Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 40: Inspiration Manifestation + Equestria Games


< Part 39 | Part 40 | Part 41 >

Season 4, Episodes 23-24

Random fact: I wrote this entire post during my trip to Spain a few weeks ago. It was one of the main things I did when sitting around at the hotels: that, and practicing speaking Spanish. (And waiting to get a negative COVID-19 test, which I thankfully got in the end, allowing me to fly home.)

Season 4 Episode 23: Inspiration Manifestation

In five words: Rarity goes mad with power.

Premise: Spike tries to help Rarity out of a creative dry spell by finding a book that gives her extraordinarily dangerous powers.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a quick look at an event called the Ponyville Foal and Filly Fair, an event whose name translates to, uh, “Kid and Girl Fair”? Rarity shows us a fanciful puppet stage she lovingly designed with some help from Spike, describing the strenuous hours spent in her typical overdramatic manner but expecting it to be worth it in the end…

Unicorns are probably the only type of pony capable of putting on a puppet show. They have hooves, not hands.

… except the guy hosting the puppet show says the stage is awful and deems it completely unusable. By this point, Rarity has been in such a situation where her customer rejects her art quite a lot of times, and this time she won’t even think of reworking her artwork because that always gets her into more mishaps.

So instead, we FINALLY reach the scene that I thought for sure happened in Simple Ways ten episodes ago. Rarity does the hilariously stereotypical girly thing of washing away her sorrows by eating a whole bunch of ice cream straight out of the tub. She intersperses her dialogue by eating more and more spoonfuls of ice cream, and if you look at Spike’s expression:

This is the face of someone who sees a problem to solve. By now, we’ve had many Rarity episodes where she falls into a complete nervous breakdown and has to be pulled out of it somehow, and this time Spike is bravely taking the problem his own little dragon claws.

Motivated by his desire to help Rarity make a creative contribution to the fair, Spike ventures out to Celestia and Luna’s old castle, with Owlowiscious by his side to provide us a bunch of “who?” jokes. When he tries to pull one of the books from the shelf, it activates a switch and this happens:

Much like the many shenanigans we saw in Castle Mane-ia, this scene is reminiscent of secrets in exploration-based video games. You examine an object (in this case a book) that looks a little different from the ones surrounding it, and you suddenly unlock a secret room that contains a vital power-up that you can now use to FINALLY get past that one frustratingly impossible room and progress through the rest of the game.

This castle probably wasn’t meant for a dragon to explore.

The secret room is protected by a lock, but Spike can bypass this with his cool unique dragon powers which are a real thing he has unlike what some episodes may suggest. He uses his fire breath to melt the lock, which is a cool scene that hints at more scenes where Spike uses this ability beyond just delivering letters, like in the next episode for one. This scene could be seen as equivalent to performing an unintended skip in a video game. Either that, or a puzzle that requires you to think outside the box.

Owlowiscious: Hoo! Hoo!
Spike: What? If I wasn’t supposed to have it, it wouldn’t be so easy to get. And it’s covered in spikes, like me!

Spike does raise an interesting point here. I’m unsure whether it makes more sense to think the book is something Spike was never meant to obtain, or to think he was always meant to acquire it and then learn a friendship lesson from it. The spell shares its name with this episode, and it allows anyone to bring their ideas to life. It sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it?

Looks like Rarity ate quite a variety of ice cream flavors before apparently settling on vanilla oat swirl.

While MLP normally does an excellent job at making viewers invested in its characters, I find Rarity’s ice cream mental breakdown side-splitting. It’s one of the scenes from season 4 that stuck out the most to me during my six-year break from watching the show—maybe because it was towards the end of the season?—and her storm of melodrama further becomes hard to take seriously when she lists three adjectives in a row describing her mood that start with D. That’s how Rarity always is during her meltdowns: her extreme degree of melodrama considerably dampens the emotional factor.

When a unicorn’s magic color is different from usual, it can mean one of three things: corruption, impersonation by a changeling, or or an animation error.
(Though the third is easy to wave off as the second.)

Spike gives Rarity the book with the magic spell, and it works like a charm. When I reviewed Magical Mystery Cure and Power Ponies, I talked about how Rarity can go mad with power if her magic skills are given an upgrade. Right away, she uses the power of the spell to make the book look nice and fancy and make her couch look fancier too. It’s a good thing she read the contents of the spellbook aloud, because Spike will later remember the part about speaking true words.

