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S09:E09 - Sweet and Smoky


FlareGun45
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This thread will have spoilers in it. BEWARE!!!

How was the episode?  

89 users have voted

  1. 1. How was the episode?

    • I accept it for how it is without bullying it (loved it)
      19
    • I can kinda accept it to a respect (liked it)
      42
    • Dunno whether or not to accept it (meh)
      16
    • I can accept it, but my friends didn't, so I don't (disliked it)
      8
    • It's different, and therefore it must be bullied (hated it)
      4


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Fluttershy is definitely going to kidnap some baby dragons. That's clearly what she was saying at the end there. 

13 minutes ago, FlareGun45 said:

his destiny of becoming the official Seventh Mane! 

What do you mean by this? What more does he, the saviour of the Crystal Empire, have to prove in this regard? 

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(edited)
1 minute ago, AlexanderThrond said:

Fluttershy is definitely going to kidnap some baby dragons. That's clearly what she was saying at the end there. 

What do you mean by this? What more does he, the saviour of the Crystal Empire, have to prove in this regard? 

I dunno what his destiny is really, it was just a guess. I know he's got SOMETHING coming, that's all I'm sure about.

However, getting the heart from Twilight and falling down being considered a "heroic role" seems kinda a cheat. It's not so different than Starlight and her team saving everyone from the changelings. The only way to become an official seventh mane, is if he has some kinda magical connection with the Mane 6. Cause if he's really a main character, why isn't it called "Mane 7"?

Edited by FlareGun45
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3 minutes ago, FlareGun45 said:

I dunno what his destiny is really, it was just a guess. I know he's got SOMETHING coming, that's all I'm sure about.

However, getting the heart from Twilight and falling down being considered a "heroic role" seems kinda a cheat. It's not so different than Starlight and her team saving everyone from the changelings. The only way to become an official seventh mane, is if he has some kinda magical connection with the Mane 6. Cause if he's really a main character, why isn't it called "Mane 7"?

I think it's a bit late for him to get focus equal to the mane six, given that this is the final season. He seems to be at a pretty decent point in his life, anyway. 

Though given that he has a throne in Twilight's castle, I thought he already had some kind of magical connection with them. 

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Eh, in my opinion, this episode wasn’t that great. There wasn’t anything incredibly entertaining about it. I’m glad that Garble became more accepting of Spike but other than that, I don’t care for this one. I could also see that Garble was Smolder’s brother from a mile away so there was definitely no surprise there. 

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Just now, AlexanderThrond said:

I think it's a bit late for him to get focus equal to the mane six, given that this is the final season. He seems to be at a pretty decent point in his life, anyway. 

Though given that he has a throne in Twilight's castle, I thought he already had some kind of magical connection with them. 

Is it really late? Is it? Are you sure? We just got 3 episodes for him this season showing his best, from being a clever mischief, to being very supportive, to being patient and Fluttershy mentioning all his positives!

Then we have this: https://www.derpibooru.org/2015919?q=destiny

And then add in the staff calling him a "main character"! If this isn't a setup for something big, I dunno what is! Every character has an end goal, even if the character doesn't even know about it yet! He maybe satisfied, but his character arc keeps saying "what could all this mean? How does all this come together? What is the true hidden purpose of Spike's character arc? Is that comedic sidekick role just to lead everyone astray from the truth?"

I'm telling ya... his arc feels like it's missing something really important. I dunno why no else sees it.

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Daaang, I really liked this episode! Mainly because it featured Smolder, my new favorite of the Student 6. XD

Also I was shocked to find out that Garble is Smolder's brother. I was like, "Whaaaat?!"  Wasn't expecting that. LOL 

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1 minute ago, AlexanderThrond said:

Yeah I think you're massively overthinking that. That looks to me like he just hasn't decided what to do with his life, which makes sense, because he's very young. I guess he could figure something out and get an honorary cutie mark? 

 

Perhaps, but I don't think I'm overthinking this. Mainly cause, if he was actually gonna get something minor like an "honorary cutie mark", that episode woulda happened already.

But hey, you could be right, and it's something minor like that. But hey, at least we got SOMETHING coming! That's for sure! So we know this episode isn't his last!

