so giving the entire Mane 6 (and other ponies like AB in “The Cutie Pox”) the task to send a letter will make the endings more reasonable.
  • The episode shows how desperate Twilight is to want to appeal to her mentor. This was also shown in “Swarm of the Century” and “A Bird in the Hoof”, but this desperation is the focus of this episode. Like some of the more notable episodes of MLP, a character is put in a less than ideal situation, and we see how they deal with it, thereby revealing something about the character in question. Here, Twilight is under the assumption that she has to report to Celestia on a consistent schedule. The end of “Friendship is Magic” already proves that idea wrong, but the point of her anxiety is to truly dramatize how far Twilight will go to get Celestia’s approval. As the episode showed, Twilight even casted a spell that inadvertently affects all or most of Ponyville just to make sure she has something worthwhile to write about. She even believed that Celestia would throw out some harsh punishments simply because she’s able to as a ruler of Equestria. Although this whole concept and the story by itself are fine, I do have issues with the overall execution.
  • I’ll admit that this episode has a fairly good outing of Celestia. She easily undoes a spell that affects a whole town, and she expresses her concern for and trust in her student at the end. My biggest complaint, obviously, is that this isn’t much.

Bad

  • This episode doesn’t give that much of a meaningful insight into Twilight. Her anxiety in this episode is dramatized, but we’ve seen this in previous episodes, most notably “Swarm of the Century” and “A Bird in the Hoof”. The uneasiness by itself does show how she views Celestia: Twilight idolizes Celestia especially due to the latter’s position as a ruler and never wants to get on her bad side. However, there are some problems with the execution. I’d like to add that this is more of a flaw of the show instead of this episode, but it’s still relevant.
    • Twilight has all these negative feelings about Celestia, but the reason behind Twilight’s thoughts are never given. I’m not a storyteller, so I don’t know how much explaining for anything is ever needed, but I feel explanations are needed in this case because:
      • The show has made a big deal out of this nervousness in prior episodes, with this problem taking center stage in this episode. This implies that the problem must be a pretty major one. Otherwise, there’s no reason to bring this to attention for an episode.
      • The feelings mostly get reiterated in this episode and take it to an extreme. Thus, they don’t carry much meaning because they don’t say much that is new. It only confirms what we already know with Twilight going crazy as the only element of interest.
      • Celestia has been portrayed as a kind pony, so Twilight’s problems seem unfounded.
      • We don’t know how Celestia sees Twilight other than, “Twilight is a good pony.” So the viewer can’t judge whether Twilight’s feelings are reasonable or not.
      • One can even mention Twilight apparently believing that Celestia doesn’t think much of the Mane 6 saving Equestria twice.
      • Even though Twilight’s insanity about the result of upsetting Celestia was a major aspect of the story, the episode only solves the “problem” of only Twilight needing to deliver the moral. This anxious feeling pretty much gets swept under the rug after Celestia assigns letter-writing to the Mane 6 when it should’ve been directly addressed in the episode.
      • Therefore, the biggest problem is that this bigger issue is never resolved. Why put so much emphasis on it at various times, especially here, if the show won’t do anything with it?
    • Characters having flaws isn’t a bad thing, but if a certain one is getting brought up like this and even repeatedly, isn’t solving it a goal? Otherwise, why make a story about or even show that problem?
    • If they didn’t want to solve Twilight’s thoughts about Celestia in this episode, fine. They have more shots through other episodes. It’s not OK if they never try to do anything about this. In other words, the lack of a follow-up does a fairly significant amount of damage to this episode.
  • There are a few stupid moments, and they’re stupid enough for me to mention them.
    • Twilight wanted to make a checklist of things to do and even puts that activity on top of her list. Couldn’t she just title the paper?
    • Also, her look at the end of her statement looks dumb instead of funny. I suppose I feel that way because titling the paper is already a practical enough option, and they tried too hard to make the scene funny which instead makes her look, well, dumb.
    • I didn’t care for the running gag of Rarity’s “worst possible thing(s)”. At least her third delivery was more reasonable, but that doesn’t make the first 2 instances more enjoyable. Actually, that third delivery only worked well because of the previous ones, so this is something of a Morton’s Fork.

Other Stuff

  • This episode also appears to be the first to showcase out her OCD (or as I prefer to say, “being anal”). She wasn’t like that very often in season 1, so they just wanted to make this trait a staple for Twilight. In any case, this makes some sense since she is something of an organized pony like in “Winter Wrap Up”. It can be annoying like the previous point mentioned, so it thankfully doesn’t come up too often. At least, I don’t remember it being too annoying at other times, but I’ll find out soon enough.
    • However, I did find it annoying with the cupcake frostings because an issue like that is extremely minor no matter how you look at it.
  • Twilight thought that she had to send Celestia a letter regularly. She could’ve put that activity in her checklist under another section. I don’t know, whatever. This wouldn’t change the story, of course.
  • Spike becomes Pinkie Pie for a fair amount of the episode. I don’t remember if he does this more often.
  • Too bad the alicorn never got to do anything as supportive as Spike. Yeah, I’m that grumpy about Celestia’s treatment especially because it didn’t need to be a problem.
  • Rarity lost her ribbon but quickly found it on the floor. She didn’t look as hard as she thought.
  • Twilight helped get Rarity her measuring tape. If she was desperate, and she was in this episode, she could write that no problem is too small to help with. Actually, that was the moral of the episode.
  • I think this is the only episode that showed Twilight with a hair-bun.
  • AJ asked RD to destroy an old barn, but I’m sure AJ could’ve done it herself. Where was Big Mac, anyways?
  • It’s also strange that Applejack didn’t immediately approach Twilight after the latter first comes up to and calls Rainbow Dash. AJ only comes up after RD calls for her.
  • Pinkie had a basket of balloons that later rise up into the sky. Did she plan on getting it back?
  • Twilight’s friends didn’t notice her mane and tail being disheveled. They also weren’t disappointed with Twilight leaving the picnic early.
  • Twilight popped the ball the CMC were playing with. It seems she wanted them to make a big deal about that.
  • Amusingly, the CMC initially fight but to get away from something instead of over something.
  • Mayor Mare blushed after the incident.
  • Big Mac ran off with Smarty Pants. I don’t remember if Twilight ever got back the doll.

Conclusion

I really don’t like making comparisons because I prefer to judge a story just as it is, and I don’t want to knock down one item to make another look better. But I can’t resist comparing this to “Party of One” due to their very similar concepts and especially being in the same show. Both show a single character putting up with a situation they are unsure about how to deal with. They become crazier and more paranoid as the episode progresses, but things get better when the characters have an important realization.

“Party of One” shows a side of Pinkie not shown before, i.e. we see how much she values her friends and how feeling abandoned affects her. She and her friends deal with this issue toward the end, and they all come to an understanding. This all started when Pinkie’s friends all decline to come to a party, but the real problem is that Pinkie thinks her friends are avoiding her. In other words, this episode directly deals with Pinkie’s latter problem instead of just the fact that her friends didn’t want to go to a party.

“Lesson Zero” only deals with the subject of Twilight sending a letter to her mentor. Yes, we see what kinds of ridiculous things Twilight will do and act if she thinks failure will be a disaster. But the core problem is that Twilight perceives Celestia as an unreasonably strict pony. Due to the show portraying almost nothing about Twilight and Celestia’s relationship with each other, Twilight’s breakdown loses a lot of dramatic impact. When considering the lack of the relationship, the episode isn’t truly great because of a largely dissatisfactory resolution. This episode had a chance to dig into the relationship between Twilight and Princess Celestia, or at least set up the building of their relationship for future episodes, but that’s not what happened. Hence, “Party of One” is superior to “Lesson Zero” due to achieving more with the same concept.

I never asked for the 2 ponies’ relationship to be something deep, profound, or complex. I just want to see how they interact in various situations and what they think of each other, but what has been given is far too little.

On a side note, the letter delivery or some written moral stops after season 4. I always thought “The Return of Harmony” showed a good way to turn those awkward endings into something, but, like I said, the written morals just stop abruptly. In one sense, this is a blessing since we no longer need the awkward endings to remind the viewer of what happened, but it would’ve been a good move for the creative team to make use of the fact that so many letters were written. Like I said in “The Return of Harmony”, it would’ve made a lot of sense for Celestia to use the letters to help make up for whatever mistakes she thought she made in the past and try to fix her disconnection with Luna. Hey, even 1000-year old alicorns don’t know everything and might find something from the youngins. This would’ve also been a great chance to explore their relationship and see how the two progress, but it’s also very unfortunate that the relationship never gets dramatized.

To sum up my main impression of the episode, it should’ve been great, but it’s just pretty good instead, and that’s not good enough.

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Luna Eclipsed

I’m sure the most notable thing about this episode is that this is Luna’s first reappearance in the show. She was oddly and completely absent in the first season outside of the premiere, and she only got mentioned in “The Return of Harmony”. I was thus unsurprisingly excited for this episode when I first learned about it. Too bad this episode doesn’t offer much outside of her reappearance and the Equestrian version of Halloween.

Good

  • Nightmare Night is introduced as another piece of world-building. It’s pretty much Halloween in every way except the title, but that’s fine since the MLP world is different. The holiday also has its own trick-or-treat chant and history, but I’m not too thrilled behind the idea of its history.
  • The in-universe idea behind the holiday isn’t bad. They said that Nightmare Night wants to devour ponies or their souls or something like that, so they put on a costume to hide themselves and collect candy for her sake. However, I’m not at all fond of the idea due to several reasons.
  • Luna shows up again. She’s been away from Equestria for some time and only recently came back, so she has to do some catching up. This is reasonable and not a bad idea on paper, but the idea itself is the only thing that’s interesting. The execution is a different issue.
    • She notably mostly interacts with Twilight, and Twilight gives Luna plenty of help. She recognizes the princess of the night and encourages her to keep trying to appeal to the Ponyville citizens. Twilight also tries to help Luna with her troubles like fixing the Royal Canterlot Voice, helping Luna play some Halloween games in Ponyville, catching Pinkie Pie who went too far with her “fun”, and ultimately  helping Luna appeal to other ponies. Twilight pretty much acts as a supporter for the royal, and she does her job admirably because she knows that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Bad

  • My God, this episode makes no sense. Let me list the stuff that still confuses me even today.
  • According to the very first episode of the show, no pony except Twilight and Celestia knew about Nightmare Moon. And she is somehow the face of the Nightmare Night holiday. Sure Spike mentioned NM as “an old pony’s tale”, but the end of the first episode showed the ponies not named Twilight having no reaction other than generic fear. Let’s say that the writers wanted to retcon that idea, and that there are some ponies who are familiar to a degree with NM. However, “Princess Twilight Sparkle” retcons that retcon because Nightmare Moon only stuck around for about 5 in-universe minutes, and all she did was blast Princess Celestia. Somehow, I doubt that the creative team even knew how this significant past event played out. No other ponies were shown to have witnessed this incident, so they can’t know about it unless Celestia said something. And this can lead to another bad implication.
    • Celestia was fine with Nightmare Moon, aka her sister, looking villainous to the public (or at least Ponyville). Is that really how you wanted your sister to be remembered? Who knows how long Nightmare Night has been celebrated with NM as the mascot, so Celestia apparently didn’t mind having this negative image of Luna for possibly a long time. On the other hand, maybe no one knew that NM and Luna are one and the same, so how did anyone try to explain Nightmare Moon if they ever found out about her? In Celestia’s case, she’d have to lie, though this also raises the question of other ponies who are familiar with Luna suddenly noticing that she has disappeared without a trace.
    • If isn’t obvious, I really would’ve liked the stuff in the past to be dramatized or at least elaborated upon because it all sounds interesting, and it has served important roles such as in the premiere, this episode, some parts of “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, and a season 5 episode, but I don’t trust that the crew can do this well.
  • “But it seems like she's having some trouble adjusting after being gone for a thousand years.” –Twilight Sparkle
  • “We have been locked away for a thousand years. We are... not sure we can [lower her voice].” –Luna
    • You just did. Also, what have you been doing since your return? Sleeping? I guess that’s why she didn’t show her face in season 1 and for the almost the entirety of this season.
    • A big issue is that while being unfamiliar with modern Equestria is reasonable, what Luna does isn’t. Yes, I know she’s supposed to appear foreign to the Ponyville ponies, but how this is approached doesn’t work. First, she speaks in an obviously outdated dialect that literally no other pony uses. Even if one considers that this episode takes place a few months after the premiere, Luna should still know to not talk as she does since I’m sure she has interacted with other ponies off-screen. Otherwise, I have to wonder what she did and has seen since her return, which is something that still hasn’t been answered.
    • This also makes me wonder if Celestia had any input in Luna’s plans. Did they communicate with each other about all the issues that can arise due to Luna’s return and attempt to interact? There’s a bunch of things, and I won’t go over all of them as I’m sure there’s too many. Still, isn’t the return of a RULER a major event?
    • Twilight also forgot to add that no other pony seems to recognize this major figure AT ALL despite being around for some time like during the premiere. Why is Twilight the only one who recognizes Princess Luna? Twilight’s friends got a close-up of her in the premiere, but they still don’t recognize Luna. Maybe Pinkie does, but she has her own issues. It would’ve been a good touch if the rest of Twilight’s friends tried to help Luna around, but then again, other ponies should’ve known about her beforehand due to her status. Shouldn’t the return of a ruler be major news? At least it was in the premiere, but that didn’t stick.
      • So Luna remembers Twilight. Maybe she could’ve approached Twilight’s other friends and called their names. Then again, the script would probably just have Twilight’s friends scream in horror at “Nightmare Moon”.
    • Also, I’m sure some forms of entertainment existed even 1000 years earlier. Thus, her “fun” scenes are plain stupid.
  • Pinkie caused a bunch of unnecessary trouble with her “fun to be scared act”.
    • 1. Luna’s initial arrival, though no pony seemed to have gotten a good look since Twilight didn’t say anything. Then again, Luna didn’t seem to notice, so it doesn’t become a problem for her, yet.
    • 2. When Luna lands in the middle of Ponyville, Pinkie shouts about Luna wanting to eat them due to using the word “feast”. Luna gets agitated, of course.
    • 3. At Fluttershy’s place saying that Nightmare Moon is on a rampage and has cursed Fluttershy. Luna also reacts.
    • 4. Luna picks up Pipsqueak after he fell into the tub. Pinkie shows her face again, and Pipsqueak (probably) “plays along”. Luna becomes very annoyed and tries to create some excitement, but she instead and unintentionally causes trouble.
    • Pinkie sure caused Luna a lot of emotional trouble as the latter nearly cried after canceling Nightmare Moon. Too bad Pinkie didn’t learn that not everyone enjoys the same things or that there can be misunderstandings. And she apparently didn’t need to apologize since she was just trying to enjoy herself. I don’t know what the other ponies screaming about have to say, though.
  • Fluttershy didn’t actually “teach” Luna to speak softly. She was just afraid of Nightmare Night and wanted to stay in her home. Twilight was the one who kept acknowledging and approving of Luna’s efforts while Fluttershy wanted to be away in her home. Yet for some reason, Luna thanked Fluttershy. This means Luna could’ve just gotten pointers from Twilight on the spot. In other words, the scene with Fluttershy was pointless.
  • The biggest problem I have with the episode is that it doesn’t know its own goals or how to reach it. Is it about Luna trying to reintroduce herself? That Luna wants to appeal to others? That there is some amusement in being scared? It’s all of the above, but they weren’t combined well into a good story. For the first option, has she made any prior effort, or is Ponyville her first stop? What about Canterlot?
    • She first statement in Ponyville pretty much says she wants to get reacquainted with the ponies and make Nightmare Night a less “nightmarish” holiday. OK, so there’s some intention to learn more about modern Equestria, but there isn’t actually much of that. There’s only the “fun” scene, which I already commented on, and there isn’t much of her interacting with ponies even during that time. Then there’s the ending scene, which flies by very quickly and ponies are already immediately OK with her. No actual progress was shown. Luna feels rejected one moment and is quickly accepted in the next.
    • Throughout the episode, Luna was having a trouble trying to appeal to the ponies, and she and Twilight were trying to figure out why there was such a negative commotion surrounding her. One explanation from Pinkie, a Nightmare Moon act later, and everything is somehow dandy in a few minutes. I’m not convinced.
    • Pinkie may have claimed that she was acting scared for the spirit of the holiday, but the other ponies genuinely seemed afraid of Luna for her booming voice and demanding attitude. Even AJ cowered as she doesn’t remember Luna. And somehow, through all this, I am just to accept that the citizens may have just been playing? Even Twilight tried to confirm to Luna at the end after the Nightmare Moon act that the Ponyville citizens have always liked her even though much of what came before doesn’t agree with that statement.
    • A way to combine the ideas I mentioned is for Pinkie to explain herself from the start. Luna has difficulty grasping a concept she views as strange and unintuitive but tries it out herself given the holiday. Through her efforts, she instead unintentionally and genuinely scares the Ponyville citizens and alienates them. Those efforts also could’ve been chances to show other sides of Luna.
    • “Princess Luna! I've finally figured out why you're having so much trouble being liked!” –Twilight Sparkle
      • I doubt you did, Twilight, and thus I question the effectiveness of your solution.
  • I even have issues with Luna’s portrayal in the episode. Maybe I’m just being nitpicky, but I can’t say this episode says much about her, or positively at least.
    • Luna is emotional, is showy, and wants to be approved. Not bad since she gets frustrated when no one seems to like her, but there are other problems I have.
    • She cancels Nightmare Night after the ponies go crazy about her temper. There is her statement of the holiday feeling insulting, and that’s reasonable, but other bits of context bug me. She cancels the holiday for feeling rejected for too long and often, but which can come off as bratty especially when considering the following line.
    •  “Since you choose to fear your princess rather than love her…”
    • She was always demanding to be loved instead of making herself approachable. Even her first line to Ponyville says the former. Luna may have been gone for a while, but I’m sure the method to earning admiration hasn’t changed that much. Maybe she’s socially awkward, but I’m also sure one shouldn’t directly demand others to love them.
    • The episode brings up wanting to make up for past sins, but that’s a pretty generic trait even with her kind of history. She was brooding in front of the Nightmare Moon statue, and that was not a bad display of her feelings. Then again, this episode isn’t exactly about that anyways, but a later episode will try to go into this.
    • They attempt to make her look playful, especially at the end even though she had absolutely no idea what “fun” is shortly before, so this doesn’t make a ton of sense unless she just happened to catch on quickly. Maybe they’re trying to say she’s adaptable, but that’s not true either.
    • I’m not saying that everything has to make perfect sense (a statement I’m sure I have stated at least a few times), but I don’t even think the creative team at this point in production knew the lore of this MLP universe even though they spilled parts of it.

