Here’s my final MLP season 2 post, as well as my final MLP post of 2021! As I said at the start of the last post, I’ll take a break of indeterminate length before I start season 3 in early 2022. And I’m warning you now: my review of A Canterlot Wedding will be extremely lengthy and detailed. I figured, why not end season 2 with a bang? To be fair, season 2 of MLP already ends with a bang.
Season 2 Episode 25: A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1
In five words: Something is amiss at wedding.
Premise: The Mane 6 and Spike head over to prepare for the wedding of Shining Armor and Princess Cadance, Twilight Sparkle’s brother and childhood babysitter respectively. However, Twilight Sparkle can tell there is something very different about Cadance today.
A Canterlot Wedding opens up with a scene as mundane as can be: the Mane 6 having a calm picnic, surrounded by butterflies and lush trees, with Rarity even sporting a fanciful hat for the sake of it. There is something important to be taken from the mundaneness (mundanity?) of this scene. When an episode starts with something as innocuous and peaceful as the ponies having a picnic, you’ll easily know through contrast that the rest of this episode is going to be an absolute wild ride. The opening scene gives viewers plenty of time to absorb the peaceful atmosphere, even as it’s interspersed with Spike dramatically running to give an announcement.
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.
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.
In five words: Time travel mishaps cause hilarity.
Premise: Twilight Sparkle receives a brief worrying message from her future self and goes through a bunch of wacky shenanigans in an attempt to prevent whatever timeline her future self came from.
Ever since I first watched the show, I’ve always loved Twilight Sparkle and Spike’s dynamic.
This episode begins similarly to Lesson Zero: with a reminder of Twilight Sparkle’s comical obsession with organization. Spike is woken up from a dream about Rarity in the middle of the night by a panicked Twilight Sparkle, who realized that while making a schedule for this month she forgot to make time to make a schedule for next month. This scene sets the stage for this episode’s tone, and it tells us that this episode will be another one where Twilight Sparkle’s neurotic side leads to a massive dump of hilarity.
In this scene, the music takes a turn for the sci-fi sounding.
It all starts with Twilight Sparkle getting a foreboding message from her future self, who as you can tell from the image above has been through a lot of injuries. Twilight presumes right away that something horrible must have happened in the future, indicating an endearing lack of self-awareness about her neuroticism, which is the real reason she looks so beat up. She simply doesn’t know how hilariously panicked she can get about the smallest things.
I didn’t get this post done last Friday, so I decided to push it back a week. Given how busy I have been with work, don’t expect this to be an uncommon occurrence.
Season 2 Episode 18: A Friend in Deed
In five words: Pinkie luckily resolves romantic tragedy.
Premise: On her mission to be friends with everyone in Ponyville, Pinkie Pie hits a brick wall in the form of Cranky Doodle Donkey.
This episode starts with an 80’s exercise montage with 80’s sounding synth music—you know, the kind of music that seemed to only exist in the 80’s and vanished into thin air the moment that decade ended. The montage features Pinkie Pie, as you can see above, and it shows her getting the hang of taking care of the Cakes’ babies, a refreshing contrast against her struggles in Baby Cakes. Somehow, the very existence of this scene was erased from my head before I wrote this post! While I definitely don’t know every MLP episode like the back of my hand, you’d think I would remember the intro scene of this memorable episode, but nope, apparently I forgot its entire existence.
I guess talking farm animals in this show are phased out more gradually than I had thought.
That said, me forgetting about this episode’s intro scene may have something to do with how it’s unrelated to the rest of the episode, especially with the part following the theme song where Pinkie Pie greets numerous inhabitants of Ponyville and shows how universally beloved she is. This scene doesn’t come off as unbearably sugary, at least not to me because Pinkie Pie is such a laugh riot.
This review contains spoilers for season 4, but only in the overall thoughts section. Still coloring the title red to signify as much.
In five words: Allegory for becoming a brony.
Premise: At the hospital, Rainbow Dash finds herself captivated in a book that she had aggressively waved off, but she refuses to admit it to any of her friends. Does this sound familiar???
Warning you now: this review will be more than a little self-indulgent because the entire episode reminds me of how I became a brony. It’ll be one of my reviews where the detailed run-through is extra super detailed.
Imagine what it’s like watching this episode for the first time, unaware of what it’s about. Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity watch Rainbow Dash perform stunts in the sky, until she gets out of control and injures herself. We don’t see the injury, but rather hear sound effects and reactions from the ponies shown above, loosely indicating that it’s not something good. This cleverly leads up to the dire circumstances that cause Rainbow Dash to become the in-universe equivalent of a brony.
