• "Going to Seed:" Episode Followup

    Today, we've got something a little more down to earth than the last few episodes. It's a simple tale of sisters bonding over a snipe hunt, Big Mac suffering from sleep deprivation, and a legendary creature with a name sure to make anyone named Linus get excited.

    So if you're up for something a little more laid back than a globetrotting adventure or villains doing the tango, head on down below the break to get the followup for It's the Great Seedling, Applejack.

    I'm really sorry this is so late, Blogger decided it didn't like me today and I've been fighting it all afternoon.

    That's a beautiful sunrise right there.

    From this angle we can also see the carrot farm that sits next to the orchard. Nobody really knows if the Apple family owns that place, or if it's someone else's property. The show's staff reportedly discussed addressing this some time ago, with one idea being that good ol' Carrot Top lived there. Sadly, it never happened.

    Anyway, that carrot farm's going to be important later.

    Try as he might, the rooster can never reach that tasty ratings block in the sky.

    For those of you who are curious, scientists recently discovered that roosters will crow at daybreak even if they're put in a room with no windows and the lights turned on twenty-four/seven. Their internal clock is what tells them to do it.

    This basically makes a rooster the world's best living alarm clock.

    This is the first time Winona's been onscreen since season six.

    I'm not sure if dogs are supposed to eat pancakes for breakfast, but it looks like she doesn't care about that sort of thing.

    Looks like Applejack and Granny Smith are morning ponies, while Big Mac and Apple Bloom are anything but. Especially Big Mac.

    Apple Bloom is so wiped out that she doesn't even care about falling onto the pancakes Applejack gave her. I haven't seen someone so sleep around a stack of pancakes since Twilight went through an identity crisis back in season five.

    Judging by everyone's reaction, Applejack is the only one that remembered why this day is special.

    I don't think Mac is even going to remember this conversation in an hour or two. He looks like he's reached that level of sleep deprived.

    Oh, so that's why Big Mac looks like he's about to keel over and sleep for ten years. He was up all night making a chart. Twilight would be proud of him, I'm sure. I can't judge him all that much; these followups tend to take just as long to type up.

    He even went the extra mile of sketching out the farm and color coding the orchard. And he didn't do a rush job on those drawings, either. The cutie mark drawings are spot-on and the farmhouse is a pleasant little sketch. Or, knowing what little I know about drawing, it means he's so good at it that it only took him a few seconds to draw them. Maybe that's his hobby, drawing stuff. Or maybe I'm reading too much into this.

    Now, as for why today is a special day, it's the day of THE CONFLUENCE. A time "when every apple comes ripe at the same time."

    It only comes around once every hundred moons, so you have to be ready for it. I'm still not sure how long a moon is, but this sounds like it's the Halley's comet of agriculture.

    Unfortunately, a rousing speech does little for someone who hasn't slept all night.

    Applejack happily informs us that Twilight and Co. are too busy to help out. Exposition's a tricky thing to write in any medium, and it's best if you get it done as quickly as possible. Like this single sentence here.

    As far as I can tell, "Honeycrisp" isn't a pony we've seen before. All we know is that they're a member of the Apple family and Applejack thinks they'd be a great pony to ask for help harvesting the apple crop.

    Aside from that, you've got free reign to imagine that pony as whatever you want.

    That is the face of a professional troll, right there.


    Oh wait, it's just Goldie Delicious. Guess my fears of a cat uprising won't be coming true today.

    I swear, every time Goldie appears she's got more cats than the last time we saw her. It's like she's carrying around rabbits instead.

    Ouch. That's his ear, man. His friggin' ear.

    That's gotta hurt like hell.

    Look at the joy in that psychotic little devil's face. That cat is pure, unfiltered evil.

    And this isn't the last time the cats do stuff to Big Mac, either. The poor guy never catches a break in this episode.

    This also prompts Goldie to say her catchphrase, "Now that's how you _______." This time, it's "how you wake a pony up."

    The last time these two met was season seven. Hugs are an appropriate greeting after this amount of time.

    That looks really painful.

    It was at this moment, reached after several long seconds of contemplation, that Big Macintosh decided he did not like cats in any way whatsoever.

    And so begins Apple Bloom's interest in cryptozoology.

    You know, sometimes the faces in this show are a little... off. This is one of those times. At least, it is for me.

    Goldie Delicious was always a stickler for using the proper terms. Call a legend an old mare's tale, and you'd get an earful.

    Lord help you if you called a cat a porcupine.

    Is it a deer, or a tree? Deer! Tree! DeerTree!

    I like the little style change that happens to everything but the Great Seedling here. It makes this sequence almost look like it's from a children's book instead of the show.

    So I can't really tell, but I could have sworn that the sparkles this thing leaves in its wake were in the shape of trees when it jumped over the first barn. I might be wrong, but it would be an interesting touch if that were really the case.

    The absolute fabulosity of this lad.

    Rarity ain't got a thing on this guy. She's out there making seasonal lines, while this guy's too busy being the season. He's got flowers growing out of his neck and complimentary colored leaves for ears. No outfit would ever beat that natural look unless he himself made it. And you know how fabulous takes time for a pony like Rarity? Well, fabulous doesn't take any time with him because he invented it, and the only reason any mortal can look a fraction of this good is because he was kind enough to let them know about the concept.

    He truly is the most fabulous creature to walk the face of this planet, and don't you dare forget it.

    "...daring ponies to catch him!"

    "Bet ya can't catch me, bitch."

    --The Great Seedling, probably. 

    "You think a net can contain this? Filly, please."

    --Also the Great Seedling, probably.

    For all of his sassy fabulousness, however, the Great Seedling is a graceful loser. Anyone that does manage to catch him gets an eternally blooming crop. 

    He does hibernate, though, so you'll have to find somewhere warm for him once winter rolls around.

    Springtime is when he does his self-care. Even The Great Seedling needs to take care of himself from time to time. 

    To be serious for a moment, I really do like The Great Seedling. It's an interesting little bit of mythology for the world, and it totally fits in with the established universe. Nice fantasy creature work, Rapp.

    Apple Bloom certainly thinks it's a cool cryptid. Just look at that smile. Her imagination's going on all cylinders.

    The fifty-five notebooks she filled with notes about the Loch Ness Monster, however, might have been a bit much.

    Here we see the fearsome War Horse, prepared for battle and bound for glory. 

    All she needs is a war face to terrify her enemies.

    Now that's a war face if I've ever seen one. 

    Unfortunately, it doesn't scare Applejack and Goldie thinks it's cute. 

    Guess you need to work on it, Apple Bloom. 

    Your writer for today is Dave Rapp. He's written episodes such as Flutter Brutter, The Parent Map, and Where the Apple Lies. 

    Funnily enough, the previous episode he wrote about the Apple family also had a flashback to Applejack's days as a yougin'. If you liked that episode, you'll probably like this one, too.

    This stare can kill a man at forty paces. 

    "Oh, dear floating text, please give me strength. Or a sign. Something. Anythin' to help. Please, I'm beggin' you." 

    "Just imagine: Sweet Apple Acres would be the busiest orchard in Equestria!"

    Apple Bloom was secretly a workaholic all along. 

    Let's be real, the signs were always there. 

    I don't think any other pony in this show is as good at showing disapproval as Applejack. 

    It's the eyebrows, probably. 

    Granny Smith comes in at a close second, though, not gonna lie.

    Presented without context.

    Big Mac is suffering all throughout this episode. 

    I think he knows it, too.

    That doesn't stop him from defying the laws of physics, though. I'm still trying to figure out how he did that. 

    Meanwhile, Applejack performs a feat that should be familiar to people who've been around in the fandom for a while.

    It was this moment that Goldie Delicious knew she screwed up.

    Man, that didn't sound good. If you can hear bones crack from all the way down here, something's gone terribly wrong.

    This also seems to have triggered a WWI flashback for Goldie. Look at those eyes. She ain't seeing the sky, man. If she is, it's through a gas mask's goggles.

    Goldie's cheetah is named "Dottie."

    That's very similar to the old stand-by of "Fluffy the Terrible," but it's much classier.

    In this brief moment, we see Big Mac trying to light the schedule on fire using nothing but his mind and the power of hate.

    Sadly, since he doesn't have a horn this doesn't work.

    "She kept on talkin' about this chupathingy. I don't know what it is, but she spent a week trying to catch it eatin' a goat. I'm startin' to think her imagination's gettin' out of hoof."

    You know how tired you have to be to fall asleep standing up?

    You normally need to have to have narcolepsy for it to happen.

    "Apple Bloom, you're my sister, and I love you very much, but if you ain't gone by the time I get down from this rope I will bury you."

    "Well, that sure sounds like a temptin' offer, but I wasn't planning on lookin' for any death worms until next week."

    "I swear to Celestia, you're the strangest kid I've ever met."

    "Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are the only other kids you know."

    "That ain't the point, sis."

    That is one hell of a facehoof. You could probably hear that smack all the way in Ponyville.

    A new day dawns.

    I don't know what this chicken found in his feed, but I definitely want to know where the Apples buy their chicken feed now.

    You'd never know it, but Applejack is actually the greatest flapjack flipper this side of the Everfree Forest. She's got the blue ribbon to prove it somewhere out in the barn.

    She could've gone on to the Fine Flapjack Flipperoo Contest up in Canterlot years ago, but she never did. She'll never say why, either. Some say it was an injury to her foreleg. Others say she found her true calling in the rodeo. But the few who witnessed that bake-off all those years ago will always say she was the greatest pony to ever toss a frying pan.

    These cats are totally in cahoots with one another. See, that gray one on the left distracts Goldie so the other can swipe a pancake while she isn't looking.

    And then the gray one yoinks her last pancake while she's talking to Applejack.

    Cats are pure evil hiding inside a soft, hairy body and they can never be trusted.

    Apple Bloom's attempt at "playing assassin" did not go well.

    Smug pony is super smug.

    The stare down between Applejack and Goldie is interrupted by a super-excited Apple Bloom dragging them all out to a field.

    Big Mac is way too tired to care at this point, though.

    Just as I thought.

    Crop circles.

    Next thing you know that fabulous treedeer is going to fly his spaceship made of trees and berries over the farmhouse in the middle of the night.

    And while whether or not he even exists, of course the Great Seedling would come to Sweet Apple Acres. There isn't an orchard in Equestria more sincere than the one on the Apple family's farm.

    Apple Bloom's obsession with capturing a cryptid has grown out of control. You see her eyes? Those are the eyes of a filly that will do anything to discover the truth that she knows is out there, it's just been covered up by Celestia to keep the public from learning about the existence of a world of beasts and creatures and aliens from other worlds just below everyone's noses, or about the other dimension with strange bipedal things watching them all the time...

    Meanwhile, Applejack grows increasingly concerned about Apple Bloom's mental health.

    There's really no point in doing a "Best Face" contest for this episode, because everyone is doing Best Face winners. Everyone. All the time. It's glorious. 

    Ever the vigilant cryptid hunter, Apple Bloom carefully inspects an apple touched by the mysterious Great Seedling, searching for any clues as to what the creature might do next.

    Meanwhile, her informant, Goldie Delicous, fills her in on the beast's behavior.


    The Great Seedling, it turns out, set up the crop circle as a challenge to Apple Bloom.

    Apple Bloom loves a challenge.

    Applejack does have a point here. THE CONFLUENCE is already keeping them busy as it is, after all.

    Smug pony is very smug.

    "You know what, I don't have to put up with this."

    "I'm taking this apple and I'm going home, where I don't have to hear you go on and on about a dinosaur livin' in some lake somewhere or chupawhatever the hay it is. I'm done, alright? I. Am. Done."

    This isn't the first time Applejack's been compared to a mule, but this time one didn't happen to be standing close by.

    Applejack struggles with her stubborn side for most of the first half of this episode, as a matter of fact. The second half is her getting past that while bonding with Apple Bloom.

    "That's right, Applejack. Real. Pure. Great Seedling. Droppings. I found 'em right next to the outhouse. I carried it all inside and put it in this box to sift for clues. See, he challenged me with those apple patterns. And he made fun of me with this. But he messed up. Oh ho, yeah. This right here, this was his biggest mistake, sis, and it's gonna lead me right to him."

    "Sweet mother of Celestia what is wrong with you Apple Bloom?"

    "A lot of things, sis. A lot of things..."

    Scrunchy face.

    Whenever Applejack takes her hat off, things get serious.

    Here, it's to break the news that The Great Seedling, fabulous as he may be, is only a story invented to make chores fun for children. He's like Santa, in a way.

    "There's a time for fun, and a time for work."

    There is a season, turn, turn, turn... 

    Apple Bloom has come too far to give up on her quest.

    You don't do the things she's done in search of a cryptid just to quit because someone tells you it isn't real.

    Plus, she's super adorable here. That always counts for something.

    Sister snoot boop.

    Followed by a hug. Because hugs make everything better.

    These cats are dedicated to making Big Mac's life miserable.

    He doesn't just dislike cats at this point, I'm pretty sure he outright hates them.

    "That ain't anywhere near fancy enough for somethin' the Great Seedling would make. I thought we were gonna be partners looking for the truth here, sis, but if you're gonna do nothin' but badly fake evidence to throw me off the trail I might as well go back to searchin' for him on my own."

    On a more serious note, this reminds me of a Stephen King novella out there called The Sun Dog, which is about a Polaroid camera that will only print out pictures of a big, evil """"dog"""" getting closer and closer to the photographer. An old shopkeeper buys it in hopes of selling it to a supernatural junkie. The first person the guy shows it to dismisses it as a hoax and literally boots him out of the building.

    Like I said earlier, every face in this episode is a Best Face winner.

    Presented without context.


    Apple Bloom is always down for a story about Applejack's childhood.

    Doubly so if it's about something embarrassing to present-day Applejack.

    Triply so if it involves cryptids.

    Yes, even our story's skeptic believed in the Great Seedling once.

    That's the magic of childhood imagination.

    "Well, to make a long story short, you ain't the only pony that found Great Seedling droppings around here, Apple Bloom..."

    Applejack spent most of the day stuck in this hole.

    Nobody helped her.

    Nobody talked to her.

    It was just her, and the leaves and twigs that fell in with her.

    Is it any wonder she stopped believing in childish things after this?

    Hey look, it's Bright Mac. I think this means Big Mac got his harness from his pa.

    Might explain why he always wears it.

    Hey look, it's Pear Butter and a toddler Apple Bloom.

    It's nice to see little callbacks like this, it really is.

    "...so I decided right then and there, I was too old to waste any more time on the Great Seedling."

    Pictured: The moment Applejack's childhood came to an end. 

    For some reason, Granny Smith and Goldie Delicious think that's hilarious. 

    Apple Bloom, however, knows how awful that day had to have been. And like me, she doesn't find it funny at all. 

    So with that in mind, Apple Bloom is basically asking Applejack to reconnect with her inner child here. 

    And Applejack is willing to try. 

    And of course, hugs always make everything better.

    "I blame you."

    It's going to take more than a pit trap to take Winona down. That dog's bones are made of iron, I tell you. Solid iron.

    Over the course of this montage Applejack goes from being mostly annoyed by the traps to having fun and looking forward to seeing what'll happen with them.

    It happens quickly, but it's still a nice little sequence of her loosening up and having fun with Apple Bloom throughout the day.

    Granny and Goldie must have the greatest luck in the world.

    That, or something ain't right with the thing that sets the trap off. Either one works.

    You know, when your dog starts laughing at you I'm pretty sure you've reached rock bottom.

