Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sleepless in Ponyville Episode Review

Everyone gather ‘round the campfire, as I tell you the story of a very special episode...  An episode that finally decided to center around a fan-favorite orange pony.  And I’m not talkin’ Applejack.  While poor Scoots' spotlight didn’t have nearly the amount of hype that Trixie's episode had, fans still looked forward to it, hoping that it would finally answer pressing questions about Scoots’ past.  Well, it didn’t.  But that doesn’t make it a bad episode, or any worse, for that matter.  What did I think about this weekend’s Scoot-a-fest?  Stamp out the campfire and jump the break to find out.

Within the ranks of the CMC, Scootaloo is perhaps the most bizarre.  While the other members have relatives within the Mane6, allowing for involvement past their crusades, Scootaloo herself only exists for the CMC.  Where did she come from?  Who are her parents?  Where the heck does she live?  None of these questions are handled as being terribly important.  Instead, she exists to contrast with the personalities of her fellow CMC members, and occasionally serve as support towards Rainbow Dash.  While it may seem difficult to create an episode based around a more minor character, the show's staff still managed by crafting the episode around one of Scootaloo's more prominent character traits.
And It's not this trait.  Well, mostly, anyway.
This weekend’s episode served to examine Scoots’ tough-girl attitude, and tell kids that it’s alright to be scared from time-to-time.  What impressed me about this episode wasn’t the moral, but rather the execution, which came to a bizarre head with Luna’s new abilities.  The episode focused on putting the characters in a new location and letting their personalities bounce off each other, which for the most part, worked.  While things like the Rarity/Applejack contrast can get a bit old, it was still amusing to watch scenes like when Applejack logically tore apart Dash’s scary story.  Scoots was still the focus, however, giving an admittedly standard personality revelation.  The episode shows that she isn’t  as tough as she lets on, and is afraid of others finding out about her softer side.  While I’d like to see more aspects of Scoots’ personality be touched upon, what they showed here did serve to elaborate upon her character, and that’s certainly appreciated.  

I'm just hoping they elaborate on her lower body strength.
But while Scootaloo’s character arc is solid, what really made this episode was Luna herself.  Although her new powers may be indeed bizarre and unexpected, they also serve to show a more caring and involved side of her.  While originally thought to only keep guard over the night itself, it shows that she still has time to look over the lives of her subjects, and help them with their personal problems.  It does, however, bring to question why she was so frustrated with people sleeping through her night, if their sleep serves as a portal into their inner thoughts.  Maybe not enough people were dreaming?  I dunno.  It still revealed a more tender side, which, after her cold indifference in the premiere, is a welcome change.

I can see your innermost thoughts and desires, and nothing could make me more angry
Speaking of changes, the way the morals have communicated lately have been a major improvement.  Rather than write a letter to Celestia, Scootaloo had a talk with Rainbow Dash, which felt a lot more personal and genuine than writing to tell a far away monarch what your friends just taught you.  While the morals are still spelled out to a certain degree, I’ve still enjoyed how much more natural they’ve felt in recent episodes.

Even if there were some things about it that didn't look natural
In fact, the world has been feeling more involved and natural lately.  The multiple continuity nods in this episode were not only amusing, but also helped with world building, and made Equestia feel more real.  These changes are even more welcome after the pilot, which hinted at an overarching storyline.  The nods they made to past episodes help the episodes keep from feeling like they’re suspended at no particular point in time, and also reward regular viewers.  They’re another detail that’s helped create a unique and engaging world, and one that I’d like to see more of in the future.

Bonus points if they make Rarity blush
The episodes in season 3 have been coming fast and furious, and so far, there hasn’t been a true disappointment in the lot.  This episode managed to be charming, but also gave Luna an improved role, and demonstrated how season 3 is starting to refine the formula that made the show such a hit in the first place.  So, while I really liked this episode, what I’d also like would be if you’d be kind enough to tell me what you think in the comments.  Did this episode shine a beacon of light into your dull existence?  Do you blame it for the existence of evil?  Somewhere in-between?  Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to sound off!