Music Chart Fan

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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  1. Music Chart Fan

    Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

    First, just to clear things up, I (not @Truffles) wrote those sentences you quoted; @Truffles had quoted those sentences from my earlier post about the episode in order to reply to me. Regarding your response, there have been many examples of written language throughout the show, depicting it as lines of text, and sometimes even as discrete words with spaces between them. More specifically, there have been cases of words written in English or pseudo-English, such as the banner in "Swarm of the Century" that you mentioned, or newspaper and book titles. There have also been several times in the show where letters are used to spell out words. In "The Cutie Pox", when Apple Bloom gets a fake ring cutie mark, Scootaloo asks "Is it an 'O'? Is your talent spelling?". In "Brotherhooves Social", Apple Bloom and Applejack practice a cheer where they spell out "S-I-S-T-E-R-S!", and later, Apple Bloom and Big Mac do a cheer where they spell out "C-O-U-S-I-N-S!". At the end of "The Gift of the Maud Pie", Pinkie spells "P-S-S-S-D-W-R", which is an acronym for "Pie Sisters' Surprise Swap Day With Rarity". In "Molt Down", Smolder says that the molt stench will attract rocs, and when Spike is confused by that, Smolder spells out "R-O-C-S". And in fact, in "Family Appreciation Day", Granny Smith sings the alphabet song at least through the letter P before getting interrupted. Furthermore, there are at least a few cases where people's names in the show were written out, or implied to have a written language form. As you mentioned, there was the banner in "Swarm of the Century" with Princess Celestia's (incomplete) name written out. We've seen the front covers of Daring Do books several times in the show, and in each case, Daring Do's name is in written language, rather than a depiction of her cutie mark or some other symbol. Near the beginning of "The Gift of the Maud Pie", Pinkie says "...guess who I see! M-A-U-D! You know what that spells?" and Maud replies "It spells Maud". And in the episode "A Friend In Deed", Pinkie reads the back of Cranky's wagon, which is labeled "Property of C.D.D.", with those initials standing for Cranky Doodle Donkey. So it seems to me that the Mane Seven would probably have written language forms of their names (or even abbreviations like RD, AJ, TS, etc.) that Twilight could have used for the slips of paper for the gift exchange. I was just making a casual observation that writing the Mane Seven's names, or abbreviations of their names, might be easier than drawing each of their cutie marks (and Spike's wing).
  2. Music Chart Fan

    Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

    The other precedent set in "Triple Threat" was that the Cutie Map, which normally represents ponies using their cutie marks, just used Spike's head to represent him when indicating where his friendship problem was located. But yeah, maybe Twilight thought drawing a dragon wing was simpler than drawing Spike's head. Yeah, standard modern acoustic guitars have six strings spanning two octaves, with each string tuned within a few steps of its neighbors. Spike's homemade guitar only has three strings, so that would limit either the range or the types of chords that could reasonably be played. Furthermore, on modern acoustic guitars, the guitar neck has a series of precisely spaced frets, such that depressing one of the strings at each successive fret raises the pitch of that string one half-step. Spike's homemade guitar does have some clothing buttons attached to the neck, which might be able to serve as the equivalent of frets. But in order for Spike to play in tune, he would have needed to measure out and place those buttons on the guitar neck pretty precisely, or he would need to place his claws pretty precisely when depressing the strings while playing. Either way would require some fairly in-depth knowledge/skill - so Spike might be better than it might seem! Also, I know that you were out on vacation and busy near the end of this past season, and you may have watched some of the episodes weeks before I did, so I just want to reiterate that I really appreciate your taking the time and effort to go back and read and reply to the episode posts I made!
  3. Music Chart Fan

    2018 US Mid-Term Elections Chat Thread

    Here in Ohio, I voted Libertarian where possible. I'm a libertarian - I voted for Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, and tried unsuccessfully to vote for Rand Paul in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. But Ohio Republicans tend not to be very libertarian, so my votes for Libertarian candidates were essentially protest votes against the Republican candidates. For downballot races, I voted for Republicans; the city and county I'm living in are solidly Democratic, so voting for Republicans is essentially just casting protest votes against the single party in power. It looks as though Republicans will win the Ohio state government offices by about 5 points or so, but the incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown will be re-elected to the U.S. Senate. There was a kind of interesting statewide ballot issue in Ohio, which would do a few things: reclassify obtaining, possessing, or using illegal drugs as misdemeanors rather than felonies, and prohibit jail time until the third offense within 24 months; allow up to a 25% reduction in jail time for participation in rehabilitation programs; and would require estimated savings from reduction or elimination of jail sentences to be used for rehabilitation and other programs. I would say I generally support rehabilitation rather than just throwing people in jail, particularly for personal obtaining/possessing/using drugs, so I voted "yes" on that issue. Unfortunately, that ballot issue looks to be voted down pretty decisively, ~64% no to ~36% yes.
  4. Music Chart Fan

    Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

    The poll in the topic for "The Perfect Pair" actually has a unique sixth "It's AMAZING!" option, which is even higher than the usual "LOVE IT!" option. And in that poll, those two options combine for 91% of the vote, which might be the highest percentage in an episode poll for "loving" an episode. That wouldn't be surprising, considering how well that episode was received.
  5. Music Chart Fan

    Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

    Great, then I feel like I've done my job! Nah, but in seriousness, I don't write these episode posts with the intention of ruining others' viewing experiences or memories of the episodes. I just tend to watch the show more skeptically, and notice at least some smaller details, so I think of a fair number of observations and questions as I'm watching. I write those into episode posts in order to try to provide a bit of a different perspective, and so that others might find my observations and questions interesting and/or entertaining. And if we can think of good explanations for some of these things that I've noticed, all the better. If the resolution of Marble's feelings for Big Mac in "Hearthbreakers" is a 3-second scene showing her heartbroken in an episode 3 seasons later, and nothing else will be done or said about it, then I think that can cause people to wonder if that was worth bringing up again for seemingly just a bit of a quick joke. After all, if that 3-second scene weren't in this episode, then I suspect most viewers would have either blissfully forgotten about Marble's feelings for Big Mac (as I would have) or could have assumed that they were one-time feelings in the heat of the moment, which faded away soon after with no real harm done. It might be argued that this scene with Marble illustrates that "not everyone gets a happy ending", but I feel as though shows like this one usually treat unhappy endings as teachable moments or situations to learn from, and I don't necessarily see that being done here. We don't (yet) see, for example, what Marble could reasonably have done differently to act on her feelings, or how she can deal with her current heartbreak in a healthy way, or what she could resolve to change going forward. All that this 3-second scene seems to establish for Marble is that she's heartbroken, and that's it. I think that can come across as being a bit needlessly cruel to a character that doesn't seem to obviously deserve it, particularly when we don't even necessarily get any useful lessons from the situation.
  6. Music Chart Fan

