After yet another failed attempt by the CMCs to get their Cutie Marks, Apple Bloom is so fed up she sinks into depression and walks into the Everfree Forest. Not looking where she’s going, she trips down an embankment and chips a tooth, and ends up going with Zecora to her hut to get it fixed. On seeing Zecora has a variety of herbs and tonics to cure and help all sorts of ailments as well as to improve features, Apple Bloom ignores Zecora’s warnings that there is no “quick fix” for a Cutie Mark and steals her supply of “Heart’s Desire”, making a potion for herself. It seems to work in giving her the Cutie Mark of a “loopdy-hoop”, which she shows off at school soon after. Yet in the middle of her stunts, a second Cutie Mark, this one of spinning plates, appears, and she proves to be good enough to do both at the same time. After a day of showing off, Apple Bloom goes home for the night…but is unable to keep performing her talents. Things get worse when she gets a mark of tapdancing and begins to do that uncontrollably as well. Applejack takes her to Twilight Sparkle, who discovers she’s suffering from the “Cutie Pox”, an ailment that makes Cutie Marks appear at random all over her body, each one forcing her to act out the talent uncontrollably. As Apple Bloom begins to get ones for random activities such as fencing, hang gliding, sculpting, and speaking French, Zecora comes to town revealing she found that she was missing her Heart’s Desire, and, on seeing Apple Bloom, puts two and two together. She offers a cure in the form of “Seeds of Truth” that she plants, but they won’t blossom and make the cure unless someone tells the truth over them. With things getting to be too much for her, Apple Bloom admits her theft, causing the flower to blossom, and she eats it and is cured. After making up with Zecora, Twilight has Apple Bloom write to Celestia about the importance of not taking “shortcuts” to get what you want and to have patience…only for her to forget her lesson about patience immediately afterward and run off with the other CMCs to try again at their Cutie Marks.
Well…the run had to be broken sometime.
This episode seems to suffer from the same problem as other bad ones…a concept that the writers thought they could make a full episode out of that ended up not panning out. All CMC episodes seem naturally a bit “weak” to me, but this one is one of the milder ones. Technically it’s an Apple Bloom episode, but the opening kind of makes it a CMC one to me. At any rate, the fact that so much of this episode is watching Apple Bloom do tricks, first with the loopdy-hoop and the spinning plates and then later when Cutie Marks start randomly appearing, and that everything in between seems so much more drawn out…with long pauses and Zecora telling rhymes that do nothing but “rhyme” and not get to the point…and it’s clear this episode was padded.
The opening is terrific…one of the best allusions in the entire series. But after that…everything falls flat. There aren’t any really good jokes in this episode, even with Pinkie Pie pretty much appearing only to try and insert humor. Apple Bloom’s affliction seems a bit more worrying than funny. None of the random talents she gives are really silly enough to be great jokes. It seems like this episode was going for a more dramatic angle like other episodes this series so far, but where it worked well for “Luna Eclipsed” and “Sisterhooves Social”…here it falls flat.
Part of that reason is the near “tacked-on” moral of the episode. It seemed like the whole point was to teach Apple Bloom more about the importance of being honest rather than patient. However, it doesn’t work out that way. The only characters who give Apple Bloom a skeptical look at her Cutie Mark are the two resident bullies of the series: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. She doesn’t really have to keep her lie going throughout the episode, or has to choose at any point between having a Cutie Mark and telling the truth to be rid of her affliction. It’s pretty clear Apple Bloom is willing to give up her fake Cutie Mark early on, after all, to end the Cutie Pox. And Zecora pretty much knew right from the start that Apple Bloom stole from her, and Apple Bloom knows that she knows…so a lot of the build-up to her confession is pointless.
Finally, and most importantly, the episode really isn’t that good. It doesn’t have any memorable moments (aside from the opening), no great jokes, no endearing drama, and it’s too slow paced. The first time the show “laid an egg” in Season Two, in my opinion.
This episode, in my opinion, has the single hugest adult-orientated joke in the entire series. The cast of “The Big Lebowski”, including the Dude himself, appears in pony form at the bowling alley. However, there’s an additional joke in that scene from another movie. Apple Bloom’s ball rolls up to the pins, taps them, and then stops…a scene that happened in “Uncle Buck”. It’s a pity this is one of the few funny parts of the episode.
Another episode where Mane Six members appear and say nothing. Rainbow Dash, on her part, simply sleeps through the whole episode.
“Loopdy-Hoop” is obviously a take on a hula-hoop. Not too many of those around anymore…
I don’t speak French, but…I’m wondering if Apple Bloom exclaiming “toot sweet” is actually an allusion to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”…
The statue that Apple Bloom makes is obviously a pony version of “Birth of Venus”, which is a painting, not a statue.
I think everyone running off on hearing Apple Bloom has the Cutie Pox is a bit of a stretch at a joke…but Zecora does allude to Season One when she mentions that she thought everyone wasn’t scared of her anymore.
Not exactly sure why Zecora “mysteriously disappears” at the end of this episode. That’s not something she does in any other episode.
2.5 Stars out of 5