With the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic movie coming in a couple months, the time is ripe for Bronies everywhere to spread their Love and Tolerance and assimilate new members into the herd! But how? By showing those who are still on the fence just how good the show is!
For the next 10 weeks, I will be talking about my picks for the top 20 best episodes, and the top 20 worst episodes. I’m starting with the bad ones to get them out of the way quicker. These are the ones I feel you should avoid showing to those fence-sitters you wish to recruit. Bad writing! Characters written way out of character, even for Pinkie Pie! (one of the flaws of the show is that the writers seem to think because Pinkie is the crazy one of the group, they can write her any way they like) I will present these episodes by degree of increasing annoyance. The higher we go on the countdown, the more they annoyed me. But what about the worst episodes? Oh, that’s another countdown, don’t worry. So, here’s our starter.
#20) “Somepony to Watch Over Me”
Writer: Scott Sonneborn
Storyboard: Nicole Wang & Steve Sanderson
Season/Episode: 4, 17
Main Characters: Apple Bloom, Applejack, Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle
Season 4 was a great season all-around. Some new writers joined, like Scott Sonneborn here. His previous credits include Celebrity Deathmatch, Angela Anaconda (which I won’t hold against him, as nothing could’ve saved that abomination), and one of the best Cartoon Network shows that never got a chance, Generator Rex. Two great shows, and one dud. This was his first episode.
Applejack tells Apple Bloom she’s decided it’s time for her to stay home alone for the first time, while the rest of the family makes a pie delivery through dangerous territory. She gives her a list of chores to keep her occupied, and a checklist.
But once they’re out of Ponyville, Applejack starts having second thoughts. I can buy that. But here’s what I would’ve done. I would’ve had her go to Fluttershy. She protected all three Cutie Mark Crusaders from a cockatrice way back in Season 1. Plus, if Apple Bloom objects because she realizes Applejack doesn’t trust her after all, Fluttershy would probably be able to calm her down.
Instead, Applejack overreacts, goes back, and causes Apple Bloom to make a mess. Then she starts smothering her, even going so far as to give her a helmet to prevent her from tripping and getting a concussion. Sonneborn, Twilight is the one who overreacts, not Applejack. Applejack’s flaw is stubborn pride.
Apple Bloom realizes the only solution is to make the delivery herself, and has Sweetie Belle play decoy. Applejack doesn’t fall for it because she’s not stupid (thank you, Sonneborn) She rushes after her, and remembers the fireproof clothes that Apple Bloom didn’t. (Um, you didn’t wear those same clothes when you were making the delivery, Applejack)
Apple Bloom treks through a fiery swamp and comes across a chimera (what, no Rodents of Unusual Size?) The Chimera’s heads argue with each other (OK, that’s a funny scene). Applejack shows up to save her and we cut to epilogue, where Applejack realizes her mistake. Yes, Apple Bloom is definitely responsible! She deceived her big sister, made an irrational decision, and almost got herself killed!
To his credit, Sonneborn did get slightly better a few episodes later with “Trade Ya” in the same season. But I had to dock several points because Applejack is one of my top 10 favorite characters, and I hated the derailment she got in this episode. I know she’s supposedly a hard character to write for, but that doesn’t excuse this.