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This was one of the better eps of the season imo. Guess I've never hated Garble on a fundamental level like others seem to to think he's somehow beyond atonement. But I thought everything worked here between the characters and the story.

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Spike's first item on the list for cheering someone up, the Smile Song.  Yep, I concur.

Overall a cute episode.  Sadly predicted Garble was Smolder's brother early on, because a friendship mission, official or not, is never simple.  Fluttershy stole the episode for me, both in her personality and the facial expressions were just perfect.  I was pretty happy for Fluttershy and how far she's come with standing up instead of being walked over.  I was expecting from the synopsis that she'd have to be dragged into the Dragon Lands as a trembling mess, but to find out she really wanted to go was a big plus for me.  And that tingle of fear on the back of my neck that Death by Kindness might be a thing.

The expressions this season over all have been really great in my opinion and I look forward to see what else they can do with them.

And did Ember confirm Apple Dash shipping?  Ah well, I can see where the mistake can be made.

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30 minutes ago, Rising Dusk said:

And did Ember confirm Apple Dash shipping?  Ah well, I can see where the mistake can be made.

she's just thinks every pony looks the same, and she mixes their names too, ponies were beneath dragons for so long that it's hard for her to pay attention is my take on that

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Ahhhhhh, I didn't get to see this live. Me and my rock brain. :nom:

But this was a good episode! Maybe it's just me, but I was pleasantly surprised by Garble and Smolder being related. I was expecting somebody else when I first read the description to the episode. But I'm glad it is Garble, and it shows he deeply loves his little sister. Same on Smolder's side, she loves his brother so much that she isn't afraid to call out on him for being awful over Spike. And Spike was great too, speaking of which. He keeps trying to reach to Garble even with all the stuff he has put up with him. I love that aspect of Spike, he never gets angry over anyone and there is a genuine want to learn more about his own culture from, well, other dragons. 

I'm honestly mixed on Fluttershy's portrayal though. It's great that she has made strides on overcoming her shyness, and it makes sense for her to be the one nuturing the dragon eggs. But I'm a little sad that the show kind of forgot that she was deathly afraid of dragons. I kind of wanted to see Spike and Garble get along, while Fluttershy learns to overcome her fear truly. That's just a nitpick though, and it would weigh down the main plot if that ever really happened. 

And this episode also has Ember. More episodes need Ember. :please:

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I think this is not a horrible episode, but it had some flaws.

  1. The character interactions were there, but they were stiff and had no chemistry bouncing around between each other.
  2. The characterizations were one-dimensional. Everybody kept showing one aspect only, and pretty much everything in the episode wasn't nuanced.
  3. The way they handled Garble's poetry diluted the point. His poetry wasn't being praised for what it is, it was being laughed on. If the dragons didn't think it was laughable, they wouldn't have saved the eggs, and Garble wouldn't have did it in front of everybody in the first place. Garble could have done something stupid and equally funny instead and have the same result. What Garble did was brave and clever, but that has nothing to do with his poetry, his secret and true passion.
  4. Everything felt less impactful and less urgent. When they pulled off the life and death situation, it didn't work.

But I didn't hate it, I think it was just an average episode.

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(edited)

I love those cute eggs and Ember the queen of dragons ^^ Maybe it's full of flaws but still liked it more than Yona the Dancer.

Edited by Yfus
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Stunning and brave3Y6uKBJ.png

 

 

Moe and seinen are two pieces of the same coin. You cannot deny this eldritch truth. Not after the last episode. Yet still, in the name of false friendship narrative, they try. Damn shame.

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13 hours ago, FlareGun45 said:

Is it really late? Is it? Are you sure? We just got 3 episodes for him this season showing his best, from being a clever mischief, to being very supportive, to being patient and Fluttershy mentioning all his positives!

Then we have this: https://www.derpibooru.org/2015919?q=destiny

And then add in the staff calling him a "main character"! If this isn't a setup for something big, I dunno what is! Every character has an end goal, even if the character doesn't even know about it yet! He maybe satisfied, but his character arc keeps saying "what could all this mean? How does all this come together? What is the true hidden purpose of Spike's character arc? Is that comedic sidekick role just to lead everyone astray from the truth?"

I'm telling ya... his arc feels like it's missing something really important. I dunno why no else sees it.

I'm gonna bite here, and I'll be blunt. Nobody else sees it because you're the only one seeing it.

