• "Brotherhooves Social": Episode Followup

    We'll get back to your irregularly-scheduled Flutterbro announcement soon.

    Excellent tempo episode for keeping the season rolling. Let's not delay this follow-up any longer, shall we? Sorry in advance for the low-quality screengrabs, I had to go to my aunt's for the weekend.

    Hit the break!

    Here, delicately perched in her rural attic, the geriatric pie horse seeks her prey.

    In honesty, if there's one thing that felt a little off about the episode, it was Apple Bloom giving her sister these eyes.

    This was a really good set-up moment in the first act, though. Big Mac's natural reticence aside, all Applejack has to do is glance over and notice something's up.

    Look at this big, happy idiot.

    And look at this small, happy idiot about to stomp on her brother's ailing heart.

    ... help me out, y'all. When was the last time you had a grape pie?

    "Pretending to be busy" is something I'll admit to doing when I'm suddenly pissed, but refuse to talk about it until someone brings it up first. To be honest, I'm finishing this follow-up like two hours before it's due for posting, and I'm less coming up with jokes than I am going, "Yeah, dat's good characterization."

    It definitely helps that we get to see Big Mac emote quite a great deal in this episode, too. Even when he split the spotlight with Cheerilee in "Hearts and Hooves Day", he wasn't exactly himself the whole time, was he?

    It concerns me that Apple Bloom 1) comes charging in from nowhere the moment her sister's butt goes off and 2) gets right up all in that business.

    Scrunchy face.

    "Now, you listen here. Bein' best pony comes with a mighty load 'a responsibilities."

    No, Seth, this doesn't mean we're getting Big BAT-intosh in Season 6. Well, not that you care about stallions anyway.

    "She ain't eatin'. Welp, guess the family's starvin' this winter."

    The above is a joke on how farmers are poor.

    Just look at this big, happy idiot.

    So this episode brought in a decent load of new background ponies, including the pair of pegasisters in the back. I like them!

    This was a frame that made it into the final episode. Someone made this, and it passed S&P. Moving on.



    All right, I totally thought this was the episode that'd bring in that (Spoiler:)brother of Fluttershy's they'd mentioned at SDCC this year. Stood to reason that there'd be a companion event to the Sisterhooves Social in Equestria, right? Well, instead, what we got was... this.

    And in all honesty, I was concerned I wasn't going to really dig this episode. How far could the writers even take "Big Macintosh, in drag" anyway?

    More on that later, because those two unicorn sisters in the background are also new and I really like them, too.

    Scootaloo, put those wings down. You're too young to know what that means just yet.

    And then everyone forgot about the foreground because LYRA AND BONBON LOOK THERE THEY ARE

    The only reason I let myself watch past the second episode of season 1 when Pinkie started spinning up that song and dance routine in the Everfree Forest was because Twilight immediately called it out. The show generally does a good job of being self-aware, and that it's resident space cadet Sweetie Belle not even batting an eye at Orchard Blossom's ploy only sweetened the pot.

    And then SB rolls with it. Not, "Hey Big Macintosh, why are you trying to compete in the Social?" but "Yes, I am best blank-flank filly, thanks for noticing."

    The amount of salt on Apple Bloom's face right now is biblical.

     Just leaving this here, because. It's really hard to caption this episode, guys! The animation really speaks for itself!

    All right, the mare on the left is pretty adorable even if she is supposed to be long in the tooth. But let's leave her for a moment.

    Mr. Dirty Old Stallion was the lock on this episode.

    This is another one of those bits that really speaks for itself. We don't have to be told Big Mac is smart where it counts. He just whips it out.

    DIRTY OLD STALLION. Seriously.

    And there's Berry Punch in the back wondering regretting her decision not to have a glass of wine that morning.

    That is the quintessential "not want, but what do" look on the MC's face there.

    If you haven't figured it out by now, the mind of Big Macintosh must be strange indeed. Then again, anyone who's kept current with the comics will not be very surprised.

    Look, I know the Apple Family is all about image when it comes to their fruit of favor, but even this is a bit--

    Oh, forget it.

    DIRTY OLD STALLION way in the back! Dying.

     [noises of a tiny horse that has f****d up]

    It's beautiful how Apple Bloom has just enough time to process how bad the next two seconds of her life are about to be.

    So this hasn't been something I've touched on in the episode before, but man, does that Rainbow Dash jive with small, flightless things. It's very heartwarming.

    "This is an insult to dignity."

    "Hey, pal, at least you're on the other end."

