Number95

Another MLP:FIM review thread

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If you’ve gone through the trouble of reading my recap and review of “A Canterlot Wedding”, then you’ll see that I’ve done a fair share of nitpicking. You know what, I feel like doing more nitpicking.

 

Chrysalis wanted to conquer Equestria so she and her Changeling minions can feed on love. Is that even a good idea? Wouldn’t a successful conquest be met with fear, anger, and/or hatred? Those hardly sound like “love” to me. Why not just use their natural ability to take on the form of a pony and be an imposter? Isn’t that what Chrysalis did? She was being Fake Cadance and feeding off of SA’s love for real Cadance. Also, why did they make a threat? They could just blend in as ponies and start eating. If they don’t act too stupid or suspicious like Fake Cadance, they could go undetected for a long time. Also, why was Chrysalis’s name never revealed in the episode? The credits themselves revealed her name. So outside sources had to give important information. That’s already a bad sign. And I obviously must point out that the characters knowing her name in “To Where and Back Again” makes no sense.

 

And I’ve done plenty of commenting about Chrysalis as Fake Cadance in my review, so I’ll just sum up my thoughts in a short paragraph. She’s not funny or enjoyable. She just gives regular nasty attitudes and evil smiles/grins constantly. In other words, she’s way too in-your-face. So much so that I don’t know how Twilight’s friends could be oblivious. At least Queen Chrysalis as herself is better, but she’s still unremarkable. She boasts about her evil plans, beats Celestia in an unimpressive manner, and for some reason dismisses the Cadance’s declaration of using love to defeat her. That’s pretty much it. She was only able to get so far because the Mane 6 were so dumb.

 

Twilight gets brushed off by her friends even though she knows Cadance better than any of them. Her attempt to expose Chrysalis at the end of part 1 just sucked, and I don’t need to explain why. Twilight should’ve used the lack of reaction to the childhood gesture as a reason because there’s no reason for Cadance to not acknowledge it even if stress or being too busy were excuses.

 

And of course the climax is LAME as usual. There’s literally no build-up. All that happens is that the wedding couple of the episode immediately blasting away the villains. That’s it. That’s not exciting or victorious. It’s easily the worst climax out of all the 2-parters so far.

 

However, the biggest flaw is Shining Armor and Cadance having no identities. And they beat the villain. Using the love to beat Chrysalis could still work since friendship is also used against other villains, but Shining Armor and Cadance are nobodies because they have done almost nothing until they beat the villain. The former spends almost the entire story being hypnotized. The latter only appears in part 2 but does nothing outside of freeing her fiancé. I wouldn’t mind if they were never mentioned before these episodes, but their inactivity doesn’t make their victory feel earned.

 

Oh, and Celestia was also useless to the episodes and the show. In fact, she made very few appearances this season, and it will just keep dropping. Or at least it will feel like her appearance will keep dropping. I wouldn’t mind her losing in this episode, but things will never get better for her. She’ll just keep losing or keep being useless against the villain. In fact, she was beaten in front of the Mane 6, Spike, and the citizens of Canterlot. That’s not something one just forgets. There was a perfect chance for the show to get into Celestia doing nothing whenever major villains shows their faces, but nope. As in, how does she feel about being unable to do one of her main jobs? Well the creators themselves don’t know or care.

 

Oh, and Luna shows up. It’s not like having her would’ve helped. And Twilight’s friends are also useless as well. In fact, Celestia and Twilight’s friends weren’t even needed. Too much time was wasted with them being unaware of Fake Cadance.

 

Yeah, “A Canterlot Wedding” just hurts. I could go on, but I’m spending way too much time on the review as it is, so I’ll wrap things up. Season 2 wasn’t as good as season 1 because it starts and ends with weak episodes. This one is my least favorite of season 2 as well as the show so far. My favorite episode of season 2 would be “Family Appreciation Day”.

 

EDIT:

I feel like putting a bit more of my thoughts because they're notably missing from my comments. And I thought I already said these things, but whatever.

Queen Chrysalis as herself was OK. I can't say she was bad, but she wasn't good either because she's a generic villain. There's the motivation of wanting to feed her minions, but motivations don't make a good villain. The purpose of a motivation is so they have something to do and won't instead be wandering aimlessly. So that motivation is just there. She also enjoys being evil, but she shows this better as herself than as Fake Cadance. But Queen Chrystalis as herself doesn't get that much screentime, so not much evilness to enjoy. Overall, she's pretty unremarkable.

As for things I liked, I guess the some of the songs are fine. I'd probably like them better if I actually liked "A Canterlot Wedding". Otherwise, I honestly can't think of much. If there were things I liked, they're most likely minor things.

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The Crystal Empire

We start with Celestia’s royal hall and some of her workers. Why don’t we get to see them more often? She is given news of the reappearance of the Crystal Empire, and she immediately informs Twilight about this. So what did Celestia herself plan to do? Just give the dirty work to Twilight? Then again, why not? Celestia hasn’t exactly been helpful recently. She also wants to leave Shining Armor and Cadance with the empire, but why again?

Cut to Twilight’s library, and she’s frantic about Celestia’s upcoming “test” because Twilight is just that serious about her studies. This is also the first time Celestia has directly given a test on-screen, so I still don’t know what Twilight is so worked up about. Also, why are her friends in the library?

Next scene. Luna and Celestia are talking to each other for the first time on-screen. Celestia wants to make Twilight an alicorn, and saving the Crystal Empire shall be that unicorn’s first “step” toward that goal. First off, why does Celestia want to make Twilight an alicorn? Doesn’t Twilight have a say in any of this?

Twilight finally learns about the Crystal Empire, which she and the viewers haven’t heard of, so we must get some exposition. Celestia’s knowledge of the place is limited… for some reason. The writers needed a way to push her out of the story. But she has a crystal that gives a layout of the empire, so couldn’t she have studied that a bit more? Celestia also claims that the empire has “a powerful magic”. After 6 seasons, I’m still not sure if I can figure out what she means by that. Anyways, an evil unicorn named King Sombra conquered the Crystal Empire, but the alicorn sisters were able to get rid of him. A minor win in an endless sea of losses for Princess Celestia. King Sombra also cursed the empire to disappear with him, but now these ponies must reclaim the empire. According to Celestia, positive emotions help radiate the Crystal Empire, but negative emotions are… ugly and dangerous, I guess. Yeah, the explanations given so far about the Crystal Empire aren’t exactly interesting because the writers may have overcomplicated things. Why not just have Celestia say that she doesn’t want to lose another portion of Equestria again? Instead, they bring up these issues relating to magic as well as positive and negative emotions that I mentioned earlier, but I have to wonder how essential the Crystal Empire is if Equestria lasted for 1000 years without it. Celestia said that she “needs” Twilight’s help, but it’s not like the alicorn herself even tried, so she simply looks lazy. Even considering Celestia’s “limited knowledge”, she knows more about the Crystal Empire than Twilight, who on the other hand knows nothing about it. So how did she plan on having Twilight help, exactly?

Twilight goes outside to meet Spike, and she sings about her nervousness for this test because it’s unlike any she’s ever taken before. I don’t know why this even needed to be a song since all the stuff in the song could be conveyed through dialogue, so I’m guessing that’s why I didn't care for it. Then again, the song by itself is still unimpressive.

The Mane 6 and Spike (for the rest of this review, if I say “Mane 6”, I also mean Spike) head to northern Equestria to get to the titular location. I wonder how often the train makes stops at that location since it’s pretty barren, and the Crystal Empire is still a fair distance away. Shining Armor greets them as the leave the train. He was approaching the train station right after the Mane 6 arrived, so he must have pretty good timing. Or was he waiting for a while at a fair distance from the stop? He tells them that King Sombra has returned and is trying to break into the empire. Of course, Sombra himself (well, as evil smoke, so sort of) appears and chases them. Shining Armor stays behind to try and slow down the smoke, but that seems unnecessary as they were all outrunning it already. So he gets punished by having his horn and spellcasting ability neutered.

They all later arrive at the Crystal Empire and head to its royal hall. Cadance is already casting a defensive spell to cover the empire from the blizzards and Sombra. This alicorn is very new at this point, and she has already done more than Celestia and Luna in terms of being a savior. What the fuck, creators.

The Mane 6 ask the residents for more info about the empire, but the crystal ponies have dulled and also have magical amnesia caused by Sombra, so no luck. But AJ did learn about a library, so that’s our next location. They eventually find the history book they wanted, and Twilight discovers that they could put a faire together to raise the spirits of its citizens and thus create the real defense the Crystal Empire needs. I have to wonder why the empire was set up at such a terrible location in the first place. Having an event to help its citizens is good, but in some strange way, it feels like they’re forced to feel positive emotions just so they don’t have to be hit by intense blizzards. Then again, Equestria is something of a positive place, so the positivity can still be genuine. I guess it’s just the location of the Crystal Empire that is strange.

So it’s time to put the faire together, and a song plays. I’m not a song or music critic, but I don’t much care for this one. It’s so plain and ordinary, and thus it’s not all that memorable. It shows the characters learning the various aspects of the Crystal Empire so they could get the details right and help the crystal ponies. Except they missed the most important detail: the Crystal Heart, which is the source of power and protection for the empire and is powered by the ponies’ positivity. Cadance becomes too tired from casting her defensive spell, and her barrier is lowered, allowing Sombra to enter without difficulty.

So far, meh. It’s pretty slow and uneventful. Twilight and her friends need to save the Crystal Empire, so they do some research and also need to find the Crystal Heart. At least some of the stuff with Pinkie was funny like her spy antics and even putting on a Fluttershy costume, but there isn’t much else. There is more I could comment on, but first I must cover part 2.  

Cadance recovers from her tired state to restore her barrier, and she unknowingly cuts off a piece of Sombra’s horn which later sinks magically into the ground. Twilight goes off to find the Crystal Heart, believing that this is how she is to pass Celestia’s “test”. I highly doubt Celestia herself even knew the answers. RD and the other ponies are to help the faire going so the Crystal Ponies can stay spirited. I suppose that’s not bad. At least they’re more useful and active here than in “A Canterlot Wedding”. Spike approaches Twilight to lend a hand, but Twilight rejects because she thinks that she has to find the Crystal Heart by herself for some reason. Celestia gave some shitty instructions, didn’t she? She didn’t even say why it has to be Twilight alone. And even if Celestia happened to be strict with her instructions, how does Twilight think the alicorn will learn that her instructions were ignored? So Spike going along anyways is a good move on his part.  

Why did Sombra hide the Crystal Heart? I suppose he would want to keep the citizens dispirited, but that also sounds like a dull empire to rule over. And was he able to keep the blizzards away with his own magic? If so, I guess that makes him stronger than the alicorn sisters since the sisters couldn’t do much to the blizzards in the season 6 premiere. And if that’s also true, the alicorn sisters may have caught him by surprise.

Back at the Crystal Empire castle, Twilight discovers a secret underground passage that Sombra formerly resided in and goes downstairs to continue looking for the Crystal Heart, and Spike stays at the top of the stairs. I always wonder why anyone would want to create such a long and huge flight of stairs. Aren’t they troublesome to make and cross? Anyways, Twilight reaches a bottom and crosses a magic door. She encounters Celestia, and Celestia is unhappy because Twilight failed the test. This is obviously an illusion since Twilight happens to go through a door and find a randomly spiteful Celestia, who has never been shown before. Continuing with the illusion, Celestia forbids the unicorn from being her personal student, and Twilight feels heartbroken.

*irritated sigh*

Too bad Twilight and Celestia have barely interacted, so this scene carries no emotional weight because it’s not like Twilight has done anything with Celestia outside of sending letters. Too bad we don’t know if Celestia even sent any responses. There is “Griffon the Brush-Off”, but that was at the end, and we don’t know what Celestia said. In other words, this scene is pointless.

Spike goes down to meet Twilight because she seemed to be in a trance, and that’s a good and caring move on his part. But he also gets affected by that magic door and suddenly believes that Twilight doesn’t need him. Twilight closes the door and figures out the problem while comforting Spike. This is a better scene since we’ve gotten plenty of Twilight and Spike, and we know that Spike does care about Twilight since he has tried to help her multiple times in this episode.

Cut to the events outside, and RD is having a jousting match with Fluttershy to entertain the Crystal Ponies. Couldn’t AJ take Fluttershy’s place? I’m sure Fluttershy can try to guard the Crystal Heart, and that task can also help with her learning assertiveness. Fluttershy is hardly thrilled about jousting, but RD wants them both to continue since RD mustn’t look uncool. She could’ve given Fluttershy 1 free win at the very least.

Sombra’s dark magic is slowly but surely consuming the Crystal Empire, and the residents lose their luster as they notice this. Pinkie accidentally blows the cover off the fake Crystal Heart, leaving the residents in a panic.

Back to Twilight and Spike. Twilight finds the Crystal Heart and tries to take it, but it’s still under Sombra’s protection. She gets trapped but also doesn’t want Spike to get it because that won’t let Twilight pass her test. Um, ok. Spike even agrees with this for some reason. Twilight realizes that she can’t escape, so she finally lets Spike carry away the Crystal Heart.

Spike tries to get to Cadance and Shining Armor, but he falls over Sombra’s growing crystals. SA throws Cadance, and she catches Spike and the Crystal Heart. I wonder if Fluttershy or RD especially considered trying to grab Spike as he was moving. She puts the Crystal Heart in its proper place, and the Crystal Empire and its citizens are restored. The Crystal Empire lights up and radiates an aurora across Equestria, which shows Celestia and Luna that the empire has been saved. The ponies originally not from the Crystal Empire also become Crystal Ponies for some reason. They don’t always become Crystal Ponies later, so what’s up with this?

The Mane 6 head to the train station to return to Ponyville, and SA observes that Twilight had to save his ass again. Too bad he isn’t aware that he’ll be another inactive pony in these kinds of episodes despite his position. But Twilight feels dejected because she wasn’t the one who saved Crystal Empire, and thus she didn’t pass her test. Way to know your priorities, Twilight. For some reason, Spike will be acknowledged as the savior of the Crystal Empire even though Cadance caught him and was also the one who put the Crystal Heart in its place, and Twilight was the one who found it Crystal Heart. If anything, these 3 should all get credit. Maybe SA should be credited too since he tossed the weakened Cadance to do what she did.

Twilight meets with Princess Celestia, and the former still feels dejected about not being the savior. But Twilight is ultimately praised for making the right move in letting someone else fix things when she couldn’t. Was Celestia trying to test Twilight’s morality? That’s not very clear.  So Twilight passes her “test”, she and her friends sing a reprise of a song from part 1, and the end.

Oh yeah, Luna conjures up a book at the end. I forgot what that means, though.

Hm, I can’t say I hate this one, but I don’t like it, either. I’ll be making a few comparisons because I don’t know better ways to explain my points, and I normally don’t like to compare because I’d rather judge an episode as it is instead of knocking down one item to make another look better.

OK, so we first have the Crystal Empire. I get the feeling that this was integrated into the show because of a toyline Hasbro wanted to promote. I don’t keep up with merchandise relating to the show, so I could be wrong, but the show’s main purpose is to sell toys anyways. However, only the creative team decides what get shown onscreen, so they could make an idea like this work if they know what they’re doing. However, I can’t say that I care for this place because it’s unexplored in this episode and future episodes. What does it mean to be a Crystal Pony? Why are they crystallized? So they shine when they’re happy and they dull when they’re unhappy. Is this trait a good or bad thing? And the episode tried too hard with the stakes. Celestia wants to save the Crystal Empire because its happiness can radiate all over Equestria. Well, Equestria lasted 1000 years without this place and suffered no noticeable damage, so can one really say that the presence of the Crystal Empire is necessary? Princess Celestia not wanting to lose another part of Equestria for another thousand years already would’ve sufficed since she’d still be keeping up her role as a protector.

Speaking of being a protector, she hardly looks like a good one in here. So this magical and mysterious place that she herself knows little to nothing about has returned after a long period of time, and I’d like to think that she also cares about the place at least to a degree. Why is her knowledge of the empire so small? Did she even look around the place? Why was it necessary to send Twilight? Oh, because Twilight must become an alicorn. Why is that so necessary? The answer the episode gave is that Celestia needed help because she doesn’t know much about the Crystal Empire. No, this just makes Celestia look lazy, useless, and incompetent since she didn’t consider putting any effort into fixing up or even exploring the Crystal Empire, and she can also come off as uncaring because she wasn’t willing to directly try helping the ponies that live there. She doesn’t even decide to go there and bring along other ponies with her. Instead, she just sends a bunch of other ponies. Why? They don’t know anything about the Crystal Empire, so how did she hope for them to accomplish? Did she just happen to be too busy? Without any explanations, she was essentially telling them to do her dirty work while she could kick back and do nothing.

And there’s the “test” she gives Twilight, which just came off as stupid. Celestia says it must be Twilight alone that does everything, which doesn’t make sense since Twilight has been learning friendship and using that to beat other villains. Why is suddenly suggest Twilight to do everything by herself when pretty much everything she did and learned about has been about the opposite? If seeing how Twilight would do on her own was the point, that might be acceptable. Except it wasn’t. And Celestia also has blind faith in Twilight. Good thing she didn’t fail, not that she would, but this still doesn’t reflect well on the alicorn since Celestia made a pretty big gamble with the fate of the Crystal Empire. Why not simply make saving the Crystal Empire the test and say that Twilight could ask any pony (including Celestia herself) for help instead of giving such dumb comments? This still won’t fix Celestia’s own lack of effort, though.

Oh, and Luna was there and wanted to help, but Celestia declines because it must be Twilight. Luna seemed pretty concerned, but she still stayed behind anyways because… plot says so. That still doesn’t look good on her. She even gives a bitter look to Twilight as the latter was about to leave for the Crystal Empire. What did that look mean? She did almost nothing for the entire episode, so I haven’t a clue. Actually, I’m not even sure Luna was needed.

Twilight comes off the worst since she prioritizes passing a test over the fate of the Crystal Empire. And she initially felt dejected at the end because she felt that she didn’t pass. I guess the restoration of a special and mysterious empire that has returned after a long time was unimportant because she missed feeling like a hero.

Twilight’s friends aren’t much better. While I will give them points for actually helping and being interested in the safety of the Crystal Ponies, their worry over Twilight’s “grade” at the end also felt like they prioritized Twilight’s “test” over the Crystal Empire. Even though Spike accompanied Twilight, he was also giving priority to Twilight being the savior instead of the safety of the entire empire by literally putting his hands behind his back. Honestly, the Mane 6 should’ve been happy about the well-being of those other ponies. When waiting for Twilight, they should all be thinking, “We just saved the Crystal Empire and its citizens. The princess should still be happy about that.”

Cadance and Shining Armor are still boring. So Cadance is determined to maintain a barrier to protect the Crystal Empire. Oh, and she’s a Crystal Princess? Does that have any meaning other than the literal one? She’s not bad overall, but she doesn’t exactly do much else of interest, so she still ends up as a nobody. Same goes for Shining Armor. He just cares about other ponies, tries (but fails) to fend off Sombra, and throws his wife. Otherwise, he’s just there. I think he did less overall than Cadance. At least they do better in this episode than in “A Canterlot Wedding” due to their larger activity in here, but better doesn’t mean good.

