Sunday, January 27, 2013

Picking Apart "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", Season 3 Episode 11

I've come to notice quite a few things about the episodes of Season 3, having come this far already.  Some of the episodes seemed to be a bit off with the pacing, like they've been rushed to squeeze a bunch of crap in.  It makes you wonder if having only 13 episodes was not the original intention of the staff for whatever reason.  Well, it has been mostly devoid of songs, air time for Twilight, and of course friendship reports.  So the episodes seem to just be zipping right along as if the creators of the show are just as anxious to get to the end as we are about seeing it, whatever it holds in store for us.  And since I personally think this episode was just as rushed as some of the others, I'm gonna get through this critique real fast.  Time to hurry.

Just For Sidekicks
So Spike's baking a gem cake presumably for himself, but his inner greed and insatiable craving for his favorite snack makes him eat all the jewels he's been saving for it before he can add them into the batter.

Too bad Spike didn't understand that Owlowiscious was trying to tell him to stop.

Spike: Whyyyyyyyyy???!!!

Speaking of Owlowiscious, in this episode, the animators stopped being lazy with him and gave him some new facial expressions.
That's...a bit of an improvement, I guess.  It certainly adds a little more depth to his personality, that's for sure.  If there's one thing about this episode, the animation is getting really notorious for making weird faces show on a few characters.

Oh, look at this.  Spike gave up Peewee.  Or to be precise, he returned him back to his own phoenix parents apparently because Twilight made him.  Guess we won't be seeing that little guy again.

Well, with Spike fresh out of gems, he wallows in his own despair until Fluttershy offers a chance to pet-sit Angel in exchange for one gem.
Now if I'm not mistaken, Spike ended up pet-sitting Angel once before all the way back in Season 1, the episode "Dragonshy", and he alone was practically too much for Spike.  But that's just because Angel is such a little bastard that I'm surprised no one's been asked to put an end to his life.
Anyways, Spike jumps at the chance to pet-sit Angel just for the gem, without realizing what he's gotten himself into and then just assumes that the rest of the Mane 6 have jewels to offer in exchange for even more pet-sitting.
So Spike takes the job of pet-sitting all six pets in exchange for six gems and despite Twilight's concern and trying to tell him that pet-sitting requires a lot of work feeding, grooming, playing... yadda, yadda, yadda, Spike initially shrugs her off.  And it isn't until the end of the episode that he realizes what should have come first.  Typical.  It's pretty disturbing how Spike's ignorance is like a recurring factor in the series and this time around it's because of his craving for gems.

So of course, pet-sitting starts out with a bang and to top it off, Angel deliberately runs off to give Spike a hard time.

Spike: Angel.

Geez, why doesn't someone just put the bunny down if you know what I mean?  Okay, so that wasn't very nice, but seriously, no one can keep the little bastard under control, not even Fluttershy.
So Spike finds Angel under the care of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, so he decides to take the weight off his shoulders and persuade the three stooges to do his pet-sitting for him.
The trouble is, Apple Bloom wants one gem in exchange.
And as it turns out, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are no better off and Spike isn't able to get a refund.

On an interesting note, Big Macintosh and Cheerilee make a cameo appearance walking together, but I'm sure it's nothing more than a nod to the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day" for the sake of keeping continuity alive, not that this show can really do that anymore what with the despised Season 2 finale destroying it entirely.

Next, Spike has a run-in with the rhyming Zecora, who agrees to patch up his pet problem in exchange for another gem.

Zecora: Zecora knows just what to do, about all this bad mojo that's floating around you.

Zecora: Zecora can take the bad away, if you do just what I say.

Wait, what?  Now Zecora's talking in third person?  Oh dear lord, what is this series coming to?!

Zecora: But before I can do my duty, I am going to need some of your booty.

Zecora: You think jewels are what you need, but there's no worse mojo than dragons' greed.

Well, I don't really see the point of this assistance, seeing as Spike is no better off where he started and he ends up having to cough up another gem to keep Granny Smith quiet about his bad pet-sitting skills.  God, this is why some old people creep me out sometimes.
Now, am I the only one willing to bet that Spike is gonna left with nothing by the time this whole episode blows over?  Well, let's find out.

