• Rainbow Road Trip: Episode Followup

    For the last time ever, the mid-season hiatus is upon us. Production on the show has ended, and some of the big conventions are gearing up for their last hurrah.

    But before we dive into the stages of grief for the next few months, we've got one last bit of pony to go through. An hour-long special about rekindling hope in a seemingly dying community, to be exact.

    How oddly appropriate.

    Head on down below the break for the followup to Rainbow Road Trip.

    Warning: This followup is gigantic, with over 200 images and a few gifs. This may slow down and/or load slowly on some devices.

    This place is actually called "The Cloudominium" in a lot of stuff, instead of "Rainbow Dash's house." It's also changed a lot since we first saw it in the show, and it looks pretty dang cool in this different style.

    I wonder who lives in the other apartments. Blossomforth, maybe?

    Magical flying mail? We've seen teleporting mail, snowflake mail, and regular mail, but I don't recall seeing a letter flying through the sky before.

    It's a good thing it doesn't seem to be used that often, it might put Derpy out of a job if it was any more commonplace.

    Ah, the good ol' annoying magical letter that floats through your window.

    We've all had to deal with these nuisances at one point or another. I bet Rainbow's got either a jury duty summons or some sort of scam/sales pitch.


    Look at the absolute terror on Opal's face. You've got shock, confusion, and fear all rolled up into one expression.

    She's probably thinking, "Oh no, not again." Unlike the famous bowl of petunias, however, we soon know why Opal would think that.

    This is why.

    Applejack packed apples for this road trip, in case of apple emergencies.

    Don't laugh, an apple emergency is a very serious thing.


    So. Many. Birds. And they look like the ones from the 2017 movie, too. It's nice to see them again. I wonder if they still perform at events, or if that was a one-time thing.

    Meanwhile Angel, being Angel, hates everything in the world that is not Fluttershy. This includes the act of helping her pack for a trip.

    I couldn't get a good screenshot of it, but Pinkie basically packed an entire party into that little bag. How? She's Pinkie Pie, that's how.

    The lyrics for this shot are, "a song is playing." And because Pinkie is a being that breaks the laws of reality constantly, and likes karaoke competitions, she's probably singing along to it.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    Meanwhile, Gummy over there is mentally writing a philosophy book about road trips.

    Twilight stuffed nine books into that bag. From the look of them, I'd say they're textbooks for some of the classes at her school. She stuffed a bunch of papers and a couple of scrolls in there, too, but I think the books make up most of the weight.

    Let's do some math here. Now, I don't have one of Twilight's textbooks, but I do have a Psychology textbook on hand from one of my community college classes, and it looks like it's roughly the same size as Twilight's up there. That thing weighs about five pounds, so let's assume all the friendship books weigh five pounds as well.

    Going by that, the combined weight of the books Twiggles just threw in that bag is forty-five pounds (about twenty kilograms for you metric system users).

    Add to that a good four pounds for the backpack, and you get a bag weighing roughly forty-nine pounds (about twenty-two kilograms).

    Why yes, I do have too much time on my hands. What made you ask?

    "Can't you just carry it with your magic?"

    "Aw come on, it'll build character."

    If you're wondering why Rainbow Dash isn't in this shot, the answer is simple. She'd mess up the symmetry.

    Now, as for why Rarity is the only one that isn't physically carrying her bag, well, that's because she's a little too fancy to actually carry things.

    My only other comment about this screenshot is that best pony is leading the formation and is centered perfectly in the shot, and that's pretty cool.

    Rainbow Dash likes to store her luggage on a cloud, somewhere over a field in Ponyville.

    Why? I'm not sure. Perhaps she's afraid of a burglar stealing whatever wonderbolts stuff is in it. Maybe it has an embarrassing picture of Twilight Sparkle at the Hearth's Warming party. Or maybe Rainbow just hides it like a squirrel.

    Your guess is as good as mine.

    Unfortunately for every Bon Bon/Sweetie Drops fan out there, Discovery Family's logo blocked her out during the broadcast.

    It's a shame, too, since the shot goes out of its way to make those two a focal point. It pushes in and trucks right and everything.

    Oh well. At least we can see Derpy and Lyra clearly. The butterflies forming a heart around Derpy is a nice touch.

    After spending way too much time comparing screenshots, I think the CMC here are not the same assets from the 2017 movie. Or if they are, they've been altered a little. The eyes and the snoots are different.

    Then again, I could be wrong about that. You don't see the CMC all that much in the movie, after all.

    Here we see Granny Smith buying a pie, Big Mac and Derpy almost crashing into each other, and Trixie showing Starlight this amazing apple she found.

    This is a nice shot of Ponyville in the new kinda-2017-movie-but-not-quite style of this special. It looks like a nice upgrade over what we've seen of it in the show. Almost makes me wish we'd seen more of the town.

    Your writer for this week is Kim Beyer-Johnson. She wrote the episodes Non-Compete Clause, Sweet and Smoky, and a few of those Best Gift Ever shorts. I think this special is her best work on the series so far.

    I also think that criticizing a story's writing is fine, but insulting the writer herself isn't. Some of you, however, don't agree with that idea. You know who you are.

    Look at the absolute joy on Pinkie's face.

    Even if the rest of Ponyville stares at her for yelling "ROAD TRIP!" in the middle of the town square, she'll do it anyway and be happy about it.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    What do you call a road trip in a hot air balloon, anyway? Air trip? Flight?

    I don't know, but that's a neat looking balloon over there.

    From what I can tell, Pinkie was about to try and break the land speed record during her trip to the balloon without any prompting from Rainbow Dash.

    I guess Dash's need for speed is rubbing off on Pinkie after all these years.

    "Laugh while you can, Dashie. I'm about to phase into the glitch dimension and quantum slingshot my way to the balloon."

    --Pinkie Pie, probably.

    A side effect of using the glitch dimension, one that barely, and I mean barely ever shows up, is that sometimes when you phase back into reality a nearby pony might accidentally get fused to your body.

    Now, it only lasts a second and dimensional travelers don't feel a thing, but that other pony's never going to forget that afternoon, I'll tell you that.

    That may be the most nonchalant "howdy" I've ever heard.

    While we take a moment to appreciate this smear frame in all its glory, I'd like to point out the new designs for the apple trees on either side of the road.

    I wonder if Ponyville just has a ton of apple trees growing in random places. All those seeds coming from Sweet Apple Acres have to travel somewhere.

    "Yeah, well I was fifth!"

    "You were so obsessed with trying to win that you forgot one thing: the only winner in this race is the last one to cross the finish line. Boom. I win. Checkmate and Full Fizzbin."

    The ultimate exercise in futility: trying to win an argument with Pinkie Pie.

    Power posing.

    The favorite sport of humble ponies across the globe.

    And also, by sheer coincidence, a favorite pastime for Rainbow "my ego is the size of Mount Everhoof" Dash.

    You've got a point there, Flutters. Normally, Twilight's the first one on the balloon ride to Adventureland.

    Maybe packing fifty pounds of books took longer than I thought.

    This reminds me of college.

    Twilight starts grading a random paper that flew out of her bag and landed in front of her. She also planned on taking tests and books to the festival, so she could work on them nonstop.

    Call me crazy but I think Twilight might be a workaholic.

    I'm with Rainbow. Why on Earth would you bring work with you on a vacation? That defeats the point of a vacation.

    "H e l p  m e"

    I'm kidding. If you watch closely, Fluttershy smiles before the camera cuts away.

    "Grading papers IS fun!"