    Holiday Special - Best Gift Ever

    Overall, this was an okay special episode. It has its nice moments throughout, although I would say that I liked some subplots of this episode more so than others. I'm not really a fan of the Yaks, nor of seeing Equestrians fall for yet another of Flim's and Flam's schemes (at least until one or more of the Mane Six put a stop to them), so I didn't really find those subplots very entertaining. However, Twilight's going "Twily-nanas" and Spike's mission to get Rarity's name and then figure out what to get her were okay, and I generally liked Discord's pushing Rainbow to get a good gift for Fluttershy, as well as Rarity's demonstration of generosity to Pistachio and his family. The three reindeer - Aurora, Bori, and Alice - are pleasant enough characters, but their existence and introduction in this episode seem to come completely out of nowhere. We have a character that can see into the past, and another character that can see into the future (plus a third in the present that keeps the two of them in line). And what do these characters do, exactly, especially considering these great abilities that they apparently possess? Have they just been sitting in their house at the north pole, in secrecy, doing nothing in particular for the whole run of the show? Are they supposed to be the equivalent of Santa Claus, except that they actually exist and actually give gifts to people? But two minutes after they're introduced, the scene with them is over, and we don't see them again until the last few lines of narration (and a one-second flashback). It seems strange to me to introduce these new characters with great abilities, only to be used for essentially a single subplot, and to be seen for about three minutes total in the episode. This episode also had a couple of surprises in the romantic feelings department. The portrayal of Spike's crush on Rarity seemed to be stronger in this episode than it's been in a while (although, of course, some Rarijack fuel also had to make an appearance), and I'm not sure how I feel about that still not being resolved. And I completely forgot about Marble's implied feelings for Big Mac a few seasons ago until that was suddenly brought up in the scene of Marble being crushed at seeing Big Mac and Sugar Belle snuggling up to each other. So now that situation with Marble seems to be left unresolved for now, as well. I don't think I have any other bigger-picture observations, so here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: If the Student Six are leaving to go home for the holidays, then this is presumably a different year than the one shown in "The Hearth's Warming Club", since in that episode, the Student Six had all agreed to stay at school with Gallus for the winter break. Boy, that's some strong parchment that Twilight used for her big list that Spike's hauling around. If Twilight is grading midterms just before Hearth's Warming Eve, then that must mean that Friendship School classes span at least both of what we would consider the fall and spring semesters. Using the term "Hearth's Warming Helper" to mean essentially a gift exchange seems a bit weird to me; I've never heard of people using "Christmas Helper" or "Holiday Helper" to refer to a gift exchange. Plus, the alliteration with "helper" makes my mind think of Hamburger Helper. In order to do the gift exchange, Twilight tears off the top of her checklist to make slips of paper to write the names on. So what, was that part of the list not important? Did it just so happen to cover the shopping for Twilight's friends that she no longer has to do? Also, was it really necessary to draw everyone's cutie marks (or Spike's wing), rather than just, you know, writing people's names? It reminds me of how, in "The Break Up Break Down", Big Mac addressed his boxed pie to Sugar Belle by drawing pictures of sugar cubes and a bell, rather than writing her name (and her address!). Since seemingly no one else besides Applejack has done a gift exchange before, I half-expected someone to draw his/her own name and just go with it, not realizing that everyone is supposed to be buying gifts for someone else. When Spike asks Applejack if it's against the rules to trade names, he gives an example of "Like if I had a better idea for somepony special? I mean specific?", but that's a strange thing for Spike to be saying, since later on it's revealed that Spike has no ideas for what to get Rarity. When Pinkie scatters the presents in her room, one of them lands on Limestone's head, and she rips off the wrapping paper and opens the box to show her face with nothing in front of it. So what, was that just a gift-wrapped empty box? Discord says that Fluttershy told him about the gift exchange, but how long has it been since everyone drew names - no more than a couple of hours or so? Does Fluttershy talk with Discord that frequently? Why are Flim and Flam selling what appears to be a mass-produced toy at something called the "Rainbow Falls Hearth's Warming Craft Fair"? Does this craft fair have organizers who give out or rent out spaces for people to (presumably) sell their crafts? If so, did Flim and Flam mislead or lie to the organizers about what they were selling? Did the craft fair organizers not really care whether sellers at the craft fair were actually selling crafted (rather than mass-produced) goods? If Rarity was getting her package delivered to her boutique, so that she could then give it to Applejack for her gift, then why was Applejack's name or Sweet Apple Acres ever involved in the mailing process? The post office doesn't need to know that Rarity's package is actually a gift for Applejack, so why wasn't the package just addressed to Rarity's Boutique, period? Did Rarity order gift wrapping and a label saying "For Applejack" before the package was shipped? If so, are there not standardized labels or protocols for stating where packages are actually supposed to be shipped? Maybe not, considering that back in "The Break Up Break Down", Big Mac's package for Sugar Belle had nothing more than a drawing of sugar cubes and a bell on it. But then, if Rarity's package did have a "For Applejack" label, then why did Oak Nut and Butternut open the package thinking that it was for them? Since they weren't expecting to receive a package, did they not look for a label indicating who the package was from or what it might be? Oh, goody, we have another intentionally designed meme on our hands with Twilight's "puuudding" line and the accompanying face. I don't see any good reason why Twilight would have made that face or reacted that way, other than just to intentionally create the next meme. Fluttershy says that she and Applejack never got presents for Rainbow or Spike, but didn't Applejack have fire-dancing sticks and a Power Ponies comic earlier? She was carrying those things in a bag as though she had already bought them. Or was Applejack just carrying them around as she considered buying them, but then never actually bought them? In Twilight's kitchen, Cadance was holding Flurry Heart, so in order to get away, Flurry Heart teleports a sack of flour into Cadance's arm at the same time that she teleports herself away. But does that sack of flour really have the same weight and feel as holding Flurry Heart, such that Cadance never even notices the difference? Do Shining Armor and Twilight not see and point out that Cadance is holding a sack of flour where Flurry Heart used to be? Furthermore, Flurry Heart is flying around and messing with stuff just behind Twilight, right in Shining Armor's and Cadance's line of sight. Do the two of them really not see Flurry Heart moving around behind Twilight? Plus, if Flurry Heart is prone to teleporting off and using her magic to mess with things (and potentially endangering herself), shouldn't Shining Armor and Cadance have learned to keep a closer eye on her? Fluttershy asks the winterzilla "Your family is gone for the holidays, and you're all alone?" and it nods in agreement. So what, that's the reason that the winterzilla was destroying property and acting threatening toward everyone, rather than just animal instinct? I didn't even know that the winterzilla's threatening actions needed an explanation. Wow, Spike's cardboard-and-craft-string guitar (with only 3 different strings, no less) sounds remarkably good. And I don't know if we've seen Spike play guitar before. In the final song montage, we see the Apple and Pie families at Sweet Apple Acres, and Big Mac and Sugar Belle are looking out the front door before Big Mac hugs Sugar Belle. Are they looking up at the night sky? Did the shooting stars representing Pear Butter and Bright Mac pass by again? I actually had to double-check this, because at first I thought that the scene of changelings celebrating Hearth's Warming Eve from this episode might have been recycled from "The Hearth's Warming Club", but it turns out that the two are actually different scenes. In "The Hearth's Warming Club", we only see Ocellus and four other changelings (her family?) celebrating, whereas in this episode, we see twelve changelings celebrating, including Thorax and Pharynx. In both cases, though, we see the changelings "putting up a tree" by hanging one by a rope, "building a fire" by hammering together boards and nails into a structure, and "lighting it up" by holding lanterns up around it.



    Mine valorous pony, if 't be true thou findst that apporpriate
    and not contradicting thy ideology, please vote for the team Manehattan
    in the upcoming Changeling Kingdom vs Manehattan match!

    Rarity and her team need thy support against the Changelings as the common Enemy
    must be faced by the most capable and not corruption prone team!

    Mine gratitude in advance, regardless to thy choice. Hast a nice day!

  8. Music Chart Fan

    Spoiler S08:E23 - Sounds of Silence

    Yeah, I was mildly frustrated by the way that Applejack was acting toward the Kirin, because I saw the issues with it and because I don't feel like I would act that way, but I agree that Applejack's approach with the Kirin probably wasn't out of character for her. And while I do kind of rant a little about Applejack's behavior in my episode post, it does set up some amusing jokes where Applejack keeps getting frustrated by the repeated non-response from the Kirin, so I'm not really that upset by it or anything.
  9. Music Chart Fan

    Spoiler S08:E25+26 - School Raze

    That's an interesting theory! I do wonder how Cozy Glow would be able to "customize" the process by which the six artifacts are sucking the magic out of Equestria in order to exclude pegasi. Logistically, it's hard for me to imagine how that would work, although I suppose there are probably a lot of magical artifacts in the world of Equestria, and we don't necessarily know the precise mechanisms by which those operate, either.
  10. Music Chart Fan

    Vote for the Best and Worst Episodes of Season 8!

    I've finally constructed the list of my top 5 favorite episodes this season, as I've done for the previous four seasons. I actually found this somewhat challenging, since there were several episodes - including many in the last quarter of the season - which I liked about the same, and it was difficult for me to narrow those down to make a top 5. But here, not necessarily in rank order, are what I believe are my top 5 favorite episodes of Season 8. The Break Up Break Down (Episode 10): This is an episode where @Truffles's enthusiasm and observations about it wore off on me and caused me to like it more. There were many funny and relatable moments, including Discord's sarcastic and cynical lines, and Skellinore's suddenly having to deal with consoling Big Mac. It's also nice to see Spike helping Big Mac out with his planned big day, to see Discord trying to cheer Big Mac up, and to see that Spike's good-natured (if somewhat syrupy) point of view ultimately convinced Discord to help Big Mac out in the end. And I'll admit that Big Mac's and Sugar Belle's interactions are cute. The Washouts (Episode 20): I liked seeing Rainbow's concern about and affection toward Scootaloo, particularly near the end of the episode, after Rainbow saves Scootaloo and starts a fan club for her. It was also kind of a nice surprise to see Rainbow's parents at the Scootaloo fan club meeting. We get some nice interaction between Twilight and Rainbow, and we even get to see Twilight helping Scootaloo eavesdrop on her fan club meeting. I also found it funny to see Rainbow pretending to casually stumble upon Scootaloo's Washouts meeting, and to see Rainbow kind of freaking out about Scootaloo's becoming a fan of something other than Rainbow and the Wonderbolts. And I saw Rainbow's dilemma between letting Scootaloo be her own person and do what she wants, while still feeling an obligation to protect her and wanting her to look up to Rainbow, as interesting. Molt Down (Episode 11): This is another episode that @Truffles was enthusiastic about and consequently raised my enjoyment of. As with "The Break Up Break Down", there are several funny and relatable moments, including Rarity's initial discovery of Spike's stone scale and Spike's and Peewee's affection for each other. There were several times where Twilight and Rarity showed understanding for Spike and that they care about him, which was nice to see. After Smolder's helpfulness in other episodes this season, it's a little easier to see Smolder as ultimately well-meaning in this episode, and not take her teasing Spike too seriously. And Spike's wings have been shown in use several other times this season, serving to cement them as a permanent part of Spike's identity. Sounds of Silence (Episode 23): I may not have loved this episode to the extent that many other people did, but there's still a feel-good charm to it that I liked. The Kirin are cute and likable, and it's nice to see them be convinced to get their feelings and voices back, and to see them rediscover the joys of those things. I also did like Autumn Blaze's earnestness, enthusiasm (when not too over-the-top), and pleasant voice. And even as Applejack's presumptuous attitude is kind of off-putting, that also makes it funny to see Applejack get agitated at the Kirin's non-response to her. A Rockhoof and a Hard Place (Episode 21): The premise of this episode - Rockhoof's struggling to fit in to the modern world, and feeling isolated and despondent when he can't - is relatable, and it's nice to see the Mane Six and the rest of the school taking a genuine interest in finding a place for him and making him feel as though he belongs. It was also nice to see what the other Pillars are doing, and to see that they're doing well for themselves. I also liked Spike's and Smolder's fire-breathing contest, and Spike's no-nonsense attitude when substituting for Twilight's class. Finally, Twilight's comments about the stars moving slowly over time also proved to be interesting, and served as an impetus for me to learn a little more about astronomy!
  11. Music Chart Fan

