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Good evening everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"! Wooh, goodness gracious me was this episode a breath of fresh air! Now, do not get me wrong, this whole season has been incredibly exceptional, but sometimes you need a break from the incredible. What exactly do I mean? Well... to be blunt, the last five episodes have ranged from very exceptional (in "Not Asking for Trouble" and "Discordant Harmony") to divisive for very good reason (in "Fame and Misfortune") to among the most amazing showings that MLP has ever had to offer (in "A Royal Problem" and "The Perfect Pear", my new personal favorite in the entire show). I don't think we've had stretches of awesome this consistent in a season since Season 2, and I kind of forgot how exhausting that can be sometimes. Make no mistake, I have adored every minute of Season 7 (with the exception of the unfathomable awful that was "Hard to Say Anything"), but the show can't be amazing every week, and sometimes we just need a break with a really solid, flat out good episode that is very Slice of Life in nature. Although it features two very unusual main characters we've rarely seen on the show, I fully believe that "Triple Threat" is exactly that, a solid Slice of Life offering that was just, all around, good. That's it, just good, and it's fine being just that. This shouldn't be a terribly long review at all, so without further ado, let's dive right in. This is "Triple Threat"! WOOOOOOOOOOOO, SUPERHERO LANDING!!! So, curiously enough, this was our first Spike-centric episode of the season. How does it hold up as far as Spike episodes go? Eh, alright. I've seen Spike written far worse in the past, but some of his character here did feel a touch OOC, even if the reasons for his behavior were understandable. Spike had a ton of responsibilities to juggle here, starting with (1) welcoming Ember to Ponyville, (2) welcoming Thorax to Ponyville after he realized he'd invited him there on the same day, and (3) solving a friendship problem that arose in the middle of their visits. Between playing ambassador to two visiting leaders of their respective people as well as solving a friendship problem which was unknown to him, Spike certainly had plenty to juggle. My beef with how he was written, though, was that about halfway through the episode, when he learned he had a friendship problem to solve, he seemed to (1) not consider at all that it might have something to do with Ember and Thorax and (2) forget altogether that the visiting monarchs should probably take precedence over the friendship problem. Granted, I get what he was doing: from the start of the episode he was trying to keep everything organized in a manner he'd learned from Twilight, by keeping plenty of lists, but that all went to shit when Thorax showed up and sent Spike into a panic. He probably figured he'd have all the time in the world to GIVE to Ember and Thorax once he solved the friendship problem. The problem is that he kept going out of his way to avoid Ember and Thorax in the course of trying to solve really simple "friendship" problems that were really just little disputes or spats, which seemed a bit off for Spike, even a really panicky one. Dude's been around long enough to know how to properly prioritize what is and isn't most important to address. The episode redeemed how it treated Spike a tad in my eyes at the end when it turned out that not only was he the one who created the friendship problem in the first place (which I thought was really clever), but the one who needed to learn a lesson as well (though I have no idea why that means he was the one who was glowing, and not Ember or Thorax considering they were the ones who solved the problem), but still, he was a bit frustrating at times. That said, the state of panic he was in the whole time was pretty hilarious (especially his "you've gotta be shitting me!" face when the friendship map summoned him), and Starlight's own schadenfreude-like amusement directed toward Spike at one point very much summed up the amusement I myself got from how everything was working out for him. Hardly the worst Spike episode ever, but not exactly a great or even good one, at least not for Spike. The best part of the episode has got to be, hands down, Ember and Thorax (arguably the true main characters of the episode as well). This was Thorax's first truly regular appearance, if we're being honest, since his debut episode; he was a largely supporting player in the Season 6 finale (mostly there because the plot demanded it, even if he was perfectly fine), and he barely had anything to do at all in the Season 7 opener. Here, he had an actual problem that needed resolving (which may even come up again later in the season if the episode title of Episode 17, "To Change a Changeling," is anything to go by), and even better it was tied to his role as leader of the new, reformed changeling pack (as an aside, I do find it a bit odd that they're not calling it a changeling hive anymore, but rather a pack, but whatever, doesn't bug me too much). Awwwwww yeah, cute deer bug pony loves da fire, he loves it so, so much! Ember too, in her first appearance since her debut, was just as pleasing to see. Like Thorax, she had a leadership problem that needed resolving as well, tied into her own people, the dragons. There were two things that worked especially well with these two. One was that they brought back the most endearing qualities the two characters had last time: Thorax was the same old adorable softie/deer bug pony he's always been, happy to share in as much love as he possibly can, and Ember was once again the most tsundere character the show's ever had, and on top of that she also had a ton of hilarious and adorable cultural misunderstandings going on with the ponies (the best being her eating Twilight's dining room - literally - and destroying Derpy's poor muffin in a misguided attempt to display friendship, both of which were just the best of a ton