Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 7: Sonic Rainboom + Stare Master + The Show Stoppers


< Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 >

Season 1, Episodes 16-18

NOTE: I am very busy with final exams right now! I just happen to have this post (and the next one) queued from a few weeks ago.

Season 1 Episode 16: Sonic Rainboom

In five words: Rainbow Dash triumphantly demonstrates loyalty.

Premise: Rainbow Dash hopes to perform a [insert episode’s title here] at the Best Young Flyers’ Competition and is more nervous than she lets on, so her friends try to provide her moral support; mishaps occur on both ends.

Detailed run-through:


This episode begins with a memorable scene where Fluttershy practices cheering for Rainbow Dash. She understands the instructions conceptually, but because she’s Fluttershy, her concept of a good cheer is a soft-spoken “yay”, even as Rainbow Dash continually asks her to say it louder. Fluttershy’s final “yay” is longer but hardly louder than the previous ones; she ends the scene by asking “too loud?”

This scene is by far the most memorable part of this episode, and I don’t know whether that means this scene is extremely memorable or the rest of the episode is extremely forgettable. Either way, I hope we can all agree that Fluttershy’s soft-spoken expressions of joy and cheer are hilarious, as is her severe overestimation of how loud she is.

Rainbow Dash fails to do a Sonic Rainboom (I’m going to assume that’s capitalized) and lands in Twilight Sparkle’s library, knocking down every single one of her books that the rest of her friends just got done organizing. This scene may serve to demonstrate by comparison how powerful a Sonic Rainboom must be, considering this was just a failed attempt at one. Anyway, we learn that Rainbow Dash is practicing a Rainboom for a competition and that it’s a rare feat that was only known to have ever been performed once by Rainbow Dash as a filly. I have nothing to say about this exposition.

Rarity makes some rather mischievous use of her signature persuasion and suggests that Twilight Sparkle use a magic spell to allow the wingless ponies to enter Cloudsdale. Pinkie Pie conveniently finds a book with relevant spells, saying that it landed on her face when all the books were knocked down.

Twilight Sparkle finds a difficult spell that supposedly allows earth ponies to fly for three days. Applejack and Pinkie Pie aren’t enthusiastic to volunteer for it—why is that? Maybe Applejack doesn’t want to take any risks, and Pinkie Pie knows on a meta level that she would steal the episode with her humorous commentary if she were to gain wings. That’s my thrown-together reason right here. Rarity volunteers to be the test subject, clearly having intended this the whole time. We see the result in full a bit later.

Meanwhile in Cloudsdale…

Rainbow Dash: Those guys are right. I’ll never be able to do it.
Fluttershy: But Rainbow Dash, just because you failed the Sonic Rainboom a hundred thousand times in practice doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it in front of an entire stadium full of impatient, super-critical sports fan ponies.
Rainbow Dash: (screams) What do I do? Everypony’s gonna see me fail! The Wonderbolts will never let a loser like me join. Princess Celestia will probably banish me to the Everfree Forest! My life is ruined!!!

On a surface level, Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle are as different as can be—a too-cool-for-school athletic pony and a nerdy bookworm—but scenes like this show how much they have in common. For one thing, they’re both equally gigantic eggheads, but they also reach extreme paranoia and neuroticism when they’re worried they won’t succeed. Rainbow Dash even brings up the possibility of Celestia punishing her, which is exactly the sort of scenario Twilight Sparkle tends to bring up in her freakouts.

And then Rarity appears, proudly sporting her new, fanciful wings. I won’t talk about whether Rarity’s actions in this episode are in character just yet. Instead, I’m going to speculate a bit about those wings.

Earlier in this episode, Twilight Sparkle said that the spell is meant for earth ponies, and Rarity isn’t an earth pony, she’s a unicorn. I imagine if the spell was performed on Applejack or Pinkie Pie, they’d get pegasus-style wings, but since it was performed on a unicorn, the spell glitched out and gave her butterfly wings instead. It would probably take far more power to give a unicorn proper alicorn-style wings. Yes, I know the phrase “earth ponies” in that passage probably just referred to ponies without wings, and term definitions aren’t set too much in stone in the first season, but who cares, speculating is much more fun than acknowledging an oversight.

It’s the same hot air balloon from the theme song!