Puppeteer: I say, Miss Rarity, I don’t know how you managed to do so in such a short amount of time, but you seem to have redeemed yourself.
Puppeteer: How did you manage to do so with such a short time?
Spike: As a matter of fact, she used a s—
Rarity: A good designer never reveals her tricks.

Rarity going off the deep end is by no means an immediate process, and this passage proves as much. She still has her humorous tendency to fumble her way through awkward situations instead of admitting the truth, just like how Trixie always was self-absorbed and the magical amulet just allowed her to exert her desires. Rarity also has inner desires for fame and glory, just that her powers’ limitations allow her to remain fairly humble.

This episode straddles the line between being a Rarity episode and a Spike episode, but my brain definitely considers it a Rarity episode.

Rarity almost gives Spike the book back, but then she changes her mind and asks if she can keep it for a little longer, and Spike agrees because he sees no harm. Spike has a long-running tendency to underestimate problems, and Rarity is starting to go mad with the extreme power and prestige she’s always dreamed of having. This is why Rarity didn’t become an alicorn princess: if she did, she would no doubt wreak havoc. (Well, the real reason is obviously because making the protagonist a princess sells merch the best, but the reason I gave is more fun.)

Spike keeps going along with Rarity’s requests to keep the book a little longer, while Owlowiscious expresses disapproval. Since Rarity is a unicorn, her powers are already quite dangerous, but this is on another level. We’re exploring the power-hungry side of Rarity in greater depth than ever before; a facet of her character that she’s normally inhibited from expressing.

Rarity is a pony who easily gets carried away with her creative projects. And with the time it takes to make a thoughtful creative design reduced to an instant, her designs become impulsive and tacky. This new unhinged side of Rarity’s character has proven satisfyingly easy to tie in with her usual self… so far, at least.

Rarity: Isn’t it gorgeous?
Spike: It’s amazing. You should ask Applejack if she wants you to give all the Apple family carts a makeover.
Rarity: Oh, I don’t really think I need to ask permission, darling. Everyone loves surprises… especially when they’re gorgeous ones!

Now that I think of it, if Rarity had asked Applejack for permission to give all the carts a makeover, her spell would have been broken much more quickly, because the spell breaks when true words are spoken and you know how Applejack is with true words. Yes, it’s a common meme to say that Applejack isn’t really honest, but season 4 is where she starts being properly portrayed this way. Better late than never!

Rarity: We shouldn’t even tell anypony that it’s me who’s behind all the fabulous changes I’ll be making! (laughs) Won’t that be a fun little secret for the three of us to share?
Spike: The… three of us?
Rarity: You, me, and the book of course.

Spike is weirded out by Rarity’s implication that she views the book as a person like herself and Spike, but how could he ever not be loyal to his crush? This is getting me thinking again about Spike at Your Service and how it’s chock-full of remnants of its original plot with him serving Rarity.

Continuing her rampage across Ponyville, Rarity meddles in her friends’ lives with fancy designs like the extravagant birdhouse shown above while oblivious to the annoyance it’s causing her friends. At this point, I have to suspect that the spellbook also gives a corrupting effect to Rarity’s brain. Then again, she’s acting completely on impulse here, and when given the ability to do powerful things on impulse, you no longer are forced to be careful and think about what you’re doing.

Rarity, why would you do that?

Here’s the point where Rarity definitely stops feeling like Rarity. In Sweet and Elite, she nervously took a bite of this stereotypical fancy food and even dipped it in chocolate hoping it would taste better only to spit it out anyway; I remember this because I analyzed that scene in needless amounts of detail. But here, she is overhauling a kids’ birthday party by replacing all the cake and candy with that very same style of “fancy food”. This is this episode’s main issue: after a certain point, Rarity stops feeling at all like her regular self.

Then in a small bit of fanservice, Rarity replaces the ponies playing lively country music at the party with some playing slow classical music, which includes the beloved Octavia Melody. She says it’s “one more thing” before doing so, which helps indicate that this scene throws a bone to fans. But it isn’t only there for fanservice; Octavia Melody is a recognizable pony who we’ve seen before, meaning that this scene indicates Rarity’s new power to replace ponies doesn’t overwrite them but instead makes them swap places with others. That’s a good thing to indicate because otherwise it would be horrifying to imagine overwriting a character, and this is cleverly done through the inclusion of a fan favorite background pony.

Twilight Sparkle reveals she’s been noticing something amiss about Ponyville: a mysterious figure making everything weirdly fancy, who Spike pretends not to know about. Maybe it says something that all this isn’t immediately suspected to be Rarity’s doing. It shows that the magic spell messed with her mind more than anyone could have anticipated, most of all Spike.

