On Hearts and Hooves Day, three interrelated stories take place:
- Big Macintosh plans a romantic evening with Sugar Belle but, on hearing that she’s planning a surprise of her own, ends up hiding and eavesdropping on her. The comments he overhears sounds like she’s intending to break up with him that evening, sinking him into deep depression. Rather than talk things out with Sugar, Big Mac ends up breaking up with her first to spare his own feelings at the expense of hers. However, after talking with the CMCs, he realizes he should have been more open and honest from the start and manages to catch Sugar as she’s leaving town (thanks to one of her wagon wheels breaking and leaving her stuck). On talking with her, he soon finds out he misunderstood her comments, which end up being innocuous, and after learning a lesson not to spy and be more open with feelings, he takes her back to Ponyville for the romantic evening.
- The CMCs, while arranging the barn for Big Mac’s night out with Sugar, get a mysterious heart-shaped pie delivery. However, the mailponies smudged the label and they can only make out a bell, leading them to assume it’s a secret admirer for Sweetie Belle. They spend all day going around Ponyville trying to find out who it is but never find out, depressing Sweetie Belle. In the end, they decide to eat the pie themselves, only to discover there was a card baked in the inside from Big Mac to Sugar, which makes them realize it was from him to her all along. Sweetie ends up instead appreciating that she spent the day with her two best friends.
- Discord and Spike get into an argument over whether love is real or not and, as a wager between the two of them, they follow Big Mac around town all day as he sinks into depression over Sugar to see if he can bounce back or not. Their attempts to cheer him up fail, including when Discord tries to hook him up with an NPC character from their “Ogres & Oubliettes” tabletop RPG. In the end, however, when Big Mac reconciles with Sugar, Discord reveals the entire argument was yet another trolling from him the whole time–as he was the one who caused Sugar’s wagon to break so that Big Mac could catch up. The two decide to spend the night RPing again, and Spike asks if the NPC is available for him.
I’m usually not too big on Spike and Big Macintosh episodes in terms of character interest, and Discord tends to be hit and miss, but I liked this one. Loads better than the original Season Two’s “Hearts and Hooves Day”. Considering the fact Big Macintosh and the CMCs are featured characters in both that episode and this one, that’s saying a lot.
Like a lot of romantic comedies, this episode tried to do a comedy of errors. It didn’t really have the time to do it perfectly, but what they ended up with I liked quite a bit. While Big Mac and Sugar Belle’s story tended to dominate everything and the bit with the CMCs seemed a tad “shoved in”, it was all in all very enjoyable. Nothing seemed too forced, everyone was in character and, for the most part, at their most positive. Sure, Big Mac does things he shouldn’t have, but that was supposed to be part of the episode. Discord…well… One can make the argument that Big Mac merely acted on his advice rather than was ever pressured or led to do anything Discord suggested. However, if you account for the fact that even early in the episode Discord was working on the model wagon, then you would likely conclude that Discord purposely misled Big Macintosh into breaking up with Sugar Belle so that he could hook them back up again later. Acting sweet or acting malicious?
Eh, Spike seemed cool with it, so we’ll go with the former.
It’s true that you can pretty much see the resolution coming a mile away. Spike’s explanation for Sugar Belle, while it ends up being spot on, is just silly enough to be somewhat plausible that there was something else in mind, but it’s pretty clear that Sugar was being a “poor communicator” and that she never intended to break up with Big Mac. But that being said, compared to Season Two, which treated the idea of pony romance as sappy and simplistically as any other Y-rated cartoon, this one did a much better job and was far more enjoyable.
On a final note, although it is Discord and Spike, two characters who are very much opposites, the interactions in this episode along with Big Mac are very mellow and relatable. They really do seem just like a trio of guys in which you have the one who’s feeling down, the one friend who’s trying to be encouraging, and the one friend who gives nothing but bad advice but gets listened to anyway. 😛 So yeah, this one was nice.
Discord has totally embraced his inner nerd…and Captain Wuzz’s hand is still parsnips. 😛
Discord temporarily creates television to go through teas.
Ms. Cheerilee apparently has a non-Big-Mac date for the day. 😛
Spike apparently thinks of himself as a great dragon poet. 🙂
An unusually vocal episode for Big Mac…er, aside from the one where he was pretending to be Apple Bloom’s cousin.
The name “Skele-nor” is likely a parody of “Skele-tor”, He-Man’s archnemesis.
“You know what I do when I have a problem too big to solve? I hide from it!” …Yes, actually that’s very accurate for Spike. 😀
Still more “Mr. Smithers-esque” implications when Lyra and Bon Bon swap gifts on Hearts and Hooves Day. 😛 Although, if you pay attention to background ponies, it’s worth noting they aren’t the only same sex couple.
Sugar Belle recalls Spike’s theory so perfectly that she even does the correction from two days a week to three days.
As a bit of a meta joke, Sugar Belle, someone out of the blue, says “I suppose there’s a lesson here somewhere about…”; a throwback to the old days in which the Mane Six would learn a lesson. Of course, neither Sugar Belle nor Big Mac are members of the Mane Six.
3 Stars out of 5