If this were the first episode of season 6, I’d be pretty disappointed and likely spend a few pages talking about my issues with the writing. To me it’s still not really comparable to the other seasons, but I figure if I insist on sticking around waiting for an episode I really like (at least until the hiatus), I should try to appreciate my surroundings for what they are. Moreover I’ve already gone into detail about the season’s trends that bother me, so this will probably just be highlighting parts of the episode that stuck out to me.
First, my favorite part – the Mission Impossible reference. I’ve never actually seen the movie but they chose a very iconic scene and music clip so I was able to recognize it. To me it worked because it came together instantly, so it broke my expectations, and they also didn’t draw attention to it beyond the necessary references so they didn’t wear out the punchline. It really does fit the bill of subtlety, and in doing so shows that the writers have confidence in their sense of humor and in their audience.
When I saw the preview for this episode I was pretty upset and wanted to write a blog post about it, but I’m glad I resisted the urge. I still think Applejack acts way too silly for her character in that scene (at the end when she’s demonstrating her routine) but in fairness her behavior does make more sense in the full context, and they do clearly communicate the moral of the story – one that I resonate with.
Now for a rant I’ve been meaning to have – stereotype Russian accents. Yes, the differences between English and Russian grammar do tend to result in humorously strange syntax when a Russian is learning English, but I’ve got three problems with how it’s been used in season 6. First and more pertinent to this episode, the spa ponies have never had this sort of accent; their “foreign” articulation was much lighter and they never confused their grammar, so this change seems pretty out of character. Second, it’s been overused to a conspicuous degree this season and it’s losing its charm. Lastly, in my opinion it’s not particularly clever in the first place… as jokes go it’s pretty generic, a sort of ‘general application’ humor rather than one that relies on the dynamics of a situation, and as such it tends to comes across as a band-aid fix for a gap in creative content rather than a natural consequence of the scenes’ circumstances. To be more concise in my overall issue, I think it’s used more for its memetic effect rather than being an actually clever joke, but since MLP:FiM didn’t build its show and characters on memes it feels out of place… just my opinion.
Aside from these things I was pretty indifferent about the episode overall. It fits in with my estimation of season 6, meaning that I’ll never get the same level of enjoyment watching it than any episode from a different season. With two more episodes to go before the break, I’m admittedly losing some of my optimism for the show. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop enjoying the first 4.5-ish seasons, but if the writing keeps going on this tangent then that’s simply it for me. Though now that I think about it I’ve actually been enjoying the IDW comics quite a bit, though I haven’t read the latest – I was a bit put off by Friendship is Magic #38 and 39, which I thought delivered far below its potential. I do hope the new releases are up to par, because I’m thinking that might be the only source of new MLP:FiM content that I’ll enjoy, at least until the writers return to the tried and true formulas… if it ever happens.