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S8E4 - Fake It 'Til You Make It - picture commentary

As I would say: Another "My Little Phony" episode.   By the way, very funny: Ponies Rarity asked to run her fashion shop before asking Fluttershy, apparently in that order: Rainbow Dash!! Pinkie Pie!! Twilight Sparkle - OK! Applejack - OK! she has experience from an earlier episode, she should have been first choice! Starlight Glimmer - OK! Still better than Twilight. :-P Big Mac!! Cheerilee - OK I guess. Granny Smith - oh dear! DJ Pon3?! CMC!!! Maud ... uh ... no idea, actually. I certainly wouldn't place her last though.     A cynical episode. One of MLP's messages is "be yourself", now it's pretending for wacky people to make money. OK, surely just as another lesson, and a new environment can bring back challenges thought mastered earlier.   (Caption typo. Can't be donkeyed to correct it.) So judging by Rarity's average clientele, it's a whole lot of playing pretend in the Manehattan fashion scene. Should come as no surprise. It's kind of in its nature where people wrap themselves in ever-fancier garments like the daily bread.             The lesson is if you're assuming characters to please others, the greatest danger is that you might start to like it too much. It can become a convenience, a hiding place. It's all external. Being oneself and empowering THAT can be hard, and Fluttershy is a sensitive pony thrown into an environment where that applies very much. (So you see, roleplaying can have love or fear as driving motivation.) I could also imagine that subconsciously she ended up spiting the customers with her roleplay because that's how she felt inside and wanted to vent that. She was using the pretentiousness to shun the pretentiousness; becoming a living mockery. An angle I also consider in all this is that the shop clientele are struggling with the same issue as Fluttershy here. It's game that you either join and coerce others to join, too, or you make an effort to transcend it and heal yourself and others. Fluttershy needed help there. She was overpowered by the situation.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E25-26 School Raze - PICTURING THE FINALE!

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So this started with me knowing Cozy Glow would be the finale villain because MLP Wikia had to post this bigass spoiler in advance, right at the beginning of her article.                         OUTRO
In the end credits Derpy is listed as Muffins.   S8E26   (Tempting to do a redraw of this. )             Also a big and important element of the story: Learning to identify phonies. Neighsay had (more or less) sincere convictions, but Cozy Glow was just manipulative in a relatively skillful way, and seeing that such a thing exists can hone one's BS-sense. This is a spiritual lesson about what motivates people and how much hope there is for them.   | |  

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E24 Father Knows Beast - brief commentary, won't drag on

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   I only got a couple brief thoughts about this episode. Don't wanna pick it apart too much. How did Sludge manage to turn HIMSELF into a fireball? Why did no one even ask why he came to Ponyville before the extensive wellness spa treatment was done? It announced itself quite early that he's just an exploitative, convenient phony.
What also announced itself very early is that it would be another episode about Spike trying to find out what being a dragon is like, and since we kinda know the writers by now, that the chance was high for a story concept reboot, i.e. Spike would once again return to being content just being himself. This episode had lots of screen time with Smolder, almost right from the opening even, so how can it possibly be that Spike didn't learn everything he needs to know from him? This was the weakest point in the story. That scam shouldn't have worked at all. Spike should already know everything Smolder would know at that age, having grown up with his dragon parents. Spike was like 'Finally another dragon!', as if Smolder didn't exist. Here we see another instance of the weird supposed joke like with Rainbow Dash pulling the blanket from Fluttershy, which I actually find kinda lame, because it adds to the demagicalization() of Equestria actually being a pony society and not just a human world with equestrified() characters. - Yeah, Sludge is actually at all clothed here, unlike usually. - It's an immersion breaker! BURN IT!
  For a moment I thought that this is not anatomically correct, since horses have their heart in the chest and not the neck, but I can easily accept that due to their unusual shape their internal organs would also be arranged a bit differently than in our kind.
  I am so glad Pinkie was part of this episode. Her just being herself is always an enrichment, and I loved every moment. And she has a way with lizards, heh. (Cupcake on a stick is so much superior to carrot on a stick and has actually been used for a long time now, without anyone noticing. )
This reminded me of the dream scene where she was surfing on a giant Gummy. (I also liked seeing her with shades, heh. )
Fitting that I watched this episode on Pinkie Pie Day, I guess. Funnily (haha?) I actually learned only now that is a thing. I guess because I am not that active in the fandom. Can't even find an info why it's on October 7th. Do you know how it came about?
I find it weird. Isn't every day Pinkie Pie Day?

