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Found 101 results

  1. Back on July 6, I posted a status about Amending Fences being similar to the episode that brought about The Smile Song: I bring this up because this was compared by some corners of the fandom, including Equestria Daily. (I'm unsure about here, however.) There are quite a few valid comparisons and differences. Both protagonists wound up bugging the protagonists. When Cranky arrived in Ponyville, Pinkie refused to leave him alone because he sounded grumpy and refused to smile. Once Twilight realized that when she declined Moondancer's invitation to her party, she wanted to make up to her, and part of it was bugging her in the library. Their foil acted introverted. Cranky wanted to be left alone and in peace. Moondancer wanted to study in peace. The big difference between them, however, is Cranky simply wanted to retire and be kept alone in his own thoughts. This is true introversion; the want to keep to himself while being happy about it. On the other hand, Moondancer's "introversion" is out of bitterness as a result of Twilight skipping the party in order to study, never saying goodbye, and leaving her past in Canterlot behind. MD kept to herself and stopped making friends because the moment really hurt her, and she didn't want to suffer from the same experience again. Pinkie harassed Cranky simply because she wanted him to smile and be his friend; the more they didn't work, the more she bugged him. However, Twilight had a really solid alibi. She felt really bad about skipping the party and wanted to make it up to her. That's why she bugged her, got her to talk with Twilight, and bribed her into having dinner with Lemon Drops, Minuette, and Twinkleshine. Twilight wanted MD to try to make friends, but MD refused because it didn't work. In A Friend in Deed, Pinkie's constant bugging cost Cranky his scrapbook and support. While it made plenty of sense for Pinkie to wanting to apologize, its quality was severely sacrificed by stalking Cranky in the form of a Looney Tunes-esque chase. It was funny in LT because the antagonists were trying to hurt or kill Bugs Bunny, so they got some karma. Cranky simply wanted to be left alone, and Pinkie wouldn't. The lesson she learned was incredibly half-assed; despite writing and enunciating it, she never genuinely learned it. On the other hand, Twilight helped build Moon Dancer a party and coaxed her through the trail of books (ala the trail of candy in Luna Eclipsed). But at the party, Twilight had to learn a really harsh lesson for her actions. What happened in the pilot genuinely hurt hurt, and MD unleashed all that anguish in front of her. Rejection via not bothering to show up happens a lot in real life, and the consequences can be really terrible, such as not creating parties again. Moon Dancer put herself at a really vulnerable position because she was asocial and needed to be prodded to make it. So for Twilight to decline the invitation and forget about her life in Canterlot makes this consequence even more devastating. MD's verbal wrath was a long time coming, and Twilight had to confront it head on. But because she grew after all this time, she's capable of learning this terrible mistake. Does Amending Fences remind you of A Friend in Deed, as well?
  2. When you listen to the lyrics in The Smile Song, do you hear them from Pinkie's point of view of trying to make someone else smile, or from the point of view of someone that Pinkie is trying to make smile. I hear them from Pinkie's point of view. For reference, the song with lyrics on screen:
  3. I was rewatching season two and in the beggining of "Ponyville confidential" Sweetie Belle said "Can you believe featherweight got his cutie mark? FEATHERWEIGHT, before us!" SB seemed to be putting down feathers here, but what for? I know im overseeing this, but lets face it. This fandom oversees everything in the show.
  4. When the Prince and Princess of the crystal empire unite, they create some magic force which repels even those who feed on love for power. Lets say their bond is ruined, maybe even corrupted. would anything happen, perhaps some kind of dark magic erupts, or does nothing happen?
  5. Hello again! Today I am posting an update to the Discord model I have been working on for the last little while. In this update I have added, * Better rig (Finger and hand posability, various small improvements) * Slightly improved texture. * Slightly improved hands to work better when posing Things I have planned: - a 2K texture - Better texture overall - Inverse Kinematics for the rig - Various minor improvements Download: http://www.mediafire.com/download/w1xva5f9wlya0hj/Discord+Model+3.0.rar As usual with me, this model is completely free and you do not have to credit me (although it would be nice) The model comes in all of the basic formats (obj, fbx, 3ds, dae) etc. it also comes with a fully set up blend file. If you have any question or comments please ask/tell me (I love to hear from people about work such as this)
  6. Okay I'm pretty sure that other bronies have probably debated this, and im sure there will be some debating about discord not being him, but i want to give my thoughts, opinions and example(s) to show why i think he is. (WARNING: I MAY GET A BIT SCRAMBLE BRAINED, JUST BARE WITH ME OK, also I'm relatively new to the brony community but i have seen all 4 seasons and the EQ specials.) 1) If memory serves me correctly, it is stated that Star Swirl the Bearded vanished without a trace, and he disappeared when it came to working on his final spell that Twilight figured out in the Season 3 finale. What if, when he was working on this spell he opened some portal or something that corrupted and changed him into what Discord is, discombobulated lol. 2) Also, if I'm not mistaken, before he started working on this spell, he didn't know/understand a single thing about friendship. And so, with not knowing or understanding friendship, it changed him completely. 3) To give an example (or a parallel to the show), if any-pony has seen the Jet X show Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!, my example ties to The Skeleton King. TSK was originally The Alchemist, the creator of The Monkey Team. And when he was creating the Monkey's, he ended up touching some dark magic, and it slowly started to change him, and when he was finishing the Monkey's robot suits, he knew that they would have to fight him. Thus, the Monkey Team had their enemy established right after they came to life. 4) Now, flip the script, change the monkeys to the Mane 6, and The Alchemist/The Skeleton King to Star Swirl The Bearded/Discord. Now, again, I'm pretty sure that there are some ponies that would disagree, but I'm open to any agreements and/or disagreements.
  7. I am looking for all the Seasons on DVD but cant find them I tried Best Buy but only had the episodes split up into their own things like the Wedding was on its own disc alone so does anyone know an online retailer that sells them by the season?
  8. Like my Micro-Series and Season 4 (first half) ranking blogs, this is my list of my three most loved and most hated episodes for each of FIM's first three seasons. I'm not ranking it from an objective quality perspective, but more how they impact me personally. Time to begin! (In case you're wondering, Equestria Girls is NOT on this list because it's not episodic. I would if I wanted to, but that'd be cheating.) Top 3 Season 1 Episodes! Party of One: Prior to Magic Duel and Sleepless in Ponyville (respectively), this was my most favorite episode by far. Although the ending was one we've seen before, the path leading up to the ending was top notch. Each moment of comedy was hilarious without beating a dead horse over it. Although Pinkie Pie is the main star here, all seven main characters shared the spotlight and genuine characterization without exaggerating anything nor going over the top. But Pinkamena Diane Pie's appearance and third act that followed really took the cake. It was both funny and VERY creepy, a mixture of the deliciously dark humor featured in both Return of Harmony and Lesson Zero. Her tandem with the hardheaded Rainbow Dash really nudged the rest of the conflict along. Winter Wrap-Up: My all-time favorite Twilight-centered episode outside of Magic Duel and the best episode Morrow has written so far. (I'd also argue that this episode, not Lesson Zero, is the best Twilight-centered episode of the series.) It's also the episode where FIM really took off. Twilight's conflict in getting involved in Winter Wrap-Up felt very organic: After each humorous screwup or moment of sympathy, none of the sequences didn't pace itself way too quickly or way too slowly. The adorkable unicorn apparently lived in Ponyville for some time there, but still evidently felt like a stranger amidst the rest of Ponyville. With her using her ability to use her wits and attentiveness, she was able to figure out how to work into the town without having to abandon what she loves most: magic. It also transcended every other moment after, adjusting into Ponyville permanently and becoming more self-confident. And I didn't talk about the fantastic song, which addresses the great worldbuilding of Ponyville, Canterlot (by association), and Equestria as a whole, meanwhile addressing the WWU's main conflict. Suited for Success: Easily Fullerton's best episode and the one that really explored Rarity's three-dimensional, creative character the best (until GIYC and later RTM). There's so much to admire. The creativity of the concept. The way the Remane Five bounced as varying failed clients (each of whom that match themselves to a "T"). Art of the Dress is beautiful. The episode's conflict was resolved wittingly with the Remane Five learning the lesson the hard way. It's also a sideswipe at both the creative design process and how bigger companies tend to meddle in their noses where they don't belong. (EQG, I'm looking at you! ) Bottom 3 Season 1 Episodes! Owl's Well that Ends Well: One of the most assured bad episodes from season one beside Feeling Pinkie Keen (which is second on this list) and Boast Busters (which isn't). The plot is a classic retread of the main character being the antagonist in order to scapegoat the other he or she's jealous with. While Owlowicious has personality, it's so hidden, "subtlety" doesn't describe it. It can easily be missed. Spike's treatment as a butt of jokes is really exploited and makes him very out of character. The others reward the owl despite never seeing him before. And the plot is too damn slow. In all, a really bad episode. If you want to watch a more plausible and better overall story of jealousy, watch Green Isn't Your Color instead. Feeling Pinkie Keen: When the slapstick got extreme, it got way too mean-spirited and out of place for the show. Twilight's stubbornness against the Pinkie Sense went on far too long. Every single sequence was as subtle as an anvil being dropped on the head. The Pinkie Sense is cluttered and confusing (not to mention a stupid excuse for "comedy"). And the dialogue used to drive the conflict (and, by association, the accidental false debate between creationism versus science) proves to the audience and DHX how important language, subtlety, subtexts, and double entendres are and to properly address them if you can figure it out. It also accidentally promoted faith over science (not bad science, as it's subtly dictating, but science, period), which will annoy your audience. A Dog & Pony Show: Structurally, it's rather good. The pace is strong. The comedy is timed well. Rarity is very in character and uses her strong wits and intelligence to her advantage. The moral is strong conceptually. But incompetence (especially if meshed with stupidity) makes for terrible entertainment. The Diamond Dogs are both incompetent and stupid, whose only purpose is for Rarity to play her mind games. When you portray one side shallowly in order to make the other half appear better, that's a shallow conflict, and you offend both sides from a creative standpoint. "Just because she's ladylike doesn't mean she's helpless or weak" is an excellent moral and uses the right character for it, but the poorly written conflict underminded both Rarity's character and the moral it was trying to relay. Top 3 Season 2 Episodes! Return of Harmony, Part 2: Yes, not the first part, which surprisingly didn't interest me so much despite being very well written for the most part. But this episode is one of the few where I constantly rewatch and love it more each time. The reason: Discord. He was a splendidly hilarious bastard and all the more proves how dangerous a villain he was. He had a very simple goal, but his lack of end goal and unpredictability is his appearances makes the humor so dark in subtext and him so dangerous. Without question, he was the best villain in the entire series because he's three-dimensionally evil. The only part to reign this back really was the anticlimactic ending, but it doesn't stop it from it being the best two-parter in the series so far (and one of two personally where I like the second half more than the first, the other A Canterlot Wedding). Luna Eclipsed: The episode to reintroduce Luna and make her into an even bigger character in popularity. Not only is it beautifully animated, but the visuals are scary and breathtaking simultaneously. Luna herself was given a fresh start with a brand new design and fully fledged personality that makes sense given the context of the episode and conflict. Pinkie's behavior can be put into question, but the fact that she was aware of