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We’re going back to where we began with this episode. After Spike brings up the fact that Twilight, being the Princess of Friendship nowadays, wasn’t the best at being a friend. Twilight realizes, 102 episodes later, that she had good friends in Canterlot and now she feels terrible for neglecting them. So she sets off to Canterlot to make amends. Spike comes along to remind Twilight of their names.

So yes, Twilight is off to reunite with the ponies we first met in the pilot episode. Her old library in Canterlot is just as she left it before Princess Celestia gave her “an assignment.” But now, thinking they’ve been suffering ever since, she needs to make it up to Minuette, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, Lyra, and Moondancer. First up is Minuette. Actually, Minuette is glad to see her wants to get her photo taken with her. (I guess she and a couple other ponies like to see royalty.) They go and see Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine as well.

Twilight apologizes to the three of them for up and leaving them for Ponyville. However, the three actually take things in stride. They knew that she was more interested in books at the time. They travel to the old science lab and reminisce about school days and Twilight reminisces about Moon Dancer. They go see her and it turns out she is more interested in study than friends nowadays. The other three say that she was coming out of her shell when she decided to throw a party—the same party Twilight turned down to learn about the Elements of Harmony. Realizing the error of her ways, Twilight tries to make it up to her. After a dinner with old friends fails to do the trick, Twilight goes to her “secret weapon”—Pinkie Pie.

Twilight sets a version of the James Woods trap with books and lures Moon Dancer to a party that Pinkie helped set up. It initially doesn’t work because when Twilight didn’t arrive at the party, she felt humiliated to the point she gave up on friendship. However, Twilight and the others are not about to give up on her. Where the episode truly shines is that while Twilight has faced magical creatures, the end of Equestria, etc.; but seeing how her actions affected Moon Dancer gave her one of the worst feeling she ever had. With that, Moon Dancer is ready to open up again and Spike even makes a contribution with a photo of the Canterlot friends back in the day.

This was an amazing episode. Few, if any of us thought, the show would ever go back to that seemingly innocuous scene back in the very first episode nearly five years ago. Yet, here we are back in Canterlot. It was a pleasant surprise to see Minuette, Lemon Drops, and Twinkleshine be so accepting of Twilight after all these years. And then there’s Moon Dancer who as it turns out, was deeply hurt by Twilight’s snub, and embodies what Twilight is attempting to accomplish in the episode. In retrospect, Moon Dancer became what we suspect Twilight would have become if Celestia hadn’t sent her to Ponyville to “make some friends.” In fact, it might be similar to the Twilight we are about to see in “Friendship Games” in September.

We’ve seen Twilight evolve into a character who would go out of her way to do right by others. Case in point, the (super-judgmental) yaks in “Party Pooped”. Now that she has learned a great deal about friendship during her time in Ponyville, she now feels a bit of guilt that she wasn’t that great of a friend when she was in Canterlot. It only makes sense for her to make amends.

The title of episode 7 this season was “Make New Friends But Keep Discord.” That title was a take on the Girl Scouts’ song “Make new friends, but keep the old.” This Saturday’s episode is the embodiment of that very motto. While Twilight has made new friends over the course of the show, she (and her Canterlot friends) realize how equally valuable it is to keep the old. It’s also a reminder of a scene from It’s A Wonderful Life where Clarence remarks about how the actions of one person’s life touches so many others’ lives, and when that person isn’t around, it leaves an awful hole. To Moon Dancer, Twilight’s actions not to attend the party and then leaving abruptly for Ponyville left an awful hole in her life. And now realizing that error, it’s left an awful hole in Twilight’s and the way she goes about making amends is testament to the character that Twilight has become.

This was an unexpectedly powerful and emotional episode that fans of the show could relate to. There have been times where we weren’t being the best of friends and we would like to make amends if we can. That was Twilight today.

Foal Papers said it best in one of his tweets. If “Slice of Life” was a love letter to the fans of the show, “Amending Fences” was a love letter to Lauren Faust and how the show began. The mission of Season Five is to spread the magic of friendship across Equestria, and this episode showed that mission applies to spreading, or in this case rekindling, that magic to old friends as well. I don’t know if M. A. Larson intended for this episode to be so powerful, but that’s exactly what it was and he has written the two best episodes in Season Five thus far with this one just a bit better. It is also the best Twilight episode the series has had so far and that’s saying something given all the two-parters (where Twilight is de facto the central character in them), “Lesson Zero,” and “Magical Mystery Cure.”

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  Cavalcade of continuity
  • +  Twilight goes back to where she began
  • +  Twilight’s old friends help make the episode
  • +  Truly emotional episode
  • +  Relatable problem
  • +  Humor
  • +  Pinkie and Spike fly Air Twilight

SCORE:  10/10

StatManDan

 

PS:  I also recommend the review of this episode by deviantArt reviewer thejboy88.

who_s_a_silly_pony_by_halflingpony-d8ffy1u[1]Who’s a Silly Pony by HalflingPony

512 – “Amending Fences”

Written by: M.A. Larson
Twilight realizes she was a less than stellar friend to her former buddies in Canterlot, so she returns to make amends.