    Spoiler S08:E25+26 - School Raze

    Overall, I found these episodes kind of a mixed bag. There were moments I liked, such as Smolder's being suspicious of Cozy Glow's being put in charge, or Sandbar's getting a little bit of a chance to play an important role. It was kind of clever that Neighsay was ultimately a red herring. And some of the action of these episodes was good as it was playing out. But I also found that many elements of these episodes, when thinking about them more closely, were kind of distracting or stretched plausibility a little too much, and ultimately prevented me from enjoying these episodes. I found a lot of smaller things to talk about, so I'll try to divide those up below. ----- First, it would have been nice to have an explanation for Star Swirl's oddly specific knowledge of the timeline of how the magic of Equestria would disappear. If, say, Star Swirl is supposed to know that these effects are coming from the six artifacts, then if he had said so, then at least everyone in the throne room would have known to be looking for those. Star Swirl's letter says that "first, unicorn magic and spells will fail", and "on the second day, creatures will lose their magic abilities". I might have thought that the second statement would have included, say, the ability of pegasi to fly, but apparently that wasn't the case. And there's also a fairly obvious point that if unicorn magic and spells failed, then we would think that Celestia could not be raising or lowering the sun, and yet the sun was still setting anyway. ----- It's a little weird to me that apparently none of the students other than the Student Six were suspicious of having Cozy Glow be left in charge. Besides Smolder's good points, if these students are the equivalent of high-schoolers (if not younger, as Cozy Glow appears to be), then I can't imagine a high school being left with only a student in charge (apparently a young one, at that) and no adults in sight. And later in the episode, Cozy Glow is easily able to whip the other students at the school into a mob that seizes and chains up Neighsay and was trying to do the same to the Student Six. Do none of these students question or think it a little strange that they're doing all of these things at the behest of a kid? And yet it apparently took the Student Six's "sacrificing" themselves trying to save each other to cause the students to question Cozy Glow and what they've been doing. ----- The Student Six see Cozy Glow come out of the catacombs underneath the school, and apparently none of them think to investigate what she was doing down there first. (Later on, Yona even asks why Sandbar is leading the Student Six back into the catacombs, even though they all saw Cozy Glow suspiciously emerging from there earlier.) If the Student Six do think that Cozy Glow is up to something, wouldn't it be better to try to find out what she's up to while she thinks that nobody knows what she's doing? On the other hand, if the Student Six's confrontation with Cozy Glow goes wrong and fails to yield any information, then Cozy Glow would know that the Student Six are trying to figure out what she's doing, and she could take steps to prevent them from interfering or finding out any further. ----- Neighsay says that the Mane Seven are "skipping off on friendship trips" or "gallivanting off on adventures", as though they're taking a frivolous vacation or something. The Mane Seven were summoned by Princesses Celestia and Luna and are working to investigate why the magic of Equestria is disappearing, and to restore it. Is Neighsay not aware of that? Does he just refuse to believe it, or to believe the importance of what they're doing? Also, what is the mechanism by which Neighsay believes that the non-pony Student Six - probably the equivalent of teenagers, no less - are stealing all of Equestria's magic? Is it just a reflection of his ignorance and arrogance that he would assume that they're behind this even without any plausible theory of how they would be doing it? ----- Rainbow matter-of-factly tells Tirek that the Mane Seven are out of magic keys and that nobody can open the door, and the rest of the Mane Seven seem to react as though this is news to them. So did this only occur to Rainbow after the doors had closed? And Rainbow hadn't thought to tell the rest of the Mane Seven before now? And a little later, it's kind of weird to hear Sandbar independently coming to the conclusion that if all of Equestria's magic is getting sucked up, then the Mane Seven won't be able to get back from Tartarus. I suppose we might assume that Sandbar learned in one of the classes at school that the door to Tartarus must be opened with magic. But somehow Sandbar was able to think of that, while apparently none of the Mane Seven did until after they were trapped. ----- Apparently Tirek and Cozy Glow were "pen pals" and Tirek was instructing Cozy Glow on how to take the magic from Equestria. So letters are being delivered to and from Tartarus? Are these letters not being screened? Was Cozy Glow sending these letters, and getting letters from Tartarus delivered to her, while she was a student at the School of Friendship? Was anyone suspicious at the back-and-forth letters between Tirek and Cozy Glow, when we wouldn't necessarily expect Tirek to be regularly writing to some pony that he would have no record of knowing before? ----- Why exactly are all these caged monsters in Tartarus willing to help the Mane Seven escape, while they stay locked in Tartarus? Is it merely because Fluttershy petted them and said a few nice words? Fluttershy tells the monsters "Okay, everyone! Time to show Equestria that you aren't monsters! You're wonderful, mystical creatures!". Is there an implicit promise or understanding there that if they help the Mane Seven escape, they will have demonstrated that they aren't so bad after all, and that they therefore should be freed? That also leads to a related question of why the other animals in Tartarus don't just escape along with the Mane Seven while the door's open. Does their staying behind "prove" their trustworthiness and build the case that they should be freed, whereas their escaping would just lead to their being hunted down and captured again? ----- The Mane Seven expended all this effort to execute their plan to get out of Tartarus, but magic was restored to Equestria soon after they escaped, and before they even had the chance to do anything else. Consequently, that makes their entire effort seem almost pointless. If the Mane Seven hadn't executed this plan to get out, then their magic would have been restored soon after anyway (we see magic returning to residents of Tartarus even behind the closed doors), so they would have gotten out at about the same time and teleported back to the school either way. ----- We also don't seem to get much information or explanation about Cozy Glow's thinking or why she's doing what she's doing. Cozy Glow thinks that if she's the headmare of the School of Friendship, then no one will have more friends than she will, and that will therefore make her "the most powerful pony in Equestria". But we've only ever seen at best a couple dozen or so students at the school. Does no one else in Equestria have more than a couple dozen or so friends? How many friends or ponies loyal to Celestia and Luna does Cozy Glow think there are, to give the most obvious example? And it's hard for me not to be a little cynical about this. The show's writers/producers may have plans to use Cozy Glow as a villain in the future, so Cozy Glow gets no sympathetic backstory of how she got this way, and no real explanation of why she wants to accumulate power or what she would do with it. Those seem like understandable questions for the audience to ask, particularly considering that Cozy Glow appears to be a kid. But it seems that all we need to know is that she's evil, and that she didn't (yet) get a "redeemable" tag, so off to Tartarus she goes. (And yet, if Cozy Glow had merely acted apologetic when confronted, she might well have been treated very differently.) But, of course, one possible reason that Cozy Glow is being sent to Tartarus is to set up a future big conflict where the residents of Tartarus escape. Tirek and the other monsters in Tartarus all saw for themselves that their inherent magic was enough to open the doors of Tartarus. So what would stop them from doing so again and escaping? Did their magic need to be channeled through a unicorn horn in order to open the doors? Do the other monsters in Tartarus believe in this theory I mentioned earlier where their good behavior in helping the Mane Seven escape would be rewarded by their being set free later, and they'll continue to believe that and just wait for that time to come? ----- When the Student Six are practicing for graduation on the belief that they saved Equestria and are therefore done with school, Twilight and company laugh, and Twilight says "Saving Equestria is nice, but I'm afraid it'll take more than one semester to learn all there is to know about friendship". That led me to think back to Starlight's graduation in "Celestial Advice". At that time, Twilight declared to Starlight that "I know there's nothing more I need to teach you", and deemed Starlight ready to graduate. At least at first glance, it seems like the Student Six at the end of Season 8 are in a similar (if not better) position than Starlight was at the beginning of Season 7. In both cases, Starlight and the Student Six had spent about a show season's worth of time as students of friendship, and in both cases they formed teams and saved Equestria in the absence of the Mane Seven. Also, it seemed as though Starlight had a lot more she needed to learn about friendship back then, whereas it seems like the Student Six really haven't needed to learn much about friendship this season. So what could explain this apparent difference in how Twilight thought Starlight was ready to graduate back then, while Twilight doesn't think the Student Six are ready to graduate now? Is Starlight supposed to have been a student of friendship under Twilight for a significantly longer period of time than the Student Six have been students at the School of Friendship? Were the friendship lessons that Starlight completed supposed to have been significantly more rigorous than those that the Student Six have completed so far? Are there significant differences in what Starlight and the Student Six did to save Equestria that would differentiate their readiness to graduate? Is it just a matter of the Student Six's being too young to graduate? Have Twilight's criteria for what she considers as having learned friendship well enough to graduate changed significantly between then and now? Or if Twilight's criteria haven't changed, should her current thinking that the Student Six aren't ready to graduate be taken as evidence that Twilight was guilt-tripped/pressured into graduating Starlight when Twilight didn't truly think Starlight was ready to graduate? I honestly don't know what the best explanation is here. ----- Now here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: Cozy Glow throws a juice box in what appears to be a recycling bin, while taking the presumably plastic straw out and putting that in the garbage. I would think the opposite - that the plastic straw would be recyclable while the juice box wouldn't be, at least if Equestria's recycling capabilities are comparable to our world. I find it a little odd that Cozy Glow just feels free to read Silverstream's crossword puzzle and suggest answers. What if Silverstream wanted to solve it herself, and didn't necessarily want help? Twilight's grandfather clock in her office has 16 marked positions around the face, and has 4 hands. However, in the show, characters do refer to hours, minutes, and seconds, and have even occasionally used "24 hours" to apparently refer to a day. So I'm not sure what units of time are denoted by these markings, and I'm not sure what units of time the 4 different hands on the clock are keeping track of. Even without Cozy Glow's "tells" that we in the audience have observed from this season, her brown-nosing behavior might be considered suspicious in itself - not suspicious of being evil, per se, but at least suspicious of what motives she has for brown-nosing this hard, and what favors she might be planning on cashing in later. Twilight says that Cozy Glow is like her "right-hoof pony", which leads me to wonder how many "right-hoof creatures" Twilight is juggling at this point. Spike is Twilight's original #1 assistant, of course, and at least at one point, Owlowiscious was also supposed to be Twilight's helper. But now apparently Cozy Glow makes for the third one that Twilight has. While Yona and the other non-pegasus ponies fall through the clouds when Starlight's spell gives out, Smolder, Silverstream, Gallus, and Ocellus don't. So dragons, hippogriffs, griffons, and changelings all have the inherent ability to walk on clouds? Earlier, when Ocellus said "Wow! I've never stood on a cloud before!" and Starlight said "You can't normally. But for our trip, I cast a spell that lets us walk like Pegasi", did that "you" and that "us" not actually refer to Ocellus or the other three? Has Ocellus never stood on a cloud before just because she's never tried it before? Twilight briefly considers closing the school and sending the students home, but quickly abandons that idea. If this doesn't qualify as enough of an emergency to close the school and send the students home, then what would? Does the school have to be nuked before Twilight would finally send the students home? And what makes the Mane Eight confident enough that Starlight can oversee the school and protect all the students by herself without magic? Fluttershy says that the cupcakes "must've gone bad without magic to keep them cold", but since when did cupcakes have to be kept cold so as not to spoil, particularly within just a few hours or so? I'm a little surprised that a Sapphire Shores concert was still being held even as magic was disappearing all across Equestria. I might think that that would be a little bit of a national emergency, and that people would be concerned about security and their ability to travel and whatnot. The door to the room that the rest of the Student Six were locked into looks as though it's made of wood, so couldn't Smolder try to burn it down? Or if not the door, then is the window frame burnable? Or even the wooden floor? Is Smolder supposed to have lost the ability to breathe fire at this point? (If so, it would be nice to get a confirmation of that.) Could they just try to break the whole window and its frame out? It does seems fairly dumb for Cozy Glow to take Neighsay's medallion away from him, realizing that it still has magical power, only to drop it in the garbage can in full view mere feet away. Also, I can't help noting that Pinkie's obnoxiousness is actually a plot point. It's also strange that Ocellus warns that pulling one of the artifacts out "would probably cause a magical feedback loop and destroy the whole school", and yet they do just that a little later, and nothing happens, without any obvious explanation of why not. Finally, there are at least a couple of things that happened in other episodes this season that we thought might be answered by the end of the season. I remember some speculation about the significance of the Tree of Harmony's stopping the Mean 6 from obtaining the Elements, how they were turned into logs right next to the Tree, and how the Elements of Harmony might have been corrupted. But those things don't seem to have become significant in this season, other than perhaps demonstrating that the Tree of Harmony has gotten stronger. Also, in "Friendship University", we never did find out how Flim and Flam obtained a complete copy of Twilight's curriculum without her knowledge, and it was speculated that Cozy Glow might have "borrowed" a copy and given it to them, or that Neighsay gave them a copy from the EEA in order to sabotage Twilight's school. But we didn't see or hear anything about that, so I guess that remains a mystery.
  12. Now that Season 8 is officially over, what do you think were the best and worst (or, if you prefer, your favorite and least favorite) episodes of the season? In the poll above, you can vote for as many or as few episodes for each question as you wish, although many people traditionally have given a top 5 and bottom 5. At the bottom of each question, there is also a "None / Prefer not to answer" option. Also, feel free to post and explain your choices. Later on, I'll post the top 5 episodes that I liked most this season. Thanks for voting!
  13. Music Chart Fan

    Spoiler S08:E24 - Father Knows Beast

    Overall, this is another episode for which it's rather difficult to characterize my feelings. On the one hand, there are significant positive elements to the episode. It's nice to see the Mane Six really working to make Spike's dreams of doing activities with his dad come true. It's also heartwarming to see Twilight helping Spike with flying, Twilight's concern for Spike later, and more confirmation of Twilight's and Spike's loving relationship. And Smolder ends up being a real hero in this episode. She stops Spike from continuing to be manipulated, used, and derailed by Sludge; again acts as a mentor to Spike on what being a dragon is really like; and helps Spike to expose Sludge and ultimately get him to leave. On the other hand, though, it's painful to watch Spike being oblivious and obsequious to Sludge. It's hard not to wish that Spike would show more skepticism or hesitation before (more or less) doing anything that Sludge tells him to do, and before essentially agreeing to give up his current "ponified" life and any other personal goals just on Sludge's say-so. When Spike runs into Smolder outside, Spike says that Sludge is showing him how to be a "real dragon", that Sludge is really good at "being a dragon", and that "maybe someday, I'll be able to lay around doing nothing as well as he does". Didn't Spike have any of his own goals or aspirations other than being just like a "real dragon"? Even if Sludge were showing Spike what it's like to be a "real dragon", shouldn't Spike want to do more than that? Doesn't Spike have his own values and his own idea of who he is that he holds strongly enough to stand up for, rather than (in a matter of a couple of days or so) seemingly throwing all of that away in order to do whatever Sludge wants and to aspire to be like him? However, is it necessarily bad characterization to have Spike act this way? I have these things that I think Spike ought to have done, and I wish that he would have done, but is it unreasonable to expect Spike to have done them? I guess I don't know. From our perspective in the audience, we can see more dispassionately (and pretty early on) that Sludge is a slimy freeloader who's emotionally manipulating and taking advantage of Spike. But I don't know that I can really put myself in Spike's place, where he wants to meet his biological parents this badly, to the point that he keeps a long list of things that he wishes that he could do with his dad. I feel like I might do better at keeping my wits about me in a situation like that, but then, I'm also probably less inclined to feel these strong emotions that might overtake dispassionate observation and judgement. So while I don't like seeing Spike act this way, I don't really know if it's unreasonable for Spike to do so. ----- One potential turning point in the episode involves Spike's decision to take Sludge to the castle, and Spike's and the Mane Six's decision to nurse Sludge back to health. Spike and the Mane Six seem to think that Sludge is potentially seriously injured, as shown by their putting him in a wheelchair, making a sling for his arm, trying to do what looks like physical therapy, etc. But if they believe that, shouldn't they be taking him to a hospital? Ponyville does have a hospital, after all, and I would think that it would have more equipment and expertise in handling potentially serious injuries than the Mane Seven would have at Twilight's castle. Plus, if Sludge is overexaggerating or outright faking his injuries, then the hospital staff would seem more likely to pick up on that, and hopefully head off any attempt by Sludge to take advantage of Spike and the Mane Six. (The Ponyville hospital staff did, for example, see through Rainbow's pretending to be injured again back in "Read It And Weep", and refused to re-admit her.) And I could see those two decisions changing the whole trajectory of events from that point. What if Spike and Smolder immediately took Sludge to the hospital, and it was determined that Sludge had no injuries or only minor injuries, and therefore had no need to stay in Ponyville? What if Sludge tried too hard to fake being injured, and the hospital staff called him out on it, exposing him as a slimy freeloader to Spike (and the others) before Sludge could even learn about and exploit Spike's orphan status? The seemingly innocuous decisions to take Sludge to the castle and for the Mane Six to help him may have turned out to be more fateful than they might have thought. ----- Another aspect of this episode that I particularly noticed and thought about was how much Sludge managed to take advantage of Twilight's and everyone else's hospitality. Especially during and right after the song, I couldn't help wondering just how much food Sludge had gone through just in his relatively brief stay at the castle. And what about Sludge's (and Spike's) making a mess of things around the castle? Can Twilight, as presumably the one in charge of the castle, ask for some moderation in consuming all the food and trashing the place? Does she have to defer completely to whatever Sludge (and Spike) wants to do, no matter what the cost? I also thought of this when Twilight questions Spike about what Sludge is doing. Twilight expresses discomfort at Sludge's "taking over [Spike's] room" and "making a mess of things", and is worried about whether Spike will act that way, just to have Spike respond indignantly and accuse Twilight of jealousy and/or bigotry. What kind of expectations are being set up here? Sludge gets to stay in the castle indefinitely; in the meantime, he and Spike get to consume or use whatever they want, have piles of open food in Spike's room, toss shelves of (organized) books around the library, burn or throw out whatever they don't like, etc.; and if Twilight questions any of this or wishes that they wouldn't do it, then she's the bad one? But what would have happened if, say, Twilight stood firm and said that if Sludge won't follow her minimum baseline rules, then he's kicked out of the castle? Spike may well have followed Sludge wherever he went at that point, and Twilight could lose Spike indefinitely. But what would Sludge have done, knowing that his goal was to find a way to live a cushy lifestyle at others' expense? Would he have continued to manipulate Spike and tried to use Spike's other connections in order to freeload off of Spike's other friends/family? If that did work for Sludge, then it would seem like Twilight's kicking Sludge out would accomplish worse than nothing, because Sludge would still be using Spike and being a bad influence on him, but now he wouldn't even have Twilight to help, and meanwhile, Twilight would be alienated from Spike. So it does seem like Twilight is in a frustrating catch-22, at least for the moment. I do have to wonder, as others have mentioned, whether Twilight and the rest of the Mane Six were planning to use the Cutie Map to try to build a case against Sludge to present to Spike, and if so, how long that would have taken and how effective that would have been. ----- Now here's just a few more miscellaneous observations that I had: Spike's practicing flips and doing a "big finish" seems to imply that there's a performance of some kind that he's practicing for. This scene parallels Twilight's practicing in "Princess Twilight Sparkle", but in that case, she was (at least in part) practicing a routine for the Summer Sun Celebration. So are there plans for Spike to do some public flying performance at some point in the future? Apparently none of Twilight's flying advice to Spike is helping, and Smolder is much better at helping Spike with flying technique, because dragons don't have feathers. But to what extent was Twilight's flying advice only applicable to feathered wings? The only particular flying advice we hear Twilight give in the episode - "Remember, two flaps, then straight up" to do a flip - doesn't seem to be obviously specific to feathered wings. Spike also mentions after Smolder's lessons that he just needed to bend his wings, but does Twilight not bend her wings? Just a couple of episodes ago, I mentioned the dragon in "Gauntlet of Fire" that wanted to become Dragon Lord in order to raid Equestria for their pillows, and in this episode, that becomes relevant again. Smolder says to Spike's throw pillow gift that "It's just dragons don't really use pillows. At all". But that doesn't mean that all dragons don't want to use pillows, or that they couldn't start to. It doesn't seem like Sludge was specifically traveling to Ponyville for the purpose of taking advantage of Spike. So where was Sludge originally going? Why did he crash-land in Ponyville? Did Sludge happen to see Spike and Smolder walking down the road, and he tried to land to talk to them? During the whole first third of the episode, we don't see any of the characters asking these questions, even just out of curiosity. Right after Twilight leaves Sludge in Spike's room, she bumps into Spike, who drops the food he's carrying and has two raw eggs break on his face. Why was Spike carrying raw eggs with his pile of baked goods, anyway? Do dragons enjoy eating raw eggs?
  14. Music Chart Fan