 

Other Stuff

  • Luna’s having a very different design is pretty jarring after seeing the premiere. Since Twilight still easily identifies her, this redesign is probably a retcon to match Celestia, which I’m fine with.
  • Spike dresses as a dragon. At least his idea is original.
  • If Starswirl is so special, why isn’t be better known? Maybe he was actually a terrible wizard like a certain pair of alicorns.
    • Twilight mentioned that he was in a book about “obscure pony history”, but someone of his status shouldn’t be THAT obscure.
    • “Of the pre-classical era”? I wished we learned more about that.
    • And what does Twilight mean when she says he “created more than 200 spells”? So can a pony “create” a new kind of spell if they are able to?
      • I always thought those spells have always existed, and he just “discovered” them.
    • She even considers holding a lesson to teach others about him. That would’ve been nice for the audience.
    • In short, I would’ve liked to learn more about this seemingly important wizard, but the fact that we didn’t isn’t that much of a problem to me mostly because there are much bigger ones. Still, Luna being familiar with him does stir some interest.
  • Why is Granny Smith with a random trio of fillies (and Pinkie)?
  • Pipsqueak’s accent keeps changing for some reason.
  • RD forgot about how Spike can react to a sudden thunderclap.
  • Derpy makes a somewhat notable appearance here. But what’s really noticeable is that she was outside of the tub in one shot, and she suddenly comes out of that same tub in the very next shot.
  • Zecora makes another appearance in this episode. It looks like Ponyville has been fine with her for some time since she’s hanging among them without problem.
  • Luna, for some reason, makes a big entrance. I suppose she would since that seems to be her first exposure to the public after the premiere.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this episode more on my first viewing, but a bunch of still unanswered left me feeling empty after another round. Not helping the episode’s case is that there were more than plenty of chances to explain or follow-up on the ideas presented here. That’s pretty much the main strength of a show over, say, a big-budget movie: more time and chances.

I feel like I should hate this episode like an ass hole, but for some reason I can’t. Still, I can’t call this episode good, and that is hardly better than calling it flat out bad. There might also be some nostalgia (6 years is still a fair amount) from my initial interest in the show. If so, it seems that nostalgia can be pretty powerful.

I think I’ve said this before, but I’m fine with a story not making perfect sense if the actual story has enough redeeming qualities. Obviously, I can’t apply that thought here because the episode itself even seemed confused.

The last few episodes haven’t really excited me, and I don’t know if that’s just me being a hateful bastard. However, the next one seems promising as I did enjoy it the first time. I’ll have to see if it holds up.

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Sisterhooves Social

This is the first episode to actually give Sweetie Belle some meaningful spotlight as she hasn’t received much to do in her prior appearances. One can also call this a CMC episode since AB and SB are prominent, though Scootaloo isn’t around. Well, as long as they aren’t futilely begging for a cutie mark, that’s fine by me. I’d say the episodes that don’t have them chasing cutie marks are more enjoyable, but we’ll have to see.

Good

  • Most notably, this episode goes into the relationship between Sweetie Belle and Rarity while also giving much-needed characterization to the former. There was a bit of it shown in the beginning of “Stare Master” with Sweetie Belle trying to be helpful but creating a mess that gets in the way of Rarity’s work. SB also mimicked Rarity in that episode as well, but it seems to be out of admiration as “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” and this episode show that SB genuinely respects and cares about her sister.
    • The beginning elements in “Stare Master” are repeated in this episode, but it’s necessary as the story wouldn’t make sense without them. We see that SB wants to feel important to her sister and play her part in the relationship. She does this by trying to be helpful and wanting to spend time with her sister. Unfortunately, Sweetie Belle accidentally causes problems for Rarity when trying to be helpful.  Rarity doesn’t take this too well, but she tries to hold her irritation in.
    • Sweetie Belle wants to bond with Rarity and believed that the Sisterhooves Social event could help with that. Unsurprisingly, Rarity isn’t interested. When SB feels neglected for too long, she decides to leave Rarity and hang with the Apples. In the mean time, she also gets to see their relationship and notes how different and better their situation is compared to her own. SB wants a caring sister so badly (especially since she wishes Rarity could act like one) that she even decides to call AJ her sister after seeing her in action.
    • I remember SB mimicking Rarity in “Stare Master”, and she also does it in this episode though it’s out of disdain in here. SB was definitely sick of Rarity’s actions and treatments especially when the latter was being too dismissive of the former’s efforts.
    • Another possible bit of characterization for Sweetie Belle is that she’s not the brightest filly around. Her attempt to cook breakfast can hardly be called an attempt as she somehow melts toast and thinks that “a lot dirty” is a term. Maybe those are just comedic elements in the episode, but we may see if that’s truly the case or not soon enough.
  • Rarity also gets some more characterization through this episode. She’s very attached to her work, so much so that she can even act selfish for it. She does carry the Element of Generosity, so it can seem strange that Rarity was acting the opposite. But I’m willing to accept this as we got a good story in the end. Also, one can still say emotions can heavily influence a person’s actions, which is what happens to Rarity in here.
    • Anyways, Rarity also loves SB, but she’s not good at showing this and doesn’t agree with how her sister does things due to living by herself most of the time. In fact, Rarity has specific ways of doing things even for something small like putting garnish on a plate and not asking SB for help to clean the kitchen. Their interests are different enough that Rarity wasn’t interested in participating at the Social, which causes the conflict between the sisters to reach its peak. Rarity does realize her mistake, but she still doesn’t know how to correct it as she was still more interested in herself instead of giving SB some room. Thanks to some useful tips from AJ about sisterly relationships, Rarity was willing to get muddy for an entire event and even surprised SB to make sure she would be happy. Now that’s a change of heart and also a great display of generosity. The event brings the two closer, and Rarity finally displays what she has learned at the end by sharing, dealing with her sister’s antics better, and also willing to get wet while playing with SB.
    • Rarity trying to control her temper was also a good touch. She may have lived on her own for a long time, but she still does care about SB and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.
  • Another side of the relationship between AJ and AB is shown. Applejack obviously cares about AB from previous episodes and can even be a bit overprotective at times, but the episode features these 2 Apples being close and having fun doing chores. This highlights their closeness and how much they care about each other and is obviously meant to contrast the strained relationship between SB and Rarity. Since the Apple sisters have a healthy relationship, it was also a good move for the episode to have them help the 2 unicorns, especially Rarity who really needed the advice. I’m sure the Earth Pony sisters have gotten into fights in other episodes, though I can’t remember which besides Pinkie Apple Pie, but it’s still a good touch to show that close siblings aren’t always in harmony.
  • Rarity’s parents appear in this episode, and it’s always nice seeing a bit more of a character’s background. They don’t do too much, but they’re not the most important characters in the episode anyways. But a few things are shown about them.
    • They (and SB) don’t have upper-class mannerisms like Rarity. This obviously means that Rarity adopting her current mannerisms was a conscious choice, and I would’ve liked to see why exactly Rarity chose this image due to this contrast. Sure she admires and dreams about Canterlot as she said in the premiere, but I would’ve liked to see how her family played into this decision.

Bad

  • Some relatively minor nitpicks, but they still bug me to some degree.
  • Sweetie Belle’s screw-ups somehow end up being beneficial.
    • Cleaning Rarity’s room helped her conjure up new ideas.
    • The shrunken sweater fits Opal.
    • The picture did make sense and was wisely saved for last.
    • I suppose one might say that bad situations can be salvaged if one tries to find positives, and that’s true. But having the first 2 turning out OK is just too convenient.
    • One of the main points of the episode is that Rarity was wasn’t considering her sister, and she comes to this realization after seeing the picture which was the only “screw-up being good” that made sense.
    • The episode should’ve stuck with the idea that while Rarity’s reactions weren’t the right ones, they weren’t unreasonable at the same time since Sweetie Belle was causing trouble for her sister even though it was accidental. SB may have meant well, but trouble is still trouble, and not all troubles can be salvaged. This would make Rarity’s decision to try to share with SB in the next scene more sincere as she realizes that there is another way to handle the problem instead of just yelling at her sister. Sure Rarity still wanted her own desires to be followed, but she didn't know how to be a better sister just yet which is where AJ and the event come in.
  • Rarity also isn’t very good at communication as all of Sweetie Belle’s mistakes were due to a lack of useful information.
    • SB was directed to the laundry room, and the sweater was hanging right above the washer. That implies that it needed to be cleaned somehow, and Rarity should’ve explained that the sweater could shrink after a wash.
    • Sweetie Belle thought that Rarity had more gems, but Rarity also could’ve said not to use them. In a way, this is actually more on Rarity than SB.
    • Rarity’s room was supposedly in “organized chaos”, and SB cleaned it assuming that it was just messy. Rarity, you really need to work on your communication skills. That’s practically the reason SB unintentionally causes problems in all cases, and they were all fairly easy to prevent. In other words, plenty of the blame goes to Rarity since all this happens in her home. And the episode doesn’t really go into that. Of course, that’s not what the episode is about, and we wouldn’t have an episode without those things, but it still sticks out pretty well to me especially due to it coming up quite a bit. Again, this is just nitpicking.
  • I didn’t like Rarity’s hammy delivery of her realization especially when the scene was meant to be emotional. That actually almost killed the emotion for me.

Other Stuff

  • “I didn't know you could burn juice.”
    • “He burned my shake!”
  • Sweetie Belle doesn’t seem to live with Rarity as this episode shows. Has her own home been featured at some other point?
  • I don’t know how they think Sweetie Belle’s cooking is acceptable, either. The mother said she gave her lessons, so this probably means the mother is a pretty lousy cook.
  • The breakfast plates had eggs. I guess the ponies, or at least these 2 sisters, are carnivores as well.
  • The clock said 1 o’clock after Rarity cleaned the kitchen. That’s one late breakfast.
  • I have no idea how or why that sweater is “one-of-a-kind”.
  • Sweetie Belle cleaned the wool sweater hanging above the washer. She probably should’ve asked about that first, but then she wanted to surprise Rarity. See, not all surprises can end well no matter the intention.
  • Sweetie used a bunch of allegedly rare gems to decorate her drawing. I don’t know how those specific gems are so rare since gems on the whole seem easy to find according to other episodes. And Rarity found a fairly large amount of those gems after a short period of time, so they’re probably not that rare. I’ll go with it. SB also had to use the entire chest, but her drawing didn’t even have that many gems. I’ll go with this too.
  • Rarity even missed what was on the drawing somehow. Hey, we need plot, and this kind of lapse in logic is acceptable since it still works to the story’s advantage when Rarity takes a second look.
  • “But, but these are extremely rare baby blue sapphires! I need them for an outfit for an extremely important client!”
    • I love this line. It basically says, “You can’t use these because they serve some supposedly huge purpose that won’t be important to this episode. But we need to somehow make a problem involving them for the sake of plot.”
  • “That sounds like the perfect way for us to hang out! Rarity will think it's an excellent idea.” -SB
    • “What a ridiculous idea.” -Rarity
    • SB doesn’t really know her sister, does she?
  • “And any sister who cares about her sister goes [to the Sisterhooves Social]!”
    • I doubt that’s the only way for a sister to show love, but then that was just SB’s opinion.
  • I’m a bit amused that even though AJ and AB are major characters in this episode, Big McIntosh isn’t more prominent in the episode to go more into the stuff about the relationship between siblings.
  • The Apples rounded up intelligent sheep. Then again, AJ had to control intelligent cows back in episode 4.
  • One can easily see that Rarity has switched places with AJ during the race with the different eye colors. There was also no reason for “Applejack” to be covered in mud for the whole event, either.
  • There was also an egg-carrying portion for the race. They only had to transport a single egg? The sisters in front of Rarity and SB could’ve just done what these two did. I don’t think that solution was hard to arrive at, but whatever.
  • “A lot dirty” isn’t a term, or one that makes grammatical sense. Thus, I don’t know how Sweetie Belle came up with this.
  • “As Celestia is my witness, I shall never be sisterless again!” –Rarity
    • One of a few quotes that has Celestia substituting for God when making certain expressions. It’s too bad that the alicorn isn’t that impressive, which can make the quotes sound random. Celestia is even surprised at the usage of her name in the season 7 opener.

Conclusion

I may have some minor complaints, but the final product is still very good. Easily the best episode of the season so far.

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The Cutie Pox

Another episode in which the CMC (or just AB in this episode, not that it makes a difference) try (and fail) to get a cutie mark. *sigh* Let’s get this over with.

This review won’t be very long because the episode hasn’t earned that kind of analysis.

Good

  • Zecora and AB interact. They first met in “Bridle Gossip”, and Apple Bloom was help Zecora make potions in that episode. That doesn’t happen in here, but AB tries her hoof at making a potion and also got a look around Zecora’s place for other kinds of mystical brews. At AB is trying to develop another skill.
  • There are some amusing gags, with the most notable one giving Twilight a Rarity-style mane and Spike admiring it. AB getting more cutie marks and the appropriate things showing up relating to that talent is somewhat amusing even though it doesn’t make much sense, but that was probably for comedy. So, whatever.
  • Honestly, these two points aren’t very major positives for the episode. It would’ve been nice if the first one got more focus so we don’t need to be fed the exact same stuff again.

Bad

  • A certain young filly tries her hardest to get a cutie mark, and it happens. Obviously, that was too easy since a show shouldn't bring up this kind of issue and make it a major one for the character in question only to give it a meager resolution. AB is reminded yet again that her cutie mark will appear when the time is appropriate. Otherwise, trying to force it to appear is futile. Why don’t I quote myself from “The Show Stoppers”?
On 4/2/2017 at 10:37 PM, Number? said:

The CMC aren’t any closer to getting their cutie marks mostly because they took the wrong path. As the other ponies have said, they’ll get their marks when it happens, but the fillies keep trying to force them to appear. The viewer will already know that it won’t happen before they even try because end result of getting the cutie marks will be too easy and predictable. Predictability isn’t a bad thing because how the story gets to a certain point is much more important, but it has to look reasonable and natural. And forcing something to happen unsurprisingly doesn’t look natural.

