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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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Nov
4th
2017

Points of Canon: S4x17 - Somepony to Watch Over Me · 10:25pm Nov 4th, 2017

Wherein Applejack goes crazy for no visible reason whatsoever.

  • “So, we here have decided… that you’re old enough to stay home alone and take care of the chores yourself for the afternoon!” Which, naturally, requires that this has never happened before.
  • This is one interesting case wherein Apples export complete pies, rather than raw apples or any apple products that do not require large amounts of additives, like cider. And apple pies perish faster than apples themselves…
  • The carts visibly contain up to 24 pies each, though whether the body of the cart contains any more pies that I can’t see, I can’t exactly tell. If it does, at the observed density that’s no more than 24 more pies for a total of 48 pies per cart. In any case, that’s not a particularly large amount.
  • Applejack’s large saddlebags have an obvious zipper. They don’t show up often, but this is far from the first case of zipper on screen. Notice that Big Mac has no saddlebags at all.
  • “When Great Aunt Pine Apple says a pony’s gots to ride by a certain time, you better be there!” There are ponies even Granny Smith considers her seniors in the clan.
  • We never quite find out where did Big Mac deliver pies, we just know it’s not the same place that Applejack went to.
  • “It’s just, I take my job as your big sister real serious…” Serious enough to let her run around Ponyville and get covered in tree sap, as if Ponyville is less dangerous than the farmhouse.
  • “There’s some soup for you in the ’frigerator.” Ponies do have refrigerators – even Apples, who were otherwise caught using an outhouse, have one. This is actually the first we hear about one, and I think, the only time we see one and can identify it. It’s entirely unrecognizable until Apple Bloom actually opens it once Applejack returns – it’s this pink thing on tall legs marked with a cupcake and floral designs on the side.
  • Granny Smith uses a taxi to get to the train station, which is actually rather uncharacteristic.
  • Even though Applejacks and Big Mac’s routes are different, the first leg, the one that goes through the woods – White Tail woods, by the looks of it – is shared.
  • “I didn’t write down that if she wants to get a spoon out of the drawer, she needs to open the drawer first.” She presumably didn’t write down that she needs to read the list before opening the drawer either, did she.
  • “Okay, number one seventy two: ‘Make sure to pump the bellows to keep the stove warm.’” I believe you only need to do this sort of thing with a coal stove, though I could be wrong.
  • “Make sure the hats and bows closet is fully stocked.” The hats and bows closet contains at least 14 hats, and at least 13 bows, but probably more, all apparently identical. Probably bought wholesale, though why is it kept in such a disarray, I’m not sure. I wonder if the instructions told Apple Bloom what to do if it isn’t fully stocked. Because if they didn’t, what exactly would be the point of checking?
  • “If I wanna listen to music, I can!” We see that very plastic pink gramophone again. The first time it appears is in A Canterlot Wedding. I’m pretty sure that the only way you can get something to have that color is to make it plastic – and the only way you can make a plastic resonator for a gramophone would involve an electric amplifier.
  • One notable food that turns up in this episode is some manner of noodles – we don’t see ponies eat noodles often. We don’t see them eat noodles here either, but Apple Bloom ends up with noodles in her hair twice.
  • Apple Bloom is using a wheelbarrow with just one wheel. With the way earth ponies would typically use their teeth to hold it, why do Apples even have this thing? And why Applejack only installs the extra two wheels now?
  • At some point, Applejack goes so far as to wrap all the furniture in something to prevent injury. That something can only be plastic, otherwise it would not serve the purpose.
  • “You need anything? A snack? A hoof massage? Maybe a snack while havin’ a hoof massage?” Hoof massages are a thing – an enjoyable one, according to Sweetie Belle.
  • Apple Bloom’s own closet contains extra bows.
  • “Stop! No time for a song! Applejack’s coming!” Despite the interrupted montage, this is explicitly a diegetic song, isn’t it.
  • Apple Bloom has no problem whatsoever pulling the cart with pies. That said, even fully loaded with pies, it can’t weigh much more than about 300kg.
  • Applejack checks on the sleeping “Apple Bloom” at least eight times. I’m pretty sure this is not normal.
  • While searching for Apple Bloom, Applejack lifts the entire bed, revealing the Smartypants doll, which first appears in Lesson Zero, and ends up with Big Mac by the end of that episode, so yes, it can end up under this bed.
  • “Okay, Rarity’s on her way here to look after you two.” Actually, wait. How exactly did Applejack contact Rarity? Did she leave Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo alone while visiting Rarity in person? Then she would bring Rarity back with her. We have yet to see a phone in Ponyville, but unless we can figure any other plausible means for this setup to happen, we might have to assume a phone network exists. In any case, the action shifts, and we never see what actually happens.
  • “Now tell me, did Apple Bloom at least bring flameproof boots? A lion tamer’s chair? A snake charmin’ flute?! A hunk of ricotta?!”

