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  1. Good afternoon, everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! It's the penultimate episode of Season 7 folks (considering the upcoming season finale is, as we would expect, a two-parter), and given how those have gone throughout the show's tenure, I think it's safe to say that most of us were very much anticipating this one. Let's rundown how penultimate episodes in previous seasons have gone as a quick recap: in Season 1 we were graced with "Party of One," easily Pinkie Pie's best episode of that season and still one of the funniest episodes of the show in general; in Season 2 we got the awfulness that was "MMMystery on the Friendship Express," a bitter pill to swallow considering the season as a whole was so outstanding, but quickly forgotten as well given how the season finale turned out; Season 3 saw "Games Ponies Play" as the penultimate episode, a fun little romp in the Crystal Empire that saw the Mane 6 having to help Cadance and Shining Armor get the Crystal Empire to win the privilege of hosting the Equestria Games (it was also a bit odd in that it was kind of the second part of a semi-two-parter episode in that the previous episode, a Spike-centric one, was tied into the events of the following episode); Season 4 saw a follow-up to the previous season's penultimate episode in "Equestria Games," which featured, what else, but the Equestria Games themselves, an event that had been built up starting at the end of Season 3 and throughout Season 4 as well, so while the episode itself might not have featured as much content from the games as we would have liked to see, it was very interesting seeing the payoff of so much build up; Season 5 had probably the greatest penultimate episode of the show to date in "The Mane Attraction," featuring one of the greatest songs the show has ever had and a very stirring, emotional episode as well about Applejack helping her old friend, Countess Coloratura, find her way again; and Season 6 had a fairly fun slice of life episode in "Top Bolt" as its penultimate episode, which was basically just another Cutie Mark Map episode. As we can see, penultimate episodes of the show's seasons (with the exception of the terrible "MMMystery on the Friendship Express") tend to turn out one of two ways: (1) they turn out as gems like "Party of One" or "The Mane Attraction," or (2) they're simply very fun slice-of-life episodes that may try some interesting things, like "Games Ponies Play" or "Equestria Games," but often just function as nice, quiet set up for the season finale, like "Top Bolt." So what did Season 7's "Uncommon Bond" turn out to be? Interestingly enough, it was mostly the latter, and I think some people were surprised by that. Sunburst hadn't appeared in a major role in the show since his first debut in Season 6 (not counting Starlight's flashback about him in the previous season's finale) and given their close history together, I think many of us were expecting a more, shall we say, impactful episode. Now that's not to say that the episode as is disappointed, far from it, in fact I very much enjoyed what we got. It was just a far slower and quieter episode in its execution, smaller in its scope, than I was expecting, but again, for what we got I don't believe that's a bad thing. Let's take a look at just why that is, without further ado, this is "Uncommon Bond"! As should become quickly apparent in this review, bobthedalek had a BLAST with this episode So the heart of this episode is definitely Starlight Glimmer, very fittingly I might add, and if there's anything in the episode that could be described as powerful, it's definitely her. Starlight has a very emotional performance, one which very much unfolds in the background of the episode, interestingly enough. She's hoping that she and Sunburst have a splendid trip together since he's visiting her in Ponyville for, more or less, the first time (at least for an extensive trip) and that they'll be able to reconnect the exact same way they used to as foals. That in particular is key here, and it's at the heart of Starlight's insecurities in the episode. As I've said before, Starlight is different from Twilight when it comes to making friends in a very big way; whereas Twilight is very comfortable with a large group of friends (and being the center that keeps it all together in the case of her and her closest friends), Starlight in contrast is someone who prizes each individual friendship for what it is for her, and each of her friends are not part of some close-knit group, but largely connected simply by their friendship to her. This is why things get awkward between her and Sunburst, because really, the last time they were truly close in their friendship with each other on a consistent basis was as foals, so most of Starlight's memories of Sunburst are from spending time together at each other's houses playing board games and dabbling a little with magic. Now, obviously Starlight has grown immensely as a