The Cutie Mark Crusaders stop by the library once a week for “Twilight Time”, where Twilight Sparkle helps them out learning new skills. At school, when Diamond Tiara starts boasting about her own “talent” and using her family’s own social connections as (yet) another reason to taunts the CMCs, the girls name-drop Princess Twilight Sparkle and their time with her, leading Diamond and Silver Spoon to grow impressed and request to come along. The CMCs bring her and, as a result, are made the most popular fillies in school for knowing Twilight Sparkle, and soon the entire school wants to hang out with them to be around Equestria’s “newest celebrity”. The girls end up milking this for all its worth, including getting free favors and popularity, but eventually their new “fans” expect to be compensated by being invited for more “Twilight Time” after Twilight said she intends it to be private between her and the CMCs. In the end, the whole class “crashes” the visit to Twilight Sparkle’s, but she’s perfectly happy about it as she likes helping fillies learn. Yet when Pipsqueak spills the beans about how the CMCs have been getting free favors out of this, the CMCs are forced to try and quickly do their lessons from Twilight in a vain attempt to show that was the main reason they enjoyed Twilight Time rather than just “milking the status”. They fail miserably and begin to get mocked by Diamond Tiara, but Twilight points out they too were only there just for the status of hanging around Equestria’s princess. The rest of the class leaves, the CMCs apologize and turn to walk out…but in doing so also inadvertently show that their skills have improved in the lessons Twilight taught them, lending credibility to their claim they truly wanted just to learn from Twilight all along. In the end, Twilight forgives them provided they keep “Twilight Time” a secret from now on, and the CMCs write in the diary about the experience before disguising themselves and sneaking out of the library.
I compliment the series on the fact that even though it’s growing increasingly more annoying the CMCs don’t have their Cutie Marks, they really stopped making episodes where that’s the focus. Instead, they focus on them “just being little girls”. That said…as always, most of their episodes are “meh”. This one has a good part or two in it, though.
This episode is technically one for all the CMCs, but Sweetie Belle gets a lot of screen time, making it feel like it’s almost one for her. Of course, that’s sort of the situation in any episode where they’re not operating as a “unit” and one of them is the “odd man out”.
The big thing that I hate about this episode is why in the world the CMCs are still trying to get Diamond Tiara’s admiration. By this point, she’s such a repulsive character that there isn’t anyone in the viewing audience who likes her. And if little kids don’t like her…it seems equally ridiculous that anyone in her school would like her and/or give a damn about her status. Yet still the fillies want to “impress” her in order to get more distinction. Sheesh…was the social climate really that pathetic back in grade school? I wouldn’t go to a pool party thrown by Diamond Tiara if she was giving out $10,000 door prizes. (Maybe for a million I’d stop by though. I have principles but I’m also not a moron.)
Another problem is that the show has a “disconnect” with Twilight Sparkle’s new status. Granted, in most episodes of this season, she confines her interactions to the Mane Six. But you still get the impression, alicorn or no, she’s still considered just another “townsperson” by most ponies. There are episodes where Twilight distinctly begins to see the impact of her new status that do it a lot better. After several episodes of Twilight running around not getting any special attention, such as when she was a cheerleader in “Rainbow Falls” or just another party goer in “Pinkie Pride”, I’m not really “seeing” what suddenly gives her the princess status. It seems the townsfolk, much like the audience, barely even notices the fact Twilight Sparkle is an alicorn by now.
The ending, however…I think was a bit nicer than it gets credit for. It takes what was nearly a “have-it-all” ending and has Twilight Sparkle take the CMCs to task for it. And ultimately the biggest virtue Twilight Sparkle presents at the end…the kind that ends up playing a major role in the season finale and might actually be “practice” for Twilight for it…is forgiveness. Plus, it’s nice to have an episode where the CMCs learn a new talent and don’t immediately rant and rave about getting their Cutie Marks in it. In fact…Cutie Marks barely get mentioned in this episode at all. The girls are hanging out with Twilight Sparkle just “to learn new things”. Even when they start getting good at their new skills at the very end, they still don’t bring up the dreaded “Maybe we can get our Cutie Marks in _________!” And…ironically, that makes them seem like they’re actually making progress toward getting them more than the standard fare. I actually started to hold onto the hope that they would finally resolve that plot item this season. That hope was eventually dashed, but still…
So…yes, thanks to the ending, this was a solid “mid-range” episode.
When the episode begins, there’s a diagram Twilight made of the diamond chest in the background. At this point, I almost think it’s there as if for the writers to say: “We haven’t forgotten about that plot, viewers at home! It’s coming!”
For the love of…do the writers somehow think the viewers don’t hate Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon “enough”? They have to make them shallow as well? They pretty much admit they didn’t care about Twilight Sparkle at all while she was still a unicorn, but once she became an alicorn now they want to be around her for the status. Maybe they’re trying to make them so utterly repulsive they become “Dracos In Leather Pants”. (I think they are already, actually…)
The first time Pipsqueak has gotten lines since “Luna Eclipsed”, way back in Season Two.
The first appearance of “Hay Burgers”, which would end up being a new way to incorporate real world pop culture into the show. It apparently functions just like any other real world fast food joint. It’s just the burgers are made of hay. Also, Twilight Sparkle apparently is a bit of a junk food eater. Not just in this episode, but it’s been hinted from time to time throughout the series.
When the kids start shouting “TWILIGHT TIME!” toward the end and ratting the gate at Diamond Tiara’s place, it’s similar to a zombie movie.
The first episode the CMCs write in the diary.
2.5 Stars out of 5