    This is one of those shots that really only works when you see it in motion, and it's a pretty neat way of doing a montage.

    "...and when we get the Seedling, well, it's only up from there, sis. I'm talking Nessie, yeah, we'll get a boat and catch that sucker with a fishin' line and pure Apple creativity. You and me searchin' the world for the truth. It's gonna be great!"

    Apple Bloom does the Pinkie Promise motions here. It only lasts a second and it's never remarked on, but it's a great bit of continuity.

    "He tasks me, Applejack. He tasks me, but I'll catch him. I'll chase that tree-deer 'round the cliffs of Mount Aris and 'round the glaciers of Yakyakistan and 'round the flames of Tartarus before I give him up."

    "You sure you ain't takin' this a bit too far, sugarcube?"

    "No way. This is personal. He took it this far when he left that giant crop circle for me this mornin'. Besides, it ain't like he's listening in on us or anything."

    I think they've covered every bit of ground they can with a trap. You probably can't walk a foot in that yard without setting something off.

    All this guy wants to do is eat his feed and yell at the sun.

    Unfortunately for him, he ain't getting to do one of those things today.

    If the last crop circle was a challenge, then this is just taunting.

    The face of a filly about to scream "I KNEW IT."

    The face of a pony questioning everything they thought they knew.

    How many cats do you have to have for three of them to pretend to be your hat?

    Seriously, that's too many cats.

    Even the most determined legend hunter has moments of despair. Having the cryptid set off all of your traps and then make a massive crop circle just to make fun of you is a good way to get there.

    Pictured: The moment Applejack reconnected with her inner child.

    "We've got to set up traps in every row, even the carrots! Just to be sure."

    I told you that carrot farm was going to be important later.

    Also, look at Big Mac's face back there.

    He is nowhere near awake enough to deal with anything today, and I know exactly how he feels. 

    "Is that what it looks like when I talk about the Great Seedling? No wonder everypony thinks I'm crazy."

    --Apple Bloom, probably.


    Big Mac's going to collapse in the field one of these days.

    "Good grief."

    --Big Macintosh, probably.

    Sadly, there is no gif out there of Big Mac's unbelievable casual multi-tree apple bucking technique. 

    I'm just as disappointed as you are. 

    "Is that a rocket made out of branches and leaves?"

    I can tell you, based on my own experiences with sleep deprivation, that right now Big Mac is wondering if he already kicked those trees and just doesn't remember it, or if he really hasn't gotten to that part of the orchard yet. 

    Sleep deprivation does things to you, man. Terrible things.

    Look at him. His brain's fried. 

    After years of evading the law, Granny Smith's secret cat smuggling operation finally came to an end when she dropped a barrel in front of an officer. 

    "Oh, there are stories..."

    "...they don't end well."

    Confused, tired, overworked, and not getting any help from anyone. 

    It's like college all over again.

    Applejack has a cunning plan.

    Unlike Rainbow Dash's cunning plans, however, this one is actually better than Baldrick's ideas.

    If you were somehow able to put a microphone in Big Mac's head right now, you'd hear an unending stream of profanity directed at anyone and anything that has ever existed.

    Looks like Applejack and Apple Bloom got paranoid that the Great Seedling would try to sneak into their house.

    So of course, they set up this water trap to catch him when he tries to slip out the window.

    Or it's designed to trick him into going into the house, that's a possibility too.

    Don't give me that look, you never built a trap for a Magical Earth Spirit, either.

    I haven't seen this many traps on a farm since I watched A Quiet Place. And even then, I think the Apple family's more prepared for a monster attack than Jim Halpert was.

    All three of these shots are onscreen for all of three seconds combined, but each one has unique trap designs and a carefully planned layout to make it look like something an overeager pair of sisters would set up to catch something.

    I don't know who drew these backgrounds (or would it be a layout? Someone let me know the right term in the comments section, please), but I love them so much for going that extra mile.

