Tag: my little pony

MLP Review: The Mean 6

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.”
—To A Mouse, by Robert Burns

While the Mane Six and Starlight go on a retreat near the Tree of Harmony, Chrysalis plans to clone versions of the Mane Six to steal the Elements of Harmony—and get revenge on Starlight which she swore to do in the end of “To Where and Back Again”. Things go awry straight away when the clones are more in line from the Discorded Six we saw in “The Return of Harmony.” The Fake Twilight proves to be even more devious when she plans to betray Chrysalis once she and the other clones get the elements.

We go through the standard interactions between real and fake Mane 6 and before the Fake Six go after the Elements and the real Mane Six and Starlight make-up thinking that they were giving each other a hard time. However, the Fake Twilight betrays Chrysalis, but in a twist, the Tree of Harmony grabs the fakes and turns them back into the clumps of wood they were originally. In other words, the Tree knows fakes when it sees them, and Chrysalis flies off in disgust.

Note that the Mane Six and Starlight and Chrysalis do not meet each other (or at least realized it was Chrysalis in disguise at the beginning taking photos and hair samples). So the Mane Six have literally no idea that Chrysalis was around. Chrysalis simply did not think this plan through from not realizing that her clones would embody the opposite of the personalities of the ponies she is cloning. I do give the episode credit for giving the clone Twilight some depth as well. There’s already a meme that she is/was the most competent villain the show has had.

The only bad spot is that the interactions/mix-ups with the real and fake Mane Six get to be a bit tedious throughout the second act. I do like that Twilight stops her group’s bickering by admitting she got carried away with her schedule. It’s not the best of Season Eight, but it is in line with the more recent episodes of the season making that in the higher end of Season Eight.

GRADE: A-

So that is the first half of the season. If I were to rank this episode among the other Episode 13’s of previous seasons, here’s how it would go (I exclude Season Three since that was only 13 episodes):

1. The Perfect Pear (S7)
2. Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep (S5)
3. Stranger Than Fan Fiction (S6)
4. The Mean 6 (S8)
5. Simple Ways (S4)
6. Fall-Weather Friends (S1)
7. Baby Cakes (S2)

StatManDan

MLP Review: Marks for Effort

The Cutie Mark Crusaders, bored of the Ponyville School, wants to enroll in Twilight’s School of Friendship. They can’t though because they are overqualified and they are bad actors in trying to convince the Mane Six that they need more lessons in friendship.

The CMC come across a pegasus pony named Cozy Glow (who has a rook for a cutie mark) who needs help with her friendship lessons. The CMC help her to good effect and in preparation for an exam. Everything seems OK, but Cozy Glow failed the test and Twilight blames the CMC for deliberately giving her bad lessons.

Enter guidance counselor Starlight Glimmer. Cozy Glow tells Starlight that she intentionally failed the test because, in her words, she wanted to help the CMC get in the school. Starlight straightens everything out, now that she has something to do, and the CMC become on-staff tudors with honorary degrees.

Well, we were wondering how the Ponyville school we’ve know since the start of the show was going to factor in all of this. Of course, it’s similar to Arthur when there’s Mr. Ratburn’s class and Ms. Sweetwater’s class. This episode is much better for the CMC to be in and you have them doing what they have been doing since Season Six only now they have a role in Twilight’s school.

But it is Starlight who really completes the episode as she apparently had nothing to do for a while (and she hasn’t been seen since “The Parent Map”). She quickly became the funniest and best part of this episode.

The last few episodes have been much better from the show and make the school look more functionable for Season Eight.

Of course on a side, if you have read ahead on the synopses for the next 14 episodes of the season and/or saw the leaked episodes, do a favor for those who have kept away from any and all spoilers of that nature and not ruin it for them.

GRADE: A

StatManDan

MLP Review: Molt Down

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.

GRADE: A

StatManDan

MLP Review: The Break Up Break Down

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.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan

MLP Review: Non-Compete Clause

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.

GRADE: C

StatManDan

MLP Review: Parent Map

For the first time, the map calls somepony from outside Ponyville. That would be Sunburst and he and Starlight Glimmer have been called to their former home—Sire’s Hollow. There, we see how the Development Committee (led by Sunburst’s Mom) and the Preservation Committee (led by Starlight’s Dad) have gone to extremes. That’s not really the friendship problem. Then we see Firelight treating his daughter like she was a foal and searching through the archives for the “Friendship Problem”. Meanwhile, Stellar Flare is full of plans to ensure the success of his son. None of those are the friendship problem.

The friendship problem is Sunburst’s and Starlight Glimmer’s relationship with their parents, especially after they tell them off. Neither have visited their parents for ages (as foreshadowed by Sunburst throwing one his Mom’s letters on top of a pile). Two lessons are at play here. Things were hard for both Sunburst and Starlight after they split up, but neither sought the support of their parents who only really want to be a source of support—no matter how annoying they get. Also, the parents need to learn to give their children some space to learn and grow.

However, that does leave the matter of the town still unsolved and that was left on the back-burner during the episode. Maybe there’s still room for Stellar Flare and Firelight to come to a compromise in regards to the town?

There are some good lessons and credit to the episode to keep people guessing as to what is the friendship problem truly was, but there were opportunities to address other things during the episode.

GRADE: B

StatManDan

MLP Review: Horse Play

Twilight is planning to celebrate Celestia’s “ones-versary” (1,111th) of her raising the sun for the first time by staging a play at the school. Since being in a play is one of the things Celestia has never done before, though she has a love for theatre, Twilight decides in her infinite wisdom to cast Celestia in lead role as a way of doing something nice to someone who has always put herself before others.

Celestia is uncertain since she has zero acting experience. Despite Twilight’s reassurances, Celestia’s inexperience shows and no amount of acting lessons will help her. No amount of Twilight’s over-willingness to make the play work for Celestia instead of telling her the truth about her acting skills will help either. Rainbow Dash telling every creature she knows definitely doesn’t help—ruling out Spike’s suggestion of cancelling the play. Pinkie’s attempts of replacing the prop sun damaged earlier just makes things worse—especially when she imitates an Illinoisan looking to put on a fireworks show (where such amateur acts are illegal) and smuggled the fireworks from Wisconsin to do that.

Twilight goes over the edge and the cat escapes the bag—upsetting Celestia that her pupil had been lying to her all this time. Celestia tells Twilight that honesty is always better than the best of intentions paved by lies and has an idea to save the play. Celestia plays the role of production assistant and helps salvage the play with Fluttershy (some pony who has acting experience) as Celestia.

To some, this is a bit of a retread of “Inspiration Manifestation”. However, this is someone attempting to hide the truth from someone who has been like family and a mentor to her.. Also, this is not to help someone get out of a creative funk, this is someone trying to give back to said mentor. Twilight’s real fault is that she puts Celestia so far high a pedestal, that she does not realize that there are things that even the ruler of Equestria cannot do—such as act.

However, in both situations, honesty is still the best policy despite best intentions. However, this episode is still better than “Inspiration Manifestation” as Twilight isn’t one to be so dismissive about the lesson like Spike was in the former. The biggest problem with Twilight is placing Celestia high on a pedestal that some of things she feels she needs to do to pay Celestia back are unnecessary.

GRADE: B+

StatManDan