If it's crap ... We'll tell you
A genuinely entertaining Cutie Marks Crusaders episode? Nope, no April Fool’s joke, though the news that My Little Pony: FIM is now streaming on Netflix may well be true. So that should be an excellent way to catch Season 1. But, rather than try to separate the news from the jokes today, I'll stick to reviewing yesterday's episode, which after just seeing it, is going to be good fun I hope.
With the season finale ever coming closer, it seems right to air an episode with Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom. The three continue on their quest to obtain their Cutie Marks, and come across the idea to write in the school paper, the Foal Free Press. With the previous editor leaving, Diamond Tiara is given the lead of the office, and immediately slams down any thought of printing "boring" stories in the paper. She wants it to be more gossip-orientated, and demands the CMC to go out and find these stories. Despite the fact that they're conflicted about writing mean stories about the inhabitants of Ponyville, their desire to get their Cutie Marks wins over, and they go into full gossip mode, printing all the private and vindicating stories they can find under the alias name of "Gabby Gums". Once everypony realises that the stories are getting more and more hurtful, they start to lash back at the stories, until Rarity finally finds out that Sweetie Belle has been part of writing for the paper. They are left outcasts within the town, and even worse, black-mailed by Diamond Tiara into staying on the paper. They struggle to find a solution to getting out of the fix they got themselves in.
Now, I've said in the past that the CMC episodes have not always been my favourites, sometimes they suffer from too much concentration on characters, or lack in the creativity of for example, what we see in the Mane Six episodes. What makes this one so much better though, is that it has a very large cast included. Whether it's a brief mention of Trixie, or a scene with the Mane Six, it really expands upon the central story. Every scene is given relevance, but it never becomes an overload of information, you can just sit back and enjoy catching sights of many of the background characters, or inclusions of the central characters into the articles the CMC write.
The episode has some genuinely good comedy added in as well, you can probably see already that Diamond Tiara becomes the over-eccentric press editor; it's certainly the best use of her for a long time. The "juicy" stories that are printed give plenty of chuckles as well, it certainly gave the team a lot of freedom to get imaginative, and it shows a lot here. There's not much in the way of references here, but the humour written into the story more than makes up for it.
Now to discuss the CMC themselves. Their arc through the episode is pretty straightforward, from the initial excitement of writing for the paper, to the guilt over the type of stories they're made to write, and their overall acceptance of it, if it leads to obtaining their Cutie Marks. The third part is where it strikes a more emotional connection, when their identity is revealed, and the community vindicate them for the snooty gossip they have written. The ending does provide their redemption very well, despite the black-mailing; they find the way to make amends of their actions. I thought the very end was rushed a little, which was a shame, because it was going along so well. But it did tie everything up well enough, so there's not too much to complain of there really. It's also a great episode for how we see them work together constantly, no matter if the times are good or bad. It was a good show of companionship; they shared the burden of the conflict and the troubles to the end.
Everything else within the episode was very good too. As I said earlier, there's a large cast included, and the team did a great job with the animation. Each scene has plenty to look out for, but not to the point of being cluttered. The voice acting gave a lot to the characters of Diamond Tiara and the CMC; I think they're improving all the time. I must admit, this is one of the CMC episodes that I really enjoyed, there's definitely some re-watch appeal here with all the characters to look out for, and the story itself was both solid, and moved along at a good pace. The morale given is still a simple one for the kids in the audience to learn from, and it still manages to be very entertaining, and a lot of fun. The season looks like it's going to end with a pretty strong batch of episodes judging from how they've fared as of late, and this is one that gets onto my good list for sure.
Thanks for reading! ^__^