Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 24: Magic Duel + Sleepless in Ponyville

Introduction

< Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 >

Season 3, Episodes 5-6

Pointless trivia: I worked on my review of Magic Duel entirely within my own house, whereas I worked on my review of Sleepless in Ponyville entirely within a hotel room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Pandemic restrictions or not, I’m happy to report I had a great time at MAGFest 2022 (though as of this post’s publication, it already ended a few weeks ago).


Season 3 Episode 5: Magic Duel

In five words: Boast Busters’ much better sequel.

Premise: After getting brutally owned in Boast Busters, Trixie returns to Ponyville with a desire for revenge and a special magical amulet.

Detailed run-through:

The intro portion of this episode teases viewers with loose hints of a familiar face. A hooded figure goes to a shop to obtain a dangerous magical amulet, and while she’s denied it at first, she gets it after giving the shopkeeper a big bag of money. Trixie is a fan favorite character, so it makes sense that her return would start off subtle.

After this, we get a scene of Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills much like she did at the start of Boast Busters, showing that she’s sharpened her magic prowess since then. She uses a magic spell to levitate Fluttershy’s animals in a gentle looping formation, keeping them calm and happy despite Fluttershy’s extreme nervousness. Again like Boast Busters, this scene shows that Twilight takes great pride in her magic skills. Twilight then mentions Celestia hired her for the entertainment in an upcoming special event. She’s clearly referring to magic tricks here, and that was the one thing Trixie thought she was so good at.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 23: Too Many Pinkie Pies + One Bad Apple

Introduction

< Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 >

Season 3, Episodes 3-4


Season 3 Episode 3: Too Many Pinkie Pies

In five words: Pinkie’s cloning attempt wreaks havoc.

Premise: Faced with the problem that she can’t spend time with all her friends at once, Pinkie Pie finds a way to make more of herself. This very quickly gets out of hand.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Twilight Sparkle practicing magic, only to be interrupted by a surprise hug from Pinkie Pie. This is yet another scene that I feel indicates these two have a somewhat lopsided friendship. Plenty of times, Pinkie gets on Twilight’s nerves with her zany antics, and their testy dynamic prevails all the way to season 9 in A Trivial Pursuit, but I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Pinkie Pie is bubbling up with her extreme hyperactive energy and didn’t let much of it out in her hug with Twilight. She’s like a bottle of soda that has been shaken up, ready to explode with carbonation when opened, and as such her behavior is more insane than usual. When she sees Rarity made a new fancy dress without having Pinkie Pie around, she panics like crazy about missing out on all her friends’ fun times.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 22: The Crystal Empire, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 >

Season 3, Episodes 1-2

NOTE: I published this post about an hour early so that I could get it out and update the previous MLP post and introduction post before going off to do convention things.

How appropriate for my first MLP post of 2022 to be number 22. Well, I actually wrote this post in 2021, but I held off publishing it until 2022 to give my posting schedule some breathing room. 2022 is a complete open book for me; aside from me attending MAGFest at the start (as of this post’s publication, I’m at the convention right now), only time will tell what experiences I will go through as the year progresses.

Also, here’s how season 3 will be divided up. Season 3 consists of 13 episodes, so each post will take up two episodes, except for Magical Mystery Cure, which will get a post all to itself. Not because I expect my review of that episode to be extremely lengthy, but simply because the season has an odd number of episodes and I had said I wasn’t going to do posts covering three episodes anymore. Because of this, one episode of season 3 has to get a post all to itself, so I went with the obvious choice. On the other hand, when I go through later seasons, there will probably be plenty of times where I decide to give an episode a post to itself solely because I expect its review to be lengthy, like Slice of Life or Amending Fences.

But as much as I adore both of those season 5 episodes, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Instead, it’s time to start season 3!!!


Season 3 Episode 1: The Crystal Empire, Part 1

This review has spoilers for up to the season 4 finale!

In five words: Twilight Sparkle begins unexpected test.

Premise: Celestia puts Twilight Sparkle and her friends to the task of protecting the Crystal Empire, which has returned after a thousand years, from the wrath of King Sombra, who has also returned after a thousand years.