it all and only saw Luna at the moments of confusion created the misunderstanding that drove the conflict further. Also, the karma Dash suffered at the end was deserving. Putting Your Hoof Down: The first (and only) non-good episode to enter this list. (I would've put in A Canterlot Wedding, but that's fourth or fifth on my list.) The plot is contrived. Several plot points are nonsensical. Angel is extremely out of character. Continuity's disregarded. Iron Will was wrongly portrayed as an antagonist when he really wasn't one. And the episode was extremely mean-spirited — *stares at Mare-Do-Well* — just to drive the moral. But I still can't help but love it. The little details (a.k.a., looking at the story from 'Shy's POV) are breathtaking. There's plenty of great animation, especially the slow camera move that rotates Fluttershy's head in Act 3. The background score is fantastic. At this point, I shouldn't love this episode because it's quite bad (it doesn't matter how well-done the little details are; if you can't hone in the bigger ones, they're moot), but I still do, and I still rate it as my favorite Fluttershy episode. (The best one so far is either Hurricane Fluttershy or Green Isn't Your Color.) Bottom 3 Season 2 Episodes! The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well: Very expected to be on this list. Rushed pacing. Very contrived plot. Poorly executed moral and being told into Dash's face b. It's extremely predictable. And every one of the Mane Six is out of character. Rainbow Dash OOC for being an even bigger jerk than what she's capable of (even bigger than May the Best Pet Win!, another horrid episode) and being way too dumb to figure it out despite it being blatantly in her face, the others for being extremely hypocritical and vindictive in their approach to teach Dash a lesson (without suffering any consequences themselves). The visuals and score were the saving graces, but not enough for it to be on my dislike list. (It's actually one of few I hate.) Hearts & Hooves Day: A bad episode, but nowhere near as atrocious as, say, Rainbow Falls. The humor was cringeworthy and often plain random and/or stupid. Twilight was extremely stupid and out of character of her to actually hand over the book about the love poison to them (despite it being in her face) along with the suggestion to hand over the guide to the EoH. The ending itself is extremely mean-spirited and out of character of Cheerilee, Big Mac, and the show itself. You don't rub salt in the wound of kids, especially if they underwent a major tailspin to rectify those mistakes. That alone ruined any enjoyment I had for the episode because it was that insulting. Sweet & Elite: Rarity was shown to balance out her life in Canterlot and Twilight's party, but her lies and deception were way too cruel and, if you ask me, very out of character of her, even in her S2 state. Fancy Pants, Fleur de Lis, Becoming Popular, and Twilight's adorkable dance were great, but the Liar Revealed trope was not subtle one bit. The portrayal of Canterlot as full of upper-class, stuck-up sheep besides a spare few is stereotypical and one-dimensionalizes the city. It also doesn't help when Rarity is immediately forgiven, not punished, and basically rewarded for her dumb stunt. Learning the lesson doesn't excuse her stupidity! The pace, Remane Five (where the hell was Spike?!), and Opal were good, too, but that doesn't save a crappy conflict. Give me Sisterhooves Social (which actively punishes Rarity for her jerkish behavior and then has to rectify herself to complete the conflict) over this any day of week. Top 3 Season 3 Episodes! Magic Duel: I love so much about this episode, and it's my most favorite in the show. The fantastic animation. The unique blending of famous references (including clever callbacks). Very hilarious wit in the form of Corrupt!Trixie's lack of trust in wheels. A great pace that resolves the conflict nicely. Zecora was used in a way that didn't devolve her into a plot device, instead treating her as a character. And the broken fourth wall was classic Pinkie (with Twilight in the fold). Even better, Twilight has to use the magic of her friendship with the others as well as her intelligence to resolve the conflict. And that's refreshing, as sometimes Twilight is dumbed down a bit just to create the story in other episodes. Fluttershy's flanderization and holds MD back from making it too solid, but I love so much of it for it to begrudge me. Sleepless in Ponyville: My second-most favorite episode in the show and easily the best in season three. None of the characters were shoehorned, only allowing the character to spend a specific amount of time needed. Scootaloo was given the character development she richly deserved. Apple Bloom and Applejack played off each other nicely. The relationship between Rarity and Sweetie Belle was teasingly funny, but never crossed the line into Rarity being out of character. The G3 meta-reference — Dash cutting off Scootaloo's story — made me laugh out loud. Each scene impacted the story beyond simply the humor perspective and focused a lot on timing, punctuality, action, and drama. Luna's inclusion really expanded the world of herself and the alicorn sisters as a whole, opening plenty of questions into their psyche and way they behave and act beyond the typical Equestrian perspective. The fact that Powell actually went forward to put Scootaloo into a life-or-death situation as a result of her frights eating her up alive was fantastic and showed how she isn't merey a Dash clone. Lastly, the bonding between Dash and Scootaloo cemented the growth between the two and Dash's character development up to that point There was so much heart poured into the dialogue and writing, and I love every bit of it. Wonderbolts Academy: The last of the Big Three and my most favorite Dash-centered episode to date. It's also easily Merriweather Williams's best episode. (I rank this as the secone-best episode last season, behind SiP and in front of both Magic Duel and Apple Family Reunion.) Pinkie's worry might've lasted a bit too long, but made sense because of the situation Dash is in. Spitfire's blunt, commanding characterization and objective behavior made perfect sense given the environment, for it demonstrated respect and integrity of herself, the passion she prides, and every single cadet in the Academy (Dash including). Lightning Dust painted a really nice foil of Dash and perfectly demonstrated how much Dash grew since the pilot. Moreover, WA has Dash's characterization presented in the best balance since Sonic Rainboom, a classic episode in its own right. Dash's morale was put to the test thrice, each being built to the last when she had to rescue the Remane Five from an accident. The fact that she put down her wing pony bade and said, "I quit!" perfectly demonstrated how much she's grown and how much she loves her friends family. Although the ending is very ambiguous, it makes perfect sense because it continues to build on her quest to be a Wonderbolt and provides the consequences of Dust's selfish behavior. Bottom 3 Season 3 Episodes! Just for Sidekicks: Not close to the worst episode last season, but for a while was my most hated episode in the entire show. (Rainbow Falls is now.) While the CMC were fantastically characterized, there were three problems. Fluttershy was out of character. There was no railway and geography realism, thereby making the latter half of the conflict implausible. And the biggest: Spike was extremely out of character. While Spike at Your Service made him out of character for making him too stupid and incompetent for no good reason, he was just as badly characterized from the other side of the scale by becoming way too evil and selfish for his own. JfS sacrificed his character development up to this point for humor at his expense and artificial conflict. Yes, he learns his lesson, but the fact that he learned his lesson beforehand made the conflict redundant. Spike at Your Service: Although it's second and easily one of the worst episodes in Season 3, I actually don't really hate it. It was very funny, but sacrificed good characterization and continuity for it. Spike's stupidity, incompetence, and carelessness don't fit him at all and is extremely overplayed. Continuity was sacrificed to drive the conflict forward. Applejack was out of character (in Act 3). Too often, the animation of the Timber Wolves was very out of place and demonstrated the limitations of Flash. One Bad Apple: A new addition to the list and will certainly climb the more I read the transcript, watch the episode, and understand the implications better. Babs Seed (the song) was great. The visuals were great. The animation was spectacular, the music video nostalgic. The CMC were okay. But that's all the good. DT and SS are flat, one-dimensional bullies again, nullifying the character growth from past seasons. Babs Seed suddenly turns to them and becomes an even bigger, physical bully by terrorizing them and doesn't give a good reason to associate herself with the Disasterly Duo. Applejack and the rest of the Apple family are incompetent because the bullying resulted in AB sleeping on the floor; if they had the competence and intelligence, they would've spotted it immediately and get to the bottom of things. The pace in itself is sloppy, going way too fast. Pinkie was flanderized and acting stupid. The fact that Babs Seed became a bully because she was bullied was excused in the script; that's NO excuse for bullying! There's a one-size-fits-all method, which is to come to AJ (or any other adult) in case of bullies (something SB suggested several times earlier!). That doesn't always work because some don't care, while some adults enable the bullying or are the bully. And Babs Seed not only wasn't punished. She was basically rewarded for her immoral behavior. You don't screw up a very sensitive subject. You know what happens if you do? You could cause a reverse effect and enable this kind of behavior.
  9. Note: For the collection of other "Pick a Flaw" episode threads, head over to the "Pick a Flaw" blog portal (which'll be updated periodically) or check the list at the bottom of the OP (hidden under the "spoiler" tag). Season two is widely regarded as the best (or most favorite) amongst so many bronies because plenty of them were very well-done. One of the biggest examples of why is this episode, considered to be one of the most popular episodes in not just season two, but the overall series. Hell, some have it in their top spot. Putting Your Hoof Down may be my most favorite Fluttershy episode, but when looking at it objectively, it's definitely one of the worst of season two (second-worst behind Dragon Quest and ahead of Mare Do Well and May the Best Pet Win!). On the other hand, Hurricane Fluttershy is much lower on my personal favorite lists, but it's easily the best Fluttershy episode. It has plenty of nicely done humor with a blend of old-fashioned technology. But the best part is the exploration of Fluttershy's internal conflict. Previously, Fluttershy was basically shy, but this episode evolved that into something much, much deeper. It was stage fright brought from the consequences of her being bullied as a filly. The whole episode was about rooting for her and triumphing despite not being the best or fastest of the bunch, and it works because so many people can relate to her. That said, it isn't perfect. There are flaws that stand out. But if there's one thing that really holds back HF from being the cream of the crop (if I were to put a current best-to-worst list, this wouldn't crack the top ten — maybe fifteen, either), it's the final act. Fluttershy leaves the training facility because she feels she's not a cut above the rest despite her drastic improvement. But in the next act, on the day everyone was supposed to fly, eight fliers, many of them really good and fast, fall for the "feather flu" offscreen. By doing this, it gives the writers an excuse for Fluttershy to come back and eventually save the day. Here's the big problem with it. By using this obvious contrivance, you marginalize not only the moral you're trying to teach, but also her whole conflict. As this episode was about Fluttershy overcoming a very serious internal crisis as a result of being bullied, it's very important to not make any story-based event feel organic. This shortcut was lazy and damaged the story's integrity.
  10. I want to help my friend, Sam, grow his YouTube channel. He's great with Sony Vegas, and I think his videos are about as good as mine. So, here's his newest review on the season 2 premier episode: Return of Harmony (Part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9JBX0s04B8 Please check out his other videos, and subscribe if you like his content. His channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB6LT-ksvSMtye93m5zJm6Q
  11. Guess I'll try this pick a flaw stuff with an episode that hasn't aged too well with me, Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. This one seems to be a mixed episode so we should get some interesting discussion. My flaw is the is a combination between the mean spirited humor and the ooc behavior specifically from Pinkie. She was acting like a big hypocrite and, well just look at this Also the unfunny gag of Rainbow Dash not getting any cider. I mean come on, she didn't even do anything bad so why are they torturing her especially when Pinkie brags about how she has cider, wow this one of Pinkie's worst characterization next to Filli Vanilli. Allowing multiple votes in case someone REALLY hates this episode. So discuss away!