character and overcome a lot of her old insecurities when it came to making and maintaining friendships since the end of Season 5, but it makes sense that her realization as to how different she and Sunburst have become over the years as they grew apart would panic her just a bit. It's her oldest friendship, and one which so many of her greatest mistakes and decisions stemmed from after Sunburst grew apart from her and she didn't feel like she had anyone else to turn to or rely on. Seeing the very ponies she's befriended in her time in Ponyville getting along more easily with Sunburst than she was (outside of when they got to play Dragon Pit together earlier in the episode) had to be dismaying for Starlight, and probably at the least convinced her that she was a bad friend to Sunburst, or at worst, that maybe they weren't really that close any more. It's an interestingly mature lesson for such a quiet slice-of-life episode, that being that over the years, we may grow very different from our friends, especially our earliest friendships, and to some extent that can be scary because it may seem like you can no longer recapture the magic of the friendship you two shared in your younger days. The episode's solution to such a conundrum is surprisingly simple, with it being a simple, quiet reminder that just because you and an old friend may grow very different from each other over the years, that doesn't mean that you two can't still be friends with one another or very close. As long as you find ways to enjoy each other's company, even if it's different than it was when you were younger, you'll both be fine, and you may even learn to appreciate the ways in which you are different from each other now. The key is simply to find a way to make the friendship work, not simply have it be the exact same as it has always been. That can be scary because old memories of how friendships used to be can be among the best one may have, and it's tempting to want to recapture that exact same experience, but it's not very realistic, especially as friends grow older or even closer. I have friendships on this site itself that used to largely be simply about me having a fun time with other fellow bronies, but these friendships have since grown to a point where both friends, myself and others, confide in each other our fears, insecurities, worries about our lives and the future, and what we're struggling with and how we can help each other as friends. These are not always fun topics or conversations, but they are fulfilling things to share with other friends, and our willingness to confide in each other make for very meaningful moments in our friendships and are testament to just how close we have become. For Starlight to learn that here, even in a little, quiet way, with Sunburst was great to see, and even though it may not be her best episode of the season, it was definitely an invaluable lesson for her to learn and a treat getting to see her learn it. That and, let's be honest, Starlight in a dragon costume looked BUCKING ADORABLE!!! Sunburst, for his part, was... a mixed bag, if I'm being honest. I don't think it was so much him as the type of episode he was in. While the lesson in this episode was great, we've seen this type of episode in cartoons before: the "this old friend of mine gets along better with my current friends than he does with me" episode. The difference between this episode and others like it is in the intent; other episodes like this one often paint the old friend as a douche for how they've changed, or are about the main character learning to appreciate their current friends more and moving on from their old friend, realizing they're not as close as they used to be. That was not the case here, as Sunburst was not an antagonist nor did he and Starlight end their friendship. The purpose of the episode was for them to find a way to reinforce their friendship. The problem is getting to that resolution, no matter how good it is, can be annoying, namely in that it required Sunburst to be unaware of the fact that the way he was behaving was hurting Starlight. He may have been having a great time in Ponyville, but considering it was Starlight who invited him in the first, who was the whole reason he was there in the first place, he should have been more attentive to how she was doing and realized she often didn't have much of anything to do in many of his activities. Yes, she tried to put on a good face for him, but even he asked early on if she really had enjoyed his antiquing all that much. The other problem with how easily he got along with Twilight, Trixie, AND Maud is that it came close to making him come off as Gary Stu-ish in some respects; I can buy that he and Twilight would share a hobby as dorky as antiquing, and even Sunburst being into geology isn't too unbelievable (though I'm not sure at what point he would have gotten into it considering his studies have always revolved around magic), but him being into parlor trick magic like Trixie too, that seemed a bit much. I get