Monday, 26 September 2016

Episode review: S6E21: "Every Little Thing She Does"

Starlight, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, the last two mind-controlled
The show's been on a pretty decent streak in this back end of Season Six, and the announcement that Michael Vogel was to write episode 21 set some minds at rest after a teaser trailer that caused considerable controversy. "Every Little Thing She Does" (clever The Police reference there!) was also storyboarder Sabrina Alberghetti's last episode; in recognition of the fine work she's done since S1, I'm giving her a tag this time. Beyond the break, I'll talk a bit about what I thought of the episode.

This is a Starlight Glimmer episode, and that in itself is enough to put some people off and send them running for the hills, much as Twilicorn did not so very long ago. Not me, though: while I don't find Starlight's "good" character as interesting as her villainous version, I do think she has potential. She didn't quite live up to it in "The Crystalling" or "No Second Prances", but this time around Vogel's capable hands mould an episode that I think it considerably more satisfying.

Part of that, if I'm honest, is because Glimmy isn't entirely good'n'reformed in this episode. You can see her gradually slipping away from the hard stuff (doing her friendship lessons) and being tempted back to the easy stuff (very iffy magic), and I like the way it's done. While I am really not a fan of the new Harry Potter-style Latinish spell names – Starburst used English ones in the premiere – the basic idea of Starlight giving in to the dark side and practising mind control works scarily well.

Rainbow, Fluttershy and Rarity under mind control
"That 'show fanfic' spell may not have been the best idea"
Yeah, about that mind control. My view is that, especially in an Equestrian context, this stuff should be considered dark magic by default – purple/black aura and all. It does invite the question of what the hay Twilight is doing with such books on open shelves, but then Twi's never been the most worldly of absurdly powerful superheroes. This is why I'm very relieved that Starlight does face consequences – not harsh ones to be sure, but come on, this is My Little Pony.

As is rapidly becoming the norm, "Every Little Thing She Does" boasts some wonderful little touches. Starlight's "crossed out equals" reminder sign, Pinkie's baking technique, Fluttershy covered in bugs (what? It was cute!) and most of all Applejack's increasingly ridiculous "in one sentence" lines. It's maybe not something that'll work more than once, but in this specific context it's great. Rainbow Dash's "chillax" obsession is less great, and I'd be more than happy to see it forgotten forever now.

I must reserve a word for Spike. He's having far and away his best season of the show, and his "Told you" interjections are only one highlight of another generally sparkling performance. He even tries fairly hard, albeit without success, to get Starlight back on the straight and narrow in the early stages of the episode. It's interesting that Glimmy doesn't make any attempt to mind-control him; maybe the spells only work on ponies. If so, that could open up some interesting avenues.

Starlight and Spike talking
A psychologist would have a field day with this one
Despite a couple of niggles, I'm very pleased with this episode. It finally gives Starlight some proper character development as a goodie, and brings to an end the rather boring practice of representing her as nothing more than a hardworking student of Twilight trying hard at her friendship lessons. There are echoes of Discord in her backsliding, though I don't think that's deliberate on the part of Vogel. Whatever the case, this ep does both Starlight Glimmer and Twilight a power of good.

Best quote: Applejack: "They can take our farm, but they can't take our freedom!"

  • Starlight's best post-reformation episode by far...
  • ...though maybe partly because she clearly isn't quite reformed!
  • Some nice Sorcerer's Apprentice vibes
  • Twilight actually yelling at Glimmy for going off the rails
  • The "magic hangover" scene is amusing
  • Spike's sarcastic asides are generally well timed
  • Applejack's references – though don't let's have this every ep now
  • The sheer creepiness of mind-control magic is slightly underplayed
  • The Latin spell names are distracting and too Harry Potter
  • Rainbow, if you ever use that word again it'll be too soon


  1. This was such an enjoyable episode. Michael Vogel is probably the best to happen in season six.

    1. Vogel is great, agreed. If we do get S7, I'd love him to write for that too.

  2. Well, it wasn't the worst Starlight episode... but it was still a Starlight episode!

  3. Rarity asking Fluttershy to speak more softly utterly cracked me up, and I'm still not sure why.

    For me Starlight has gone from enjoyable villain to bland extra, but this episode does give me a glimmer of hope that's she'll become a more interesting character again.

    (See what I did there? XP)