Music Chart Fan

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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  1. Happy birthday! I hope you get the chance to do something fun for it!

    1. Truffles


      Thanks! This year it's a dinner in situation for obvious reasons. But it was steak and it was great, so I can't complain, lol!

  2. Merry Birthiversary!

  3. Happy birthday, Chart! :yay:

    1. Music Chart Fan

      Music Chart Fan

      Thanks! I went and visited with some of my family this past weekend, so that was fun. I haven't had too much going on since I got that research & development chemist job and moved last November. I was assigned to work out in production for six months (from March through August), which felt like a whole other world than R&D. But I was able to return to R&D lab work earlier this month, which I prefer to do and I find a lot less stressful.

  4. Yeah, I'd like to think that Twilight wasn't that bad, even at the beginning of the show, to the point of her being dismissive or a know-it-all right to Princess Celestia's face as she's trying to explain an important lesson. But I suppose that Luster Dawn's relationship to Princess Twilight may be different than Twilight's more deferential relationship to Princess Celestia, and as you point out, the writers may have been trying to replicate Twilight's generally more snarky/exasperated attitude in the early part of the show. Good catch, I had missed that. I like Pharynx, so that's nice to see. It's in the scene where the Mane Six all cry together about Twilight's having to move to Canterlot, and Spike reminds them that "you should be more worried about missing the train to Canterlot!": And, for another example, the clock tower in "Hearts And Hooves Day" (S02E17) doesn't have the hours explicitly numbered, but it has 12 marks around the face, and has what looks like an hour and a minute hand: Contrast those two normal-looking clocks, though, to these examples from "Dragon Dropped" (S09E19), in Spike's room and in the post office. They both may have hour and minute hands, but they only have 8 marks around the face, and for the clock in the post office, those marks may not even be evenly spaced: And also contrast to the grandfather clock in Twilight's office from "School Raze - Part 1" (S08E25), which has four hands and 16 marks around the face: I'm sure that there are more examples, but those are ones that I recall off the top of my head.
  5. I laughed at the mental image of Spike's teleporting a giant roc - or, say, the big frozen cloud from "Equestria Games" - somewhere else by breathing fire on it. But that mental image also calls to mind a potentially interesting thought experiment. From what I recall observing on the show, Spike's sending a scroll (or whatever else qualifies) by breathing fire on it doesn't necessarily occur instantaneously; it appears to be sent as it's burned, even if that takes a second or so. But on the receiving end, a cloud of smoke and magic forms until the whole scroll pops into existence instantaneously. So what if, say, a mile-long scroll was unrolled and set up so that Spike would breathe fire on one end to teleport it? Presumably the scroll would "send" as it burned down the very long length of it. But on the receiving end, would an ever-larger swirling cloud of smoke and magic form over the course of many seconds (or more, depending on how long it takes the scroll to burn), with the receiver perhaps looking on in horror, until the mile-long scroll pops into existence all at once? Could people observe a long, continuous trail of smoke and magic from where the scroll is originally located all the way to where it's being sent? I could imagine Twilight and Spike doing that as an experiment, or I could also imagine Rainbow or somebody asking Spike to do that as a prank.
  6. I certainly don't think I'm qualified or able to make any "objective" judgement of what the best episodes of all time of the show are, so I'll just briefly go through some of what I think are my favorite episodes of the show. As a disclaimer, I think I'm more liable to like particular scenes, moments, and aspects of episodes in the show, rather than liking entire episodes from start to finish, per se. I'll probably have at least some qualms, skepticism, and/or certain things that I don't particularly like about essentially every episode of the show; I feel like that's just how my brain works. So when I mention episodes as being among my favorites, that doesn't necessarily mean that I like absolutely everything about those episodes. And as a corollary, not mentioning certain episodes among my favorites doesn't necessarily mean that there weren't ideas, scenes, or moments that I really liked in them. (And I'll tag @Truffles, in case he's interested in this.) The Perfect Pear (Season 7, Episode 13) is a fairly obvious choice for a really good episode, for its compelling and emotionally impactful backstory of Bright Mac and Pear Butter (and how Granny Smith and Grand Pear are involved); the sincerity with which the Apple siblings want to find out about the story of their parents, and the sincerity with which the ponies who knew them want to tell that story; and the bittersweet but hopeful outcome of the episode, with Grand Pear's reconciliation and the Apple siblings' feeling more complete knowing about the story (and example) of their parents. I also really like A Hearth's Warming Tail (Season 6, Episode 8). The episode is an entertaining total package, with the framing of telling a story about Snowfall, and the attendant songs, costumes, setpieces, and characters roleplaying as other characters. I do sympathize with Starlight's and Snowfall's sort of cynicism and lack of enthusiasm about the holiday, and I find it amusing to see others' reactions to Starlight's and Snowfall's attitudes. And this episode comes to a feel-good ending: Snowfall isn't necessarily portrayed as totally in the wrong, but, thanks to the earnest efforts of their friends (and, admittedly, some guilt-tripping), both Snowfall and Starlight come to see some value in the holiday, and both of them go to the Hearth's Warming Eve parties, participate in the festivities with their friends, and are happier for it. Also, Twilight and Rainbow have been my two favorites of the Mane Six for as long as I can remember, so I particularly like episodes where the two of them work together and/or help each other out. One of those episodes is Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 (Season 4, Episode 21). Rainbow's antics and Twilight's reactions to them in the first part of the episode are funny and relatable. I particularly like Twilight's sincere concern for encouraging Rainbow not to give up on her dream of becoming a Wonderbolt. This episode also has a feel-good ending, where Twilight works together with the rest of the Mane Six and many residents of Ponyville to help Rainbow learn the Wonderbolts history, and Rainbow passes her test. I do find the method by which Rainbow supposedly learned this information not to make much sense, but it's still entertaining to see. Another of those episodes is Top Bolt (Season 6, Episode 24). Again, Twilight and Rainbow play off of each other really well in this episode. Vapor Trail is a very cute and endearing character, and it's satisfying to see her realize that she wants to be a Wonderbolt for herself, not just for Sky Stinger. And it's heartwarming to see Twilight's and Rainbow's cheering up Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail, respectively; Sky's and Vapor's helping each other train; Sky's and Vapor's successful completion of the solo trials (including where we see both of their trails as they fly fast, which are pretty cool); and their making it into the Wonderbolts Academy. And still another of those episodes is Read It And Weep (Season 2, Episode 16). I like that Twilight knows that Rainbow would like the Daring Do series, and encourages her to read it, and I like seeing Rainbow really relating to and getting more and more into the story. This was also the start of Daring Do on the show, and it was a simpler time, before Daring Do and her adventures were revealed to be real, which complicated things, even though I do like several aspects of later Daring Do episodes. The antics that Rainbow gets into in order to get back to reading the story are amusing. And, in another feel-good ending (do you see a pattern with episodes I like yet?), Rainbow admits to liking the Daring Do series, and Twilight gladly lets Rainbow borrow any of the Daring Do books in her collection. Finally, since Twilight and Rainbow are two of my favorite characters, honorable mention goes to episodes that showcase some of the best qualities of either of them, including episodes like Hurricane Fluttershy (Season 2, Episode 22), Sleepless In Ponyville (Season 3, Episode 6) and Luna Eclipsed (Season 2, Episode 4), among others.
