• "The Parent Map" - Episode Followup

    The Parent Map Aggretsuko Starlight Glimmer. Let Us Live Our LIVES! By We Are Borg

    What's up pony fans and welcome to the Episode Followup for "The Parent Map", a title reference made relevant to millennials thanks to the 1998 Lindsay Lohan remake of the 1960's classic, The Parent Trap. This was one awesome episode and while you may dislike a shift away from the Mane 6, this episode is sure to entertain.

    Please join me below for helicopter parents, lists, kites, worst dragon Spike, Starlight faces, and...essence.

    (Full Aggretsuko inspired comic by Lumineko)

    Before we begin, I'm known in these followups for laying out the moral lesson(s) before we get started so you can see how it builds as we go along. This episode has a few of them. First, communication isn't just important for friendships, it's also important for familial relationships as well. I know growing up most of you were told not to question and not to back talk but sooner or later you've got to be honest with your parents about the important stuff. Second, don't run away from your problems. Our pair of secondary ponies spend the whole episode avoiding their parents to a comical extent. And finally, parents can be friends too. I know the world is far from perfect and having a  friend in a parent isn't guaranteed, due to reasons outside your control, but like all friendship you have to put some work into it.

    Let's begin...

    Statue of Spike holding the Crystal Heart in Crystal Empire. A normal day in the crystal empire

    Look at this guy. It's amusing we start with a statue of Spike since he's gonna be a such a useless lizard in the next couple minutes. If you recall, Starlight prompted Spike to talk about this statue when she was trying to avoid seeing Sunburst all those episodes ago. A fun parallel to this episode that may or may not have been intentional.

    Crystal Empire mail couriers accept carrots as tips.

    Now, I've heard of tipping mail couriers during the holidays. A common enough practice because of our blatant consumerism of and conspicuous consumption during the holidays that makes us feel guilty enough to throw a cookie at barely paid government employees, but not nearly guilty enough to not buy so much stuff. Also, Equestria must indeed be a paradise if you can blindly choke down whatever some random pony hoofs you. In this shot, so far this stallion has eaten just the tip.

    Who's next on the route?

    Sunburst's house is part hat part shroom.

    A reminder of what Sunburst's house looks like. Wizard's hat up top. Magic mushroom underneath. How do I know its a "magic" mushroom? I'll get to that in a bit.

    Let's bother Sunburst...

    Sunburst is a mushroom to mail ponies.

    Oh Sunburst, you're a hopeless bookworm. More worm than Twilight even. How is this possible? So deeply engrossed in "Houyhnhnm's Guide to Magical Arcana" that you can't open the door properly. Houyhnhnms, not Windham like the subtitles would have you believe, are the intelligent horses from Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift.

    Anyway, he gets a letter from Sire's Hollow...

    ...That he promptly adds to a pile he's ignoring harder than my pile of jury summons letters. He needs to be featured on an episode of Hoarders with all those books. Anyway, queue a pulsing plot point. I like how his first thought was that he was experiencing the cerebration transmogrification effect mentioned in chapter 17 of Houyhnhnm's book. Cerebration transmogrification being thesaurus vomit for mind transformation. Sunburst, you live in a magic hat mushroom. I'm sure you've already made a special tea that gave you that effect.

    Anyway, let's have a look...

    I watch it for the plot. Sure enough, he is being summoned by that Cutie Map and he is super excited.

    Your writer for the episode: Dave Rapp. Despite him only having written three episodes of MLP prior to this point, he's no stranger to MLP's recurring character's having delivered great performances from the Apple Family in "Where the Apple Lies", Fluttershy's family in "Flutter Brutter", and the Wonderbolts in "Newbie Dash".

    I agree with Twilight. Spike is pretty cringe-worthy here. Dave, I just got done saying you were a great writer! Loving Twilight's face in this shot. This whole episode is full of cool faces...

    ...Like these. Look how excited they are now that they're headed to their patriarchal-named hometown of Sire's Hollow. Also, Spike volunteering to go in their place was also groan-inducing.

    Let's catch a train and get some exposition...

