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Synopsis:

After taking a peek at how the School of Friendship runs and how much more fun it is than their school, the Cutie Mark Crusaders decide they would like to enroll themselves. However, Twilight Sparkle refuses; saying that they already know everything about friendship. The girls make several attempts to fake being “bad at friendship” in hopes that the Mane Six will notice and say they should be in the school, all of which avail them nothing, before they run into a young pegasus named Cozy Glow–a new student at the school. She laments that she’s having a terrible time passing the lessons, leading the girls to decide to attend the school vicariously by helping her with her homework. Cozy ends up getting an A, much to her joy, leading her to ask them to help her study for an upcoming test as well. The CMCs do so until Cozy has mastered the material, which also allows them to enjoy more of the school experience. However, they get a terrible shock on test day when they find out Cozy failed the exam, and a secondary shock when Twilight, on learning they were Cozy’s tutors and seeing blatantly wrong answers, accuses them of purposely sabotaging a student since they couldn’t get into the school themselves. Cozy overhears this and goes to Starlight Glimmer, where she confesses that she intentionally failed the test as she hoped it would make Twilight see the CMCs still needed to learn about friendship and she would enroll them as well. Starlight commends Cozy on being honest and gives an idea to Twilight, who brings the girls back in to not only apologize for her earlier accusation but to give them honorary degrees and positions as tutors at the school. The overjoyed CMCs and Cozy run off happily.

Review:

And this, dear friends, is why you don’t leak episode spoilers no matter how hard you want to.

The show had done a lot of things at this point, but one tactic it hadn’t yet tried was a villain who was in for “the long con”. There had been other all-ages American programs who had gone with a new character for a long while only to shock audiences that he or she was a traitor all along, and in that sense MLP:FIM was a bit behind the ball. It finally decided to do so starting with this episode, which introduced the season’s main villain Cozy Glow.

Unfortunately, she was a bit DOA. The show is notorious for leaking plot items and the fan community is notorious for leaking spoilers everywhere, but even IMDb ruined any chance at a surprise early by explicitly stating in their synopsis for “School Raze” that Cozy Glow was the villain months before the episode debuted. We never had much of a chance to see whether or not her act would have convinced us, as from that moment on she would never appear in an episode without fans reading too much into everything she did.

For me personally? I at least managed to walk into this episode knowing nothing, so my initial impressions of this one were the closest I’d ever come to seeing if I would have been fooled. I’ll admit that some of her manners and cutesy ways of speaking seemed a tad suspicious, like she was hamming it up too much. The way she was introduced and how she ingratiated herself into the CMCs made me suspect she had an ulterior motive. However, aside from the brief bit when she read off the Elements of Harmony, Cozy never did anything physical that indicated her malevolent nature. And the big thing that ended up making me think she was ok was the fact that I thought, if she really was out to get the CMCs, she wouldn’t have confessed as that would have only given them what they wanted. And she definitely seemed as happy and normal as any of the other fillies and colts the CMCs had helped, so I honestly thought she might have acted a little weird but she was alright at the end. So who knows? I might have bought it the whole season.

I can’t really talk about Cozy as a character without looking into the future, as for most of this season we would only see one half of her personality. It wouldn’t be until “School Raze” we’d see the other half, so for now I’ll leave it at that. For the rest of the episode…

The big beef that most fans had with this one and, I’ll admit, is a good one is the fact that Twilight immediately suspected the CMCs of student sabotage. It’s been a while since one of the main characters has made such a jump in logic after knowing their friend for years, but it’s never a good thing. The truth is Twilight should have known better and suspected something from the start, or at minimum not made the jump to banning the girls. That’s the low point of this episode.

Aside from that, Cozy had enough of a persona about her to keep things interesting with the CMCs, who usually stay pretty grounded in reality and everyday situations, but even so this wasn’t a terribly remarkable episode. The most amount of interest it garnered was in the audience wondering what Cozy’s angle was…and, perhaps, Starlight’s unusual facial expressions. In a throwback to the old days, all of the Mane Six get a few lines in spite of none of them being the focus of the episode, but there’s nothing really terribly outstanding about it.

Even with Twilight’s flub, I’d say there was at least enough audience curiosity about this new character to merit this being a solid average. I just don’t feel about it much more strongly than that.

Fun Facts:

Anyone ever notice the school’s broom closet is a surprisingly popular location this season? O_o

This episode finally shows what one of the founders of Equestria actually looked like.

The “O dragon, my dragon” is a parody of one of the scenes of “Dead Poets Society”, when the students salute their teacher by quoting the first line of: “O Captain, My Captain”.

Scootaloo gets a lot of use out of that cheap Groucho mask, huh?

Pinkie Pie just happened to have a CMC pennant handy. 😛

Cozy Glow is somewhat similar to Darla Dimple from “Cats Don’t Dance”. Like her, she usually fakes being innocent and sweet in order to kiss up to people and make them think she’s their friend, while hiding a twisted, malevolent, and downright insane nature. I puzzled over her Cutie Mark quite a bit, which appears to be a Rook chess piece. The only thing I can think of is that during the “castling” move in chess, the Rook takes the place of the King.

Honestly, if you don’t know about the season finale, Cozy Glow usually makes a convincing performance. However, a hint toward her true nature appears when the CMCs quiz her on the Magic symbol and she says: “Is it…Control?” Later, when she does guess it correctly, we see a momentary malevolent grin.

I’m a bit surprised the censors allowed a “Your mom” joke.

Starlight Glimmer’s face when she says: “I see” became a meme. 🙂

Rating:

2.5 Stars out of 5