Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Episode Four

The latest episode reveals quite a bit, such as the fact that Big Macintosh is Applejack's older brother, and his voice for the very first time.  And again, though the overall plot is rather simple, the way the story is told is definitely entertaining.
Applebuck Season
The episode begins with Applejack and Big Macintosh surveying that years' crop of apples, the biggest they've seen in years.  Applejack is sure she can handle the harvest on her own (and she'll have to, due to Big Mac's injury), but her brother isn't so sure.  Taking his uncertainty as lack of confidence in her, Applejack rashly vows to pick every single apple without any help from anyone.
As Applejack gears up to start working, the ground suddenly begins to shake.  Over in Ponyville proper, Rainbow Dash scopes out the situation and spots the cause: a stampeding herd of cows!  While most of the ponies head inside, Pinkie Pie points out the effects of the vibrations on her voice.  But there is no need for alarm when Applejack is on the case!  She and her border collie, Winona, manage to divert the stampede from Ponyville's path and gets the cows under control.  To thank her for this, the mayor plans to give her the coveted Prized Pony of Ponyville award, at a celebration one week later.
At the actual celebration, Twilight Sparkle attempts to give a speech in honor of Applejack, but it keeps getting hijacked by the others (Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy), who proclaim Applejack's awesomeness and how she promised to help them out.  When it comes time for the presentation, however, the guest of honor is nowhere to be found.  Applejack does show up eventually, burdened with bushels of apples, and with bags under her eyes.  She accepts the award with much yawning, gives a rather loopy spiel, and drags it off.  Her strange behavior does not go unnoticed by the others (except Pinkie Pie, of course), but only Twilight feels the need to visit her at her farm.
Down at farm, Applejack keeps falling asleep in between kicking trees, much to Twilight's confusion.  She teleports on over and asks just what's going on, so Applejack explains that it's "applebuck season," i.e. when they "buck" all the apples from the trees so they can be sold, and how Big Mac got hurt and can't work this season.  So Twilight (who keeps teleporting during her conversation with Applejack for some reason) asks what happened to all those relatives who forced food on her in the first episode.  It turns out they were just up for the Summer Sun Celebration, and all have their own farms elsewhere.  Seeing how unsteady on her feet Applejack is, Twilight offers her some help, but Applejack turns her down flat.  Twilight wrinkles her nose, but lets the stubborn pony keep at it.
Later on, Rainbow Dash waits impatiently for Applejack, who shows up looking the worse for wear.  Rainbow Dash is unfazed, though, and explains what she needs Applejack to do: jump onto the other end of a catapult, sending the pegasus into the air faster than she could take off on her own.  A simple enough task, but in her fatigued state, Applejack can't focus on where she's supposed to land, and falls to the side time after time.  When Rainbow Dash aks what "the hay" is going on, Applejack insists she's okay and tries just pushing the other end down.  Not even close.  So Applejack goes back up for one more try, but her sudden leap off the other end disorients Rainbow Dash.  Applejack gets it right this time, but Rainbow Dash ends up launched before she's ready, and lands on the library's veranda, where Twilight is enjoying some book time.
So it's another trip to the farm for Twilight.  Just before she gets there, Applejack bonks her head on a low branch, leaving her ears ringing.  After a bit of Auditory Difficulty, Twilight manages to make herself heard, and once again tells Applejack to get some help.  But Applejack is as stubborn as ever, even if she can only hear every other word anyone says.  But no time to argue, she has to help out Pinkie Pie at the Sugar Cube bakery while Mr. and Mrs. Cake are out for the day. Pinkie and Applejack attempt to make some muffins, but thanks to her sleep-deprived state, Applejack not only mishears Pinkie's instructions, but hears them in slow motion.  The resulting muffins, made with potato chips, cola, lemon juice, and worms (plus sugar and eggs, put in by Pinkie), send half the town to the emergency ward, though Spike is quite taken with them.
Twilight was mercifully not part of the "baked bads" epidemic, and thus pays Applejack another visit, this time finding her in a rather awkward position.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Applejack continues to insist she doesn't need help, not even with getting her apple cart back on track, and not even when Twilight points out she's bucking a dead tree.  Twilight tries to bring up the muffin incident, but Applejack's patience is worn too thin for that, and she shuts Twilight down before stomping off.  "That pony is as stubborn as a mule," Twilight comments, then turns to the mule standing next to her, "No offense."
Besides finishing the harvest, Applejack also has to help Fluttershy with the annual rabbit census, herding the bunnies so they can be counted.  Though Fluttershy warns her to be gentle, Applejack's irritation due to Twilight and lack of sleep just frightens the bunnies.  And while her and Winona's usual techniques do round up the rabbits, it isn't long before the rabbits snap and take off.  This is treated exactly the same as the cow stampede earlier, and is in fact even worse, since the rabbits are not diverted as the cows were, leaving a trail of fainted ponies and garden destruction in their wake.  While Fluttershy tries to take care of the runaway bunnies, Twilight (who somehow missed the whole thing) goes to give Applejack the lecture of her life.
Applejack, more asleep than awake, keeps on bucking mindlessly, and thus misses most of Twilight's alliterative rant about the chaos the pony has caused in town.  As Twilight insists yet again that Applejack needs help, AJ just laughs and points out that she just bucked the last tree, meaning that she did indeed harvest the whole orchard all by herself.  "How do you like them apples?" she asks, only for Big Macintosh to arrive on the scene and ask her "How do you like them apples?" pointing out the whole entire other half of the orchard, still covered in apples.  The combined effects of the strain she put on herself and the sight of all that work still to be done are too much for Applejack, and she faints clean away.  When she comes to, Twilight launches back into her lecture, and less than a paragraph in, Applejack finally agrees that, yes, she needs help, much to Twilight's surprise (but relief).  And so, as she and the others help Applejack with the rest of the orchard, Twilight writes a report back to Princess Celestia about what she's learned (friendship means not just offering to help your friends, but accepting help, too).  Applejack brings her workers some juice, but no snacks, so Spike offers up the muffins from earlier that he saved from being trashed.  Unsurprisingly, no one takes him up on the offer.

I didn't really mention it in the write-up, but the cows that stampeded and the mule that took no offense all could talk.  Winona, however, and all the bunnies (and the birds seen in earlier episodes) cannot (or maybe just don't).  I'm not really sure what to make of this, but I think it's interesting to note.  Also, one thing I really love about this show is how expressive the ponys' ears are.  Just wanted to point that out.
It was nice to see some more of the other denizens of Ponyville, like the nurses in the emergency ward, Mr. and Mrs. Cake (why they aren't Pinkie Pie's parents, I have no clue.  Seriously, the moment I saw Mrs. Cake on screen, my mind screamed "Pinkie's Mom!" though my second thought was the second (third?) coming of Minty, neither of which turned out to be right).  Tomorrow's episode will also be good in this regard, as it introduces an old friend of Rainbow Dash's.

Misc. Screenshots:
Big Macintosh is affronted
Pinkie likes to watch
Cheering for Applejack
Applejack rides off into the sunset
Rainbow Dash's squishy face
Spike blushes (so cute!)
Nurse Pony

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who does Big Macintosh's Voice? Its driving me crazier than Pinky Pie on a Sugar High.... TTwTT

If anyone figures out or knows who Big Mac's voice actor is please contact me: