• "Inspiration Manifestation": Episode Followup

    This season has been full of excellent writers, new and old, but it's rare when you can get a powerhouse of wordslingers like Corey Powell and Meghan McCarthy to come together on an episode. If you know me, you'll know I'm glad that it was a Rarity episode they did together. As the season starts to wrap itself up, this exquisite puppet show attempts to put to bed some previously unsolved pony mysteries, like where the heck that owl went and exactly how much dark magic must actually exist in Equestria for any old unicorn to pick up. I'm pretty sure the latter is the former's fault.

    Sheesh, it's been a while. Let's get started before I forgot how to write one of these.

    Apple Bloom, what are you staring at, you silly filly?

    Oh. Thunderlane's cute butt.

    Streamers and balloon games and apple juice and unspecified spheres for sale by a meditating earth pony. Yep, seems like a festival to me. Is it just me, or does Ponyville have a lot of festivals?

    Here we can also see Vinyl Scratch selling her way out of the music industry and Pinkie's magical ability to make balloons into any shape. Wasn't that ball toss stand on the other side of the path in the previous shot?

    I have also been informed that balloons can indeed be made that way without being Pinkie.

    Parents spotted!

    Also, this seems to be the first in-show appearance of their mother's cutie mark, at least according to Couch. As always, if I'm wrong, blame him.

    I'm sure the puppet theater would have been the talk of the fair had it been used. Look at that thing.  It's made of solid gold. Though, given what we know about gems in Equestria, maybe gold isn't as valuable as I think it is. That said, it is also covered in about six hundred gems, so I'm glad Rarity is learning restraint.

    "You're my favorite dragon!"

    Given how many other dragons Rarity knows, to me this carries about as much weight as Twilight saying that she likes books.

    This is the look of a pony who definitely left the oven on.

    I'm known for being wrong in these followups about details like this because I'm literally the worst pony ever, but I don't believe we've seen another pony with Snips' body style until now.

    Voice credit to Jay Brazeau for this guy, by the way, whose name is Claude. Brilliant performance.

    Googly eyes make everything better.

    Man, they're really getting a lot of mileage out of this expression for Rarity this season.

    I honestly don't even think best face is a question for today, but you're free to disagree, even though your opinion is factually wrong.


    Whenever there's a visual gag like this, it's usually Spike doing it. I think he's fallen into that role quite nicely, just like Applejack becoming more and more sarcastic was the best thing to happen to her character since apples.

    Also, I don't think Tabitha could have inserted more 'nom' noises into this scene if she tried.

    Hey, it's the old creepy castle!

    I love when we get to go back to this place, and considering how often it's showed up I think it's a fair bet to say that it'll play a pivotal role in the finale. I'll also be doing the followup for both parts of that, so stay tuned for more bad jokes and potentially/deliberately offensive captions.

    I mean, it's just a glowing shaft of green light and a narrow staircase. No one's ever attributed that shade of green to mean dark, dangerous magic. What could possibly go wrong?

    The melting temperature of steel is 1370 °C (2500 °F), and if that doesn't make Spike the most dangerous creature under three feet tall in Equestria, I don't know what does.

    The lock could also be made out of candy, in which case that would make this the second least-effective lock we've seen on this show.

    Don't judge a book by its cover, unless the cover can kill you.

    "Instantly brings ideas to life", eh? Rarity has some experience with that, at least.

    I think the last time I ate this much ice cream was when this happened.

    This might just be me (and let's be honest, it's usually just me), but this felt like it was written and acted in such a way that tries to get across that Rarity is being much more self-aware about her whining than in previous outbursts. If that makes sense. It's now more about being a conscious coping mechanism than an involuntary action.

    What I'm saying is I think she knows exactly what she's doing.

    "I thought about making this a much more beautiful spellbook, and I have!"

    You also turned what looked like two stone slabs into a multi-page book, so I'm going to assume that the rest of the pages are filled with more ice cream.

    I would ask for a fanfic about Chrysalis masquerading as Rarity, but I'm sure it was done years ago.

    Like my hopes and dreams.

    This is such a minor point, but I feel the need- where is Rarity's regular saddlebag? The different design doesn't actually play a role in the rest of the episode, so why use a new one?

    I've sat here for ten minutes trying to caption this.

    Something something hoof on tiny floating puppet strings.

    There's actually nothing wrong with this new design. I prefer it. The old one might have been the perfect example of form over function, but this does start the trend of the episode, where we start off well and then everything Rarity makes just becomes more and more impractical.

    It's like Battlestar Galactica's reboot all over again.

    That said, as pointed out by TimmoWarner on Twitter, this cart doesn't actually work. Take a look. If you were taller than the harness (and you probably would be), the front supports would dig into the ground. Claude even tests it wrong. So unless the front supports collapse (and in fairness, they probably do) this doesn't work as presented.


    Give this guy an Oscar.

    Best face champion four seasons running reclaiming her title with aplomb with her signature, "You bet I run this sh[buy some apples!]t" face.

    Scrunchy face.

    Well, I guess we can put the book back on the pedestal where it belongs.

    Wait, no, the pedestal collapsed. I suppose we can put it back on the shelves- wait, we have how much time left in the episode? Crap, keep the book, horse, and keep the cameras rolling.