  7. All right, as I've done for most of the previous seasons, I've compiled what I think are my favorite episodes this season. It's weird to think that this is the last time I'll be doing this for this show. It's good to have a record of my taking stock of the episodes I most liked from each season, and to go back and see the previous episodes that I overall liked the most. So, for the final time, here are, not necessarily in rank order, what I believe are the five episodes I most liked in Season 9. The Big Mac Question (Episode 23): Many of the callbacks and symbolism around the proposals and the wedding were nice, and I liked that both of them were making plans to propose to each other. I also liked the back-and-forth between Spike and Discord, and I relate to Discord's mixture of sarcasm and cynicism, even while he does ultimately care and help out in his own way. And I think that there are a couple of good lessons here. The first is about how "the most romantic things are usually the simplest". And the other is that Big Mac and the Apple siblings can remember, look up to, and strive to emulate their parents in the good things that they did, but the Apple siblings should also remember that their parents weren't perfect in every single way, and they sometimes just had to do their imperfect best to overcome challenges in their own lives. Sparkle's Seven (Episode 4): As I mentioned before, I don't relate to or buy into the sibling rivalry premise between Twilight and Shining Armor, but there are other scenes and aspects of this episode to like. I liked Rainbow's and Rarity's working together and the callbacks to Shadow Spade and "Rarity Investigates!". Rainbow's "seducing" Zephyr at Rarity's insistence is amusing (although indulging his fantasy that Rainbow has secret feelings for him may not be good in the long run). Spike's and Fluttershy's working together was also good. It was cool that Spike and Luna made a secret pact to trick everyone. And it was nice to see Twilight and Shining Armor confirm Spike as their sibling that they've always had. Dragon Dropped (Episode 19): I might have liked this episode, at least in part, for some "wrong" reasons. I can't help being amused at and thinking of sarcastic responses to a lot of the melodrama of this episode - particularly Rarity's getting distraught at Spike's lack of attention to her, not doing work for her, and having plans that don't involve her. I also found Rarity's attempts to "seduce" Spike away from Gabby amusing, even as those things demonstrate that Rarity knows what Spike likes. Twilight's having to deal with Rarity's fainting couches is funny, and her looking out for Spike is always nice to see. Gabby generally makes a pretty good showing. And I prefer to see the ending of this episode as Spike's moving past his previous blind idolization of and crush on Rarity, and into a more healthy friendship. A Horse Shoe-In (Episode 20): I liked the simple, practical problem that's being worked on in this episode - Starlight's conducting interviews to find a vice headmare or headstallion - and the fairly reasonable process by which Starlight tries to find a suitable candidate. The struggle that Starlight goes through about keeping Trixie in the running, despite her underperformance, is understandable. Octavia, Dr. Whooves, and Big Mac put in generally good showings. It's kind of nice to see Trixie stick up for Gallus. And I think the eventual choice of Sunburst as vice headstallion is a pretty good one. I was (and still am) skeptical about Trixie's being the student counselor, but, based on the final episode, Starlight, Sunburst, and Trixie seem to have done a good (or at least good enough) job with the School of Friendship. The Last Problem (Episode 26): I certainly have my issues with this episode (though I would still be interested to read what @Truffles thinks). But I think it's an interesting idea to have a student of Twilight's be in a similar position to how Twilight was at the beginning of the show, with Twilight thus being in a good position to relate and to reach out in an effective way (although I wish Luster Dawn were a little less insufferable and simplistic in her dismissal of friendship). I think it's good to see that Twilight is concerned about how different things will be when she's coronated and moves to Canterlot. It's also an interesting idea to have the rest of the Mane Six bury themselves in the work of preparing for the coronation in order to take their minds off of the impending big changes and uncertainty (although I wish the rest of the Mane Six weren't quite so bluntly dismissive of Twilight's concern before it all comes spilling out just before the train ride). Finally, it's bittersweet to see what most of the main characters have done with their lives, and think about how far they've come from when they started.
  8. After almost a year and a half of job searching after graduation, I've accepted a position as a Senior Research & Development Chemist! It will mean moving across the state, but I'll be moving in with one of my brothers, and I'll be closer to a lot of my siblings and to my parents. And, after having my house on the market for several months, I should be finalizing an offer to buy my house in the next few weeks. So the next chapter of my life is rapidly coming together, although that means that I'll be really busy the next few weeks moving out, selling my house, and starting my first post-graduation job. @Truffles @Dark Qiviut

    1. Dark Qiviut

      Dark Qiviut

      Yay! Congratulations! :yay:

  9. Overall, I'm not really sure how to feel about this episode. I thought that it was good that the flashback story around Twilight's coronation acknowledges that things are going to be different with Twilight's moving to Canterlot, although it's also a little painful to watch. However, with the future part of the episode, I can't help feeling that Twilight's position as ruler of Equestria is a lonely one, particularly with Twilight's living in Canterlot, the Council of Friendship meetings with the Mane Seven only being once a month, and the rest of the Mane Seven's seeming to be really busy with their own jobs and lives. That could probably be considered a more realistic outcome, but it also feels more depressing. (Plus, there's the whole question of whether Twilight is aging at the same rate as the rest of the Mane Six, or whether Twilight will outlive them by hundreds of years.) I also can't help questioning some of the things that are shown or implied to have happened in the interim years. But, by the end of the episode, as we see what many of the main and secondary characters have done with their lives, it does manage to evoke some wistful and bittersweet feelings. ----- In this first section, I'll put my observations from the flashback story around Twilight's coronation. Does Spike's saying that he doesn't need to bring the Power Ponies comic to Canterlot imply that Twilight and Spike aren't going to take all of their belongings to Canterlot? Does that mean that they plan to come back and stay at the castle in Ponyville at least occasionally? Will Starlight and whoever else lives in the castle (Sunburst?) have to do maintenance on Twilight's and Spike's stuff for whenever they come to stay? If Pinkie is so worried about whether Gummy really took care of the fireworks (and she's probably not wrong to be worried about that), then why doesn't she just do it, or get someone else to do it? So are we to presume that these star spiders of Rarity's voluntarily agreed to this work load and these work conditions? Would Fluttershy approve of what's going on here? Wow, Spike has a normal clock with 12 hours marked, and an hour and minute hand. As I recall, the depiction of clocks on this show has been kind of all over the place. Why is it such a struggle for Big Mac to make the food deliveries correctly without Applejack there? Each of the recipients says what they're expecting to receive, and if Big Mac isn't sure what's in the crates, why couldn't he and the recipients just open the crates and verify them? When Applejack was closing the crates earlier, she saw her just setting the lids on top, and not even nailing them down or anything, so it may not even be that difficult to check the contents. So Rarity carries off her animal tank, but I guess she never glanced at it to see that the star spiders weren't inside. I wonder if that says something about how much Rarity cared about these star spiders. Does everyone really need to gasp in melodramatic horror because Twilight tripped? I guess they may just be following Celestia's lead in doing so, but Twilight's a young(er) pony, she should be fine. I wouldn't expect Rainbow to have too much trouble flying to Canterlot in a timely manner. So if Rainbow wasn't able to go over the routine with the Wonderbolts before they attempt to do it, should we chalk that up to Rainbow's being in Canterlot, but just not being able to find where in Canterlot the Wonderbolts were waiting? I read a theory that Celestia's and Luna's fusing their crowns to make a crown for Twilight supposedly passed their power to raise the sun and moon to Twilight. That seems a little weird, since I don't recall seeing their power to do that being infused into their crowns before. And would that mean that Twilight must wear the crown in order to have the power to raise the sun and moon? The book of memories made me think of the "chandelier" made from the roots of the Golden Oak Library, and how each of the diamonds on the chandelier contains a memory. Is that chandelier still there? How much meaning does it have now that Twilight doesn't live at that castle anymore? When Twilight uses a royal decree as ruler of Equestria to establish the Council of Friendship that meets once a moon, is that royal decree legally binding and enforceable by law? Is Luna still going to be on dream patrol, even in