  • Thus, this episode is also pointless, and you only need the quote above to see why. It may mention fillies instead of AB, but the idea still applies perfectly. For extra pointlessness, nothing happens with or is revealed about the characters or cutie marks (OK, probably not entirely true, but that doesn’t fix the major problems), especially Apple Bloom who is still just as impatient as ever about getting her cutie mark, which is something we already know and the ending even reiterates.
  • Zecora is only a plot device to solve whatever problems crop up despite being rather prominent. She just happens to meet Apple Bloom in the Everfree Forest, and AB chipped a tooth. Let’s have Zecora make a remedy. Hey, more potions for other problems! Gee? Isn’t AB suffering from a problem right now? It’s not like something will come out of this. Oh! Zecora has the Heart’s Desire. Hm, isn’t AB “desiring” something, too? We brought up this second plot device and even described it. Let’s use it give to AB a cutie mark so this doesn’t get wasted. This can’t end well, especially when you remember that Twilight said magic (and I’m sure this applies to potions, too) can’t grant cutie marks. Things seem well at first to give characters hope, but it’ll need to be struck down since we can’t keep this unnatural miracle. Trouble happens, and no immediate cure. Well, some kind of lesson needs to be conveyed per instructions. Look no further than the major plot device/character, Zecora. She happens to have the solution? How convenient. The seeds of truth are the cure for the cutie pox? Yeah, I honestly doubt that. We all know its actual purpose in the episode, and that’s why they’ll work. Only after making genuine confessions  will the problem be fixed. AB is the character of the episode, she admits the truth since no one else except the viewer knows (Zecora wanted confirmation), and everything is back to normal. A letter is given to Princess Celestia, but the lesson won’t stick since the CMC must remain desperate to get their marks. Hey, they wouldn’t be living up to their title if their attitude doesn’t change.
    • Hence, this is yet another episode that exists solely to push some moral.

Other Stuff

  • AB goes into the Everfree Forest, but her friends don’t follow her.
  • Zecora conveniently had to leave so AB would be alone with the Heart’s Desire. Of course. That detail had to be used somehow, and we all know what AB “desires” in the episode.
  • Twist shows up again, and she makes a minor line to AB. I honestly thought her appearance in "Call of the Cutie" was her only one, but these 2 still don't interact.
  • It seems that even fake cutie marks can grant certain talents and even make those talents immediately useful.
  • I guess class didn’t happen since all of the fillies and Cheerilee were busy watching AB.
  • Too bad the episode didn’t go into the meaning of legitimately having multiple cutie marks since that’s so unusual but interesting.
  • Apparently, the seeds only work if a lie was told beforehand since no other pony tried to make some kind of confession. Or maybe they were all too ashamed.

Conclusion

Apologies for a rather lame review, but is there anything truly worth commenting on? Especially when you look at the premise and main rules of storytelling? Also at how the CMC eventually get their cutie marks?

For some reason, I can’t hate this episode even though its quality is poor. Maybe I knew even from my very first viewing that whatever efforts are used here will go nowhere since the cutie marks can’t be obtained that easily. Otherwise, why make a big deal out of getting a cutie mark? Also, the viewer shouldn’t directly be playing the waiting game. Then again, they sort of already are since the CMC have a specific goal to reach. Maybe it was my low expectations and that I knew this episode was going to subpar, but that mindset hasn’t stopped me from hating other episodes. It doesn’t matter. This episode still lousy, regardless.

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May the Best Pet Win!

The pets reappear for the first time this season. I’m not that thrilled about seeing them mainly because they’re just sort of there, and that’s due to them not serving more of a purpose in the show. Sure there’s Angel conversing with Fluttershy at some points, but I can’t think of any other major roles the pets have served aside from episodes that focus on them. In other words, these guys don’t do much, so that makes the “Pony Pet Playdate” in the beginning random.

Otherwise, I also don’t have much to say about this episode.

Good

  • Tank appears and shows some perseverance. RD may have mocked his efforts to try and be her pet, but it’s pretty obvious that he would be the winner in the end for multiple reasons. He’s the only animal that gets special focus, i.e. his efforts and RD’s comments. The episode in one sense tries to convince the viewer that he won’t make it, but it’s obvious that he will. Otherwise, there was no reason to include him.
    • I didn’t remember the tortoise getting plenty of screen-time during the musical number. This can add to the foreshadowing.
    • In all honesty, I just liked Tank’s perseverance most of all. He tries obstacles he may or may not know he can’t beat and gets criticized by RD after every attempt, but he still keeps trying and eventually frees her in spite of everything she has done. If one wants a close companion such as a pet, loyalty is one of the most important element. Yes, I did that on purpose. Anyways, it doesn’t have to just connect with Rainbow Dash’s element. I’m sure this is true in general. I suppose I can just say that the basic story appealed enough to me.
  • We have another random yet catchy musical number. I suppose this is preferable to just a scene with a bunch of dialogue exchanged discussing the pet RD wants or is interested in.

Bad

  • Normally, I don’t care much about what moral was stated at the end since the episode itself already gives out that information. In this case, the moral presented doesn’t match what plays out in the episode.  RD tries to claim that she shouldn’t get a pet simply for its physical abilities, but she should get a pet that is, according to Twilight, tenacious. I really doubt that’s the most important quality of an animal companion. Judging by physical abilities actually is fine if she’s looking for a certain attribute, and she was initially. But Tank ultimately became RD’s pet due to his love and loyalty to the pegasus. Really, the episode should’ve gone into the meaning of wanting and having a pet. More on that later.
    • RD being abandoned by the (other) animals during the final race was appropriate since she likewise wasn’t very considerate toward them. On the other hand, Tank wasn’t treated very kindly, but he kept trying and helped RD even after everything she said, so he already counts as a reliable companion.
  • Thus, another problem comes up as an extension of the above. AJ and Twilight discussing one important aspect of keeping a pet: the animals need love, care, affection, and attention. Actually, I think that should’ve been the moral of the episode since I’m sure there are kids and even adults who don’t know what having a pet comes with.
    • Too bad they didn’t discuss this to RD, and all of the ponies including Fluttershy go along with RD’s decision. In other words, they bring up this interesting point but quickly skip over it.
    • Does Rainbow Dash even know why she wants a pet? The reason the episode provided was because she was the only one of the Mane 6 who didn’t have one. That’s not much of a reason. Maybe it’s conformity or something similar, but the episode doesn’t get into that.

Other Stuff

  • One can argue that the story shows animal abuse with the ending race and with Tank, but I’m interestingly not bothered by it for some reason. And I’m against animal abuse if anyone happens to wonder.
    • I’m guessing it’s because the episode didn’t make a big deal out of this at any point, i.e. the “injuries” were comical or not serious. And I don’t mean an animal being severely injured and another character making light of the situation.
    • For other examples of bad behavior that bugged me, there’s Spike in “Winter Wrap Up”. That episode was about Twilight trying to make herself helpful, but Spike makes rude remarks at her expense even when she gets worse over the episode. Spike is supposed to be a close friend of hers, so his attitude was off-putting instead of being helpful.
    • There’s also his attitude in “Boast Busters” when he tried to claim that Trixie was unbearable, but he was even more so. I don’t think I need to go further into that one.
    • AJ and Rarity were acting childish in “Look Before You Sleep”. I guess I had more of a problem with their deliveries, which were just annoying and repetitive. Also, Twilight was acting too dumb with the “slumber party”.
    • Pinkie Pie in “Luna Eclipsed” was only creating trouble for the title princess in the episode, and her reason for her actions don’t excuse the trouble she caused.
    • Then there’s the later episode “A Friend In Deed” where she pesters Cranky even when trying to apologize, and he was trying to get away from her. I’ll get more into that episode eventually.
    • My final guess: the episode didn’t make a big deal out of or even mention whatever negative feelings Tank had. Most of the mentioned episodes featured a certain character with a certain problem and also featured different but significant character not helping the problem. Though I still need to revisit “A Friend In Deed”. This episode didn’t give Tank or any of the other animals meaningful focus, as in the kind that shows you what they’re feeling at different points in the story, so I guess that’s why I wasn’t too bothered with what the Ghastly Gorge stuff.
  • RD is still continuing with vague adjectives. “Awesome” and “cool”. You still need to be more detailed.
  • Shout out to a noticeable animation error with RD moving in front of the animals while describing the competition.
  • 3 of the 4 pet finalists are birds with the last one as a bat. Interesting. I’m guessing Rainbow Dash wasn’t too satisfied with smaller fliers like butterflies or bees.
  • The peregrine falcon was flying with one wing after going through the thorny roots. I don’t know how that’s possible.
  • Fluttershy might be physically weak since she couldn’t lift RD off the ground completely. Though I’m sure she was stronger in other episodes.

Conclusion

There are some enjoyable bits, but the episode is somewhat unremarkable. Rainbow Dash gets her pet, and the episode is very straightforward about this. Sure there’s a bit more to it than that, and straightforwardness isn’t a bad thing, but I’m struggling for more comments to make because I can’t find other interesting bits the episode holds.

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The Mysterious Mare Do Well

I remember this episode stirring the viewers pretty harshly, and I do wonder if any of the more recent episodes had this kind of effect. As for me, I also don’t like this episode, but I’d rather watch this over “The Return of Harmony” and most other 2-parters of the show mainly because this episode is shorter.

Good

  • This episode made better use of the Pinkie Sense than “Feeling Pinkie Keen”. That episode did nothing for Pinkie even though it made a big deal out of the ability, but this episode at least has her using it to save other ponies by detecting falling objects. See, having her use this sense to help others is an option, writers. You didn’t need to bring up this power just for the sake of some stupid moral (but this episode still suffers the same way). Her tail didn’t twitch here, but whatever. Of course, this still isn’t much because the Pinkie Sense still isn’t used very often, and because of how the episode plays out, Pinkie didn’t seem altruistic about using her Pinkie Sense. Again, this is pretty useful. It doesn’t need to be used all the time, but I’m sure this would’ve been helpful against various villains. Overall, this is an extremely minor point.
  • I like the design of the Mare Do Well. One must wonder how the mane and tail can fit so easily, though. The figure exudes an air of mystery due to the entire face and body being covered along, the figure being silent, the opaque eye sockets giving a blank stare, and the dark color scheme also help with that. And she wears a hat for some reason, which somehow looks so snazzy that the outfit wouldn’t be complete without the hat. It’s too bad this idea couldn’t have been used for a better story.
  • The superhero references were pretty fun. I think Batman is one character that immediately comes to mind when seeing the Mare Do Well due to the dark colors, the silence, and the cape. There were even posters referencing the 90’s Batman animated show, and a musical reference to that show is also played at some points. There’s also Darkwing Duck, and I’m sure the figure was more of a reference to Darkwing due to the purple colors and the hat.
    • “Never fear, your friendly neighborhood, Rainbow Dash is here!”
    • Also a Spider-Man reference.
    • And I think there was even a Scooby-Doo reference when RD pulls the mask off Mare Do Well and says, “Mystery solved!”
  • This episode is actually quite silly, so it becomes somewhat of a guilty pleasure. A bunch of different problems suddenly spring up right around the time RD decides to be a “hero”. I know the episode has been called contrived for that, and it is in one sense, but I don’t think it was THAT problematic for reasons I’ll state later. Anyways, just the idea by itself is (unintentionally) funny, and the troubles not being played so seriously like in the 2-parter episodes help. Maybe RD shouldn’t have chosen to be the hero of Ponyville, then these troubles don’t have to pop up. The same can be said for the major villains of the show and the Mane 6 being the saviors of Equestria. Another reason I like this episode better than, say “A Canterlot Wedding”, is that the relevant characters get to do something useful at the very least. It wasn’t done well in here, but it’s better than getting thrown out like some random garbage in the case of Princess Celestia.
    • And what helps with the silly tone is some of the funny moments. I’ll list the ones that actually got a laugh out of me.
      • Twilight: Call me silly, but I think this whole hero thing might be going to Rainbow Dash's head.
      • Pinkie: You may be right...silly.
      • "Excuse me, but do you think you could just skip your catch phrase, and hurry up and save us?"
      • The scene where RD tries and fails to open a jar of peanut butter. The background unicorn easily opens it a little later, though I have to wonder why that pony didn’t try that tactic sooner.

Bad

  • To touch on Ponyville coincidentally suddenly having a bunch of accidents, I really think this complaint is more about the episode trying mostly to convey a moral instead of focusing on telling a story, and other episodes have also committed this sin as I’ve pointed out.
    • In fact, this episode was hardly subtle about conveying what it will be about since it was already given in the beginning.
      • “I'm Rainbow Dash, and I'm here to rescue you!”
        • “You’re my hero, Rainbow Dash!”
    • The episode is initially about RD’s acquiring fame and attention and consequently being irritatingly stuck-up about it. She decides to perform heroic acts for attention instead of altruism. And her continuing “heroism” only added to her overconfidence such as delaying the rescue of a hot air balloon and being more concerned about saying her catch phrase than catching a loose trolley.
    • All RD's friends do is complain about her being boastful about her feats. As if that ever accomplishes anything. I'll get into this later.
    • When MDW comes around, RD becomes stupidly jealous as she wants to be the only one that gets all the glory and attention for some reason. Apparently, having multiple ponies doing something heroic is unfathomable. And her friends mocking her for feeling jealous has bad implications after knowing the identity of MDW.
    • Adding to this problem is that Rainbow Dash has done heroic acts before. In addition to “Friendship is Magic” and “The Return of Harmony”, there’s also “Sonic Rainboom”, and none of those events inflated her ego. Overall, this episode gave a pretty bad portrayal of Rainbow Dash.
  • The rest of the Mane 6 weren’t comfortable about RD’s attitude, but for some reason they didn’t decide to first confront her about this. For example, “Look Before You Sleep” wasn’t good, but that’s what the main ponies of the episode did, so their response in here becomes more nonsensical.
    • They also acted no differently since they were praising themselves out-of-costume. Yeah, what were your problems again? And how was putting on a costume and trying to put RD in her place supposed to solve anything? Since RD enjoyed her fame so much, she'd just try harder due to the competition as the episode confirmed.
    • And of course, Mare Do Well gets accolades for her deeds not unlike Rainbow Dash. Actually, MDW gets even more, and RD’s friends are pretty proud of themselves as they decided that MDW should attend the tribute at the end instead of actually following their own advice. Also, they didn’t like that RD was letting the attention get to her even though that’s what happened to these other ponies. Double standard much? This also leads to another huge flaw of the episode.
    • RD even gets sad and lonely in the third act. I have to wonder if her friends noticed. Actually, no pony seemed to notice. Scootaloo happened to be nearby, but she quickly changes allegiances for no given reason. Unless her friends happened to be evil or whatever, this putting RD in this state doesn't help her problem as it only creates another one.
      • Also, all of Ponyville somehow forgetting RD doesn't make any sense. And for some reason, as I mentioned earlier, they give a bigger tribute to MDW. Why? I guess the mayor and citizens of Ponyville needed short attention spans just to tell this story.
    • How is the episode about not clinging onto fame and attention when clinging onto fame and attention has always been happening? When RD loses hers, MDW aka RD’s friends gains RD’s loss. In other words, this idea has no impact on the story when the execution hardly supports said idea.

