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Dramamaster829


Critic, Actor, Writer, Motivational Speaker, Occasional Singer

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Jun
3rd
2019

Going to Seed/A Friendship is Magic Season 9 Review · 6:29pm Jun 3rd, 2019


I just want to say, whomever did this drawing is an amazing artist!


*Crows* GOOD AFTERNOON, FIMFICTION FANATICS!!!

HEY!!! THAT'S MY BIT!

*Clears throat* GOOD AFTERNOON, FIMFICTION FANATICS!!! This is the Dramamaster829; Critic, Actor, Writer, Motivational Speaker, and Occasional Singer, keeping you up to date with the latest news for the final season of MLP! Apologies in advance for the rather ‘random’ moment but in case the title or the opening picture wasn't clear enough, yes fans we got an Apple Family episode to go over! In particular, last weekend’s episode marked what could be the very last episode featuring two notable siblings together: Applejack and Apple Bloom. And when it comes to their dynamic, even though they share this strong sisterly bond it’s no secret they are completely different.

Even though she’s the second oldest sibling, Applejack is almost the take-charge pony keeping the farm in check and when it comes to running things a certain way, with a firm belief in a strong work ethic, she can be very stubborn in her ways (Let’s face it: Her stubborn streak has always been an issue). So much that when Apple Bloom tries to offer some suggestions of her own or possibly knows an answer that even her sister overlooks, Applejack rarely listens treating her as her little sister (Even though that’s partly true). Not to say Apple Bloom is any better, some episodes she tries to find a short-cut to get things accomplished and even though she’s matured since the very beginning even she has her childish moments. Now when this episode came up, it was not to teach a moral that putting in hard work gets things clear or to throw away childish nonsense, but rather the search for two sisters to find ‘compromise’ in connection to an elusive mystery creature. So, without any further delay, let’s dive right in with the episode appropriately entitled…

Going to Seed

Warning: The following review contains spoilers, if you haven’t seen the episode please skip now.

The Story


Ah, Sweet Apple Acres. The sun is shining, the crops are blooming, and…


The Apples let Winona eat pancakes?!

Boy, my parents would kill me if I fed either of my two dogs that… How long has it been since Winona was featured in an episode? *Pause* Oh well…

*Clears throat*

It’s another beautiful day on Sweet Apple Acres as the entire family is ready to embrace the new day!


Though it’s pretty obvious which ones are the morning ponies, and who’s not.

Turns out this is no ordinary day on the farm, as Applejack and the family are preparing for ‘Confluence’. Now some of you may ask, “Dramamaster, what the heck is ‘Confluence’?”. I’ll admit if you had asked me that last week before the episode came up, I wouldn’t tell you something I hardly know. But thanks to some exposition on Applejack’s part, it turns out to be the day when “every apple comes ripe at the same time” and so Big McIntosh had been staying up all night organizing a map and schedule in hopes they don’t miss a single apple. And before anyone asks, this is another one of those ‘every hundred moons’ events and before you ask…

Don’t ask me to calculate that because math was never my strong suit.


Though it seems Apple Bloom got the short end of the workload.

Now at this point, I know I should be discussing this more in the characters section, I can’t help but feel bad for Big Mac. Take my word for it: As the story progressive, it gets worse for the sleep-deprived older brother.


Seriously, this is almost like me after a long work week.

Course, even with all sixteen hooves at work, the Apples are still four ponies and there’s an entire orchard to cover (And I don’t need to remind you of “Applebuck Season”, if you catch my drift). Turns out Twilight Sparkle and the others are too busy prioritizing the school (Thus explaining their absence from this episode), so props on the crew on providing some exposition. But luckily, Granny Smith just happens to know a pony who can help move the harvest along.


Who’d you get? Braeburn? Honeycrisp?

Wait… *Pause* I understand Braeburn since he’s appeared in a few episodes and that they are cousins. But… Which one was Honeycrisp again?

*Searches the files*


YIKES!!! Now that’s a yearbook photo I’d gladly delete!