The rest of the Mane 6 join the scene, and Twilight reveals that she performed a spell to let them walk on clouds because the wing spell was too difficult to do again. From here on out, Rarity gets carried away with admiring her dazzling wings and being smug and narcissistic everywhere she goes. I view Rarity’s actions in this episode as her letting out all her worst, most selfish desires because her senses and dignity are overridden by her wings. She tends to faint when anything fanciful is mentioned, and now that she has fanciful wings right on her back, she can’t control herself any longer. She’s stuck in la-la land right now, and yet I can see how her humility would get so thoroughly washed away.

I already talked about the aesthetic of ponies controlling the weather in prior posts; nothing to add here.

As Rarity admires herself, the rest of the ponies go on a tour of Cloudsdale and see places where the weather is made. During the tour, Pinkie Pie tastes a liquid rainbow only for it to turn out to be horrifically spicy. As I’ve said before, if Pinkie Pie finds something inedible, that’s how you know it’s either a total catastrophe of a dish or (as in this case) straight up not food.

Twilight Sparkle asks Rarity to stop showing off her wings, but she does just the opposite. Rarity’s ever-growing glamour and attention come off almost like a fairy tale… wait. I think I’ve figured out why this episode is weird to me. It’s because it comes across like a fairy tale! MLP:FiM, compared to what I know about other shows aimed at (or initially aimed at) little kids, usually does a great job not having its storylines come off as predictable or cheesy, but this episode has quite a lot of that fairy tale factor.

Derpy Hooves is the best. All hail Derpy Hooves.

Rainbow Dash waits in line for the flying competition, and we see that Derpy Hooves is one of the competitors, with intentional wall eyes yet again. She’s the fifteenth and last of the competitors, which clearly implies that she arrived at the very last second after fumbling her way through clouds and tornadoes and picked up the number just in time before she could be disqualified. That’s canon now, don’t deny it.

And here’s where Rainbow Dash does what she very often does in episodes focusing on her: commit acts of deception and dishonesty to get herself out of a tough situation, even though she knows deep down she’s only delaying the inevitable. In this case, she swaps numbers with other competitors until she ends up last in line. She’s trying to convince herself that the competition will get called off after someone makes a nasty performance or a thunderstorm appears or everyone gets tired, so long as she keeps swapping numbers. Her response to situations like this shows how much she isn’t the element of honesty, despite criticisms about how her and Applejack’s elements would make more sense swapped. Rainbow Dash just has a unique flavor of denial that I can’t help but relate to sometimes.

Rarity was supposed to go fourth, but she spent so much time doing her makeup that only after everyone else save for Rainbow Dash has gone is she finished. This is an exaggeration of the priority she places on fashion that’s perhaps brought about by the sense of glamour and beauty her wings have brought her. Those wings have completely messed her brain up—look at how overboard she’s gone with eyeliner and lipstick! And look at Rainbow Dash cowering in fear, showing her nervous, sensitive side in full force. Since there isn’t enough time left for two contestants, Rainbow Dash and Rarity perform together.

While Rainbow Dash goes through her rehearsed flight sequence with a few mishaps, Rarity performs a routine that ends with her so close to the sun that her wings burn off. She’s forgotten how the sun works in the MLP universe: it’s not a gigantic sphere of heat that their planet orbits around, but rather an entity in the sky that Celestia raises each morning.

Look, season 1 finally gets Rainbow Dash’s element of harmony right!

The Wonderbolts fail to rescue Rarity as she falls, but Rainbow Dash swoops down and outruns gravity, performing a Sonic Rainboom in the process. This right here is the power of friendship: when a friend’s life is at stake, it’s possible to do incredible things, as may of the season premieres and finales prove. It’s also a demonstration of the thing with Rainbow Dash: she doesn’t always show it, but she prioritizes loyalty to her friends above anything else, even if it means ruining a cool stunt or any illusion that she’s too cool to care about friends. And sometimes it even leads to a cool stunt, as shown above!

Look at Fluttershy over there in the top right corner.

Tears well up in Rainbow Dash’s eyes as the entire audience cheers and congratulates her. The most incredible part is that Fluttershy is the loudest of all, gleefully bouncing up and down and screaming about the Sonic Rainboom—a perfect way to resolve the subplot of her inability to cheer louder than a whisper. Fluttershy sounds just like Pinkie Pie screaming so loud because, you know, same voice actress and all.

Rarity apologizes to her friends for what she did and is easily forgiven; it seems like they all easily realize that getting wings screwed with her head and she normally isn’t like this. Even though this is primarily a Rainbow Dash episode, Rarity is interestingly the one learning a lesson here as we see shortly.

