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 12: Lesson Zero + Luna Eclipsed

Introduction

< Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 >

Season 2, Episodes 3-4


Season 2 Episode 3: Lesson Zero

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.

Detailed run-through:

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.

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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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