they needed him to befriend all three of these ponies in order to make the episode work, but it just seemed far fetched that he'd share all these interests with all three. Starlight may share connections with all three as well, but they're far more personal ones which makes them easier to believe. So overall, Sunburst's ease with finding so many things in common with so many of Starlight's friends, combined with his lack of awareness about what was troubling Starlight as the episode unfolded, made him frustrating to watch at times. Still, on the whole it's not like he had ill intent or anything. He was on vacation after all, and even though Starlight was his host, that didn't mean he just had to do everything with her. Sunburst didn't seem to be worried about their friendship at all until he realized what she had, that they really might not have much in common these days (though why they didn't dabble more in having fun with magic I have no idea considering we know they did this as foals, they both love studying and practicing magic, and they even had fun at first when Starlight did it with him later in the episode, at least until she upset him), so for all he knew she was having fun just like he was. And the solution he came up with to make Starlight feel better about where they stood was quite cute and heartwarming, not to mention he actually had some pretty fun scenes with Twilight and Trixie especially (his scene with Maud when he befriended her was a tad annoying, but again, mostly because his interest in geology came out of bucking nowhere). He even had some rather funny scenes throughout the whole episode, such as when Starlight wakes him up wayyyyyy early in the morning and I swear it looks like he looked down at himself in embarrassment because he realized he had morning wood. I know, I know, he's just embarrassed that she walked in on him naked in bed (same as Fluttershy way back in Season 2 with Rainbow Dash), but c'mon, it's so easy to think that's what he was embarrassed about! Overall, while he was quite frustrating at many points in the episode (mostly in order to make the story work), Sunburst was on the whole quite likable, had a nice return, and, if the ending of the episode (a bit of a cliffhanger/set up for the season finale) is anything to go by, should hopefully be playing a larger role in the show going forward, which would be nice. Our supporting cast here was essentially the rest of Starlight's closest friends, Twilight Sparkle, Trixie Lulamoon, and Maud Pie, and like Sunburst, while they were fine on the whole, because of what this episode's storyline demanded, they were frustrating at times. Twilight was probably more frustrating than the others since, if I'm being perfectly honest, she's got the most going for her in her life, and on top of that she's Starlight's mentor, so it kinda felt like she should have been most aware of any of the three as to how close Starlight feels to Sunburst and how important she would have considered spending time with him. But instead she merrily geeks out with him about antiquing which, while cute, she should have realized Starlight wasn't enjoying. Her reaction to playing Dragon Pit was, admittedly, adorable. Trixie and Maud, to their credit, had never met Sunburst before and didn't know how important Starlight considered this trip, so them making connections with him were just pleasant surprises for them that they ran with, but like I said, for Twilight to not consider that Starlight wouldn't be thrilled with her and Sunburst antiquing for hours on end while she was stuck there as basically a third wheel, bored out of her mind, was just a bit disappointing to see from her. Overall, however, all three were quite fun to watch for the most part. Twilight had her cute scene playing Dragon Pit with the two of them (seeing her geek out at her dragon falling was too adorable), Trixie and Sunburst bonding was pretty hilarious (not to mention she had some fun bits of continuity from earlier in the season, like seeing her, once again, turn something into a tea cup, and struggling to but managing to help carry Sunburst's luggage at the end of a the episode, a clear sign that her magic is improving), and Maud was, well, Maud, she's always a blast when she shows up. I quite enjoyed them all for the most part, even when they were making the conflict in the episode worse (unknowingly), and it was pretty cool seeing all of Starlight's closest friends come together for her at the end. Trixie, I... I think you may have a teacup problem. Like, for real. The animation, it's not really worth commenting on. I mean it wasn't bad, but there weren't any particularly ambitious set pieces. The same goes for the music seeing as there were no new songs (not surprising). The most interesting bit of world building was that spell Starlight came up with which apparently created a projection of Starlight and Sunburst's childhood homes but ALSO seemed to actually regress them in age; it was most disappointing that we didn't get to seem them as