• "Bloom and Gloom": Episode Followup

    It was a terrible, absolutely awful situation. They said they needed only the best to cover this episode's followup, but everyone was sick so they had to go with me instead. Well, you get what you pay for, but at least they put salt on the airline peanuts.

    Been a while, huh guys?

    For this episode, Josh Haber of Castle Mane-ia and Leap of Faith fame brings us the third installment of Luna visiting the Cutie Mark Crusaders in their dreams and doling out life lessons while making moon metaphors and generally being a sparkly princess horse. It was somewhat expected that Apple Bloom would get the dream treatment at some point, and here we have it. I will now do the only thing I know how to do and make obnoxious jokes at out-of-context screenshots.

    After the break, of course.

    Scootaloo teaches Apple Bloom how to count by pointing out that Sweetie Belle is in fact two very small horses in a unicorn suit. Man, you picked the right post to click today.

    Also, welcome back, creepy Rainbow Dash balloon animal.

    Do those scissors even work? It looks like they're closed all the way, but the blades don't meet.

    I guess they just don't cut it.

    Scootaloo has flashbacks from the war at the mention of "cutting stuff".

    I had another joke, but it can't be printed on the blog.

    I was trying to think of the worst cutie mark you could possibly get, but all I could come up with was Davenport's quill and sofa. He made it work, though. Quills and sofas quickly became a market leader. You make do with what you have. Not every pony can have their cutie marks explained by a sonic explosion and a twenty two minute episode.

    That's for the one percenters.

    I tried counting every time Applejack has made this half-lidded expression, but the integer overflowed at some point and now we're at negative four billion or something.

    "That is way too many questions to answer in one night."

    "That's what you said about the birds and bees!"

    "Oh, man, look at the time."


    We don't get very many mini-songs, but this one was very touching. It was also fitting that we bookend the episode's story with it- a nice writing touch.

    I just couldn't help but laugh at this.

    I'm fairly convinced that the animators came in on day one, modeled these pancakes for Castle Sweet Castle, and said to themselves, "yep, we're pretty much good on breakfast food for the entire season."

    I'm actually just frustrated because now I want pancakes.

    As far as specificity goes, this doesn't quite beat out a quill and a sofa, but it's close.

    "I have no idea what it means," says the horse who clearly employs a pest-control horse with a very similar cutie mark that performs a role so crucial that an entire town can be destroyed if he doesn't do it right.

    Applejack isn't very bright without her coffee.

    "Anypony with a trombone can get rid of Parasprites."

    Continuity! It's a thing that happens now. A side note, this pony is simply credited as Pest Pony and he's voiced by Peter New, who also later voices Big Mac.

    To be fair, that's the same face I made at Twitter when I first heard of it.

    Oh. Twittermites. Gotcha.

    I'm not convinced that name isn't Haber poking fun at something, but he never returns my calls.

    Why does this collection machine have a Parasprite on it if that's not what it's for?

    I'm seriously resisting answering every one of these rhetorical questions with, "it's a dream, stupid."

    Apple Bloom II: Electric Boogaloo

    Oh Celestia, it's these two.

    With apologies to Aquaman, I can clearly imagine the recording session for this scene.

    "Could you sound more obnoxious? No, like, as obnoxious as possible. Tumblr obnoxious."

    Maybe I'm just slow, but it was about here that I understood the direction Haber was going in. Naturally, I assumed it was Luna speaking from the forest, but I think I prefer the way it actually happened.

    I'm sensing a tiny bit of a theme to this season. Is it just me?


    I'm not sure how far away Sweet Apple Acres is from Ponyville, but that was still an impressive sprint. Then again, it's not the first time we've seen ponies teleport when the situation calls for it.

    See, now we know it's a dream. Marshmallows don't have bones.

    Alternate joke: what a shocking development.

    "Do we have to sing the song when we rebuild it this time?"



    I'm only including this again because I'm pretty sure the apples in that bowl are now lemons, and that's somehow extremely amusing to me.

    Obviously this is over-dramatized because it's a dream- and we all know how dreams love their worst-case scenarios- but this scene really hit home. Going from initial excitement for their oldest friend down the gradient to open resentment; who could say that this wouldn't actually happen?

    It's just within that realm of terrifying possibilities and it makes this scene unsettlingly effective.

    "Why? I mean, you can't come in then either."

    Seriously, damn.

    "Sounds like cutie marks and trouble are two peas in the same pod."

    Okay, Starlight Glimmer, you can come out now.

    Ostensibly these two have their cutie marks now, but the animators had to take great pains to never show their flanks in this sequence. It's a subtle thing, like with Scootaloo's wing here, but having watched it again it's impressive how well they made it work.

    "Oh, we don't have time to go into all that."

    "That's another episode, we need to keep this as open-ended as possible."


    Somewhere in Equestria, there's a car chase going on in the rain.

    Just to be clear, that is a jar of dog treats and fish in a punch bowl on the table.

    This is a real phenomenon, in case you're curious. It's called change blindness, and it occurs even when we're awake. 

    You could stop the episode right here and Big Mac would still have had more spoken dialog than in the last three seasons combined.

    This cutie mark seems fishy.

    It's like it has no porpoise.

    Looks like it's having a whale of a time, though.

    Oh, hi, Fluttershy.

    I was going to make another Inception joke, but then I noticed the chicken noise is actually coming from Pinkie in a chicken costume outside the window.

    Luna might have a monopoly on dreamwalking, but Pinkie exists outside time and space.

    "Your special talent is being yourself! It might also be a tumor, we're not sure."

    Door cutie mark as she exits through a door. Nice touch.

    Suddenly, moonbutt!

    Or inkbutt, I guess. If you'll recall, only the moon is her cutie mark.

    Luna's voice also sounds a little strange to me. It's still credited as Tabitha though.

    The shadow effect here really impressed me. Every season the quality of the animation just keeps jumping up, and so far this season has been no exception with more detailed establishing shots and more atmospheric effects. This is all still done in Flash, mind you.

    Major props.

    "If I've been dreaming this whole time, why don't I just wake up?"

    "Because it's fun to watch, honestly."

    Obviously we've known for a while that Luna can step into any dream at will, but having it presented this way is somewhat extra creepy to me. On the other hand, it makes me simultaneously recall Monsters Inc. and the ending of Bioshock Infinite. Balances out, I guess.

    Do you think she judges people by their door?

    "They're throwing pandas at us!"

    I guess now Sweetie Belle can clean up her act.

    Am I the only one wishing my dreams were this coherent and awesome?

    It's a valley of cake batter. I don't even need to elaborate.

    Scootaloo is told that she's in a dream, and the first thing she does is fly.

    Don't mind that sound, it's just my heart breaking.

    We've seen that Nyan Rainbow Dash poster before, but I'm including it anyway because it's amazing.

    "Wait, wouldn't it have been easier just to tell us all this during the day? Like, not in a dream?"

    "I am nocturnal. Also, ratings."

    Applejack: Best Face winner three seasons running.

    That'll just about wrap us up, horses.

    A big shoutout, as always, to the team that makes this show possible- we love what you guys do. If you want to follow Josh Haber on Twitter, he's right over here. You can find me on Twitter here, too!

    Until we meet again!

    Cereal Velocity