When Rainbow Dash gets to talk to the Wonderbolts, all she can say is a rapid stream of “oh my gosh”, which becomes much more prolonged when she gets a trophy for winning the contest. Her overflow of excitement shows that this is merely the beginning of her flight adventures and relationship with the Wonderbolts.

Rarity takes a turn to deliver this episode’s moral to Celestia in person. The moral is about being there for your friends rather than getting distracted by fancy nonsense. At this point, the show is starting to realize that it isn’t a good idea for Twilight Sparkle to give the episode’s moral each time. This realization leads to a change in seasons 2 and 3 where all of the Mane 6, and occasionally other characters, take turns writing letters to Celestia. Rainbow Dash declines an offer to hang out with the now apologetic sports bullies in favor of spending time with the Wonderbolts, and with that, the episode ends.

Overall thoughts:

In the long run, I view this episode as the start of Rainbow Dash’s character arc, focusing on her athletic feats and her relationships with the Wonderbolts and with Scootaloo. Rainbow Dash’s episodes are a mixed bag, with some demonstrating her best or worst self very well, and others that come off as weird and forced. The best Rainbow Dash episodes are those that bring out her signature loyalty through extreme actions; this episode is a basic realization of that idea.

As for Rarity’s role in this episode, her character shines the strongest in episodes focusing on her, and this one focuses primarily on Rainbow Dash. In this episode, Rarity’s portrayal comes off as somewhat flat and fairy tale-like.

Grade: C

Another episode that gets the neutral grade from me. The beginning is legendary and the ending is a moment of awesome, but the rest is middling. Not middling as in bad, middling as in middling.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Rainbow Dash’s line “my life is ruined” was one of my first exposures to MLP:FiM, because of a This Is Sparta remix of that line that I saw around 2012. I thought the show was girly nonsense at the time and loudly talked about how it’s the worst thing ever and I would never watch it. Oh, how the tides have turned.
  • Even though the real googly-eyed Derpy is seen in this episode, various copies of her are seen in the background no less. Perhaps the scripted appearances of Derpy were added late in the episode’s making, as a nod to fans? That would make a lot of sense.

Season 1 Episode 17: Stare Master

In five words: Fluttershy proves babysitting isn’t easy.

Premise: Fluttershy lends herself to the surprisingly monumental task of babysitting the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Detailed run-through:

This episode begins with a scene featuring the best Cutie Mark Crusader trying in vain to help her big sister with anything at all. In isolation from the other two Crusaders, I view Sweetie Belle’s character arc as gradually developing an identity separate from Rarity, which isn’t easy because she’s the little sister of an accomplished and prolific artistic pony and is herself the artistic type. She’s perpetually overshadowed by Rarity and experiences much frustration because of that. Rarity doesn’t let her sister do anything as she prepares for presumably some event—Sweetie Belle is forced to merely stand so she won’t be in the way.

Poor Sweetie Belle. She only wanted to help.

When trying to retrieve Rarity’s ribbon, Sweetie Belle accidentally causes a Rube Goldberg machine of destruction and damage while still managing to retrieve the right ribbon in the end. I can only imagine how relatable this scene must be for viewers who have older siblings. Despite being an oldest child, I’ve found myself in Sweetie Belle’s situation far more times than I’d like to admit.

Now, if this were an episode focused on Sweetie Belle, I’d probably have an enormous amount of things to say about it throughout. But instead, this episode is focused on all three Cutie Mark Crusaders, meaning I’ll have a moderate amount of things to say about it. Sorry Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, but Sweetie Belle is way cooler than either of you.

First Fluttershy comes in to bring back Opalescence from her grooming, then Apple Bloom and Scootaloo come in, looking forward to a sleepover at Rarity’s place. Sweetie Belle presents them with a Cutie Mark Crusaders cape she stitched, and it’s clear she’s very proud of making it. She knows she’s nowhere near as skilled of an artist as Rarity is but takes pride in making that cape no less. She probably thinks it has a quaint, lighthearted feel that contrasts against her sister’s more fanciful and formal art style. I know exactly how Sweetie Belle feels here; I’m not much of a visual artist compared to many other people I know, but I take a strange form of pride when I do make art or visual design that I think looks decent. I also imagine that Sweetie Belle is proud that she made the cape without any input or even knowledge from her big sister.

I MAY be glossing over anything in this episode so far that doesn’t involve Sweetie Belle.

