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 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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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 32: Bats! + Rarity Takes Manehattan

Introduction

< Part 31 | Part 32 | Part 33 >

Season 4, Episodes 7-8


Season 4 Episode 7: Bats!

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.

Detailed run-through:

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 31: Flight to the Finish + Power Ponies

Introduction

< Part 30 | Part 31 | Part 32 >

Season 4, Episodes 5-6


Season 4 Episode 5: Flight to the Finish

In five words: Bullying gets better of Scootaloo.

Premise: The Cutie Mark Crusaders prepare an opening routine for the Equestria Games, but when Diamond Tiara mocks Scootaloo for her inability to fly, they’re discouraged from going further.

Detailed run-through:

Been a while since we last were at the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ school.

To start this episode, Cheerilee brings two special guests to the class she teaches: Ms. Harshwhinny and Rainbow Dash. They announce that the kids may get to take a part in the Equestria Games, specifically through a competition where they each need to come up with a flag-carrying routine, and the winning team gets to perform it in the games. This is the point where I remember that the Equestria Games are the other overarching plot of season 4—the one that doesn’t involve finding the keys for the mysterious chest, that is. But those plots do intersect in Rainbow Falls, which is a few episodes from now.

Ms. Harshwhinny and Rainbow Dash play off each other in fun ways as they explain the rules of the opening routine. Ms. Harshwhinny insists on keeping a reserved, professional attitude, while Rainbow Dash can’t control her excitement and brags about the time she carried the flag as a filly, which Scootaloo of course swoons over. When Ms. Harshwhinny mentions that Rainbow Dash will accompany the winning team to the Crystal Empire, the Crusaders’ faces light up one by one. To them, this is their chance to see the place they got a taste of when Spike wrangled them up in babysitting antics! And opportunities to go such places don’t come easy for them, being fillies and all.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 30: Castle Mane-ia + Daring Don’t

Introduction

< Part 29 | Part 30 | Part 31 >

Season 4, Episodes 3-4


Season 4 Episode 3: Castle Mane-ia

In five words: Ponies incite fears by accident.

Premise: The Mane 6 explore the ruins of Celestia and Luna’s old castle. Spooky shenanigans unwittingly ensue.

Detailed run-through:

Some of the show’s seasons have the third episode directly follow up from the two-part premiere, either to tie some loose ends or to begin the season’s overall arc. This episode does both, showing that Twilight Sparkle has combed through every book in Ponyville and found no information about the chest that came from the Tree of Harmony. It never fully sinks in for Twilight that she can’t learn everything from books; it’s a cute little quirk of her character that she still resorts to books after all this time.

Twilight Sparkle having wings makes it easier to show when she’s hyper-excited.

Twilight Sparkle initially considers checking out the libraries in Canterlot, but then she gets a letter from Celestia saying she should visit the ruins of her and Luna’s old castle in the Everfree Forest. It’s the same castle we previously saw Nightmare Moon ravage in a flashback, which explains why it’s in ruins and makes for some nice attention to continuity. It’s also the same castle the Mane 6 first got the Elements of Harmony from, which I admittedly forgot until Rainbow Dash brings it up about six minutes in, then retroactively added to this paragraph. Spike is creeped out by this place, but Twilight Sparkle is overjoyed.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 28: Magical Mystery Cure

Introduction

< Part 27 | Part 28 | Part 29 >

Season 3, Episode 13

NOTE: This post was supposed to be released about an hour ago, but it looks like I forgot to schedule it. Sorry about that!

We’ve made it to the season 3 finale now! It’s a huge turning point for the series, as you probably know. Like season 1, this season’s finale is a single one-part episode. But this time, I’m giving the finale a post all to itself, making for my first MLP post that goes through only one episode. It turns out that was a good decision, since Magical Mystery Cure broke the record of my longest MLP episode review to date, surpassing The Best Night Ever by quite a lot! (Yes, I did a word count, not including words quoted from the show.)


Season 3 Episode 13: Magical Mystery Cure

In five words: Twilight gains wings; fans scream.

Premise: In an episode abound with musical numbers, Twilight Sparkle wakes up to find that all her friends’ cutie marks have been swapped. Only she can fix this, using, well you know, the power of friendship.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a joyful, triumphant musical number called “Morning in Ponyville”, where Twilight Sparkle wakes up and sings about how this is a perfect morning where nothing can ever go wrong. The fact that this episode immediately starts with this song already tells us that it’s going to be a little different from other episodes of this show; an episode where most things are told through music.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 27: Just for Sidekicks + Games Ponies Play

Introduction

< Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28 >

Season 3, Episodes 11-12

I’m almost done with season 3 now! My final season 3 post, covering Magical Mystery Cure, will come out a week from now, and then I’ll take a bit of a break. I think it’ll be fun to release my first season 4 post on (almost) the one-year anniversary of my first season 1 post: March 11, 2022.


Season 3 Episode 11: Just for Sidekicks

In five words: Spike experiences continuous babysitting mishaps.

Premise: While the Mane 6 are out to the Crystal Empire, Spike has to watch over their pets and gets into a huge wrangled mess.

Detailed run-through:

All his pony friends have pets of their own just like he did, but that didn’t stop Spike from doing what he thought was right.

This episode starts with a quick follow-up from the ending of Dragon Quest: a set of photos showing Spike with his pet phoenix named Peewee, ending with him releasing Peewee back to his homeland. As I said at the end of Dragon Quest, this is a selfless gesture on Spike’s part, showing that as much fun as he had with his little pet, he knew the right thing to do was let Peewee live with his own species. I’m going to imagine that Spike traveled there all by himself to drop off his little buddy, much like he traveled to the dragon kingdom by himself in Dragon Quest. It would be a good example of him taking extreme lengths for those he cares about.