Overall, this wasn’t good because the middle was slow and rather uninteresting, but I’d still say it’s better than “The Return of Harmony” and “A Canterlot Wedding”. Those 2 episodes wasted too much time with pointless and/or stupid bullshit and had abrupt and unearned climaxes. This one had a lousy setup, but at least the meat wasn’t pointless and/or stupid bullshit. Ponies not named Twilight had something to do, Spike tagged along with Twilight and somewhat helped in saving the day, and the climax was better even though I still wouldn’t call it good.

Huh, I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned the climax nor Sombra yet. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t quite good, either. Sombra was obviously meant to come off as an evil and dark presence, but it didn’t work since he doesn’t exactly do anything devious until Twilight tried to take the Crystal Heart. At least he kept that well-guarded. In other words, he was just sort-of there. On the other hand, I will say that I liked him better than Chrysalis from “A Canterlot Wedding”. While Chrysalis was acting ridiculously over-the-top as Cadance part 1 and did too little to make an impression in part 2, Sombra was always around trying to cause mayhem for the heroes. His darkness was slowly growing and overtaking the Crystal Empire as Cadance’s magical barrier weakened. This gave way to the best climax out of all the 2-parters, but it’s still too low-key for a climax against some force of darkness. The other 2-parters essentially had the characters just show up with some powerful magic to blast the villain without any real build-up or lead-in. “The Crystal Empire” had a sense of urgency that naturally ramped up over the episode with Sombra’s darkness and Cadance weakening, so Sombra’s defeat also felt earned and not so abrupt after all the scrambling around Twilight and Spike did to find the Crystal Heart.

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Too Many Pinkie Pies

 

The episode starts with Twilight practicing a spell to turn an apple into an orange, but Pinkie jumps out of nowhere to hug Twilight which throws off her aim right as she casts the spell. A bird is hit and is partially transformed. Looks like it was never cured, so that “orange”-bird still currently exists in Equestria. I wonder how mating and producing offspring will work for it. Also, I guess Pinkie couldn’t have waited for Twilight to finish before jumping in. Rarity also stops by and said she had “fun” making a new dress, and this drives Pinkie up a wall because she could be missing out on “fun” that is happening somewhere else. So Pinkie leaves to find some more fun and encounters RD working on a cloud, which Pinkie immediately deals with. I thought only Pegasus ponies had influence over clouds, but whatever. She also quickly meets and leaves AJ, and she finally finds Fluttershy. Fluttershy is having a tea party with Angel, but she claims that this isn’t “fun”. I’m guessing she’s just doing this to relax, but her expression and delivery implies that she isn’t liking her tea party. So, why is she having a tea party then? Did Angel force her into it? Pinkie also collapses from too much running around. I’ll admit that her “super speed” in the teaser was amusing.  

 

Fluttershy helps Pinkie get up, and Pinkie is concerned about trying to join all of her friends (as in every pony in Ponyville) in fun activities. I thought she would already knew that she’d have to miss out on some “fun” as there are too many ponies and thus too many things happening, but the creators wanted to tell a story with Pinkie, so I’ll go with Pinkie’s concern. Fluttershy suggests for herself to not have fun, which Pinkie approves for some reason. Isn’t Pinkie also a caring pony like the first third of “A Friend In Deed” tried to say? Not wanting another pony to have fun sounds like the opposite. RD and AJ immediately appear to invite Pinkie for their own activities, which gets Pinkie in a dilemma. Pinkie also thought about having other ponies bring the fun to her, but I doubt she’d be able to handle the sheer amount of activities that get thrown at her.

 

Cut back to Twilight, who still can’t transform an apple for some reason. Pinkie suddenly interrupts her again, and Twilight hits a frog instead. I’m pretty sure Twilight has this spell down as the frog croaking revealed the insides of an orange, so I wonder why she’s still dealing with an unmoving apple. Also, Twilight’s magic hit other objects like a wall or branch, so why weren’t those things affected? Anyways, Pinkie was timing her speed so she could try to hang with AJ and RD back and forth. It looks like super speed can’t be used since that’s only for comedic situations, and her dilemma is a bit more serious than that.

 

But Pinkie then gets an idea to replicate herself after a comment from Twilight and tries to find the mirror pool. She goes through the Everfree Forest and somehow accidentally comes across the mirror pool in an underground cave. How did she know that was the pool when she saw it? Pinkie stares at the pool and “climbs” into it, but it’s actually her reflected image in the pool that climbs out. I’ll admit that it was a pretty good special effect. I wonder if the “other side” of the pool is its own dimension. However, that clone isn’t an exact copy of her as the clone only says and thinks about having fun. So if a basic personality of a pony can be copied, why aren’t some of their memories copied into the clones as well? And if the clones stuck around for much longer, where would they sleep? Would they live with the original Pinkie Pie?

 

Original Pinkie goes to RD, and I do like that she doesn’t force RD to play when RD claimed she was tired. But Pinkie also alludes to her clone without directly mentioning it, which confuses RD. I wonder if Pinkie ever planned to confess that she cloned herself assuming things didn’t go out of hand. Pinkie clone #1 heads to AJ but encounters Fluttershy on the way there, and Fluttershy invites her to a picnic with the animals. The clone gets in a dilemma herself as she can hang with Fluttershy and AJ at the same time, and she also calls AJ “Applejohn” to blow her cover. Obviously a sign that the clone isn’t the original Pinkie in the slightest.

 

We cut to RD with original Pinkie, and it turns out Pinkie did tell RD about the mirror pool. RD doesn’t buy it, though. That’s a weird reaction to have since magic exists, can do strange things, and isn’t uncommon in Equestria, but whatever. A funny scene plays when Pinkie lands in the pool quietly to not be too loud for RD who wanted to sleep. But Pinkie clone #1 calls to the original (how did the clone know where RD was?), and RD sees them both but just thinks she was hallucinating. Rainbow Dash should’ve looked around again. The clone mentions that she couldn’t get to AJ because she met Fluttershy, so it looks like more clones are needed to keep up with the demands for fun.

 

Back to the mirror pool, and both Pinkies clone themselves, now making a total of 4. Since the first clone was just a cheap copy of the original, what happens if a clone clones itself? Wouldn’t that be an even shallower and cheaper copy? Kind of like generation loss. But all of the clones are just shown to be cheap copies in the end, so that may or may not matter.

 

Anyways, the clones for some reason decide to also clone themselves, and now we have… too many Pinkie Pies. Maybe the clones thought cloning might be fun? All of the Pinkies disperse, but the clones have only caused trouble while the original is struggling to keep up with her clones. The citizens of Ponyville aren’t happy, so they go to... Twilight instead of Mayor Mare for some reason. The mayor isn’t a major character in this episode, though. But approaching Twilight for a solution still seems random since she doesn’t seem to be a celebrity around Ponyville, or at least not yet. Maybe she and hopefully her friends as well have been more widely recognized for the two times they saved Equestria.

 

Twilight and Spike look in their library to find info about the mirror pool. Spike happens to find a “secret” compartment marked by a horseshoe that contains the book they were looking for. They’ve cleaned out the shelves and reorganized the books more than a few times, so how did they not notice this compartment? And how did Twilight know that this exact book contained the answers they were seeking? The book also called the place the “mirror pond” while Pinkie said “mirror pool”. Then again, names can be distorted after being passed down since Pinkie got her info from “Nana Pinkie”.

 

Twilight learns of a spell that can send away the clones, but the spell also works on the original Pinkie (who never came from the mirror pool I’d like to emphasize) for some reason. I’m sure the clones have some “internal mark” to distinguish themselves from the original, but we can’t make the solution so easy. On the other hand, I’m also sure a better problem could’ve been concocted. The original Pinkie laments over the problem of trying to identify herself, but I’m sure she could have used her own memories and distinct features from the clones to identify herself. Oh, and Fancy Pants has a cameo appearance. What’s he doing in Ponyville?

 

Spike and Twilight are stuck about approaching the problem, but Spike sees the real Pinkie feeling unhappy and suggest that one is the real deal. Too bad Twilight dismisses Spike’s claim with the real Pinkie “never [sitting] that long in one place her whole life”. That’s definitely false, so Twilight doesn’t know Pinkie that well even though she hangs with Pinkie more often than Spike. Spike approaches the real Pinkie to identify herself, and the real Pinkie gives an answer that isn’t so simple or straightforward which already gives away the answer.

 

On the other hand, Twilight’s concern of sending away the real Pinkie still makes sense since that’s an accident they can’t afford to have. On a 3rd hand, the Pinkie clones only say and think about fun and nothing else, already showing that they’re shallow copies. The real Pinkie can do much more than those as she has shown throughout the show such as being sad and showing other emotions and thoughts. On a 4th hand, Twilight might be too pressured and stressed out about the situation that she can’t give as much thought as she would like about her options. On a 5th hand, Pinkie should’ve noticed the faults in the clones and used this fact to identify herself. In fact, suggests a test like this to Twilight to distinguish the copies from the real one. Though I have to bring in a 6th hand because the real Pinkie can’t even identify herself as the real one even though she should have and know the perspective of being the Pinkie that saw the first clone come out of the magic pool. But there’s a 7th hand because Pinkie Pie suggesting this test to Twilight also should’ve given away her identity unless Twilight was still too concerned about the safety of the real Pinkie. On an 8th hand, the show would never send away the real Pinkie because a bunch of problems in-universe and out-of-universe could and would pop up if that happened. I’m sure I could continue counting hands for an eternity (and I think I also counted more before this paragraph), but that would take too long.

 

Anyways, all of the Pinkie clones are gathered, and Rainbow Dash also find the real Pinkie being outwardly miserable. How they are missing this sign is still beyond me. So the test is to watch paint dry, which is commonly used as a joke when comparing boring activities. Funnily enough, Spike was initially excited only to get bored because the test took longer than expected. So the clones are slowly sent away, but Twilight for some reason blasts ones that just reacted to being called by another clone. Reacting to a call is normal, so Twilight was a much too hasty with her own reaction.

 

Pinkie sends a letter to Princess Celestia saying that she can always have fun with friends at other times even if she has to miss out on one event. Again, I thought Pinkie should already know this since it’s kind of a common sense thing, but I’ll go with it for the sake of the episode.

 

Honestly, I don't have much to say because this episode was average for me. A premise like this screams for introspection, which there isn’t very much of. After the Pinkie clones wreak havoc, the real Pinkie notices the damage, but whether she walks away knowing that she can look overbearing to her friends is another question. Or even though the clones are just cheap imitations, some ponies still think that the clones are exactly like the original Pinkie, and Pinkie would try to prove that notion wrong. Well, that sort of happens in the end.

 

Even though Twilight didn’t want to risk banishing the real Pinkie, being unable to identify the real one that’s doing things other than wanting to have fun makes Twilight look like she doesn’t know Pinkie that well. And this sort of extends to the rest of the Mane 6 because none of them noticed that the clones were obviously flawed copies of the original.

 

Pinkie did have a few moments of introspection, but it’s ultimately not much as she just mopes about the trouble directly caused instead of actually expressing another part of her other than sadness. I did like that Pinkie figured that she cared more about her friends than having fun, but there isn’t much else to the episode. The episode mostly says that there’s more to Pinkie Pie than just a pony who likes to have fun, something that other episodes have already shown.

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One Bad Apple

 

Babs Seed, huh? Note that her initials are appropriate for this episode in more ways than one.

 

Apple Bloom is about to meet her cousin, Babs Seed from Manehattan, at the train station and wants to put on an outfit to make a good impression. Your efforts will be in vain, Apple Bloom. And Manehattan isn’t some high-class area like Canterlot, so I’m also sure your outfit doesn’t need to be fancy. AJ believes that Babs Seed will get along just fine with AB, though having a statement like that usually means that things won’t go so well. And AJ suddenly reveals that Babs is a blank flank like the CMC. Possibly a foreshadowing of AJ arbitrarily leaving out important information later on in the episode. AB leaves to find the CMC since they all have blank flanks as a common trait but leaves her room as a mess, and AJ remarks that Babs Seed was to sleep over in there. I wonder how that actually went down as the episode played out.

 

We’re at the train station, and the CMC are excited about meeting a fellow blank flank. Too bad they’re going to be disappointed. They even want to invite Babs to their group even though she lives far away, so how does membership work for distant members? I guess it’s just an honorary position like the end of the episode will say, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Babs Seed herself finally shows up and is transported to the CMC clubhouse. Scootaloo covered Babs Seed’s eyes for the entire trip, and I don’t imagine that feeling comfortable. The CMC reveal their goals of finding cutie marks, and Babs immediately reacts by covering her own flank and being a bit nervous about not having her mark yet. Not bad, but it can’t and won’t excuse or justify her later actions.

 

Since Babs seems so hard to impress, the CMC show her the float they plan to use for the Summer Harvest Parade. I wonder how they were able to join. Maybe entering with a float is all that is needed. Unfortunately, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon appear from out of nowhere (or for the sake of plot. Take your pick) to harass the CMC because… they can. Those two annoying twats notice Babs and also tease her, but AB has dealt with them before and sticks up for her cousin. Again, all in vain.

 

The episode cuts to Babs picking a side, and… she picks the bullies for some reason. Dick move, Babs. Dick move. I mean, all the CMC did was invite you to their club, tried to give you some solace in being a blank flank, and your very own cousin just stood up for you. Way to show gratitude. Not even 6 minutes in, and we’re already going downhill. Anyways, Babs’s choice impresses DT and SS, but Babs decides to go further and ruin the CMC’s float while gloating about the disaster. AB threatens to tell AJ about this turn of events, but Babs discourages that because that would make AB a “snitch”. AB should’ve gone through with trying because I (and neither does the episode) don’t know how being a snitch in this case would be bad.

 

We cut to the CMC in their clubhouse feeling dejected, and AB and Scootaloo still refuse to tell AJ about the problem for some reason. Instead, they plan to try avoiding Babs for the few weeks she’ll be in Ponyville. I wonder how things went in the Apple household since there should have been noticeable tension between Apple Bloom and Babs. Apple Bloom even had to sleep on her bedroom floor. Apparently, nobody noticed anything.

 

A song and a montage plays, and the song is surprisingly catchy. The CMC are trying their best to avoid Babs Seed and her 2 accomplices, but no luck of course. DT and SS are looking too amused, but do notice that Babs herself also seems too smugly amused about the situation. In fact, since the CMC keep running into Babs , it isn’t unreasonable to think that she is actively hunting for the 3 ponies so she could keep tormenting them. Reinforcing this is that she doesn’t need to harass the CMC, but she does so anyways every time they meet. The song ends, and the CMC are looking worn out from their encounters. Did all this happen in one day? What the hell is wrong with you, Babs? The CMC try to get to their clubhouse only to find it occupied by their enemies. AB makes a reasonable assertion when she says they never did anything (bad) to Babs, but Babs obviously decides not to explain herself and brushes off the cousin she’s living in the same house with for an extended period of time. We’re not even halfway through the episode, by the way.

 

The CMC stay in what appears to be Sweetie Belle’s house with her father doing some fishing in front of it. Huh. I actually don't remember her house being shown at any point. Why don’t we see it more often? Trying to tell an adult or at least ask them for advice is still out of the question for them, or at least AB and Scootaloo. Those two even imagine Babs threatening to beat the crap out of them for saying a word, so it’s confirmed that Babs is not your usual ass hole. Instead, the CMC decide to “fight back”, and I wouldn’t be against that because Babs more than earned some form of retribution. Too bad their idea isn’t that impressive since they just planned to humiliate her in the festival, but I suppose that’s something.

 

It’s nighttime, and AB is called by her friends to get to work. Babs is right there sleeping, so AB could try something right on the spot, but that’d probably be too loud and disruptive. The CMC go to the Apple barn and proceed to work on their new float for Babs for the whole night. The day of the festival is up, and Babs notices how impressive it looks. She pushes the CMC out and takes the float for herself.

 

AJ finally shows up, and the last time she appeared in this episode was at the train station, which was within the first 3 minutes of the episode. Right now, we’re about 14 minutes in. AJ explains that Babs was bullied back in Manehattan for her blank flank and came to Ponyvile to try and relax. The CMC suddenly have second thoughts about rigging their golden apple float and reason that Babs was being a dick to avoid the dicks. *facepalm* OK, I suppose that could be an explanation behind her choices, but it’s still a stupid explanation especially when she could oh, I don’t know – avoid DT and SS by hanging with the CMC. That wasn’t a difficult choice to make even from Babs’s position, and she somehow saw her situation as a false dichotomy. The CMC suddenly call themselves bullies since they tried to get revenge. That’s not really true, but whatever.

 

The CMC rush after their float to save Babs and join Pinkie’s lettuce float along the way. Pinkie isn’t trying to control her vehicle for some reason. Babs is given a warning, but she deflects the CMC’s warning while insulting them and rams Pinkie’s float. Pinkie apparently thinks nothing of this development. She also says, “Veggie salad,” which is a pun I’m not familiar with. The timer in the golden apple float finally goes off, and I’m surprised Babs didn’t hear the timer ticking this whole time. The vehicle goes out of control, and the CMC manage to push Babs out while taking the fall into the mud themselves.

 

Babs shows surprise at the CMC’s actions and acknowledges that she’s been an ass hole. Not good enough. Also, getting into a muddy mess isn’t nearly as bad as what Babs did to the CMC, but that’s another subject.

 

Back at the Sweet Apple Acres, the CMC explain that they wanted revenge against Babs by rigging their float to humiliate her, but they reconsidered their ideas after learning more. Sweetie Belle gives a good line in the form of, “Why does life have to be so ironic?” I don’t quite agree with that applying to their situation, but the line is still true. Humans, free will, and all that stuff are too weird and complex, but that’s a completely separate subject.

 

Anyways, the CMC and Babs apologize to each other, though Babs owes more than just an apology. AJ shows up and muses that their problem could’ve been avoided if she was told about it. That might have worked in their situation, but I doubt telling an adult works in all (or even a few) cases of bullying. Babs wants to start over with the CMC, and she’s lucky they’re very nice and forgiving ponies.

 

The 4 fillies go back to the clubhouse, and I wonder if or when DT and SS lost interest in that place. Babs has now been formally inducted into the club. She plans to start a branch for the club in Manehattan, and I also wonder how that’s working out.

 

We reach the end of the episode with the train station, and DT and SS decide to insult the CMC sans Babs because… they can. Too bad Applejack doesn’t do anything about 2 fillies so obviously verbally harassing others even the lesson of “tell an adult about the bully” was just conveyed. Babs steps up for the first time and gets them in the mud. Why didn’t she try confronting them earlier in the episode?

 

Hm. This was TERRIBLE introduction for Babs Seed. So she’s been a victim of bullying because she has no cutie mark and wants to take a short vacation in Ponyville to take her mind off of her own school. Fine, but how was being a bully herself supposed to solve anything? The episode tried to say that she just wanted to avoid being bullied, but why does she intentionally torment the CMC nonstop instead? The episode tried to reveal that Babs Seed was actually a nice pony all along, but I can’t agree with that when considering my previous sentence while also adding that she not only showed no regret for her actions, but she was clearly ENJOYING herself over the episode. You can even add that she tormented the CMC worse than DT and SS. The latter two only used verbal teasing while Babs herself did that plus other things like destroying the CMC’s first float, steal their clubhouse, and a million more things that wouldn’t be hard to find if you watch the episode. Actually, the episode suggests that Babs was the most or even the ONLY active bully out of her trio.