Sweetie Belle then reveals she stole some of Rarity’s golden silk, much to the latter’s chagrin. It’s clear that Sweetie Belle desperately wants to do cool things on her own without being bossed around by her sister, and Rarity has conflicting feelings about this; a mix of pride in her sister and frustration that she needs to find a substitute material and work extra hard finishing the dresses, meaning the Crusaders can’t stay with her.

After some arguing, Fluttershy convinces Rarity to let her babysit the Crusaders. She uses the following argument:

Fluttershy: I, uh, I suppose I could take them for the night.
Rarity: I couldn’t ask you to do that.
Fluttershy: Oh, it’s no problem at all.
Rarity: Have you met my sister and her friends? A problem is all it would be.
Fluttershy: Did I have a problem with Opal? You’ve seen how well I handle small creatures.

What’s interesting about this episode is that it has separate morals for adults and children; the adults’ moral is that babysitting isn’t as easy as you might think, and the children’s moral is that you should follow your babysitter’s rules. Fluttershy thinks babysitting fillies will just be like taking care of animals, which sets the stage for the adults’ moral.

As Fluttershy encounters Twilight Sparkle, who is on her way to Zecora’s place in the Everfree Forest, we see the Cutie Mark Crusaders from an external perspective, flash-stepping around and giggling with each other without another care in the world. It’s interesting seeing the kid characters portrayed from the adults’ perspective in a show meant for children… or rather, a show meant for parents and children in a franchise aimed at children. Now that I think of it, with the aiming at parents in mind, it makes sense to see the children from the adults’ perspective for a bit.

Once the Crusaders arrive in Fluttershy’s house, they start causing a total ruckus and goofing around with each other at an ear-piercing volume, which is very believable. When a trio of elementary school-age friends stays overnight in a house they’ve never been to before, it only makes sense that they’d goof around in it with blatant disregard for their babysitter’s priorities. They hardly seem to care what Fluttershy thinks at all; they’re just having fun together in a new environment. It’s heartening to see them get along so well after we saw Apple Bloom feeling lonely through most of Call of the Cutie, but from Fluttershy’s perspective this is horrific. The Crusaders even cheat their way out of the “quiet game” so they can resume their shenanigans.

I love Sweetie Belle.

Fluttershy sings a lullaby to put the Crusaders to sleep, and Sweetie Belle responds by singing an energetic rock arrangement of it. I’m quite a sucker for genre swaps like this; they add a layer of musical innovation to the show. It’s abundantly clear that the Crusaders have no interest in snuggly-wuggly baby times, which is a good example of part of the magic of this show: it demonstrates that My Little Pony media doesn’t have to be absurdly saccharine and is in fact most successful when it’s not that. I mean, you even have people like me watching the show!

Sweetie Belle’s song wakes up Fluttershy’s chickens. The Crusaders storm off, hoping to earn their marks in chicken herding, but Fluttershy comes in and uses The Stare* to put the chickens back inside. Because Fluttershy is normally meek and polite, when a dead serious stare comes from her of all ponies, that’s how you know she means business. Her ability to be imposing through contrast is perhaps the biggest advantage of Fluttershy’s typical demeanor.

* I’m capitalizing The Stare for emphatic effect.

Just to be clear, Fluttershy is awake in this scene, muttering to herself about how good of a babysitter she is.

The Crusaders go to bed, but when Fluttershy turns her back, they go back outside to do some more crusading. They think they’re sneaky, but when Scootaloo accidentally rips part of her cape, clear evidence is left behind. This scene demonstrates that lying is hard to get away with…

… as does a scene not much later where Fluttershy notices it’s a little too quiet. Both are perfect examples of how easy it is to notice when something’s amiss and someone may not have told the truth.

In the Everfree Forest, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo bicker on how to correctly call a chicken and provide us a memorable exchange:

Apple Bloom: You’re just chicken.
Scootaloo: Am not!
Apple Bloom: Oh, wait! Now I know how to call a chicken. Scootaloo! Scoot-Scootaloo!
Scootaloo: That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.

“Scootaloo is a chicken” is quite a big meme among fans, possibly the biggest one surrounding Scootaloo, but it’s never once brought up in the show after this episode; maybe indirectly referenced if anything. The fact that the Crusaders don’t keep egging her with that joke arguably shows a moral of its own, namely that you shouldn’t do things that you know get on someone’s nerves.

Fluttershy traverses the forest in her typical easily scared fashion and notices Twilight Sparkle has been turned to stone. Fortunately, she seems to know her way out of this because she’s just that good with animals. The fact that Twilight Sparkle, the supreme bookworm of bookworminess, fell victim to the Cockatrice, demonstrates how much of an expert on animals Fluttershy is through contrast.

