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 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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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 10: Party of One + The Best Night Ever

Introduction

< Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 >

Season 1, Episodes 25-26

I’m warning you right now: my review of The Best Night Ever is gigantic. It’s my longest episode review yet! My review of Party of One, on the other hand, is fairly short.


Season 1 Episode 25: Party of One

In five words: Pinkie undergoes infamous mental breakdown.

Premise: The day after a birthday celebration for her pet alligator Gummy, Pinkie Pie notices something fishy about her friends and suspects that they don’t like her parties anymore. She doesn’t take this well, to say the least.

Detailed run-through:

This musical sequence is the first time we see Rainbow Dash’s residence, but it’s only the outside.

This episode begins with a musical number where Pinkie Pie visits each of her friends’ houses, giving a singing telegram about Gummy’s upcoming birthday. I love everything about this musical number—Pinkie Pie’s increasingly ridiculous outfits, the scene transitions with Gummy in various poses, her friends’ confused reactions, the song gradually slowing as Pinkie gets tired, and the hot air balloon she rides to visit Rainbow Dash’s place. Not to mention the implication that she sang the song in its entirety to each of her friends individually, leading each of them to have the exact same reaction. The whole thing is so fun and silly, so Pinkie Pie.

After the theme song, Gummy’s birthday party is held with the right amount of humor to be typical for this show while still making it clear that the ponies are all grateful to have Pinkie Pie as a friend.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 9: A Bird in the Hoof + The Cutie Mark Chronicles + Owl’s Well That Ends Well

Introduction

< Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 >

Season 1, Episodes 22-24

NOTE: I accidentally published an unfinished version of this post on April 21. Sorry about that!


Season 1 Episode 22: A Bird in the Hoof

In five words: Fluttershy babysits bird without permission.

Premise: After a party in Ponyville where Princess Celestia came over, Fluttershy notices that Celestia’s pet bird Philomena looks ill and thus attempts to resuscitate her. Frustration ensues, as does the daunting realization that she didn’t even ask for permission.

Detailed run-through:

Oh look, it’s the dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala!
(That’s the only reason why I’m including this image.)

This episode starts with Fluttershy at home tending to her animals, until Angel reminds her of an imminently upcoming brunch party at Sugarcube Corner, where Celestia has come to visit. After Fluttershy leaves in a hurry, Angel locks himself inside the house, finally ready for some peace and quiet. Angel is one mischievous bunny—his name is far more indicative of Fluttershy’s personality than his own. Not because Fluttershy is an angel (even though she is), rather because she thinks of every single animal she knows as an angel.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 8: A Dog and Pony Show + Green Isn’t Your Color + Over a Barrel

Introduction

< Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 >

Season 1, Episodes 19-21


Season 1 Episode 19: A Dog and Pony Show

In five words: Rarity subverts “damsel in distress”.

Premise: While mining for gems, Rarity gets abducted by the Diamond Dogs. Her friends have no idea how much she’s not a stereotypical damsel in distress.

Detailed run-through:

This episode begins with famous pop singer pony Sapphire Shores visiting Rarity’s boutique and recognizing her name, much to her shock and then nervous delight. Sapphire Shores sees a gem-filled dress Rarity made and asks her to make five more of them, but to do this, Rarity needs to find more gems. It’s clear from what we saw in Suited for Success that Rarity won’t refuse such a request. Rather, she’ll follow it to the letter, which sets the stage for this episode’s plot.

Rarity repeatedly reminds us how ladylike she is in this scene, which sets up this episode’s moral.

I love how Spike uses his tail as a shovel and then a drill. Creative cartoon physics right there.

And so, Rarity takes Spike along on one of their many journeys where they hunt for gems. This scene demonstrates Rarity’s skill in persuasion and sweet-talk, because she’s the only one who can get Spike to not greedily devour every gem he comes across. Though this may have something to do with the fact that Spike has a gigantic crush on Rarity, which he outright states in the next episode to nobody’s surprise. Still, though, this is some good establishing of Rarity’s strengths.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 6: Suited for Success + Feeling Pinkie Keen

Introduction

< Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 >

Season 1, Episodes 14-15


Season 1 Episode 14: Suited for Success

In five words: Started “good Rarity episode” pattern.

Premise: Rarity makes dresses for her friends to wear at the Grand Galloping Gala, but they all feel that their dresses leave something to be desired. Not one to leave her friends dissatisfied, she takes a second shot at them.

Detailed run-through (even more detailed than Call of the Cutie):

Before we get started here, I’d like to acknowledge that a rather large portion of my favorite MLP episodes are Rarity episodes. I’m not quite sure why her episodes are so consistently good—maybe because she brings out her best and/or worst self in every single one of them? Maybe because you can always tell she puts so much love into what she does, and thus it’s crushing when things don’t go her way? Maybe because it’s satisfying when the episode ends with Rarity getting her way? In any case, Rarity is a great character and I won’t let anyone try to tell me otherwise.

