The Cutie Map has activated a second time; this time wanting just Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to travel to the kingdom of the griffons: Griffonstone. According to Equestrian history, it became the greatest kingdom in Equestria following King Grover finding the Idol of Boreat, which caused griffons to stop being greedy and instead take pride in themselves as a race. Yet when Rainbow and Pinkie arrive, they find the kingdom is little more than a worn-out, rotten ruin that bears nothing of its former glory, and also run into Gilda, who has nothing but spite and insults for both of them. They discover that while under King Guto, a monster named Aramaste stole the idol but fell into a bottomless chasm with it, and ever since that day the griffons lost their pride and reverted into being selfish, greedy creatures only interested in their own benefit. Rainbow Dash believes they were brought there to recover the idol and save the kingdom, but Pinkie isn’t so sure. While Pinkie assists (an extremely hostile, reluctant, and cranky) Gilda in improving her recipe for “griffonscones”, Rainbow goes into the chasm alone but ends up stranded on a crumbling ledge. Pinkie finds out and goes to get help from Gilda, who refuses at first until Pinkie reminds her of how Rainbow Dash befriended her in Junior Fliers Camp, at which point she reluctantly agrees. After a mishap during the rescue, however, the situation ends up with Gilda attached to a rock precipice holding onto Rainbow and Pinkie on a rope, but discovers the missing idol on a ledge across from her. Unable to grab the idol and save the two of them, she ends up electing to let the idol go in order to rescue the two ponies; realizing friendship is more important to her than the treasure. Once out of the chasm, Pinkie explains that the reason the map brought them there was to restore Griffonstone’s glory, but not through the idol; by teaching them to care about each other more than gold. Gilda nervously tries it out on another local griffon named Greta and ends up getting the first compliment she’s ever heard from another griffon. When the two task her with spreading friendship to the rest of Griffonstone, she nervously says she hasn’t even made a single friend yet; when Rainbow Dash reminds her she’s already made two.
We didn’t know it, but similar to the “Keys of Harmony” episodes we were now going through the “Cutie Map” episodes; yet another chain of events leading up to a season finale. It wouldn’t become obvious until “The Hooffields and McColts”.
Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash usually make a good combination, as the two are the most energetic characters out of the Mane Six. They work pretty well in this one too, with Pinkie doing her normal random behavior and Rainbow Dash showing off the better side of her loyalty, especially in the flashback. Naturally, the highlight of this episode was the return of a character most fans had probably thought the writers had forgotten about: Gilda Griffon. Personally, I hated her in that episode. At the time she was only a minor “after-school-special” villain, but seeing as she was more similar to individuals in real life than Nightmare Moon was, she was something of the first real villain the show had. Plus, when I was young, people made fun of the way I talked to bully me, so hearing her do the same struck a raw nerve.
Still, similar to Diamond Tiara…I can forgive her due to her upbringing. When coming from a culture of selfish bullies, it’s easy to see how she would treat others that way. One would think she would have learned a lesson from remembering how it felt to be insulted and teased by others and how nice it felt when someone went out of there way to be nice to her…but, eh, she does learn that lesson by the end of this one. And if you look back to “Griffon the Brush-Off”, when Gilda stormed out she did kind of leave a door open for Rainbow Dash to come back in if she wanted. It wasn’t the kind of door Rainbow would want to pass through, but it did indicate she didn’t want to totally lose her as a friend. So, all in all, I thought it was nice. It didn’t quite hit in the feels as much as one of the other redemptions would…but it also wasn’t half as bad as one of the other redemptions would be… It was cute enough, and if you had any love at all for Gilda in spite of being a grumpy bully in her first appearance, this was nice. And it definitely sets things up for more appearances in the future.
Sadly, this episode is yet again in the territory of good-not-great. It’s not dull, but it’s not anything monumental either. Perhaps if a bit more time could have been devoted to one of the few new locales we actually ended up getting this season things could have been more interesting. But this is the last we would see of Griffonstone and would practically be the only new lands we would see this entire season after introducing a MacGuffin that enabled the cast to go pretty much anywhere, so…above average is all.
Needless to say, this episode is a continuation of Season One’s “Griffon the Brush-Off”.
The recipe Pinkie is making in the beginning of the episode comes from Granny Pie, meaning not all of the Pies are obsessed with eating tasteless rocks.
Pinkie Pie leaning in to whisper to Gummy is similar to a regular bit on “Ren & Stimpy”.
Apparently, all griffon names start with a “G”. 😛
At a massive 94 episodes, Gilda Griffon set the record for the longest absence of a character in the show’s history…until the record was broken in the very next episode. 🙂
This is only the third time Maryke Hendrikse has had to voice act for the show, with one of the others being the original “Griffon the Brush-Off”. However, her second time was another memorable character: Sonata Dusk of the Dazzlings.
The fall of Aramaste into the gorge is similar to the scene with the Bridge of Khazad-um in “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
Another Pinkie Pie fourth wall break when Gilda agrees to help save Rainbow Dash.
The fact that Aramaste’s skull is located in the gorge right next to the idol means Aramaste is the first character in the show’s history whose death was indirectly implied.
The resolution of the episode is similar to the resolution of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, with the main characters choosing their relationship with each other over the priceless relic.
The first of three “villain redemptions” this season.
3 Stars out of 5