    If this wasn't your immediate mental recollection, I am sorely disappointed in you.

    See above: Rarity discovers raves, and possibly mind-altering substances.


    Holy hell, Rarity. Please relinquish your best face awards this instant.

    You don't really get to say no when a unicorn wants you to follow them somewhere.

    Actually, if Twilight didn't do this to Spike on a weekly basis, I'd imagine it would be quite disorienting for him. As is, I'm sure he's used to it. I'm leading into something here, just bear with me.

    It's like Secret of my Excess, only backwards.

    Okay, nevermind, you can have the awards back now.

    I'm not even sure why Rarity is asking permission to keep the book at this point. It's not like Spike could get it back from her if he tried. Man, if only that owl were here.


    "Granny, it's like ponies don't want to buy the only thing we ever sell."

    "Man, imagine that."

    I like to imagine that this is how Rarity would propose to Applejack if that ship ever sailed.

    What Applejack said just now was 'rhubarb pie', but what I heard first was 'rebar pie', which probably tops the list of the least appetizing things I've ever said, right next to, "sure, I'll have the IPA."

    "Want to read my fanfics?"

    Rarity, how are you standing like that?

    Rainbow Dash actually talks to clouds constantly. It wasn't a problem until she started giving them names. It's why they make her do weather detail by herself.

    Although honestly I would have been a lot more surprised to be suddenly wearing a dress. She acts like this isn't the first time this has happened, and to be honest, because she's friends with Rarity it probably isn't.

    Seen here: probably a month's worth of food for a bird that small.

    At least she's thorough? Or maybe the robin rents that room out, in which case maybe I should be taking business lessons from that bird.

    In a deleted version of this scene, the robin is accidentally transfigured into a couch during the process. Fluttershy was in additional therapy for weeks after that.



    There are actually ways around this owl in the game. I've seen speedrunners use them constantly, but to me it's just black magic and frame-perfect inputs and all that.

    It's a good thing that these foals haven't aged a day since Sweetie Belle's fifth birthday party.

    It would certainly explain their lack of appreciation for shrimp. I don't even like seafood and if you give me a plate of shrimp I'll wag my tail and follow you home.

    "This is ridiculous. I don't even have fingers."

    Gotta say, though, Spike rocks the Space Marine outfit pretty well.

    I was overjoyed when they brought Twilight into this storyline, even for a moment and even though she's ultimately just there to clean up. It makes perfect sense for such a magic-attuned character to start noticing that weird things are happening and start investigating.

    Even better is that she wasn't there to teach the moral, either. McCarthy and Powell left that up to Spike, which I think was a wise decision- but I'm getting ahead of myself.

    In case you forgot, Tara Strong has only spoken to one voice actress in this scene.

    My pet theory is that they already had Cathy Weseluck in the recording booth and just told her to have Mayor Mare provide an excuse to get Twilight out of the scene. I have a lot of pet theories, but they'll be big and strong some day, you'll see.

    Corey Powell has been known for involving the mane six's pets a lot more in stories than the other writers ever since Just for Sidekicks, and I find it very refreshing. I mean, look, there's two right here.

    Sweet Celestia, put the pitchforks down, it was a joke.

    See, I'm not making this stuff up, here's Twilight clearly lifting ponies around. Forget the fact they're in trouble, you know she's had lots of practice with this, and a conveniently small character to practice on.

    Through solid crystal, though- that's pretty impressive.

    If this is the yellow brick road, does that make Rarity the wizard?

    Also seriously gold must be worth its weight in hoof clippings in this universe.

    Also Blossomforth.

    Yes, sneak up on the omnipotent black magic unicorn. Great idea.

    This owl has defeated full-size dragons like this, I don't think Rarity really stands a chance. Still, as this gesture stands on the bro code, that owl can graduate with full honors as far as I'm concerned.

    This just captions itself.


    "... or, as everyone will soon be calling them, Rariot!"

    I think you should leave the puns to me, marshmallow.

    Well, a) clearly you don't need the book, because you just apparated a chariot out of nowhere, and b) please do that dog growl again. It makes me tingle with pure joy.

    "It was probably the owl!"

    The face of an owl who is completely done with Spike's sh[buy some apples!]t.

    And then Rarity neatly dispels any remaining trace of sanity.

    "Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!"


    "Are you threatening me, master Jedi?"

    Also known as the, "day after a convention" expression.

    "Only when true words are spoken will you finally be set free."

    Well, hell, that would have been quite a loophole. Why not just get close to Rarity and say something truthful? Three is a prime number. Death and taxes. There were only three Star Wars films.

    Some spell, am I right? That royal booze must be great.

    In the end, though, Ponyville ended up looking utterly fabulous, and appreciated in value by a whole ten percent. You can probably also see it from space. So there's that.

    If we're honest, this town has ended up much worse after a typical episode.

    But gosh darn it, if this isn't the cutest thing.

    In the end, though, this episode really wouldn't have felt complete without wrapping up with Twilight literally stomping back into the library, completely frazzled and probably thinking up new ways to tie Spike to the ceiling or something. I swear, the more hairs out of place on a pony's mane, the cuter they look, even if they're about to gore you.

    That's all from me for now until the finale, folks, and we're only one regular episode away from that. For now, though, I've been Cereal Velocity, and you've all been wonderful.