I love how Spike is singing along to the background music. He does more of this throughout this episode.

Spike prepares a delicious gem cake, but he can’t control himself from eating all the gems for it in the process. He immediately suspects Owlowiscious of stealing the gems, until the owl shows Spike a spoon that reflects his face, indicating that he ate them. Their one-sided rivalry from Owl’s Well That Ends Well has returned in full light here, cementing this episode as one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 25: Wonderbolts Academy + Apple Family Reunion

Introduction

< Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 >

Season 3, Episodes 7-8


Season 3 Episode 7: Wonderbolts Academy

This review has spoilers discussing the various villains who get redemption arcs; one who gets reformed only a few episodes from now, and several who don’t get reformed until season 5.

In five words: Rainbow Dash’s friend becomes rival.

Premise: Rainbow Dash gets accepted to the Wonderbolts’ training camp and meets a pegasus who matches her evenly… or so it seems at first.

Detailed run-through:

I love how Twilight Sparkle’s friends are right there, and yet she’s still reading a book.

I think I’m noticing a pattern here. If an episode starts with the Mane 6 having a picnic (as is the case here), it’s soon to be followed by a letter announcing something huge. This time, Pinkie Pie is bouncing like crazy and waiting for the letter to come. Yes, for whatever reason, Pinkie Pie is more nervous about the letter than Rainbow Dash is, even though the letter concerns the latter and determines whether she will get into the Wonderbolts. Rainbow Dash being confident she’ll get in makes total sense, but Pinkie Pie’s nervousness is harder to decipher. Perhaps this is an indication that she cares about her friends’ happiness to degrees more extreme than she usually lets on? Or maybe Pinkie just plays a gag role throughout this episode.

Rainbow Dash reveals she got into the Wonderbolts’ training camp in the most Rainbow Dash way possible. She puts on a convincing act of disappointment while saying she didn’t get in, then says “gotcha”. She is a very skilled prankster and knows herself well enough to fool her friends, much like how she often puts on an act of confidence to downplay her fears. However, in this scene she was always confident she would get in the camp.

Continuing her exaggerated role, Pinkie Pie gives Rainbow Dash an absurdly tight and long hug, then screams “don’t forget to write” through a megaphone at the top of her lungs. I can’t decide if it’s a better idea to appreciate the gags for what they are or try to gather serious implications about Pinkie Pie’s character.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 24: Magic Duel + Sleepless in Ponyville

Introduction

< Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 >

Season 3, Episodes 5-6

Pointless trivia: I worked on my review of Magic Duel entirely within my own house, whereas I worked on my review of Sleepless in Ponyville entirely within a hotel room at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Pandemic restrictions or not, I’m happy to report I had a great time at MAGFest 2022 (though as of this post’s publication, it already ended a few weeks ago).


Season 3 Episode 5: Magic Duel

In five words: Boast Busters’ much better sequel.

Premise: After getting brutally owned in Boast Busters, Trixie returns to Ponyville with a desire for revenge and a special magical amulet.

Detailed run-through:

The intro portion of this episode teases viewers with loose hints of a familiar face. A hooded figure goes to a shop to obtain a dangerous magical amulet, and while she’s denied it at first, she gets it after giving the shopkeeper a big bag of money. Trixie is a fan favorite character, so it makes sense that her return would start off subtle.

After this, we get a scene of Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills much like she did at the start of Boast Busters, showing that she’s sharpened her magic prowess since then. She uses a magic spell to levitate Fluttershy’s animals in a gentle looping formation, keeping them calm and happy despite Fluttershy’s extreme nervousness. Again like Boast Busters, this scene shows that Twilight takes great pride in her magic skills. Twilight then mentions Celestia hired her for the entertainment in an upcoming special event. She’s clearly referring to magic tricks here, and that was the one thing Trixie thought she was so good at.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 20: Hurricane Fluttershy + Ponyville Confidential + MMMystery on the Friendship Express

Introduction

< Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 >

Season 2, Episodes 22-24

The last six episodes, Read It and Weep through Dragon Quest, all got pretty enormous and detailed reviews. I think I’m ready to go a little lighter with the next three episodes, since those don’t stick out to me nearly as much. Also, 20 posts is a nice milestone! A bit of a modest one though, compared to certain other projects of mine.

By the way, my plan is to finish writing the reviews for all of season 2 by the end of this year, then take a break from writing MLP posts until the new year begins. I have plenty of other things I want to get done before 2021 ends! It’s been a real doozy of a year for me, both in real life and with my personal projects. Perhaps the biggest doozy of any year in my entire life.


Season 2 Episode 22: Hurricane Fluttershy

In five words: Fluttershy gradually conquers childhood trauma.

Premise: Rainbow Dash wants all the pegasi of Ponyville to make a record-breaking tornado to provide Cloudsdale with a fresh new water supply, but due to past traumatic experiences, Fluttershy is reluctant to participate.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Rainbow Dash admirably demonstrating how dutiful of a pegasus she is. She sends a bunch of letters to all the pegasi of Ponyville, gathering them for an important meeting at the Golden Oak Library. As much as she likes bragging about her own feats, she’s also a great team player, which matches with loyalty as her element of harmony. Fluttershy, on the other hand, is incredibly reluctant to join the meeting and tries to sneak away so she won’t have to join.

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