retirement? There was even a joke about this in "The Beginning Of The End", where Rainbow says to Celestia and Luna "Does this mean we get all your powers?! Ooh, ooh! I call dibs on showing up in everypony's dreams!". But I guess we're just left to speculate about whether Luna is still guarding ponies' dreams, and whether anyone else will take over doing that. ----- Now, in this section, I'll talk about my observations from the future part of this episode. First, as mentioned in the opening paragraph, when I see the future that's depicted in this episode, I can't help feeling that Twilight's position as ruler of Equestria is rather lonely and depressing. Luster Dawn tells Twilight that "as far as I can see, you rule by yourself now", and Luster Dawn is apparently unaware of the Council of Friendship. All of the Mane Seven - except for Spike, perhaps - are late to the Council of Friendship meeting, and almost all of them, including Spike, say something that suggests that they're really busy these days. Plus, we were told that the rest of the Mane Six would continue to live in Ponyville as Twilight moves to Canterlot. All of this seems to suggest that Twilight doesn't see or talk to her best friends much more than once a month, and that she may not have many good friends other than the Mane Seven. Does Twilight have any "work friends" among the government bureaucracy that she oversees, or at the School of Magic that she runs now? There was dialogue throughout this season that the rest of the Mane Seven would be helping Twilight to rule Equestria, and I honestly thought that would mean that the Mane Seven would take positions in the Equestrian government in Canterlot. But instead, the Mane Six's helping Twilight to rule Equestria seems to be limited to this once-a-month Council of Friendship meeting. Also, I'm not really a fan of the shipping, or implied shipping, in the future part of this episode. It's true that I'm not particularly a fan of CheesePie, AppleDash, FlutterCord, or YonaBar - but then, I'm also not particularly a fan of most Mane Six ships, either. And more importantly, I don't really like having a show throw characters (particularly main characters) into romantic relationships, or implied romantic relationships, without any real buildup or development of those relationships. Maybe some of these ships would be more plausible to me (or less scary, in the case of CheesePie) if they were properly developed and shown enough in the show. But as it stands, these ships or implied ships are being shown in the very last episode, so I'm going to be skeptical and just not really onboard with them. When, and why, did Twilight grow to the size of Celestia? Does Twilight's body know that she's the ruler of Equestria now, and it grew to the "right" size to match? I'm not sure that this is just the normal course of growth for all alicorns, either, since future Twilight looks bigger than Luna, who's over 1000 years old, and Cadance, who had been an alicorn for many years. Is it that shocking that Luster Dawn "doesn't want to make friends"? If she's very introverted, and hasn't met anyone at the school with whom she really relates, then that wouldn't be surprising to me. Luster Dawn says "if friendships ultimately fade, why even make them in the first place?". We could take that course of reasoning further, and question why most people should do anything. After all, unless they're going to become really famous and really change the course of history, then it's likely that essentially everything that most people do will ultimately fade away and be forgotten at some point in the future. But should that be the way to evaluate what's worth doing in one's life? So does future Pinkie just go around with toys and candy and confetti and stuff stuck in her hair all the time? Does she ever clean that stuff out? If so, does Little Cheese just put that stuff in her hair every day? Is Luster Dawn being sent to Ponyville because, out of all the cities and towns in Equestria, Ponyville is the most friendly, and Luster Dawn is most likely to make friends there specifically? Is it because the rest of the Mane Six will be there to keep an eye on her? Is it because she'll transfer to and/or live at the School of Friendship? Or is it just because Twilight has a sentimental bias toward Ponyville? What's with future Gummy being twice the size of ponies, while still having the same body proportions? Is future Rainbow still a regular performer with the Wonderbolts? They seem like an organization that would place a high priority on athleticism, and at some point, I would think that Rainbow's aging body wouldn't be able to keep up. Or does she perhaps have a less strenuous part in the shows, akin to what Wind Rider would have done back in "Rarity Investigates!" before Rainbow took his place? It's weird to think that, in the future, the School of Friendship has been run by Starlight and Sunburst for much longer than Twilight and the Mane Seven ever ran it, even though it was Twilight's idea to make the school, and she (along with the Mane Eight) fought to open it even without EEA accreditation. Plus, I have to wonder whether they still have, and still follow, Twilight's enormous rulebook that she first wrote for the school. Also, did Trixie ever think, back when she was a traveling magician, that she would settle down and take a long-term job being the guidance counselor at a School of Friendship? The griffon on the far right in Scootaloo's class seems much younger than the other students in the class, for some reason. Finally, it appears that the character collages behind each of the Mane Six near the end of the song are supposed to consist of those characters that each of the Mane Six particularly helped, interacted with, are related to, etc. And that is true for many of the characters. But, for some of the characters, I don't really see the connection. For example, what particular connection does Rainbow Dash have to Pharynx, Featherweight, or Vinyl and Octavia? What particular connection does Fluttershy have to Dr. Whooves, Mayor Mare, Nurse Redheart, or Lyra and Bon Bon? I'm not sure if I'm just not remembering all of these connections, or if some of these characters were sprinkled among the collages just to make sure they were there somewhere.
  10. Overall, as with the finale episodes for other recent seasons, I found these episodes to be kind of a mixed bag. As the final battle for Equestria, the stakes are high and the unfolding of events is compelling. It was particularly powerful to see the villainous three seize Spike and threaten to pluck his wings - essentially threatening to torture him - and Spike's willingness to lose his wings and go through that, saying not to worry about him. And after the Mane Six stand down so as not to allow Spike to be tortured, they even appear to resign themselves to die (unless the villainous three's combined magic beam would have just stripped their magic or imprisoned them again or something). There are also several entertaining fight scenes. Starlight's battle with Chrysalis, and Starlight's teleporting the two of them to an empty tundra so as not to hurt anyone else, is pretty cool, as is Rarity's saving Twilight from having her magic absorbed. Starlight's breaking everyone else out of prison is another good moment, although I can't help wishing that she used the element of surprise that she seemed to have, rather than announcing that she's able to free herself. It's also neat to see all the ponies and creatures of Equestria assembled to back up the Mane Seven, although admittedly, many of them don't do much other than look intimidating and provide emotional support. However, the subplot about the villainous three sowing distrust among the earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns, and the resolution to that being students from Twilight's school telling everyone about the power of friendship, seemed clunky to me. I was frustrated by the characters' responding to concerns about Twilight's leading Equestria, or Twilight's not being able to think of a plan to stop the villainous three, by repeating again and again how they believe in Twilight (and the Mane Seven), and how they've "faced so much", etc., while seeming not to address the actual concerns. (I particularly noticed this in the scene with the Mane Seven in the tower at the Crystal Empire, where they spend a lot of time seeming to talk about anything but actually thinking of a plan to stop the villainous three.) The villainous three have to make the usual stupid and hubristic mistakes in order to give the heroes a chance to defeat them. It doesn't make sense to me that the villainous three are treated as obviously bad and put to "stone sleep", but Discord, who enabled and encouraged the three of them in several ways, seems to be treated just as he was before by the end of these episodes. And there are some other lines and events during these episodes that I'm not quite sure what to make of, which I'll talk about below. ----- First, I'll talk about this subplot with the villainous three sowing distrust among the pony races, and how it seems clunky to me. Chrysalis says that "spreading distrust among the unicorns and earth ponies is almost too easy", and I think it is too easy. Why are the ponies of Equestria so gullible? The unicorn baker in the opening of the episode apparently just believes Chrysalis - a random stranger to him - when she says that the earth ponies are hoarding food, and that the mayor of Appleloosa said that "if unicorns and pegasi want to eat, they can use their own hooves to dig". If any of us were just walking down the street, and a random person stopped us to tell us that the farmers are conspiring to hoard the food and keep it from us, would we just believe that person? There are all kinds of people who believe all manner of crazy things; I'm not just going to take some random stranger's word that there's a vast conspiracy without evidence or following up on it to confirm it for myself. And do any of these ponies work with and see ponies of other races, and have their own experience that would contradict whatever the villainous three are telling them? So I don't really see why the ponies of Equestria seemingly just believe the villainous three as they sow enmity among the races. And related to this, Twilight in the tower at the Crystal Empire says "Equestria's been falling apart around us, and I didn't even notice! What kind of princess does that make me?". I'm not sure what exactly this means. First, to what extent was it Twilight's job to be noticing large-scale problems around Equestria and fixing them, when she hasn't taken over leading Equestria yet? Should that not be falling more to Celestia and Luna (and the government apparatus they control) until the two of them actually retire? Or is Twilight saying that that was her job as the Princess of Friendship, even before taking over as leader of Equestria? And what is Twilight thinking that she should have noticed and taken action to fix? Does Twilight think she should have noticed that the pony races in Equestria harbor distrust and disdain for each other just under the surface, such that the villainous three could easily cause that to come out? Was Twilight supposed to have noticed that the ponies of Equestria are so gullible that they'll believe any bad thing that they're told about the other ponies by Chrysalis disguised as a total stranger? I'm not even sure what particular evidence there would be of those things for Twilight to notice. (And of course, none of these questions are explored or addressed by the Mane Seven; right after Twilight says these things, the conversation just goes off in a different direction.) So the stakes are raised by having the pony races separate and only look out for themselves, and that in turn causes the windigoes to appear. But, as a resolution to this subplot, we're shown that the day was saved, and all the pony races and creatures were convinced to work together, because a few kids/teenagers went to Twilight's School of Friendship and then told all the various societies about the power of friendship, or whatever. I can see that this is supposed to be tying a bunch of things together. See, Twilight's founding and running the School of Friendship did matter! See, Twilight does know what she's doing and has everything figured out! This idea of hers to have a School of Friendship and invite representatives of other species was what saved Equestria! I mean, yeah, fostering cooperation and better relations among the societies and species of the world is generally a good thing, and it's nice to see them standing together. But I can't help thinking that it's ham-fisted to make a few students of Twilight's school the deciding factor that saves the world. If all the pony races and creatures were informed that the villainous three are on track to destroy and/or essentially enslave the world, and that they ought to try to fight back, would that not be enough to convince them to get a grip and try to work together to stop the villainous three? If some powerful aliens were to come and directly and imminently threaten to destroy or enslave the Earth, would humans of various nations and societies work together to try to stop that threat? And if the answer to either of these questions is no, then would these groups really change their minds after a few kids/teenagers tell them about the power of friendship? ----- Next, this is an issue that I've had throughout this season, but these episodes really seem to fall back a lot on having the characters say over and over that Twilight is ready to lead Equestria, rather than really addressing concerns about that and showing that Twilight is actually ready (and willing) to take over for Celestia and Luna. When Twilight has doubts and concerns about leading Equestria, or in these episodes, about being able to find a way to stop the villainous three, the Mane Seven seem to have little else to say than repeating platitudes such as "we believe in you/us" and pointing out the mere fact that they've "faced so much" or "come a long way" or whatnot, and come out okay. Every time they repeat these things, I always have the same frustrated thoughts in response. The Mane Seven's saying that they believe in Twilight or themselves as a group doesn't mean anything unless there are good reasons for that belief. So why don't they elaborate or explain why their confidence and belief are justified? And instead of just pointing out the simple fact that everything "worked out" before when bad things happened, why don't they go into how they tackled those challenges, and why that would demonstrate that they can/will be able to do so now and in the future? Of course, if the answer is that things "worked out" before because they just did whatever and it just happened to work until the Elements of Harmony/friendship powers bailed them out, then it wouldn't be surprising if that doesn't really inspire confidence. This even plays into Discord's motivations, when he points out that Twilight and the Mane Six gained confidence after defeating King Sombra the second time, and says "Just think - after defeating three baddies, Twilight would have to believe that she's the leader we all know she is!". But, oddly, Discord also agrees with Twilight when she says that "it was all a lie" by replying "A well-intentioned lie". So Discord apparently believes, along with the rest of Twilight's friends, that Twilight really is ready to lead, and she just needed to be manipulated into believing in herself and her own ability to lead. Why did seemingly none of Twilight's friends taken her concerns about not being ready to lead Equestria seriously? Instead, her concerns seem to have just been dismissed and treated as an obstacle to overcome by any means necessary. How about, instead of pressuring and manipulating Twilight into getting an artificial confidence boost in her ability to lead, her friends actually ask her and listen to why she doesn't feel ready, and if need be, make plans to teach her the skills she believes she's missing, address the changes she would have to go through, etc.? And while they're at it, they could also ask if she even really wants to take over leading Equestria, because maybe she doesn't. Finally, this issue also comes up when Twilight, Spike, Rarity, Fluttershy and Rainbow are wondering why ponies would be on edge today. Rarity first suggests that "the first shift in royal power in over a millennium" would make everyone jumpy. But then everyone else pooh-poohs that idea, repeating again that no one should be worried because Twilight has already saved them so many times. But I think they should seriously consider that residents of Equestria may not share their unbridled confidence in Twilight's (and their own) ability to lead, and may not share their belief that having managed to defeat villains in itself makes Twilight (and them) ready to lead. ----- Now here's a compilation of my observations about the stupid and hubristic things that the villainous three do, giving the Mane Seven (and everyone else) a chance to defeat them. Chrysalis thinks that Discord is no threat without his magic - yeah, it's not like he can tell the Mane Six or Celestia and Luna about the villainous three's having seized his and Grogar's power or anything. Since the Mane Six have often used their friendship/Elements of Harmony power to defeat villains, even when the rest of Equestria was not necessarily actively helping them, shouldn't the villainous three consider disrupting the Mane Six's friendship among each other? (Although I do have to admit that I don't know how they would go about doing that.) When the villainous three consider taking Discord's chaos magic from the bell, Tirek says "But taking it all would be madness! It's impossible for any other creature to control!". And a similar message is repeated later in these episodes. But Tirek himself absorbed Discord's chaos magic back in "Twilight's Kingdom" in Season 4, and he didn't appear to have any problem controlling it then. So why couldn't Tirek absorb Discord's magic again now? Was Tirek only able to control Discord's magic back in "Twilight's Kingdom" because he already had magic from all the other ponies in Equestria? If so, why wouldn't he say that? When Cozy Glow is given Discord's chaos magic, she immediately tries to give orders to Tirek and Chrysalis to submit to her, and she may have possibly tried to kill them. Does that not give Tirek and Chrysalis any doubt about whether Cozy Glow is safe to continue working with? Did Cozy Glow's little stunt there not violate the pact that the three of them agreed to? After Celestia and Luna have their magic sucked into Grogar's bell, Twilight screams and runs forward to the two of them lying on the ground. But that seems like exactly the time that Cozy Glow could attack Twilight or take her magic, too, while she's off guard. So that doesn't seem like a smart thing for Twilight to do, but luckily for her, Cozy Glow is too busy gloating to take advantage of the situation. I don't get why the villainous three don't take away the magic power of the Mane Seven and Starlight when they're all imprisoned. Chrysalis tells Cozy Glow that they shouldn't destroy the Mane Seven because "We need to show the rest of Equestria that we've broken their heroes first", but it seems like they could do that just as well by taking their magic power away. When the villainous three confront the Mane Seven again out in the field, couldn't they just absorb the Mane Seven's magic through Tirek or through Grogar's bell first, and then do whatever they want to do with the Mane Seven? The Mane Seven already escaped once, and were being considered a serious problem that needed to be dealt with. Is this just more