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Granny Smith tells Big Macintosh to fix a squeaky floorboard on the gazebo at Sweet Apple Acres, but he’s out of nails. He heads into Ponyville to go to the hardware store and get some, only to find out the town is overrun for the annual Summer Wrap-Up and Hoe-Down Festival. He ends up nearly blown up by the Cutie Mark Crusader’s firework-launching catapult, babysitting the Cakes’ twins, getting in an accident with Fleetfoot that results in her crushing on him, running into the booths that Diamond Tiara/Silver Spoon and Bulk Biceps have set up, participating in the athletic competitions with Princess Luna, and many other misadventures and activities before finally finding the hardware store, only to find it’s not only blown up by the CMCs’ mishap but the owner, Lugnut, has gone to the festival too.

Growing increasingly sore, Big Macintosh heads back into the festival to look for Lugnut. After getting roped into a carnival game, more CMC mishaps, accidentally performing in the parade with Sapphire Shores, getting suckered into buying cruddy figurines from Spike, becoming Photo Finish’s latest masterpiece model, and getting another pony to crush on him, hours have passed with no luck, and he plans to give up and go home. However, on running into Zecora, she gets him to realize that he actually had a lot of fun even if he never got what he wanted, and he decides to stay on at the festival just having a good time. Finally, heading home, he runs into Lugnut, who reveals he was out of nails and loaded up himself from Sweet Apple Acres, which had a ton of nails the whole time. He also says he’ll bring over lumber tomorrow, which Big Macintosh wonders about until he realizes the last ball of fireworks the CMCs shot off destroyed the gazebo.


Because side characters need love too. šŸ˜›

After having two “serious” arcs, the comic writers decided to go with a shorter arc that’s just for fun and highlights not the main characters but rather all the side ones. This was the first time some of them, such as Octavia, got any lines at all in the entire series, and many of them got a few panels to “shine” all by themselves. Although Spike and the CMCs both appear, this arc is, for the most part, just a chance to highlight the lesser-known members of Ponyville and, in particular, Big Macintosh…actually showing what goes through his big head.

As a result, I don’t really have much to complain about it. It’s purely for fun rather than trying to tell anything serious or even much of a plot. After getting rather “dark” for the Nightmare Rarity arc, this was a return to loads of hidden jokes and meta humor, and it’s kind of nice to see Big Macintosh highlighted for an episode of his own, even if it’s something rather mundane such as searching for nails. Is it anything “show-stopping”? No, but there’s nothing wrong with being an entertaining little story either. It seems to get OOC at times in order to use slightly more “mature” jokes…but ah well. I can forgive it that.

So yeah…I think it was rather nice. Hopefully a good preview of what’s to come in Season Five, as the actual show creators plan to devote the 100th episode to background ponies.

Let’s hope they make Derpy speak again like she did in this one.

Fun Facts:

This arc is set some time after the last arc and the end of Season Three.

In another fan-nod, Derpy is delivering the mail in this issue. Similar to the first arc which showed her being lured to her fate by muffins, both are fan-concepts related to her.

The toolbox Big Macintosh picks up is marked “Binford”, an allusion to the show “Home Improvement”.

A festival called “Summer Wrap-Up” occurs in this arc, obviously analogous to “Winter Wrap-Up” from Season One. Apparently it’s not nearly as intensive of an activity.

In the panel where Big Macintosh notices the Filly and Colt Corral, two fillies on the right corner of the panel are dressed like Ninja Turtles.

One full page panel shows Big Macintosh’s journey with a dotted line. This is a knockoff of Bil Keane’s infamous dotted-line sequences he does for Sunday versions of “The Family Circus”.

One of the stands is Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon running an “Advice – 5 Bits” stand. This is an allusion to Charles Schultz’s infamous stand in “Peanuts” that Lucy ran. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon are even initially drawn with “Peanuts”-like expressions.

In the panels where the CMCs shoot by with their (third) set of fireworks, there’s a sign in the back that advertises: “Plasmids and Vigors”, an allusion to Ryan Industries/Fontaine Futuristics from “Bioshock”.

Vinyl Scratch is in the panel where Luna shows up to participate in the Summer Wrap Up games. The song she’s listening to is a pony version of “Drive My Car” from The Beatles.

One of Luna’s threshals that pulled her chariot in Season Two’s “Luna Eclipsed” is helping her out with her gear.

Luna’s t-shirt keeps changing its saying in every panel. The full list of sayings are: “Blame My Sister”, “Eat My Dust”, a Star Trek Starfleet emblem, “Night Moves”, “Don’t Start With Me…You Won’t Win”, a Batman emblem, “Buy Me Things”, “Dream Girl”, and “Best”. The trophies she wins includes: “Curling”, “Sugar Cube Sculpting”, and “Synchronized Water Polo”.

As in the first arc, Spike and Angel Bunny provide a segueway halfway through the story.

Big Macintosh wins a giant weird stuffed plush Pinkie Pie, the same as the one she was wearing in the first arc.

When Snips bites the rope, the CMC’s fireworks’ latest victim is a hut called the “Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room”, an allusion to one of the original Disneyland’s attractions.

Derpy has moved into the chrysalis that imprisoned her in the very first issue. šŸ˜› Also, the mailbox she erected in front of it reads: “D. Hooves”. There’s been some dispute about what Derpy’s name is on the show. Some of her titles have been “Ditzy Doo” and “Muffins”. The mailbox confirms, at least for the comic creators, her name is indeed Derpy Hooves.

The parade for Summer Wrap Up includes the “float” that Delta House brought into the Founder’s Day Parade in “Animal House”. The cake in the movie read “Eat Me”, but the art is drawn in such a way you can only make out “Me” in the comic.

Sapphire Shores is singing a pony version of “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.

Photo Finish’s panels are actual photographs. šŸ˜›

The second mare Big Macintosh runs into fantasizes him as being a knock-off of James Bond.

When Big Macintosh spots Cheerilee, he thinks that she’s Lugnut’s “father’s sister’s cousin’s former roommate”…an allusion to a scene from Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs”.

Celestia easily beats Big Macintosh in arm wrestling. O_o

On the last page, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Doctor Whooves are singing “Summer Wrap-Up”, walking in the same position and in the same pose they did when they sang “Winter Wrap-Up” in Season One.

The Mane Six appear in the background in this episode, almost always talking about the same adventure. The adventure they allude to has never been seen in the IDW comic main series or the actual show.


3.5 Stars out of 5