Welcome to Day 4 of Ponies Through The Ages, where I will look at “Applebuck Season”, “Luna Eclipsed”, “One Bad Apple”, and “Daring Don’t”. Episode four is a tricky one. With the fourth episode of a show, you generally want to keep it about on par with the third episode, just to continue to give your viewers a taste of what to expect. However, you might want to put in a little bit of extra quality into it, because this is your last chance to get new viewers. After this point, if they weren’t watching before, they likely won’t watch now. Depending on what you want to do with your fifth episode (more on that tomorrow), there are a number of ways to go about doing this. Let’s take a look at what FiM does.
---500 WORD COUNT STARTS NOW---
“Applebuck Season” is the first episode to tell us that this show is about the ponies. Before the episodes were about Twilight, and the ponies were just in them. It’s a good look into Applejack’s character, and it sure is nice to see that there’s more to her than being a southern stereotype. On top of that, the moral it teaches about not biting off more than you can chew is one that I think a lot of people can relate to. Overall, this is pretty decent.
“Luna Eclipsed” is pretty good too. The backgrounds are beautiful, and they really captured the Halloween atmosphere. I just love looking at all of the background ponies in costume. It’s also nice to see Zecora again. Really, there’s only one thing wrong with this, but it’s a pretty big thing: Princess Luna herself. Now, before I get a lot of hateful comments: I love Luna as a character. I just hate the way she was introduced. They’ve basically retconned the ending of episode two to put her here, and it’s absolutely terrible whenever you have to assassinate a character, even if it is done to make room for a much better version of the character.
“One Bad Apple” is probably my favorite episode of Season 3. What I love about this is the message. The show has done anti-bullying messages before, with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. But Babs Seed is different. While DT+SS had their bullying played for laughs for the most part, here it is played for drama, as it should be. It treats the issue with as much seriousness as it needs to. And that is necessary.
And finally, “Daring Don’t”. This is one of two episodes of the entire show that just piss me off to the point of wanting to track down every single person who worked on it and scream at them. Here’s the thing: It has been established throughout the show, both before and after this episode, that Daring Do is a fictional character. Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle just enjoy reading her books. And that makes sense. After all, if Daring Do was real, then that means Ahuizotl is real. In which case: Why hasn’t Princess Celestia or some other authoritative figure done something about him? I get that they need to be in Daring Do’s world for Rainbow Dash to learn the lesson here, but why not just have them magically go into the story? You don’t need this idiocy. On top of that, it just feels weird to have a “fate of the world” story this early into the season after the season premiere. Another issue I have is the name of Daring Do’s author: A.K. Yearling. Daring Do is an Indiana Jones knock-off, not a Harry Potter knock-off, so the reference just feels wrong. People just saw Daring Do’s book titles as “Character Name and the Noun Phrase” and thought of Harry Potter. But Indiana Jones titles follow the same pattern.