• "Sounds of Silence": Episode Followup


    Obligatory Simon and Garfunkel Reference

    Hey there, readers. A new episode came out yesterday, and you know what that means, don't you?

    That's right, it's a brand new followup full of screencaps, wordy words, and ponies! This time around we've got best pony Applejack and Fluttershy going off on an adventure, a species in desperate need of anger management classes, the latest character the fandom's obsessing over, and a crazy guy that laughs a lot.

    Head on down below the break for Applejack and Fluttershy Meet Everybody's Newest Waifu.


    Note: This followup has a lot of pictures. This may slow down some older computers or mobile devices.

    Here we see the rare Goofball Fluttershy

    It's been two seasons since these two got to go adventuring together. This is also the first time the map's "teamed up the same ponies for a second quest," as Twilight put it.

    I'm glad the map picked 'em for that. AJ and Flutters have a great dynamic, but we hardly ever get to see it. They need more episodes together.

    Just look at those goofballs. How can you go wrong with them?


    If I'm remembering my magical hologram maps right, this puts the Peaks of Peril near the Dragon Lands. But it's been a while since I looked through Your Amazing Table Map that Makes Butts Glow and You: A Guide, so feel free to correct me if I got the geography wrong.


    "And your name is Applejack and you farm apples, and I'm FlutterSHY and I was shy for so long and Rainbow Dash has a rainbow mane, and Ponyville is a town full of Ponies, and..."

    "You're gonna fry your brain if you don't stop thinking about this, sugarcube."


    "My name is Twilight Sparkle and my magic sparkles. Oh my god."

    Nice Yin-Yang foreshadowing with that shield there. There's also the whole "kirin-nirik" thing, but that's not as subtle as a Yin-Yang symbol.


    "Maybe you should go instead of me, Twilight."

    Has the map ever paired up Twilight and Applejack for a mission? I'm pretty sure it hasn't. That'd be an interesting teamup, wouldn't it?

    Come to think of it, Twilight hardly ever goes on friendship quests. Guess that's what happens when your omnipotent crystal map hates your guts.


    "Flanks don't lie."

    ...Do I really need to say anything here?


    Presented without context.


    The background artists did a great job here. I really love how the station platform is broken up and has weeds growing out of it. Really makes you believe nopony's visited this place in forever.

    And are those trees that specific type you see in the Serengeti? Nice way of making the place stand out from all the other locations we've seen.


    Applejack grabbing her hat is probably the most accurate way to figure out how windy things are getting. Not holding on to the hat? Not windy. Holding on to the hat? Too windy, get inside. It's perfect, I tell you.

    Our writer for today (except for the song, that was written by Jim Miller and Nicole Dubuc) is one Gregory Bonsignore, an award-winning playwright. This is his first time writing for the show, and overall I think he did an excellent job.


    That's some John Carpenter staging right there, man. Putting the unknown scary figure into the background while everyone else is in the foreground? Literally 80% of Halloween (1978).


    Behold, the brave and fearless heroes of Equestria. Their battle cries here chill the very bones of their enemies.


    Well, he looks friendly enough.

    I'm sure he isn't an escaped mental patient that stole the uniform and hid the body behind that tree. Definitely somepony you can trust.


    That's a very intimidating stink eye you got there, pal.


    But Applejack ain't having any of it. You think a stink eye frightens her? Get outta here, Granny Smith invented the stink eye.

    On a related note, there goes Applejack sticking her hoof in ponies' mouths again.


    They should've told him the terrain was charted now, what with the map and all.

    You have to wonder how long this guy's been out here, if he isn't some escaped looney. Or why the railroad never sent somepony to take over his shift after a few years.


    Unfortunately, there are no gifs of this guy's maniacal laughter available right now. Pictures just don't do it justice. Every time you think he's done, he starts right back up again.

    This is the last time we'll see Crazy Ticket Guy in the episode, but you know Applejack and Fluttershy had to buy their return tickets from him when they came back. And spend time waiting for the train with him walking around, laughing his head off.


    If you're paying attention to Fluttershy instead of Applejack, you'll see the exact moment when she spots the squirrels. It goes by really quick, but it's still there for those of you with eagle eyes or the magical powers of the pause button.


    Flyders. Because spiders weren't horrifying enough.

    The swamp's a loss, we have to burn it down. Burn down everything in a mile radius. It's the only way to be sure.


    I hate to be the one to tell you this, AJ, but those are the Cliffs of Insanity. The Peaks of Peril were to the left of the flyder swamp.


    [frustrated_apple_noises.wav]


    That's a nice way of directing where you look during an edit. Your eyes probably followed Applejack's hat when it fell off her head, so the cut to it floating onto the shore is a smooth transition.

    Oh, and remember that flower. It'll be important later.


    Those must be the wild beasts Crazy Ticket Guy was talking about. Looks like Flutters calmed them down. I can only imagine how terrifying they might be if good ol' Fluttershy wasn't here to talk to them.


    I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty peeved too if I had to climb cliffs, trek through a flyder swamp, jump a canyon, and bushwack for who-knows-how-long just to find out you had to go back through it all.