 

Her little “bullied back at home” excuse wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t used to justify her bullying over the CMC. She could have at least been reprimanded for making the choices she did. The episode tried to say that the CMC’s attempt at revenge wasn’t the right move, and that’s true that revenge is hardly the best solution to a problem, but the only thing the golden apple float did was just crash into mud. That’s messy, but nothing compared to what Babs did to her fellow fillies, and I personally just really wanted her to suffer somehow because she had absolutely no reason to do what she did if she was supposed to be nice all along. And to repeat from the beginning of my recap, the CMC offered friendship to Babs, but she stupidly slapped it away when she was never in a losing position even from the start. Compounding this problem is that she never needed to get herself involved anyways. She could’ve just avoided all of the other fillies even if she decided to hang with DT and SS instead, but the song sequence of the episode strongly suggested that Babs was actively trying to hurt the CMC when nothing except her own free will was influencing her.

 

The worst part is that Babs got no comeuppance for all of her bullshit. This is most glaring when the episode is speaking negatively about the CMC acting like “bullies” but doesn’t do the same for Babs. Does she herself learn that being a bully doesn’t stop her own problem of being a victim? I haven’t got a clue. To top off her stupidity, she was more than capable of standing up to others as her actions against the CMC over almost the entire episode and her confrontation toward DT and SS at the end showed. I don’t know why she was so afraid of standing up to DT and SS during their first meeting. And this isn’t getting into her own problems back in Manehattan, but that’d be off-topic.

 

In short, Babs was too easily forgiven. I don’t know how one day (actually, less) of good can make up for a few weeks of torment.

 

There’s also the message of an adult being able to deal with a bullying situation, but I doubt that’s effective that is in real life, and this episode didn’t convince me of its effectiveness despite what it tried to say. For starters, I don’t know why AJ didn’t tell AB the reason for Babs coming over since cousins that live a fair distance away don’t just show up for no reason. With Babs also feeling insecure about having no cutie mark, AJ could’ve and should’ve told her that the CMC could give some comfort since their experience would be relatable to Babs. There’s also the fact that Babs had to stay with the Apples for a few weeks, and there are multiple adults in that household. I don’t know what they were seeing since the episode never tried to give away that info, so the idea of an adult providing help with this problem gets shot down already. And AJ herself even saw DT and SS being dicks to the CMC but just stands there. Way to show your helpfulness as an adult. Since I mentioned real life at the beginning of this paragraph, I suppose I could give a bit more on that. I’m sure bullying isn’t uncommon in schools even though those places are already full of adults, so the idea of an adult being helpful gets shot down even more. The bullies themselves also make their own choices and aren’t always with adults, so they still don’t need to stop with their bullshit even if the episode’s solution was used. In short, the episode didn’t take much of a look at its issue.

 

At least there are a few positives even though it’s ultimately minimal. Sweetie Belle is shown as the softest one since she cried pretty heavily at one point, so some characterization is always welcome. And the CMC continue to be competent builders since they made two floats. That’s all the genuine positives I can think of. So yeah, piece of shit.

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Magic Duel

 

I never thought Trixie would come back, but she did. Did the creators want to do more with her, or did they bring her back because of her online popularity?

 

The episode starts with a cloaked Trixie going into some… antique shop, I guess. After some scrambling around, the shop owner notices her and thinks that “something powerful” lured her here. And Trixie instantly points to the alicorn amulet, so I wonder why she was scrambling around earlier if the amulet was on immediate display for her to instantly point at. Also, this is the first time the show uses the word “alicorn”. I don’t think it ever said “winged unicorn” or “horned pegasus” at any point, either. Anyways, the shop owner tries to dissuade her from getting it until she throws down a fairly large bag of bits, and he has an immediate change of heart. Does the amulet only work on ponies directly capable of casting spells? If not, why has the shopkeeper (who appears to be an Earth pony) never used it for himself? I’m sure he could make a shitload more money with it, or do whatever the hell else he wants. Then again, there’s that typical side effect of driving the bearer crazy or whatever. He also seems to be a lover of money, but what if some insane megalomaniac bought the amulet and, I don’t know, killed the shop owner? Your hunger for money has become meaningless. Then again, everyone dies at some point, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to die on the spot. Maybe he is a decent judge of character? He did try to stop Trixie to get the amulet, but then he also immediately changed his mind with money. I’d like to think that the amulet is still worth much more than what Trixie offered. I’m surprised I’m making so many comments about the beginning, which only lasts for almost one minute. It’s so weird that a random antique shop in the middle of nowhere happens to have some artifact of dangerous power, and the shop owner couldn’t think of anything better to do with it. Or maybe he did try something, but only God knows what he tried. I’m just mindlessly rambling now, so I must move on with the episode.

 

Next scene is with Fluttershy and Twilight. Twilight plans to use her magic with the animals, which gets the former concerned. Fluttershy lightly threatening Twilight was a bit amusing. But Fluttershy is too nervous about the safety of the animals. Having that feeling is reasonable, but she doesn’t seem to have much faith in Twilight especially when Twilight is only just carrying them with a spell and not doing anything too dangerous. Maybe Fluttershy is afraid of an animal being dropped, but the characters in this universe have survived worse. Apparently, carrying the animals is pretty difficult for Twilight since she was sweating and had to take a breather after her practice. And the animals also enjoyed the whole thing. Yeah, Fluttershy is a bit of a nervous wreck in here.

 

Rainbow Dash suddenly barges in and calls for Twilight because Trixie has made her official return to Ponyville, and Trixie is causing some trouble. I still think unicorns seem overpowered compared to the other 2 pony species since unicorns can do ridiculous things with some powerful spells (which Trixie does in the episode), but neither the pegasi nor earth ponies can do anything of that magnitude. Granted, Trixie’s power was amplified, and not all unicorns can cast powerful spells, but there isn’t something extreme that a pegasus or earth pony can pull off. Twilight casted a spell for non-pegasi ponies to walk on clouds, and Starlight levitated herself with magic to give herself effective flight much later in the show ,so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other spells that lets the unicorn step into the realm of other ponies. Sure there’s then Sonic Rainboom from a pegasus (or just RD), but other than being a visual spectacle, what else can it do? I’m rambling again.

 

Anyways, Trixie challenges Twilight to a… magic duel, and the loser must leave Ponyville. Twilight wisely rejects, but Trixie of course threatens with more magic and starts by  playing basketball (literally) with Spike. Trixie reveals that the incident from “Boast Busters” made her look like a joke. I didn’t know word got around THAT fast. Also, I don’t know how that would affect her career as a stage magician. So she isn’t the most powerful unicorn around. I doubt a stage magician would even need to be that. Trixie even had to get a job on a rock farm, and now Pinkie’s history has been confirmed and solidified with Pinkie’s father even appearing in Trixie’s flashback. That must’ve paid decently if Trixie had plenty of bits to pay for the alicorn amulet. Also, Trixie pulling out Pinkie’s mouth with a computer mouse was funny.

 

Twilight eventually agrees to duel, and Trixie restores the mess she made except with Pinkie’s mouth. Still funny. Trixie goes first and draws a card. Wait – rules have changed. She doesn’t draw, so she just starts her play by throwing a bunch of stuff and Twilight trying to counter them. Huh, the initial part of their duel is shorter than I remembered since not too many things are actually thrown, but whatever. Trixie ends her turn by de-aging Snips and Snails. Twilight tries to break Trixie’s field but is unable to because only the most powerful casters can deal with age spells, and Twilight isn’t quite one of them yet. Was she there after becoming an alicorn, by the way?

 

Since Twilight lost, she is to leave Ponyville, but her friends defend Twilight and step up against Trixie in a good scene. However, Trixie just throws Twilight out anyways and puts a dome over Ponyville. Since the dome seems completely solid, will the Ponyville ponies have to worry about air supply? Or can a pony like Trixie just make some oxygen? Maybe she remembers to let some air in once in a while. Twilight meets with her friends at the edge of the dome and monologues, and I doubt her friends heard a word she said.

 

Twilight tries again with an aging spell on a flower but is unsuccessful. Could the aging spell work on anything like a rock? Sure the casters have tried the spell only on organisms, but everything ages and is affected by time. Twilight is frustrated about being unable to contact Celestia because Spike would be needed to send a letter to the alicorn, and Celestia is all the way in Saddle Arabia. I’m sure Twilight could try going to Canterlot to find Luna, or would Luna be sleeping at this hour? Who knows? The cynic in me says that Celestia would be useless in this situation, but that’s a long and pointless ramble for another time.

 

Instead, Twilight goes to Zecora for info about “strange and powerful magic”. I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Last time I checked, Zecora did potions. Even though she’s foreign, I also don’t remember her working with “strange and powerful magic” earlier in the show. Then again, she does give that flashback potion later at the start of season 4. I don’t know, whatever. Zecora ultimately offers to train Twilight in… whatever Zecora teaches.

 

Back at Ponyville, Trixie has completely taken over, and no one can do anything about her. See? This is what I mean about overpowered unicorns. On a side note, has Spike tried sending a letter himself? I’m sure he can try to contact Luna or even Celestia even though the latter is away. Then again, there’s my inner cynic. I did enjoy the scene with Trixie tickle-torturing AJ, though. Cut to Twilight’s “training”. She’s standing on a pond, but she isn’t using magic to keep herself just on the surface. Is this some mental technique? Zecora is supposedly teaching Twilight to focus and concentrate, so is Twilight focusing on keeping herself on the surface of the water? And what does Zecora mean to teach when saying, “Unlearn what you have learned?” Who knows?

 

Back to Ponyville, which has become a dark and stormy place. Even a sinister wind blew, but I thought the dome kept the air pressure inside constant. Then again, the temperature inside could increase from a spell, so I’ll go with that. Twilight’s friends are in her library trying to find something about Trixie and her spells, and it doesn’t seem like writing a letter has crossed Spike’s thoughts. Fluttershy finds a book about the alicorn amulet, but she is speaking too softly. And the others take the book and find out the info anyways including the amulet driving the user crazy, and the user needs to willingly remove the amulet. They plan to tell Twilight all of this, and Fluttershy is to be the one to get out of the dome and into the Everfree Forest. Fluttershy is too soft in this episode for some reason, even compared to her season 1 self. Though it’s not quite as bad as her very first appearance when she was too afraid to converse with Twilight.

 

Trixie learns about the dome being set off and commands Snips and Snails to transport her. Couldn’t she just teleport? She encounters a trio of beavers who want to carry a log of wood (that contains Fluttershy) out of Ponyville, and she lifts the dome temporarily. I can imagine a bunch of other animals wanting to get out of Ponyville to do something, so would Trixie give in to those demands? Also, can a pony go underground to escape? The dome only seems to extend to just the ground and not below.

 

Fluttershy eventually reaches Zecora’s home to tell Twilight about the alicorn amulet. Twilight is still concerned about being unable to match with the amulet, but Zecora suggests that Twilight use her own tricks to beat Trixie. Fluttershy is then sent back with a letter to Ponyville. What’s weird is that Zecora’s suggest that she gave a bunch of lessons to Twilight, but we only see that concentrate above the water scene. And I don’t know how that contributes to the idea of using her own tricks to win, but whatever.

 

Twilight finally goes back to Ponyville and confronts Trixie. Twilight even suggested that Trixie cheated even though no rules were established for the duel. And she brings out her own “amulet”, so that line about cheating was random unless she just wanted to trigger her opponent. Trixie is eventually goaded into another duel because she would like a stronger weapon, or maybe she was just that hungry for power because of the alicorn amulet.

 

Their rematch begins, and we have a bunch of onlookers as well as the mayor in a cage. Did any of them see what actually happened when Twilight casted her spells? Anyways, this rematch was a good one. Trixie begins with the age spell, but Twilight does that plus a bunch of other ridiculous things by getting other ponies related to her friends in on her tricks. Another good display of using wits to beat a stronger opponent. It’s also a good bit of irony using stage tricks (Trixie’s alleged job) to beat raw magic. Trixie removes the alicorn amulet and steals Twilight’s amulet, but it’s unsurprisingly fake. Trixie even tried to cripple RD, but RD only ends up getting tickled. I thought Trixie was already something of a competent caster, so I’m surprised RD didn’t take more damage, but whatever. Pinkie’s natural ability to play multiple instruments at once was put to good use, too. Zecora now holds the alicorn amulet. She better hope no one else will try to find it.

 

It’s the end of the episode, and I don’t know what the ponies (or horses since they have a noticeably different model with a lack of a cutie mark sticking out) from Saddle Arabia are supposed to be doing in Ponyville other than be entertained by Twilight’s magic with the animals. I also don’t think we see anyone from Saddle Arabia again, which is a shame because I’d like to learn more about that place due to the different kinds of horses. But, what can you do? Trixie adds some fireworks to the show as an act of apology for her actions with the amulet, and she immediately departs afterward.

 

Oh, and Pinkie wasn’t given back her mouth yet, but Twilight fixes that. I guess Twilight isn’t that far behind an alicorn in terms of power then. Also, Snips and Snails weren’t restored.

 

I found the episode to be decent and enjoyable enough, but there otherwise isn’t much going for it. I’m not a huge fan of Trixie, and “Boast Busters” wasn’t an impressive outing since she literally didn’t do much in that episode, and she also doesn’t do much in this episode as herself. As a result, I’m somewhat apathetic to her. She starts out wanting revenge against Twilight, which is fine, but she spends almost the entire episode under the influence of the amulet. In other words, she isn’t “herself” until the end. The only things of meaning she does include explaining her motives and apologizing at the end. And even her apology at the end is clumsy. She only goes to Twilight when she should be apologizing to all of Ponyville since she enslaved the whole town for some amount of time. She also apologized for all of the “horrible” things she did while wearing the amulet, but she already wanted revenge against Twilight in the beginning, so it’s still very likely Trixie wanted to do something nasty even before getting “corrupted” by the alicorn amulet. If you want, you can even add that she intentionally tried to maim RD after getting the fake amulet. Maybe the alicorn amulet’s influence doesn’t immediately go away, but that isn’t made clear. Otherwise, all we learn about Trixie is that she supposedly not a bad pony.

 

Zecora also appears and supposedly does something important, but I don’t know what that is. She trains Twilight in… something. Yeah, most of the trainings took place off-screen, so the only thing we know is that Zecora just advised Twilight to use her wits and get help from her friends to beat a stronger opponent. That’s not bad, but then I don’t know what the point of the other sessions with Zecora would be. And then the episode tried to say Zecora knows about “strange and powerful magic”, but all she ever does in the show is make potions, so I don’t know how that counts.

 

And of course, Fluttershy was too meek in this episode even compared to her usual self. She does get scared, but she has also done other dangerous things before because she was needed. For example, she intentionally goes into the Everfree Forest in the premiere and “Stare Master”.

 

There were things I liked, though. The 2 magic duels had some creativity with summoning a parasprite to eat pies in the first one sticking out the most, and Twilight’s solution in round 2 was reasonable and in-character. And the alicorn amulet corrupting the user was also shown throughout the episode with the amulet having red glows, and Trixie’s eyes and amulet glow red at least several times over the episode. Then after Trixie removes the alicorn amulet, her magic goes back to a pinkish color. So, there was some nice attention to detail.

 

Those Saddle Arabian ponies/horses have such interesting designs, but I don’t think we’ll see them again in the show. Or at least not in a role more major than this, which is a bit of a shame, but what can you do?

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Sleepless in Ponyville

 

The episode starts with Scootaloo on her scooter, and RD flies by and compliments the filly. I don’t think the two have meaningfully interacted much in the show before this episode. There’s “The Show Stoppers” where RD seemed to be waiting for Scootaloo for some unknown reason (actually, there was no interaction in here), then Scootaloo asked about how RD got her cutie mark in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” (not much), and Scootaloo had her fan club of RD in “The Mysterious Mare-Do Well” (ultimately not much). I wonder if the fan club is still around. Anyways, this episode finally and thankfully does something about the two pegasi. Scootaloo crashes because she was thrilled about getting a compliment from RD.

 

Scootaloo relays her experience to her friends, and the others are quite impressed for some reason. I’m guessing it’s because Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom already know about RD being Scootaloo’s idol, but it was an idle compliment. It would be reasonable for them to be happy about Scootaloo getting props from her idol, but not to the degree they first showed. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this. Scootaloo’s own imagination of RD wanting to teach her made sense, and then AB and Sweetie Belle make the comments I was expecting them to do at the start. Anyways, Scootaloo wants to make her dream come true by trying to spend time with Rainbow Dash. Has Scootaloo tried or even considered the direct approach? She wasn’t shown to have been shy about asking. Apple Bloom mentions that she and her sister will be camping and invites the appropriate ponies for the episode. Sweetie Belle tries to invite Rarity who declined at first but later accepts. The scene was a good nod to “Sisterhooves Social”, and there was even a cut to this scene that pretty much referenced a similar cut in that episode.

 

AJ, Rarity, and the CMC all gather at the edge of forest with RD joining later. Rarity, for some reason, is making Sweetie Belle carry a shitton of luggage. Couldn’t she have used her magic to help her younger sister? Or was Rarity that annoyed about SB’s face when trying to convince Rarity to come along for camping? I still don't think she’d need that much stuff, but it’s for comedy, so why not?

 

Since they’re all going to Winsome Falls, we have an obligatory question: Is there a Losesome Falls?

 

The group finally arrives at their campsite, and there’s RD who even sets up the site. How did she cut down the tree trunks so neatly? Scootaloo tries to act “play it cool” and tentatively approaches RD, but she stumbles over a log seat and falls over. She was closing her eyes when approaching RD, so this is a good reminder that you generally don’t want to keep your eyes closed when moving around.

 

Scootaloo will be sharing a tent with RD, and the former’s expression about this is priceless. Rarity sets up a big and fancy tent as well as telling SB to get flowers for a vase, which SB does without question. I guess SB will do almost anything to spend time with her older sister since she also gives Rarity a cup of tea and continues to pull the luggages. And we continue to see that Scootaloo will do almost anything for RD after RD asks Scootaloo to get firewood.

 

Night time approaches, and RD tells a scary story. Does this happen often in real-life camping trips? She manages to scare the CMC, but Scootaloo tries to pretend that she wasn’t scared, which impresses RD. Of course, Scootaloo was obviously scared the most out of the 3. I do like the small touch of SB and AB clinging onto their sisters after being scared. And there was also a funny touch of RD actually sleeping like she tried to in “Read It and Weep”, though she has slept quietly before, but this was probably for comedy. So, why not?

 

Scootaloo falls asleep but “wakes up” (obviously dreaming) when she hears a noise and runs away. She even sees Princess Luna at one point, though I wonder why that alicorn didn’t take immediate action when Scootaloo was obviously scared out of her mind, but whatever.

