Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 50: Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? + Canterlot Boutique

Introduction

< Part 49 | Part 50 | Part 51 >

Season 5, Episodes 13-14

Just like with my Homestuck posts, 50 is a fun number to reach because I’m halfway to 100 posts. It’s also a nice point to reflect on how much bigger this project became than I first envisioned, because of a little something called Cookiefonster’s Law: It always becomes more ambitious than you expect, even when you take into account Cookiefonster’s Law.

(Yeah, this law is just a riff on Hofstadter’s Law. Still, it heavily applies to every creative project I ever do.)


Season 5 Episode 13: Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?

In five words: Luna’s self-blame infects dreams.

Premise: The Mane 6 have to help fight a monster who has been haunting Luna’s dreams called the Tantabus. Callbacks and dream shenanigans ensue.

Detailed run-through:

This episode starts off right away with anime battle shenanigans that turn out to be one of Luna’s dreams. A blob of grayish darkness called the Tantabus turns Luna into Nightmare Moon, the Mane 6 defeat her with magic rainbow beams, and Luna wakes up in a panic.

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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 46: Make New Friends but Keep Discord + The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone

Introduction

< Part 45 | Part 46 | Part 47 >

Season 5, Episodes 7-8

Make New Friends but Keep Discord is another season 5 review that turned out much longer than I expected! It ended up being my second longest episode review so far, surpassed only by Magical Mystery Cure but surely soon to be beaten by Slice of Life. On the other hand, my review of The Lost Treasure of Grifffonstone is short enough that I felt comfortable having both episodes share a post.


Season 5 Episode 7: Make New Friends but Keep Discord

In five words: Jealousy leads to attempted banishment.

Premise: When Fluttershy invites a new friend of hers named Tree Hugger to the Grand Galloping Gala, Discord gets jealous and brings a dangerous creature of his own.

Ultra-detailed run-through:

This review is going to be another hefty one. Just letting you know.

This episode starts on a very peaceful note, with Fluttershy and Discord in the middle of trading humorous stories while having tea together. While they became friends two seasons ago, this is the first episode since then where their friendship is the primary focus. This opening scene cements that their friendship has settled down, and we get about 20 seconds of cutesy fun times until the episode’s conflict is revealed.

Fluttershy: Oh, I do love our Tuesday teas. And I can’t wait for you to meet my friend Tree Hugger! She’s going to love you too.
Discord: Tree… Hugger? (laughs)

Discord looks shocked for a moment when Fluttershy brings up Tree Hugger, but he laughs it off when his brain chooses to assume it’s a joke. But given what Tree Hugger turns out to be like, Fluttershy has reason to believe she and Discord would get along well. Not everyone enjoys Discord’s wild antics and sense of humor, but Tree Hugger is spectacularly unfazed by freaky shenanigans. Though Fluttershy doesn’t mean any harm to Discord with this new friend, his simplistic understanding of friendship leads to immense jealousy.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 43: Castle Sweet Castle

Introduction

< Part 42 | Part 43 | Part 44 >

Season 5, Episode 3

This post was originally going to cover both Castle Sweet Castle and Bloom & Gloom. However, my reviews of both episodes ended up much longer than I thought, so I’ve chosen to split the post in half! Hopefully this will make my episode reviews seem less like neverending walls of words.


Season 5 Episode 3: Castle Sweet Castle

In five words: Twilight adapts to another change.

Premise: Twilight Sparkle doesn’t feel quite at home in her new castle and has been doing strange activities with her friends instead of getting used to the place, so her friends try to make the castle feel more like home.

Detailed run-through:

As with The Cutie Map, the beginning of this episode (which consists of Twilight Sparkle helping Fluttershy wash her animals) is an appropriate time to reflect on when I watched it for the first time.

During the six years between watching season 4 and season 5 of MLP, there was one question about the show that my brain would now and then divert to: how in the world is Twilight Sparkle going to be OK with having to live in an extravagant new castle instead of her quaint little library?! It’s a question that I found myself scratching my head over quite a lot, because her house’s destruction was easily the scene I remembered the most from the season 4 finale. I think I even told myself that such merch-driven changes like Twilight being a princess and her new fancy castle are proof that the show wasn’t that great. Because I was left hanging on this question for so long, when I saw the title of this episode on a list of season 5’s episodes, I internally squeed a little. I just KNEW the show was going to address this question in a satisfying and earnest way that matches what I’ve always enjoyed about Twilight Sparkle’s character.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 42: The Cutie Map, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 41 | Part 42 | Part 43 >

Season 5, Episodes 1-2

After a two-week break from writing MLP posts (was going to be a month, but I wrote this post midway through June starting when a power outage happened), I’m ready to dive into season 5! Since I wrote this post earlier than I planned to, I decided to release it a week earlier than I originally planned to, which still allows me plenty of leeway with my weekly queue.