foals for a longer time because I was interested as to whether or not their emotional state was actually effected by their age. Starlight clearly had the same level of magic so it seems it didn't affect their physical capabilities (outside of how big they were, of course) but again, some of their reactions seemed a tad more adolescent, namely the way Sunburst had an outburst toward her and how Starlight teared up afterwards. That was really interesting to consider and, again, we unfortunately didn't get many answers since they weren't foals for very long. Also, holy shit was Starlight adorable as a filly!!! So what are we left with? Well, despite the issues I pointed out with the supporting cast to some extent, especially with Sunburst, I really wasn't that bothered by them. I mean, the most annoying thing about the behavior I had a problem with is that it was there strictly to make the plot happen, but at the same time it's not unbelievable (as we've seen in this show multiple times) that well-meaning individuals would make mistakes that, compounded, would really hurt a friend of theirs, and I always commend the show for not pretending that even its biggest characters are Mary Sues or Gary Stus. Those issues aside, this was a very quietly mature episode with a just as subdued lesson, but one which was very smart and mature as well. I appreciate when the show goes out of its way to show smaller behavior having a large impact on someone; this certainly wasn't an instance of Starlight unnecessarily "sweating the small stuff," but rather a nice highlight of just how important little things in life, like sharing a vacation with a friend and spending some quality time with them, can be, especially when things don't go the way you wanted and you're even left questioning the friendship itself. The set up for the season finale was very appreciated as well (not even the first time we've seen a book teased as a plot device for the season finale *cough cough* Season 3 *cough*), and I'm looking forward to seeing how Sunburst gets himself involved in it this week as well. All in all, for a quieter and more subdued penultimate episode, this was a very solid one and a nice, final starring appearance for Starlight Glimmer this season. Can't wait for the season finale to the most exceptional season of MLP in a long time, and I know the rest of ya'll can't either! I'll see ya'll this weekend everypony, until next time, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* What's the only thing that might possibly be cuter than filly Starlight? THIS!!!
  2. So you know about Uncommon Bond, right? That episode and the finale are the only episodes left without a synopsis. But let's talk about Uncommon Bond. To me, whether who's going to be starring in this episode will determine whether the rest of the season is worth watching. Basically, since the Mane Six, Starlight, and the CMCs all have 3 or more episodes this season already, I really think it should be Spike's episode since he's only got 1 so far. He needs 2 to have his fair share this season. I'm almost certain the episode belongs to him, but also sharing it somepony else! Judging by the title it seems like a combo episode of some sort! My guess is that Spike might share this episode with Starlight since she's probably not gonna have a major part in the finale. Since the finale is most likely gonna belong to the Mane Six, Spike and Starlight can have a time to shine one more time this season! What it's about? I'm not sure, maybe the two of them have different activities that the other wants to try that they never tried out yet and that's what makes them closer friends! I really don't care what it's about, but I really think it needs to be Spike-related in order to have his fair share this season! Had a one-episode season for Spike back in season 5 and it seemed completely unfair, especially since it wasn't a very good episode either. How about you? What do you think is gonna happen in Uncommon Bond?
  3. Good morning everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews," the penultimate edition of Season 6!!! Just like last week, we were once again treated to an absolutely delightful episode, albeit far less surprising than last week's was. It was a high flying adventure this morning set at the Wonderbolt Academy, so without further ado let's dive in, this is "Top Bolt"!!! So let's get this out of the way to start things off: I didn't like Sky Stinger. I know some people are shipping him like crazy already with Vapor Trail, and not for entirely bad reasons, but frankly I found him insufferable. This is purely a personal opinion, mind you, I'm not saying you're wrong if you liked him. Really I think it comes down to two things: (1) I found his voice to be grating and annoying in its natural-cocky mode he seemed to slip into every time he spoke, and (2) I've played sports and have known some people like him in real life, which made him all the more insufferable. I think the final factor that made me not come around to him is that