Rarity is pleased (and perhaps a tad smug) to know that Photo Finish will be arriving the next day to photograph her mane for a piece on the most Lovely Manes in Equestria for Vanity Mare, and is busy going about town getting various things ready to accent her look. One of her errands, however, takes her to Sugarcube Corner, where Pinkie Pie accidentally gets a large quantity of silly string stuck all over the shop and in her mane. Both head out to Zecora for her to make a remover for Pinkie and a special shampoo for Rarity. Unfortunately, both potions are identical in appearance and in identical unmarked bottles, and Rarity grabs the wrong one by mistake and totally butchers her mane as a result. She’s immediately in anguish at the loss of her prized mane, and is so ashamed of the loss that she purposely covers herself up and acts quieter in public, which in turn causes other ponies to ignore her and make her even more miserable. After going to all of her friends for help in getting a solution but finding none other than to wait for her mane to grow back, she cancels the photo shoot and locks herself in her boutique to wallow in self-pity and feelings that she’s nothing without her mane. However, her friends stage an “intervention” and remind her about everything she is and how talented her gift of inspiration is, and that none of that has anything to do with her mane. Encouraged by them, Rarity styles what’s left of her mane and takes on a “punk” style just as eye-catching and stunning as her previous one, and soon shows it off to the whole town. Months later, after Rarity’s mane has grown back, the girls encourage her to read the Lovely Manes article in Vanity Mare in spite of what happened, and she’s stunned to see she was featured in the story after all. It turns out the girls got her to photograph her and her ability to “shine from the inside out”, featuring that as the main story instead. Rarity is left speechless by the gesture, but her style speaks for her as ponies all over Ponyville have adopted the same punk mane style.
As you may expect, I’m a bit biased in favor of this episode as Rarity is Best Pony for me. Nevertheless, most would agree this is a great Rarity episode.
About the only negative about it is how bad the residents of Equestria get. While most people give the prize for worst acting ponies to those in “Fame and Misfortune”, in that one it was hammed up for the lesson of the episode. In this one, the ponies get about as bad as they were in Season Two’s “Putting Your Hoof Down”, which is to say thoughtlessly and selfishly treating all other ponies that aren’t them like dirt in the middle of the episode. Especially the couch and quill salespony (Davenport) who simply lets the highest bidder claim Rarity’s custom-made couch (I think I see why his sales are so low… :()
However, on second viewing, part of the reason for Rarity’s poor treatment was her own reaction. She was trying to hide and wasn’t speaking up as much as she should have. She basically became a self-fulfilling prophecy by wallowing in her own insecurity, which was a minor lesson in and of its own.
The rest of the episode had a lot to like, though. Like any good Rarity episode, it was more dialogue and drama-heavy rather than action orientated, although this one had a bit more action with the various attempts to replace Rarity’s mane. Once again, it served as an episode where Starlight Glimmer was on the “same level” as the rest of the Mane Six. Considering the fact she wasn’t a contributor to the Friendship Journal in “Fame and Misfortune”, this is probably the first true episode where she’s “one of the gang”, especially during the intervention with Rarity during the climax. And, of course, “Raripunk” drove the fandom wild. Storms of fanart immediately began to pour out.
If you’re a bit of a cynic, you might pick on the moral of this episode, which is about radiating inner beauty even if unable to show outer beauty. After all, Rarity isn’t ugly at all in the end. However, you have to keep in mind that Rarity’s virtue is Inspiration. It was highlighted again and again throughout the episode how Rarity is able to be inspired by anything and make it beautiful and successful. Naturally, she would be able to take even a butchered mane like that and still make herself fabulous. She could have done that a lot earlier if she had remembered herself and not focused so much on what she didn’t have. That was the ultimate point of the episode. The title and its pun are perfectly suited to the moral.
All in all, a very nice episode with some very excellent art and a memorable rendition of the most fabulous unicorn in Equestria.
Apple Bloom and Burnt Oak are talking in the background in the beginning.
While Rarity’s element ended up being “Generosity”, that was only because the people behind the show feared the target audience wouldn’t understand “Inspiration”. In spite of that, the show has always been quick to point out that inspiration is clearly as part of Rarity’s personality, and in Season Seven they seemed to move away from the “generosity” and toward “inspiration” (especially with Mistmane’s own Pillar, Beauty, which gives rise to Inspiration rather than Generosity).
Rarity is buying a couch from the “Quills and Couches” salespony from “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”. Sure enough, his store sells nothing but quills and couches.
Pinkie Pie is using silly string in this episode, which was big for years in the 90s but ended up being a mess and highly flammable, which was bad as it was often used at parties. There was a gag in the movie “Big” in which Tom Hanks’ character and his friend pretend to sneeze with cans of silly string that the episode uses.
One of Zecora’s two appearances this season. Back-to-back appearances, no less.
Usually whenever the show cuts to a commercial, it plays a chime at the transition to black. In this episode, when Rarity sees what’s left of her mane, the only sound is her screaming with no background score.
The return of Rarity’s shroud from “Green Isn’t Your Color”. 😛 Also the return of rude Ponyville residents being cutthroat in the marketplace from “Putting Your Hoof Down”. 😦
Twilight’s spell stole a mane from the Crystal Empire. Apparently, their manes are crystalline as well. :O
Ponies can somehow milk cows with hooves…which means they not only milk cows but drink their milk…in spite of the fact cows are sentient as seen back in “Applebuck Season”… So many questions.
Needless to say, “Punk Rarity” or “Raripunk” was extremely popular. It worked in perfectly with her killer guitar solo back in “Honest Apple”. I think Rarity has a surprisingly “edgy” side. 🙂
While most episodes take place over two days, this one probably had the largest span of time ever, accounting for the months it took for Rarity’s mane to grow back.
While Photo Finish is mentioned multiple times and is voiced by Tabitha St. Germain, the same as Rarity, she never actually appears in this episode aside from a picture in the magazine.
Derpy adopted the punk mane style.
3.5 Stars out of 5