    Spoiler S08:E23 - Sounds of Silence

    Overall, I'm a bit of two minds about this episode. On the one hand, I can see a sort of feel-good fluffiness to the episode which can be appealing. The Kirin are cute and likable enough, and Autumn Blaze is all right; I'm not typically a fan of characters being super-talkative and hyperactive, but it helps that she generally has a more pleasant voice and demeanor (as compared to, say, Pinkie when she starts going off). The episode also comes to a nice feel-good ending where the Kirin realize that they can keep their anger in check, and rediscover the joys of speaking and having feelings again. However, when I thought more about some of the aspects of this episode, I saw a few potential issues. I thought Applejack was offputtingly presumptuous and insensitive in her attitude toward the Kirin upon meeting them. I also wonder about the logistics of Kirin society if the Stream of Silence took away their ability to have feelings, and I noticed quite a few cases where the Kirin appear to be exhibiting feelings, or are referred to as having feelings, when they supposedly shouldn't. I also got a sense that the Kirin's conflict and particularly the resolution to it were a little too simplistic; I wonder if some of the time spent on Autumn Blaze's song and her being quirky to Applejack could have been spent fleshing out the Kirin's conflict or the resolution to it a little more. ----- First, I'll talk about what I saw as Applejack's rather presumptuous and insensitive attitude toward the Kirin. When Applejack and Fluttershy come across the Kirin, Applejack in particular doesn't seem to realize that this isn't just another city in Equestria, with most of the attendant societal and cultural norms; the Kirin look to be pretty isolated from pony, or any other, society. I think it would be reasonable to expect the Kirin to be wary of Applejack and Fluttershy; to expect the Kirin to perhaps just want to observe them first; and to expect that the Kirin won't necessarily welcome them with open arms and go right into chatting them up. It even took Fluttershy a fair bit to consider that maybe the Kirin don't understand them, which shouldn't have been a surprise if true, although it turned out that (somehow) the Kirin also speak "Ponish". And when the Kirin leader nods to Fluttershy's suggestion that "you don't speak", Applejack is immediately suspicious and says "Don't or won't?". But, first off, the two of them don't even know if these Kirin are physically able to speak; that turned out to be somewhat the case, since the Stream of Silence "disabled" their ability to speak. But also, even if they were physically capable of speech, what if they just don't want to talk? The Kirin are not under any obligation to talk to Applejack and Fluttershy, or to do anything else that Applejack and Fluttershy want them to do, and the Kirin could have many reasons why aren't doing so. Yet Applejack carries on with her apparent expectation that the Kirin are perfectly capable of talking to her, and that it's outrageous that they aren't. This is embodied in Applejack's declaration that "there's gotta be some way to make 'em speak", followed by her trying to trick them or badger them into speaking. It doesn't seem to occur to Applejack that maybe the Kirin would be more cooperative if she showed them a little more respect. Earlier, Applejack yelled to Fluttershy "Well, how are we gonna solve a friendship problem if none of 'em will tell us what it is?". Gee, maybe Applejack and Fluttershy will have to get to know and understand the Kirin on the Kirin's terms, rather than Applejack's expecting the Kirin to just do whatever she wants them to do. And I'm not sure that we see Applejack ever really learn that she was going about meeting a new species and a new society the wrong way. However, it is funny, in some sense, to see Applejack getting agitated and impatient with the Kirin not talking to her, while the Kirin repeatedly just give her a stone-faced nonresponse; that feels, in a way, like Applejack is getting what she deserves for her presumptuousness and insensitivity. And it does seem like Applejack was (at least in part) written to have this bull-in-a-china-shop approach in order to provide a point of contention with Fluttershy, which in turn is used to demonstrate for the Kirin that friends can disagree and be angry with each other without getting out of control. But I'm not sure I like having Applejack made this offputting and oblivious to accomplish those things. ----- Next, I'll talk about this concept that the Stream of Silence not only took away the Kirin's ability to speak, but also took away their ability to feel "feelings". This is mentioned at least a few times in the episode. After Autumn Blaze's song, Applejack says "I can't believe it! Nopony should give up feelin'...their feelin's just to keep from gettin' angry!" and Autumn Blaze replies "That what's I said!". Later, when Applejack is arguing with Fluttershy, Applejack says that "There's gotta be a better way than givin' up all your feelin's!". And when Applejack and Fluttershy are about to be dunked in the Stream of Silence, Applejack says "If we hit that water, we'll never be able to talk or feel anythin' ever again!". And, of course, several times, the Kirin are portrayed as having "neutral" facial expressions and not having emotional reactions to things going on around them. First, it's not exactly clear what is meant by these "feelings" that the Stream of Silence prevented the Kirin from feeling. Does the term "feelings" also encompass, say, physical pain, hunger and thirst, tiredness, etc.? I suppose that, since we see the post-Stream of Silence Kirin still basically functioning, we might assume that "feelings" is referring essentially to higher-order human-like emotions, although even that still seems like a somewhat fuzzy categorization. And one potentially puzzling thing about the post-Stream of Silence Kirin not having feelings is that they appear to be maintaining basically the same lifestyle and civilized society that they had before. What is motivating the Kirin to undertake the day-to-day work to maintain their lifestyle and society if they have no feelings? One possibility is that the post-Stream of Silence Kirin are operating on animal instinct, without any of these higher-order human-like feelings. But to what extent can animal instincts be separated from "feelings"? And can animal instincts alone justify the maintenance of a civilized society? Another possibility is that the post-Stream of Silence Kirin are operating on cold, hard reasoning that doesn't involve higher-order human-like feelings. But it might be a non-trivial task to come up with reasoning for maintaining the Kirin's lifestyle and civilized society that doesn't invoke "feelings" at some point, and I'm not sure that I would be up to that task. ----- Another issue is that if this episode is combed through while keeping in mind that the post-Stream of Silence (and uncured) Kirin aren't supposed to have "feelings", then there seem to be quite a few apparent violations of that. Below, I'll list some of these that I noticed. - Autumn Blaze says that she was "super bored" and looked to be going kind of crazy before she found the foal's-breath flowers and looked happy/excited before making the brew to cure herself, which all seem like feelings which she shouldn't be able to feel. And after Autumn Blaze became "quite chatty", she says that she "drove my village batty", and that they "didn't like" her jokes, songs, news, plays, etc. Again, wouldn't those also be things that the Kirin who went through the Stream of Silence shouldn't be feeling? - Furthermore, one of the things that Autumn Blaze did after being cured was write plays/musicals and get them performed. First, how did that work, if none of the other Kirin were able to speak or have feelings? Were the actors just miming actions while music played over the top or something? Did Autumn Blaze provide voiceover to the whole thing? And if the actors don't have feelings, what would be their motivation to act in these plays/musicals in the first place? Also, did any other villagers watch these plays/musicals? If they didn't have feelings, then would they have any reason to watch them at all? - At the end of her song, Autumn Blaze says "No matter how hard I schooled them / Fear of hurt is still what ruled them". But if the other Kirin don't have feelings, then could that really be the case? Isn't "fear of hurt" a feeling that they shouldn't be able to feel? - A little later, when Applejack and Fluttershy start arguing over whether the Kirin should allow themselves to talk, the other Kirin who have gathered to observe start to look concerned or fearful that Applejack and Fluttershy will burst into flame or transform or something, and the Kirin do so again when they're about to dunk Applejack and Fluttershy in the Stream of Silence. - When Autumn Blaze tells Fern Flare "you used to love to laugh at everything", and tells Rain Shine "you sung the most beautiful harmonies. Don't you miss it?", aren't those essentially emotional appeals, which shouldn't work on Kirin who have no feelings? And yet we see Fern Flare, Rain Shine, and other surrounding Kirin looking sad/wistful/regretful. If the Kirin have no feelings, then it seems like Applejack, Fluttershy, and Autumn Blaze would have to make some kind of purely logical, utilitarian argument (which doesn't invoke "feelings") to convince the other Kirin to take the cure and get their speech and feelings back. - And at the end of