less time was devoted to him fixing things than it was to Vapor Trail. Vapor Trail started improving what she needed to fix in her own life for at least half of the episode, if not more, whereas Sky had at best the last third, probably more like the last fourth, to get better. Is that entirely fair of me since it was just a matter of episode pacing? No, not entirely, but the fact remains that we spent far less time seeing Sky in a better light than we did Vapor, and in the end I just didn't really come around to him that much. He's not as bad as Zephyr Breeze was, no way, but he was still plenty annoying all in all. *cough* DOUCHEBAG *cough* You're not a very smart pony, are ya Sky? Besides Sky, however, I really loved everything else about this episode. I love pegasi, I love the Wonderbolt Academy, and I love the pairing of Twilight and Rainbow Dash. Those two, when they're really on their A-game, make for a very fun and entertaining pair, and I love seeing them work together because they have very different ways of approaching problems, as was nicely highlighted in this episode. Twilight's very methodical and much more bookish, whereas Rainbow Dash acts much more based on her instincts, which we saw very much in this episode given the setting where she was very much in her element. As with Fluttershy and Applejack as well as Pinkie Pie and Rarity earlier this season, while these two had their disagreements in the course of solving this friendship problem, they ultimately overcame them and utilized their strengths to the best of their ability in helping out both Vapor Trail and Sky Stinger. Good pep talks, good learning experiences, very mature behavior from both of them all around, which is especially commendable for Rainbow Dash considering what she was like when the show started (Sky was definitely a call back to that, no doubt, very similarly to how Lightning Dust was in Season 3). Overall, I thought that they both had a very solid episode and were just the right amount of wise, entertaining, and adorable. Excited book horse is excited Behold everypony, through the power of science we have made... A RAINBOW DASH!!! The stand out character of this episode was without a doubt Vapor Trail. Oh goodness, I liked this character A LOT. She was adorable (both in her behavior, design, and even voice), she had a very compelling character arc, and all around was just very likable. Like I said before, she definitely had more time devoted to her character arc and development than Sky did, and it definitely paid off for the better in her case. They both certainly had sympathetic backgrounds, heck, Sky's might have been even sadder (although I thought their depiction of the dysfunctionality of a multiple-sibling family was a bit simplistic and exaggerated, it seemed to me more so like maybe their problem was their economic situation more than anything else), but Vapor got the lion's share of time to change and ultimately it made for the more compelling character arc of the two. Her problem was one of self-value, heck, there's even lessons there for victims of domestic abuse who give too much care to their partners (I'm not saying Sky was abusive, he clearly cared about her, just that the parallels were there). She definitely didn't care enough about her own needs, and in the process she actually hurt both herself and Sky as well as a result. So before she could really be there for him, she had to learn how to care about what she wanted for herself as well, besides being around Sky. Given her devotion to him, I can certainly see why people are already shipping those two in earnest, but like I said, this devotion is far more complicated than it appears at first glance since it was at the center of what she needed to fix about herself. If fanfics subsequently come out starring these two, I hope that writers identify this and are able to handle their relationship with the care that it deserves, because it's far more nuanced than people might think at first glance. It was a pleasure getting to see her grow and learn to care about her own needs and wants as the episode went on, in fact, it was my favorite part of the episode, and like I said before I found THAT conflict to be far more compelling in its execution than Sky's own growth and development was. So all in all she was a delightful character to get to know and I would love to see more of her in the future (even if it means we'd see more of Sky as well). Oh my goodness she is too cute I like this pony, she knows her stuff. Also, I seriously can't get enough of that Twilight face Oh no, my heart! THAT IS JUST TOO SWEET!!! I thought that might be a fan playing her, but I had no idea those were the circumstances of her getting that role! ALL THE FEELS!!! As far as laughs go, this episode wasn't nearly as fun as least week's was, but it was still very funny. The classroom scene was a riot, but honestly my favorite source of humor in this episode was Spitfire. It was a blast getting to see her shooting the breeze with RD as a fellow