Thursday, 14 June 2018

Episode review: S8E12: "Marks for Effort"

Starlight Glimmer attempting to look serious as she drinks cocoa
This would make a great caption competition, so naturally I can't think of anything!
It really is about time I caught up with Season 8's episodes. Thank goodness for hiatuses! (Hiati? No, spellchecker, not "Haiti".) There'll be a Text Review Roundup of this ep next, then I'll get going with E13's review. Going back to "Marks for Effort", though: this one was written by Nicole Dubuc, previously seen on the season premiere. I was cautiously optimistic as I tend to like CMC episodes. Past the break, a look at whether I liked this one. It's quite short, since I really do need to get these things done.

Yes, I did! It seems (and is) many years since I found the Crusaders mildly annoying, and usually these days I enjoy their episodes. This one was definitely in that class. In fact, the interplay between the CMC was a joy pretty much throughout, perhaps most so in their hilariously stilted "fight" scene. Okay, Fluttershy and Pinkie were rather handed the Idiot Ball there in terms of not noticing, but it was still funny.

We got a new pony this time in the form of Cozy Glow. (Sheesh, people, stop giving me characters with names that trip my British spellchecker!) On the face of it, she was just a new filly with an irritating voice who did something stupid out of a misplaced desire to help. I'm not sure I believe that, though: her cutie mark seems to be a chess rook, and assuming that was chosen deliberately, what's going on? Please don't spoil me if you know the answer to this, but I wonder if we might see Cozy again...

Pinkie bounces around the CMC as Fluttershy looks on
That pennant Pinkie's carrying has a really cute design for something we see for two seconds
Although her Guidance Counsellor role wasn't used that much here, Starlight Glimmer really made the most of the screen time she did have. I love the idea of "empathy cocoa" and Starlight demonstrated pretty clearly that she is competent at her job. It does seem that there's little discontent in the School of Friendship, though, given how little she's apparently had to do lately. Also, faces. Some of Glimmy's expressions in this episode were fantastic.

My main irritation in "Marks for Effort" was with Twilight. Leaving Spike to cover for her in class was fair enough (even if her faith was misplaced!) but she came across as being very unfair to the CMC over the failed exam business. Twi knows the Crusaders extremely well – after all, she was their tutor once – yet didn't give the slightest credence to their protestations of innocence. Frankly, an explicit apology from Twilight would have been welcome.

That drags the episode down just a little and stops it quite getting a four-star rating. Nevertheless, it's still an entertaining 22 minutes with plenty to like. The dialogue is particularly good, from Sweetie noting that crying "always works for Rarity!" to Cozy's interesting initial attempts at identifying the Elements. (No, Cozy, Starlight would be "control". ;) ) The "your mom" joke is rather tired by now, but that's a small complaint. A solid episode overall and a high three.

Cozy Glow shows a surprised Bon Bon the cactus wearing a helmet
"Rarity was running an art installation class, you see, and..."
Best quote: Starlight: "That's devious! I mean... I see."

  • The CMC were fantastic throughout
  • Lots of nice dialogue and humour
  • Starlight's excellent supporting role
  • A couple of fun insights into SoF lessons
  • Twilight didn't behave very well
  • I found Cozy Glow rather irritating

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