the episode, Rain Shine wants Autumn Blaze to come back to live in the village, and says "I can't say how much we've missed your beautiful voice". But the Kirin literally just drank the cure which restored their abilities to have feelings; prior to that, could the Kirin have really missed Autumn Blaze's beautiful voice if they didn't have feelings? Now I'll admit that it seems fairly easy not to notice these apparent inconsistencies if this episode is being watched without actively keeping in mind that the post-Steam of Silence Kirin aren't supposed to have "feelings". The feelings being displayed or referred to would make sense and would be relatable otherwise. That causes me to wonder if this episode could have worked with the Stream of Silence only taking away the ability to speak, and not also taking away the ability to have feelings. That could introduce its own complications, however. For example, there would be a fairly obvious point to be made that the Kirin would still be perfectly capable of making each other angry, or becoming angry, even if they weren't able to speak. And if the Kirin retained their feelings, then that might take away a justification for the reception (at least initially) that the Kirin gave to Applejack and Fluttershy. ----- Finally, I'll talk about a few things that contribute to a sense that the Kirin's conflict and the resolution to it was a little overly simplistic. First, we have this story of the Kirin transforming into Nirik and burning down their old village, and their subsequent submersion in the Stream of Silence, but one aspect of this story that's never really explained is the circumstances around this particular incident. In the song, we see two Kirin having a seemingly petty argument and transforming, but then a few seconds after that, other Kirin observing the incident, who looked concerned or curious and seemed to have nothing obvious to be angry about, suddenly transformed too. Why did they do that? Is the implication that Kirin anger, or the transformation into Nirik, is "contagious" and can spread to other nearby Kirin who otherwise wouldn't be angry or transform? Or if not that, did all these other Kirin have their own things that they just happened to get angry about all at the same time? What were they getting angry about, and could those things have been worked out or solved? It's fine and all for Applejack to say that "friends can disagree without causin' a ruckus", and for Fluttershy to suggest that "if you're really angry, then take some time away to be a Nirik where it won't hurt anypony", but wouldn't it be better to fix the things that they're getting angry about in the first place, when possible? Also, Twilight had the shield and information from Rockhoof that suggested that this transformation into Nirik was happening 1000+ years ago. And if that's the case, then did Kirin getting angry and transforming (with that possibly spreading to other Kirin) never burn down their village before? Or was this a frequent occurrence, and this particular incident was just the straw that broke the Kirin leader's back? If this was a regular occurrence before, then I wouldn't be so sure that it can easily be fixed with just a few sentences of advice from Applejack and Fluttershy. And when Fluttershy asks Autumn Blaze how she knew she could control her temper, Autumn Blaze says that she didn't know, until she just did it, I suppose. But will it be that easy for the other Kirin to control their tempers? Did none of them know that they could control their tempers before, but now, all of a sudden, they'll just find that they're able to do so? This is important in light of Fluttershy's advice that "if you're really angry, then take some time away to be a Nirik where it won't hurt anypony". Being able to do that would require some level of self-control when they're getting angry, and I don't know if all the Kirin will be able to exert that self-control, at least not without a fair amount of work. ----- Now here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: Twilight proclaims that it's "amazing!" that Fluttershy and Applejack are going on a friendship quest, since this is the first time the map has teamed up the same ponies for a second quest. But is it amazing, really? Over the past few seasons, the Cutie Map has seemed to break any particular rules that we thought it was following, so I'm not sure that there's even intended to be any rhyme or reason to what the Map does at this point. Twilight says that she only knows what Rockhoof told her about the Peaks of Peril, which is presumably a reference to Rockhoof's new job. I remember that Twilight wasn't able to find much information on The Smoky Mountains in her research back in "The Hooffields And McColts", so it's nice to see that Rockhoof is being consulted by Twilight when perhaps she isn't able to find much (or any) information on a new Map location. Somewhat surprisingly, I got the "flanks don't lie" reference. I don't know much about 2000s mainstream pop, other than the big hits on the Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, but I do know that Hips Don't Lie was a #1 hit in 2006 by Shakira. However, the Simon & Garfunkel song referenced by the title of this episode is much more of my kind of music, even though that song was a #1 hit way back in early 1966. The ticket guy says that he's not used to seeing anyone take the train to "the end of the line. The final destination. The last stop". But this isn't the only end of a train line we've seen in the show. Back in "The Cutie Map", when the Mane Six were travelling to Starlight's village, they also got off the train at a point where the tracks just abruptly ended in the middle of nowhere. Of course, we don't know how much else of the Friendship Express train system this ticket guy is aware of, especially if he's gone a little crazy. Speaking of which, does this ticket guy just live out of the ticket stand? Does he ever travel back to civilization at any point? Is he getting paid by somebody to be "on duty" out here? As I've seen pointed out by others, this is at least the second time that Fluttershy has been distracted by animals and split off from a hiking group without the rest of the group noticing, since that also occurred in "The Mean 6". Fluttershy really needs to learn to say something if she's going to hang back from the hiking group, and the others need to learn to pay some attention to their hiking mates. As soon as Autumn Blaze falls into the flower bed of foal's-breath, she gets excited and already seems to know to make a "brew" of the flowers to cure the effects of the Stream of Silence. So, is foal's-breath well-known among the Kirin to be a cure to the Stream of Silence? Did only Autumn Blaze know this, for some reason? How far away from the village did Autumn Blaze have to wonder before stumbling across the foal's-breath? After Autumn Blaze's song, Applejack says that she's going to get the other Kirin to welcome Autumn Blaze back, and maybe even convince them to take Autumn Blaze's cure. But I'm not sure what Applejack plans to say differently to convince the Kirin that Autumn Blaze didn't already try to say. And with Applejack's track record of failing to get the Kirin to cooperate with her up to this point, I wouldn't really expect any more success in this endeavor. When the other Kirin are going to dunk Applejack and Fluttershy in the Stream of Silence, the two of them are seen to be hovering over top of the water (as shown by their shadows) while the Kirin are all standing on the road and on the bank of the river. Then we zoom in on Autumn Blaze as a Nirik, and two seconds later, Applejack and Fluttershy are now conveniently hovering over the road instead of the water, and the Kirin have conveniently arrayed themselves on both sides of the road, to allow room for Autumn Blaze to make her wall of fire encircling Applejack and Fluttershy. Nirik fire was apparently hot enough to burn down the Kirin's old village, and Autumn Blaze encircles Applejack and Fluttershy with a wall of Nirik fire just a few feet away from them; I would think that it would be pretty hot in there. Also, if we're making song references in this episode, there was a missed opportunity for Fluttershy to thank Autumn Blaze for the "ring of fire", rather than the "wall of fire". Finally, when one of the Kirin is playing charades to try to communicate to Autumn Blaze that they want to take the cure, Autumn Blaze gets angry, and one of the things she shouts is "Just write it down!", which is a good point. We saw Autumn Blaze distributing newspapers and Variety reviews in her song earlier, so the Kirin seem to have written language. Did the Stream of Silence somehow modify the Kirins' brains so that they're incapable of writing, as well as speaking?
  15. Happy birthday! It looks like it's the big half-century! I'm sure it's amazing to think of all of the technological advancements, historical events, trends and shifts in popular culture (including music!), etc. that you've lived through.

    1. Truffles


      Indeed! I was just commenting to my high school buddy yesterday (I'm on vacation the next few weeks visiting family and friends) how floored we would be if we could take something as common today as an LED light bulb and tell our past selves this light is made of nothing but LEDs, uses a fraction of the power and lasts for years. Back then when we thought about LEDs they weren't anywhere near as bright nor did they come in many colors other than red, green, and yellow. XD

      Thanks very much for the birthday wishes!