Wait, they had a new episode of the show air the same day as the premiere of Friendship Games!? How much pony do we NEED in a week!? Well now that I’m done with my extensive look at the latest movie from the Equestria girls series, it’s time to return to the show that started it all as we get ANOTHER Rarity episode to talk about!! THREE IN A ROW! WOO!!! Now Canterlot Boutique was a bit underwhelming, but they made up for it and then some with the masterfully executed Rarity Investigates! Can they repeat the success of the latter with this episode about her and Applejack going to the big city, or will this be more in line with the former which was only decent? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins in Twilight’s doom fortress where she’s feeling the ennui of living the princess life. Her search for thrills and excitement can no longer be satiated by reading the same books over and over again. She yearns for something more; like maybe another Changeling invasion or some creature from the depths of hell to plunge the world in peril again.
Fortunately for her, The Cutie Map of friendship has summoned Rarity and Applejack to her lair because someone in the world is feeling sad! Her boredom can finally be satiated with an epic quest to a faraway land!! Oh wait, her cutie mark isn’t lighting up like theirs are so the map might as well have a “No Twilightz allowed” sign on it. This is the second time that they’ve had Twilight sit out of a mission despite really wanting to go and I’m guessing that this is going to lead into the season finale or at least a very significant episode of this season. I am a bit hesitant though about where they plan to take this because the only thing I can think of is that she’s going to go on a quest despite not being summoned and then everything’s going to fall apart because of her presence. I’d REALLY rather they not go down that road because that’d basically be saying that free will is bad and that they should always abide by whatever force is controlling the map. That would be a TERRIBLE idea because it sends the message that you shouldn’t think or act for yourself and should always kowtow to authority, whether it is just or in your own self-interest.
Switching focus to the characters who ACTUALLY matter this episode, we find out that Rarity and Applejack have to go to Manehattan which gets one of them very excited (as well as Twilight but no one cares about her) and the other one not so much. Specifically, they’re going to one neighborhood that’s home to both the fashion district AND the hay-packing district of Manehattan, and I’ll be damned if the actual Garment District and Meat-Packing District in Manhattan are within two miles of each other! Kudos for doing their homework I guess. Anyway, they’ll need to depart as soon as possible to make sure all that friendship isn’t lost forever which actually kind of sucks because the Sisterhooves Social is that very weekend!! This doesn’t get resolved here so who wants to guess that next episode will be all about that while these two are on their trip this episode? Maybe Twilight will have something to do now! Once they get to the city, Rarity wastes no time in trying to solve Friendship problems by becoming the Fashion Police and stopping some young mare from buying an awful hat. Giving the lady one of her own hats instead, Rarity feels secure in her job well done. Applejack however is not as convinced… and I think she’s gonna do it!! She’s gonna do it!!!
Applejack’s bullshit seeking death stare pierces right through Rarity who finally admits that maybe there’s something ELSE they need to do while they’re in Manehattan. First thing they have to do though is run like hell because the hat kiosk owner is hopping mad about a lost sale and Rarity apologizes as she’s getting dragged away by Applejack. What does SHE have to apologize for? HE’S the one who’s selling awful hats to unsuspecting consumers! Free Market at work buddy!! Now that the duo are out of harm’s way, their brilliant plan is to just stand on a corner and start shouting about their friendship solving skills to anyone within earshot. What are they, Movementarians?
Clearly this isn’t the best way to find out what they were sent there to do, but likely for them the mystic power of friendship or whatever blows a flyer right in Rarity’s face that might have the answer to their problem. Okay, that’s it. I’m calling it RIGHT now. This is all a prank by Discord. He made the map, is messing with their cutie marks, did a bit of research to find some sad sack ponies, and is leading them on with little clues to make them believe in their false Friendship God or whatever. He’s gonna keep needling Twilight by having everyone else go on quests instead of her, and the moment she snaps is when he reveals he was behind it the whole time. HE’S PLAYING THE LONG GAME HERE!! The flyer in question is a request for volunteers to set up a play that’s from none other than Coco Pommel who you may recall from the LAST Manehattan episode (Rarity takes Manehattan). WHAT A TOTAL COINCIDENCE THAT WAS IN NO WAY PREORDAINED BY A TRICKSTER GOD!!! They head to her place (did she really put her address on a flyer?) and find out the story behind this play she wants to set up. The Midsummer Theater Revival was a tradition in the neighborhood where everyone would come together to put on a performance and have a potluck to help build community spirit. The founder of the event has since moved away though so the revival fell off which I guess was the only thing keeping this neighborhood from being overrun by assholes.
