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Episode 11. "Winter Wrap Up": Twilight Sparkle Fails

Sunny Fox

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The time has come to welcome spring, and all things new and green.
But it’s also time to say goodbye, it’s winter they must clean.

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Twilight Sparkle, you may not sing; this kind of rhyming is my thing!

This episode gives us the first proper song of the series. By “proper”, I mean not a Pinkie Pie “random song out of nowhere”, but an actual musical number featuring multiple characters. And it is glorious. But let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start.

Twilight wakes up excited because it’s Winter Wrap-up Day, where spring is pony-ually (I know that’s not a real word, just go with it) brought to Ponyville. Spike is unimpressed and grumpily goes back to sleep. Fortunately Twilight anticipated that. She quickly gets her winter clothes on and rushes outside, only to realize it’s still dark out… and there is absolutely no snow to be seen. I sometimes wonder if anyone watches the episodes before they are released, because that is a major mistake, as we see plenty of snow in the rest of the episode.

Twilight and Spike head to the Town Hall, where all of Ponyville has gathered and been assigned to one of three teams: the Weather Team in blue, mainly pegasii; the Planting Team in green, mainly earth ponies; and the Animal Wake-up team in tan. Twilight, being new, has no team assignation, and the song reflects both her desire to help out and her uncertainty as to what she can do without using her special talent, magic.

Twilight tries to help the various teams, but lacking wings (for the time being), she can’t help the weather team. Her nest-building tutelage under Rarity’s discerning eye results in a disaster of a first attempt, which Rarity then spends the majority of the rest of the episode trying to fix. Her first attempt at lake scoring on skates with Pinkie likewise goes wrong, and when she tries to help Fluttershy wake up the hibernating animals, she keeps running into all the kinds of beasties she doesn’t want to see: snakes, bats and even a family of skunks.

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Twilight just found out where BatBrony likes to hang out…

Spike insists that Twilight should just use her magic, but she steadfastly refuses. They make their way out to Sweet Apple Acres to help with the snow cleanup. Applejack is doubtful, but lets Twilight try pushing one of the snow-shovel-thingies. Finding that she lacks the physical strength to move it, she finally breaks down and decides to try a spell – specifically, a “Come to Life” spell. Spike, noticing that she is using magic, approves. However, this doesn’t last long when Twilight’s snow-shovel-thingie starts going too fast for her, and she ends up ploughing into both AJ and Spike, and sending an avalanche of snow onto the space the Planting team has just spent the morning clearing of snow. Applejack is uncharacteristically but not unreasonably angry with Twilight, sending her running off in tears.

Utterly depressed, Twilight is hiding in the bushes as Spike tries to convince her to lighten up. He doesn’t do a very good job, pointing out everything Twilight has proven a failure at. Nearby, an argument between Applejack and Fluttershy about how quickly to melt the snow breaks out. Fluttershy is actually very assertive in this scene, since the safety of her animals is at stake. More and more ponies end up joining the argument, until Mayor Mare arrives to give them all a stern talking to, for once proving that she does wield some influence in the town. I had wondered before. Even then, the town is unable to pull together, until Twilight realizes that her organizational skills can save the day.

With the help of a nearby bird (and a little illicit magic), Twilight gets everypony's attention and organizes the crew in a musical reprise montage. Some things make sense, like putting the snow-plough, ground-plough and seed planters in a line to do three jobs at once; using Pegasus power to get rid of all the clouds, snow and ice with a tornado; or using teams of ponies to score the ice. But the way the Animal Wake-up team tie all the bells together so that they can be rung at the same time leaves me scratching my head. It isn't possible to tie the bells to the ropes faster than a pony can ring it at each burrow anyway. Not logical, but I guess for the sake of the story, it's forgivable.

After a day and night of pulling together, Spring arrives on time for the first time, and to celebrate, the Mayor thanks Twilight and gives her the title of All-Team Organizer, with a swanky new vest to celebrate.

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Who's got game? I got game!

Pity nopony thinks to save poor Spike, who is napping on the last rapidly melting block of ice. Later, as he sits by the fire with a case of the sniffles, Twilight dictates her Letter to Celestia: "Everyone has a special talent to help others, and you can find it if you try hard enough. Also, ponies can do anything when they work together."

Thoughts on the song:

Apart from "Winter Wrap Up" being a whole-town, rousing musical number, it also provides a bit of foreshadowing of the episode, because after Twilight’s solo part, the tempo really picks up for the final refrain, hinting at the way that her help will speed up the process of wrapping up winter. It's a really catchy crowd song, with a good beat.

Thoughts on the episode:

The plot is pretty standard... the newcomer doesn't fit in anywhere, and gets discouraged, until she finds out she can do something to help after all. Still, it was funny to see all of Twilight's epic fails, you end up feeling quite sorry for her, and the happy ending comes when that she finds her place in the end. A really nice slice of life episode.

Highlights:

Rarity breaking down in tears while trying to fix Twilight's nest.

The song, of course.

The melodic reprise that also doubles as a hard-work montage.

Spike kind of gets a bit of comeuppance for making fun of Twilight the whole episode through. :P

Pros: A great crowd song, a good moral, and some funny moments. Fluttershy being assertive.

Cons: Not an extraordinarily different take on the "awkward newcomer" plot; lack of snow in the opening scene is a really big mistake and really shouldn't have happened.

 

Final Rating
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!



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This is the first episode of FiM I ever saw. It's what made me a fan of the show. P.S. ever notice that the Winter Wrap Up song, the King Of The Hill theme and "Stand" by R.E.M. are all basically the same song?

  • Brohoof 1

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This is the first episode of FiM I ever saw. It's what made me a fan of the show. P.S. ever notice that the Winter Wrap Up song, the King Of The Hill theme and "Stand" by R.E.M. are all basically the same song?

Thanks for the comment! :) I guess they sound similar, but not identical.

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