Season 4, Episodes 15-16
Looking at the lineup of season 4 episodes left for me to analyze, here are the ones that I’m the most excited to go through:
- Episode 18, Maud Pie (because I think Maud Pie is awesome)
- Episode 19, For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils (because I think Sweetie Belle is cool)
- Episodes 25-26, Twilight’s Kingdom (the absolutely epic season finale)
The rest of the remaining season 4 episodes I’m not nearly as excited to go through; I’ll have fun with them for sure, but the really exciting ones are listed above. And then when I get through season 5, I am looking forward to analyzing pretty much every episode of the season. You can expect my season 5 reviews to be some of the most long-winded ones yet.
Season 4 Episode 15: Twilight Time
As with several other episodes involving the Cutie Mark Crusaders, this one contains spoilers for midway through season 5. Also a few for the season 4 finale. Plus a bit of early season 6.
In five words: Crusaders exploit Twilight’s big name.
Premise: The Cutie Mark Crusaders come to Twilight Sparkle to help them learn skills, but they get carried away in using Twilight’s princess status to their advantage.
We haven’t been to Twilight’s place that often in season 4. It sort of feels nostalgic being in here now.
Also, I like how this scene teases the mystery of the chest with six keys.
This episode starts with the Cutie Mark Crusaders at Twilight Sparkle’s place practicing skills they want to learn: Sweetie Belle with magic, Scootaloo with assembling a unicycle, and Apple Bloom with brewing potions. Each of the Crusaders is at least partly hoping to get their cutie mark through these activities, and they’re all reluctant to read detailed instructions. I think there’s something interesting to analyze from each Cutie Mark Crusader’s choice of activity to learn.
For Sweetie Belle, I’m not sure what the common fan consensus is on how long it usually takes unicorns to learn magic, but my view is as follows. Unicorns typically learn magic through tons of practice, and Sweetie Belle never had much reason to use magic while growing up. But now that she’s getting older, she feels that it’s her duty as a unicorn to properly learn magic, and through enough determination, she admirably figures it out by the end of this episode.
But while Sweetie Belle’s motive is to rectify her lack of a fundamental unicorn skill, the other two Crusaders are pursuing activities that relate more to their usual interests. Scootaloo wants to branch out her interest in athletic stunts by assembling vehicles on her own, while Apple Bloom, the one who perpetually flits between various interests, wants to hone in her potion-making interest a little more.
At the Crusaders’ school, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon grab the attention of all the other kids when the former says that she had promised to put on an acrobatic display. But then Diamond Tiara says that since she’s tired, she got her butler Randolph to do those stunts instead, which he does successfully. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are unimpressed at this, but I think Diamond Tiara demonstrated what we later learn is the real meaning of her cutie mark: commandeering others and getting them to follow her demand. Getting an elderly butler to perform such stunts must have taken quite a bit of persuasion, which came naturally for her.
Apple Bloom: I can’t believe she gets so much attention without even really doing anything.
Scootaloo: She’s using somepony else to build herself up. And without even putting in the effort to learn her own skills like we do.
Scootaloo thinks she’s so angelic and hard-working, but we saw at the start of this episode how reluctant she was to read instructions for how to assemble a unicycle. The Cutie Mark Crusaders also like cutting to the chase—Sweetie Belle a little less than the other two—and honestly, after what all went down in Crusaders of the Lost Mark, it’s hard not to view Diamond Tiara in a more sympathetic light anyway. Given that the Cutie Mark Crusaders want to use Twilight Sparkle to teach them everything possible, aren’t they also using a big name to build themselves up? We’ll see them get carried away with this ideology in not too long.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders then have a fantasy that shows they have an exaggerated image of Twilight Sparkle as someone who can immediately teach them anything. In the fantasy, Scootaloo puts a whole unicycle together in a few seconds, Apple Bloom uses potions to grow an enormous apple, and Sweetie Belle uses a magic spell to torment Diamond Tiara and flail her body around. When I first watched this episode, I remember finding the Crusaders’ exaggerated image of Twilight frustrating in a relatable way. Back when I was early in high school, I remember constantly feeling like people have an exaggerated perception of me, and I still sometimes feel that way. This whole episode hit home for me back then, as Twilight Sparkle’s episodes tended to, but the difference now is that plenty of other characters have aspects I can connect to, not just Twilight.