With their new mission in hand, Rarity and Applejack spend the day trying to get the people of Manehattan to help them put this show on! Yeah… it doesn’t go well. Then again, they ARE just asking people at their jobs. Why don’t they go door to door in Coco’s apartment building instead of bugging people at their jobs?
After a day of recruitment, their grand total is… zero volunteers. They couldn’t even get the insane homeless person wearing a tattered suit and thinking he owns an import export business! You’d think he’d at least want to do it for the good publicity it will bring to his company! Well screw them anyway!! These two saved Equestria from monsters, invasions, ancient tyrants, and John de Lancie! One little play? NO PROBLEM!! Now where’s that stage?
What the hell Cutie Map!? Why did you send them to the jerk face capital of the world so they can get yelled at and pull weeds!? Not only that, but how the hell did things get THIS bad!? You’re telling me that no one found a practical use for this place and it just fell into disrepair? At the very least, isn’t this a public park which means that the city should be paying for its maintenance and upkeep? Now Applejack has to fix this place all on her own? This HAS to be the work of Discord! Not only that but apparently the dress rehearsal is tonight (how soon was Coco planning on putting this thing on!?) and the actors will need a place to work so Applejack needs to work fast. Cue the montage!!
You can tell she’s getting worn out because her hat keeps getting more and more tattered. METAPHOR!! She barely manages to scratch the surface when Coco and Rarity come back with the new costumes and the volunteer actors not far behind them. One of them dares to step on the stage, and by doing so causes the WHOLE THING TO COLLAPSE!! REALLY!? Just… step on it and BOOM!!! Forget the city not maintaining it, how the hell was this not CONDEMNED!? What if a kid got on there!? Needless to say that this setback has left Coco writhing in despair as it’s now clear that she can’t bring back the once beloved tradition with the resources she has. That’s when Applejack comes up with a FANTASTIC idea! SCREW IT, LET’S HALF ASS IT!!! No seriously, their plan is to go from a night of theater in the park to a street performance on an over sized soapbox.
Surprisingly, it’s able to draw in a crowd as more and more people come over to watch the performance. It may not have been as big as they had originally hoped, but it still seemed to have worked. Oh… NOW I GET IT!! By simply making an effort, it managed to get pony’s attention and now they will be able to do even more next year since they’ve shown that a little effort goes a long way! Alright then! Lesson learned! Is it time to go home yet? Well no actually because this episode does something I’ve never seen them do before. They spend MINUTES on no less than three separate speeches trying to convey this message. It’s a bit jarring that they feel the need to hammer this one home so hard when it’s a fairly simple story. I mean I guess you could argue it’s a BIT more complex than other messages the show has done, but it’s not THAT complex. Community is important, do your part, and small contributions add up to something big.
They do touch on something interesting though and that’s the reason why the Cutie Map sent them instead of Twilight who’s powerful enough to have fixed up the entire park with a “fix entire park” spell or something. Doing that though would take away the responsibility that the community has to the park (even though I still think the city itself needed to step in) and they would lose something they can work on together and take pride in. They actually put effort into giving a reason that Twilight couldn’t come this time! Well I’m sure she’ll feel much better once she knows EXACTLY how she would have irrevocably screwed things up if she was around! Before the episode ends, there’s still ONE thing that needs to be resolved; WHAT ABOUT APLEJACK’S MESSED UP HAT!? Rarity throws away Applejack’s Stetson and buys her a new one (coincidentally from the vendor she pissed off earlier). Well that was easy! And so the episode ends with the two of them musing about the Sisterhooves Social they missed in a way that all but guarantees we’re gonna see it next week!
This was actually a pretty good episode but a bit of a letdown when compared to Rarity Investigates from last week. It’s very much a return to form for the series so it doesn’t feel all that innovative or unique. Applejack and Rarity don’t really learn much about themselves and they act exactly as we’d expect them to throughout while last episode showed a whole new side of Rarity we never saw before and ran with it in a very creative and visually impressive way. If we think of it as a standard run of the mill episode, then at least this one has a lot of polish what with its more complex message, sharp writing for the main cast, and well-designed new characters. It’s not memorable enough to be one of the best episodes of the seasons, but it’s certainly serviceable and VERY far from the worst this season has had to offer. I hope that next week has a bit more to it though because while this episode is fine I don’t want “par for the course” to be the theme of the second half of season five. I’m guessing the next episode is going to have Twilight and the CMC in it so maybe we’ll get something interesting out of that, especially considering that Twilight has been itching for something to do and isn’t often paired up with the CMC. Let’s hope that one is as well made as this one, but much more original.
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