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Synopsis:

The Cutie Map activates a fourth time and, much to her pleasure, Twilight Sparkle is finally being sent out along with Fluttershy to a region of Equestria called the Smokey Mountains, supposedly one of the most beautiful places in Equestria. On arrival, they find the place is nothing but scorched earth and are nearly caught in the crossfire between two feuding pony families: the Hooffields, ponies who are good at growing food but terrible at building things; and the McColts, ponies who are good at building things but terrible at growing food. Twilight soon discovers that both sides don’t even know what they’re fighting about anymore, can only agree on wanting to beat the other side, and are adamant about continuing to fight; rejecting all attempts at reconciliation. After trying an entire portfolio worth of friendship techniques on them, and the two families only fighting harder, Twilight is nearly ready to give the situation up as hopeless, until Fluttershy talks with the local animals. Twilight ends up freezing both sides while Fluttershy relates the tale of how the families started their feud, as related by the wildlife. Both families’ patriarchs discovered the valley and how beautiful it was and intended to care for all the animals there, but one wanted to start by growing food for all of them and the other wanted to start by building a shelter. Neither could agree and started sabotaging each other until they started outright fighting; destroying the valley they wanted to protect and ruining what food and shelter was already there for the animals. Realizing how their selfish pettiness has destroyed the very reason they started to fight, the two sides apologize to each other, acknowledging both of them were wrong, and begin to work together at last. The mission accomplished, Twilight and Fluttershy head home wondering what comes next now that all have been summoned by the map.

Review:

When I first saw this episode, I was rather unimpressed with it. I’m not terribly fond of hillbilly humor and this episode is riddled with it. It makes for some interesting artwork, to be sure, but it didn’t really grab me. What more, the plot was a bit old hat. The idea of characters encountering backwoods families feuding has been around since Bugs Bunny. And being another Cutie Map episode, you know that by the end of it they’re all going to be friends again and it was just a matter of how it would happen.

However, this episode was probably one of the biggest ones that I would rate for “gaining points on the second viewing”. When I stop thinking about the old hat plot and hillbilly humor, it’s actually fairly entertaining. It marks something of a return to Twilight Sparkle’s old ways of trying to solve friendship problems, doing absolutely everything by the book and showing a bit of her OCD. That’s actually not such a bad thing as when she’s just being a princess she pretty much sits around in the castle and reads books or organizes events. A flashback to the “old Twilight” was rather nice. Fluttershy doesn’t have much point being here other than the resolution and there’s not a lot of opportunities to knock her off of Twilight for humor, other than in traveling to and from the Smokey Mountains, but the mere fact she’s back to being “old Fluttershy” who was just the right amount of shy and quiet, like she was back in the early seasons, is more than welcome and reminds me after “Scare Master” why I like her so much.

And most of all, if you take this episode as more goofy and silly than the previous two Cutie Map episodes, it’s far more enjoyable because there’s honestly a lot of funny parts in it. (“(After Big Daddy McColt’s long list of pumpkin dishes)…Actually that all sounds pretty good. BUT IT’LL GET OLD!”; the tortoise fleeing for his life as fast as his slow speed can take him; “Did you say ‘cake’? As in…cake?”) I didn’t think Ma Hooffield had many good lines, but the way Big Daddy McColt delivered his lines (note he screams every time he says the world “Hooffields”) was pretty entertaining. It’s again one that the whole audience will appreciate.

So yeah, I’ll actually rate this one above average. Not the best episode this season, but more fun than a lot of them.

Fun Facts:

The last of the “Cutie Map” episodes.

The title is a takeoff of the Hatfields and McCoys, two families in the USA that had a legendary feud spanning 28 years. It led to 15 deaths and 7 life sentences.

“Wuthering Hooves” is a takeoff of “Wuthering Heights”. I’m surprised Fluttershy would be reading that. 😛

The Smoky Mountains are a real place without any plays on words. The only difference between their name and the one in Equestria is the ones in Equestria are called the “Smokey” Mountains (look at the closed captions).

One of the rare times the girls use the hot air balloon to go somewhere, which is odd considering that both of them can fly… And I still want to see an airship. 😦

Ellen Kennedy voices Ma Hooffield, her only voice this season after doing the Mane-iac and the chimera last season. Peter Kelamis does the voice of Big Daddy McColt. He has a career in both TV and voice acting and did the voice of “Incidental Pony” earlier this season, but he was also one of the alternate voices for Goku in “Dragonball Z”.

Yet another episode where the ending theme doesn’t run.

Rating:

3.5 Stars out of 5

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