According to this source, the closest to ‘Honeycrisp’ is some ‘Great Uncle’ that was only mentioned in the comics. Though whether that’s the same ‘Honeycrisp’ or not remains to be seen, given both the comics and the T.V. series have never actually been a hundred percent consistent or…


GET ON WITH IT!!!!!

Okay, okay, okay! Review first, continuity issues later…


Thank you, darling.

*Clears throat* Anyways, turns out it’s neither of those ponies… But it ‘is’ somepony we’ve seen a few times…


Morning, everypony! (GOLDIE!!!)

Sorry, I could not resist a ‘Cheers’ joke. Now aside from the fact her cat collection seems to get bigger and bigger, I know what everyone is thinking: How could Goldie Delicious be of any use to the farm? Now I would understand given she doesn’t appear to be the ‘strongest’ of the Apples, but I always like to believe the show brings in these characters for a reason. It’s not like it’s causing any pony any grief… Oh…


Believe it or not, this is me trying to keep my cat’s back claws off my shirt.

It doesn’t take long for Goldie Delicious to ignite the plot of this episode when she mentions they could use the help of the ‘Great Seedling’ to move the harvest along.


Great Seedling, right. I guess you still believe in Santa Claus, too…


NEVER SAY THAT NAME AGAIN! HE’S NOT TO BE TRUSTED!

Before we go on the ‘Oh Great, another mythological creature they just brought up’ train gets anywhere, a few brief clips of this being and you’d find it’s rather interesting.


Though is it a deer? Or is it a tree?

Anyways, according to the legend, the Great Seedling is supposedly this magical Earth spirit who can grant a bountiful harvest to those who catches it. Which in a way is like saying if you catch the Leprechaun, he’ll give you his pot of gold or if you capture the Golden Goose it’s golden eggs will set you for life or something…


Tell me they weren’t partly inspired by ‘Princess Mononoke’. I dare ya!

Whether we’ll admit it or not, we’ve actually wanted more deer in this show ever since the introduction of the Reindeer during that Christmas special. The closest we’ve ever gotten with them are in the comics (And some guy named Bramble a guy won’t shut up about). I was actually drawn into the mythos of this being and anxiously thought how cool it would be to see it appear during this story, apart from this exposition. It’s no wonder Goldie Delicious still firmly believes in the story, to discuss it with such passion.


The wheels are turning, but I think the hamsters died.

Of course, out of the three apple siblings, only one guess as to which pony is truly invested in this story:


HI! Are you my best buddy?

AAAH!!!! *Falls head over heels backwards*

Oooh… And I thought Fidget’s close-ups in ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ were bad. *Shakes himself* Anyways, this is where we see the differences between the two sisters help shape the story. By this point, Applejack has long dismissed the Great Seedling as a myth but here Apple Bloom’s interest is intensely rekindled under the assumption that she’s old enough to finally catch the creature.


The face of every disapproving mother.

Now of course Goldie Delicious and Granny Smith would encourage Apple Bloom to have a little fun, whereas Applejack considers this a waste of valuable harvest time chasing a legend.


Just note the comparisons, it’s like a scene from a buddy-comedy movie.

At least Applejack is willing to believe she and Big Mac can handle the harvest themselves, while Apple Bloom goes off to have her fun. At least with the two working together, they can get a decent head start... When they aren't too busy one-upping each other at apple bucking (You sure Applejack doesn't go to the dojo with some of her moves?). As far as Goldie Delicious goes… Well, got to give her credit for ‘trying’…


It was at this moment Goldie realized… She really screwed up.

Clearly Goldie’s old age keeps her from performing her share of the apple-bucking duties, almost makes us wish they did get Braeburn to come.


I know where you live, sonny!

… Right… Well, with that being said, I’m sure Big Mac wouldn’t possibly mind revising the schedule they made since Apple Bloom is too busy setting traps for the Great Seedling.


You don’t pay me enough for this.

I do have to side with Applejack during this moment. Here she is having planned this entire day to get all the apples gathered for all their products and all she sees is her sister goofing off. In a way, it’s like having that one partner for a school project whose supposed to help you get it done by the end of the week only to spend half the time chasing butterflies.