    • Notice that the strategy of dissuading the chimera from attacking has been studied in great detail – and it would only work if it was always this particular kind of chimera.
    • Snake charming is a thing, but more importantly, it actually works – when in our world and with our snakes, no actual charming occurs.
    • I can’t cite a source, but as far as I’ve been able to find out, the intent of chair in lion taming is to present the lion with four objects to focus on at once, the chair legs, thus confusing the lion. This is not how Applejack uses the chair. Also notice that Applejack’s chair unfolds.
  • Apple Bloom somehow acquired Applejack’s map, which Applejack put in her saddlebags upon receiving. She did not get curious about all the anti-chimera gear in there.
  • The swamp bubbles some gas that ignites on contact with air. I tried looking for one, but everything I could find is both rather exotic and toxic. That’s some swamp.
  • The chimera behaves like a Siamese twin, in that all three heads are individually conscious and all are clearly sapient. Notice that even the goat head is equipped with canines. It also has earrings, implying some civilization is involved – though how exactly the chimera came about in the first place, we can only guess. They call each other sisters, which at least implies the chimera was born this way…
  • “My sisters and I can never agree on what to eat.” “Excccept… pie.” Pretty strange thing to agree on for three predators.
  • “Because we’re going to have our apple pie with a ssside of filly filet.” They at least make a statement that they plan on eating ponies. Very few creatures ponies find threatening actually do attack them with clear and unambiguous intent to eat them, not counting changelings.
  • “Mm, ricotta!” I wonder, how did ponies come by that word. Also, considering that ricotta is highly perishable, I wonder where did Applejack get any.
  • But the biggest thing I wonder is why exactly the chimera is still alive, because it takes a lot of skill to properly use all of the anti-chimera equipment, let alone discover that these strategies work. There’s no doubt whatsoever Applejack could kill the thing.
  • “Through the Flame Geyser Swamp? Past that monster?” The swamp is called “Flame Geyser Swamp” and is not named on the map. We actually have no clue where this town of swamp ponies that they are trying to reach is.

Now, I have written this out in the chronology project, but repeating it won’t hurt:

Applejack is not just immature, but plain insane here. This requires an explanation of some kind, but none of the episodes preceding it in the airing order offer a reasonable one – she acts crazy, and in fact, if It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies happened recently, it should have served her as a template of what not to do. Fortunately, because this episode does not feature Twilight or Spike, and has no non-CMC-related temporal markers at all, it is possible to backdate it far away in the past, which permits a theory.

It must occur after Call of the Cutie, because the CMC are together, and possibly after, or not far before The Show Stoppers, because they are capable of joint planning. It should also appear after Lesson Zero, because Smartypants the doll can be observed. There is one point in the series where everypony has a good excuse to act crazy – immediately after recovering from Discord manipulating and magicking them into abandoning their virtue in The Return of Harmony, which could have lasting psychological effects – that is, overcompensation. And that, I believe, is where this episode goes. There’s certainly nothing stopping it from being there that I can see.

While there is a Friendship Journal record for this episode, which immediately follows It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies, nothing stops Applejack from writing it into the Journal a long time after the events described have occurred, because Fluttershy’s experience reminded her of this incident.

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Comments ( 10 )

Gotta agree, this being AJ's Lesson Zero is all that makes sense.

Good to see this one. I think your chronology holds up. I do have one complimentary theory for Applejack's behavior: She is generally quite protective of her sister, but there is some kind of pony superstition that foals pursuing their cutie mark will never be seriously injured. It would explain a lot about how the entire town allows or even encourages the CMC to try some really dangerous activities, and even run their own summer camp without adult supervision.

