Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows)

We’re back with another episode of All My Ponies!!  When we last left our heroes, the CMC had gotten their Cutie Marks and got Diamond Tiara to turn to the good side!  Considering that we had SUCH a big event episode last time, it’s unlikely that they’ll keep up that kind of momentum with the episode to follow but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this one will be bad.  Will the more relaxed tone of this episode ease us back into what we usually expect from this series (which is quite a lot already), or is this a disappointment after Crusaders of the Lost Mark turned out to be such an important benchmark for the series?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Pinkie Pie in her happy place which is decorating an infinite amount of cupcakes and yet all of them look the same.  WHAT IS THE METHOD TO HER MADNESS!?  Well we don’t find out because the best pony ever (Cupcake) walks in with a note she received from Cadence and Shining Armor.  There’s some big news that she’s privy to because she’s been requested to cater the event and Pinkie seems to be just as excited!

“WE PAID TO AIR BACK TO THE FUTURE!?!?”

“WE PAID TO AIR BACK TO THE FUTURE!?!?”

It turns out that Cadence is now pregnant which brings Shining Armor into the illustrious club of two stallions who are confirmed to not be virgins (along with Carrot Cake)!  But wait!  It seems that the Cakes were the only ones informed about the pregnancy so that they can get a surprise party set up for Twilight and the rest of the Mane 6.  Now Pinkie has to… keep her mouth shut.  Wait, that’s it?  The conflict of this episode could be resolved by a modicum of self-control or, at the very least, a modest amount of duct tape?

“Are you doing the shifty eye thing?”     “NO!!!!”     “Am I to take that as a yes?”     “Yes…”

“Are you doing the shifty eye thing?”     “NO!!!!”     “Am I to take that as a yes?”     “Yes…”

Not only have we seen this premise before (Green Isn’t Your Color) but that aspect was the SECONDARY storyline and there was an actual dilemma there with Twilight trying to figure out if it’s right to breach her friends’ trust if it’s in their own best interest to do so.  Here?  There’s nothing for her to struggle over other than her own excitement for when Cadence and Shining Armor make their announcement.  Sure, sometimes you know something that you want to reveal ahead of time, but I can hardly sympathize with her struggle here.  It’s not her place to blab, and it shouldn’t be THIS hard to not say anything.  She’s walking around this episode like an addict looking for their next fix or a seven year old who REALLY has to pee, and I just don’t get where all this anxiety is coming from.

“Someone get me fifty cupcakes!  It mellows me out so I don’t relapse!!”

“Someone get me fifty cupcakes!  It mellows me out so I don’t relapse!!”

While Pinkie is struggling with this burden (I guess), Twilight calls them all to her Doom Fortress to discuss the impending visit of the Crystal Kingdom royals (none the wiser to the third visitor) and get some free manual labor.  Well that’s a bit unfair.  She’s already got their guest room set up and it’s meant to look like Shining Armor’s room when he was young.  That’s… something.

“Uh, Twilight?  Isn't your brother almost thirty?”

“Uh, Twilight?  Isn’t your brother almost thirty?”

I know they’re ages are somewhat indeterminate, but isn’t this something that Twilight is too smart to think is a good idea?  Dude’s a grown ass stallion who’s coming with his wife.  OF COURSE he wants sleep in a room with a toy train in the middle of it!  At least I’m not the only one pointing this out as Rarity seems to think along the same lines though covers up her unease with the good old “It’s the thought that count” line.  As they prepare Shining Armor’s room to surprise him later, the topic eventually turns to surprises in general which is exactly what it takes for Pinkie Pie to relapse and redo the same shtick we saw her do earlier.  Then things seem to get oddly dark as she asks about revealing secrets and it’s like she just told Rarity her hair was limp or something else just as horrifying.  Everyone gets all up in her face about how TERRIBLE it is to be a secret ruiner and start to list off the dire consequences that befalls one who reveals spoilers.  WHAT!?

“Do we need to worry about you?”     “Of course not!”     “Good.  Do you know what happens to those who carelessly throw around spoilers?”     “Um… They get thrown in boilers?”     “What?  No!  They have to live with the shame.  NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A CATCHY RHYME!”

“Do we need to worry about you?”     “Of course not!”     “Good.  Do you know what happens to those who carelessly throw around spoilers?”     “Um… They get thrown in boilers?”     “What?  No!  They have to live with the shame.  NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A CATCHY RHYME!”

What is up with this episode!?  Everything just seems so… juvenile.  I get that this is a freaking kids show, but everything just feels specifically targeted at young kids in a way that belies a cynical attitude that this show has deftly avoided in the past.  It feels like lazy writing where everyone is acting either out of character or one dimensionally wacky for its own sake rather than as a natural extension of these characters.  On top of that, the episode is just plain repetitive.  It just keeps going on and on with this one note joke about Pinkie being SO TEMPTED to reveal this secret that she has absolutely no reason to tell anyone.  After she leaves the Friendship Citadel in a rush, she has to deliver cakes but can’t focus because there are ponies around who are potential spoiler victims for her.