Other Stuff

  • I know the figure was name after a phrase, but “Mare Do Well” still sounds weird.
  • Rainbow Dash fan club? This episode is its first appearance, and I don’t remember if it shows up in future episodes. Also, Snips and Snails are interestingly part of the club.
  • To conclude my thoughts about Ponyville suddenly having random dangers for the sake of the episode and not making much sense as a result, I’m not bothered by this mainly because that’s how a fair number of the episodes in MLP go. As in, random stuff always happens so a certain story can be told.
    • In one episode, a dragon was slumbering and smoking near Ponyville. Why is it next to Ponyville instead of another town?
    • Fluttershy coincidentally encountered a parasprite, and by accident even.
    • Pinkie Pie’s Pinkie Sense happens to go off continuously on a certain day, and only Twilight happens to be directly affected by them.
    • Big villains randomly cause trouble and pose a major threat to Equestria. Also, Princess Celestia and Luna are always useless against them. This is an even worse example in my book.
    • I don’t know. From an in-universe and out-of-universe perspective, Ponyville having random dangers for the day doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me especially when I consider the last point.
  • Autobiographies are mentioned in this episode. I have to wonder how a non-unicorn pony can write an autobiography. Then again, RD gave autograph by holding a pencil with her mouth.
  • RD saw a hole in the dam. Even if her solution did work, which was keeping a hoof over it, she’d be stuck there indefinitely. She should’ve just said something to the mayor or whatever, and maybe she’ll still get some credit.
  • RD also saw the Mare Do Well performing magic and later flying. That can mean it’s an alicorn in the costume, and it doesn’t seem like RD remembers that since she wasn't aware of multiple identities.
  • The Mysterious Mare Do Well shows up for the first time and is immediately given its name. Also, everyone has already somehow forgotten RD.
  • RD also tried to open a jar. I really have to wonder how effective hooves and teeth are for the job.
  • Strangely, the Mane 6 hasn’t receive this kind of recognition for beating 2 major villains thus far.

Conclusion

Yeah, it’s a piece of crap. However, it’s something of a guilty pleasure for me, so this episode isn’t completely unwatchable.

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Sweet and Elite

Rarity gets what she wanted since the first episode. I don’t remember if her time in Canterlot was referenced even indirectly later in the show, but I might find out if I keep watching.

Good

  • The song “Becoming Popular” is fun, has a fitting upper-class tone, and shows Rarity getting around Canterlot better and, well, becoming popular. How exactly she became such a big hit over a short time is a mystery, though. I don’t think being connected to Fancy Pants is enough, but whatever. As for the song, Rarity enjoyed her newfound popularity and respect so much that she kept neglecting Twilight’s dress even though she put that task as “top priority”, so it helps move the story along which is a good thing.
  • The general story by itself is also a pretty good one. Rarity gets to try out her dream as a Canterlot elite. She said in the premiere that she liked the sophistication of the area and even dreamed of living there. She meets some of the residents, gets well acquainted with a notable pony, and she becomes so much of a sensation in Canterlot that she gets invited to many events including a party from a special couple that initially thought little of her.
    • Since the episode throws out a conflict for Rarity to choose sides, they would need to be very important choices to her for the stakes and situation to matter. Rarity has always wanted to be seen as one of the Canterlot elites, and now she has a chance in this episode, but this clashes with the time she wants to spend with her friends. She had to choose between that or disregarding the ponies that truly care about her.
    • She enjoyed her newfound status so much that she consistently put off working on Twilight's birthday dress despite labeling that goal as "top priority". Then after another invitation to some Canterlot event, she eventually decides to miss Twilight's party. Well, Rarity cannot get off that easily, and conflicting interests has been one point of the episode, so her friends go to her.
      • EDIT: One good touch was that at the end of the song "Becoming Popular", Rarity was tired from hanging out with the elites implying that she spent a hell of a lot of time with them, and then she arrives at Twilight's incomplete dress. She clearly regrets having neglected this job, and the scene shows how much being a Canterlot pony and her own friends mean to her but struggling to make room for both in her life.
    • Rarity found her position difficult as she doesn’t want to disappoint both sides, so she tries to attend and switch between both parties. Thankfully, this doesn’t go on too long because the situation would become too awkward. Also, Rarity truly was enjoying the birthday party was a good touch even though she was arguably more interested in the garden party. She tries very hard to hide her Ponyville roots as a snooty upper-class couple in the beginning already dismissed her for that revelation, so she tries to make sure her friends and her… acquaintances don’t meet. Things come to a head when Twilight explicitly exposes Rarity’s true roots, and Rarity confesses along with ultimately choosing her friends who truly see Rarity for who she is. It’s solved a bit quickly, but that’s not unreasonable as choosing which side she prefers has been the main purpose, and the solution (i.e. picking a side) is a simple one. Rarity was also put on the spot, so there’s no point in stretching out her dilemma as well.
  • Fancy Pants is fine and seems like a nice pony. He sees Rarity as someone important since she knows Celestia and was amused with Rarity correctly guessing the winner of the Wonderbolts race. He’s also open-minded as he was content with Twilight’s plain dress and also Rarity being from Ponyville and associating herself with “lower-class” ponies. At the end, he wanted to get to know Rarity’s friends better. It’s a good change of pace from the generically arrogant upper-class Canterlot ponies which I’ll get into later. I do have to wonder why exactly he was interested in Rarity, though. It was because she knew Princess Celestia, but would he have bothered to notice her if that wasn’t the case? Likely not, but he still was accepting of the rest of the Mane 6, so he’d just get to Rarity at a much later point.
  • One minor touch I like is that Rarity and RD are confirmed to be at least a little close since the former knows stuff that latter said about the Wonderbolts, which implies that Rarity does listen to Rainbow Dash about the Wonderbolt even though Rarity isn’t as interested in them.

Bad

  • Where the hell was Spike? Interestingly, I consider this minor and major at the same time. For the former, this is a Rarity-focused episode, so Spike wouldn’t be the most important character since it didn’t need him. On the other side, Twilight had a birthday party, and one of her most important friends is randomly left out for no reason. Yeah, I have to wonder what they were thinking.
  • Things worked out a little too well for Rarity. I’m not against this, but it’s still very oddly convenient. Sure she learns her lesson at the end, which is not to ignore who she is and what she truly loves.
    • Rarity’s dress for Twilight was clearly half-assed, but Twilight luckily accepts it without question. This gets more odd when Twilight should already know about Rarity’s fancy and decorative styles especially when considering Rarity’s career.
    • Twilight thought she was trying to do business with Canterlot elites. Twilight being accepting of Rarity was one thing, but her guess really stretches credibility since she just made an assumption instead of questioning Rarity.
    • There isn’t much else for me to add, so to reiterate, Rarity was lucky that things worked out without problem even though she learned her lesson. Good thing she didn’t have to face the consequences of her friends thinking she might abandon them for ponies she is less familiar with.
  • Snobby elites. Yawn. Did you find Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon, the filly versions of high-class ponies, interesting? Probably not. Why? Because they are just plain ass holes whose sole shtick can quickly get old due to repetitiveness. Much of that can be applied to the snobby elites, though I will admit that it was mostly the recurring couple, Jet Set and Upper Crust, that holds this annoying trait after rewatching. Still, this does apply to other ponies to a degree.
    • “You're from... Ponyville?” –Jet Set
      • I don’t know how traveling around couldn’t be a possibility to him. Then again, Rarity was fine with conversing with a bumpkin while an average Canterlot resident wouldn’t be. What’s wrong with interacting with a “lower-class” citizen? Even the elites, or at least the couple, don’t seem to know the answer to that question. See, this is why snobby elites bore me.
    • Only Fancy Pants was openly fine with Rarity being from Ponyville. Most other Canterlot ponies were initially chattering about this revelation and were later surprised about his assessment, which means that they were doubting themselves about whether they should’ve given their respect to Rarity. Again, what’s wrong with being from Ponyville? If being from Ponyville didn’t matter to them, then they wouldn’t need to babble to each other about this unless Rarity was making huge lies (she only lied about RD and just omitted other info, but then a lie of omission is still a lie). I will admit that the other Canterlot ponies weren’t as annoying as I remembered, but they still have shades of this snootiness.
    • Rarity staying at Celestia’s place is what really gets the attention of others, and Fancy Pants called her an “important pony” because of that. The others invite her to different events they’re holding only because they think she’s important and will generate attention. I mean, why else invite her when they are distraught about her possibly turning them down?
    • Since Rarity became such an important figure, ponies will agree with her thoughts because of that high status. Like when she approves of some artwork, shows interest in an item at the auction, or chose a certain food item at the dinner party. I don’t know. That never made sense to me because shouldn’t a pony make their own choices? That’s why free will and individuality are things and even terms. Obviously, they want the stuff that the “big pony” wants so they don’t look stupid. I guess I’m just saying that the given mindset of the high-class ponies don’t make much logical sense. I’m going to continue this in the next point, but it’s also a somewhat separate one.
  • Rarity prefers to be seen as a Canterlot pony. That’s a fine idea on paper, and I’m guessing she simply prefers high-class appearances and lifestyles, but she’s arbitrarily oblivious to their general dispositions. Just based on this usual image, why does she desire this so much? Does she really want to be seen as some pony who is hard to satisfy and thinks little of commoners? She has always been a pony that wanted attention as “Sonic Rainboom” and “Green Isn’t Your Color” showed, but her goal also seems so shallow and meaningless when considering what’s shown to the viewer.
    • Rarity, to try and save face, lies about Rainbow Dash being a Wonderbolt trainer. That’s a very odd move as RD won a major competition (Celestia and the Wonderbolts were there, so it has to be worth something), is the only pony known to perform a Sonic Rainboom, and wants to join the Wonderbolts. The Wonderbolts are already highly respected in Canterlot, and I highly doubt all members originate from Canterlot, so I don’t see anything wrong with Rarity admitting the truth. Then again, we don’t know what exactly she’s thinking other than, “The truth doesn’t seem ‘fancy’.”
    • Rarity could’ve also said that she and her friends personally know Princess Celestia and have saved Equestria. I’m sure that would’ve garnered some respect already.
    • The last two majors point have degenerated into a mindless ramble now, but these were thoughts that crossed my mind, and I don’t know where else to put them. Basically, this kind of narrow-minded interpretation of fictional upper-class characters annoy me.

Other Stuff

  • Celestia was uncomfortable with Rarity’s extreme gratitude. By itself, this isn’t bad. Again, I just hate the stuff that later happens to her.
  • Though I do wonder why she didn’t help the valet.
  • “You know the Princess?” –Fancy Pants
    • This makes me wonder how many Canterlot ponies personally know and regularly interact with Celestia and/or Luna.
  • Fancy Pants’ female partner certainly has a unique design that evokes Celestia and Luna. I really wonder why she looks the way she does in-universe and out-of-universe.
  • Rarity’s giggle to Opal was cute.
  • Opal also knew that Rarity was going to neglect her work. And she was rather nice in this episode. Too bad Rarity had to soak her.
  • The first appearance of Pinkie’s Party Cannon. It’s an idea so ridiculous and silly but so fitting of Pinkie and practical that I love it.
  • “Fancy Pants is the most important pony in Canterlot.” -Rarity
    • Really? What about the alicorns? I guess they’re somehow separate from Canterlot even though that’s where they live.
  • Rarity’s mane style in the art show still looks impossible. And there’s Photo Finish, too.
  • The birthday party only has 6 ponies, and I’m sure Rarity being missing wouldn’t be hard to notice.
  • I wonder if Celestia ever went to or even threw a birthday party for Twilight since the alicorn doesn’t show up in this episode’s party.
  • How did The rest of the Mane 6 find out where Rarity was staying exactly? I guess Twilight could ask Princess Celestia since Celestia assigned that room to Rarity.
  • What was Celestia doing at Rarity’s room during the end?
  • Blueblood also appears at the end of Rarity’s song when she sends away a ship. I guess things got better between them? Maybe Blueblood changed his attitude? I can imagine Rarity keeping a professional attitude given her occupation, but I don’t know about the prince.
  • Twilight also mentioned another Grand Galloping Gala coming up, though the next one we see is all the way in season 5.
  • I didn’t remember Fluttershy playing with the birds in the Canterlot garden party. It seems they understand each other better now.
  • I wonder how the actual meeting between Fancy Pants and RD went.
  • Apparently, Jet Set and Upper Crust have high statuses even in Canterlot because Rarity says that missing out on their party would ruin her image. Does that mean that all Canterlot elites are “important”? What sets one major pony like Fancy Pants apart from another?
  • I will say that the ponies at the garden party were in the right to be annoyed at Rarity’s friends crashing the party. They weren’t invited and made a mess. Rarity should’ve said that garden party was a private party.

Conclusion

I liked this episode as a whole, but there are some notable rough edges. Though I do think part of the review has become a mindless ramble, but that’s because it was a bit hard for me to express some of my thoughts when a fair amount of it are in their own ways just random thoughts.

Edited by Number?
fixed some errors. also, some more additions
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Secret of My Excess

There still hasn’t been much on Rarity and Spike. The last episode to give that significant focus was in “A Dog and Pony Show”, though “Green Isn’t Your Color” did feature some of Spike’s feelings. This episode takes their relationship further, sort of, but something (positive) is better than nothing.

Also, this episode is the only one that explicitly mentions Spike’s birthday.

Good

  • Again, this episode does something with Spike’s crush on Rarity. He has always enjoyed eating gems, and he started with a special ruby. After seeing Rarity gaze at the crystal and learning how much she want it, he willingly gave it away to her. This shows that he’s capable of generosity, and Rarity also kisses him for his act.
    • They even rubbed cheeks in the beginning of the party. I don’t remember them having that much of a relationship before this, but whatever.
    • In fact, his affection for Rarity was so strong that he was able to shrink to his normal size after growing monstrous.
    • Most notably, Rarity was aware of Spike’s infatuation. Since Spike wanted to confess his feelings in case they “don’t make it”, maybe she was also just hopeful that they would survive.
  • There’s also a bit more on dragons thanks to the character plot device Zecora. According to her, a dragon’s greed is an inherent and biological trait, and previous dragons from “Dragonshy” and “Owl’s Well That Ends Well” can confirm this. Also, the avarice and biological growth feed each other, but the avarice can still be controlled and curbed so he doesn’t become too wild. When he stops giving in to his cupidity, he’ll (somehow) regress. Then again, he probably regressed because was growing at an unnatural pace.
    • I did also like that the cause for Spike’s acquisitiveness was a reasonable one as his birthday came up and he would get presents. Before moving to Ponyville, he would just get a book from Twilight, but this time he got many different items from his pony friends. He also got a cupcake from the Cakes and a hat from Cheerilee, so he enjoyed his constant acquisitions which also fed his inner demon of greed. He does get over this, and I also liked how this was resolved (more on this later).
    • Worth mentioning is that although Spike’s intelligence decreased as he grew, he wasn’t completely mindless if one looks at his reactions to Rarity chewing him out.
  • I liked how the moral was presented. Most of the episode was about Spike’s desires going crazy and causing harm to himself and others, so there’s the blatantly obvious point of uncontrolled desire being bad. But Spike’s letter at the end of the episode also wisely adds that giving can feel better than receiving, and that was also shown earlier when Spike saw the ruby he gave Rarity and reminisced the feelings he perceived from himself and Rarity. His happiness about Rarity’s happiness thus helped him revert to his smaller self.
    • Though I wasn’t too big on Rarity even going so far as to calling Spike her hero. Being proud of him was already enough, so that extra line was just trying too hard.
  • The giant monster rampage was also enjoyable. I’ll admit I haven’t seen too many monster movies, and it’s been a long time since I’ve last seen one, but the idea of some giant creature causing mayhem is always fun to imagine.

Bad

  • Twilight was somewhat of an idiot in the episode. After seeing that Spike was asking other ponies for more gifts, she reprimanded him, and then Spike agreed to return his items. I must wonder why she didn’t accompany him given his suspicious actions. Actually, doing so would’ve stunted his growth prematurely, and the episode probably wouldn’t have happened. This could be Twilight being very trusting, but she came off looking dumb given the situation.
  • How will Spike grow up? He most likely won’t as it’s been 7 seasons, and he still looks the same. But can a dragon still physically grow up (even into a wise dragon) without being greedy? Maybe if one interprets Zecora’s line about becoming a monster being literal, but the episode isn’t very clear about a dragon as it ages.