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E23 Sounds of Silence - commentary (with light and shadow)

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   What an amazing episode, very dear to me, beginning with the title, a nod to The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel(, a very poetical song about a frustrating superficiality in society preventing deep and meaningful communication), that is one of my favorites. I wrote this shortly before watching the episode: Loving people, sharing their flight from darkness.
See the light. Walk alone.
Footsteps like silent raindrops. I often feel like deep and meaningful relations are difficult when people let unpleasant things about others weigh ten times as heavy as pleasant ones. Almost like it's a seller's market with quantity over quality emphasis, always easy to walk away and pick other options, which is horrible to perceive, because that kind of pragmatism devalues human potential and cannot build a better world. Without idealism we are doomed. (Are you still reading, or skipped on to more pleasant things?)
I cannot just succumb to that and deny half of what I am. That is no life. The episode also conveyed the poetical beauty of rainbows that I occasionally express (https://dowlphinblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/rainbows-are-life-writing-poetry/): A rainbow is a symbol of encouragement and hope; When the light stands its ground against gloom, when you have the contrast that makes you appreciate both, you experience the full spectrum in all its beauty. Balance brings health, and when light and dark are in balance, you are not tempted to perceive either one as an enemy. (People utterly consumed by darkness will regard the light as an enemy, and people who fled to the light in self-entrapping denial cannot handle to even look at the darkness.) https://www.deviantart.com/dowlphin/art/Hiding-In-Plain-Sight-712449414 The more you flee towards the light,
The more darkness you leave behind.
Deny it with growing might
And the night will turn you blind.   Stand tall   Twiley did a rhymey!   Soft, gentle character development  ... kinda nice (Well, she could do that since the first episodes, but here she subverted a trope. And who doesn't love trope subversion? Right? )       Gu-huuys! Can we please just be frickin' amazing for a moment?   Sticks and stones are hard on bones.
Aimed with angry art, words can sting like anything.
But silence breaks the heart.
- Phyllis McGinley

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E22 What Lies Beneath - two captioned thoughts

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   She's my favorite among the Student Six (or whatever the fandom nicknamed them)...   Not an actual quote there, but an obvious homage/inspiration. For some reason I really like the way the tree's personification was expressed visually and vocally. Good voice acting and really conveying an impressive wisdom. Totally not a wooden performance.  (Kinda like an Enhanced Celestia Mode, heh.) Also, the scene where she became upset at bad self-beliefs being implanted in the Student Six was impressive; that decisive, authoritative resolve that such crap will not be tolerated. Ponificating like a goddess.  (Hmmm... Can we call her a dryad?) Tree of Harmony is now among my favorite characters. - Also because trees and harmony are both very meaningful things for me. (And I also remember fondly the total pwning of Chrysalis. ... Still wondering whether no one has picked up the petrified Mane Six copies in the tree cave though.) And some people say trees arboring.   P.S.: There's also a bit of an analogy in exploring your deepest fears in a crystal realm, but I'll not go into that. (Well, I did once.)

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E21 A Rockhoof and a Hard Place - Brief pictured commentary

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   The story of this episode is very dear to me, so the writing quality of the story arc eased the bewilderment a bit, down to flummoxification level. So Rockhoof couldn't tell stories because he was demolishing the classroom. Not only might he have been able to curb that a little, but my first and immediate thought was that he should simply do those classes outside! Instead we get a couple of attempts at purpose-finding that, if I am trying to be fair, probably were meant to show the tragedy that he shows a severe clumsiness in anything physical or how generally the things he could do always have some downside. Basically, the classroom scene established that after the digsite scene. The firefighting scene is focusing fully on the clumsiness, because this could have happened just as easily without any purpose-giving context. But it showed how the 'modern' world is so alien to him. And at the very end of the episode he happens to stumble into doing just what was obvious in the beginning, and this is really not the first time that a story arc was resolved just like that. Although based on what was established in the episode, he could still mess his storytelling up, and the same allpies to just living in that unfamiliar world! So he basically just needed some time getting used to stuff but was too impatient because the director told him the episode play time. Conclusion: This needed more suspension of disbelief than usual. P.S.: As in previous episodes, there were memorable highlights that chased these dark clouds away a bit. P.P.S.: There were (p)ineapples and (P)inkie (s)urfing. All the good stuff. Pretty much this... and this... and these lovely pineapples kinda quilt the bad mood and stitched my attention to the plot... and all is fine when you have Pinkie and patience for frame analysis... and find her munching on a marshmallow. (Which gives me an idea for munchmallow pie.)