I’m having so much fun analyzing this episode so far. More than I thought I would!
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon approach the Crusaders, offering for them to all hang out with famous celebrities if Rarity ever takes Sweetie Belle to Manehattan. It seems like a surprising gesture of kindness at first, but then…
Sweetie Belle: Actually, my sister hasn’t offered to take me to Manehattan anytime soon.
Diamond Tiara: Yeah, we figured.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon: Bump, bump, sugar lump, rump! (laughs)
Sweetie Belle: (growls) Oh yeah? Well, I don’t have to go all the way to Manehattan to hang out with the famous and super-cool ponies. Me and my friends hang out with Princess Twilight all the time!
And here we have it: the Cutie Mark Crusaders have crossed the line into taking advantage of Twilight Sparkle’s good name, and surprisingly, Sweetie Belle is the one who initiates it. I think Sweetie Belle was so angered that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon tricked them into thinking they would be willing to become friends that she got into an unexpected fit of vengeance. These words are a lot more surprising to hear from Sweetie Belle than they would be from the other two, given that Sweetie Belle doesn’t usually like petty one-upping. When pushed over the edge by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, the Crusaders show they’re capable of surprising acts of hostility too.
Diamond Tiara is right, this home is surprisingly modest for a princess.
(Tirek will kindly take care of that matter soon enough.)
Still, the Crusaders don’t have any ill intentions when they agree to bring Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon along to Twilight’s place. They think that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon will get wrapped up in learning new skills, plus they find it fun to see these two genuinely try to get on their good side. I feel that the Cutie Mark Crusaders, especially Sweetie Belle, hold out a trace of hope that they could reform Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon… and eventually, by some twist of fate, they do! Not in this episode though.
Silver Spoon tends to be quite liberal with putting “so” into her sentences.
I don’t know about you, but I so don’t think that’s good grammar.
After the premiere, season 4 has been more than a little neglectful of Twilight’s princess role (which knowing the finale was entirely by design). The season has still portrayed Twilight Sparkle as an ordinary pony who likes books and magic spells, which causes quite some hilarity when Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon say hi to her.
Diamond Tiara: Princess Twilight, it is such a thrill and honor to be here. You have no idea.
Diamond Tiara: Oh my gosh. Who dyes your tail?
Silver Spoon: I so have to get that done.
Twilight Sparkle: Actually, it’s not dyed. I’ve always—
Diamond Tiara: (gasps) Are those books in there? What a bold design choice.
Silver Spoon: You should so do that, Di!
Diamond Tiara: I know, right?
What’s interesting is that I don’t think Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are doing anything wrong here. Since they don’t know much about Twilight Sparkle, they are making understandable assumptions about her life based on the knowledge that she’s a princess. I honestly think it’s sort of adorable that they have such strong misconceptions. In contrast, the Cutie Mark Crusaders knew Twilight before she was a princess and can easily see her for who she is. Remember when I said in Magical Mystery Cure that I was once worried that this lovable bookworm would be replaced with a fancy frilly princess? Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon full-out see Twilight as the latter, and the contrast makes for great humor.
Twilight Sparkle tells the Crusaders that Twilight Time was meant as a special thing just for them, not for random guests, and after their session occurs offscreen, the Crusaders reflect on what they just did.
Apple Bloom: I can’t believe I let you talk us into bringing guests yesterday.
Scootaloo: I didn’t hear them laugh at us once, Apple Bloom.
Apple Bloom: ‘Cause they laughed on the inside.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are taking a much less antagonistic attitude towards the Cutie Mark Crusaders than usual, but they’re so used to their rivals picking on them that they can’t see that this duo is far more interested in getting to know the cool princess with cool wings. When Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon tell the Crusaders they’ve told others about their visit with Twilight, they brace themselves for being made fun of…
The Cutie Mark Crusaders’ storyline has started to grow a cast of background ponies.
Like one whose design resembles Fry from Futurama, and I think another named Button Mash? Could be wrong.