Other Stuff

  • Spike doesn’t like books as presents. I’m sure there are enjoyable books even for him, and he also reads comics, so I don’t know why a book is so undesirable to him. Then again, he might be tired of not getting anything else from Twilight for his birthday.
  • I believe this is also the first episode in which Rarity has addressed Spike as “Spikey-wikey”.
  • Spike met Cheerilee who was carrying grocery bags, but she pulled out a hat to give to him. I’m sure hats can be bought in some grocery stores, but it’s still so random.
  • I guess some ponies (or at least one in the case of Lickety Split) in Ponyville feel obliged to give a gift if it’s someone’s birthday.
  • Rainbow Dash recognizes screams from Andrea Libman.
  • Spike’s internal flashback didn’t happen as it did at the beginning of the episode. I’ll just go with it.
  • When Spike was chasing the broom Twilight used as a lure to her home, he was stuck at the doorway of the main entrance momentarily even though there was clearly enough space.
  • “Monster” and “occur” sort of rhyme, but Zecora putting the stress in the wrong syllable for “monster” (“occur” has the stress in its second syllable while “monster” has the stress in the first) makes her utterance of the word noticeably awkward. Saying the word as it is still would’ve worked.
  • The Wonderbolts make another attempt to be heroic, and this also involves Rarity. Too bad they’re also useless in here, and they don’t even get to catch Spike and Rarity as they fell since that went to RD and Fluttershy, so that’s a second failure for those athletes. Also, I have to wonder what they planned to do against a large dragon unless they planned to take back Rarity only. At least they shaved off bits of his spines.
    • They were also embarrassed after the water tower that trapped them fell. It seems that they’re precognitive. I’m actually less bothered by the portrayal of them than Celestia mostly because I’m more interested in the alicorn.
    • Also, how were the Wonderbolts tipped off about a raging dragon? And why were they the only other ponies who did anything?
  • If big Spike felt like grabbing anything, I’m surprised he just didn’t take apart the buildings and carry those pieces away.
    • He also grabbed Rarity, which is interestingly the only pony is intentionally takes. Maybe his subconscious feelings for her influenced him.
  • Rarity called Spike a “dear friend”. There’s an adjective, but she still used that noun, so she probably didn’t quite love him yet.

Conclusion

A solid second season episode, and I don’t think there has been many that have impressed me much outside of this and “Sisterhooves Social”.

As for Rarity-Spike, I don’t believe the show has done much with this pairing outside of a few exceptions (“Infestation Manifestation” is the only one I can think of at the moment). I don’t know if that’s because of their age difference, being different species, or maybe ongoing romance isn’t the easiest thing to do when very young children are the main demographic. I’m sure there is a fix for the last possibility if that problem is what the writers encountered, but at least their dynamic didn’t get fucked up, or at least not too much like the show would fuck up Princess Celestia. Sorry, I’m way too sore about that

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14 hours ago, Number? said:

Secret of My Excess

There still hasn’t been much on Rarity and Spike. The last episode to give that significant focus was in “A Dog and Pony Show”, though “Green Isn’t Your Color” did feature some of Spike’s feelings. This episode takes their relationship further, sort of, but something (positive) is better than nothing.

Also, this episode is the only one that explicitly mentions Spike’s birthday.

Good

  • Again, this episode does something with Spike’s crush on Rarity. He has always enjoyed eating gems, and he started with a special ruby. After seeing Rarity gaze at the crystal and learning how much she want it, he willingly gave it away to her. This shows that he’s capable of generosity, and Rarity also kisses him for his act.
    • They even rubbed cheeks in the beginning of the party. I don’t remember them having that much of a relationship before this, but whatever.
    • In fact, his affection for Rarity was so strong that he was able to shrink to his normal size after growing monstrous.
    • Most notably, Rarity was aware of Spike’s infatuation. Since Spike wanted to confess his feelings in case they “don’t make it”, maybe she was also just hopeful that they would survive.
  • There’s also a bit more on dragons thanks to the character plot device Zecora. According to her, a dragon’s greed is an inherent and biological trait, and previous dragons from “Dragonshy” and “Owl’s Well That Ends Well” can confirm this. Also, the avarice and biological growth feed each other, but the avarice can still be controlled and curbed so he doesn’t become too wild. When he stops giving in to his cupidity, he’ll (somehow) regress. Then again, he probably regressed because was growing at an unnatural pace.
    • I did also like that the cause for Spike’s acquisitiveness was a reasonable one as his birthday came up and he would get presents. Before moving to Ponyville, he would just get a book from Twilight, but this time he got many different items from his pony friends. He also got a cupcake from the Cakes and a hat from Cheerilee, so he enjoyed his constant acquisitions which also fed his inner demon of greed. He does get over this, and I also liked how this was resolved (more on this later).
    • Worth mentioning is that although Spike’s intelligence decreased as he grew, he wasn’t completely mindless if one looks at his reactions to Rarity chewing him out.
  • I liked how the moral was presented. Most of the episode was about Spike’s desires going crazy and causing harm to himself and others, so there’s the blatantly obvious point of uncontrolled desire being bad. But Spike’s letter at the end of the episode also wisely adds that giving can feel better than receiving, and that was also shown earlier when Spike saw the ruby he gave Rarity and reminisced the feelings he perceived from himself and Rarity. His happiness about Rarity’s happiness thus helped him revert to his smaller self.
    • Though I wasn’t too big on Rarity even going so far as to calling Spike her hero. Being proud of him was already enough, so that extra line was just trying too hard.
  • The giant monster rampage was also enjoyable. I’ll admit I haven’t seen too many monster movies, and it’s been a long time since I’ve last seen one, but the idea of some giant creature causing mayhem is always fun to imagine.

Bad

  • Twilight was somewhat of an idiot in the episode. After seeing that Spike was asking other ponies for more gifts, she reprimanded him, and then Spike agreed to return his items. I must wonder why she didn’t accompany him given his suspicious actions. Actually, doing so would’ve stunted his growth prematurely, and the episode probably wouldn’t have happened. This could be Twilight being very trusting, but she came off looking dumb given the situation.
  • How will Spike grow up? He most likely won’t as it’s been 7 seasons, and he still looks the same. But can a dragon still physically grow up (even into a wise dragon) without being greedy? Maybe if one interprets Zecora’s line about becoming a monster being literal, but the episode isn’t very clear about a dragon as it ages.

Other Stuff

  • Spike doesn’t like books as presents. I’m sure there are enjoyable books even for him, and he also reads comics, so I don’t know why a book is so undesirable to him. Then again, he might be tired of not getting anything else from Twilight for his birthday.
  • I believe this is also the first episode in which Rarity has addressed Spike as “Spikey-wikey”.
  • Spike met Cheerilee who was carrying grocery bags, but she pulled out a hat to give to him. I’m sure hats can be bought in some grocery stores, but it’s still so random.
  • I guess some ponies (or at least one in the case of Lickety Split) in Ponyville feel obliged to give a gift if it’s someone’s birthday.
  • Rainbow Dash recognizes screams from Andrea Libman.
  • Spike’s internal flashback didn’t happen as it did at the beginning of the episode. I’ll just go with it.
  • When Spike was chasing the broom Twilight used as a lure to her home, he was stuck at the doorway of the main entrance momentarily even though there was clearly enough space.
  • “Monster” and “occur” sort of rhyme, but Zecora putting the stress in the wrong syllable for “monster” (“occur” has the stress in its second syllable while “monster” has the stress in the first) makes her utterance of the word noticeably awkward. Saying the word as it is still would’ve worked.
  • The Wonderbolts make another attempt to be heroic, and this also involves Rarity. Too bad they’re also useless in here, and they don’t even get to catch Spike and Rarity as they fell since that went to RD and Fluttershy, so that’s a second failure for those athletes. Also, I have to wonder what they planned to do against a large dragon unless they planned to take back Rarity only. At least they shaved off bits of his spines.
    • They were also embarrassed after the water tower that trapped them fell. It seems that they’re precognitive. I’m actually less bothered by the portrayal of them than Celestia mostly because I’m more interested in the alicorn.
    • Also, how were the Wonderbolts tipped off about a raging dragon? And why were they the only other ponies who did anything?
  • If big Spike felt like grabbing anything, I’m surprised he just didn’t take apart the buildings and carry those pieces away.
    • He also grabbed Rarity, which is interestingly the only pony is intentionally takes. Maybe his subconscious feelings for her influenced him.
  • Rarity called Spike a “dear friend”. There’s an adjective, but she still used that noun, so she probably didn’t quite love him yet.

Conclusion

A solid second season episode, and I don’t think there has been many that have impressed me much outside of this and “Sisterhooves Social”.

As for Rarity-Spike, I don’t believe the show has done much with this pairing outside of a few exceptions (“Infestation Manifestation” is the only one I can think of at the moment). I don’t know if that’s because of their age difference, being different species, or maybe ongoing romance isn’t the easiest thing to do when very young children are the main demographic. I’m sure there is a fix for the last possibility if that problem is what the writers encountered, but at least their dynamic didn’t get fucked up, or at least not too much like the show would fuck up Princess Celestia. Sorry, I’m way too sore about that

Good review on this @Number?. :)

 

As for Spike's dislike of books, I would assume it was a case of him just getting fed up with Twilight giving him nothing but books for his birthday. It's like if someone kept feeding me chicken every friday or so. I like them, but given the same old stuff would bore and annoy me as it loses it's luster over time. As you said, we've seen him enjoy comic books and even take the opportunity to read to figure out problems such as him trying to figure out Owl's eating habits with Owlicious in Owl's well that ends well. So I assume it was a case 'again the same thing, Twilight', rather than disliking books itself.

 

The hat cheerilee could be like a walmart liker retail store where you can get your groceries and hat as well.

 

Good point on the space being too large for Spike to get stuck by the doorway, and you finding out on Zecora's delivery. That's details I hadn't noticed myself.

 

 

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Hearth’s Warming Eve

Obligatory “how Pinkie Pie got her cutie mark” comment here.

We have another winter-themed episode, and I don’t know if this means that a fair amount of time has passed since “Winter Wrap Up” or if this episode could somehow happen before that episode.

Good

  • The pony version of Christmas is introduced as “Hearth’s Warming” with all the appropriate decorations, trees, and just the overall setup really. There’s the “eve”, but that word refers to the evening before the actual day, so the Hearth’s Warming Eve is really just Christmas Eve. I doubt the pony version of Jesus exists in the show, not that he could since the creators can’t put any heavy religious references in the show. I also doubt that the majority of people celebrate Christmas for that figure, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the creative team cleverly ties this holiday to the birth of Equestria. That’s one way to make a holiday a truly major one.
  • We see the origin of Equestria, which adds to the mythology of the show. Turns out Equestria (or its ponies at least) didn’t have such a bright history as the 3 species originally loathed each other and only cared about what their own could gain from another. Appropriately, their societies (mostly the leaders due to their prominence) are also different from each other. The unicorns were arrogant and condescending to others including their own, the pegasi are a militaristic with the leader being trigger-happy, and the Earth ponies are… an agricultural society? Yeah, I’m not too sure what kind of a society the Earth ponies originally were. Sure there’s Chancellor Puddinghead mentioning that she was elected which can imply a democracy, but that doesn’t say anything else about the general Earth ponies. Then again, it’s mostly the leaders and their respective assistants in the form of the Mane 6 getting the most focus, and I pretty much described only them, so who knows what their actual societies are like. In that case, Puddinghead’s name is appropriate.
    • Continuing with the actual history, we also see what the pony tribes specialize in. The Earth ponies grow crops, the pegasi control the weather, and the unicorns control the day and night with their magic. In other words, the modern ponies are basically continuing the stuff past ponies did. The most notable part is that the alicorns aren’t needed to move the sun and moon, but a team of unicorns would be needed to substitute. I’m personally fine with this since this means the ponies can help themselves, and it also at least confirms that alicorns are stronger than the average pony (or at least unicorns).
    • Their continued disdain of each other only led to trouble regardless of whatever efforts they made to remedy this if they didn’t consider trying to get along. This trouble manifested in the form of windigos, ethereal horses that thrive off of negative emotions and give back a bunch of ice and blizzards. The leaders weren’t level-headed enough to figure out a solution to their problems, but the the assistants (and whoever else traveled with them that didn’t freeze) luckily avoid this pitfall. What’s really interesting is that they get along because they all hate their leaders. That's still one way to bond, I guess.
      • Positive virtues and emotions have always helped the ponies beat villains (the Elements are powered by friendship, for example), and that is also appropriate here as well as helping the formation of Equestria.
  • The song at the end of the play is decent, though I have no idea what the name of the song is. “Few” and “through” don’t really rhyme (kinda like my comment on “occur” and “monster” in an earlier episode), but whatever.

Bad

  • The “shut the window” scenes as well as the argument before the play are so random, and I have no idea what the significance behind them are or what they add to the episode. That good friends don’t get along perfectly? True, but that wasn’t a major point of the episode. There’s the winter breeze from the window probably to foreshadow the windigos in the play, but why put these exact scenarios for that? These scenes just seem like filler.
  • The characters in the play are plain and aren’t interesting to watch. I know there’s 6 ponies in 22 minutes, and they’re just being played by the Mane 6, but they all have single gimmicks attached to them. Princess Platinum is arrogant, Chancellor Puddinghead is clueless, Commander Hurricane is belligerent, and their assistants are reasonable. That’s pretty much it. I suppose the only reason why I wasn’t bored while watching this is because it featured familiar characters, but that still doesn’t fix the problem. This ties into another problem I have with the episode.
  • I would’ve liked to see the actual history dramatized mostly because I find it hard to believe that these historical figures are so close to the Mane 6 in terms of personalities, albeit with specific traits being exaggerated. But is all that what really happened in the past? The play was likely meant to give an idea and an abridged version of the events, but this just makes me more curious about the history and wishing that a watered-down version wasn’t provided instead.
    • What about the alicorns? They didn’t even get a mention in here, and I would’ve liked to see how they fit into the equation. Did they just appear out of the blue after Equestria came to be? What was their society like if they had one? What did they think of the other tribes? It’s strange seeing them excluded when Equestria is currently ruled by alicorns, but they’re for whatever reason inconsequential to its history.
  • The windigos are beaten too quickly. The idea behind them is fine considering the overall theme of the show, but they literally show up at the last minute and depart faster than they appeared. No, really. They show up within the last 5 minutes of the episode and are beaten a little more than 1 minute after they are first mentioned. So they cause this huge but immediately go poof after the ponies figure out the solution to the problem? Plot device! With this in mind, I have to wonder if they could appear at any time since negative emotions crop up constantly, like with the alicorn sisters before the Nightmare Moon happened. Doesn’t look like it, so that just adds to the creatures being plot devices. Then again, maybe that was only in the abridged version, but still.
  • Unicorn magic is doing the heavy lifting again. I know that the episode tried to explain that it was from the bond of the different ponies, but what if there were no unicorns present? If it was just pegasi and Earth ponies getting along, would they have been able to send away the ghostly monsters? This sort of ties into a personal complaint of the villains of the show being spellcasters, and only other spellcasters seem to be able to answer them. What would flight and farming skills do to them, anyways? More on this another time.

Other Stuff

  • Jet Set and Upper Crust have a random cameo at the beginning.
  • Twilight wanted to play “I Spy”, but I thought one was supposed to have others guess at what the speaker was referring to.
  • She also mentioned an 8-foot candy cane with Scootaloo next to it. Now that’s an idea for size.
  • When Spike was narrating the play, he mentioned each tribe sending their leaders. Princess Platinum was explicitly mentioned to be the daughter of the unicorn king, so why didn’t the king show up?
  • Food was grown by the Earth ponies. I still wonder what is holding back the other two kinds of ponies from growing their own crops other than lack of skill or knowledge, and both can be acquired.
    • Actually, if the Earth ponies are the only ones capable of producing food, they shouldn’t need to surrender their goods so easily. Sure good weather is needed, which the unicorns and pegasi provide, but they have no idea how to make their own food. If anything, they’re completely reliant on the Earth ponies since they’re the only ones able to produce items of sustenance.
    • On the other hand, if the Earth ponies were desperate for their own survival, they’ll have to give in to the demands. Shame they didn’t notice their massive advantage over the other ponies.
  • Commander Hurricane wanted to fight for the land. I can’t help but feel that unicorns have the advantage in this case since their magic can hold other ponies in place. Then again, the pegasi might avoid this problem if they move fast enough.
  • The leaders fought over one rock, but there’s many more inside the cave. Must be one special rock.
  • “Chancellor Puddinghead” mentioned the Earth, but Smart Cookie suggested they call the land they found “Earth”. So, why name a country after the planet? I don’t know if there’s a joke I’m misunderstanding.
  • The Equestria flag showing the alicorns was used. I guess the producers were too lazy to make a historically accurate version or don’t know what that version would look like anyways.
    • Also, has that always been the flag of Equestria? So when Celestia was the sole ruler, she used a flag featuring 2 alicorns to represent Equestria? I guess no one questioned the design.
  • Starswirl got another mention in this episode, and he existed before the founding of Equestria. I wonder if he had any input into the founding and the situations of the pony kind.

