Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 12: Lesson Zero + Luna Eclipsed


< Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 >

Season 2, Episodes 3-4

Season 2 Episode 3: Lesson Zero

In five words: Twilight undergoes hilarious mental breakdown.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle realizes the deadline for her weekly letter to Celestia is imminent and causes havoc (and hilarity) trying to find, then make a friendship problem.

Detailed run-through:

Spike probably hears the word “checklist” so often that it sometimes doesn’t even seem like a word anymore.

This episode starts with Twilight Sparkle reminding us about her comical obsession with checklists by reviewing her checklist for items needed to create a checklist, then starting her checklist of things she has to get done today with making a checklist of things she has to get done today, which is confusingly recursive. This obsession reminder leads to a groan from Spike and sets the stage for this episode’s focus: Twilight Sparkle’s obsession with order and detail going complete bonkers.

Derpy Hooves is here!!!!!

This episode is where the show’s theme song is updated for the first time, both visually and musically. The instrumentation has been adjusted to be a little more punchy (especially in the intro), and the vocals have been re-recorded. As for the visuals, only the scene above has changed, most notably adding a train with a certain fan favorite background pony inside the roof and replacing the random background stallion with Big Macintosh—a heartwarming testament to the fans and a logical, obvious replacement respectively. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are briefly seen together in the back of the train, which is again a logical addition.

Worth noting that this episode is the first one where unicorns’ magic has a consistent look, with a different color for each unicorn.
Between magic colors and the updated theme song, this episode is the first one that FEELS like season 2.

Twilight Sparkle’s signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder increase as she goes to Sugarcube Corner and picks up a box of twelve cupcakes from Mrs. Cake, except it turns out to be thirteen, and the frosting isn’t spread 100% evenly. You could argue it’s weird that Twilight’s character is exaggerated just for the sake of this episode, but I couldn’t care less in this case because this episode is so hilarious. She resolves the situation by leaving an equally tiny bit of frosting on each cupcake. Most of the frosting ended up on Spike, who comically washes himself using his tongue with a sort of tornado formation, which is perfectly in line with this episode’s sense of humor.

Spike offhandedly mentions the weekly letters to Celestia when talking about his cramped claw, leading Twilight Sparkle to go full panic mode. You can’t see it in this still image, but the sun and windmill’s blades are moving abruptly one motion at a time like the hands of a clock. This is the first of several times in this episode where we see what is clearly Twilight’s warped perception.

Spike breaks the fourth wall by pushing the background image behind Twilight Sparkle out of the way, showing yet again that this is one of the show’s most humorous episodes. I say “most humorous” instead of “funniest” because while this is one of the funniest episodes, it’s also one of the episodes where things are presented most humorously, with cartoon humor that’s considerably wackier than what the show normally does.

Good attention to detail that all the fillies in this fantasy are unicorns.

Twilight Sparkle proceeds to freak out about what will happen if she doesn’t deliver her letter before sundown, eventually leading to a fantasy where she’s sent back to magic kindergarten. I had already talked in prior posts about how she looks up to Celestia to the point of ridiculous misconceptions, so no need to repeat that. Her absurd fantasies about Celestia never fail to be hilarious.

Spike talks Twilight out of that fantasy by pulling the scene away like window blinds. She then decides to find someone who has a friendship problem, first by asking Spike, then she sets out to search Ponyville.

Then comes a series of scenes where Twilight Sparkle thinks one of her friends is having a dire friendship problem, only to be met with disappointment. First, she hears Rarity screaming and saying, for the first of three times in this episode, “Of all the worst things that could happen, this is the worst. Possible. Thing!” She lost her purple ribbon but then immediately finds it and goes back to normal. I like to imagine that Rarity’s extreme reaction to her ribbon being missing is partly Twilight Sparkle’s inaccurate perception, since she’s starting to not be quite right in the head. This is especially likely considering that Rarity asks Twilight if something’s bothering her only to find that she has left.

I like how goggles are the only protective gear Rainbow Dash is wearing, unlike Applejack.
She’s too cool for helmets, apparently.

The next scene for Twilight Sparkle to misperceive is Rainbow Dash aggressively destroying one of Applejack’s barns. She thinks the two got into a fight, but Applejack merely asked for Rainbow Dash to destroy the barn so she can put up a new one. Again, I bet Rainbow Dash’s angry noises were part of Twilight Sparkle’s imagination, because her mind is desperately tuned to search for friendship problems.