Mayor Mare tells Twilight Sparkle that two ponies are trapped in a solid crystal, and Twilight springs to action and leaves the scene. It’s interesting that Twilight spends most of this episode doing important things offscreen, and that’s something I don’t think would have happened in season 1. As fun and lovable as Twilight Sparkle is, it’s nice to have breaks from the show always focusing on her even when unnecessary.

There’s no explanation for why Spike and Owlowiscious can communicate with each other like Fluttershy and any animal, but maybe it’s left for fans to speculate.

Owlowiscious: Hoo.
Spike: No. I made a promise to Rarity to keep this to myself.
Owlowiscious: Hoo?
Spike: (sigh) But you’re right, Owlowiscious. I have to tell. And once I do… I can forget Rarity thinking of me as her most supportive friend.
Spike: I can forget Rarity thinking of me as a friend at all.

Here, Spike faces a real, understandable moral dilemma that doesn’t feel exaggerated or randomly malicious like his episodes tend to do to him. While the handling of Spike’s character has been somewhat controversial throughout the show, in this episode it’s easy to understand why he thinks it’s a bad idea to tell Rarity she’s going overboard. It’ll soon lead to a nice little message about being honest with your friends.

Spike and Owlowiscious team up to distract Rarity and snatch her book, with Spike telling another lie so as to unwittingly keep the spell intact. But then, some cartoon logic happens as Spike swallows the book in one gulp. I find it weird that Spike didn’t burn the book with his usual dragon powers. Maybe he felt Rarity would have noticed that and felt the secrecy of swallowing the book made up for how illogical it is? Or maybe a dragon’s stomach consumes food and other items by setting them on fire? Who can say for sure? Either way, it turns out Rarity can continue performing these spells without needing the book. As is typical of this show, the solution to this predicament is a little something called “friendship”.

The green magic oozing out of Rarity’s eyes is a little unsettling.

Rarity gets ready to spread her shiny, glittery mayhem across all of Equestria, but Spike stops her by finally telling her the truth, and that’s how the spell is broken. Rarity doesn’t remember doing any of this, Spike explains to her what happened, and the two reconcile. This is how Spike learns that part of being a supportive friend is being honest with them, as he writes in his friendship journal entry.

But who has to do all the dirty work and take care of the aftermath offscreen? None other than Twilight Sparkle, and boy is she annoyed about it. She had to pull Luna and Cadance out of their daily business to help her clean up Ponyville, and she gives Spike a real piece of her mind because that’s what good friends do. Spike then tells her she doesn’t look good, then claims he’s just being honest. This ends the episode on a note of annoyance from our usual protagonist, indicating how much the show has evolved since the times where every episode ended with a letter from her.

Overall thoughts:

This episode is one of the strongest Spike episodes so far, but it’s also one of the weakest Rarity episodes so far. I’m not saying that Rarity episodes are normally good and Spike episodes are normally bad; I’m saying that this episode handles Spike’s character better than Rarity’s. Spike goes through a moral dilemma that fits his character well and feels smooth, whereas Rarity abruptly transitions to a super-exaggerated flavor of fanciness that feels off. This one has a nice, simple friendship lesson, one that works but doesn’t strike as hard as most other season 4 episodes.

Grade: C

The streak of A’s and B’s has been broken! I like this episode, just a little less than the last several.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • This episode is making me wonder what would happen if I had the power to instantly write a long, detailed review of any episode of any show. That kind of sounds horrible and would quickly take away all the fun.
  • I wonder if the magic spell in this episode would work on non-unicorns? It probably would, but then it wouldn’t have the helpful unusually colored magic to indicate corruption. But maybe none of this matters if you believe every single event in this show is predestined.
  • Twilight’s mention of getting two other princesses to help her clean Ponyville gives us a nice power scale for Rarity’s dark magic. It suggests that while corrupted by her book, Rarity’s magic was three times as powerful as alicorn magic! I wonder if that would make her an even match against the show’s biggest reality warpers, Discord and Pinkie Pie?

We’re close to done with season 4! Next up is a much more typical flavor of Spike episode than this one.

Season 4 Episode 24: Equestria Games

In five words: Spike greatly struggles with nervousness.

Premise: The Equestria Games finally happen, and Spike is designated to be the one to light the torch. His nervousness leads him to mishaps that eventually lead to a moment of heroism.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a train ride to the Crystal Empire, with everyone involved in Ponyville’s part of the Equestria Games ready for action regardless of whether they win. I have nothing to say about this scene otherwise.