Conclusion

I’m really torn about this one. On one hand, we learned more about this unique universe. On the other hand, we only got a filtered version of the events that took place. Why settle for the lesser version when the actual and complete (and hopefully better) are available anytime? Ultimately, I would say that I enjoyed the episode for its concept, but the execution left me wanting more, and not in a good way.

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16 hours ago, Number? said:

Hearth’s Warming Eve

Obligatory “how Pinkie Pie got her cutie mark” comment here.

We have another winter-themed episode, and I don’t know if this means that a fair amount of time has passed since “Winter Wrap Up” or if this episode could somehow happen before that episode.

Good

  • The pony version of Christmas is introduced as “Hearth’s Warming” with all the appropriate decorations, trees, and just the overall setup really. There’s the “eve”, but that word refers to the evening before the actual day, so the Hearth’s Warming Eve is really just Christmas Eve. I doubt the pony version of Jesus exists in the show, not that he could since the creators can’t put any heavy religious references in the show. I also doubt that the majority of people celebrate Christmas for that figure, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the creative team cleverly ties this holiday to the birth of Equestria. That’s one way to make a holiday a truly major one.
  • We see the origin of Equestria, which adds to the mythology of the show. Turns out Equestria (or its ponies at least) didn’t have such a bright history as the 3 species originally loathed each other and only cared about what their own could gain from another. Appropriately, their societies (mostly the leaders due to their prominence) are also different from each other. The unicorns were arrogant and condescending to others including their own, the pegasi are a militaristic with the leader being trigger-happy, and the Earth ponies are… an agricultural society? Yeah, I’m not too sure what kind of a society the Earth ponies originally were. Sure there’s Chancellor Puddinghead mentioning that she was elected which can imply a democracy, but that doesn’t say anything else about the general Earth ponies. Then again, it’s mostly the leaders and their respective assistants in the form of the Mane 6 getting the most focus, and I pretty much described only them, so who knows what their actual societies are like. In that case, Puddinghead’s name is appropriate.
    • Continuing with the actual history, we also see what the pony tribes specialize in. The Earth ponies grow crops, the pegasi control the weather, and the unicorns control the day and night with their magic. In other words, the modern ponies are basically continuing the stuff past ponies did. The most notable part is that the alicorns aren’t needed to move the sun and moon, but a team of unicorns would be needed to substitute. I’m personally fine with this since this means the ponies can help themselves, and it also at least confirms that alicorns are stronger than the average pony (or at least unicorns).
    • Their continued disdain of each other only led to trouble regardless of whatever efforts they made to remedy this if they didn’t consider trying to get along. This trouble manifested in the form of windigos, ethereal horses that thrive off of negative emotions and give back a bunch of ice and blizzards. The leaders weren’t level-headed enough to figure out a solution to their problems, but the the assistants (and whoever else traveled with them that didn’t freeze) luckily avoid this pitfall. What’s really interesting is that they get along because they all hate their leaders. That's still one way to bond, I guess.
      • Positive virtues and emotions have always helped the ponies beat villains (the Elements are powered by friendship, for example), and that is also appropriate here as well as helping the formation of Equestria.
  • The song at the end of the play is decent, though I have no idea what the name of the song is. “Few” and “through” don’t really rhyme (kinda like my comment on “occur” and “monster” in an earlier episode), but whatever.

Bad

  • The “shut the window” scenes as well as the argument before the play are so random, and I have no idea what the significance behind them are or what they add to the episode. That good friends don’t get along perfectly? True, but that wasn’t a major point of the episode. There’s the winter breeze from the window probably to foreshadow the windigos in the play, but why put these exact scenarios for that? These scenes just seem like filler.
  • The characters in the play are plain and aren’t interesting to watch. I know there’s 6 ponies in 22 minutes, and they’re just being played by the Mane 6, but they all have single gimmicks attached to them. Princess Platinum is arrogant, Chancellor Puddinghead is clueless, Commander Hurricane is belligerent, and their assistants are reasonable. That’s pretty much it. I suppose the only reason why I wasn’t bored while watching this is because it featured familiar characters, but that still doesn’t fix the problem. This ties into another problem I have with the episode.
  • I would’ve liked to see the actual history dramatized mostly because I find it hard to believe that these historical figures are so close to the Mane 6 in terms of personalities, albeit with specific traits being exaggerated. But is all that what really happened in the past? The play was likely meant to give an idea and an abridged version of the events, but this just makes me more curious about the history and wishing that a watered-down version wasn’t provided instead.
    • What about the alicorns? They didn’t even get a mention in here, and I would’ve liked to see how they fit into the equation. Did they just appear out of the blue after Equestria came to be? What was their society like if they had one? What did they think of the other tribes? It’s strange seeing them excluded when Equestria is currently ruled by alicorns, but they’re for whatever reason inconsequential to its history.
  • The windigos are beaten too quickly. The idea behind them is fine considering the overall theme of the show, but they literally show up at the last minute and depart faster than they appeared. No, really. They show up within the last 5 minutes of the episode and are beaten a little more than 1 minute after they are first mentioned. So they cause this huge but immediately go poof after the ponies figure out the solution to the problem? Plot device! With this in mind, I have to wonder if they could appear at any time since negative emotions crop up constantly, like with the alicorn sisters before the Nightmare Moon happened. Doesn’t look like it, so that just adds to the creatures being plot devices. Then again, maybe that was only in the abridged version, but still.
  • Unicorn magic is doing the heavy lifting again. I know that the episode tried to explain that it was from the bond of the different ponies, but what if there were no unicorns present? If it was just pegasi and Earth ponies getting along, would they have been able to send away the ghostly monsters? This sort of ties into a personal complaint of the villains of the show being spellcasters, and only other spellcasters seem to be able to answer them. What would flight and farming skills do to them, anyways? More on this another time.

Other Stuff

  • Jet Set and Upper Crust have a random cameo at the beginning.
  • Twilight wanted to play “I Spy”, but I thought one was supposed to have others guess at what the speaker was referring to.
  • She also mentioned an 8-foot candy cane with Scootaloo next to it. Now that’s an idea for size.
  • When Spike was narrating the play, he mentioned each tribe sending their leaders. Princess Platinum was explicitly mentioned to be the daughter of the unicorn king, so why didn’t the king show up?
  • Food was grown by the Earth ponies. I still wonder what is holding back the other two kinds of ponies from growing their own crops other than lack of skill or knowledge, and both can be acquired.
    • Actually, if the Earth ponies are the only ones capable of producing food, they shouldn’t need to surrender their goods so easily. Sure good weather is needed, which the unicorns and pegasi provide, but they have no idea how to make their own food. If anything, they’re completely reliant on the Earth ponies since they’re the only ones able to produce items of sustenance.
    • On the other hand, if the Earth ponies were desperate for their own survival, they’ll have to give in to the demands. Shame they didn’t notice their massive advantage over the other ponies.
  • Commander Hurricane wanted to fight for the land. I can’t help but feel that unicorns have the advantage in this case since their magic can hold other ponies in place. Then again, the pegasi might avoid this problem if they move fast enough.
  • The leaders fought over one rock, but there’s many more inside the cave. Must be one special rock.
  • “Chancellor Puddinghead” mentioned the Earth, but Smart Cookie suggested they call the land they found “Earth”. So, why name a country after the planet? I don’t know if there’s a joke I’m misunderstanding.
  • The Equestria flag showing the alicorns was used. I guess the producers were too lazy to make a historically accurate version or don’t know what that version would look like anyways.
    • Also, has that always been the flag of Equestria? So when Celestia was the sole ruler, she used a flag featuring 2 alicorns to represent Equestria? I guess no one questioned the design.
  • Starswirl got another mention in this episode, and he existed before the founding of Equestria. I wonder if he had any input into the founding and the situations of the pony kind.

Conclusion

I’m really torn about this one. On one hand, we learned more about this unique universe. On the other hand, we only got a filtered version of the events that took place. Why settle for the lesser version when the actual and complete (and hopefully better) are available anytime? Ultimately, I would say that I enjoyed the episode for its concept, but the execution left me wanting more, and not in a good way.

 

Yea as interesting of a premise the windigoes are, when one takes into account of their abilities, it makes you wonder why they haven't appeared since I'm sure having Discord around, or other warring races would've spurned them to life or so. Also yea, I agree the flag design was lazy considering that this was before the time of the alicorn sisters so why use the modern equestria flag instead of one that would most likely have been use to represent the three pony races. Good job on the review, @Number?

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Family Appreciation Day

Another CMC episode, but they’re not trying to get their cutie marks, which is a major plus for the episode not unlike the case of “Sisterhooves Social”. Also interestingly, AJ is the only Mane 6 pony to appear.

Good

  • The episode relays the history of Granny Smith and the origin of Ponyville, and I’m sure the latter is the biggest highlight. In a typical but good move, it also gave special attention to the magical Zap Apples, and it would only make sense for those fruits to play a major role later because of that. Her family traveled often and struggled to find a home, but they were able to get a start with the help of Princess Celestia. The family still needed more food, so young Granny Smith headed to the Everfree Forest to find some and encountered the Zap Apples. Thanks to these special fruits, the Apples made money, started their farming business, and even influenced other travelers to stick around for more of this produce which later evolved into the major town of Ponyville. Also worth mentioning is that the Diamond Tiara’s family was able to make a fortune thanks to the Apple family.
  • Granny Smith only had minor appearances before now, but the episode reveals a bit more about her while also making use of her apparent eccentricity. We don’t actually get any major insight into this old pony, but that’s fine since not all characters need that to be interesting. She does a bunch of strange things, and she’s even acting stranger than usual in here, but all of this was revealed to be (what she thinks is) needed for harvesting good quality Zap Apples. At least she’s aware of this oddity, but she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t mind the strange behavior because the crops were more important.
  • I liked the portrayal of the moral as well. What’s interesting is that AB was fine with Granny’s mannerisms since she was so used to it, but only when DT (an outsider) pointed them out did she feel uneasy. After that, while AB and Granny were shopping in Ponyville, the filly became very self-conscious. After Granny Smith told her story, Apple Bloom remembered the good things about her and also realized there are plenty of things about her granny that she is unaware of. AB may have said at the end that she knew that Granny Smith was special and needed to be reminded, but her problem (others possibly mocking them) and the resolution (learning about another side of Granny Smith up close) made sense.
  • On a minor note, we see Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon doing something outside of being dicks. DT’s father, Filthy Rich, seems like a reasonable pony, so she most likely got her bad attitude from somewhere else. According to season 5, it’s her mother, but that’s another story. She does tease Apple Bloom out of her own free will in here, though. And we also see that DT cares about her father to a degree since she was the only pony who didn’t doze off at his lecture. Silver Spoon was genuinely impressed with Granny’s story since she was the first to clap.
    • Too bad DT learned nothing from all of this even with prodding from her father.

Bad

  • The episode is somewhat slow since we needed to see Apple Bloom getting uncomfortable with what Granny Smith might do, and then there would need to be attempts to stop the granny from showing up to class. Of course, that old pony will show up anyways since that was one of the main goals of the story. But this was not a major problem since the payoff of the founding of Ponyville, a huge revelation, and its aftermath were worth it. I wouldn’t say that the antics of the CMC were boring, either.

Other Stuff

  • Here’s the episode where Scootaloo says, “What are you, a dictionary?” again.
  • In “Winter Wrap Up”, Twilight said that Ponyville was hundreds of years old. So how old is Granny Smith then?
  • Granny Smith did a bunch of strange steps to grow Zap Apples which she claims were necessary. Somehow, I doubt all of the steps were necessary because the apples grew in the Everfree Forest without them, but she was probably too used to doing them anyways. Wasn’t that a major point in “Applejack’s Day Off”?
    • I still wonder why Granny Smith would need to “sing to the water” and paint dots on the kitchen wall.
    • She also disciplined glass jars, and I’m surprised the cracked one didn’t break after hitting a wall.
  • Granny Smith also has dentures, but she has a full set of teeth anyways.
  • Zap apples disappear after some time if unpicked, so young Granny Smith was extremely lucky to come across them.
  • A meteor shower is apparently one of the signs signaling another stage of Zap Apple growth. I don’t know where the meteoroids would consistently come from just for the sake of these apples, so it’s probably a magical meteor shower.
  • It looks like AB still hasn’t introduced DT and SS to her family, or not Granny Smith at least. Then again, Granny Smith and Filthy Rich are business partners, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable for her to think that AB and DT can get along. I don’t know how this exact scenario would go down in the real world, though.
  • The scene with Granny Smith talking to Cheerilee while being moved by the ropes wrapped around her front limbs is still funny. Also worth a mention is Scootaloo’s head hitting a lamp after thinking of an idea.
  • DT insulted Granny Smith in class. I’m surprised that Cheerilee did nothing about this.
  • I don’t know why the princess couldn’t have given the family a little extra food. They’d still have to grow their own as they planned to, and Granny’s venture into the Everfree Forest would still make sense. This could be some “hoofs-off” approach that season 6 later tried to imply, but I’ve grown pretty cynical of her at the same time anyways.
    • I will say that I was amused by the scene in which Granny’s father kissed her hoof and the wife became jealous. Maybe the wife doesn’t get enough kisses from him.
  • What happened to Apple Strudel during and after the presentation?

Conclusion

One of my personal favorites of the show. It may start a bit slow, but then the story wouldn’t make sense or would be too quick without the necessary stuff. I do like that it seems to be a low-key episode at first, but the third act says otherwise. Interestingly, its low-key feel still remains anyways due to the moral, but that’s not a strike against the episode since it managed to make something huge out of something so small. Also, the moral itself is always a relevant one because I’m sure everyone needs to be reminded of another person’s positive side.

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Baby Cakes

I’m now halfway through the second season, but it feels like there’s still many more episodes to go through even for this season. Maybe the show running a long time has something to do with that.

Anyways, this is the second babysitting episode of the show. As usual, this kind of job is harder than it seems. Though I’ve never babysat at any point, so I don’t know how true it is. At least this differentiates itself from “Stare Master” in a few ways like the motivation for the respective Andrea Libman pony (Fluttershy thought she could handle kids while Pinkie Pie thought her job still involved having fun with the babies) and how that pony ultimately handles their situation (Fluttershy gets worried at worst while Pinkie cries). Still, like that previous episode, it is a tad uneventful since it still comes down to the task being more than a handful and the pony realizing that.

Good

  • We get the aforementioned baby Cakes, Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake. At least we know that ponies of any species can mate and produce any kinds of offsprings. Sort of. I honestly don’t have much to say about these 2 other than some things that rub me the wrong way.
  • Pinkie Pie is usually shown as an eager and happy pony, and previous episodes have tried to show other sides of her (“Swarm of the Century”, “Party of One,” and “Secret of My Excess” showed her being serious about protecting Sugarcube Corner).
    • This does the same as she accepts a task she thinks she can handle because it sounded simple and appealing. She was willing to take care of the babies because she’ll be able to spend more time with them, and she thought this extended to playing with them. Not quite as it’s pretty clear that only Mr. and Mrs. Cake have dealt with the hard stuff while Pinkie only entertained the newborns. What happens next is obvious. She tries and fails to keep the infants in control, but I did like the addition of her later being more assertive as another approach. It still doesn’t work of course, but it’s better than just trying to be nice for too long and the babies ignoring her since that can get old. Even with all of her efforts, everything unsurprisingly falls apart, but then a major scene comes up with Pinkie actually crying (I swear some of the animation from the premiere was reused).
    • Things are, obviously again, back to normal, and we get to see Pinkie actually working. She is capable of doing mundane chores (as I imagine most bakers should), but I also liked the touch that she was hardly enthusiastic about cleaning up. And one final touch of her attempting to reject the offer of being the main caregivers for the newborns was also a good one as she didn’t have the best experience of her life, but it’s nice to see that Pound and Pumpkin cake have genuinely warmed up to her at the end.
    • Also worth pointing out is that Pinkie grows noticeably more stressed out and irritated as the episode goes on.
  • It’s also interesting to note that the parent Cakes didn’t have much faith in Pinkie Pie. They asked all of her friends before asking the pony that was already living with them. And when they returned, they were surprised and utterly baffled to see the place in pristine condition. At least they approved of and accepted what they saw as they then give Pinkie priority for babysitting. I have to wonder what happens in an average work day at Sugarcube Corner.