 

Next morning, and Scootaloo hasn’t slept at all as her eyes gave away. I’m surprised RD didn’t notice the eyes. Some travelling around, Scootaloo being so scared that she gets startled over almost everything while trying to hide her true feelings for RD’s sake, and she eventually pulls Rarity’s luggages.

 

It becomes night again, and the group finds a cave to sleep in for the night. How do they know there aren’t any dangerous creatures in there? RD asks Scootaloo again for firewood, but Scootaloo’s fear penetrates her mind so deeply that she has a lot of trouble doing this task. It’s a good scene and sequence as we get a concrete idea of how much the fear affects her such as resorting to calling for the branches to come to her and later claiming that there weren’t a lot of trees (while they’re in a forest) after presenting only a few branches.

 

Rainbow Dash takes another chance to tell a scary story, and this time AB and SB are excited. It seems that they enjoy being scared. I’m sure Scootaloo would enjoy that as well if she wasn’t too focused on impressing RD. That wasn’t a strike against the episode, by the way. Scootaloo interjects and wants to tell her own story to get her mind off of the previous night’s story, and RD accepts if it’s a “horrible one”. Of course, Scootaloo ends up trying to tell a bright and sappy story, and RD suddenly cuts her off since it wasn’t scary. Well, you did get your wish, RD. Also, there’s still a chance that Scootaloo’s story might have later become scary. That obviously wasn’t going to be the case, but RD wouldn’t know that from her POV, so she probably wanted a campfire story to start scary.

 

So RD proceeds to tell the story of the headless horse, with Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom enjoying the fright while Scootaloo still won’t admit her fear and tries to stall with a campfire song. They should’ve played the one from Spongebob Squarepants. But the ponies must eventually sleep, and Scootaloo gets another nightmare.

 

Luna steps in this time to help the filly, and I’m still wondering why the princess didn’t try anything the previous night, but whatever. Also, what has that princess been up to? We’ve seen less of her than Celestia up until now. On the other hand, Luna will get more meaningful things to do, and I don’t know why that’s so hard to do with Celestia, but that’s a post for another time. Princess Luna reveals that helping other dreaming ponies is one of her jobs. That sounds cool and reasonable considering her design, abilities, and (minimal) background, but I have a few questions. Did she always have dream-walking powers? If so, did she use it before the Nightmare Moon stuff happened? And if so again, I guess the ponies she helped were either ungrateful or all happened to hate the nighttime. Maybe they hated the nighttime because of nightmares, so they refused to sleep, and Luna felt useless or some other negative feeling about being unable to do more during nighttime. Yeah, I’m just making up random bullshit right now, but I don’t know how her dream-walking ties in with the ponies that “shunned and slept through her beautiful night". Also, did she use her power to help dreaming ponies ever since getting back? It looks like a fair amount of time has passed since Twilight moved to Ponyville, so I don’t know why she’d be completely unrecognizable in “Luna Eclipsed”. Since Luna was also banished for 1000 years, there was no one to help those with nightmares. And since Equestria still seemed to turn out fine without Luna’s dream-walking help, just how necessary or useful is her ability? OK, time to move on with this episode.

 

Luna and Scootaloo talk, and the latter admits her greater fear of rejection from Rainbow Dash with Luna saying that the fear must be dealt with because it won’t be solved otherwise. It’s a short but effective enough scene between the two. Scootaloo wakes up but is still nervous about the headless horse from the story and runs away after hearing a noise for some reason. Where did she plan to go? Wouldn’t she be safer in the cave with the others? Couldn’t she have tried to wake them up about a noise she heard? I know she was panicking, but Scootaloo’s choice still doesn’t make sense even when taking that into account.

 

Scootaloo scoots around in her scooter but trips and eventually is about to fall to her death only for RD to come to the rescue. I guess RD just happened to wake up at the right time since the other ponies are still snoozing. RD rightfully scolds Scootaloo for randomly running away, and Scootaloo is reluctant to talk until a Luna on the moon repeats her advice again. This would’ve worked better as a voice in Scootaloo’s head because that would show her remembering what she learned and taking it to heart instead of the episode showing Luna hammering in her advice, but this is somewhat of a nitpick.

 

Scootaloo pours out her heart and admits her fear to Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash responds by giving support to the filly and also admits that her own ghost stories scared her after first hearing them. It’s weird that RD would deny to others about initially being scared when she later adds that she got over her fears pretty quickly because she realized her fears weren’t that scary to her. Doesn’t she view getting over a fear as an impressive feat? Also, doesn’t this imply that she’s afraid of how others might view her if they found out she did get afraid at some point? That’s kinda going against the main moral of the episode. But having RD reveal some inner secrets after seeing a distressed Scootaloo was still touching. RD agrees to be a pseudo-sister to Scootaloo. Finally! Still a good move, of course.

 

Some stuff happens toward the end, but it’s simply Scootaloo being happy about this turn of events and not being too affected by her nightmares from the episode anymore. Well, we do see Winsome Falls, which has a bunch of rainbow waterfalls coming from clouds. Are you sure this place isn’t part of Cloudsdale?

 

So yeah, very good episode. Scootaloo hasn’t gotten much to do until now mainly because she isn’t directly connected to one of the Mane 6, and this episode fixes that. She’s given a problem, and we see how the problem affects her and how she eventually deals over it. Her admiration over RD has been her main trait, and there’s also small stuff like being athletic with her scooter-riding, but it overall hasn’t been very much because she’s just lumped with the other CMC like a remora. Here, Scootaloo’s admiration gets some meaning. She’s very thrilled about a compliment from RD and even wants her as a pseudo-sister to learn from her. Scootaloo is actually scared of the stories that RD told but hides this feeling to appeal to RD, who Scootaloo thinks is fearless. But this attempt to appeal to RD is obviously what influences Scootaloo the most and even compounds the problem. Not wanting to look afraid is a common enough feeling, and I think everyone needs reminders that it’s better to admit to them than pretending they don’t exist. And that’s where Luna comes in.

 

Luna gets a meaningful role in this episode and even as a character. She’s kind and caring like her older sister, but she also didn’t just directly give Scootaloo the answer to her problem. Scootaloo was led to admit her inner fear of disappointing RD, so Luna didn’t need to solve any problems for the filly. That sounds like the way the writers wanted to express Celestia, but it’s done much better in here since we also know what Luna thinks of Scootaloo’s problem and helps with the solution.

 

Rainbow Dash obviously deserves mention for trying to act cool but still being a nice and reasonable pony beneath. She likes to tell scary stories, which does not seem unusual for her kind of character, but she doesn’t think less of those who scream from the stories. And in spite of her compliments toward Scootaloo, she doesn’t just accept any of what that filly does since RD also scolded her for randomly running away in the night. And she was even willing to tell Scootaloo a “secret” since she saw herself in that filly.

 

The other ponies in the episode don’t do much, but that’s fine since 22 minutes isn’t enough for all of them, Scootaloo is supposed to be the main focus with the appropriate ponies getting more attention, and the others still have their moments. Scootaloo, like in “Sisterhooves Social”, wants to spend time with Rarity and doesn’t mind pulling a ton of luggages for that. AJ keeps AB comfortable and shows concern for Scootaloo a few times, and Rarity also tries to keep her younger sister comfortable as well. Interestingly, AB and SB enjoyed the scary stories, which shows the “scary but fun” stuff better than “Luna Eclipsed” since they listened eagerly to RD’s second story. This also gives a good contrast to Scootaloo who tries to pass off herself as unafraid but actually handling things worse.

 

I have some nitpicks here and there, but they don’t take (too) much away from the episode.

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Wonderbolts Academy

 

We start at what appears to be next to the mailbox under RD’s cloud house. I wonder if she has a mailbox next to the door or porch in case the mailpony happens to be a pegasus. The Mane 6 are waiting for RD’s invitation letter to the Wonderbolt Academy (which is different from the title, but whatever). I wonder when she sent the letter, but that probably doesn’t matter. RD eventually encounters the mailpony and pretends to have been rejected, much to the horror of her friends. Of course, we know what really happened, and I doubt even the target viewers were even fooled. I do like this “prankster” side being shown for a short moment again. And she heads off. Oh, and Pinkie Pie had some funny moments in here such as her excitement for RD and her megaphone scene.

 

She finally gets to the academy, and for some reason I think it’s part of Cloudsdale, though this is never confirmed. I even recognize some of the pegasi from “Hurricane Fluttershy”, and the muscular one is noticeably present. And the guest of the episode, Lightning Dust, is also here. Spitfire commands the newcomers to fly 500 laps, and RD and LD both take the lead. LD even has a lightning-streaked trail not unlike RD’s rainbow trail, and LD is also competitive like RD since they decided to race their final lap which appears to be a tie. The two seem to get along and decide to hang out.

 

We cut to Ponyville, and it’s still the same day according to AJ. Pinkie has been checking her mailbox continuously for a response from RD. I have to wonder why she keeps opening and closing the mailbox as continuously as she does since she hasn’t seen a mailpony arrive to deliver mail. Or can mail appear by magic in Equestria? AJ mentions that Celestia has Twilight working on some new spells. Is this connected to the season 6 finale? Regardless of the answer, I would’ve liked to see what happened with and between the two spellcasters. Such a shame their relationship will ultimately amount to less than nothing. Anyways, Pinkie was about to go with AJ only to still be too concerned about the mailbox and possibly causing a chain of problems if she doesn’t do something with RD’s not-yet-arrived letter immediately. I guess Pinkie really misses her.

 

Back to the academy for more training. This time, Spitfire is training them to recover from spinouts reveals the “Dizzitron”, which looks like something from an amusement park. The circle also looks like the usual hypnotic symbol. RD and LD are as confident as ever, but Spitfire picks another pegasus to be the first victim. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t do too well so we can have a comparison with the 2 star pegasi of the episode. RD does much better and sets a record. LD goes next but asks for the hardest difficulty to “push her limits”. The testers oblige, and the speedometer goes from the lowest setting to the highest. There’s a tortoise and a hare (and a skull) on the speedometer, which is a cool reference. LD is launched and manages to recover quickly at 6.5 seconds on the fastest speed compared to RD’s 6 seconds when the speed was pointing at the tortoise. I wonder what that could mean. More test results from the remaining pegasi, and RD and LD are unsurprisingly too high to reach. This fuels the ego of those two since they express confidence about immediately joining the Wonderbolts. Spitfire then states that the pegasi will be in pairs for the rest of their training with one in the lead. Hm, I wonder who Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust will be paired with.

 

We can’t wait too long to find out the results, so that where the next scene takes us. To nobody’s surprise, LD and RD were paired together, but RD isn’t too thrilled about being the wing pony to LD’s lead pony. So RD decides to confront Spitfire about this. I don’t know why RD really wanted to be the leader out of ego, and I’m sure that LD would’ve treated RD like an equal based on the stuff shown so far. (And LD sort of does, but more on that later.) Spitfire is stamping pictures of Wonderbolts (as in not photographs) with a horseshoe, which seems like a generic and unimpressive signature since there’s nothing about the stamp that screams “Wonderbolts”, but whatever. Spitfire reveals that she paired LD and RD because of their skills, but she also put LD as the lead since LD was willing to push herself as shown with the Dizzitron stuff.

 

Next part of the training involves a flag hunt, and there are two teams of ponies with the pairs  being disallowed separation during the hunt. Time to play the game, although Spitfire claims otherwise, but it’s still set up like one. RD and LD zip around for a bit until RD sees a flag in a crevice that also has two logs close together on top for added difficulty. RD warns that they both might not be able to easily fit such a narrow opening, but LD just proceeds anyways with RD immediately following per guidelines. RD seems to be having trouble assessing the size of the narrow opening, though she could’ve tried flying a little further to the side for a better view, but whatever. LD enters just fine while RD injures a wing after hitting a log. The two return to Spitfire to submit their first flag, but LD chooses to push forward while downplaying RD’s injury. That’s not a responsible leader. Spitfire even raises an eyebrow, and this reaction makes sense in this case since it’s up to the pair to sort things out. We also see that RD would be more fit as a leader as she showed pragmatism while LD isn’t too considerate about her partner.

 

Cut back to Ponyville with Pinkie, and she’s still waiting for a letter. Has she really been waiting there for (according to her) 3 days? The others observe her obsessive behavior, and Fluttershy says she wants to help her, and Pinkie amusingly seems to have heard that despite being a fair distance away. Pinkie somehow thinks that RD has forgotten about them, but Twilight then suggests sending a letter first. Pinkie approves and settles for a care package. That’s probably a bit much since RD was only going away for a week, and 3 days have already passed. But Pinkie goes on another random chain of problems tangent with RD not getting the package, so she decides to give the package personally with agreement from her friends. Pinkie needs to have more faith in RD.

 

We’re at the Wonderbolt Academy again, and it looks like nothing else of interest happened during the flag hunt as we’re in another training course. This time, they’re training to fly under different and extreme conditions. Spitfire adds that this isn’t a race, so whoever wins won’t be credited. But Lightning Dust has other ideas. So they fly, but they eventually just reach a slower pair, and LD criticizes that pair. The two eventually speed up and cause the fliers in front to spinout and hit the other fliers behind. After they finish, RD suggests being more considerate to the others, which is met with scorn from LD. This is a pretty good nod to “Fall Weather Friends” as RD learned the problem of excessive competitiveness (which is ironically LD’s problem in here), and she sorted her priorities in “Hurricane Fluttershy”.

 

Another day of training, and the pegasi are clearing clouds. As usual, Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust are on top, but Lightning Dust decides to take another step further again. RD goes along after remembering Spitfire’s comments about LD pushing herself. The two create a tornado to complete their training faster, but the tornado becomes too fast for them to control, and they are thrown out. The tornado continues for some reason even though previous episodes like “Swarm of the Century” and “Hurricane Fluttershy” show the tornadoes immediately dissipating when no pegasi are around to keep it spinning. We did need LD to eventually cause some kind of trouble, but they could have used a better setup when also taking the next part into account. The Mane 5 are on their signature hot air balloon but coincidentally get caught by the tornado, with the hot air balloon getting shredded and the ponies getting thrown out. I wonder if Twilight could’ve used magic to levitate them or even do something about the tornado. RD springs into action while the other pegasi teams are just standing (or hovering) there and watching in horror. What was going through their minds? RD makes a dense cloud to catch and send her friends into the sky again to be caught by the other pegasi. And AJ manages to keep her hat on through all this. Rarity also hugs Thunderlane, and I wonder what he thought of this. There’s an amusing scene with Fluttershy being embarrassed about forgetting to fly with the pegasi who caught her (Cloud Chaser?) looking annoyed. It seems Fluttershy’s ability to recover from a spinout or something similar is abysmal.

 

Lightning Dust emerges and gives major props to Rainbow Dash, but RD deflects it by pointing out that her friends were almost killed smashed to pieces demolished taken out. Lightning Dust deflects RD’s deflection since RD’s friends are still alive, but RD deflects LD’s deflection by recapping the problems LD caused. Well, not quite. RD herself had a hand in some of them like hitting the other fliers when she could’ve tried going above or below them and agreeing to make a tornado, but at least she takes responsibility for her actions in the next scene, so I’ll give RD a pass.

 

So RD confronts Spitfire about recent developments and decides to call it quits since LD’s overzealous tendencies have gone unchecked. I liked RD’s expression and realization immediately after leaving Spitfire’s office.

RD is about to leave the academy (and give up her dreams) with her friends when Spitfire immediately emerges. Spitfire took RD’s words to heart, kicks Lightning Dust from the lead pony position, and announces RD as the new lead pony. What about the other ponies that were leaders while the new recruits were in pairs? I guess they’ve just become RD’s wing ponies. Spitfire sends out the recruits including RD to do more training, but it turns out the care package hasn’t been opened. I don’t know if the package is quite usable at this point after getting so squished up.

 

Another solid season 3 episode. Rainbow Dash shows who she is in this episode as she’s confident, competent, competitive, and even a bit showy. She gets through the training courses without much of a fuss and was always eager to participate. But she’s also considerate and sets reasonable limits. She shows concern for the other new recruits (not unlike her attitude in “Hurricane Fluttershy”) and doesn’t feel the need to bash them literally or figuratively to prove herself. It’s also worth noting that even though RD wasn’t happy about being a wing pony, she still accepts it without complaining (or at least a little only at the start). And when she thinks that LD has gone too far, RD steps up and chews out LD and even quits the Wonderbolts (her lifelong dream) since RD didn’t approve of their apparent methods.  Overall, it’s another good piece of RD’s progress toward her goal.

 

Lightning Dust was a good guest character, and I enjoyed watching this pony as she’s genuinely competent and can back up her claims. She’s pretty much an “extreme” or unrestrained Rainbow Dash as she is showier, too competitive, and condescending toward those she doesn’t like. But she also does show genuine respect toward RD, so LD isn’t a complete dick so much as she’s inconsiderate and acts before she thinks. And I liked how she acted at the end as rushed as it felt. When she suddenly lost her lead pony badge, she didn’t complain, throw a fit, or look vengeful in the slightest. She takes this loss with grace and looks sad and regretful. I would’ve liked to see her return since I doubt this would stop her from trying to be a Wonderbolt (not to mention her status is unknown), and it would also be interesting to show Rd and LD’s relationship after this event as well as when they both still try to join the Wonderbolts. It’s weird that she didn’t show up again after this, but what can you do?

 

Spitfire makes a fairly welcome return. She doesn’t do too much, but that’s not too much of a problem since there wasn’t enough room for her. She thought highly of RD and LD and paired them up as she knew they were great fliers, and she also showed some reasonableness even with her drill sergeant attitude such as accepting RD’s words at the end and making an effort to correct a genuine problem. Though it’s hard to see if Spitfire actually remembers RD based on this episode alone especially when RD has done other impressive things in front of Spitfire with episodes such as “Sonic Rainboom” and “Hurricane Fluttershy”. One might argue that she should’ve chosen RD as the lead pony based on “Hurricane Fluttershy” while LD only had pushing her limits as her main trait. Maybe so, and I’d say she and RD were trying to be professional about their positions. It was a good move on RD’s part to not ask for favors just because of familiarity, and Spitfire shouldn’t show favoritism, but it’s hard to see what exactly Spitfire was thinking when sorting the teams. Even when sorting the teams, Spitfire would need to give some thought about who to put as leader, so some degree of “favoritism” will still be involved. Overall, the past events with RD and Spitfire throw a monkey wrench into the scheme of things. She also seemed oblivious (or just not observant) about LD’s shenanigans during the precision flight test. I should note that these complaints about Spitfire are fairly minor.

 

Pinkie didn’t do so well here, though. She was funny with her concerns about RD at times, but it was unreasonable for her to think that RD would suddenly forget about them. If nothing else, “Party of One” had Pinkie learning to have more faith in her friends. Overall, I’m not completely positive about Pinkie Pie in this episode, but she’s far from a deal breaker. I did like the scene where RD’s friends try to console her after announcing her decision to quit.