That image on Derpi, it's just a tag for a Spike toy and a description for a one-off movie. It has no meaning beyond that, and if Spike really was unsure about his destiny then it would've been acknowledged on the show instead. Yes, he's figuring out who he is. But it's not destiny he's figuring out (because again he has none), it's his dragonhood and his yearning to feel equal to his friends. And like AlexanderThrond said, it really is getting too late for anything else for Spike. If you ask me, most recent episodes have had satisfying conclusions for his arcs. Molt Down, Father Knows Beast, Sparkle's Seven and this ep have all been great for his own arcs.

I'm sorry, but sometimes I feel you set your standards for Spike a little bit too high. Not that I believe that it's a bad thing to have some standards. But with the show ending this year, there really is no time now to have high standards for any character. 

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I know it's keeping with the theme... but the "vote" was a bit misleading :/  But... anyways.

So let's see.  I thought it was fine.  I did call Garble being Smolder's brother though.  And, the egg problem was interesting.  I do like how they had small nods to the solution and other things without fully giving it away.  Like how the one dragons were emptying out the lava lake and the laugh fire.   Even liked Ember's blush when asked if all those eggs were hers. :)

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(edited)

So let's get the questionable stuff out of the way first:

So here an example of a story that stretches the thread of suspension of disbelief right out to the breaking point without crossing it: I can force myself to accept that Garble is really sensitive about his poetry underneath that hard exterior because there was always the hope that there's more to his character than what was shown to us, but his portrayal in past episodes defies that logic. To be a poet, there has to be some level of intelligence and philosophical thinking. But everything we've seen of him says the opposite. He's portrayed as dumb and impulsive. In fact, in "Gauntlet of Fire," he wasn't around his friends but he acted the same, anyway. I suppose I can chalk up some of his boorish behavior to the fact that he got kicked out of the house when he started molting, and if he really is sensitive on the inside, that may have triggered his decision to become a bully. I wish the episode had woven that aspect into this story, however.

Despite all this, I still welcome seeing this apparent turn in his character. While I feel like it's unlikely we'll see him again (except for maybe a cameo appearance in the finale) he at least can go out like Diamond Tiara - shedding the one-dimensional character classification he's been stuck with for most of his lifetime in the series. Both this episode and "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" feature villains that have had entirely off-screen positive traits that were only revealed in their redemption episodes, leaving the audience having to fill in the gaps themselves.

The other questionable thing in this episode is the 180 degree turn in how his friends suddenly support his hobby. It's like this:

Shining Armor: I'll learn to like changelings after just one song!
Fume & Clump: Hold our beer.

I guess in this case Ember was the factor that caused his friends to change their minds - after she declared Garble the Hero of the Dragonlands, they were all on board with his poetry. So this may not actually be as questionable as it was for Shining when he decided to accept Thorax. But the ending comes off as corny and kiddified. In fact, this episode left me feeling much like I did about "Common Ground" - the resolution to the problem seems to be written for little kids instead of a wider audience. And like I said a few weeks ago when that episode came out - that's fine. I get we're not the target audience for every episode, and in this case the anti-bullying message conveyed here makes sense and is a good one to highlight. But it just seems like the "bullies are actually insecure" could have been done in a more subtle manner, showing the deeper social complexities involved that creates these types of personalities.

Finally, at one point near the end Ember says she's called "all the dragons" to come help heat the eggs. But we only see Garble's friends and a few other medium-sized dragons there. Where's the big dragons from S1? Where's Crackle? I guess the implication is all those dragons are spread out across the world guarding their hoards in some cave or are napping and are unavailable too help out.

My other gripes are more of the "things-I-would-have-liked-to-have-seen" variety. Namely:

  • Meeting Smolder's (and now Garble's) parents.
  • I would have liked a little more if Smolder's brother was named Smoky and was a new character. Having another nice dragon around is always welcome. And I would have never thought in a million years Garble had a poet in him.
  • Being given an explanation as to how Spike's egg ended up with Celestia. Even without finding who his biological parents are, this mystery could have been answered in this episode since it revolved around dragon eggs.
  • Hearing an explanation as to how Fluttershy got over her fear of non-baby dragons. Remember - even as far as "28 Pranks Later," she was still scared of dragons the size of Ember and not just the big ones from S1. It will just have to be another one of those things we assume happened off-screen.