  12. Hoooo boy. This episode. I'm quite sure most of you have the same flaw for it. Though I could be wrong. But here's mine. That infamous scene where "new" Fluttershy or rather "Flutterbrute" tells her friends Pinkie Pie and Rarity that basically their lives in general meaningless. I just. Wow. And then she goes home head hanging down and has a breakdown, and just. You all know this scene. I will not further speak on it. Like the other this is not a topic to discuss hatred of the episode just the flaw you find in it.
  13. Well I'm not sure if it's been done yet, nor if it's really that okay for me to make a topic like this. But this one had to be done. As usual this is not a topic to discuss your hatred of this episode, just discuss flaws you had with it. Personally, I'd say either the dragons, the mane sixs attitude and the moral. If I had to pick one I'd say the moral. It tied in with my other choices in a sense I say that's the flaw. What about you guys?
  14. I bought and played The Walking Dead - Season 2: Episode 2 last night. The episode is called "A House Divided". After what happens in Episode 1, Clementine and Nick/Pete are stuck in a tight spot and Clementine chooses to escape with them/leave them behind. I chose Pete and I left him behind since he was bitten. Afterwards, the man named "William Carver" intrudes the house when everyone goes out to find whoever you didn't save, so in my case it would be Nick that they searched for. Once they start moving north, since Carver knew they stayed at the house, Nick starts screwing up many things. A man named Matthew encountered Luke and Clem on a bridge and Nick accidentally shot him when he saw his rifle. The group moved up to a ski lodge and encountered another group. Someone there was an old friend of Clementine's. It was Kenny. Kenny was a member of this group. He and Clementine began to catch up on the year they've been separated. Kenny's group is worried about a friend named Matthew that was gone for awhile. Clementine is asked whether she wants to stay with Kenny or with her new friends. Later, a woman named Bonnie (from 400 Days) comes begging for food. I chose to tell Walt to give her food. Later on, Luke tells Clementine that their Matthew is the Matthew they shot on the bridge. I let Nick tell Walt about it and Walt was so shocked and he had a look in his eyes as if he wanted to kill Nick, but he spared him. Bonnie returns with Carver and other men, who end up taking everyone hostage except Clem, Luke, Kenny, Alvin, and Rebecca. Clem, Alvin, and Rebecca hide and try to think out a plan. I decided to look for Kenny and Luke to help, and while I did so, Alvin and Rebecca surrendered. Kenny shoots one of Carver's men in the head, and in retaliation from Carver, Carver does the same to Walt. Having given up so that nobody else dies, the episode ends with everyone being rounded up one by one, the episode cutting out the second Clem is rounded up. From what the preview for Episode 3 shows, apparently Carver brings everyone to his camp and they are treating like prisoners of some sort, and they slowly begin to learn of Carver's motives and what he is planning. This episode was an interesting one and it was decently long, and now I can't wait for Episode 3.
  15. My favorite opener has to be The Return of Harmony. Discord has a entertaining personality, Tom the rock, and YOUR FACE. I love the canterlot wedding because it has my favorite villain, Queen Chrysalis. I think season 2 was the best so far and it topped the rest pretty good.
  16. So, I realized I need to re-watch season 1, 2, and 3...would anypony be willing to start watching with me? I have Netflix, but we could find them online on primewire.ag or something, too.
  17. So after the dud that was "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", one would hope Studio B would at least manage to end Season 2 adequately to say the least. Let's take a look and see how they did... *one epic viewing later* Oh... my... gosh... IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow... I mean, just... wow! That... that was amazing!!! OK, so they more than made up for "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" to say the least. "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1 and Part 2"... where do I begin? Honestly, where do I begin with an episode that simply gets so very much right?!?! This episode is simply perfection in oh so very many ways. Strap yourselves in everypony: we've got a lot to cover on this one, so without further ado, here's "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1 and Part 2". Story So seeing as there is so much that works amazingly in this episode, I'll have to divvy this review up to cover a number of different elements and factors. First off, let's cover the story. Like "The Return of Harmony", there is A LOT going on here, so I won't be recapping or going over the details of the story too much. I'll just summarize the episode as so: Twilight and friends go to BBBFF's wedding, the bride raises Twilight's ire and then her suspicions, mistakes are made, hooves pointed, and words said, BIG BUCKING TWIST OUT OF LEFT FIELD, bride revealed to be impostor, true bride found, s*** starts going down, Twilight and Cadance reveal impostor, more s*** goes down (along with a princess), Elements of Harmony must be recovered, epic s*** goes down, mission failed, villain partakes in gratuitous gloating, MOST EPIC OF ALL EPIC S*** GOES DOWN, Canterlot and wedding saved, marriage, happily ever after, THE END!!!! Buck, that is literally the shortest I could get those cliff notes down to; I think that just goes to show how very much is really happening in this two-parter's whole story. In "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1 and Part 2", there is certainly no denying that these episodes are very, very story-driven. In fact, they're two of the most story-driven episodes of the entire show, and probably the most story-driven any episode had been up until this point, to the point that the lesson, while decent, kind of takes a backseat to all of the action and events taking place. So just why does it work so well here, in a show where morals of the week are usually so very important? In a word, execution. The execution of about every single plot point is simply perfect. Some parts feel more rushed than others, yes, but when it's all said and done, on the whole this story is one of the most professionally executed I've ever seen in two 22-minute long episodes. This story starts off with a premise that, while solid, has been done a lot. We've seen wedding episodes before, in both kids and adult television programs. But just when you think you're going to get a standard season finale, typical of what one would expect from inferior shows, the writers throw every single typical plot point in this general story arc-type under the bus and blow the audience's bucking minds! Tension rises, and rises some more, and rises some more, and suddenly we've got a full fledged invasion from an army of a brand spanking new species we've never seen before led by an insanely devious, twisted, evil looking and acting villain (and yes, this is still "My Little Pony"... now with invasions from hostile species)! Things end happy of course, I mean, they have to, it's MLP for crying out loud, but not before the Mane 6 face some of the greatest trials, challenges, and adversity they've ever encountered, Twilight especially. So really, the fun of this story, the true excellence of it, comes from the journey, not the destination; that's true with a lot of story-types of course, heck, it's true with the overall story of the show as a whole, but here it's especially apparent. From start to finish as things get more and more out of control, you're kept on the edge of your seat the whole time wondering, "Gosh, what's gonna happen next?!". By the time the end rolls around and Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's deus ex machina kicks in, you don't even care if it's somewhat stereotypical and rushed, because by that point these characters that we've grown to love have faced so much, tried so very hard to thwart the changelings' plans, that you just want to see them come out on top no matter how they do it! And boy oh boy do they ever come out on top! One deus ex machina sequence later, and the day's been saved, true love has conquered all, and things get wrapped up nicely with one hay of a wedding and reception, bringing Season 2 to a close. The laughs, the drama, the action, the suspense, heck, even romance, about every single plot element you could possibly imagine showing up in a story is here, and while no particular one stands out above the rest, they all meld and blend together perfectly in a balance I don't think I've ever seen pulled off quite so spectacularly before or since in this show. Hats off to Studio B's writers on producing what is simply among the finest story lines we've ever seen in this show to date! Characters Seeing as we've got some new faces in addition to the old, let's cover the usual suspects first. Twilight in particular shines in this episode, which makes sense seeing as she is largely the focus of it, further reinforcing the fact that, at the end of the day, she is and always will technically remain the star of the show. I like right away how, despite the abruptness of the news that she has an older brother (something both the Mane 6 and audience had never known before this episode), Twilight's quite accurately characterized in the sisterly role, so I can overall forgive the lateness of the news about Shining Armor, even if it is a bit silly. She's obviously conflicted as any little sister would be after just hearing that her brother is getting married in a few days, and just when she thinks she has nothing to worry about after learning that Shining Armor didn't tell her on account of being busy protecting the city after a threat against Canterlot (though you'd think they would've heard about that beforehand even more so than the wedding) as well as the fact that he's marrying her old foalsitter, Twilight's worries are reignited after she finds that Cadance is not the Cadance she once knew, and is acting rather rude, controlling, and cruel even. After witnessing "Cadance" perform some type of spell on Shining Armor, she knows she's on the right track that something is terribly wrong, but unfortunately she goes a little overboard in her accusation, namely in that she flat out calls Cadance out in the middle of the wedding rehearsal, declaring her to be EVIL!!! This is certainly not one of Twilight's shining moments, and I'm a little confused as to why so many bronies take her side on this one? I mean, yeah, she's right, but she should have been a lot smarter in how she delivered her accusation, namely, she should have pulled Princess Celestia aside and in private revealed her concerns and beliefs in a calm manner so that it would be clear she wasn't just being a spiteful, jealous little sister, which is exactly what she DID come across as when she calls the bride-to-be out so brazenly! Sorry, but she kinda dug her own grave on that one, even if it is understandable that at that point she was being driven as much by her emotions and love for her brother as she was her logic and what she knew to be true, if not even more so. Anyways, after being BANISHED BY HELL FIRE (you know, for kids!) to some caves beneath Canterlot and discovering the real Cadance, Twilight really starts to shine. She's very take charge for the rest of the episode and does whatever she has to do to stop Queen Chrysalis and the changelings, whether it be getting Cadance to the wedding to reveal Chrysalis as an impostor or leading the Mane 6 to retrieve the Elements of Harmony. Her persistence and belief in her gut instinct pay off in the end, and mark an important step in her path to becoming a princess at the end of Season 3; true leaders must be confident and have faith in their instincts when it matters most, and Twilight most certainly does here. Besides that, it's very touching seeing her in the role of little sister and just how much affection she really has for her BBBFF, along with just how much she's grown as a character since the start of Season 1. Perfect finish to a great season for our star character Ms. Twilight Sparkle! I'm gonna end this season with some karaoke!!! As for the rest of the Mane 6, they're very solid too, although I will admit the reduced roles they play really until the second half of Part 2 is why this episode ranks 2nd for me among my all-time favorite episodes behind "The Return of Harmony: Part 1 and Part 2". Let me be the first to defend their not believing Twilight by saying this; the entire time they're in Canterlot before the wedding, they're all very busy with their preparations, too busy in fact to notice anything amiss. In addition, they'd never met Cadance before; while one would think they'd be more open to hearing out Twilight's concerns, it still makes sense that they'd just assume she's only got wedding jitters and stress. Finally, however, and perhaps most importantly of all, the Mane 6 are helping prepare for not just any wedding, but a ROYAL WEDDING IN CANTERLOT! Let's put this in perspective; besides Twilight, the rest of the Mane 6 are young mares from Ponyville, a podunk little town in the middle of nowhere. Not only is any wedding going to get them all fangirling (which they do, ALL OF THEM, and yes, it's as adorable as it sounds), but also, as vital to the preparations for the wedding, they're all obviously going to be throwing their all into it with great excitement since this is one of the biggest occasions of their adult lives, unlikely to really notice anything out of place. So in conclusion, I get it, I totally do, I get why they didn't notice anything wrong and were able to dismiss Twilight's concerns as those of a jealous younger sister. What I cannot defend, however, is one moment at the end of Part 1, when they all just pretty much shun Twilight and go looking for Cadance to comfort her instead; that's pretty bucking OOC and kind of a douche move. I mean, they'd just seen Shining Armor