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Synopsis:

Twilight Sparkle and the Mane Six are summoned to the Crystal Empire to help entertain the Equestria Games Chairperson in hopes that next year’s Equestria Games will be held there. Rainbow Dash, who both sympathizes with the Crystal Empire having missed out on the last millennium as well as how much she was disappointed when Cloudsdale couldn’t host the games when she was a filly, is especially determined to get it right. Things soon start going bad on arrival when it turns out the crystal pony who is supposed to style Cadance’s hair in a ceremonial fashion is out sick and the chairperson, Ms. Harshwhinny, is arriving earlier than expected. Rarity stays behind to try and do the hair style while the others go to entertain the arriving guest, knowing only that she will have a floral pattern suitcase. They end up grabbing the first mare off the train they see with a floral pattern suitcase…not realizing that she’s not Ms. Harshwhinny. After spending the entire morning entertaining her and trying to buy time to get Cadance’s hair done, the girls finally realize their mistake. They rush out looking for the real chairperson and finally find her at the same spa where Cadance is getting her mane done, and is talking to the same pony they showed around all morning. They rush in and try to apologize, but it turns out, in spite of being annoyed at the total lack of reception waiting for her, Ms. Harshwhinny heard how well the mare was treated and takes that as an “unbiased” opinion for the hospitality of the Crystal Empire, and ends up naming them to host the games. The girls go home triumphant and think about how Spike is doing…not realizing he’s hiding with the pets and CMCs right under their seats.

Review:

Well, this one has to go as another “good not great” episode to me.

Like most episodes, it has its moments. They’re a bit more “subtle” in this one, which isn’t always a good thing, especially in a cartoon. It’s nice to see Cadance and Shining Armor in a situation where they’re not “saving the day”. And like the last episode, it’s a big setup for Season Four and a couple episodes within it. It’s interesting to see the Crystal Empire not being an out-of-date empire-sized MacGuffin and actually acclimating to being part of Equestria. Also, as a detail missed, Twilight Sparkle finally has learned how to not “freak out” when a crisis shows up and is even impressed with herself at one point at keeping calm.

Yet I think the big “bad” part of this episode was that it was trying to handle something a bit more “mature” and “sophisticated” humor-wise: a comedy of errors. Sure enough, this whole episode has more of a “sitcom feel” to it than the normal episodes of the series. It does a good job, but those episodes aren’t really “laugh out loud” and, as the new “Looney Tunes” show on Cartoon Network has demonstrated, zany cartoon characters aren’t a terribly good medium to use for a sitcom. The end result is an episode that seems to just fall a tad flat.

It’s fairly entertaining and nothing is really overtly “bad” about it…just not much “good” either.

Fun Facts:

This episode is the “sister episode” to “Just for Sidekicks”, and a couple of random events in this episode are the result of things that occurred in that one.

This episode is also the first to feature Shining Armor and Princess Cadance in a non-“plot device” role, and is the prelude to Season Four’s “Equestria Games”, a takeoff of the Olympics. And just like the Olympics, a committee has to choose which town hosts the Equestria Games each year…and by “committee” I mean one pony. 😛 Seriously, though…it’s a rather poor setup. Cadance really wanted six out-of-towners who knew little about the Crystal Empire to begin with to come in and convince the committee chairperson to host the games there? Shouldn’t she have asked, I dunno, crystal ponies to do it? Or did they really need every last crystal pony to “polish stuff”? :X

In the brief flashback, Rainbow Dash is perched on the head of a stallion pegasus who also has a rainbow mane…presumably her father. This is the one and only appearance he’s ever made. Seriously, though…how the heck can Cloudsdale host the Equestria Games when all non-pegasi would pass right through the clouds?

The girls were sure able to adapt their routine to not have Rarity in it in a hurry, weren’t they? Ah well…the return of the “party cannon”.

Part of the gag was supposed to be the girls didn’t know their way around the palace at all, yet Twilight finds her way straight to the stadium while Rainbow Dash leads the guest pony in circles.

First episode where Shining Armor is referred to as a “prince”.

The joy the crystal ponies feel from winning the right to hold the Equestria Games causes the Crystal Heart to flare. Ah well…still doesn’t work on centaur demons. 😛

Although never said in the episode, the “Ms. Harshwhinny” that the girls end up treating to a tour of the kingdom is named Ms. Peachbottom.

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5

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