*takes a deep breath* Well now... that was certainly an experience, wasn't it? :comeatus: This... all of this... where do I even begin? Welcome back, everypony, to the 100th episode edition of "Batbrony Reviews." If we're going to start somewhere, I suppose it's best to start by saying just what this was, at least in my own opinion. This was everything I expected, everything I did not expect, and so very much more. It was basically a fanfiction made into an episode, if you want to be blunt, but it was more than that even. It was a love letter in every sense of the word: to the fans, to the show, to the background characters, supporting characters, main characters, and everything we love about the world of Equestria and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 100 episodes, and we've finally reached that point, the point that few shows ever do, even long-lasting, successful ones; we have reached the point where the creators and the fandom have acknowledged in both canon and fanon love and mutual respect for one another and their creations. It's a beautiful thing, really, and it made for a wonderfully chaotic and somehow beautifully balanced time this episode. Let's dive right in and fully take in every bit of wonderful, shall we?
This review won't be in any particular order, because it really doesn't matter for an episode that had so very much. It's going to be more of a... well-thought out fangasm, if you will. What did I love, here? I... LOVED... EVERYTHING! I know that that's not the case with everyone, and that's perfectly fine if people had complaints or different levels of appreciation of this episode, but for me, it was perfect. I loved every single bit of this gift, and that's what it is, a gift from DHX that they gave to us and put together with tender, loving care. M.A. Larson, perhaps both the most beloved and at the same time infamous writer of the show, was the perfect choice for putting this episode together, especially in the post-Faust MLP. Only Faust herself could've possibly outdone him if she were still attached to the show, but I don't think even whatever she could've put together would've been quite as delightfully insane in that Larson-y fashion that only he himself, the master of trolly writers in MLP, can manage. Larson has now officially become my favorite writer of the show for this episode alone, and for that, he has my everlasting gratitude.
No, wait, I actually mean it this time!
Every savory bite of this delectable masterpiece was delicious in its own unique way. Lyra (Ashleigh Ball) and Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops (Andrea Libman) were hardly surprising in their appearance, but they were surprising in just what exactly DHX did with them. First, I was completely surprised by the fact that Bon Bon not only received such a bizarre background that had no grounding in the fandom whatsoever, but also by the fact that she was the focus of the subplot and not Lyra. Upon thinking about this further, I realized it was quite brilliant, actually, in its own insane way. Not only did they not meet expectations by simply taking the easy route with those two, but they also came up with an amazingly zany explanation of Bon Bon's alternate name, Sweetie Drops, that somehow managed to make both canon. But perhaps even more brilliant than that, they found a way to please both those who ship Lyra and Bon Bon in the fandom, and those who do not. Technically, in canon they are nothing more than best friends; they hammered it on the head quite a bit in fact to the point of ludicrousness. But there was also so much shipping fuel in their interactions together, that Lyra and Bon Bon shippers can't possibly even be mad. DHX went as far as they could to embrace both interpretations in canon, and I still can't believe they managed to pull it off. I've seen some Lyra and Bon Bon fans in this thread arguing since the episode aired about what is and isn't canon, but I implore you, no matter what you believe, please don't! You're both right, and there's no need to! It's rather remarkable, that way, isn't it?
Friend or ship, either way, we all win!
Continuing with the Big 6 of background ponies, Vinyl Scratch and Octavia Melody's (Kazumi Evans) bits were just as amazing. I know dubstep's not everyone's cup of tea, but I for one adored the classical music/dubstep cross they put together, and their ride through town on Vinyl's bass cannon was nothing short of spectacular, glorious insanity, topped off by them literally jumping the shark. I really like that Vinyl has no voice, as well; it would've been really easy for Nowacking to agree to do her voice, but then she wouldn't be able to do fan projects anymore, so I really appreciate that, if DHX did approach, she held out, but DHX found a rather clever alternative. Instead of trying to find an alternative to Nowacking, they seem to be content keeping her as a silent character, and it oddly seems to work for her. Octavia's voice, provided by Rarity's singing VA, is very close to EileMonty's and suits her nicely as well. Their house is too awesome for words to describe (and I'm sure Two Face wouldn't mind living there either), and it was so much fun seeing them throw their musical noggins together. There wasn't really anything in the way of shipping fuel with those two like there was with other characters, but that worked just fine for them; I've always preferred thinking of them as best friends and housemates rather than an actual couple compared to other pairs in fanon.