Scootaloo: Is not!
Apple Bloom: Is too!
Scootaloo: Is not!
Apple Bloom: Is too!
Sweetie Belle: Girls! Our special talent is not arguing. Besides, what would the cutie mark of somepony whose talent is arguing even look like?

Scenes like this are why Sweetie Belle is my favorite of the Crusaders. Unlike the other two, she has some conception of which cutie marks do and don’t make sense, and she knows when they’re being just plain ridiculous. Also, gotta respect Sweetie Belle for keeping her cool while the other two argue.

The Cockatrice then reveals itself, much to the Crusaders’ fear, and turns the missing chicken into stone. Without hesitation, Fluttershy gives the Cockatrice a furious speech while exerting The Stare and asks it to change her chicken and her friend back. She gradually gets frozen to stone but is stopped partway through when the Cockatrice starts going all, “OK, OK, I’ll do what you want, just please stop staring me down, please!!!” It’s pretty much the same thing she did in Dragonshy, which is satisfying and cool but a bit of a repeat of last time.

After the Crusaders apologize for going off on their own, Fluttershy dictates Twilight’s letter to Celestia about biting off more than you can chew and overestimating your own skills. Even though Fluttershy earned that babysitting isn’t easy, she succeeded in learning it regardless, as she shows at the end when Rarity joins the scene and struggles to get the Crusaders in order until Fluttershy brings them together without needing The Stare.

Overall thoughts:

As I said earlier, this episode has different morals for children and adults, both of which focus on babysitting. Even though this is probably a kids’ show, the adults’ moral is the one explicitly spelled out, which is kind of weird! I’ve said plenty of times that this needless distinction between explicit and implicit morals is why I’m glad the letters to Celestia were eventually done away with. Moral talk aside, this episode achieves its purpose quite well, with some good characterization for both Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders (especially Sweetie Belle).

Grade: B

I can’t find anything significant to criticize about this episode, so a C wouldn’t be fair.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • This episode features plenty of occurrences of the Cutie Mark Crusaders playing sound effects one at a time, each at a higher pitch than the last. This usage of sound effects is very charming and helps portray the Crusaders as the endearing trio they are.
  • The torn piece from Scootaloo’s cape is redundant with the horseshoe prints, in terms of evidence that the Crusaders stormed off to catch the chicken. I do like the execution of the cape ripping scene regardless.
  • This episode birthed the “Scootaloo is a chicken” meme… oh wait, I already talked about that. Never mind.

Season 1 Episode 18: The Show Stoppers

In five words: Crusaders conflate skills with interests.

Premise: The Cutie Mark Crusaders sign up for a talent show and decide it’s a good idea for them to ignore what each of them are good at when setting up the show.

Detailed run-through:

This episode is the second one in a row to focus on the Cutie Mark Crusaders. It’s unusual but perhaps logical to have two episodes focusing on them in a row, because there’s quite a lot to establish about them, like their clubhouse, interests, and general personalities. The episode starts with Applejack presenting an old, worn-out clubhouse that she used in her youth, now for the Cutie Mark Crusaders to use. This scene could be interpreted as Applejack viewing the Crusaders as younger than they really are, or her signature flavor of traditionalism, I don’t know. In any case, they’re soon to renovate the house…

This scene is scored with rock music, much like many scenes involving Rainbow Dash.

… but not before Scootaloo takes some time to demonstrate her penchant for athletic feats, using her wings for a different purpose from most pegasi because she can’t properly fly. Scootaloo’s inability to fly is analogous to physical disabilities people may have, and the fact that her fellow Crusaders never poke at her or treat her differently for being unable to fly may be meant to teach kids not to poke at others for their disabilities, which is a valuable thing to know.

It’s easy to forget Apple Bloom renovated the Crusaders’ clubhouse all by herself.
It’s the same clubhouse they hang out in for the entire rest of the show!

The other two Crusaders also demonstrate interests of theirs, Apple Bloom in carpentry and Sweetie Belle in singing. The fact that these three don’t already have their cutie marks suggests they’re meant for something bigger than just sports, housework, and music respectively, which they gradually discover in later seasons. I suppose this episode and Stare Master could be seen as analogues* to Friendship Is Magic, Parts 1 and 2 for the Cutie Mark Crusaders instead of the Mane 6; in both cases, these groups of characters are difficult to have their personalities established all in one episode.

