Apple Bloom accidentally messes up a crate shipment to Filthy Rich of Zap Apple Jam, and when she lies to try and cover it up, it prompts the Apple Family to tell a story about how Applejack wasn’t always so honest…
Before Apple Bloom was born, around the time Filthy Rich first assumed control of his family’s store, Applejack and Big Macintosh argued about who would take over the farm, with Applejack saying she had better ideas and Big Mac saying he was the better worker. To try and show her brother up, Applejack made a deal with Rich to let him sell Sweet Apple Acres Cider at his store without consulting Granny Smith first, and only after the deal was made found out she refused to allow it. When forced to admit she couldn’t deliver on the deal, Rich got angry and threatened to cut off ties to Sweet Apple Acres and, as a result, Applejack quickly made up a lie that Granny was sick and the deal was made out of distress. Unfortunately, this prompted Rich and his fiance (future Spoiled Rich) to pay a goodwill visit to the farm, forcing Applejack to lie again that Granny was in the hospital. Yet when the Riches headed out to see her there, Applejack ended up lying further, first claiming the apple blight was infecting ponies to get Granny out to the hospital, then tried to get Big Mac to masquerade as a sick Granny Smith to fool the two. Unfortunately, this only led to more confusion until Granny Smith was nearly ready to amputate Big Mac’s limb, thinking it was infected with apple blight, which finally prompted Applejack to confess everything to everpony. While she realized her own mistake in lying to try to cover up her fault, Big Mac admitted if he had listened to her more rather than dictated his opinion on everything she wouldn’t have wanted to prove herself to begin with. Granny scolded them both for talking about replacing her when she’s nowhere near death, then scolded Rich for threatening to break off business with Sweet Apple Acres, before she went into a lecture on apple blight.
Back at the farm, Apple Bloom learns that ponies don’t “start out” as the individuals they are but have to grow into them as they mature, and the whole Apple family enjoys a glass of cider before heading back to work.
This episode is not only a step above the standard Applejack fare, but…heh…to me personally, it, well…
Let’s start with the main plot. Aside from a handful of flashbacks and “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”, the backgrounds of the Mane Six are largely virgin territory for the show. I hope this episode is a sign of devoting more time to episodes focusing on that. While I think it was made a bit convenient for the show, it’s an interesting change to see that not only was Applejack formally not as honest as she is today, but Big Macintosh used to be a chatterbox who, in the words of his sister, spent all his time talking so he never had to listen to anyone else. (Of course, Big Mac takes it to the opposite extreme today…)
The “teenage” Applejack is an interesting design, but it works well. And it’s a nice little change of pace to see the relations she has with her other family members and business associates back in the day. The episode itself may not be laugh-out-loud entertaining, but it is engaging and interesting to watch unfold. I do feel a bit “cheated”, though. Applejack’s lies were more attempts to cover up for her own mistakes rather than anything heavy, and the line about how “the whole Apple family ended up in the hospital” was something of a bait-and-switch, as it was in the same sense of “the whole family ended up at Burger King” or something.
All of that said…the part that really stood out to me in this episode was, well, possibly “reading too much into it” as opposed to reading in-between the lines, but there are fan theories out there…
Until now I had assumed that Apple Bloom and Applejack were much closer in age. That she might have been a foal during the events of “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” flashback. However, now I see Applejack was approaching physical maturity prior to Apple Bloom even being born. Furthermore, although Apple Bloom isn’t “around” in the flashback, neither are the parents of Applejack and Big Macintosh. And the way they talk, it’s clear that one of them will take over the farm when Granny Smith passed on or retired…not their parents. Granny Smith also says “the whole Apple family ended up in the hospital”, although there were only three ponies there: herself, Applejack, and Big Macintosh.
All of this, combined with Applejack’s more “motherly” nature around Apple Bloom, I take as evidence for one possibility: Apple Bloom and Applejack aren’t sisters; Apple Bloom is Applejack’s daughter from a teenage, unmarried pregnancy. She’s pretending to be her older sister to spare her and herself the shame. Yes, I know even if this was true they’d never come out with it on a Y-rated show, but things like this have happened in history before, and so I’m sticking with it.
With that in mind, I personally rate this episode a little higher.
A rare episode to only feature a single member of the Mane Six (Applejack). However, as Granny Smith is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity), she was in the episode too.
When Apple Bloom says that Applejack has never told a lie in her whole life, she gets her infamous “lying face” from the Season Two premiere.
Granny Smith apparently keeps rocking chairs on standby for stories. 😛
There’s been occasional hints here and there throughout the series of the relative ages of the Mane Six to one another, and it’s widely accepted that Fluttershy is the oldest based on her appearance in “The Cutie Mark Chronicles”, where, while the other members of the Mane Six looked to be the same shape as the CMCs themselves, Fluttershy was taller and “lankier” as if she had just hit a teenage growth spurt. Similarly, in this episode, Applejack looks much the same way, and Granny Smith explicitly says she was older than Apple Bloom at the time.
Spoiled Rich appears in Granny Smith’s story as a younger version of herself, although her surname is “Milk” at the time. This confirms ponies do indeed have surnames. Her nose isn’t quite as upturned in this episode, indicating that was something that developed over time.
One of the trends that MLP:FIM has balked for years is not necessarily having the more upper-class and rich ponies lord their status over others. This episode confirms Filthy Rich is more of a friend of the Apples…he either just didn’t bring up Diamond Tiara to show them respect or he let Spoiled negate it.
One unicorn is in Ponyville General with a severed horn. :O Something tells me that this might end up being a bit more intriguing considering the upcoming feature film has one of its main characters as a unicorn with a broken horn.
As another random “The Shining” allusion, after Applejack says: “…for the big presentation!” and leads the scrubs-wearing Granny Smith on, in the scene are a pair of twin ponies standing at the end of the hall and staring outward. This is a parody of the ghosts of the twins from “The Shining”. Obviously, they don’t intersperse frames of them chopped up here.
In the next scene, teenage Derpy has apparently undergone eye surgery. Before you gasp in horror, remember that Derpy’s eyes were already wall-eyed back in the flashback in “The Cart Before the Ponies”. It’s likely that the attempt to correct her eyesight simply failed. 😛
How was a pony supposed to handle a bone saw made for a human’s grip?
I’m sorry…but when Apple Bloom goes: “I can’t believe you told all those lies!”…her country accent completely evaporates. She starts to sound like a different character.
3 Stars out of 5