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E20 The Washouts - 20% shorter than the shortest review

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   Some real Dao De Jing wisdom in here. This episode is not quite about reverse psychology, but about respect, influence, control and imbalance.
Also about The Dashouts and Bananabloom.   The to me most memorable scenes in this episode were the ones with Pinkie Pie, dough. Duh!
She needs a canon fan club. ... Oh wait, there is one. It's called PONYVILLE!  

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E18 Yakity-Sax - brief picture commentary

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   Few pics this time. Didn't feel like it. The episode started so amazing. Fluttershy opening, then Pinkie. Music. I mean 'music'. Angel practicing 'creative solutions'. I suffered with Pinkie when her friends screwed up in communication once again. And I also immediately thought that this might be what it sounds like when played well. Do we know the musical taste of yaks? Her blues also showed once again just how powerful a magic Pinkie channels through her heart. Even her colors is fading, which normally takes external magical impositions. ... Well, you could say that kinda is what happened. Twilight after all did put a spell on her. But it was dark magic.
Of course trying to cheer her up by distracting from the actual issue won't work. BTW, I think Mudbriar is having a bad influence on Maud. She didn't use to be that much of a bonehead with language. I am tempted to call it maudtistic, hah. When Fluttershy said they didn't even get a chance to say goodbye... well, they kinda did say goodbye.
They somehow manage to confuse their lack of insight with optimism. They don't quite want to face what they did. This is so much showing the problem with intellectualizing matters of the heart.
I guess this could have a tendency of happening since they are a group of friends. If five out of six screw up in a certain way, they're not likely to admit it was a majority blunder. It was kind of a rollercoaster though when even Pinkie was misled about the spirit of yak music. Makes me wonder how she got her hooves on that instrument in the first place, without getting a primer in the cultural background. ... Oh well, maybe she was just too hyper.   This was mildly surprising: They made a sculpture of out pastries that were magically floating. Very Pinkie-like, I would say.   MAJOR crisis: This is yellow and pink on a bedding of MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP!!! Which is my favorite! But again, I know this well. You can't just fill a hole in the heart with repair glue.   But eventually, just by being 'allowed' to be in her element, she came alive again. Quick recovery, and the best and only healing really is when the actual cause is being resolved, as it was here, in two ways, so better than expected. This of hourse could all have been avoided by agreeing with her on when and where not to play. But then we wouldn't have gotten this story. And even though it was hard to watch at times, I always appreciate an epinksode.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E17 The End in Friend - brief picture commentary

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If only the script would allow the main characters development so that they are not repeatedly being a bad example, hah. Oh well... teachers, right? ;-D Seriously though, it is so cynical, it is painful to watch. If they need worldsaving or Pinkie to stay friends, what message is that sending? Their friendship is the best, except when it's not? This is necessary to continue delivering stories, I guess, but in a way there might be more potential with some imagination. I will consider the possibility though that the fact they were being observed as examples might have influenced them in an adverse way.   I love how Dashie is talking about heels on a horse and Rarity is doing a horse snort.

  I definitely sensed this episode is another standard formula, not playful, so you got
1) break friendship
2) clumsily failing trying to mend it and
3) a crisis to mend it. Chances for a fake crisis were high since it was an extension of Starlight Glimmer's efforts that eventually need to succeed or she would appear to be a bad guidance counselor.  
When Rarity asked "Which way did that sparkly thing go?", I was expecting Bufogren there to point into his mouth.  That would have been fun and playful. Instead he just points to the sky where the trail continues, as if they couldn't have seen that by themselves easily. They didn't even react to the fact they missed the totally obvious. These lazy moments really make me cringe a bit.

Uhm... obvious question: How do you unlock a door by turning a straight bolt in the lock?!

I imagined Dashie getting some magenta glitter on her coat.  (I definitely need a Pinkie episode!)

I am missing the crucial part in the conclusion about how Twi and Star's "little help" has been an act of good friendship, too. And it was also maybe not so much a "reminder" as a "refresher". They just needed their dangerous quest. Very reactive. This was an extended version of a two-person relationship where each can be strong when the other is weak. Here Twi and Star were the strong part for Rashie and Darity.    