Detailed run-through:

Who is this nerdy-looking unicorn girl and what’s her deal?
(I wouldn’t be surprised if fans have a common consensus on what her deal is.)

Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic begins with a short scene where a royal guard informs Celestia that “it” has returned. This scene is quite a strange way to begin the third season, but it serves a clear purpose: loosely hinting at a new villain, matching the pattern of every two-part episode so far introducing a new villain. First Nightmare Moon, then Discord, then Queen Chrysalis, and now… it. (I’m talking about King Sombra, of course.)

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 21: A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 >

Season 2, Episodes 25-26

Here’s my final MLP season 2 post, as well as my final MLP post of 2021! As I said at the start of the last post, I’ll take a break of indeterminate length before I start season 3 in early 2022. And I’m warning you now: my review of A Canterlot Wedding will be extremely lengthy and detailed. I figured, why not end season 2 with a bang? To be fair, season 2 of MLP already ends with a bang.


Season 2 Episode 25: A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1

In five words: Something is amiss at wedding.

Premise: The Mane 6 and Spike head over to prepare for the wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadance, Twilight Sparkle’s brother and childhood babysitter respectively. However, Twilight Sparkle can tell there is something very different about Cadance today.

Detailed run-through:

A Canterlot Wedding opens up with a scene as mundane as can be: the Mane 6 having a calm picnic, surrounded by butterflies and lush trees, with Rarity even sporting a fanciful hat for the sake of it. There is something important to be taken from the mundaneness (mundanity?) of this scene. When an episode starts with something as innocuous and peaceful as the ponies having a picnic, you’ll easily know through contrast that the rest of this episode is going to be an absolute wild ride. The opening scene gives viewers plenty of time to absorb the peaceful atmosphere, even as it’s interspersed with Spike dramatically running to give an announcement.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 20: Hurricane Fluttershy + Ponyville Confidential + MMMystery on the Friendship Express

Introduction

< Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 >

Season 2, Episodes 22-24

The last six episodes, Read It and Weep through Dragon Quest, all got pretty enormous and detailed reviews. I think I’m ready to go a little lighter with the next three episodes, since those don’t stick out to me nearly as much. Also, 20 posts is a nice milestone! A bit of a modest one though, compared to certain other projects of mine.

By the way, my plan is to finish writing the reviews for all of season 2 by the end of this year, then take a break from writing MLP posts until the new year begins. I have plenty of other things I want to get done before 2021 ends! It’s been a real doozy of a year for me, both in real life and with my personal projects. Perhaps the biggest doozy of any year in my entire life.


Season 2 Episode 22: Hurricane Fluttershy

In five words: Fluttershy gradually conquers childhood trauma.

Premise: Rainbow Dash wants all the pegasi of Ponyville to make a record-breaking tornado to provide Cloudsdale with a fresh new water supply, but due to past traumatic experiences, Fluttershy is reluctant to participate.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Rainbow Dash admirably demonstrating how dutiful of a pegasus she is. She sends a bunch of letters to all the pegasi of Ponyville, gathering them for an important meeting at the Golden Oak Library. As much as she likes bragging about her own feats, she’s also a great team player, which matches with loyalty as her element of harmony. Fluttershy, on the other hand, is incredibly reluctant to join the meeting and tries to sneak away so she won’t have to join.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 19: It’s About Time + Dragon Quest

Introduction

< Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 >

Season 2, Episodes 20-21


Season 2 Episode 20: It’s About Time

In five words: Time travel mishaps cause hilarity.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle receives a brief worrying message from her future self and goes through a bunch of wacky shenanigans in an attempt to prevent whatever timeline her future self came from.

Detailed run-through:

Ever since I first watched the show, I’ve always loved Twilight Sparkle and Spike’s dynamic.

This episode begins similarly to Lesson Zero: with a reminder of Twilight Sparkle’s comical obsession with organization. Spike is woken up from a dream about Rarity in the middle of the night by a panicked Twilight Sparkle, who realized that while making a schedule for this month she forgot to make time to make a schedule for next month. This scene sets the stage for this episode’s tone, and it tells us that this episode will be another one where Twilight Sparkle’s neurotic side leads to a massive dump of hilarity.