… except the opposite happens. The rest of the kids chant “Twilight Time” like a rabid mob, synced with the background music, and Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon thank the Cutie Mark Crusaders and proclaim them to be the newest big shots in school. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon even claim themselves to be the Crusaders’ dearest friends—do you think they’re genuinely starting to see the Crusaders that way, or are they just saying that so they can rise up the popularity ranks? Whatever the case, it’ll only be one more season until these two fully reconcile with the Crusaders.
While Apple Bloom and Scootaloo view this situation as a disastrous mess, Sweetie Belle has a change of heart and gets excited about this opportunity for fame and glory. I admit, sometimes I find it odd that Sweetie Belle alternates between being the Crusaders’ voice of reason and one who’s especially caught up in their wacky schemes, but that’s what makes her such a fun character to analyze. I’m going to justify her excitement about this chance at glamour as her showing some commonality with Rarity.
Sweetie Belle is very confident that her plan for the Crusaders to have a simple lunch with Twilight Sparkle thanking her for all she’s done is going to work, but then she finds out that a crowd of foals is waiting behind the bushes. This was because she let two or three ponies secretly watch the princess, and they misunderstood that entirely. This seems like an example of Sweetie Belle being too nice for her own good, too willing to let others have their own way—perhaps another thing she has in common with Rarity?
I wonder if the cup on the left has soda in it. And I further wonder what Twilight’s preferred flavor of soft drink is.
Twilight Sparkle being such a loud, sloppy eater who talks with her mouth full is hilarious. Her shamelessly loving some good old fast food, specifically hayburgers, is also hilarious. This entire scene, aside from being hilarious, also shows how much Twilight Sparkle has been ignoring her status as a high-profile princess. She hasn’t been given much to do with her princess role, and while she’s complacent in putting that aside as she cheerfully devours burger after burger, her insecurities about being a princess creep up on her when the season finale rolls around.
Though they elude Twilight’s vision at first, eventually she notices the huge crowd of foals spying on her through the sounds of cameras clicking. She agrees to sign her name on a bunch of papers others provide her, all the while unaware of how big of a deal her being a princess is. I suspect that her obliviousness to her own importance makes Twilight all the more irresistible to all those kids.
Throughout this episode, Sweetie Belle has professed a strong, confident knowledge of how to handle tough situations.
It’s honestly really cute.
To show that the Crusaders have reached the top of the popularity ladder, first they relax and enjoy tons of free lemonade from Pipsqueak’s lemonade stand, then Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon invite them to a private pool party where everyone else is locked out. I think that unlike the Crusaders, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are genuinely more comfortable hanging out in small groups, which is why they usually stick to each other instead of deeming others to be close friends. They’re making an exception for the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who they’ve been warming up to throughout this episode.
Not shown: Spike bringing a tiny plate of nachos, only to be asked to make much more.
Though the Crusaders think she’s going to be mad, Twilight Sparkle is welcoming to the unexpected storm of visitors. I’m trying to think of this from Twilight’s perspective: she might internally feel overwhelmed at these guests, but she’s managing to keep her composure well enough that no one else notices. Since this episode is told from the Crusaders’ perspective, it makes sense that we don’t see Twilight entering a storm of neurotic freakouts.
Still keeping her cool, Twilight organizes the guests into three categories: those interested in magic, potions, and books. She seems to genuinely believe that all these guests have come here to learn, not to get to spend time with the cool and super-important princess. Perhaps this is something she keeps convincing herself so that she can avoid going into a mental breakdown? Again, if Twilight is at all nervous or panicked in this scene, then none of the kids notice it. It makes sense because most of them don’t even know Twilight for who she is: a nerdy bookworm who loves teaching others for the sake of it.
Twilight Sparkle: Let’s begin over here! And what would you like to learn, little one?
Pipsqueak: I want to learn how to become a Cutie Mark Crusader!
Twilight Sparkle: And why do you want to become a Cutie Mark Crusader so badly, hm?
Pipsqueak: Because then I could get all my classmates to do me favors and stuff, because I’m friends with a famous princess!