of hilarious cultural missteps in her interactions with the ponies). OK seriously, they could not make this deer bug pony more adorable if they tried! Though I do have to ask... how long, exactly, is his bucking neck??? The other was that these two worked out their own issues themselves, or rather, with each other! Yeah, in a bucking awesome turn from the show's usual formula of having either (1) the Mane 6, (2) Spike, (3) the CMC, or (4) Starlight Glimmer solve some kind of friendship problem, two supporting characters solved their own problems simply by talking and interacting with each other. In fact, they were both quite well suited for helping the other; Ember knew that Thorax needed simply to be taught how to be a more assertive leader and what he needed to learn to do so, while Thorax knew how to teach Ember to be more open about her feelings with others. Hell, they probably bonded quite easily since they were both leaders; they wanted Spike's help first and foremost, but frankly, it makes sense that that might be a bit much for the little guy. As much as he's gone through, he's still a baby dragon, and while his heart may be in the right place, I wouldn't say he's a leader, at least not yet. Frankly, Ember and Thorax were just better suited for teaching the other what they needed to learn, and when they finally did, they had a great dynamic together. I loved that once they realized what misunderstandings had just happened that they both started acting like the adults in the room, like everypony else was acting ridiculous (frankly, their being kept apart can't just be put on Spike considering Twilight and Starlight thought it was the best move too). Overall, loved these two here, and would honestly love to see more of them going forward. D'awwwwww, deer bug pony just can't get comfortable! Ember literally eating Twilight's castle is far cuter than it has any right to be... Besides these two main elements, the rest of Ponyville (as should be the case in any good slice of life episode in this show) was pretty much a character in and of itself, including in Twilight and Starlight (although they were supporting characters, they barely contributed to the resolution at all, so really most of what they did was initiate plot direction and gags throughout the episode). For their parts, Twilight and Starlight were pretty hilarious as they haplessly tried to keep Ember and Thorax apart (though while I understood why Ember was more interested in seeing Spike than those two since they're both dragons, I was a bit confused why Thorax wanted to see Spike more - he may be closer friends with Spike than the others, but friendship isn't an issue with him and I would think he'd know he should take his issue to another leader, not Spike of all ponies or dragons). Their funniest bit was easily when Ember bluntly pointed out how similar they look and even behave, a joke which both felt like it was poking fun at the "all you (blanks) look the same" line applied in a number of racial jokes as well as a tad meta even, considering many fans have drawn parallels between Twilight and Starlight, and they are quite undeniable considering they are teacher and student after all. The background ponies had a ton of bits in the episode, possibly their most this season; Lyra and Bon Bon got into an argument that Spike helped resolve, there were cute and funny bits with Ponyville residents all over the place as part of the celebrations for Ember's arrival (I loved that they were all very receptive of both Ember and Thorax, though they were understandably terrified of some of Ember's more aggressive displays, intentional or accidental), some background ponies argued over a chair for some reason (WAY more aggressively than they needed to), and of course, poor Derpy's muffin meeting its untimely demise against a wall on account of Ember... rather than of course meeting its demise, as it should have, in Derpy's belly. And overall it was just a lot of fun seeing two characters like Ember and Thorax just a bit out of their element in a town like Ponyville, but the rest of the town still going about its business as usual; frankly, a dragon lord and a changeling pack leader are probably hardly the strangest things these ponies have seen by this point. "You ponies all look the same." DAT'S RACIST, EMBER!!! All in all, like I said, this was just a good episode. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad, it was good. The lesson that Spike should have just told Ember and Thorax about each other right away, rather than simply assumed they wouldn't get along, is a VERY standard lesson (made only clever in the sense that Spike was the one who had to learn the lesson, rather than teach anything), though it did set up a delightful joke about how ponies are always just telling each other what friendship lessons they've learned (once again, another fun bit of meta humor). But as I said before, I'm perfectly OK with this episode just being good. I don't need every episode to blow my socks off, otherwise they wouldn't be special to begin with. And hell, I don't even need most episodes to be very exceptional, or at least so bad or divisive that everybody is talking about them. GOOD episodes, just solidly good, are the bread and butter of this show, and we need bread and butter for sustenance as much as we need the delightful decadence that are treats like "The Perfect Pear." The fact that this show's "good" is far more delightful than the average of most other animated shows of a similar nature is a credit to the high level of quality we've come to expect from MLP by this point. So yeah, overall, I very much enjoyed this episode for what it was, and that it didn't pretend in the slightest to be anything that it wasn't, and rather embraced being exactly what it was: a GOOD episode of MLP. That's all I've got for ya this week, everypony, until next time this is Batbrony signing off. I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit* That "I just watched a good episode of MLP" feeling...
