Ahhhhhhhh, good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Well, this week's episode review should be shorter and considerably less angry than last week's for a few reasons: (1) this episode was far less infuriating, (2) I'm in a splendid mood after seeing "Wonder Woman" this weekend, and (3) I need to write a shorter episode review in general. So without further ado, let's begin and dive into "Honest Apple."
Now, while this episode is far superior to the dreck that we got last week, it was not without its problems. My friend Jeric boiled it down nicely yesterday when he said to me that the main problem is that we had "Season 1 Applejack interacting with Season 7 Rarity," and I have to agree. Applejack was behaving uncharacteristically OOC, and immature even; I'd even say that I'd have a hard time believing Season 1 Applejack would act this way, even with Rarity when they weren't quite as close. It's not simply an issue of not taking her friend or her feelings and concerns into consideration, Applejack just displayed zero tact or discretion whatsoever, and that's just not like her. I could buy Rainbow Dash in earlier seasons behaving like this, but never AJ; her element may be the Element of Honesty, but that doesn't mean she's blunt to the point of not considering the feeling of others. She understands holding one's tongue, in fact, she's always been the small town ideal of just that; if she's uncomfortable with something, she'll usually have a subtle, wry, blunt comment to make about it, or just hold her tongue if the situation calls for it. Whoever wrote this wrote her like a country bumpkin with no appreciation for higher culture (heck, at one point she's flat out insulting the work of Coco Pommel, a genuinely good friend of hers!), and in our current political climate I don't exactly appreciate those stereotypes being displayed when many of those stereotypes are how we got to such a polarized state in our country in the first place, especially when it's a betrayal of who this character is. On top of that, she's uncharacteristically stupid as well; we know that AJ understands the idea of wearing clothes in different contexts and settings, not just for work or practical business (and sometimes fancier dress is required FOR business), because AJ herself has worn such outfits for such special occasions many times, much of it made by Rarity! She may not get the art side of fashion, but she understands its appeal, that it has appeal, and that it's a whole other industry of its very own. She doesn't walk around with this "If I don't get it it must be stupid and irrelevant" attitude that so many people seem to revel in these days. It's a disappointing missed opportunity, because there was a great episode to be had here, it just needed some tweaking is all, especially considering RariJack is my favorite pair of friends in the Mane 6 and can be such a joy to watch when they are done right. So yeah, not happy at all with AJ, and even less so when I consider that it was done in the name of making the lesson the writers had in mind work.
Sad AJ is sad, that's what happens when you write her badly, writers!
So what is the lesson you might ask? Well, it's basically an indictment of Internet s*** talking. No really, I'm serious, the whole lesson is about watching what you say or how you say something to others, especially when critiquing something they've done or made. You can't just consider your own thoughts or feelings when doing so, you need to take into account how your words are going to affect the person you're talking to as well.
Now, normally I'd have no problem with this lesson. I mean, people not knowing how to be civil with each other or even display the most basic decency to each other on the Internet is a big reason people tend to get so heated with each other these days. So on its face, the lesson is a good one. However, here's why it doesn't work in this particular context. The lesson was forced, at the expense of making any sense whatsoever. We already went into how it forced AJ to be incredibly OOC, but it also doesn't make sense in the setting either. The thing about this lesson is that it applies most to Internet communication because it's incredibly easy to dehumanize or become desensitized to the feelings of someone you're talking with online when all you see is a screen in front of you. This episode, however, is all about face-to-face interactions, and the thing about face-to-face interactions is that people, especially genuinely decent people like AJ, tend to be far more sensitive to the feelings of others when talking in person to someone. Only people who genuinely have no lid on what they say, either because they're that insensitive or have some kind of personality disorder, have no filter when talking directly to others. So really, while the lesson was good, it just made no sense that it had to be taught to AJ of all people under these circumstances.
This troll, however, was HILARIOUS!
So now that the biggest issues are out of the way, what worked in this episode? Well Rarity is the most obvious choice. Her choice of AJ as a judge was creative but also showed her trust of her arguably closest friend (as well as understanding of her strengths), it was incredibly generous of her to organize an event like this to help others break into the fashion industry she loves so much, and her level of maturity displayed the whole episode was great. She reprimanded AJ when she deserved it, but wasn't unduly harsh, plus her way of teaching AJ how she bucked up was hilarious and witty (also, Strawberry Sunrise is a hilarious s*** talker when it comes to apples). Her biggest issue is that this conflict should not have been one sided; the ideal situation would have been both AJ and Rarity made mistakes to a certain extent. AJ should have been uncomfortable with the judging and not sure what to say since she didn't know how to fit in, and Rarity should have not been aware of AJ's concerns for most of the episode. That way they would have had something to teach each other. She wasn't quite Mary Sue levels here, I can buy Rarity being this mature, it's just the conflict felt forced since one character suffered so much in order to make it happen, and it didn't do Rarity any favors either in doing so.
But oh well, the episode more than made up for it by giving Rarity the most amazing 10 seconds of the episode!
I have no idea where the buck that came from, but I want more of it!!! All I know is that Rarity apparently has FANTASTIC methods of stress relief and venting! SHRED GIRL, SHRED!!!
As for the rest of the episode, it was pleasant enough. I enjoyed that it was largely set in Ponyville, specifically the Canterlot Boutique and the Ponyville business district. The return of Photo Finish and Hoity Toity (in speaking roles, no less) was positively delightful, and I very much liked all three of the up and coming fashion designer ponies as well (especially, for some odd reason, the valley girl one; very strange for me since I usually hate that character type in cartoon shows, but here for some reason I thought it was adorable and hilarious. Possibly because the writers seemed aware of the stereotypes of the valley girl trope and seemed to playfully be poking fun at them while still making the character endearing by, you know, actually being good at stuff).
The set up and conclusion for the episode were both lovely, and the fashion show (along with the instrumentals that sounded very reminiscent of the fashion show in Season 1's "Suited for Success") made this episode feel like a spiritual successor to some extent to "Suited for Success" even. But because of the problems that I cited earlier with both AJ and the forced nature of the lesson, what should have been a good to even great episode ended up just OK. That's a damn shame, but it's nowhere near as infuriating as last week's wretchedness. That's all I've got for ya tonight, everypony! Until next week, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
To end things off, let's just have a bunch of pics from the better moments of the episode...
And finally, the 10 seconds we will always remember from this episode