[source] 809 - “Non-Compete Clause” Written by: Kim Beyer-Johnson "Applejack and Rainbow Dash take the friendship students on a teamwork learning field trip, and accidentally show the students the opposite… (More)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The map is calling the Cutie Mark Crusaders to Mount Aris for a friendship problem. It is their first and the first time the map has called some pony creature to a place outside Equestria. It’s either been Ponyville, Canterlot, Manehattan, or where the Pony of Shadows hung out.
Twilight is coming along for an excuse to visit Mount Aris since the events of the movie research and to get Silverstream’s parents to sign a permission slip so she can go on field trips (shouldn’t that be Silverstream’s job?) They come across Silverstream’s brother Terramar who can’t decide between living on land as a hippogriff (like his father Sky Beak) or in the sea as a sea pony (like his mother Ocean Flow). This being Hasbro, they are not going to mention that the parents are separated/divorced. (Is it only Arthur who really goes that far?)
The CMC get a tour of Mount Aris and Seaquestria and Sweetie Belle is in love with Harmonizing Heights on Mount Aris while Scootaloo enjoys Seaquestria (while Sweetie Belle does not). That doesn’t help Terramar with his problem which he believes he needs to choose between the two. Actually, no hippogriff or pony told him to choose and Terramar’s parents realized that he shouldn’t be compelled to choose either and he can go back and forth.
While fans may not appreciate Hasbro possibly going end around with the parents living separately, they do establish that some of the hippogriffs got used to the sea while others returned to Mount Aris after the defeat of the Storm King. In the case of Terramar, it splits down his family. There does not seem to be any animosity between Sky Beam and Ocean Flow, and there are ways hippogriffs can go back and forth as the magic pearl has been split and distributed throughout the realm.
I guess Twilight has been forgiven for trying to steal the pearl in the movie as she is treated like a celebrity here. Of course, the bar is low for forgiving characters here.
Overall, this is a very good episode, though some may find some aspects a bit off. Terramar, Sky Beak, and Ocean Flow seem like nice characters and we get a decent bit of world building.
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
And the feeling’s right
Oh, yes, it’s Ladies’ Night
Oh, what a night (oh, what a night)
—“Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang
If it’s the best rollercoaster ever, why is it closing? Anyway, Rainbow Dash wants to ride it before it closes. However, she also has to chaperone for Grannie Smith, Apple Road, Auntie Applesauce, and Goldie Delicious (aka The Gold Horseshoe Gals). Applejack gives Dash a series a things she should not let them do. Hilarity ensues.
Rainbow follows the instructions to the letter—much to everyone’s disappointment. Even when the Gals are selected to be part of Big Bucks’s and Jackpot’s magic act, Rainbow Dash stops the trick and it’s a whammy (in a bad way a la “Press Your Luck”). Once the Gals realize AJ put Dash up to this, everything is forgiven and Dash gets to ride the Wild Blue Yonder thanks to their line jumping pass.
Yes, this was a very silly romp and a very funny one. That’s all the episode is trying to accomplish as the fast pegasus has to watch over what she thinks are slow grannies. The grannies are typically anything but slow and most of the humor (and flirting) in the episode comes from them. The other highlight was how AJ acts as Rainbow’s conscious to get her to act to make sure the Grannies don’t over-exert themselves.
It was just a funny episode and a breather one and works in what it was intended to do.
No song to intro this review because I have nothing on that end. Anyway, Rarity needs to finish a centerpiece dress for the Canterlot Royal Fashion Show and needs all her assistants from Canterlot and Manehattan to help. No pony else can help, so that leaves Fluttershy. While she has developed self-confidence, it does not extend to confronting the brazen and super-judgemental Saddle Row shoppers. Rarity advises her to access the strength confidence within her. She’ll have the assistance of her raccoon friends from “The Saddle Row Review” to help her.
No sooner does a customer ask about the number of threads on a suit does Fluttershy develop a “sophisticated” character that is able to please him. She adopts two more personas to accommodate the valley-girl and goth sets. However, she gets swept up in her characters that she becomes them drives away the raccoons, her friends, and the customers.
Rarity comes back to Manehattan to rectify things by sacking all three of Fluttershy’s personas before Fluttershy herself apologizes explaining that acting like the ponies of Saddle Row gave her the confidence to interact with them. Rarity explains that she only needed to be Fluttershy to run it. Fluttershy does give her the inspiration to finish the centerpiece dress.
Fluttershy’s timidness is not the problem here. It’s her getting too involved in something to conquer it that’s the problem here. We saw this in “Putting your Hoof Down” when she did a 180º from a doormat to a monster. The 180º here is from a newbie at running a shop to a snooty Saddle Row salespony. She talks about “baby steps” to overcome her fear of performing on stage in “Filli Vanilli”, but there are other situations where that is the appropriate approach when it comes to timidness. We’ve seen twice now that she flies before she trots into to something to conquer her timidness.
This had the potential to be an A-episode, but it gets derailed by Fluttershy getting too much into the characters she develops and leaves no time for inflection prior to the apology.