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Episodes 17-19

Journal Entry: Wed Apr 2, 2014, 6:51 PM


Well I just finished filing my taxes and once again I'm running late with these episode impressions, so let's jump in where I left off!  :D



Episode 17: "Somepony to Watch Over Me"

I was eagerly awaiting this episode from the moment I read the synopsis:

"Apple Bloom has to prove to Applejack that she doesn't need her to constantly watch over her. "

Overprotective AJ in an older sister/maternal role? AWESOME! (-And I will admit I was hoping for a small nod or reference to Applebloom's missing parents.)

Still, knowing the limitations of the show I tried to temper my expectations, but is a little more of this: 


(Apple Family Reunion)

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121222151037/mlp/images/9/9c/Apple_Bloom_lays_down_on_Applejack%27s_bed_S3E08.png
http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121222150630/mlp/images/d/d1/Applejack_smiling_S3E08.png
-too much to ask for?

Overall this was a pretty good episode that should've been a GREAT episode.

I get what they were trying to do and I really enjoyed it for the most part, but a few elements kill an excellent opportunity to further explore AJ and Applebloom's relationship.


http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310110855/mlp/images/c/c2/Applejack_looks_behind_S4E17.png
Seriously, all this worrying and maternal concern and we don't get A SINGLE FLASHBACK!?
No young AJ caring for baby Applebloom!?!?

I'm calling right now: Biggest missed opportunity of season 4!

It's quite touching how much AJ cares for her sister, and I can only imagine how hard it must be for a parent to accept that their child is growing up. But unfortunately those heartwarming elements are pushed aside to make room for an overprotective AJ mental breakdown.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DIRChKIelj4/Uxv-OrZtIRI/AAAAAAAABrk/gGJY6I3lMPo/s1600/vlcsnap-2014-03-08-22h01m22s122.png

AJ has been shown to be very protective of Applebloom even in the first season, (Bridle Gossip) but here they took it too far.
I know it was cranked up for comedic effect, but they REALLY went overboard.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-J1ca3EQ6WpM/Uxv-KwcZvqI/AAAAAAAABq8/fi8HtBY5lUY/s1600/vlcsnap-2014-03-08-21h51m42s30.png

Thing is, this scenario can work, but I think AJ's crazed state could've been pulled off better with a few minor tweaks.
What if at the beginning of the episode Applebloom almost has a serious accident? For example; AJ pushes Applebloom out of the way of a falling tree. Applebloom just shrugs it off, but it triggers AJ's "overprotective mommy mode." You can still keep the comedic elements but now AJ's EXTREME actions have a little more narrative justification. OR, maybe show a flashback of baby Applebloom falling off the kitchen table and AJ catching her at the last moment, then all of the "babying" that goes on this episode suddenly makes sense!


http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310155016/mlp/images/6/65/Chimera_%22I%27d_stay_where_you_are%22_S4E17.png
This part really bothered me too. If I was cornered in the woods by a chimera and told I was about to become lunch, I would be screaming like a little girl!
Well, okay I suppose Applebloom is technically a little...

-Anyway, COME ON GIRL! FORGET THE PIE CART!

-YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER!!! SHOW SOME EMOTION!!!


http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310160822/mlp/images/c/c0/Apple_Bloom_%22uh%2C_actually...%22_S4E17.png
"Ya'll wanna eat me? Gosh, ah' really wish ya' wouldn't..."

Don't get me started on the moral either. I think everyone has talked it into the ground. "Show how mature you are by running off into the woods and nearly getting yourself killed!" Truly a sound example for the little ones, don't you agree? XD

 Here's how it should've ended:

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310163337/mlp/images/d/da/Applejack_%22trying_to_make_this_delivery_on_your_own%22_S4E17.png
"Yer grounded. Forever."

To be honest I feel the writing this season has been a little... off. -Like the writers aren't getting that last bit of polish in before they submit the script. A few simple tweaks and this episode could've been one of the more interesting character expanding moments of the season.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7iViEb6k-jY/Uxv-YavZ2HI/AAAAAAAABtw/SiZ1i4_DkxA/s1600/vlcsnap-2014-03-08-22h28m16s230.png
Oh well, at least Sweetie Belle was her usual criminally adorable self. All is forgiven!