The first interesting thing that happens here is the reveal that in the Crystal Empire, Spike is universally known as “Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious” because of the crucial part he played in saving the empire. This running joke doesn’t take long to get old, but it does indicate the deep, earnest importance the residents of the Crystal Empire place in both their fabled heroes and their fearsome villains like King Sombra. Another interesting thing to note is that Cadance mentions Spike will be the first dragon to light the torch at the Equestria Games, which demonstrates how distant the cultures of dragons and ponies normally are. Spike is a major anomaly among dragons in terms of upbringing, and we’ve seen that most dragons barely know anything about ponies. I wonder if a griffon has ever been selected to light the torch? It would be plausible considering that they also participate in the Equestria Games, matching their competitive nature.

Oh hey, here’s a huge crowd shot with lots of details meant for sharp-eyed fans to notice. So as not to distract from this review too much, I’ll discuss the details seen in this image in the miscellaneous notes.

Aw, look at Twilight’s face. It says more than words can.

In a wordless scene, Twilight Sparkle awkwardly gets on her special princess chair and Cadance excitedly waves at her in a gesture of sister-in-law-ly love. Then she looks down at the three Mane 6 members who aren’t participating in the games, all seated together.

This episode is where several prior ones come together: Games Ponies Play, Flight to the Finish, and Rainbow Falls.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders perform their flag routine, and the Ponyville team members pass through it one by one. This is what they all say:

Rainbow Dash: Awesome!
Fluttershy: yay
Bulk Biceps: YEAH!
(Derpy says nothing)

I’ve always found it a little odd that Derpy doesn’t get a one-word line here like the other three, though it’s obvious why. The people making this episode didn’t want another Derpy controversy, and perhaps Slice of Life was already planned to happen, which would be the return of her speaking without any controversy.

Twilight Sparkle loudly cheers for her friends, then awkwardly smiles to Celestia, who nods in response as if to tell her it’s OK to be excited. Another wordless demonstration of how insecure she feels about being a princess, something that’s lightly shown here and fully addressed in this season’s incredible finale.

What’s addressed in this episode is Spike’s insecurities about being in a high-up role, which he seems to have in common with Twilight Sparkle. While Twilight has struggled with being seen as big and important throughout this season, only now does Spike find himself in a similar situation. He normally enjoys getting attention and praise, but not to a degree like this. Being held in such absurdly high regard is so foreign to him, and he doesn’t have an authority figure like Celestia to reassure him. Twilight Sparkle probably thinks he’s perfectly fine with being seen as so important.

The tiny fizzle of fire breath is hard to see as a still frame.

But the thing with Spike is that he had an antisocial upbringing, much like Twilight Sparkle. Maybe even more so, because he didn’t know any fellow dragons growing up and probably stuck to Twilight for the most part. As such, when he’s up at the center of the arena, surrounded by an audience in the tens of thousands, he can’t light the torch. Twilight Sparkle says “Equestria, we have a problem”, a reference to a famous quote involving Houston but referencing an entire country* rather than just a city, indicating how incredibly dire this problem is.

* Equestria is a country, right? Please tell me I’m right.

He did it!
(To make the sentence above true, put an S at the start.)

Focusing hard on her magic, Twilight Sparkle bails Spike out by lighting the torch for him. This is a heat-of-the-moment decision with unforeseen consequences, not just because it’s practically impossible to hold in a lie forever.

I LOVE Rainbow Dash’s deep, drawn-out “sup”.

When the Mane 6 reconvene along with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Twilight Sparkle tells them that she secretly lit the torch for Spike, and that she knows she will have to tell him the truth at some point, but he joins the scene before they can talk much further.

Twilight Sparkle: Spike! Is everything okay?
Spike: I guess. I don’t know! The weirdest thing happened down there.
Twilight Sparkle: Yeah… about that, I—
Spike: I mean, there I was, trying to light the torch with all of Equestria watching—and feeling like the hugest failure ever—and then the thing just… lit! It was amazing.
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, phew! I was afraid you’d be upset.
Spike: Upset? Are you kidding? Why would I be upset to discover I can light fire… with my mind?

If Spike just came to the false revelation that he has some kind of wacky psychic fire-lighting powers, then why was he looking so down when he approached his friends? Did he only come to this revelation after explaining it out loud? That just might be it. But whatever the case, I find this misconception of his hilarious and befitting of his self-image. Some people might find Spike obnoxious or excessively embarrassing in this episode, but his scenes are funny enough that I don’t mind.