Good morning everypony, welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews." My my, looky here, we've got ourselves another Rarity episode this morning (and another one after that! Dear Lord, this is simply the season of Rarity, isn't it?! ). And what an episode it was. I have made it no secret in the past that "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" is my all time LEAST FAVORITE episode of MLP; it's incredibly stupid, boring, convoluted, and relies on many main characters acting incredibly stupid and out of character. I hate, hate, HATE IT, and all the more since it came at the tail end of my still favorite season of MLP, Season 2! :okiedokielokie: This episode, "Rarity Investigates," has officially made up for that, by giving us an actual mystery episode that was executed extraordinarily well. Without further ado, let's dive right in and take a look at "Rarity Investigates." You've been hit by, you've been struck by... A SMOOTH CRIMINAL! First of all, as with last week's episode, Rarity was spot-on yet again (maybe even more so). This week we really got to see her in her element the entire episode, being simultaneously fabulous but also extremely competent in her own way (which we all know she is). Not only was her changing wardrobe throughout the episode both fabulous and entertaining to watch, but Rarity really tackled this challenge from the start all on her own. It was actually a wonderful display of her generous spirit; she just completely gave of her own time for the sake of her dear friend Rainbow Dash without asking for anything in return, and it's always nice to see her Element being highlighted like that. Not to mention that, unlike in "MMMystery on the Friendship Express," where Pinkie Pie is practically too dumb to breathe and needs Twilight to hold her hoof on everything, Rarity figured everything out all on her own. And she did it because Rarity paying attention to little details in general makes perfect sense for her, it fits right into her fashionista persona and professional life. Heck, it was even highlighted at the beginning of the episode before the investigation even began when she not only took care to make sure her display was arranged perfectly, but also noticed that the rhinestones she got were the wrong kind. Lots of little subtle details like that throughout the episode in highlighting what makes Rarity such a strong character, and I really loved that about it. Fabulous Gem-Butt Pony: She can make even sunscreen adorable and fabulous So she was just lugging all her new outfits AND the couch around the entire time? If not for her unicorn magic, I'd call BS Miss Rarity, I believe you're trying to seduce me Next, let's look at our deuteragonist here, Rainbow Dash! She was... basically what a deuteragonist in this role had to be. She didn't do a whole lot besides geek out over the Wonderbolts and get impatient with Rarity, but neither of those things were really all that bad. She was cute when she was geeking out and funny when she was getting impatient, and if anything it was kinda nice seeing her not trying to hog the spotlight, both in the episode as a whole, as well as when she selflessly retrieved Spitfire and risked her own shot at performing with the Wonderbolts. Not a whole lot else to say about her besides that, but she had a fine episode, and it's fun seeing her interact with Rarity, albeit probably less whacky than it would've been in, say, Season 1 or 2. But that's a nice quality of Season 5, it goes to show how much these friends trust each other even if they have very different personalities (another good instance of that was when Rarity didn't lose her cool over RD staining her dress, something she most certainly would have done in Season 1). Rainbow Dash always dances with style! Ha! See what I did there? Come here!!! I'm gonna eat you!!! GET IN MAH BELLY!!!!! The other characters here were just fine. Wind Rider was kind of obviously trying to set RD up (even though at one point I thought Spitfire herself might've just run off), but he didn't really leave much of an impact overall. It was pretty obvious it'd be him, but we just didn't learn enough about him besides his backstory to really care. So he was just kinda there, not a very memorable antagonist really. The Wonderbolts were just fine, I always like seeing 'em myself; Spitfire and Soarin' are always fun to see, and I didn't think their suspicions of RD were unwarranted or unfair, given that they gave her a chance to prove her innocence after all (and RD certainly wasn't doing herself any favors in her defense). It was very cool getting to meet Spitfire's mom, Solar Flare, I really liked her design and certainly wasn't expecting to meet a character like that. Very nice getting to see Sassy Saddles two weeks in a row as well, as well as the fact that she and Rarity are getting along just fine now (and on top of that the Canterlot Carousel Boutique seems to be doing quite well as well). Finally that trio of Royal Guards was pretty hilarious during that interrogation scene, especially that one guard with his line about counting the bolts in the ceiling. Ooooo, hello Raindrops, long time no see! Love the dress! Rarilicious: Making even detective work SUGGESTIVE AS BUCK! Seriously, I'm guessing all three of those guards are glad she can't see under the table Lastly, I have to of course mention the episode's art-direction and style. Obviously I always love seeing episodes set in Canterlot, it's a great setting and I love getting to see more of that city, just like we did last week. The fact that we also got to see two of the Mane 6 there at an event that Celestia herself was attending, and neither of them were Twilight, is also quite noteworthy I think. It shows that these characters are continuing to grow as adults and, while they're not growing distant from each other, their own real-life responsibilities are taking them further from home, and that's something they're more comfortable with at this point. Finally, the noir style. Oh my, the film noir style. That was simply too fabulous! It just screams Rarity in every sense of the word and fit her character to a T, from the inner monologuing/thinking out loud to herself (even when she didn't realize it ), to the black-and-white cinematic look, to the jazzy music in the background. Loved, loved, LOVED everything about this style, and it's the final element of this episode that really makes it not just perfection as far as a Rarity episode goes, but also solidifies its blowing that wretched "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" out of the water. All in all, yet another lovely Rarity and Season 5 episode, and it looks like we're in store for what could be the best Rarity episode of this season to date next week (helped by the fact that it will include my favorite pair of best friends in the Mane 6, Rarity and Applejack, helping each other! ). See you all next week everypony, when the Rarity shall be tripled!!! I'm off! *cue dramatic exit*
when the super speedy cider squeezy is taking the apples from the trees in the competition, the machine somehow vaccuums up the apples, but not the leaves, which i think would be easier to vaccuum up than apples, so why dont the leaves go into the machine too? maybe im just overanalyzing things, i tend to do that alot