Edited by Number?
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Apple Family Reunion

 

The Apple family is preparing for, well, a reunion with Granny Smith being pretty excited. AJ even notes that Granny Smith has been talking about the last reunion every single day. Uh, sure. I’ll take her word for it. It looks like all direct members of the extended Apple family will be coming included Babs. Of course everyone will come since a story about their reunion is being shown on-screen for the first time. Also, I can’t believe AB is actually excited about Babs considering their last encounter. Then again, they left on fairly good terms, but “One Bad Apple” is still bad. Also, the premiere of the show had other members of the Apple family, so was that another reunion? I’d say it was, and almost 100 moons have passed since then according to Granny Smith. Assuming a new moon comes on an average of every 30 days (roughly) or so, that means it’s been about 8 years since Twilight has moved to Ponyville. Something’s wrong here.

 

Granny Smith is getting a bit old, so AJ decides to plan the reunion while getting input from the granny. Next scene has Granny saying that they have family reunions every 100 moons or so. Maybe the premiere didn’t have all members of the Apple family. But the teaser also said that not all members always show up at every reunion. I don’t know.

 

Next scene. Granny Smith shows AB and AJ the family photo album, and she’s been working on a quilt since the first reunion. And the quilt still isn’t complete at this point. How big did they want the quilt? And AJ jots down quilting material in her mental notepad. Young Granny Smith also talked in the flashbacks. I actually don’t remember that, but her younger self doesn’t sound so different from her older self. Isn’t it also weird for a fairly young pony to be called “granny”? I know about Granny Smith apples, but that name was definitely given to her by the creators to note her old age.

 

The Apples also enjoy their fritters, and AJ makes another note to get ingredients for the fritters. I’ve never had those. What do they taste like? There are also have seven-legged races, and AJ takes more notes.

 

Finally, there’s the big family photo. The first reunion photo had Granny Smith as a filly when she was already an adult when settling in pre-Ponyville. Maybe that reunion was in another area. And there are only 3 reunion photos. Maybe an abridged version of the photos was shown.

 

AJ also looks out her door and sees 2 meteors possibly representing her dead parents. I say that they died from a disease.

 

Since this reunion will be a full one, AJ plans to make the reunion the best one yet. One can easily see where this will go.

 

It’s the middle of the night, and AB (unable to sleep for some reason) goes to AJ’s room for… some reason. AJ has obviously been planning very hard for the upcoming reunion. It’s a little weird that Big Mac and AB directly said they’d be willing to help in the beginning, but they don’t seem to have any involvement with AJ’s planning. I also don’t know why AJ feels like she has to plan the whole thing herself outside of possible stubbornness, but this wasn’t brought up. Overall, the setup is weird.

 

Next morning, and it’s already time for the reunion. Did AJ even get much planning time? It doesn’t look like it at all unless the episode was trying to be vague about the passage of time. A montage then plays with AJ getting some help from her friends for the event. There was an amusing scene of RD whistling after a cloud zaps AJ. The main Apple family eventually finish preparing their farm for the others with plenty of time in the morning left. I guess setting up events in Equestria is very easy since this episode and “A Canterlot Wedding” didn’t require the characters to do some forward planning.

 

Time for the rest of the family to appear, and they all happen to come at the same time. Did they plan to arrive in this fashion? Hayseed Turnip Truck is here as well. I didn’t know he was an Apple. I mean, there are the Oranges from Manehattan, and a turnips are still produce like oranges. I don’t know. I guess the family reunion isn’t limited to just family members. And Braeburn also makes his first reappearance.

 

AJ makes her announcements and mentions the various activities she planned for the day. I don’t know how she got every single thing down overnight.

 

AB and Babs meet up, and Babs even said she went to a new school. That’s one way to handle the bully situation. Why wasn’t that option attempted sooner? Anyways, the two fillies are excited to catch up and talk to each other. However, AJ comes in and asks them to go to the obstacle course for the fillies, but the fillies are more interested in chatting. AJ assures them that they’ll have plenty of chances to talk, but AB and Babs are still unhappy. It’s pretty obvious where this episode is going.

 

So we cut to the fillies of the big family reunion having a seven-legged race, and it’s too damn huge and long. I doubt AJ set this up by herself, so did Big Mac or Apple Bloom notice the strange setup for this activity at the very least? And it also seems that AJ has never heard of “short and sweet”. Maybe she thinks the fillies need to exercise. The race starts, and team AB/Babs are in the lead, but they get tired with the first checkpoint still being too far out of reach. AB and Babs are not amused for obvious reasons.

 

Next, we cut to the older members of the family. Granny Smith and 2 others are all having a chat about a past reunion and are eager to finish the quilt. AJ gives them sewing machines so they’ll have a better chance of finishing the quilt. I never knew the main Apple family had them. One of them is surprised about the chance of finishing the quilt. So, was the quilt going to be endless? I don’t know how they plan to hold and fold something that huge. And the sewing machines are pretty loud. Last time I checked, less noisy ones still existed. Anyways, these old ponies are also not amused, for obvious reasons again.

 

We’re back to the fillies, and they’re running around the trees like AJ asked. I can’t believe they actually followed through even though they (or at least AB and Babs) weren’t interested, and AJ was far away. That’s family loyalty, I suppose.

 

And we have the rest making fritters. Some (or at least 2) of the family members are enjoying a chat, but AJ tells them to hurry up so they can have a ton of fritters. These two ponies are not amused as well, for obvious reasons yet again.

 

AJ eventually calls for a break, but the rest of the Apples are tired out from the event. She tries to take a photo or two for Granny Smith’s album, but she can’t find any good shots since the others are too unhappy. I guess AJ doesn’t know nonverbal communication as the expressions hardly convey joy. I felt like I made this kind of comment about a pony before.

 

Apple Bloom and Babs try to hide from AJ, and the two are irritated about being unable to simply chat like they wanted. But AJ somehow catches them and has yet another activity planned with a hayride. AB and Babs even try to tell AJ about their problems, but AJ remains overconfident with her setup.

 

We get to the actual hayride, and AJ decides to spice up the event to have something a little different. Yeah, it’s still too obvious where this is going. More on that later. In this case, more exciting means a faster ride, which still works. However, the ride gets bumpy since the wagon has to travel over a bunch of large rocks. There’s an example of slower sometimes being better. But that interestingly won’t be the problem. AJ actually planned to release rainbow-colored fruit bats for a visual treat, but the bats notice the apples on Auntie Applesauce’s hat and descend. This creates a disaster that eventually gets the wagon crashing into the Sweet Apple Acres barn, and AJ gets embarrassed.

 

AJ is miserable about her plans for the rest of the day being possibly cast aside. I guess the barn had a ton of supplies for other activities. But Apple Bloom and Granny Smith finally tell AJ the problem with the reunion. The Apples are so busy with the activities that they aren’t able to actually reunite. The words get to AJ, and she decides to have the entire family rebuild the barn together while actually enjoying each other’s company through a somewhat catchy song.

 

I also saw Bon Bon and Cloud Chaser among the crowds. I guess they’re also friends of the family since they and Hayseed Turnip Truck (and others) aren’t in the final family photo.

 

It’s the end of the reunion, and it looks like all they did was rebuild the barn. Then again, that probably would take all day. And they seemed to have fun doing it, which was the most important part. The main Apple family at the end are looking at their updated photo album, and there are shots that aren’t from the song. I would’ve liked to see more of what went down while the Apples were rebuilding the barn. And AJ learns that journey is more important than the destination. The end.

 

Honestly, I found this episode to be overwhelmingly average. We’re shown a bunch of other Apples, but they don’t do much. Braeburn is here, but he never talks. There are 3 main groups of ponies the episode showed: the fillies, the older ones working on a quilt, and everyone else making fritters.

 

Babs at least gives a little bit of her happenings to AB and even mentions two other fillies who want to be Crusaders. We don’t get a follow-up on that, but I don’t mind. I still would’ve liked more interaction between Babs and AB since “One Bad Apple” gave a horrible introduction to Babs. Other than being nice and wanting to hang with Apple Bloom, nothing else of interest was given about Babs.

 

As for the elder Apples, Granny Smith was the only one who did anything interesting, and that’s because she’s a familiar character at this point as well as being a major supporting character of the episode. Granny Smith continues to be a competent and supportive figure, and she shows a smaller side of herself as she doesn’t mind not winning a single seven-legged race and was slightly mischievous at one point.

 

However, the other 2 old ponies don’t have anything of interest. In fact, I don’t know their names nor am I curious enough to look. One keeps losing her dentures, and the other has… OK, I had to look up the other (Apple Rose) because I literally remembered nothing about her. Apple Rose is Granny Smith’s “favorite” cousin, and they did seven-legged races together. Sadly, none of these givens do anything for the other old ponies. They have some playful banters with each other by recalling past events, but the other 2 ultimately don’t leave much of an impression due to their extremely limited screentime.

 

And we finally have the ponies making fritters. There were two ponies who enjoyed speaking with each other until AJ intervened, and that’s it. Nothing to see over here.

 

They didn’t need to give a bunch of characters speaking roles as that would be too much. The problem is that the guests that do speak do very little of that, so watching them ends up being dull. And what’s the point of bringing in new characters if they ultimately do nothing?

 

So if these side characters do nothing of interest, surely AJ must have something? Well, she starts of fine enough at first. She wants to help her granny set up the reunion because Granny Smith is getting too old, but her ambition and goals overtake the point of the reunion. I liked that she asked for help from her friends, but what comes next is repetitive. She wants the other Apples to enjoy themselves while trying to complete big tasks, but all that ever plays is the other Apples being unhappy with AJ’s approach. That was obviously the point, but it’s literally the same thing shown 3 times, and it takes plenty of time to slog through.

 

She starts with the fillies and plans a ridiculously huge race. AB and Babs aren’t happy because they don’t get to talk. That’s it.

 

AJ goes to the elder Apples next and wants them to finish the quilt, but they have to use loud sewing machines, and the elder Apples also don’t get to talk. Next.

 

AJ then goes to the ponies making fritters, interrupts a conversation to continue with the fritters. And the conversing ponies are unhappy about being unable to talk. Even less comes from this area.

 

Things finally pick up with the hayride, the disaster with the barn, and AJ finally feeling tearful and embarrassed. But it’s also too late as the “Raise this Barn” song comes up when only about 4 minutes is left in the episode. Even though the song is quite catchy, it’s only about, well – raising the barn. So nothing of interest happens still in this sequence. At least the Apples were enjoying themselves and possibly each other, but I have yet another problem with this.

 

There isn’t much of a payoff. The episode stacks a bunch of problems on top of each other, and we see the damage it eventually creates. This show has a positive tone, so the episode will also work on fixing the damage and ending on a positive note. The problem is I don’t know how much the Apples enjoyed themselves or what funny things happened during the rebuilding because all of that stuff is crammed into the end. Even though the episode is trying to convey the moral of being able to spend time with loved ones being a treat itself, we don’t actually see much of the quality time any Apples spend together.

 

The song sequence has AJ singing most of the lines, and the other Apples don’t get to talk by “singing” to each other or something like that. All of the interactions and “good times” happen off-screen, and only snippets are given through the photos Granny Smith looks through at the end.

 

It is a nice bit of irony that AJ meant for the others to have fun, but the activities end up feeling like chores. On the flip side, raising the barn was work, but the ponies enjoyed themselves.

 

I generally don’t like making comparisons, but I can’t figure out a better way to highlight my problem. “Family Appreciation Day” was another low-key episode that started off slow, but the episode has familiar characters going on with their antics. Granny Smith has a seemingly strange process of preparing for Zap Apples, and the CMC try many ridiculous things to prevent the granny from making a presentation in the classroom. And Granny Smith’s story came when there was about 6 minutes or so left in the episode, which was enough time for her flashback and the aftermath. The payoff was huge in this case since she talked about her past life, how she started her farm, and the eventual founding of Ponyville. The ending with AB remembering to appreciate her granny becomes more satisfying since there was enough time to show the results.

 

The journey is more important than the destination, but the journey in this episode was too predictable and ordinary.

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Spike At Your Service

 

We start at Twilight’s library, and Spike is counting the number of books she plans to read. I actually paused to see the number of books shown on-screen was correct, and it actually was. According to Twilight, Princess Celestia wants Twilight to read all 12 books over the weekend. What are the books about? Why does Celestia want Twilight to read them? Why all in one weekend? Only Celestia God knows.

 

Since Twilight will be busy with her books, she relieves Spikes of his tasks. Spike goes on to complete the tasks in his own long list, which turns out to be almost empty since he finishes a few tasks extremely quickly. And now he’s bored. Does he have any hobbies?

 

Spike then goes around Ponyville to find something to do, and he sees the hot air balloon from the credits in the middle of the town. Was that always there? He bumps into a pole that the balloon was tied to, and it flies away. He chases after it and eventually manages to catch it while ending up in the Everfree Forest. It doesn’t look like anyone else tried to catch the hot air balloon, so there’s either more of them, the balloon is worthless, or no one actually cares about it.

 

Spike becomes terrified after finding out he’s stuck in the Everfree Forest and hopes he won’t run into anything dangerous. You know what happens next. He comes across a dangerous creature, timberwolves (literally) in this case. The wolves corner Spike into a dead end, and I have to wonder why the bad guys or dangerous creatures always approach their victim slowly at this point instead of just proceeding to kill the victim.

 

Applejack appears out of nowhere to distract the timberwolves. No, really. What was she doing in the Everfree Forest? She said she came because she saw the balloon getting away, and now I’m wondering why she’s the only pony who went after the balloon. She was also standing on a cliff that was well above and away from the wolves, but the next shot of her shows the wolves already catching up her. Those timberwolves didn’t move that fast in Spike’s situation.

 

After dealing with the wolves, the two head back to Ponyville, and AJ proceeds to finish her own tasks. Spike being grateful is fine, but he also becomes desperate to help as his own life was directly saved. He didn’t feel that way in “Owl’s Well That Ends Well” or “Secret of My Excess”, so this desperation becomes unsurprisingly random. Even more random is that he happens to be clumsy in this episode starting with the basket of apples. AJ sends him away so he does not scatter the apples that she took so long to gather.

 

Spike goes to Apple Bloom to help wash a pig, and I just realized that Spike hasn’t interacted with the CMC much. Huh. Not a huge deal since their lives aren’t that tightly connected. He also knocks over a bucket of water and soap for the sake of being clumsy in the episode. At least he didn’t screw anything else up as he manages to clean the pig without trouble, and AB leaves never to be seen again for the rest of the episode.

 

Applejack tries to tell Spike that he did his part, but he continues to push because… plot says so. So Spike is sent to help Granny Smith prepare and bake pies. And he keeps making a mess. He has done plenty of chores at Twilight’s home, so his clumsiness is also obviously random. AJ and Granny notice his mess and tell him to get eggs, which are too high for him to reach. I guess they just expected him to try all day to get the eggs since they continued on with making pies. And, of course, Spike drops the eggs. He tries to clean the eggs with a mop and knocks some more stuff and makes an even bigger mess. This was so stupid I literally busted out laughing at all the stupidity that happens in this sequence. I’m surprised the Apples weren’t irritated with him.

 

AJ tries yet again to send Spike away, and he finally pulls out the “dragon code” from his ass while revealing that he is obligated to cater to her every whim. Granny Smith also finally mentions Twilight, and it doesn’t look like he thought much about his closest friend while applying his little “code”. He heads back to Twilight and notifies her of this development. He’s not happy about leaving Twilight’s side forever, but Twilight for whatever reason doesn’t reciprocate any tender feelings as she mindlessly listens to and responds to Spike’s revelation. Also, she has 11 books left to read including the one she is currently reading.

 

We’re back at the farm, and the Apples just finished cleaning their kitchen. With the mess Spike made, it should’ve taken them longer than that. And Spike comes back to notify them that Twilight has seemingly approved of this. AJ and Granny Smith are in major disbelief, and I would be too if I was in either of their position. He tries his hand at cleaning the already clean kitchen only to make a huge mess again. My response to this is a facepalm, but it’s at the creative team on the episode.

 

Commercial break, and Spike has finished baking a shitty looking pie. What did he put in that? Ash and dust bunnies? He even made baked goods before like in “Dragon Quest”, so I don’t know why the pie looks the way it does. And for added absurdity (as if there wasn’t enough already), he even almost knocks over the pie after setting it on the window sill. Thankfully AJ was around to try to curb his episode-exclusive ineptitude and continues to express discomfort over his dedication. Obviously, she was trying to be modest and sincere about her feat in the Everfree Forest, but the episode for some reason also needed Spike to be an idiot so AJ would have an additional reason to get rid of him. Only the first reason would be enough for the episode.

 

Also, since Spike is trying very hard to obey AJ’s wishes, what if AJ just said that she wishes for Spike to, oh I don’t know, continue living on his life as usual with Twilight? Can Spike turn that down? Sure he said he really wanted to serve AJ, but he also wouldn’t be following her will if he refuses to follow that wish.

 

Anyways, Spike rejects AJ’s… rejection because the dragon code is (allegedly) a part of him, and he won’t be a “noble dragon” (whatever that means) if he doesn’t follow that code. He’ll get plenty of other chances to help AJ (directly or indirectly) in the future, so he actually doesn’t need to worry. That’s one of the strengths of a television show. Also, he seems to have forgotten about Twilight already.

 

The dragon begs for more stuff to do, and Applejack looks around her farm. She first looks at the plow and then the unpainted fence, and Spike will no doubt fuck up in those areas and create more work. But then she looks at the ax, and she immediately recoils. This was actually quite funny, and the sparkle from the ax helped with that. One can only imagine the number of ways Spike will mess up or even hurt himself. AJ eventually settles with the nasty pie because anyone in her position would want to get rid of it.

 

Now Spike and Applejack are at Rarity’s home from Spike’s suggestion, and Rarity knows she’s in some deep shit since she has to eat a piece of the pie to not offend Spike. At times like this, one must be notified of their mistakes and/or incompetence so they can try to improve. Of course, the problem is trying to communicate this. Of course again, Spike’s incompetence was for the sake of comedy. They definitely could’ve done better than this. The scene with Rarity still manages to be funny just because of concept. Also, the characters note that it’s 10 am. It didn’t look very early at the beginning of the episode, but whatever.

 

Spike is sent away to do some cleaning, but the viewer can already guess what will actually happen based on what came before. And AJ relays her experience and discomfort to Rarity. Rarity is instead thrilled at the thought of having a servant. She better make sure she won’t have as much trouble as she did in “SIsterhooves Social” with that.

 

Rainbow Dash arrives from the ether to tell the other 2 ponies about her novel, and Rarity mocks it. Hm, I wonder what the intention behind this whole scene was. RD also mentioned AJ’s unfinished novel, and AJ’s reaction was actually quite funny. AJ then tells RD about the problem with Spike, and RD suggests giving Spike an incredibly difficult task so he’d give up instead. Spike conveniently arrives and seems to have broke the sink. Who’s going to pay for that?

 

Rainbow Dash gets Spike to build a tall tower of rocks, and the dragon amusingly follows through. Fluttershy also arrives from the ether and remarks that she’d pretend she had nothing for Spike to do. I doubt that would actually work since someone will always have at least a few things to do. My earlier suggestion is still available. RD’s dread at having to crash into the tower of rocks as well as actually doing so was funny. Adding to the humor is that the episode doesn’t show what actually went down to leave the event to the viewer’s imagination. RD still gets a concussion, though.

