Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 58: The Cutie Re-Mark, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 57 | Part 58 | Part 59 >

Season 5, Episodes 25-26

We’ve finally made it to the season 5 finale! As excited as I am to analyze it, I am going to need a sizable break afterwards to focus both on other projects and real life stuff. My journey through the second half of season 5 has already been rather slow for both these reasons, which is why I want to begin analyzing season 6 with a refreshed mindset. I just figured I’d let you know.


Season 5 Episode 25: The Cutie Re-Mark, Part 1

In five words: Starlight Glimmer rampages across time.

Premise: Thirsty for revenge, Starlight Glimmer sends Twilight Sparkle and Spike on a chase through alternate timelines where villains took over Equestria—all by interfering with the day the Mane 6 got their cutie marks.

Detailed run-through:

This dramatic two-part episode starts off as innocuous as any season finale would: with Twilight Sparkle rehearsing a speech to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, while Spike jabs at her for perfectionism. As you should already know, this is all part of the setup.

The speech itself starts off as a recap of cutie mark lore, attended by a bunch of familiar faces, and… wait just a minute, Twilight Sparkle. That is not how Venn diagrams work! The intersections between two circles show common traits between whichever entities the circles represent. If you are to read this diagram logically, it tells us that Sweetie Belle has both her own cutie mark and Scootaloo’s, Scootaloo has hers and Apple Bloom’s, and Apple Bloom has hers and Sweetie Belle’s. The only correct part of this diagram is the tricolored shield in the center, which is something that all three Cutie Mark Crusaders’ marks share.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 57: The Hooffields and McColts + The Mane Attraction

Introduction

< Part 56 | Part 57 | Part 58 >

Season 5, Episodes 23-24

This is it, guys. I’m at the second last post of season 5, and after I finish this season, I am definitely taking a break. Between this blog post series and a fanfic I am working on, I’ve been grinding out pony-related content left and right. As much as this show means to me, I will need a breather once I reach a stopping point, perhaps to focus on other projects or real-life matters.

Also, you should know in advance my review of The Mane Attraction is one of my longest in season 5. I had way more to say about that episode than I expected!


Season 5 Episode 23: The Hooffields and McColts

In five words: Ancient village rivalry gets resolved.

Premise: The Cutie Map sends Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy to the Smokey Mountains, where they must settle a generations-long conflict between two rivalrous families: the Hooffields and the McColts.

Detailed run-through:

This episode begins with Fluttershy hosting a book club meeting with her animals, which is cut short when her cutie mark starts flashing and she has to leave. Despite this, her animals continue discussing the book on their own. This scene cleverly reminds us of something that will become important later in the episode: animals in this show are highly sentient, but they can’t communicate with most ponies.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 56: Scare Master + What About Discord?

Introduction

< Part 55 | Part 56 | Part 57 >

Season 5, Episodes 21-22

Don’t let the two-week gap between this post and the last one fool you. My reviews of these episodes took only two days to write each. I just took sizable breaks in between to work on other projects.


Season 5 Episode 21: Scare Master

In five words: Fluttershy attempts leaving comfort zone.

Premise: Upon encouragement from her friends, Fluttershy participates in Nightmare Night for once instead of secluding herself at home.

Detailed run-through:

In prior reviews, especially in this season, I’ve gone off endlessly about how wonderful of a character Rarity is. I’ve reminisced on how Twilight Sparkle was easy to connect to from the start and is the main pony who got me hooked on the show, and about how incredibly striking Rainbow Dash’s episodes can be if done right. But now, it’s time to give Fluttershy some love and talk about what makes her special. While there have been plenty of good Fluttershy episodes before, this one consists entirely of Fluttershy at her finest, and I’m excited to pick it apart.

First off, I’d like to talk about the title of this episode. It’s almost the same as Stare Master from season 1, but with one letter changed. I like this title because it suggests that Fluttershy is once again going to prove her worth after a bunch of fumbling and do something cool, making the ending a surprising subversion of expectations.

Now let’s get started with the episode itself!

At the start of this episode, Fluttershy commands her animals to close all her windows and alert her if anything scary happens on Nightmare Night. This scene reminds us right up front that there’s more to her than just being shy. She has a lot of inner bravery that comes out when the time is right, and she can do some awesome things by commanding her loyal crew of animals.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 55: The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows + Hearthbreakers

Introduction

< Part 54 | Part 55 | Part 56 >

Season 5, Episodes 19-20

Sorry this post took so long! My next few MLP posts may also be a little slow, partly because my weekly queue has caught up with me, and partly because I am working on quite a few other projects. Rest assured, I plan on finishing season 5 no later than early November.


Season 5 Episode 19: The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows

In five words: Pinkie Pie keeps baby secret.

Premise: Pinkie Pie learns that Shining Armor and Princess Cadance are going to have a baby. She must keep it a secret from her friends, and yet temptation lurks around every corner.

Detailed run-through:

I love how Pound Cake is riding on top of Gummy.

