Rarity is hard at work at her boutique in Canterlot setting up for “Springsistion”, when she suddenly gets nostalgic for the time she used to spend with Sweetie Belle. This prompts Sassy Saddles to have her take the day off to spend with her little sister. Meanwhile, back in Ponyville, Sweetie Belle and the other CMCs are getting ready to help Zipporwhil, a filly with a Cutie Mark in caring for dogs whose own “puppy” Ripley has lost interest in her. Rarity shows up right in the middle of the visit and, after some convincing, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo tell her to go ahead and spend the day with Rarity while they help Zipporwhil. Unfortunately, neither side goes well. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are unable to get Ripley to show any interest in Zipporwhil, while Rarity takes Sweetie Belle out to do activities that she’s too old for now. When Rarity insists that she knows her and her favorite things, Sweetie Belle gets angry and storms off to return to the rest of the CMCs and Zipporwhil. After getting upset initially, Rarity finally goes after her to tell her off, but stops on seeing her interacting with Zipporwhil. She realizes the problem is that Zipporwhil is still treating Ripley as a puppy although he’s now a full-grown dog, and tells her that treating him like a puppy won’t make him a puppy again, but that if she appreciates him as the dog he is now he’ll reconnect with her. Her advice works, and Rarity, overhearing all of this, realizes she’s made the same mistake with Sweetie Belle and apologizes, with Sweetie assuring her that even though she’s gotten older she’ll still always love spending time with her. The two of them finish off their day together by heading to the ice cream parlor for adult-sized servings and getting a picture of themselves with ice-cream mouths together.
Well, like the previous episode, Rarity would get a good episode eventually this season, but…this, to me, wasn’t it. A real pity this time, though, as it’s also partially a Sweetie Belle episode. Unfortunately, unlike the last episode, this one is another muddled moral.
I get the message they were going for, but, if you’re cynical, even that wasn’t good. The idea was supposed to be that as our younger loved ones get older they change but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected with them as they change. Well…maybe. There’s also a good chance we’ll become such different individuals we’ll never reconnect. Even if we do, usually around the time people change is their teenage years. Anywhere from 10-15 years will be focused on forging one’s own identity in which, in many cases, the growing individual will want to spend little-to-no time with their former siblings. Once done, there’s a good chance they’ll have their own lives with their own relationships and maybe their own family members. The idea that you can so easily grow apart and then reconnect is, well…kind of a fantasy.
Yet even if it wasn’t, too much is forced in this episode. While the voice actors and, possibly, the animators have worked to try and make the CMCs grow older, the writers haven’t. Suddenly in this episode Sweetie Belle is supposed to have matured so much that Rarity barely even recognizes who she is. That makes no sense as the picture at the boutique in Canterlot has Sweetie Belle with her Cutie Mark, and Rarity and her have had episodes together after that. So…the plot was somewhat forced to begin with. It’s a bit excusable because Rarity tends to focus more on what she likes as opposed to what Sweetie Belle likes, and while she and Sweetie Belle got better after “Sisterhooves Social” they’re still clearly not as close as Apple Bloom and Applejack. Yet that only makes it more unusual because there never seems to have been a time in which Rarity and Sweetie Belle did spend a lot of time together unless it was well before the show began.
Frankly, the point that Sweetie Belle now had different interests as an older mare wasn’t really emphasized either. Sweetie is clearly hesitant to spend time with Rarity before they even start doing things, indicating more (in line with my cynical viewpoint) that Sweetie was simply becoming a new, independent individual who didn’t care to spend time with her older sister anymore now that she had her own life. And the dog analogy simply didn’t work out that well as it was too simplistic.
The writers tried to make it work, but there were too many “but what about”s in this episode. It made what should have been a more emotionally impacting episode kind of ho-hum.
The opening of this episode is a veritable plethora of Canterlot characters who previously appeared, including the goth pony from “Canterlot Boutique”, Fancy Pants and Fleur-de-Lis from “Sweet and Elite”, and even Lemon Hearts and Minuette walking and talking together.
Sassy Saddles makes another appearance. She wouldn’t appear again this season, although she’s helping Rarity out in a non-speaking role in the movie.
The picture that sets Rarity off has Sweetie Belle with her Cutie Mark, which I consider another goof in this episode as that wasn’t too terribly long ago… More on that in my review.
Other fans pointed out they feel, in addition to their voices sounding a bit deeper, the CMCs are getting slightly taller. I agree. I think the show creators are slowly trying to make them “age”.
Zipporwhil first appeared in “Filly Vanilli”, when the Ponytones sang at her Cuteceanera. Ironically, both she and Rarity are voiced by Tabitha St. Germain and both learn the same lesson.
This episode sort of makes Sweetie Belle out to be the the brainiest of the CMCs, seeing things the others don’t. There’s a bit of evidence for that in earlier episodes, although this one really rams it in, but I kind of feel it might have been tacked on for this episode to make her look more mature.
One of the pictures on the wall of satisfied customers is of Big Macintosh and Ms. Cheerilee. …When did that happen? Definitely not in “Hearts and Hooves Day”. 😛
The puppet booth is the same one from “Inspiration Manifestation”. Apparently that was ok to leave as-is. 😛
Sweetie Belle’s line about how she prefers black-box experimental theater (BTW, she may be older but I have a hard time believing she’s 18+ to be watching black box experimental theater…) goes with her joke in her last episode with Rarity, “For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils”, in which she says she prefers “showtunes”. While she may not be a drama queen like her older sister, Sweetie Belle apparently likes drama none the less.
Even the moral with the dog allegory is muddled. So…Ripley didn’t want to play fetch earlier because the ball was too “colorful” and “only appropriate for a puppy”? (He wants to play fetch at the end so it’s not that he was too old.) And he doesn’t seem to like the bone just because it’s little. No dog on Earth is that picky.
Although the characters in the show have taken up calling the Cutie Mark Crusaders “the CMCs”, this is the first time I can recall one of the actual CMCs referring to themselves as such.
In all fairness, the “dress up photos” in Rarity’s album at the beginning are far more older-age appropriate than the ones she tries to take later. Rarity’s chicken costume is the same as Pinkie Pie’s in “Luna Eclipsed” (ironically, Rarity never appeared in that episode) and her butterfly costume has the same wings as in “Sonic Rainboom”.
At first I was a bit confused as to why Rarity and Sweetie Belle didn’t have spoons at the end. Then I realized: “What would creatures with hooves do with spoons?”
2 Stars out of 5