We’re back with another episode of everyone’s favorite show about talking horses! That is, except for Mr. Ed of course (of course). Wow. Did I really do a Mr. Ed joke? ANYWAY!! After the disappointment that was Castle Sweet Castle, this one has a lot to make up for. Will this one prove that the previous episode was a fluke, or will this one continue the downward spiral that last week’s episode predicted? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with the CMC finding out that Babs Seed had gotten her Cutie Mark in hair styling! Does this mean we get to see her go to barber college!? This happy news however prompts the others to ask some questions that I’m shocked the show is actually addressing! Questions such as what if they don’t like their Cutie Mark and what happens to their friendship once one of them DOES get one?
The problem with the CMC is the same problem a lot of shows have with a will they won’t they premise. The show focuses so much on a mystery of IF something is going to happen (in this case they get Cutie Marks) but that kind of premise can only sustain a show for so long before it becomes tiresome. At some point, they’ll have to address this issue and what it means and then they’ll have to worry about whether or not these characters can still sustain full episodes after that point. Remember, MLP only has two sets of main characters, the Mane6 and the CMC. Once the CMC are no longer the CMC, where will they take the story? Apple Bloom’s worries about what kind of Cutie Mark she’ll get, what that will mean for her and friends, and if she’ll even WANT the Cutie Mark she gets, persist into the night where Applejack has to assuage her fears before going to sleep.
Applejack unfortunately doesn’t knock on wood after assuring Apple Bloom that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE, so we can guess that something BIG is going to happen in this episode. The next morning, Apple Bloom wakes up finds that she does indeed have a Cutie Mark.
Okay, I’m calling shenanigans. Every time someone gets a Cutie Mark, it’s when they realize what their special talent is, and unless a can of bug spray is a metaphor for napping, there’s NO WAY that’s her Cutie Mark. I’m putting my money down on this being a dream sequence. Neither her nor Applejack are able to figure out what the heck it is, but then some stranger bursts through the door ready to train Apple Bloom to be pest control pony.
Dude comes out of nowhere and drags her ass into the woods to train. He trains her about a kind of pest called Twitter Mites (heh) which are like parasprites only they shock the crap out of you. She picks up on it fairly quickly (she even gets a cool Luigi’s Mansion style vacuum) but she’s not sure this is something she wants to do for the rest of her life. Before she can even bring up her concerns with the pest control guy (we still don’t know his name) he’s already buggered off, leaving Apple Bloom with a bunch of equipment she barely knows how to use. So let me get this straight. The guy FINALLY finds someone who can take over as the pest control pony, but he only teachers her how to catch ONE kind of pest!? Not only that, Diamond Tiara and Silver spoon come by to mock her almost immediately.
I’m still leaning towards this all being a dream. Too much is happening to fast for this to be something that will actually stick around for the rest of the series. Apple Bloom runs off and starts to bemoan her lot in life when a mysterious voice asks her why she needs to keep her Cutie Mark. HOLY CRAP!! STARLIGHT GLIMMER IS BACK!!! Okay, it MIGHT not be her, but the mysterious voice tells Apple Bloom that her Cutie Mark can be removed and she quickly agrees. Apple Bloom heads back to town with a spring in her step (or I guess trot) but finds that not five minutes after giving up her Cutie Mark that the ENTIRE town is getting absolutely decimated by a swarm of Twitter Mites. They’ve dealt with Parsprites, Cerberus, Discord and even Tirek, but Twitter Mites!? No hope.
Apple Bloom tries to catch them with her badass bug vacuum, but now that she doesn’t have the Cutie Mark, she’s completely incapable of doing anything. Apple Bloom keeps trying despite her lack of success, and the Twitter Mites ultimately make their way to Sweet Apple Acres where they destroy the only home she’s ever known.
The Twitter Mites then come for her, but she wakes up right before they can shock her (presumably) to death. Ah HA! It WAS a dream! I’m so clever, aren’t I? Well Apple Bloom heads downstairs and… wait, she got her Cutie Mark again!?