Bad

  • The baby Cakes are pretty annoying because they mainly cry for seemingly no reason. They start when their parents leave, which is reasonable. Then Pinkie tries to amuse them with stand-up comedy, feed them, and then bathe them, and the babies cry during all stages. Sometimes it’s reasonable like when the bath tub was too full, but then they cry because the story needed to give Pinkie a problem. This does lead to my next complaint of the episode.
  • It’s rather repetitive. What else happens other than Pound and Pumpkin Cake (unintentionally or not) annoy Pinkie? She had to learn somehow that she was, well, biting off more than she could chew, but I don’t know if these kinds of stories just don’t have any inherent appeal to me for the reasons I already listed.
  • I will say that while the infants comforting Pinkie toward the end was a sweet scene, but I also question a few things surrounding it. They knew that she was stressed out and thus stopped what they were doing, but that required them to be aware of the trouble they caused. Were they consciously disobeying Pinkie because she wasn’t their parent? Were they knowingly being pests at other times? I don’t know if I'm reading too much into this.
  • Twilight’s scene was a little pointless as she’s quickly forgotten afterward. It did make Pinkie aware that she wasn’t doing nearly as well as she could, but Twilight was otherwise not needed at this point, so being assertive could’ve been an option Pinkie Pie arrived at on her own. Also, Twilight was arbitrarily insensitive as she directly declared her friend as unqualified to manage 2 infants. You don’t just offer your help and say that the one you’re helping sucks at their job.

Other Stuff

  • The babies went without a diaper for some time. Hopefully, Pinkie remembered to give them new ones before she tucked them into their bed.
  • So 2 Earth ponies bred a unicorn and a pegasus. According to Carrot/Mr. Cake, he and his spouse are distantly related to the other 2 species. This just means that any 2 ponies can mate and produce any kind of offspring. Then again, the Apples are all Earth ponies, so these 2 new infants came up as they are because the creators wanted that.
  • Mr. Cake took out old diapers with his mouth (I hope he could handle the smell up close), but he used his front legs to put on new ones. So when do the ponies decide to use their front limbs or mouth whenever they need to hold or grab something? Then he was washing his front hooves afterwards but not his mouth.
  • Rarity amusingly doesn’t give much of a reason for turning down the offer from the Cakes. Most likely, Sweetie Belle by herself is already enough of a load, and Rarity doesn’t want 2 strangers creating a mess at her workplace.

Conclusion

These kinds of episodes are too predictable. All the character wants to do is look after some youngins. Since there needs to be drama so things don’t get so boring, the babies have to be difficult because they (probably) don’t know any better. That might be one reason I can’t say I loved this one. Then again, almost all episodes of this show are predictable, so I don’t know why exactly this one didn’t grab me.

I did enjoy it to a degree, but maybe there should’ve been more craziness. Then again, the baby Cakes already having developed abilities did that. It was good to see that they did care about Pinkie as they cut their bullshit after she breaks, but I can’t say that much else sticks out of the episode.

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The Last Roundup

Somehow, I think this episode is more remembered for Derpy’s first speaking role. Personally, I’m indifferent to the background ponies, but I didn't mind her appearance in here.

The Pinkie Pie Swear from “Green Isn’t Your Color” also comes back in this episode and is renamed as the Pinkie Promise.

Good

  • There were plenty of funny moments in the episode, but the best ones unsurprisingly come from Pinkie Pie. First, she pesters Applejack with mindless and random rambling. The camera even zooms in on her menacingly when Rainbow Dash wanted to use the “big guns”, and I swear I also heard some ominous music as Pinkie was talking to Applejack. Both added humor to the situation.
  • Probably more notably, Pinkie becomes enraged when she thinks that Applejack broke her Pinkie Promise. More amusingly, she was the most vocal about getting to AJ during the chase and thus arguably the most determined one out of the main characters to catch her. Interestingly , when Pinkie Pie does catch up, she only demands Applejack to apologize. AJ said that she technically didn’t break the promise, and Pinkie accepts anyways only to jump onto Rarity and knock them both out of the chase.
  • The chase scene toward the end is worth mentioning as it was a very fun one. One good attention to detail is that after the 2 pegasi finish pulling the cart, Fluttershy was visibly tired while Rainbow Dash was still ready to go. I also find it funny that AJ was willing to go to such lengths to avoid admitting the results of the rodeo competition.
  • I also liked how the episode deals with AJ’s pride. Ponyville already had high expectations for the cowpony, so she has her personal failure to get a blue ribbon plus not earning any prize money to  compensate the lack of blue ribbons, and that only worsens her overall disappointment. They say actions speak louder and words, and it’s no less true in here as we see what incredible measures Applejack takes to ensure that she didn’t look like a fool for not living up to the expectations of the other ponies. She avoided her friends and family without much of a word, and she continuously avoided her friends (figuratively, of course) even when they arrived as well as refused to admit her situation until she had no other options.
    • Applejack is actually more concerned about how other ponies see her. Again, the high hopes can be referenced, but she even all but said this herself. She even thought her friends would be upset about her inability to earn one first place ribbon.
    • This is also expressed through AJ wanting to earn money on a side job to lessen the blow of possible disappointment. She may have not gotten first place at any point in the competition, but she can still try to please the others by bringing back money like she promised.
  • Fluttershy gives a corny speech at the end, but it still worked and was appropriate. It worked so well that even Rainbow Dash was touched.

Bad

  • Applejack’s problem is kind of ridiculous especially when you notice what she does to avoid telling the truth even to her friends. The episode makes a point out of this, but she still did great at the competition since she earned a bunch of medals. Maybe if she did worse, then her shame would feel more reasonable. This isn’t too much of a problem, though.
  • Leaving Pinkie and Rarity behind was a tad amusing, but it doesn’t make sense for their friends to not notice their absence. At least Pinkie Pie took the situation well.

Other Stuff

  • As for my thoughts on Derpy, I personally don’t think that she should’ve been given a speaking role at all. The nods by themselves were good enough, and it wouldn’t be a good idea for the “bronies” to think that the crew was making the show just for them. Also, this could have (but I don’t know if it did) needlessly raised hopes about other background ponies and even fan creations, which the creative team wouldn’t be able to use anyways.
    • At least to a casual viewer, Derpy would’ve just been another background character, so it wouldn’t affect them too much, but the crew still shouldn’t have catered that much to the fans. Derpy will get another speaking role later, though.
    • I know that episodes are written and recorded long before they air, so I do wonder if this part (even down to the voice) of the episode was always present. It’s a small scene, so I don’t think it’d be too difficult to modify at the same time, but I’m still curious.
  • AB was rooting for her sister and listing all of AJ’s awards and achievements. That’s just asking for AJ to lose the next competition.
  • Why didn’t AJ’s friends or family go to the competition to watch her? I guess the competition lasting a week might be a bit too long. Also, they wouldn’t have seen AJ fail to get a blue ribbon.
  • I don’t know how Twilight mistook a male mailpony for Applejack.
  • AJ’s friends went to look for her, but her family stayed behind for some reason. I guess they stuck around the farm in case AJ did arrive, but it’s a bit odd that some of them didn’t try searching as well.
  • Earth ponies still seem underpowered as a flying pegasus like RD can easily catch a running pony.
  • The ponies pulling the stagecoach were never paid.
  • AJ tried to slow down her friends with a passing train, but she just stood there afterward. That doesn’t put anymore distance between them and you, AJ.
    • AJ also thought she was safe, but take note of Twilight’s expression afterward.
    • I have to wonder where she planned to run to. Granted, AJ was just desperate to avoid her friends, so that’s some desperation right there.
  • AJ’s other relatives weren’t at the train station at the end.
  • I said that I didn’t care for background ponies, and I still don’t, but Bon Bon was in the surprise party at the farm. Is she an Apple or was that a mistake?
  • RD claims that she wouldn’t mind if AJ happened to do poorly at a competition. I wonder how true that is when RD herself is very competitive, has witnessed AJ’s abilities up close, and has experienced some of AJ’s competitiveness. RD would have high expectations for Applejack as well.

Conclusion

Very fun episode with Pinkie Pie and the chase, and it gives a good look at Applejack, too. One of my favorite episodes of the season.

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The Super Cider Squeezy 6000

This won’t be an easy piece to review. In addition the problems concerning business and economics, the moral this episode wanted to express doesn’t match the story told beforehand. As with “Boast Busters”, “Feeling Pinkie Keen”, and “Luna Eclipsed” (and possibly more), this one can counted as another confused episode.

Also, I’ll be calling the title object “the machine” or some other generic noun as I’m too lazy to type out the whole name.

Good

  • The Flim Flam brothers had a catchy song that introduced themselves, their machine, and their –um, business. Rainbow Dash’s expression during said song is also priceless.
  • I did like that Fluttershy was willing to give away her share of cider to RD in Day 1. Though it looked like Fluttershy missed out on cider during Day 2.
  • A major highlight of the episode is AJ considering her closest friends to be family. Along with her friends being eager to help, this speaks loudly about their relationships with each other. Twilight shows her organizational skills again by giving her friends appropriate roles for the cider-making. And they were even sad for the Apples when they lost the contest.
  • Plenty of people didn’t like that Rainbow Dash was the butt of a big joke in this episode, which is that she was continuously denied apple cider for one reason or another. She was even so close at one point after obtaining a mug, but it was knocked to the ground, and she at the dirt the cider permeated. I must be a sick bastard because I found this funny, and her desperation only to be rejected yet again at that point added to the humor.  Another good moment was RD actually jumping out of her position in line just to vent her frustration when the cider supply ends again. She does get her cider at the end, so it was good that they didn’t leave her in the dust.

Bad

  • Flim and Flam’s characterization, or more accurately how the episode tried to characterize them. Despite their names, dispositions, and demeanors, they didn’t do any conning in this episode. They act as actual con artists in future episodes. Here, they’re mainly presented as overly smug and greedy dicks. I’ll list the “bad” things they’ve done:
    • Splitting potential profits unfairly.
    • Wanting to drive the Apples out of business.
    • Stealing the Apples’ apples. This can be considered a legal crime.
    • Switching off quality control with their machine, which does contrast with the Apples’ care for quality. More on this later
    • I’m sure there’s more, but the point is that while they’re clearly not angelic saints, it’s very strange that they’re hardly con ponies in here despite what this episode tried to say and what future episodes later show. Therefore, this is the least of this episode’s problem.
  • This episode is another take on the well-known man/pony vs. machine conflict, and the machine is clearly superior with the output (sort of). Of course, the manual worker claims that this massive instrument is incapable of delivering the kind of care and attention that the physical workers can apply. Except said device does discard bad apples and can produce genuinely good apple cider as Granny Smith’s reaction openly gave away. As a result, the episode doesn’t actually look at this issue despite all of the claims of authentic physical labor yielding the best results. If anything, the Apples, mostly Granny Smith, are stupidly and arbitrarily arrogant about the treatment they give to the production of cider. This leads to another unaddressed problem the episode also raises.
    • Yes, the brothers were willing to sacrifice quality for the sake of a contest, and the machine can make bad cider because of that, but this just points back to their overconfidence and smugness. They didn’t purposefully give away terrible drinks earlier in the episode. The main idea is that their apparatus can make quality cider, but this gets ignored completely just so the Apples can look right in something. You can’t have a quality vs. quantity argument when quality is clearly available from both sides. Maybe they wanted to make a point about Granny being so proud of familiar methods that she’s unwilling to try alternative and arguably better ones, but that’s not what we got.
    • It’s also too bad that Flim and Flam didn’t remember making drinkable cider. The Ponyville ponies just got a bad batch, but the brothers just assumed that all of their cider was terrible. At least they’re willing to lower prices.
  • The Apples are terrible businessponies. As the episode likes to remind us, the demand for the cider always and easily surpasses the supply. Since this is a recurring problem for the farmponies, have they done nothing to correct this? All we get from is a single line from AJ saying that they tried their best, so I guess that’s a no.
    • Pinkie was seen with a bunch of mugs. A pony (or multiples) like that will be one reason they run out so easily since no limitation was imposed. Also, Pinkie for some reason doesn’t save cider for her friends like RD who was dying for some. Have the Apples considered raising prices as well? That can turn away buyers who don’t want to pay more, which can make demand less of a problem.
    • According to Apple Bloom, the contest helped make enough apple cider for all of Ponyville. Since the writers forgot about the brothers’ good supply, I’ll have to assume every other pony did as well. So, all you needed was one fucking hour to make a healthy stock of cider? How long do you ass holes work then? Clearly less than one hour. Not a good way to support the idea of hard work if you don’t actually work hard. Granted they may have other parts of the farm to deal with, but that drink was the most immediate concern, so there should be special emphasis on that product. Even if the good cider from the brothers was counted, that just means all the Apple family needed was just a few hours, which should reasonably be the amount of time they put into making this beverage. But that somehow was never enough until now. This all just sounds like, “plot says so”.
    • This isn’t even getting into another problem with the Flim Flam brothers and the Apples. The brothers suggest that they work together to make enough cider, but they make an unreasonable deal that the Apples sensibly turn down. Too bad neither tried to offer a different deal that could solve the persistent problem of short supply while netting both sides a profit. And the brothers would almost be forced to agree as they have no apples of their own. This also begs the question of why they want to sell apple cider in the first place.
    • According to the episode, the farm somehow struggles, at least during the winter. What about Zap Apples? Didn't that help with the business? In fact, the farm hardly ever looks like it’s struggling, so this is just pointless weight to the conflict.

Other Stuff

  • Fun fact: I’m somewhat of a Luddite.
  • The contest was initially brought up to determine who would sell cider. Somehow, this was changed to the ownership of Sweet Apple Acres.
  • I’m surprised Pinkie didn’t tell her main friends about camping in front of Sweet Apple Acres.
  • The Apple family must have a good reputation if the Ponyville citizens were sad to see them go. An interesting contrast to the citizens at first being excited about the greater availability of cider.
  • Apple Bloom said, “Anywhere, anytime.” I thought it normally goes, “Anytime, anywhere.”
  • Cheerilee may or may not have cameoed at the beginning of Cider Season because the eye color is different. Maybe she put on contacts.
  • I find it amusing that Apple Bloom was willing to accept help from the brothers at first to meet demands, then she becomes the most confrontational one.
  • The machine, according to Rarity, can produce cider at thrice the speed of the Apples. If you also remember that ponies can get tired, the machine becomes more practical.
  • Apparently, only needing the rest of AJ’s friends is enough to outdo the machine, which is weird when her friends don’t have experience in cider-making unless the process is actually very simple as the episode seems to imply. And I don’t know how twice the production outperforms the machine’s triple production. Maybe capping the barrels has been the biggest obstacle since Big Mac had to do that as well as run.
    • I’m sure someone, myself as well, would say the Apples should’ve asked for help with production since that solved the supply problem. However, I realized that the family would have to pay for hired help. Then again, we don’t know how much that will eat into their revenue. There’s also the question of other family members as well.

Conclusion

Again, this episode is very confused because I don't know what kind of story it's trying to tell. It didn’t examine the issue of insufficient quantity with high demand, which was the main concern, and it wasn't given a satisfactory resolution. Then they tried to claim that hard work matters, which is true, but that’s not what the episode is about at all since the title contraption being able to make that same good product throws a monkey wrench into things and only further underscores said main concern. They even raised the question of sacrificing quality to meet demands, but this also means nothing when taking into account the machine.

There are some enjoyable bits, but it’s an extremely problematic episode.

Edited by Number?
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Read It and Weep

I’ll admit that I’m not big on the stories reminiscent of Green Eggs and Ham (though I do like that book for its rhyme and short length, but that’s a different story) mainly because they’re too predictable and are only about one thing. That can be mitigated if the entire story was short (again like that book) with examples like “Just One Bite” from Spongebob Squarepants and “Sister's Got a Brand New Bag” from Dexter’s Laboratory. One can also say that the story for this episode, i.e. RD accepting and admitting that reading can be enjoyable, is also short, but the Indiana Jones-esque segments make the whole thing longer.