    Scenes like this make me really glad that Big Mac had the foresight to pull some bloomers over his buttocks, but I'm pretty sure there are kids watching this now that will come back to this scene in five years and go, "That was messed up."

    I didn't think this episode could possibly get serious.

    It got serious.

    Hey, look! It's these two being adorably exuberant together! Again!

    I know we all have our favorite ponies and I have mine, but I really do appreciate how meaningful it is each time Rainbow drops her facade and celebrates something whole-heartedly. It's a good state of being for her.

    Hey, it looks like Granny knows which end she talks into now! And even where it goes in relation to her face! I'm so proud of her.

    And this, kids, is why stretching is important.

    You know, when she isn't obsessing over cutie marks, or family, or... uh, when she isn't obsessing over something, Apple Bloom proves to be pretty competent at whatever task is at hoof. She'd fixed up the Crusader's Clubhouse by herself all the way back in Season 1, after all.

    Some of the best episodes, in my opinion, take you from "this will never work out" to "holy crap, they're working it out." The Beastie Boys would be so proud of these two.

    I can only imagine it being a voice actor's best day when the director comes up to them and says "You're gonna burp."

    So obviously we were gonna see the Sisterhooves Social obstacle course make a return, and as far as locking continuity goes, every event we saw in Season 2 makes its return here, in order.

    Naturally, someone at DHX went "Hey, do we still have the layouts for the halfway turn?" Indeed, they did. The show's come amazingly far from its Ctrl+V heyday, but it's nifty to see a little reminder of that here.

    Way to not think things through on this one, squirt.

    Hey, what's up with sticking fillies in glass containers this season? Any other place than Equestria, and we'd be watching some very-not-kid friendly television.

    Heh heh. This was cute.

    In this shot: Scootaloo seeing into the beyond, and seeing it see into her. She abandons her cutie mark crusade and strikes out into the wilderness, searching for the meaning behind the veil.

    Ultimately, she gets bored and goes home, where she finds her calling in regulatory oversight of medical research. It is a fulfilling, if slightly monotonous, career.


    Oh can it, Apple Bloom. You've had more cutie mark changes than all the rest of the cast combined by now.

    Can we take a moment to process what it means when the Sisterhooves Social has an apparent governing authority now?

    Also, it was absolutely a one-off gag at the beginning of the episode when it came to what qualified for "sisterhood" in the Social, but we revisit it here and it's a lot more meaningful. Of course Big Mac wasn't going to fool anypony in that ridiculous get-up of his, but I think the fact that no one bothered to call him out on being a stallion speaks a remarkable amount to issues of social acceptance in Equestria. The door's open for readings of this episode that could can honestly stand with the likes of The Legend of Korra's series finale.

    This is a wonderful way to address social commentary in any media. You don't always have to look for what a given show provides. Look at what it leaves out as well. I've always been a fan of letting die in obscurity unpleasant agendas, and a lot of the questions our world would have asked Big Macintosh just don't come up here.

    We now bring you back to your regularly scheduled programming of chickens weeping for comedic effect. Wonderful layouts here, Morgan.

    Meanwhile, excuse me! Rainbow Dash just won something. Cue the state celebrations!

    Awww. You know, I've given Dirty Old Stallion a hard time this entire episode. After my little (heh) aside up there, you really do have to wonder what's going on beneath those wrinkles. HIS STORY MUST BE TOLD.

    Background colors provided by Fe Ribeiro. Like Morgan, Fe was one of the wonderful DHX staffers I got to meet in person at BronyCAN, and it's very easy to see why they brought her on as a color artist. I wonder if she also did up Fluttershy's cottage back in "Castle, Sweet Castle" too?

    We feels now. Polsky, this was absolutely unfair. You do not get to throw this stallion into a dress and have him coming out the other side admitting that he wishes he were closer with his little sister again.You just DON'T.

    I follow at least one person on Twitter who texted his younger sister to tell her how much he appreciated her after this episode. Wow.

    Wonderful scene to close out on. We now understand Big Macintosh on a deeper level -- all the more significant in that this is probably the first episode in the entire show that's given so much time to exploring a male character. That isn't at all to say that this kind of representation was over-due, given that the staff really tend to focus on the all-female mane cast for stories. If anything, it reinforces how often the status quo can go unchallenged, and here we see one of the brawniest hunks in Equestria get a softer, yet more articulate side.

    Getting off of my soapbox now. Thanks for reading. CouchCrusader, out.