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Hi, and welcome to my userpage, which is where you have arrived since you either clicked here or typed my name in the address bar to get here. My name is Kirby, though I go by "Kirb". I'm a junior in high school--can't wait until I'm finally allowed to leave. I live in a small, boring town where nothing ever happens. I'm a brony, though my status as one is constantly changing due to the quality of the episodes. Pretty boring, eh?
Favorite visual artist*eddsworldFavorite moviesThe Stick Figures on Crack trilogy, SkyfallFavorite TV showsMLP (I also like Eddsworld but that doesn't count)Favorite bands / musical artistsGorillazFavorite booksSimple ComplicationsFavorite writers*simpleCOMICSOther InterestsMostly flying bricks.
Hey guys. I know I intended to upload this review sooner, but there was too much else getting in the way. If things had gone the way I wanted them too, this would have been online a day after the episode aired. Sorry about the hold-up.
With that said...
You'd damn well better be ready. You haven't released a new episode in nearly a year!
Welcome back to my MLP episode review series, a thing that I used to do but I stopped doing after I realized there were no episodes to talk about. Also when I realized that it's hard to make jokes about Rainbow Rocks, hence why I never finished reviewing it.
But let's get to the point. It's been eleven long months since MLP's successful fourth season, and you'd think after that they'd be very eager to follow it up--especially seeing how previous seasons usually start in the fall immediately after the season beforehand. But apparently they were so sick of making these episodes that they instead spent their time making movies for Equestria Girls, MLP's unsuccessful spinoff. That's right, they released the movie Equestria Girls 2: Rainbow Rocks, as well as several promotional music videos and animated shorts, and then some MORE promotional music videos, and have even annouced a THIRD Equestria Girls movie. At the end there it just felt like they were taunting us by not working on the actual show. Why? Nobody asked for more Equestria Girls, we asked for more ponies! Priorities, man!
Finally, after eleven months, the time is right and we have our newest episode, "Cutie Markless"!
Oh, I'm sorry, "The Cutie Map." Apparently they changed the episode's title a few days before it aired. I wouldn't mind it so much except, thanks to this last minute decision, I couldn't even find the episode on YouTube for the longest time. I actually had to wait until the afternoon to watch an episode that premiered in the morning! But hey, I've finally found it, and god dammit I'm going to watch it. Of course, since it's a two-parter, I could definitely use some help talking about it--and I just so happen to have my girlfriend Dana right here with me. Dana: Hi! Kirb: Hello Dana. You ready, beautiful? Dana: You bet I am!
Kirb: So the episode starts off with our main characters, as they just... stroll in like nothing happened. What? You were gone for nearly a year, guys! You can't just disappear like that and walk in like "oh hey, we're back and stuff!" You can't keep doing this to us!
Dana: Kirb, calm down... Kirb: Sorry. Dana: As they walk in and sit down at their chairs, suddenly something magical happens, as they discover that suddenly, their cutie marks have the ability to project a holographic Marauder's Map in front of them. Why haven't they discovered this before? Is this the first time they've sat down at their chairs? Has literally no time passed in between this episode and Twilight's Kingdom? Kirb: But their cutie marks hover over a town present on the map as they conclude that they need to go there now. Also, it gives Spike an excuse to act like a moron!
Since when was Spike a football fan? Heck, he was the only mane cast member who wasn't even present in that MLP Superbowl ad!
Dana: As the train leaves Ponyville, we do get to see it from a new angle, as it literally heads right towards the camera.
I like trains! Kirb: Heh, good one. But they finally head to the town and see that things are looking a little off!
Dana: It DOES look weird! They all have the same cutie marks! Kirb: Well, there's THAT, and then there's the fact that they all look like the townspeople from the Black Hole Sun music video!
You wouldn't get that unless you knew about a little thing called the 90's. Dana: Even Pinkie Pie sees that something is wrong!
And you'd know all about smiles, wouldn't you Pinkie?
Kirb: ...okay, that's a bad example because that was a fan animation. But anyway, they discover that the pony in charge of it is just an average unicorn. I dare say she's even a complete letdown. Now before anyone argues with me, hear me out. We have a big new villain for a new season, and they give her the great, brand new name... of Starlight Glimmer. Wow, were the marketing guys sick that day? That's the most unoriginal name I've ever heard for a character! Not only does it sound almost exactly like another villain we've had in the past (Sunset Shimmer), but both of their names are synonyms of Twilight Sparkle's name. Seriously, Hasbro? Seriously?! Dana: Don't worry, I'm sure she'll at least have an original design!