of the villainous three wanting to watch the Mane Seven try to fight them and fail again? Is there some unwritten rule that the villainous three must give the Mane Seven a "fighting chance"? Finally, after the army of different creatures shows up and starts distracting the villainous three, Tirek says not to let the Mane Seven escape, and Cozy Glow says "Which ones?!". Maybe the ones in the magic shield that's still being cast? Plus, what, with all of their power, the villainous three can't cast any magic to make the dust disappear, or even to freeze in place or throw to the side the creatures who are trying to distract them? Tirek does do that eventually, but I don't know why it takes him (or the other two) so long to do that, other than because that gives a convenient window for Twilight and the Mane Seven to be filled in on how students of Twilight's school rallied everyone. ----- One other thing to address regarding the villainous three and Discord is the disparate way that they're treated by the end of these episodes. After the villainous three are defeated, Celestia says "There isn't a punishment worthy of all you've done!", and, at Discord's suggestion, the three of them are put to "stone sleep", perhaps indefinitely. By contrast, by the end of these episodes, Discord's status with everyone else in Equestria seems to have returned to normal. We don't see anyone particularly holding it against Discord that he released, brought back, or gathered Tirek, Cozy Glow, Chrysalis, and Sombra; that Discord was encouraging them to defeat Twilight and her friends, and he was working with them to plan an attack on Twilight's coronation; that Discord informed the villainous three of Grogar's bell and the power it contained, and told them to retrieve it; and that Discord apparently really was unaware of the villainous three's own plotting to take the power in Grogar's bell for themselves, and he didn't suspect or plan any contingencies for these villains' choosing not to obey him. One argument might be that Discord felt sorry, and that he repeatedly said that he did these things with "good intentions", but I don't believe that those things just wipe away the consequences of what Discord did, and the risk to which he chose to subject everyone. The Mane Seven are upset with Discord for a little while, with Rainbow's saying that Discord is going to need "a pretty epic make-up". But after Discord helps to break Starlight out (with her, in turn, breaking out everybody else), Rainbow then says that that was "a pretty epic make-up", with the implication that Discord is now forgiven with the Mane Seven. But I certainly don't think that Discord's doing that in itself makes up for what he did. At best, this gives the rest of the Mane Seven a chance to find Twilight, and maybe hopefully find a way to stop the villainous three. But that's nowhere near a guarantee, so even the status quo is far from being restored at that point, and that's before considering the harm and risk to which Discord subjected the Mane Seven, Celestia and Luna, and everyone else. So it just doesn't make sense to me that the villainous three are considered to have obviously done egregiously wrong things, and everyone cheers when they're put to "stone sleep", and yet Discord - who, in several ways, enabled and encouraged the villainous three to do all those things - doesn't appear to be any more mistrusted then before, and isn't seen to have done anything in particular to atone for what he did after the villainous three are stopped. ----- Next, there are some lines in the scene where Discord confesses to have been working with the villainous three that seem like they could be very significant, but I'm not sure what they're supposed to mean. Twilight says to Discord "You've been setting up challenges for us the whole time, haven't you? None of our successes were actually real", but which challenges and successes is Twilight referring to? If Twilight is only referring to events with the Mane Seven in Season 9, then which of those could Discord have set up? Discord brought back King Sombra, who was defeated in "The Beginning Of The End", and Discord brought back the villainous three, who carried out the sabotages in "The Summer Sun Setback", but what else? It would be weird for Twilight to be using that language only to refer to two events. So is Twilight instead suggesting that Discord has set up Twilight's and the Mane Six's challenges and successes ever since he was "reformed" in "Keep Calm And Flutter On" (S03E10)? That every major (and even minor) villain/challenge that the Mane Six have faced since the end of Season 3 was brought back, empowered, or encouraged by Discord? Just think back through all the villains and challenges from the opening and finale episodes of each season since Season 3, and also add to that all the various villains and challenges from regular mid-season episodes, too. Are we meant to believe that Discord orchestrated all, or at least many, of those in the background the whole time? That would be a huge retcon to be introducing right in the last episodes of the show. But I don't know how we're to understand Twilight's dialogue that I quoted above. Discord's response to Twilight's quoted dialogue doesn't necessarily clarify what was meant, either. Discord replies "Of course they were! You just had an extremely good-looking safety net", and when Spike says "And how was that supposed to help again?", Discord replies by talking about the plan to orchestrate an attack at the coronation, on which the conversation then focuses. So does Discord's responding to Spike's question by talking about the attack at the coronation imply that this entire conversation has only been about events in Season 9? Again, it's just not clear to me, and I'm confused by the dialogue in this scene. ----- Finally, after watching these episodes, I'm also not sure how Grogar's bell works, exactly. In the beginning, the villainous three have to use a spell from a book from the Canterlot library in order to get Grogar's magic out of the bell. The three of them also have to cast magic on the bell in order to take Discord (as Grogar)'s magic. Then, when the three of them test whether Discord's chaos magic can be controlled, Tirek and Chrysalis have to cast magic on the bell to release Discord's magic from it, and again cast magic on the bell to put Discord's magic back into it. But then, when Cozy Glow takes Celestia's and Luna's magic into the bell, she just points it in Celestia's and Luna's direction; we don't see her cast an activating spell on it to make it absorb magic. Also, on several occasions, we see Cozy Glow hold the bell without any apparent sign that she's absorbing or channeling Discord's magic from inside it. But later, in the field, Spike, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity try to "lasso" the bell, being careful not to touch it directly. And near the end of the episode, Pinkie appears to channel, and then absorb, Discord's magic from the bell merely by holding it; we don't see the bell "activate" to do either of these things. After that, Discord takes the bell and absorbs his magic back into it by just pointing it in Pinkie's direction, without any activating spell. Finally, Discord releases his, Celestia's, and Luna's magic from the bell just by pointing it in their directions, also without any activating spell. So I don't know how to reconcile these observations. Why does Grogar's bell need an activating spell to release or absorb magic the first few times that it's used, but not later? How does Grogar's bell know when to release and absorb magic (and which magic to absorb or release) if it doesn't need an activating spell to do so? Why can Cozy Glow hold the bell without any apparent issue, but the Mane Seven apparently are at risk of channeling or absorbing magic from it just by touching it? I don't know if there's a consistent explanation for all of this. ----- Now here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: Why would there be a tumbleweed in the middle of Canterlot? How does the pony at the thread shop know what color/type/etc. of thread Rarity wants to buy? Rarity doesn't say at the time. Did Rarity have a pre-order or something? Chrysalis's telling Twilight that her school is abandoned doesn't seem like it should be as demoralizing as Chrysalis probably thinks it is. If the school is abandoned, then that likely means that the students (and staff) escaped to safety, and that would be a good thing, right? But apparently Twilight doesn't think so, because later, she cites the School of Friendship's being shut down as a reason why nothing the Mane Seven have done has mattered. I don't know why Twilight cites that specifically; the School of Friendship is only "shut down" so that the students could try to go somewhere safe, the same way that probably most things are shut down at that time. Does Twilight expect the school to continue operating in a national emergency of this scope, and if it doesn't, then she's failed? I don't think it makes sense to think that way. When Chrysalis is talking about the remains of her throne in the cavern, she draws a line in the dirt and says that "on this side of the cavern, we're the most powerful beings in Equestria". So Chrysalis knows the precise distance at which her throne's magic-cancelling powers apply? And she's positioned the remains of her throne precisely so that the villainous three retain their powers on this side of the cavern? Also, what is the distance at which the throne's magic-cancelling powers act now? In "To Where And Back Again", that effect lasted for a pretty long distance away from the hive. So, with that in mind, it seems as though just having pieces of the throne in the same room should make it so that nobody in the cavern should be able to use magic. Or did the alteration of the pieces of the throne, as alluded to in "Sparkle's