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USA Today has posted an article on the next Equestria Girls movie, Friendship Games, which is slated to air on September 26th on Discovery Family, and contains a trailer for the movie, which can be seen above.

The article also has news on exclusive toys available at San Diego Comic Con. On the pony side will be Pinkie Pie in her Nightmare Night chicken costume, and the Equestria Girls exclusive will be human Twilight Sparkle in lab gear, which comes with Spike in his dog form, a locker bookshelf, and a necklace which can be used to unlock bonus features in the Equestria Girls app. Check out pictures of the toys after the break.

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It’s a step in the right direction from last week, but for the first time since Season Three, it’s a third successive episode drawing under a half million viewers on Discovery Family. “Party Pooped” drew an estimated 369,000 viewers on June 27th. It is well up from the low of 260K and “Princess Spike,” but the Season Five average drops to 467,636.

While it’s been a down season thus far in terms of average viewership for MLP, to put things in perspective, Regular Show’s 7th season premier drew 1.289 million on Cartoon Network—its lowest marks since “Brain Eraser” (Season 2, Episode 10) in February 2011 where it drew under a million. Most cartoon shows have had down seasons compared to the season before, but most including MLP are guaranteed at least one additional season.

Ratings information for this report is courtesy of Douglas Pucci of TV Media Insights and Mithc Metcalf of Showbuzz Daily citing Nielsen Media Research.

StatManDan

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Over the weekend, Grunkle Stan interviewed six (even though the promo implied thirteen) potential employees for hire at the Mystery Shack. There were also some promos for “A Tale of Two Stans,” airing on Monday, July 13th. Watch it all after the break.

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It’s the second straight episode by a new writer. Neal Dusedau’s effort (“Princess Spike”) was OK. Here is Nick Confalone’s debut effort.

Twilight is nearing “Lesson Zero” mode as she welcomes a delegation from Yakyakistan. As you might have guessed, they are yaks led by Prince Rutheford. However, every attempt to make the yaks feel at home is met with Angel-like tantrums at the slightest imperfections. It’s up to Pinkie Pie, who is planning the party, to save the day.

She had read up on yaks, absent a pony ever visiting Yakyakistan. However, she gets a bit unnerved when she and her friends just can’t get things just right. So she make a journey to Yakyakistan which is north of the Crystal Empire. Random hilarity ensues. Meanwhile, Twilight and rest of the Mane Five are in a bit of a panic mode themselves as the yaks are threatening war. However, they stumble upon Pinkie’s war room when she has files on every pony so she can properly plan a party for whomever. Here, they appreciate all the hard work Pinkie puts in to planning parties, if that was not apparent in “Pinkie Pride.”

Back to Pinkie, she gets to Yakyakistan after a series of ponies help her from Cherry Jubilee to Princess Cadance. But a diablous ex machina sends her right back to Ponyville. She thinks she has let her friends down, but brightens up when she figures out how to please the yaks. Every pony she came across on her way to Yakyakistan was friendly and offered his/her/their assistance from Cherry and her stable after the train was stopped at Dodge City due to sheep, to Princess Cadance at the edge of the Crystal Empire. Of course, there are some random moments where Pinkie Pie briefly becomes the one and only Pinkie Shears, and that made things more humorous. In the end, the yaks become friends with the ponies and Twilight’s hide is once again saved by Pinkie Pie (“Swarm of the Century”).

This was an episode that improved as it went along. At the start, the yaks were very one-note and very Angel-like from “Putting Your Hoof Down.” Most people in the Mane Six’s position would have thought, “Why bother?” at some point. However, Twilight’s mission, and by extension that of the rest of the Mane Six, is to spread the magic of friendship across Equestria (and beyond in this case). It was actually brilliant to have Pinkie learn the solution through her journey and use that to show that the friendliness of Equestria’s residents can make the yaks feel at home. However, the yaks are just a step over Trenderhoof in terms of interesting characters in that they were largely unlikable for two-thirds of the episode.

Overall, this was a better effort than last week as this episode started off a bit slow, but got better as it wore on. Not quite a top-tier episode, but another in a string of good Pinkie Pie episodes dating back to “Too Many Pinkie Pies.”

Pluses and minuses:
+ How Pinkie goes about solving the friendship problem.
+ Humor
+ Wonderful lesson.
+ Twilight shows that she still can slip into “Lesson Zero” mode when answers aren’t forthcoming.
– Yaks are not too interesting for most of the episode.
– Yaks acting like Angel in “Putting Your Hoof Down”

SCORE: 8/10

A quick note that the next episode, “Amending Fences,” airs on Monday, July 6th at 4:30pm ET/3:30pm CT. Discovery Family is going through the first ten episodes of Season Five on Saturday (1-4) and Sunday (5-10). “Party Pooped” will lead into “Making Amends” on Monday.

Friendship is Magic returns to its regularly scheduled time slot on Saturday, July 11th at 10:30am ET/9:30am CT with “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep.”

StatManDan

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511 – “Party Pooped”

Written by: Nick Confalone
It’s up to Pinkie Pie’s party to save the day when an important friendship summit with some visiting yaks turns into an utter disaster, but it takes an epic voyage of discovery across Equestria to reignite her party inspiration.

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