This explosion isn’t that weird when we’re talking about Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash imitates a nuclear explosion with her final blow, which is both humorously over-the-top and genuinely awesome. Applejack and Twilight Sparkle duck for cover, the latter getting her mane a bit frazzled because she didn’t have a helmet on. As always, the frazzled mane indicates Twilight is going off the deep end.

On her way to Fluttershy’s place, Twilight Sparkle has the following to say:

Twilight Sparkle: I can’t believe I wasted all that time. I should have just come here first!
Twilight Sparkle: Fluttershy always has some fear she’s trying to get over. As a good friend, I’ll be able to help her.

When under extreme stress, Twilight Sparkle starts to see her friends as tools to help her efficiently get things done, much like we saw in The Return of Harmony when she used Spike to fill Rainbow Dash’s slot. In this case, she decides Fluttershy is the most efficient choice to help with finding a friendship problem. I guess that’s really just Twilight’s leadership skills in action, but it’s still funny.

Much to her shock, Twilight Sparkle sees Fluttershy aggressively fighting a giant bear, and I think you get the idea here: she’s perceiving things inaccurately due to her overwhelming desire to find a friendship problem. Fluttershy then reveals her true intentions of simply nursing a bear with an injured shoulder, which is far less illogical. She’s scared of many things, but bears are not one of them.

What’s the scientific term for having conversations with yourself that your brain convinces you are conversations with another sentient being? Whatever the term is, that’s a commonality between Twilight Sparkle’s mental breakdown here and Pinkie Pie’s mental breakdown in Party of One. In Twilight’s case, she’s talking to her own reflection in a puddle, which is much like Pinkie’s conversation with the inanimate objects seated at her table. These two are surprisingly similar when they’re going through mental breakdowns; the main difference is that the straightness of their manes is inverted.

Sunglasses Rainbow Dash is such a blessing it’s unreal.

While worrying for Twilight Sparkle’s sanity, Spike reminds her about her friends’ upcoming picnic. At the picnic, Rainbow Dash is seen wearing sunglasses for the first time in the show, which puts quite a big smile on my face. I’m pretty sure Rainbow Dash wearing sunglasses was at first a fandom meme, often captioned with the phrase “deal with it”. Or maybe that meme came about because of Rainbow Dash wearing sunglasses in this scene? I actually don’t know. It’s like a “chicken or the egg” situation in that I don’t know which came first.

For further memetic humor, this is the second time Rarity says, “Of all the worst things that could happen, this is the worst. Possible. Thing!” This time it’s because she misplaced her plates, and once more she summons a fancy sofa to rest on seemingly out of nowhere.

Rarity is far too dignified to sit on a mere picnic blanket.

Twilight Sparkle arrives at the picnic in a panic. Her friends express concern when she tells them of a horrific problem, then they wave it off in relief when she says it’s about her friendship letters. All her friends laugh at this supposed predicament, Applejack especially trying to talk sense into her, which paves the way for both this episode’s official moral and a commonly interpreted unofficial moral. With that, Twilight storms off.

I had this face as my profile picture on various websites such as YouTube for a good few months because I found it so hilarious.
That was back in 2014, just to be clear.

As the windmill and sun move more and more frantically, Twilight Sparkle comes up with a new plan since her friendship problem search has been so fruitless.

Twilight Sparkle: Clock is ticking, Twilight! Clock. Is. Ticking!
Twilight Sparkle: Keep it together.
Twilight Sparkle: If I can’t find a friendship problem… I’LL MAKE A FRIENDSHIP PROBLEM!!!

I love Twilight Sparkle’s freaky facial expressions in this scene so much, and one of them is shown above. Her mental breakdown in this episode perfectly shows the extreme stock she puts into sticking with schedules and patterns. Her perception of the windmill and sun as a clock also matches with her schedule obsession.

“Hi, girls!”

Twilight Sparkle zaps in on the Cutie Mark Crusaders playing with a beach ball, popping the ball in the process. I must say, Twilight’s desperation to find a friendship problem makes this episode a great way to show what characters like to do when they aren’t running into friendship problems.

Twilight Sparkle: This is Smarty Pants! She was mine when I was your age. And now I want to give her to you!
Scootaloo: Uh, she’s… great.
Apple Bloom: Yeah… great.
Sweetie Belle: I really like her… mane?