For a pony as action-oriented as Rainbow Dash, a hospital may as well be a prison. She’s forced to stay there for a few days, and she is incredibly unhappy about it. Rainbow Dash’s imminent obsession with Daring Do comes about through circumstances that would be dire and grueling specifically for her—circumstances that cause her to reach the absolute peak of boredom. This episode is much like a story that takes place in prison, except more kid-friendly. Then again, people often use “prison” as a figure of speech anyway.
Now that my Homestuck blog post series has been finished (final post, if you’re curious) for almost a month as of this writing, I figured now’s a great time to resume my MLP blog post series after a four-month break! I’m continuing once again with the schedule of posts every Friday at 9:00 AM EST, and I hope to do a steady stream of MLP posts in the downtime as my first full-time job progresses. This is probably going to be my main therapeutic hobby project for the rest of the year, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is a much less intensive and head-screwing thing to do than writing progressively longer-winded blog posts analyzing a webcomic written by an insane person.
Alright, now let’s get this running again!
Season 2 Episode 13: Baby Cakes
In five words: Pinkie Pie struggles with babysitting.
Premise: Pinkie Pie babysits Mr. and Mrs. Cake’s newborn twins, and they turn out much more of a handful, er, hoofful, than she had anticipated.
This episode starts with the Mane 6 in a hospital, in awe at Mr. and Mrs. Cake’s newborn twins: Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake. Naturally enough, Pinkie Pie gets extremely excited about the birth of the babies, and she almost blows her party horn extra loudly until the nurse pony tells her to quiet down. This scene already sets the premise of the episode quite well, showing that Pinkie Pie has no idea how to properly deal with babies.
It turns out Pound Cake is a pegasus, and Pumpkin Cake is a unicorn, which is very anomalous for babies birthed by two earth ponies. Mr. Cake explains that he and his wife have absurdly distant relatives who were a unicorn and a pegasus respectively, which raises some interesting implications about the Cake family line. Were these ponies really that stuck up on being purely a group of earth ponies? Maybe it’s fair to assume that in Equestria, only in recent times have ponies of different races been more open to marrying, considering the married couples we see in later seasons.
… What, don’t give me that look!!! If you can’t handle me analyzing one-off comedic lines in far more detail than anyone asked for, then maybe you should read someone else’s reviews of every single MLP episode.
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.
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.
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.
In five words: Twilight undergoes hilarious mental breakdown.
Premise: Twilight Sparkle realizes the deadline for her weekly letter to Celestia is imminent and causes havoc (and hilarity) trying to find, then make a friendship problem.
Spike probably hears the word “checklist” so often that it sometimes doesn’t even seem like a word anymore.
This episode starts with Twilight Sparkle reminding us about her comical obsession with checklists by reviewing her checklist for items needed to create a checklist, then starting her checklist of things she has to get done today with making a checklist of things she has to get done today, which is confusingly recursive. This obsession reminder leads to a groan from Spike and sets the stage for this episode’s focus: Twilight Sparkle’s obsession with order and detail going complete bonkers.
Derpy Hooves is here!!!!!
This episode is where the show’s theme song is updated for the first time, both visually and musically. The instrumentation has been adjusted to be a little more punchy (especially in the intro), and the vocals have been re-recorded. As for the visuals, only the scene above has changed, most notably adding a train with a certain fan favorite background pony inside the roof and replacing the random background stallion with Big Macintosh—a heartwarming testament to the fans and a logical, obvious replacement respectively. The Cutie Mark Crusaders are briefly seen together in the back of the train, which is again a logical addition.
Worth noting that this episode is the first one where unicorns’ magic has a consistent look, with a different color for each unicorn. Between magic colors and the updated theme song, this episode is the first one that FEELS like season 2.
Twilight Sparkle’s signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder increase as she goes to Sugarcube Corner and picks up a box of twelve cupcakes from Mrs. Cake, except it turns out to be thirteen, and the frosting isn’t spread 100% evenly. You could argue it’s weird that Twilight’s character is exaggerated just for the sake of this episode, but I couldn’t care less in this case because this episode is so hilarious. She resolves the situation by leaving an equally tiny bit of frosting on each cupcake. Most of the frosting ended up on Spike, who comically washes himself using his tongue with a sort of tornado formation, which is perfectly in line with this episode’s sense of humor.