    Writing papers is the exact opposite of fun. I've known hardcore academics who loathe writing papers. The citations, the research, the formatting, it's all a giant concoction of stress and perfectionism.

    Grading the results of that mess, however, is right up Twilight's alley. We're talking about a pony that loudly proclaims to the world, "I LOVE RESEARCH PAPERS!" 

    She's got a very strange idea of "fun," but that's one of the reasons why we like her.

    "Twi, I've got about fifty more apples than you're supposed to carry on these things, and the guard's closin' in on us fast. We're leaving right now with or without you, so shut up about gradin' papers and get. In. The. Basket."

    "Wait, what?"


    "You're carrying how many apples?"

    "Ya gotta have that many for apple emergencies. I tried explainin' it to 'em but they just wouldn't listen. 'Safety hazard,' my flank. It'd be a safety hazard to NOT haul all these apples with us." 

    "Is, uh, is it supposed to do that, Twilight?"

    "House the cackling souls of the damned? No, but they don't do much other than creep you out. You get used to it."

    In all fairness, Rarity would've been my first bet for overloading the basket, too. We've never seen her pack anything that didn't tower into the sky from the back of the poor pony carrying it before now. 

    Today, however, is the day she decided to pack light. 

    Fortunately, it turns out the balloon only needs to lose about fifty pounds to get airborne.  

    Y E E T 

    Spike may or may not have just broken a few ribs catching that bag. He doesn't let that stop him from having a positive outlook on life, though.

    Good for him.

    And so ended Twilight's plans for an "exciting" weekend.

    That's a nice view of Ponyville right there. I wonder who that guy standing next to the Apple family barn is, though, because he sure doesn't look like a member of the Apple family.

    If this picture doesn't scream, "adventure party," I don't know what does.

    Birds really do gravitate towards princesses.

    Or they're planning to attack her at any second. After I saw that one Hitchcock movie, I've never been able to trust a bird.

    Close call. We nearly lost Tallulah and Pinkie Pie, there.

    Rarity seems more irritated by the situation than anything else. If looks could kill, Pinkie would be vaporized.

    Hey look, it's those statues from Lord of the Rings. That's a pretty neat little shoutout.

    I should really get around to finishing that book sometime. I borrowed a copy from a friend almost a year ago and I'm only halfway through the thing.

    Rarity, being Rarity, immediately latched on to any information about the town having a spa.

    "Hope Hollow" is a pretty foreboding name for a town, if you ask me. Just switch it around and you get "Hollow Hope," which is anything but reassuring.

    Of course, all that matters to Rainbow is that she's got a fan club over there. If there is one thing in this world that Rainbow Dash loves more than flying fast or the Wonderbolts, it's having a fan club.

    Did I mention Rainbow's got a sizable ego? Because she's got a sizable ego.

    "You're gonna be like this the whole trip, ain't ya?"

    Every group road trip has someone like Dash. At some point in the trip, Applejack's line here will be said, and it will always be said like this.

    "I have so many whims."

    -- Marshmallow Horse, 2019.

    Major red flag: If you get invited to any event that talks about how famous it is, and nobody's ever heard of it, be suspicious. Be more suspicious than a man that avoids every crack on a sidewalk and won't go anywhere near a black cat.

    "...and then she climbs out of the fridge and walks up the hill to see the explosion! Oh man, and then, then she goes and finds this alien down in the Badlands and runs into these super-terrifying ants and--"

    "Are you sure Daring Do sent you this?"

    Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better than Temple of Doom, don't @ me.

    This girl sure does love baking and karaoke.

    Just look at how excited she is to do both of those things. Knowing her, I bet you she can do both of them at the same time, too.

    Fishing tends to be a quiet, calm, and slow thing, where most of your time is spent sitting and waiting. It's one of the most relaxing sports out there.

    Considering how busy Applejack is on an average day, I'm not surprised to learn that fishing is her idea of a good time.

    For Pinkie Pie, the party cannon is on the top of the "don't leave home without it" list.

    She will move heaven and earth to bring that cannon wherever she goes, and sometimes she'll move the very fabric of reality itself to lug this thing around.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    "I 'unno. Showing up? General coolness? All of the above?"

    Rainbow Dash, fifteen-time champion of the "Showed Up for Practice" award at Wonderbolts Academy. 

    Of course, every member of the team has the exact same number of the exact same award, but don't tell her that. 

    "100 Bottles of Milk/Beer/Pop on the Wall."

    Y'know, I've always wondered why, exactly, the narrator of that song had 100 bottles of whatever on their wall in the first place. Surely they ran out of shelf space after bottle number fifty, and yet they just kept on putting bottles up. 

    Then again, the idea of drinking 100 bottles of anything in a row is so obsessive and crazy that only Howard Hughes on a bad day would seriously consider doing it, so maybe I'm overthinking things.

    The other thing to note about "100 Bottles of Whatever" is that you can always tell when someone's had to endure the whole thing at any point in their life.

    How can you tell, you ask? Well, it's easy. Mention the title to them and they instantly make a face like Twilight's doing. 

    Or they'll go into a violent episode, it could go either way. 

    "If you start singing that song again, I swear by all that is holy I will throw you out of this basket and watch you fall."

    She sang the whole thing six times in a row. 

    I'm honestly surprised her voice didn't give out at some point. 

    Marshmallow Horse is a very silly horse indeed. 

    Meanwhile, Pinkie is busy staring into your soul. 

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    In case you're wondering, rainbows that happen at night are called "moonbows" or "lunar rainbows."

    Personally, I prefer calling them moonbows. It's just a fun word to say.

    Moonbows usually aren't this bright, though.

    In all fairness to Rarity, the last time she was this close to a rainbow she wasn't exactly paying a lot of attention to the tour guide. 

    "Don't worry, we'll pass right through it!"

    Normally, Rainbow would be right. 

    Today, however, she is proven wrong three seconds later.

    See the rainbow.

    Taste the rainbow.

    Fear the rainbow.


    She's doing her best, Rarity.

    It's not her fault that she doesn't have the lung capacity to fill the balloon. 

    There's a joke to be made here about Munch's The Scream, I just know it.

    After the initial shock of a giant rainbow billboard falling on the balloon wears off, our heroes spring into action.

    It's a good thing Twilight teleports them to the ground almost immediately after this, because I'm pretty sure Applejack's about to slip out of Rainbow's grip over there. 

    Everybody but Twilight is surprised or scared to get teleported.

    Except for Pinkie. Pinkie's having the time of her life.

    "Well, at least the souls of the damned aren't haunting it anymore..."

    Twilight's concerned about destruction of public property. Rarity's concerned about the lack of a welcome party. Applejack and Fluttershy are concerned about where the hotel is.

    Rainbow Dash is concerned about the kickass hammock she can make out of the destroyed balloon. 

    I'm not blaming her, it looks like a really sweet thing to nap in. 

    I'm getting major horror movie vibes from this town. 

    Late at night, boarded up windows and doors, fog crawling along the streets, and nobody in sight?

    All you need is spooky music and you've got yourself the setting for a dozen ghost stories.

    I really like that statue Pinkie's standing on, too. It looks like something right out of a Gothic horror movie.

    Even though it's night, the use of contrast between Rainbow and Petunia here should tip anyone off that something isn't right with Petunia's color palette.

    This is also the first time we meet Petunia Petals, the living embodiment of Minnesota Nice. I've never seen a stream chat fall in love with a new character as quickly as the one for this special did.

    Every dedicated power poser has a favorite pose. This one happens to be Rainbow's favorite.