publicly disavow their best friend (and his own sister); if anypony needed their comfort right at that moment, it was her, if only to have a shoulder to cry on. But hey, that's plot convenience for ya, so I can forgive that for the most part. BUCK YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! After Part 1, the Mane 6 kick some serious flank, especially in the MOST EPIC PONY FIGHT SEQUENCE YOU MAY EVER WITNESS IN YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!! I love that once it's clear that Twilight was right all along, there are no hard feelings; instead, like any great friends, they forgive, forget, and get down to doing what needs to be done, namely, giving it their all to save Canterlot and Equestria. No pressure or anything girls! Again, it's a little disappointing that they really didn't resolve the conflict with Chrysalis (though they did have a pretty epic showdown with her in the canon comic books later), but hey, seeing as the writers are significantly expanding the canon with the ending there, I can forgive that. Overall, they prove themselves once again to be loyal and true friends, awesome and always there for each other, and have a rocking awesome time together at the Royal Wedding. Like with Twilight, I can't really envision how Season 2 could've ended better for the Mane 6, and it's great that the final shot of any of the characters is just those six having a blast at the reception, laughing and enjoying each other's company to their hearts content. I'll briefly mention as an aside that, while it's a little disappointing that Spike is mostly just thrown in for some laughs in both episodes, with how much is going on I completely understand why, and so I'm not really bugged by that at all. Finally, rounding out our old characters, I gotta mention the princesses. While Luna only disappointingly makes a few cameo appearances (her first since "Luna Eclipsed"), Princess Celestia, after a somewhat OOC scolding of her favorite student (but again, plot convenience *shrugs*), has a pretty B.A. moment when she pretty much squares off against Queen Chrysalis at the Royal Wedding to protect her subjects and land. Of course, it kind of loses its effect in that she unfortunately gets her flank handed to her (and then cocooned to boot... man, talk about rubbing salt in the wound), but it's still awesome seeing Celestia unflinchingly jump into action to protect her ponies from the forces of evil. In addition, her delivery of the lesson of the episode at the end is quite lovely if I do say so myself, and overall she has a pretty solid role in both of these episodes, especially the latter. Hey sis, what I miss? Luna, were you gone on purpose? Did you send me to the moon for 1000 years? Yes... Then yes! Alright, onto the new! Well, let's cover Shining Armor and Princess Cadance (or Mi Amore Cadenza, whichever you prefer) first. Both of these characters, especially Cadance, could've easily proven to be a Gary Stu and Mary Sue (especially considering how radically Cadance was altered from what Lauren Faust originally envisioned), but instead they really ended up being fleshed out quite nicely for their first appearances. Shining Armor is believable as a brother, a groom, and a captain of the guard, switching quite naturally from each role with ease, and even though he has a pretty hilarious 90's surfer dude voice, it grows on you and there's no denying that he's a likable, all-around nice guy and solid character. Cadance, once we get to meet her, is simply a sweetheart, and a pretty strong-willed character to boot. We have no idea how long she was stuck down in those caves; heck, she could've been starving and on the verge of collapsing by the time Twilight found her! Yet she still manages to get out of the caves with Twilight, reveal Chrysalis as an impostor, cleanse Shining Armor of Chrysalis's mind control, and, with the power of their love, drive Chrysalis and her changelings away. I don't know about you, but to me, that's pretty bucking awesome. What I especially love about these two and how they defeat Chrysalis in the end is that they are such a power couple in the most literal sense of the word! Both of these characters are at their best when they're working together, and given that the love that two romantic partners planning to spend the rest of their lives together (simply an advanced form of friendship if you think about it ) is such an important theme in this episode, it's extremely fitting that the power of their love is only unlocked when they're working in tandem, not by one or the other, but each other at once. Very nice bit of thematic symbolism there, and overall both characters have an excellent debut that, rather than turning out to be a disaster, added two solid characters to MLP's already excellent cast! TACTICAL LOVE INCOMING!!!!!!!!! Finally, we've just GOT to cover Queen Chrysalis (and I guess I'll cover the changelings while I'm at it). Queen Chrysalis, in my measure of the show's villains so far, is probably my third favorite, behind Discord and Nightmare Moon. However, that's only because Discord is so amazing and also I like Nightmare Moon's physical design better (along with her deliciously over-the-top personality) and it doesn't really do justice to how threatening she really is. I don't think we've had a villain in this show who enjoys being evil as much as Chrysalis does. Think about it; Discord just wants to have fun, even if it causes suffering, Nightmare Moon's just very vindictive and holding a major grudge against Celestia, and Sombra hates everything too much to even really enjoy evil. But Chrysalis? She loves every minute of it! She has absolutely no problem at all with ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ponies if it means leading her own species to a glorious future, and that is just downright despicable!!! In addition, she's very cunning, a dangerous foe not to be underestimated, and quite magically powerful to boot, defeating even Celestia herself in a magic duel (though to be fair we kind of saw her when she was overcharged, for lack of a better term, from Shining Armor's love). Not to mention SHE HAS A BUCKING ARMY AT HER BACK!!! The changelings are without a doubt one of the most interesting additions to the show's canon to date, and while they haven't made any appearances in the show since this episode (their only canon appearance since being in the MLP comic books), the fandom loves, loves, LOVES THEM!!! Their potential has not been lost on us, and they've appeared in a WHOLE LOT of fan work (seriously, they're everywhere), so I can only hope that the show's creators recognize their potential as well and decide somewhere down the road to bring them and their deliciously evil queen back. Of course, it's a bit silly that her downfall came as the result of the ultimate hubris; she literally turns her back while gloating, but hey, as I've said before in this review, plot convenience!!! Besides, her banishment certainly left potential for her to come back sometime down the road in the show, and if that ends up being the case then that'll be just fine by me. Overall, Queen Chrysalis is a great villain, and her changeling minions are tough foes and an awesome canon addition with some great potential that I hope is explored down the road. Hats off to the writers on coming up with such amazing foes for the season finale!!! OH S***, DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!! Animation The artwork in this episode is among the most impressive we've seen in the show to date, with some truly awesome sequences. The entire episode, set largely in Canterlot in the midst of wedding preparations, is very colorful and bright, and the wedding dresses especially are very appealing to the eye (seriously, the Mane 6 look TOO CUTE in their bridesmaids outfits). Everything flows very smoothly as well, impressive seeing as there's a lot of action going on in both episodes, particularly A LOT of magic usage from Twilight, Cadance, Celestia, Shining Armor, and Chrysalis. The invasion of Canterlot is probably among my top five favorite animation sequences of all time in the show, and from start to finish is simply epic all the way through (this is "My Little Pony" we're still talking about, right?). Overall, this is probably the most lovely looking episode of Season 2, and personally it's even my favorite episode period as far as animation is concerned, though a number of Season 3 episodes certainly rival it, and we'll just have to wait and see if anything Season 4 has to offer can surpass "A Canterlot Wedding". However, if you're looking for a gorgeous looking episode in MLP, look no further than "A Canterlot Wedding"; you won't be disappointed! P.S. As an aside, I should probably mention that the new characters, Cadance, Shining Armor, and Chrysalis, all have lovely designs! Music Daniel Ingram hits it out of the park once again with not one, not two, but THREE new songs (plus a reprise), more than we'd seen in any single episode up till that point in the show (even if technically they all occurred over the span of two episodes). Since they're all very different from one another, I'll cover them separately in chronological order. B.B.B.F.F. (Big Brother Best Friend Forever) Our first song of this two-parter, "B.B.B.F.F." is, largely for sentimental reasons, my favorite of the three. Don't get me wrong, it has a very lovely tune, no doubt about that, but when you get down to it most of my love for this song stems from the subject of it. I'm a B.B.B.F.F. myself, to a sister no less, so of course I'm gonna be a sucker for a song that talks about the close, intimate relationship between a big brother and little sister and how much it means to both of them! In addition, this song gives us some nice backstory on Twilight that we hadn't had before, and it's always nice to learn more about the history of the show's main characters, and is also her first song in Season 2 (and first song actually since "At the Gala" back in Season 1, not counting "The Heart Carol" of course in "Hearth's Warming Eve"). Overall, it's a solid musical number to start off these episodes, and personally my favorite of the three, though again that's largely for sentimental reasons. This Day Aria When you talk about the music in "A Canterlot Wedding", this is probably the song that every single brony and pegasister immediately thinks of first, and for good reason. Musically, "This Day Aria" is easily the most impressive of all three numbers here, and to this day remains one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, out of every single number Ingram's written yet for the show, even if there are other songs I like more. It's really unlike any song you will hear in a kids show today, a very classical aria (though it's really more of a duet, but it still cleverly fits the parameters of an aria technically) with an enchanting tune that builds the tension and suspense at the beginning of Part 2 wonderfully. It's also a lovely send up to Disney's "The Little Mermaid" (along with a number of the plot points of both episodes), and that fact alone makes it fantastic in so many ways! Britt McKillip, both Cadance's VA and singing VA, has an absolutely lovely singing voice and absolutely hits one out of the park here, nailing both Princess Cadance and Queen Chrysalis, capturing the personalities of two very distinct characters who couldn't be more unalike. To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite songs of the show (and I can safely say the same for thousands of other broneis and pegasisters), is the only song sung by a villain we've had to this point, and still stands alone as one of the most unique and original songs in all of MLP! "This Day Aria", you brought the house down before the season was even over, and my hat's off to you for that!!! Bucking LOVE this song!!! This Day Aria Reprise Not much to say about this one since it's so short, but "This Day Aria Reprise" is a lovely follow up to part 1 of "This Day Aria", a fun bit of gloating from Queen Chrysalis (who has a pretty rocking singing voice as well if I do say so myself) as everything she's planned seems to have fallen into place. It's the low point of the epiosde for our heroes, and everything truly seems lost as Chrysalis surveys the conquered Canterlot. Makes for a very effective moment, even if it is pretty short. Love Is In Bloom The final full length song of the Season 2 finale, "Love Is In Bloom", while my third favorite out of all three songs, is the perfect way to end Season 2. While it may seem a bit stereotypical in its tune and lyrics for a show like this (i.e. the most girliest song of the episode), the tune is still lovely and the lyrics as well. It's fun and celebratory and a wonderful send off to the newly married couple of Princess Cadance and Shining Armor, as well as the season as a whole, plus it's the second time Twilight sings in these episodes (and Season 2), and it's always nice to hear Twilight sing yet again, so that's an added plus! Overall, I can't think of a better note for Season 2 to end on! Final Thoughts "A Canterlot Wedding: Part 1 and Part 2" changed everything for MLP. It was the perfect end to the most impressive season the show's had so far, with oodles of great references, from "The Little Mermaid" to William and Kate, TONS of great new additions to the canon including three new characters, fantastic developments to the overall plot of the show, and some very fun laughs, action, and drama. It was unlike anything we've really ever seen in MLP before or since, though since then there have been a number of episodes more similar to it than not on the epic scale, especially "The Crystal Empire", and it set the stage for the next evolution to MLP's storytelling as the overall storyline of the show continues to progress. It's the best season finale the show's had yet, my second favorite episode of all time, and just about perfect in every way. I can say without a doubt that "A Canterlot Wedding" is one wedding I'm most happy to have attended, and always happy to attend again and again and again!!! A perfect end to an amazing season! Doesn't get much better than that.