 

Everything else about the episode ranged from fine to great, however. Ember was great. Smolder was great. Spike was great, though it's true he took more abuse than usual. I agree with @Dark Qiviut, however, in that this time Spike was trying to be the bigger man and give Garble some room to open up about himself, so the abuse had a purpose in this instance. And it wasn't done for cheap laughs, either. In fact, the world-building involving lava and dragons was pretty interesting in that lava is pretty much like pool water to dragons and that the HTTYD rules don't apply - MLP dragons are as physically tough under their scales as they are on the outside.

Fluttershy was the best thing in the episode. Seeing her be all motherly to those dragon eggs yet being assertive against the other dragons was great to see. I do agree seeing some of her shyer side would have made the balance perfect, but it was still a lot of fun to watch this side of her get a chance interact with everyone, especially the babies.

It was great to see Smolder not ignore her brother's bullying Spike. Once she found out, she put her foot down and put a stop to it. The inference we can make from this is apparently Spike never talked to her about Garble for the entire first year of Twilight's school, even though they did bond last season.

There's also a nice environmental message that's much more subtle but just as effective. Namely, haphazardly changing the landscape and hogging natural resources can lead to dire consequences as it almost did for an entire generation of dragons. Seeing the eggs shivering like that was kind of scary if you've ever cared for baby animals, as that kind of condition usually leads to certain death if the situation isn't rectified immediately.

Other miscellaneous DYNs:

I guess Spike and Ember are no longer the only two dragons with official titles attached to there names. It's going to take some time adjusting to thinking of Gar-gar as a "hero", though. XD

My thinking is these eggs are the result of the dragon migration back in S2. That event implied the dragons were off to do their generational spawning, so it stands to reason that the stretched timespan dragons exist in would mean the time for gestation in a womb, the egg-laying, continued gestation in the egg, and finally the hatching could take the 4+ years that have gone by since "Dragon Quest." But the episode throws a wrench into this theory in that Smolder calls this "egg-hatching season," implying dragons lay eggs once per year and not once "in a pony's lifetime" as would be surmised by Twilight's comments in "Dragon Quest" regarding the migration. So I'm not sure how to resolve this discrepancy.

I wonder how the parents find their eggs since they apparently leave to let other dragons care for them before they hatch? My guess is they can identity them by smell, but it seems like a system where mistakes could be made. Also, did those babies imprint on Fluttershy? Maybe she'll get to take those three babies home even if their actual parents show up? I have to admit I'd love to see Fluttershy caring for three newborn dragons in the background for the rest of the season, since it would be ironic to say the least.

The eggs being separated from their parents made me think for a moment that dragons are simply assigned parents after they are born, which would explain why Smolder and Garble don't really look alike. But "Father Knows Beast" shoots that idea down since Sludge's story implies dragon parents are very attached to the eggs they lay.

Spike's mention of "The Smile Song" and the changeling's "Sharing Circle" brought a laugh and were nice callbacks. But the best joke was Fluttershy innocently asking whether all the eggs were laid by Ember. Fluttershy probably thought dragons were like changelings in that the leader (or wife of the leader) lays all the eggs like a queen bug. But she inadvertently implied Ember sleeps around with many, many male dragons. Ember's response and blush was priceless and the high point of the episode. XD

Spike was in the embroidery zone again. Rarity's influence goes on unabated. XD

I have to agree with others this wasn't the much-dreamed-of Spike-Fluttershy pairing episode we've been dying for since Fluttershy spends most of the time with Ember and the eggs. But it was nice to have her along, and she did come in handy against the other dragons. (Go figure!)

Spike did get to show off his wings! Garble's reaction was expected, but I'm glad Spike made a point that he's his equal in physical ability, now.

Some speculated the orange dragon in the promotional shot who was part of Garble's posse was Smolder's brother. It wasn't, and that dragon in fact is female and is named Fume. :) One of the other dragons Garble hangs with in this episode also gets an official name at last: Clump.