Seven", also greatly decrease the distance over which the magic-cancelling effect occurs, to a mere few feet or so? Do the rest of the Mane Seven run all the way from the cavern of the villainous three to Ponyville? How long does that take? And, after not finding Twilight there, do the rest of the Mane Seven then run all the way to the Crystal Empire? Or are the trains still running despite the widespread panic and distrust and national emergency? And while the Mane Seven were travelling to the Crystal Empire, maybe they could have been brainstorming ideas for how to help stop the villainous three, or how to protect the general population, or how to get the pony races working together again, or something, rather than just expecting Twilight to have come up with a plan. I noticed that Sugar Belle, despite being a unicorn, is sticking with Big Mac and the other Apples in Ponyville, rather than running off to join the other unicorns. It's nice to see at least one pony who wasn't so gullible as to fall for Chrysalis's rhetoric. Why does Twilight say that if things don't work out, Flurry Heart is "Equestria's last hope"? Is the leader of Equestria required to be an alicorn, even if the only alicorn left is a baby? Why couldn't a non-alicorn lead Equestria, if need be? Another bit of dialogue that I'm not sure I understand is when Twilight says "Now I truly understand! The Elements were just symbols! The real magic has always been right here!". So the Tree of Harmony and the Elements of Harmony never contained any of their own independent power? What was going on throughout the seasons when the Tree and the Elements appeared to be doing things - creating Twilight's castle in Ponyville, manifesting a spiritual form and talking to the Student Six, etc.? Were the Tree and the Elements just concentrating or channeling the nebulous magic of friendship present throughout Equestria? After the villainous three are blasted with the rainbow laser, we see Grogar's bell bounce back and away from where the Mane Seven and everyone else are, and we see Pinkie with the rest of the Mane Seven up until the camera changes to focus on Chrysalis speaking. So in the course of about five or six seconds, Pinkie runs over behind the villainous three, retrieves the bell, comes back to the rest of the Mane Seven, and uses its magic to drop a giant cupcake, with apparently no one noticing. So did ponies actually have to rebuild the destroyed Canterlot? Or, since Discord is responsible for bringing back the villainous three who destroyed it, couldn't Discord be asked to use his magic to restore it? Finally, is Pinkie paying for all these donuts she's eating at the end of these episodes? Or is she just taking advantage of someone else's generosity?
  11. Now that Season 9 has officially finished airing, 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!
  12. I was sort of basing my presumption that the engagement ring is (at least fairly) expensive on Spike's reaction. He seems pretty impressed by it, and I think he would have a pretty good idea of what gems are impressive, considering that, for example, he's been Rarity's regular gem collecting helper, and he was seen with Rarity offering a second opinion on precious gems at the jeweler's shop in "Dragon Dropped". Then again, we may not be able to rule out his hopeless romanticism clouding his judgement, haha.
  13. Overall, I would say that this is an okay episode. Part of the issue I have is that I don't like the idea of feeling obligated to buy an expensive engagement ring, or to come up with a complicated "grand gesture" proposal. So as the setting up and attempted execution of Big Mac's and Sugar Belle's proposal schemes were playing out, I couldn't help thinking of both the logistical issues of the schemes and how unnecessary they feel to me. Spike does say near the end of the episode that "when all the planning and grand gestures go wrong, it reminds you the most romantic things are usually the simplest", so maybe we can hope that everyone involved learned that lesson. I did like Discord's sarcasm and cynicism when interacting with Spike and the others, even as he does ultimately still care. It's nice to see that Sugar Belle was planning to propose herself, in addition to Big Mac. And there were some interesting and nice symbolism and callbacks throughout the episode. ----- The first thing I'll talk about is these engagement/proposal schemes that Big Mac and Sugar Belle attempt in the episode. It seems to me that buying an expensive/impressive engagement ring, and proposing with some over-the-top/complicated "grand gesture", are traditions that many people feel obligated to do because they heard or were told that that's what you're "supposed" to do, or that that's the way it's "been done". But I don't see any particular value in buying expensive engagement rings or making some complicated plan and "grand gesture" to propose, so I don't think people should be pressured or feel obligated to do things like that. Thus, I can't help feeling some frustration when seeing Big Mac's and Sugar Belle's proposal schemes for that reason, and on top of that, I can see logistical issues with their schemes, and I'm not even sure how much value or enjoyment they would get out of them. To start off, Big Mac says "I don't talk much, so I want to SHOW Sugar Belle how committed I am". But if he doesn't talk much, then wouldn't it be all the more meaningful for him to talk about his commitment to Sugar Belle? Or couldn't his commitment be shown by his day-to-day actions and nice things that he does, rather than making some definitive singular grand gesture? Looking at Big Mac's plan, the first thing that we see is that he'll make a picnic table to match the shelf that Big Mac made for Sugar Belle's shop. So will this picnic table be subsequently used for Sugar Belle's shop? Will the shelf end up being used elsewhere along with the picnic table? I'm just trying to think if there's any practical purpose to making this picnic table match the shelf, but I guess that depends on where and how this picnic table will be used later. (And hopefully it will be used later, and not just built and used for this one evening for the proposal.) I also don't know how much enjoyment Sugar Belle would get out of this riddle-solving scavenger hunt that Big Mac planned, even if it were to go off without a hitch. Is Sugar Belle known to like doing scavenger hunts and solving riddles? I guess we don't really know, since we don't know that much about Sugar Belle. Spike says "Sugar Belle's gonna love it!", but I don't know if he can be trusted, since he's probably blinded by hopeless romanticism. But we'd better hope Sugar Belle likes it, because, going by the map of apple locations, she has to find 21 apples with 21 riddles all around Ponyville and the surrounding area. How long is this scavenger hunt supposed to take? An hour? All afternoon? How much physical and mental exertion is Sugar Belle being expected to undergo? And this scheme feels like it's just asking for problems. Of course, what happens in the episode is that Sugar Belle is too busy and never even notices the first apple with the message to kick off the scavenger hunt. But even if Sugar Belle had seen that, what if she can't figure a riddle out? What if she takes too long to find all the apples and eventually go to Sweet Apple Acres? What if she just isn't in the mood for doing this scavenger hunt today? Yet Big Mac finishes the picnic table and then just sits there with a smile on his face, as though he thought this scheme would surely go just as planned. And then, about 15 seconds after we first see him at the picnic table, he apparently concludes that there must have been a problem, and gets up to investigate. I assume that Big Mac wouldn't have wanted Sugar Belle to show up before he had finished making the picnic table, so how long had Big Mac been sitting there? What was the time window within which Big Mac expected Sugar Belle to find all the apples and make her way to Sweet Apple Acres? For Sugar Belle's part, she says that Big Mac is "a pony of few words. I love that about him. So, I thought I'd use as many words as possible to propose to him!". But does Big Mac like hearing or putting together needlessly verbose questions/statements? Also, I'm not exactly clear on what Sugar Belle's proposal scheme is. She wants 21 slips of paper spelling out her proposal to be put in 21 different desserts, and the CMCs are delivering a pie to Big Mac containing an invitation to go to Sugarcube Corner. So, assuming the pie is delivered, and Big Mac cuts the pie open right away and sees the invitation (not a guarantee, unless the CMCs are told to make sure that he does so or something), then Big Mac will go to Sugarcube Corner. And then...what? Are these 21 desserts just going to be out on a table or something? Is Big Mac expected to eat, or at least cut open, each of the 21 desserts, to discover all the slips of paper? Are the slips of paper numbered or something, so Big Mac will put them together in the right order? Is Sugar Belle going to be there as Big Mac eats the desserts and discovers the slips of paper, or will she perhaps be hiding somewhere to secretly observe his reaction? At least it seems like a pretty safe bet that Big Mac would enjoy eating baked goods (although, again, it's possible that he could not be in the mood or something), but I don't know that Big Mac would eat or sample 21 desserts in one sitting, at least without prompting. ----- Another thing we see in this episode is that Spike's dragon breath to deliver "parchments" (as Spike describes it) apparently works by his thinking of the location he wants to send it, or something like that. But it's still not clear to me exactly how this works. Is it Spike's having a destination in mind that differentiates between his sending a scroll or whatever, and just burning it? Spike has