|"Oh no, Twilight, pretty soon you won't be the right height for this any more"|
The most rewatchable episodes of S3
3. Wonderbolts Academy
It was very close between this and "Too Many Pinkie Pies", but in the end "Wonderbolts Academy" got the nod, largely because of Lightning Dust. Her abrasiveness allows us to see how Rainbow Dash's character has considerably developed even by this point in the series, and despite Lightning's disgrace I would love to see her return to the show. For some time, I hated Spitfire's personality in this episode; I still don't like her very much, but it no longer bothers me enough to stop me watching. There's also Pinkie and the mailbox, and it's hard not to love her for that. Merriwether Williams' best episode.
2. Sleepless in Ponyville
Far and away the best episode in S3, and the season's only true classic, this is a brilliant episode by debutant Corey Powell. She gives Scootaloo the focus episode she'd needed, as well as providing her with the perfect adoptive big sister in the form of Rainbow Dash. The supporting cast is good, and provide not only some excellent jokes but some nice character moments (AJ clearly knows what's up but doesn't embarrass Scootaloo by saying so outright). Still, it's Scoots who steals the show. A beautiful episode, and one I'm never going to tire of seeing.
1. Magical Mystery Cure
This is another number one that some people will profoundly disagree with. It's certainly horribly rushed to fit in 22 minutes, and even M. A. Larson can't entirely paper over its cracks. ("I cast the spell so I could find out what it was" – yeah, right, Twilight.) Nevertheless, its very hurriedness means there's always something happening, while "A True, True Friend" may be the most perfect Friendship is Magic song ever. Now that people don't complain about Twilight's alicornication so much, this is very enjoyable viewing.
The least rewatchable episodes of S3
3. Magic Duel
Ooh, I'm going to get some stick for this one, I can see that now! Still, this isn't here only because I find Trixie about as appealing as a damp cabbage stalk. It's also here because this marks the nadir of M. A. Larson's variable attempts to write for Fluttershy. She's right back in early-S1 "scared of everything" mode here, and it drives me up the wall. The episode does have some nice touches, not least the surprisingly dark look at Trixie in power, but they're not enough to make me stop avoiding it.
2. Spike at Your Service
For some time, this was seen as the worst episode of FiM ever made. Feelings have mellowed a bit since then, and it has its moments (the fanfic scene!), but it's still hardly an ep I seek out. Written by Merriwether Williams from a Dave Polsky story, its central problem is Spike. At this point in the show's run, "Secret of My Excess" was the closest to a good episode he'd ever had, and it wasn't looking like things would get any better. Spike in "SaYS" is just unbelievable: totally incompetent and almost indifferent at leaving Twilight.
1. Apple Family Reunion
Good grief, this episode is tedious to sit through. It really shouldn't be, especially given Babs Seed's welcome return (you listening, DHX?), but I've actually had to watch it again just to remember most of what happened. It just grinds on and on, with dull scenes like the fruit bats dotted around at intervals. "Raise This Barn" is fantastic sung in a group at a con, but only okay sitting on your own in front of the screen. Cindy Morrow, of all people, wrote this borefest.