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E16 - Friendship University - brief picture commentary

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   Or as I like to call it: Fakebook University   Flim Flam brothers - realized that from the flyer, even before seeing the two podiums. Well, who else could it have been anyway?   This was a bit hard to watch because I despise this corruption so much. They take something authentic and then pervert it. And there's no hope for them at friendship school. They like what they're doing too much.
And people are deceived so easily by fancy facades, because there's a core of corruption in them, too, that connects to these things.
Why do the two still not have a widespread reputation though?!   The moment they said accredited, I knew Neighsay was involved.
And Starswirl's appearance at this place was of course announced in the intro.
Neighsay would surely be informed about the scam that went on, but he won't take issue. He has a personal agenda. This might escalate during the next ten episodes or so.   Twi is really bad at rhetorics, as usual. She still DOES have her difficulties with friendship though, so that might be why. She's certainly not a knight in shining armor when it comes to that.
But this was basically following a standard storytelling pattern. They do not have the power to deviate from the script. ... Well, Pinkie maybe, heheh. BTW, buttwings.   Uhm, the guy probably just doesn't know Twilight, or is COMPLETELY DENSE because that's obviously an ALICORN before him!
Couldn't the writers/animators have put at least a little bit of believability into it?
Although this would explain how so many ponies are still falling for Film-Flam scams. They must be horribly backwards there.   Twi violated a most basic rule of poking around: Always have someone stand guard.
Also, by now they should know how to deal with Flim and Flam - document THEIR revelation to her. But again, wait for it. This is standard formula storytelling.
By the way, to make it a bit less formulaic, she could have turned their phoniness against them and point out how THEY are not practicing friendship towards her either. That would have been interesting.   Oh mare, she could just incinerate the photo or something! I mean, they're already playing dirty, after all, and Twi only has some serious alicorn magic at her disposal! This is so cringey.   And here we see a portrayal of special promo deals with cooperative/willing/naive celebrities.
I must say, Flim-Flam episodes provide a valuable awareness-raising service to society. ... Well, if it's not just flying over people's heads like it so often does.   LOL, no, you DON'T have something on her, because she was right! To the contrary, this is even more rep for her and her friendship-powered instinct, so to speak.
I don't know why she still says she's OK if her rep is ruined.   Standing up for what you know is true is not only tricky, but can be so much harder in real-life. ... Especially when you're not fooling yourself with that belief. Speaking truth can be a revolutionary act, and the more you're suffering for it, the more it is usually a signal you're on the right path. I say it's tricky, because you can take the Flim-Flam episode itself as an indication how people can deceive themselves in their belief about what's true, too.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E15 - The Hearth's Warming Club - brief picture commentary

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   I still can't get used to "everycreature" when "everybody" or "anyone" would be fine.   Yeah, that looks ... well, not cool, but amazing. Kinda... heartwarming. Or heartpinking. In any case, sounds like Dashie is thawing a little, hehe. ... Well, or not.   You can all fly! Why not go through the window in pursuit lke the perpetrator?!   BAD example, Dash! The door might have been a decoy. You didn't actually see the cloaked one enter there. This is so forced and a painful reset of Mane 6 evolution, especially after the Chrysalis episode. And even though they later said they had a suspicion, it was still painful to watch and a suspicion - at some undetermined point - isn't enough to be this outright mean.   The Changelings celebration interpretation segment was an amusing relief to the previous mood; a highlight.   This was a real "WAIT, WHAT?!" moment there because she definitely did not say "Seaquestria, but "Sequestria".   Griffins' blue moon festival sounds a lot like I know human Christmas, at least the preparation phase. But as the episode showed, dissonance can occur especially during holidays.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E14 - A Matter of Principals - brief picture commentary

== Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==  == Spoiler Prevention Spacer (patent pending) ==   I find it puzzling how Twilight is confident Starlight will do just fine as headmare, but does she just expect her to find a bunch of replacement teachers in a jiffy??   This is likely further teasing of their similarity. Nice one, Discord.   This brief scene "BE MY FRIEND!!!" reminded me so much of Fluttershy in Best Night Ever that I'm wondering whether it was an intentional reference.   Did you notice? When the school fades from nighttime to daytime here, the crest above the courtyard entrance vanishes! (It is there in other daytime shots though, so the animators messed up in the one shot where it really mattered because of the direct comparison. - And this is not when the Mane 6 left, but much later.) During the daytime shot there was also Discord's weird floatey animal thingie on the upper right, but I edited it out.   She only banished his body - in a way that looked quite devastating - and now his ghost is here? But a ghost is not a spirit or energy body or such. A ghost implies a dead being! Did she temporarily kill Discord?!