Twilicane: "You thought I was dead, did you?! HAH! Foolish mortals, I can never die! I simply return time and again to amplify the awesome and simply confuse you even more!!!!!!!"
Moving on to some of the lesser bits of the episode, we had the surprise return of Steven Magnet (and his canon naming as well) as, of all things, Cranky Doodle's very own "Best Beast" for his wedding, and boy oh boy was he fun to watch. Steven's always been a favorite Season 1 character of mine, even if he'd only ever been in the first episode before today, and Lee Tockar's exuberance in the role is simply infectious. He's one of those characters who, no matter how over-the-top he gets, manages to not get at any point obnoxious, but instead is just a delight to watch the entire time. And to top it all off, despite freaking out Matilda about halfway through the episode (because of course he'd freak out a bride on her wedding day ), he had a very affectionate moment with his apparently best friend, Cranky, at the end of the episode, as well as a sweet nod to Rarity's own generosity that she'd extended his way in Season 1. Gummy's existential inner monologue was simply too epic for words to describe, and for me, he is from now on best pet, no doubt, sorry Tank, you're awesome, he's just awesomer. That was probably the most surprising moment of the episode for me, though it oddly makes sense for Pinkie's beloved alligator that he would be the only pet in all of Ponyville to ponder the meaning of life (on a regular basis, I'm guessing). Amethyst Star had her own small bit taking over the organization for Matilda's wedding (both voiced by Brenda Crichlow, that's certainly confusing), but it was very cool learning more about her, she's one of my favorite unicorns in all of Ponyville for sure. The Flower Trio of Lily Valley, Roseluck, and Daisy (Cathy Weseluck, Kazumi Evans, and Ashleigh Ball) of course had their own little moment of over-the-top dramatics (or rather, several), and even the royals made a surprise appearance in ways we're not accustomed to. Shining Armor apparently gets super emotional at weddings along with Cadance, and Celestia and Luna's little sibling-spat was too adorable and hilarious. Speaking as a sibling myself, I loved that, every bit of it, because it felt so real, and yet it was also a side to those two that we'd never gotten to see before. But in the end, listening to Mayor Mare's heartwarming words, they reconciled as all siblings always should over little stuff like that (especially if you're both over 1,000 years old :comeatus:).
Besides all that, basically every single other background pony in existence popped up in some regard. The CMC had a quick bit, Bulk Biceps was there, Filthy Rich, Button Mash, Truffles, Berry Punch hugging a barrel of cider, Thunderlane, Colgate, Carrot Top, Cloud Kicker, Mr. and Mrs. Cake along with Pound and Pumpkin Cake, Raindrops, that pony with the jelly-fetish, the sofa-and-quills salesman, the tennis-player with the world's greatest mutton chops, Lotus and Aloe, Hayseed Turniptruck, Pipsqueak, Cloud Chaser, Flitter, Featherweight, a completely random Changeling, and oh so many more, pretty much the entire town, in fact. Matilda and Cranky themselves were quite delightful to see again as well, especially getting to learn more about both of them. I love that Cranky is this cheap bastard and, despite even finding the love of his life, still a curmudgeon (just seems to fit him well, I guess, but a lovable curmudgeon, mind you), and Matilda was too funny in the beleaguered-bride-on-her-wedding day role. But in the end, their wedding was a smashing success, and I'm sure no matter how much we see of them in the future, in the show's universe, they shall have a long and happy life together!
Main characters? GET THE BUCK OUTTA HERE!