Wonderbolt, not just a superior, throughout the episode, and the running gag about her loving her job as the Academy instructor was hilarious. Some of the Wonderbolt recruits were pretty funny as well, especially that fan-girl pegasus, and Twilight and RD definitely had their moments throughout. But I think it wasn't quite as funny as last week's episode because there was something undeniably sad about Vapor holding herself back to boost Sky's own ego and Sky being so unaware for so much of the episode that he wasn't the hot-stuff he thought he was. Definitely made for an interesting friendship problem, just not as funny of an episode. Man there was a lot of blowing in this episode... wait... BLOWING HORNS AND WHISTLES, BLOWING HORNS AND WHISTLES, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT!!! Overall, this was a solid penultimate episode for the season, and that is not to be taken for granted. My least favorite episode to this day is "MMMMystery on the Friendship Express," and that sullied the otherwise amazing season that was Season 2, coming right at the end right before the season finale. So really, even though this was hardly the best episode we've had this season, I'm just glad that it was good. It's been a great season of MLP everypony, but as with every season, it must come to an end, and next week we close out Season 6. I'm glad to say I have NOT watched the finale despite the early leak, so I'll be going into it fresh next week and cannot wait to do so! Until next time everypony, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  4. Alright, alright, alright, good morning everypony, and welcome once again to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Second to last "Batbrony Reviews" of Season 5 right here ya'll, and my oh my was this a memorable episode. "The Mane Attraction," first teased at SDCC this past summer, is an episode that pretty much all of bronydom has been looking forward to since then, and for very good reason. The last episode written by Amy Keating Rogers before she left working on the show, this episode delivered in pretty much every way it could, despite being a very old and familiar story trope. Without further ado, let's dive into "The Mane Attraction"! So first and foremost, Applejack, lovable farm pony and Element of Honesty that she is, really shined in this episode. She's consistently one of the strongest characters in the show, and this episode really highlighted why. Put simply, AJ is very consistent and straightforward in her behavior. She has a very limited set of things she truly values in life above all else, namely the basics and essentials for a happy existence. She doesn't particularly care if somepony else lives differently from her (even if she doesn't always get it), but does care that they're living a fulfilling life that makes them happy. Nopony else in the entire show is as straightforward in what they think is necessary to live a good and meaningful life, and this trait often serves AJ well in helping to ground her other friends and keep them focused on what really matters. It's why she's the ultimate helping hoof in all of Ponyville and probably the closest thing to a #2 that Twilight has, at least among the Mane 6 (not counting how Spike himself assists her in her personal business). These traits were on full display in this episode. The problem was quickly identified and pretty simple and straightforward, but that's not unusual considering it was AJ who identified. She's a pony who gets down to business and like to keep things simple, so this felt suitable for her. What I admired was that she was the only pony who even knew there was a problem since she was the only one who previously knew Countess "Ra Ra" Coloratura, but unsurprisingly, even though her friends thought she was making much ado about nothing, AJ stuck to her guns (as a quick aside, let's keep in mind that she must have befriended Ra Ra fairly soon after her parent's deaths, probably very shortly after getting her cutie mark, yet another highlight of how quickly AJ had to grow up and mature as a filly and how much inner-strength she's developed over the years as a result). This is another strength of AJ's; when she feels strongly enough about something and cares enough about someone, she will very stubbornly and doggedly work towards whatever end she wishes to. Even when Pinkie Pie of all ponies was telling her to just let it drop, she refused to. Sometimes her stubbornness doesn't always work to her advantage ("The Last Roundup" is a very good example of this), but here it served her very, very well. Finally, the last strength of AJ's that was on full display here was the faith that she has in those whom she knows are her friends or good ponies (both in this case). She knew that Ra Ra was a good and decent pony, she never lost faith in her and only once got mad with her when there was a misunderstanding between the two. Through and through, she was honest and loyal to the pony she knew was still there inside Ra Ra, and never gave