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”.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve finally made it to a very special episode of the show: Slice of Life, which is an episode I had heard about during my six-year break from watching this show. You probably know that to celebrate its 100th episode, MLP:FiM did an episode focusing on the background ponies. But that episode also has an insane amount of callbacks and details and fandom references meant for fans like me to pick up on, and in this review, I’ll go over them all in as much detail as I can.
Are you ready for my number one longest MLP episode review so far? It’s over 7400 words long—don’t say I didn’t warn you! (Most of my episode reviews are less than half this long.)
Season 5 Episode 9: Slice of Life
In five words: 22 minutes of pure fanservice.
Premise: The 100th episode of the show, intended as an homage to its fans. Cranky Doodle Donkey and Matilda are getting married, and the show’s most popular background ponies go through a variety of mishaps to ensure their wedding goes as planned.
Detailed run-through that puts all previous detailed run-throughs to shame:
*takes a deep breath*
If you thought my reviews of Magical Mystery Cure, Rarity Takes Manehattan, and Make New Friends but Keep Discord were way too detailed, then just you wait. For I am going to analyze this episode in the most thorough level of detail I possibly can, starting with Cranky Doodle Donkey and Matilda’s scrapbook.
This episode starts with Matilda opening a scrapbook with pictures of herself and Cranky Doodle Donkey, showing that although we’ve barely seen them since their debut, they’ve gone on plenty of offscreen adventures like a trip to Manehattan and a Hearth’s Warming Eve celebration. As I said at the end of A Friend In Deed, the show graciously gives these two donkeys some privacy after Pinkie Pie reunites them, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t gone on their own escapades. We just didn’t get to see them because Cranky Doodle Donkey is a very private guy. Though he and Matilda aren’t background ponies, I find it fitting for the episode to start with them since its overarching focus is looking into the lives of characters who normally stay in the background.
Make New Friends but Keep Discord is another season 5 review that turned out much longer than I expected! It ended up being my second longest episode review so far, surpassed only by Magical Mystery Cure but surely soon to be beaten by Slice of Life. On the other hand, my review of The Lost Treasure of Grifffonstone is short enough that I felt comfortable having both episodes share a post.
Season 5 Episode 7: Make New Friends but Keep Discord
In five words: Jealousy leads to attempted banishment.
Premise: When Fluttershy invites a new friend of hers named Tree Hugger to the Grand Galloping Gala, Discord gets jealous and brings a dangerous creature of his own.
This review is going to be another hefty one. Just letting you know.
This episode starts on a very peaceful note, with Fluttershy and Discord in the middle of trading humorous stories while having tea together. While they became friends two seasons ago, this is the first episode since then where their friendship is the primary focus. This opening scene cements that their friendship has settled down, and we get about 20 seconds of cutesy fun times until the episode’s conflict is revealed.
Fluttershy: Oh, I do love our Tuesday teas. And I can’t wait for you to meet my friend Tree Hugger! She’s going to love you too. Discord: Tree… Hugger? (laughs)
Discord looks shocked for a moment when Fluttershy brings up Tree Hugger, but he laughs it off when his brain chooses to assume it’s a joke. But given what Tree Hugger turns out to be like, Fluttershy has reason to believe she and Discord would get along well. Not everyone enjoys Discord’s wild antics and sense of humor, but Tree Hugger is spectacularly unfazed by freaky shenanigans. Though Fluttershy doesn’t mean any harm to Discord with this new friend, his simplistic understanding of friendship leads to immense jealousy.
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.
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.
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.
Time to begin analyzing season 4 of MLP:FiM! As I’ve said before, this is the only season that I followed live as it was happening, making it distinct from all the others in my mind. My reviews of these episodes therefore may read a little differently from the rest, with more commentary on how it felt watching them for the first time.
If you’re wondering how season 4 will be divided into posts, my tentative plan is to keep things simple and do two episodes per post all the way through, making part 41 the end of season 4. But it’s entirely possible that I’ll have enough to say about a certain episode that I’ll give it a post to itself, and in that case, I would also have to pick another episode to dedicate an entire post to, because there’s no way I’m squeezing three episodes into one post again. My episode reviews have become too detailed and thorough for that to be viable.
Season 4 Episode 1: Princess Twilight Sparkle, Part 1
This review discusses events up to early season 6—modest as far as spoilers go, but spoilers no less.
In five words: Twilight Sparkle adapts to change.
Premise: Now that the dust has settled, Twilight Sparkle must learn all the responsibilities that come with being a princess as a new threat closes in on Equestria.
