Now that all the festivities are over, I can get back to MLP without distraction.
We open on Applejack on Apple-Bucking day; we haven’t seen her for a while.
But her apples seem to lack the usual firm consistency.
They’re back. And we see the titular animals squeaking about in the trees.
So it’s another AJ-gets-a-li’l-help-from-her-friends episode? If this season is anything to go by, the bats will have a musical number and giant hairdryers with which to wage WAR! on the ponies. Unfortunately, her apples have fallen victim to malicious vampire fruit bats, different from the more benign bats elsewhere on the farm. AJ has a magnificent apple, impossibly huge and luscious, and she’s afraid the bats might try to hollow it out while she’s not looking. Fluttershy, sweet-natured to the last, says ‘of course, they might leave it alone if you ask them nicely enough…’
We know enough about Ponyville pests to know that’s hopelessly naïve. More like: if she goes and tells them there’s a REALLY BIG APPLE…? And Fluttershy gets offended a AJ calling them monsters.
AJ and Fluttershy have a duet on the disregard of the bats for the needs of others, despite Fluttershy protesting that they have both familial responsibilities and help the trees to grow and pollinate. The Mane 6 join in as a chorus on AJ’s side. It’s pretty creepy when they start chanting ‘Stop the BATS! Stop the BATS! Make them go and not come back.”
What about a bat sanctuary? Since they spit out the seeds, they would be welcome residents and confining them to a single part would be more advantageous in the long run.
So this is a kind of property versus environment lesson. But apparently the previous time there was an infestation there was apple rationing – and no CIDER! The rest of the Apple Family are conveniently away in Appleloosa.
So Twily has a spell, which requires Fluts to use a stare on the bats. She pulls a ‘dire circumstances’ rule out of her ass to stop them from using her to take away the thing that makes the vampire bats vampires.
So who has more right to the apples? The bats, or the ponies? I can kind of see where this is going. We’ve had the ‘wild untameable nature’ thing before, but the ponies seem to co-exist with it in the end. So whilst there’s an even chance that both AJ and Fluttershy will be proved right, I’m leaning more towards the ponies coming round to Fluts’ point of view sooner or later. Twilight’s spells tend to be only effective part of the time – at other points they seem to be not the cure-all she’d hoped for, and the only thing that works is co-operation.
Fluttershy eventually accedes to using her stare. The bats come in, except for one old codger who threatens Rarity, and a few curmudgeons.
They really are pretty nasty looking. It turns out that there’s not an awfully large number: and the Stare seems to work to hypnotise the bats.
We’re about halfway in, so I doubt this will be successful. Ponies tend not to be very good at brute-force tactics. But for the moment it’s seems to be working…until Fluts’ notices something odd about one apple.
AJ goes out bucking, to be met with a nice, juicy…splat.
Time for more EXTREME measures. Girls, the record of brute force … no. Luckily for the bats, it doesn’t appear to be their fault that the apples are being tampered with. So they finally decide to do reconnaissance. It seems Fluts has been a little …hungry lately.
Pinkie has prehensile hair now, in which she can carry a ‘pony signal’, a nice visual joke, one of the first in the episode. And she notices Fluts’ hunger.
Open mouth. Tiny little fangs.
And it’s PONY SIGNAL TIME!
This is what you get for brute forcing nature rather than playing it at its own game or finding a – gasp – compromise with it.
This is actually a well-constructed episode. I have done my best to avoid spoilers, but there have been one or two pictures of vamp!Fluts on tumblr, so I was wondering what the pictures of Flutterbat were about.
It’s really quite unfair that the one pony who was in favour of compromise has been hexed. Rarity was being an ass earlier on – why not her? But never mind. I’m sure we’ll find out ASAP.
Pinkie is really quite nervous. Maybe vampire ponies eat…PONIES!
Twily takes a leaf out of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy to calm down the other Mane 6 with a PLAN. AJ wants her friend back, suggesting that the disagreement earlier on was in the realms of friendly banter rather than hostile. It maybe needs to be said that people can disagree over some things and still get along; friendship is not all or nothing. But that’s a more mature message that the show usually takes as a given.
They come up with a specific plan to do…something, using the Appleloosa State Fair apple that AJ was going to enter. (The law of conservation of detail usually dictates that a plan that is meticulously spelled out in advance usually fails.) Sacrifice for a friendship. Yup, a mirror to channel her stare into her, while Twilight unhexes her. This reminds me a bit of the very early Escape from Midnight Castle episode.
I liked this episode. 8/10 – nice visual gags that weren’t too intrusive, a continuation of the slice-of-life plot but with some heady magics, and a lesson about compromise, where the bats’ role in long-term seed-spreading is acknowledged, and that you shouldn’t let people bully you into doing something that you don’t want to do. AJ 0, FS 2.
And a silly gag from Pinkie at the end, like last week.
Nice. The only real peril was to the orchard, but on the other hand I think there was quite a cute way of mixing one theme of the series – magical transformation – with the slice-of-life plots which can sometimes seem a bit trivial in comparison (although are usually nice stories in their own right, particularly for the proper demographic).
Tomorrow’s episode is trailed as something more epic, however…