Okay… I know exactly how to handle this… RUUUN! – Sweetie Belle
The Cutie Mark Crusaders have been taken under the wing of the new Princess, and she is helping them learn new skills, in an attempt to help them find their special talents. Sweetie Belle is practicing her levitation magic on a broom, Scootaloo is trying to put a unicycle together, and Apple Bloom is trying to make a plant-growth potion. Things are not going very well, but the fillies are really enjoying their Twilight Time.
The following day, the CMC are at school, while Diamond Tiara shows off “her” gymnastic skills – by getting her butler to do it for her because she claims she’s too tired. Despite the obvious fact that she hasn’t done a ruddy thing, the entire class of fillies and colts applaud her. They are, apparently, all complete idiots, a fact Sweetie Belle remarks on.
After this, DT and her bully understudy Silver Spoon come over to talk to them. The two slyly suggest that Sweetie Belle can hang out with them and some celebrity ponies in Manehatten; if Rarity will take her. They are quite well aware that such a trip isn’t on the cards any time soon. Annoyed by their teasing, Sweetie Belle reveals that they have been spending time with a Princess, so there! This news astonishes the two bullies, who are star-struck by the thought of Twilight now being a Princess, and they beg to be allowed to join in with Twilight Time. The CMC are reluctant at first, but the possibility of watching the two arrogant fillies failing at something is enough to persuade them to agree.
When they arrive, the two bullies go into hysterics at being in the presence of royalty, and head on into the library. Twilight suggests to the CMC that they should keep Twilight Time between just the four of them in future. However, the following day, the three fillies find out that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon have told the entire class about Twilight Time, making them the most popular fillies in school. Of course, they also claim to be the CMC’s best friends, to bask a little in the reflected glory. The rest of the class now also wants to meet Twilight, but Sweetie Belle knows exactly what to do…
Instead of taking them all to Twilight Time, she invites Twilight out to a restaurant, where they can see her as long as only one or two of them comes along. Of course, they all decide to pitch up, much to Sweetie Belle’s annoyance. She tells them to keep out of sight. Inside the restaurant, it seems Twilight is taking another leaf out of Celestia’s book by eating in a decidedly non-regal fashion.
Pinkie Pie shows up for a brief cameo, and points out the pack of foals at the window taking photos, who hide whenever Twilight looks around. Eventually, though, she spots them, and comes outside to see them. After signing a few autographs, and pointing out she is only here because the CMC invited her, she flies off. This gets Pipsqueak (seriously, are his parents trying to get him bullied?) to conclude that the CMC decide where Princess Twilight hangs out, ratcheting their star status up another notch. Speaking of which, Pipsqueak seems to have change his Princess allegiance.
Firmly entrenched as the Fillies Everypony Should Know, the CMC accept favours from their classmates in exchange for chances to see Princess Twilight, and end up being invited to an exclusive pool party by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon; exclusive because it excludes all the other foals, locking them outside the pool area. The CMC try to leave for Twilight Time, but DT and SS want to join them again. When the CMC refuse, DT, SS and the entire class turn on them, demanding Twilight Time, Twilight Time!
Cue the quote above, and a race to get to the library first and explain things to Twilight before the horde descends on her… a race the CMC lose. On seeing all the foals, Twilight seems taken aback, and Sweetie Belle hurriedly tries to explain. Twilight is fine with the unexpected guests, though… she only told them to keep Twilight Time private for their benefit, not her own. She lets them in and of course starts organizing them into groups. When she asks Pipsqueak what he wants to learn, however, he says he wants to be a Cutie Mark Crusader so that he can get favours for being close to a Princess too. With the cat let out of the bag, Twilight turns to the CMC for an explanation. When Sweetie Belle says they really do treasure Twilight Time for its own sake, Twilight asks for proof that they have been improving their skills.
The CMC try to oblige, but everything they try goes hideously wrong. Scootaloo takes apart one of the foal’s scooter, but is unable to put it back together properly, Sweetie Belle can’t lift the broom, and Apple Bloom’s potion causes an apple to balloon up and explode.