Season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic immediately kicks off with showing a ramification of Twilight Sparkle becoming an alicorn princess that’s far less peachy and perfect than what we saw in the last few minutes of Magical Mystery Cure. Specifically, Twilight Sparkle clumsily practices flying with Rainbow Dash serving as her coach. This scene sets the tone for season 4’s overarching arc: the challenges Twilight Sparkle faces in her newfound princess role. It’s an arc whose handling thoroughly exceeded my expectations as I watched through season 4’s episodes week by week. I was so worried that the Twilight Sparkle we know and love would be overwritten with merch-driven princess shenanigans, but this opening scene already shows us this won’t be the case. Magical Mystery Cure is done and squared, so now we can go back to regular old MLP:FiM. And let me tell you, few things bring me more consistent joy and delight than regular old MLP:FiM.
To hammer in that this is still going to be the same show that bronies love so much, we get a silly little slapstick sequence where Twilight Sparkle flaps her wings too hard, loses control, and lands on a tree branch with googly eyes. This sequence serves a similar purpose to doors slamming Spike in the face shortly after the expository scene that opens the first episode: it tells viewers that this show will be far more than girly ponies doing girly pony things, and it’ll be filled with tons of slapstick and other such humor. In this case, the scene reinforces that the regular lighthearted tone of this show isn’t going anywhere, which was very reassuring to a random 14-year-old boy who was excitedly watching the premiere of the show’s fourth season and would later become the person who is writing the words you’re reading. And now here I am, not far off from turning 23 years old, analyzing the impact of this scene in far more depth than is probably necessary, all because this show is extremely super special and important to me.
But I probably shouldn’t waste too much time reflecting on memories that feel like a lifetime ago and then some. I probably sound like I’m clouded by childhood nostalgia here, but believe me, I love this show just as much as an adult as I did when I was a young teenager.
As of this post’s initial publication, this blog is still under construction, which means a lot of my prior posts are still formatted wrong and need to be fixed. Reformatting old blog posts is such a tall order that I often find myself getting distracted by making new blog posts. I suppose making new posts is a good way to get a feel for my new platform though.
Anyway, here’s my fabled (not even remotely fabled) trickster arc post! Part of me was always in this weird sort of denial that I’d ever get to this point, but there’s no turning back now. Are you ready?
Wait, I mean…
ARE YOU READY???????????
You better be ready. Trickster mode, here we come!!!
Pages 4878-4924 (MSPA: 6778-6824) (dear god how did I go over a week without fixing those question marks and all those other mistakes at the start of the post)
You wake up locked in a deserted jail cell…
We now start this whole Jailbreak throwback interlude with Jack in his jail cell and yeah I have basically nothing to say about this. I guess I could say that when I first read the comic I thought this was supposed to be 40 pages of Jake reading Jailbreak on his computer. Don’t get me wrong, I make dumb misconceptions like this all the time.*
* For instance, if you don’t mind me talking about Undertale I thought one of the royal guard guys was that Alphys person people were talking about and that I’d have to kill them and go through a bunch of emotional bullshit like I did with Undyne.
Also my first impression of practically everyone in the game was that they’re evil and/or creepy.
NOTE: The title isn’t that fitting because I haven’t even gotten to the part about juggalos yet. But I kind of came up with it at the last minute because I finally figured out that there’s no use in delaying these posts more than I already have. Also I’m bad at post titles regardless.
NOTE 2: I hope this is the only time such a gigantic delay ever happens.
Jake lying unconscious in the frog temple transitions us to another dream bubble scene which is mostly this huge worldbuilding and exposition dump, but not before an introductory section of sorts to set the stage pretty much.
timaeusTestified [TT] began pestering golgothasTerror [GT] TT: Happy 13th, bro. TT: I have something for you. GT: Whoa nelly! GT: You are too kind my friend. What is it? TT: It’s no big deal, since it’s nothin’ I wasn’t planning on giving you anyway. TT: I just sort of happened to finish it today. GT: I think i catch your drift. GT: So my new tin comrade finally gets a head on his shoulders eh? TT: Yeah, assuming I can actually send it today without another untimely paradoxification. TT: If not, then hey, you get a sick grill full of birthday slime instead. GT: Oh hell no. HELL no man. GT: Well listen. If youre going to send anything to me slime or otherwise can you please at least not make the shit appear directly over my head this time?
I think my uncertainty about what stuff with Dirk’s sendificator was predestined might be answered now? This conversation reveals that several times prior Dirk tried to send Jake parts of Brobot but predestination wouldn’t let him. But now, later on Dirk successfully sends Jake the robot’s head in a way that makes it seem like a birthday present, which ends up causing those regular robot strife battles to happen. And it turns out that stuff served the ultimate purpose of driving the rabbit subplot which we basically already saw now.