811 – “Molt Down”
Written by: Josh Haber
“Smolder explains that Spike’s symptoms are just something all dragons go through in adolescence.“
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The episode begins with Spike and Rarity looking for phoenix feathers for a new dress design (and to see PeeWee who has grown up). However, Spike is acting odd because he has developed a stone scale which is like a pimple. The stone scales spread all over his face and he also has sporadic indigestion and extreme shifts in volume when speaking.
Smolder explains that Spike is going through a natural process called during adolescence “molt”. However, one of the after effects of molt is that the molting dragon, much like when members of Menudo reach the age of 16, will be kicked out of the nest by the family (and also becoming prey for rocs). Not wanting to go through that, Spike sees Zecora to see if there is a cure, for which there is none. Rarity sees Zecora because working with phoenix feathers has affected her hearing, so Zecora gives her a potion while Spike leaves the hut.
However, Zecora finds spike hiding not from Rarity, but from a roc. The roc captures both Zecora and Rarity while Twilight tries to fight it. Meanwhile, Spike goes through a final stage of molting which including being encompassed in a stone cocoon, breaking out of wing, and growing wings. (Congratulations, Josh Haber. You’re the new M.A. Larson.)
Spike fies to help Twilight defeat the roc and save Zecora and Rarity. Also, “molt effect” does not automatically mean Spike has to leave Twilight as this is Equestria and typical dragon customs don’t always apply. Now Spike’s wings make him a better model for Rarity’s dresses!
This Spike episode, is closer to “Equestria Games” and “The Times They Are A Changeling” than most Spike episodes. There was a wonder when and if Spike would get wings and/or grow up. Here’s your answer. Now, there will be more speculation on whether Scootaloo will ever fly. Well, the next episode is a CMC episode….but I digress.
Handling Spike going through a form of natural puberty was handled quite well. Spike is doing desperate things during the episode, but they are not over the top as in other Spike episodes. It just let’s Spike go through the process while things are happening around him and he gets to save Rarity for once! So overall, this is one of the better Spike episodes and does invoke a major change in the show and now there is another flyer in the cast.
I cut to the chase and say that this was a good episode apart from one part being telegraphed and one part extraneous.
The telegraphed part is of course Big Mac thinking (mistakenly) that Sugar Belle is in Ponyville to break up with him. The extraneous part is the whole thing with the CMC and thinking Sweetie Belle may have a secret admirer after the postal mix-up. I guess there needed to be a B-plot in this story and something else for Big Mac to bounce off of.
Now let’s get to the good parts. Discord is actually making an effort to be helpful and cheer up Big Mac. The part with “Skelanor” was quite humorous. Spike was good in this one too to tie in with “guys’ night”.
Long story short, Sugar Belle is taking a part-time apprenticeship with Mrs. Cake while her cousin is running the bakery in Starlight’s old village on weekends (to be on his own for once apparently). Of course, Discord “stalled” Sugar Belle so that Big Mac can square things away with her.
So overall, a better effort from last week apart from the telegraphed mix-ups and the extraneous portion with the CMC.
“It’s Hearts and Hooves Day and Big Mac has big romantic plans for Sugar Belle, but the day takes a turn when he overhears his special somepony tell Mrs. Cake that she’s planning on breaking up with him!“
There’s a time and a place for everything and in this case, Applejack’s and Rainbow Dash’s competitive nature does not fit the task they are charged with. After Fluttershy wins her ninth successive Teacher of the Month award, AJ and Dash volunteer to take the Student 6 on a field trip (to battle for hearts and minds).
Both AJ and Dash maybe “Teamwork Experts”, but they are also experts at being over-competitive. The poor students are caught in the middle of this whether it is building a shack or a canoeing or a nature walk. For that last one, both compete in trying to be non-competitive and both build bridges towards a perilous situation with biting cuda fish.
Throughout this, the Student Six show teamwork skills by learning through their professors’ how-not-to-do things. And no, AJ and Dash will not learn their lesson about keeping their competitive streak in check.
Outside of AJ and Dash, we have a good episode as everyone else sees through how their competitive streak might lead to trouble. That said, it wouldn’t be interesting if AJ and Dash weren’t in charge of the field trip. Then the Student 6 wouldn’t be the most interesting thing about this episode.
So if you were tired of another AJ vs. Dash episode—you’re not going to re-watch this again.
“Applejack and Rainbow Dash take the friendship students on a teamwork learning field trip, and accidentally show the students the opposite of teamwork.“
Oh my goodness gracious! Was that ever a twist to everything! I’m certainly not talking about Lapis just going to the Moon Base. Let’s get that out of the way. At this point, she prefers flight to fight because she certainly is still traumatized by what happened to her and does not want to go through that again. At the same time, she cannot help but wonder about what’s going on on Earth. She warmed to the idea about returning, but after Steven told her about his Diamond dream, off Lapis goes again to parts unknown.
So Steven wants to talk to Pearl as she might have been the one to shatter Pink Diamond. Pearl remains mum, but sends her cell phone inside her pearl for Steven to fetch and it will lead him to the truth. We have to go to the fourth power inside Pearl’s pearl to find out the truth. There was no shattering. Pink Diamond had Pearl disguise herself as Rose to pretend to shatter Pink, so she could roam free as Rose on Earth. If you go back to “Jungle Moon,” you saw an insolent Pink having an argument with Yellow Diamond over why the former could not have an army or fleet. At some point, Pink became enthralled with Earth and created a false story about Rose.
This is the series’ ultimate wham episode. It only leaves us asking more questions that won’t be answered until Summertime. We saw how Blue and Yellow reacted to Pink’s “shattering” in different ways. Now we’ll see how everyone reacts to this twist in the tale. In the preview after the second episode, at least one gem is not taking it well.
GRADE (both episodes): A-