    "What's Sunny done now?" implies that this is far from the first time the mayor's tried to do something wild to reinvigorate the town.

    I wonder what other ideas he had before he sent a letter to Rainbow Dash. Judging by Petunia's reaction, none of them were good.

    "Oh, you mean the hotel?"

    There was a brief moment where Petunia thought Rarity was joking about that luxury resort. 

    Given how we see the only hotel in town just a minute after this, I can't say I blame her. 

    Unlike everyone else in this picture, Fluttershy is not surprised at Petunia's speed as she dashes off to some corner of the hotel/library/information center.

    She's just having another 'Nam flashback.

    Petunia Petals.

    Librarian, baker, tour guide, hotel manager, historian, and portrait painter.

    This pony is a true Renaissance Mare. Heck, she wasn't even done listing off all the things she does when Rainbow interrupted her. I bet she's got at least twenty other jobs.

    "I'm Rainbow Dash, and this is everypony."

    This is the only proper way to introduce your group of friends to someone. 

    "The Room? Oh, I'm not sure if I can handle such a horrid piece of cinema this late at night."

    The royal suite, eh?

    Well, I've seen worse hotel rooms. At least this ain't a Motel 6. Those things are nasty.

    [unintelligible, throaty sound of shock and disgust]

    Rainbow's an optimist. She sees one out of three beds break in half, she sees a brand new bed to add to the count.

    Me? I would've removed the broken thing from the count.

    Look at Petunia's face. That's the face of a mare who lives for the chance to kick the crap out of this wall.

    The bed being "tricky" just gives her an excuse to indulge in this violent, secret passion of hers.

    Fluttershy's having a nice time admiring the craftsmanship of that crown sign. See, Flutters finds joy in the simple things. The lines and cuts in the wood, the paint that's been delicately applied in an even coat, and the way it's been centered just perfectly on the door.

    Yes, few things make Flutters happier than a well-made door sign.

    Sadly, the universe has decided she doesn't get to be happy today.

    Meanwhile, Twilight and Applejack are the first to realize that something is rotten in the hamlet of Hope Hollow.

    Looks like Rarity doesn't care much for Shakespeare puns, or dust.

    Her explanation of Petunia looking gray, that she's covered in dust, sounds reasonable when you remember that one time Fluttershy got covered with the stuff.

    Did you know the idea of dust being mostly made up of human skin is an urban legend? Because it totally is.

    I told you she packed an entire party into that bag. Pinkie's right, too. The room does look a little better with all those decorations.

    And look, Fluttershy found something, too.

    I wonder what it is.


    Even my arachnophobia can be overcome by pure cuteness. That spider's too gosh darn adorable. Reminds me of Lucas the Spider.

    Adorable or not, I still wouldn't get this close to it, or rub my face on it.

    Still, as the rest of the group put it, as long as the group is together and has beds, they're all set for whatever happens tomorrow.

    "I've made a huge mistake."

    --Applejack, probably.

    Twilight's wings fluff themselves a little when she yawns. Little movements like that are a great way of making things seem natural.

    Rarity appears to have slept on a pile of rocks. Maybe she got one of the pieces from that broken bed. I doubt any of them used the folding one after Applejack got crushed into the wall.

    As big as her ego may be, even Dash has to admit Twilight might be the pony everyone recognizes instead of herself.

    Her ego won't let her admit that Twilight's probably more well-known, but I'm not going to hold that against her.

    "First hour's all waiting. And then about halfway through the second hour, you start cursing the creep who burned you because nothing's happening. And then...ZANG!"

    Everything is gray.  The ponies are gray. The buildings are gray. Even the grass is gray.

    What a gray, gray world this town lives in. Our colorful heroes stick out like a sore thumb against all this grayness.

    I knew Petunia had more jobs. Looks like she's a flower salespony as well. Her cutie mark makes me think this might be her special talent, but with all the jobs she's got it's anyone's guess.

    Ping-Pong Dude agrees with you on this being weird, Dash, but not for the reasons you're thinking.

    Weirded out and wondering if the town sees them as the weirdos, the gang set off to find the mayor of this gray, gray town full of gray ponies.

    And then one of the most sudden introductions to a pair of characters I've ever seen happens.

    "These are pro-level moves I'm doing, sis!"

    He's gonna do what's called a pro-gamer move next.


    The ethereal choir kills me every time.

    The magnificence of the Rainbow Horse God is often overwhelming. It's only natural for onlookers to retreat to a safe distance and whisper about the thing they've witnessed.


    "All the ponies in this town are crazy."

    "You said it, Twilight."

    Applejack, being Applejack, is the first to spot someone fixing the group's balloon.

    I wonder who dragged it into town for repairs.

    All signs point to this guy.

    Here we see the classic delayed reaction in effect. This isn't the first time the series has used this gag, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Although you do have to wonder how worried the guy was to not notice he was barging through the very ponies he invited to the festival.

    I shouldn't make too much fun of him for doing that, because I've done similar things plenty of times. They tend to happen when you're rushing to get to a class in college. Or anywhere, really.

    "Well, stuff me in an olive and call me a pimento!"

    Is there a word for amazingly Minnesotan phrases like this? I know Applejack's phrases are called "countryisms," but I don't know if such a term exists for things you only hear in the Midwest. 

    If there isn't one already, someone should make one up.

    You don't see Rainbow Dash get surprised by a hoofshake all that often. 

    That expression on her face screams, "I think you just dislocated my leg."

    "What do ya mean, 'is it you'? Didn't the rainbow hair tip you off?"

    "I'm colorblind."

    This worrywart turns out to be Sunny Skies, the unknowingly elusive mayor of Hope Hollow.

    "Pleased as a poplar tree" is something I absolutely would not be surprised to hear someone from the Midwest say. Even if it isn't a real phrase (to my knowledge). 

    Sunny drops the first big hint that everything went bad during the last festival here. It was the last time the town used that billboard, and Sunny changes the subject to the balloon real quick once he remembers that.

    Instead of dwelling on the past, Sunny decides to introduce everyone to Rosie the Riveter the town handypony, Torque Wrench.

    Torque stops welding and just stares at Sunny when he says she "offered to repair your balloon for you." 

    And we soon learn why.

    "I'm doing this under protest."

    "Uh-huh, that's nice, Torque."

    What came out of the handypony's mouth for the next two minutes was a truly impressive stream of profanity, insults, and a plan of action concerning Torque's welder, the mayor, and shoving.

    As for the real line, "If by 'jiffy,' you mean, 'this'll take all day,'"  all I can say is this:

    Mood, Torque. Mood.

    "...Yah, I'm just gonna pretend I didn't hear any of that and move on with the tour."

    "Piss off or I'm gonna feed ya to a wood chipper."

    "Haha, good ol' Torque here's got a great sense of humor, don'tcha know?"

    If you missed this when it aired, after Sunny Skies said "I'd be lost without her!" every stream's chat instantly shipped him and Petunia.

    They shipped it harder than most delivery services ship twenty-four hour delivery orders.

    Try to hide it all you want, you ain't fooling anyone, Sunny.

    Especially not when you blush hard enough to bring a little color back into you.

    In another desperate attempt to avoid talking about why Hope Hollow lost its color, Sunny takes our heroes on a tour of the town.

    Oh, don't look so down in the dumps, Rarity. It's still technically a mud bath.

    Just, y'know, not the kind you want to get in. At all. Even for a million bits.

    "The bakery booth is there."


    "It's an invisible bakery booth."

    Fluttershy may have been denied her hobby of appreciating door signs, but as long as she gets to see that butterfly garden this trip will have been worth it. 

