Tag: episode

MLP Review: A Rockhoof and A Hard Place

Well, that was a unexpected. Rockhoof is trying to find his place in the modern world after being in limbo for 1,000 years. His “traditional” methods of unearthing artifacts clashing with the meticulous methods of Professor Fossil in Rockhoof’s old land. His re-enactment of his tales tends to cause damage to Twilight’s school. He also disrupts a fire-breathing contest between Spike and Smolder, mistaking it for a raging fire.

The other pillars haven been adjusting much better than Rockhoof. In Canterlot, Flash Magnus is the new drill sergeant for Princess Celestia’s royal guards. In the Crystal Empire, Mistmane is the royal landscape artist for Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor. In her village home in Southern Equestria, Somnambula is a motivational speaker and meditation guru. In the Hayseed Swamp, Mage Meadowbrook sells potions and remedies out of her home/health clinic. Even Stygian has found moderate success as a best-selling novelist. Seeing how well his old friends have adjusted to living in modern-day Equestria, Rockhoof feels more miserable and out of place than ever.

A job as General Seaspray’s Hippogriff Navy goes awry when using the stars to guide the way does not take into account rocks in the ocean. And yes, I’m not sure why the Hippogriffs need a Navy when they can turn into sea ponies, either.

Rockhoof is miserable to the point where he asks Twilight to cast a spell to turn him to stone (because we can’t say assisted suicide on a TV-Y show). However, Yona, inspired by Rockhoof’s stories, reads him her essay about how she felt she didn’t fit at the school at first, but has since made close friends. Rockhoof suddenly has an audience when he decides to finish the story.

Seeing this, Twilight make him the Official Keeper of Tales in Equestria. She’s a Princess, don’t question it. Rockhoof finally has purpose in the modern world.

Here is one of the more surprising episodes in the series. Much like “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” took a darker tone with its topic of self-torture to relieve past pains, this is pretty much as close as this show will get to hinting at suicide much like “Tanks for the Memories” used hibernation of a pet in lieu of death of a loved one.

Much as I feel that Steven Universe can tell its stories in 22-minute episodes (read: “Bismuth”) even though it sticks to 11-minute episodes, MLP could well have episodes that deal with touchy topics with a semblance of maturity if given the chance. That was one area that puts Mister Rogers and even Arthur in a class of their own, but I need to get back on track with the episode in question.

There really isn’t that much wrong with this one and it’s in the top tier for this season. It’s about someone trying to find their place in the world after a seemingly long time away from it and that one should keep trying instead looking for a way to leave it. It’s nice to see all the Pillars again, though you do wish they were able to help more. However, we do get a nice save from Yona and by extension the Young Six who were actually enthused by his stories.

We’ve had some good character moments this season, we just needed some better stories and this episode fits the latter.

GRADE: A

PS: Since a series continuity error has been brought to my attention on “The Washouts”, I have to downgrade my grade on that episode to a B.

My Little Pony 821 – A Rockhoof and a Hard Place Episode Guide

[source]

821 – “A Rockhoof and a Hard Place”

Written by: Kaita Mpambara
When Rockhoof, heroic Pillar of the past, is having trouble fitting into the modern world, Twilight Sparkle and her friends strive to help him find a new purpose.

Transcript
Direct Video

Guides

OnDerpmand→

MLP Review: The Washouts

The episode begins with Scootaloo fast-tracking the meeting of the Rainbow Dash Fan Club with a new Washouts fan group—which makes an eavesdropping Rainbow Dash worried that she has competition as someone Scoot looks up to. The Washouts are a group of former Wonderbolt Academy Cadets who specialize in more extreme stunts with no regard for safety.

The Washouts are of course being led by Lightning Dust, in her first appearance on the show in 130 episodes, and who is apparently as bitter as Johnny is in “Cobra Kai”. Lightning Dust founded the Washouts to fulfill her disregard for safety and the strict rules and regulations of the Wonderbolts.

When an opening comes up, Scootaloo is interested, but Rainbow Dash throws a block. Rainbow takes her to Wonderbolts HQ so that Spitfire can go into full “Matt Foley” mode to dissuade Scootaloo from joining the Wonderbolts and drop out so she could join the Washouts.

Scootaloo is not discouraged and joins the Washouts. She also says she gave up in trying to following in Rainbow’s hooves because she can’t fly. Scootaloo wants to do stunts with her scooter. However, the stunt Lightning Dust has in mind for Scootaloo, now that she knows that the latter is forming a Washouts fan club, is something Evel Knievel wouldn’t even try in his heyday. Dash saves Scootaloo from the stunt while Lightning Dust blasts off like Team Rocket and proclaims her lifelong rivalry with Rainbow Dash.

