Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 54: Crusaders of the Lost Mark

Introduction

< Part 53 | Part 54 | Part 55 >

Season 5, Episode 18


Season 5 Episode 18: Crusaders of the Lost Mark

This review contains spoilers for things that happen up to the season 8 finale, and for things that don’t happen for the entire rest of the show.

In five words: Cutie Mark Crusaders’ ultimate payoff.

Premise: In the show’s third musical episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders discover a surprising secret about Diamond Tiara’s upbringing after they made her lose a school election. This is definitely the only notable thing that happens in this episode. Totally.

Detailed run-through:

Something unique about this pivotal episode is that it was scored entirely by Daniel Ingram, the usual composer of the musical numbers. I didn’t learn that until I wrote this post, and it explains why the background music transitions so seamlessly to and from the songs. Having the same person handle the background music and songs suits this musical number-heavy episode well, setting it apart from most of the show—not that I’d ever want to discredit William Anderson for his scoring work.

Similarly to Magical Mystery Cure, this episode starts off with a musical number—technically with a few lines from the Crusaders, but set to background music that clearly starts a song. The song is called “We’ll Make Our Mark (Prelude)”, and the Crusaders sing about how they aren’t going to give up on getting their cutie marks. Something I really admire about this episode, at least from what I’ve been told about it, is that the previews and trailers made absolutely no hint at the Crusaders earning their marks, and fans were caught completely by surprise when it happened. This is a MASSIVE contrast against Magical Mystery Cure, whose previews shoved alicorn Twilight Sparkle in fans’ faces.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 45: Tanks for the Memories + Appleoosa’s Most Wanted

Introduction

< Part 44 | Part 45 | Part 46 >

Season 5, Episodes 5-6


Season 5 Episode 5: Tanks for the Memories

In five words: Rainbow Dash sequentially experiences grief.

Premise: When she learns that her pet turtle Tank will hibernate through the winter, Rainbow Dash tries to stop the season from happening so she won’t have to say goodbye. This matches heavily with the five stages of grief.

Detailed run-through:

Season 5 has tons of fun callbacks to early seasons, showing how far the show has come.

The start of this episode provides a snappy little recap of how the seasons work in Equestria, something we learned in two close-by season 1 episodes. Rainbow Dash notices that Cloudsdale is coming to Ponyville, meaning that winter is soon to start, and she’s super excited about this because it’ll be her first winter with Tank by her side. Season 5 has several episodes that take place a year (or maybe two) after episodes in the early seasons, and this one occurs a year after Fall Weather Friends. Or maybe if you’re willing to shuffle around the order of episodes in seasons 1 and 2 (like Winter Wrap Up and Hearth’s Warming Eve), you could argue it’s two years after? Whatever, mulling over numbers isn’t the point of these reviews.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 44: Bloom & Gloom

Introduction

< Part 43 | Part 44 | Part 45 >

Season 5, Episode 4

Warning you now: this review is even longer than the last one (believe me, I didn’t plan that). It’s slightly longer than that of The Best Night Ever, for reference.


Season 5 Episode 4: Bloom & Gloom

You know the drill. Cutie Mark Crusaders episode, spoilers for the big thing that happens midway through season 5.

In five words: Nightmares tease Crusaders’ running mystery.

Premise: Apple Bloom has a cyclical series of dreams where she earns her cutie mark, and nightmarish things happen each time. Luna eventually comes in to alleviate her worries.

Detailed run-through:

Over time, the Crusaders’ clubhouse has gradually gotten more decorations.

The first Cutie Mark Crusaders episode of season 5 begins with these three being exactly the same goofy kids I remembered. Apple Bloom hosts a meeting and does a roll call that the other two point out are unnecessary, demonstrating the trio’s endearing flavor of pseudo-formality that shows they have high dreams but don’t know what they’re doing. And this brings me to something I recall thinking when I first watched several Cutie Mark Crusaders episodes in the last season: are these three ever going to get their cutie marks? Season 5 has several episodes that build up this mystery before giving it a glorious resolution in an episode I plan on going through in extreme depth, like Magical Mystery Cure levels of depth if not more.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 38: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils + Leap of Faith

Introduction

< Part 37 | Part 38 | Part 39 >

Season 4, Episodes 19-20

If you know how much I like Sweetie Belle, you won’t be surprised to know my review of For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils is going to be a long one. Not a record breaker, but it’s up there.

Also, greetings from Spain! As of this post’s publication, I am in there right now, though I had written it a few weeks prior. This is unrelated to MLP, but I have taken it upon myself to learn Spanish since a month before the trip, and I’m having a lot more fun learning it than I would have thought. I may publish a blog post about learning the language in the future.


Season 4 Episode 19: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils

In five words: Sweetie Belle nearly ruins Rarity.

Premise: Jealous of all the attention her sister Rarity is getting over her, Sweetie Belle destroys the crucial stitch in her sister’s dress for Sapphire Shores, but then she has a dream where Princess Luna shows her what would happen if she doesn’t turn back.

Detailed run-through:

Before I begin, I need to make something loud and clear: This episode is not called “For Whom the Sweetie Bell Toils”. You have no idea how much it drives me crazy when people get the name of this episode wrong. I swear there are some people who know how to spell Sweetie Belle’s name correctly but not the name of this episode, and it annoys me so much.

