If it's crap ... We'll tell you
It's been a point that I have made quite a few times before now, but the episodes which focus upon the "Cutie Mark Crusaders" tend to feel rather flat for me. They are specifically aimed at the young audience and thus play it very safe in terms of story construction and complexity. Today's episode, despite having some interesting inclusions, did follow that trend. But as for those interesting bits, let's take a look at them.
The story will sound very familiar to most people - Applebloom's cousin Babs Seed (epic foreshadowing there) arrives in from Manehattan to stay, and being a relative that she has never met before, Applebloom and the rest of the CMC (Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo) take it upon themselves to give her a warm welcome and company. Like them, Babs doesn't have a Cutie Mark either so they assume that she'll be delighted to hang around with them. But upon meeting the CMC's rival Diamond Tiara, she switches to bullying and tormenting them during her stay. The CMC are too frightened to tell anyone about this, and struggle to find any way to fix the situation, and figure out what caused the sudden change in Babs Seed
So there you are, very plain and simple in its construction for an episode, but there is one thing I will bring up straight away. In most kid's shows, the bully is a permanent character that is used whenever the story requires them. Even this show has this in the form of Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. However, having a character introduced for one episode as a bully is less common, because it means their story must come to some form of conclusion, or redemption for the character. Right off the bat I give the show credit for this, because it really does manage to illustrate the problems of bullying very well, a topic that almost every kid will have had experience of.
Even more interesting is how Babs Seed is shown to have become a bully out of fear of being bullied herself - it is not simply a case of her being weak or power hungry, she takes the stronger side rather than face the torment she's received back at home. I liked this angle of view a lot, because it is something that any of us could do out of fear and embarrassment. For a message in a Saturday morning show, this one was pretty solid and meaningful.
Outside of this though, the episode at heart is very... regular, and plain in everything else that happens. It's hard to fault this in an episode aimed at young kids, but there's not too much else here to be interested in. The CMC's song is really fun though, and has some great animation tied to it. Some will find too similar to pop songs made for kids, but it is a neat way to illustrate their plight, and I'll admit, it was pretty catchy too. Make of that what you like.
Not many other characters appear in the show except for brief moments, though Pinkie Pie gets her minute and a half to knock out as many puns as she can. The focus is on the CMC, and almost nothing else takes the attention off of them or Babs Seed. There was one piece of music for a montage that I did have to knock down for being uncreative; since I'm sure it has been used in a previous episode for them. Outside of that, there's not much else to really complain about here, you know exactly what you're walking into here so it's more about seeking the good moments rather than moaning at the mediocre ones.
So, as far as CMC episode go.... this was one of the better ones. The story had a genuine and heart-felt meaning to it that I'm sure a lot of kids will learn from. That is the peak point here in what is a simple, regular kid's episode. There's nothing bad at all with that, in fact, that and the song were two moments that I enjoyed quite a lot. And I'm pretty sure some older people could take heed of the message that is in here. In short - not as crazy and fun as last week's episode, but stays on the positive side of the fence all the same.
Thanks for reading! ^__^