Despite its flaws I enjoyed this episode. Scootaloo's unexplainable outburst aside, everything with the CMC together was awesome and felt a lot like a group of kids would act. Also they didn't feel the need to shoehorn a cameo of the rest of the mane 6 in this episode, +10 points! There was a fair amount of good humor and it's one that I'll probably revisit sometime in the future.

Personally I would've approached this scenario with a little more heart, toned down the comedic elements, and altered the moral so that the lesson ISN'T that you will be rewarded for disobeying your elders and putting your life in danger. XD

OVERALL: Pretty Good, but full of wasted potential.








 __________________
Episode 18: Maud Pie

I know it's heresy to admit this, but... I didn't really care for this episode.




http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140317100733/mlp/images/d/d4/Maud_Pie_with_Gummy_biting_on_her_tail_S4E18.png

Don't get me wrong, I liked Maud but I didn't fall head-over-heels as most of the fandom seemingly did. Shoot, she doesn't even come close to Cheese Sandwich as the best supporting character of season 4 </opinion>.

I thought she had some great scenes and stand out moments, but... I guess I just find her kind of generic.  I've seen her archetype many times in a lot of cartoons over the years, so her emo or goth style (whichever you prefer) didn't captivate me.

Now, most of you are going to disagree with me, and that's cool. We certainly haven't seen a character quite like her in Equestria, so from that standpoint I can see why people would find her refreshing. Not to mention I think a lot of people identify with her because of her awkward social behavior and attitude. If you feel that way, I 100% understand and respect your feelings. I'm not trying to step on on anyone's toes or take anything away from you. 

She's not a bad character, I just didn't connect with her personally. I wouldn't mind seeing more of her in the future, just maybe with a more interesting storyline.

The "personality doppelganger" plot in this episode, while containing a few interesting twists, was largely predictable, kind of boring, and downright hypocritical at times! XD


http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140317165332/mlp/images/b/b8/Twilight_%22I%27m_not_sure_it%27s_the_best_time%22_S4E18.png
"We just don't think it's right to exchange friendship necklaces with Maud if we're not really friends."

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140317192407/mlp/images/2/22/Maud_Pie_%22it_was_nice_to_meet_you_all%22_S4E18.png
'It was nice meeting you, but just because you're friends with Pinkie doesn't mean we will be.'



Wow! What a mature message! I'm genuinely impressed! It's so true! I didn't think they would actually have the guts to-



http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140317192409/mlp/images/1/1e/Twilight_Sparkle_%22that%27s_it%21%22_S4E18.png
"And our mutual love for Pinkie Pie is why we'll all be friends!"

...

OH BULL CRAP!!!

You had a good message, but couldn't do it could ya!? "~No it's for the kids! We all have to be friends no matter what!~"

For being the supposed princess of friendship, I'm getting the impression Twilight has no idea how it actually works. #S4TwilightFail

What, the rest of the mane six didn't realize Maud loved her sister? That revelation somehow changes the fact that they don't enjoy being around each other?

I don't have to spell this out for you guys; just because two people have the same friend doesn't mean they can become friends. Sometimes personality clashes will render a friendship practically impossible.

DO THEY THINK THIS IS SOME KIND OF MAMBY-PAMBY SUNSHINEY RAINBOW UNICORN LAND!?
Oh wait...


http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140317194720/mlp/images/0/07/Twilight_taking_out_rock_candy_necklace_S4E18.png
So nothing really changed and Maud isn't REALLY friends with the rest of the mane 6 but they exchange the necklaces anyway... Yeah this just feels wrong somehow.


http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20111009164955/mlp/images/c/c1/Pinkie_Pie_dancing_with_family_S1E23.png http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140212051923/mlp/images/3/37/Pinkie_Pie%27s_first_party_S4E12.png


On a different note, as cool as Maud is I don't understand why they had to give Pinkie ANOTHER sister. We haven't seen the other two since season one and they were just fillies. They had like what- five seconds of screen time? One of them could've easily filled Maud's role without the retcon... Is it because Amish don't use birth control? Did they think the idea of Pinkie's parents only having three foals too unrealistic?
Oh well, moot point now I suppose.

I DO understand why so many people love Maud and why they enjoy this episode. Moral aside, this isn't a bad episode. It just didn't do it for me.

Overall: Meh...









