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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.