I guess if Spike ever decides to date Smolder, he'll also have to consider the cost involved of getting Garble's blessing? :)

"For a pony without a horn, she sure has a point." Smolder, the punster. XD

For a moment, Garble looks hurt that all the other dragons are laughing at his poetry, even though he must have intended for that to happen since he realized that could hatch the eggs. I... gasp... actually felt sorry for Garble for a moment. o_o

I would barely call this a Spike episode. My criteria for a Spike episode is when Spike is the one undergoing the character development and the focus. Here, he did grow in that he kept his temper in check to help a foe and he was also the one who diagnosed the problem with the eggs. But really, I kind of feel like Sparkle's 7 was more of a Spike episode since the consequences of how things played out had more of an impact on him there. This episode, OTOH, was actually a.... Garble episode. <_<

Edited by Truffles
addt'l thought + typo fixes
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2 hours ago, Truffles said:

Shining Armor: I'll learn to like changelings after just one song!

I know this is a little exaggerated here, but seeing as I read comments similar to this unironically, I wanna comment that this criticism on the whole is misleading. Spike’s attempt to change their minds on the changeling tribe nearly failed. Twilight was the first to step forward, trust Spike’s judgment, and lend her hoof to Thorax. Once that domino fell, the others followed. If she didn’t come forward, no one would.

15 hours ago, Odyssey said:

But I'm a little sad that the show kind of forgot that she was deathly afraid of dragons. 

On 5/25/2019 at 2:12 PM, KH7672 said:

Well for me I noticed what I call reverse-static characterization on Fluttershy. Before you would go into an episode expecting her to be quiet and timid, now it seems she won't make it through an episode without being loud and assertive and show "she's not shy anymore" and I'm just not entertained by it. The smugness, the ferocity, it doesn't strike me as entertaining coming from Fluttershy, perhaps that comes from me not being too entertained by her to begin with.

On the opposite end here.  She’s very comfortable around both Smolder and Ember, who are both larger than Spike. Last semester, Fluttershy helped rehabilitate a larger dragon (Sludge) so he can fly again. In addition, her admiration for baby dragons calls back to her very first meeting with Spike: Talking to him helped her become more comfortable around Twilight. If she showed dracophobia now, it would retread old ground and show no growth to her character.

And her calling out Garble and others for bullying Spike is more than justified. Garble was making Spike feel unwanted. Yelling at them scared them to stop and demonstrated she won’t tolerate any abuse aimed at him, which was backed up further by calling him out (in front of Smolder) for bullying Spike to hide his own insecurities.

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(edited)
2 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

I know this is a little exaggerated here, but seeing as I read comments similar to this unironically, I wanna comment that this criticism on the whole is misleading. Spike’s attempt to change their minds on the changeling tribe nearly failed. Twilight was the first to step forward, trust Spike’s judgment, and lend her hoof to Thorax. Once that domino fell, the others followed. If she didn’t come forward, no one would.

Yeah, don't get me wrong - I love that episode to death. :D That statement about the 180 turnaround in attitude was just me still being a little passive-aggressive that a perfect vehicle like Spike didn't get to make a speech about what it's like having to live among ponies in Canterlot - a place where it was later confirmed a small minority believe all dragons are greedy, ravenous, evil creatures.

I would argue Twilight wasn't Thorax's last hope, however: The episode gets points for smartly including Starlight on the trip, and making her present and reacting strongly to Spike's song was a subtle yet brilliant nod to her plight. I want to believe that if for some crazy reason Twilight decided it best not to stand up for Thorax, Starlight would have come forward instead. Her not being a princess nor being part of Shining and Cadance's family might have required her to also make a moving speech about turning over a new leaf in order to win Thorax's freedom, however.

2 hours ago, Dark Qiviut said:

Last semester, Fluttershy helped rehabilitate a larger dragon (Sludge) so he can fly again.

Lol, I kept thinking there was a good reason she was no longer afraid of dragons before this episode, and I had already forgotten she helped Sludge personally. So even then her fear was resolved.

Edited by Truffles
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7 hours ago, Odyssey said:

I'm gonna bite here, and I'll be blunt. Nobody else sees it because you're the only one seeing it.

That image on Derpi, it's just a tag for a Spike toy and a description for a one-off movie. It has no meaning beyond that, and if Spike really was unsure about his destiny then it would've been acknowledged on the show instead. Yes, he's figuring out who he is. But it's not destiny he's figuring out (because again he has none), it's his dragonhood and his yearning to feel equal to his friends. And like AlexanderThrond said, it really is getting too late for anything else for Spike. If you ask me, most recent episodes have had satisfying conclusions for his arcs. Molt Down, Father Knows Beast, Sparkle's Seven and this ep have all been great for his own arcs.