  18. Well... buck. *sigh* I suppose it had to happen sometime, right? I mean, no show is perfect; even the best have their duds. But gosh bucking dang it, why did it have to come in Season 2, a season so exceptional and picture perfect in almost every way? Why did it have to come so close to the end?! Why oh why is "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" such a sweet-Celestia-what-were-the-writers-even-thinking-this-is-so-bucking-atrocious bad episode?!?! *sigh* Well, no sense in fighting it, might as well write this review and be done with it. Buck... whatever, let's get this over with. Get used to this train car folks, cause we're gonna be in this bucking bland setting THE WHOLE EPISODE!!! OK, so seeing as there's so much wrong with this episode, let's go in chronological order, shall we? First off, the Cakes: they're bucking stupid in this episode, even if they only appear for about a minute and a half. Why, you may ask? BECAUSE IT'S THEIR FAULT THIS EPISODE HAPPENS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! They've baked a delicious looking cake for the National Dessert Competition in Canterlot (given the high-sugar intake of pretty much every pony in this show well-established by this point, this really shouldn't come as a surprise), BUT for no explained reason have left Pinkie Pie and the Mane 6 in charge of safely transporting it there. Are they taking a different train? NOPE, they're not going at all! This seems stupid as it is, seeing as, oh I don't know, it's only THE NATIONAL DESSERT COMPETITION, a competition that could bring all sorts of rewards and open up business opportunities for the Cakes, and it comes across as even stupider once we see that THREE OTHER BAKERS are traveling on the same train because they've figured out that, gee, maybe they oughta present their baked goods themselves. The lack of an explanation doesn't really bug me if only because there is no good explanation for their not going. Are they not going because they want to keep Sugarcube Corner open? If so, that's bucking stupid; clearly pretty much every other baker in Equestria would rather close shop for a few days than miss such an important competition. Are they worried about leaving Pound and Pumpkin Cake by themselves? Well then maybe they should get a sitter, oh wait, THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE, WE SPENT AN ENTIRE EPISODE ESTABLISHING THAT, AND IT'S THE BUCKING PONY TRANSPORTING THEIR CAKE!!! So I rest my case: the Cake's are bucking stupid for not going to the competition at all, and already we've got a major bit of bad writing on the writers' parts. Brilliant, 2 minutes in and there's already a gaping plot hole!!! Seriously, where the buck are these two? What are they doing this whole episode that's so important they had to miss the National Dessert Competition??? Next, Pinkie Pie... oh Pinkie. Pinkie, Pinkie, Pinkie, Pinkie... Pinkie. BY LUNA'S SWEET FLANK WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THIS EPISODE?!?!?!? Pinkie Pie, to be blunt, is an idiot in this episode, and as such, terribly OOC. I get the lesson they're going for, I really do; they're trying to teach that you shouldn't jump to conclusions before you have all the facts, that's a commendable lesson. But it's executed sooooooo poorly!!! Pinkie is just dense as a doorknob the entire episode. I mean, yeah, she's definitely not the brightest pony out of the bunch, but she's never displayed these levels of incompetency before or since this episode! The most ludicrous part is that she actually believes these ridiculous "theories" she comes up with as to who bit the cake when she's accusing Gustave le Grand, Donut Joe, and Mulia Mild of doing so; this is a bucking shame, seeing as these segments are one of the only highlights of the episode, but when you realize that she actually thinks it happened that way, it loses all its comedy and just comes across as stupid, plain and simple. She's coming up with these stories by the second, jumping from one to the next, and it seriously makes you question her sanity even. I mean, there is just no way that any character in a show so-well written as this one, a MAIN CHARACTER, should act this stupid!!! As a result of her stupidity, the entire effect of the lesson is lost, seeing as there should have been no need to learn this lesson in the first place AS MOST PEOPLE WOULD NEVER BEHAVE THIS STUPIDLY WHILE TRYING TO INVESTIGATE OR FIGURE OUT ANYTHING AT ALL!!! Pinkie's incompetence completely kills the lesson, is extraordinarily OOC behavior for her, and just gets plain annoying. Two thumbs way, way down on the writing for Pinkie Pie alone! Shoot, I think I left my brain back in Ponyville. Finally, let's talk about everyone else. Are they as stupid as Pinkie Pie in this episode? Nope. They're just terrible, terrible, terrible individuals with HORRIBLE self control! Let me recap what's going on here, just to put this in perspective; they're traveling to Canterlot for the NATIONAL DESSERT COMPETITION. This competition, I'd wager, is a huge business opportunity for thousands of bakers across Equestria, including the Cakes, so there's a lot (and by a lot, I do mean A LOT) riding on their getting the cake to Canterlot intact, along with every other dessert. So, should be no problem, right? In a sane world, or just a logical world even, they would've packed plenty to eat on the train ride or gotten some food on there at least. Instead, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity ALL take HUGE bites of the cake just because (and here's the real kicker) Pinkie Pie made it sound delicious in her description of it. Hey guys, guess what? YOU ARE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!! This train ride takes about a day, you're going to a dessert competition that'll probably have thousands of entries that you can try, and you seriously couldn't restrain yourselves from taking three big bites of a cake that your good friends the Cakes are most likely counting on to boost their business?!?! WHAT THE BUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?! Oh, and just when you didn't think it could get any worse, it does, it gets a lot worse; THE BUCKING BAKERS THEMSELVES ALL TAKE BITES OF EACH OTHERS BAKED GOODS BECAUSE PINKIE MAKES THEM SOUND SO GOOD!!! Gosh dang it, does the stupidity and lack of self control in this episode know no bounds?!?! THEY'RE BAKERS, professional, seasoned bakers, they should know how to restrain themselves from eating product, especially when it's not their own to eat at the time. Major kudos to Twilight and Applejack for being the only ponies to maintain their self-control in this entire episode (though according to Amy Keating Rodgers, Applejack was originally supposed to confess at the end that she did take a bite and just hid it... I'm really glad that didn't happen). Finally, their solution is possibly their stupidest decision of all; they combine desserts that have already been bitten into, not cut by a sterile utensil, BUT BITTEN, into one massive dessert crawling with the germs of at least four ponies, a griffon, and a mule, AND DON'T NOTIFY ANYPONY! Not only is that kind of unethical given the competition format, it's also gross and extremely stupid. Wow, that cake is all kinds of wrong. I seriously do not want to think about how many different individuals have already bitten into all those desserts that they have now PUT TOGETHER AFTER THE FACT. That is sooooooo bucking gross it's not even funny. On a side note, the real cake on the right is kind of amazing. Assuming it wasn't made the same way of course. Besides the terrible writing for so many characters, the episode has plenty of other problems. It's terribly paced, with some parts dragging and others feeling too rushed, especially the conclusion, which is extraordinarily fast! The setting is extremely boring; they're in one train cart that doesn't change at all for most of the episode, and my bucking gosh does the episode drag largely because of the stale setting (and yes, I get that it's a bottle episode in some regards, but did we really need a bottle episode in MLP??? Or at least if we did, I'm sure they could make one better than that!)! Finally, it's just not that funny; aside from a few standout moments, such as Pinkie's ludicrous theories (which are a blast to watch to be honest) and Rarity's "I wear false eyelashes" line, there's really not that much that tickles my funny bone in this episode, and that just makes its stupidity all the more noticeable for me. We've had a couple of bad episodes in MLP history, but they were never bad overall, they just had bad elements, and at the very least they usually were either really fun, had unique, interesting, and varied settings and stories, or both even! This episode just has nothing, and it's a bucking shame because they send up a lot of genres that could've made for some fun material: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, silent movies, even ninja movies! But instead, every pop culture reference either falls dead, comes across as forced, or just doesn't do that much for the viewer seeing as it's in such a terrible episode. Besides Twilight remaining competent and those theory sequences being hilarious and pretty original, I can't say anything good about this episode. Terrible writing resulted in poor execution, horribly OOC characters, a boring setting, and one of the stupidest conflicts I've ever seen in a kids show, born out of total lack of self control. Overall, it's my least favorite episode in all of MLP: FiM; it's bland and stupid and just does nothing for me whatsoever, and I cannot recommend rewatching it more than you have to, say, when you're attempting to rewatch all of the seasons chronologically. Beyond that, there's no reason one should torture themselves by rewatching this travesty out of order for its own merits, because as far as I'm concerned, it has none. Besides the fact that I understand, with the season so close to an end and having already produced so many amazing gems for Season 2, Studio B must've been absolutely exhausted of ideas for the regular episodes of the season, there is only one other reason that I'm usually quite forgiving of this episode: because of what followed this episode... Well, this sounds like fun. What could possibly go wrong? Till next time.
