Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 49: Amending Fences

Introduction

< Part 48 | Part 49 | Part 50 >

Season 5, Episode 12

We have quite a spicy lineup of episodes for the next month and a half, most of which will get their own individual, lovingly crafted posts: Amending Fences, Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?, Canterlot Boutique, Rarity Investigates!, Made in Manehattan, Brotherhooves Social, and Crusaders of the Lost Mark. All seven of these episodes have something cool and special about them, whether it be the Cutie Mark Crusaders accomplishing something huge, Twilight Sparkle’s backstory getting fleshed way out, or Coco Pommel being heart-meltingly adorable. The rest of season 5 will be the usual paired episodes, and when I finish the season, I will decide if I want to make single-episode posts the rule instead of the exception.


Season 5 Episode 12: Amending Fences

In five words: Series’ first few minutes revisited.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle reconnects with her old friends from Canterlot who we saw in the first few minutes of the first episode. Most of them are eager to hang out with her, but there’s one who bitterly swore off friendship after Twilight moved out: Moondancer.

Detailed run-through (aka the tangent about this episode from this Homestuck post but much longer and completely unrestrained):

Imagine you’re making a TV show that has become wildly popular among a far older audience than expected and need to come up with episode ideas for its fifth season. By now, you’ve gone through all the simple and obvious ideas for a show about friendship, so what can you do? One such thing is look back on the first episode with all its early installment weirdness, take something that was never elaborated upon, and flesh it WAY out. I find this sort of thing to be extremely delightful and cool and fun, especially in a show that I find extremely delightful and cool and fun.

This episode starts on an un-season-1-like note with Twilight Sparkle sitting on a fancy crystal couch, needing some time to relax after attending three events as a princess in one week. This makes an appropriate time for her and Spike to reflect on how much she’s been through since she moved to Ponyville. Spike remarks that back when she lived in Canterlot, Twilight wasn’t a very good friend to others. While Spike intended only to reflect on how far she’s come, Twilight panics when she realizes how much she’s been neglecting her friends from Canterlot. This leads her to leap into action and go on a journey to reunite with her friends whose names she doesn’t remember and expects Spike to remember for some reason.

Actually, I can sort of buy Twilight expecting Spike to remember names she can’t. She puts a lot of duties onto her dragon sidekick, like the dishes he complained about at the start of this episode, and she sometimes forgets which ones he can feasibly do. (Though Spike does later recite all her friends’ names.)

Spike: Come on, Twilight. You’re getting worked up about nothing.
Twilight Sparkle: The only logical place to start is at the beginning.

One thing this episode has in common with Slice of Life is that it leans on the fourth wall at times. An example is when Twilight Sparkle says to start at the beginning, referring to her old house in Canterlot. While this is obviously a reference to where the show began, I’d also like to think of it in in-universe terms. The day Twilight Sparkle moved to Ponyville is clearly an important day for her, because it started the current chapter of her life. Although her first onscreen moment in the show was right outside this castle, the day presumably started with her waking up inside it.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 48: Princess Spike + Party Pooped

Introduction

< Part 47 | Part 48 | Part 49 >

Season 5, Episodes 10-11


Season 5 Episode 10: Princess Spike

In five words: Spike does absolutely everything wrong.

Premise: While Twilight Sparkle is asleep in Canterlot for the day, Spike fills in for her event organization duties and gets carried away with his newfound freedom and authority. He starts doing some incredibly foolish things.

Detailed run-through:

Oh, boy. We’re at yet another controversial Spike episode now. When going through the show’s most controversial episodes, I usually dread going through them at first, but in the end I have quite a bit of fun picking them apart and giving honest criticism. So maybe this episode will be similar!

The very start of this episode has something I never noticed before: it takes place in the same building where the Grand Galloping Gala is hosted. I actually really like this location reuse. It’s logical and realistic, reminiscent of convention centers where different events are hosted throughout the year.

Note the bags under Twilight Sparkle’s eyes. She clearly worked herself a little too hard.

The event is called the Grand Equestria Pony Summit, and it features ponies from all around Equestria plus some griffons here and there. The princesses on stage present a statue made of gemstones from the cities where all the attendees live. Twilight Sparkle gives a little speech at the summit and mentions that organizing it has led to quite a few sleepless nights, which the guests in the audience don’t seem to think hard about even though she looks and sounds drowsy. Perhaps they think “sleepless nights” was a figure of speech, not something to take literally? Or do they think alicorns have a special power to remain wide awake as long as they like?

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 40: Inspiration Manifestation + Equestria Games

Introduction

< Part 39 | Part 40 | Part 41 >

Season 4, Episodes 23-24

Random fact: I wrote this entire post during my trip to Spain a few weeks ago. It was one of the main things I did when sitting around at the hotels: that, and practicing speaking Spanish. (And waiting to get a negative COVID-19 test, which I thankfully got in the end, allowing me to fly home.)


Season 4 Episode 23: Inspiration Manifestation

In five words: Rarity goes mad with power.

Premise: Spike tries to help Rarity out of a creative dry spell by finding a book that gives her extraordinarily dangerous powers.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a quick look at an event called the Ponyville Foal and Filly Fair, an event whose name translates to, uh, “Kid and Girl Fair”? Rarity shows us a fanciful puppet stage she lovingly designed with some help from Spike, describing the strenuous hours spent in her typical overdramatic manner but expecting it to be worth it in the end…

Unicorns are probably the only type of pony capable of putting on a puppet show. They have hooves, not hands.

… except the guy hosting the puppet show says the stage is awful and deems it completely unusable. By this point, Rarity has been in such a situation where her customer rejects her art quite a lot of times, and this time she won’t even think of reworking her artwork because that always gets her into more mishaps.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 39: Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 + Trade Ya!

Introduction

< Part 38 | Part 39 | Part 40 >

Season 4, Episodes 21-22

Greetings from Spain, uh, again! Current mood: badly hoping I’ll get a negative COVID-19 test so I can fly home on Sunday. Also, here’s the post about learning Spanish I said I might make last time.


Season 4 Episode 21: Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

In five words: Rainbow Dash has difficulty studying.

Premise: As her next step to get into the Wonderbolts, Rainbow Dash needs to study for a test about the Wonderbolts’ history, and she’s reluctant to do so. Her friends all try to help her find a way to absorb the information, which proves difficult.

Detailed run-through:

Like several prior episodes, this one starts with Twilight Sparkle trying to concentrate on a magic spell only to get interrupted by one of her friends, and this time the interruption is the quickest yet. This comical scene establishes that this episode is going to focus on Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash’s dynamic. I’ve noticed that some combinations of Mane 6 members find themselves paired up in episodes far more often than others, and that seasons 5 and 6 are when the show plays mix-and-match with character pairs through all those friendship map missions. Applejack and Rarity are commonly paired because their contrasting interests play off each other in amusing ways but also make it more satisfying to see them happily cooperate. Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash are another common pair, and it’s easy to see why: they’re both huge nerds, but while Twilight completely owns up to being one, Rainbow Dash tries to disguise it by constantly playing it cool. This leads the two to have all sorts of interesting interactions, as we’ll see here.

Rainbow Dash gloats about how easy it was to catch Twilight by surprise, bragging about how sharply she pays attention to everything around her while flying. Twilight Sparkle was indeed muttering to herself about how Rainbow Dash hasn’t been taking her studying for the Wonderbolt history test seriously, using the fairly exotic word “lackadaisical” in the process. I can tell that Twilight considers Rainbow Dash to be very smart, which is why she’s frustrated that her friend doesn’t want to apply her skills in the right way. And Rainbow Dash likewise considers Twilight Sparkle far smarter than her, at the cost of being a dorky goober who’s easy to fool. The friction between these two comes about because of how much they see in each other.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 35: Simple Ways + Filli Vanilli

Introduction

< Part 34 | Part 35 | Part 36 >

Season 4, Episodes 13-14

I had said in an announcement post that I would probably go on a decently long hiatus after finishing my review of Simple Ways. And I did go on a hiatus for nine days (several of which I spent extremely sick), but it was short enough that it didn’t interrupt my post series’ weekly queue.


Season 4 Episode 13: Simple Ways

In five words: Rarity bends herself for love.

Premise: A travel writer named Trenderhoof who Rarity has a crush on visits Ponyville, but when he ends up obsessing over Applejack, Rarity tries to overhaul her personality in response.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with a Ponyville town meeting where it is announced who will get to be the master of ceremonies for a festival celebrating the town’s founding, and Rarity wins. This sets up the premise for the episode and gives Rarity a reason to meet her celebrity crush face-to-face.

You know what? I’m going to skip to the part where Rarity reveals her crush on Trenderhoof, a travel writer who she hopes to impress during the Ponyville Days Festival.