burned books and newspapers before, and it's possible that that was because he had no thought of sending them anywhere. However, this still may not explain how, way back in "Griffon The Brush Off", Spike sends scrolls to Celestia by hiccuping fire on them, when he doesn't seem like he's intending to send them at that time. And I'm not sure if the material needs to be "parchment" specifically in order for Spike to send it. Spike sent and received tickets to the gala way back in "The Ticket Master", and the tickets were shiny and didn't appear to be made of just "parchment". And Spike has sent scrolls that are closed with ribbons and what appear to be metal seals, so those don't seem to be purely paper material. I'm also curious about the specific mechanics of this sending ability. For example, let's say that Spike is asked to sent a scroll to the office of the leader of Saddle Arabia. Does Spike need to have gone to that office personally? Does Spike need to know the geographic location of the office? Does Spike need to have a mental visualization of the office? And could Spike get such a mental visualization from a picture or something, even if Spike hasn't been there himself and doesn't necessarily know its geographic location? Or does Spike only need to think the words "office of the leader of Saddle Arabia" when sending the scroll, and the "magic" of the fire breath takes care of figuring out where that is? Also, could Spike send a scroll to a person without knowing that person's location at that moment? And if so, again, does Spike need to have met that person himself, have a mental visualization of that person, or just think of the name of that person to send a scroll to him/her? And thinking about this episode, if there are 21 slips of paper to put in 21 desserts, does Spike actually have the geographic locations, interiors, and/or names of 21 different desserts distinctly in his mind? Plus, Spike uses his dragon breath on all the slips of paper, even though there only look to be about 11 desserts on the table. Were there only the 11 slips of paper in the bowl, or all 21 (minus one that Mrs. Cake placed already)? Are there other desserts off-screen that also had slips of paper "delivered" into them and caught fire? And were particular slips of paper supposed to go into particular desserts? Spike never even asked before using his dragon breath to send them. ----- Now I'll talk about a few other larger points. First, Big Mac plans this big proposal scheme, but apparently doesn't think to pre-order or buy or make food for this romantic meal until just before it. And apparently Sugar Belle doesn't think to pre-order or make 21 desserts prior to the planned day of her proposal, either. Plus, if Mrs. Cake is frantically trying to make 21 desserts, such that she's making mistakes in her recipes that both she and others notice (or at least suspect), then what's the rush? Why do all these desserts, and these proposal schemes, need to be done today, rather than in a day or two, or even a week? Is today an important anniversary of Big Mac's and Sugar Belle's first date or something? (That could explain why both of them coincidentally were planning to propose on the same day.) Also, I'm kind of surprised by how much Mrs. Cake messes up when making Sugar Belle's order. She says "I pride myself on baking under pressure" and "I do love a challenge", but Sugar Belle's order is too much? Is her order unprecedented in scope and urgency? Does Mrs. Cake not have contingency plans for dealing with sudden large orders, such as enlisting Mr. Cake or Pinkie or others to help? When Big Mac tells Sugar Belle that he "wanted our love to be as perfect as my parents' was when they planted these two trees together", it called to mind what I noticed and wrote when I first watched "The Perfect Pear" - that Bright Mac and Pear Butter seemed to be portrayed as essentially perfect in every way. I did have a discussion about how it's understandable that people that remember Bright Mac and Pear Butter would want to remember the positive things about them, and that the two of them also may not have talked about many of their disagreements and mistakes. But this episode also shows that it's important for the Apple siblings (and others) not to put Bright Mac and Pear Butter so high on a pedestal that they forget that the two of them were people that made mistakes and had to deal with problems like everyone else. I obviously get the point of Sugar Belle's analogy about the intertwined apple and pear trees that Bright Mac and Pear Butter planted, but at risk of being accused of "ruining the moment", I still can't help thinking: are the two intertwined trees actually "stronger together", and actually more likely to "survive whatever comes because they don't have to do it alone", as compared to the two trees just growing separately? Should the Apple and Pear families be planting more apple and pear trees to grow in this intertwined way, if that actually makes the trees stronger and more likely to survive? I'm not sure that this analogy totally works. Finally, the wedding ends up being fairly small - none of the rest of the Mane Six, no Starlight, and none of the extended Apple family other than a few select members. I did wonder at first why there aren't more invitees, but perhaps Big Mac and Sugar Belle are putting into practice the lesson they learned from the disaster of their proposal schemes - to keep it simple. And of course, it could also be a remembrance of Bright Mac's and Pear Butter's wedding, which was pretty low-key. It's nice to see that all the ponies that told the Apple siblings about their parents in "The Perfect Pear" are present at the wedding - Goldie Delicious, Burnt Oak, Mrs. Cake, and Mayor Mare (as well as Grand Pear and Granny Smith). And honestly, it seems to me like smaller weddings could often be better, anyway. I don't think people should feel obligated to invite nearly everyone they know and everyone to whom they're related to their weddings. When my siblings and I were younger, we were carted to many weddings of extended family or friends of our parents, and we siblings usually barely knew and had barely ever talked to the people getting married. So, at these wedding receptions, my siblings and I would inevitably just sit at a table in the corner so we could be left alone to talk to each other, mess with the candles, play cards, and try to find ways to entertain ourselves as we waited for the hours to pass by. (And we were often being well-behaved in comparison to other kids who were running around, throwing things, causing a ruckus, etc.) In retrospect, it probably wasn't worthwhile for my siblings and I to be going to all of these weddings, but it seems like we kids were invited, and our parents made us go, out of a sense of obligation that feels unwarranted. ----- Now here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: When Spike tells Discord about figuring out Big Mac's proposal scheme, Spike says "If you were a hopeless romantic, you'd know that was the only logical choice". Somehow "logical" doesn't seem like the right word to be using there. Are hopeless romantics generally known or considered to be "logical"? It's an interesting parallel that both Big Mac's and Sugar Belle's proposal schemes involve 21 things - 21 apples on the map to be hidden around Ponyville and found by Sugar Belle, and 21 desserts in which Big Mac will find the words of Sugar Belle's proposal. I don't know if there's any particular significance to that number. Although we see 21 apple locations on the map, there are only 18 apples when Discord is giving them "orders", and when Discord changes the apple monster back into apples, it turns into about 100 apples, all of which look to have a heart painted on them and a message on the stem. Why is Spike even sampling the desserts anyway? They're clearly not his, and being made for somebody else. I can't imagine going to a bakery and sampling a completed baked good that I hadn't bought and was not invited to taste. If a big monster is coming, and Sugar Belle and many of the others weren't going to try to fight it, then shouldn't they run away or something? Sugar Belle and the CMCs want to leave Sugarcube Corner without Spike and Discord figuring out what they're up to, so they bust the door open and go running out all at once, because that's not suspicious or anything. How can Scootaloo tell that the black-and-white sketch of the picnic table "looks just like the shelf Big Mac made for Sugar Belle"? There's no color, and no depiction of the heart pattern or anything. The CMCs check the barn for Big Mac, and not finding him there, give up and run off to the supposed "least likely" place that they would find him. So they're not even going to check the house or out in the fields? Scootaloo's calling for Big Mac scares the bowling pony, so he throws the bowling ball (with a single arm) up to the ceiling and hits a light, because that's easy to do. And the light falls down and smashes a hole in the bowling lane, even though we might expect the floors in the bowling lanes to be pretty sturdy, in order to withstand the impact of bowling balls potentially hitting them day-in and day-out. If Sugar Belle was planning to propose to Big Mac, was she also planning to give him an engagement ring, or some other symbol of their engagement? Or is that not a tradition in Equestria? The necklace with the ring that Big Mac puts on Sugar Belle doesn't appear to have any hooks or clasps or anything, but somehow Big Mac is able to connect it together behind Sugar Belle's neck with his hooves in less than a second. So Discord, Spike, the CMCs, and Mrs. Cake were telling this whole backstory to...Applejack, at the wedding? Did nobody tell Applejack about all of this earlier? And how much time passed between the proposal day and the wedding day without Applejack's knowing about all of this?
