• "Amending Fences": Episode Followup

    Hey everyone! Cups here with my very first episode followup, and I sure snagged myself a good one.

    This has been a great season for continuity, with the return of Gilda, another Grand Galloping Gala, Cranky and Matilda's wedding, and even a Winter Unwrap Up. Still, I don't think any of us thought we'd be taking a trip down memory lane all the way back to the very first episode of Friendship is Magic! It almost feels like Amending Fences could have been intended to be the 100th episode, at least until some genius came up with Slice of Life (and some genius made M.A. Larson write both of them).

    So take a seat and don't even bother with the menu, because today's main course is a healthy heaping of comfort food: nostalgia!

    Here we see the Equestrian Striped Book Horse in her natural environment.

    Lookin’ good, Spike, lookin’ REAL good.

    It’s cute to see Spike with some of the same habits as Twilight. Or is he taking after Pinkie Pie, and this was a book hidden away in case of book emergencies?

    Yeah Twilight, don’t you remember all these precious Ponyville moments? Like when you cleaned a pig with Spike, or when Rarity made you try her new Vogue Vagrant look, or when Spike photobombed a luau, or when you tried on Applejack’s mom’s old hat and she pretended to be okay with it? Good times, good times.

    It’s funny how much Twilight really has changed. She has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to facts and figures, but while she still lived in Canterlot she cared so little about friendship that she couldn’t remember the names of just four "friends."

    Is that...?

    Could it be...?

    Can you feel that four year old nostalgia rolling over you? Twilight can! Also, she can apparently still read the Equestrian Wingdings font.

    "Hey look, the rest of it’s still here!" It’s nice to see this line pay off near the end of the episode.

    I’m not sure reflections work this way. How are both of her eyes visible from this angle? Maybe light in Equestria bends! Eh, we get to see this cute face in duplicate, so it's all good.

    "Minuette, Twinkleshine, Lemon Hearts, Lyra Heartstrings-" And that’s the point where like a third of the bronies watching started flailing their arms in the air like Kermit the Frog. Were we really going to get two episodes in one season with Lyra in a speaking role?!

    Wow, Spike really IS taking after Twilight a lot! Though Twilight did it better.

    Dang, look at that house. Minuette must do pretty good for herself, or maybe she lives in a family manor? She mentions coworkers, so I don’t think she owns an hourglass manufacturing company. Either way, swank pad.

    Why do we even need an analysis community when we have Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Self-Analysis?

    Minuette, your teeth are so bright and shiny! She grins a whole lot in this episode, enough that it makes one wonder if the animators were purposely showing off her pearly whites?

    It’s a little sad that this episode will finally kill off the name "Colgate" for many of us, but we can take solace in the fact that she’s great! She’s vibrant, she’s excitable, she’s... got blue hair! Remind you of anyone? (If not, go see Inside Out!)

    When a pony tells you to "really fluff up your wings" and then wiggles into your personal space, it can mean only one thing... She wants a photo with you!

    It’s weird to see Minuette from this angle, huh? The off-white mane looks good on her though. Cute ponies are cute.

    And here’s our first time seeing the outside of Joe’s doughnut shop! This episode is so full of callbacks.

    They have the Heimlich Maneuver in Equestria, right?

    Have we ever seen ponies eating oats in the show? The phrase, "Twinkleshine literally spit out her oats," is kind of gross.

    Do they all make this face while eating doughnuts? Is that healthy?

    So here we are with Lemon Hearts, Minuette, and Twinkleshine! Sadly there's no Lyra, though we get a little bit of canon for why we see these three and Lyra in Ponyville or Canterlot all the time. Thanks M.A. Larson!

    They really did miss Twilight! Twilight has good luck in making awesome friends.

    Meanwhile, Spike’s in the back chatting up Joe, just like in The Best Night Ever. Will we ever get any insight into what Spike’s life was like in Canterlot? This may be the most we’ll ever get.

    Their old school! We never find out for sure if this was part of Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, but considering Twilight was still "friends" with these three up until she moved away, it seems logical that she met probably them here instead of at the school she went to before Celestia’s. If she’d spent any time apart from them at another school she never would have bothered to visit them, after all.

    "Remember when Lemon Hearts got her head stuck in a beaker?" Her reaction is priceless.

    But not as priceless as her reaction to actually BEING INSIDE A BEAKER. Also, they kept Minuette’s braces, nice.

    Flashback! Babby Lyra! Background fillies that chronologically shouldn’t be here!

    Our first glimpse of Moondancer, who must have gone to the same barber as Twilight. Or, maybe there was some early hero worship going on? Either way, Twilight was DEFINITELY one of those kids who thought she knew everything.