This episode starts with Pinkie Pie somehow counting 568 cupcakes without needing any paper to keep track of things or prevent miscounts. This reminds us of what makes her different from the rest of the Mane 6: her brain operates on cartoon logic rather than normal logic, which makes the moments where she’s genuinely panicked and insecure greatly stick out.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 54: Crusaders of the Lost Mark

Introduction

< Part 53 | Part 54 | Part 55 >

Season 5, Episode 18


Season 5 Episode 18: Crusaders of the Lost Mark

This review contains spoilers for things that happen up to the season 8 finale, and for things that don’t happen for the entire rest of the show.

In five words: Cutie Mark Crusaders’ ultimate payoff.

Premise: In the show’s third musical episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders discover a surprising secret about Diamond Tiara’s upbringing after they made her lose a school election. This is definitely the only notable thing that happens in this episode. Totally.

Detailed run-through:

Something unique about this pivotal episode is that it was scored entirely by Daniel Ingram, the usual composer of the musical numbers. I didn’t learn that until I wrote this post, and it explains why the background music transitions so seamlessly to and from the songs. Having the same person handle the background music and songs suits this musical number-heavy episode well, setting it apart from most of the show—not that I’d ever want to discredit William Anderson for his scoring work.

Similarly to Magical Mystery Cure, this episode starts off with a musical number—technically with a few lines from the Crusaders, but set to background music that clearly starts a song. The song is called “We’ll Make Our Mark (Prelude)”, and the Crusaders sing about how they aren’t going to give up on getting their cutie marks. Something I really admire about this episode, at least from what I’ve been told about it, is that the previews and trailers made absolutely no hint at the Crusaders earning their marks, and fans were caught completely by surprise when it happened. This is a MASSIVE contrast against Magical Mystery Cure, whose previews shoved alicorn Twilight Sparkle in fans’ faces.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 53: Brotherhooves Social

Introduction

< Part 52 | Part 53 | Part 54 >

Season 5, Episode 17


Season 5 Episode 17: Brotherhooves Social

In five words: Big Mac’s day in spotlight.

Premise: Feeling down about how his youngest sister perceives him, Big Macintosh fills in for an unavailable Applejack at the Sisterhooves Social and pretends to be Apple Bloom’s cousin named “Orchard Blossom”.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Big Macintosh going about his day, helping Granny Smith look through boxes in the attic for an item she misplaced. He looks down to see Applejack and Apple Bloom playing and laughing with each other. In any other context, this would be a happy scene, but for Big Macintosh it’s easy to tell that this stings hard. I really like that this episode starts with a mundane scene: it sets up how much Big Mac’s life contrasts against his siblings’ wild adventures.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 52: Made in Manehattan

Introduction

< Part 51 | Part 52 | Part 53 >

Season 5, Episode 16


Season 5 Episode 16: Made in Manehattan

In five words: Coco Pommel revitalizes theater play.

Premise: The Cutie Map sends Rarity and Applejack to Manehattan, where they have to help our old friend Coco Pommel garner interest to host a stage play.

Detailed run-through:

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you that Manehattan is NOT spelled “Manehatten”. Maybe it’s because I’m American, but I don’t understand how so many people could possibly make such a simple spelling mistake. And if you think it doesn’t matter how you spell this fictional town name, then clearly you don’t know that every time someone spells Manehattan as Manehatten, Coco Pommel cries. You don’t want to make Coco Pommel cry, do you?

The placement of the ladder on the left makes no sense.
It starts a shelf above the top of the other ladder, so how is Spike supposed to get up there?

This episode starts with Twilight Sparkle being bored out of her mind, until Rarity and Applejack both arrive revealing that their cutie marks are flashing. Twilight is briefly excited to have something to do, then sighs when she realizes hers isn’t flashing. This is the third time an episode has started with Mane 6 members’ cutie marks flashing, and three is the minimum number of times needed to recognize a pattern. As such, it makes sense that this episode starts off in the castle once again, even if it means the only role Twilight serves is as the brunt of boredom.

Rarity is insanely excited to be sent to Manehattan, whereas Applejack is confused. Some people criticize this episode for not bringing up that in her childhood Applejack ran off to Manehattan before getting her cutie mark, but I don’t think a mention of that would have added much to the episode. Since being a filly, Applejack has worked her way up to knowing how to be true to herself. She knows what she likes and stands for, and a huge, bustling city simply isn’t her cup of tea.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 51: Rarity Investigates!

Introduction

< Part 50 | Part 51 | Part 52 >

Season 5, Episode 15


Season 5 Episode 15: Rarity Investigates!

In five words: Mystery reveals celebrity’s nasty truth.

Premise: At a Wonderbolts event, Rainbow Dash is accused of tricking Spitfire into not attending so that she can fly in it instead. Putting on a charming film noir shtick, Rarity gets to the bottom of this mystery.

Detailed run-through:

In the last review, I forgot to mention Sassy Saddles’ fun little shtick of using two fashion terms at a time as interjections.

This episode begins at the same boutique Rarity had set up in the last episode, which is a bit unusual—perhaps a result of the broadcast order being different from production order?