 

The dragon offers to rebuild the tower, but AJ unsurprisingly shoots this down. RD smartly follows. AJ then tries Fluttershy’s idea and says she has nothing for Spike to do, but he doesn’t take this well as he won’t be a “noble dragon”. Too bad he never defined that expression because I still don’t know what that means. Spike suggests that AJ might need help finding out what she needs help with, and this as well as what follows are still funny because they’re so ridiculous.

 

Applejack then reaches Twilight. Why didn’t she try this sooner? She could have suggested this when Spike tried suggesting Rarity. Anyways, Twilight still has 11 books left to read, so she’s slower than I thought unless not much time has passed. However, that wouldn’t make sense, so whatever. AJ manages to get her attention by knocking on an ink bottle, which somehow makes a loud enough noise.

 

Twilight says that she could take a break, so I guess the book she was reading must be quite hard. AJ relays her problem to Twilight, and Twilight realizes she was not paying attention to the dragon. This gets AJ to then realize that this shouldn’t have worked as it did. Really? It turns out that Twilight can’t do anything about Spike because… it’s the dragon code. Really? This whole thing is so dumb that I could only go with it to see what other ridiculous things happen.

 

Pinkie Pie still hasn’t appeared, but that won’t take long to change as she now appears along with her friends for the final act. There were images of Pinkie with a moustache, and I couldn’t remember the episode it was from. Looks like I got my answer. Spike is off counting the blades of grass, and he doesn’t seem to have much trouble with that. I guess the “dragon code” can really help a dragon’s determination. AJ wants to stage an attack so Spike can save her life and fulfill his self-imposed debt. She plans to stage a fake timberwolf attack. The mention of a timberwolf gets her friends to gasp, so they must be very deadly. And what was Rarity doing inside the party cannon?

 

Rarity was about to show AJ how to be a damsel in distress, but is interrupted by Spike’s arrival. Huh. I actually don’t remember that happening. AJ starts things off by telling Spike to gather leaves, and she pulls a rake from out of nowhere.

 

Time for a timberwolf attack. Detailing the whole “attack” would too long (and I’m lazy), but the whole thing is played for comedy, and going all out with the fake setup was funny. Highlights include Rarity and Pinkie running away happily, AJ getting her hoof stuck by running to a pile of rocks and putting a limb in, obviously fake acting, and Spike calling bullshit on the whole situation. The way he catches the act is funny as well since he accepted the whole “bad acting” (again, AJ was in front of Spike and puts her front leg into a pile of rocks), but he notices the lack of timberwolf breath. This actually came earlier in his first encounter, so it was a good detail.

 

However, 3 real timberwolves have arrived to attack. AJ and Spike are interestingly the only ones left behind, so AJ pushes a large rock onto the wolves to smash them. But she slips and later gets her back hoof truly stuck in a pile of rocks. In the meantime, the smashed timberwolves reassemble themselves into one giant timberwolf, and this one looks like it has more mass than 3 timberwolves combined. It’s about to attack, but Spike intervenes and throws a rock into the giant timberwolf’s mouth. Spike frees AJ, but that giant timberwolf continues to choke and eventually dies. That was lame. And where was the rest of the Mane 6? They could’ve set up a Spike-AJ situation without excluding the others entirely since it didn’t seem like the others were even aware of Spike and AJ being gone.

 

Spike eventually agrees to drop his “dragon code” after AJ says that she won’t think less of Spike and just advocates helping others out of altruism. She probably could’ve tried this sooner, but then again Spike was to insistent with his help.

 

It’s nighttime (still the same day?), and Twilight is still reading. It looks like she has read more than 12 books. She’s reading in the dark, and I don’t know why she couldn’t use an illumination spell. But Spike comes to her rescue with a lamp. And Spike is happy to be back with Twilight.

 

Yeah, this was not a very good episode. The “dragon code” makes no sense when considering episodes that came before, and Twilight somehow knows about its existence. Spike’s life was saved in “Secret of My Excess”, so why didn’t he apply his code in that episode? Compounding this problem is that he wants to be a “noble dragon”, and the episode makes no attempt to explain what that is supposed to be. A “noble dragon” becomes even harder to define since “Dragon Quest” was the only episode to actually talk about dragons, and that didn’t turn out so well. Spike’s code would have worked better if he made it up himself, though other things would need to be explained like why he even made it at all.

 

The biggest highlight of the episode for me was Spike’s clumsiness and incompetence. I can accept that no one is perfect, but Spike does chores in Twilight’s place, so moving to a different household shouldn’t curb his competence. What makes this even weirder is that Spike seems unaware and/or indifferent to the messes he keeps making. He didn’t even need to be so incompetent for the story. The main point of the story was that friends help each other and can always find genuine opportunities to provide help instead of forcing it. Spike could still have been helpful and desperate, and AJ’s discomfort over this mentality wouldn’t look unreasonable. At least Spike’s incompetence does stop when he starts piling rocks. Good thing he didn’t cause that whole structure to tumble.

 

I’ve already commented on Twilight earlier in the wall of text, so I won’t repeat myself. The defeat of the giant timberwolf is still lame, though. Why can they regenerate after being directly smashed, but they can’t recover from choking? And those things seem pretty fragile in spite of their regeneration ability, so they shouldn’t be that hard for the Mane 6 excluding AJ to deal with. And couldn’t Spike unleash some fire against the wooden timberwolves?

 

On a side note, I don’t know how he managed to count to 24,567,837 in less than one day. If he counted at the rate shown on-screen, it wasn’t very fast. Assuming he counted one blade of grass per second, this would translate to just over 284 days. He’d have to speed up his counting off-screen.

 

Even though this episode wasn’t good, there is still some fun to be had, and there were some genuinely funny moments. The biggest was the fake timberwolf attack when Spike accepted the obviously fake setup, and the only mistake he caught was the lack of timberwolf breath. Of course, this whole episode was so stupid and nonsensical with the “dragon code” and Spike just randomly causing trouble that I could only laugh and play along.

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Yep, this episode sucked hard. And you know what? I don't care one bit because I somehow managed to enjoy it. It contains all the things that normally piss me off in a bad episode, yet I still like it and I have no idea why. But, hey. Who said that you have to find something good for you to enjoy it? Not me, that's for sure. :) 

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12 minutes ago, King Clark said:

Yep, this episode sucked hard. And you know what? I don't care one bit because I somehow managed to enjoy it. It contains all the things that normally piss me off in a bad episode, yet I still like it and I have no idea why.

I think the episode having a (mostly) light-hearted tone instead of a serious tone helped with the enjoyment. The Apples weren't even furious at the messes he created, nor does it seem like he had a negative effect on their livelihoods. So there wasn't too much of a reason to hate Spike.

24 minutes ago, King Clark said:

But, hey. Who said that you have to find something good for you to enjoy it? Not me, that's for sure. :) 

Agreed.

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Keep Calm and Flutter On

 

Some of the Mane 6 are waiting for Princess Celestia because she announced her visit to Ponyville. Pinkie was even excited, which would be a first onscreen, but whatever. Apparently, she’s late because… I guess transporting Discord’s statue is difficult. The present characters aren’t too excited about this development, so what could Celestia be planning? Let’s find out.

 

Twilight screams at Princess Celestia for the first time, and it’s really too bad their relationship never gets fleshed out over the show. So it’s a good reaction, but it’s also a generic one at the same time. The other characters including Celestia recap the trouble Discord previously caused to show how outlandish the whole situation is.

 

Princess Celestia said that she has use for Discord’s magic and can help with the forces of good. I wonder what was going through her head when she was handling this issue. And what did Luna think of all this? I doubt even God knows the answer to either of those. Also, she was giving this task to the Mane 6 and didn’t bother contributing to the solution. Typical Celestia demanding others to do her dirty work. She said that she had to attend a royal summit later, but even an infant can see through this. Oh, and she cast a spell on the Elements of Harmony so Discord can’t mess with them again. This implies that she could cast a spell that’s effective against Discord even though he was established to be much stronger than an alicorn. This raises at least a few questions like: Can alicorn actually handle Discord? Why does this spell work against Discord even though the Elements of Harmony were established to be the only sources of magic effective against him? Are there other spells that can work on Discord? Celestia casted another spell in “The Return of Harmony” on the elements, but Discord handled that. And why didn’t Celestia use this second spell the first time? So… I don’t know.

 

Fluttershy and AJ were away dealing with a beaver that built a dam that was causing trouble for AJ’s apple trees. I don’t exactly know what the point of this scene is other than another example of Fluttershy being able to handle certain troublesome creatures when she was already going to try applying her skills on Discord in the episode. Then again, there will be another beaver business later in the episode, so I guess they’re just here for the sake of story. Anyways, these two eventually head back to where everybody else is.

 

We cut to Celestia talking to Fluttershy, and she thinks Fluttershy can convince Discord to change his ways. It doesn’t sound like Celestia sees something in Discord other than just as a possible tool, so she still doesn’t come off well mostly because we never get her POV and some possibly poor wording. My memory is a bit fuzzy regarding Celestia and Discord in “Twilight’s Kingdom”, but I’ll shred rewatch that episode eventually.

 

So Celestia leaves and leaves the Mane 6 to do their stuff as usual. The Mane 6 wear their elements and free Discord. I wonder if Discord could just remove the elements from the ponies at anytime. Sure they can deal with him, but the elements are useless without a user, and Discord can deal with one or the other individually assuming nothing gets in his way. I don’t know, whatever. Anyways, he is able to hear conversations even in a stone state and mocks the idea of himself getting reformed. I wonder if he could also see, but no indication is given. He also mentions “disappointing the princess”, and I don’t know if Celestia really would be disappointed if Discord couldn’t change. Then again, her POV and thought process are still noticeably lacking as always.

 

Fluttershy confronts Discord and threatens him with her stare. It’s been a while since that was directly mentioned. But the stare doesn’t work because… I don’t know, I guess the spirit of chaos happens to be immune to that kind of stuff. Eventually, he is convinced to behave after a threat with the elements from Twilight, but he also puts a spell on some beavers behind the characters’ backs. He actually verbally announces this, but this seems to be directed at the viewers instead.

 

Another cut, and we’re at Fluttershy’s cottage because she’s the one who will put the most effort in trying to reform Discord even though the task was given to the entire Mane 6. Then again, everyone sans Fluttershy directly distrusts Discord. Fluttershy is putting some effort into being nice, but this ultimately comes off as just doing what Celestia says instead of Fluttershy actually thinking Discord could potentially change. Eventually, the Fluttershy’s friends leave her to personally deal with Discord, and my comment about this task being assigned to the entire Mane 6 comes up again. Too bad her friends didn’t try to help and just left her alone with a potentially dangerous creature.

 

Fluttershy eventually settles for being nice to him so he can be befriended. That’s not a bad way to try to get an enemy on your side, but she’s still doing it under Celestia’s orders. Also, one should make sure that Discord doesn’t try to take advantage of this gesture, though he will end up doing so anyways. He is left alone with Angel, and he tells the bunny that he has no intention of changing. No surprise since he has never been shown to care about ponies in anyway, and I don’t know what he’d gain by associating with them outside of not being stone.

 

Twilight is looking through her books for a reforming spell. So, mind control? And this raises questions similar to the ones I was asking in regards to Celestia’s spell earlier. Twilight happens to be unable to find them because Discord ate the appropriate pages. I don’t know how Twilight didn’t see this initially since a ripped page should be noticeable when going through a book.

 

Back to Fluttershy’s cottage, and Discord is vertically spinning the place. That’s too much space, Fluttershy. I don’t know the best way to reform anyone, but I doubt letting them do whatever they want helps.  And I guess being assertive currently isn’t an option. And she doesn’t seem to know that setting limits is important, or else guys like Discord will just abuse her generosity kindness. Anyways, Discord said he is thinking about making a change, but he again confirms (to the viewer) that he has no intention of doing so. Twilight calls Fluttershy and tells her about Discord messing with the pages of the books that contain reforming spells. By the way, how does he know which books have those kinds of specific spells? This should alert Fluttershy of Discord’s intentions, but she shrugs it off simply because he said he was willing to change. That doesn’t make any sense. Her element should instead be gullibility.

 

Fluttershy proposes to hold a dinner party because she believes that this will help with his attitude. The actual dinner party is, of course, chaotic because Discord is clearly a troublemaker. And his tendencies still seem to go over Fluttershy’s head since she defends him while everyone else catches his bullshit. RD tries to reveal the truth to Fluttershy, but Fluttershy calls him a friend. Discord seems genuinely touched by this remark, though it’s worth noting that he couldn’t care less about Fluttershy’s well-being just a few moments earlier. And Fluttershy adds that he made her home livelier with his chaos. I’ll just have to take her word for it. Anyways, Discord’s sudden happiness calms the chaos with a surprised look from everyone else.

 

However, Angel appears to notify the characters of a flood at Sweet Apple Acres. It turns out the beavers Discord corrupted earlier are behind this. I do like the details of the beavers carrying logs in the background throughout the episode. Anyways, RD points out that Discord still won’t stop causing trouble, and Fluttershy retorts by saying that she’s not so silly and gullible. So, is she trying to say that she was aware of Discord’s bullshit in the episode? What came earlier hardly supports that idea since she kept bending over to Discord until this point.

 

Fluttershy asks Discord fix this mess, but he will only agree if Fluttershy refuses to use her element against him. Another obvious sign of his true nature. Her friends warn her not to agree, but Fluttershy does so because… I’m not sure why. She has about as much (blind) faith in Discord as I did in the creative team during my early days with the show. Discord instead turns the area into an ice-skating rink, and Fluttershy gets angry at him for the first time but still refuses to use her elements out of her promise. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that she has to be his friend. Discord initially doesn’t care since he can be free. However, he notices that he’ll lose his first and only friend if he continues as he does, leading him to realize that he actually values Fluttershy’s friendship. This episode needed more time because he didn’t care at all about her, and now he suddenly doesn’t want to lose her. Without an actual transition, his choices carry no weight and just seem arbitrary.

 

Discord fixes everything, and he later agrees to use his powers for good. Most of the time. But Celestia leaves the elements with the Mane 6 just in case Discord regresses.

 

Hm. Can’t say this was a good episode. I’m not against reforming a villain, but this episode hardly convinces me of its intentions and accomplishments.

 

For its intentions, Princess Celestia wants to reform Discord because she wants to use him and not because she sees some goodness in him. If she went with the latter option, that would add to her kind and caring image. Since all she says is the former and nothing else, her intention comes off as a mystery and can even portray her image negatively. I just read the transcript in “Twilight’s Kingdom”, and I can’t tell whether Celestia actually wanted Discord’s help in that situation, so I’ll just guess no since the her dialogue can’t suggest otherwise. And if it happens to be pertaining to Tirek’s return, I don’t know why she couldn’t tell the Mane 6 or anyone else about this upcoming danger. I mean, she wouldn’t be causing a panic in their case since they’ve confronted a few villains already. Also, has she considered other options for dealing with Tirek? Actually, my questions about Tirek are pointless as the show never provides answers to them.

 

And Celestia obviously still doesn’t trust Discord as she’s leaving the elements with the Mane 6, so I still don’t know why she wanted to try. It’s a stupid gamble no matter how you look at it since she wouldn't be able to recover if it utterly failed. That doesn’t sound like something a good and responsible ruler would do. Too bad Celestia also didn’t interact with or try to help reform Discord. The episode may have given a reason for her absence, but the real reason is obvious even to a blind and deaf person. I still wonder what Luna thought of all this.

 

As for the Mane 6, only Fluttershy is giving him a chance. Everyone else doesn’t because he’s a loose cannon. That’s a reasonable reaction. So why does Fluttershy have faith in him? I don’t know. She doesn’t give much of a reason for putting up with his crap, and she just accepts every lie he spits out and simply believes that he’ll change just like that. Since I don’t know why Fluttershy gave him a chance at all, I can only guess she’s did all this because Princess Celestia asked. Did Fluttershy try to see the goodness in a villain? This episode doesn’t convey that idea.

 

Also, Discord is hardly trustworthy in the first place and can only be beaten with the Elements, so I don’t know what she planned to do next if he just went on a frenzy because he felt like it. Even with the Elements of Harmony, he was able to deal with the individual objects as he previously did by hiding them away in season 2. Strangely, he never tries to take them from the Mane 6. And the episode never answers if he’d be able to do so. Sure he tried to take them physically, but what about with his own magic? I guess not? The final showdown in “The Return of Harmony” can also be considered, but it’s still not very clear. So… I don't know.

 

As for the episode’s accomplishments, it tried to say that Discord was successfully reformed thanks to Fluttershy’s efforts. This idea could work the actual episode had more meat. Discord clearly doesn’t care about the ponies and just cause trouble at Fluttershy’s place since she allowed him to. Then, we cut to the dinner scene where he caused some more trouble, and he’s suddenly touched about having some (vague) connection to Fluttershy. And Fluttershy never actually warms up to him. She just accepts everything he does and ignores his villainy. Toward the end, Discord boasts that he doesn’t need friends and then suddenly becomes sad over Fluttershy’s abandonment. Why? Why exactly does he value friendship? Why does he suddenly care about Fluttershy when he couldn’t care less about her in every scene (excluding the dinner party) before this?

 

There were some minor things I liked. There is still some fun to be had with Discord. And Fluttershy swore not to use her element against him toward the end. Technically, while she didn’t use the object, she did treat Discord with kindness (though for no apparent reason) which was meant to lead to his change. This still could’ve been done better, but the episode is rushed and underexplained.

 

Also, I’m getting bored of rewatching the show. Or maybe I’m just getting a bit bored of reviewing because this takes plenty of time to write. I’m gonna skip the next 2 as they’re related to the Equestria Games stuff, and I have no interest in revisiting those kinds of episodes. I’ll just get to “Magical Mystery Cure” since that makes Twilight an alicorn. After that, I’ll rewatch certain episodes because there are certain ones I’d like to incinerate review.

 

By the way, “The Return of Harmony” still sucks. Low blow, but I’m an asshole who couldn’t resist.

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*sees that Number? is reviewing an episode where Celestia is portrayed poorly*

 

Oh, boy! Time to get the popcorn. :P 

 

In all seriousness though. This is another episode that I know isn't very good, but I can't help but like it anyway.

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I'm surprised I wasn't angry with the episode, so I apologize if there wasn't any anger for you to enjoy. I don't understand my feelings sometimes.

And yeah, Princess Celestia was a character that I wanted the show to develop, but I'm not happy with the results.

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3 minutes ago, Number? said:

I'm surprised I wasn't angry with the episode, so I apologize if there wasn't any anger for you to enjoy. I don't understand my feelings sometimes.

And yeah, Princess Celestia was a character that I wanted the show to develop, but I'm not happy with the results.

No need to apologize as I did like this episode even though I can agree that it's very flawed. It is also pretty overrated from what I have seen. However, I am really looking forward to your review of Rainbow Falls. I have a feeling that you are going to absolutely destroy it. :D 

 

Celestia has been a massive disappointment, but I gave up on her so long ago that I no longer even care if she is written poorly. I have simply lost my ability to give a shit. This show has much bigger flaws in my opinion like episode consistency. When I go into a new episode I really don't know what to expect. I could end up watching something terrible or amazing. I just can't trust this show.

