I keep trying to figure out the method that Cereal uses to decide which followups he's going to do, and I think I've narrowed it down slightly. I think it's CMC and Spike episodes that he "conveniently" has to go put out the fires at EQD. Seriously, why even bother? They're just going to start back up anyway.
But it's cool, I'm fine with Spike! He can be a really fun and expressive character, as this episode has shown. With that, let's dive right into* Just For Sidekicks!
*But first a quick note. The contrast on my version is pretty whack, so some colors are very bright while others are extremely dark, e.g. Twilight and Rarity's manes.
Right off the bat, we've gotten 1) continuity and 2) a tied up loose end. Looks like Spike owned up and brought Peewee back to his rightful family, so that was nice of him. Now we don't need to scratch our heads and wonder "where did that phoenix go?" anymore.
|What a... gem-eating grin.|
What I like about this scene is that Spike still has a fair bit of mistrust with Owlowiscious (what a ridiculous spelling) and that gems leave fine, sparkling powder behind if you eat them. What can I say? I'm a sucker for small details.
|Holla holla get dollar.|
Fluttershy cuddles are the best cuddles. Fact. My favorite pony is Twilight and even I am not blind to this.
Considering that it's fairly standard nature for owls to eat rabbits, I think Angel is pretty justified in feeling uncomfortable here. That would be like... sharing your swimming pool... with a shark... or something. I hope I didn't just offend any shark apologists.
Not only do we get another appearance from the very awesome Tank, but we got scrunchy face and some super cute Dash blushing. This frame right here? Everything is right about this.
|Calm down, kid.|
The Element of Generosity, everyone. Notice how she goes out of her way to provide the biggest and fullest of gems to the dragon in need. Notice how she most definitely doesn't take advantage of the fact that he's madly in love with her so that she can manipu- Alright I'm going too far with this now.
An interesting thing to note, that my good colleague CouchCrusader pointed out, is that of all the gems Spike receives, this one seems to have the highest value. I mean, it managed to purchase an industrial sized pet dryer. This leads me to believe that different types of jewels have vastly different value, with ruby being one of the highest.
You have no idea how good it feels for me to see these pets again. Gummy is just incredible. Whenever he is on the screen, joy fills my heart. He is perfect. He can do no wrong. Gummy is the ultimate character in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
And look, there is a cupcake on his head.
|I don't actually have much to say on this. I just thought shellac in Equestria was amusing.|
Look at that sales pitch. Spike could manage to sell you a used car with no warranty and a leaky radiator with skills like that. Forget being a personal assistant, this kid has a future in business.
|You two really need to communicate more.|
I really like these following scenes of the ponies interacting and saying goodbye to all of their pets. They each do it in a unique way that reflects their character, and it's just plain cute when you get down to it.
|>tfw Pinkie Pie will never yell that she loves you more|
This is legitimately the cutest scene in the entire episode, and I really doubt I have to explain why. Just use your eyes and look at it. Look at that brief reluctance, followed by a rare moment of affection, finished off with shifty eyed reassurance that no one caught her.
No one but you and I, dear reader.
I can sympathize with this. That 0.2 difference in degree can really mean sweating or freezing for some people! Also, I'm not sure if this was ever mentioned in a previous episode, but it looks like Equestria is confirmed for using Fahrenheit.
It took me until my second time watching to notice that Spike wasn't actually on the ground in this scene. He's too busy being pulled up by Tank and Owlowiscious, the latter of which is also carrying Gummy around. What a considerate owl.
This is the cutie mark that everyone threw around jokingly in images and fanfics. This is the cutie mark that I never thought would actually happen. Something I thought would be stuck in the void of fanon for eternity. But no, here it is, the skydiving cutie mark! Oh, happy day for Alex.
|On the list of awful ideas you've had, Spike, this is pretty darn high up.|
I'm not actually focusing on Apple Bloom here. Sorry, folks. What I'm really focusing on is that little Rainbow Dash shrine in the background. We've seen it before in... Mare Do Well, I believe? But yeah, we've got a balloon Rainbow Dash and a Nyan Dash poster. Obviously arranged by Scootaloo.
|Turtle soup, anyone? Er, wait, he's a tortoise...|
I love how frazzled they look here. Sweetie Belle in particular looks the most distressed, and the messy mane just completes the ensemble. See, I'm the same type of person who prefers Cadance when she's stuck in the caverns and her mane is all unkempt. I just love that messy look. It's cute.
Don't judge me.
|How do you even manage this?|
So like I was saying before, that tiny red gem that Rarity was so willing to part with was able to afford this... beast of a machine. Honestly, what is the exchange rate looking like in Equestria? Just what is a ruby worth compared to amethyst or jade? Where do bits fit in all of this?
It's a dilemma to be sure.
Well lookie what we have here: more continuity! That's the nurse and Screw Loose from Read It and Weep, and to the left are Big Mac and Cheerilee having a casual walk together. If there's anything awesome about cartoons these days, it's continuity over episodes. Just keep 'em coming, team.
|Zecora's got this.|
She wants... she wants Spike's booty? Well, forgive me if I'm questioning your choices here, Zecora, but I think you'll find that Thunderlane is a much better candidate for that.
Ahh, that Equestrian Girl Scout. Look how adorable she is! I just wonder how expensive their cookies are. You know those aren't coming cheap.
If there's one thing Spike has been rocking at with this episode, it's been facial expressions. This one in particular is giving me a real "Invader Zim" vibe. I'm sure this exact expression has been used in that show at least once.
|~Naaa na na na nana na na~|
We're three for three on hilarious faces, here.
Jeeze, it's like Spike is rebelling against the main six and this is his Evil League of Evil.
|Obligatory "Berry Punch, you're drunk, go home," line.|
Poor Donut Joe, he can never catch a break. His Donutopia was destroyed and now he can't even peacefully work as a waiter on the train. Leave Donut Joe alone!
|What sort of sick torture ideas are they putting into the heads of our youth?|
Look how absolutely disgusted Rarity is in this frame. The mere idea of Applejack's hooves repulses her, and she even seems offended that something so vulgar would be put before her.
Meanwhile, Twilight is being best pony in the corner.
Four for four.
And we cap things off with another incredible face from Spike. Also, that batter has been sitting out all afternoon, dude. Gross. At least refrigerate that stuff, jeeze.
Anyway, that was Just For Sidekicks! I'll be honest, when I first saw the premise, I thought "there's no way this is going to be a good episode." I mean, Spike has a history with his episodes being... 'meh,' at least from the people I've talked to. This one, however, was actually pretty good! There were plenty of funny moments, his lesson of "be responsible" hit home by the end, and everything just kinda flowed nicely. It's easily the best Spike episode out of all of them.
Who do we have to thank for this pleasant surprise? Why, Corey Powell, who also brought us Sleepless in Ponyville. So, excellent work, Corey. You took a shaky premise and made something good out of it. This is for you:
That's just about it for the followup, everyone. Thanks for reading!