    Staff Sergeant Reckless and an unknown marine on sentry duty during a lull in the Battle of Outpost Vegas. Western Korea, March 27th 1953. Colorized.

    Some cute family bonding goes on in the last half of this episode, and that's always nice to see.

    "I remember our parents tucking me and Big Mac in and telling us all about the Great Seedling."

    If Apple Bloom wasn't so tired, she'd probably have listened close to this story. It's been implied that Bright Mac and Pear Butter died before Apple Bloom was old enough to form any lasting memory of them, and The Perfect Pear tells us that she's always willing to hear about what they were like. 

    Sadly, she's too tuckered out from all the day's work of building traps. 

    That is a great smash cut and an excellent gag. 

    Well, something's definitely out there unless the trees spontaneously decided to shake their apples off. 

    Apple Bloom didn't realize until it was too late that there is a difference between researching a cryptid and setting traps for it, and actually coming face to face with the thing.

    As for why she's scared of the Great Seedling after spending most of the episode happily trying to catch it, well, there's a difference between setting a trap in the day, leaving it overnight, and actually walking out into a crowded orchard late at night and hearing something moving through the bushes.

    Apple Bloom is still a kid, even if she is older and wiser than she was back in season one. And kids are scared, often irrationally, of a lot of things.

    Besides, who wouldn't be scared of this thing if they bumped into it?

    It looks more like it came out of a book about mythological creatures from Ireland than a kindly old mare's description of a magical earth spirit.

    "Look at that, Apple Bloom! You were right, it really does exist! Shoot, and I thought you were being too serious with all that 'chase him 'round the world' stuff. Hay, after seeing this I'll take you on that trip myself."

    "Please stop sayin' things I said that'll make him mad at me, I'm too young to disappear."

    "Oh relax. It's like you said, he ain't listening to us."

    "Are you sure about that?"

    Alternative caption:

    It's the Great Seedling! He's rising out of the apple orchard!

    Irony is a cruel, cruel thing.

    It's safe to say the hunters have become the hunted.

    But we only see a silhouette at this point, so all we know is that a shape is stalking them.

    [Insert that one clip of The Eric Andre Show here]

    Fortunately for our heroes, this Great Seedling is about as real as the Hash Slinging Slasher.

    Big Mac's been working so hard that even when he tries to sleep, his body keeps working. That is some serious dedication, and exhaustion.

    As for why his eyes were red, well, we've all been there.

    This just isn't your week, Mac.

    "I haven't slept in days and I'm stuck at the bottom of a hole. I am the exact opposite of OK."

    If you look at the chicken coop, you'll notice that the chicken's been replaced with a cat.

    It even meows like the rooster's been crowing.

    "You're never too old to be a filly."

    That's the theme/moral of this episode, and it's a pretty great one. Sure, being an adult involves a lot of work, but that doesn't mean you're supposed to shove anything childish away and only do grown-up stuff. Part of being a mature adult is engaging with that inner child of yours and using your imagination.

    Or as a far better writer than myself once put it, 

    When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. 

    -- C.S. Lewis.

    I bet you didn't know Goldie had a Bag of Holding all this time.

    I told you the carrot farm was going to be important.

    We've got an unexplained trail of carrots here. Big Mac didn't do it, and nopony else did. So unless Carrot Top sleepwalks, that means...

    The Great Seedling is real after all.

    And we end with the classic "YEAH" shot. I like a good "YEAH" shot, they can be really fun when they're done well.

    We never do see the real Great Seedling, if it's out there at all. Some people were disappointed by that, but I actually like that choice. Sometimes it's better to leave things ambiguous, and that's the case here. The Great Seedling isn't the real focus of the story, and it would take away from Applejack's little arc with Apple Bloom if they did a big reveal at the end.

    I thought this was a fun little episode. It doesn't involve high stakes or globetrotting adventure or student life, but I liked it all the same. It's simple, it's sweet, and it kept me entertained from start to finish.

    How about you? What did you think of the Apple family's quest to find the Great Seedling? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

    algernon97 saw a jackalope once.