“Who is this ‘Pinkie Pie’?  My name is Guy Incognito!”

“Who is this ‘Pinkie Pie’?  My name is Guy Incognito!”

Then she starts delivering cakes from the shadows so she can isolate herself from every pony.

“If I turn around and her spear just smashed through my mirror...”

“If I turn around and her spear just smashed through my mirror…”

All the while, she keeps running into the Mane 6 and immediately bolting so she can avoid them.  Maybe they’re going for a message here about how hiding your problems can strain your relationships with others?  Well the episode never really gets around to that and it feels like a plot line that got dropped halfway through so that Pinkie Pie can get herself caught up in even more shenanigans.

“Is that what I think it is?”     “What?  AHHHHH!!!!!!”

“Is that what I think it is?”     “What?  AHHHHH!!!!!!”

The one part I actually do like here is when she’s at city hall revamping the entire filing system which is not only a nice reference to a much better Pinkie Pie episode (Party Pooped), but it also means we get some time with Mayor Mare.  I honestly have NO IDEA what they were going for with her character in this scene which seems to alternate between gossipy, intentionally needling, flirtatious, and inexplicably random.

What is going on here?  Would you two like a minute alone or something?

What is going on here?  Would you two like a minute alone or something?

I always wanted to see more of the Mayor considering that she’s in the highest level of authority in Ponyville, or at least was until THE FRIENDSHIP PRINCESS annexed a portion of her town.  What the heck is it like trying to keep order and provide for the common good when the town getting overrun by monster attacks and friendship explosions every couple of days?  I’m not sure exactly what direction they’re taking her in this episode, but I’m curious to see if they have anything else in store for her in the future.  Unfortunately we must leave the silently suffering city boss and have to move on to even more shenanigans.

“LOOK!!  LOOK HOW WACKY I AM!!  I’M SO UNCONVENTIONAL!!!”

“LOOK!!  LOOK HOW WACKY I AM!!  I’M SO UNCONVENTIONAL!!!”

It’s eventually time for the Crystal Kingdom Royals to arrive at the Bastille of Harmony and Pinkie Pie (as well as me) couldn’t be happier for this long ordeal to be over.  No wait, they won’t make it for another day.  Oh well.  No… hold on… they’re there.  Okay… bit of an anti-climax there.  Seriously, they hold the tension for exactly sixty-eight seconds before Shining Armor and Cadence come bursting through the door with excuses as to why the delay we heard about less than two minutes ago was no longer keeping them from arriving on time.  It’s just yet another thing that makes this episode feel so slapdash and insubstantial.  WE HAVE TENSION… no we don’t.  Oh well, at least it’s nice to see Shining Armor and Cadence once again!  They somehow know that Pinkie Pie is aware of their secret and Shining Armor informs her in private that the two of them have an elaborate plan set up to reveal to everyone the good news which means that Pinkie will still have to keep it a secret.  FOR REAL BRO!?  She’s about to explode and you’re just gonna tempt fate like this!?  Forget what’ll happen if she blabs.  I’m now certain that keeping this bottled within her will cause her to blow up and then collapse like a dying sun, sucking up all of existence with it.  Or maybe something less dramatic.  Well I need SOMETHING to keep this episode interesting!!  We cut to sometime later where the Mane 6 are meeting up with Shining Armor and Cadence in the middle of town and we find out exactly how the Captain of the Royal Guard took to his temporary (and extremely childish living conditions).  Surprising pretty much no one, he loved it.

Dude.  They’re ants.  Take a chill pill.

Dude.  They’re ants.  Take a chill pill.

Will they finally tell them what’s up once they get into town?  NOPE!!  We’ve still got five minutes to kill so why not have a scavenger hunt!?  At this point, Pinkie Pie’s frustration is mimicking my own due to this episode REFUSING to either end or have anything of substance.

“WHY DOES YOUR BROTHER HATE ME!?!?!?”

“WHY DOES YOUR BROTHER HATE ME!?!?!?”

The scavenger hunt is not what I’d call subtle (go to a school, go find a birth certificate, and then go find a crib) and yet Twilight still has trouble figuring out what it is the two of them are trying to say.

“AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE A GENIUS OR SOMETHING!?”

“AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE A GENIUS OR SOMETHING!?”

She FINALLY gets it and actually has a rather sweet moment with the two parents to be which makes me wish that the episode was more about THAT than whatever the heck Pinkie Pie was doing.  Oh well, at least we finally got through this and we’ll hopefully get more episodes about their pregnancy as the season goes on.  And so the episode ends with Pinkie Pie looking solemnly into the camera, no doubt having flashbacks to the horrific trials she had to go through to not reveal spoilers!

“Wait, isn’t Back to the Future Day next week?”

“Wait, isn’t Back to the Future Day next week?”

