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  • 55 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Molt Down

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

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  • 56 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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  • 57 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Non-Compete Clause

    We've had a string of good episodes the last few weeks. Whether it be shapeshifting seaponies, an actual Celestia episode, or discovering Starlight's dark phase, we've had lots of fun and plenty of laughs.

    Today's episode is about Applejack and Rainbow Dash competing.

    The good times are over.

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    7 comments · 534 views
  • 58 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 · 377 views
  • 59 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 · 444 views
May
5th
2018

Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Parent Map · 6:22pm May 5th, 2018

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.”


TECHNICAL SPECS:

Season: 8
Episode: 8
Written By: Dave Rapp
First Aired: May 5, 2018


SUMMARY:

The Map returns once again, calling upon Starlight Glimmer and Sunburst to head to their old hometown of Sire's Hollow. When they arrive, they discover the town caught in a battle between pointless progress and slavish devotion to the past. Even worse, at the center of it all are the two most fearsome, most horrible, most monstrous beings to ever canter across Equestria's surface...

THEIR PARENTS.


REVIEW:

First, Sunburst does not tip the mailpony. I would call him worst pony, but Twilight Sparkle is canonically the best pony and she slams the doors on mailponies on their birthday, so treating the postal service like crap is now perfectly acceptable.

Secondly, the Map's powers and reach continue to grow more muddled. Originally, it was fairly straightforward: the Mane 6 get called to solve a problem negatively affecting the friendship between two ponies. As the show's gone on, however, we have more and more side characters being summoned, and for things that really don't seem to fall within the realm of “friendship problem.” So can the Map just detect when you're avoiding your parents and decide to force you to confront your lingering psychological issues? And how about when it lead Spike to a problem he was responsible for to begin with? Just a little consistency would be nice, is all.

Seeing Firelight suddenly has Starlight make a lot more sense. He's rabidly overprotective of his daughter, refusing to see her as anything other than a sad child who needs her daddy's protection. Considering how one friend leaving was enough to lead Starlight to one day form a cult advocating the abolishing of Cutie Marks, her immaturity and selfishness feels natural when paired with her father's sheltering and blindly nurturing attitude. The episode does imply that he's at least partially aware of the cult and/or time travel shenanigans, but being someone stuck in the past, he filters that information to mean that he needed to be more protective to keep Starlight from screwing her life up further.

Starlight and Firelight are the highlight of the episode for me. Unlike Stellar Flare, Firelight is not wholly unlikable. He's embarrassing, condescending, and obviously a bit mental, but he still comes across as well-meaning and wanting to look out for his daughter. Starlight, on the other hand, is just adorable as she struggles under the cutesy nicknames, endless history lectures, and getting wrapped in her old blanket. And of course, there's the quick shot of Starlight's preserved bedroom, in all its emo teenager glory. That quick second might be the single greatest thing so far this season.

Now for the other pair.

Stellar Flare angers me on a very personal level. Maybe it's because I come from parents who insist on me having plans for every moment of my life going forward, but I found her incredibly manipulative and a straight-up flankhole to her son. Her attempts to “help” are motivated by advancing Sunburst in a career he doesn't have and which doesn't exist, and nearly every line she had made me want to punch her in her smug face. Sunburst, meanwhile, isn't quite as much fun to watch because he's much more aggressive against Stellar's scheming. Any longer, and he would have gone for the same plan I have: abandon friendship, find a ditch, and die unmourned and unloved by the time you're thirty-five, forty tops.

In all seriousness, the only gag I laughed at in regards to Stellar was everyone's increasing annoyance with the gate speaker. Those things are never a good idea. I did get a few laughs out of the ending as well, showing that even though a lot of their animosity is gone, the kids still don't want to spend any more time with their parents than they have to. It's a very real feeling among even people who generally like their family. After all, you likely spent your first several years dealing with their quirks and annoyances – some distance is desirable is all I'm saying.

The episode steers a bit close to last season's “Parental Glideance.” Both are episodes about ponies dealing with annoying parents, exploding at them, and finally making up. The difference is that “Parental Glideance” places almost all of the blame squarely on Rainbow Dash. Even when her parents are endangering other ponies' lives with impromptu fireworks displays and cheering loud enough to create physical sonic waves, it's Rainbow Dash who's being ungrateful. “Parent Map” tries to paint things a bit more evenly between the generations, showing that they have both made mistakes that need to be resolved.


CONCLUSION:

This is a Starlight episode, so it will almost certainly be controversial on face value. Personally, I though the episode was a fun little adventure. It retreads some familiar ground, but handles the moral better. My only complaint is a personal hangup with people like Stellar Flare, and that isn't enough to undo my joy at learning Starlight's amazingly sensible history. Overall, a fine episode.


Next time, Rainbow Dash and Applejack duel to the death, with several schoolchildren caught in between.

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Comments ( 4 )

Personally, I though the episode was a fun little adventure. It retreads some familiar ground, but handles the moral better.

You don't say. :unsuresweetie:

You know when I first caught glimpse of this episode, specifically in the forms of the two parents with no other plot details, I was afraid it was gonna be an episode about Starlight and Sunbusrt trying to get their widowed parents together. So the actuality of the episode was an all the more pleasant surprise.

Seeing Firelight suddenly has Starlight make a lot more sense. He's rabidly overprotective of his daughter, refusing to see her as anything other than a sad child who needs her daddy's protection.

Not to mention his approach to historical preservation like making the bookstore off-limits to enter, or having the baker cook archaic "concrete" bread, seems very reminiscent to his daughter's approach of just outright trying to get rid of cutie marks.

To make long short, this episode was great!

Starlight when we first met her (or at least as she has been retconned) was very much a girl stuck living in the past, trying to recapture a more "innocent" time of her youth when everypony was just the "same". Likewise her father is also living in the past, trying to preserve it through isolation and stagnation. It really is little wonder his daughter was so messed up.

On the flip side though, I do wonder if Stellar Flare might also have inadvertently fed into Starlights neurosis. I can very much imagine how when Sunburst first left for magic school she was going all around town bragging to EVERYPONY about "talented" and "special" her son was, how he was meant for "greater" things and would probably end up as the next Starswirl the Bearded. I'm sure overhearing stuff like that everyday would have only made Starlight feel all the more so like she was NEVER going to see her best friend again... that he was too "important" waste time with her now.

Stellar even had the "I want to speak to the manager," stereotypical haircut. And gentrification generally just makes me mad. So yeah, I am kind with you on her. I did find Sunburst's annoyance fairly amusing tho, mostly because I really sympathized.

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Check out Oliver's blog on this ep, he has a theory that isn't terribly too far off of that, though it's slightly darker.

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