If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Yeah, quite a name for the episode there, isn't it? And to see it is centred around cider as well, though then again, it is a primary income for small rural towns, so it fits in here a treat. But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here; let me hand down the synopsis to the latest MLP episode. My apologies for it being published a day later than expected too.
Applejack and her family are right in the middle of cider-making season, their golden brew goes down a triumph in Ponyville every year, however, their attention to care and quality means there's never enough to go around. Especially for Rainbow Dash. So, when a duo named the Flim Flam brothers ride into town with a machine they say will provide everypony and leave none without a drink, they immediately get the crowd's attention. After all, the guarantee of plenty of cider as opposed to waiting in line with the probability of getting none is very tempting. They tell all this in a pretty catchy musical number, those of you following the series will be pleased to see it.
They ask the Apple family for use of their orchard, to which they will split their profits 75-25. The family however, turns down the deal, to which the originally slick-sounding sellers reply with a threat to run the Apple family out of business, and out of their farm. The Flim Flam brothers eventually challenge the whole family to a competition as to see who can produce the most cider in a timed event. The winner would become the main provider for the town of Ponyville, and after being provoked into it in a Back to the Future style "Are you chicken??" line, the family accepts the challenge. However, their entire livelihood is at stake, for if they lose, they will lose their Sweet Apple Acres farm as well. It is their traditional ways, against the new and strange machine, that may well leave them without a home...
It's a pretty good setup to the episode, and Applejack gets her time on the stage after being rather out-shone by Derpy last week. The real interest to the story however, is the brothers who arrive into the town. They're just like the travelling duo that entice and convince towns into buying their wares you'll have seen in many a movie about Westerns, or from the turn of the 1900's. Their slick, cunning demeanour is contrasted also by their ruthlessness when they become threatened. It really is a great storyline, and that musical number is excellently put together, remember the Monorail song from The Simpsons? It's in that same style and artistry.
The conflict this develops between the two sides is intriguing as well, the brothers fighting to uphold their reputation and make money from the townsponies. And on the other hand, Applejack and her family fighting just to keep their farm in business, and in a way, fighting off the mechanised production that threatens their way of life. It's not carried across in such a complex way on the screen, but the more you dwell on it, the more apparent these conflicting ideas become. Applejack, despite the offer of partnership from the brothers, and even in the heat of the competition, never wavers from her belief that their way of cider making is what will be best in the end. It doesn't come across as stubborn; in fact, you turn to agree with her as you witness how far her rivals are willing to go in order to gain the town's approval. It ends in a nice way too, the family sticking to their guns and keeping to making the best cider they can, while the brothers under pressure, pretty much throw out procedure and use all their slick ideas to just produce it as fast as possible. You can see where this will go, but it was a meaningful way to wrap things up and set the moral to the episode.
There were a few things I need to point out however, the musical number was great and the Flim Flam brothers were excellent characters. But their exit felt just a little cliché, and a bit rushed over. Also, if I was to pick at this, the episode sometimes switched between the conflict and the Mane Six, in a way that felt a bit mismatched. It was just on those brief moments that things lost focus just a little, but really, it's not enough to whinge over.
Overall, it was a very fun episode, bringing in some great new characters, a high-quality song, and the usual goodie-bag of laughs and entertainment. The majority of the main characters make an appearance here, and the story does have a strong backbone to it, in fact, it's one of the most solid storylines from the present series. It doesn't have the greatness of last week's episode, but that’s unfair to make them comparisons, this one stands very well on its own, err.... four hooves. If you're new to things, this would make a fun introductory episode to take a look at.
Thanks for reading! ^__^