The spell of popularity broken, the rest of the foals leave. Feeling like they’ve ruined everything, the CMC dejectedly fix up the scooter (Scootaloo), make a potion that grows a flower (Apple Bloom) and levitate it to Twilight as a parting gift and apology (Sweetie Belle). Seeing their contrition, Twilight gives them another chance, and during the next Twilight Time, they show that they have improved their skills. Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle writes an entry into the diary, with the following moral: you should treasure your friends because they are your friends, not because you can get a benefit from being their friend.
Thoughts on the Episode
I’ll admit it, I was entirely confident that this would be another “Key Episode”, since it fit the pattern of the previous episodes. Instead, they subverted the pattern and then did so again in the next episode, “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies”. So much for that, huh? That’ll teach me not to go making assumptions. Ironically, I thought the flower the CMC gave to Twilight would be her key, but instead, Fluttershy gets the flower as a Key in the next episode. Ah, well. Ce la vie.
Another CMC outing, this one just chockfull of continuity nods. Apple Bloom is again brewing potions, which Scootaloo suggested at the end of “The Cutie Pox” might be her talent. Sweetie Belle’s sparkling horn from “One Bad Apple” takes on more significance, and we see that she is now developing her telekinesis ability. There’s even a subtle nod for Scootaloo, again from “One Bad Apple”, in that her mechanical abilities are being developed. That episode even had a cutie mark false alarm with a wrench cutie mark that turned out just to be an impressionist grease spot. We also have somepony referencing Twilight’s new position as Princess, with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon acknowledging her upgrade, and we even see her flying off to further hammer home the point. This is a step in the right direction of advancing the status quo, so let’s hope this trend continues.
Speaking of Diamond Tiara, at least she got some kind of development too, which was good to see. I have to admit a certain sneaking regard for that filly, so I liked to see that she can praise the CMC when the conditions are right (and she can get something out of it for herself, of course), and that she can hold others in high regard at times. This episode wasn’t as kind to Silver Spoon, though, since she continues to be the tag-along kid, virtually echoing Diamond Tiara at every point and being a good little follower of her slightly more charismatic leader. She also seems genuinely awestruck by meeting Princess Twilight. Her usual mocking expression is refreshingly absent for most of this episode. Still waiting for a DT episode, Studio B!
It was nice to see the regular foals make an appearance, such as Featherweight, Pipsqueak, Twist and the unnamed fez-wearing newspaper-reading colt (fan name Truffle Shuffle, although I would prefer to call him Chowder, personally) as well as a whole host of new designs which I hope will reappear sometime later in the series.
In terms of comedy, it was pretty low key. A few giggles were to be had at Twilight’s atrocious table manners, at Spike’s running nachos joke (from a small plate to a huge mountain to the huge mountain dumped into the garbage) and Sweetie Belle’s continual “don’t worry, I got this” comments as the situation escalates.
Speaking of which, the dynamics of the CMC also seems to have shifted. Sweetie Belle is the apparent leader for this episode, and it’s her actions that ultimately drive the plot forward. Nominal leader Apple Bloom and action girl Scootaloo take a backseat. Since Sweetie Belle is my favorite CMC member, I approve, although it’s more than likely that the leadership will shift back to Apple Bloom in future. Oh, and Squeakie Belle is in full force this episode, which is always fun.
Of the Mane Six, only Twilight and Pinkie Pie appear, and Pinkie is only there for the “everyone hides when someone is looking” bit piece. Pinkie is the really the only pony who could fit in this role, since a more serious pony wouldn’t be able to just ignore the foals at the window. The other ponies are not needed, so they are not added, apart from a brief mention of Rarity, which is something in the episodes favor.
Pros: Tightly contained plot; Some DT development; Continuity; Nods to Princess Twilight
Cons: Not a key episode – Studio B, ya got me! The foals applauding DT when it’s clear she hasn’t given them reason to doesn’t make sense. Not much comedy.
5 – Celestia Rank: A great episode. It will be re-watched frequently.
4 – Luna Rank: A good episode, but with one or two problems that prevent it from being great.
3 – Spike Rank: An average episode. Positives and negatives are balanced.
2 – Discord Rank: Worth watching once. After that, turn it to stone and put it in the garden.
1 – Nightmare Moon Rank: Send it to the moon!
Stay sunny side up!
PS – I realize that I haven’t updated in a while. I’m enjoying my new freedom, but I’ll try to be a little more consistent in future.