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 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 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 43: Castle Sweet Castle

Introduction

< Part 42 | Part 43 | Part 44 >

Season 5, Episode 3

This post was originally going to cover both Castle Sweet Castle and Bloom & Gloom. However, my reviews of both episodes ended up much longer than I thought, so I’ve chosen to split the post in half! Hopefully this will make my episode reviews seem less like neverending walls of words.


Season 5 Episode 3: Castle Sweet Castle

In five words: Twilight adapts to another change.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle doesn’t feel quite at home in her new castle and has been doing strange activities with her friends instead of getting used to the place, so her friends try to make the castle feel more like home.

Detailed run-through:

As with The Cutie Map, the beginning of this episode (which consists of Twilight Sparkle helping Fluttershy wash her animals) is an appropriate time to reflect on when I watched it for the first time.

During the six years between watching season 4 and season 5 of MLP, there was one question about the show that my brain would now and then divert to: how in the world is Twilight Sparkle going to be OK with having to live in an extravagant new castle instead of her quaint little library?! It’s a question that I found myself scratching my head over quite a lot, because her house’s destruction was easily the scene I remembered the most from the season 4 finale. I think I even told myself that such merch-driven changes like Twilight being a princess and her new fancy castle are proof that the show wasn’t that great. Because I was left hanging on this question for so long, when I saw the title of this episode on a list of season 5’s episodes, I internally squeed a little. I just KNEW the show was going to address this question in a satisfying and earnest way that matches what I’ve always enjoyed about Twilight Sparkle’s character.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 39: Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 + Trade Ya!

Introduction

< Part 38 | Part 39 | Part 40 >

Season 4, Episodes 21-22

Greetings from Spain, uh, again! Current mood: badly hoping I’ll get a negative COVID-19 test so I can fly home on Sunday. Also, here’s the post about learning Spanish I said I might make last time.


Season 4 Episode 21: Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

In five words: Rainbow Dash has difficulty studying.

Premise: As her next step to get into the Wonderbolts, Rainbow Dash needs to study for a test about the Wonderbolts’ history, and she’s reluctant to do so. Her friends all try to help her find a way to absorb the information, which proves difficult.

Detailed run-through:

Like several prior episodes, this one starts with Twilight Sparkle trying to concentrate on a magic spell only to get interrupted by one of her friends, and this time the interruption is the quickest yet. This comical scene establishes that this episode is going to focus on Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash’s dynamic. I’ve noticed that some combinations of Mane 6 members find themselves paired up in episodes far more often than others, and that seasons 5 and 6 are when the show plays mix-and-match with character pairs through all those friendship map missions. Applejack and Rarity are commonly paired because their contrasting interests play off each other in amusing ways but also make it more satisfying to see them happily cooperate. Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash are another common pair, and it’s easy to see why: they’re both huge nerds, but while Twilight completely owns up to being one, Rainbow Dash tries to disguise it by constantly playing it cool. This leads the two to have all sorts of interesting interactions, as we’ll see here.

Rainbow Dash gloats about how easy it was to catch Twilight by surprise, bragging about how sharply she pays attention to everything around her while flying. Twilight Sparkle was indeed muttering to herself about how Rainbow Dash hasn’t been taking her studying for the Wonderbolt history test seriously, using the fairly exotic word “lackadaisical” in the process. I can tell that Twilight considers Rainbow Dash to be very smart, which is why she’s frustrated that her friend doesn’t want to apply her skills in the right way. And Rainbow Dash likewise considers Twilight Sparkle far smarter than her, at the cost of being a dorky goober who’s easy to fool. The friction between these two comes about because of how much they see in each other.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 38: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils + Leap of Faith

Introduction

< Part 37 | Part 38 | Part 39 >

Season 4, Episodes 19-20

If you know how much I like Sweetie Belle, you won’t be surprised to know my review of For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils is going to be a long one. Not a record breaker, but it’s up there.

Also, greetings from Spain! As of this post’s publication, I am in there right now, though I had written it a few weeks prior. This is unrelated to MLP, but I have taken it upon myself to learn Spanish since a month before the trip, and I’m having a lot more fun learning it than I would have thought. I may publish a blog post about learning the language in the future.


Season 4 Episode 19: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils

In five words: Sweetie Belle nearly ruins Rarity.

Premise: Jealous of all the attention her sister Rarity is getting over her, Sweetie Belle destroys the crucial stitch in her sister’s dress for Sapphire Shores, but then she has a dream where Princess Luna shows her what would happen if she doesn’t turn back.

Detailed run-through:

Before I begin, I need to make something loud and clear: This episode is not called “For Whom the Sweetie Bell Toils”. You have no idea how much it drives me crazy when people get the name of this episode wrong. I swear there are some people who know how to spell Sweetie Belle’s name correctly but not the name of this episode, and it annoys me so much.

I love Sweetie Belle so much. She’s just such an appealing character.

Anyway, now that I’m done complaining about something extremely minor that no one cares about, it’s time for me to dive into this episode and pick apart an extremely minor detail that no one cares about!

This episode starts with Glasses Rarity (remember, she’s Rarity but wearing glasses) preparing dresses for Sapphire Shores’ concert, while Sweetie Belle is extremely excited to help out and immediately brings out any materials that Rarity so much as considers using. The second material Rarity mentions is sequins, and Sweetie Belle grabs a bowl of them only to clumsily slip, and some of the sequins land on her tongue. Rarity then uses magic to lift them off, apparently not at all worried that some of them may have Sweetie Belle’s germs due to landing on her tongue. Does she trust that Sweetie Belle keeps proper hygiene? Does she know magic spells that can instantly cleanse any object of others’ germs? There’s lots of possibilities, but it would probably be more relevant to talk about how eager Sweetie Belle is to help with making dresses. She’s so determined to make Rarity proud and be even a fraction as good at making dresses as she is, and her desperation to be in the spotlight reaches a breaking point early into this episode.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 37: Somepony to Watch Over Me + Maud Pie

Introduction

< Part 36 | Part 37 | Part 38 >

Season 4, Episodes 17-18


Season 4 Episode 17: Somepony to Watch Over Me

In five words: Apple Bloom struggles with trust.