    Just look at how excited she is to see them. It's like a kid waiting to see Santa at the mall.

    "You sit on a throne of lies."

    -- Fluttershy, probably.

    "You don't fish for him, exactly, you just kinda talk to him."

    In the background, you can hear Applejack's disappointment.

    If the "talk" line didn't sink Applejack's hopes of a relaxing evening fishing, then seeing a kiddie pool instead of a lake did. 

    I don't know what I expected, but this went so far above and beyond whatever it was.

    Everyone calls this guy "Trout," so I'm going to say that is his real name. 

    If you're wondering, Trout was universally beloved by the stream chat. 

    Applejack's day is ruined and her disappointment is immeasurable.

    "She still happy?"



    Meanwhile, Fluttershy quietly suffers through a bout of crippling depression. 

    List of things Pinkie Pie really, really likes:

    -Games of chance.
    -Mysterious summits.
    -Apple cider.

    Conclusion: Pinkie Pie owned a secret nightclub and gambling den somewhere in Morocco, where the cider flowed freely, the games made or broke a pony's fortune, and the karaoke machines plinked out the notes to a song Pinkie knew long ago. 

    But that's in the past, and if you ask her about it she'll just wistfully say, "I'll always have Ponyville."

    Well, at least the karaoke tent actually exists, unlike the bakery booth.

    "The trout doubles on harmonica."

    Did I mention the chat absolutely adored this guy?

    Because they absolutely adored this guy.

    Of course Pinkie brings her own karaoke party.

    Pinkie's prepared for anything and everything that could possibly happen. Ball emergency? She's got you covered. Eye patch? She can get one. Karaoke machine? You bet your butt she's carrying one at all times.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    "Look, Mr. Mayor, we were sold a trip to a famous festival, complete with a luxury resort, and so far every last word on that brochure has been the worst case of false advertising since Iron Will's princess cruise. I spent the night on a bed made out of rocks and straw, and my haunted balloon was destroyed by your giant rainbow billboard. I am tired, cranky, and so far beyond disappointed that I'm going to have to petition the dictionary company to create a new word for what I'm feeling. So I'm only going to ask you this once..."

    "Explain. Now." 

    "There is no rainbow festival!"

    And so the truth finally comes out. 

    I wonder if Trout's the only other pony that's been trying to bring the festival back. He was totally on-board with being part of it, anyway.

    [audible surprise.mp4]

    "Think of all the papers I could be grading!"

    If the school's vacation season just started, she's going to be grading a lot of essays about the exact same thing. I've known a few teachers in my time and the one thing all of them hated was grading those last few papers for the year. 

    Somehow I doubt even Twilight could stand reading the 100th essay about some sports event.

    "We should leave this very moment!"

    Sometimes, emotions overwhelm the logical part of your brain. Like the part that remembers your only method of transportation is a totaled mess that won't be fixed until the end of the day.

    Fortunately, we've got Applejack around to remind Rarity of that whole "destroyed balloon" thing.

    Unfortunately, she is only met with "SILENCE, APPLEHORSE" glares from Rarity and Twilight.

    Fluttershy, being Fluttershy, is the one that wants to let this poor guy explain himself. 

    This is why she's the element of kindness.

    While Sunny Skies explains why this town used to be called "The end of the rainbow," Twilight's drugs just kicked in and Fluttershy is trying to kill me with concentrated cuteness.

    I couldn't find a gif of this transition that wasn't a meme from that godawful Infinity War movie, so have this screenshot of it mid-transformation instead.

    What a difference color makes to this town! It's a beautiful place when it isn't completely gray.

    We've entered the second of the three songs in this special, the other two being the intro and the end. They're all nice songs, if you ask me.

    Next-door neighbors chatting. 

    I don't think this happens anymore. Not in small towns, even.

    When was the last time you talked to your neighbors? Chances are it's been a while.

    The lyric "When friends did well" are sung over the image of ponies standing in front of a wishing "well."

    We've got several cute residents of the town here, as well. 

    Have we seen a detailed bit before? I feel like we have, but I don't remember it. 

    Anyway, here's a filly staring intently at a bit. Making a wish, no doubt.

    The wishing fountain does not smile upon you this day, child. 

    "Hey, Cottonwood. I heard your cancer went into remission, so I made you my special tomato soup to welcome ya home. I know how much you liked it before you had to go on that diet."

    "Aw, thanks, Pinecone. You're the best friend a pony could have, ya know that?"

    "Oh, stop it, you. I'm just doing what anypony would do to get ya back on your hooves, ya know?"

    "You gotta stop being so darn humble, Pines... So how've you been since I last saw ya, anyhow?"

    "Oh, you know me. A little headache every so often, but other than that I've been feeling like a bee that found an endless bed of flowers."

    So that's what Petunia and Sunny look like in color. 

    [shipping intensifies]

    Hey look, it's that older couple that were arguing about a pie earlier. 

    Looks like they were pretty dedicated bakers back in the day.

    That's some incredible baking skills right there. I bet even Pinkie would be impressed by that cake.

    Here we can see a pony regretting everything they have ever done, and watching their life flash before their eyes.

    That's a pretty neat little device Sunny's grandpa made. 

    Lookit that, it makes the sky turn into an aurora borealis. 

    Looks like time has made these ponies go from friendly neighbors to hating each other, if we compare this to the first time we see them interact in the special.

    They also created younger models for these guys, just for this song. That's some nice effort there, Boulder Media. I like it. 

    I think the flashback makes it pretty clear that these two have been dating or close friends for a long, long time. 

    They make a cute couple.

    And then fences figuratively and literally start going up all over the town.

    Someone in the stream chat compared this to the fate of most small towns in America, and I've gotta say, that's not a bad comparison.

    "You had me on the edge, but ya let me go. Ya let me come back and have that great week with her. And she never said anything about it, ya know? Always told me it was just a headache. And then I found her on the floor, shaking like a leaf in the fall. You could've taken me when ya had the chance, but when you came back ya took Pines instead."


    If you look closely, each group of ponies gets depressed before they fade away.

    Call me crazy, Sunny, but I think you might have wanted to consult Torque for this job.

    Don't get me wrong, you're determined enough to make something in that shed there, but I don't think it's gonna be what you wanted.

    Years of experience have taught me that if something starts sparking like that, something bad's going to happen.

    Electrical boxes, generators, time machines, you name it, I've seen it go sparkity-spark-spark and cause some horrible disaster.

    You can pinpoint the exact moment where Sunny realizes what he's (supposedly) done, and all the regret and pain that comes with it.

    The fact that the realization comes right as he's trying to calm down a panicking population doesn't help much.

    One of the basic rules of composition is that if you want to make someone look lonely or down in the dumps, put as much space around them and make them appear as small as you can.

    Going by this shot, then, Sunny Skies is a very sad pony indeed.

    Pinkie Pie is known for many things.

    She is not, however, known for subtlety.

    I think this is the fourth or fifth time we've seen her cry fountains, with the first time being all the way back in Friendship is Magic, Part II.

    If things were going bad before the color vanished, Sunny's little speech here (and the ponies walking across the street without even looking at each other) show us that the problem's only gotten much, much worse.

    I can't really blame him for thinking that the festival might have a better shot if he invited Rainbow Dash to it. A lot of events that want to generate interest do the exact same thing. Sometimes it works out well, other times you get a Fyre Festival.

    Thankfully, this time it works out well.

    I'd like to direct your attention to Torque, because she is struggling to pull that wagon. Poor girl looks like she's about to keel over with how she's walking.