One thing Twilight Sparkle must come to terms with now that she’s a princess is that others are going to think of her as an authority figure. All the kids in the scene think Twilight can teach them anything and everything, and while she initially resents this image of her, eventually she embraces the role of an authority figure. A good example is in season 6 where she becomes Starlight Glimmer’s mentor and bosses her around quite a bit, especially when she disapproves of Starlight making friends with Trixie.
This passage is also how Twilight Sparkle realizes what situation the Cutie Mark Crusaders got themselves (and her) into, and she’s not happy about it. Her initial hypothesis about why all those guests came was disproven, and it doesn’t take long for her to find the real reason.
Twilight Sparkle wants the Crusaders to show the skills they’ve learned to prove that they really did come here to learn, but they didn’t bring the supplies needed. As such, Sweetie Belle takes charge and improvises by having Scootaloo disassemble and reassemble Pipsqueak’s scooter and getting an apple for Apple Bloom to turn into a tree. But as admirable as it is for Sweetie Belle to take leadership, her magic fizzles out, the scooter doesn’t hold itself together, and the apple grows until it explodes.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon gloat that the Crusaders aren’t in Twilight’s entourage anymore and that they didn’t come here to learn, but then Twilight reminds the other kids that they didn’t come to learn either. This attempt at owning the Crusaders failed, and the Crusaders apologize.
Sweetie Belle’s magic being colored green is an odd choice, but a fitting one knowing her eye color.
And besides, it’s a color I’ve always been fond of.
But as they apologize, the Crusaders unwittingly show that they’ve learned their new skills after all simply through practicing enough. Scootaloo rebuilds the scooter into a new shape, Apple Bloom uses a potion to grow a flower, and Sweetie Belle uses magic to lift the flower and put it on Twilight’s head. After three and a half seasons of Sweetie Belle not using magic, except for a tiny teaser in One Bad Apple, seeing her successfully use magic is a VERY satisfying payoff.
Before the episode’s resolution, we get a very well-placed lapse of humor: Spike has prepared an enormous plate of nachos, only to find out that everyone who was going to eat them has left. This poor guy can never catch a break, can he?
As the Crusaders all practice their skills, Sweetie Belle takes a turn to write a friendship journal entry, saying that she and fellow Crusaders got so carried away with the fame that comes with knowing someone special that they had forgotten why Twilight Sparkle is so special: because she’s their friend. I think this is a very good moral that makes good indirect use of Twilight’s role as a princess: if you’re friends with someone who has a special role or fanciful title, it isn’t right to take advantage of that, and instead you should appreciate them as the dear friend they are.
And for one last moment of humor, the Cutie Mark Crusaders exit Twilight’s house wearing ridiculous disguises in the hopes that no one will see them, since they’re trying to keep Twilight Time on the downlow now (but also because they look ridiculous). This shows that the Crusaders genuinely cherish their Twilight Time and know it’s something not to take for granted, especially considering Twilight’s status as a princess. They want to do anything it takes to keep going through these sessions as usual, even if it means dressing like this.
This is an extremely fun episode all around. It’s a satisfying way for Sweetie Belle to finally learn magic and for the other two Crusaders to pick up skills of their own, with very little mention of the prospect of getting their cutie marks. They know that they’re just learning for the fun of it, and they’ve formed quite a nice friendship with Twilight Sparkle in the process. This episode is also a fun way to make humor value from Twilight Sparkle’s status as a princess while still hinting at her broader character arc, telling us that she will indeed have a lot of responsibilities to deal with as the show goes on. Her overwhelmed reaction to all this attention she’s getting is also something easy for me to relate to.
Typically when I analyze a Twilight Sparkle episode in the first four seasons, I worry that I won’t have that much fun with it or like it as much as I did back in high school, only to be proven wrong.
- I’m going to guess that Twilight Sparkle’s favorite soft drink is a hyper-specific flavor of orange soda, and at fast food restaurants she refuses to ever drink anything else. I further imagine that if the restaurant she’s at doesn’t have the exact flavor of orange soda she’s looking for, she loudly groans and settles for some plain old water.