This episode is a huge disappointment and is probably one of the worst of the season.  It feels like they had an idea for a script but got most of the way through before realizing they simply did not have enough material to work with so they added in a plot about Pinkie Pie trying to hold in a secret.  You’d think that something as big as a royal baby being born in the near future would be big enough of an event to cover an entire episode, but I guess they were just happy with putting in a lot of bare minimum instead of a focused quality episode.  Nothing here feels important or fully developed.  Not Pinkie’s anxiety which ALMOST seems to go somewhere what with her avoiding her friends, but it never comes around to any sort of revelation for her.  Not for Twilight, Shining Armor, or Cadence who get very little screen time here and barely any time to react to the pregnancy.  Each of the little subplots, from Pinkie making balloon animals at the school to Twilight fixing up Shining Armor’s room, are barely developed before being cast aside for whatever else they felt like shoving into the episode.  Compare this to Party Pooped where they actually managed to fit in a lot of information and story beat while still giving it the emotional resonance it needed.  That episode may have had too much going on, but every scene clearly had a lot of effort put into them so that they can tell as much story as possible in the running time that they had.  I just don’t think that kind of effort was put into this episode and it really suffers for it.  Hopefully next week will be much better and, if we’re lucky, will focus on Cadence, Twilight, and Shining Armor’s relationships now that a baby has been thrown into the mix.  Even if they drop this story line for now, the next episode will most assuredly be better than what we got here.

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My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Season 5

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2 thoughts on “Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows)

  1. ArthurCrane

    Short Version: I’m sure 22 minutes of Pinkie Pie freaking out sounded better on paper.
    Longer Version:
    -I’ll admit that I actually had a pretty good time while watching this episode, but once it was over, I realized that my enjoyment had more to do with my personal fondness for Pinkie rather than for the episode’s own merits. I’m always down for some Pinkie-related hijinks, but I can get those in any Pinkie-centric episode. There has to be something else to keep me hooked. Unfortunately, this is one of the most paper-thin, padded plots of any episode of the show I can recall, capped off with one of the most weaksauce morals it has ever delivered. Writer G.M. Berrow has worked with MLP before in the form of a couple of easy-read novels. Some have been pretty great and made me wish I could see them in animated form (You WILL believe there’s a good story to tell about Angel), but others read like straight-up fanfiction (like the time Trixie teamed up with Gilda to get revenge on Twilight). Even by those standards, this is probably the worst thing she has written for this franchise.
    -I’ve always felt that Pinkie’s greatest strength as a comic relief is her unpredictability and her ability to quickly go from one gag to the next. While I feel there is enough variety in her antics here, those gags are the only thing the episode has going on for it other than ironic bits of dialogue about how the world is constantly reminding Pinkie of the secret she has to keep. While I don’t think it’s as infuriating as Pinkie’s b-plot in Wonderbolt Academy (another case of repeating the same joke over and over to a ridiculously frustrating degree), by the end of the episode, I felt very indifferent to what I had just seen. This kind of story is better suited for a much shorter format. Had it ended by the second act, I think it could’ve been salvageable. But then, the episode thought it would be a great idea to extend the one-note plot (and also Pinkie’s torment) even further and that’s when frustration began to really creep in on me. I was so fed up by the end, I couldn’t care less about Twilight learning she’s going to be an aunt. I can only assume that the script was intending to put the viewer in the same mindspace as Pinkie by dragging out the reveal as far as it could, but why would you want to put the viewer in a position where they want the story to just end already?
    -It’s never a good sign when I immediately start to come up with hypothetical, alternate versions of a story or scenarios that either negate a story from even happening or create a better version of it, but that’s what happened here. If it was so important for the baby thing to be a secret, why not just specify to the Cakes that they must absolutely under no circumstances let Pinkie know about the news? Or why not just let her sit out the stupid scavenger hunt? I know Shining and Cadence don’t spend a lot of time with Pinkie, but I feel like they must know enough about her already to know that she’s very excitable and extremely talkative. If Pinkie had been unable to keep the secret, I would’ve put the blame squarely on them, which is probably something the episode wouldn’t have wanted me to do.
    -At one point I imagined what I thought would be a better version of this episode, in which Pinkie ruins the surprise, everyone gets mad at her, but they eventually let it go and forgive her because if you really love somebody, that’s what you do when they make a mistake (that could’ve been a much better lesson). Still, I feel like if the episode would’ve wanted me to be disappointed in Pinkie (much like her friends, probably) , I would’ve instead sympathized with her and gotten angry at everyone else and hated the episode even more. Maybe it’s the Pinkie fanboy in me talking, but I still think the episode does its best with what’s given to her. Like I said, I still enjoyed Pinkie being Pinkie, I feel like it’s the rest of the episode that fails her. I take solace in the fact that there’s another Pinkie-heavy episode coming down the line.
    -In some ways, this is the worst kind of episode I can expect from the show, where it’s faults aren’t even all that interesting. If this episode is a dud, it’s because it didn’t have a strong enough concept to begin with.

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  2. Pingback: Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 5 (What About Discord?) | The Reviewers Unite!

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