________
Episode 19: For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils


http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324094733/mlp/images/f/fd/Sweetie_hugging_and_thanking_Rarity_S4E19.png

I can't decide if this is a good episode, or a great one.

On one hand, the focus on Sweetie Belle automatically means this episode is going to be at least good. XP It had a great conflict, and some genuine, strong emotion.

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324164547/mlp/images/4/48/Sweetie_Belle_falling_S4E19.png

But on the other hand, this episode goes all the over the place narratively. There's so much content, but certain scenes are drawn out to such ridiculous length it feels like they were padding the episode.   

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324144911/mlp/images/f/f4/Sweetie_%22Not_even_close%22_S4E19.png

The fight between Sweetie and Rarity felt genuine. I think a large part of that is how much emotion is put into Sweetie's dialog. When things go south, an uncomfortable tension saturates the scene, letting you know Sweetie isn't messing around. That tension and emotional investment is why a scene like this works:

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324181327/mlp/images/8/88/Sweetie_Belle_in_a_spiraling_nightmare_S4E19.png http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324181330/mlp/images/7/76/Sweetie_Belle_%22make_it_stop%21%22_S4E19.png  
http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324181330/mlp/images/6/6b/Future_Rarity_going_insane_S4E19.png
and this one doesn't :

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140310161029/mlp/images/f/fe/Chimera_snake_head_%22any_last_words%22_S4E17.png

I admire the writers for going the extra mile and not skimping on the disturbing imagery.


http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324181328/mlp/images/7/70/Sweetie_hanging_from_giant_Rarity%27s_uvula_S4E19.png http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324181536/mlp/images/e/eb/Future_Rarity_in_rundown_boutique_S4E19.png



Comparing Rarity and Sweetie with Celestia and Luna was a fascinating parallel and one that I felt was well executed.

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324163809/mlp/images/9/9f/Luna_%22and_with_this%2C_I_have_struggled%22_S4E19.png

It wasn't a perfect episode though.

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324161037/mlp/images/a/a8/Younger_Sweetie_Belle_descending_the_stairs_S4E19.png
 
Sweetie Belle's 5th birthday flashback goes on WAYYYYY too long in my opinion. Compounded by the fact they showed the same scene twice from different perspectives, back-to-back. This might've worked better if these scenes were spread out a bit more, or Rarity's perspective was condensed down to the important information.

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324185833/mlp/images/3/30/Apple_Bloom_disappointed_and_Scootaloo_revolted_S4E19.png

Most of the train ride scene felt like padding and featured some really lame jokes.

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140324234216/mlp/images/d/de/Apple_Bloom_gives_box_to_Sweetie_S4E19.png

This chase should've lasted two seconds as Rarity could've easily levitated the box away from Sweetie.

 http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140326205531/mlp/images/3/39/Sapphire_Shore_starting_to_like_headdress_S4E19.png

I know what they were going for, but the pink dolphin looks kinda ridiculous and ruins the Egyptian theme. XD

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140325000654/mlp/images/a/aa/Rarity_%22wherever_did_you_come_up%22_S4E19.png
"I'll never work in this town again!"

Despite a few flaws and some narrative hiccups, this was a really good episode with an interesting premise and a lot of heart. Though at first glace it seems like Sweetie was being really bratty, I think the episode does a good job fleshing out the character motivations. This is another one I will revisit in the future!

Overall:  Really Good!

________________________


I'm going to stop here and finish catching up after the next episode is released. Later!

 

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Nate Lawrence
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States

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:iconshotabear:
ShotaBear 23 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much for the watch, have a wonderful day~!
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:iconlegendario13:
legendario13 Mar 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Forgot to start watching you last time, better use the moment of clarity while it lasts :P

Keep it up!
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:iconstorypony:
StoryPony Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How goes it?
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:iconnaterrang:
NaterRang Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's going well. How are things in your neck of the woods?
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:iconstorypony:
StoryPony Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Pretty good, dude~ Good to hear you are well. Anything new/big happening?
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:iconbluespaceling:
blueSpaceling Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for +watch :iconfluttershyishappyplz:
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:iconrouletteobsidian:
Thanks for the watch
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:iconmarco444:
Can you draw the mane 6 as merponies?
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:iconriokenng3:
RiokennG3 Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav brah.
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:iconnaterrang:
NaterRang Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome!
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