...uh, hi Aria Blaze. Well, maybe they'll at least develop her character a little better. Let's continue watching. Kirb: So when she asks our heroines how they found the town, Twilight answers that they found it on a map.
Thanks, Pinkie Pie! Dana: Sunlight Glitter tells our main characters that she is running a cult where everypony voluntarily gives up their cutie marks--and hairstyles, for that matter. Seriously, that is so out of fashion, lady. This way, nopony is more talented than the others and nopony gets jealous of anypony else. How can't they see through it? Their leader clearly is inequal, how else could she know the spell to remove a pony's cutie mark? If they REALLY wanted everypony to be equal, they'd have to cut off the wings and horns of the ponies. OH WAIT! Kirb: And then we get our big song about the town.
Not that song! No, this one is called "In Our Town," and it's basically praising the town's lack of individuality. It's basically a giant big lipped alligator moment to the rest of the episode, but...
Okay, I'll admit that it's a LITTLE catchy. Dana: It's interesting to note how Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with Fluttershy respecting the ponies' lifestyle and Rainbow Dash hating it and finding it silly. Also important to note is how Pinkie Pie is inconsistent in her character, with half the time being very sneaky and suspicious, but then also giving away huge important details that wind up getting the mane 6 into trouble. Pinkie, stahp! I can't decide whether I hate you in this episode or not!
Kirb: So after the song is over, we meet a new character! Her name is Sugar Belle, and after serving stale muffins to the protagonists (because that's all she knows how to cook), we discover that she and several other ponies are resistant against Starfish Zimmer's regime and long for their old cutie marks back.
And I guess now's as good a time as any to talk about the elephant in the room. Many bronies have the theory that this episode is a metaphor for communism, as it references several things from the USSR era, like how everypony is "equal" but the leader is actually moreso than the others, or how later in the episode there's a Red Scare style scene where ponies are forced to rat out their friends. While this may have been going through the creators' minds, personally I think that's not what the episode is about. What it's about is mindless conformity, forcing everyone to be the same, which is very different from communism. So can we all just shut up and stop having flamewars about it? If I wanted children's entertainment that mocks communism, I'd stick with the novel Animal Farm thank you very much.
Dana: So as it turns out, once Josef Starlight removes the cutie marks from the ponies, she stores them in a giant wall. How does she do this, you may ask? Why, with her Staff of Sameness!
Hey, PornHub called! They want their giant triple-bladed dildo back! Kirb: But I think it's been too long in this episode since something stupid happened.
Thanks, Pinkie Pie! Dana: And this is the part where it starts to get really confusing.
So Twilight is Admiral Ackbar now? Anyway, ponies start surrounding our heroines, but thankfully Twilight teleports them all out of the cave...
...or she just teleports herself to the exact same location.
Well duh! What did you think was gonna happen? Kirb: Hey, at least the friends try to stop Starlight!
Or they just stand their and watch as her friend's cutie mark is stolen, and then don't even try to escape as theirs are stolen too. You know you guys really suck at this. Dana: And so with their cutie marks stolen, the episode ends on a cliffhanger! To be continued... just a few seconds later. You know it's not really a cliffhanger if it's resolved shortly afterwards, right? And then when the episode comes back we spend about 30 minutes on an episode recap... again, of what we just saw. Do the showmakers have so little faith in their audience that they feel like they'll forget something they just saw a few minutes ago? Maybe if this were a two parter where the second part was a week away like the s1 and s2 premieres, but a few minutes ago?!
Kirb: Anyway, the six are trapped inside a room filled with propaganda constantly blasting in their ears telling them to give up their cutie marks. Y'know that's kinda unnecessary, right? You already stole their marks, you don't need to convince them to give them up! Geez, why is this episode going 1984 on us all of a sudden? Dana: But they decide to send Fluttershy out as a mole to find out what's really going on. Once she does, though, they force her to rat out the ponies who had wanted their old cutie marks back, and a new character, Party Favor confesses and is sent into the same room as the mane 6. Now this could be a good plot device, him being stuck with the mane 6 and slowly realizing that the cutie mark isn't a bad thing. Buuuuuuut they don't do anything to develop it, and it's never brought up again. Kirb: But hey, at least Fluttershy finds out the big twist for this episode: Glimmer's cutie mark is different from everypony else's!
