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Synopsis:

It’s “Hearth’s Warming Eve”, the day that celebrates the foundation of Equestria. Every year there’s the same annual pageant all over Equestria that celebrates the founding, but Princess Celestia picked the Mane Six to do the one in Canterlot…

A long time ago, in spite of the symbiotic relationship earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi needed to survive, they hated and distrusted each other. One day a terrible, endless winter came upon their native land. Their leaders, rather than find a way to work out what to do about the winter, each blamed each other’s race for it and ended up deciding to go with their assistants to find a new land to live in. Eventually, they all arrived in a good land at the same time and claimed it for their own…and immediately, as a result, began to argue and fight over it again. Not long after, the winter came down on this land too, forcing the three groups to take refuge in a cave together. However, this only made them argue more, making the winter worse than ever and eventually freezing the leaders solid. The assistants realized that their constant arguing, fighting, and hate for one another had drawn winter spirits called Windegos first to their native land and now this land, as they feed off of anger and negativity to make winter worse. The three were about to freeze as well but, before they did, they admitted they didn’t hate each other and recognized that they’re “all ponies”…causing a spell in the shape of a flaming heart to come off from the unicorn among them that drove the Windegos back. The three assistants became friends and made the spell continue to blaze until it not only drove the Windegos away but thawed the leaders, both physically and from their “frozen hearts”. They reconciled and agreed to share the land, founding Equestria.

The play is a success but, while cleaning up, the girls start to argue over who needs to shut a window that blew open. But when the hear what sounds like a Windego howling outside…they immediately reconcile.

Review:

I’m Christian…so there’s few things that annoy me more than secularizing Christmas. I’m sorry…the fact of the matter is none of those other holidays would be celebrated as vigorously if it wasn’t an attempt to “steal the thunder” from Christmas, and everyone deep down in their heart of hearts knows it. So, naturally, kid shows make me infuriated because they’re always secular…but I’ll let it slide for MLP because…well…these are ponies who don’t have a Jesus figure around anywhere.

This is a fairly entertaining episode to me. I expected it to be a bit hum-drum and, toward the end, it gets a bit “sickeningly sweet” for me. Yet it has a number of good laughs in it in spite of the girls acting out different characters. It’s a nice slice of history although I still wonder what happened in between this event and Discord. It manages to keep a bit of the “dramatic edge” while not sacrificing the humor, which is great. And so…yes, this is a better episode than a lot, and I think it was a nice pickup before the most disappointing episode in the series, which came next…

Fun Facts:

In spite of the name and the fact that it’s of the founding of Equestria, it’s pretty clear Hearth’s Warming Eve is a knock-off of Christmas.

Aside from “Winter Wrap Up”, this is the only episode of the series to be featured during winter.

First episode where the girls rely on the train to get to and from Canterlot rather than walking or air, and the first episode to feature the train running on steam power. Similar to the opening, Derpy is on the front of the train. No CMCs on the caboose, but they pop out when they arrive. This is a bit curious. Does that mean EVERYONE goes to Canterlot for the Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant?

No Derpy in the pageant? Aw… The pageant takes place in the same hall as the Season Two opener did.

Spike, for some reason, adopts a British accent for the part of the narrator.

The full cast is:

Twilight Sparkle as Clover the Clever.

Applejack as Smart Cookie.

Fluttershy as Private Pansy.

Rarity as Princess Platinum.

Pinkie Pie as Chancellor Puddin’head.

Rainbow Dash as Commander Hurricane.

The earth ponies dress like European medieval peasants while the unicorns dress like European medieval nobility. The pegasi, however, dress like ancient Romans.

This episode shows the “symbiotic” relationship of the three types of ponies clearly for the first time, something that would carry over all the way into the Season Four finale. Earth ponies are the only ones who can grow food to feed anyone, but they depend on pegasi to bring them good weather, and the unicorns (at least, prior to Celestia and Luna) to bring day and night.

This episode also demonstrates that earth ponies are historically “dim-witted”, playing kazoos to announce their leader, for example. Pegasi are more “war-like”, and unicorns, well…pretty much always thought they were better than everyone…pretty much like today. 😛

Whereas the other “assistants” defer to their leaders in spite of their bad decisions…Smart Cookie is to Chancellor Puddinhead kind of like how Kif is to Zapp Brannigan on “Futurama”.

The pegasi tried to declare Equestria “Pegasapolis”. The unicorns called it “Unicornia”. The earth ponies, on the other hand, end up calling it “Earth”. 😀

Starswirl the Bearded gets alluded to in this episode. It turns out he was Clover the Clever’s mentor.

“Windegos” are introduced in this episode, a totally fictional monster, much like the timberwolves.

A bit of a plot hole in this episode… In the opener, both for this season and Season Four, it was implied Celestia and Luna came to Equestria some time after the events of the first Hearth’s Warming Eve, when Discord had taken it over. Yet the flag for Equestria has Celestia and Luna on it.

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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