Applejack is needing to fill in for an injured Braeburn at the Appleloosan Rodeo, and she’s brought the Cutie Mark Crusaders along to enjoy the show. The CMCs are eager to try and get into events to see if they can get their Cutie Marks, but that comes to a screeching halt when Sheriff Silverstar reports an outlaw renown for destroying rodeos, Troubleshoes Clyde, is in the area. As Applejack won’t let them compete due to being too dangerous because of him, they sneak out during a rainy night to try and find him so the sheriff can arrest him and keep the rodeo going. Unfortunately, they get lost, and end up stumbling across what they think is an abandoned wagon. It turns out Troubleshoes lives there, and, far from being an outlaw, it turns out he’s an unfortunate individual who got a Cutie Mark in being an unlucky klutz. He loves rodeos but could never compete due to his bad luck, and usually ends up wrecking every rodeo he goes to by mistake. When he ends up taking the CMCs back to town, he ends up ambushed and arrested by the local authorities, who suspect him of “filly-napping”. The CMCs end up springing him from prison and suggest he’s looking at his Cutie Mark wrong; maybe it means he was supposed to be a rodeo clown and use his klutziness to make ponies laugh. Reluctantly, he disguises himself as one and joins the routine, and ends up being a smash hit. Unfortunately, his disguise comes off in the process and he gets exposed. After apologizing for his accidents and revealing he realized his purpose was to be a rodeo clown, as well as the CMCs coming clean and revealing they wandered off and he was guiding them back, the town forgives him and accepts him. The CMCs get the happiness of realizing they helped an individual realize the true purpose behind their Cutie Mark, but the unhappiness of being forced to clean up after Troubleshoes as punishment for sneaking out.
A lot of people didn’t really care for this episode that much when it came out. I don’t really see why. It’s a CMC episode and, for the most part, those episodes are always lackluster due to how “straight” the fillies are played. And they don’t get to play off each other too terribly much this episode either, with most of the humor coming from parodies of the west or Troubleshoes. But the lesson, while it may not have been important for the viewers at home, ended up being of key importance to the CMCs.
Season Five was delayed almost by six months followed by a further hiatus mid-season. As a result, Season Six was well into development for what could possibly have been a regularly-scheduled release in Fall of 2015, yet was postponed to Spring 2016 at last. As a result, I get the sense that Season Five and Season Six were fairly in production concurrently with the stream of thought on the writers overlapping the seasons. As a result, this episode feels more like one that was originally supposed to air after “Crusaders of the Lost Mark”, especially since it features the CMCs helping an individual learn the true purpose of their Cutie Mark. But due to one reason or another, it got delayed or shifted around. Possibly because the writers couldn’t think of a good reason for the CMCs to run off and meet Troubleshoes unless their desire for a Cutie Mark was somehow involved. So while it matches well with the new purpose of the CMCs, it’s coming a bit early.
Physically, I find Troubleshoes a fun character as he looks like the first “true horse”. But he doesn’t really have much going for him otherwise, unless you like the sort of personality type like Eeyore. Just replace “Just my luck” with “Oh bother”. Plus, this episode has what I’m going to go ahead and officially name “The Curse of Applejack”, in that if it features Applejack in it…it’s going to be bland.
Another good-not-great episode, but I’ll award it a bit higher as it hinted at the future destiny of the CMCs.
Am I the only one upset we didn’t see Little Strongheart this entire episode?
Troubleshoes Clyde is the tallest equine character thus far on the show, standing at almost twice as tall as a normal pony character. He is also the most horse-like character on the show, being the first equine character with “face painting”. This almost leads credence to the idea of him being a separate species from earth ponies: the first true member of the horse species. But the fact he has a Cutie Mark indicates he’s, in fact, just a giant pony.
The primary job of most rodeo clowns is to distract the bull in an event while the competitor clears the field, although there are still some that also entertain the audience. In “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, it seems the rodeo clown is just there to entertain the audience. It makes sense as the steers in this universe are sentient.
Braeburn has almost an “anime-like” face on poking his head out of the haystack.
3 Stars out of 5