I love how while Apple Bloom and Scootaloo simply say through gritted teeth that the doll is “great”, Sweetie Belle tries to think of something concrete to compliment about it, only to come out with the memetic line, “I really like her… mane?” This attempt at a compliment demonstrates Sweetie Belle’s love for creativity and design that she has in common with her sister, and her struggle to praise anything demonstrates how far Twilight Sparkle has gone off the deep end. We even see Sweetie Belle holding a hoof under her chin while Apple Bloom takes her turn to speak, indicating that she’s valiantly thinking of something nice to say about the doll.

Twilight Sparkle: She even comes with her own notebook and quill, for when you want to pretend she’s doing her homework!!! (tilts head)
Scootaloo: That’s, um… great.
Apple Bloom: Yeah… great!
(Scootaloo and Apple Bloom poke Sweetie Belle simultaneously)
Sweetie Belle: I really like her… mane?

Judging by her expression above, Scootaloo isn’t even pretending to be interested in the doll, but Apple Bloom is at least trying to be friendly. Sweetie Belle is deep in thought about Smarty Pants, perhaps pondering to herself, “surely there’s something better I could have complimented about the doll besides her… mane?” But when the other two Crusaders snap her out of it, all she can say is again the memetic line, “I really like her… mane?” She tried and failed to think of something different to say, which is very endearing.

The Crusaders get into a fight over who should be forced to play with the doll first, then Twilight Sparkle casts a spell on the doll to make them enamored over it.

Twilight Sparkle: You’re going to like Smarty Pants. And you’re going to like her more than anything!
(casts spell)
Scootaloo: I want it!
Apple Bloom: I need it!
Sweetie Belle: I really like her mane!
Twilight Sparkle: The “want it, need it” spell. Works every time!

I love that Sweetie Belle repeats “I really like her mane”, except this time she means it. Three is the perfect number of times to repeat a gag, or to repeat anything for that matter. It’s just a magic number. Also, I don’t want to think about the implication that Twilight Sparkle has used this item adoration spell before. What could she have possibly used it for? I’ll let you imagine.

I guess male background ponies weren’t much of a thing yet, but it’s still funny that Big Mac is the only stallion in the pile.

Twilight Sparkle’s spell backfires when Big Macintosh encounters Smarty Pants and becomes in love with the doll, then even more when a whole bunch of Ponyville citizens express the same intense desire—not even Mayor Mare is immune. The Mane 6 almost fall for the spell, but Twilight stops them and tells them in a panic what she just did. Although that isn’t the episode’s official moral, this scene is a great way to demonstrate the phrase popularized by Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Not shown: Derpy and Mayor Mare immediately after being released from the spell, faced off hoof-to-hoof.

Right when the sun sets, Celestia comes in and undoes Twilight Sparkle’s spell. Not often does Celestia use her immense magic powers onscreen, which has led to some flack among fans for her not stepping in and saving the day when she easily could. That is a very silly criticism that’s addressed in later seasons, where it’s made clear that Celestia and Luna have lots of royal duties to attend to and don’t have time to bail the Mane 6 out of every situation. The season 9 episode Between Dark and Dawn starts with the princesses doing exactly that and annoying all the other ponies, and it feels like a lighthearted jab at fans, but I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Speaking of lighthearted jabs at fans…

By the time this episode was worked on, the people working on MLP:FiM were well aware of bronies and their ways. They no doubt had been to brony conventions and seen the show’s fans firsthand. They know that some adult male fans have an insatiable urge to collect all the pony merchandise they can, no matter how shoddy, worn, or inaccurate it looks, and Big Macintosh is a perfect character to poke fun at those fans. I especially like that he doesn’t grab the doll until all the ladies have cleared out the scene, perhaps so they don’t give him any funny looks. The fact is, there are plenty of perfectly ordinary, healthy men who happen to enjoy some good cartoon horses.

Celestia asks Twilight Sparkle to meet her at the library, to which she obliges. This would be a dramatic scene if not for Twilight’s mention of “magic kindergarten”, which makes her leaving humorous through juxtaposition. Still, her friends are distraught at the possibility of her leaving them behind for good. Rarity says, “Of all the worst things that could happen, this is is the worst. Possible. Thing!” and she means it this time. I love, love, love that both Rarity and Sweetie Belle have a running gag that they say three times in this episode, and the last time they truly mean it. Both of those running gags have become memetic phrases among fans, which I’m sure was the intention, as with many other things in this episode—giving fans some free meme fodder. Is there a collective term for Rarity and Sweetie Belle that I’m not aware of? The Belle Sisters? The Artistic Sisters? The White Unicorn Sisters? I’m sure fans have decided on something and I’m not aware of it. Whatever the case, these two sisters both sprouted memes in this episode through saying a phrase three times, which I find delightful.

