Monday, 16 April 2018

Episode review: S8E05: "Grannies Gone Wild"

The four Golden Horseshoe Gals stand in a group listening to Goldie Delicious
Granny's mane looks really, really strange like that
Last week, we had an episode with a team-up I'd wanted for years but which clearly failed to be a classic, even if I did soften my initial dislike of it on repeat viewing. This time around we had "Grannies Gone Wild", a title I'm a little surprised Hasbro approved. This was a G. M. Berrow episode, which suggested something fairly light, and we had Granny Smith with her friends and a side order of AJ/Dash friction. Sounded like a recipe for fun. In the event... was! This was what I'd class as superior filler, with no Equestria-shattering revelations, existential threats or stunning lore dumps, just Fun With Colourful Talking Ponies. Since I'm all in favour of Fun With Colourful Talking Ponies, I was pleased to find that I enjoyed this episode. Perfect it wasn't, but I liked it straight away more than last week's and I think it may be a nice ep to return to  if I want a relaxing watch.

While we've had a number of episodes in which Granny Smith has been a major character, you have to go right back to "Apple Family Reunion" in S3 for really extensive interaction between Granny and her extended family. That meant that the character-focused parts of this episode felt quite fresh, even though I'm not sure the senior mares other than Granny herself and Goldie Delicious would hold my attention for much longer than they got here.

On the dance floor, Rainbow looks worried as Applejack's ghostly head warns her about something
That's twice in about 50 episodes AJ has been a ghost
Let's talk about Applejack, as if anyone's character was a bit off, it was hers. I'm not fond of overprotective AJ – for example, I dislike how she's characterised in the first act of "Somepony to Watch Over Me". Given that the Golden Horseshoe Gals (GHG from now on) have these outings quite regularly, you'd think Applejack would have calmed down a bit by now, but no. I do have to wonder whether she's just doing a bit of trolling on Rainbow Dash.

However, I can forgive that to a considerable extent because of the brilliant running gag in which Applejack's ghostly head appeared to Rainbow Dash in order to tell her off for letting the seniors have too much fun or the like – though, as we saw, the GHG are not the sort of older ponies who like a nice cup of tea and a sit down. One or two of Appleghost's lines were genuine laugh-out-loud stuff, and one (see below) was the best of the episode.

Las Pegasus is a rather divisive setting, like and for rather similar reasons as Manehattan. Both places are loud and brash and, well, modern in a way that Ponyville or even Canterlot will never be. Personally I'm fine with them (I liked "Viva Las Pegasus") but I do think Manehattan was overused in S6 in particular, so I hope the same won't happen with whatever the Pony equivalent is of the City of Sin. (City of Flim?)

Big Bucks looks confident as he talks to an unsure-looking Jackpot. Both wear top hats
Jackpot even used a smoke bomb to make a getaway!
The magic show at which Rainbow "rescues" the GHG is interesting, largely because of a certain blue stallion. As I've mentioned elsewhere, there is explicit support in officially licensed media (albeit not in the show itself) for this being Trixie's father. There are all kinds of headcanon/fanfic possibilities there, not the least of which would be the past, present and future of Trixie's relationship (if any) with her dad. But she doesn't seem to be an orphan, at least.

There are quite a lot of small references in this episode, most of which I completely failed to spot. There's xkcd-inspired rollercoaster chess, there are characters from Rick and Morty and Breaking Bad, there's Gordon Ramsey... and probably several more. In-universe callbacks include LyraBon several times and Cherry Berry's balloon, though how it's steered I have no clue. (I thought Rainbow was going to push it!) But no, not even I missed the central Golden Girls reference. :P

I find myself better disposed towards "Grannies Gone Wild" than I was towards "Fake It 'Til You Make It", probably because my expectations were lower. Berrow did a solid job, as long as you excuse the oddness of AJ's characterisation in the name of entertainment. Oh, and I was happy Rainbow did get to ride the rollercoaster as well as join the GHG. It was the easier, more comfortable ending, but also the one I felt fitted this ep's tone. Another three, but an easy one.

A light brown alicorn stallion wearing an orange vest levitates semaphore sticks
You don't even work on this darn show any more, Larson!
Best quote: Appleghost: "Do I even have to say anything?"

  • Good to see the older generation get the limelight
  • Ghostly Applejack was hilarious
  • Las Pegasus was as busy and colourful as ever
  • Trixie's dad appears! (Strong circumstantial evidence, at least)
  • Heart-warming final scenes
  • Applejack could have done with learning a lesson too
  • A little slow to get started
  • That episode title still bothers me a bit 
  • I missed nearly all the pop culture references. :P


  1. Probably My new favorite episode from Berrow. Previously was Fluttershy Leans In (I Know tgat episode is reviled by many fans but I don't care. To me it represented an evolution For Fluttershy and loved it For that), but IMO this one takes what made me love her first two eps and mix them together (I mean the humor from TOWPPK and evolving a character from FLI, in this case Rainbow Dash and even the grannies) creating a very interesting and entertaining story. Gillian Said she Write an episode she's very proud and passionated in this season, I would understand if it was this one but if it wasn't it means there's another potentially even better episode from her this season. I really hope the latter case.

    1. I do think this is the sort of episode that Ms Berrow is best at. It reminds me a bit in tone of some of the better chapter books she wrote.

  2. This episode is important because TrixieDad. :V

    I guess I'm the only person who missed that it was all a Golden Girls reference, which is worse, because I actually used to watch the show. c.c;

    But what really gets me: It would still have had uncomfortable undertones, but if they'd called it "Grannies Gone Mild", you'd have the pun as well as an apt description of the central conflict. Whoever greenlit that title still needs to be canned, though. :|

    1. Yes on that title. It'd even fit with the "Mild West Dances" they have in Appleloosa. :D

  3. Finally, i can enjoy G.M Berrow episode again.