Now of course, those of you who know me will know that I've been building up to what, for me, stole the show here. What really made this oh so special for this particular brony. I am talking, of course, about the incredible, amazing, awesomeness that was Derpy Hooves (Tabitha St. Germain... again) and Doctor Whooves (Peter New). Oh my, where to start with these two. There's just so much to say. If I didn't love Derpy so much, I'd say that Peter with his performance alone stole the whole show altogether. His accent was amazing, the mannerisms were spot on (and this coming from a non-Whovian), the references were not too hard for non-Whovians like myself to understand, but still abounding throughout, I could just go on and on. I loved how he got so easily absentminded throughout the whole episode, always going from one random activity to another, and I loved that Derpy seemed to be the only one who really got him, too. His bowling with the Big Lebowski-ponies (with the Dude actually getting a voice, of all things) was too epic for words to describe, but it was somehow surpassed by his bits at the end, if you can believe that. Derpy herself, well... she was everything I could've hoped for. She is and always will be my best pony, and I can't thank DHX enough for what they did for her. Bringing Tabitha St. Germain back in the role even though she changed the voice (in fact, I actually liked this voice more than her original, and MUCH MORE than that dreadful replacement they came up with after "The Last Roundup" controversy, it sounded like Derpy but also more feminine than her original, which makes sense when you consider that Tabitha originally thought that Derpy was supposed to be a boy), putting her in the spotlight, making her both derpy in her behavior as she's always been but also completely lovable, exuberant, and in the end helpful, oh, and muffin refunds, it all worked so perfectly. There were, however, two things I loved the most about her. The first was that, interestingly enough, despite starring in this episode, Derpy (and the same can be said for many background ponies here) was still a background pony. Her activities, like all background ponies, were just one small-drop in the bigger picture of what the story of Ponyville and the lives of all its citizens are, and it was actually quite apparent. All of these subplots happened alongside each other without really running into each other or colliding, and it was quite frankly amazing. The other thing I loved, with all my heart, was Derpy and the Doctor. At first, it seemed like they were just extremely close friends. But at the end of the day, DHX did something I never in my wildest dreams thought they would do. They gave just enough for fans to reasonably claim that Derpy and the Doctor is a canon ship. If you don't interpret it that way, that's perfectly fine, but for me, their affectionate hug/snuggle at the end, her telling the Doctor he looked like a million bits in his amazing scarf, even booping their noses earlier in the episode in his lab/home, that's enough for me to say that they are, in my book, a canon couple. No one can take that away from me, and it warms my heart that DHX would be willing to do something like that for those of us who love shipping those two in this fandom. They were adorable together, they were perfect in their performances, and I loved every single minute of them. They were by far the highlight of this episode, for me. What else can ya say but ALONSY!!!
Ships... who ever said they couldn't be canon?
But wait, there's more! The Mane 6 were here, yeah, shocker right? They were fighting this crazy awesome looking monster called a Bug Bear (which apparently Bon Bon has a history with and also looked very much like a literal panda getting thrown at us... oh Larson, you!). But what I loved more than anything was that they were very much in the background the whole time, until the last scene, of course. And boy oh boy what a last scene, that was. Mayor Mare herself almost stole the show when she delivered the moral of the episode, and this, this was the genius of the episode summed up. Her speech was DHX's way of saying, "this has been great fun, but this has been more than simple fan service or pandering." This, for them, was genuine love and affection. Love for us, love for each and every one of their characters, love for the world they've created. Every story in Equestria is special in its own way, everyone in this show, at DHX, in the fandom, in the world, has a special story of their own to tell, and that should be celebrated as much as possible. That speech took the episode from silly, zany, off-the-walls amazing to sincere, genuine, respectable writing and fan-love, not just fan service. They wanted to make sure this 100th episode would be a thing to remember, and boy, did they ever succeed. Ending the episode back with the Mane 6, Twilight declaring her love for her friends and the town of Ponyville and all its inhabitants we've come to know and love. What better way to end such an episode could you have asked for? That's all I have to say about this one, guys. What else is there to say? Everyone will have a different opinion about this one, but for this brony at least, this episode is perfection. It is the greatest slice of life (fitting enough considering that was its very name ) episode of MLP I have ever seen, probably ever will see, and I will always love this with all of my heart and treasure the fact that I have gotten to share in the love of this show, these characters, and the folks who have created them, with all of you guys. This is Batbrony, resident Bat-lover of Derpy and all things background ponies, signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic and joyously exuberant exit*
Thank you for being such a special little town, Ponyville, for all of us, in oh so many ways.