    "That billboard's one of the only things that didn't change. To me it's a reminder of what we can be!"

    "I used to tell myself, as long as had that there billboard, we got hope. Then you crashed into it."

    Our heroes offer to help the mayor, and just look at how much hope that brought to this guy.

    He's been in a funk for the whole special and this is what finally pulled him out of it.

    Well, you're right that everyone in the group loves a challenge when it comes to helping others, but I'm pretty sure you and Rainbow love challenges in general, Applejack.


    Is that a robot leg on that pony?

    Because if it is, that is awesome. 

    The line about nobody talking to each other rings home for me. I live in a small town, and I'm pretty sure nobody in my neighborhood actually talks to each other. 

    Well, I talk to one of my neighbors, but that's still only one person out of a pretty sizable group I see whenever I leave the house.

    In TV and film, there is a certain type of shot that captures the cast in a heroic, confident, or iconic pose. These scenes tend to have them walking somewhere, but a good pose has the same effect.

    What I'm trying to say in a very roundabout way is, this is a great hero shot. You could stick this on the DVD cover, if you ask me.

    Sunny just received a full-bore, double barrel blast of Pinkie's manic energy. That's what happens when she gets to be in charge of a bakery booth and help plan a huge festival, but I don't think anypony is ever prepared for a dose of unrestrained Ponk.

    Not that you could be prepared for that, of course.

    "So, uh, is she always--"



    "I'm gonna go make sure she doesn't break anything."

    A more snobbish fashionista would've been condescending or sarcastic at Sunny's suggestion. 

    Rarity, however, agrees with him and expands on it in the most friendly way imaginable, and that's why she's better than every other fashion horse ever.

    Before I show you the next picture, I'd like to provide context. See, for whatever reason the copy of this special I downloaded had a subtitle file attached to it. I was wondering if it would tell me what, exactly, Rarity says when she starts talking in fancy here so I could provide a translation. Because I'm silly like that.

    Instead, this is what popped up.

    Maybe it's because I'm writing this at 11:34 at night, but this gave me such a giggling fit. I don't know who wrote the subtitles for this upload, but whoever you are, thank you so much for this.

    He was having such a nice day, and you just had to remind him that a town that's pure gray wouldn't be too interested in a rainbow festival. 

    He bounces right back into cheerful when she finished what she was saying, but for a moment there you really worried the guy, Twiggles.

    You know, I think this might be the most subdued and humble way Rainbow's ever asked about ponies that might be fans of her. 

    Applejack's the only one to call Sunny Skies "Your Honor" so far.

    Here's a fun fact about addressing mayors in the United States: A current mayor's formal title is always "the Honorable [name], Mayor of [city]." Therefore, if we apply that to Equestria, you end up with names such as "The Honorable Mayor Mare, Mayor of Ponyville," and "The Honorable Sunny Skies, Mayor of Hope Hollow."

    Calling a mayor "Your Honor" is actually a really formal way to address them, so that means Applejack's being super polite here. 

    Make of that what you will.

    "Oh. Yippee."

    The sarcasm readings are off the charts. 

    I just now noticed that Torque's overalls have her cutie mark sewed on the pocket. That's a cool little detail right there.

    Go over there and tell her how you feel already, ya fool.

    This really just emphasizes how strange Hope Hollow is. Everything around it is pure technicolor.

    It's also a nice way of reminding the audience, who've been in this black and white town for a while, what the landscape is supposed to look like.

    "If magic caused this, maybe magic can solve it."

    If anypony in the world can figure out a counterspell to whatever caused the problem, it's Twilight. 

    She was the bearer of the element of magic, after all.

    Stephen King's Under the Dome.

    Coming soon to Discovery Family. 

    If Twilight's never seen a type of magic before, you should probably be afraid. I mean, she spent a huge, huge chunk of her life devoted to studying all the magic that's out there.

    There are many things that scare Rainbow Dash, but an unknown type of magic is not one of them.

    The sonic rainboom always looks cool. 

    Unfortunately, it looks like whatever's causing the trouble is strong enough to shield the town from any magical attempts at bringing color back. 

    I can't be sure, but to my knowledge this is the only shot where we clearly see the bottom of that fountain.

    The animation team didn't have to add in all those coins to help sell it as a former wishing fountain, but they did it anyway for a shot that lasts less than a second. That's dedication right there.

    Meanwhile, these two are most definitely not having a good day.


    He's gonna feel that in the morning. 

    He zagged when he should've zigged. 

    It's a rare mistake, normally you see folks zig when they should've zagged instead. 

    But seriously, Rainbow probably knows better than anyone that you can't learn from an accident if you blame others for it. You don't get to be part of an elite flying team without learning that. 

    "Wait. You've heard of us?"

    I'm pretty sure this is any fan club's reaction to a celebrity visiting them or sending them a letter. 

    It's usually about as cute as this, too. 

    And here we learn the names of these kids. Barley (left) and Pickle (right). 

    I can't recall if it's mentioned in the special itself, but their full names are Barley Barrel and Pickle Barrel according to the credits. 

    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Pinkie's "funny words" speech in reference to these two by now. Actually, they might have and I just didn't see it. I've been busy working on this thing. 

    I think Rainbow might be the most popular member of the wonderbolts. The one time we've seen them interacting with fans, she had the longest line of ponies wanting her autograph.  Don't quote me on that, though. For all I know it's just a general line to meet them all. 

    How did you even manage to do that?

    I think that's the first time we've seen pegasi get their tails tied together when trying a stunt. Feel free to correct me down in the comments if I'm wrong.

    "Bro. You're embarrassing me in front of the wonderbolt."

    Yeah, that's about how I'd react, too. 

    Arguing children can be the worst.

    That is some serious cute factor they've got going for them, though. 

    Boop X2.

    I think you just blew these future wonderbolts' minds, Rainbow. 

    It really is cool of her to invite them to fly with her in the festival. I'm pretty sure that's the dream of many a little colt or filly in Equestria. 

    Oh yeah.

    Their minds are totally blown. 

    Well, looks like Rainbow Dash may have found the way to bring color back to Hope Hollow. 

    For those of you who like random trivia, this happens at almost exactly at the halfway point of the special.

    Meanwhile, Torque is very unhappy about being "volunteered" to do something again. 

    Nothing like some good ol' Apple family wisdom to get you through the day.

    Some minor world building here reveals that being a repairpony is "a pretty rare talent to have."

    Applejack doesn't outright say it, but it's probably a pretty important talent, too. Things break down all the time, and most folks out there aren't exactly experts on fixing them. 

    "Yah, well, thanks for, well, noticing."

    Turns out all Torque needed to brighten up her day was a little encouragement and appreciation for her work. 

    I'm sure that's relatable for a lot of you out there. It certainly is for me. 

    And it looks like friendship might be the key to solving this problem, after all. 

    Ooh, a mirror shot, I haven't seen one of those in a while. They were really popular back in the 70s and 80s, then kinda just stopped showing up.

    It's a neat way of letting the audience see both faces in a conversation.

    "Stack my pancakes" is such a Minnesotan phrase. 

    Seeing this pony light up so much when she recognizes Rarity is just adorable.

    I was right, it is a robot leg. To my knowledge, this is the first time we've seen a fully articulate prosthetic leg in the show. We've seen artificial limbs and things that help disabled ponies walk before, but not a full-on steampunky roboleg.

    It's pretty cool, and adds some implied backstory to Kerfuffle here. 

    Kerfuffle is a 10/10 cute pone. I tried adding in a gif of this whole sequence because it's that amazingly adorable, but apparently the cuteness was too much for Blogger to handle. 

