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Synopsis:

It’s “Winter Wrap Up”, the time of year when all of the citizens of Ponyville “strike” Winter and “erect” Spring, since all of the seasons in Equestria are controlled by its individuals and nothing grows or lives of itself. However, it’s “tradition”, since Ponyville was founded by earth ponies, not to use any magic, leaving Twiiight Sparkle at a loss of how to help out. She tries helping with the various activities, but is unable to assist Rainbow Dash due to having no wings, is terrible at helping Rarity make bird’s nests, can’t skate to help Pinkie Pie break up ice, is too scared of certain animals to help Fluttershy wake hibernating animals up, and is too weak to push a snowplow at Applejack’s farm unless she uses magic. She fears she can’t help at all until she sees that the citizens are highly disorganized and are stepping on each other’s toes, leaving them way off schedule and causing arguments. Twilight decides to apply her organizational skills and directs everyone to act efficiently and coordinated, managing to get Spring “running” on time and earning the admiration of the whole town. Twilight writes to Princess Celestia about the importance of finding your own hidden talents and the value of working together.

Review:

Ha, ha! It’s funny that Spike will wake up in freezing water and catch a cold, making him miserable for days! Oh wait…not it’s not. It’s just mean.

This episode is infamous for the “Winter Wrap Up” song, one of the most classic and popular songs from the first season. Unfortunately…that’s mostly all the episode has going for it. In fact, it’s almost possible to ignore the episode as a whole and just deal with the song. The writers were really struggling on this one. Note how much of the episode is nothing more than montages and the “music video” for “Winter Wrap Up”. There’s barely any “meat”. That’s not to say what’s there is “bad”…just drawn out. This episode has the feel of an idea that seemed good at the time, only for the writers to realize they couldn’t flesh it out into a full episode and had to pad it quite a bit.

Again, the moral is “muddled” in this story. Applejack almost seems mean or even racist herself in how she gets angry at Twilight Sparkle for using magic to help out. There’s two things wrong with the whole premise that Winter has to be “wrapped up” the “Earth Pony Way”. One is that it singles out two thirds of the citizens and indicates a racial pride. Now…one might argue that’s silly at this point in the series, but later in “Hearth’s Warming Eve” when it is revealed that there was rampant racism between earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns…it’s more poignant whenever a group of ponies is forced to do things the way one race in particular does it. Second…the pegasi aren’t being told to stay on the ground and push plows or “walk south” to get the birds. They’re still using their own abilities. In fact, the earth ponies couldn’t “end winter” without them as they need them to break up the clouds.

Third, and most importantly, “Boast Busters” was all about how you shouldn’t be ashamed of your talents when you can use them to help others, and “Look Before You Sleep” was all about appreciating differences. So why in the world are they suddenly having an episode where Twilight has to “change herself” to match up with everyone else because they simply “don’t like magic”?

The episode has its moments (Rarity eventually breaking down over the “hopeless case” that is Twilight Sparkle’s abomination of a bird’s nest.), and “Winter Wrap Up” deserves its spot as one of the best songs in the whole series…but the song itself is the only “classic” part of the episode. Not the rest of it.

Fun Facts:

The fact that Ponyville was founded by earth ponies is first mentioned in this episode.

One of the few episodes that features Equestria in a season other than spring/summer. Only two other episodes do so: “Hearth’s Warming Eve” and “Fall Weather Friends”.

This episode cements as canon that seasons don’t change in Equestria unless the residents change them. It’s almost stunning how much they have to do “for nature”. Birds can’t even feed themselves or make their own nests. I’m surprised they don’t just “carry” the birds south for the winter. 😛

Did Twilight Sparkle really not ask for a job before now, or how they did Winter Wrap Up?

“Winter Wrap Up” was the first big “hit” song for the show, and became a classic among fans. It even features in Season Four when Discord is singing it in the shower.

A brown stallion with a gold hourglass for a Cutie Mark and a choppy mane first appeared in this episode as a background character. The fans eventually named him “Doctor Whooves” and consider him the pony equivalent of the Doctor from “Doctor Who”. Although the creators of the show haven’t reinforced that, the IDW comic universe has.

Derpy is still normal-eyed. However, one of the other ponies complains about a mistake made by “Ditzy Doo”, which is an alternate name for her, implying that this might be an “appearance” by her “normal self”.

Spike sleeping in the middle of a lake on an ice floe may be a nod to “Meatballs”.

Rating:

2.5 Stars out of 5

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