up hope and faith in her friend that she would do the right thing if only she were nudged in the right direction. Her solution, while predictable in many respects, was also smart and allowed Applejack to illustrate the truth of what she'd been telling her friend to her. She knew that if Ra Ra only knew the truth, she'd take it from there and do the right thing. Her faith in friend was rewarded, and in the end, after just being the best pony she could be and one we've come to know and love, honest, loyal, and true through and through, she got her friend back, helped make her life better, and all of Ponyville (and presumably any ponies Ra Ra entertains or comes to know from now on) reaped the reward for AJ's efforts as well. And the best part is helping Ra Ra and getting her back as a friend was reward enough for AJ; she didn't want anything else, and I'd expect nothing less from her. That's just who Applejack is, and I love her for it. You will never be this happy (though that's probably a good thing ) Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww Our new character, Countess "Ra Ra" Coloratura, was pretty solid as well. Lena Hall, primarily a theater actress and singer, did a decent job in the role. I'm not gonna pretend that it was the most amazing vocal performance ever, at least not so much in the VA department, but she has a very pleasant voice, it's very pleasing to the ears and very nice to listen to, even if she didn't come across as a natural voice actress. Her singing, as expected, was amazing; the only time it was a bit odd was when we heard it coming from her as a filly, it just sounded a bit too adult for a filly that age, but it was always lovely to listen to and she did some truly phenomenal singing here, even when she sang her gaudy and over-the-top Countess Coloratura dress rehearsal song. And that's really what we came to hear anyways, they brought her on clearly for her singing talents, and it was a well-made casting choice as far as I'm concerned. Her character was well-written, and even if we've seen this type of character in many different properties before, she was well-executed here. She was clearly still herself for the most part, she still wanted to be a good pony and use her talents to entertain others, please others, and help others, but she was just being misused and led astray by a greedy and self-centered manager. I'm not entirely sure how she wasn't aware of what he was up to considering he wasn't exactly subtle in his behavior, but to be fair she seemed like she was kept fairly busy, was very devoted to her work, and he also came off as a bit of a "yes man" who I'm sure said all the right things around her. But thankfully, despite an initial spat, as soon as AJ showed her exactly what was up and how her name and image, and what she wanted to do for others, were being sullied by that little turd, she set things straight and is now on the path to leading a career more fulfilling to herself and everypony else. She learned a solid lesson, was enjoyable to watch, and sang some lovely musical numbers; all in all, this was a solid choice for a celebrity guest appearance, and it was all the more enjoyable to watch considering Lena Hall is a fan of the show. Would love to see her return at some point in the future, if only for a cameo appearance or another musical number (but hey, I'd take another episode focused on her as well for all I care). She had a lovely appearance and character design, a lovely voice and performance, and had a very nice debut episode. What more could you ask for? When they're able to make her likable even when she looked like THAT, that's pretty impressive Aside from these elements, there's not a whole lot more to talk about. Pinkie Pie was where most of the humor in this episode came from, and she was very fun to watch in her typical over-the-top behavior (though I did feel a bit bad for her as she was getting run-ragged by that awful manager). Speaking of which, Ra Ra's manager, he sucked. Super petty little turd, that one, and definitely worthy of a swift kick to the balls (though I suppose his getting fired was reward enough, just desserts indeed ). Rarity had a few good scenes with AJ, Twilight did her part to help Applejack make her point at the end, and Flutters and Rainbow were just kinda there and didn't really feature all to much. The animation was lovely, it was nice that they kept the setting fairly contained to just a few locales (really helped make it a solid Slice-of-Life episode in its feel), and it was kinda nice that there wasn't too much in the humor department. It's not like it was the most emotional episode (though the emotion and feels-factor was definitely elevated by the fact that this was Amy Keating Rogers' last episode she wrote on the show), but since it was fairly low-key in the humor, it felt like it was treated as seriously as it should have been. The pacing was solid, Applejack genuinely cared about Ra Ra and you could easily tell and accept this (the flashback was an especially