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  • 109 weeks
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    This week is a Spike episode? What a re-”molt”-ing development this is!

    Let's look at “Molt Down,” the episode that will surely be perfectly normal and have no long-lasting repercussions on a character's appearance.

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    2 comments · 1,303 views
  • 110 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Break Up Break Down

    I dread going into this week's episode. For today, we discuss matters of the heart. Romance, love, heartbreak, and all that rot. Which means we run right into the most loathsome of all fandom constructs, the kind of thing that destroys friendships and leaves the most brilliant of minds curled up helplessly in a corner, foaming from the mouth:

    SHIPPING.

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  • 111 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Non-Compete Clause

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    The good times are over.

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  • 112 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Parent Map

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone who cares about that! What better way to spend the day than watching a cartoon about horses dealing with their mommy/daddy issues? Well, tough, because that's what we're doing. This is “The Parent Map.”

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    4 comments · 593 views
  • 113 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

    So hey, it's a new episode. Surely nothing to be excited about. Just another standard episode of a cartoon pony show.

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    5 comments · 696 views
May
21st
2016

Season Six Episode Review: The Saddle Row Review · 5:21pm May 21st, 2016

And now it's Rarity's time to shine, for she has a new episode this blessed morn! And she's already got another store opening! Let's see how her friends brought her to ruin with “The Saddle Row Review.” (Yes, that is the name of the episode. That's what appeared on the title card. Lousy writers changing the name of episodes on us...)


TECHNICAL SPECS:

Season: 6
Episode: 9
Written By: Nick Confalone
First Aired: May 21, 2016


REVIEW:

The episode opens in media res, with five of our plucky equine heroes racing to prevent Rarity from learning the horrible truth. This is mostly to set up a bait-and-switch gag with Rarity appearing to already have read the article, only to reveal she's just grumpy without her coffee, as well as to set up the actual framing device of Rarity reading said tell-all article. It's rather heavy-handed with the exposition, but it works okay. It's also nice to see the staff trying a different narrative approach, which definitely helps the episode stand out from the pack.

The meat of the episode is the Mane 6 (plus the occasional other pony) telling a reporter about the opening of said store, and the near-disaster that resulted. Which leads into my first kind-of issue: did Rarity actually scout the store out before picking it? I know that episode largely focused on Pinkie getting her sister a bag to put her big, smooth rocks in, but there's a bit more that comes with picking a location for your business than just where it is on the street. If you didn't want a dance club above you, you should have considered that before moving in.

Of course, if Rarity had spent a second day in Manehatten to keep shopping around, we wouldn't have an episode.

The first act is spent introducing the various catastrophes that befall Rarity's new shop. Her landlord bullies her into hiring his daughter, who has very...eccentric ideas. And by “eccentric,” I mean “stupid.” There are a family of raccoons living in the back, and while the episode's start and end tries to paint them as cute, the middle act thankfully remembers that raccoons are evil, hateful, parasitic monsters that will tear your face off if you cross them. She hired Coco Pommel as her sales representative, but she's come down with the uncommon cold and has to call in sick on her first day. The store is dirty and dusty, and her supplies and product have been unceremoniously shoved into random boxes and dumped, leaving her completely unorganized.

Strange that none of this happened when she opened the Canterlot branch...or perhaps it did. Back when she opened that store, Rarity had Sassy Saddles setting everything up, making her an effective bumper between the glamorous dream of opening a store and the total chaos that comes with it. We don't know the whole backstory behind Carousel Boutique, but the expanded universe material has established that the building has at least been around for a long time, and being from Ponyville, Rarity probably would have had help from her family and the other residents in getting that shop off the ground. This is probably her first time actually managing a store opening by herself. And thus she received a harsh lesson when it comes to Murphy's Law: it will always strike when you least expect it.

The rest of the episode works like an inverted “Castle, Sweet Castle.” Rarity goes off to do her own thing while the rest of the Mane 6 try to solve the individual problems. In the previously-mentioned episode, the cast's problem was that they tried to think about what they wanted and not what Twilight would like in a home. Here, they make the problems worse by trying to do what Rarity wants, and not what they actually want to do to solve the problem. Which makes sense, considering this is Rarity's store. The only real issue I have is that the solution is spat out by Twilight at the start of the third act...right after she made the same mistaken everypony else did. And yet, the episode treats it as if the other Mane 6 all needed to learn this, not her. Maybe a quick second of her pondering before realizing the truth would have helped.