In the meantime, Rainbow Dash forms the “Scootaloo Fan Club” with Dash’s parents as members.

Here, the lesson is that Dash needed to let Scootaloo make her own decisions and can only be a great role model for her. That also means allowing her to learn from making the wrong decisions. Following a team of stunt ponies with no regard for safety clearly falls into that category. Scootaloo’s following of a pony other than Dash also calls attention to Dash’s own insecurities about someone upstaging her.

It’s a good episode with a good lesson even though there were some extraneous elements such as Pinkie’s cupcakes and why Twilight would be interested in the Washouts. Then there is Spitfire. Evidently, Nick Confalone was watching a DVD of the Best of Chris Farley (RIP) on Saturday Night Live when figuring out how to incorporate Spitfire into this episode. Anyone who watched SNL during the 1990s would enjoy that scene. If you did not, it was cringeworthy.

So it’s a good Dash and Scootaloo episode, though some things were a bit extraneous and one bit was greatly exaggerated—and I’m not talking about the stunts (which you should NEVER try anywhere).

GRADE: A-

StatManDan

My Little Pony 820 – The Washouts Episode Guide

[source]

820 – “The Washouts”

Written by: Nick Confalone
When Scootaloo becomes enamored with The Washouts, a touring group of stunt ponies, Rainbow Dash is concerned for her safety and worries that Scoot’s days as her number one fan are over.

Transcript
Direct Video

Guides

OnDerpmand→

MLP Review: “Road to Friendship”

In a brilliant ode to the Road Trip movies of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Starlight and Trixie go on a road trip to Saddle Arabia. It’s similar to “Pinkie Apple Pie” in its setup, but it’s Starlight looking forward to a road trip with her best friend Trixie and her cramped caravan that must be her home—though they don’t really specify why Trixie prefers her caravan to the most spacious one from the Saddle Arabian Hoo’Far.

It is a straightforward story that is an ode to the Crosby-Hope “Road to…” pictures of the 1940s and 1950s. The song was the highlight as Starlight and Trixie play off each other in comedic fashion mixed with the usual problems encountered in a road trip episode such as finding a room, going off budget, etc.

Starlight and Trixie attempting a friendship chant like Twilight’s and Cadance’s was also hilarious. The appearance of Hoo’Far during each scene was timely. The one issue I have besides not giving a specific explanation as to why Trixie does not want to part ways with her caravan is that Starlight indeed had no right to trade it away in the first place. Outside of that, the episode is a continuation of the slow, but certain improvement of the episodes as Season Eight, for those following the US broadcast schedule, winds down.

GRADE: A-

StatManDan

MLP Review: The End in Friend

We have an interesting question in class asked by the Young Six: How can two ponies with very divergent interests such as Rarity and Rainbow Dash be friends? Rarity and Rainbow Dash have a hard time answering that question themselves as Rarity is more concerned with uniforms than catching the ball in buckball while Rainbow Dash is every person ever waiting on someone shopping for footwear. (I know Applejack is the cowgirl, but Rarity has worn cowgirl boots much more often on the show.) Things come to a head in the gem mine when Dash wants to go treasure hunting while Rarity is looking at the gems and appear to wreck Twilight’s lesson.

Both are called into Starlight’s office and she suggests putting themselves in the other’s shoes (not necessarily Rarity’s boots which could be an opportunity for Hasbro or Build-A-Bear). Rarity is given a “Daring Do” book while Rainbow Dash is given a “Shadow Spade” book—neither one reads the other’s book.

Cue the contrived missing artifact for Rainbow Dash and Rarity to find and learn something new from each other. We meet a new creature in a Bufagren and Rarity creates toothpaste that freshens its breath. The trail of blue glitter (not the magenta glitter from Rarity’s boots) leads to Spike who had the amulet all along. And that’s our lesson for today every creature!

I like how this is turned into a friendship lesson for the Young Six as it fits the theme of the season. It also gives us a chance to see the (}no pun intended) rare dynamic between Rainbow Dash and Rarity. It’s also good that they show it is normal for friends to disagree and banter from time to time.

This could well have been a recycle of a Season One episode (“Look Before You Sleep” in particular), but it’s saved by the fact that it is wrapped around teaching a lesson to the Young Six. The only issue I have is that you can tell that this quest was a setup, especially if you recognize the school’s symbol on the door. Outside of that, this is still a good episode as it continues a string of them.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

My Little Pony 817 – The End in Friend Episode Guide

[source]

817 – “The End in Friend”

Written by: Gillian M. Berrow
Rarity and Rainbow Dash begin to question why they are friends when they can’t find anything they both like to do together.

Transcript
Direct Video

Guides

OnDerpmand→