    "Oh, no, I couldn't. It's not good enough by itself."

    Well, at least you've made your own stuff, Kerfuffle. I've got such a low opinion of my own artwork that I haven't tried to make anything in over a year. 

    "Imagine if you could work in color!"
    "Oh, I do imagine."

    There are some people out there who, when they come up with an idea, be an airplane, drawing, or something else, can see it perfectly in their head right down to the smallest detail.

    Kerfuffle is in this group. 

    Rarity, being the wonderful artiste she is, recognizes Kerfuffle's talent and asks her to help design the festival.

    Kerfuffle is the best new character this season. 

    I forgot to mention it earlier, but almost every pony the gang talks to are surprised to learn the rainbow festival is still a thing. 

    I can't blame them for thinking it was over. The mayor does think the last one sucked all the color out of the town, after all.

    Twilight has the nickname "Bookhorse" for a reason. 

    Show this pony a good library and she'll be happy for the rest of the day.

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm the exact same way.

    "We may be small, but we are well-read."

    That sounds like a quote from some "small town fights the big corporation" movie.

    Also, reading is awesome. I don't know why schools seem so hell-bent on making kids hate it so much by forcing them to read crap like The Scarlet Letter. 

    They ought to teach some Raymond Chandler or Thomas Wolfe or Catch-22 or something, I tell ya. 

    "Oh, that silly unicorn. Did he say anything else?"

    [shipping intensifies]

    Not only does this library have a magic section, it has subsections dedicated to types and the theory of magic. 

    Look at that smile, listen to that noise. Twilight just died and went to heaven. 

    "We don't just need MORE cupcakes, we need ALL THE CUPCAKES."

    The bakery looks like it's been closed for a long, long time. 

    I love the little gag of Pinkie making a frowny face in the dust. It just feels exactly like something she'd do.

    So, if the bakery is shut down, where exactly are Pinkie and Flutters going to find all the cupcakes and pies they need?

    Well, they look like they might have an idea.

    How to confuse Pinkie Pie:

    Act like she's a salespony if she tries to talk to you. 

    Or give her a copy of Finnegans Wake. That pile of gibberish will confuse anybody.

    Alright, Pinkie, I'm game.

    What do you consider to be terrorizing ponies?

    Ah, I see. 

    Well, that would certainly terrorize me if I saw it in person. 

    It looks like that one crazy Homer Simpson face that's been circulating around the internet for a while. That's a neat shoutout if it was intentional.

    I wonder if this is as bad as the last bad thing Pinkie ate, where she would rather eat cardboard instead.

    Fluttershy, I know your'e being polite, but apricots are only crunchy if you bite into the seed. They're like peaches.

    An apricot pie really should not taste crunchy.

    "Is this really necessary?"

    "Kid, I'm dialing back the speech SO much right now. You're gonna hear waaaaaaaaay worse when you actually join the 'bolts."

    "She sounds just like we always imagined she'd sound!"
    "Only twenty percent cooler!"


    I see what you did there.


    Let's never speak of this again, OK? OK.

    In the words of Rooster Cogburn, "Well. That did not pan out."

    Rainbow Dash in a beanie. 

    Beanie Dash.

    Hipster Dash.

    Goin'-to-Starbucks-at-three-AM-to-get-fancy-coffee Dash.

    The-morning-hasn't-started-until-I-cram-an-overpriced-coffee-full-of-cream-and-sugar-into-my-mouth Dash.

    I-listen-to-bad-music-ironically-and-write-poetry-that's-totally-deep-you-just-don't-get-it Dash.

    Twenty-one-pilots-and-blink-182-are-my-favorite-bands Dash.

    "Did you become Rainbow Dash in two days?"


    "Three days?"


    "Four days?"

    "Celestia and Luna almighty, the things I'm putting up with today."

    Flying with attitude is a very important part of the basics. You have to master that before you can really get anywhere. 

    Unfortunately, you cannot teach attitude. It must come from within.

    The journey of a thousand miles becoming the greatest flyer in the world starts with a single step flip.

    If these two flew any closer to the ground they'd have green grass stains on their clothes right now. 

    That would be one heck of a surprise, wouldn't it?

    "Oh, we weren't born here. We're originally from Manehattan."

    Well, that explains a lot.

    Moving away from a city like Manehattan because it's too crowded and unfriendly sounds like something I'd do.

    Seriously. I've had to stay in NYC for a few summers, and I have sworn that as long as I live I will never return to that cesspool if I can help it.

    "What happened?"
    "Eh, things change."

    Man, they are taking having the color sucked out of them like champs.

    Even Pinkie Pie is concerned about your lack of a reaction. And you know how bad things have to be for Pinkie Pie to be concerned. 

    Why is she concerned, you may ask? Well, it's because she knows what's going on, that's why. Back in Yakity Sax, Pinkie's colors faded away when she became depressed.

    She's got first-hoof experience with this sort of hopelessness, and now she's seeing a whole town going through it.

    "Ah, I see the problem. This is a misshapen apple, not an apricot."

    "That's strange, it was an apricot tree when we planted it."

    "Yeah, well, we haven't seen Applejack in a while and that pony can replace a tree quicker than I can plan a party."

    He's got a point. It would be next to impossible to figure out when fruit was ripe if you couldn't see the color in it. 

    "Well, I'd love to take some fruit from that tree. I think it would make for some wonderful pies."

    "Why don't you do it, then?"

    "Old Moody Root's shotgun doesn't agree with me."

    "Aw, c'mon. Please? Pretty please?"

    "The only way you're gettin' any of my apricots is if ya bring me fifteen bits, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail."

    The flashback showed us that Moody Root used to be on good terms with the Hoofingtons here.

    I wonder how long it took for him to turn into a cranky old pony.

    Although, as Fluttershy points out, the Hoofingtons aren't blameless for the deterioration of this neighborly friendship, either.

    One side has to put in some effort to get things started, after all.

    "He's a tough sell, this guy. You sure you can handle him?"

    "Oh yeah."

    And so begins Fluttershy's attempt at inception on a conscious target. Few have ever tried it before, and none have succeeded. 

    "So how do you get an old pony to not only part with his apricots, but help us make pies out of them? Simple, really. You dig your way into his subconscious. Tell him he's got a great tree, let him explain why. And when he's in a good mood, you plant the idea. But you can't do it suddenly, no. You have to make him believe he came up with it. List off a bunch of things you can make from his apricots, and put just enough emphasis on pie to make it stick with him. This is the first layer of the idea. If we want him to make that pie with us, it's vital he accepts it as his own."

    "How do we know he won't reject the idea?"

    "Trust me, Mr. Hoofington. Fluttershy's the best at this. You know that company that got dissolved by the founder's kid?"


    "She put that idea in his head. Now, that was with three layers of dreams, but if anypony can do this without the use of dreams, it's her."

    "The second layer of the idea is almost an afterthought once you've planted it in the target's mind. You've got him to want to make a pie with his apricots. Now all you have to do is introduce his neighbors, our clients. Let the target know they're making pies, but they don't have any apricots. Introduce them to each other. After he accepts the second layer, he'll almost walk out of his yard and bake you that pie himself, smiling all the way."

    "The third layer is reinforcement. Bring your clients in. Have your partner give them the cue. If the target's accepted the first two layers, his own brain will bring him into the third once the clients back up what you've planted. All it takes for the idea to start growing is one little push. In this case, all you have to do is say everyone can share. That statement implies so many things, and it'll make the idea take hold and grow faster than anything you've ever seen."

