In five words: Fluttershy becomes one-off vampire.
(Arguably I could have squeezed one more word in, but if I were to count two words connected by a hyphen as one word, I would be able to cheat very easily.)
Premise: Sweet Apple Acres has been run with an infestation of a certain animal species—I bet you can’t guess which one. Applejack wants to get rid of the bats, but Fluttershy doesn’t. An agreed-upon solution leads to surprising consequences.
She was so excited and proud, and THIS is what she’s met with.
This episode starts with Applejack confidently waiting for apple bucking day to begin. The moment the sun rises, she gets right to it and bucks some apples, basking in their delight for a few seconds until they turn out to all be rotten and mushy. It turns out that the nasty vampire fruit bats have returned. The intro to this episode sets Applejack as the proud traditionalist who likes things the way they are, in contrast to Fluttershy who she gets into a moral debate with.
Applejack rings the bell at her barn, saying this is a code red at Sweet Apple Acres, so the rest of the Mane 6 and Spike come aboard. It’s weird that Applejack’s immediate family aren’t the ones who come, but the episode gives a justification for that later on—a justification that allows this episode to focus on the Mane 6’s dynamics instead of the Apple family.
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.)
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.
In five words: Being heroic bites back, apparently?
Premise: After Rainbow Dash gets a little too egotistical about her heroic stunts, a mysterious figure starts beating her to the punch again and again, much to her aggravation.
Before I go through this episode in depth, I’m going to say something about Rainbow Dash.
I don’t know about you, but for me, “Rainbow Dash” is basically synonymous with “second-hand embarrassment”. When I watch almost any episode focusing on her, I get some form of second-hand embarrassment. Sometimes, the embarrassment feels believable or realistic, or reminds me of an embarrassing situation I got myself into. But other times, it feels like the episode is too mean-spirited towards Rainbow Dash or exaggerates her character too much. Now don’t get me wrong, Rainbow Dash is a great character. All the Mane 6 are great characters! It’s just that Rainbow Dash is the right degree of relatable that I am easily embarrassed at the things she does, and yes, I know she’s a fictional horse, but do you think there’s a rule saying that you can’t be embarrassed by a fictional horse? If I’m being completely honest with myself, Rainbow Dash is at least as relatable to me as Twilight Sparkle is.
This scene may well have been inspired by brony cosplayers.
This episode starts with a meeting of Rainbow Dash’s fan club, which Scootaloo appears to be the president of. Why the leader of a fan club is typically called the “president”, I cannot say. But I can say that this scene firmly establishes Scootaloo’s idolization of Rainbow Dash, which gradually blossoms into a sister-like relationship. It’s worth noting that Snips and Snails are part of the fan club, which makes a lot of sense—just as they had blindly latched onto worshipping Trixie in season 1, here they’re doing the same with Rainbow Dash.