I've always been rather partial to the CMC-centric episodes, partly because it's nice to have the show to focus on somepony other than the Mane 6 every now and then, just to change the pace of things, and because I like the antics and the stick-togetherness of the CMC.
But lately the show's crew seems to be putting a bit more focus on Scootaloo, perhaps the last major character of the MLP cast we really don't know an awful lot about behind the scenes...and it's been great thus far. I really enjoyed the last episode they did focusing on Scootaloo, season 3's "Sleepless in Ponyville," which was easily my favorite episode of that season, and was easily one of the most powerful.
This episode doesn't quite match that standard...but it comes pretty close.
Naturally, the CMC decide they want to go for this.
Also naturally, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon decide they want to beat the CMC and win, and attempt to discourage them from doing so.
Not too effectively on their first try too, I might add. Pulling the blank flank card really WAS reaching for straws.
Speaking of the Terrible Two, I was a little disappointed that we never got to see their routine, and be able to see for ourselves which was truly superior, but nope. All we know is that they had one, and that even they saw it couldn't compare with what the CMC come up with.
Which, a song cue later (which wasn't bad, but like most MLP songs, I'm indifferent to it, though I will admit I liked their reprise later), turns out to be pretty promising, feature exactly the right sort of message, and all in all just a nicely produced little thing. However, there are two problems. One is Rainbow, who, attempting to maintain an aura of professionalism at Harshwhinny's insistence (threatening to boot her out if she didn't) gives the CMC a somewhat lackluster review of their performance by accident, despite being very wowed by it. This leaves the CMC thinking they still need to refine the idea more than they really need to, a mindset that leaves them a little vulnerable (though they don't know it).
And Diamond Tiara, seeing her and Silver Spoon's act can't compare, decides to take advantage of this vulnerability by playing a card that's a little low even for her.
Bronies have been wondering about Scootaloo's wings since fairly early on, wondering what the deal was and why she wasn't already flying by now. Up until now, though, the show has been largely overlooking the subject save an ever-so-faint hint here and there. And that tradition continues somewhat still as we still don't have any verbal confirmation on just what the deal is. But it IS confirmed that Scootaloo's old enough that she should be flying by now, and it's implied that a large part of the problem is that Scootaloo's wings, for reasons unclear, simply haven't "grown in" and that she'll likely remain grounded until they do.
More importantly, though, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon use this to make the argument that because Scootaloo couldn't fly, they weren't truly representing all three pony races as was the CMC's plan and thus their routine was no good. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle don't buy it, but it successfully pushes Scootaloo's buttons and she becomes obsessed that she HAS to fly in the routine and begins rearranging everything in the routine to bank on that...to little avail as, despite promises to the contrary, she can;t make herself magically learn to fly, and the routine suffers, and poor Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are worn out, both from staying up unfashionably late to practice a routine that wasn't working, and their patience in Scootaloo's obsession wearing thin.
The show presents all of this in it's fairly lighthearted way as usual, but when you really think about it, though, you start to feel sorry for Scootaloo, as this had all become more than just an attempt to win the chance to carrying Ponyville's flag in the Equestrian games, but also to prove to herself that she could do it, that she could figure out to fly and live up to the reputation of the race she's representing.
But...she can't. And that bothers her. A lot. Though, to her credit, she hides it well, AND she thought of the other CMC first in that when it came down to the wire, she decides to quit and not go rather than risk ruining the chances of her friends to present the winning routine.
Then enters Rainbow, who again proves herself capable of rising to the role of adopted big sister like she did in "Sleepless in Ponyville" (which again pleases me to no end to see Rainbow's got that capability in her because we generally don't see it too often) and decides she's not going to let Scootaloo get away with this, and though she is readily backed up by the rest of the CMC, Rainbow is really the one who makes it clear to Scootaloo, and pretty much everyone, that there was more to it than flying. What mattered was who Scootaloo was. And not only should that be good enough, it was good enough.
Which (now that I've accidentally summarized the whole episode without meaning to) is what I like about this episode. Though it IS very lighthearted about it and doesn't ever really dig to the heart of the matter, they dared to bring it up anyway. And better still, they address the possibility that Scootaloo may not ever fly. And I like how they portrayed how much that means to Scootaloo, because it SHOULD be that way. Even though Scootaloo is a good and talented pony as is, flying or no flying, it would still be something that would bug her. Because it would bug any of the rest of us if we were in Scoot's horseshoes. And it's instances like that where the show success at its purpose.
Sometimes I think the bronies loose sight of what the show's really about when they get hung up on the more dramatic or funny episodes, or get stuck in a rut nitpicking whether or not to like Twilight with wings. But the show's not about that, nor should it ever be, at least not full-time. It should be about dealing with matters like what this episode addresses, teaching us that hey, you know, these things happen, and they're hard to get over. But don't let that get you down. There are other things to look forward in life, let's teach you how.
With the magic of friendship, of course.
Anyway, all in all a good episode. Though, something I want to bring up...Ponyville has a flag? All of it's own? Why does it have a flag all of it's own when it's a part of Equestria? It's not a sovereign state of it's own at all, of that much I am very certain. So...why a flag? Some kind of old pony tradition? Just a formality? An attempt on the crew's part to emulate the real-life Olympic games which the participating countries display their own flags, but only had the individual towns of Equestria to work with? (pr
Rarity is apparently synonymous with "style" now.