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E13 Mean 6 - picture commentary

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Dowlphin

Dowlphin

S8E12 Marks for Effort - picture commentary

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Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E24 Uncommon Bond - brief commentary

There are some thematic similarities to the episode Forever Filly, but more basically this was a total unicorn episode. Maud was the only non-unicorn, but she fit in just fine because of the theme. The issue I see portrayed here that the episode sadly didn't even quite touch on due to it being like a unicorn mind bubble is that friendship based on common interests alone, not on interest in each other, is a relatively weak friendship. It's a wholly different level to base it on deeper bonds than just shared interests. New discoveries and all matters of the mind might delight the heart, but when they are gone, so is the delight. And usually just being together a lot in childhood creates a strong bond by itself, but here we saw an example where that, too, was just based on shared interests. (I have a deliberately puzzling saying to sum this up: "True friendship is nothing personal.")
Thus, Starlight was closed to just sharing joy with her friend, to generate/practice friendship instead of just expecting to reap the fruits. Her openness is very conditional; her friendship is not practiced in appreciation of itself. Once again I am reminded how Fluttershy should be the actual princess of friendship. She is very heart-focused, and that's where the source of potentially infinite strength lies. In fact, because of how she helped Discord, she should be the Princess Of Mighty Friendship (POMF). And since Pinkie Pie's element is laughter, she should be the Princess of Neighs (PoNeigh). But I digress. This episode could maybe also be considered somewhat autism-themed, since these things seem typical troubles that autistic people face in their life. This would at least explain why the resolution was very modest and still based on the characters' traits that caused the trouble in the first place. A doing-what-works kind of approach that also preserves their character archetypes. When Starlight commented on how the warehouse looked smaller on the outside, that was an amusing self-joke. Who didn't think exactly that? "Where the hay is that huge warehouse in Ponyville? Never seen it before." Judging by the bed scene, Sunburst seems to have gotten too used to wearing his robe. Or maybe the reason he is wearing it all the time is because he's got some kind of insecurity. Starlight seems to know, since she's not inquiring about it. This is the same kind of oddity as with Fluttershy in an early episode. It's generally a bit of a downer to me if the writers ignore the characters' pony nature and just make them act like pony-shaped humans. I found the brief Maud comedy dialogue very witty. Selfless humor, all in the perception, not in the performer. But then she kinda blew it and revealed she's just got a Cmdr. Data approach to it. From the show audience perspective it still worked though. She was funny when she claimed she wasn't and then wasn't funny when she claimed she was.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E23 Secrets and Pies - prief pommentary

I like to say there's no such thing as a bad Fluttershy episode, but I have to and gladly will expand that to Pinkie episodes. Not much more to say here. I just enjoyed it way too much to do an analysis. And I love the idea of half-birthdays. Such a pinkie thing. Pinkie.Scriptum.: When it comes to hugs, she knows what she's doing. If the hug is too tight, you are too tight. Oh and did anyone else see this for a brief moment?... ( I've drawn this myself. https://dowlphin.deviantart.com/art/Antlerjack-710062236 ) I definitely had to raise awareness of severe pie deficiency a moment later...  

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E22 Once Upon a Zeppelin - brief commentary

Not much to say for me on details here. Slight connections to Fame and Misfortune. When Twilight made a deal with Iron Will, the problem and likely chain of events was obvious. They need to take the helm and do what Iron Will had in mind, but their way, through sincerity. A bit of a soft mutiny, maybe. Twilight could still improve her leadership skills there. Maybe get some assertiveness lessons from Fluttershy? (Oh well, as I said, it was predictable that things would turn out that way in the end anyway. Just make sure you apply this awareness to your life, too.) I just found it very unlikely how Twilight could miss the Northern Stars, considering she was looking in their direction, with only the ship's cabin blocking the view. Lesson: Don't make deals with crooks, but set them straight, set proper standards. That contract wasn't even legit, considering nopony but Twilight's parents signed it. But apart from that, while law is a worthwhile concept, there are higher virtues that trump it. The Dao De Jing puts kindness over justice. The former is more powerful than the latter, i.e. it does not practice justice, yet somehow takes care of its concerns, too. It is a really good book that I would suggest Twilight to read, so here's the segment from it that I am referring to, from a modern-language version (http://www.beatrice.com/TAO-pamphlet.pdf): 38.
People with integrity
don't even think about it.
That's how you can tell
they have integrity.
Other people talk about
how much integrity they have,
when they really don't have much.
If any. Truly powerful people
don't do anything,
but they get the job done.
Other people are always busy
doing something,
but nothing ever gets done. When kind people act,
they do so without thinking about it.
When the just act,
they're always sure
they're doing the right thing.
But when the righteous act,
and nobody reacts,
they try to force everyone
to do things their way. If you're not in touch with Tao,
at least you can still have integrity.
If you don't have integrity,
there's always kindness.
If you don't have kindness,
there's always justice.
If you don't have justice,
all you have left is righteousness.  

