Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Episode Eleven

At last, the long-awaited Winter Wrap Up episode.  Early in the month of December, the big musical number from this episode was accidentally leaked, which made the fans very happy, but apparently got the composer (who posted the video, intending for it to be private) into some trouble.  Which is why I didn't post about it here, though I was sorely tempted.  And it turned out that the episode it was from would air on Christmas Eve (a strange time to air an episode about winter coming to an end, but there it is), only a few weeks later.
Winter Wrap Up
Twilight Sparkle wakes up early (very early) on the day before spring, full of excitement for Ponyville's annual Winter Wrap Up.  You see, while the seasons may be changed using unicorn magic in places like Canterlot, Ponyville, founded by earth ponies, uses good old-fashioned hard work to clear away the remnants of winter. To get in the spirit, Twilight manages to put on her winter gear without using even her telekinesis magic. Spike, however, would rather go back to sleep, which Twilight accounted for and even included on her checklist.  She did forget to put "a decent hour" on it, as no one else is even close to being awake.
Later on, Twilight heads for the town square (with a still sleeping Spike in tow) and notes the three teams in their team vests: blue for Weather, green for Plants, and tan for Animals.  As she arrives, the mayor gives a motivational speech, points out the team leaders, and officially declares the start of the Wrap Up.  Twilight wonders which team to join, unsure of each team's jobs.  Cue a musical number!

In song, the ponies describe the various tasks that the Wrap Up entails (guiding the migratory birds, clearing out clouds to let the sun melt the snow, waking up hibernating animals, clearing the ground and planting seeds, etc.), and Twilight Sparkle sings about her uncertainty about how to help without using magic.
Since all the other ponies are already in teams, Twilight goes to figure out which one could use her help.  She finds Rainbow Dash, team leader of the Weather team, but since she's sending a group of pegasi to find the southern birds, there isn't much for Twilight to do there.  Which is just as well, as far as Spike's concerned, since he found a nearby bush for napping in.  But Twilight is determined to help out somehow.  She comes upon Rarity making nests for the returning birds, who offers to show Twilight how to make one, as well.  The nest Twilight makes is...not quite as good as Rarity's, though Spike is less tactful in his description of it (an outhouse).  As Rarity "fixes" it, Twilight hangs her head and moves on.
Down at the lake, Pinkie Pie is skating away, doing her part to help the Weather team.  She's scoring the lake, making it more easy to break and melt.  Twilight is impressed by the cleverness of this concept, so Pinkie asks her to help out.  However, it turns out this is Twilight's first time on the ice, so she's less than sure on her feet (much to Spike's amusement), which leads to her crashing into Pinkie, and the two of them crashing into Spike, making a snowman.  Pinkie is encouraging, though, assuring Twilight that her first time was just as bad, though when she thinks about it, she remembers that no, it really wasn't.  She suggests Twilight try helping Fluttershy with the animals and so Twilight skates off, unsteadily.
She and Spike find Fluttershy waking up a pair of hedgehogs.  Fluttershy tells them that waking up the hibernating animals is her favorite task of the season, but Spike is unclear on the concept of hibernation, so she explains.  Hearing that it's a long sleep, Spike is down with it, of course.  Seeing how many warrens and dens there still are to visit, Twilight offers to help, convinced she'll get to spend time with all the cute animals.  Which of course means that the first animals she wakes up are snakes.  She backs away from the snakes, right into a cave full of bats.  In fleeing the bats, she accidentally knocks a beehive on her head and runs into a skunk's dwelling.  While recovering at home, Twilight bemoans how difficult things have been.  Spike tells her to use magic to make it easier, but Twilight is adamant: if Ponyville hasn't needed to use magic to wrap up winter before, she's not going to be the one to break tradition.  "I'm gonna find some other way that I can help out if it kills me!" she says, and judging from what she's been through already, it very well might.
Over at Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack leads the Plant team in clearing the snow from the fields.  She confides to Twilight that it's been a bit of a slow start, but balks when Twilight offers to help.  Still, she lets Twilight at least try, and so Twilight hops into an unused plow.  Despite putting all her strength into it, she can't move it an inch.  Remembering what Spike said earlier, she puts aside her misgivings and uses a "come to life" spell on the plow to get it moving.  Following the plow, she speeds ahead of all the others, causing Applejack to get suspicious.  Spike notices the magic glow around Twilight's horn and can't help crowing about her actually listening to him for a change.  Which is exactly when the plow starts to go faster than Twilight can handle it, pushing a giant ball of snow straight at Applejack and Spike, picking them up until all three of them finally crash.  Unfortunately, this creates an avalanche of the already-plowed snow, re-covering the cleared area.  Applejack chews out Twilight for using magic, and Twilight runs off in tears.
Winter Wrap Up activities are continuing apace all over town, but Twilight has given up trying to help out and is now spending her time hiding in the bushes.  Spike tries to get her to come out, but his attempts to make her feel better just make her feel worse.  Meanwhile, Applejack arrives to tell Rainbow Dash it's time to melt the snow on the ground and the trees, but Fluttershy insists it's too early; all the animal dens will be flooded if the snow melts now.  She and Applejack argue, which brings the mayor over.  She reprimands them, reminding everyone that "this kind of silliness" is why they've been late bringing in spring for the past few years.  This gets Twilight's attention.  The mayor continues to point out the problems of this year's Wrap Up: Pinkie Pie made the ice pieces too big to melt in a timely manner, Rarity's been too occupied trying to fix Twilight's terrible nest to make any more, not to mention all the snow and ice still on the trees.  On top of that, Caramel (part of the Plant team) lost the grass seeds, and Ditsy Doo (a pegasus) went north to find the southern birds.  The mayor laments the town's general lack of organization, a word that finally brings Twilight out of the bushes.  She sends Spike to get her clipboard and checklist, and makes herself heard over the arguing throng by utilizing a nearby bird.  She tells them that what they need is the kind of organization that she can provide, and proceeds to implement a montage.
With Twilight's vision and each team helping the others, the nests are made and distributed, the lake is scored according to a chart, and the fields are plowed and seeded near simultaneously.  Using a pulley and some bells, the hibernating animals are woken up, and Fluttershy signals the waiting Weather team to finally clear out the clouds.  They create some kind of wind funnel that not only sucks up the clouds but removes most of the snow.  It takes working all night, and a little bit into the next day, but they manage to finish all the tasks on the first day of spring.  The mayor thanks Twilight for her super organization skills, and gives her an official vest with the title "All Teams Organizer."  A little late, but I guess it's preemptive for next year.  Twilight is touched, and so the mayor official declares winter over and everyone cheers.  But winter isn't quite gone, as there's one piece of ice still in the lake, which Spike happens to be snoozing on.  Sure, someone could go wake him up, but it's more fun to just laugh at the cold he will eventually catch.
A bit later, Twilight has her report on the Winter Wrap Up and her lesson on friendship (we all have our talents, if we take the time to discover them, plus with friendship anything is possible) by a sick Spike, who falls asleep before she's finished dictating.  That's what you get for taking a nap on an ice flow, Spike.
Man, I took a lot of screenshots for this one.  I really don't have too much to say about this one, storywise, but I guess I liked it if I took that many screenshots (the most for any episode so far).  It was great to see all the background ponies getting something to do, and it was also great to see more guy ponies.  And of course having an actual musical number in the show was awesome, but I'll be posting more about that later.

Misc. Screenshots:
Twilight blushes w/ Rarity
Pinkie skating
Blues gets snowed
Caramel is sorry

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