Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 62: Gauntlet of Fire

Introduction / Navigation

< Part 61 | Part 62 | Part 63 >

Season 6, Episode 5

Fun fact: this will be the last MLP post I write before moving out of my parents’ house. I get the keys today, and I’ll spend the weekend moving all my stuff. Exciting, right?


Season 6 Episode 5: Gauntlet of Fire

In five words: Spike’s second chance befriending dragons.

Premise: Spike goes to the dragon kingdom for the second time in his life, this time by force. He’s sent to participate in a competition to inherit the throne from Dragon Lord Torch. He’s reluctant at first, but eventually he gains a supportive ally.

Detailed run-through:

Knowing this episode’s premise, it’s interesting and fitting that it starts with Spike in his comfort zone: exploring a cave with a girl he likes to help her find gems.

Rarity: The last time I was here, I woke them and ended up with a mane full of bats. (sigh) Thanks for being my basket holder, Spike.
Spike: Basket holder? I thought I was your bodyguard.
Rarity: What? Oh, haha. Yes, yes, that of course, too.

I should say right off the bat that I see nothing creepy about Spike’s crush on Rarity. It’s a totally believable thing for a pre-teenage boy to do, and passages like this show that while Rarity has some special affection for Spike, she clearly views him as a kid. There are some episodes where one of them goes far enough to raise an eyebrow, but this isn’t one of them, and the crush in itself isn’t weird to me.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 59: The Crystalling, Part 1 + 2

Introduction / Navigation

< Part 58 | Part 59 | Part 60 >

Season 6, Episodes 1-2

How did this blog post come to be, you may ask? Oh, you know… the classic tale of me getting bored out of my mind one evening and thus deciding to bring a personal project out of hiatus.

Until mid-January, my MLP posting schedule may be a little sporadic because I’m preparing to move into a new house. After that, things will ramp up! As with season 5, this season will be a mix of one-episode posts and two-episode posts, probably with an increased portion of one-episode posts.


Season 6 Episode 1: The Crystalling, Part 1

In five words: Baby brings everyone’s lives chaos.

Premise: The Crystal Empire is hosting its the ever crystalling of a baby alicorn princess named Flurry Heart, and Twilight Sparkle uses this visit as an opportunity to teach Starlight Glimmer her first friendship lesson: reconciling with Sunburst.

Detailed run-through:

Every season since the fourth, I’ve REALLY taken my sweet time analyzing the first few minutes of the first episode.

Since I so strongly associate this season with Starlight Glimmer, it’s no surprise that season 6 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic begins with her exploring Twilight’s castle. Starlight tries to find the library in this enormous building and snarks that the castle looked a lot smaller from the outside. Right away, this remark makes it clear what Starlight’s new role in the show will be. She’s going to fill the niche that Twilight Sparkle had in the first few seasons—a snarky student well-versed in magic but inexperienced with friendship who reports to a princess. This role matches very nicely with the middle and late seasons’ theme of passing the torch.

Wait… you expected me to go off about how surprised I am that I’ve already made it to season 6, right? While it’s certainly a nice milestone, I knew from the moment I conceived of this post series* that I’d easily have it in me to make it this far, so it doesn’t feel that huge to me. Perhaps this sounds like I’m bragging about myself, but I am really just putting into perspective how hopelessly obsessed I am with this show instead of normal people things that normal people like. I tried suppressing the fact that I love My Little Pony for six years, and you can see how well that turned out. Eventually, the lid burst, and now I have no choice but to own up to this painfully dorky obsession.

Honestly, the real exciting milestone of season 6 is not the premiere, but rather its sixth episode: No Second Prances. Imagine me popping off Pinkie Pie style about how excited I am to analyze that episode; that’s how much I am looking forward to it.

* I conceived of a video series reviewing every episode back in 2014, but when the idea came back to me in 2021, I decided a blog post series would be more fun.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 58: The Cutie Re-Mark, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 57 | Part 58 | Part 59 >

Season 5, Episodes 25-26

We’ve finally made it to the season 5 finale! As excited as I am to analyze it, I am going to need a sizable break afterwards to focus both on other projects and real life stuff. My journey through the second half of season 5 has already been rather slow for both these reasons, which is why I want to begin analyzing season 6 with a refreshed mindset. I just figured I’d let you know.


Season 5 Episode 25: The Cutie Re-Mark, Part 1

In five words: Starlight Glimmer rampages across time.

Premise: Thirsty for revenge, Starlight Glimmer sends Twilight Sparkle and Spike on a chase through alternate timelines where villains took over Equestria—all by interfering with the day the Mane 6 got their cutie marks.

Detailed run-through:

This dramatic two-part episode starts off as innocuous as any season finale would: with Twilight Sparkle rehearsing a speech to Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, while Spike jabs at her for perfectionism. As you should already know, this is all part of the setup.

The speech itself starts off as a recap of cutie mark lore, attended by a bunch of familiar faces, and… wait just a minute, Twilight Sparkle. That is not how Venn diagrams work! The intersections between two circles show common traits between whichever entities the circles represent. If you are to read this diagram logically, it tells us that Sweetie Belle has both her own cutie mark and Scootaloo’s, Scootaloo has hers and Apple Bloom’s, and Apple Bloom has hers and Sweetie Belle’s. The only correct part of this diagram is the tricolored shield in the center, which is something that all three Cutie Mark Crusaders’ marks share.

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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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