    Twinkleshine mentions that Moondancer lives "out by the stadium," which is a nice bit of natural dialogue. We don’t know what stadium she means, and it doesn’t matter. It’s normal for friends in the same town to use landmarks with each other that no one else would know. I’m a sucker for simple storytelling elements that feel natural and genuine.

    Twilight’s still getting used to her earth pony strength. Repair bills continue to pile up.


    You see these two faces? Get used to them, because they’re just about the only faces these two characters make for the next 10 minutes.

    Well, maybe not the ENTIRE 10 minutes. By the way, this makes a pretty nice wallpaper!

    Seriously, you’re bright pastel ponies. Who would hide behind a menu in plain sight and expect it to work?

    Speaking of hero worship, when they went to the store to buy some big disguise sunglasses, is it any surprise that Twilight went right for the ones with the giant sun cutie marks on the sides? No, no surprise at all.

    Wow, speaking of four year old nostalgia! The little musical jingle that plays as Twilight walks up to these three reminds me of rewatching Season 1 way too many times in summer 2011.

    When a pony makes a face like that and leans in real close, it can mean only one thing... That she’s smug about the awesome silence bubble she just casted!

    Literal Book Horse.


    "That’s one of Haycartes methods." Sick 17th century French philosophy reference. Also, who else thought of the IDW comics story with the bookworm when they saw this part?

    Also, when Moondancer calls her "Twilight Twinkle" it's a reference to Twilight's WIP name while the show was still in early development, as well as a previous generation pony.

    Cute quick little "push my glasses back onto my snout" moment that I bet a lot of us missed the first time watching, especially on a stream.

    Screenshot offered without further commentary.

    "The last thing I need is a bunch of ridiculous friend-making keeping me from studying!" Sound like anyone you used to know, Twilight?

    Yowza, awkward dinner is awkward. I hope no one at the adjacent tables can overhear their conversation.

    Like this one. This bright pastel pony. Who is hiding behind a menu in plain sight. It seems to be working for her! After all, Twilight might find her kind of familiar...

    Remember when Twilight grabbed Rainbow Dash by her tail, or accidentally threw Spike across the room for tickling her, or captured the Mane Five in a giant freeze spell in Castle Mane-ia? Someone finally gave Twilight a taste of her own medicine! Thank you, Moondancer, thank you.

    Moondancer in all her painfully cute, before-Twilight-ruined-her-life glory! Considering how devastated Moondancer was by Twilight not showing up to her party, maybe she subconsciously changed her mane style after Twilight moved away to help distance herself from memories of her lost friendship? Or maybe she just stopped using a brush.

    Twilight calls in her secret weapon! It’s subtle, but when Pinkie flies away just after this you can hear the sound of her crash landing into a vase or something off-screen. Personally, I'm betting it was a beaker.

    The time Twilight found out that one of her new best friends is best friends with one of her old best friends. Come on, Twilight, you’re the Princess of Friendship. Git gud.

    "A brief history of the wagon harness!"

    This is it folks, this is where Moondancer finally eclipsed Twilight Sparkle. This is what I like to call Maximum Book Horse.

    Twilight breaks through Moondancer’s shell, and Moondancer has some really poignant lines here as her motivations and fears become clear.

    "That was only the first time I ever put myself out there, and then you didn’t even bother to show up!" "I felt like I wasn’t important! I never wanted to let myself be hurt like that again."

    Kazumi Evans gives a great performance as Moondancer. You can really believe that she's figuring out the depth of her own emotions about this for the first time, even as she breaks down from it.

    And of course the animators were excellent, too. Some people just see a goofy face, but I see relief, receding sadness, tentative happiness, and mild embarrassment in this one silly, memorable expression.

    Happy tearful hugs all around!

    If you’re going to play Pin the Tail on the Pony, might as well reference the Season 4 opener!

    It took four years, several nearly destroyed friendships, and one deceased teddy bear, but Spike finally delivered his gift to Moondancer, and she loved it! And hey, Lyra IS in this episode.

    And what an episode it was! Kudos to M.A. Larson and the Friendship is Magic team for putting together a great, callback-filled story without making it feel forced, with mature emotions portrayed by adorable little ponies. We've seen some people in interviews say, "It's a show for kids, but plenty of the lessons work for adults," and Amending Fences is a perfect example of just what they mean!

    Thank you, my fellow Dailians, for sticking around all the way to the end! I'm really grateful I got to do this episode as my first followup. I'm looking forward to seeing your own episode discussion in the comments below!