Monday, 15 May 2017

Episode review: S7E08: "Hard to Say Anything"

One of my favourite books of all time is Heroes & History by Rosemary Sutcliff, a book for young people about ten British heroes from Caratacus to Montrose. It was published in 1965, so some of its research is now out of date, but I don't read it for that. I read it for stuff like this, from the chapter on Alfred:
On the crest of the High Downs, a lone ancient thorn tree reached gaunt arms to the sky, and all about it the battle raged, over the hound-tawny turf made treacherous by the winter wet, still more treacherous as time went by, with the slipperiness of blood.
Isn't that great? Sutcliff clearly liked it, since she reused "hound-tawny turf" in her novel Sun Horse, Moon Horse. And even when I haven't read Heroes & History for ages, I remain almost word-perfect on that passage. Anyway, back to ponies we go.

Close up of Big Mac making a kissy face
I don't know about you, but I'd file this under Nightmare Fuel
We get another new writer for this episode in the shape of Becky Wangberg. Her IMDb profile tells me that she's previously written for a few other shows, most notably The Fairly Odd Parents. I have to admit that the synopsis for this episode wasn't one that filled me with excitement, but would I feel the same way after viewing? A rather short review follows after the break!

I don't think anyone saw Sugar Belle x Big Mac coming! I don't care about the show sinking ships – "Avast, our ship be leavin' port!" to quote Apple Bloom – but I don't remember anyone even considering SugarMac as a realistic possibility. It's surprisingly sweet, though it's a shame the setup is so perfunctory. (Mac delivers apples to her? Well, sure, but he does that for everyone!)

Scootaloo peering in at a window, wearing a rainbow wig
"Scoot, are you sure Mac'll think it's Mayor Mare?"
I'm not generally a fan of romantic storylines in MLP:FiM, as romance is not the primary reason I watch the show. This ep doesn't do enough to change that, and as such I do find some of it a bit uninteresting to sit through. At least there's a reasonable amount of fun provided by the CMC, even if it does stretch credulity a bit that Mac doesn't really seem to care they've followed him so far.

Mac's rival for Sugar's heart, the clearly Justin Bieber-inspired Feather Bangs ( and what a name that is...) is obnoxious almost throughout. Yes, he's deliberately written as such, but I did find it tedious after a couple of scenes. He's given a bit more nuance and interest at the very end of the episode, but there isn't really enough time to explore his character then.

Feather Bangs performing, with backing singers
So, does he have to change his name if he ever cuts his mane?
The song battle seems to have divided opinion, but I think it's okay – though it goes on a little too long. If we're only getting five songs this season, though, we do need something more memorable than this. The best thing about this episode was its message, that the romances you read about in fairy tales are stories, and that relationships in real life are different. Still a (high) two, though.

Best quote: Sweetie Belle: "Hey! That's our metaphorical sunset they're riding off into!"

  • Very good moral
  • Feather Bangs = Vincent Tong = Flash Sentry!
  • The CMC's disguises are fun
  • Feather's development is squashed into the last few minutes
  • The whole romance plot is dull
  • The CMC seem quite irresponsible for S7


  1. This ep fits my definition of 'It's so bad, it's good', my first guilty pleasure episode for a long time.

    What i like:
    I like Bieber guy's first song, the song and and animation are good. I want the full song now.
    - I approved this ship.
    - I have fetists with shipping episodes. Blame animes
    - The moral is so anti-disney.
    - Feature Bangs finally realizes he got harem behind his back, he can just pick one. Gaston in Beauty and The Beast might live if he do what this Bieber guy did.

    What i dont like:
    - The plot is cliche, it could been better.
    - The cringe level is too high, even for me.
    - CMC is dumb like their S1.

    Questioning about the writting quality of this ep is a waste of time, its a bad ep, but i like it, 5/10.

    1. I consider episodes with 4/10 at least to be so bad it's good and whilst I loved this episode, Somepony to Watch Over Me fits my category of so bad it's good episodes...

    2. "Somepony to Watch Over Me" is a weird episode for me. I find the first 2/3 terrible, but I really enjoy the chimera sequence. :P

  2. Finally saw this. It was okay, but weird that Big Mac basically didn't react to the kids tagging along. Yeah, this ship came out of nowhere (aside: I don't really have any investment in ships, so I don't care what the show does or doesn't imply, though I do prefer when the show avoids romance altogether). It did make me wonder where all this started, though. We have no idea what Big Mac and Sugar Belle like about each other or how they even first met. It's just like the Apples to jump on a previously unknown market, so it's not unreasonable they sell there, but still, we just had to take the writers' word for it that these two were infatuated. I'd tear apart a fanfic for doing that. Feather Bangs was a strange bait-and-switch, as I think he would have been more interesting if they'd made him seem more in earnest from the start instead of someone who's more doing it for show. For that matter, we don't get any better portrayal of why he'd be good relationship material for Sugar Belle than we did with Big Mac.

    But we got floating hearts and all, so they're serious. I wonder if the show will ever do something with that again, or if it'll be forgotten.