I’ve heard that some people criticize this episode for focusing on romance, supposedly because Lauren Faust didn’t want the show to have any, which is total nonsense because Rarity has had crushes since the start of the show. I think the real reason this episode’s focus on romance gets flack is one of two things: (1) Twilight Sparkle’s romance arc with Flash Sentry in Equestria Girls left a sour taste in fans’ mouths, and they doubted the show’s potential to have good romance arcs in the future, or (2) fans don’t want canon material to intervene with their favorite ships. After Prince Blueblood turned out to be a disappointment, it makes sense that Rarity would set her eyes on a new love interest, who she’s revealing at long last. I really don’t see the issue with Rarity having a crush in this episode. It’s not like Trenderhoof was an already existing character; he’s introduced as Rarity’s love interest, and he’s, well… not much more than that. Rarity gives some exciting descriptions of the guy, saying that he’s good at predicting trends and wrote an article about Las Pegasus before the place got popular, but once we see him in person, he doesn’t get much of a personality. But I’ll get to that.

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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 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 26: Spike at Your Service + Keep Calm and Flutter On

Introduction

< Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 >

Season 3, Episodes 9-10


Season 3 Episode 9: Spike at Your Service

In five words: Spike contradicts all previous logic.

Premise: After Applejack saves his life, Spike insists on acting as Applejack’s servant as payback and constantly messes things up in the process for some reason.

Detailed run-through, I guess:

*sigh*

I’m sorry for sounding so reluctant here. It’s just that this is the least excited I’ve ever been to analyze a MLP episode, because this episode… well, it’s one of very few episodes of the show that I outright dislike. So bear with me here, OK? I’ll try to get back to the good stuff as soon as I can.

No, I am not going to skip this episode, as tempting as it may be.

To start this episode, Twilight Sparkle gives Spike a day off because she has a huge set of books Celestia wanted her to read over the weekend. Spike excitedly goes outside and goes through a long list of things he’s wanted to do… except it’s a very short list of simple tasks like smelling his feet, which he gets through quickly. At this point, Spike probably feels lacking in identity other than being “Twilight Sparkle’s sidekick”, and while plenty of episodes explore this aspect of his character in earnest depth, this one uses it to lead up to a storm of annoying contrivances.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 22: The Crystal Empire, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 >

Season 3, Episodes 1-2

NOTE: I published this post about an hour early so that I could get it out and update the previous MLP post and introduction post before going off to do convention things.

How appropriate for my first MLP post of 2022 to be number 22. Well, I actually wrote this post in 2021, but I held off publishing it until 2022 to give my posting schedule some breathing room. 2022 is a complete open book for me; aside from me attending MAGFest at the start (as of this post’s publication, I’m at the convention right now), only time will tell what experiences I will go through as the year progresses.

Also, here’s how season 3 will be divided up. Season 3 consists of 13 episodes, so each post will take up two episodes, except for Magical Mystery Cure, which will get a post all to itself. Not because I expect my review of that episode to be extremely lengthy, but simply because the season has an odd number of episodes and I had said I wasn’t going to do posts covering three episodes anymore. Because of this, one episode of season 3 has to get a post all to itself, so I went with the obvious choice. On the other hand, when I go through later seasons, there will probably be plenty of times where I decide to give an episode a post to itself solely because I expect its review to be lengthy, like Slice of Life or Amending Fences.

But as much as I adore both of those season 5 episodes, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Instead, it’s time to start season 3!!!


Season 3 Episode 1: The Crystal Empire, Part 1

This review has spoilers for up to the season 4 finale!

In five words: Twilight Sparkle begins unexpected test.

Premise: Celestia puts Twilight Sparkle and her friends to the task of protecting the Crystal Empire, which has returned after a thousand years, from the wrath of King Sombra, who has also returned after a thousand years.

Detailed run-through:

Who is this nerdy-looking unicorn girl and what’s her deal?
(I wouldn’t be surprised if fans have a common consensus on what her deal is.)

Season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic begins with a short scene where a royal guard informs Celestia that “it” has returned. This scene is quite a strange way to begin the third season, but it serves a clear purpose: loosely hinting at a new villain, matching the pattern of every two-part episode so far introducing a new villain. First Nightmare Moon, then Discord, then Queen Chrysalis, and now… it. (I’m talking about King Sombra, of course.)

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