  19. The final CMC episode of Season 2, "Ponyville Confidential" is a very fun episode with a high quality message. While certainly not their best episode to date, there's plenty of positive to find here, so without further ado let's get cracking. Girls, do you think I might get in trouble if we publish Rarity's diary? Girls? So for their latest attempt to get their cutie marks, the CMC decide to join the school newspaper, the Foal Free Press, in the hopes that maybe their special talent is journalism. Certainly reasonable enough, especially compared to some of their previous attempts. Their best laid plans, however, are thrown askew when none other than Diamond Tiara ends up being the new editor-in-chief for the paper. After she rejects the legitimate articles that the CMC try to submit, Diamond Tiara ends up taking a gossip piece the trio of fillies accidentally come up with and encourages them to bring her more. Soon, however, what starts out as seemingly harmless fun turns into a gossip-pandemic, with ponies all over Ponyville falling victim to the venomous and contagious gossip of the Foal Free Press. After things finally go too far and they are discovered, the CMC realize that, despite their success, no cutie mark is worth slandering other ponies and throwing away all of their friendships to boot, and more than make amends. Their good relations are restored, the Gabby Gums column is discontinued, Diamond Tiara is fired and replaced by the swagalicious colt Featherweight, and all is right with the world. So the CMC are pretty fun in this episode, obviously. They're up to their usual shenanigans, with some funny CMC attempts by Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle at the start of the episode and hilarity all around as they pursue journalism, especially from Sweetie Belle, who gets up to all sorts of trouble at Carousel Boutique. I sort of take issue with the fact that they so easily went along with something that Diamond Tiara of all ponies was telling them to do, seeing as she's certainly no shining example of upstanding morality, but I can give it a pass seeing as they were pretty convinced (rightfully so) that this was a promising field to pursue their cutie marks in. Not much to say about most of their activity in the episode, seeing as aside from the conflict itself, it's pretty standard fare as CMC episodes go, and certainly not as funny as their previous episode "Hearts and Hooves Day". The lesson they learn is quite a good one for all ages, especially in the manner in which it is delivered; whether young or old, I think we can all agree that gossip can be extremely hurtful and emotionally scarring. The manner in which it is critiqued, however, is simply ingenious; since the CMC are the stars, the episode reaches out on one level to younger viewers, but at the same time the idea of this problem arising as a result of the CMC heading up a gossip column reaches out to older audiences on a number of levels, namely in that teenagers and adults witness every day the ridiculous stories that gossip columns in print, television, and on the Internet run in an attempt to create scandal, often where there is none, and also the journalistic aspects of the episode highlight the immorality of invasion of privacy. Gossip is hardly a new subject matter in kids television, but the manner in which we see it handled here is quite frankly very unique and orginal, at least it is in my opinion. I still take issue with the fact that the CMC didn't put a rest to this before it got out of control, but again, they're impressionable fillies trying something new, so it's forgivable and believable. In the end, with the help of some older ponies, the CMC learn a worthwhile lesson about the dangers of gossip and invading others' privacy, and act upon the lesson learned as they should. Good on the CMC! Seriously, at what point did you find the time to make that poster and put it there? Besides the episode's stars, "Ponyville Confidential is notable as probably involving all of the Mane 6 more than any other CMC-centric episode. We've got prominent appearances from Rarity, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack, and even Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy get a few lines in. In addition, they usually appear all together in this episode, and the manner in which they deliver other ponies' observations of the effects of Gabby Gums' gossip column is a pretty unique storytelling device for MLP and creates a nice balance in screen time between the CMC and the Mane 6, something we don't usually see in a CMC episode. Their appearances all add to the story in some way; we see the negative effects of gossip in how all of them react to their own gossip articles being published, Twilight spends most of the episode laying the foundation for the lesson of the episode, critiquing the gossip column, foreseeing its negative effects, and taking the moral high ground. Rarity, like Sweetie Belle, shines quite a bit, proving herself at first to be (unsurprisingly) quite the gossip fangirl, but after suffering from it herself and discovering that her own sister is Gabby Gums, Rarity provides some wonderful sisterly guidance (rather notable seeing as Applejack and Rainbow Dash, AB's older sister and Scoots's role model, respectively, shun the CMC after discovering they're Gabby Gums) and sets the stage for Sweetie Belle and the rest of the CMC learning their lesson and making things right. Finally, the Mane 6 (and Spike) all have some very funny moments, from Rarity's fangirling over the gossip column to their hijinks in the spa (most notably RD's absolutely adorable refusal to get a hooficure). Overall, it's nice seeing the Mane 6 so heavily involved in a CMC-centric episode, and I hope we get more CMC episodes that strike this balance so nicely in the future. Oh crap, Spike forgot to turn his swag off!!! Besides these two big elements, just a few other things stand out. It's nice getting to see more of Ponyville Elementary's foals besides the CMC, and some of the newspaper staff have some funny moments of their own, especially Featherweight. I do question Ms. Cheerilee's decision to make Diamond Tiara the editor-in-chief; I mean, seriously, did that really at any point seem like a good idea? Cheerilee's smart enough to know that Diamond Tiara's a pretty rotten egg, and I doubt that Filthy Rich would ever pressure her to do so, but eh, whatever, plot convenience, am I right? Other than that, the animation's lovely as usual, though there certainly aren't any standout visuals in an episode like this. Overall, "Ponyville Confidential" is a very well done episode by Season 2 standards and a lovely send off to the CMC in Season 2, aside of course from their cameo appearances in "Canterlot Wedding". A fun CMC episode with a high quality lesson, and definitely a good rewatch. Fez pony is now canon: I think we can all agree that the world is most definitely a better place because of it.
  20. After a string of a few episodes of largely normal quality for Season 2, we got... well, a special episode. A dang special episode. In fact, it's probably the best episode in the closing episodes of Season 2 until the season finale. "Hurricane Fluttershy" is one of those perfect episodes that just seems to get everything right. A great lesson, good pacing, sweet thrills and fun laughs, and most importantly, great friendship all around. Without further ado, let's take a look at the awesomeness that is "Hurricane Fluttershy"! I can honestly say that this is the strangest training montage I've ever seen. Seeing as this is a Fluttershy episode, let's start off by covering the timid little pegasus herself, along with the amazing lesson of this episode. Put simply, in my opinion, this episode has Fluttershy at her finest, and is probably her best episode to date! The only other one that might highlight her qualities better is "Keep Calm and Flutter On", but the reason I feel that "Hurricane Fluttershy" is superior is that, whereas Fluttershy faces off against a completely separate entity in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" (i.e. Discord), in "Hurricane Fluttershy" she has to overcome a very difficult personal obstacle, a physical and mental challenge. So what's Fluttershy up against this week? Well, Ponyville's been selected to provide rainwater to Cloudsdale for the year, and Rainbow Dash, as the obvious flight-leader of the Ponyville pegasi, dives headfirst into the task, attempting to not only complete it, but break the wind speed record set the previous year by Fillydelphia. To do so, she needs every single one of the Ponyville pegasi to participate at their absolute top speeds, and yes, that includes Fluttershy. This, however, proves to be rather problematic for Fluttershy; she's both physically a weak flier, having always had trouble flying, plus she just doesn't enjoy flying in general, both because she prefers to stay on the ground unless she absolutely must fly and also because as a filly her weak flying drew laughs and derision from the other pegasi in Cloudsdale. If this were an emergency, she'd probably have less trouble participating, but this is simply a civic activity that's technically voluntary and which Rainbow doesn't even think will be that hard to pull of at the very least. Obviously Flutters is going to have some difficulty with this. What I love about this scenario is that this episode, with Fluttershy and her fears, is clearly reaching out to anyone who's ever had self-esteem issues on account of physical or mental limitations and any derision they received as a result from their peers. This is an extremely relatable issue for very many people, and the writers handled it excellently! While she's fearful at first, with the help of both her animal friends, as well as a great deal of encouragement from Rainbow Dash and Twilight, Fluttershy pushes herself to her physical limits and overcomes her mental blocks, flying about as well as she can. While it's certainly not much compared to what more naturally capable pegasi can reach, in the end, Fluttershy's little bit of speed is essential to even creating the water tornado at all after the feather flu devastates the Ponyville pegasi ranks. Overcoming her fears and disbelief in herself, Fluttershy finds the courage to believe in herself and do what she must for her friends, town, and all of Equestria. While it's great that she does something for her home, it's also worth noting that she equally does this for herself! It's not that she's being selfish or anything, but sometimes we have to be reminded that often overcoming personal demons is as much for ourselves as it is for the people we love, plus as selfless as Fluttershy is, she of all ponies certainly needed this lesson in self-confidence and believing in yourself. I love too that Fluttershy, although essential in the end, doesn't end up being the fastest flyer or anything. She's a necessary cog in the machine, but she's still no star player. Too often a kids show will have an episode where some kid ends up being an unexpected hero for say a sports team by doing something truly exceptional, such as a game winning touchdown. This message, however, feels a lot truer, more sincere and real: you do not have to be the best player out there or make some amazing play on a team in order to be making valuable contributions. Speaking from personal experience, while I never encountered any derision, I can say with confidence that I myself somewhat know where Fluttershy is coming from, largely in physical limitations. From my childhood through high school I always played sports, but I never had that much natural ability. I did however have a heck of a lot of persistence and determination and always stuck with it because I loved the sports and I loved the friends I made and teammates I played with. In football, I never went beyond second string in high school, but in my senior year I earned Scout Team Champion of the Year from our very own coaching staff. In track and field, I was never at the front of the pack, but in the spring of my senior year I was named one of our four or five captains. There is truth to this lesson in "Hurricane Fluttershy", a great truth, and I know that I and thousands of other people out there have experience with it. You can still make great contributions, play important roles, and earn the respect of your peers even if you aren't the greatest at something; hard work, giving it your all for yourself and for others, those are the things that really matter and are their own rewards. Definitely one of my top ten favorite lessons in the entire show, both for the quality of the moral as well as the execution. Everyone has a role to play in the grand scheme of things, even if it's not so apparent what that role is sometimes. But once we find it, the best we can do for ourselves and others is give it our all. Well we're not quite done yet with this review, no sir. Besides Fluttershy, there's one other character who really shines in this episode: Rainbow Dash. As far as supporting roles go, this is most definitely my favorite RD episode in which she's playing a supporting character. Heck, I like her in this episode more than in a bunch of her starring appearances in all 3 seasons, including Season 2. So just why does she stand out so much here? Well, to be honest, RD probably behaves more maturely here than she ever had in the show up until that point. It's really one of the best examples of clear-cut character growth paying dividends from lessons learned in previous episodes for any of the Mane 6! She's not boastful, braggy, asinine, arrogant; rather, she behaves like a leader and a good friend, both with Fluttershy as well as the other pegasi. With Fluttershy, she's gentle; yeah, she pushes her, but she doesn't push her for selfish reasons, but because she believes in Fluttershy and wants to see her friend do her best, both for herself and Ponyville. With the Ponyville pegasi, Dashie's a relentless leader; her biggest shortcoming in fact is simply her not taking their personal hygiene more seriously seeing as that feather flu pandemic takes them so off-guard. Even when it becomes clear that they can't break the record which they were on pace to doing, does Dashie throw in the towel? Hay no, of course not! Instead, she presses on and pushes everypony else to follow her lead so they can get Cloudsdale the water they need for all of Equestria! That is simply RD at her best; it's one of the best highlights of what a truly awesome and loyal pegasus she is, and her sheer determination in the face of impossible odds is just a blast to watch. She's a great friend, a tireless leader, relentlessly loyal, and just plain awesome; nothing more you can say other than this is Rainbow Dash at her finest! Alright guys, remember, all the stores open at 6 A.M. on Black Friday; if we bull rush 'em all, there's no way we'll miss out on all the hot sales! Finally, there's a lot of other things that really make this episode great, not just good. I love seeing all of the Ponyville pegasi; I'm kind of a sucker for pegasi especially, and boy oh boy they're all over this episode! Derpy cameos, the introduction of Snowflake, Flitter, and Cloudchaser, and tons of other pegasi, this episode's just a dream come true for me! In addition, I love how involved all of these background ponies are. In the end, pretty much the entire Ponyville pegasus population is directly involved in saving the day, and since it's so rare that we ever get to see background ponies making any real contributions to the action of the show, this episode stands out in a pretty unique and awesome regard for the inclusion of so many. There's some funny Spike and Twilight moments, as there usually are when those two are playing supporting characters. Fluttershy's woodland critter friends are hilarious and adorable as usual, and Angel Bunny especially gets a special shout out for probably being more supportive in this episode than I've ever seen him before or since of Fluttershy. The 80's training montage is hysterical and so cheesy and delicious, and that's all that really needs to be said about that. The animation's gorgeous as usual, especially during the climax, which is pretty much perfect in every single regard. D'AWWW, those two are cute! Kinda look like sisters even! Wait, what's that? Wait... what do you mean people ship them together?!?! But I, they look like sisters, and... AWWWWW MAN, FANDOM, I AM DISAPPOINT!!!! STAHP IT!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BUCKING PUMPED I AM RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Overall, "Hurricane Fluttershy" remains not just one of the greatest episodes of Season 2, but also one of the finest episodes in MLP to date, as well as in my opinion Fluttershy's best episode so far. With a great lesson, riveting storyline, fantastic characterization of both Fluttershy and RD, and just flat-out perfect execution in pretty much every single regard, it's definitely one of the most noteworthy episodes of MLP most certainly worth a rewatch if you're looking for a real treat. Wing-fives: they're now canon. Because why wouldn't they be?