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19 minutes ago, King Clark said:

No need to apologize as I did like this episode even though I can agree that it's very flawed. It is also pretty overrated from what I have seen. However, I am really looking forward to your review of Rainbow Falls. I have a feeling that you are going to absolutely destroy it. :D 

 

Celestia has been a massive disappointment, but I gave up on her so long ago that I no longer even care if she is written poorly. I have simply lost my ability to give a shit. This show has much bigger flaws in my opinion like episode consistency. When I go into a new episode I really don't know what to expect. I could end up watching something terrible or amazing. I just can't trust this show.

I may or may not get to "Rainbow Falls". I don't plan to cover the entire show as there are some episodes I'm not interested in rewatching. But my feelings may change over time.

Yes, she's a disappointment. I'll admit that one of the reasons I got into the show was because of her mysterious aura as well as other concepts (directly or indirectly) relating to her. I probably should've given up on her a long time ago as well, but I just figured that common sense wouldn't allow her to keep slipping.

And yes, the show is inconsistent. I watch these kinds of things to enjoy them, so I'd probably be more tolerant of the inconsistency if it wasn't for the above issue. Generally, I tried to keep neutral expectations when I watched new episodes.

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Magical Mystery Cure

 

My memory is actually quite fuzzy about this episode. All I remember is that Twilight solves some magic spell allegedly from Star Swirl which affected her friends, and she becomes an alicorn because of her accomplishments. I don’t remember what exactly Celestia does outside of transforming Twilight, so this may be an interesting rewatch.

 

The episode starts with a sparkling Ponyville, some sunshine, and a suddenly singing and happy Twilight. Considering what actually happens over the episode, the episode starts off bright and happy so the truth can be a surprise to new viewers. I don’t know if it needed to play like that when considering the tone of the show, but whatever. Have other episodes started off with a song? And why exactly is Twilight suddenly singing about the serene nature of Ponyville? Isn’t the place usually serene anyways? What makes this day so different from the others? Also strange is that in the song, she wonders if anything could ever go wrong. Since storytelling usually requires something to, well, go wrong, that’s a strange line to put in the song.

 

However, Twilight is suddenly drenched by water from some storm clouds. She thinks RD is fooling around, but it turns out Rarity with RD’s cutie mark is trying to control the clouds, and Twilight becomes concerned. So unicorns can exert some control over the weather. Why aren’t there more unicorns like that? Maybe pegasus ponies are better, but that doesn’t mean unicorn ponies can’t try. Overall, that was a very weird way to start the episode.

 

Rarity is trying to stylize her cloud arrangements, but this results in strange weather which doesn’t sit well with the Ponyville citizens. I doubt RD is/was the only pegasus pony that works with the Ponyville weather, so what happened to the other weather ponies?

 

Twilight then goes to Fluttershy Rainbow Dash’s cottage according to Rarity. Rarity never actually said this onscreen, but whatever. Unsurprisingly, RD is working with animals instead of Fluttershy, and RD herself unsurprisingly has trouble. Gummy is even in the cottage for some reason.

 

Fluttershy has occupied Sugarcube Corner, and Pinkie Pie is in Sweet Apple Acres. Interestingly, Pinkie’s old mane style is used, so her mane seems to reflect her overall mood. There were other times when Pinkie was feeling down and her mane didn’t change like in “Too Many Pinkie Pies”, but whatever. The Mane 6 except Twilight have their cutie marks and occupations changed, and they clearly suck at their new jobs because they are still their old selves (somehow), but they keep pushing on with their new jobs because (they believe) it’s their destiny.

 

Twilight finally realizes that this disaster is related to a spell she worked on the previous day. She got another assignment from Princess Celestia, and this time she is to figure out and fix an old spell Star Swirl tried to create. Note that Celestia believes that Twilight is the only pony who can figure this out. Have any other ponies tried to deal with Star Swirl’s spell? And since alicorns are still ponies, has Celestia herself taken a look at it?

 

Twilight tried to cast a spell, but the Elements of Harmony behind her (and now in a case) change colors and thus change owners. Why would she cast the spell if she didn’t know what it did? Did Celestia know anything about the spell or its effects? Were the Elements even around during Star Swirl’s time? There’s no indication of that, so why would his spell even affect them? The Elements of Harmony were modeled after their respective users cutie mark, so why does getting changed affect the users and their cutie mark? And how does all the stuff from the previous night lead to her singing the next morning?

 

It seems that there is no (easy) fix to this problem because their “true selves” and destinies have been changed. Twilight feels crushed and sings/mopes about the problem until she looks at a picture of the group and suddenly gets an idea that could fix everything. Note that she only felt sad for a little more than 1 minute, so this makes her sadness seem pointless since she gets over it almost immediately. This easily could’ve been cut with her feeling some guilt but then determined to fix the problem since she already cares about her friends.

 

The first to be approached is Fluttershy, who was about to take a hot air balloon to Cloudsdale. I guess her own sadness caused her to forget about directly flying there. Twilight convinces Fluttershy to help RD, but they better hurry because the animals are about to cook RD. I wonder how RD ended up like that, but it’s still quite amusing. Fluttershy uses her ability that “somehow” (from “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”) lets her understand animals, and she eventually convinces them to calm down after realizing that they were all (obviously) just hungry. Fluttershy makes an important realization and becomes her normal self. I wonder how many signs the animals tried to give RD about being hungry. I’m surprised the animals didn’t try to eat whatever they find, and they instead tied up RD. They must really hate her.

 

Now that RD is free, we must get to the others. But we need time for Twilight to become an alicorn, so the others are fixed quickly through a song montage that says true friends help each other and brings out the best in the other. It’s a fairly catchy song, though almost all of the lyrics are repeated, so it’s not a very interesting song that would warrant revisiting. What’s weird is that Pinkie’s poor handling of the farm caused it to look decrepit and lifeless, but AB and Big Mac also and still work there. Where were they? Was Pinkie so terrible that she undid all of the work AB and Big Mac did? Or maybe the siblings refused to help because Pinkie was terrible, though I don’t know if that’s a reasonable option to take. Somehow, AJ’s return suddenly gave life to the farm again even though plants need time to grow. One thing that bothers me is that Ponyville only seems to be happy because of the Mane 6. To elaborate, the Mane 6 except Twilight get different cutie marks and different jobs, but they’re unhappy, and the rest of Ponyville is unhappy. Granted, they could just be grumpy from the poor weather caused by Rarity, but the end of season 5 has jaded me.

 

After this montage and the restorations, Twilight figures out how to fix Star Swirl’s spell. His original spell is all about doing things alone while Twilight’s is the magic of friendship, so we can already see why Twilight’s spell succeeded and Star Swirl’s failed. What was Star Swirl’s original intent, by the way? Twilight’s tiara begins to glow, the other Elements launch a beam at Twilight, and there’s a big magical glow and bubble that causes Twilight to vanish. With about 7 minutes left to spare, enough time for the third act, something big must happen. It’s already obvious by now, but this still feels like 2 different stories squished together since the cutie mark business could’ve been one episode, and Twilight becoming an alicorn could’ve been another. More on this later.

 

Twilight is now in some ethereal area resembling outer space. And Princess Celestia shows up. Besides “Keep Calm and Flutter On” and “The Crystal Empire”, this alicorn was absent for all of season 3. I’ll also add that this alicorn had little presence even within the first 3 seasons of the show. More on this later.

 

Princess Celestia said that Twilight did something that was never done before. What would that be exactly? I guess it’s about fixing Star Swirl’s spell, but Celestia continues on by mentioning that Star Swirl himself wasn’t able to do what Twilight did. Then again, he couldn’t fix his own spell, but I’m sure the episode is referring to his original intent, which is still clear as mud.

 

There’s something else that bothers me. According to the episode, literally no pony outside of Twilight did… whatever she did. Alicorns such the sisters from the premiere of the show are also ponies. So, Celestia didn’t/couldn’t figure out Star Swirl’s spell and needed Twilight’s help. OK, fine. But Celestia adds that Star Swirl couldn’t complete his spell because he didn’t know friendship. Too bad we know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Star Swirl, but that’s not my point. This implies that Celestia knew the solution to the spell, or at least had an idea. But the episode made it clear that she never bothered with it herself, so how did she know that friendship (specifically from Twilight) was the answer?

 

And Celestia sings for the first time in the show. Nicole Oliver has a good singing voice, but her talents are sadly wasted on this inconsequential character. I do feel pity for her. Celestia says that she’s been watching Twilight (really?), and Twilight is ready for her “ultimate destiny”: the status of an alicorn princess.

 

*sigh* I’ve got plenty of comments about this as well as the scenes after the transformation and before the coronation, but I’ll put them at the end of this review.

 

Time for Twilight’s coronation. Celestia gives her opening speech, and she said that Twilight created new magic, whatever that means. Oh, and Twilight’s parents are in the crowd. I doubt coronations take a short time to prepare, so how much time passed between meeting Celestia and the day of the actual coronation? Then again, “A Canterlot Wedding” proved that in this universe, setting up major events like this doesn’t take much effort. Also, the ponies that followed Twilight are Fluttershy clones.

 

Not much else happens, but celebration, cheers, speeches, and Twilight flies toward the screen to end the episode.

 

I have plenty of things to say about this episode, and not a lot of positive things. In that case, I’ll get the positive(s) out of the way first. The songs were decent and catchy, and there were plenty of songs in this episode. At least Celestia sings in here, but that no longer matters to me at this point considering the seasons after this. Otherwise, I can’t think of anything else that I liked.

 

As for the stuff that didn’t work, it won’t be very organized in regards to a certain alicorn, but I’ll try my best to convey those thoughts a little later.

 

What sticks out most is the rushed pacing. The first 14 minutes include the cutie mark problem and resolution, and the resulting product easily highlights this rushed pacing. Twilight encounters the problem, mopes for 1 minute, and then the rest of her friends are quickly fixed through a montage without much trouble. So this problem isn’t actually much of a problem.

 

And then Twilight becomes an alicorn princess and gets her coronation. This episode feels like 2 separate stories squeezed into a single episode, or at least a 2-parter squeezed into 1 episode. If this were a 2-parter, Twilight could vanish at the end of part 1, and the alicorn business could’ve been the point of part 2. Then again, there is “Princess Twilight Sparkle” after this, but my memory of that episode is also kinda blurry outside of some flashbacks.

 

Speaking of alicorns and princesses, it’s too bad the show has never talked much about those two concepts.

 

The episode makes a big deal about Twilight becoming a princess. Too bad I have no idea what it means to be an alicorn or a princess. Sure she gets wings and is in a “high” position (whatever that is), but what else? At its most basic, Twilight would be a leader, but I don’t find much proof of leadership. Sure there’s “Winter Wrap Up”, but that’s much smaller than whatever a royal does. If we had to examine what the alicorn sisters have been doing over the show, it isn’t much. We see Celestia sign papers, but she doesn’t interact with ponies not named Twilight, and even their relationship is undeveloped. The episode tries to imply a major change with their relationship, but since their relationship before the transformation is undeveloped, the significance behind the change becomes a mystery. As for being guardians of Equestria, do I really need to say anything about that? Princess Celestia even mentions helping and guiding Twilight, but if you’ve watched the show, there has been little of those even in this episode. Twilight is the one who always does helping.

 

The alicorn sisters have been around since the premiere, but they’ve never done anything truly significant. Or at least Celestia never did. Luna didn’t overall get much since we still don’t know about her personal life and how exactly she gets along with other ponies, but at least she still got one episode to herself as well as an episode with Scootaloo.

 

Celestia probably got more total screentime than her sister, but what has she done until this point? She raises the sun, but “Hearth’s Warming Eve” already said that alicorns aren’t needed to move celestial bodies. She’s given some tasks to Twilight, but she never partakes in said tasks, making her look lazy. In “The Crystal Empire”, she said she needed Twilight’s help with said empire, but that place is a mystery since it’s been gone for so long. So what in-universe reason makes Twilight more qualified to approach the empire? This cluelessness even translates to this episode where she isn’t able to do anything about Star Swirl’s spell, but Twilight could. “Keep Calm and Flutter On” had Celestia wanting to reform Discord for an unknown reason, and note that the one most interested in the reformation made no contributions to this task. Outside of those episodes, she hasn’t done anything. She gives a quest in “Dragonshy”, but the rest of her season 1 appearances are minor. She makes no sense in “The Return of Harmony”, and while “Lesson Zero” showed her being disappointed in Twilight for the first time in the show, the episode ultimately goes nowhere. Then she becomes effectively absent for the rest of season 2 until “A Canterlot Wedding”, and I don’t need to say how well she fared in that episode. If it isn’t obvious, Princess Celestia hasn’t been portrayed well in the show because of a lack of her perspective, and it’s only going to get worse from here.

 

And Cadance. Well, she’s unfortunately still a nobody even as of now.

 

Without other alicorns to compare Twilight to, the significance behind her ascension is a mystery, and episode’s triumphant tone doesn’t make sense.

 

Oh yeah, Celestia said that she was watching Twilight. Is that so? Has she noticed Twilight sometimes being nervous around her like in “Swarm of the Century” or “Lesson Zero”? And what exactly does she think of Twilight other than, “Twilight is a good pony”? And of course there are other questions about her motivations. The first one is: Why does she want Twilight to be an alicorn? What drove Celestia into making this decision? How or why is that Twilight’s destiny? What does learning about friendship and writing friendship letters have to do with being a princess? And how would those help her become a princess? Has Celestia directly tried to prepare Twilight for this? And shouldn’t Twilight have been made aware of this ultimate goal? The end of season 4 made Twilight the princess of friendship, but was that a hole Equestria needed to fill? Doesn’t Twilight have a say in all of this? What if she didn’t want to be a princess? What did Luna think of all this? Did she have any input in Celestia’s plans?

 

According to the episode, the reason Twilight becomes princess is because she fixed Star Swirl’s spell. OK, so she’s a competent mage. How does that translate to being a princess? If being a competent mage is the only required step, then I’m sure there are other ponies who are capable of being princesses. And let’s not forget that Twilight hasn’t always been responsible with her magic and spells like in “Swarm of the Century” or “Lesson Zero”. Whether she learned from those mistakes is a mystery.

 

By the way, what was Star Swirl’s spell meant to do? The most direct effect it had related to cutie marks (nevermind that it affected the Elements of Harmony for no apparent reason), so did he want to mess with cutie marks? The incantation just mentioned doing things alone, probably tying into Celestia’s comment about him not understanding friendship. I don’t know how that relates to cutie marks, though. Yeah, I have no idea what this spell was supposed to do, and Star Swirl’s lack of intention don’t help matters. All Twilight discovered was that friendship is magic, which she already discovered from the BEGINNING. What makes this new discovery so special?

 

The stuff with the cutie marks and “destinies” also bother me. The Mane 6 except Twilight switch cutie marks and thus jobs. And they’re obviously terrible at their new jobs. Have they considered changing jobs? What if a pony is interested in one thing, gets a cutie mark relating to that thing, and loses interest after a period of time? What’s the worst that could happen if a pony strays away from whatever the cutie mark says? At least Fluttershy planned on going to Cloudsdale, but I don’t know what would’ve happened next. The ponies in this episode mention their cutie marks “telling” them about their destinies, but normally a pony earns their cutie mark AFTER discovering their passion. And Rarity’s talent was finding gems, but she’s a fashion designer. So their cutie marks and talents/passions by extension don’t determine their “destinies”.

 

In a way, this episode embodies some of my biggest disappointments with the show. I initially watched the show for magic, mystery, and matriarchy. Twilight becomes an alicorn, but I don’t know what that means. Celestia had ideas, but I don’t know what they are or why she had them. These two have some kind of a relationship that the episode tries to emphasize, but I still don’t know what it is due to lack of interaction in this and other episodes. And Luna is over there. OK, so matriarchy is shot down. Star Swirl gets mentioned and continues to be hailed as a special unicorn, but the episode couldn’t even say what his intentions were. More complaints about Celestia seeming questionable. No (good) mystery there. As for magic, that referred to action and adventure, but there isn’t much in here. I’ll talk about that another time though. The show is heavily slice-of-life based, and that’s fine. It’s too bad that their bigger episodes tend to be their lesser ones.

 

Yeah, this wasn’t a very good episode, and I apologize for the chaos. I’m surprised that I don’t hate this episode, though.

 

I said that I wasn’t going to do the entire show, and that’s still true as of now. So I’ll just be reviewing certain episodes spread out over the show until the end of season 6. And there’s one certain episode I’ve been wanting to pummel for the longest time…

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I actually genuinely love this episode and find it quite good. I definitely disagree with all the negatives you pointed out there with the exception of the pacing. I agree that the pacing is too quick.

 

However, just because I disagree with this review doesn't mean that I find it bad. Quite the opposite, actually. It was very well put together and you explained yourself with actual logic. Good job!

 

Btw, I reviewed No Second Prances today. If you want, you can check that out.

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16 minutes ago, Number? said:

And there’s one certain episode I’ve been wanting to pummel for the longest time…

Oh, and which episode is this? If I were a betting man I'd say The Cutie Remark or DPDoMS

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14 minutes ago, King Clark said:

I actually genuinely love this episode and find it quite good. I definitely disagree with all the negatives you pointed out there with the exception of the pacing. I agree that the pacing is too quick.

 

However, just because I disagree with this review doesn't mean that I find it bad. Quite the opposite, actually. It was very well put together and you explained yourself with actual logic. Good job!

 

Btw, I reviewed No Second Prances today. If you want, you can check that out.

That's fine, and thanks for your feedback.

I'm surprised you understood my review. Quite often, I have no idea how I want to convey my thoughts whether I have too little to say or (in this case) too much to say, so they always end up looking messy to me no matter what I try. And I'm sure I've left out a few things, but I'll assume they're not too important since they'd already be in my review.

As for "No Second Prances", I also don't think much of it. Unfortunately, it's a season 6 episode, meaning I didn't watch it with much enthusiasm.

10 minutes ago, King Clark said:

Oh, and which episode is this? If I were a betting man I'd say The Cutie Remark or DPDoMS

I'd rather leave you guessing, but I'll tell you anyways. The latter. Though I do plan to get to the former at some point.

I wrote my review of "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" a long time ago, and I've edited it over time as well. It's in my older reviewing style, though I do recap the episode a bit, too. I thought I was going to watch the whole show over again, but I lost interest since that turned out to be pretty big undertaking. Even mini-marathoning has burned me out.

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3 minutes ago, Number? said:

I'm surprised you understood my review. Quite often, I have no idea how I want to convey my thoughts whether I have too little to say or (in this case) too much to say, so they always end up looking messy to me no matter what I try. And I'm sure I've left out a few things, but I'll assume they're not too important since they'd already be in my review.

As long as you properly explain your positives and negatives with an episode (which you did), you'll get my props. What I like to do is talk about everything in a certain category (characterization, plot analysis, etc) and then just move on to the next category with somewhat of a transition.

 

I am just tired of reviews that are pretty much full of just plot or story summary until the end where the reviewer will just say "ya, great episode. Nine out of ten". There isn't any analysis or explanation of their points. I mean it doesn't really mean anything if you just say in a review "this character was good" or "it was funny". For any review to carry weight, there needs to be justification. I will like pretty much any review that doesn't do shit like that.

