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Synopsis:

Shortly after Starlight Glimmer helps Trixie Lulamoon complete another successful show in Ponyville, a visitor from Saddle Arabia (Hoo’Far) offers first to trade his wagon for Trixie’s as it seems too small and in need of repair, and, after she refuses, suggests she perform in Saddle Arabia. Trixie is interested but dreads making the long trip alone, and ends up talking Starlight into accompanying her as an assistant. While the two are able to weather a number of mishaps early on, things start going bad once they reach their first stop. Starlight makes decisions constantly without thinking of the consequences to the overall trip, while Trixie insists on sticking to her normal routine which is only suitable for one pony instead of two. As the trip goes on, the two grate on each other’s nerves and degenerate into arguing and petty revenge; ruining their act and threatening to ruin their friendship. Finally, Starlight ends up trading Trixie’s wagon to Hoo’Far for his larger and more spacious one without Trixie’s consent, causing the two to break off completely. Trixie ends up tracking down Hoo’Far and stubbornly places herself in front of the wheels until he agrees to give her the wagon back, while Starlight starts heading home…having a much harder time managing the larger wagon by herself. After hearing a couple of mailponies who got encouraged by Starlight and Trixie’s earlier behavior on the trip to work through their own journey together, she ends up returning with Hoo’Far’s wagon to his and Trixie’s stalemate. Once there, the two give a rather pathetic attempt at a “friendship chant” (emulating Twilight and Cadance) to convince Hoo’Far to nullify the trade, which he ends up doing on seeing the lengths they were willing to go for each other but suggests they return home. The two take his advice and return to Ponyville, agreeing that the trip made their friendship stronger even if it convinced them never to go on a road trip together again.

Review:

Starlight Glimmer and Trixie Lulamoon are some of the more divisive characters in the fan community, although I think the “Starlight Hate” has mostly subsided (that or whoever couldn’t stand her left the fan community by this point…). So episodes where they both highlight tend to be a mixed bag in responses. This one, though, I think does better than others.

If you analyze it too hard, you realize that it’s really a fusion of “Look Before You Sleep” and “Pinkie Apple Pie”–showing that there’s no easier way for two characters to drive each other insane than to force them to be around each other constantly. Nevertheless, similar to what I said in an earlier episode this season, I don’t think it’s as bad as “Look Before You Sleep”; mostly because things stay animated and moving.

The song for this episode won’t win any awards (and, really, any song except the one coming up was pretty much overshadowed this season…), but it’s catchy and the sequence with it is nice. A good part of this episode is Starlight and Trixie arguing, to be sure, but it progressed better than “Look Before You Sleep”. Some people might still make the argument that Trixie is thoughtless and never learns, but I think she actually shows a lot of progress early in this episode. More than once she gives Starlight the chance to back out of the trip, especially whenever Starlight seems dubious about the arrangement. And while most of it is expressed in the song, the two of them were getting along in spite of the bad situation. The mailponies later in the episode help to keep that from being nullified simply because it was in a song.

Even later in the episode when they really do start getting annoyed, it’s a nice progression. It starts off as merely being a bit annoyed with the other’s choices and, when it starts getting to be too much, they quickly rein it in and apologize to one another. Both characters degenerate into petty revenge at the same time and after both had a miserable, sleepless night so neither has a chance to be repulsive even if they’re doing bad things.

If I had to say one point in which a character actually crosses the line, it would end up being Starlight; not Trixie. That would be when she trades the wagon. Even then, it’s not the trade itself. It’s the fact that Starlight, almost proudly, admits she did it without Trixie’s consent. For a moment, shades of the “old Starlight” come out; the character who thinks she knows better than everyone and so everyone is better off just letting her decide things for them. So while I think that was a bit too far for Starlight and made her seem like the worse of the two from that point on in the episode, it makes sense. And it’s worth noting that, of the two, Starlight is the one who ends up having the friendship epiphany. All Trixie really does is lie around on that road until she comes back.

I will say I don’t like that so much of the episode is just “two characters get into a long argument and end up making up at the end”, even if this episode does a much better job than the similar one in Season One. That’s for no other reason than it doesn’t give much to like about the episode and kind of puts the entire thing into a sour, grouchy mood. Yet that being said…Starlight and Trixie might be friends but they’re highly unconventional ones with, at times, almost a love-hate relationship. While they tend to get along, there’s large parts of each other’s characters they don’t get. And while Trixie has more of the character flaws (although I think both this episode and Season Nine shows she’s getting better about them), there are some parts the two will never quite “get” of one another. So that makes sense too.

All in all, it was a chance for either character to go into pure repulsion yet it managed to dance around that and provide something fairly entertaining in spite of a generally downer subject to begin with. Well done.

Fun Facts:

This episode is also known as “On the Road to Friendship”.

In a rather odd cameo, Princess Cadance and Flurry Heart are in this episode. Maybe the writers realized they wouldn’t appear this season otherwise. 😛 I love the bewildered and somewhat creeped-out looks Starlight and Trixie give them during their classic jump-rope rhyme chant.

Another appearance of the recurring Saddle Arabia and it’s more “horse-like” residents. Ironically, they were first mentioned in another episode featuring Trixie: Season Three’s “Magic Duel”. However, in spite of body types, they still seem to have the standard earth pony/unicorn/pegasus thing going on.

Starlight and Trixie are forced to cross the fire swamp from “Somepony to Watch Over Me”.

Starlight’s last lines in the song alluding to a “buddy comedy” about two people chained together is actually a reference to a very non-comedic movie called: “The Defiant Ones” about a pair of prisoners, one white and the other black, who escape a chain gang while still chained to one another. However, the idea has since been reused in cartoons for purely comedic purposes.

The town of Somnambula makes another appearance. (Kind of funny that the glowpaz festival is such a big deal when the residents can go see the actual Somnambula if they want…)

When Starlight and Trixie are low on money they end up being forced to buy haycakes as their only food source. I have no proof of this, but this might be an allusion to “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, who is initially on such a tight budget that all she can afford are pancakes.

It took me a second viewing before I realized Starlight is wearing the Saddle Arabian pony’s robe after they make the trade, and not just any robe he traded.

The Saddle Arabian pony’s name is Hoo’Far, according to the credits.

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5