I love Sweetie Belle so much. She’s just such an appealing character.

Anyway, now that I’m done complaining about something extremely minor that no one cares about, it’s time for me to dive into this episode and pick apart an extremely minor detail that no one cares about!

This episode starts with Glasses Rarity (remember, she’s Rarity but wearing glasses) preparing dresses for Sapphire Shores’ concert, while Sweetie Belle is extremely excited to help out and immediately brings out any materials that Rarity so much as considers using. The second material Rarity mentions is sequins, and Sweetie Belle grabs a bowl of them only to clumsily slip, and some of the sequins land on her tongue. Rarity then uses magic to lift them off, apparently not at all worried that some of them may have Sweetie Belle’s germs due to landing on her tongue. Does she trust that Sweetie Belle keeps proper hygiene? Does she know magic spells that can instantly cleanse any object of others’ germs? There’s lots of possibilities, but it would probably be more relevant to talk about how eager Sweetie Belle is to help with making dresses. She’s so determined to make Rarity proud and be even a fraction as good at making dresses as she is, and her desperation to be in the spotlight reaches a breaking point early into this episode.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 36: Twilight Time + It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies

Introduction

< Part 35 | Part 36 | Part 37 >

Season 4, Episodes 15-16

Looking at the lineup of season 4 episodes left for me to analyze, here are the ones that I’m the most excited to go through:

  • Episode 18, Maud Pie (because I think Maud Pie is awesome)
  • Episode 19, For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils (because I think Sweetie Belle is cool)
  • Episodes 25-26, Twilight’s Kingdom (the absolutely epic season finale)

The rest of the remaining season 4 episodes I’m not nearly as excited to go through; I’ll have fun with them for sure, but the really exciting ones are listed above. And then when I get through season 5, I am looking forward to analyzing pretty much every episode of the season. You can expect my season 5 reviews to be some of the most long-winded ones yet.


Season 4 Episode 15: Twilight Time

As with several other episodes involving the Cutie Mark Crusaders, this one contains spoilers for midway through season 5. Also a few for the season 4 finale. Plus a bit of early season 6.

In five words: Crusaders exploit Twilight’s big name.

Premise: The Cutie Mark Crusaders come to Twilight Sparkle to help them learn skills, but they get carried away in using Twilight’s princess status to their advantage.

Detailed run-through:

We haven’t been to Twilight’s place that often in season 4. It sort of feels nostalgic being in here now.
Also, I like how this scene teases the mystery of the chest with six keys.

This episode starts with the Cutie Mark Crusaders at Twilight Sparkle’s place practicing skills they want to learn: Sweetie Belle with magic, Scootaloo with assembling a unicycle, and Apple Bloom with brewing potions. Each of the Crusaders is at least partly hoping to get their cutie mark through these activities, and they’re all reluctant to read detailed instructions. I think there’s something interesting to analyze from each Cutie Mark Crusader’s choice of activity to learn.

For Sweetie Belle, I’m not sure what the common fan consensus is on how long it usually takes unicorns to learn magic, but my view is as follows. Unicorns typically learn magic through tons of practice, and Sweetie Belle never had much reason to use magic while growing up. But now that she’s getting older, she feels that it’s her duty as a unicorn to properly learn magic, and through enough determination, she admirably figures it out by the end of this episode.

But while Sweetie Belle’s motive is to rectify her lack of a fundamental unicorn skill, the other two Crusaders are pursuing activities that relate more to their usual interests. Scootaloo wants to branch out her interest in athletic stunts by assembling vehicles on her own, while Apple Bloom, the one who perpetually flits between various interests, wants to hone in her potion-making interest a little more.

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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 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 23: Too Many Pinkie Pies + One Bad Apple

Introduction

< Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 >

Season 3, Episodes 3-4


Season 3 Episode 3: Too Many Pinkie Pies

In five words: Pinkie’s cloning attempt wreaks havoc.

Premise: Faced with the problem that she can’t spend time with all her friends at once, Pinkie Pie finds a way to make more of herself. This very quickly gets out of hand.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts with Twilight Sparkle practicing magic, only to be interrupted by a surprise hug from Pinkie Pie. This is yet another scene that I feel indicates these two have a somewhat lopsided friendship. Plenty of times, Pinkie gets on Twilight’s nerves with her zany antics, and their testy dynamic prevails all the way to season 9 in A Trivial Pursuit, but I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Pinkie Pie is bubbling up with her extreme hyperactive energy and didn’t let much of it out in her hug with Twilight. She’s like a bottle of soda that has been shaken up, ready to explode with carbonation when opened, and as such her behavior is more insane than usual. When she sees Rarity made a new fancy dress without having Pinkie Pie around, she panics like crazy about missing out on all her friends’ fun times.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 20: Hurricane Fluttershy + Ponyville Confidential + MMMystery on the Friendship Express

Introduction

< Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 >

Season 2, Episodes 22-24

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.

Detailed run-through:

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.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 17: Read It and Weep + Hearts and Hooves Day

Introduction

< Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 >

Season 2, Episodes 16-17


Season 2 Episode 16: Read It and Weep

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???

Detailed run-through:

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.

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