• "Somepony to Watch Over Me": Episode Followup

    There's no real telling how often Applejack went on adventures before the whole "Twilight Sparkle" thing happened to her life, but you have to imagine she's racked up quite the collection of gear. After all, her family's been farming the Everfree Forest for generations.

    Don't be shy. Applause is a renewable resource.

    Catch a followup of "The Adventures of Macaulay Coltkin and Helicopter/Mission Applejack" after the break!

    For those of you just joining us, the premise of the episode centers around Apple Bloom earning her family's permission to become an airplane. VROOOM!

    "By Trembley, Fertilia! It seems you've given birth to another child!"

    With a long and arduous pie delivery up and coming, it's important to remember when one is a horse and is therefore allowed to take sheets of parchment in their mouths.

    Big Macintosh, on the other hoof, rejects your senseless profiling and will take what he is hoofed in kind.

    He may not have stuck around for the entire episode, but, like his words, he makes the most of the time he has in glorious, best-face-frontrunner fashion.

    I think these were the faces a lot of you were making when you first saw this episode's synopsis. "Another episode with Applejack and family! Man, can't she just get out and fight a tiger or something?"

    "What's with all the gems and hearts in the margins?"

    It's a bit subtle, but the entire point of this episode comes from Applejack struggling to be truthful with her little sister when it comes to leaving her home alone. Not that I believe honesty is as big a foundation of Applejack's character as other folks make it out to be, but there's definitely room there to carve out interesting stories. After all Applejack does to act like a parent to Apple Bloom and knowing what she and her friends can get up to, I'd be concerned about leaving her alone, too.

    It's amazing how many times Applejack got bumped from behind in this episode.

    With how easy hoof clippings come off in Equestria, I'm kind of surprised Rarity didn't have any of those in her Trenderhoof collection.

    Bumping right along...

    Cereal and I were talking a bit about why the Apples would keep so many hats and bows around, and we decided that Equestria was a sufficiently dangerous enough place that what we see here is Apple Bloom Clone #173. After 172 "darn it" moments, Applejack has plenty of reason to be so protective of her little sister this time.

    And in the upper right, you'll notice the family stole a fridge from Pinkie's place and totally got away with it.

    Normally, we have to go frame-by-frame to snag scrunchy faces for the followup. Apple Bloom just knows the drill by now. Good pony.

    Here we have #173 about to pull a #141, only the spaghetti's from #6. Classic mistake.

    And then Apple Bloom was a cat.

    If you think Applejack isn't allowed to break physics like this, you should remember who's related to her now.

    Also, immediate validation for every Applejack-as-Batmare canon floating out there. You're welcome, guys.

    "Why would we keep fresh produce on the bottom shelf?"

    Look how happy Applejack is! This is her getting some closure on that one time with #85. Losing that filly hit her hard, man.

    I have to hand it to Apple Bloom, though -- she sure knows how to ignore the hell out of a thing if it isn't sharing the frame with her.

    Dear Princess Celestia: Today I learned you can be too intense putting a helmet on your beloved sister's head.

    And Applejack did all this with a screwdriver. Say what you want about her -- she knows how to work fast and work well.

    MLP:FiM hadn't struck me as a show that could support a barrage of rapid-fire gags. Then again, no one's really thought to leverage Applejack's laser-like focus on looking out for her family to do the things she's doing here, either.

    That, or Apple Bloom's sick of her sister trying to get her into TF2.

    You never really notice how many hearts this show manages to sneak into the mise en scene. It's like it was written for little girls or something.

    Not gonna lie -- I heard "hoof massage" here and was equal parts intrigued and "Couch, stop being weird."

    Squeaky Belle gets me. She understands how nice those things are.

    And Scootaloo buzzes into first place for best face. Don't tell me you haven't done that before when you get that amazing idea -- wide smile, slightly crossed eyes, an uncontrolled flailing of appendages...

    Maybe there's a bit of a framing effect going on here what with Applejack looming over the entire plot, but the CMCs were on fire for this whole episode. Apart from that time they built a parade float to fail perfectly, things have rarely come together so well for them.

    Granted, they needed Applejack to miss the fact that her sister had grown a horn in the night, but last week taught us that the body you're born with ain't necessarily what you're gonna end up with, either.

    And song--

    Oh, okay, no song. Sorry, Apple Bloom. I'm kind of glad Scootaloo got you back on track here.

    Remember what I said about Apple Bloom ignoring whatever's not in our line of sight? There was a moment when she didn't know these hay bales were here and she still dangled herself out the window.

    In the background, Sweetie Belle's throwing some serious shade on Apple Bloom's cart-hauling capabilities.

    Gratuitous Sweetie Belle screenshot, because you've never not needed one before.