I'm sorry, but sometimes I feel you set your standards for Spike a little bit too high. Not that I believe that it's a bad thing to have some standards. But with the show ending this year, there really is no time now to have high standards for any character. 

If that's how you feel. Looks like you guys just don't believe in him enough, and you'll just be ever the more surprised when it finally happens when his prophecy gets revealed! Either being the one to reform the Villain Trio or being the one to defeat Grogar, cause... none of them are after him! No one's gonna see him coming! We've seen Sparkle's 7, and what he said, "That's the thing about looks - they can be deceiving!" He's such a clever little devil, and not only that, the biggest representation of friendship on the show! They mentioned the "destiny" thing on the Movie Art Book too, so if they're mentioning this for THIS long, ya really think they'd just drop it?

Not only that, but Sparkle's 7 was the episode that revealed him wanting to feel more like a lil bro to Twilight and Shining, but where was that before? That was the first time that happened! They could add this stuff in at ANY TIME, that's what season 7 did! They started the Pillars arc right in the middle of the season - no hints whatsoever in the first 15 episodes!

One other thing: knowing Big Jim, his last show, Ed Edd n Eddy, the Eds didn't get what they rightfully deserved until the very last episode, cause they were outsiders throughout the whole series! Spike, he gets pushed around alot and gets forgotten about in here now, and y'think they'd just end the show, a kid's show, with an orphan outsider trying to fit in, STILL feel unequal to his friends all the way through?

If there wasn't something planned for him, why is he called a main character and why is he hanging with the Mane 6 instead of just hanging with his own friends like Starlight does? He's got Big Mac and Discord, how about just be with them? Why not just join Starlight's force in the season 6 finale - have him belong with her group instead? The writers coulda used Spike in any other way, but they aren't doing that, cause his end goal is just being hidden away, waiting to get revealed!

There's more to him than any of you think. And if you don't believe in him, fine. I do believe in him. I know there's so much more to him than any of you, or even Spike himself might think, and only the show itself can tell me otherwise. If they don't, this show is dead to me, I'll be glad it's over, and I can move on and screw this show. But I'm pretty sure it's not gonna come to think cause these writers are clever! They wouldn't end Spike's arc the same way he began without accomplishing his goals or still being in a dead-end crush! That's silly! ;)

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6 hours ago, Truffles said:

But the ending comes off as corny and kiddified.

Sometimes, PG-13 can hold back some potentials. :wacko: That ending is similar to 'The Times They Are A Changeling', which ruined the near perfect episode a little bit.:mlp_wat:

 

“You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” - Disney

 

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Not a fan of this one to be honest. A lot of my gripes have been mentioned by other posters (suddenly introducing "laugh fire" when we've seen Spike laugh without breathing fire, the 'hero' bit with Gargle being basically more bullying and an unexplained oh lets aim our fire at the eggs, etc) but two things I'd like to add.

First on the Gargle only acts tough to be accepted by his friends (which by the way as a victim of bullying to the point of therapy doesn't excuse anything to me) falls apart with the whole interaction between him, Smolder and Spike. Its just the 3 of them, Smolder has stated Spikes her friend and he's still bullying him. That's not "See I'm just like you" as there's no one there he'd impress by doing that.

The second thing is really Ember just gets left to save or kill the entire next generation of dragons by herself? There's "Sink or swim" rulership and then there's "I'll risk our entire species dying out rather than tell my daughter here's a hint if somethings shivering it's probably cold." Also really a once in a liftetime egg laying and no one thought to clip the teenagers upside their heads when they're endangering dragon children?

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Finally, an episode about Garble being reformed. I thought he had changed a bit when Ember became the dragon lord and made him hug everybody, but looks like I was wrong. That Garble was Smolder's brother was a shock, too. Not too radical, but unexpected nonetheless.

I feel that the writers are giving FiM its final touches. Things that needed to be sorted out are getting done, one by one. This was a necessary episode, and I'm glad that I'll be able to see a 'nice' Garble from now on. :twi:

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