Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just For Sidekicks Episode Review

Between the Alicorn rumors, Discord appearances, and Trixie returns, Season 3 has definitely been a season dominated by "hype."  So, what does a quiet episode about Spike opening a makeshift babysitting service have to offer?  Quite a bit, actually.  So, if it's not too late for you, follow me on past the break for a glimpse at the wonderful world of my opinion...

Since the beginning, Spike has been one of my favorite characters.  Even when I had myself convinced that I was watching the show ironically, Spike managed to return my snark with some of his own.  Serving as the sarcastic voice of reason, Spike still manages to remain somewhat childlike and have his own character flaws.  After the last Spike episode, "Spike at Your Service", turned out to be what I felt was one of the weakest episodes of the season, I was a little nervous about his return to the spotlight.  But my fears turned out to be unfounded, as the episode manages to be one of the strongest of the season.
And out of context?  One of the most bizarre.
What really made this episode work for me?  If I were to name one thing, it would have to be the character interaction.  Despite having gotten little screen time, the scene where the pets said goodbye to their owners delivered an excellent look at each of their relationships.  Even Tank, who hasn't shown up since his introduction, managed to receive a decently developed relationship with Rainbow Dash in the course of a few minutes.  Peewee was also phased out at the beginning of the episode in a series of pictures that manage to wordlessly communicate Spike's trouble with raising pets.  Spike himself was in character, with his greedy streak rearing its ugly head once more.  The relationships were quiet, effective, and wonderfully subtle.  Season 3 certainly hasn't shied away from character development, and some of their best work is on full display in this episode.
Never has character development been this adorable.
But along with interaction, this episode managed to include an excellent sense of humor.  Is it really a surprise that I like MLP jokes at this point?  Regardless, I was probably laughing more at this episode than I was at any other this season, "Keep Calm and Flutter On" aside.  The team once again managed to take what would be seen as a predictable plot light, put their own spin on it, and craft something truly special.  Gummy was hilarious.  The CMC finally tried for their skydiving Cutiemark.  Multiple references were made to past episodes, and Zecora made a memorable appearance.  This episode had a lot of love crammed into it, and it deserves repeat viewings just to see everything it has to offer.
Case in point.
"Just For Sidekicks" was a very pleasant surprise.  I can't say I was terribly hyped for it, having just watched a Discord episode, and with a possible alicornification on the horizon.  But it managed to put things in perspective for me.  Huge changes to canon or returns to favorite characters don't necessarily make good episodes.  Good episodes can come out of anywhere.  I think the fact that we're watching a show made for little girls proves just that.  Anyway, don't forget to leave your personal thoughts in the comments, and I apologize for the lateness of this review.  I'll try to pull my act together, and have it for you earlier next week.  Until then, see you in the comments section.