Where the episode shines is with the character bits. Being a largely comedic episode, there's a lot of fun gags about the ponies' various quirks and contributions to the near-disaster. My particular favorites are Twilight's pathological need to organize things, Rainbow Dash trying to conduct interviews for a fashion store despite having no idea how clothes work, and just about everything involving Pinkie. The episode's also heavy on callbacks, which work to varying degrees. Shoving DJ-PON3 in again feels forced and kind of dumb at this point, but the extended callback to “Too Many Pinkie Pies,” including the reveal that one of the Pinkie clones apparently survived the purge, was hilarious. (Although it could also mean that Pinkie spit out copies of herself via asexual reproduction, or perhaps the EqG Pinkie was visiting at the same time they were conducting interviews. I want fanfics about this on my desk by the end of today, people!)

Also, the reporter is obviously a parody of J. Jonah Jameson. I imagine the original draft had him blaming all of the store's mishaps on the machinations of Spider-Mare.

Of course, things end happily ever after. Rarity's new store was a success, everyone got at least something of what they wanted, and everything worked out. At least, until Rarity realizes she now has three times the staff she budgeted for, the store goes bankrupt, and the resulting bad press and financial woes cause her entire chain to collapse and her losing everything. And then she kills herself by letting a train run her over.

...Sorry, just...still messed up after reading a certain fic yesterday.


CONCLUSION:

This episode is low-key and simple, but it's still charming and a lot of fun. Not every episode has to be earth-moving or set the world on fire; sometimes, you just need to have a good laugh. Rarity, you've done it again.


Next time, Applejack takes a day off. May God have mercy on us all.





♫ sweep sweep sweep... ♫

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Comments ( 9 )

FWIW, I think one of the dancing ponies in Vinyl's club may have been a Pinkie clone too (or, possibly, the same one).

I liked this one a lot more than I liked last week's, which seemed bland and average. This one had sparkling humour, innocence and a genuine feel that it was recalling the conceptual and artistic high points of the show in Season 2.

While the episode was awesome I don't get why couldn't they get JK Simmons to play the J Jonah Jameson pony? It would have been a match made in heaven. They kinda did the same thing in Pound Puppies with the JJ Jameson lookalike character.
Also to join the band wagon.....*sweep* *sweep* *sweep*.

Meh... episode was over all pretty mediocre. It didn't lack for individually amusing moments, but in the end it was all so haphazardly disjointed that I feel like it added up to a whole that was less then the sum of it's parts. Maybe that was somewhat supposed to be the point, as it does sort of add to the chaos of opening a new business, but I feel the presentation was maybe a bit too confusing -- what with the triple framing device Rarity reading the review, over flashbacks of the ManeSix being interviewed, over the flashbacks of actual pre-opening hijinks. Not to mention that the ManeSix all seemed overly panicked in the pre-credit scene considering that everything ultimately went off without a hitch. While their various behind the scenes interviews were perhaps a bit overly revealing of how close it came to disaster, we never really got any further feedback from the reporter to indicate he was a taking a negative connotation from it... aside from maybe Rainbow's, "you aren't writing all this down," running gag.

Honestly, the whole premise might have worked better if the episode didn't fake us out at the start and Rarity had been angry that her new store got a bad opening review, with the rest of the plot then revolving around the ManeSix attempting to make it up to her, organizing a sort of grand re-opening or something.

...

Still the one good thing is that this episode doesn't tarnish Rarity's reputation for high quality episodes, because despite ostensibly being about opening her newest shop this episode is really much more so about her five friends, with Rarity herself being largely reduced to a spectator on the sidelines.

At least, until Rarity realizes she now has three times the staff she budgeted for, the store goes bankrupt,

Meh, those three were ostensibly just temps anyway since presumably Coco would presumably have taken back over after recovering from her cold. That said, after the rave reviews the store seemingly got it's probably going to be all the more profitable and so keeping the extra staff might be no problem as all.

Oh, I missed the Pinkie clone, where was she?

3962253 A blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag, sure, but I think a lot of fanfics will come out of that one moment.

Don't forget changelings! There seems to be at least one reasonably benign one running about, though the context favours escaped clones.

Also:

still messed up after reading a certain fic yesterday.

What did you read? ._.

3961336
I thought so, too, until my daughter pointed out that her eyes were the wrong color. Different cutie mark, too.

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