It’s time for the next Sisterhooves Social, and Apple Bloom is excited to win the blue ribbon this year with the help of “the best sister ever”. Unfortunately for her, the Cutie Map is calling Applejack to Manehattan (see previous episode) and that means she’ll have to sit on the sidelines; much to her misery. On hearing that Rainbow Dash is being allowed to participate as Scootaloo’s “sister” due to allowing anyone who has a big-sister relationship to participate, Big Macintosh dresses in drag and takes on the persona of “cousin Orchard Blossom” to allow Apple Bloom to compete. Unfortunately, his ungainly size and “stallion-liness” ruins most of the events, making him determined to get Apple Bloom to win the relay at the end. While he succeeds, he does so by smashing through half of the course and disabling other competitors by accident, not only revealing himself but disqualifying himself and Apple Bloom as a result. Later that afternoon, Apple Bloom notices Big Mac is depressed and wants to know why he did it. After some prodding, he confesses that Apple Bloom used to think he was the greatest, but now Applejack is a hero of Equestria and all he ever does is hang around the farm doing chores. Apple Bloom spends all her time with Applejack praising her, and for once he wanted to “be the hero”. Apple Bloom realizes she hasn’t been giving Big Mac the same attention and love as Applejack and says they both need to share their feelings more. When Granny Smith announces Applejack has come home, Apple Bloom elects to spend some time with Big Mac a bit longer before greeting her.
Not everyone appreciated this episode when it came out. Me? I’m an older brother with younger and older sisters as well as an uncle. I know where Big Macintosh is coming from. As a result, I think this episode is wonderful.
This is, thus far, the only episode in which Big Macintosh is the focus. (“Hearts and Hooves Day” was more of a CMC episode.) While it’s also an Apple Bloom episode, it was something that some aspects of the fandom wanted to see for a while, including this one. There are few male characters on the show, and pretty much the only two who ever get any attention to have episodes centered on them are Spike and Discord, and Discord doesn’t really count as he’s usually there because his character itself is the joke.
Truth be told, for some reason, “drag humor” doesn’t really get me to smile or snicker that much. And this episode focused a lot on Apple Bloom’s misery at not having Applejack to compete with and mostly ignored the fact that Sweetie Belle is in the exact same boat. Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo being thrown in on the side is practically gloss in what could have been a cute little moment, when it might have worked better if Scootaloo had to sit things out too so Sweetie Belle wouldn’t have felt that bad. Still, it was good for allowing Big Macintosh a chance to act over-the-top, because normally he’s so laid back and mellow that him in his standard persona would have gotten boring rather quickly.
Yet the real point where this episode excelled was the build-up to the finale. It would have really hit home and left not a dry eye in the audience if it had been the first time Big Macintosh had ever said anything besides “eeyup” and “nope”, but unfortunately that opportunity was lost all the way back in “Applebuck Season”. But even so, it was very sweet and touching. When you have younger relatives that you interact with a lot, the first people they look up to is members of the family, including you. I remember a time I was the “fun uncle”. Yet kids grow up and eventually things happen to where you’re not that exciting to them anymore. When that happens, you long for the time in which you can do something that really brings a smile to their face or makes them think that you’re the greatest. Even nowadays, I’d still like that feeling, and it does feel sad whenever they grow up and start looking to a different family member more than you, and I figure that especially happens with males vs. females. At any early age, girls and boys can like whatever they feel like. But as they get older, they’re expected to fall more in line with the interests that are “boy-orientated” or “girl-orientated”. That inevitably leads to gravitating more toward female family members than male ones.
When Big Macintosh broke his normal silence to monologue about his feelings, it was not only a sweet moment, but it almost seemed to be an appeal to the audience as well. To not forget about the characters in Equestria who aren’t off following Cutie Maps or gathering Keys of Harmony. In that sense, it restated the theme of “Slice of Life”, in that everypony’s “story” is important. But that Apple Bloom learned to show her love for her brother as well as her sister was equally cute.
Even “Princess Big Mac” from a few episodes back is more endearing rather than funny now, when we realize it came from a desire to save the day for a change rather than be stuck doing farm work and saying “eeyup”.
It’s really not fair for me to rate the entire episode high for one scene, but I still give this episode high marks for drama and feels.
“Your extreme awesomeness is backfiring on me!” That line sounds something a little more akin to what Scootaloo would say…and it shows as Michelle Creber’s country accent really falls apart in the middle of it.
Out of the four voice actors who perform the Mane Six, only Ashleigh Ball was necessary as she voices both Applejack and Rainbow Dash. However…Tabitha St. Germain performs the voice of Granny Smith, so she had to be in there too. 😛
When Big Macintosh makes the funny face but loses one of his carrot teeth, he resembles Discord.
Sweetie Belle doesn’t seem terribly upset about Rarity not being there to let her compete either. One would think Apple Bloom would be consoled by that…
When you think about it, the “loose definition of sister” rule really makes sense. Otherwise you’d pretty much exclude any filly who happened to have an older brother instead of a sister.
As a joke, Big Macintosh never talks, but while in the persona of Orchard Blossom he talks way too much.
Here’s a bit of a creepy joke… The ponies in charge of registering contestants for the Sisterhooves Social admit at the end they knew Orchard Blossom was Big Mac in drag the whole time, and yet that one old guy still tries to hit on her/him…
As a nice little joke that swaps gender roles, Rainbow Dash tells Big Mac: “Don’t think we’re going to take it easy on you just because you’re a stallion.”
This might be the first time Peter New has gotten to sing for the show. 😛
It looks like Big Mac was one second from “spiking” Apple Bloom. XD
3.5 Stars out of 5