Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 15: Secret of My Excess + Hearth’s Warming Eve + Family Appreciation Day

Introduction

< Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 >

Season 2, Episodes 10-12

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.)

Detailed run-through:

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 14: The Mysterious Mare Do Well + Sweet and Elite

Introduction

< Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 >

Season 2, Episodes 8-9


Season 2 Episode 8: The Mysterious Mare Do Well

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.

Detailed run-through:

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 13: Sisterhooves Social + The Cutie Pox + May the Best Pet Win!

Introduction

< Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 >

Season 2, Episodes 5-7


Season 2 Episode 5: Sisterhooves Social

In five words: Sibling frustration reaches breaking point.

Premise: When Sweetie Belle asks Rarity to go with her to the [insert episode’s title here], Rarity refuses and Sweetie Belle decides she wants to be Applejack’s sister instead.

Detailed run-through:

This episode begins with a scene that perfectly demonstrates the premise of its first half: Sweetie Belle clumsily attempting to do nice things for her big sister. To start off, Rarity waves up from pleasant food dreams to the smell of smoke, which leads her to see Sweetie Belle about to prepare breakfast in bed for her. Sweetie Belle starts this show as well-meaning but clumsy and not very good at anything; among the three Cutie Mark Crusaders, I’d say she has the strongest character development as the show progresses. But then again, she’s my favorite of the Crusaders in general.

Rarity’s parents make their first (and only voiced) appearance in this episode, and all I can think about is how unlike every other member of the Mane 6, Rarity didn’t get an episode going in depth on her relationship with her parents. We just know them as parents who embarrass their elder daughter regularly and have far lower standards for food than her, while seeming to get along perfectly well with their younger daughter. They’re supposed to be Sweetie Belle’s regular caretakers until Rarity basically supersedes that role, meaning we don’t even get more scenes of Sweetie Belle interacting with their parents. Rarity’s parents just say they’re going on vacation for a week, leaving Sweetie Belle to stay with Rarity, and that’s all we hear from them.

Rarity having a “parent episode” so to speak would have been GLORIOUS! And yet, she just… didn’t get one, I guess. Ah well, not everything is perfect. The blueprint for a potential Rarity parent episode is there though, with an uptight elder daughter and ridiculously laid-back parents. I’m sure fans have written decent stories of their own about Rarity’s relationship with her parents. Or Sweetie Belle’s relationship with her parents, for that matter.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 11: The Return of Harmony, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 >

Season 2, Episode 1-2

One season down, eight to go!!! Well, more like seven and a half seasons, because season 3 of MLP:FiM is half the length of other seasons.

Season 1 took me about two months to go through, which is pretty good by my standards! Season 2 will likely take a bit longer depending on how I split the episodes and if I procrastinate enough that I’ll have to miss a week. As for later seasons, we’ll just have to see what happens, but expect the level of detail to ramp up considerably once I get to season 5 and onwards… which is over half the show, but whatever.


Season 2 Episode 1: The Return of Harmony, Part 1

This review contains spoilers for season 3! Even those who haven’t seen MLP may know Discord is a recurring character after his debut, but they aren’t as likely to know what he does after this episode. So, um, read at your own discretion.

In five words: Introducing everyone’s favorite villain, Discord.

Premise: A new villain named Discord arises from his frozen state and steals the Elements of Harmony, playing all sorts of mind games on the Mane 6 in the process.

Detailed run-through:

The very beginning of season 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic demonstrates that the show’s cast has solidified quite a bit over its first season. Cheerilee is taking the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ class on a field trip to the Canterlot sculpture garden, and the class now has a good eight members who are actual characters and not just generic extras: an inseparable trio, two inseparable duos, and Twist. As the show’s cast of named characters expands, so does the show’s attention to detail, and you know how much I love some good attention to detail.

This scene features the memetic line directed at Sweetie Belle, “what are you, a dictionary?”
Why is Sweetie Belle by far the smartest of the Cutie Mark Crusaders???

When Cheerilee presents the statue of Discord, the Cutie Mark Crusaders get into an argument and demonstrate (and had already been demonstrating) the concept of—you guessed it—discord. And let me tell you, between Discord the MLP character and Discord the chat client, it’s INCREDIBLY weird typing “discord” as a lowercase word. I suppose the Crusaders’ live demonstration was meant to teach viewers what “discord” means through example, which is especially useful for young viewers today who know Discord as the name of a chat client. This benign opening ends with the statue of Discord cracking and the draconequus himself deeply laughing, setting the stage for this two-part episode.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 10: Party of One + The Best Night Ever

Introduction

< Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 >

Season 1, Episodes 25-26

I’m warning you right now: my review of The Best Night Ever is gigantic. It’s my longest episode review yet! My review of Party of One, on the other hand, is fairly short.


Season 1 Episode 25: Party of One

In five words: Pinkie undergoes infamous mental breakdown.

Premise: The day after a birthday celebration for her pet alligator Gummy, Pinkie Pie notices something fishy about her friends and suspects that they don’t like her parties anymore. She doesn’t take this well, to say the least.

Detailed run-through:

This musical sequence is the first time we see Rainbow Dash’s residence, but it’s only the outside.

This episode begins with a musical number where Pinkie Pie visits each of her friends’ houses, giving a singing telegram about Gummy’s upcoming birthday. I love everything about this musical number—Pinkie Pie’s increasingly ridiculous outfits, the scene transitions with Gummy in various poses, her friends’ confused reactions, the song gradually slowing as Pinkie gets tired, and the hot air balloon she rides to visit Rainbow Dash’s place. Not to mention the implication that she sang the song in its entirety to each of her friends individually, leading each of them to have the exact same reaction. The whole thing is so fun and silly, so Pinkie Pie.

After the theme song, Gummy’s birthday party is held with the right amount of humor to be typical for this show while still making it clear that the ponies are all grateful to have Pinkie Pie as a friend.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 9: A Bird in the Hoof + The Cutie Mark Chronicles + Owl’s Well That Ends Well

Introduction

< Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 >

Season 1, Episodes 22-24

NOTE: I accidentally published an unfinished version of this post on April 21. Sorry about that!


Season 1 Episode 22: A Bird in the Hoof

In five words: Fluttershy babysits bird without permission.

Premise: After a party in Ponyville where Princess Celestia came over, Fluttershy notices that Celestia’s pet bird Philomena looks ill and thus attempts to resuscitate her. Frustration ensues, as does the daunting realization that she didn’t even ask for permission.

Detailed run-through:

Oh look, it’s the dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala!
(That’s the only reason why I’m including this image.)

This episode starts with Fluttershy at home tending to her animals, until Angel reminds her of an imminently upcoming brunch party at Sugarcube Corner, where Celestia has come to visit. After Fluttershy leaves in a hurry, Angel locks himself inside the house, finally ready for some peace and quiet. Angel is one mischievous bunny—his name is far more indicative of Fluttershy’s personality than his own. Not because Fluttershy is an angel (even though she is), rather because she thinks of every single animal she knows as an angel.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 8: A Dog and Pony Show + Green Isn’t Your Color + Over a Barrel

Introduction

< Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 >

Season 1, Episodes 19-21


Season 1 Episode 19: A Dog and Pony Show

In five words: Rarity subverts “damsel in distress”.

Premise: While mining for gems, Rarity gets abducted by the Diamond Dogs. Her friends have no idea how much she’s not a stereotypical damsel in distress.

Detailed run-through:

This episode begins with famous pop singer pony Sapphire Shores visiting Rarity’s boutique and recognizing her name, much to her shock and then nervous delight. Sapphire Shores sees a gem-filled dress Rarity made and asks her to make five more of them, but to do this, Rarity needs to find more gems. It’s clear from what we saw in Suited for Success that Rarity won’t refuse such a request. Rather, she’ll follow it to the letter, which sets the stage for this episode’s plot.

Rarity repeatedly reminds us how ladylike she is in this scene, which sets up this episode’s moral.

I love how Spike uses his tail as a shovel and then a drill. Creative cartoon physics right there.

And so, Rarity takes Spike along on one of their many journeys where they hunt for gems. This scene demonstrates Rarity’s skill in persuasion and sweet-talk, because she’s the only one who can get Spike to not greedily devour every gem he comes across. Though this may have something to do with the fact that Spike has a gigantic crush on Rarity, which he outright states in the next episode to nobody’s surprise. Still, though, this is some good establishing of Rarity’s strengths.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 7: Sonic Rainboom + Stare Master + The Show Stoppers

Introduction

< Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 >

Season 1, Episodes 16-18

NOTE: I am very busy with final exams right now! I just happen to have this post (and the next one) queued from a few weeks ago.


Season 1 Episode 16: Sonic Rainboom

In five words: Rainbow Dash triumphantly demonstrates loyalty.

Premise: Rainbow Dash hopes to perform a [insert episode’s title here] at the Best Young Flyers’ Competition and is more nervous than she lets on, so her friends try to provide her moral support; mishaps occur on both ends.

Detailed run-through:

yay

This episode begins with a memorable scene where Fluttershy practices cheering for Rainbow Dash. She understands the instructions conceptually, but because she’s Fluttershy, her concept of a good cheer is a soft-spoken “yay”, even as Rainbow Dash continually asks her to say it louder. Fluttershy’s final “yay” is longer but hardly louder than the previous ones; she ends the scene by asking “too loud?”

This scene is by far the most memorable part of this episode, and I don’t know whether that means this scene is extremely memorable or the rest of the episode is extremely forgettable. Either way, I hope we can all agree that Fluttershy’s soft-spoken expressions of joy and cheer are hilarious, as is her severe overestimation of how loud she is.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 6: Suited for Success + Feeling Pinkie Keen

Introduction

< Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 >

Season 1, Episodes 14-15


Season 1 Episode 14: Suited for Success

In five words: Started “good Rarity episode” pattern.

Premise: Rarity makes dresses for her friends to wear at the Grand Galloping Gala, but they all feel that their dresses leave something to be desired. Not one to leave her friends dissatisfied, she takes a second shot at them.

Detailed run-through (even more detailed than Call of the Cutie):

Before we get started here, I’d like to acknowledge that a rather large portion of my favorite MLP episodes are Rarity episodes. I’m not quite sure why her episodes are so consistently good—maybe because she brings out her best and/or worst self in every single one of them? Maybe because you can always tell she puts so much love into what she does, and thus it’s crushing when things don’t go her way? Maybe because it’s satisfying when the episode ends with Rarity getting her way? In any case, Rarity is a great character and I won’t let anyone try to tell me otherwise.

Glasses Rarity is like Rarity: Supreme Ultra Mega Deluxe Edition.

This episode starts us off with the debut of Glasses Rarity, who, as her name may suggest, is Rarity wearing glasses. There’s a strong ethereal aura that female fictional characters with glasses emit, and that aura carries over even when that character is a horse. Whenever she’s wearing her signature red glasses, you can tell Rarity is hard at work in her artistic craft. Her cat Opalescence (or Opal for short) is introduced too, and she’s basically a lazy and grouchy cat who doesn’t hesitate to show her disapproval of her owner’s situations.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 3: Boast Busters + Dragonshy + Look Before You Sleep

Introduction

< Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 >

Season 1, Episodes 6-8


Season 1 Episode 6: Boast Busters

I’m going to analyze this one a bit differently from prior episodes. Specifically, I will be discussing spoilers for later seasons (up to season 6), where Trixie becomes a recurring character instead of a one-off (two-off, rather). If an episode’s title is colored red, that means my review will contain spoilers for later episodes!

In five words: Twilight begins irrational Trixie grudge.

Premise: A boastful magician named Trixie visits Ponyville to perform a magic show, and Twilight Sparkle develops a gnawing urge to one-up her and prove she’s full of nonsense, because clearly the entire point of magicians is to tell the truth and never deceive anyone, and also to never make up an exaggerated fictional backstory to immerse the audience.

Detailed run-through:

The episode begins with Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills by giving Spike a mustache, which she gets rid of once he starts thinking about impressing Rarity. This scene makes it clear that magic is a skill that Twilight is very proud of and holds in high regard, setting up her rivalry with Trixie, who is more skilled in the illusory kind of magic.

Spike: 25, Twilight. 25 different kinds of tricks and counting! I thought unicorns were only supposed to have a little magic that matches their special talents.
Twilight Sparkle: True, for ponies whose talents are for things like cooking or singing or math. But what if a unicorn’s special talent is magic?
Spike: Like you, Twilight! And you know a ton of magic.

This passage comparing Twilight Sparkle against your usual unicorn suggests to me that she’s probably a magic elitist who makes a sharp distinction between true magic and bogus magic and is aggravated when people conflate the two. Even though Twilight responds with modesty, her passion for the field of magic is undeniable, and she always gets annoyed when people misunderstand things she’s passionate about.

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