I love Spike. He’s been a fun and lovable character since the beginning, regardless of what you think of his episodes.

When approached by two crystal ponies who want his autograph, Spike returns to his regular chipper self and is excited to demonstrate his supposed ability to burn things with his mind, but then Twilight Sparkle pulls him aside and reveals the truth. He really doesn’t take it well.

I like how Lyra Heartstrings was used as a demonstration of this device.

The next event is the aerial relay race, the one that Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Bulk Biceps are participating in. But before the event starts, the unicorns have to pass through the Spike Episode Plot Device. You remember that thing from Power Ponies, right? It’s taken a new form here resembling a metal detector, and its effects aren’t quite as strong. The only thing it does is disable unicorn magic, but that still changes a lot since they’re easily the most powerful type of pony. The device’s purpose is supposedly to prevent unicorns from cheating, but if so, why wasn’t it used right at the start of the games? Wait, I know why. It was so that Twilight Sparkle’s magic could serve the plot before her magic was powered down to serve the plot.

I’m sorry if I’m being too snarky about my whole “Spike Episode Plot Device” thing. It’s just that once I saw people make the criticism that in Spike’s episodes, others typically have to be powered down to let him do something heroic, I simply can’t not notice it.

This hoof bump shows that Rainbow Dash, whose team got second place, now knows how to be a good sport.

Spike asks Ms. Harshwhinny for something new to do at the Equestria Games, almost explaining that he wasn’t the one who lit the torch before Harshwhinny interrupts him and thinks he’s just desperate for attention. He’s actually desperate to have a personal moment of fulfillment, which he almost gets when he thinks he’s about to sing the Ponyville anthem word-for-word…

Obligatory mention that Cathy Weseluck really did improvise this scene, making it feel authentic.

… except he instead has to sing the Cloudsdale anthem because their team won the race, which he has never even heard before. He improvises lyrics on the spot in a scene that I find just as hilarious today as I did when I first watched this episode. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone could not find this clumsy, faltering improvisation hilarious. I mean, he makes up on the spot that Cloudsdale has lots of nice trees, even though the city is located in the clouds and therefore can’t have any! Towards the end of the song, he keeps thinking it’s over but it takes a long time to end, which almost feels like a commentary on how lots of songs, especially the proud anthem march type, almost sound like they’re about to end only to go “haha nope” and make the listener wait longer.

We see the audience make horrified faces throughout the performance, and it ends with a completely silent stage with two exceptions: a baby crying and Pinkie Pie saying “Nailed it!” As usual, Pinkie Pie’s chipper mood is nearly impossible to break.

I can easily imagine Applejack or Rarity asking the Crusaders to check on Spike.
(Actually, more easily Applejack.)

Apple Bloom: Spike! You coming?
Spike: Nah, I got this stuff to pack up.
Scootaloo: But you’ve been moping in here for almost the entire Games.
Sweetie Belle: And tonight’s the closing ceremony!
Spike: Which means we leave tomorrow, ergo, the packing.

It’s a little weird that even though this episode is supposed to be about the Equestria Games, the fact that we skipped through so much of the games by revealing Spike sat out most of them moping about his embarrassment tells us otherwise. That’s a common criticism this episode has gotten, but all the prior episodes relating to the games focus more on the friendship lessons learned from those experiences than preparing for the games themselves. Still, it is kind of odd that we glossed over this much.

Spike’s statement to Twilight that she never lets anyone down is an emotional demonstration of his insecurities, but I feel I’ve discussed the topic of characters feeling inferior to her plenty already.

Shining Armor reveals the final event of the Equestria Games to be ice archery. In this game, the arrows freeze whatever part of the target they hit, and the first person to cover their entire target in ice wins. I must say, this episode is really going out of its way to devise a scenario where Spike can do something cool and heroic, which as I’ve said is a common Spike episode problem.

One of the athletes slips and accidentally fires an arrow straight at a cloud. Somehow, the arrow froze not just a small portion of the cloud like it did with the targets, but rather the entire cloud. The icy cloud descends onto the arena, leaving everyone in peril since the unicorns’ magic was disabled. I have to wonder whether the unicorn magic disabling device has been used every Equestria Games or not, and if so, how prior hazards have been dealt with… oh wait, I briefly forgot it’s called the Spike Episode Plot Device and only exists in Spike episodes.

It took a lot of contrivances and situations to line up, but he did it!