In this scene, the music takes a turn for the sci-fi sounding.

It all starts with Twilight Sparkle getting a foreboding message from her future self, who as you can tell from the image above has been through a lot of injuries. Twilight presumes right away that something horrible must have happened in the future, indicating an endearing lack of self-awareness about her neuroticism, which is the real reason she looks so beat up. She simply doesn’t know how hilariously panicked she can get about the smallest things.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 18: A Friend in Deed + Putting Your Hoof Down

Introduction

< Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 >

Season 2, Episodes 18-19

I didn’t get this post done last Friday, so I decided to push it back a week. Given how busy I have been with work, don’t expect this to be an uncommon occurrence.


Season 2 Episode 18: A Friend in Deed

In five words: Pinkie luckily resolves romantic tragedy.

Premise: On her mission to be friends with everyone in Ponyville, Pinkie Pie hits a brick wall in the form of Cranky Doodle Donkey.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with an 80’s exercise montage with 80’s sounding synth music—you know, the kind of music that seemed to only exist in the 80’s and vanished into thin air the moment that decade ended. The montage features Pinkie Pie, as you can see above, and it shows her getting the hang of taking care of the Cakes’ babies, a refreshing contrast against her struggles in Baby Cakes. Somehow, the very existence of this scene was erased from my head before I wrote this post! While I definitely don’t know every MLP episode like the back of my hand, you’d think I would remember the intro scene of this memorable episode, but nope, apparently I forgot its entire existence.

I guess talking farm animals in this show are phased out more gradually than I had thought.

That said, me forgetting about this episode’s intro scene may have something to do with how it’s unrelated to the rest of the episode, especially with the part following the theme song where Pinkie Pie greets numerous inhabitants of Ponyville and shows how universally beloved she is. This scene doesn’t come off as unbearably sugary, at least not to me because Pinkie Pie is such a laugh riot.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 17: Read It and Weep + Hearts and Hooves Day

Introduction

< Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 >

Season 2, Episodes 16-17


Season 2 Episode 16: Read It and Weep

This review contains spoilers for season 4, but only in the overall thoughts section. Still coloring the title red to signify as much.

In five words: Allegory for becoming a brony.

Premise: At the hospital, Rainbow Dash finds herself captivated in a book that she had aggressively waved off, but she refuses to admit it to any of her friends. Does this sound familiar???

Detailed run-through:

Warning you now: this review will be more than a little self-indulgent because the entire episode reminds me of how I became a brony. It’ll be one of my reviews where the detailed run-through is extra super detailed.

Imagine what it’s like watching this episode for the first time, unaware of what it’s about. Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity watch Rainbow Dash perform stunts in the sky, until she gets out of control and injures herself. We don’t see the injury, but rather hear sound effects and reactions from the ponies shown above, loosely indicating that it’s not something good. This cleverly leads up to the dire circumstances that cause Rainbow Dash to become the in-universe equivalent of a brony.

For a pony as action-oriented as Rainbow Dash, a hospital may as well be a prison. She’s forced to stay there for a few days, and she is incredibly unhappy about it. Rainbow Dash’s imminent obsession with Daring Do comes about through circumstances that would be dire and grueling specifically for her—circumstances that cause her to reach the absolute peak of boredom. This episode is much like a story that takes place in prison, except more kid-friendly. Then again, people often use “prison” as a figure of speech anyway.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 16: Baby Cakes + The Last Roundup + The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000

Introduction

< Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 >

Season 2, Episodes 13-15

Now that my Homestuck blog post series has been finished (final post, if you’re curious) for almost a month as of this writing, I figured now’s a great time to resume my MLP blog post series after a four-month break! I’m continuing once again with the schedule of posts every Friday at 9:00 AM EST, and I hope to do a steady stream of MLP posts in the downtime as my first full-time job progresses. This is probably going to be my main therapeutic hobby project for the rest of the year, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is a much less intensive and head-screwing thing to do than writing progressively longer-winded blog posts analyzing a webcomic written by an insane person.