I may as well explain how season 5 will be divided into posts. Some posts will cover two episodes each, while others will get posts all to themselves. As of this post’s publication, six episodes are planned to get their own posts: Castle Sweet Castle, Bloom & Gloom, Slice of Life, Amending Fences, Brotherhooves Social, and Crusaders of the Lost Mark. I’ve already written the first two of these, and it’s possible they won’t be the only season 5 episodes to get their own posts. It all depends on how long my reviews get!

I’m really excited to start analyzing season 5, partly because it’s my favorite season, and partly because it’s the first one that I didn’t watch until after the show ended. And as you may have guessed from my plans stated above, season 5 is going to have some EXTREMELY detailed reviews. Like the one you’re about to read, for example. Now let’s jump right in!


Season 5 Episode 1: The Cutie Map, Part 1

This review contains spoilers for the season 5 finale, plus a bit of season 9.

In five words: Ponies discover freakish equality village.

Premise: The new map in Twilight Sparkle’s castle points the Mane 6 to their first friendship mission of its kind: a journey to an unsettling village where everyone is equal, led by a new character named Starlight Glimmer.

Detailed run-through:

The very beginning of season 5 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—a zoom-in on Twilight Sparkle’s big fancy new castle with some everyday residents of Equestria in the background—serves as a good excuse to discuss what it was like watching this show for the first time in six years. Best to get the self-indulgent stuff out of the way before I analyze all the insanely cool content this episode has to offer.

In the days leading up to the show’s tenth anniversary—October 10, 2020—I had been considering getting back into this show that I had told myself for years wasn’t that great, but deep down had the fondest memories of. I had worried that maybe now that I was six years older, I wouldn’t like it anymore. I thought that perhaps my sense of humor or tastes had evolved to the point of no longer being able to like MLP. Or that I would find the show a garish eyesore, or a bunch of tepid hyper-girly nonsense. Or maybe I thought I’d realize the show had no real merit beyond some silly little memes or the absurd idea of grown men watching a show about cute cartoon ponies.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 41: Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 1 + 2

Introduction

< Part 40 | Part 41 | Part 42 >

Season 4, Episodes 25-26

Well, this is it. My last post going over season 4, and my last post going over episodes I had seen before my six-year hiatus from being a brony. Once I’ve finished this post, I’ll take a break from making MLP posts for the rest of June to focus on other projects and get some rest before I begin my epic journey through season 5, my favorite season of the show. Besides, it would feel SO weird to jump straight to The Cutie Map when my first time watching it wasn’t until 2020.

I have EXTREMELY fond memories of watching the season 4 finale for the first time: my reaction to it can be summed up as “mind blown”. My reaction to watching the season 5 premiere for the first time wasn’t too different, except it also included a lot of “I can’t believe I kept telling myself I only liked MLP ironically” plus a splash of “I love MLP:FiM so much and I always did”.

(By the way, I accidentally scheduled this post for 9 PM instead of 9 AM, which is why it came out a little late. Sorry about that!)


Season 4 Episode 25: Twilight’s Kingdom, Part 1

In five words: Season 4’s plot comes together.

Premise: While Twilight Sparkle feels doubtful about her princess role, a once-banished villain named Tirek begins a rampage across Equestria and convinces Discord to join his side.

Detailed run-through:

Is it just me, or did Spike’s statue get bigger after the Equestria Games?

Much like the season’s premiere, season 4’s finale begins on an innocuous note addressing Twilight Sparkle’s role as a princess. Spike goes off about how cool it was to have rescued the Crystal Empire and get honored so heavily, and he and Rainbow Dash trade jabs for bragging about themselves. Then Twilight Sparkle reveals her minimal role in this upcoming event:

Twilight Sparkle: I’m glad you all wanted to come, but I don’t think it’s gonna be that exciting. I pretty much just have to smile and wave as the dignitaries arrive.
Rarity: Yes, but you get to smile and wave like a princess.
Applejack: How exactly is that different than smiling and waving like not a princess?
Twilight Sparkle: It isn’t.

At this point, it’s clear that as humble as she is about her new princess role, and as often as she insists she isn’t better than anyone else, there is a part of Twilight Sparkle that wants to do something cool and exciting as a princess, making use of the things she’s good at. Her character has started to develop in a direction where she gets increasingly confident with her role and even a little haughty sometimes. I won’t go on a tangent about the way she treats Starlight Glimmer here, since I’ve already gone on too many tangents about her and she still doesn’t exist yet. But she will soon.

Twilight Sparkle continues discussing with her friends how she feels her princess role doesn’t amount to much, and though they keep telling her otherwise, she still isn’t convinced. There’s only so much that kind words from friends can do for you, and she’s going to prove her worth herself.

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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 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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