I don't even need to add a line, the expression speaks for itself.

At the same time of course, we all had this one sibling who carried this one idea that finding some being who doesn’t exist could have benefits. Even if it appears that Apple Bloom just wants a shortcut to make the ‘Confluence’ go faster. In any other episode, that would be true but still her heart is usually in the right place.


She's lucky Big Mac's too tired to chase her.

Okay, so the ‘Confluence’ hasn’t quite gone to a strong start. Let’s try this again; cue my SpongeBob narrator voice.


Ah, Sweet Apple Acres. The sun is shining, the crops are blooming, and…


*Crows* GOOD MORNING, FIMFICTION FANATICS!!!

*Steams up, composes himself* I will be the bigger critic… I will be the bigger critic… I will be the bigger critic…

Anyways, Applejack hopes to get everyone back on schedule to make up for loss of work. Sadly, Big Mac’s more sleep-deprived from devising a new schedule (Which will come into play later) and Apple Bloom only wants to see if the Great Seedling was caught in her traps.


I feel you A.J. I really do.

Still, I suppose it never hurts to humor your sibling alive even if you have to put it gently that things may not go the way we planned and…


SWEET MOTHER OF M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN!!!

Okay, first ‘Princess Mononoke’ and now a ‘Signs’ reference, seriously I think the crew is really stepping it up in my opinion. As Apple Bloom believes these are tracks the Great Seedling left, leave it to Granny and Goldie to keep encouraging Apple Bloom that the elusive deer is just begging for the little Crusader to catch it. And how does Applejack feel about this…


This is kind of like my mom when my dad tries to get her into motorcycles.

To be fair, Applejack has every reason to be suspicious with the old Golden Girls, though accusing them of making the tracks themselves to give Apple Bloom false hope would take things too far. It’s like finding out that your parents are actually the ones leaving your Christmas presents under the tree or switching your teeth with coins when you are sleeping…


Well sonny, it’s funny that you mention that…

*Pause* NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Insert glass breaking here*


That’s it. I. Am. Done. With. You.

And this is where her ‘stubborn as a mule’ attitude comes into play for this episode (Though it missed out on the inclusion of the ‘random mule’ from the earlier episodes). At this point, Applejack tries to convince her sister that the Great Seedling might not be real, the legend in general just being used to make harvest time fun for young foals. At one point during this episode, she tries to find more ‘rational’ explanations for all the tracks supposedly left behind (Even the old ‘trick of the wind’ explanation). It’s almost as if we expect to see Applejack attempt to force Apple Bloom to give up such poppycock and learn to grow up, which would kind of make her look like an… I’m not even gonna go there.


There’s a time for fun and a time for work… This is no time for games!

Still, Apple Bloom is so convinced that the Great Seedling “is” real, and she refuses to give up on her goal to capture it. I will admit at this point in the episode I thought they were going to have one of those big-sister/little-sister arguments where they both attempt to prove they are right, they get mad at each other, and their bond is shaken thus slowing the work further. But I will give props for the writer to decide to allow Applejack to form a compromise with her sister (Which ultimately carries out for the remainder of the episode):


Classic nose boop, never gets old.

Even when it seems the episode still follows the ‘Faith vs. Logic’ storyline, like pitting religion against science (Which is still a bigger debate than politics), it’s here we get a reasoning as to why Applejack cast aside the possibility of The Great Seedling’s existence. It was during the last Confluence when Applejack was just Apple Bloom’s age and LONG before she got her cutie mark when she used to set up traps for the Great Seedling.


Proof that even ‘skeptics’ used to have the magic of childhood imagination.

Course, all Applejack recalls from that experience is the embarrassment that followed. In her haste, she fell into one of her own traps, was stuck in a hole all day and missed out on helping with the harvest.


Wait, she spent most of the day stuck in this hole… And nobody helped her? That’s rough.