When the rest of the Mane 6 come to Twilight Sparkle’s library, they each tell Celestia that they didn’t take her friend’s worries seriously, which led to all this havoc. That turns out to be this episode’s moral, which is a decent moral, but a lot of fans (including me) take something different away: that you shouldn’t have to stick to a rigid, mechanical schedule if it means causing a total mess of things, and that you should know when not to let a worry get to your head. Celestia also declares a change in the friendship letters: now, all of the Mane 6 will send her letters without following a strict schedule anymore. This change allows for a lot more flexibility on a meta level, addressing the criticism that almost all of season 1’s morals given were from Twilight Sparkle’s point of view, even when the morals didn’t focus on her.

To further demonstrate this episode’s moral, Celestia reveals that Spike did indeed listen to his friend’s concerns by telling Celestia about the situation, which is how she made it to Ponyville to stop the havoc. Celestia praises Spike for doing this, which is especially remarkable considering that Spike had previously said his wrist was getting sore from so much writing. His sore wrist didn’t stop him from taking action and writing Celestia a letter about Twilight’s concerns!

Rarity is sitting on a fancy purple pillow because of course she is.

The Mane 6 besides Twilight Sparkle narrate the episode’s moral together as Spike writes the letter, setting the formula for this new and improved style of friendship letters—I really do mean it when I say “improved”. Spike writes a self-indulgent section at the end, much to the annoyance of the ponies, so he crosses it out and they break into laughter. And with that, the episode ends.

Overall thoughts:

Like I said early in this review, this is the first episode that truly feels like season 2, and what a strong start it is. The episode easily surpasses everything before it in sheer humor and features quite a few bones thrown to fans; it feels like the first episode of many more to come that acknowledges bronies in full light. And to cap things off, the episode’s ending is a major step forward in fluidly presenting the episodes’ morals and friendship lessons. I’ve always loved this episode for being incredibly hilarious, but only after intensely analyzing it have I come to appreciate it on such a deeper level.

Grade: A

How could I give this episode, with all its humor and fandom nods, anything less than an A? That would be outright injustice.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • In the scene shown above, Twilight Sparkle looks quite a bit like her human universe self from Friendship Games and, if I’m not mistaken, all the Equestria Girls movies beyond that. I am pointing this out because I can.
  • I came up with the commentary on Sweetie Belle’s “I really like her… mane?” and the idea to analyze it in so much detail months before I wrote this post. It feels nice to have finally written that commentary.
  • I had previously neglected to mention Bon Bon’s wildly varying voices, one of which is used in this episode as all the citizens of Ponyville fight over Smarty Pants. Given the increasing deliberate usage of specific background ponies, I’m convinced that the vocal inconsistency has become intentional at this point. The inconsistency is done away with when Slice of Life rolls around, but that same episode provides a logical explanation for why her voice varies so much.
  • Near the end of this review, I mentioned brony conventions. I’m rather sad that even if it weren’t for a certain virus that might possibly soon stop screwing over our perfectly fine lives, it’s probably too late for me to hop on and join a big brony convention. I can’t overstate how much of a blast it is to meet people who share your interests at conventions and jam with them about those interests, or eat pizza together or watch silly YouTube videos or what have you.

Are you ready for the fun to be doubled? Next up is another episode very memorable to fans: Luna Eclipsed.

Season 2 Episode 4: Luna Eclipsed

In five words: Luna becomes an actual character.

Premise: Making her first appearance since the series’ premiere, Princess Luna tries to fit in with modern Equestria on Nightmare Night.

Detailed run-through:

Obligatory statement that this is the first time the series mentions Star Swirl the Bearded.

This episode starts like a typical Halloween episode, taking place on Nightmare Night which is Equestria’s equivalent of Halloween. Twilight Sparkle is dressed as the legendary ancient wizard, Star Swirl the Bearded, and is frustrated that no one recognizes her costume, which is exactly what you’d expect from a pony as nerdy as her. No one even recognizes her as a wizard; Spike thinks she’s dressed as a grandpa and Pinkie Pie thinks she’s dressed as a clown, which I imagine makes viewers who aren’t complete geeks understand what it’s like to be a complete geek. Or what it’s like for people not to recognize your lovingly crafted cosplay at a convention.