Premise: Apple Bloom is left to watch over Sweet Apple Acres while the rest of her family is gone, but Applejack frustratingly won’t stop being overprotective. Apple Bloom thus sets out on her own to prove herself capable of being on her own.

Detailed run-through:

To start the episode, Apple Bloom and her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders listen in on an unintelligible conversation between her immediate family, then Granny Smith breaks the good news: Apple Bloom has been deemed old enough to watch over Sweet Apple Acres on her own for the afternoon. Apple Bloom keeps up a serious image through this big decision, but as soon as she thinks her family can’t hear her, she and the other two Crusaders break into excitement. This scene establishes the episode as one focused on the difficulties of growing up and gaining your family’s trust, an experience that’s familiar to many viewers of the show. To younger viewers, this episode is likely to be immediately relatable; to older viewers, it’ll more likely bring back older memories, or maybe even remind them of their own children or younger family members.

While the other Apples prepare for their journey to deliver pies to some dangerous places, Applejack gives her sister a long, detailed list of chores and instructions to take care of. Here’s where I’ll address probably the most common criticism of this episode: Applejack being extremely overbearing.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 35: Simple Ways + Filli Vanilli

Introduction

< Part 34 | Part 35 | Part 36 >

Season 4, Episodes 13-14

I had said in an announcement post that I would probably go on a decently long hiatus after finishing my review of Simple Ways. And I did go on a hiatus for nine days (several of which I spent extremely sick), but it was short enough that it didn’t interrupt my post series’ weekly queue.


Season 4 Episode 13: Simple Ways

In five words: Rarity bends herself for love.

Premise: A travel writer named Trenderhoof who Rarity has a crush on visits Ponyville, but when he ends up obsessing over Applejack, Rarity tries to overhaul her personality in response.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a Ponyville town meeting where it is announced who will get to be the master of ceremonies for a festival celebrating the town’s founding, and Rarity wins. This sets up the premise for the episode and gives Rarity a reason to meet her celebrity crush face-to-face.

You know what? I’m going to skip to the part where Rarity reveals her crush on Trenderhoof, a travel writer who she hopes to impress during the Ponyville Days Festival.

I’ve heard that some people criticize this episode for focusing on romance, supposedly because Lauren Faust didn’t want the show to have any, which is total nonsense because Rarity has had crushes since the start of the show. I think the real reason this episode’s focus on romance gets flack is one of two things: (1) Twilight Sparkle’s romance arc with Flash Sentry in Equestria Girls left a sour taste in fans’ mouths, and they doubted the show’s potential to have good romance arcs in the future, or (2) fans don’t want canon material to intervene with their favorite ships. After Prince Blueblood turned out to be a disappointment, it makes sense that Rarity would set her eyes on a new love interest, who she’s revealing at long last. I really don’t see the issue with Rarity having a crush in this episode. It’s not like Trenderhoof was an already existing character; he’s introduced as Rarity’s love interest, and he’s, well… not much more than that. Rarity gives some exciting descriptions of the guy, saying that he’s good at predicting trends and wrote an article about Las Pegasus before the place got popular, but once we see him in person, he doesn’t get much of a personality. But I’ll get to that.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 33: Pinkie Apple Pie + Rainbow Falls

Introduction

< Part 32 | Part 33 | Part 34 >

Season 4, Episodes 9-10

I may as well say here that since writing my review of Rarity Takes Manehattan which came out last week, I have kind of maybe gotten obsessed with Coco Pommel and how adorable she is. She hits a sweet spot of character cuteness by being meek and cutesy but not a full-out exaggerated smushy baby. After so many years, I finally know what it’s like to fixate on a minor character in MLP, like so many fans are prone to do. Maybe it’s weird for me to say, but I think part of the charm of this show is that every character, no matter how minor or trivial, has some set of fans out there who think they’re the coolest thing ever. Slice of Life a season from now is a celebration of that fact, and I plan on going as hard as I possibly can when reviewing it.


Season 4 Episode 9: Pinkie Apple Pie

In five words: Genetic relationship cemented as ambiguous.

Premise: Pinkie Pie discovers evidence that she may be distantly related to Applejack, and she sets out on a journey with Applejack’s family to discover if she really is.

Detailed run-through:

You know what I find incredibly satisfying? When the very first scene of a MLP episode has something I can pick apart in depth, so that I don’t need to start with some empty fluff. This episode is a good example thereof.

Pinkie Pie: Whatcha doin’?
Twilight Sparkle: AAA!
Pinkie Pie: “AAA!” yourself! But that doesn’t answer my question, silly.
Twilight Sparkle: Just some genealogical research.
Pinkie Pie: Ohhhhh. (falls out of bookcase)
Pinkie Pie: (whispers to Spike) I don’t know what that is.
Spike: Genealogy is the study of family history! You know, where ponies come from, and who they’re related to.

While Rarity Takes Manehattan is one of the most adult-oriented episodes so far, by which I mean one more easily digestible for adults than for children, this one feels like a blast from the past with the strong amounts of slapstick humor and Pinkie Pie not knowing what a complex word means, leading Spike to explain it as though this were an educational TV series. By which I mean a show that was always unambiguously educational and didn’t just have an educational mandate of some sorts marked by an “e/i” symbol that was dropped after season 1. Not that this is a bad thing at all—it’s nice for MLP to vary the pace with its episodes.

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