  14. Overall, I would say that I don't care much for this episode. The basic plot of this episode just isn't very entertaining to me - kid characters think they know what they're doing; adult characters (patronizingly) tell them that they don't; kids go mess something up in their overconfidence; adults fix the mess; kids admit that the adults were right. And this episode repeatedly reinforces to the audience that the CMCs, even in adult bodies, are still immature and don't know what they're doing, which, again, I just don't find very interesting. Also, while it's not necessarily unrealistic for middle-school-aged kids (which I assume is about the age of the CMCs) to be overconfident and think that they know or can figure things out when they really can't, the tone and messaging of this episode seems inconsistent with that of (at least some) previous episodes. For example, the CMCs have had a consulting "business" in which they help other ponies, including adults, figure out their life's purpose, and people have taken the CMCs seriously in that endeavor. And we've had multiple episodes in which the older sisters of the CMCs (and others) had to learn that the CMCs are growing up and are more mature than they were being treated. But still, the Mane Six's appearances were pretty good, the old ticket booth pony was kind of amusing, and I liked Spur, including her striking appearance with her dark brown and bright aqua green colors. The only bigger observation I'll talk about is the magic wish-granting flower. When around it, Scootaloo says "I wish we didn't have to wait to grow up", Apple Bloom says "I wish it would happen all at once. Then we'd know everything we need to get to the fair and back with no problem", and Sweetie Belle says "I just wish we were as old as our sisters. Then nopony could tell us what to do, and we'd be able to take care of ourselves". And somehow the flower hears these statements and implements a result of the CMCs' becoming physically larger, but apparently not any different mentally. I'm not sure why that's the interpretation of what the CMCs wished for. Doesn't Apple Bloom say that she wants the CMCs to know everything they need to get to the fair and back with no problem? Doesn't Sweetie Belle say that she wants the CMCs to be able to take care of themselves? Does the flower only implement what Scootaloo first wished for? However, the flower also (conveniently) doesn't act until after all the CMCs say what they wish for. Or does the flower parse the CMCs' sentences and only implement the direct object of the sentences in which the CMC say what they wish for, not including any information other than that? Maybe the CMCs needed to be more precise with their wishes, but then that idea seems to be undermined a bit by the end of the episode, where the CMCs simply say "We wish we were foals again", and the magical flower interprets that to mean that they wish that they were the age that they were before wishing to be grown up. It's all a bit weird, but it also seems like that's what happens with a convenient magical object like this. I also can't help having similar thoughts to @Justin_Case001 about what exactly the limits are of the wish-granting ability of this magical flower. And it seems like characters that get these kind of wishes - with few or no limitations on what to wish for - inevitably end up making wishes just about themselves or people that they immediately know. It seems like they could think much bigger and beyond themselves and wish for the universe to be perfect, or something like that. (Of course, I don't know what exactly that would mean, or how that could possibly be implemented; maybe a wish like that needs to be carefully phrased to avoid misinterpretation. If the character can get more than one wish, then perhaps the character could first wish for the knowledge and ability to make the right wish, or something.) Now here are the rest of my miscellaneous observations: When Sweetie Belle says she has the CMCs' whole itinerary planned, she shows a sheet with various pie, bar, and line graphs. What were all of these charts that Sweetie Belle needed to plot in order to plan the itinerary for the county fair? I don't remember if we've seen before that the head covering for the Wonderbolts uniform is separate, but apparently once it's put on, it looks seamless. Yeah, as I've seen pointed out, the CMC never discuss asking or try to ask Pinkie to bring them to the fair. I wouldn't blame them if they thought that Pinkie wouldn't be a good chaperone, but I could see their just not having gotten around to thinking of Pinkie yet. The CMCs first asked each of their big sisters, and then thought to ask Fluttershy because she might like to see the animals at the fair, and because Fluttershy was going to help Twilight, they asked Twilight, too. I don't know why the CMC keep hanging around, even after both Fluttershy and Twilight said that they couldn't go with the CMC to the fair. Twilight and Fluttershy basically ignore the CMC to start talking about the flower problem, and the CMC don't seem to have any particular interest in that, so I don't know why they wouldn't just leave at that point. I'm surprised that Scootaloo's helmet apparently still fits her in her adult body. So the CMCs got bigger bodies, but apparently not much bigger heads? What is the old ticket booth pony doing here? Wasn't he at the last stop on the train line to the Peaks of Peril back in "Sounds Of Silence"? Did he get re-assigned? Are the ticket booth ponies on some kind of rotation? I'm not sure why either Biscuit or Spur should look to the CMCs to tell them what to do with their pet. Even if they are "adults", that doesn't mean that they have any particular knowledge about pets, or about a whirling mungtooth in particular. But, of course, the CMCs don't say that they have no particular knowledge and aren't the ones to ask about this, which is what I would say if I were asked what to do about someone's pet. Are Biscuit and Spur supposed to be accompanied by a chaperone to the fair? Or are they just old enough that they wouldn't need one? Somehow the CMCs get on the Ferris wheel, even though we don't see or hear it stop to let them on.
  15. Yeah, you raise an interesting point. Even if Caballeron were to go on to do other villainous things, and Daring Do went on adventures to stop him, Daring Do might still want to find some other way to make a living if the audience for her books has been greatly diminished by Ahuizotl and Caballeron. Back in "Stranger Than Fan Fiction", Daring Do does say that she's "gotta get [the Seven-Sided Chest of Chicomoztoc] to a museum", so I could imagine a couple of scenarios from that. Daring Do could get into legitimate archaeology and documentation of ancient temples and artifacts and such. That probably wouldn't be as thrilling, but if she were to write articles or books or curate artifacts and photos for a museum, at least some people might enjoy that. Also, if Daring Do does have a lot of artifacts in her house or wherever, Azuihotl (funnily enough) never asked or demanded that any previously taken artifacts be returned, so perhaps Daring Do could make some money selling the artifacts she has to museums or the like, where they would be studied and appreciated (and kept safe). Your suggestion about Daring Do's trying out for the Wonderbolts makes me think of how Daring Do's later books were described by Quibble in "Stranger Than Fan Fiction" as becoming "just a series of impossible action sequences". Did Daring Do actually engage in more action sequences in her later adventures? If so, that could be taken as an indication that Daring Do has maintained or gained in athletic ability over the course of her adventures, and therefore, becoming a Wonderbolt could be a good path for her (and Rainbow would be ecstatic about that, I'm sure!).