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E21 Marks and Recreation - brief commentary

Right at the beginning when I saw Kettle Corn, I was like: Woah! Bagua calligraphy! ^^
The haiku thing then made it pretty clear that hers is an Asian arts theme. In case you didn't know, circle painting is a very profound practice about reading and getting to know yourself and your interaction with the world and ensuing inner state. I also want to point out that writing a haiku is about more than the 5-7-5 format. Good haikus contain a bit of a turn of expected events or such, surprising the reader in an enlightening-entertaining way. - An example of mine: On the mountain's peak
Eagles circling beneath me
Sky reaches so deep The episode touches many angles all worth pondering. Rumble was a bit of a wakeup call for the CMC's 'just doing their thing' and becoming a bit inflexible in their mind that way. Him being driven by own issues and rallying others to seek external affirmation and avoidance is of course another common theme, but in that he also had a teacher role. The CMC were right though that cutie marks have a mind on their own (I would say they're a symptom of the inherent Equestrian magic of the land) and one can always trust them to be a wise guide. We probably don't have to mention that it was kinda obvious what Rumble's issue was early-on. But as I said, in a way only half of his issue was in lack of understanding (of his older brother) on his part. The other half was in the CMC's lack of realizing what was going on. This episode's lesson is close to me because I have experienced something like this myself. I once participated in something meant to heal and guide, but the organizers were so used to just doing their thing again and again that they got stuck in a rut and had become a bit inflexible in their mind, going in opposition to what the healing and guidance is supposed to be all about. But that served an important purpose, a little crisis that needed to be experienced by all involved. And that's also the spirit of MLP episodes. Conflict arises as a means to shed light on things that need to be resolved.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E20 A Health of Information - brief commentary

Two episodes with Zecora in a row. Nice. Maybe the writers, as I, thought that she hadn't been around for such a long time that she deserves the extra screen time.
And a whole episode full of Fluttershy. Sweeeeeeet! OK, some throughs while watching: - How can Zecora possibly not know about those flowers? She seems to know those flash bees, she's pretty much a herbal witch at home in the place, she knows about poison joke, but not about what those blue flowers can do that are floating around, falling from trees? - Fluttershy being out of breath from running to the castle... Why didn't she just fly? Is she really faster on hoof than flying? - When she presented the situation to Twilight, it was probably just to not waste episode time and because miscommunication wasn't a tool of the plot, but to me as a communication buff it is always a joy to witness right-to-the-point talk like that, haha. She might have picked that up from Pinkie Pie. - They were so worried about Zecora coughing bubbiles, but I don't find that so bad. Ask Pinkie Pie what she thinks about this. - I kinda expected that Zecora would eventually lose her ability to rhyme, heh. Those weird blue flower diseases like to shake things up massively. - The two 'Fluttershy door puzzles' in a row were kinda hilarious. All those technical points aside, the message of this episode was very dear to me. ( And it was a Fluttershy episode! Always a huge plus!  )
She cares so much for others that she can through cases like this enter an extreme imbalance that helps no one. After all, maybe the information about the mask WAS there in the book all along, as visualized, but she was too tired to make the connection. Then again...
What was a bit of the usual odd writing though was that in three days our smart pony Twilight couldn't figure out a solution. (But these maneuvers are kinda common in writing, actually.) Another closely related lesson of the episode is that when you obsess too much over something, your mind blocks itself from utilizing things like intuition and calm observation. Sometimes you just gotta sleep over it to see more clearly.  