- I should note that at this point, Twist has basically been demoted to being part of the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ background cast. Characters in just about any show can suffer this fate, and typically they aren’t very popular ones anyway. But if you’re reading this and are a gigantic fan of Twist, please know that there’s nothing wrong with fixating on such a minor character.
While this episode was filled with teasers about Twilight Sparkle’s future character arc, the next one is a big throwback to older generations of MLP.
Season 4 Episode 16: It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies
In five words: Fluttershy’s excessive kindness gets exploited.
Premise: A group of tiny creatures called Breezies finds hospitality at Fluttershy’s place, which presents a dilemma for her since they’re supposed to return to their native land.
Isn’t it funny that the word “yay” in reverse is still just “yay”?
This episode starts with the memetic “yay” scene from the start of Sonic Rainboom, but in reverse. In preparation for the Breezies to migrate through Ponyville to their home, an event that Fluttershy is quite excited about, she gets the rest of the Mane 6 to practice a soft-spoken cheer for the Breezies. The cheer starts out way too loud, but it gradually gets quieter until Fluttershy lets out a loud “perfect”, then corrects herself and says what everyone wanted her to hear: her signature hilariously soft-spoken “yay”. This starts the episode on a fanservicey note before it delves into fanservice more centered on those who liked MLP’s prior generations.
Through his line of questioning, Mr. Cake sounds like a fan of this show trying to get its lore straightened out as he asks Fluttershy why the pegasi need to make a breeze for the Breezies. As Fluttershy explains it, she sounds either like a person working on the show or a fan who also knows a lot about its predecessors—I have no idea if the workings of Breezies in this episode are at all different from how they are in prior generations. As I said a few episodes ago, the whole concept of Breezies was lifted from old-school MLP and carried over to this show, and there will be a few more callbacks to prior generations (or “mythology gags” as TV Tropes calls them) throughout this season, culminating in the season finale’s villain.
Most characters don’t know as much about the Breezies about Fluttershy does, just as most fans probably never saw the pre-FiM episodes where Breezies first appeared.
It’s hard being a tiny dragon in a town full of ponies.
Well, maybe not HARD necessarily, but it certainly ain’t easy.
After a few gags where Rarity wears clothes that reflect the sunlight WAY too much, then takes them off to reveal something even brighter, the Breezies appear in all their glory. While their journey goes smoothly at first, Spike unwittingly causes trouble through his desperation to see these little creatures in person. Since ponies keep getting in the way of his view, he gets on a tree branch and accidentally lets a leaf loose, causing the Breezies to get separated. This poor guy has no shame in admitting he wants to see something cutesy for once, and this is what he’s paid with. Well, to be fair, he wanted to sit on Pinkie Pie’s back at first, but she refused because she was worried she would explode in excitement.
Fluttershy rescues all the Breezies who got separated by the breeze one by one, and her friends congratulate her for this heroic feat. The leader of the group of Breezies, named Seabreeze, is conveniently bilingual and is also quite the snarky type. When Spike joins the scene, he has the following to say:
Spike: Okay. Okay, okay! I know what you’re all thinking. Why don’t you just say it? I’m sorry!
Spike: This is all my fault. I’m so, so sorry!
Fluttershy: Oh, Spike. It’s okay. It could have happened to any one of us.
Fluttershy isn’t quite right: among the non-Breezie characters present in the scene, only Spike is small enough to have to go through so much trouble to see the migration. But Fluttershy has a natural skill in consoling others through kindness, and she succeeded in doing so here.
The next scene shows us that Fluttershy is a little too good at being kind. The Breezies have all started to view Fluttershy’s place as a safe haven, and Fluttershy has become convinced that she needs to keep them at her house and protect them from the outside world. The rest of the Mane 6 are confused at this change of pace, given how important it was for the Breezies to return to their homeland, which shows that sometimes Fluttershy’s kindness can be shortsighted.
Seabreeze: We need to go now, or we will never get home! I wish we did not need that stupid breeze to activate our magic, or I would just force you all to fly home right now.
Seabreeze: Why do we have to need magic to keep our pollen safe?
Fluttershy: Now, Seabreeze…
Seabreeze: Why are you dealing into these wimps? If they had not been so scared in the first place, this never would have happened.
