"In the hopes of proving that the Crystal Empire is more than worthy of being selected as the next venue for the upcoming Equestria Games, Princess Cadance commissions Twilight to work her magic with the deciding Games Inspector."
Direct continuity between two episodes that AREN'T a two-parter? How often does that happen?
Incidentally, Just for Sidekicks was actually the 8th episode produced for this season, with Apple Family Reunion, Spike at Your Service, and Keep Calm and Flutter On being episodes 9, 10, and 11, respectively. Just for Sidekicks was moved to today's slot so that it could air right before this one.
Also, we're apparently getting more psycho Twilight. That's what got me into the show in the first place, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to how Shining Armor and Cadance react to it.
Hoo boy. Another episode on responsibility again. You know, I'm glad the show's writers are experimenting with what lessons they could get out with such a simple concept, but there can only be so much they can do before we start to realize just how preachy the show is becoming.
Granted, the idea could call for a lot of creative scenes with the mane six -- which is kinda the point because there's a lesson for all of them to learn by the end of the episode, but yeah. When are we gonna get an episode where one of the CMC ends up befriending Silver Spoon and they have to keep it a secret or else suffer from all the bullying from Tiara?
And for the love of god! Can't we ever see Shining Armor do something heroic aside from throwing his wife, and get Pony Aids from Sombra? It's kinda annoying having him be just the love interest for Cadence and having to be rescued all the time by his little sister Twi. Then again, this might not be the episode to have that, but I'd really like to see him actually have a purpose other than to serve as a minor character.
I seem to have a habit with never being satisfied with anything that's given to me (unless there's a surprise or a neat twist of things). Maybe I'm just not embracing my inner childhood as much anymore. :(
@Irene the SeedrianRabbit: Agree with you on Shining Armor. For the captain of the Royal Guard, he doesn't actually DO all that much in that position.
Hell, the fanfic I'm writing has him basically listing all the various threats that the guard has failed to stop over the course of the series at one point.
...Also, do you post comments on Equestria Daily? Because the thoughts you gave here regarding today's episode seemed almost identical to something I saw there. ...And I also have the distinct feeling that we've been over this before.
Meh, I only scroll through some things at Equestria Daily. Although, I did run into some fanart at one point where Silver Spoon was forming a friendship with the CMC, and the stuff regarding Shining Armor I sorta began to notice after watching a review of the Season 3 opener on Youtube.
Could be a coincidence. I haven't checked EQ Daily yet as of today.
What is up with royalty in this show not doing anything around here! >:U
It's not like anything ever even happens in Equestria, so why can't Celestia do something other than always sending her pawns to do stuff... Srsly, she should lay off the cake and get to work, because her being such a big great ruler is coming off as insincere now... Like searching for a sports conductor takes SO much time you have to hire Twilight to do it... She could be doing something more important.
@Bruce the Hedgehound:
I dunno, this all sounds really fishy. Maybe she's just teaching Twilight the importance of friendship and keeps sealing random bad guys for 1000 years so that Twilight can beat them later -- because she wants someone to take the throne as quickly as possible?
Clearly Celestia doesn't enjoy taking responsibility for too long (or maybe she's secretly dying from plot-convinient-disease #413) and thinks Twi & possibly her friends would make for good heir(s) to the throne. That's the only excuse I can give - because in reality, princesses have it rough - like, seriously rough. There's more to royalty than just have people take orders from you or look pretty all the time. It's also about politics and making very life threatening decisions that could sacrifice thousands of lives, if not your very position on the throne.
What's sad about this truth is that it's every little girls' dream to become a princess. I wish the media wouldn't sugarcoat the fact that it's perhaps the most dangerous job a girl could have. Even Disney -- for all its princesses, is aware that being a princess isn't fucking easy.
It's like - Eowyn fighting the witch king guy. Sure, it looks badass, but if you were in her position, it'd be kinda horrifying. Let's also not forget the fatherly death, the whole war thing going on in the background, people dying, being an orphan, being dumped by her playground crush, her best friend Merry being segregated because of his height, brother dead, having herself segregated because of her gender, etc.
@Irene the SeedrianRabbit: But Celestia is immortal. So, doesn't seeking an heir to the throne seem moot? Besides that, she's royalty for having the job of setting and raising the sun, but other than that, hardly does anything else with the kingdom. On top of that, heirs to a throne is a hereditory thing. You can just pick willy-nilly who should be on the throne. By royal order, the descendant of the current ruler shall be the inheritor of the crown, again making the point of seeking an heir pointless. Which again brings me back to the point that Celestia should start doin' something around here.
