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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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 48: Princess Spike + Party Pooped

Introduction

< Part 47 | Part 48 | Part 49 >

Season 5, Episodes 10-11


Season 5 Episode 10: Princess Spike

In five words: Spike does absolutely everything wrong.

Premise: While Twilight Sparkle is asleep in Canterlot for the day, Spike fills in for her event organization duties and gets carried away with his newfound freedom and authority. He starts doing some incredibly foolish things.

Detailed run-through:

Oh, boy. We’re at yet another controversial Spike episode now. When going through the show’s most controversial episodes, I usually dread going through them at first, but in the end I have quite a bit of fun picking them apart and giving honest criticism. So maybe this episode will be similar!

The very start of this episode has something I never noticed before: it takes place in the same building where the Grand Galloping Gala is hosted. I actually really like this location reuse. It’s logical and realistic, reminiscent of convention centers where different events are hosted throughout the year.

Note the bags under Twilight Sparkle’s eyes. She clearly worked herself a little too hard.

The event is called the Grand Equestria Pony Summit, and it features ponies from all around Equestria plus some griffons here and there. The princesses on stage present a statue made of gemstones from the cities where all the attendees live. Twilight Sparkle gives a little speech at the summit and mentions that organizing it has led to quite a few sleepless nights, which the guests in the audience don’t seem to think hard about even though she looks and sounds drowsy. Perhaps they think “sleepless nights” was a figure of speech, not something to take literally? Or do they think alicorns have a special power to remain wide awake as long as they like?

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 47: Slice of Life

Introduction

< Part 46 | Part 47 | Part 48 >

Season 5, Episode 9

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 46: Make New Friends but Keep Discord + The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone

Introduction

< Part 45 | Part 46 | Part 47 >

Season 5, Episodes 7-8

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.

Ultra-detailed run-through:

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 45: Tanks for the Memories + Appleoosa’s Most Wanted

Introduction

< Part 44 | Part 45 | Part 46 >

Season 5, Episodes 5-6


Season 5 Episode 5: Tanks for the Memories

In five words: Rainbow Dash sequentially experiences grief.

Premise: When she learns that her pet turtle Tank will hibernate through the winter, Rainbow Dash tries to stop the season from happening so she won’t have to say goodbye. This matches heavily with the five stages of grief.

Detailed run-through:

Season 5 has tons of fun callbacks to early seasons, showing how far the show has come.

The start of this episode provides a snappy little recap of how the seasons work in Equestria, something we learned in two close-by season 1 episodes. Rainbow Dash notices that Cloudsdale is coming to Ponyville, meaning that winter is soon to start, and she’s super excited about this because it’ll be her first winter with Tank by her side. Season 5 has several episodes that take place a year (or maybe two) after episodes in the early seasons, and this one occurs a year after Fall Weather Friends. Or maybe if you’re willing to shuffle around the order of episodes in seasons 1 and 2 (like Winter Wrap Up and Hearth’s Warming Eve), you could argue it’s two years after? Whatever, mulling over numbers isn’t the point of these reviews.

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