    "And that's how you do it. Inception while conscious. Manipulate, reinforce, and push. A foal could do it if they only knew how."

    It's time to bake some pies.

    Hey, that looks like the "made in Georgia" thing that pops up during the credits of a few shows.

    The face of a pony that has spent hours upon hours studying magic books and still found no explanation for the town's situation.

    "Hark. What strange mariachi music doth I hear approaching from the south?"

    That is a sweet room right there. Just look at that stained glass. It's beautiful.

    Now that's an interesting turn of events. The pictures weren't effected by the color drain.

    I wonder why.

    "Seems even though we faded, the memory never did."

    That's rather poignant, actually. You could probably apply that line to a lot of things, not just color getting removed from a town.

    I'd also like to point out the various pictures that were created just for these shots and are never shown again, because they're some neat stuff.



    Looks like Polaroid Instamatics are still used over in Equestria. 

    It's no wonder why these pictures haven't been framed like the rest. They're capturing the exact moment things went wrong. I don't think most of the ponies in the town would want to be reminded of that.

    Sunny is so happy to show off the new and improved rainbow generator, look at the joy on his face.

    And then you've got Grumps McGee over there that's hated everything that's happened to him since he got out of bed.

    I think that's the moment where the generator exploded. Looks like it, at least.

    The order these are presented to us is important, and the big giveaway is Grumps McGee's position. 

    An attentive viewer might notice that he's leaving in the second picture, yet he's still there in the third one. 

    "I'm still not convinced it was anything other than an accident!"

    Petunia is closer to figuring out what happened than anyone else so far.

    Granted, she's still way, way off, but credit where it's due.

    I bet Sunny threw this away, and Petunia fished it out of the garbage and put it in the desk. 

    "I have a cunning plan."

    --Twilight Sparkle, probably.

    Man, that thing is striking against the town and landscape. 

    AJ and Torque did one heck of a job.

    And Sunny agrees with me.

    Sometimes, when you write these things, you get a screencap that has this strange, wild energy and speaks for itself.

    This is one of those times.

    The way this kid acts, you'd think this is the first time he's ever seen color in his life. 

    I knew he tried to get rid of it. 

    I just knew it.

    Those are some neat magical representation thingies going on there. It's like that time Twilight used TRON graphics to explain the plan in Bats!

    "I can fix that."

    The absolute joy in this lad. 

    This is the happiest he's been in years. 

    In addition to being a skilled repairpony, Torque Wrench has the balance skills of a god.

    She carries that thing on her head and it doesn't wobble once. 


    "From what I've seen of the mayor, how can you tell exactly when peculiar kicks in?"

    Good question, Applejack.

    I've been wondering that, myself. Sunny's kind of a peculiar guy in general. But in a good way.

    Meanwhile, pies have been baked. 

    This is the only correct way to eat a pie. 

    Forget using utensils, you pick it up and eat it in three or four bites or you're just doing it wrong.

    Looks like some hardcore baking went on here. 

    Lotta cakes, lotta pies, and a heck of a lot of cupcakes got made, judging by all that frosting.

    "Oh, don't worry. They will."

    I feel threatened and I'm not entirely sure why.

    You see Torque's face?

    That's the face of a mare who's rebuilt a rainbow generator and is damn proud of it.

    Just look at how happy she is. 

    If anyone in this special came out of it with a different outlook on life, it's Torque. She was a huge grump when we first met her, and now she's beaming over a job well done and glad to have taken on a challenge.

    Applejack's always been quick on the uptake, and this special is no exception. Give her some time and she'll have this all figured out quicker than a jackrabbit can hop a fence.

    This special gives all of the mane six time to shine, actually. I love it when episodes do that. It brings back memories of the earlier days when the cast was one big team.

    Unfortunately, nothing can get to Twilight when she's in the zone. Well, that's not entirely true. Nudging one of her ink bottles can snap her out of it.

    Oh, damn.

    That's beautiful.

    Hey, Twilight.

    I love the lightshow and your enthusiasm, but could you try to look a little less evil when you cast a spell on that thing?

    You look like you just revealed you've been the bad guy all along.

    The magic explosion was impressive, but the real question is whether or not it actually worked.

    It didn't work.

    It's not easy to see the thing you put all of your hope into crash and burn. On a grand scale like this, it can cause some to spiral into depression.

    I told you Applejack would figure it all out. Now she just has to get everyone else to listen and--

    "Sometimes I wonder why I even bother."

    Now that is a bakery booth stand.

    They got all the pies loaded on that thing. All of them. All the pies that have ever existed.

    "Mr. Moody Root! Why, I haven't seen you in the library in ages!"

    Moody Root confirmed to be a former bookworm. Hopefully he'll rediscover the joys of reading along with his newfound appreciation for baking stuff.

    Torque is right, those two kids really have improved. 

    You'll have to take my word for it or just watch the thing, screencapping the stunts doesn't have the same effect.

    Some things, of course, take a long time to change.

    Like the Barrel twins' inability to stick a landing. That's going to take a looooooooooooooong time to fix.

    Rarity looks nice with a bandanna. She should wear one more often.

    It's the little things I love to see when I write a followup. Like finding frames that go by so fast they don't register all that much.

    Such as this one, where Pinkie Pie is asking Rarity if she thinks the current situation is "a [frolic]ing game."

    As for Kerfuffle's gifts, I'm not sure an orange bandanna for AJ is a great idea. It sounds like it'll just blend in, if you ask me.

    [Insert joke about socks here]

    Pinkie's been waiting for this moment ever since she arrived in town, if not her entire life. 

    Wing bling.

    It's a thing. 

    It's a neat thing.

    Actually, that looks kinda cool even without the colors. 

    And when Twilight folds her wings she looks like she's got robowings.

    Robolimbs need to be more of a thing.

    Twilight's falling into the same trap Sunny did.

    If somebody doesn't reveal the truth soon she's gonna spend the rest of her days blaming herself for this town never getting its color back.


    "Are you OK, Applejack?"


    "What's happening?"
    "Something wonderful!"

    Every time I hear those phrases together I get reminded of 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

    It's one of those things that stick to your brain like pine sap and molasses. 

    "What's the key, Mr. Tulip? What am I missing?"


    "Tell me or I'm gonna start ripping petals off."



    With the plant refusing to speak to her no matter what she tried, Twilight heads back to the library to figure out what really made Hope Hollow lose its color.

    I told you Grumps McGee's position was important. 

    Looks like the generator wasn't the cause of the trouble after all. That's gotta be the biggest shock possible for the residents of Hope Hollow.

    And it is.

    I agree with you, Petunia. This really is something the mayor should know, since it means he can stop blaming himself for everything. 

    You spent the whole day working on your speech? Jeez, man, how many rewrites did you go through? Was it fifty? I bet it was fifty.

    Yes, I appreciate the irony of me making fun of him taking forever to write a speech when it took me over a week to write this followup, please don't remind me of it.

    You see that guy on the left?

    That's a pie addict who just realized his food of choice is back and better than ever. This guy's love for pie is rivaled only by Soarin's, to the point where he may in fact be Soarin's long-lost brother.


    Pinkie juggles pies on a regular basis. It defies the laws of physics, but Pinkie has never cared for obeying the laws of physics. She'll juggle anything if she wants to, be it pies or elephants, or a gigantic set of trains from Kalamazoo. 

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    It takes some time to get used to Pinkie's reality-warping skills. Old Moody Root is still in the "how the hell is she doing this" phase of the Acceptance of Pinkie Process. 