But if you forget about the contrivances this episode had to make to lead up to it, Spike’s grand heroic moment really is pretty awesome. As the pegasi try to move the cloud away, he leaps to action, jumps onto Shining Armor and the various other pegasi, and uses his dragon breath to destroy the icy cloud.

This episode has quite a few scenes that wrongly give Twilight Sparkle pegasus wings.

Cadance: I just wanted to thank you personally for saving those ponies and the games, oh Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious. You must be very proud.
Spike: I guess.
Everyone else: You guess?!
Spike: I just saw what needed to be done and reacted. Just so happens I can breathe fire and… if any of you could do that, you’d have done the same.

Everyone in the scene is proud of Spike for his big moment of heroism, but he still has doubts given his prior mishaps. When saying that he simply saw what needed to be done, he’s unknowingly defining what it means to have a cool moment of heroism. Still, doing something big and heroic itself doesn’t make Spike finally feel confident in himself. He also needs to let go of his prior mishaps, which he narrates in this episode’s ending after he agrees to light fireworks for Cadance.

Ponyville won the medal count by just one, and Pinkie Pie’s exaggerated reactions show that the episode knows how predictable this is.

Spike: You know, it’s kind of weird. No matter how many times others tell you you’re great, all the praise in the world means nothing if you don’t feel it inside.
Spike: Sometimes to feel good about yourself, you’ve got to let go of the past. That way, when the time comes to let your greatness fly, you’ll be able to light up the whole sky.

This is a moral that I feel is well fit for the show’s fans, especially the kind who gets praised a lot for their creative work and other such accomplishments. Feeling numb to praise is something I’ve seen people struggle with plenty, including myself sometimes, and letting go of the past is indeed a valuable thing to know. The episode ends with some good old fireworks, which are a foolproof, if slightly cheesy, way to end an episode on a positive note.

Overall thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this episode. The moral is good, Spike’s emotional doubts are well-conveyed, and his clumsy improvisation over the Cloudsdale anthem is legendary. We get some good insight into his character from seeing him suddenly be the object of enormous attention and praise, like Twilight Sparkle has been throughout this season. It’s also nice to wrap up the Equestria Games arc of season 4 right before its finale, giving some fulfillment to Spike before the grandiose epic anime battles that are to follow. But I can’t ignore how heavily this episode went out of its way to let Spike do something heroic, with the unicorns being powered down and a very specific hazard where Spike is the only non-unicorn who can deal with it. It doesn’t feel like this situation arose naturally at all. Though I’ve always been a fan of Spike’s character, his episodes often run into the same major problems.

Grade: C

Spike’s episodes will eventually improve a lot, but not before we get through… shudder… Princess Spike.

Miscellaneous notes:

About the crowd group shot early in the episode (click here for full size):

  • Silver Shill way on the left is weirdly wearing the same goofy outfit that he took off after he quit working for the Flim Flam brothers. Could it be that this episode chronologically took place before Leap of Faith? I don’t like acting as though episodes’ release order doesn’t match their in-universe order, but it’s fun to justify continuity errors.
  • Coco Pommel is there near the left too. I’m noting this solely because I like Coco Pommel.
  • The crowd seems to have two copies of Cheerilee for some reason, both with fillies that appear to be her students next to them. Instead of the fallback changeling excuse, I’m going to guess that the one further on the right is a totally different pony who happens to look a lot like Cheerilee, since we never do see her cutie mark.
  • On the big center part of the stage, bottom row, fourth spot to the left, we see Cherry Jubilee of all characters alongside a bunch of big-name rulers and celebrities. This heavily implies that she has some high status too, perhaps as the mayor or equivalent of Dodge Junction, and that this seemingly insignificant little town is participating in the Equestria Games. I wonder what other secrets Cherry Jubilee has up her sleeve?
  • I’m going to guess the huge white pony about two-thirds to the right on the bottom is Bulk Biceps’ mother. I am definitely not the first person to presume that.

Miscellaneous miscellaneous notes:

  • I believe this episode is the first time in the show a real-life month is mentioned: Applejack mentions August in a farming metaphor to show how proud she is of Apple Bloom. Somehow, I had never picked up on this confirmation that MLP probably uses the same months humans do. Then again, It’s About Time also mentioned regular human days of the week.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. I can hardly believe it, but next up is season 4’s BOMBSHELL of a finale.

See you next week for the most excited I’ve ever been to analyze a season finale: Twilight’s Kingdom, a badass two-part episode with a badass name.

>> Part 41: Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 1 + 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s