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E18 Daring Done - brief commentary

This episode starts with Pinkie pronking (you guys!). My favorite part of the episode. I found the not well thought-out adventure chees a bit too much at times...
Walking straight across a straight bridge blindfolded shouldn't be that hard for a pony, and you can also sense the edge with your hooves if necessary, not to mention its movements giving away your center of gravity. The leap of faith thing was an obvious Indiana Jones reference; no surprise in this episode, hah. But them not seeing the steam vents until they jumped was odd, not to mention them being oddly powerful, giving that scene a very strong arcade jump&run game flavor, and the fact that flying was disabled in the interior space of the pyramid didn't help, ha-ha. Immediately made me think of World of Warcraft. That scene and the whole episode made me think of a "jump&pronk" game starring Pinkie Pie. (That would actually have been a good episode title, haha.) When Rainbow Dash was captured by the villain, I thought: Why didn't she just fly off? But then when she was tied up she wasn't gagged and thus could scream for help. All seems like they tried to fit so much into the episode that they cut corners to a degree beyond the normal. And then finally the villain publicly reveals his plan, but then is surprised by the backlash. This is a lot cheesier than what it is based on, touching on self-parody territory. Oh and then the fact that Daring Do seems to care so much about the villager that she rescues them from danger, but doesn't bother talking to them. Reads newspaper articles about the mess she actually left and cannot figure out by herself that maybe she could help them clean up and/or explain why it happened. Dr. Caballero wasn't really the problem here, he simply exploited a void of communication. Even for a kids' show the writing quality was a bit borderline. I can only assume that maybe they wanted to cram too much into one episode and the playtime limit necessitated such crude simplifications. In closing, and in the spirit of this episode featuring Pinkie (Actually, I don't need that excuse, haha), two conclusion I took from the episode: 1) Idol worship is idle worship. 2) Daring Do turned more into Caring Do.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E16 To Change a Changeling - brief commentary

Interesting. First Thorax episode two eps ago and this one has a similar approach: Mess things up and that fixes the problem. Actually not that rare, actually, if you think about it. Starlight and Trixie themselves weren't the friendship problem this time as severely as Spike. But it was close. But more or less many episodes follow this pattern. When does the first attempt at solving the problem ever succeed? Exceptions from that are a delight to me. Magical Mystery Cure comes to mind. I am so glad they didn't have more time to drag that out. Pretty early it was obvious to me the way to help Pharynx was to give him purpose again. There's a reason he was the only one preserving the old way. A pendulum that swung to the other side needed to come to the middle. No one left behind, so to speak. Beautiful role reversal writing: Thorax used to be in a very similar situation as Pharynx was now. Also, in how in the end Pharynx transformed, this episode expressed a very profound spiritual lesson: From acceptance comes change. P.S.: I'll never get used to ponies walking on three legs while talking with their hoof. The animators should really focus on making them more expressive in other ways if they feel it necessary. It's mindbuck to me every time. Something I'd expect to see in a YTP video and laugh. P.P.S.: Maulwurf - German word for mole. Nice easy pun for a mauling menace.

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E15 Triple Threat - commentary

OK, let's see. A secretly-entertaining-two-guests story. Not sure whether we had that before. Watching it didn't leave me with enough energy to investigate.
The problem became visible quite soon, too.
In such episodes that can be difficult to watch because so formulaic, especially for a season 7 ep, the little things provide the contrast. Spike exclaiming: "Fighting! Yes!" was very funny, and also Twilight's extreme portrayal towards Ember, or the reaction to the claim she is so much like Starlight.
I just personally don't enjoy this story archetype easily.
It did advance the character stories though, so that became the main driving purpose. I found it personally disappointing that Ponyville folk is scared of pink fire breath.  I mean, seriously, how much nicer can you make a searing wave of air? Sneezing cotton candy? ... OH HEYYYY! IDEA! What I found really good stuff was how Muffin Murderer  - I mean Ember - had difficulty telling Twilight and Starlight apart. Might seem absurd to us, but it happens in interspecies relations or even interracial. One is being used to facial features and general appearance of one's own kind and less used to distinguishing detail of others. That might have been hinted at here. Ember has a different perception, calibrated to dragons. Although execution in detail would then leave some questions, since Ember remarks how colorful everything is in Ponyville, indicating that she does have good color perception. Hm, maybe she just has trouble distinguishing different hues of purple. Hmmmm, but Twilight has wings and Starlight hasn't. OK, forget all that, I think she just has an attention deficit. The coffee cup scene and possibly others before in the show indicate that the sun is traveling across the sky, really making me wonder why Celestia has to raise it in the morning if it's moving on its own anyway. I think this is just inconsistency and I find it a bit sad when Equestria is assimilated too much to our world's ways instead of celebrating the differences. (Twilight or Pinkie eating flowers seemed a rare case from long time ago underlining their... ponyness? Equinity? ) The charge scene between Ember and Thorax was so ridiculously time-warped that it has to be called a parody, but it didn't quite click with me. Probably reminded me too much of Naruto, LOL. In essence, the topic of this episode was, again, severe neurosis. Don't we love our neurotic Equestrians? (Must be something in the water, considering Ember and Thorax acted refreshingly natural.) But it also showed how focus on positive outcomes can help with that. The whole complex of lessons that emerged is beautiful though because in order to solve the friendship problem, Spike was prompted to change himself. He experienced the cause first-hand, him being the problem. So the message is that we create a better world by bettering ourselves and that being a teacher also means being a student.
And then Ember and Thorax help each other solve their problems, so this episode towards the end severely gained 'meaty bits'. Spike then learned, which should relate him to Discord, that sometimes you can be a more passive influence, less controlling, just a catalyst for bringing about the solution through crisis. Problems are teachers and people can assume that role. That's OK, too. ... As long as you don't make it your purpose in life, right?