    In a deleted scene, Twilight and Cadance fly in screaming and slap the glass from AJ's hoof.

    You know, I always figured Sweetie Belle to be a little bit of a drooler.

    Cheer up, Scootaloo. At least you're not under a bridge.

    I love how Scootaloo had less than zero reasons to monologue like that, and the entire show went with it anyway. Anyway, down she goes to worst CMC.

    Scrunchy face.

    All I'm gonna say here is that Derpibooru already has a bunch of "under the bed" images uploaded, and that you can go look them up yourself.

    Yeah, it makes sense that Rarity'd be the one to look after the girls while Applejack goes off looking for her sister, but that's not going to stop me from appreciating how fancy horse and country horse continue to show how close they've grown over the course of the show.

    Also in keeping with her conversation with Big Mac in "Filli Vanilli", Applejack shows a remarkable ability to drill down to the exact circumstances of whatever calamity happens to be going on. While all those bows in the closet are for replacing lost Apple Blooms, certain hats give AJ buffs to certain stats, and she's really taken a shine to her Perceptin' Stetson this season.

    Sorry, Sweetie Belle. Applejack is immune to d'aww-induced heart attacks.

    Oh hey. Applejack keeps winning best face.

    I'll take this time to advance a new theory on quantum hoof physics -- what we actually see in the show is a superposition of stable states hooves in Equestria can occupy. Depending on the situation, they can collapse into a "candy chew" phase or a "forget the hammer" phase, and Applejack conveniently demonstrates both in this episode.

    Give me my Nobelmont Prize.

    And cut to a different part of Equestria. Throughout this entire scene, there's a bit of vignetting around the edges that's easy to look over but would give everything a wholly different tone were it not there.

    Sorry, Bloom. Dread Pirate Roberts walks a different fire swamp.

    In case you haven't had the chance to brush up on your classics in a while -- chimeras are known for breathing fire.

    MLP:FiM pulled me in after Pinkie Pie channeled Pepe Le Pew in "Griffon the Brush Off", so it's always nice to see the show reference older bits of animated canon like this.

    At least, I hope you'd know this was from "The Jungle Book" before you saw it anywhere else.

    Does anyone remember playing video games when they'll throw a boulder or something after a character, and you're made to run toward the screen? I still haven't forgiven Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped for Bone Yard.

    On the upside, striking out on her own seems to have finally granted Apple Bloom the ability to see outside the frame.

    Really, though -- Equestria's quite the Hoth-stile place.

    I didn't think a chimera would be interested in entering the best face contest, but this is a pretty convincing entry on her par--


    I just picked this frame because the goat's making funny eyes, but the talk before this reminded me of something and I kind of want to figure out where everyone else stands on it.

    I really enjoyed how Apple Bloom and the chimera had a moment when they realized they both had sisters who wouldn't stop badgering them. Season 4's been full of awesome fights, stretching from "Daring Don't" and "Power Ponies" to Applejack kicking total tail here -- but I feel this episode could just as easily have had AB and chimera sit down and commiserate on all the things their sisters did to drive them crazy. At least, that's something I could imagine happening in an earlier season. Certainly would have caught all of us by surprise -- friendship is magic, after all.

    Of course, I'm not about to complain about all the wild, new, and cool stuff the show's been throwing at us lately, but TL;DR the heartfelt, bridge-building stuff works just as well.

    Haha, let's get back to the flank-kicking.

    I can't believe they put this in.

    For all she goes on about being home on the farm and being a simple mare, Applejack sure knows her way around the more dangerous parts of Equestria. This is the same pony who led a pack of timberwolves on a chase through the Everfree, and yet she still freaks more about winning blue ribbons at the national rodeo.

    Chill, AJ. You won best face already. You don't have to keep entering.

    Cajun ponies! And with Mardi Gras just this past week, this episode had some really good timing. I didn't really expect this episode to confirm a strange piece of headcanon I have for this one pony I'm not mentioning, but it does mean I should probably look into finishing writing that fic sometime.

    Saltwater casserole, huh? Someone make a recipe for that and tell us how it goes.

    This is the episode where Seth finally gets a pony in hoofboots in the show. Lucky for him, it's Applejack! I'm just as excited for him as Bloom is here.

    I wasn't all that sure about what to expect from this episode, but I definitely know I've been in situations before when I could prove I had something handled, only to fumble at a critical time. It's not fair, and the consequences of messing up like that have shunted me down some unexpected roads. So to that end, I was really happy with how this episode unfolded, beginning with Apple Bloom having things under control until observed and ending with an awesome expansion of Equestrian geography and culture. Scott Sonneborn brings a different tempo to MLP with his first episode of the season, and I'd be interested in seeing what else he has to offer down the road.

    'Til next time, y'all. Thank you for reading.