    Hey, remember when Fluttershy couldn't speak louder than a whisper? Hard to believe it's the same pony, isn't it?


    This whole conversation's a bit of foreshadowing for what (almost) gets them dunked in a river. It also shows what great friends these two are and how they don't let arguments get in the way of that.


    That's some beautiful artwork there. After all of that desolate sand and rock, this little oasis really stands out.


    Kirin-lestia.

    I'm going to be honest with you, I'd never even heard of Kirin until I saw this episode. Apparently they're a Japanese, Chinese, and Korean mythical creature that can walk on water and do things for great justice. They're also part dragon, which explains the scales.

    They can fly, too, but even in the myths that doesn't make much sense so it's probably good that they left that out of this episode.


    10/10 cute pone introduction. The nervous smile and wave gets 'em every time.


    American_tourists.mp4


    See? What'd I tell you, the Apple family are the masters of the stink eye. They've perfected it over three generations. The Kirin are lucky they can't feel anything, that stare would knock 'em stone dead if they could.


    Here's some visible concern, along with our first big hurdle. How do we figure out what the problem is if the Kirin can't tell us about it?

    Charades? Well, it's not what I would suggest, but OK, reader, if that's what you think the answer is, we'll go with it.


    [disgruntled horse snorty noises]


    This head tilt the Kirin like to do creeps me the hell out. Keeps giving me flashbacks of this guy. Never trust someone that tilts their head like that. They'll kill you when you turn your back on them. Nail you right to the wall, even.


    That's the face of a desperate mare.


    Looks like Applejack's been hanging out with Lyra. Or maybe Lyra's started some new fad of sitting like this, judging by how often it's been happening lately. I wonder how she feels about that.


    Never go into the spooky woods alone.

    Unless you're Applejack. Applejack ain't scared of no spoopy forest monsters. Applejack punches spooky forest monsters into oblivion every morning after kicking trees for two hours.


    Never split up the party, either. Especially with silent Kirin that tilt their heads like they do.

    You can't tell, but right now the Kirin are chanting "One of us, one of us. We accept you, one of us. Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble" in their own way.


    Are those squirrels following them?

    I was joking about them being terrifying beasts, but they might actually be dangerous. Hiding in bushes, stalking ponies. That ain't normal squirrel behavior.


    And here we meet everyone's new waifu-of-the-week: Autumn Blaze.


    Poor Applejack wasn't prepared for this at all. In her defense, nobody on the planet is prepared for people like Autumn Blaze, or can prepare you for people like Autumn Blaze.


    Snoot boop.


    What a beautiful view.

    Praise the sun
    Autumn Blaze moonlights as a philosopher. She says some deep stuff, man.

    I'm with Applejack, myself. It is a pretty view.


    The first time I watched this episode, this caught me by surprise. I was laughing for a solid minute at how sudden it was.

    This is also the best song of the season and if you, for some reason, haven't heard it yet then what is wrong with you go listen to it right now.


    "My stand-up was a riot."

    I see what you did there.

    The internet in a nutshell.

    A lot of people criticise this plot point, believing this to be the first time the Kirin get angry enough to turn into Nirik.

    It's never explicitly said that this is the first time it happened, guys. Just that this time it spread out of control and burned down the village. The shield with the Kirin and Nirik on it kinda proves that this was going on at least 1,000 years ago.

    Then again Kirin might live for a million years or something. I don't know, I'm not an expert.


    The whole song sequence gets funnier once you notice that Applejack's being dragged through all the imaginary musical sequences, and is confused/scared out of her mind the entire time.

    Nirik also confirmed to be living toasters. Call your local appliance store and order one today.


    HERE'S THE STORY
    OF A LOVELY LADY



    That's G3 Rainbow Dash's cutie mark there in the lower right-hand corner. We've also got Coolguy McSun, Squirrel Girl, Butter Flutter, Wilson the Basket Case, an apple, a candle, and Flower Power.

    Great lineup.


    Thanks for that nightmare fuel, Autumn. I didn't need to sleep tonight, anyway.


    "I regret everything that has led me to this moment."

    --Applejack, probably.


    What an exploitable image. Perfect meme fodder. Joke possibilities are endless.

    Too bad nobody that makes those reads these things. Who am I kidding? Nobody reads these things, people just copy-paste huge walls of text into the comments of 'em.

    Prove me wrong.


    Remember those flowers from earlier? Here they are.

    I told you they were important.


    Hamilton. That really famous play that was all the rage a couple of years ago. I never could past the whole hip-hop thing, really. Can't stand that stuff. But if it gets people interested in history, more power to it.

    Also have you seen the stuff they built for the stage in that show? That was insane.


    So, this is obviously the famous shot from Citizen Kane that everyone has seen at some point in their life if they have an interest in movies.

    But the funny thing is that this shot is nowhere in the film. If you watch the scene it's supposed to be in, it's nowhere to be found. My guess is that it was a publicity still or alternate footage that wasn't used in the final cut, but was used in books about movies until it entered pop culture as "the" shot from Citizen Kane. Still, great parental bonus, this. I doubt anyone in the target demographic's even heard of Orson Welles, let alone Citizen Kane.