  21. "It's About Time"... so this episode's all kinds of fun! I mean how can it not be? It's time travel mixed with ponies for crying out loud, you know without a doubt after reading that premise that you're going to have a blast! So as you can tell, I certainly like this episode a lot. It's not my favorite episode of Season 2 by any means, but there's still plenty here that works and on the whole it hits all the right notes. Let's begin. Ughhh, good job Twilight, you've created a time paradox! What do you have to say for yourself missy? "It's About Time" is the first Twilight-centric episode since "Lesson Zero" (I would say "Luna Eclipsed" since Twilight helps solve Luna's social awkwardness, but it's still Luna's problem so technically "Lesson Zero" it is), and to be honest it has a very similar conflict as that legendary episode in that Twilight's making a mountain out of a molehill again. I guess I should start by saying that, while the two problems she's trying to resolve in her own nutty way are distinct problems (and the lessons she learns in both are also distinct from each other), the similarities of these episodes are enough that it sort of takes away from the effect of Twilight's nuttiness in this one. I mean, after "Lesson Zero", no amount of insanity on Twilight's part can really phase anyone anymore, and every time I watch this episode, even though I do enjoy it, I can't help but think to myself, "I've seen this Twilight before, and for very similar reasons". Aside from that little bit of redundancy, however, Twilight's a delight and learns a great lesson to boot. So what's the source of Twilight's insanity this time? Well, time travel if we're being frank. Basically, she loses her head because her future self traveled back in time to warn her not to lose her head. It's really silly when you think about it, but it works here really well, especially considering one usually would see time travel in a kids program in some sort of made-for-TV movie, not a single, 22 minute episode. After all kinds of whacky shenanigans (and much bodily harm and mental fatigue on Twilight's part, though nothing in comparison to the madness that is "Lesson Zero"... I'm just saying, nothing can touch that episode as far as insanity levels go), Twilight finally realizes that she's been worrying about nothing this entire time and learns a valuable lesson. You shouldn't worry about problems in the future that you can't even foresee, otherwise you'll end up accomplishing nothing and just waste your days making mountains out of molehills again and again and again; instead, you should worry about resolving problems as they happen, keep your mind focused on the present in order to secure it and the future! This results in a great bit of character growth on Twilight's part, and ever since this episode it's been more and more noticeable that she's made great efforts to keep her cool in high pressure situations and not put more on her plate than she can handle. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this was a major step in her road to becoming a princess, whether she knew it or not, and that Princess Celestia was most certainly waiting to see if Twilight knew how to prioritize problems before choosing to elevate her to princesshood. It's also actually one of the more adult lessons that the show's had; let's be honest, little kids don't usually have the problem of worrying about the future. They live for the present and can barely plan what they're going to be doing five minutes from now, much less one week. Rather, teenagers and adults are the ones who can get so easily swept up in so many affairs and projects that before we know it, we're trying to plan months ahead for as many situations as possible and losing our sanity in the process. I applaud the writers for knowingly making an episode with a message like this tailored more for an adult audience, and for that it most certainly stands out. Pinkie Pie's a fortune teller... because of course she is. Ya know what, at this point, I'm not even surprised anymore. Besides the creative lesson, the episode only REALLY stands out for one other reason: it makes A LOT of interesting additions to the show's canon. In this episode alone, we learn (1) that Tartarus exists as some kind of hold for evil spirits in Equestria, (2) that it's guarded by the 3-headed dog Cerberus (who's kind of adorable here ), (3) that time travel is possible in Equestria, (4) that Twilight is capable of using time travel spells, (5) that time travel spells are kept in the Canterlot Library, (6) that there's a Starswirl the Bearded wing of the Canterlot Library, (7) that there's a Horse Head Nebula in the MLP universe. THAT IS A LOT!!! There are few episodes, even in Season 2, that add SO MUCH to MLP's canon, and "It's About Time" most certainly deserves a lot of credit simply for all the cool additions that it manages to pull off. That's hardly surprising either at this point, but it's also adorable, so I don't care cause it makes me so happy! Aside from the two big qualities of having a great lesson and some cool canon additions, there's not much else to say about this one. Twilight's nutty, and Spike and Pinkie Pie especially provide some nice supporting comedy relief, playing off of crazy Twilight hilariously. There's some nice Mane 6 interactions from all the Mane 6, some without any words even being spoken (my personal favorite being Rarity and AJ fixing the Ponyville dam together; it's just nice silently seeing those two, such polar opposites, getting along so swimmingly together at this point in the show). The MGS and Escape From New York references are absolutely hilarious, plus, as I said earlier, the writers certainly use time travel here to great effect (far better than a lot of other shows do, I can tell you that much). Overall, while certainly not one of the greatest MLP episodes, "It's About Time" is still a lovely episode with some nice character growth from Twilight, some great laughs and clever writing, a very good lesson, and some cool additions to the show's canon. Definitely a worthwhile viewing if you ask me!
  22. The second Spike-centric episode of Season 2, "Dragon Quest" is a pretty normal, run-of-the-mill episode by the season's standards. Besides trying to tackle a fairly serious topic, that being Spike's journey of self-identity (arguably the most serious topic of any Spike-centric episode to date, even if I think this particular episode is inferior to "Secret of My Excess"), along with having some cool additions to the MLP canon, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about this episode. So let's get started, shall we? So good ol' Spike suffers a bit of an identity crisis after witnessing the Great Dragon Migration pass by Ponyville and realizing that he's about as far from being a fierce, ferocious, fire-breathing dragon as possible. While he certainly doesn't want to be a terrifying monster or anything, he realizes he doesn't really know anymore about dragons, or what it means to be a dragon, as ponies themselves do, and this understandably deeply disturbs him as, well, he is a dragon. I mean, this is a very understandable quandary and mature theme for this show, and one that plenty of ethnic groups that have immigrated to the U.S. or other nations themselves can sympathize with; throughout the U.S.'s history, for example, plenty of the members of immigrant communities have worried that they or their descendants are removed from or forget too much of their own or their ancestors cultural and ethnic heritage, have lost their very own identity even, or at least a significant part of it. But anyways, back to Spike; in order to rectify this, the little guy decides to join the Great Dragon Migration in the hopes that spending some time with other dragons will help him learn what it means to be a dragon and, by extension, himself. In order to make sure he doesn't get in over his head too much, Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash understandably follow Spike in a dragon disguise put together by Rarity herself. OK, that's pretty awesome. So as soon as Spike gets there he realizes that adult dragons are a little too far out of his league, and so attempts to join a group of adolescent dragons instead. That's right, Spike doesn't meet just any dragons, he meets... TEENAGERS!!! Oh don't be such a drama queen Lily! Yes, teenage dragons, and boy oh boy there are lots of them! Now, to be honest, my feelings are a little split on these guys: on the one hand, there's certainly nothing wrong or inaccurate about their characterization. I mean, yeah, not all teenagers are that mean-spirited or obnoxious, but it does make sense that teenagers in dragon society would be, seeing as the species as depicted in MLP seems to be so aggressive and brutish. But at the same time they're just, for lack of a better way of putting it, kind of annoying. I mean, yeah, past secondary antagonists like Trixie or the Flim Flam Brothers were unlikable, but at the same time, most had had some sort of endearing quality about them, like a fun, over-the-top personality, etc. Heck, even an antagonist like Gilda was likable if only in that she used to be Rainbow Dash's friend! These douche-nozzle teenage dragons, however, are, I want to say, the most unlikable secondary protagonists since Dumb-Bell, Hoops, and Score in "Sonic Rainboom" in Season 1, and at least those pegasus jerks were not in that episode nearly as much as the dragons are in this one. The only good thing I can say about the teenage dragons is that at the very least they have some pretty humorous moments, but really, that's about it. They're jerks, but worst of all, they're very straight forward jerks, transparent, without much of a personality to speak of, and that makes them quite unlikable and not a very interesting element of this episode, which is a shame seeing as I kinda would've liked to learn some more interesting things about dragon society besides the fact that apparently their teenagers are douchebags who throw raves when they get together. Crackle is best dragon!!! Now Spike, on the other hand, is pretty cool throughout this episode. His Season 2 starring appearances are probably his most flattering to date seeing as they treat him and his problems so seriously, and that's very apparent here. He's relentless in his quest to discover what it means to be a dragon, no matter what tortures that group of jerky dragons puts him through, but in the end he makes the obviously difficult decision that he'd rather be a good person than a good dragon with great resolve and courage. Basically, this little guy, still a baby dragon, makes the conscientious decision to turn his back on his entire species because he'd rather do what he knows to be right than do that which'll allow him to fit into his own species! That is simply commendable, and Spike's refusal to smash a phoenix egg is most definitely one of his great shining moments in the entire series! The lesson he learns, that who he is is not the same as what he is, and that he doesn't have to look for a home among dragons when he already has one, and a family to boot, among Twilight and her friends in Ponyville, is really very touching and most definitely one of the best he's learned. Spike: he's kind of a bad @$$! Besides Spike's shining moments, Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash prove themselves to be great friends in the lengths they go to in order to make sure Spike's alright and stays safe during his quest. In addition, the humor of this episode, while certainly not the show's A-material, is pretty solid, and there are some comedic moments that definitely stand out. The various settings and locales that we see throughout the episode are a nice and unique change of pace from the usual Ponyville setting and look quite cool if I do say so myself. Other than that, there's not much else to say about this episode, good or bad; it's overall a pretty solid but still average episode by Season 2 standards, but I commend it for its serious treatment of Spike and especially exceptional lesson. If you're looking for a solid Spike episode, in my opinion, it's his second-best starring role to date in the show (not counting his shining moments in "The Crystal Empire"), so most definitely a must-watch for fans of Spike. Some friendships literally last a lifetime. It's well worth remembering, for those who may not have a high estimation of Spike, that he's really Twilight's oldest friend who still sees her on a regular basis.