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

 

S7E14 Fame and Misfortune - commentary

First, the theme of the episode seemed excessive in the execution. But it's not exactly rare that the writers do that and go all the way, like here with what amounts to mass insanity, making one wonder why the mane 6's popularity never seemed to have been received like this before the book publishing. Second, the episode obviously conveys the point that if you adress the masses, better not let them know you too well and let you not know them too well. It's not desirable and not good, but sometimes the world can be tough as nails. But these situations are exactly where one has to decide to make an effort, to not just swim with the current, because the water stinks. Identify what is your sphere of responsibility and what is others and then avoid overextending. Going out of your way is commendable, but responses to that should be taken as indicators of whether it is appreciated. Which leads me to the third point: This episode could almost be seen as a critique of the MLP fandom (but also of society and fandoms in general). And it is also how I feel about it sometimes. People have all kinds of reasons for liking the show, but the probably most valuable and most-needed part is often not really taken to heart. Or mind, if you will. Actually making an effort to make the spirit of Equestria come to life not just in easy but especially also in testing times, through honing character, I often felt that missing, including after my observations and experiences at conventions. In spiritual lingo one would say "bliss junkies". The eventual song number took me a minute to thaw to because it was so bluntly thrown against the problem, and I could predict the (non)reaction to it (At one point I cynically thought that after it the rabble would probably ask for free concert tickets.), but it was a really nice, uplifting piece whose lyrics at times also felt to me like adressing the fandom. Felt a bit like a celebratory review to a last season actually, like a looking back at a long journey. Which made it even more touching. They also contained some headscratchers though. Do they really like what's flawed about people or do they have an easy time overlooking it when willingness to work on oneself is there? And Dashie's cocky confidence gives her the courage to fail? I thought she always had that and it was to not-quite cover up her fear of failure. (Little gem from me here: Failure is that which is at war with failure.) Very nice conclusion: Just accept that you cannot adress the masses with high virtue material and expect it to be integrated. Unsurprisingly then it was foals who were still open to it, and those who are are the ones deserving to receive your attention and energy. The episode is also art in that it offers people an empathic experience regarding the type of fans aimed at. Watching that mass insanity is painful, and you might go: "What warranted this suddenly?". That's how it makes the writers feel. When the mane 6 sing their beautifully uplifting song and then right after it - BAM - NOTHING received, that moment really sucked, right? You go: "This is becoming horribly cynical if not even an episode's highlight can solve the problem anymore". That is how it makes the writers feel. Over 20 minutes you are having their experience, so that you hopefully understand them and recognize the value of what's important about the show. And the end was conveying the lesson of how to avoid overextending. Did you notice Applejack was first in mentioning they need to deal with the problem at hand, and Twilight said she should stay in the friendship moment? Applejack sang in the song that she has a tendency of wanting to please everypony. The mane 6 there had to focus on their close friendship to recharge their spiritual batteries for a bit in the face of overwhelming hostility. I myself certainly had and still have to learn in a painful way that it is alright to give up hope on some people or to lose respect. It is a bow of appreciation to the good things in you that said people do not appreciate. They can eventually pick up the bread crumbs if they're lucky. They would just choke on more than that. Going all missionary on them would only feed the insatiable and signal that they have power over you, which is what the whole madness is based on. Sometimes it is wiser to let people stew in their own juice.   P.S.: At this point I thought: Oh yeah, Dashie, REALLY skillful attempt at a disguise, especially for you.   P.P.S. (Pinkie Pie scriptum):

Dowlphin

Dowlphin

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