Alright, now let’s get this running again!


Season 2 Episode 13: Baby Cakes

In five words: Pinkie Pie struggles with babysitting.

Premise: Pinkie Pie babysits Mr. and Mrs. Cake’s newborn twins, and they turn out much more of a handful, er, hoofful, than she had anticipated.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with the Mane 6 in a hospital, in awe at Mr. and Mrs. Cake’s newborn twins: Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake. Naturally enough, Pinkie Pie gets extremely excited about the birth of the babies, and she almost blows her party horn extra loudly until the nurse pony tells her to quiet down. This scene already sets the premise of the episode quite well, showing that Pinkie Pie has no idea how to properly deal with babies.

It turns out Pound Cake is a pegasus, and Pumpkin Cake is a unicorn, which is very anomalous for babies birthed by two earth ponies. Mr. Cake explains that he and his wife have absurdly distant relatives who were a unicorn and a pegasus respectively, which raises some interesting implications about the Cake family line. Were these ponies really that stuck up on being purely a group of earth ponies? Maybe it’s fair to assume that in Equestria, only in recent times have ponies of different races been more open to marrying, considering the married couples we see in later seasons.

… What, don’t give me that look!!! If you can’t handle me analyzing one-off comedic lines in far more detail than anyone asked for, then maybe you should read someone else’s reviews of every single MLP episode.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 15: Secret of My Excess + Hearth’s Warming Eve + Family Appreciation Day

Introduction

< Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 >

Season 2, Episodes 10-12

I didn’t get this post done in time a week ago, so I decided to push it back a week (plus a few hours), making this the first time my MLP posts skipped a week. This may happen sometimes as I prioritize finishing my Homestuck posts (only twelve left!) over making my MLP posts. The good news is, once I finish my Homestuck post series, I never have to think about Homestuck again!!!

Posts about a different work of media aside, we’re now at the first of several points where the episode numbering of my MLP review posts might get a little confusing, because the release order differs from the production order. In this case, Hearth’s Warming Eve was moved ahead a few slots to be released around Christmas. I’ve decided to do these posts in release order, because that’s what most unofficial mirrors of the show do, and I must admit I’ve been using those to watch the show. An advantage of this order is that the season 3 episodes “Just for Sidekicks” and “Games Ponies Play”, which take place at the same time, are side by side.

With those little clarifications out of the way, let’s begin!


Season 2 Episode 10: Secret of My Excess

In five words: Spike’s dragon greed causes havoc.

Premise: As he gets lots of birthday presents, Spike gets carried away with greed and turns into a ferocious, gigantic dragon. (Er, not to imply he wasn’t previously a dragon.)

Detailed run-through:

As previously promised, I’m going to compare Spike’s and Rainbow Dash’s episodes before I start this run-through. Both these characters have personality traits in common, specifically high self-image and tendency to embarrass themselves. Rainbow Dash’s episodes are a frequent source of second-hand embarrassment for me, but when Spike gets up to antics with questionable morality, I more often think, “come on, you’re better than this”. I’m not sure where that difference comes from; both characters in their episodes tend to have personality traits exaggerated or contrived. Maybe it’s because Spike’s personality isn’t portrayed quite as consistently as Rainbow Dash’s? It takes quite a long time—until season 6, I’d say—for the show to start being kinder to Spike, making his episodes before then a bit of a mess. This is easily one of the more tolerable ones, but then you have “uh, what?” episodes like Spike at Your Service. Although I’m generally defendant of Spike’s character, I won’t deny that his episodes tend to be weird.

This beginning of this episode tells us that this is going to be another one of those episodes focused on Spike’s self-admiration. Spike walks in on Twilight Sparkle reshelving her books and holds a fire ruby gem that is supposedly his birthday present to himself. Spike’s self-image is either endearing or obnoxious depending on the circumstances, and in this episode it’s the pivot of the friendship lesson, so it’s naturally going to be a little obnoxious.

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