nice touch, filly AJ was cute as she always is, and filly Ra Ra was pretty adorable too), and this made it very easy to connect with this episode and become emotionally invested in what was going on. This was even more impressive in many ways than "Amending Fences" considering the focus was not on Twilight but one of the supporting Mane 6, and the pacing was honestly better as well (remember, Twilight reconnected with four friends in that episode, not just Moondancer, and that additional subplot made the pacing a bit trickier). Fernando is most fabulous bendy straw Overall, this was just about as good as one could ever want an MLP Slice of Life episode to get. We were invested in the problem, all of Applejack's strongest traits were on full display, we genuinely cared about the new character right along with AJ, had some lovely musical numbers thrown in there, and this all in all made for an episode that delivered in every respect and one in which I really have no complaints. Amy couldn't really have asked for a better final episode to work on, this was about as good as a penultimate episode in any season gets (and trust me, we've had bad ones, remember, my least favorite episode to date is "MMMystery on the Friendship Express," and that came in Season 2, which probably remains my favorite season of MLP), and it was just a pleasure through and through to watch. This is definitely an episode I look forward to returning to and rewatching in the future, most likely one of my top 5 favorite episodes on the season, and most certainly Applejack's finest episode this season. What more could you really ask for? We've got two episodes left to go everypony, the two-part season finale next week. I may be a bit late getting my review up since I may be busy with family when the episode debuts, but rest assured I will have my usual review uploaded at some point that weekend. Have a Happy Thanksgiving next week everypony to all my fellow American forum members, safe travels if you are traveling, and I'll see you all at the finish line. I've no doubt the return of Starlight Glimmer is going to be delicious, so get hype everypony!!! Until next time, this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*
  5. Throughout the show, every single adult featured has a cutie mark. The Mane Six, the background ponies, secondary ponies, et cetera. By the time they grew up, they all figured out what their talents were. So, they were able to spend the rest of their lives knowing their goals. No one is a blank flank other than fillies. Twist and Babs were blank flanks for a while. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are the most famous. But one question that lingers in this show: Are there any adult blank flanks? When you observe conversations between adult bronies, you can see why some speculate. Not everybody knows what their goals will be even after they graduate from high school or even college. Sometimes they will extend their careers into Graduate School and beyond. Some never figure out their lifelong goals. What their lifelong dreams and goals is a very huge dilemma for both kids and adults alike. By featuring an episode with an adult blank flank and treating the conflict with respect, you correlate this message to both kids and adults that ponies like the adult blank flank exist in real life. Since this season's morals and conflicts are even grayer than last year's, it helps add some realism into Equestria's worldbuilding. This leads me to the song featured in San Diego's Comic-Con last week, which will take place during the twenty-fourth episode, titled The Mane Attraction if the leak of the titles is true. Listen to the lyrics and watch the frames. The Lena Hall Earth pony talks about wondering who she was and what her goal was. Until now, she never truly understood her goal. The trials and turbulence she endured up to this point leads her to the grand stage. In one frame, a cutie mark flashes, and the crowd suddenly erupts into cheers the next. So, here are some questions. What do you think of the "adult blank flank"? What about the concept does it interest you or not? Who do you think the main characters in The Mane Attraction will be? Do you think it'll be Applejack, the CMCs, Pinkie Pie, or a combination? How do you believe the episode will play out? What is the conflict, and how will they resolve it? When will this storyboard take place in the actual episode? (I hope the very end.) What do you think is the episode's moral? A few morals this season are so subtle, sometimes you must figure it out through the context.
  6. Okay, in episode 24 of season 2, Pinkie didn't invite Big Mac to come with her to the competition. What the Hell!? He was the one that carried the cake all the way from Sugar Cube Corner to the train station! What, was it an all girl club? Were they afraid of catching his cooties? Honestly, wouldn't he have improved the atmosphere of the episode? While Pinkie was describing how amazing all the deserts were, he would say "eeyup". Comedy gold, people!