  23. BEST EPISODE EVER!!! Ok, that might be exaggerating just a little bit, but I think it's safe to say that within the first two minutes this episode was already amazing. I've written extensively in the past about why I love this scene so much and what it meant for the fandom, so I won't go into it too much here, but I can't properly review "The Last Roundup" without covering it a little bit. Derpy's first and, to date, only talking scene was nothing short of amazing. First of all, Derpy herself is utterly adorable, and this scene proved as much; to this day I will never understand the small fraction of people within and outside of the fandom who decided that for some reason Ms. Hooves in her one minute of fame was insulting at all when there have been in the past so many other more incompetent characters with far more screen time in children's shows who haven't taken any slack whatsoever (and that's all I'm going to say about the Derpy controversy; again, I've written far more extensively about it in the past). Second, her being given this tiny cameo was, to date at that point, probably the largest recognition from the folks at Studio B of the brony fandom. When Derpy talked, it suddenly became clear as day that not only did they know about bronies, but they knew what we liked within the show, even the little things, and they cared about what we liked in the show and were willing to interact with and encourage this unlikely fandom by giving us shout-outs tailored to our own tastes, basically, including us within the magic of the show itself as best they could. This really took the level of affection between the show's creators and bronies to a whole new level, and for that, what may well prove to be Derpy's only talking scene will forever hold a special place in my heart. I did it Rainbow Dash, I talked, I finally talked!!! Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the rest of the episode. "The Last Roundup" was the first of a pair of back-to-back Applejack-centric episodes, similar to how Rainbow Dash had a pair of back-to-back episodes in "May the Best Pet Win" and "The Mysterious Mare Do Well". In this review, I'll largely be looking at why people unfairly misread this episode in their viewing of it, largely, in the forming of the popular opinion that Derpy and Pinkie Pie steal the spotlight from Applejack. I believe that in reality this really is a solid Applejack episode, but it's largely the viewer's responsibility to figure that out. So, let's begin. Well, first of all, let's dispel with the idea that this is Derpy and Pinkie Pie's episode. First, as I said, Derpy's scene is undeniably amazing, one of my favorite moments in the show for obvious reasons, but that said I cannot pretend that it's anything more than a minute long scene, and not a whole episode. Ergo, despite the fact that it's an awesome moment in this episode, I cannot conscientiously state that Derpy's scene makes the whole episode, because it simply doesn't. As for Pinkie Pie, yes, she's on her A-game here, I mean it, she is flat out funny from beginning to end and probably is responsible for more laughs than all of the other characters in this episode combined. But again, it's still not her episode; she doesn't have a lesson to learn, she doesn't learn any lesson, heck, she's not even present at the end of the episode when Applejack does learn her own lesson! While she undeniably owns the laughs in this episode, that again does not mean that it is her episode; "The Last Roundup" is quite obviously an Applejack-centric episode when you get down to it, and nothing can change that, not even Pinkie Pie's personality reaching epic proportions. Seriously, does she ever stop talking? Lan' sakes I'm gonna buck her into a tree if she don't shut up soon. So, that out of the way, what must a viewer understand going into this episode in order to appreciate it as truly an Applejack episode? Well, the biggest thing is this: Applejack, even in starring roles, has never and will never have the biggest personality on screen. That is simply not her character; she's not some flashy pegasus, super hyper earth pony, or high strung unicorn. She's a simple, humble, farmer earth pony who doesn't like being the center of attention, never has, and never will, and the fact that the writers consistently convey that even when she's the star of an episode is commendable. Her primary concerns are being mature, responsible, getting whatever needs doing done, and doing her best in any project she tackles. She doesn't need her friends or family's praise to know she's done her best, she just needs to meet the high expectations she's set for herself, and once she has done so, she's perfectly content to quietly acknowledge that to herself and take it no further than that. This goes to show that Applejack is not a Mary Sue, but rather simply a subtle, nuanced character; very mature, set in her ways, consistent, unchanging, and very, very stubborn. The worst thing for her is making her own problems somepony else's and not meeting the standards she's set for herself, and so if she ever fails to live up to her own expectations, she will try to resolve this on her own without turning to friends or family, which she thinks is needless. This is indeed a character flaw, and an understandable one at that, albeit somewhat unusual as well, namely in that few people ever display this flaw themselves. It's a problem of putting too much responsibility on yourself, and, like in the Season 1 classic "Apple Bucking Season", Applejack displays this same personality trait here in "The Last Roundup". If a viewer understands going into this episode these things about Applejack, then he or she will have no trouble at all understanding that this is easily an Applejack-centric episode. So, just what does Applejack learn out of this experience, after failing to meet her own expectations for herself and not bringing home any first place ribbons or prize money like she'd promised? Well, she learns that when one doesn't meet her expectations or goals, it's fine to feel disappointed, but that doesn't mean you should run from your friends and family thinking they'll be just as disappointed as well. Instead, you should turn to them for support, because that's what they're there for, to support you when you're down and going through a rough patch, and in the end, their love and fellowship is far more important than any prize you could ever win. This is a very, very mature lesson indeed, and it's suitable that Applejack should learn it; rather than more obvious lessons learned by ponies making more obvious mistakes, like Rarity or Rainbow Dash, it's not so clear until the end just what Applejack has done wrong and what she needs to do instead. Personal responsibility is a wonderful trait to have and display regularly, but that doesn't mean one can't take it too far, and AJ does just that. But in the end, all is well, and she's learned a valuable lesson that she doesn't just need to be a rock that other ponies can lean on and count on for support, but also that she has rocks of her own to lean on when times are rough, and she carries this lesson with her into the next episode, as we'll see in my next review. Besides the great lesson learned in this episode and the solid comedic moments, the rest of the episode is pretty standard fare. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see more of Canterlot or the new town of Dodge Junction, and especially a bit bummed that we didn't get to actually see Applejack at the rodeo, though I understand why the writers chose that course for storytelling purposes, along with the little that we got to see of both aforementioned cities. The animation is lovely as usual, but nothing spectacular, and no one scene really stands out all that much visually. Overall, this is a solid and terribly underrated Applejack episode, and unlike her Season 3 appearances which seem to get all the credit they're due, I really wish that Applejack's Season 2 appearances got the full credit they deserve from bronies and pegasisters. If you're looking for a fun MLP episode with a great, nuanced lesson and some hysterical comedy, look no further than "The Last Roundup". Aw shucks sugarcube, ya'll didn't have to say all those nice things about me. STOP BEING SO MODEST!!! Sheesh.
  24. Ahhhhh, "Putting Your Hoof Down", or as I like to call it, "The Return of Flutterb*tch"!!! Come on, you know as well as I do we all had a deliciously gratuitous chuckle when we saw that side of Fluttershy return in this episode. Alright, in all seriousness, there's a lot of good to be said about this episode, so let's get right on down to the meat of this review. So "Putting Your Hoof Down" is the first Fluttershy-centric episode of Season 2, the first actually since "A Bird in the Hoof" back in Season 1. While I don't consider it to be the best of her episodes, I'd say it's definitely in my top three Fluttershy episodes, for a couple of reasons. I guess let's talk about Fluttershy first; in short, she's got a confidence problem. Wait a minute... haven't I seen this episode before? Yes, as those of you well acquainted with this episode may know, one of the frequent criticisms of it is that we'd seen this lesson before for Fluttershy. More than once in fact. In fact, I will certainly admit that, on the surface, this episode is dangerously derivative of past Fluttershy-centric episodes, even if it's not entirely the same. That said, though, how does this differ from past appearances from good ol' Flutters? Well, in "Dragonshy" she had to overcome a fear of an actual, physical being, a dragon. In "Stare Master", she had to learn that she shouldn't underestimate how much work certain responsibilities require, not really so much about confidence besides that she shouldn't be afraid to be assertive for the sake of others who are her responsibility (which we'd already seen a lot in "Dragonshy"). In "Putting Your Hoof Down" however, Fluttershy learns how to be assertive, and not for any other ponies' sake, but simply, her own. At the beginning she's a bit of a doormat, as the episode goes on she goes way too far the other way and ends up becoming a raging terror, but by the end she's struck a nice balance, learning how to be assertive and stick up for herself while remaining her sweet self. It's a good lesson, the execution and pacing of Fluttershy's learning it is quite excellent, and Fluttershy displays a nice bit of character growth in the process. While the lesson she learns may seem a bit redundant on the surface, it is subtly different from those she's learned in the past, and for that reason along with everything else in the episode I'm pretty forgiving of it. Fie to all those people who say that Fluttershy is cutest po- HNNNNNGGGGGGG, heart attack!!!!!!!!! So what else works in this episode? Well first of all, Rarity and Pinkie Pie are a blast. I love that only a few of the Mane 6 are involved in this episode instead of the whole group, just because that's a nice change that we didn't always get in Season 1 but saw more and more in Season 2 on a regular basis. In addition, they're simply hilarious both of them, especially during the market scene when they're trying to teach Fluttershy how to be assertive. Pinkie Pie's haggling bit with the tomato stall owner (and later haggling with Iron Will) always leaves me in stitches and is an epic send up to one of the greatest Looney Tune's bits ever, the legendary "Rabbit Season/Duck Season" bit. Finally, they're just great friends throughout and remain at Fluttershy's side through thick and thin, even when she's treating them terribly. Kudos to both of them on being a couple of upstanding ponies! Right in the nostalgia in the absolute best of ways!!! Next, Iron Will, the new supporting character of this episode, is a hoot and a holler! Honestly, I love this guy, and who wouldn't; I mean, he's a Mr. T parody for crying out loud! He even says "I pity the pony", how amazing is that?!?! Besides his over-the-top, hilarious behavior, the guy's just an interesting and unique supporting character. I mean, he's a freakin' motivational speaker for crying out loud and a minotaur; no one could honestly have seen this guy coming even in MLP, and it just goes to show how creative Studio B's writers were by this point. Finally, I have to take issue with how so many bronies contend that Iron Will is a secondary antagonist, because, to be frank, he's not! He's quite polite at times throughout the episode, and while he teaches a flawed method of being assertive, he still has good intentions; he wants to teach ponies, probably far more timid than minotaurs are in the MLP universe, how to be assertive, that's hardly a bad thing! Heck, he even learns a little something from Fluttershy at the end, and certainly doesn't cause her any more trouble when she makes it clear that she hasn't been satisfied by his services and won't be paying his fee. Overall, Iron Will's not really a jerk, he just has a big personality and is a bit too aggressive for his own good, but as Fluttershy puts it best, "Iron Will's not a monster. He's a minotaur." Me, I like the guy; always have and always will! Oh my gosh I love this guy!!! SO MUCH WIN!!!!!!!!!! Well, that about does it for this review. Not much else to say other than what I've already said. Between nasty Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie/Rarity, and Iron Will, the episode's very funny, has a good lesson for a Fluttershy episode (even if it's a bit redundant on the surface of past lessons), and is all around just a good Season 2 episode. Certainly not the greatest episode in MLP, but definitely a noteworthy one with its own unique feel, and always fun to rewatch that's for sure! Prepare your butterfly-butt for hugs galore!!!