I don’t have much standalone Applebloom fan-art, as in, much fan-art which features Applebloom away from the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Admittedly, given the episode today, it might have been more fitting to use a cover art which featured all three of them. In any case, I went with using fan-art based on my favourite episode of Season 4.
First off, I’ve already somehow managed to develop a backlog of comments on my blogs that I need to reply to. That was quick. To note, those who have commented, I will try and reply to you, though I sometimes get busy and other times just plain forget. I will get around to replying soon, that is the key point here.
I’ve got not much else to say for this segment currently. I’ve worked on the Grin Brothers videos, completed Ori and the Blind Forest (great game by the way), done a bunch of stuff. Eventually I’ll have organised my time to get back into writing… eventually.
Other Episode Reviews of Castle Sweet Castle
Episode Review of Bloom & Gloom
I’m going to warn you, that this review may contain more spoilers than per usual. One of these spoilers is something that was pretty much obvious the moment ‘nightmare’ was mentioned in the official episode synopsis. The other, is for a positive element that I shall mention within the summary of the episode, though I shall avoid ruining all the details regarding this matter.
The episode begins with Apple Bloom organising a Cutie Mark Crusaders meeting with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, done so to inform them that she has received a letter from Babs, proclaiming that Babs has received her cutie mark. This gets the crusaders excited and happy for Babs, but then raises the question of whether Babs can be considered a Cutie Mark Crusader anymore given she now has a cutie mark. This in turn leads to further questions that I believe the fandom has pondered themselves for a long while, such as what happens if a pony ends up with a cutie mark they don’t like or what would happen if Apple Bloom’s cutie mark was not apple related. This leads to Apple Bloom getting worried, and results in a series of nightmares depicting her fears.
For the first positive, this intro was fantastic. It had humour, interesting reveals, and lead into the events of the episode smoothly. The reveal that Babs Seed had got her cutie mark was a surprise, and was also perfect in setting up the questions regarding the crusaders and cutie marks. It should also be noted that what Babs Seed cutie mark happens to be is quite simply a stroke of genius, utilising such subtle features from her very few appearances that I never saw it coming.
Now the episode itself includes three dream sequences reflecting each of Apple Bloom’s fears. My favourite of these dream sequences is certainly the first one, which reflects Apple Bloom’s fears of having a cutie mark she doesn’t like. It introduces a cool new creature, which I hope actually exists outside of the dreams, twittermites. The twittermites are a pretty interesting concept for a ‘pest’, and provide Apple Bloom with some cool action moments and funny scenes. What I also like about this first dream is how it presents the concept of Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon bullying Apple Bloom despite her finally having a cutie mark. It’s a nice touch, implying that the two bullies would pick on Apple Bloom regardless of her mark.
The dream sequences provide comedy but also do well in presenting Apple Bloom’s fears. They are each beautifully animated, something I think might well be a consistent line with this season, but particularly so with this episode. Again, this also falls in line with the other two dreams based episodes, which also had beautiful animation and scenery. The nightmarish setting whom Apple Bloom keeps finding herself in through each dream has a brilliant feel of tone to it, particularly emphasising Apple Bloom’s worried feelings, and the dream hub is wonderfully designed.
As for the negatives, I’d actually say one of them is the fact that this episode concerns the concept of cutie marks. I shall admit straight off, that this is certainly more of a personal one, but it can be said that the concept of cutie marks has become rather befuddling over time. From Cutie Mark Chronicles and The Cutie Pox having them relating to your talent, to The Cutie Map relating them to who you are, as well as Magical Mystery Cure having them representative of your whole destiny, it seems what a cutie mark is has never been clear. Further explanations just end up being another explanation upon a pile of explanations, and I’m left pondering the lack of supposed exceptions to the cutie mark explanation given at the end of the episode. To summarise, I do not like the concept of exploring what cutie marks are at this point. I enjoy episodes featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders, even them trying to get their cutie marks, but what once stood merely for talent has developed in ways that I’m not comfortable with. On the whole, if you do enjoy learning of a furthering interpretation of cutie marks, good for you, but for me it’s a concept that now doesn’t appeal to me.
The first negative is more personal taste (though these reviews are personal based ones for the most part, hence why they have scores, I’d be less inclined to have scores if they were aiming to be as objective as possible), and if it is an objective criticism then it is moreso to how the series as a whole has tried to explain cutie marks. A criticism that is more objective though is one that refers to the third dream sequence of this episode, and a cool-back to a criticism I had for For Whom The Sweetie Belle Toils; tone-clashing. I’m a lover of comedy, but I’m also a lover of having a serious side or undertone through a comedy, and this I try to reflect through my writing. The problem when trying to include both of these aspects is the risk they may clash with one another, wherein a scene that is supposed to be upsetting just becomes amusing, or vice-versa. This is the case for the third dream sequence in Bloom & Gloom, a dream reflecting Apple Bloom’s fears of if she gets a non-apple related cutie mark. The scene utilises effects that could have been creepy, and cause sympathy for Apple Bloom’s state, if it weren’t so hilarious. Apple Bloom gets a dolphin cutie mark, Big Mac does all the talking, when the other apple family members speak it’s with Big Mac’s voice, it’s hilarious… and absolutely ruins the scene. As the third dream sequence, the tone should have been made more sombre and fearful, properly reflecting Apple Bloom’s increasing concerns and panic. It sadly does the opposite.
My opinion on this episode can be summed up quite well as ‘good, but not my cup of tea’. I had an enjoyable time with the episode thanks to its humour, animation, and effective use of tone for the most part, but ultimately I enjoyed it in spite of the topic it delved into. It’s end moral concerning shared worries is great, but I’m not a fan of how it ultimately got there. In the end, despite what offsets me about the episode, I recognise Bloom & Gloom as a Good episode and award it a 6.5 out of 10.