Fluttershy: Well, that is just not true, Seabreeze. It was because of a leaf! And you know that.
Seabreeze: Oh, puh-lease. They have no idea what they’re doing out there. Like you said, we need as much time as we can get because they are so incompetent!
For a one-time character, Seabreeze has a surprising amount of depth to his portrayal. He’s portrayed as the “tough leader” type loosely akin to Rainbow Dash, having no tolerance for the others’ loafing around when they’re supposed to be getting something done. When speaking the Breezie language, he doesn’t seem to hold back on vulgarity if Fluttershy’s reactions are anything to go by. He’s all around a refreshingly no-nonsense guy.
Right when Fluttershy decides to release the Breezies, they all start pretending to be sick so they can stay longer. And knowing how Fluttershy always sees the best in others, it makes sense that she’d fall for it. The thought that these creatures would lie about anything is unthinkable to her, and it doesn’t help that it’s 20 or so of everyone else against only one of Seabreeze.
The Breezies are having the time of their life in Fluttershy’s place, and they’ve gotten her to procrastinate on the important task of sending them home. Eventually, Seabreeze loses his patience and sneaks out through Fluttershy’s peephole when her back is turned. His willingness to ditch his fellow Breezies sets him apart from other leaderly types, further adding flavor to his character.
Not shown: Seabreeze covering his eyes on the way to the beehive, which is very adorable.
Trying to find his way home, Seabreeze comes close to being killed as he dodges falling acorns and then accidentally invades a beehive. Fluttershy wasn’t kidding when she said Ponyville is a dangerous place for these creatures to go through: they’re so tiny that ordinary small objects are deadly hazards for them.
Where did the bee costume come from?
I would say she pulled it out of thin air, but that’s what Pinkie Pie does.
In a demonstration of the difficulties of kindness, Fluttershy first tries politely telling the bees to back off, and it doesn’t work. Then she wiggles while wearing a bee costume, asking if this brings to mind any imagery: a scene that shows her genuine knowledge of bee biology and her innocent obliviousness to the more suggestive implications some may draw from the scene.
But then, Fluttershy drops her gentle kindness and brutally tells the bees to go back in their hive and leave Seabreeze alone—something we’ve seen her do with other creatures before and is no less satisfying this time. This scene nicely shows that sometimes in life, gentle kindness will not get you out of a situation, and you may need to be harsh and firm to protect your friends. She saved Seabreeze’s life, and he’s as thankful for her as he is frustrated with the other Breezies for not wanting to go home.
Fluttershy: Oh my goodness. I was just trying not to hurt any creature’s feelings. My displays of kindness may have cost you everything.
Fluttershy: (gasps) Time is running out. And you may never make it home!
Seabreeze: That is exactly what I have been telling all of them! But they do not listen to me. No Breezie ever listens to me!
Fluttershy: Seabreeze, I understand your feelings are hurt. But it’s hard for them to hear you when you’re shouting and being mean. The message doesn’t get across.
Seabreeze: But what about those bees? You were not nice to them, and that was the only way they listened.
Fluttershy: Yes, but they had to go. And they wouldn’t listen to me any other way.
Season 4, especially the episodes that end with an object that flashes with a rainbow, has a recurring theme of the Mane 6 teaching others friendship lessons. Coco Pommel learns about the magic of generosity from Rarity, the Wonderbolts take away something important about loyalty from Rainbow Dash, and Cheese Sandwich reveals that he learned the joy of making others smile from Pinkie Pie. And now, Seabreeze is learning from Fluttershy how to lead with kindness and respect instead of constantly whining and putting others down. I can’t help but compare the guy to Rainbow Dash some more. Rainbow Dash tends to be a harsh leader, but she always treats others like her loyal teammates and regularly reminds them why they’ve come together. Seabreeze has a problem with insulting others when he’s trying to get them to stop slacking off, and he’s learning from Fluttershy how to be a better leader.
This next scene reminds us of something important about Fluttershy. Though she’s usually thought of as a slow flier, the speed at which she flies correlates to her determination to save her friends, which is at a high point here. She’s flying so fast that Seabreeze is struggling to hold on to her until she slows down, remembering the gentle pace needed to accommodate these creatures.