Rarity: Oh, Sassy Saddles, don’t you just love my new Femme Mystique Chic line of gowns?
Sassy Saddles: (gasps) Sequins and sashes, Rarity, they’re exquisite. Where in Equestria did you find the inspiration?
Rarity: Oh, I modeled them after the adventures of Shadow Spade. Her stories are always full of mystery and suspense, and best of all… Fabulous costumes!

I find it admirable that Rarity owns up to what her real favorite thing about these mystery novels is. A lot of fans of this show struggle to admit what they like most about it and throw together complicated reasons to make themselves seem more cultured. While there are certainly tons of subtle things I like about this show, the main draw factors are the good sense of humor and the cute character designs. Simple as that.

Rarity makes a few adjustments to the dresses while talking about Shadow Spade’s attention to detail, then Rainbow Dash ruins the moment with a hasty entrance. While the Mane 6 are a tight-knit group of friends, not all two-way relationships between them are equal. Season 5 has quite a few episodes that pair up Mane 6 members who hadn’t shown up together much, and this scene establishes that we’re going to explore the dynamic between Rarity and Rainbow Dash. There are a total of fifteen pairings between Mane 6 members, which jumps to 21 if you add Spike, making for a succulent variety of untapped character relationships—untapped for now, at least.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 50: Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? + Canterlot Boutique

Introduction

< Part 49 | Part 50 | Part 51 >

Season 5, Episodes 13-14

Just like with my Homestuck posts, 50 is a fun number to reach because I’m halfway to 100 posts. It’s also a nice point to reflect on how much bigger this project became than I first envisioned, because of a little something called Cookiefonster’s Law: It always becomes more ambitious than you expect, even when you take into account Cookiefonster’s Law.

(Yeah, this law is just a riff on Hofstadter’s Law. Still, it heavily applies to every creative project I ever do.)


Season 5 Episode 13: Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?

In five words: Luna’s self-blame infects dreams.

Premise: The Mane 6 have to help fight a monster who has been haunting Luna’s dreams called the Tantabus. Callbacks and dream shenanigans ensue.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts off right away with anime battle shenanigans that turn out to be one of Luna’s dreams. A blob of grayish darkness called the Tantabus turns Luna into Nightmare Moon, the Mane 6 defeat her with magic rainbow beams, and Luna wakes up in a panic.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 49: Amending Fences

Introduction

< Part 48 | Part 49 | Part 50 >

Season 5, Episode 12

We have quite a spicy lineup of episodes for the next month and a half, most of which will get their own individual, lovingly crafted posts: Amending Fences, Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?, Canterlot Boutique, Rarity Investigates!, Made in Manehattan, Brotherhooves Social, and Crusaders of the Lost Mark. All seven of these episodes have something cool and special about them, whether it be the Cutie Mark Crusaders accomplishing something huge, Twilight Sparkle’s backstory getting fleshed way out, or Coco Pommel being heart-meltingly adorable. The rest of season 5 will be the usual paired episodes, and when I finish the season, I will decide if I want to make single-episode posts the rule instead of the exception.


Season 5 Episode 12: Amending Fences

In five words: Series’ first few minutes revisited.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle reconnects with her old friends from Canterlot who we saw in the first few minutes of the first episode. Most of them are eager to hang out with her, but there’s one who bitterly swore off friendship after Twilight moved out: Moondancer.

Detailed run-through (aka the tangent about this episode from this Homestuck post but much longer and completely unrestrained):

Imagine you’re making a TV show that has become wildly popular among a far older audience than expected and need to come up with episode ideas for its fifth season. By now, you’ve gone through all the simple and obvious ideas for a show about friendship, so what can you do? One such thing is look back on the first episode with all its early installment weirdness, take something that was never elaborated upon, and flesh it WAY out. I find this sort of thing to be extremely delightful and cool and fun, especially in a show that I find extremely delightful and cool and fun.

This episode starts on an un-season-1-like note with Twilight Sparkle sitting on a fancy crystal couch, needing some time to relax after attending three events as a princess in one week. This makes an appropriate time for her and Spike to reflect on how much she’s been through since she moved to Ponyville. Spike remarks that back when she lived in Canterlot, Twilight wasn’t a very good friend to others. While Spike intended only to reflect on how far she’s come, Twilight panics when she realizes how much she’s been neglecting her friends from Canterlot. This leads her to leap into action and go on a journey to reunite with her friends whose names she doesn’t remember and expects Spike to remember for some reason.

Actually, I can sort of buy Twilight expecting Spike to remember names she can’t. She puts a lot of duties onto her dragon sidekick, like the dishes he complained about at the start of this episode, and she sometimes forgets which ones he can feasibly do. (Though Spike does later recite all her friends’ names.)

Spike: Come on, Twilight. You’re getting worked up about nothing.
Twilight Sparkle: The only logical place to start is at the beginning.

One thing this episode has in common with Slice of Life is that it leans on the fourth wall at times. An example is when Twilight Sparkle says to start at the beginning, referring to her old house in Canterlot. While this is obviously a reference to where the show began, I’d also like to think of it in in-universe terms. The day Twilight Sparkle moved to Ponyville is clearly an important day for her, because it started the current chapter of her life. Although her first onscreen moment in the show was right outside this castle, the day presumably started with her waking up inside it.

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