Saturday, 16 September 2017

Episode review: "It Isn't the Mane Thing About You"

It's always the ones you don't expect, isn't it? 

Last season, I was surprised to enjoy "28 Pranks Later," a fairly messy episode that was nonetheless made enjoyable by a handful of solid jokes and a decently creepy atmosphere. From the synopsis, it seemed likely to have a mean-spirited, vindictive tone, but unlike the similar "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well," it used its plot as an excuse to have some funny visual gags and indulge in zombie tropes rather than wasting time humiliating Rainbow Dash for some anachronistic wrong. It was far from perfect, but it was the season's most pleasant surprise. 

"It Isn't the Mane Thing About You" is less funny than "28 Pranks Later," but it's every bit as surprising. Despite its inherently awkward premise, the episode almost entirely avoids cringe comedy, and while what gags it does offer are mostly pedestrian, the episode's story structure recalls the show's earliest seasons in a good way. This is a story which gives itself time to breathe, which allows itself to be simple but relatable, which seems to understand the show's original charms. If only it were funnier, it would feel like a genuine return to form. Still, this is surprisingly pleasant! 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Episode review: "Daring Done?"

Daring Do has long been one of the most consistently entertaining characters in My Little Pony. As an obvious Indiana Jones homage, she allows the show to tell the kind of adventurous stories which were always part of the package without being constrained by the characters, and her appearances often boast more charm and creativity than many of the show's other adventure episodes. Until this point, all three of her episodes were great fun, but Daring Do as a character has never been explored in great detail, and is often the individual to learn the least from her journeys.

"Daring Done?" seeks to change that, giving Daring the kind of significant internal conflict which she previously lacked. However, in spite of its genuinely interesting premise, the episode does everything in its power to water down its own story, and features some of the worst humour I've seen in the whole show. Some decent world building keeps it from being entirely worthless, but that's faint praise when so much of the episode is an exhausting chore to sit through, and it can't even commit to the things which originally made it interesting.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Episode review: "To Change a Changeling"

Humour will do a lot to save an otherwise subpar episode for me, but I do have my limits. "To Change a Changeling" tells a largely uninteresting story with unclear themes and shallow characterization, but it also has a lot of great dialogue and humorous moments. The latter does a lot to keep the episode afloat, but there's only so many issues I can forgive before they start to overwhelm the humour, and while this episode is on the right side of the line, it's teetering near the edge, and it'd need to be a lot funnier for me to fully forgive a plot this dull.