Some say for Applejack that this story was an embarrassment, even if every pony laughed about it later on. Some would even say that it was the wake-up call for Applejack to put her energy into her work and not on silly childish nonsense. But for me, I think what made this very difficult for A.J. is the fact that this was possibly the very ‘last’ Confluence when her parents were alive and she missed out on the whole day!


Subtle way of passing the torch courtesy of Bright Mac to Big Mac.


*Sniffs* Oh god, someone’s peeling onions again…

Even when Applejack’s stubborn streak gets her in trouble and she allows logic to cloud her own judgment at times, I can’t help but feel sorry for her. It’s like if I had to miss out on going on a trip with my parents because I got sick only for it to dawn that this would be the last time we’d go to places like the circus or if, God forbid, I miss our last family cruise this summer. For Applejack, she didn’t just lose a whole day to spend time with the family… This was the day in which she may ‘blame’ the Great Seedling for her misfortune.


And it was on this Confluence, Applejack’s childhood died.

While the story does get a chuckle from the old grannies, at least props to Apple Bloom for sharing some sympathy with Applejack. Any other sibling would give their elders a hard time for being tough on them for thinking their ventures are childish, when they themselves were no different. But still, Apple Bloom does acknowledge what an awful day that must’ve been and if that had happened to her she wouldn’t find it funny at all. Needless to say, Apple Bloom is still not giving up on her own quest. All she asks is for her sister to reconnect with her childhood, if Applejack agrees to help her as she will do for her then chances are the work will get done twice as fast.


I know he’s out there; I just know he is. But you have to help me, you’re my only hope.

Little by little, we see this brief transition mainly with Applejack. First few clips we see her go from generally annoyed with Apple Bloom’s traps but eventually we start to see she’s enjoying herself. As if in some symbolic way, she’s reminded of all the fun she used to have setting up traps and actually looking forward to checking them the next day. But don’t take my word for it, just see the following clips below:


Least somepony is enjoying this…

You’ve got to hand with the apple siblings in this little montage, especially for Applejack. Even though she’s only doing this because she had Apple Bloom promise to help with the harvest, Applejack is clearly enjoying herself during this moment. Now we’ve seen these ponies do a few sisterly things together, but later on she makes it clear that this is the first time ever going on a hunt with her own little sister. It’s as if to say, ‘Let’s not worry if the traps come up empty, let’s just live in the moment while we’re still young.’ And given all the trouble they’ve went through to set all these traps, you dang well better believe they are really getting into this.


Covered everything except the outhouse… Or ‘did’ they?

Okay... Third time's the charm:


Ah, Sweet Apple Acres. The sun is shining, the crops are blooming, and…


*Takes a deep breath*


NO!!!

THIS IS MY STORY, PAL! AND YOU’RE NOT TAKING THIS FROM ME!!!

*Takes a deep breath* Sorry about that folks. Anyways, our siblings wake up only to discover not only some additional tracks left by the Great Seedling but also ‘every’ trap has been sprung and nothing’s come up. It’s almost discouraging to see Apple Bloom’s hopes up, mainly because once again she’s failed to capture the beast and she ‘did’ promise to focus more on the harvest regardless. Doesn’t help that it seems all these crop circles are made to mock the poor pony’s feeble attempts. But with all rational explanations disapproved, a miracle ‘does’ happen…


WARNING! WARNING! EXTREME LEVEL OF CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!

As if some spark just reignited, now it’s Applejack excited to catch the creature that’s long been out of reach. As if after all these years, Applejack is suddenly given a second chance to fulfill her own dream as well. So much so, she’s willing to have Big Mac cover their portion of the harvesting duties just to set-up more traps.


Big Mac better get a raise for this or at least a giant mug of coffee.

All signs pointing to the possible location of the Great Seedling draws ever closer when it’s eventually discovered that some of the trees scheduled for harvest have already been picked clean. It’s like coming into work to complete your second half of papers, only to find out someone’s already stamped and had them signed. In which case, there’s reason to believe it’s but a sign of the Great Seedling, sending his mischievous streak to new heights. So that leaves Applejack to formulate a plan: To stake out the trees that haven’t been bucked and together the girls can catch the Great Seedling in the act.