Fluttershy sternly leads all the Breezies outside, then starts crying about how she almost ended their lives by being too kind. This together with the other pegasi being unable to keep a breeze that’s the right degree of intensity shows that this episode isn’t quite over yet; soon enough, we have the part that was probably devised for the sake of selling merch but I don’t really care that much whether it was.
Twilight Sparkle performs a spell on herself and her friends that she learned from the Castle of the Two Sisters—the same castle they all explored in Castle Mane-ia. At this point, the castle is a convenient location to use as a resource for unfamiliar new magic spells, which is cool to have because of its strong significance to the show’s lore.
The result of Twilight’s spell is that the Mane 6 now have Breezie designs. I find it pretty neat that this throwback to old-school MLP ended up being another episode significant to the season’s overarching plot, not just an irrelevant one-off. Part of the fun of this show is that it manages to work many of its most unexpected events into the plot instead of being one-offs that are never spoken of again, but I already talked about this in Pinkie Pride.
Not shown: Seabreeze reuniting with his loving wife and daughter.
(This is a random reference to a random 90’s Nic Cage movie that I threw in for no particular reason.)
(I also don’t know if Seabreeze’s baby is a girl or not.)
To indicate the moral Fluttershy taught him, Seabreeze apologizes to his fellow Breezies for how he treated them, then leads the way for them to enter the Breezies’ world. This is a cute little payoff for the Mane 6 successfully bringing the Breezies home; a quick look at the culture of another species, which we’ll get much more of in later seasons, especially seasons 8-9. I don’t specifically mean the culture of Breezies, but non-pony species in general.
Seabreeze gives Fluttershy a flower to remember him by, and the Mane 6 exit the Breezies’ world just before the door closes. As all that happens, Fluttershy narrates the episode’s moral, which says that excessive kindness can hurt someone, and sometimes the kindest thing you can do to someone is something they don’t initially want that’s for their own good. This moral fits Fluttershy’s episodes nicely and adds a layer of depth to her element of harmony.
And after the Mane 6 turn back to normal…
Rainbow Dash: So, uh… I’ve always kind of wondered what it’s like to be a griffon.
Twilight Sparkle: Not a chance.
Rainbow Dash: You sure? What about a dragon? No?
Rainbow Dash: It doesn’t have to shoot fire!
I find it hilarious that Rainbow Dash, the character who often serves as a stand-in for bronies, is this time serving as a stand-in for a closely related fandom: furries. Bronies are NOT automatically furries by definition because that would be stupid, but there’s no denying that those two communities have a lot of intersection, and it’s quite endearing to see Rainbow Dash get excited about the possibility of turning into other species. When it comes down to it, Rainbow Dash is a gigantic nerd, and there’s no two ways about it.
And to finish this episode off, Fluttershy’s flower from Seabreeze flashes with a rainbow. Viewers are sure to pick up on a pattern by now.
This is an episode with a relatively simple plot that works quite nicely. I feel like it’s basically what Putting Your Hoof Down was trying to be, but without all the annoying contrivances and strange exaggerations. Introducing an entirely new species with a snarky and impatient leader is a good way for the show to demonstrate through Fluttershy how to balance kindness and assertiveness that doubles as an homage to this show’s roots.
I don’t have anything funny to say alongside my verdict this time. Just an episode I don’t see significant issues in.
- Applejack mentions that the Breezies are as cute as Apple Bloom on the day she was born, which implies their age difference is large enough that Applejack was old enough to remember Apple Bloom’s birth. This itself implies that Applejack was probably old enough to remember her parents before their mysterious disappearance, which all in all subtly drives the mystery of her forebears.
- Now that I think of it, I’m not sure if Fluttershy’s statements about animals using vulgar language are that reliable. We’re talking about the pony who covered her mouth in embarrassment after saying the word “peeved”.
With this episode done, we revisit the Cutie Mark Crusaders once more in an episode focused on struggling to gain an authority figure’s trust.
See you next week as we finally meet Maud Pie!!!!!!! And Apple Bloom does a few things too.