I don’t think I’ve seen a double dream fake out since the Wicker Man. Anyway, this Cutie Mark seems to be for potion making which is something Apple Bloom had been studying with Twilight, so at least this time it’s something she actually wants. Unfortunately, once the other Crusaders find out she’s got her Cutie Mark, she’s shunned from the group and once again finds herself in the forest with that mysterious voice. I can’t tell who it is, but I doubt it’s Starlight Glimmer considering the LAST time she got her Cutie Mark removed it led to the entire town getting destroyed. Not really selling her on this whole “No Cutie Mark” thing if that’s what the voice is going for. Apple Bloom once again decides to get rid of her Cutie Mark, but when she finds Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle again, they’ve gotten their Cutie Marks and continue to shun Apple Bloom.
BAM! Wakes up again. Are they going to go for a TRIPLE dream fake out!? YES!!! We’re in uncharted territory here!! We’re almost at Inception levels of craziness!! Apple Bloom has a new Cutie Mark, but all the other members of the Apple Family are giving her dirty looks. Apple Bloom’s Cutie Mark is something that ISN’T an apple, and is instead… I don’t even know.
The rest of the Apples don’t take kindly to non-apple folks around here and DEFINATLEY let Apple Bloom know it in a sequence that’s downright terrifying.
Once everyone is done chastising the poor girl for not being Apple enough, they give her a bindle and open the front door to a swirling vortex of death! Apple Bloom gets sucked inside and BAM! Wakes up once again. Now this HAS to be reality, right? NOPE!! Another dream!
Okay, seriously people? This is getting dangerous. A QUADRUPLE DREAM FAKE OUT!? There’s being bold, and then there’s being fool hardy! Apple Bloom is fed up with all this and confronts the mysterious voice that had been haunting her. Unfortunately it isn’t Starlight Glimmer, which would have been AMAZING! Messing with the family of your enemies in their dreams!? That’s some Freddy Krueger tactics right there! The voice in question is actually Apple Bloom’s own shadow, which means that all this a manifestation of her inner turmoil. How did she discover this? Why, the greatest pony of all time told her of course!
That’s right! Apple Bloom finally gets her episode where Princess Luna solves their problems in their dreams which we already saw with Scootaloo in Sleepless in Ponyville and with Sweetie Bell in For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils. Despite my undying devotion to the Princess of the Night, I’m not too thrilled with where the episode goes once she enters the picture. Everything resolves itself way too quickly. Apple Bloom, after having no less than FOUR nightmares about what her Cutie Mark can bring just suddenly decides that she’s totally cool with everything and won’t worry about what her Cutie Mark will be anymore!! Well then, I’m glad that solved itself so easily. Crippling fear of growing up and not knowing the future and what changes will come? Cured!! It doesn’t get much better when Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle enter the picture. Apparenlty they are having similar dreams and Luna shows them to Apple Bloom so that she knows she’s not alone. WOAH WOAH WOAH LUNA!! Invasion of privacy much?
After pulling these two from their own nightmares, Apple Bloom gives them all an After School Special speech about how it’s cool to just be you, and they all forget their worries forever! Yay! And so, the episode ends with Apple Bloom finally waking up after a quadruple dream fake out and enjoys breakfast with her family!
Now THIS is the kind of episode that season five needs if it’s going to stay afloat between the big adventure episodes! Unlike the utterly useless episode from last week, this one has some genuine moments with its characters rather than regurgitate stale jokes built around characterizations that that probably should have grown out of by now. Apple Bloom’s fears about growing up or finally having a definitive role in this world are easy to understand and sympathize with. It didn’t quite stick the landing for me, but then this IS a kid’s show and having a super clean wrap up at the end is something I can overlook. I do hope they pull the trigger on them getting their Cutie Marks sooner rather than later though. The premise is running a bit thin and it’d be nice to see them stop avoiding the obvious so much. How many more times can we watch them try to do something we know isn’t going to work considering how much they telegraphed their special talents so early on? Despite my minor complaints, this is a VERY solid episode and definitely makes up for the huge misstep that was Castle Sweet Castle. Hopefully this trend will continue and we’ll get even better episodes as the season goes along! CAN WE GET BACK TO THE CUTIE MAP SOON!?!?
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