Good

  • The Daring Do segments were enjoyable as there’s usually some fun in seeing a character deal with creatures and death traps.
  • Rainbow Dash learns to enjoy reading. She thought that kind of activity wasn’t for her when she considers her background and interests., but you know what happens next. Otherwise, why tell this story? At least the episode does support the idea that one can be smart and athletic.
    • That broken wing problem was just there so RD would be forced to confront this problem. I really wonder if a story could’ve been made where she’d have to live with missing out on flying for a period of time since she loves that activity so much.
    • It’s also interesting that she was reluctant to admit being an “egghead” despite all of her friends encouraging her to try reading a book. This is featured amusingly through Rainbow Dash getting to the hospital to steal the book even when acknowledging that asking Twilight was the easier and more pragmatic option. I’d like to think this is connected to her sense of self as she didn’t want to admit she was wrong about liking something she knocked down in this case. For example, it’s been shown that she doesn’t like being “sappy” in “The Last Roundup” and looking girly in “Ponyville Confidential”.
    • I do like that none of her friends had a "told ya so" moment. Rainbow Dash admitted the truth, and her friends immediately accepted it.

Bad

  • Again, there isn’t much to the episode. Rainbow Dash refused to read because she didn’t think she should, but she tried it and ended up loving it. Not much else I can add other than a shorter running time might've been more helpful.
  • The pacing is very weird. Assuming she started reading the same day she was put in the hospital, she was first interrupted when Twilight and Fluttershy visit. The unicorn claimed that a day has passed, but we weren’t shown any actual passage of time from RD’s POV. Wouldn’t the nurses and doctor have to stop by to check on RD occasionally? Anyways, RD continued reading but her remaining friends then show up, and RD eats messily to send them away. You can assume that her meal in the montage was lunch, and the last one was confirmed to be dinner. Then the doctor entered, and the pegasus has apparently been reading all night. Just based on the pace, the episode took place over one day when Rainbow Dash is released. Maybe the wing healed sooner than expected (somewhat).
    • Or maybe she really was sent away too soon as the wing was still crippled. On that note, isn’t a contact of RD’s supposed to be told about her exact release date? She lives on Cloudsdale, and the doctor said to refrain from using the wing for a week, so how was she supposed to get there without help?

Other Stuff

  • I always thought that Daring Do’s design was just RD inserting herself into the story. However, the cover of the book already shows Daring Do, so the illustrator probably got lucky with the design.
  • The teaser was pretty random. We weren’t even shown what RD did to break her wing, so I imagine that the writers wanted the viewer to use their imagination.
  • Rainbow Dash’s crash must’ve been a huge one if she was knocked out. She collided with the ground in “Lesson Zero” and was fine afterward.
  • Doesn’t RD like sleeping as well? She could’ve done that unless she didn’t want to sleep too long.
  • Didn’t RD learn to read when she was younger? Maybe there could’ve been some room about reading nonfiction books as there are many useful facts and information to learn. Or something on the usefulness of reading. For example, I’m sure she has encountered flyers and ads about the Wonderbolts or some flying competition/event, and being able to read them would be very helpful.
  • Too bad the public library of Ponyville wasn’t considered. Or do they even have one? Or does Twilight's library fulfill that role?
  • What does the statue do, anyways?
  • The title of the book was initially Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone, but the in-universe macguffin was clearly and referred to as a statue. Twilight even later says Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue.
  • Rainbow Dash’s boredom montage goes on for exactly 1 in-universe minute. I don’t know how playing with a ball, being delivered food and eating it, playing with a lamp (while the room was dark, too), and making a joke goes that fast. Or maybe it was 24 hours and 1 minute.
    • Interestingly, the scene from showing the time as 1 o’clock to Rainbow Dash finally trying out the book goes for exactly 1 minute as well.
  • I thought only security guards were supposed to do the chasing. Why did the doctor and nurses leave the hospital? They better hope none of the patients will later want help.
  • The book doesn’t seem very long given it’s very simple story. Rainbow Dash must’ve been very slow.
  • Why was RD sent out of a hospital on a wheelchair when her legs weren’t crippled?
  • During the ending chase, Pinkie Pie was shown not to be sleeping at Sugarcube Corner. I guess she was sleeping over.
  • The chase also didn’t show Sweet Apple Acres or Fluttershy’s home (and I’m sure they’re not immediately next to Twilight’s library), so I don’t know how they knew about the ruckus fracas. Maybe the two and Pinkie were staying overnight together at another pony’s place.

Conclusion

I don’t hate this episode or think it’s bad, but I really don’t have much to say as my comments show. At least there’s some fun to be had, so I still think this is good to some degree.

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Hearts and Hooves Day

I don’t know if the episodes were produced to have the holiday episodes aired at the appropriate dates or if the episodes themselves happen to occur over a specific period. Or both.

We have another CMC episode, and thank God this isn’t about them trying to get their cutie marks. We don’t get too much on them, however. Though Sweetie Belle was the most eager of the trio to get the couple together as well as being the one who reads the book about the holiday.

On a side note, it’s a shame that Cheerilee hasn’t been more of a major character. This episode is the closest we get to a Cheerilee episode, and it still doesn’t say that much about her.

Good

  • Small things about Cheerilee are given at least. She’s visibly uncomfortable with talking about her romantic life or being pressured to find a partner, but she tries not to show her irritation to the CMC and instead maintains an upbeat attitude. On a side note, her reaction to the CMC being surprised at not having a soulmate gives the impression that she’s been through this kind of conversation before, possibly her friends and family. Even after everything the CMC did, she didn’t yell or get angry at them, but she still was for disciplining them which helps with the nice but firm teacher image.
  • MLP continues to make its own holidays with its own lore behind them, and it’s Valentine’s Day in this case. This specific holiday came to be thanks to a love potion and a lustful prince. I do question making a holiday out of an event that lead to disasters, though.
  • The humor, mainly the sentimental dialogue between Big Mac and Cheerilee, was serviceable. It did get slightly old due to repetitiveness, but the deliveries from the characters and the variety made it more tolerable.
    • The first meeting between the 2 is also worth mentioning. Sweetie Belle sets romantic music in the background, and the adult ponies look at each other, but the music stops playing when Cheerilee kills the moment. Big Mac amusingly picked his teeth after. Then the music continues playing but at off-key notes.
    • Also another mention to Cheerilee’s deadpan delivery of pointing out the apple tree.

Bad

  • The delivery of moral at the end is awkward. It’s still season 2, but a direct delivery of the lesson is still required somehow. Anyways, it sounds awkward because it doesn’t sound like a conversation that could happen, and the somewhat lengthy delivery adds to the awkwardness.

Other Stuff

  • The starting music in the episode strangely played same tune from the beginning of the premiere.
  • That gray colt from the classroom has a noticeably different design from even other colts. It’s really the color that makes him stick out.
  • Since the CMC want to pair up Cheerilee with Big Mac, AB’s older brother, I have to wonder how age groups work in Equestria. Cheerilee is old enough to be a teacher, but she’s also young enough to be an older sister for the CMC assuming that mares are generally younger than the stallions in a relationship. Also, young Cheerilee was in Rarity’s flashback in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”, so that already confirms that she’s roughly the same age as the Mane 6. Or maybe the CMC are older than they seem.
  • Since apple trees can grow outside of the farm, has anyone ever tried picking from those? It doesn’t look like it belongs to anybody, so that just means free apples.
  • After the first encounter, Cheerilee said, “It's always great running into a good friend.” So have the 2 met before?

  • Oh hi, Twilight, the plot device of the episode. It seems that she doesn’t remember the last time a filly tried to mess with a potion. She didn’t even wonder why the fillies would want to read about Hearts and Hooves Day, especially when they were explicitly interested in the love potion. Did she ever get her book back, by the way?
  • When the CMC were below Twilight, their POV made it look like there was plenty of space between them. But the fillies are actually not that much smaller than Twilight.
  • The color was being vacuumed off of a rainbow, which is consistent with what “Sonic Rainboom” showed. Though I have to wonder how they set up, take down, and put away that structure.
  • Scootaloo wasn’t for mushy stuff back in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”, but she was eager to find Cheerilee a partner. Romance probably isn’t so sappy to her. Scootaloo also hasn’t gotten much focus, has she?
  • The CMC should’ve read the whole passage about the potion, so that can be considered as another lesson the episode conveys.
  • Big Mac was heading to Cheerilee at the end, but how did he even know she was at Rarity’s shop?
  • So the love potion needs some cloud, rainbow color, and a pegasus feather to be made? Looks like pegasi are capable of forcing other ponies into infatuation. How many of them are aware of that?
  • There was a prince and a princess. I wonder what kind they were since there are 2 currently princesses on top.
    • How did the prince know what the potion would do if he didn’t try it on another pony? And how was the cure discovered? Then again, this is all in-universe folklore, and not every written record of an event will have the gory details.
    • Interestingly, the princess in the myth was an alicorn. Now, who could that be? The species of the prince, on the other hand, isn’t very easy to identify. I say he’s a pegasus considering the ingredients of the potion.
    • And the affected couple only need to stop looking into each other’s eyes for one hour? So they never slept? Or they probably had short naps and quickly went back to being sentimental lovers. And plenty of disasters occurred because of the couple being too distracted including a dragon attack and a kingdom falling apart. Unless those disasters happened over a short period of time, the couple must’ve practically been stuck together for a long time, and I have to wonder what the related ponies thought or how they tried to deal with this problem.

Conclusion

I also don’t have too much to say, but it’s still an enjoyable enough episode.

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On 5/25/2017 at 5:11 PM, Nuke87654 said:

Yea as interesting of a premise the windigoes are, when one takes into account of their abilities, it makes you wonder why they haven't appeared since I'm sure having Discord around, or other warring races would've spurned them to life or so. Also yea, I agree the flag design was lazy considering that this was before the time of the alicorn sisters so why use the modern equestria flag instead of one that would most likely have been use to represent the three pony races. Good job on the review, @Number?

Late response, but I kept forgetting. When I mentioned the flag and its producers, I also meant for the comment to be a stealth pun that also referred to the in-universe producers of the play.

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7 hours ago, Number? said:

Late response, but I kept forgetting. When I mentioned the flag and its producers, I also meant for the comment to be a stealth pun that also referred to the in-universe producers of the play.

Ah alright, that's a good point as well. Ty.

 

As for AJ's problem in the Last Roundup, it was less about winning the medals and more that she didn't win any prize money as apparently only first place ponies get em as it was the entire reason why she was working for the cherry farms in Dodge Junction so she can earn the money needed for the town as she promised as she didn't wanted to admit she failed the town.

 

 

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On 6/7/2017 at 7:09 AM, Nuke87654 said:

As for AJ's problem in the Last Roundup, it was less about winning the medals and more that she didn't win any prize money as apparently only first place ponies get em as it was the entire reason why she was working for the cherry farms in Dodge Junction so she can earn the money needed for the town as she promised as she didn't wanted to admit she failed the town.

I think AJ was more interested in earning blue ribbons as she mentions those first and more often, and she was more concerned about looking stupid even to her friends for not getting a single 1st place prize if her lines were anything to go by. Being unable to earn money was salt to the wound, so she took a temporary job to lessen the backlash she thought she would've received.

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A Friend In Deed

I said back in “Party of One” that Pinkie having a ton of friends was pointless (not that I had a huge problem with it), but I’d like to retract that statement since I somehow forgot about Pinkie’s song. Still, not considering her other friends for Gummy’s after-party doesn’t make much sense, but that wouldn't have helped the story being told at the same time.

As for this one, it had a promising start, but it fell apart as it went on.

Good

  • The “Smile” song is great for the most part. Yeah, you read that last part correctly. It’s a very positive song about Pinkie caring about others and wanting them to be happy, but it gets weak for some reason as the song ends starting with the part when Pinkie’s friends carry her through Ponyville. Not being a music or song critic doesn’t help. I’m guessing it’s because the music, lyrics, beat, and singing all slow down while mostly saying “smile”. The song does slow down during the gloomy part, but it had contrast to emphasize the song’s positivity. Anyways, the sequence just ends instead of on a high note given the mostly upbeat feel. It wasn’t a fast-paced song even at first, but the slowness became too notable and distracting when the same word is repeated pretty often. I’m sure those things I didn’t like could work in a song, but it didn’t work for me in this case. Still, it’s a solid song as a whole.
    • Her welcome song is also short and catchy.
  • The felt animation scene was a great attempt to display Pinkie’s eccentricity in a positive manner. It shows how Pinkie thinks and tries to make friends (though she didn’t sing when meeting Twilight) while changing the medium to emphasize her eccentricity. She’s even aware of her own quirks such as singing randomly.

Bad

  • Pinkie may have been trying to be friendly, but she was such a ridiculous pest to Cranky. Since Pinkie wanted to be a good friend and make others smile, I’m sure respecting the wishes of others can help with that. He even said in the beginning that he wanted privacy, but she continuously ignored that request. This is quite an irony when considering the main point of the “Smile” song. I’m also sure Cranky would’ve been less aggravated with Pinkie if she actually listened.
    • She yelled about his baldness which created a scene. Nevermind that she simply could’ve gone up to another pony, specifically Rarity, and asked for a wig. I don’t know why she had to be so loud about the situation.
    • Then, Pinkie gives one of the stupidest, if not the stupidest, apologies I’ve ever seen. Pinkie being sincerely sorry is fine, but chasing someone all over Ponyville just to deliver the message while the receiver is intentionally and purposefully avoiding her still doesn’t give a good impression of PInkie. Was she truly apologetic about her actions, or was she more interested in accomplishing a personal goal while ignoring the wishes of Cranky? I actually cringed during this scene because it went on too long, and it became unambiguous torment especially when remembering that Pinkie vowed not to bother him anymore as well as other reasons. She did want to give her apology still, but that “friendly” pony ended up forgetting about the vow anyways.
    • Ultimately, the episode suffers from trying too hard. The apology and interactions with Cranky were meant to be funny executions of Pinkie’s failure, but Cranky’s mood instead worsened over the episode. The scrapbook being accidentally burned was also too much of an attempt to exacerbate Pinkie’s situation that it can even be considered cruel when bearing in mind that Cranky had more than enough of Pinkie. Good thing his “significant other” wasn’t dead, too.
    • At least he genuinely enjoyed some of the things Pinkie gave him. She gave a wig to him out of sincerity, so that’s something. And he seemed to like the wig as well as the spa treatment. And she brought Matilda as a genuinely good act. These don’t fix the problems, of course, but at least they’re marginally lessened.
  • The resolution to the conflict was wrapped up too neatly. Matilda just happened to be the character Cranky was looking for simply she was a donkey, and then he accepts Pinkie’s friendship. Cranky, do consider your decision when considering what Pinkie has done beforehand. And does it even make sense for Cranky to suddenly become friends with another person who was, from Cranky’s POV, being more than a nuisance? It would’ve been more reasonable for Cranky to think better but not well of Pinkie, and Pinkie could’ve given or shown a better moral for the episode. Or at least have Cranky slowly warm up to the pink pony.
  • The moral itself is problematic. The letter by itself sounded fine, but Pinkie mentioned that some like to be left alone, an aspect of Cranky’s that Pinkie completely disregarded. Twilight and Rainbow Dash both tell Pinkie that she can’t be friends with everyone, and that’s a message worth telling kids and even adults, but too bad the episode shoots down this idea. Some people just can’t get along for one reason or another, or another person might not be a good fit. Pinkie could still bring the donkeys together (while toning down her antics, obviously), and she could acknowledge that she can’t be friends with everyone, but that doesn’t mean she can’t do something nice for them.

Other Stuff

  • A brown-spotted cow stopped by Sugarcube Corner. Does she produce chocolate milk?
  • Cheerilee’s birthday happened in this episode, but the creators weren’t too interested in that pony. Just like with the other pony her voice actor plays.
    • And Zecora’s birthday conveniently comes right after Cheerilee’s.
    • Did Pinkie plan a party for Cheerilee or Zecora? We may never know.
  • During Pinkie’s song, a pony wanted a tan, but a tree was in the way. Why not just move to another spot?
  • What happened to Pinkie’s friends after the song?
  • Pinkie guessed a bunch of real-world human names for Cranky. Is she aware of the naming convention in Equestria? Then again, Matilda is a human name.
  • What’s so funny about baldness? At least Pinkie didn’t approve of the laughter.
  • Too bad Matilda didn’t personally give Cranky her note or try to find Cranky. Also, they both could’ve asked for directions.
  • The gala they went to didn’t seem to carry a disaster. Was it fun enough for Celestia that time?

Conclusion

It’s not terrible, but the episode has huge problems relating to its main character that prevent the whole product from being good. The song is pretty much the only true highlight of the episode.

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