...yeah, that was kind of obvious. Hell, Dana guessed it earlier. Dana: Indeed I did! (Kisses Kirb) So the next day, they invite Twilight back out, but Fluttershy reveals Stadolf Glitler's real cutie mark to everypony, and she reveals that the Staff of Sameness is useless. "I found it in a crackerjack box!" She gets away by teleporting herself into her house, and everypony goes to get their cutie marks.
By the way, if you look at this picture without my explanation, it looks an awful lot like they're going to lynch her. Which they should. Kirb: The other ponies go to get their cutie marks, in a process that literally just involves breaking the glass that holds them in and the marks float back to their assigned ponies. But the mane 6's cutie marks aren't there and are instead being held by Starshine Shitface in six jars. And to think this all could've been ended sooner if she tripped and lost the magical grasp on the marks, leading them to float back to our heroines. I should mention that a lot of the ponies they met earlier now have their special talents back. Party Favor, the pony who was locked in with Twilight and the gang sans Fluttershy, makes these balloon goggles that don't make any sense and uses them to locate the villain.
Another pony, Night Glider...
No, not quite.
Close enough. Anyway, she knocks down the door to Glimmer the Starfish's house so they can look for her there. But eventually it boils down to all the pony's going into the snowy mountains, where yet another pony, Double Diamond, engages her in...
...a ski chase. I'm not kidding, a fuckin' ski chase scene. MLP has officially turned into a James Bond movie. And it is AWESOME.
Dana: Starlight does finally drop the jars as the mane 6 get their cutie marks back, which leads us to, let's face it, the dumbest part of the episode: just letting Starlight get away. I don't get it, she teleports but they clearly see her hoofsteps leading into the cave behind her. Why don't they go after her? Kirb: Yeah, that part is a little confusing to me too. Apart from them obviously trying to set her up as a villain who'll return later on, they have no reason not to go after her. Here's what Twilight says about it all.
Yeah, she just needs some time to think it through! She's learned her lesson. I mean, what are the chances of a foe you don't completely defeat ever coming back and biting you in the flank?
Fucking right?! Dana: But anyway, the episode ends how you'd imagine it, with there being a big celebration of Starth Glader's defeat, and for some reason the ponies decide to stay in the town. Because after all, if I'm held against my will in a town that I wind up hating, I'd want to... stay in that town?
Kirb: Don't question it, Dana. At least that episode is finally over. Phew! Glad we're done with that big dose of stupid, right? Dana: Are you kidding? I loved it! Kirb: Wait, what?! But you spent nearly this whole review criticizing it! Dana: Well yeah! But no episode is without it's flaws! This one in particular was one I enjoyed. In my opinion its the best season premiere we've had since The Return of Harmony, and it got a lot darker than MLP has ever been. Hell, this might be the first animated TV show that deals with cults since that one episode of Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. So it gets a thumbs up from me. What do you think? Kirb: Well, okay, I guess it's not the worst two-parter from this show. Hell, it's not even in my top 3 worst two-parters from MLP, as it doesn't substitute content with demon battles like "Twilight's Kingdom," stuff actually happens in this episode unlike in "Princess Twilight Sparkle," and it wasn't just plain stupid like "The Crystal Empire." And while it doesn't necessarily do them well, it does deal with darker themes, like forced conformity. I guess I've been hoping that the show goes in this darker direction, and it gives me good hopes for season 5 as it's already a better start than PTS. Plus, it gave us several new characters, including the villain who, despite her shortcomings, was at least original as far as villains go. So, I guess I give it a 3/5. It's not TOO bad an episode, but I sure hope there are better episodes to come. Thanks for helping me with this, Dana! I'm glad I've caught up with reviewing the MLP episodes now. Dana: Um, hate to say it, Kirb, but there's one more after this. Kirb: There is? Dana: Yeah? "Castle Sweet Castle?" Kirb: ...well. Bugger. Guess I have to watch and review that now.