    So I think the stallion on the left has been in a few train shots in previous episodes but I'm not quite sure who it's supposed to be. He's likely a staff member with Australian origins since that's clearly a jar of vegemite as his cutie mark. Oh well, I'm sure we'll figure out sooner or later who this pony is.

    On to the exposition...

    Starlight has learned some tricks from Lyra it seems. We learn at this point that Starlight's father treats her like a filly, a theme echoed in the episode "Forever Filly" with Rarity's treatment of Sweetie Belle, and Sunburst complains that his mother is too naggy and controlling, a theme kind of similar to that found in "Somepony to Watch Over Me" in that like Apple Bloom, Sunburst can't be left alone to complete anything, and a touch of "Apple Family Reunion" when it comes to planning something to death.

    They've got some pretty intense feelings when it comes to their parents. Let's stop this train...

    A wide shot of Sire's Hollow. Now that you can see some of the architecture, Sire's Hollow is a reference to the town of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Let's go inside...

    These gates are only slightly less annoying than the sad doors on the ship The Heart of Gold in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

    Mmmmmm essence...Definitely chocolate. I like how the pony, let's call her Sassy Spritz, said "The Sire's Hollow Development Committee determined what it is", when referring to the building. Equestria's constitutional monarchy is looking a bit more socialist in this episode, but I'll spare you the details of an argument.

    Also, does it bother anypony else that the smoothie place is only one door down not "two"? Let's go check out some of the other businesses...

    This is the most confusing locale of the episode. They apparently can't go in nor touch the books but later they can go in and touch the books? Besides, anyone who's shopped for a wedding venue knows "historical" is just a magical word that elevates a termite infested dive into a 4-5 figure a day rental space. Starlight and Sunburst would get married in a bookstore btw.

    Let's meet the pony responsible for this nonsense...

    Why its Starlight Glimmer's father, Firelight, here to embarrass the horse apples outta her. He's the reason we have so many awesome Starlight faces this episode. I'll be sure to make a compilation for you below.

    He's here to preserve the whole town so let's see his opposition...

    Why it's Sunburst's super hot mom, Stellar Flare! I love this very mom thing she doing here, trying to cut off his goatee. This happens to me all the time. Look, mom, sometimes I have only 10 minutes before work and my choices are putting on pants or shaving.

    Anyway, Sunburst's mom wants to change Sire's Hallow into something more modern and also she's a little bit...crazy. What's interesting is that we only have Sunburst's mother in this episode and not his father whom we saw in "The Cutie Re-Mark"...

    Ponies either have the worst socialized medicine, marriage counseling, or armed forces draft. Either that or like that vegemite pony on the train, too many parents go on walkabout. Anyway, back to the current episode...

    Starlight and Sunburst think they have their problem right in front of them. Their exasperation throughout this whole episode is a gold mine for expressive pony features. What's neat is despite the rift between Firelight and Stellar, they really do try to work things out among themselves, even though it's just so they can hang out with their kids more.

    Let's start a sort of montage where we get these two lonely pones back on speaking terms with each other. I'll remind our readers The Parent Trap was all about getting the two parents back together romantically. I'll let the fanfics make it weird...

     I love these two hipster ponies. It kind of looks like her cutie mark is a coffee cup from a very snooty artisan coffee place that only sweetens their lattes with raw sugar. I'm looking at you, Dean Hotel near the Hasbro offices in Providence.

    Really I think Sunburst is getting the worst of it during this episode. Also, you'd think with eyeball's taking up 40% of their faces, ponies would know not to spray things in the face. Eye-drop companies must make a killing in Equestria.

    I feel like this is a reference to Wall-E where everyone on the spaceship was just eating and drinking through a straw. Apparently, ponies are very capable of making shakes from hay but not fruit. I like how so many of our shops here are food related. Let's grab some carbs...

    'Ancient pony grain bread'. I'll pass. Also, "I hope you like crust." This baker pony is probably my favorite background pony of the episode. He's got a bit of dimension to him and might have the worst job in the town.

    These founders also invented color photography. Also, that filly 3rd from the left on the bottom looks a lot like Stellar's coloration and the colt on the top right looks very similar to Firelight's colors. Does this mean Sunburst and Starlight are distantly related? I'll let the fanfics make it weird...