* I mistyped “analogous” as “analogues” at first but then decided to keep it as the latter word, which I never use for some reason.

Shortly after that, we get a three-minute montage of the Crusaders doing their shtick of trying various exuberant activities in the hope that they’ll earn their cutie marks and giving up after the first attempt. Much like with Winter Wrap Up, I get the feeling that the people working on this episode had trouble stretching its material into 22 minutes, so they decided to put in a montage of generous length.

Twilight Sparkle and Cheerilee present the Crusaders an opportunity to perform at a talent show and use the skills they’re already good at, but they miss the point because they’re so caught up in trying new activities. They set out to obtain materials for the show, responding to any inquiry as to why they need those materials with “you’ll see”. They’re so excited about putting on the show that they feel a need to keep it a secret so everyone can be surprised.

Apple Bloom: Sweetie Belle, I think you should be a singer!
Sweetie Belle: What? No way I’m singing in front of a crowd. Twilight said to do something we like to do. And, I’d like to be like my big sister. And she’s a designer!

The Crusaders did a great job misunderstanding what Twilight Sparkle said. She said that they should do things they already enjoy and what they’re already good at, but they only paid attention to the first part and distorted it to mean things they haphazardly think they’d like to do. It’s like Twilight said it in a foreign language and her words got lost in translation. The Crusaders have quite a bit of confirmation bias in what they hear from others.

While Sweetie Belle takes on set and costume design, Apple Bloom opts for dance moves, and Scootaloo takes on the music. They all struggle with their chosen tasks. Scootaloo says that coming up with words is “really hard” after a brief pause, which makes sense because a lengthy metaphor for how difficult it is to come up with words would mean she is good at coming up with words.

Snips and Snails do a clumsy attempt at a magic show, and they’re the only ones besides the Crusaders whose talent show act we get to see. I’m surprised so much time was spent with that montage rather than the other performances; maybe that’s because most of the school-age characters’ personalities are still one-note at this point?

The Crusaders put on a spectacularly bad show, with painful singing from Scootaloo and all-around clumsy presentation that ends with all the set props collapsing on each other, leading the entire audience to laugh.

Oh yeah, Spike is in this episode. He doesn’t really do anything in it though.

The Crusaders win the best comedy award for the talent show. While Cheerilee refers to the winners of the magic show and drama awards by their names, she refers to the comedy winners as the “Cutie Mark Crusaders”, showing that their collective name is already well-known around Ponyville. The Crusaders must be doing a good job rubbing their existence in everyone’s faces wherever they go, which eventually starts being a good thing. They tell Twilight Sparkle that they learned from the performance that they should embrace their true talent, but they’re now convinced that they should be pursuing comedy, which leaves Twilight in disappointed shock until she laughs it off and says “one day”, ending the episode with a hint that the Crusaders have plenty of character development to come.

Overall thoughts:

The main takeaway from this episode is that when doing work as a group, you should recognize and take advantage of what each member is good at, rather than haphazardly assigning roles. Or more generally, it tells viewers that they should embrace their skills and build off them, which is a decent moral.

Although the Cutie Mark Crusaders at this point do a horrendous job tackling skills they aren’t good at, the season 6 episode The Cart Before the Ponies subverts that by having each of them eager to try designing carts in a style that contrasts with what one would expect from each of them. That episode is after the Crusaders have grown and matured some, so I wouldn’t say it contradicts the moral of this episode.

Grade: C

I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about this episode. It does a decent job building the Crusaders’ personalities and interests, though Apple Bloom’s interest in carpentry and design is left in the dust compared to the other two’s interests.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Rarity briefly appears in this episode, angered that Sweetie Belle took some of her supplies, which is odd for a pony who’s supposedly so generous. Maybe her complicated relationship with Sweetie Belle overrides her trademark generosity in this case? Or maybe it’s just that Sweetie Belle never thought to ask her sister because she’s worried her sister will say no.
  • As Scootaloo plays piano while struggling to sing on-key and come up with good lyrics, the piano’s notes detune up and down some even though that’s not how pianos work. Maybe the people doing sound effect design for this episode simply had more experience with other instruments.
  • There’s a lot more that I could have said about this episode, but I felt it was all boring asides that didn’t add anything to what I was saying in this review, even if I were to lump them into the miscellaneous notes.

That’s all for today! See you next time for another batch of three episodes, one focused on Rarity, one partly focused on Rarity, and one not focused on Rarity.

>> Part 8: A Dog and Pony Show + Green Isn’t Your Color + Over a Barrel

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