    There's Variety, a daily Hollywood trade paper. Autumn Blaze really went all-in on the theatrical stuff, didn't she?


    This

    This is the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of anything ever. Oh my god this is amazing I  love it so much oh my god.

    That's it. Show's peaked. We're never gonna top this. Might as well throw in the towel and cancel everything else.



    A really fun detail here is that Applejack ducks when the chandelier comes flying in to transition us to the next scene.

    And they even included the flying chandelier oh my god this is incredible.


    Here's another exploitable image for you.


    10/10 best backing group to ever record vocals in a studio. Frank Sinatra didn't have a voice as good as these fine fellows.


    #HardcoreParkour

    Autumn Blaze loves to hop around the place. It's kind of like Pinkie's bouncing, but without the sound effect and with a longer distance.


    Turns out Applejack likes butterflies. Who knew?

    Can we all agree that Daniel Ingram knocked it out of the park with the instrumental backing for this song? Because he totally did. I especially love the brass in it, it reminds me of Bill Conti's work.


    Yeah, that's probably how I'd react to someone telling me they named their shadow "Silhouette Gloom of the Sundown Lands."

    Nice allusion to Chinese Kirin myths, though.


    "Well, this wouldn't be a friendship quest if it was easy."

    That's the spirit, AJ. Never give up.


    Loneliness does things to you, man. I knew this one guy, he got stuck on an island. Spent years of his life talking to a volleyball. Still in therapy to this day.


    Oh hey, the do know how to read. Guess they're too lazy to write in the dirt, then.


    Something about this seems very familiar...


    There's some neat cave art right there. It's always cool when the show gives us some in-universe artwork.


    Both Applejack and Fluttershy have some bias here, due to how they learned the backstory. It makes for an interesting argument, even if we could've used some more time with Fluttershy to get a different side of the story.

    And can I just say that for a bunch of creatures that aren't supposed to feel any emotions, the Kirin sure do look worried here.


    How_to_Start_an_International_Incident.jpg


    Once again, the supposedly emotionless Kirin sure do look upset about this whole thing. Rather interesting choice on the animators' parts, I must say.

    The stream of silence is a terrifying thing to me. I don't talk often, but the idea of having all emotion (forcibly) stripped away and not being able to speak just scares me so much.


    ANGRY FLAME DRAGON HORSE TO THE RESCUE.


    Nopony expects the spanish inquisition Autumn Blaze! Charges into battle to save her new friend! 10/10 loyal magic dragon horse.


    Hoofshakes are a thing now. We had hoofbumps, wingshakes, now we've got hoofshakes. The amount of greetings ponies have increases every season.

    Meanwhile Applejack is over here suspiciously watching Autumn Blaze's hoof the whole time like it's going to catch fire any second.

    Which, you know, it did.


    There are quite a few morals in this episode, aside from the obvious one of it being OK for friends to argue. They're all relatively simple messages, but they're still really good ones to teach.


    Angry snoot boop.


    Anyone who writes a story about mute characters is legally required to include a line about someone being trapped in a well at some point.

    This charade sequence is great, by the way. Autumn Blaze's amazingly bad guesses, the other Kirin somehow thinking that doing the wave is part of saying you want the cure, it's all gold.


    That's the spirit, Autumn. You go search the forest that second half out of 73 and a half times. Never give up!


    There's that squirrel again, stalking our heroes in the bushes.

    This isn't the first time a squirrel's tried to talk to somepony other than Fluttershy, but Applejack's less sarcastic about it.


    Alright, so the squirrels were good guys the whole time. I still don't trust them. 

    There's some comfy reconciliation going on in this scene, too. The kinda stuff that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.


    Hugging makes everything better. That's a scientifically proven fact.


    "Tell me everything. And feel free to add complicated descriptions and comedic tangents!"

    Is this a joke about stand-up comedians telling stories? I feel like it is.


    Applejack's real good at "Seriously?" faces.


    You see that look on Autumn's face?

    That's pure, unfiltered joy right there.


    This is reminding me of Bioshock. I should really play that again sometime.


    Remember when I said that Kirin could walk on water in the old myths?

    Well, here's that put into action. Autumn Blaze walks on water. Literally Magic Dragon Horse Jesus.


    That is a really nice shot. The water looks way better when it's moving, trust me.


    Is this the most abrupt ending we've seen on this show?

    Probably. It's not bad, if anything it was a good place to stop. It's just more sudden than we're used to. That's what happens when you've only got twenty-two minutes to tell a story.


    And here's your voice actors for the episode. Some familiar, some new.

    I really enjoyed this episode. It's a fun little ride from start to finish, introduces us to some new lore and leaves us wanting more at the end. We get a great song, too. Best episode of the season for me.

    So what did you think of it? Love it? Hate it? Want to marry Autumn Blaze? Tell us down in the comments!

    Thanks for reading.

    algernon97 loves musical theater.

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