    The Trout returns, now in color. 

    Meanwhile, interest in Kerfuffle's designs is making her the happiest pony around. 

    The longer I stare at this picture the more it looks like a still from the ending to some buddy roadtrip movie about these three. I have no idea why.

    "No, ya big doofus!"

    Whoa, watch the language there, Petunia. We've got kids watching this special. 

    At least you didn't say "peeved," then we'd be in real trouble.

    "...it's called 'blackmail,' Your Honor..."

    Twiggles, you are way too happy when you describe Hopeless Magic.

    As in, "I think I just found a way to take over the world" happy.

    I kid. She's excited because the town's coming back to life. She ain't evil.

    Hopeless Magic's an interesting thing. The idea of a community gradually coming undone and/or losing any sense of community itself causing this sort of magic, which then creates a feedback loop that makes the ponies in the town lose even more hope, nicely fits with the show's concept of friendship being the strongest magic out there. We've seen it before, too, in episodes like The Return of Harmony.

    If the amount of time you spent on it is any indication, Sunny, that speech'll be great. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Oh hey, this is just like Pleasantville, minus the racism and existential dread of living in a TV show from the fifties.

    I really need to get around to watching that movie.

    I would've liked to get all the shots of the mane six that we're shown when Sunny thanks them, but this followup is long enough as it is and I'm way behind schedule.

    So instead, have the cutest of those shots here, along with a mildly psychotic looking Pinkie Pie.

    This is a nice speech. It's short, it gets to the point, and it's got a good message to it.

    Alright, after all the effort everyone's put into getting the festival up and running again, it's time to get things rolling.

    But not before Pinkie sneaks a little karaoke into the opening ceremony.

    Everypony else may be confused or disapproving, but I think you all know by now how little Pinkie Pie cares about that sort of thing. If she gets a chance, she's going to hijack your speech in some way, be it karaoke, dance, or bulletin board announcements.

    Because that is how Pinkie do.

    I wonder if it's possible to pull something like this off in real life. If it is, I'd love to see it.

    Add this to the average fourth of July celebration and you've got one hell of a show on your hands.

    After almost an hour of this town being nothing but gray, seeing color literally wash over it and return is quite the sight.

    This is the climax of the special, and it definitely feels big and spectacular enough for that. Writing a story without an antagonist character isn't easy, and creating a satisfying resolution to such a story can be even harder. The special, in my opinion, excelled at both of those things.

    Torque Wrench, now in color.

    And I must admit, I was wrong about Kerfuffle's bandanna. That thing does indeed look good on Applejack.

    From robowings to sparkly fabulous wings. Sparkyfabwings, if you will.

    The ToonBoom animation is great for stuff like this. There are so many color and lighting effects going on in those wings, and they look fantastic.

    "It's exactly as I imagined it!"

    This is the greatest day of Kerfuffle's life. You can tell by the unbridled joy in her voice right there.

    That wasn't the speech you spent all day working on?

    Well, dang, Sunny, what did you refine for all that time? 


    Is this what I think it is?

    oh my god I think it is


    To calm down for a moment and give you some trivia, this is actually the first time we've seen a marriage proposal in the show. 

    and oh my god I was waiting for this for the entire special you have no idea how irrationally happy this made me.

    the magic stuff even formed a heart around them this is the best thing

    If you want to know what the live reactions when this aired were like, just look at Pinkie Pie. 

    They were exactly like that.

    If you open the dictionary to the word "happy," you'll find couple of sentences that'll tell you what that word means.

    But if you were to open a My Little Pony illustrated dictionary to that word, this might be the picture next to that definition. 

    Manfred von Richthofen and two unknown members of Jasta 11 prepare to attack a squadron led by Richthofen's archenemy, Snoopy the Dog. July 1917, colorized.

    Remember when the sonic rainboom was considered to be nothing more than a legend? That was such a long time ago.

    I always like seeing the rainboom in a new episode or special, because the animators tend to make it better in some way every time it shows up. 

    After being denied the joys of appreciating door signage and finding only a throne of lies where the butterfly garden should have been, Fluttershy finally saw the butterflies she'd traveled so far to see. 

    And she was happy.

    "Only one more thing could make this rainbow festival better!"

    Is it karaoke?

    It's totally karaoke, isn't it?

    "What? No."

    Oh, it isn't?

    Well, OK, Pinkie. What do you think would make this festival even better?

    "A TROUT DJ!"




    And with that unbelievably epic intro, it's time for the last song in the special, "Living in Color."

    Not to be confused with In Living Color. , as entertaining as the idea of Jim Carrey singing this song may be.

    Sometimes, things just pop into your head and you never figure out why.

    Like right now, where the pony on the left is reminding me of Madeline for no discernible reason. I think it might be the hat, but I'm not sure.

    I've been in a butterfly garden before. They're a lot of fun, in the relaxing sort of way. 

    Sadly, most of them won't land on you unless you sit still for a long time. 

    Each row of ponies here is a specific color, and they form a gradient from the start to the end of the line. 

    It's a neat shot, and I wish I could've found a gif of it instead of using this screencap. But, c'est la vie.

    Actually, there are a lot of shots that are cool in motion but don't look good in a screencap. 

    Good thing video-to-gif converters exist.

    I like these shots more than I probably should. 

    I blame my love for musicals.

    Hey look, Fluttershy went back for the spider. 

    That's sweet. 

    I still wouldn't let him sit on my head, though.

    You spin me right 'round, baby, right 'round
    like a record baby
    right 'round, 'round, 'round.

    Here we see almost every major character in the special, save for Moody Root. 

    As for why Moody Root isn't here, the answer is the same for why Rainbow Dash wasn't in that shot at the start of the special.

    Don't feel too bad for him, he gets his own verse in the song a few seconds later.

    They went all out with the color theme for this song.

    And it is amazing. In order to get the timing for these right, I had to go over each section a billion times. There is so much attention to detail with the way the whole song uses color that it's insane.

    On the downside to that, I've got a bunch of three-second-long snippets of the song stuck in my head now.

    They actually put "orange" into the lyrics.

    That word that is infamous for being next to impossible to rhyme, and Dubuc and Ingram casually threw it into this thing. 

    I wish I was that confident. 

    You could probably make this a poster or a wallpaper if it weren't for the Discovery Family logo, or a jpeg. 

    That is one superhappy Twilight right there. 

    She does a little stamp right after this, too. Stamps her hoof right on the ground. It doesn't make a big sound, though.

    Torque really did do a great job with the balloon. It looks better than new. 

    And the whole town's giving them a sendoff. 

    I liked these characters, and I wish we'd gotten to meet them sooner so they could've popped up in the show again.

    This is more of a huddle than a hug, but I'd still count it as a goodbye hug.

    And goodbye hugs are a very bittersweet thing. 

    Those are some sweet fireworks. And look, they even made the aurora borealis appear. 

    I wonder if Twilight and co. will come back next year. I'm sure the friends they made in Hope Hollow wouldn't mind seeing them again.

    Your cast for this special. 

    I loved this thing. It was pure slice of life from beginning to end, and while that might not be for everyone, it's right up my alley. The new characters were all great and I want to see more of them, and the special balanced out screentime so that every member of the cast got to shine. And without a ton of ads, it was actually paced rather well, too. All in all, it was a fun ride from start to finish. 

    But that's enough from me. What did you think of this road trip? Like it? Hate it? Wish you'd gone to Walley World instead? Tell us down in the comments.

    Total time spent writing followup:
    Don't ask.

    algernon97's taking a roadtrip to Baltimore soon.