Spike: Angel.

That's right.  Angel springs loose again and boards the next train to the Crystal Empire, but he has to pay another gem (that's four) to get on board just to get Angel off.  Man, these denizens are a tough bunch.
While riding the train, the six pets get into more mischief and Spike gives up his fifth gem to pay for the damage done to Pony Joe's entrees.  Does anyone else know how Joe knew Spike was responsible for the pets per chance?

When the gang arrives at the Crystal Empire, including the Cutie Mark Crusaders, not getting any further than the train station I might add, naughty Angel has every intention of getting Spike into trouble, or just trying to reunite with Fluttershy for that matter.
So Spike sacrifices his last gem to create a diversion and snags Angel, leaving the one problem being for the gang to make their way back without being seen by the Mane 6.

Angel (why does he even have that name?!) threatens to give the whole game away and Spike decides to let him do just that, finally understanding what he should have taken into consideration for pet-sitting because he only wanted the gems for his precious cake.
So Angel decides to help satisfy Spike, having secretly snitched one of the gems he gave up, and lets Spike take a bite to satisfy his growling stomach.
To cover everything up, Spike reveals himself at the Ponyville train station with the six pets, claiming that he was waiting for them along with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, only to have Sweetie Belle nearly give the game away.

Spike resumes baking his cake, planning to use the last half-eaten gem as the final ingredient, but he eats it before he can add it to the batter.  What a surprise.

Spike: Whyyyyyyyyy???!!!

*sigh* I'll say this much about the episode.  It really wasn't much of a worthy episode, seeing as Spike starts out with nothing and ends up with nothing.  It's almost as pointless as the episode "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", in which Applejack claimed that she learned nothing.
Also, despite Spike's apparent ignorance, I still don't get why he had to apologize to the pets for all their trouble because last I checked, Angel started this whole mess by bouncing off and did a pretty damn good job of holding him up.  So how could Spike have possibly proven to be bad at looking after the pets if Angel didn't even give him a chance?  It just doesn't make any sense.
Had Spike actually gained something out of all the trouble and anguish he went through, besides earning the trust of all six pets, this episode might have been the slightest bit good.  I'm calling it a little below mediocre and I'll say that Corey Powell did way better with the episode "Sleepless in Ponyville".  That isn't to say this was a horrible episode, because it really wasn't that bad, but it's not really all that good either.

Oh, and what about these games at the Crystal Empire that the Mane 6 mentioned?  Well, find out in the next episode.  Bye, everyone!


  1. Of all the episodes this season, this one screams "FILLER FILLER FILLER" the most to me. It's not hard to see why it was moved back from being Episode 8, because since it appears Games Ponies Play takes place at the same time it would have made little sense to keep it there.

    I honestly think this episode should have ran after Games Ponies Play as a sort-of side story, and not before it. Regardless, I think it was pretty weak. It was just (another) Spike-Is-An-Idiot episode, and it was worse than Spike At Your Service because in this one he basically learned *nothing* at the end since he was literally right back where he started.

    As for the CMCs, well... it's sad to see that they're still in the same mindset that they had as far back as The Show Stoppers. And Spike, as dumb as he can be, was still shrewd enough to use it against them (though this backfired in his face quickly). Seriously, they STILL think that doing something random will earn them all the same cutie mark? It's pretty apparent to me that Spike and the CMCs are meant to be comedy relief, aside from a Special Episode every now and then.

    The best parts of the episode where the bits with Rainbow Dash and Tank, and Trollcora. Which adds up to like a minute total, if that. So yeah, filler episode at best.

    1. Yeah, in the show "Phineas and Ferb", all side stories take place in episodes directly after the main events, like "Isabella and the Temple of Sap" and "Unfair Science Fair Redux". Even in that show, while Lawrence Fletcher is like your average sitcom dad, even he isn't much of an idiot.

      Haha, "Trollcora", huh? Well, if you were to ask me, what Zecora did was like a nod to "Secret of My Excess", in which he knows all too clearly what happens when a dragon's greed spirals out of control.

      But yeah, overall, nothing gained, nothing lost. Only two episodes left, and then on February 16th, we get to find out whether the fan base will continue their pitiful "war", or end it on a sheepish note.