Trust me, sis. This is much better than the plans Rainbow Dash comes up with.


I HEARD THAT!!!

And how does Big Mac feel about rescheduling for like… The billionth time?


Can I go home now?

Sorry big guy, Applejack’s orders not mine.


*Pause* I'm just going to move on and give the guy some space.

All through the night, the sisters camp out by the trees just waiting for the Great Seedling to arrive. Like camping out in the living room keeping an eye on the chimney in case Santa Claus should come down. Because any other way it’s breaking-and-entering… *Pause, locks the doors* And this time, they’re not going to rest until…


Oh… Um, okay then.

Just as they doze off to sleep, the elusive creature appears to finally arrive as the sound of a trap being sprung disturbs their slumber. But see if this feels familiar: Two kids discover trees shaking, strange inhuman noises bellow, and a shadowy beast with glowing eyes is roaming the grounds. This could only mean one thing…


I don’t run from you; you run from me!

Irony is a cruel mistress, isn’t she faithful readers? Though to be fair, this would remind anyone of being chased by a moose given how dangerous those creatures are and given we don’t actually know if the Great Seedling is as dangerous as he is mischievous no wonder our girls are scared to death. I mean given its deer-like presence, the apples on its antlers, and a soft bushy-tail with twigs sticking out, you swear this is the real deal. Course, it is hard to tell if we want to see the creature of pray for our heroes’ well-being. And just as they find themselves cornered, ready to accept their fate, the much-anticipated reveal finally dawns…


Uh… Big Mac, could you move aside. I’m trying to see the Great… Oh…

Now on this note, it stands to reason why fans would be disappointed with this ending (Given we’ve seen this type of twist before). Here we were going in expecting to see a new creature appear on the show, perhaps a chance to see some new lore. Instead, it turns out Big Mac had spent many nights sleepwalking (Or in this case sleep ‘bucking’) in an effort to keep up with the schedule in his sleep-deprived state. To be fair, he wouldn’t have to do this if Applejack hadn’t insisted that he spend the night updating the schedule over and over. It’s like asking a co-worker to stay the night at the office to make up for someone else’s work.


I’ve had no sleep, I’m stuck in a hole, I’m NOT okay!

So, things probably did not go the way Apple Bloom had hoped. That they never got to catch the Great Seedling and thinks she’ll truly be too old to believe in the legend like her sister. But then, leave it to Applejack to deliver the moral of this story:


“You’re never too old to be a filly”.

It is at this point where it’s Applejack whose gone through a transformation. First believing in the Great Seedling, then an accident turns her into a skeptic, but then after she is dragged into this hunt her desires are eventually ignited. And the more I take this story into account, it was never about actually ‘seeing’ the Great Seedling (Even though that would’ve been cool) and neither was it to prove if A.J. or Apple Bloom was right while the other was wrong. This experience was about the journey of two sisters to reconnect with their childhood, to share something that ties them together, and at the end of the day having fun with friends and family can never be outgrown. True, it’s important to work hard and take responsibility and the episode is not asking us to be childish. But it teaches us to be ‘child-like’, retaining that curiosity that drives people to learn and there must always be this balance between working and having fun with it.

Although, not to end on that too subtle a note, we actually don’t get the last of The Great Seedling…


It's not the Easter Bunny and DEFINITELY not that Carrot Top lassie.

So, with there still being a chance The Great Seedling ‘is’ real and the prospect that they can get that harvest they want, there’s only one way to end this episode…


I confess I thought this scene was part of a musical number.

The Characters

Pros:

Best Background Pony according to some fans.

