Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Most and Least Rewatchable: Season Two

The atomic rainboom from "Lesson Zero"
The skeleton of a pony. A pony's skeleton
Same format as the Season One post (to which I've finally remembered to add a header image), although I wonder whether some of my choices this time round might prove a little more contentious. Remember, I'm not necessarily choosing the best episodes of S2, rather the ones I rewatch the most often. That means in their entirety: a generally uninspiring episode with one scene I keep going back to won't get in here. And before I forget: yes, I do intend to do this for S6, but that will not happen for a while. Off we go.

The most rewatchable episodes of S2

3. The Return of Harmony
I have mixed feelings about the way Discord is used in the show these days, but I can always remind myself of the out-and-out villain he used to be with the fabulous S2 premiere. M. A. Larson's double episode has a slightly slow start, but after that it's hard to take your eyes off it; there's always something going on, which is why it's so rewatchable. Well, that and John de Lancie's excellent performance. This is also the one and only time after the start of S1 that the Mane Six actually use the Elements of Harmony to defeat a real foe, another point in its favour.

2. Hurricane Fluttershy
No, it's not my number one! Although this remains my favourite episode the show's ever produced, it's not – quite – the one I replay the most often. It gets a lot of rewatches, though, largely thanks to Cindy Morrow's spectacular writing of the relationship between Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. It's still not been matched in that regard, and more than any other ep it informs the way I write the pair in my own stories. Even though the ending is hardly a surprise, the tornado scene remains exciting and tense. Add some great jokes and plenty of Derpy and I'm always happy to see this one again.

1. Lesson Zero
Leave your nitpicks at the door for this one. Meghan McCarthy may not exactly nail the subtleties of the ponies' characters here, but she sure as hay nails how to write a consistently entertaining episode. From the moment Twilight checks she has "extra extra ink" to Spike's little addition to the letter to Celestia, the fun never lets up. Rainbow Dash's atomic rainboom, psychiatrist Twilight, Big Mac's Smarty Pants moment... it's all hilarious. Also, Fluttershy. I'm cracking up just thinking about this episode. It's brilliant.

The least rewatchable episodes of S2

3. A Friend In Deed
This episode has one huge thing going for it: the fantastic "Smile" song. But that's all. Much of the rest features Pinkie behaving terribly towards Cranky, rooting through his belongings without so much as a by-your-leave and destroying one of his most treasured possessions. Even though Pinkie isn't my favourite pony, she's generally able to get me on her side. Not this time; I'd almost have cheered if she'd failed and learned a hard lesson about respecting others' stuff and their privacy. One of Amy Keating Rogers' rare duds.

2. Family Appreciation Day
I like the flashback sequence and the lore relating to Granny Smith, but there's so much dullness to get through first. All the business in the kitchen with Granny ordering jars about, not to mention the laboured explanation of how zap apples work, largely leaves me cold. I just can't find it in me to find Cindy Morrow's episode interesting. Even though I really like S2 in general, it suffered a serious dip in the middle, especially as this was followed by...

1. Baby Cakes
This won't surprise anyone who knows me. If I had to nominate one episode of the show's run I could entirely do without, "Baby Cakes" would be it. With perhaps the exception of the horror-ish sequence in the middle, jarring as that is, there's almost nothing here I can be bothered to watch again. On a full-season marathon a while back, I came to a juddering halt for some time at this point because I kept finding better things to do than to watch. This is MLP we're talking about here. Charlotte Fullerton hit the jackpot with "Suited for Success", but here she scored three lemons.


  1. I'd certainly agree with you on 'A Friend In Deed'; the Smile song is the only likable bit of it for me.
    As for episodes I keep going back to re-watch, that would be between 'A Canterlot Wedding' and 'Luna Eclipsed'.

    1. "A Canterlot Wedding" made my shortlist, but I quite often find myself skipping the first few minutes, so I couldn't really justify it. "Luna Eclipsed" I like, but maybe not as much as many people, and it was never really in the running.

  2. I'd much rather rewatch A Canterlot Wedding than Lesson Zero. I think season two might be the one I've watched the least, though.

    Also, just as a point of conversation, I've always put Hearth's Warming Eve on the same level as Family Appreciation Day. It's just head-scratching how we got two episodes, nearly back to back I think, just chock full of fascinating world-building and history, that were both boring as shit. D:

    1. I didn't choose "Lesson Zero" just to wind you up, honest. ;)

      Yeah, "Hearth's Warming Eve" is sub-par for me too.

    2. LZ always winds me up. :(

      I could watch Luna Eclipsed a lot, though. :D