Glasses Rarity is like Rarity: Supreme Ultra Mega Deluxe Edition.

This episode starts us off with the debut of Glasses Rarity, who, as her name may suggest, is Rarity wearing glasses. There’s a strong ethereal aura that female fictional characters with glasses emit, and that aura carries over even when that character is a horse. Whenever she’s wearing her signature red glasses, you can tell Rarity is hard at work in her artistic craft. Her cat Opalescence (or Opal for short) is introduced too, and she’s basically a lazy and grouchy cat who doesn’t hesitate to show her disapproval of her owner’s situations.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 5: Call of the Cutie + Fall Weather Friends

Introduction

< Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 >

Season 1, Episodes 12-13


Season 1 Episode 12: Call of the Cutie

This review will contain spoilers for up to season 8! The reason why is because this episode introduces the Cutie Mark Crusaders and thus makes for a good one to analyze in light of what they do in later seasons.

In five words: Cutie Mark Crusaders’ introductory episode.

Premise: Apple Bloom goes on the first of many quests to earn her cutie mark and meets two new friends who also don’t have their cutie marks at the end. Those three dub themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Detailed run-through (and by detailed, I mean DETAILED):

This shot near the very beginning of the episode has quite a bit to unpack—one silly thing and one less silly thing.

The silly thing is that two of the ponies in the front row are just recolored versions of Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, which is lazy even by season 1 standards. Well, the Scootaloo recolor does lack wings, but that arguably makes it even lazier. While the pony in the middle of the front row is a minor character named Twist, the other two are total enigmas—almost as enigmatic as the three sitting in the back, who all look about the same aside from coloring and don’t have names as far as I know. Early installment weirdness is clearly at play here.

The less silly thing is that Apple Bloom is seated in the middle row between Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, and I can take a guess at why that is. Cheerilee probably noticed those two were giggling to each other in class constantly and thus decided to put Apple Bloom between them as a buffer of sorts. To Cheerilee, Apple Bloom is probably the “oh yeah, that one” of the class, since she hasn’t met her two best friends in the world yet and thus is kind of lonely, not helped one bit by the two classmates she has to sit in between always picking on her for not having her cutie mark.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 4: Bridle Gossip + Swarm of the Century + Winter Wrap Up

Introduction

< Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 >

Season 1, Episodes 9-11


Season 1 Episode 9: Bridle Gossip

In five words: Basically just Zecora’s introductory episode.

Premise: The Mane 6 get inflicted with various curses and get to the bottom of the mystery by confronting an irrationally feared zebra named Zecora.

Detailed run-through:

Oh look, it’s an accurate depiction of the world in March through May 2020!

This episode begins with Twilight Sparkle and Spike taking a walk through Ponyville on a pleasant, sunny day… except everyone has secluded themselves in their homes. Twilight remarks it’s odd to do that on such a nice day, which is an early hint that the town’s residents have a strange misconception about a certain zebra. Spike brings up the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, which seems laughable at this point, but just you wait until the various two-part episodes where the entirety of Ponyville is brainwashed and essentially becomes zombies. But that’s off-topic and teetering into spoiler territory.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 3: Boast Busters + Dragonshy + Look Before You Sleep

Introduction

< Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 >

Season 1, Episodes 6-8


Season 1 Episode 6: Boast Busters

I’m going to analyze this one a bit differently from prior episodes. Specifically, I will be discussing spoilers for later seasons (up to season 6), where Trixie becomes a recurring character instead of a one-off (two-off, rather). If an episode’s title is colored red, that means my review will contain spoilers for later episodes!

In five words: Twilight begins irrational Trixie grudge.

Premise: A boastful magician named Trixie visits Ponyville to perform a magic show, and Twilight Sparkle develops a gnawing urge to one-up her and prove she’s full of nonsense, because clearly the entire point of magicians is to tell the truth and never deceive anyone, and also to never make up an exaggerated fictional backstory to immerse the audience.

Detailed run-through:

The episode begins with Twilight Sparkle practicing her magic skills by giving Spike a mustache, which she gets rid of once he starts thinking about impressing Rarity. This scene makes it clear that magic is a skill that Twilight is very proud of and holds in high regard, setting up her rivalry with Trixie, who is more skilled in the illusory kind of magic.

Spike: 25, Twilight. 25 different kinds of tricks and counting! I thought unicorns were only supposed to have a little magic that matches their special talents.
Twilight Sparkle: True, for ponies whose talents are for things like cooking or singing or math. But what if a unicorn’s special talent is magic?
Spike: Like you, Twilight! And you know a ton of magic.

This passage comparing Twilight Sparkle against your usual unicorn suggests to me that she’s probably a magic elitist who makes a sharp distinction between true magic and bogus magic and is aggravated when people conflate the two. Even though Twilight responds with modesty, her passion for the field of magic is undeniable, and she always gets annoyed when people misunderstand things she’s passionate about.

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