Monday, 1 May 2017

Episode review: S7E04: "Rock Solid Friendship"

Now that we know Treehouse will be continuing its two-ep weekends all the way through May, it and Discovery Family will be five episodes out of sync by the end of the month. I therefore can't please both those who want quick reviews and those who want to stick with the US schedule. Neither option is perfect, but I think it likely that I'll do two shortish reviews each week rather than waiting ages. I will try to make sure nothing above the break is particularly spoilery, though. Celestia knows what I'll do about Text Review Roundup, but I'll think of something.

The Pie family at Maud's graduation
Limestone looks remarkably cheerful here...
Nick Confalone's episodes a mixed record with me. He wrote the excellent "The Saddle Row Review", but he was also responsible for the less-than-excellent "Party Pooped". He's never come up with an episode I've truly hated, though. Mind you, Maud episodes also have a mixed record with me, so how did this one measure up? Past the break, you'll find out!

Actually, pretty well – and it would have been very well without one factor. I'm afraid that factor was Pinkie, who was turned up to at least 11 and possibly 12, in a manner that harked back to her most annoying appearances in the past. Okay, I get that she was deliberately represented that way here, which puts her portrayal in this ep ahead of some I could mention from S4, but it still drove me nuts by second viewing. Remember "A Friend in Deed"? Like that, pretty much.

Now that whinge is out of the way, I can add some praise. I loved the teaming up of Maud and Starlight. It really did come out of nowhere, but it ended up working exceptionally well. I am starting to wonder whether the running theme of S7 may be Starlight building up her own Mane Six equivalent. Trixie is there already, though I'm not sure Discord and Thorax really qualify. And yes, it's official that those kites in Starlight's bedroom were placed deliberately last season in preparation for this ep.

Bon Bon pushes Lyra away from Pinkie
I think I'd push my Best Friend away from that face, too
Connected with the above, Maud herself got a bit of character development with the reveal that she really wanted a friend. Her comment about rocks – "they don't exclude you if you're different" – was a surprising hit in the feels for a line from this character. She also had slightly more noticeable facial expressions this time, which helped. I'm glad Maud didn't just buckle to her sister's pleading for her to live in Ponyville; "a rock-based decision" really had to be the right way for her to choose.

We had a really startling piece of world-building, tossed in almost casually: the fact that Maudelina Daisy Pie(!) is complicit in the whole Our Town thing. She didn't seem to suspect that Starlight was up to no good, though of course it's hard to tell with Maud! I would love to see the likes of Sugar Belle find out about this and confront Starlight about it, though I suspect that it's a story that will only appear, if at all, in fanfic. I also like that Starlight is still flawed, as in her ouch-some (but maybe deserved) put-downs to Pinkie near the end.

We had another good small part for Spike, and Rarity continued her low-level double act with Maud. There were some amusing references to Maud's stand-up career, as well as the usual rock-based jokes. It was nice to see Ghastly Gorge and the Quarray Eels again, though maybe more could have been done to develop the latter. And that underground cavern... I'm not entirely sure how I feel about something that convenient, but I doubt it's going to matter all that much in the end. A good episode, in the upper threes and stopped from being a four only by Pinkie.

Pinkie attempts a pizza delivery to Maud and Starlight
Am I the only one who misses the days when the ponies ate flowers?
Best quote: Maud: "It's not like she's [Starlight] enslaved anypony lately."

  • Maud and Starlight were a fantastic double act
  • Some funny, clever jokes and references
  • The return of Ghastly Gorge
  • The episode not (quite) taking the easiest way out
  • A nice little Derpy appearance
  • Pinkie was annoying
  • I mean, really annoying
  • That underground cavern is way too convenient


  1. I love this ep, its easy become my best episode of S7, even Pinkie's obnoxiousness cant bring down below 9 scores ;). I dont mind Pinkie in this ep because i love her in A Friend in Deed so i have no problem with her in this ep. Pinkie is less obnoxious than her A Friend in Deed, because in that ep she forced friendship with a stranger and ruined his property, in Rock Solid, her desperately try to make Maud stay in Ponyville is more... excusable and more... harmless, HARMLESS, still selfish but less obnoxious than A friend in Deed for reasons stated above.
    Pinkie is in character in Rock, they just need to tone down her craziness... a little bit...

    Random: Pinkie want to compete Rainbow Dash in Impersonation Challenges...

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about Pinkie's Maud impression! :D

  2. I actually liked this episode more on a re-watch. I thought Pinkie would be more irritating, but it didn't work out that way for me... weird.