Believe it or not, I almost considered putting Applejack in the ‘cons’ section given her initial skepticism about the Great Seedling. Yet, typically this would be how most older siblings would feel about subjects they either don’t understand or feel they are too old to believe in (Sort’ve like when Christopher Robin almost gave up his imagination when he became an adult). While most of these stories had this happen as a result of bullying or a rough upbringing, the fact that Applejack got herself stuck in a hole as a filly as the driving point almost seems understanding. All it took was for someone close to her to remind her of the fun she used to have and even though she still believes in hardwork I believe it did her some good. Besides, it’s always nice to see Applejack acting more like a sister than a motherly figure ever since what happened to Pear Butter (Even if we are doomed to NEVER learn how she died).


I just can’t say no to somepony that cute.

Now just as easily as Applejack could’ve been a jerk for almost discouraging Apple Bloom’s silly quest, it would’ve been easy for Apple Bloom to come off as annoying for putting fun and games before her work. I admit I thought Apple Bloom was just looking for some short cut to make her work go faster, believing in some legend to get it done. But I am aware there are tons of kids who can relate to her: Like the kid who is excited to see Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, trying to latch on to that one childhood adventure before age prevents them from believing. And at least with Apple Bloom, she does put her heart in the right place even when it doesn’t go as planned. Besides, she does have her cute moments and she remains fun to watch and in a way it’s thanks to her Applejack learns to make ‘fun’ as important as ‘work’.


At least we got ‘half’ of the ‘Golden Girls’ together.

Even though neither Granny Smith or Goldie Delicious appear to do much during the episode, in a way they represent the push to not only encourage Apple Bloom to retain her childlike curiosity but to remind Applejack there’s nothing wrong with having fun. Regardless if either granny truly believed in the story or not, they know how important it is for Apple Bloom especially at her age. And let’s face it, in a way they are nearly the definition of ‘young at heart’ even despite their age. Plus, I think it’s clear in a way that Goldie Delicious wasn’t so much needed to help with the harvest but in a way it was Applejack who needed a reminder that it’s not about finding the answers but rather enjoying the moment with family. Sort of like Nanny McPhee or Mary Poppins, who comes when she’s needed and leaves when the work is done.

Cons:

Seriously?! I can’t catch a break today!

Now before anyone asks, the reason I put Big Mac on this section is not so much because he did anything wrong… The opposite really. Big Mac spends countless nights setting a schedule to get the harvest running smoothly, but every time this Seedling hunt is involved and he has to reschedule understandably it’s taking a lot out of him and almost no pony acknowledges that till the end. Big Mac works just as hard as every pony involved in this episode, having little to no sleep, and even confused when some trees were already bare (Just as well, he may have bucked them but doesn’t recall). When I see how much it’s taking a toll on the big guy, I almost think someone is punishing Big Mac for their own amusement (As if to satisfy a fan because he didn’t hitch with Marble Pie instead of Sugar Belle). So to clarify: It’s not what Big Mac has done to put him here, but rather what’s been done to him and how hard it is to watch (Though I will admit some of his moments are funny).

Overall, it’s a simplistic story where nothing is truly at stake, except perhaps the spirit of youth. For Applejack and Apple Bloom, it was never about proving the Great Seedling isn’t real and it’s not about ‘proving’ he’s real. It’s the journey for two sisters to do something fun while reminding us of the importance of getting the work done. Even though I thought this episode would have a musical number (Given my thoughts on the preview image) and while I was disappointed we didn’t actually see the Great Seedling, I confess I still had fun watching this episode whether it’s the shenanigans with the cats, the montage with A.J. and Apple Bloom setting traps together, and even that scene where their parents were alive in their youth. As for myself personally, in the short time I’ve blogged and wrote for this site, I’ve learned three things to never discuss: Religion, politics, and the Great Seedling.

But I do have one big question: What did YOU think? Be sure to leave a comment below at your earliest convenience.

Until next week, this is the Dramamaster829…


*Crows* Signing off!!!

*Pause* OKAY, THAT’S IT!!! *Pulls out a chainsaw* WINNER-WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!!! *Revs up the blades*

*Insert comical chase of the Dramamaster, face shrouded, chasing after the clucking chicken with ‘Benny Hill’ playing in the background. All while the Great Seedling himself observes this from the shadows.*


Happy Confluence to all; and to all, a good harvest!

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