Want to know how you can tell this isn’t a season 1 episode? The background ponies and recurring characters who aren’t considered background ponies have a variety of costumes on, some of which poke at fandom memes. For instance, the background pony whose name I’m pretty sure is Minuet is dressed as a dentist, referencing the common observation among fans that her mane looks like toothpaste. If I recall correctly, fans have also nicknamed that pony Colgate after the brand of toothpaste.

Look at that portrayal of Nightmare Moon above one of the stands.

Pinkie Pie is dressed like a chicken and behaves like an actual chicken because she’s Pinkie Pie. Rainbow Dash, meanwhile, took inspiration from the Mane 6’s first of many adventures and is dressed as a Shadowbolt while playing some mischievous lightning pranks. I bet that when Rainbow Dash encountered the Shadowbolts (which were of course Nightmare Moon’s illusions), her first thought was that those would make for great Nightmare Night costumes, and thus she had the costume made (or made it herself?) immediately after, saving it for this very day.

I won’t comment on every single costume from here on out, because this analysis would go on forever if I did. Just know that there are a lot of clever references and details in the costumes, one of which is Derpy using paper bags for a costume. The paper bags aren’t referencing something specific in fans’ portrayal of Derpy… not as far as I know, at least. I’ll relegate any further ramblings about the ponies’ costumes into the miscellaneous notes.

Scootaloo can’t be dressed as a chicken because Pinkie Pie already is dressed as a chicken.

Zecora takes some ponies to tell them the typical story of Nightmare Night involving hiding from Nightmare Moon and sacrificing candy to a statue of her to keep her appeased, and she uses potion magic to generate illusions of Nightmare Moon. This is pretty much the equivalent of Santa and the Easter Bunny and all those other children’s stories, which is probably captivating to children and amusing to adults.

And then the real Princess Luna enters the scene, with a complete redesign from her appearance in season 1. The plus side of shafting Luna for the entire rest of the first season is that the show can get away with giving her a better and more fitting design. I might as well quote the first words Luna says in this episode:

Luna: Citizens of Ponyville! We have raced your tiny village with our presence, so that you might behold the real Princess of the Night!
Luna: A creature of nightmares no longer, but instead, a pony who desires your love and admiration! Together, we shall change this dreadful celebration into a bright and glorious feast!
(lightning strikes)

Luna speaks in a thunderous royal voice with archaic, formal language and referring to herself as “we”. She’s clumsily attempting to be playful and humorous through her formality, and this scene makes it no wonder she’s such a fan favorite character. All the ponies in the scene (and Spike) cower in fear from who they think is Nightmare Moon, except Twilight Sparkle. Even Pinkie Pie joins in on the fear because she hasn’t outgrown the childish Nightmare Night spirit. It makes sense that Spike would think it’s Nightmare Moon because he stayed behind when the ponies set out to the Everfree Forest, and the rest of the Mane 6 aren’t in the scene, so all these reactions are understandable. The endearing awkwardness continues when Twilight Sparkle has a one-on-one conversation with Luna and decides to take it into her hooves* to fit Luna into modern Equestria.

* Ponies don’t have hands, so “take it into her hands” would mean “do nothing”.

Twilight takes Luna to Fluttershy’s place, where Fluttershy secludes herself every Nightmare Night, so Luna can learn by example how to speak more quietly. Fluttershy again thinks Luna is Nightmare Moon, and I’m starting to realize that the show knows Luna was forgotten right after her appearance in the series premiere and is actively redeeming that problem. And boy oh boy, what a redemption it is. Not a redemption as in a villainous character becoming one of the good guys, but a redemption as in a shafted non-character becoming a massive fan favorite character. Twilight Sparkle represents the fans who remember Luna was saved from being Nightmare Moon, while all the other characters represent the fans who don’t remember that.

With some help from Applejack, Twilight Sparkle teaches Luna the concept of “fun” using some party games, and I think you get the idea here. This episode is giving Luna a proper personality, specifically as a “fish out of water” type akin to Fry from Futurama. Wait a minute… Luna was banished for a thousand years, and Fry was frozen for a thousand years. The analogy makes perfect sense! Luna gives us a memorable line here, namely “the fun has been doubled”. And you know what else has been doubled? My appreciation of this episode.

After this line, Luna quiets her voice and drops the royal “we”, then requests to be simply called Luna. This unexpected humility is another contributing factor to her popularity among fans.