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Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?

Luna regrets everything she did as Nightmare Moon and feels that she deserves only punishment for her evil acts. Disregarding that she did little during her 2 appearances as Nightmare Moon, the episode’s premise sounds great. We get to see her life, possibly even her past life, dramatized. Since she also felt very guilty of her actions, we could also learn more about who she is and what makes her tick. And the episode is even featuring interesting themes with self-punishment and the effects of taking it too far. While this all sounds promising, the episode does nothing with such huge potential. The themes of guilt and self-punishment sound interesting, but they only get mentioned in the episode and have no bearing on the story that plays out.

Good

  • Umm… ehh… err… I got nothing.
  • Sure Luna appears, but nothing is done with her nor does she do anything outside of using her dream powers.
  • There are also the dreams providing some (boring) visual stuff, but they just pad the episode and distract from the more interesting stuff.
  • Yeah, these aren’t genuinely positive points, but I still wanted to try somehow. In other words, I can’t think of anything about the episode that I liked. That’s not a good sign.

Bad

  • Princess Celestia is useless yet again. In this case, it’s a ridiculously stupid and contrived problem for multiple reasons. Luna said that Celestia has “no power in the realm of sleep.” That’s obviously a bullshit excuse since the Mane 6 also have no power over sleep and dreams, but Luna asked for and accepted their help.
    • Maybe Luna was too ashamed about wanting to admit this to her sister, but without a hint of the relationship between the 2 alicorns especially in this episode, the line speaks more loudly about the creators being idiots about how to use Celestia instead of implying trust issue between the sisters. Reinforcing that idea is that their relationship never receives any spotlight after this episode (it does later in season 7, but they still don’t help this episode). There was a small scene in “Slice of Life”, which came before this episode, but it’s extremely minimal.
    • The show doesn’t give their perspectives of each other. One can recall from a previous episode that Celestia missed Luna, but it’s just an idle statement without expansion, which makes the line meaningless. There’s also a line from “For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils” where Luna claims that Celestia “often shines more brightly than [her]” which could support the idea that Luna feels ashamed about consulting her sister, but I don’t know how much water that statement holds without knowing either sisters’ POV, so it becomes another throwaway line.
  • What was Luna feeling guilty about, exactly? She didn’t do much during the premiere or the flashback shown in “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, so her decision looks silly and stupid without an explanation. To recap, the premiere pretty much shows that Nightmare Moon didn’t stick around long. I’ll quote part of that review:
    On 2/18/2017 at 10:32 PM, Number? said:

    Nightmare Moon doesn’t do much and thus looks unimpressive. The history at the beginning made her seem like a powerful magical pony, but she does little outside of keeping the night around and throwing small obstacles at the main characters. Again, said main characters go through those obstacles with little difficulty. In terms of direct action, she teleports Twilight to a close location, and the two charge at each other. Nightmare Moon also just stands around when she thinks something bad might happen to her. The first instance of this is when Twilight casts a spell on the orbs, and when a reaction seems to be occurring, the villain only gapes in horror. Another example is when Twilight explains how she and her friends represent the elements, Nightmare Moon again does nothing. The second one is common in all forms of fiction, and I am willing to accept that, but all of this doesn’t help Nightmare Moon’s overall image. This will also be important to a special season 5 episode, but I’ll get to that eventually. Some ways of fixing this are for her to destroy the orbs herself, which can elicit the same reaction from Twilight, and NM can shoot a magical blast at the Mane 6 only to be unsuccessful because of the Elements of Harmony being present.

    • She shows her face at midnight on the day of the summer solstice and does the above, but she is beaten not long after. She was around for a some number hours at most since it became morning after her defeat, and I can’t think of any trouble she caused during that time outside of hitting some guards and mildly annoying the Mane 6. Hell, NM didn’t do anything important with some background pony in any episode, so I highly doubt anyone in Equestria can recall what kind of damage was caused. Even Spike was asleep during her “reign of terror”, so he also wouldn’t have much to say. I also doubt any pony outside of the Mane 6 remembered what Luna/NM did during this time.
    • As for “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, Luna transforms into NM, blasts parts of Canterlot and eventually her sister, then disappears. I’d say she only appeared in-universe for about 5 minutes (and that even seems like a generous assumption), and no other ponies were shown to have witnessed this event. If you just look at what was shown on-screen, NM still didn’t do much. And I am still very dubious about any other pony happening to witness this showdown when considering the shortness of Nightmare Moon’s stay.
    • One can also look at “Luna Eclipsed” where Nightmare Moon was remembered as some generic urban legend monster even though no other pony was shown to have directly seen her, but I already had my say about this in the respective episode, and that just brings up a completely separate problem.
    • If anything, the only long-term damage that could’ve been done is to the sisters’ relationship since they didn’t part on a good note. Celestia had to live 1000 years without her sister mentioned feeling Luna’s absence feeling painful in “Princess Twilight Sparkle”, and I’m sure Luna also missed her sister. This episode would’ve been a great opportunity to let the alicorns interact and reveal their feelings about each other, but taking that route would make too much sense.
    • One might argue that Luna was afraid of what could’ve happened as Nightmare Moon, so she punished herself to make sure she doesn’t slip again. That wasn’t even confirmed as she only moans about the trouble caused (PAST TENSE) by NM instead of the possibilities of NM. And the episode still doesn’t give any more information about why Luna took this route. This is just all the more reason to get inside her head. She just ends up being a random character that happens to feel guilt, which doesn’t make her a rounded at all.
  • Not only are the themes of guilt and self-punishment dealt with poorly, but they’re also pointless to the episode. As in, the episode didn’t even need to feature them because the issues and their effects weren’t examined at all. The stuff with Luna’s guilt are only sprinkled into the episode, and her problems arn’t looked at until the very end. Just change those things slightly (i.e. cut those out), and the episode is effectively the same.
    • Is the viewer supposed to be concerned about Luna’s plight or the threat of the Tantabus? Maybe both, but if you read my recap (later in the review), the latter is pushed very prominently into the foreground while the former is neglected and left in the background. Obviously, the stuff concerning the princess has more interest and raises questions, but the episode does not get into Luna and her thoughts, feelings, or experience, and the episode consequently says nothing about her. Since the episode says nothing about her problems, the resolution looks quick, easy, and even random. I honestly doubt the episode or its creators were even aware of what the main conflict was supposed to be. In other words, this episode didn’t need to be about Luna’s guilt and self-punishment, not that it ever was in the first place.
  • The biggest flaw of the episode (and it goes hand-in-hand with my previous point) is that it doesn’t give any insight into Princess Luna because it doesn’t say anything about her including feelings and experiences. So in regards to Luna’s guilt and self-punishment, I must ask: WHAT THE HELL DOES ANY OF THAT MEAN?
    • Let’s go over what plays on-screen.
      • The first minute shows Luna dreaming about herself becoming Nightmare Moon and then getting beaten by the Mane 6. Luna Her dream ended happily with NM returned to regular Luna. I’m guessing she gets punished after getting beaten in her usual dream. So far, this is just setup for the episode. Luna was only shocked about her dream not being a nightmare like she intended. This only just says what her problem is and nothing more.
      • The next 5.5 minutes shows the Mane 6 and Luna coming to explain the situation. So far 6.5 minutes total have passed and only has exposition.
      • The 11 minute mark, 4.5 minutes after initial exposition and halfway through the episode. The Mane 6 had nightmares caused by the Tantabus that Luna unsuccessfully tries to catch. So far, nothing has been has been said other than the Tantabus being troublesome, which was already given in the initial exposition. Oh? Maybe something important happened while Luna was running around, you say? Let’s go over that, then.
      • We start with Rarity who happens to be in a room full of floating dresses. The Tantabus makes those dresses monstrous. Too bad Luna and Rarity don’t exchange any interesting dialogue. Just that the creature is, again, troublesome. Luna then deals with dresses, and the creature escapes. A little over 1 minute spent here.
      • Luna does say that she doesn’t want Rarity “to suffer anymore because of her” after the latter offers to help catch the Tantabus. Well, Rarity wasn’t suffering at the moment you made that statement, but I digress. This does count as a line that says Luna feels guilty about the trouble she caused directly or indirectly, but this line alone doesn’t put her under a microscope. It’s just a direct repeat of a line she says before the 6 ponies sleep.
      • Pinkie is hyperactive, but she isn’t unfocused. Then again, she could be thinking about a bunch of things all the time, which is why her dream constantly changes. I don’t know, whatever. It stops at Sugarcube Corner, and the Tantabus makes monstrous cakes. Luna deals with the cakes, but Pinkie changes scenery again. Another chase with Luna and still nothing about her feelings. Less than 1 minute spent here, but about 2 minutes total have passed since Luna started.
      • Fluttershy’s dream shows a corrupted Angel Bunny, but Luna quickly saves Fluttershy and leaves. 30 seconds here, and still nothing.
      • AJ’s dream. Tantabus kills apples and trees and immediately leaves. Luna isn’t in here very long, either. 30 seconds.
      • RD’s dream. She beats down Changelings, but the Tantabus creates singing sunflowers which RD doesn’t like. Luna was concerned about RD’s well-being at least, but she’s a nice pony, so this is an average reaction. About 45 seconds spent here.
      • Twilight’s dream is in a library, and the books attack. Luna tries to encase Tantabus in a crystal but fails. Also about 30 seconds here, and the next 15 seconds or so show the Mane 6 waking up and reacting.
      • Nope. I can’t find anything that happened in the 6 dreams other than the creature of the episode being hard to catch.
      • I’ll also add that the dream sequences are lame. For the most part, they just take objects most commonly associated with their interests and make them into monsters (or rotten apples in AJ’s case). RD and Fluttershy’s were ok, but the dreams pad out the episode.
      • 12 minute mark. The Tantabus can now go to other ponies’ dreams, and the characters repeat the threat is possesses. More exposition. And we already know this, so it’s also redundant exposition. Luna also feels overwhelmed about the situation. That’s still not much about her.
      • 12-14 minutes into the episode, Luna has created a single dream to connect all Ponyville ponies. Nope. Still nothing other than an ability.
      • 14-18 minute mark. Little bits of Luna only saying she again feels guilty for what has happened. Also, more of the Tantabus causing trouble and ponies reacting to and dealing with it. Next.
      • 19 minutes in and the episode finally gets into Luna’s feelings. Actually, not really. We only learn that the Tantabus is connected to Luna and her feelings, and she wanted to punish herself. Only the former is new information, and we have about 3 MINUTES LEFT in the episode.
      • Almost 20 minutes in, and Twilight gives her speech. LESS THAN 30 SECONDS LATER, Luna accepts Twilight’s speech. Not even 21 minutes in, so the entire problem is “examined” and solved in less than one minute which wouldn’t be so bad if any time was spent learning about Luna’s thoughts and experience. And of course, a problem as “deep” as this shouldn’t be that easy or quick to solve.
    • In other words, the resolution to the conflict SUCKS. Twilight makes a small and basic speech that is summed up as, “It’s not your fault,” to Luna, and everything is bright and dandy again. It’s too bad it doesn’t carry much weight since Twilight has no idea what Luna went through any point and has no connection to the Nightmare Moon stuff other than the final defeat, and the speech could’ve come from any background pony without impacting the story, so this only highlights how empty the resolution is.
    • Luna’s problems are dealt with only within the LAST 3 MINUTES, and they’re fixed as soon as they’re brought up. This is hardly enough time to get inside Luna’s head, and not helping is that there were not even any prior attempts to get in her head. Since it’s brought up and solved so insultingly quickly and easily, that kills the point of even making it a problem at all since it wasn’t much of one in the first place. I probably wouldn’t have minded the quick resolution if more time was actually spent LEARNING about Princess Luna.
    • More insultingly, the citizens of Ponyville aren’t even shown as Twilight was talking, meaning they’ve contributed nothing to the episode or Luna’s self-acceptance. They aren’t even shown accepting Luna, reacting to her confession of creating the Tantabus, or agreeing with Twilight.
    • Worse, Luna doesn’t develop on her own at all. OK, maybe that’s not entirely true since she had to choose to accept Twilight’s speech, but Twilight already did 99.99999% of the work for her by saying that NM and Luna are different “people” because they do different things. She does agree that Twilight was right, but almost everything was laid out for Luna anyways, so she couldn't do any actual learning herself.  What should’ve happened was that Twilight, her friends, and even the Ponyville citizens showed their approval of Luna (basically, something to get Luna’s mind going) and then have her come to this realization. That wouldn’t fix the entire episode, though.
    • Also, take a look at Luna’s words throughout the episode. She just repeats the exact same things, feeling that she caused all the trouble that happened. That’s as far as the episode goes. The same statements are repeated without additional information in each iteration. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the episode made an effort to get into her life. Since the episode didn’t, I can only fall back on her words for information because I have nothing else to go off of. I also shouldn’t only rely on her words since that’d be telling instead of showing. And none of Luna’s lines reveal anything about her that we don't already know or that give a fuller picture of the princess.
      • For example, Luna laments over her failure to catch the Tantabus, which is pretty much the only thing she ever says. She also explains that the Tantabus is persistent and can still grow stronger. She thinks she has created a potential disaster and feels responsible for it. And the episode continues to repeat these exact same feelings as the monster grows stronger. She’s a generally good-natured pony, and not feeling guilty would mean that she’s an uncaring ass hole, which she’s not. So all the episode ever says is that she just guilty. That’s it. As far as the episode is concerned, she’s simply a pony that feels guilt.
      • The episode only has Luna only saying her feelings instead of dramatizing them. This could’ve easily been rectified by having all of the dream sequences show her experiences. It still makes sense since Luna is connected to the Tantabus, so the episode can just say that the Tantabus created all of those sceneries.
    • Luna also reveals that she created the Tantabus herself. That’s pretty fucking stupid. Wanting to punish herself is one thing, but why create something that can threaten all of Equestria? Let me rephrase that question. She felt terrible about her “reign” as NM, so why does she want to possibly bring everyone else into her problem? The episode did say she didn’t know it could escape from her dreams, but she was aware of the Tantabus becoming more powerful and its potential to threaten Equestria if it became powerful enough. She knew both possibilities for some time, which makes her look irresponsible and careless (which I doubt was intentional) instead of troubled without further explanations.
    • If I have to take a look at her actions and decisions as well, they also don’t say anything. She wants to help the Mane 6 with their nightmares. Fine. One might say that her quick arrival helps with this. Fine as well. After that, she just travels in dreams, later makes a big dream, and mindlessly moans. That’s the extent of anything she does in the episode.
    • To expand on my complaints, how has the guilt and self-punishment affected Luna? All of that sounds bad, but how exactly have they been bad for Luna? How have they affected her mental state and her life? How she thinks? How she works? How she acts or makes choices? Her interactions with average pony citizens? Most of all and in particular, how has this affected her relationship with the absent Princess Celestia? I haven’t got a clue because the episode doesn’t show how or why Luna’s “self-destructive” acts or thoughts are so bad. I’m not saying that all of those questions had to be answered. The problem is that NONE of those are answered or can be answered. Thus, this episode doesn’t convince me in any way that Luna was troubled.
      • She could have lived a serene and bright life while being unaware of her guilt and deals with this guilt only while she dreams, meaning that her feeling of guilt only comes up at a single point during her day without affecting anything else. That doesn’t make much sense, but the episode can’t even disprove this idea.

Other Stuff

  • The “enhanced” elements reappear here, but I don’t think they’ve shown up again. Then again, they created and became Twilight’s castle. Also, I don’t care for them, so nothing was lost.
  • The 6 declared simultaneously about having a nightmare, but Pinkie was strangely cheerful with her delivery.
  • The Tantabus can learn about other ponies from seeing them in dreams. I don’t know how that also lets it locate its potential victims, but whatever.
  • Pinkie Pie is never tired as the episode tried to imply, but she was at the beginning of “Party of One”.

Conclusion

This episode is HORRIBLE. Worse, it insults and lies to the viewer, which is among the worst kind of quality a story could have. Its themes of guilt and self-punishment sound interesting, but I don’t know what they mean to Luna nor do I know how they affect her. Its concepts never got off the ground, so they didn’t need to be in the episode. The episode tries to boast major accomplishments even though it made no effort (No, not try and fail. It never tried.) to reach said accomplishments, and simply alluding to heavy themes doesn’t make the episode deep or meaningful. Fuck you, creators.

The episode and its themes would have and would have worked better as a therapy session for Luna. Hell, I’ll take that instead of whatever this crap was supposed to be since a therapy session could’ve shown various the facets of the princess. I truly wanted to like this episode because I have always wanted to learn more about the alicorns, which this episode doesn’t do at all and makes the disappointment even worse.

Luna may have "developed" in the episode, a great deal even since she gets over a major and personal problem, but her development was unearned and meaningless. Compounding this problem I have no idea where she was before this or what she experienced, so I don’t know what this development  means nor do I know why this development is so important. She just goes from one flat character to another. In other words, her feelings and motivations are undeveloped. Not underdeveloped. Undeveloped, which also makes her decision to punish herself look arbitrary.

This a prime example of an interesting theme(s) and major "character development" not equating to a good story because the execution is where almost all of the points go. The stuff shown on-screen was unfocused, aimless, and empty.

TL;DR – Luna has guilt and self-punishment issues. Who the fuck cares?

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I agree with your point that the resolution was rushed and bad considering how serious of an issue with self harm is. As for her motivations, I would say that isn't true as for the most part, this is essentially resolving her issues where she pretty much hates herself for becoming Nightmare Moon and trying to take over Equestria. It's also not true she didn't do anything as NMM as she had attacked and injured Princess Celestia when she became Nightmare Moon and had her kidnapped at the series premiere so there's plenty of reasoning for Luna to pretty much hate herself for what she had done. Tantabus's issue was that she underestimated it's desire to feed and became independent from her, also it was meant to represent the lingering pain of self harm where because she allowed it to fester and not remedy it, it became worse and worse as time went on. What her admitting that she needed help or something at the end and the tantabus stopping from invading was supposed to represent of how one admitting their issue and coming to find ways to fix it is the key to solving it. Sure I wish they did a therapy episode for it, but honestly I do appreciate the point they made other than the rushed ending. At least that's what I think.

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5 hours ago, Number? said:

...

 

TL;DR – Luna has guilt and self-punishment issues. Who the fuck cares?

You care. :ajlol:

In all seriousness, IMO, the fact that they made this a single episode instead of two (including a potential therapy section) severely hampered whatever development they were trying to go for with Luna. Plus the reason for not including Celestia was stupid. "She has no power over the dream world!" Meanwhile everyone in Ponyville was kicking the Tantabus's ass.

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57 minutes ago, WaterPulse said:

You care. :ajlol:

In all seriousness, IMO, the fact that they made this a single episode instead of two (including a potential therapy section) severely hampered whatever development they were trying to go for with Luna. Plus the reason for not including Celestia was stupid. "She has no power over the dream world!" Meanwhile everyone in Ponyville was kicking the Tantabus's ass.

Honestly I probably need to pay more attention to that point with not involving celestia when folks in ponyville are able to fight the tantabus. It's a great point @Number? said.

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