Twilight Sparkle, now the Princess of Friendship, has been running herself ragged trying to fix every friendship problem in Equestria. She’s obsessing so constantly over every problem that she’s constantly stressed out, unable to concentrate on anything except the problems all day and yet unable to solve even one. When Spike tries encouraging her to take some time off to hang with other ponies, she misinterprets that as a suggestion to do research on ponies who have a lot of work to do to see how they manage to accomplish it. As a result, she ends up on Sweet Apple Acres, but as Applejack and Apple Bloom are going to be out for a week making a delivery, on Applejack’s suggestion she watches Big Macintosh instead. After a day of research she sees he’s able to get a lot done, but she can’t see how. When she tries talking to him about it, he is (naturally) unable to explain why. As a result, she uses a special spell to enter Big Mac’s subconscious to find out, and ends up meeting with various sides of his personality including a Talkative Big Mac, Helpful Big Mac, and Smart Big Mac. She finds his mind is like an ordered apple farm with all of the trees representing ideas and problems he has, but each one is tended to in order and left to grow rather than being fussed over all the time. Curious Big Mac ends up going inside Twilight’s own head and taking her along, and sees that her own mind is like a library, only completely disorganized because she’s trying to think of everything at once. On leaving, she gets the idea to stop thinking of all of her problems for a while herself and instead helps Big Macintosh out with his chores. On returning to the Castle of Friendship, she’s surprised to find that she came up with a solution to one of her troublesome problems, and Spike says it’s great to have her back.
Been a while since I’ve done these, eh? Time to catch up to make room for “Legends of Equestria”… Unfortunately, the reason I’ve left a lot of these by the wayside is because there hasn’t been much to write about.
This particular arc is something of a rehash of “Lesson Zero”, with Twilight going stressed and neurotic and needing to learn to relax more. It’s a fairly basic moral and, with only one issue to work with, it needs to be summed up fairly succinctly. Where the arc is going to differ is in how it’s presented. Yet where “Lesson Zero” managed to do so with lots of entertaining goofiness and wackiness, this one…I dunno.
As I’ve said before, Applejack-themed episodes are fairly bland, and Big Macintosh ones aren’t much better. By this point there had been a number of episodes and issues that had explored more unconventional sides to the characters we know as well as surreal experiences. So while Twilight diving into Big Mac’s brain sounds entertaining enough, something about it seems strangely “mild” compared to the other arcs that we’ve gone through. Big Mac’s alternate forms aren’t terribly wild or entertaining, and while entering the psyche of another character has a lot of potential, all we end up with is a farm and a library. It’s never even really explained why a tidal wave of purple “stuff” suddenly appears in Twilight’s head. Learning to take time out for yourself and not worry about everything isn’t exactly a very poignant (or, for this series, original) lesson. Lastly…I find the nervous habit Twilight developed, namely chewing on her own hair, to be kind of gross.
Like so many of the comic arcs, it’s neither good nor bad. I give it a bit of credit for trying something that could have been a wacky idea, but with only a mild lesson to learn to begin with this isn’t a terribly memorable story.
Applejack refers to Big Mac’s full name as “Big McIntosh”, leaving the “Mac” silent. Comparatively, the title abbreviates his name as “Big Mac”.
Twilight mentions “Heisenbronc’s Uncertainty Principle”. This is a parody of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, one of the basic tenets of atomic physics.
In Big Macintosh’s mind, Ms. Smartypants is in a tree; a callback to Season Two’s “Lesson Zero”.
“Malus sylvestris” is the scientific name for the European Crab Apple.
The panel where “Helpful Big Mac” jumps into Twilight’s head might be an allusion to the anime “FLCL” where, in addition to many other items of craziness, it involved giant robots coming out of one character’s head.
2.5 Stars out of 5