    Oh, look at the time. Now that they finished their goal of getting their parents to hook up it's ditch-the-fam o'clock.

    Too bad the Cutie Map demands more sacrifice. Also, this is what you watch My Little Pony for. Don't lie.

    Ever feel like your mother just walks all over you? Sunburst does. Stellar Flare's behavior would have me on the floor rolling if it wasn't so painfully real to me. My mother screamed in my face once that I couldn't survive on my own after landing a full-time job with benefits. Good times. Also, Sunburst's whinny of frustration is cute.

    This was on the screen for barely a second but its full of so much fun stuff. This was Steph Mahoney's doing according to Big Jim on Twitter. Some notable stuff here are the rather human-like skulls, the alien head, the bat pony alicorn doll on the amp, a skateboard on the bottom left, and most importantly at least two kites: one as a sort of bat wing at the top and another you can just see the tail of hanging down from the top right. This mare really loves her kites. Also, I'd love to see Starlight shred on a guitar. Goth Starlight would be great to see. Get on it artists!

    These lists would give Twilight's wings such a *pomf*.

    So this bearded fellow is apparently the OC of a Hasbro toy maker. According to Big Jim the resemblance is uncanny. Let me know in comments what an omega with bat/dragon wings could mean.

    Notice the kite on her foal blanket? Conditioned from foalhood. Ever notice how her cutie mark looks like a falling kite with a long tail?

    This mare and her lips...

    I've met a few bronies with a little too much natural essence. Cons are an interesting place.

    I love Stellar's win-by-any-means-necessary approach to friendship problems. Luckily she doesn't have Twilight's skillset to start up another "Lesson Zero" catastrophe.

    "I'm a grown mare!" I'd love to point out that this fundamental point right here is what kept me watching MLP past the pilot. Our Mane characters sans the CMC and Student 6 are all adults with adult problems. After I moved away from home, I didn't realize how much my mother still wanted to treat me like a child until she was helping with my wedding. It's these relatable moments to adult problems that made MLP the huge success it was and still is.

    Also, per her father, Starlight is a "silly filly."

    This stallion chewing that bread makes my teeth hurt and eyes water. It looks like he needs to change professions and become a bricklayer.

    Okay so NOW they can go into the bookstore AND touch the books? I'm so confused. I guess this a change they convinced Firelight he needed to make in order to be less at odds with Stellar.

    I just wanted to point out this was the face she was making when talking to Starlight's father. In fact, the only thing that stops them from flirting with each other is Starlight and Sunburst losing it.

    I know I said I'd have a face compilation at the end but this one is the best one. It deserves to be seen in all its glory.

    "Just...get it over with." I love how this episode's background characters are there to point out the obvious about Starlight's and Sunburst's own friendship problems with their parents.

    Yeah, he's using her foal blanket to wipe down his chalkboard. Starlight, you really messed him up. Anyway, the parents are rounded up and brought to the town square for a good old-fashioned culling talking too.

    So, when Sunburst apologizes to his mom and she mentions she only did all that stuff when he flunked out of magic school, Sunburst didn't blink an eye. It's part of who he is but he owns it. Starlight though, when her father brings up the troubles of her past, the look on her face up there says it all. She's still haunted by the events in Our Town. Sunburst failed personally, flunked out of school, while Starlight not only failed but ripped out and locked away parts of ponies' souls, suppressed a society under her rule, mentally tortured ponies, and in the heat of the moment, tried to vaporize a few of her citizens. It's little subtle things like an expression that really make this show amazing.

    Seth's favorite plot shot for the whole episode. When Starlight succeeds...

    Our background ponies for the episode every pony.

    She is just fascinated by her son's glowing flank, isn't she? I'll let the fanfics make it weird...

    Anyway, episode over and we see parents will still be parents and want to still see their kids. At least Sunburst or Starlight didn't get asked when they're getting married because their parents want grandfoals...Too real for me.

    Your voice actors everypony!

    Starlight Glimmer Faces galore!

    Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode, I know I did. Let me know down in the comments what you thought of it and my followup! Or you know, don't read this thing at all and just paste your own reviews as fast as possible.

    Twitter: @WeAreBorgPony