I think this is a stupid conversation, but I want to reply to Bruce and say that royalty CAN make a non-royal a member of the royal family as an heir.
I think it's called Lording, and it's like Knighting, but a greater honor.
And peasants rose to the ranks of kings literally all the time in history and folktale.
Celestia could make Spike a princess for all you guys should care, she does what she wants.
Okay guys, man your stations - cause there's a wall of text coming.
This episode turned out a lot different than how I expected, but I can't say for sure if those differences were actually beneficial to the subject at hand. I think it's great how the episode focused on developing both Twilight AND Rainbow Dash within the time given (also Spike, but that's a WHOLE 'nother episode). Rarity & Pinkie had some of the more entertaining scenes, while Fluttershy and Applejack got to share some space the background as well, however - the jokes were rather lacking and it slowed the episode down a lot. I did like Shining Armor's cameo - mainly because he actually ended up moving the plot forward instead of just hogging the extra character space. Cadence could've been better portrayed though; I dunno - she just feels kinda bland to me now. At least with Luna & Celestia, they have a TON of personality, while Cadence just poses as a generally nice (and patient - according to this episode), but still young princess pony. There aren't any flaws to exploit from her either, aside from maybe being pretty stupid for not giving Twilight a proper description on the games inspector.
I'll admit - the ending became very predictable in the second half, but it was worth getting to the ending anyway because in the end,Rainbow Dash learned a lesson and Twilight learned to deal with stress -- and also because it leaves a mini-subplot cliffhanger for those who haven't seen the Spike Pet-sitting episode. A possible secondary issue with the ending could be that it was a little too rewarding, plus the games inspector fuck-up wasn't truly resolved either. What, all she needed was an exaggerated story from a minor? It was a forced conclusion and probably needed to be executed better too. Heck, they could even throw in a bittersweet ending, cause then it would have a bigger impact on Dashie and an actual consequence to being so stressful over an unresolved childhood experience.
The reason this episode strikes me in the wrong way is that there wasn't much conflict to begin with, aside from maybe with Dash - as there was some focus on her. And with that said, that one conflict alone was mediocre given prior ones the characters had in the other seasons. It's probably the skeptic side in me coming out again, but when it comes to Dashie, she is flawed - but that's what makes her interesting. What doesn't help for her character though is that she ends up being rewarded for doing stupid or forceful things instead of facing the real consequences of her actions. I can think of a few exceptions:
In 'May the Best Pet Win!', Dash ends up getting herself into a dangerous situation as a result of being a show off and causing unnecessary stress towards the rest of the competitors in the race. It's also the reason why the rest of the pets abandon her - although Tank does come to help her out, mainly because he's loyal beyond belief - which also contributes to the fact why he became Rainbow's pet (as she is the Element of Loyalty, afterall).
Then there's Wonderbolt Academy, where - to the writer's credit - she suffered a lot. Like, it was almost ironic in a strange way. She ended up getting herself in trouble several times, discovered her new found friend was actually a bitch (but a complex one at that, like another Trixie), and realized the problems and issues with the Wonderbolt Academy as a whole. If the episode had ended with her quitting the academy (she technically does anyway), the moral would've been a lot stronger because Dash had to give up on a dream to preserve her honor. That's harsh, and given the fact she's the element of Loyalty, it's a great idea to work with. Instead, she gets rewarded her dream anyway at the expense of someone who kinda deserved it (although it's not a realistic resolution), naturally destroying the point of the episode from the ground up. On the other hand, the biggest plus to the ending would be that Dash was rewarded for going through so much suffering to come to the realization that she did. I only wish it was a different reward, or maybe Dash is okay with her choice because she doesn't need to be weighted by the pressures of her pursuits anymore-- I've ranted about the episode long enough.
In terms of today's episode, I'd say -- not bad, just generic at best. Kinda dragging and boring for the first & second half, but the little things that occur within the familiar story are what makes the viewing worth it. There are a lot of flaws though, so I think it sorta requires your patience, tolerance, and full attention to fully enjoy it.
Also, on another note -- wow! A claustrophobic pony! That's kinda interesting and unique to see in a kid's show. C:
Also, more SPOILER ALERT: We finally got to see Rainbow's father. COMMENCE THE FANART BURNING, MY FELLOW BRONIES.