But then, Luna gets carried away with the concept of fun and turns toy spiders into real spiders, causing a cascade of destruction. She reverts to her thunderous royal voice—this time literally thunderous because she’s creating thunder—and declares Nightmare Night to be cancelled. Twilight Sparkle follows her and tries to convince her that Nightmare Night is a popular and valued celebration and there’s no reason for her to be nervous, which doesn’t work well until Twilight tries introducing Luna to Pinkie Pie.

Twilight Sparkle: She’s changed, Pinkie! She’s not evil or scary anymore. And she definitely doesn’t want to gobble you up.
Pinkie Pie: Well, duh!
Twilight Sparkle: Huh?
Pinkie Pie: I know that! Sheesh, Twilight, I’m almost as big as her. How’s she gonna gobble me up?
Twilight Sparkle: So why do you keep running away and screaming?
Pinkie Pie: Sometimes, it’s just really fun to be scared!
Twilight Sparkle: Fun?
Twilight Sparkle: Pinkie Pie, you’re a genius!
Pinkie Pie: No I’m not. I’m a chicken! (bawks)

It is at this point where Twilight Sparkle realizes she could have consulted Pinkie Pie this whole time—who better understands the concept of fun than she does? Sometimes in life, the purpose of something is simply to have fun, nothing more, and that can be very easy to forget.

Luna transforms into Nightmare Moon for the sake of the holiday, and it’s pretty interesting that she’s capable of willingly doing so and changing back just as willingly—must be alicorn magic. Upon enthusiastic statement from Pipsqueak, a character I forgot to mention until now, Luna realizes that being scared is the fun of Nightmare Night. Luna declares to bring Nightmare Night back in full force, joining in on the fun herself rather than being confined to the moon, which is a great way to continue the tradition without compromising the Nightmare Moon lore.

As Twilight Sparkle narrates her letter to Celestia, I can’t help but notice that even though Twilight mentions Celestia and Luna are sisters (in case anyone forgot), it’ll be several seasons until the royal sisters’ relationship starts being explored. Just like how Luna’s personality was a blank spot that this episode filled, later seasons will fill the blank spot that is Celestia and Luna’s relationship.

Anyway, Twilight’s letter is focused on giving friendship and sharing it with others. Here’s a snippet from her letter that I think is striking:

Twilight Sparkle: And I’m happy to report that all of Ponyville has learned that even if somepony seems a little intimidating, even scary, when you offer them your friendship, you’ll discover a whole new pony underneath.

This portion of the episode’s moral is demonstrated on a somewhat meta level. Luna’s personality was a complete mystery before this episode, but now that the show has taken some time to explore her character and flesh her out, she’s become a major fan favorite. It’s like fans did indeed discover a whole new pony underneath!

To certify that she’s finally adapted into the world of modern Equestria, Luna returns the pranking spirit to Rainbow Dash and strikes her with lightning, causing her to fly away in fear. This final demonstration of Luna’s playful side is a great way to cement her as an actual character at long last. Luna, Twilight Sparkle, and Spike all break into laughter, ending the episode.

Overall thoughts:

All in all, this is Princess Luna’s long overdue proper introductory episode. The people working on this show found a problem (Luna doesn’t have much characterization) and fixed it to glorious results. Luna had technically been a character since season 1, but she wasn’t really a character until this episode. Since Luna had existed since the show’s beginning, she’s free from the “ew new character distracting us from the existing ones” backlash that new characters tend to get. The episode doubles as a fun way to give a first Halloween special, and it succeeds in all aspects.

Grade: B

I almost wanted to give this episode an A, and part of me thinks the episode deserves an A. But I must stick to my policy of giving an A only to episodes that strike incredibly hard, and this episode only strikes moderately hard. It’s still a great episode though!

Miscellaneous notes:

  • I promised additional notes on some of the characters’ costumes, so I’ll do so. Mayor Mare is dressed as a goofy rainbow clown for the occasion, and Spike makes several snide remarks about how the costume doesn’t match with her spooky voice. Perhaps this is meant to poke fun at older adults for having a bizarre idea or what qualifies as scary.
  • That’s all I have about costumes. I guess it’s also worth noting that Rarity is nowhere to be seen in this episode? I’ve heard that scenes with her were cut from the episode due to time constraints, but it’s still weird that she doesn’t even get a background appearance here.

That’s all for this week! See you next week for two episodes focused on the Cutie Mark Crusaders and one episode focused on Rainbow Dash.

>> Part 13: Sisterhooves Social + The Cutie Pox + May the Best Pet Win!

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