Okay, now I can post my thoughts. Throughout season 6, I've been pretty disappointed with the CMC episodes, especially since it's typically those types of episodes that I pick as my favorites. I've also found that, starting with season 3, I've been able to pick out my favorite episode when the season is only a few episodes in, even if I ended up changing my mind further down the line (this happened in season 5), so when that didn't happen for this season, that kinda downed my hype on the rest of the season, leaving me to rank it with season 1. However, this episode was a great boost to my spirits.
I was quite surprised to see that the CMC were already celebrities in their community; guess that song was more true than we thought! I was glad to see Tender Taps again, as well as some surprising development for Bulk Bicepts. I also like how it was the ponies that the CMC helped that lead our new griffon friend Gabby to the CMC clubhouse; word of mouth is best advertisment!
Speaking of Gabby, I really like this character; she's basically another version of Pinkie Pie, being all hyper and excitable and all, as well as caring for others, wanting to make them smile, and pretty much being good at everything! I wouldn't be surprised if she even breaks the fourth wall if we ever see her again, which I hope to! I also like how they made her relatable to Scootaloo, making this particular cutie mark crusade all the more personal for her, and allowing her to take the lead.
The song is catchy, though I'm gonna need to hear it a few more times in order for it to stick. However, it also felt natural, actually allowing the story to flow without feeling forced, plus Gabby (apparantly, Spike does her singing (o.o)) is a really good singer, being able to belt out those notes in the end.
And while this might seem minor, I was surprised to see that they had all three CMC cry when they found that they couldn't get Gabby her cutie mark like she had wanted. Now, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, I can understand, but Apple Bloom was the real surprise; throughout the series, she was the only member of the Mane 10 who hadn't even shed a tear outside of reacting to a burned cupcake. Her very first emotional tears never actually showed until Crusaders of the Lost Mark, when Applejack talked about how proud their parents would be of her for finally gaining her cutie mark, so obviously, that would be an emotional moment for her. But in this case, not being able to help Gabby find her purpose, which happens to be what she and her friends got their cutie marks for, must've been really painful for her. I mean, think about it; how much does it hurt when you find that you have failed at something that's suppose to be you're special talent, especially when it involves helping others in need? Not a good feeling! So just that little tidbit just drives the point home of how hard this supposed failure was for her as a Crusader!
I did find that the fake cutie mark thing was a bit predictable, but it was still utilized quite nicely, especially Gabby's motive for doing so; normally, you'd think that someone trying to do something like that was just trying to make themselves feel better, but not in this case! This was done to make the CMC feel better about themselves, and I have to say, that is really sweet of Gabby, caring so much about how others are feeling as opposed to the other griffons (continuity from Lost Treasure of Griffonstone), and always wanting to help in some way! Plus, this revealation may have been the boost that the CMC needed to solve her problem!
I really like how the CMC were able to come up with Gabby's purpose being to help those around her, and even gave a little wisdom of what a talent really is. While the moral was given by a young filly, this is actually quite grown-up; a talent is something that you're not only good at, but also something that makes you feel good! Genius! What's also genius is what the CMC did for Gabby; making her an artifical cutie mark just so that she can say that she has one (a smarter move than giving her a real one), and making her a crusader, which now makes 7 Cutie Mark Crusaders in total (I'm counting Babs Seed and her unseen friends)!
The only nitpick I really have is the beginning, where Petunia's talent was revealed to her parents; this is understandable, as the two words do tend to get mixed up-- Petunia is a paleontologist, not an archeologist (sorry if I spelled either of those wrong). An archeologist hunts for ancient artifacts and architecture, while a paleontologist hunts for animal remains from millions of years ago, like dinosaurs (comfirmed in Equestria). Other than that, I really can't find any problems with this episode!
So, overall, a great episode! We have a new character that I'd love to see again, easy mistakes were averted (except for the wording), the song that's a perfect, and a perfect follow-up to COTLM. And, I am happy to say that I have finally found my favorite episode of this season! (cheer) Now if we could just get Babs Seed to make her return.