Monday, 10 October 2016

Episode review: S6E23: "Where the Apple Lies"

Young Applejack, having just told a lie
"An' y'all know I never been at any of that scrumpy"
Happy Birthday to Friendship is Magic, which turns six years old today! As I've already said, I have seen (and liked) the finale, but I'll be leaving the review until after it's been shown in the US. Today, then, it's back to a normal ep. This was not shown in the UK, almost certainly on account of extensive mentions of cider. It's written by Dave Rapp, who wrote the very enjoyable "Newbie Dash" and "Flutter Brutter", so I had high hopes. Past the break, I'll waffle on as usual.

This episode was yet another of the "could almost have been from several years ago" instalments we've seen throughout Season Six. It probably won't be to some people's taste for that reason alone, but me? I liked it. As relatively quiet episodes go, it's in another league from "Applejack's 'Day' Off", although not as good as "Buckball Season", an episode I like more and more with every rewatch. This episode is just a nice, calmly paced slice of backstory life.

Most of it takes place in flashback, and one of the first ponies we see is Filthy Rich. I'm really pleased to see him being characterised as a basically decent guy here, since I far prefer that characterisation to the nastier version we've seen in certain other media. Admittedly it does raise the question of what the hay he sees in Spoiled Milk (genius name!) but I suppose love can be blind. This version of Filthy (sorry, Rich) is somepony I'd happily see again.

Big Mac, Applejack and Filthy Rich at Barnyard Bargains
But contracts made with minors are invalid, Rich
But it's Big Mac most people will remember this episode for; unless you count his falsetto turn in "Brotherhooves Social" this is far and away the most dialogue said stallion has ever had in an episode. I like the way he interacts with Applejack, which feels reasonably like a real sibling relationship. He's angry at AJ for her tissue of lies (more on this in a minute) but still covers up for her with Granny, since that's what you do for a sibling.

In spite of what Apple Bloom says early on in the episode, Applejack has lied as an adult, and quite a few times. Remember the "construction work" back in "Party of One"? She's just not very good at it – and I like that we see a quick flash of the Liarjack face at one point. I can easily believe that the build-up of events here is the catalyst for her changing her ways, though I'm a bit less convinced by Big Mac's sudden conversion to hardly saying anything. Unless he's still traumatised by that saw...

There's an obvious question to be asked about this episode, which is: where's Apple Bloom? Circumstantial evidence such as the way Granny is clearly in charge of the farm suggests that the Apple parents aren't around any more, so presumably AB must exist. We don't see her at any point, though. The best explanation I've seen is tha she's in daycare, though even then: a) no other Apple so much as mentions her, and b) isn't she the same age as Diamond Tiara...?

AJ entering the hospital reception/waiting area
I wish my local hospital had a waiting area like that!
The hospital-set part of the episode deserves a mention for the avalanche of background touches it provides. These include Derpy with her eyes bandaged, though it can't be her origin story – she's been wall-eyed since fillyhood, and seems in a good mood here. There's also the show's second Shining reference, a filly with a damaged wing, a stallion with a very unfortunate rash, a dozing medical student... and Screw Loose. She looks injured but otherwise normal here...

Although not an action-packed extravaganza, I think this is a good episode. I'm not sure Big Mac's interpretation of the moral is right – his real problem was not putting his hoof down with Applejack much sooner – but maybe he was still distracted by that glimpse of Cheerilee. That's not a problem that puts me off enjoying the ep, though, and it seems to bear rewatching. I like backstory episodes anyway, and while this isn't a game-changing one, I think it's a solid, likeable story.

Best quote: Big Mac: "Ee-right."

  • Another pleasantly laid back, early-series-style episode
  • Filthy Rich is shown as basically a decent guy
  • Great to hear Peter New get to talk so much
  • Some fantastic little touches in the backgrounds
  • The moral could perhaps have been interpreted better/differently
  • No specific explanation for Apple Bloom's absence


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  2. The best theory about Apple Bloom's absense is: Apple parents actually died before AJ got her cutie mark and Apple Bloom is a adopted child :d. We dont see AB because there is no AB that time, Filthy Rich & Spoiled Milk havent got married yet so there is no Diamond Tiara, too. :). AB may be adopted after this episode...

    1. The problem with that theory is that DT is the same age as AB. So if AB already exists (even elsewhere), so must DT.

    2. It didnt contradict my theory. We didnt see AB and DT in this ep, not even mention at all, so i assume they didnt exist at this point. And they dont need to exist at the same time, the Mane 6 look like they are the same age but Fluttershy is actually the oldest in group, so DT may be born after AB or vice versa.The Apples is a traditional family, they will eat together, but there is no Apple Bloom, no parents (30% Absense and 70% Dead), they can not be absent from the meal.

      In the end, it just my theory :)).

    3. Sure. :) But my theory is that AB and DT are the same age -- they're in the same school class, after all. Again, just a theory.

  3. Here's to 6 years of small horse! And there's at least another year of this wave to ride.

    Was Filthy Rich portrayed badly in the comics? As far as I remember he's always been an OK guy in the show.

    1. Indeed! And it could well be more if the film does well. :)

      I didn't mean the comics...