The chimera has the familiar fantasy apex predator problem of how a monster who lives in an environment where practically nothing can safely survive eats enough meat to survive. MLP cleverly got around that by having two of their biggest monsters eat gems or be wooden, but clearly the chimera eats meat.

I have heard the theory that this chimera is quite possibly what did in the Apple Parents, but then it seems unlikely Applejack wouldn't kill it when she got the chance.

The swamp bubbles some gas that ignites on contact with air. I tried looking for one, but everything I could find is both rather exotic and toxic. That’s some swamp.

Isn't phosphine tend to ignite on air contact? And come from the decomposition of dead flesh and plants?

4717518

I thought about phosphine. It’s one of the potential candidates, but I’m not sure decaying organic matter would produce it in concentrations sufficient to actually ignite, let alone in quantities sufficient to constantly produce flame geysers. And in such concentrations it would be very toxic, it’s used as a fumigant when diluted so far that it no longer self-ignites.

But I’m just guessing here, we need a chemist to answer that conclusively. Unfortunately, A British Gentleman hasn’t been around my comment section in a while.

4717492

The chimera has the familiar fantasy apex predator problem of how a monster who lives in an environment where practically nothing can safely survive eats enough meat to survive. MLP cleverly got around that by having two of their biggest monsters eat gems or be wooden, but clearly the chimera eats meat.

The chimera does appear to be capable of eating pies, though, so maybe there are other options to prevent it from starving entirely…

But yes, it’s shaky.

4717623

The chimera does appear to be capable of eating pies, though, so maybe there are other options to prevent it from starving entirely…

Maybe the townsfolk feed it pies to appease it and keep it from eating them, but Applejack rolled into town telling them how she beat it so they figure they can enjoy this shipment herself?

Oh, and the pies remind me of something else: I suspect the Apples barely make a profit on actual apples, except in huge bulk sales like what they ship up the mountains to Canterlot, and make most of their actual profits on apple goods, like pies, other baked goods, and of course the cider and jam. We see Apple family selling baked goods like pies and barreled cider more and more in later seasons, and actual apples less and less.

“Through the Flame Geyser Swamp? Past that monster?” The swamp is called “Flame Geyser Swamp” and is not named on the map. We actually have no clue where this town of swamp ponies that they are trying to reach is.

This entire time I was convinced they mention this being Hayseed Swamp. Oh well. It's not like there are any other swamps anywhere close on the map, other than Froggy Bottom.

4717688

I was too! But the entire point of this series of posts is to catch all the cases of unfounded assumptions that turn out to be wrong.

Backdating this episode to shortly after “Return of Harmony” does make a lot of sense.

But if “post-Discord trauma” doesn’t work to explain AJ’s irrational behavior in this episode, for whatever reason... I think AJ has an undiagnosed mental issue, one that (to my knowledge) doesn’t correspond to any real-life conditions. Basically, she’s stable most of the time, but occasionally goes into a state where she’s prone to short-term monomania. While in that state, if any problem arises (or even if she worries about a potential problem) she’ll irrationally fixate on it to the exclusion of all other concerns, trying to solve it in ways that are harmful or even counter-productive. In “Applebuck Season”, she fixated on the idea that she had to be the strong, dependable pony who harvested all the apples herself and helped all her friends. In “Apple Family Reunion”, she fixated on the idea that this family reunion had to be the best one ever. And in “Somepony to Watch Over Me”, it was just bad luck that this pie delivery happened to coincide with one of AJ’s episodes, and that this time she fixated on her worry about leaving Apple Bloom home alone. She might just as easily have gone into a panic over the dire consequences of not delivering these pies on time, or perhaps worried about Granny Smith’s safety on her own trip to Great Aunt Pine Apple. This story certainly wouldn’t have happened if the trip had just fallen a week earlier or a week later.

  • But the biggest thing I wonder is why exactly the chimera is still alive, because it takes a lot of skill to properly use all of the anti-chimera equipment, let alone discover that these strategies work. There’s no doubt whatsoever Applejack could kill the thing.

Applejack could, certainly, but to be honest I would find it very out of character for her to choose to do so. Given that she clearly has a reliable and effective way of getting past it with minimal risk to herself, she probably just doesn't feel the need to kill another sapient being (three sapient beings, technically) just like that.

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